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Swinford, King's (Holy Trinity)

SWINFORD, KING'S (Holy Trinity), a parish, in the union of Stourbridge, N. division of the hundred of Seisdon, S. division of the county of Stafford, 3 miles (W. by S.) from Dudley; containing 22,221 inhabitants. This parish, which is situated on the roads from Dudley to Stourbridge, and from Wolverhampton to Worcester, comprises by admeasurement 7315 acres, of which 3510 are arable, 1607 meadow and pasture, 454 woodland and plantations, and the remainder common and waste. The scenery is greatly diversified, and enlivened by numerous tastefully-embellished demesnes, some of which abound with stately and valuable timber. Prestwood is an elegant mansion beautifully situated in an extensive park separated from the parish of Kinfare by the river Stour. Fir-Tree House, Summer Hill, Ashwood House, and Wordsley House, are good residences; and Lawns-Wood is a handsome structure in the Italian style, erected at a cost of £20,000, on an eminence commanding some fine views, and in a demesne which has been much improved.

The situation of King's-Swinford in a country abounding with iron and coal, has given rise to the establishment of extensive manufactures, the principal being those of iron, tin, and glass. Facility of conveyance is afforded by the Dudley and Stourbridge and the Staffordshire and Worcestershire canals, which both pass through the parish, and to the latter of which a railway from the principal mines was constructed by the late Earl of Dudley. In 1845 an act was passed for a railway from Oxford to Wolverhampton, with a branch of 2½ miles to King's-Swinford. The Oak-Farm Company's iron and steel works were established in 1835, for the manufacture of all kinds of iron and steel goods, including those for which patents had been granted to James Boydell, Esq., the managing partner. The Corbyn's-Hall collieries and iron-works were established in 1818, and afford employment to about 800 persons. The Lays iron and coal mines, established in 1835, give occupation to 450 persons; and in the Brockmore iron and tin works, established in 1844, 300 persons are engaged. There are also some extensive works for blue brick and tiles, which are remarkable for their durability in subterraneous buildings; some potteries for stone ware and earthenware of every kind; a wire-mill, and manufactories for nails, chains, and scythes. A court leet and court baron are held annually for the manor, and the inhabitants claim exemption from tolls under charter of Queen Elizabeth, confirmed by Charles I. Pettysessions are held every Monday and Thursday, and a copyhold court occasionally.

The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £17. 13. 4., and in the gift of Lord Ward: the tithes have been commuted for £800, and the glebe comprises 165 acres. The church, erected in 1831, at a cost of £10,000, on a site at Wordsley given by the late Earl of Dudley, is a handsome structure in the later English style, with a square embattled tower, and, by a special act of parliament, has been made the mother church: the parsonage-house, erected in 1838, is also a handsome building. The former parish church, dedicated to St. Mary, and now a chapel, is an ancient edifice, with a massive tower, and contains monumental inscriptions to the families of Corbyn, Scott, Hodgetts, and Bendy: the living is a perpetual curacy; net income, £450; patron, Lord Ward. There are churches at Brierly-Hill, Brockmoor, Pensnett, and Quarry-Bank. The Baptists, Independents, Primitive Methodists, and Wesleyans, have places of worship. Holbeche House, in the parish, was the residence of Sir Stephen Littleton, who, being concerned in the gunpowder plot, fled for concealment to Rowley Regis. It was then occupied by Catesby and other conspirators, who defended it as their last retreat, against the sheriff of Worcester; but by the blowing up of their powder, Catesby and Piercy with two others were killed on the spot, several were dreadfully burnt, and those who made their escape were afterwards taken and publicly executed. On Ashwood Heath are some remains of a Roman encampment; and the spa called Ladywell is partly in the parish.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, seventh edition, published 1858.