Cookley Worcestershire Family History Guide

St. Peter, Cookley
Photo of St. Peter, Cookley. by Geoff Pick, some rights reserved.

Cookley is an Ecclesiastical Parish in the county of Worcestershire, created in 1849 from Wolverley Parish.

Parish church: St. Peter

Parish registers begin: 1849

Nonconformists include: Wesleyan Methodist

Cookley – There is a considerable business carried on here in the patent wood screw trade; there is also an iron foundry and a wire mill in the parish, giving employment to a great number of hands.
Source: Billings Directory of Worcestershire 1855

Parishes adjacent to Cookley

Historical Descriptions

The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales 1870

Cookley, a chapelry in Wolverley parish, Worcester; adjacent to the West Midland railway, 2½ miles NNE of Kidderminster. It was constituted in 1849; and it has a post office under Kidderminster. Pop., 1,454. Houses, 299. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Worcester. Value, £200. Patron, W. Hancock, Esq. The church is good.

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

A Topographical Dictionary of England 1831

Cookley, a hamlet in the parish of Wolverley, lower division of the hundred of Oswaldslow, though locally in the lower division of the hundred of Doddingtree, county of Worcester, 3 miles (N.N.E.) from Kidderminster. The population is returned with the parish.

Source: A Topographical Dictionary of England by Samuel Lewis 1831

History

A short history from Wikipedia:

Saxon estate
The name Cookley was originally Culnan Clif, a place for which there is a Saxon charter with a boundary clause covering a substantial part of the northern part of the parish of Wolverley and Cookley. The medieval village of Cookley lay on the opposite side of river Stour to the present village, next to Caunsall. It gave its name to Cookley Wood, a former common, also known as Blakeshall Common. Blakeshall was thus also part of the Saxon estate. The estate was granted by William I to Worcester Cathedral Priory, which already owned the adjoining estate of Wolverley. From that time, the two were administered together as the manor of Wolverley. Nevertheless, the Domesday Book extent of Wolverley can be explained in terms of the preceding Saxon estate of Wolverley only.

Cookley Forge

The present village of Cookley developed near Cookley Forge, a water-powered finery forge on the river, just west of the bridge. The forge was initially a slitting mill established in about 1639, replacing a corn mill. The forge was probably added in the 1670s, and was one of the works of the Foley family’s “Ironworks in Partnership” in the 1690s.

The forge passed before 1725 to the Knight family and remained in their hands until it closed in the late 19th century. Operations at the forge seem to have been expanded in the early 19th century, tinplate production being added. In this period, the Knight family concentrated their operations around Cookley Forge, disposing of or closing other works. This works became the main employer in the area. It prospered in the canal era. With the Staffordshire and Worcestershire canal, running beside the works and a canal arm leading into them, the canal was the main transport artery for the works. However, later in the 19th century, in the railway era, the works were at a competitive disadvantage, because there was no connection to a railway. Ultimately, the works at Cookley were closed and relocated to the Cookley Works at Brockmoor near Brierley Hill in 1886. The site of the forge has remained in industrial use, at one period being occupied by Steel Stampings Ltd.

The present village began with houses built by the Knight family for their workers and the division of fields along Castle Road into house plots, starting in the 1810s with Portway Piece in Austcliffe.

Family History Links

FamilySearch – Birth Marriage & Death records, Census, Migration & Naturalization and Military records – Free

Administration

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