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Date:1086 - 2015 (c.)

Description:The village of Tean consists of Upper and Lower Tean, and is situated directly south of Cheadle in the Tean valley. Both Upper and Lower Tean were originally part of the ancient parish of Checkley. The village takes its name from the River Tean on which it stands. It was a village dominated from the 18th to the 20th centuries by a local manufacturing industry and by the family which developed and managed it.

At the time of the Domesday Survey of 1086, the manor of ‘Tene’ was owned by Robert de Stafford. The manor was large enough to support six ploughs and it contained six acres of meadow, not surprising given its situation in the river valley. There were six villeins, or tenants who held land in return for labour services, and six bordars, or smallholders who had brought land into cultivation on the edges of the village. The manor was valued at 30 shillings.

The narrow fabric (tape) mills at Upper Tean were developed by the Philips family in 1747. It is said that John and Nathaniel Philips of Tean Hall imported Dutch expertise to instruct the local carpenters in the village in how to build looms. These looms were housed at first in tape weavers’ cottages. From the early 19th century, however, the Philips’ built large, physically dominant mill buildings to house the looms. So Tean’s tape weaving industry was transformed from an out-working, home based industry to a factory-based one. The whole mill complex at Tean eventually became known as Tean Hall Mills. It was a very successful tape-weaving business, producing high quality tape for a variety of uses both at times of peace and at times of war. The Philips’ also had mills at nearby Cheadle. Following the end of production of narrow fabrics at Tean, the mill buildings stood empty for some time but have now been converted into apartments. Weavers’ cottages can still be seen in Upper Tean.

The Heath House at Lower Tean was the home of the Philips family and was built originally for John Burton Philips. The house was built in 1836 to the design of Thomas Johnson, a local architect from Lichfield. The Heath House was considered to be his domestic work of art, built in the Tudor style. The orangery at the Hall was built by Thomas Trubshawe, one of a Staffordshire dynasty of builders and architects from Little Haywood. The house has been used for location filming.

Thomas Johnson also designed Tean’s parish church, built in 1843 at a cost of £1,575. It is particularly notable for the decoration on the inside. In addition to the parish church, there were also three chapels for Primitive Methodists, Wesleyan Methodists and Independents (Providence Chapel).

The Philips family established schools in Tean in 1811 on the British Schools system for the children of their factory workers. Now the local primary schools are Great Wood Primary School and St Thomas’ Catholic Primary School.

The Philips family was also generous in providing for the poor of the parish, particularly weavers at times of distress. Until the second half of the 20th century, the village also supported a variety of local shopkeepers and tradesmen.