Walsall in 1872


John Marius Wilson, Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales - 1870-2

WALSALL, a town, two townships, a parish, a sub-district, and a district, in Stafford. The town stands on the South Staffordshire railway, and on the Birmingham and Wyrley canals, 8 miles NNW of Birmingham; was a place of some note in the Saxon times; was given, by William the Conqueror, to R. Fitz-Asculf; passed to Warwick the king-maker, and to the Protector Dudley; was visited by Queen Elizabeth, and by Queen Henrietta Maria; became a municipal borough in the time of Henry IV., and a parliamentary borough in 1832; is governed by a mayor, 6 aldermen, and 18 councillors, and sends one member to parliament; is a seat of sessions and county-courts, and a polling place; publishes three weekly newspapers;

It carries on many departments of iron manufacture, tanning, currying, brush-making, saddlery, harness-making, and an extensive coal trade; commands great traffic from neighbouring mines of coal and iron-stone, and neighbouring sources of limestone and brick-clay; was formerly a resort of invalids to a chalybeate spring, about a mile distant; comprises an old portion on a limestone eminence, and modern portions on adjoining marshlands; has been much improved and enlarged, since about 1835, by renovation of old streets, formation of new streets, and erection of numerous handsome dwellings and public buildings; and has a head post-office, an elegant railway station with telegraph, two banking offices, several chief inns, a town hall, assembly-rooms, a police station and borough jail, four churches, seventeen dissenting chapels, two Roman Catholic chapels, a public cemetery, a subscription library and newsrooms, a public free library, an endowed grammar-school with £778 a year, a blue-coat school, with £29, five national schools, a workhouse, three suites of alms houses, charities £466, markets on Tuesdays and Saturdays, three annual fairs, and a race-stand and annual races.

The town hall was built in 1867, at a cost of less than £5,500; and is in the Grecian style, with Doric and Ionic decorations. St. Matthew's church was mainly rebuilt in 1821, at a cost of more than £22,000; retains the chancel and the tower and spire of a previous church; and is in the later English style, and cruciform. St-Paul's church was built in 1826, and is in the Grecian style. The grammar-school was rebuilt in 1850; gives a classical education; and had Lord Somers and Bishop Hough for pupils. The borough limits are the same municipally as parliamentarily; and include the greater part of W. parish. Electors in 1833, 597; in 1863, 1,250. Pop. in 1851, 25,680; in 1861, 37,760. Houses, 7,445.

The two townships are Walsall-Borough and Walsall-Foreign; and the latter includes the hamlets of Walsall-Wood, Shelfield, and Bloxwich. Acres of the two, 8,182. Real property of Walsall-Borough, £26,560; of which £360 are in gasworks. Pop. in 1851, 8,761; in 1861, 8,166. Houses, 1,576. Real property of Walsall-Foreign, £132,008; of which £8,408 are in mines, £161 in quarries, £7,287 in iron-works, and £68,888 in railways. Pop. in 1851, 18,061; in 1861, 31,524. Houses, 6,242. The parish consists of the two townships; and is ecclesiastically cut into the sections of Walsall-St. Matthew, Walsall-St. Peter, Walsall-Pleck, Walsall-Wood, and Bloxwich.

The living of St. Matthew is a vicarage, and the other livings are perpetual curacies, in the diocese of Lichfield. Value of St. Matthew, £500; of St. Peter, £300; of Walsall-Pleck, £112; of Walsall-Wood, £108. Patron of St. Matthew, the Earl of Bradford; of the others, the Vicar of Walsall. Bloxwich is separately noticed. The sub-district excludes Walsall-Wood, Shelfield, and Bloxwich. Pop. in 1851, 21,203; in 1861, 30,415. Houses, 6,021. The district comprehends also Bloxwich, Aldridge, and Darlaston sub-districts; and comprises 21,603 acres. Poor rates, in 1863, £15,985. Pop. in 1851, 43,044; in 1861, 59,908. Houses, 11,816. Marriages in 1863, 458; births, 2,762, of which 146 were illegitimate; deaths, 1,504, of which 867 were at ages under 5 years, and 18 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 3,923; births, 23,190; deaths, 13,330.

The places of worship, in 1851, were 12 of the Church of England, with 8,485 sittings; 3 of Independents, with 1,320 sittings; 4 of Baptists, with 1,275 sittings; 13 of Wesleyans, with 3,640 sittings; 6 of Primitive Methodists, with 2,022 sittings; and 2 of Roman Catholics, with 910 sittings The schools were 27 public day-schools, with 2,730 scholars; 69 private day-schools, with 1,920 scholars; 37 Sunday schools, with 5,495 scholars; and 1 evening school for adults, with 26 scholars.

WINDMILL, a hamlet in Walsall parish, Stafford; near Walsall. Pop., 700. 

[Description(s) from The Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72) - Transcribed by Mike Harbach ©2020]