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Stafford

Trip Planner Europe  /  UK  /  England  /  Staffordshire  /  Stafford
Stafford is the county town of Staffordshire, in the West Midlands of England. It lies approximately 16mi north of Wolverhampton, 18mi south of Stoke-on-Trent and 24mi north-west of Birmingham. The population in 2001 was 63,681 and that of the wider borough of Stafford 122,000, the fourth largest in the county after Stoke-on-Trent, Tamworth and Newcastle-under-Lyme.HistoryStafford means 'ford' by a 'staithe' (landing place). The original settlement was on dry sand and gravel peninsula that provided a strategic crossing point in the marshy valley of the River Sow, a tributary of the River Trent. There is still a large area of marshland northwest of the town, which has always been subject to flooding, such as in 1947, 2000 and 2007.It is thought Stafford was founded in about 700 AD by a Mercian prince called Bertelin who, according to legend, established a hermitage on the peninsula named Betheney or Bethnei. Until recently it was thought that the remains of a wooden preaching cross from this time had been found under the remains of St Bertelin's chapel, next to the later collegiate Church of St Mary in the centre of the town. Recent re-examination of the evidence shows this was a misinterpretation – it was a tree-trunk coffin placed centrally in the first, timber, chapel at around the time Æthelflæd founded the burh, in 913 AD. The tree-trunk coffin may have been placed there as an object of commemoration or veneration of St Bertelin.
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