The following has been compiled from information supplied by Philip Charles.
Three early charters
The history of the village can be traced back to before the Norman Conquest (1066AD) through references to (Abbots) Bromley in three pre-conquest charters for Staffordshire.
King Edmund’s charter of 942 granted lands including Bromley to Wulfsige the Black.
The charter of King Aethelred granting lands to Wulfric in 996 gives details of the boundaries of the estate, which onthree sides, are recognisable as the present day parish boundary – Pur Brook, River Blithe and Tad Brook. The northern boundary followed a line of mounds and trees which have changed with the passing years.
The third charter is Wilfric’s will of 1002-4, when he gave Bromley, as part of a larger estate, to the Benedictine Abbey at Burton upon Trent.
A market charter
A first Market Charter was granted in 1221 for a weekly market (on Tuesday) and annual fair of two days. This charter was confirmed in 1227 when the annual fair was increased from two to three days. The fair was to be held on the vigil, on the day of Saint Bartholomew and later the day after. August 23rd, 24th and 25th. The alteration of the calendar in 1752 changed the date of the feast day to September 4th. At some point the fair was moved to a weekend, and hence the formula for Horn Dance Day came into being. An entry in the Domesday Book provides additional information and indicates that a church was probably present in the village at that time. This would have been a Saxon building of wood, wattle-and-daub of which no trace now remains.
Buildings provide tangible evidence of history and Abbots Bromley has several eye-catching reminders of past days. Additional information and pictures of a number of these are contained on other pages:
With the passing of time, life in the village has changed and many customs – such as the sounding of the winter curfew bell – have ceased. One tradition kept alive is the annual Horn Dance performed with six sets of antlers and this unusual spectacle draws many visitors to the village each September.