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Stourbridge, Worcestershire

Historical Description

Stourbridge, a market-town, the head of a poor-law union, petty sessional division and county court district, a township, and two ecclesiastical parishes in Worcestershire. The town stands on the river Stour and the Dudley Canal, 5 miles S of Dudley, 7 N of Kidderminster, and 121½ by road and 141 by railway from London. It has a head post office and stations on the G.W.R. Stourbridge was known as Bedcote till the time of Henry VI., and is supposed to cover the site of a monastery, founded in 736 by the Saxon Cynebalt. It became the seat of an important and permanent glass-trade, through the settlement at it of refugees from Hungary and Lorraine in 1556. It is a borough by prescription, a seat of petty sessions and county courts, occupies a gentle eminence on the S bank of the river, and is rather irregularly built. A stone bridge over the Stour connects it with Staffordshire. The town-hall in Market Street was built in 1887. Stourbridge contains also a court-house, a corn exchange, a market-house, an institute, a theatre, a school of art, a dispensary, a workhouse, and two banks, and publishes a weekly newspaper. A fine hospital was built outside the town, the gift of Mr John Corbett. Under the Local Government Act of 1894, Stourbridge, Old Swinford, and Wollaston were conjoined to form an urban district council, Stourbridge returning eighteen members, Old Swinford six, and Wollaston four to the council. The church of St John the Evangelist was built by Street in 1860, and is in the Early English style. St Thomas' Church was erected in 1726, and restored in 1890. There are Roman Catholic, Baptist, Congregational, New Connexion, Primitive Methodist, and Wesleyan chapels, and a Friends' meetinghouse. The cemetery was formed in 1879, covers an area of 13 acres, and has a mortuary chapel. The grammar school was founded by Edward VI., and numbers Dr Johnson among its former scholars. It is situated in good modern buildings, and has twelve scholarships, giving free tuition at the school, and two exhibitions of £60 yearly to the universities. There is also a blue-coat school known as the Old Swinford Hospital Charity, founded in 1667 by Mr Thomas Foley, and enlarged in 1882. It is situated in Hagley Street. There are 160 boys selected from the neighbouring towns, who are clothed, fed, and educated free, and at the age of fourteen are apprenticed to a trade. Markets are held on every Friday and Saturday, and a fair is held on the last Monday of March. A great manufacture of bricks, crucibles, and other articles, from a peculiarly rich fire-clay, is carried on, and there are foundries, many glass, iron, and nail works, a brewery, a malt-house, a tanyard, and establishments employing a great number of the inhabitants in the manufacture of nails, spades, scythes, anvils, &c. The township includes the town; acreage, 453; population, 9386. The ecclesiastical parishes are St John the Evangelist (constituted in 1861, population, 2672) and St Thomas' (constituted in 1866, population, 6426). The livings are vicarages in the diocese of Worcester; gross value of St John the Evangelist, £242 with residence. Patron, the Earl of Dudley; net value of St Thomas', £370 with residence. Patron, the Bishop of Worcester.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5


The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Ancient CountyWorcestershire 
Civil parishOld Swinford 
Poor Law unionStourbridge 

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Stourbridge from the following:

Land and Property

The full transcript of the Worcestershire section of the Return of Owners of Land, 1873.


Online maps of Stourbridge are available from a number of sites:

Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following Worcestershire papers online:

Visitations Heraldic

The Visitation of Worcestershire 1569 is available on the Heraldry page.