Midlands history – blog posts

St Chad, Bishop of Lichfield

The first Mercian Lands This page gives my very speculative thoughts on the origin of the kingdom of Mercia discussion of the origin of the Kingdom of Mercia in the centuries after the end of Roman rule.

Climate and plague – some thoughts on the effect of climate and plague on the development of the English kingdoms in late antiquity. (June 30th 2020)

More on the Tribal Hidage – a brief consideration of some issues associated with this enigmatic document. (June 30th 2020)

The Seisdon anomaly – a brief post addressing the issue of why Seisdon hundred, on a tributary of the Severn rather than the Trent, was incorporated into early Mercia. (June 30th 2020)


The three posts below tell the story of Samuel Hicklin who began life as a farm labourer, but rose to the highest ranks of the Staffordshire Constabularly, serving in the Black Country, Burton-upon-Trent. Stoke-on-Trent and Leek.

Part 1 – A (very) young constableThis post follows Hicklin from his childhood in Marston-on-Dove through his first postings as a Constable in the Staffordshire constabulary in Tividale and Pensnett in the 1870s and 1880s, which mainly involved dealing with drunks and other minor crime. During this period he was seriously assaulted at a pub in Bromley. (May 28th 2020)

Part 2 – Climbing the ladder  – from Sergeant to Superintendent. Hicklin moved up the career ladder as a sergeant at Bidulph in 1885, Inspector at Burton on Trent and Tipton, and as Superintendent back at Burton by 1896. He dealt with a wide range of crimes – from the minor to the major, including severable notable murder cases.  (May 28th 2020)

Part 3 – Chief Superintendent HicklinHe reached the highest rank that was open to him by becoming a Chief Superintendent and head of one of the three districts in the Staffordshire Constabulary in 1907. He was based first at Burslem, where he had to deal with the policing of miner’s strikes, and then later at Leek. He died in 1924, still in service. (May 28th 2020)


The Midland Tornado of 1545 – a discussion of a major historical storm in the UK. What were the likely windspeeds involved, and was it really a tornado? (14th April 2021)