Weston-on-Trent is a village and civil parish in the South Derbyshire district of Derbyshire. It is to the north of the River Trent and the Trent and Mersey Canal. Nearby places include Aston-on-Trent, Barrow upon Trent, Castle Donington and Swarkestone.
The name is of Anglo-Saxon descent ('ton' an Anglo-Saxon suffix meaning town). Being in the west, the name literally means 'West Town' - with Aston-on-Trent (East-Town) being east of it. The 'On-Trent' suffix of both Weston and nearby villages simply means they are near the river Trent.
At the last census there were about 800 people in the village over sixteen years old.
Weston's only school is a Church of England Voluntary Aided primary school. The school has been in existence since 1821 and on its old site to the west of the village since 1830. Two cottages were let from Sir Robert Wilmot at two shillings per annum in 1830. The old school building is reported to have been erected in 1842 and to have had a capacity of 60, although only 35 were attending in 1890. In January 2007, the school was relocated to a new building on the site of the old playing field and formally opened on April 21st. The school's placement was argued extensively by the residents living near the roads leading to the school because of the lack of decent access roads. However its position had been decided in the 1960s when the Local Education Authority purchased the land belonging to Old Gate Farm and the remainder of the land had been used to construct Old Gate Avenue in the 1970s. The farm had previously served as one of Weston's pubs.
The village has a strong community which offers many organisations including;
The Youth Club ceased trade in 2006.
All of these meet at the Village Hall which was recently host to a number of visiting performers. A recent show was performed by "The Spider Monkeys" who played on a temporary stage outside the Plough to support the 2007 Scarecrow Trail weekend.
| The Domesday Book: "Weston-on-Trent is spelt as Westune or Westone in the Domesday Book. Weston is listed amongst the small proportion of manors that are owned directly by the king.|
In 1086, the book notes that
"In Weston-On-Trent" with its Berewick Ælfgar had ten carucate of land and two and a half Bovate to the geld. There is land for as many ploughs. There are now three ploughs in demesne and twenty four villein and six bordar having twelve ploughs and for rent-paying tenants paying sixteen shillings. There are two churches and a priest and a mill rendering ten shillings and four pence and a fishpond and a ferry rendering thirteen shillings and four pence and fifty one acres of meadow and a pasture half a league long and three furlongs broad. Value sixteen pounds (TRE eight pounds)"
|— Note: Berewicks (outlying estates) of this manor, at that time, included Aston-on-Trent and Shardlow. Earlier evidence dated 1009 place Weston on Trent at the head of an estate which went as far as the Derwent and included not only Shardlow and Aston but also Wilne.|
In 1009 Æþelræd Unræd (King Ethelred the Unready) signed a charter at the Great Council which recognised the position and boundaries of Weston. The charter shows that Weston controlled the crossings of the Trent at, Weston Cliff, King's Mills and Wilne. These crossings controlled one of the main routes for travellers moving up or down England and was a boundary within Mercia. This land was then given to Morkar, the King's chief minister, and he was unusually given rights that were normally reserved for the King alone. He was given the responsibility for justice and exemption from the trinoda, he alone could decide a fate of life or death without the need of the authority of the King or his sheriff. Weston again come under the control of the King before it was given to Ælfgar, the Earl of Mercia, but he lost this at the Norman Conquest. See the inset box for Weston's entry in Domesday.
Sometime after 1086, King William gave the manor of Weston to Hugh d'Avranches, who was later to become the first Earl of Chester. Hugh in 1093 gifted the manor to Chester Abbey and sometime around the turn of the century they gave Weston to the Monastery of St Werburgh which he had just founded at Chester.
In 1215, King John signed another charter concerning the ownership of Weston. He confirmed to the Abbots of Chester that the soke of Weston were free of all suits to counties or hundreds. This was in the same year as the Magna Carta when King John had agreed to expel the local Sheriff, Philip Marc, under pressures from his Barons. It should be noted that Marc remained the sheriff and left lands at nearby Chellaston to his son.
In 1603, Weston-on-Trent was awarded by James I to Charles Paget and gave him a pension of £200 a year. This is unusual as the previous monarch had threatened to have him assassinated in France as he refused to return. He was found guilty of his involvement in the Babington plot. It was Charles Paget, who Mary, Queen of Scots had written to; this letter was part of the evidence that caused her execution.
In 1633 James I granted the manor of Weston on Trent to Antony Roper and it is believed that this is when Weston Hall's construction started.
At the start of the English civil wars (in 1642) soldiers who were based at Weston Hall attacked Royalists who were based on the south side of the river. Some Parliamentary soldiers were reputedly buried in Weston Churchyard in 1644 after a battle at King's Mill when Sir John Gell took 200 royalist prisoners.
The Roper family sold Weston Hall in 1649 and it was never completed. Bricked up doorways can be observed at first and second storeys where presumably the rest of the building was intended to be. The hall was bought by Robert Holden who passed it to his son Reverend Charles Edward Holden whose son was Edward Anthony Holden.
In 1745 the young pretender advanced as far as nearby Swarkestone. Local records show that monies were found to not only repair ye town musquet but also money to charge it. Two other parishioners were given three quearts of ale to keep watch for the rebels from the church tower whilst a third was despatched to Derby.
In September 1770, the canal which had been started by James Brindley reached Weston where goods could be moved the short distance from the canal to the river and vice versa. Much of this building still remains and Weston's lock, two canal bridges and several mileposts are listed by English Heritage.
Less than a century later, the village was again redesigned with several houses demolished, large earth works and roads were diverted to allow the railway to be opened in 1873 which "cut through the heart of the village isolating the south side from the north of the village".
There were two ferries at Weston, one at Weston Cliff and the other at King's Mill which ceased trade in 1942. This ferry crossed the river at the end of King's Mill Lane closest to Castle Donington. After the second world war Weston-on-Trent became home to the Ukrainian Youth Association (CYM) in the UK, which took over one of the camps which had been set up during the Second World War. One of these camps had hosted concerts by Vera Lynn, Glenn Miller and Ivy Benson.
The last shop in Weston closed in 1998.