Wombourne in 1817


Description from A Topographical History of Staffordshire by William Pitt (1817)


Wombourne is an ancient village, in a low and recluse situation, four miles from Wolverhampton: Dr. Wilkes derives its etymology from Won and Bourne, and thinks that a victory was obtained over the Danes on the adjacent common, from the lows still remaining there. The manor was purchased by the Wrottesley family in the reign of Charles the First, and has lineally descended to its present representative.

The Church is a vicarage, dedicated to St. Benedict: the presentation has lain dormant since the death of the last vicar, the Rev. Joseph Honeybourn, in 1760. It is an ancient structure, with a spire, surmounted by the figure of a large dragon: the interior was repaired and modernized, and an organ added, by Sir Samuel Hellier, Knt.

The land of Wombourne is generally a light sandy or gravelly loam, remarkable for the early produce of vegetables and corn; and extensive garden and nursery-grounds have long been cultivated here. The Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal passes through Wombourne parallel to the Smestall water, on which has been erected an iron-work called the Heath-forge, with a genteel mansion.

The Woodhouses were long settled in this parish: they took their name from an estate so called, which afterwards passed to the Helliers, one of whom, Sir Samuel Hellier, greatly improved the estate and mansion ; but dying, in 1792, they devolved upon the Rev. Thomas Shaw Hellier, whose son, James Shaw Hellier, Esq. is the present occupier and owner. The house is situated in a very retired and picturesque valley.

Overton or Orton, a hamlet in Wombourne parish, contains two or three good farm-houses, and other tenements.