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Wednesfield

"Wednesfield is a township in the South Division of Offlow Hundred, two miles NE of Wolverhampton, and on the Wyrley & Essington Canal. It is an ancient chapelry and a member of the parish and parliamentary borough of Wolverhampton, but has lately been made a district parish. It contains about 3700 acres of land, and about 4000 souls, residing in the large village of Wednesfield, and the neighbouring hamlets of Wednesfield Heath, March-end, Nechell, Wood-end, and Wood Hayes. Immense quantities of locks, keys, and traps of every description are manufactured here for the Birmingham and Wolverhampton merchants.
In Domesday Book it is called Wodnesfelde, and is mentioned among the lands given to Wulfruna's monastery. It is memorable as the scene of a decisive victory which Edward the Elder obtained over the Danes in 910.
The Duke of Cleveland is lord of the manor, held as a parcel of the deanery of Wolverhampton, but the land mostly belongs to the Duke of Sutherland, JM Paget, F Gough, T Perry, G Phillips, E Tunnicliff, JE Bealey, and W & H Rogers, Esqrs, and some smaller owners."
[From History, Gazetteer and Directory of Staffordshire, William White, Sheffield, 1851]

Wednesfield formed a chapelry to Wolverhampton parish.

Bibliography

'Wednesfield and Heath Town in Old Photographs'
by Elizabeth Rees & Mary Mills
Published 1992, by Alan Sutton, Stroud, Gloucestershire.

'Bilston, Tettenhall & Wednesfield (Images of England Series)'
by Mary Mills & Tracey Williams
Published 1998, by Tempus, Stroud, Gloucestershire.

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Census

The population of Wednesfield township was as follows:
1801 -- 1088
1811 -- 1248
1821 -- 1468
1831 -- 1879
1841 -- 3168
1851 -- 4858
1861 -- 8553
1871 -- 8998
1881 -- 10801
1891 -- 14538
1901 -- 17855

A surname index only of the 1851 census for Wednesfield is included in the 1851 Staffordshire Census Surname Index Vol 13, Wolverhampton Part 3 (Townships of Wednesfield / Willenhall / Bilston) published by the Birmingham and Midland SGH.

A surname index only of the 1891 census for Wednesfield is included in the 1891 Census Surname & Folio Index for Dudley, Sedgley & Wolverhampton & District published by the Birmingham & Midland SGH.

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Church History

"Wednesfield Church, St Thomas, is a neat structure, erected about 1760. The vicarage is in the patronage of the Bishop and certain trustees, and incumbency of the Rev William Stephens.
A new church, to be dedicated to Holy Trinity, is now building in a populous part of the township, distant about one mile from St Thomas.
The Wesleyan have a small chapel in the village, built in 1827, and one on the Heath, built in 1842. The Primitive Methodists also have a small chapel on the Heath."

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

St Thomas church was completely burnt down on 18th January, 1902, leaving only the walls of the nave and tower. It was rebuilt, in a similar style but with a larger chancel. The building is of brick, in the Classic style, consisting of apsidal chancel, nave, west porch, organ chamber, vestries, and a western tower.

A view of St Thomas Church (1).
A view of St Thomas Church (2).
A view of St Thomas Church (3).

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Church Records

Church of England Registers
The register of St Thomas commences in 1751. The original registers for the period 1751-1974 (Bapts), 1849-1986 (Mar) & 1751-1967 (Bur) are deposited at Staffordshire Record Office.
Marriages before 1849 usually took place in the mother church of Wolverhampton St Peter. Some Wednesfield baptisms are also noted in the Wolverhampton registers in 1751-53 and 1757-69.
Bishops Transcripts, 1799-1835 are deposited at Lichfield Record Office.
A transcript of the Wednesfield registers for the period 1751-1837 (Bapts & Bur) was published jointly by the Staffordshire Parish Register Society and the Birmingham & Midland SGH in 1980.

Wolverhampton Archives have placed on line indexes of the Wednesfield St Thomas registers covering 1751-1903.
Note: They are included in the Wolverhampton & District Parish Registers Index.

Nonconformist Church Registers
The original registers are deposited at the Wolverhampton Archives and Local Studies as indicated below:
Hickman Street, Wednesfield, Primitive Methodist, Baptisms 1846-1964
Wednesfield Trinity Methodist, Baptisms 1853-1961
Wood End Methodist, Baptisms 1860-1961

Wolverhampton Archives Methodist Church Index includes the following Wednesfield chapels:
Wednesfield Hickman Street Primitive Methodist 1846-1964
Wood End Primitive Methodist 1860-1930
Trinity Methodist, Wednesfield High Street 1853-1949

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Directories

'Directory of Wolverhampton, also Bilston, Willenhall & Wednesfield' was published by Joseph Smart, High Street, Wolverhampton, in 1827. Smart was the proprietor and publisher of the Wolverhampton Chronicle.

'The Trades Directory of Wolverhampton, Wednesfield, Bilston, Willenhall, Sedgley, Tipton, Wednesbury, Darlaston & Moxley' was published by Jones & Co, London, in 1862.

'Hulley's Directory of the Parliamentary Borough of Wolverhampton, which includes Bilston, Sedgley, Wednesfield & Willenhall' was published by J Hulley, Birmingham, in 1874.

'Directory of Wolverhampton and Six Miles Round' was published by G Stevens, London, in 1879.

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Poorhouses, Poor Law etc

Wednesfield became part of Wolverhampton Union following the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834.

Cottage Homes were opened in Wednesfield on 4th November, 1890 by the Wolverhampton Board of Guardians for 240 children.
Wolverhampton Archives & Local Studies holds the Cottage Homes School log books for 1897-1930, and Committee Minute books for 1890-1930.

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[Last updated: 22nd April 2011, Mike Harbach.  © 1999 - 2011]