Halesowen Shropshire & Worcestershire Family History Guide

Halesowen Church
Photo of Halesowen Church by Tony Hisgett from Birmingham, UK, some rights reserved.

Halesowen is an Ancient Parish in the county of Worcestershire. Frankley is a chapelry of Halesowen.

Halesowen was a detached part of the county of Shropshire but was incorporated into Worcestershire in 1844 by the Counties (Detached Parts) Act. Since the local government reorganisation of 1974 it has formed a part of the West Midlands Metropolitan county and Conurbation, in the Dudley Metropolitan Borough, which it joined at the same time as neighbouring Stourbridge, which had also been in Worcestershire until that point.

The parish comprises the townships of Cakemore, Cradley, Hasbury, Hawn, Hill, Hunnington, Illy, Langley, Lapal, Lutley, Oldbury, Ridgacre, Romsley, Warley-Salop, and Warley-Wigorn.

Parish registers begin: Halesowen, 1559. Romsley, 1736.

Parishes adjacent to Halesowen

  • Reddal Hill
  • Bromsgrove
  • Smethwick
  • Belbroughton
  • Old Swinford
  • Rowley Regis
  • Frankley
  • Harborne
  • Cradley
  • Langley
  • Hagley
  • Clent
  • Pedmore
  • Northfield
  • The Quinton
  • North Harborne Holy Trinity
  • Oldbury

History

History of Halesowen from [Wikipedia](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halesowen)

Halesowen is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as being larger than Birmingham. The manor and town was known as Hala (from the Anglo-Saxon word “halh”, meaning nook or remote valley), until it was gifted by King Henry II to Welsh Prince David Owen and became known as Halas Owen. The parish of Halesowen, which incorporated other townships later to become independent parishes, was an exclave of the county of Shropshire, but grew to become a town and was transferred to the jurisdiction of Worcestershire by the Counties (Detached Parts) Act 1844. Included in the boundaries was the ancient village of Brettle.

In the 1220s, Halesowen had a market and fair and, by 1270, it had been granted a charter of liberties by its lord, the Premonstratensian Abbey of Halesowen. By 1300, it is estimated that the population was around 600. The court rolls for Halesowen survive to 1272 and show that the majority of migrants to Halesowen in the 14th century were women at 75%. Little was done to remove them and many went on to become small retailers in the area.

The village is well known by medieval historians for the conflict that took place around this time. In 1279, as the Abbot attempted to increase labour services for his tenants (which had been fixed in 1244), the peasants attempted to plead their case in the King’s Court, a privilege forbidden to unfree villeins. The Abbot thus fined them £10 which was a large sum at the time, and resistance, led by Roger Ketel, heightened. The conflict was snuffed out in 1282 as Ketel and Alice Edrich (the pregnant wife of another prominent rebel) were murdered by thugs hired by the abbey.

During the 18th century Halesowen developed rapidly as a result of the Industrial Revolution. The manufacture of nails was the staple trade in the town and many mills were used for slitting and iron production. Coal had been mined in the area from at least the reign of Edward I. Dating to 1893, Coombes Wood was the largest colliery in the town; at its peak in 1919 Halesowen had 130 working mines.

During the French Revolutionary War Halesowen raised a troop of volunteer cavalry by 1798, which in 1814 became part of the South Shropshire Yeomanry Cavalry.

Halesowen became the centre of a poor law union in the 19th century, which later became established as a rural sanitary district and later the Halesowen Rural District in 1894. Oldbury was included into the area of Halesowen under an Act of 1829. With increasing urbanisation of the area, in the early 20th century, it became the Halesowen Urban District in 1925, and obtained a grant of charter to become a municipal borough in 1936. In 1974, under the Local Government Act 1972, Halesowen was incorporated into the new Dudley Metropolitan Borough, in the Metropolitan county of the West Midlands.

Halesowen was once served by a railway line – in reality two lines which met at an end-on junction at the station. The first was a branch of the Great Western Railway from Old Hill to Halesowen, opened in 1878, followed in 1883 by a section jointly owned by the Great Western and the Midland Railway (though worked mostly by the latter), linking the town with Northfield on the Midland Railway’s Birmingham to Bristol main line, with intermediate stations at Rubery, Hunnington, and a workmen’s halt at Longbridge serving the car factories (not to be confused with the present Longbridge station). Being largely rural in character, the line failed to attract much traffic and regular passenger services ended between Halesowen and Northfield as far back as 1919, and between Old Hill and Halesowen in 1927, though the workmen’s trains continued to serve Longbridge until 1960. The line is now lifted, but the track-bed can be seen close to the town, although there is no sign of the station. The goods shed remained until recently, serving as an industrial unit though it has now been demolished.

Historical Descriptions

Halesowen

A Topographical Dictionary of England 1848

Hales-Owen (St. Mary and St. John the Evangelist), a market-town and parish, in the unions of Bromsgrove, Stourbridge, and West Bromwich, partly in the Upper division of the hundred of Halfshire, Hales-Owen and E. divisions of Worcestershire, and partly in the Lower division of the same hundred, Stourbridge and Dudley, and E. divisions of the county, 7 miles (W. by S.) from Birmingham, 20 (N. by E.) from Worcester, 42 (S. E.) from Shrewsbury, and 120 (N. W.) from London; containing 17,376 inhabitants, of whom 2056 are in the town. King John, in the 16th year of his reign, gave the manor, and the advowson of the church, which is stated to have been built prior to the Norman Conquest, to Peter de Rupibus, Bishop of Winchester, who founded here a priory of Præmonstratensian canons. This priory, from parts of the walls yet remaining, though concealed by brambles and weeds, seems to have been an extensive edifice, and, from the gable end of the chapter-house, in which are some fine lancet windows, to have been in the early English style. At the Dissolution its revenue was estimated at £337. 15. 6. in Salop, and at £282. 13. 4. in Worcestershire. Hales-Owen was created a borough by the convent, but does not appear to have ever returned members to parliament. It is situated in a fertile vale watered by the river Stour, which has its source in the neighbouring hills; and consists chiefly of one street, in which are some respectable houses, and of some smaller streets containing humbler dwellings irregularly built. The town is lighted with gas. In the vicinity is the Leasowes, the patrimonial estate of Shenstone, which has been deservedly eulogized for the classic taste and elegant chasteness of style with which, during his lifetime, the natural beauty of the grounds was artificially heightened and improved, but of which few traces remain. Belle-Vue House is the seat of John Meredith, Esq. The principal articles of manufacture are large horn-buttons, nails, and some few other articles of iron; the manufacture of steel is extensively carried on at Corngreaves, and there are some coal-mines in the parish. An act was passed in 1846, for making a branch from the Birmingham and Gloucester railway, to Hales-Owen, 5½ miles in length. The small river Stour runs through the town, and the Netherton canal passes within half a mile of it. The market is on Monday, but is indifferently attended; the fairs are on the Mondays in Easter and Whitsun weeks. The town is within the jurisdiction of the county magistrates; and a high and low bailiff, a constable, and headborough, are annually appointed at the court leet of the lord of the manor. A court baron is held for the recovery of debts under 40s.

The parish comprises the townships of Cakemore, Cradley, Hasbury, Hawn, Hill, Hunnington, Illy, Langley, Lapal, Lutley, Oldbury, Ridgacre, Romsley, Warley-Salop, and Warley-Wigorn. It contains by computation 11,000 acres, of which about 150 are woodland; the surface is boldly undulated, and the scenery abounds with interesting features. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king’s books at £15. 8. 11½.; patron and impropriator, Lord Lyttelton: the vicarial tithes have been commuted for £900, of which £84 have been alienated as an endowment for the new church of the Quinton. The parochial church is a spacious structure, having a tower surmounted by a lofty and graceful spire: a principal part of the west end is Norman, and the body of the edifice is in the early English style: it was enlarged in 1840, at a cost of about £2000, and contains a handsome monument to the memory of Major Halliday, and an urn to the poet Shenstone, who was buried in the churchyard. At Cradley, Langley, the Quinton, Oldbury, and St. Kenelm, are separate incumbencies. There are places of worship for Wesleyans and others. The free grammar school was founded in 1652, and endowed with lands and tenements now yielding more than £100 per annum: Shenstone received the rudiments of his education in it. Contiguous to the churchyard are schoolrooms capable of receiving 600 children, built in 1838. In 1804, many curious Roman coins were found in an earthen vessel deposited at a small depth below the surface, at Cakemore; but a few only were preserved. Dr. Adam Littleton, author of a Latin Dictionary and other works, who died in 1694; the poet Shenstone, who died in 1763; and William Caslon, the celebrated type-founder, who died in 1766, were born in the parish.

Source: A Topographical Dictionary of England. Samuel Lewis, London, 1848.

Cradley

Gregory Shropshire Gazetteer 1824

Cradley. A township in the parish of Hales Owen, and in the Hales Owen division of the hundred of Brimstry. 2 miles north-west of Hales Owen.

Source: The Shropshire Gazetteer, with an Appendix, including a Survey of the County and Valuable Miscellaneous Information, with Plates. Printed and Published by T. Gregory, Wem, 1824

Worcestershire Delineated C. and J. Greenwood 1822

Cradley – a township and chapelry in the parish of Hales Owen, Salop, and hundred of Halfshire, lower division, 3 miles E.N.E. from Stourbridge, on the borders of Staffordshire; containing 231 inhabited houses. Nearly the whole of the population of this place, both male and female, are employed in the manufacture of various articles in the iron trade. It is a curacy to Hales Owen, in the diocese of Lichfield and Coventry. Population, 1801, 1434 – 1811, 1521 – 1821, 1696.

Source: Worcestershire Delineated: Being a Topographical Description of Each Parish, Chapelry, Hamlet, &c. In the County; with the distances and bearings from their respective market towns, &c. By C. and J. Greenwood. Printed by T. Bensley, Crane Court, Fleet Street, London, 1822.

Lapal

Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales Circa 1870

Lapal, a township in Halesowen parish, Worcester; near Halesowen. Pop., 360. Houses, 65.

Source: The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales [Wilson, John M]. A. Fullarton & Co. N. d. c. [1870-72].

Oldbury

England and Wales Delineated Thomas Dugdale 1835

Name of Place: Oldbury; County: Salop; Number of Miles from: Hales Owen – 5; Dudley – 3; Birmingham – 6; Dist. Lond. – 115; Population: 126.

Oldbury. The iron trade is extensively carried on here, and the steel works are also considerable. The Birmingham-canal almost surrounds the village. A court of requests is held once a fortnight for the recovery of small debts; the decisions are final, and not subject to a higher court.

Source: England and Wales Delineated by Thomas Dugdale assisted by William Burnett; published by Tallis & Co., Green Arbour Court, Old Bailey, 1835.

Shropshire Gazetteer 1824

Oldbury. A chapel, in the parish of Hales Owen, and in the Hales Owen division of the Hundred of Brimstry, in the diocese of Worcester, the deanery of Kidderminster, and archdeaconry of Worcester. 4 miles north-east of Hales Owen.

Source: The Shropshire Gazetteer, with an Appendix, including a Survey of the County and Valuable Miscellaneous Information, with Plates. Printed and Published by T. Gregory, Wem, 1824

Directories

Parish Registers

Oldbury The Old Dissenting Chapel 1732 to 1749

The Old Dissenting Chapel, Oldbury – Register II.

Family History Links

FamilySearch

The following records for Halesowen are available free from FamilySearch.

Birth, Marriage, & Death

England and Wales Census Records

Migration

United Kingdom, World War I Service Records, 1914-1920

United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918

Ireland Calendar of Wills and Administrations, 1858-1920

Administration

  • County: Worcestershire
  • Civil Registration District: Stourbridge
  • Probate Court: Court of the Bishop of Worcester (Episcopal Consistory)
  • Diocese: Worcester
  • Rural Deanery: Kidderminster
  • Poor Law Union: Stourbridge
  • Hundred: Halfshire
  • Province: Canterbury
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