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Staffordshire is a land-locked county in the West Midlands region of England, bordered by seven other counties. Stoke-on-Trent is its largest city, now a separately administered unitary authority. Lichfield, with its magnificent cathedral, also has city status. The county is hilly in the north and south, with the highest village in Britain atop the rugged moorlands of the north and the Cannock Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the south. In between, the rolling countryside holds numerous coal and ore fields and of course the River Trent. Agricultural activity continues to be a major employer in the county but the north of the county is industrial as the centre of a renowned ceramics industry, established in Staffordshire by Josiah Wedgwood, Josiah Spode and Henry Doulton. The Gladstone Pottery Museum in Stoke-on-Trent brings this part of Staffordshire’s history to life.

Staffordshire has a wonderfully varied history, starting with tools dating back to 9,000 BC discovered in the north of the county. The Romans established bases in this area and, in 2009, the largest hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold ever discovered was unearthed near Lichfield. This gold dates to the time of the Kingdom of Mercia, when battles were prevalent with other kingdoms of the Anglo-Saxon Heptarchy. Following invasions by the Vikings and incorporation into Danelaw, the area was integrated with other English holdings by Alfred the Great and probably formed into a county by the early tenth century. Many fine churches, including the Lichfield Cathedral, were built in the Middle Ages.

There are many excellent resources for researching the history of places in Staffordshire. An especially interesting online offering is Staffordshire Past Track, a digitisation programme with Lottery funding through 2004 and still being extended by the Staffordshire Arts and Museums Service. The site has a set of virtual exhibitions, as well as both map- and text-based searches to numerous resources and their descriptions. The County Council’s Staffordshire History Site provides a consolidated set of links to a wide variety of historical information and includes an extensive bibliography for those researching the county. A subscription to the Staffordshire History Journal is available for a small annual fee. In addition, the Victoria County History project remains active, having started publishing volumes in 1908. The fourteenth volume was released last year and the next one is now underway.

The following locations have registered studies: