Towns & Parishes
"Rowley Regis forms a peninsulated promontory of the Seisdon Hundred, stretching between the two detached portions of Worcestershire and Shropshire, near Dudley and Halesowen, and consisting of an extensive range of hills, terminated by several lofty peaks or summits of perpendicular rock, one of which, called Hailstone, or Turner's Hill, is an object of considerable attraction, as it commands extensive views of the surrounding country. The base of the largest of these hills is a singular species of quartzose stone, of the basaltic kind, but devoid of grit, and not at all calcarous. It is commonly called Rowley Rag-stone.[From History, Gazetteer and Directory of Staffordshire, William White, Sheffield, 1851]
The parish of Rowley Regis forms part of the great barony of Dudley, and is in the Diocese of Worcester. It contains 3670 acres of land, and now has about 14,000 inhabitants. Lord Ward is lord of the manor of Rowley Regis, and owner of a great part of the parish, but the Duke of Sutherland is lord of the manor of Rowley Somery, and has a large estate here, both in land and mines.
The parish comprises the large but indifferently built village of Rowley, seated on the declivity of a lofty hill, two and a half miles SE of Dudley, and about 20 hamlets, which are occupied chiefly by nailers, chainmakers, and the miners, forgemen, etc, employed in the extensive coal and iron works here. The New British Iron Company have a large iron and steel works at Corngreaves. Blackheath, and some other parts of the parish, have greatly increased their population and buildings during the last few years, and a new blast furnace has lately been erected at Old Hill.
Hamlets in the parish are Blackheath, Corngreaves, Cradley Heath, Gosty Hill, Haden Cross, Haden Hill, Hayseech, Knoll, Lye Cross, Newtown, Oakum, Old Hill, Portway, Reddal Hill, Slack Hillock, Tipety Green, Tividale, Turner's Hill, Windmill End and Whiteheath Gate "
'Oldbury & Rowley Regis in Old Photographs'
by John Maddison
Published 1991, by Alan Sutton, Stroud, Gloucestershire.
The population of Rowley Regis parish was as follows:
1801 -- 5027
1811 -- 4974
1821 -- 6062
1831 -- 7438
1841 -- 11111
1851 -- 14249
1861 -- 19785
1871 -- 23534
1881 -- 27385
1891 -- 30791
1901 -- 43670
A surname index only of the 1851 census for Rowley Regis is included in the 1851 Staffordshire Census Surname Index Vol 16, Dudley District, Part 1 (Rowley Regis & Tipton) published by the Birmingham and Midland SGH.
A full transcript and surname index of the 1851 census for Cradley and some other parts of Rowley Regis parish is included in the 1851 Worcestershire Census Vol 1, Halesowen index published by the Birmingham and Midland SGH.
"The Parish Church, St Giles, stands at the head of Rowley village, and was an ancient, deformed and dilapidated structure, but in 1840 it was taken down, and the present neat and spacious fabric erected on its site.
The perpetual curacy was annexed to Clent vicarage till 1842, when it was made a separate benefice.The Lord Chancellor is the patron and the Rev. W Crump, incumbent.
In 1844, this large and now populous parish was divided ecclesiastically into two district parishes. The lower part of the parish, lying west of Dudley and Netherton Canal, now forms the district parish of Reddal Hill, for which a neat and commodious church, St Luke, was erected in 1847, in the early English style of architecture.
The perpetual curacy is in the patronage of the Crown and Bishop of Worcester alternately, and incumbency of the Rev JJ Clarke, BA.
There are, in various parts of the parish, about a dozen chapels belonging to Baptists, and the Old and New Connexion, and Primitive Methodists, mostly erected in the last ten years. At Gosty Hill is a small chapel, built in 1840, and attended by persons who have lately separated from the church."
[From History, Gazetteer and Directory of Staffordshire, William White, Sheffield, 1851]
The church built in 1840 was found to be unsafe in 1900 and condemned. A third church was erected on the site in 1904 but on 18th June, 1913 was burned down in an arson attack. One theory blamed rioting suffragettes for the fire but another blamed striking steelworkers from Coombs Wood, angered by lack of support by the vicar for their cause. The present church, in the perpendicular style, with a tower and eight bells, was erected in 1923.
Postcard of St Giles Church c1925.
Church of England Registers
The registers of the parish church of St Giles commence in 1539. The original registers for the period 1539-1974 (Bapts), 1539-1980 (Mar) & 1539-1983 (Bur), and Banns for the period 1770-1781 are deposited at Sandwell Community History & Archives Service.
Note that the registers up to 1912 are damaged by fire.
Bishops Transcripts, 1606-1874 are deposited at Worcestershire Record Office.
A transcript of the St Giles register for the period 1539-1684 (Part 1), 1685-1772 (Part II) & 1772-1812 (Part III) was published by the Staffordshire Parish Registers Society in 1912, 1913 & 1915. All three parts have been reprinted by the Birmingham & Midland SGH.
The parish registers of St Michael, Tividale for the period 1874-1972 (Bapts) & 1879-1971 (Mar) are deposited at Sandwell Community History & Archives Service.
The parish registers of St Paul, Blackheath for the period 1869-1974 (Bapts & Mar) & 1869-1977 (Bur) are deposited at Sandwell Community History & Archives Service.
Nonconformist Church Registers
The following original registers are deposited at Sandwell Community History & Archives Service:
Cocksheds Primitive Methodist, Blackheath, 1885-1955 (Bapts)
Gorsty Hill Primitive Methodist, Old Hill, 1927-1957 (Bapts)
Old Hill Primitive Methodist, 1848-1933 (Bapts)
Old Hill Wesleyan Methodist, 1868-1924 (Bapts)
Reddal Hill Primitive Methodist, Old Hill, 1871-1984 (Bapts), 1910-1983 (Mar)
Rowley Regis Wesleyan Methodist, 1863-1969 (Bapts)
The Rowley Regis Online site includes much useful information and photographs of the town.
A transcription of the section on Rowley Regis from A Topographical History of Staffordshire by William Pitt (1817)
A map showing the pre-1850 boundaries of Rowley Regis Parish
Rowley Regis parish became part of Dudley Union following the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834.
[Last updated: 22nd September 2014, Mike Harbach. ©1998 - 2014]