The Hartley Coat of Arms depicts the Red
Cross of St George on a silver shield. At each end of the cross a gold
Cinquefoil (a five-petaled rose), whilst on the second and third
quarters of the Shield a Black Martlet (the Martlet in old English was
the name of the present day Swift).
The family motto “SUB HOC SIGNO VINCES”
translates as “UNDER THIS SIGN CONQUER”.
The History of Rocester Football Club
Part 1 - Origin of the Team Colours & the Hartley
The Hartley surname can be traced back as
far as the 12th Century to the Earl of Carlisle Sir Andrew de Harcla -
the name later became anglicised to Hartley.
In the latter part of the 18th Century in
Dumbarton, Scotland, a John Hartley and his wife Margaret raised six
children. One of their sons John Hartley II, born on 26th February 1813,
together with his brother James, established the Hartley’s Glassworks
and Wearglass Works in Sunderland, producing fine tableware around 1836.
The Hartley Glass Works, the more
successful of the two companies, invented the process of casting rolled
glass, a patent which later became used worldwide. Today Wearglass is
highly collectable (the works closed in 1894).
John Hartley II moved to the Midlands
sometime around 1837/38 and became a partner with Chance & Sons glass
makers of Smethwick. It was there he met and married Emma Thorneycroft,
the daughter of George B. Thorneycroft, a leading Iron Master of South
Staffordshire, and owner of vast industrial enterprises which included
Collieries and Ironworks. John Hartley joined his father-in-law and
brother-in-law Major Thorneycroft as a partner.
Looking to provide for his daughter
(Emma), George B. Thorneycroft purchased Brookhouse Farm of some 100
acres at Wheaton Aston, and so became the biggest landowner in the
George B. Thorneycroft died in 1851, the
Wheaton Aston estate passed by family arrangement to his daughter Emma,
and therefore by marriage to John Hartley II. Adding more property they
created an estate of over 1,000 acres.
In later years he became a member of the
Royal Coal Commission and Chairman of the L. & N.W. Railway Company.
A Deputy Lieutenant for Staffordshire, in 1858 he was elected Mayor of
In the P. G. Wodehouse
novels, Tong Castle was believed to be the basis for an imaginary world at
the centre of which stood Blandings Castle, the quintessential stately home
In the novel he wrote of
butlers and household staff running into dozens, the grounds with acres of
lawns, flower beds and large houses with more rooms than many a hotel. An
estate that lay at the heart of the British Empire and merry England.
Tong Castle, photographed circa 1890.
(Photograph from the Hartley collection.)
and Emma Hartley had seven children – Rosa Mary (1842–1928); George Thompson
(1844–1917); Eleanor Jane (1845–1931); Alice (1847–1931); John Thorneycroft
(1849-1931); Charles Albert (1851-1915); and Emma Constance (1854–1938).
John Thorneycroft Hartley (pictured right) won the men’s singles
championship at Wimbledon in two consecutive years - 1879 and 1880.
With a large
family and immense wealth, John Hartley leased Tong Castle, Tong, near Shifnal, Shropshire from Lord Bradford of Weston Park in 1855. The castle was described
as a Gothic monstrosity of castellations with a huge lake. He lived there until
his death in 1884, and was survived by his wife Emma who lived there till her
death in 1909.
1913 the castle had
ceased to be occupied and was to lay empty in a state of near dereliction for
many years. It was finally demolished by H. M. Forces in 1954, by a series of
site of Tong Castle lay on the route of the M54 motorway built in 1983, near
Junction 3, connecting the new town of Telford with the M6 and the site of
A very early print of John Hartley
II and his family pictured at Tong Castle.
Front L to R: Alice, Charles Albert.
Centre: John Hartley II.
Rear L to R: Eleanor Jane, John
Thorneycroft, Emma Constance (baby,) George Thompson, Emma Hartley, Rosa
(Photograph from the Hartley collection
Charles Albert Hartley had met Mary Emmeline Campbell (1863–1942) the second
daughter of Colin Minton Campbell of Woodseat Hall, Rocester, when she visited
Wolverhampton for a civic occasion. They were married at a grand society wedding
at St Michael’s Church, Rocester, on 28th September 1886. A newspaper report of
the event stated the village turned out in overwhelming numbers, both church and
surroundings filled to capacity.
On an eminence overlooking Rocester Railway Station and the Dove Valley, just
north of Mince Pie Hall (Banks Farm), a grand mansion sporting over 21 rooms was
erected as a marital home by the Hartley and Campbell families. Apart from the
ground floor, hearths and chimneys which were built with bricks, the upper three
storeys were built entirely of Swedish Pine. It gained the name “The Rookery”,
and it was between The Rookery (built circa 1887) and a large mansion at
Llandudno that Charles Albert Hartley and his bride Mary Emmeline started
married life in 1886.
Educated at Harrow, Charles enjoyed sports of all descriptions, especially those
connected with horses. He was noted as a welter weight Polo player of some
Most summers were spent at Llandudno, where Charles Hartley drove for his own
amusement a private coach between Dolgellau and Barmouth, and later from
Wolverhampton to Bridgnorth. Winters were spent at The Rookery, where Charles
and Mary Hartley moved to permanently around 1891 to be near their relations,
the Campbell family of Woodseat Hall.
It is commonly believed that from the family coat of arms, Charles Hartley took the Black from the Martlet and
Gold from the Cinquefoil as his famous Racing Colours. Sometimes he would run as many
as four horses from his stables at The Rookery at Uttoxeter Races and other
It was some time around the early 1890’s that he sponsored Rocester
Football Club, and purchased the playing strip - with the condition they wore his
racing colours of black and amber stripes. These famous colours remain to the
Charles Albert Hartley died suddenly on 10th September 1915 at The Rookery.
Although ailing for some considerable time, a victim of diabetes, he had never
put illness before living his life to the full. The death of his only son
Charles Campbell Hartley in 1912 was said to have been a mortal blow from which
he never really recovered.
Highly esteemed by all in Rocester and district, he had countless friends in all
parts of the country. His figure, always conspicuous wherever he went by reason
of his huge stature and ample physical proportions. His geniality, old world
charm and courtesy attracted a host of friends and acquaintances around him that
became the envy of many. He was interred in Rocester Old Church Yard.
Charles Albert Hartley
pictured in 1891.
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Part Two - Early
Years - 1876-1939 >>