The ancient church of St Margaret, Draycott-le-Moors, stands on a small knoll of the north side of what used to be the main A50 road linking the Potteries to Derby. Now, thankfully, by-passed by the new A50, the approach to the Church is still remarkable for its straightness: evidence of the Roman origins of the route. Indeed a small Roman settlement was located on the south side of the road, a few hundred metres beyond the site of the church.
The area is known to have been inhabited throughout the following centuries. There is evidence to suggest that a Saxon barrow existed in the area, and neighbouring Totmonslow is named as a hundred in the Domesday Book.
There may well have been a very early church on the site of St Margaret’s, but the oldest part of the church that still exists today is the base of the tower, whose four feet thick walls were originally built in the 13th century. The church is built in the Early Decorated style, again consistent with 13th century construction. Inside the church is a board containing the names of the rectors of the parish from 1268 onwards, so this also suggests 13th century construction.
The community of Draycott takes its name from the Draycott family, who were probably the founders of the church. The Draycott family came originally from the Amiens region of France, and owed extensive lands in the area. Part of St Margaret’s Church is the Draycott Chapel, resting place of many members of the Draycott family from the 14th and 15th centuries. Of all the Draycotts, the one most closely associated with the church is Revd. William Draycott, Rector from 1502 to 1512, who established the charity known as the Draycott Dole, which is still distributed on mid-Lent Sunday each year.
However many changes have been made to the church since it was first founded. The majority of the tower was built in 1628. There are eight bells; five dating from the 16th century and three dating from the 20th century. A major rebuilding of the church took place in 1848. The church tower clock was installed in 1889.
The 20th century saw several sets of extensive repairs to the fabric of the church in 1933, 1956 and 1975. These have revealed much of the early architectural plan of the church and enabled it to be left on view.
The Church Archives date back to 1672. All records are now in the possession of the Staffordshire Archives service. However a copy of the Draycott Dole book, listing the recipients from the early 1800s to date, has been kept by the church, and early records will be published on this website at a later date.