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Walsall

"Walsall, an ancient borough, and well built and thriving market town, celebrated for the manufacture of saddlers' ironmongery, and other hardwares, is pleasantly seated on the crown and declivities of a bold eminence, surrounded by extensive mines of coal, iron and limestone, and distant eight miles N by W of Birmingham, six miles E of Wolverhampton and nine miles SW of Lichfield. On the north side of the town is a commodious station on the South Staffordshire Railway, and about two miles to the south is the small station of Bescot Junction, where that line is crossed by the London & North Western Railway. The Birmingham Canal passes the western side of the town to the Wyrley & Essington Canal, which has several branches extending into the parish.
The parish of Walsall is in two townships, called the Borough and Foreign, which had a population of 26,816 in 1851, of whom 8,760 were in the Borough and 18,056 in the Foreign Township. More than two-thirds of the latter are in the suburbs of Walsall, and the rest in the large village of Bloxwich, and the hamlets of Birch Hills, Walsall Wood, Shelford, Goscote, Caldmore, etc, extending four miles north and one and a half miles south of the town. The Borough township contains only about 100 acres, but the 'Foreign of Walsall' extends over more than 8,000 acres, and includes several large collieries and ironworks.
Ryecroft, a northern suburb of the town is in Rushall parish.

There is further information for Walsall from White's 1851 Directory.

Villages in the Foreign of Walsall
Bloxwich formed a chapelry to Walsall parish and details of the village can be found on the Bloxwich page.
Bescot, the most southerly hamlet of the Foreign of Walsall, is about two miles S by W of Walsall, and is mentioned in the Domesday Book as the property of the king, and it afterwards passed to the Hillary, Montford, and other families. The site of the ancient mansion, called the Moat Garden, is still encompassed by a moat, over which is a bridge built by one of the Slaney family.
Birch-hills, Doveridge, Caldmore, Fullbrooke, New-mills, Park-brook, Park-hill, Pleck, Whitehall, Woodmill and Wood end, are neighbouring hamlets and suburbs near Walsall. At Wood end are several neat villas, one of which, Gorway House, is occupied by Peter Potter, Esq, land agent to the Earl of Bradford. At Caldmore is an old Elizabethan house, formerly a seat of the Hillary family. At Birch-hills are large collieries and iron works.
Blaken Heath, half a mile E; Little Bloxwich, half a mile NE; Broadstone, one mile S; Coal-pool, one and a half miles E; Goscote, one mile E; Harden, one mile E by S; Sots-hole, & Wallington Heath, three quarters of a mile N by W of Bloxwich, are all hamlets in this township, as also are Hayhead, two and a half miles E of Walsall, and Shelfield and Walsall Wood, three and a half miles NE of Walsall. The two latter are separated from the rest of the parish by the intervention of Rushall, and now form the ecclesiastical district of Walsall Wood."

[From History, Gazetteer and Directory of Staffordshire, William White, Sheffield, 1851]

Parishes

INFORMATION RELATED TO ALL OF WALSALL

Bibliography

'History of the Borough and Foreign of Walsall'
by EL Glew
Published 1856, Walsall.

'A History of Walsall & its Neighbourhood'
by Frederic W Wilmore
Published 1887, Walsall.
Republished 1992, by SR Publishers, Wakefield.

'The Corporation of the Borough and Foreign of Walsall'
by Ernest James Homeshaw
Published 1960, by Walsall Council, Walsall.

'A History of Walsall'
by CRJ Currie, MW Greenslade & DA Johnson
Published 1988, by Staffordshire Libraries, Arts & Archives, Stafford.

'Guide to Walsall'
by W Henry Robinson
Published 1889, by W Henry Robinson, Walsall.

'Borough of Walsall. Calendar of Deeds & Documents belonging to the Corporation..'
by Richard Sims
Published 1882, by T Kirby, Walsall.

'The Charter of the Corporation of Walsall'
Published 1774.
Facsimile published 1925, by T Kirby & Sons, Walsall.

' Walsall: Past & Present'
by Howard D Clark
Published 1905, by T Kirby & Sons, Walsall.

'Walsall's Stuart Constables'
by Josiah Turner
Published 1936, by Walsall Historical Association, Walsall.

'The Story of Walsall Turnpike Roads & Tollgates'
by William Frederick Blay
Published 1932, by J & W Griffin, Walsall.

'Local Lives'
Published 1992, by Walsall Local History Centre, Walsall.

'I Remember Pheasey'
by Joyce Hammond
Published 1994, by Walsall Local History Centre, Walsall.

'Byegone Days & Memories from Walsall'
Published 1991, by Stylus, Bolton.

'We Lived There. Memories of Caldmore & Palfrey'
by Joyce Hammond & Chris Latimer
Published 1990, by Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council, Walsall.

'Memories of Walsall'
by Alton Douglas
Published 1989, by Birmingham Post & Mail, Birmingham.

'Walsall as it Was'
by John Benson & Trevor Raybould
Published 1978, by Hendon Publishing Co, Nelson.

'Walsall, Aldridge, Bloxwich & District in Old Picture Postcards'
by Eric Woolley
Published 1989, by SB Publications, Loggerheads.

'Walsall in Old Photographs'
by Marilyn Lewis & Douglas Gilbert
Published 1988, by Alan Sutton, Stroud, Gloucester.

'The Book of Walsall'
by Marilyn Lewis & David Woods
Published 1987, by Barracuda, Buckingham.

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Cemeteries

Queen Street, Walsall, cemetery register, is held at the cemetery. A microform copy (1857-1969) is held at Walsall Local History Centre.
Ryecroft, Walsall, cemetery register, is held at the cemetery. A microform copy (1894-1982) is held at Walsall Local History Centre.
A transcript of the Monumental Inscriptions for St Mary, The Mount, Roman Catholic Church has been published by the Birmingham & Midland SGH.
A transcript of the Monumental Inscriptions for Queen Street Cemetery, Walsall, has been published by the Birmingham & Midland SGH.
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Census

The population of Walsall parish, Borough (B), & Foreign (F), including Bloxwich chapelry was as follows:
1801 -- 5177 (B), 5222 (F)
1811 -- 5541 (B), 5648 (F)
1821 -- 5504 (B), 6410 (F)
1831 -- 6401 (B), 8665 (F)
1841 -- 7395 (B), 13457 (F)
1851 -- 8761 (B), 16919 (F)
1861 -- 8166 (B), 29594 (F)
1871 -- 8279 (B), 40557 (F)
1881 -- 7652 (B), 50487 (F)

A full transcript and surname index of the 1851 census for Walsall Borough & Foreign is included in the 1851 Staffordshire Census Vol 14, Walsall Part 2 index published by the Birmingham and Midland SGH.

Walsall has some rare surviving pre-1841 census returns. These only list the heads of households and numbers of males and females in the household, although a few entries record the full family.
The surviving returns, which are deposited at Walsall Local History Centre are as follows:
1801, Borough and Foreign (including Bloxwich).
1811, Borough only.
1821, Borough only.
1831, Borough only.

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Church History

Church of England History
For Anglican church history see individual Parishes

Nonconformist Church History
"The Roman Catholic Church, pleasantly situated at St Mary's Mount, on the NE side of the town, was erected in 1833, and is finely stuccoed in imitation of stone, in the Doric order of architecture.
In the town are six dissenting chapels and there are several others in the hamlets of the Foreign of Walsall. The Particular Baptist Chapel, in Lower Hall Lane, is a small building, erected in 1833. The Unitarian Chapel is a small neat stuccoed building, in Stafford Street, erected in 1827, in lieu of the old Presbyterian Meeting House, in Bank Court, which was rebuilt by the county in 1715, after being destroyed by a mob, during the religious feud when George I ascended the throne. The Independent Chapel, in Bridge Street, was built in 1790, in lieu of an old chapel which stood in Dudley Street. The Wesleyan Chapel, in Ablewell Street, was erected in 1829, in lieu of the old chapel in Paradise Court, built in 1801. The Wesleyans have another neat chapel in Stafford Street, built in their centenary year. The Primitive Methodists have a small chapel at Townend Bank and another at Birch-hills."

[From History, Gazetteer and Directory of Staffordshire, William White, Sheffield, 1851]

A view of Hatherton Road United Reformed Church (formerly Presbyterian).

Postcard of Wednesbury Road Congregational Church c1908 .

Postcard of St Mary RC Church c1910 .

Postcard of St Mary RC Church (Interior) c1910 .

Walsall Central Hall Methodist Church website includes a history of the Methodist church in Walsall and many old photographs.

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Church Records

Church of England Registers
For Anglican church records see individual Parishes

Nonconformist Church Registers
The original registers are deposited at the Walsall Local History Centre (WLHC) or the Public Record Office (PRO) as indicated below:
Ablewell Street, (formerly Paradise Court), Walsall, Wesleyan Methodist, Baptisms 1811-1837 (PRO); Baptisms 1838-1964 (WLHC)
Birchills Primitive Methodist, Marriages 1928-43 (WLHC)
Coalpool Wesleyan Methodist, Baptisms 1852-1973 & Marriages 1962-74 (WLHC)
Corporation Street, Walsall, Wesleyan Methodist, Baptisms 1889-1976 (WLHC)
Dale Street, Walsall, Wesleyan Methodist, Baptisms 1899-1974 & Marriages 1925-73 (WLHC)
Bloxwich Road, Leamore, Wesleyan Mathodist, Baptisms 1863-1986 & Marriages 1900-1985 (WLHC)
Mellish Road, Walsall, Wesleyan Methodist, Baptisms 1883-1950 (WLHC)
Queen Street, Walsall, Wesleyan Methodist, Baptisms 1870-1902 (WLHC)
North Street (Stafford Street), Ryecroft, Primitive Methodist, Baptisms 1845-1954 & Marriages 1914-1929 (WLHC)
Stafford Street, Walsall, Wesleyan Methodist, Baptisms 1840-1940 & Marriages 1900-1939 (WLHC)
Caledon Street, Walsall, Primitive Methodist, Baptisms 1852-1962 & Marriages 1914-1963 (WLHC)
Wednesbury Road, Bescot, (formerly Caledon Street) Wesleyan Methodist, Baptisms 1860-1950 & Marriages 1908-1965 (WLHC)
Shelfield Wesleyan Methodist, Baptisms 1870-1932 & Marriages 1922-1957 (WLHC)
Shelfield Centenary Wesleyan Methodist, Baptisms 1914-1985 & Marriages 1976-1986 (WLHC)
Hatherton Road, Walsall, Presbyterian, Marriages 1928-1960 (WLHC)
Bridge Street, Walsall, Independent / Congregational, Baptisms 1786-1837 (PRO), Baptisms 1759-1835 & 1921-1944 (WLHC)
Stafford Street, Walsall, Unitarian, Baptisms 1767-1837 (PRO)

A transcript of the Bridge Street Independent Chapel registers, 1759-1836 including Baptisms 1759-1779 has been published by the Birmingham & Midland SGH

A transcript of the Stafford Street Unitarian Chapel registers, 1778-1837 (Bapts), the Bridge Street Independent Chapel registers, 1786-1837 (Bapts), and the Ablewell Street Wesleyan Methodist Chapel registers 1811-1837 (Bapts) has been published in one volume by the Birmingham & Midland SGH

The original registers of Walsall, St Mary, Roman Catholic church for the period 1830-1902 (Bapts), 1830-1928 (Mar), & 1826-1858 (Bur) are deposited at Birmingham Diocesan Archives.

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Directories

'The History & Directory of Walsall' was produced by Thomas Pearce in 1813, a local churchwarden, constable and vestry clerk. Having taken two censuses of the town, he decided that with more than 11,000 inhabitants, publication of a directory would be useful.

'The Walsall Trades Directory and Year Book' was published by JW Griffin Ltd, Walsall, in 1910.

'The Walsall Annual Red Book and Directory' was published by T Kirby & Sons Ltd, Walsall, in 1880, 1911-1917, 1932, 1933 and 1935-1938.

'The Walsall Blue Book and Directory' was published by EF Cope & Co, Walsall, in 1912-1916 and 1920-1939.

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Military Records

'Walsall Servicemen 1914-1918, A Guide to Research' by Sue Satterthwaite. Published 1998, Walsall Local History Centre.
A Guide to researching First World War servicemen from the area of the present day Borough of Walsall which includes a guide to local and national sources, case studies and an index of local servicemen whose photograph appeared in the Walsall Observer and South Staffordshire Chronicle.

'Walsall People in the Second World War' by Sue Satterthwaite. Published 1995, Walsall Local History Centre.
A Guide to researching Second World War servicemen from the area of the present day Borough of Walsall which includes an index of 1300 local servicemen whose photograph appeared in the Walsall Observer and South Staffordshire Chronicle.

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Names, Geographical

'Street Names of Walsall'
by WF Blay
Published 1992, by Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council.

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Names, Personal

An Index of 17th Century Inhabitants of Walsall compiled from primary and secondary sources has been published by the Birmingham & Midland SGH.

An Index of Inhabitants of Walsall receiving Moseley's Penny Dole, 1799-1823 has been published by the Birmingham & Midland SGH.
This custom involved giving one penny to every inhabitant of Walsall & Rushall on Christmas Eve each year. 18 lists survive, listing householders and the sum each received, indicating the size of the family.

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Newspapers

Walsall Local History Centre holds copies of the following local newspapers covering Walsall:

Walsall Advertiser & Newspaper, 1862-1915
Walsall Free Press & General Advertiser, 1856-1881
Walsall Free Press & South Staffordshire Advertiser, 1882-1903
Walsall Observer, 1868-date
Walsall Spectator, 1874-1875

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Occupations

"Among the staple manufactures of Walsall, are buckles, chains, curbs, bits, spurs, stirrups, plated and other mountings, bridles, saddles, harness, collars, etc, and every description of saddlers' and coachmakers' ironmongery, for which Walsall stands unrivalled, both in the variety and excellence of its productions. Locks, keys, snuffers, brushes, spectacles, and a variety of other articles, are also manufactured here, and in the town are a number of iron and brass foundries, and in the parish several extensive coal, iron, and lime works, the latter of which are on the north-east side of the town, adjoining those of Rushall.
The limestone is got at the depth of 90 yards, and is well suited for either husbandry or the smelting of iron ore, as well as for building purposes. The main bed is eleven yards thick, and above it are several strata of ironstone, and it is said that a small portion of lead ore has been found among the limestone.
The grey limestone, raised in immense quantities from the Hayhead Mines, about two miles east of Walsall, is surpassed by none in the kingdom for its extraordinary adhesive qualities, and its strength and durability. Hence it is in great demand for the building of docks, locks, bridges, etc, and for stuccoing buildings, to which latter use it has been extensively applied in Walsall, where many large houses now present beautiful fronts in the Grecian, Doric, Corinthian, and other styles of architecture, wrought in this durable cement, which has the appearance of stone.
The coal mines near Bloxwich, Birch-hills, etc, are similar to those in the surrounding parishes and townships. There are also several extensive iron works in the parish. Those at Birch-hills, belonging to George Jones, Esq, employ about 400 men, and yield about 20,000 tons of metal per annum.
The trade and commerce of the town are greatly facilitated by the South Staffordshire Railway, and the town has for many years derived great benefit from an extension of the Old Birmingham Canal, which passes the western side of the town, and joins the Wyrley & Essington Canal, which has several branches intersecting a large portion of the parish, opening a communication with all the canals and navigable rivers of this and the neighbouring counties.
The merchants and factors of Walsall are numerous and wealthy, and are not only dealers in saddlers' ironmongery, but also in saddles, bridles, harness, and nearly all sorts of hardware, which are manufactured in the neighbouring towns and villages.
Messrs Eyland and Sons, opticians, manufacture here several thousand pairs of spectacles weekly. Great quantities of saddle and harness leather are curried here, and the town has many well stocked retail shops and several good inns."
[From History, Gazetteer and Directory of Staffordshire, William White, Sheffield, 1851]

'From Acorn to Oak. Being the History of the Walsall & District Co-operative Society Ltd, 1886-1936'
by Fred Hall
Published 1936, by Birmingham Printers, Birmingham.

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Poorhouses, Poor Law etc

Walsall parish became part of Walsall Union following the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834.
Walsall Union covered an area of 31 square miles, and comprised eight townships, Aldridge, Great Barr, Bentley, Darlaston, Pelsall, Rushall, Walsall Borough, and Walsall Foreign. It had a total population of 43,038 in 1851.
The Union Workhouse stood in Walsall Borough township, about a quarter of a mile from the town centre. Erected in 1838 and enlarged in 1842, it accomodated 450 paupers.
Most of the records have not been traced but Walsall Local History Centre holds some records including the Register of Lunatics, 1877-1928 and Minutes, 1836-39 & 1928-30. The Public Record Office holds correspondence, 1834-1900 and Staff Registers, 1837-1921.

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Schools

'Queen Mary's Grammar School 1554-1954'
by DPJ Fink.
Published 1954, by Queen Mary's Club, Walsall.

'A Century of Achievement. The History of Queen Mary's High School for Girls, Walsall'
by Marina Oliver
Published 1997, by Tudor House, Prines Risborough.

'A History of Walsall Technical College & its Early Antecedents'
by Elisabeth Chattell
Published 1986, by Walsall Technical College, Walsall.

Walsall Local History Centre holds records of many local schools, most of which include log books.

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Voting Registers

Electoral registers for the parliamentary constituency of which Walsall formed part are shown below together with dates and locations of the registers which are held at Staffordshire Record Office (SRO) or Walsall Local History Centre (WLHC)

South Staffs 1844, 1845-1867 (SRO)
East Staffs 1868-1885 (SRO)
Handsworth Division 1886-1889, 1892-1908 (SRO)
Walsall 1832-1856, 1864-1995 (WLHC)
Walsall North & Walsall South 1956- date (WLHC)

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