Wednesbury, a market-town, a municipal and parliamentary borough, and a parish in Staffordshire. The town stands near the Birmingham Canal, 3 miles SSW of Walsall, 5 SE of Wolverhampton, 8 NW of Birmingham, and 136¼ by railway from London. It has stations on the G.W.R. and the South Staffordshire section of the L. & N.W.R., and a head post office. Wednesbury was called by the Saxons Wodensbury after the god Woden, is now popularly called Wedgebury. It had'a castle built in 916 by the Princess Ethelfleda. It carries on the manufacture of rails, boiler-plates, bar-iron, Bessemer steel, railway ironwork, railway carriages, patent axle-trees, gas tubes, steam and water pipes, gun-locks, coach springs, liinges, screws, nails, and every kind of wrought iron-work. There are stoneware potteries. Coal, iron-ore, limestone, potter's clay, and brick clay are raised. The town-hall was built in 1872. An art gallery was erected and opened in 1891, the building costing £5500. The free library was established in 1878, and comprises library, reading-room, lecture-room, and chemical laboratory. There are also assembly-rooms, a temperance hall, a police station, where the petty sessions are held, several clubs, and three banks. Two weekly newspapers are published. A separate commission of the peace was granted for the borough in 1893. Markets are held on Fridays and Saturdays, and fairs on 6 May and 3 August. The parish church of St Bartholomew was built originally in the reign of King John on the site of the Temple of Woden. It was rebuilt towards the end of the 15th century, and has been restored and enlarged at various dates down to 1890. St John's Church was erected in 1846 in the Early English style. St James' Church was erected in 1848 in the Early English style, and has been enlarged. St Paul's, Wood Green, 1 mile NE, was built in 1874, and is in the Decorated style. There are several mission churches, and Roman Catholic, Baptist, Congregational, Free and Primitive Methodist, Christian Brethren, and Wesleyan chapels, and a cemetery. Brunswick Park, Wood Green, comprising 21 acres, was opened in 1887 as a public park. The municipal borough was incorporated in 1886, and is divided into the wards of King's Hill, Market, Town Hall, and Wood Green. It is governed by a mayor, 4 aldermen, and 12 councillors. Acreage, 2287; population, 25,347. The parliamentary borough, as constituted by the Reform Act of 1867, consisted of Wednesbury, Tipton, Darlaston, and West Bromwich, but by the Redistribution of Seats Act of 1885 West Bromwich was constituted a separate parliamentary borough. The restricted parliamentary borough, which returns one member to the House of Commons, contains 5371 acres; population, 69,083. The parish is conterminous with the municipal borough. The manor belonged anciently to the Crown, and passed to the Heronvilles and the Beaumonts. Population of the ecclesiastical parish of St Bartholomew, 6962; of St James (constituted in 1844), 5270; of St John (constituted in 1844), 4948; of St Paul (constituted in 1875, and partly in West Bromwich parish), 4320. Parts of the ecclesiastical parishes of All Saints, Darlaston, and All Saints, Moxley, are in this parish. The livings of St Bartholomew and St Paul are vicarages, of St James and St John rectories, in the diocese of Lichfield; net value of St Bartholomew, £218; of St James, £220 with residence; of St John, £290; gross value of St Paul, £300. Patron of St Bartholomew and St Paul, the Bishop of Lichfield. Lord W. Paget, who died in 1564, was a native.
The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.
|Ecclesiastical parish||Wednesbury St. Bartholomew|
|Poor Law union||West Bromwich|
Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.
Directories & Gazetteers
We have transcribed the entry for Wednesbury from the following:
- Samuel Lewis' A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, seventh edition, published 1858. (Wednesbury (St. Bartholomew))
Land and Property
A full transcript of the Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Staffordshire is online.
Online maps of Wednesbury are available from a number of sites:
- Bing (Current Ordnance Survey maps).
- Google Streetview.
- National Library of Scotland. (Old maps)
- old-maps.co.uk (Old Ordnance Survey maps to buy).
- Streetmap.co.uk (Current Ordnance Survey maps).
- A Vision of Britain through Time. (Old maps)
Newspapers and Periodicals
The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following Staffordshire newspapers online:
- Staffordshire Advertiser
- Tamworth Herald
- Lichfield Mercury
- Staffordshire Sentinel
- Wolverhampton Chronicle and Staffordshire Advertiser