Kingswinford Manor and Parish

This page gives links to the second edition of the e book “Kingswinford Manor and Parish – New chapters from the history of Kingswinford, Staffordshire”, which considers aspects the history of Kingswinford Manor and Parish from the time of the Romans through to the end of the 19th century.  The subtitle is taken from the work of David Guttery, whose work in the 1940s and 1950s has remained an inspiration for many years. Since the January 2020 edition it has been expanded to include some of the extra material included as blog posts elsewhere on this site, and is now made freely available in four parts as downloadable pdf files.  For the one-part first edition, the size of the file meant it could not be downloaded directly from this site, and potential readers had to specifically request a copy from me. Dividing it in four parts however allows direct download, which is easier for all concerned, although it does mean I will miss out on the fascinating e mail conversations with some of those who requested the first edition. I would still be delighted to hear from readers, so please do contact me if you have a comment or a question at c.j.baker@bham.ac.uk . The four parts are briefly described in the synopses below and can be accessed at the following links.

Part 1 deals with the development of the parish of Kingswinford up to and including the Enclosure at the end of the eighteenth century. After Chapter 1 sets the scene, Chapter 2 looks at the development of the area from Roman times to Domesday using a variety of sources, mainly based on landscape considerations. Chapter 3 then considers the relationship between the Manor and Pensnett Chase, and Chapter 4 moves on to describe the Enclosure process in the late eighteenth century that saw the final demise of the Chase.  Chapter 5 then looks at the major families in the area and in particular shows the inter-relationships between them. Finally, Chapter 6 outlines what is known of the Rectors and the Curates of the parish from the Reformation onwards. 

Part 2 is an extended study of the Fowler Maps of the parish that were produced in 1822 and 1840 and give a great deal of information about the nature of the parish at that time. After a brief introduction to the maps in Chapter 1, the geography of the parish as revealed by the maps is described in Chapter 2, and the spread of industry across the parish in Chapter 3. Chapter 4 then considers what the maps can tell us about the nature of Kingswinford society at the time. The proprietors and occupiers of the land are then set out in Chapters 5 and 6. Chapter 7 then describes the various townships of the parish in some detail, before some closing comments are made in Chapter 8.

Part 3 looks in detail at just one part of the parish from 1840 to 1900 – the industrial village of Pensnett. After a brief introduction to the village in Chapter 1, Chapter 2 describes the geography and geology of the area and Chapter 3 describes the various road and rail networks of the period. Chapters 4 to 6 then look at the various ndustries in the area, the nature of Pensnett society and at education and religion. Finally, Chapter 7 presents a tour around the village in 1881, drawing on maps, directories and newspaper reports of that year.

Part 4 is of a somewhat different nature and considers the careers of two individuals who spent their formative years in Pensnett but who then moved elsewhere, and also considers the life of a particular church community. The first individual is a clergyman – Charles Atherton – who was at the centre of a major ecclesiastical scandal in Pensnett in 1870, and who later became a Canon of Exeter Cathedral. The second individual is a policeman – Samuel Hicklin – who in the early 1880s was the Pensnett constable, but later rose to become a Chief Superintendent in the Staffordshire Constabulary. The community is the congregation of Shut End Primitive Methodist Church, a church wholly comprised of miners and other manual workers and their families, many of whom migrated from elsewhere in the country. As such the discussion aims to give something of a voice to a section of the populace who rarely figure in normal histories, but on whom the prosperity of the country was ultimately based.

In addition, five EXCEL Files are available for downloading that may be of use in family history studies.

  • Baker (2020a). Transcript of details of the Ashwood Hay Enclosure Act of 1776 giving details of owners, plot areas etc.
  • Baker (2020b). Transcript of details of the Pensnett Chase Enclosure Act of 1784 giving similar details.
  • Baker (2020c). Transcript of the Book of Reference of the 1822 Fowler map, giving details of owners, occupiers, plot names and areas etc.
  • Baker (2020d). Transcript of the Book of Reference of the 1840 Fowler map, giving similar details.
  • Baker (2020e). Transcript of the Baptismal Register of Shut End Primitive Methodist Church.

The first four of these have benefited hugely from the work of the anonymous checkers at Dudley Archives. Their help is much appreciated.