Pelsall

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Pelsall
Pelsall is located in West Midlands county
Pelsall
Pelsall
 Pelsall shown within the West Midlands
OS grid reference SK020037
Metropolitan borough Metropolitan Borough of Walsall
Metropolitan county West Midlands
Region West Midlands
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town WALSALL
Postcode district WS3
Police West Midlands
Fire West Midlands
Ambulance West Midlands
EU Parliament West Midlands
UK Parliament Walsall North
List of places
UK
England
West Midlands

Coordinates: 52°37′52″N 1°58′19″W / 52.631°N 1.972°W / 52.631; -1.972

Pelsall is small village and civil parish, and is situated in the Metropolitan Borough of Walsall in the West Midlands, England.

History[edit]

Pelsall was first mentioned in a charter of 994, when it was amongst various lands given to the monastery at Heantune (Wolverhampton) by Wulfrun, a Mercian noblewoman. At this time it was called Peolshalh, meaning 'a nook' or 'land between two streams belonging to Peol'.

The name Peolshalh is sometimes referred to by the local population as Peolsford which would appear to be a more modern Anglo-Saxon interpretation of the original name Peolshalh, with examples of the word occurring after the 1950s. Official Local Government recognition of the name Peolsford came in the 1950s when a road within a residential development close to the centre of the village was named Peolsford Road.

The Domesday entry of 1086 describes Pelsall as being waste, still belonging to the Church. This part of Staffordshire had probably been devastated in 1069 by King William's forces when dealing with the uprising following the Norman Conquest.

Very little is known about the village during the ensuing centuries, but as a chapel of ease was built in c.1311, it must be assumed that a settlement had been established there by then. The population was small and a return of 1563 lists only 14 householders. The economy at that time would have been agrarian and evidence of the medieval strip farming system can still be seen on the tithe map of c.1840. The original centre of the village was the area now known as Old Town. In 1760, the remaining open fields were enclosed, but some holdings survived into the next century in Hall Field, High Ley, The Riddings Field and Final Field.

By the second quarter of the 19th century, Pelsall had a more scattered appearance, with clusters of houses developing on the fringes of the extensive commonland and at the Newlands. The greatest concentration were in what is now the village centre. This area gradually developed; a Methodist Chapel and school were opened in c.1836, in the modern day Station Road and a new St. Michael's Church was built in 1844 - the former in Paradise Lane had been considered too small for the growing population. Towards the end of the 19th century shops became established in Norton Road and High Street. The population in 1801 was 477 and by 1901 had grown to 3,626.

Pelsall had become a mining village; in places deposits of coal were found only a few yards from the surface and c.1800 the shallow and deep seams were 'much worked'. The cutting of the canal in c.1794 had opened up the area for industrialisation, with entrepreneurs and landowners quickly exploiting the mineral wealth. Nailmaking, traditionally a cottage industry, was also carried out locally; in the census of 1841 thirty men gave this as their occupation.

On November 14, 1872, 22 miners died when the Pelsall Hall Colliery was flooded.[1][2] 21 of the 22 miners were buried underneath a polished granite obelisk in the churchyard of St Michael and All Angels Church.[3]

An ironworks[4] was established on the North Common which grew into a sizeable concern under the ownership of Messrs. Davis and Bloomer. This, together with Yorks Foundry and that of Ernest Wilkes and Co. at Mouse Hill, gave Pelsall a share of the heavy iron trade during the 19th century. Ernest Wilkes and Co. survived until 1977, but the others ceased trading in the 1890s and the pits became unworkable, mainly due to continual flooding problems.

Of extreme interest to budding historions is the existence of the iron works by Wilkes - there is a manhole cover in the Arboretum Park in Walsall is the same condition as new.

The village managed to keep its rural atmosphere well into the 20th century, with several working farms surviving until after the Second World War. Since then much land has been utilised for housing development but the ancient common remains.

Pelsall was served by a railway station and line that ran along the fringes of what is modern day Pelsall and the line was closed as were many of the branch lines. The bridges and other items of the railway era survived marginally longer, but they are all now a distant part of history with only the main road bridges still in existence.

The village remains served well by local buses transporting people in several locations.

Politics[edit]

Pelsall is part of the Aldridge-Brownhills Parliamentary constituency. At the 2010 general election, the seat was held by Richard Shepherd (Conservative) with a majority of 15,266 over Labour's Ashiq Hussain. The seat has been held by the Conservative Party since 3 May 1979.[5]

Pelsall Ward has 3 council seats. The 3 current councillors, all Conservative, are Garry Perry former Mayor of Walsall re-elected in 2012; Marco Longhi elected in 2011; and Oliver Bennett elected in 2010.

Landmarks[edit]

The Fingerpost

A notable landmark in Pelsall is The Fingerpost, at the junction of B4154 Norton Road and A4124 Lichfield Road, which is an unusual and possibly unique design and was substantially restored in the 1980s by Bert Kellitt for the local Civic Society. Pelsall Social Club is also situated at the junction of these roads. Its local nickname, The Scratter, is derived from the name of the original establishment The Scratching Pen, possibly a nod to the former Moat Farm nearby.

Since the late 1990s, Pelsall has also had a Millennium Stone, marking the 994-1994 millennium of the village.

Pelsall is quite 'green' with a large turf central common around which there are several public houses : The Old Bush; The Railway; The Red Cow; and The Queens. In July each year the Common is the site on which Pelsall Carnival is centred. The carnival features decorated floats and bric-a-brac stalls. It has run continuously since 1972.[6]

The main shopping area serving the village is bordered by Norton Road and High Street and includes a good range of shops, including a butcher and a baker, plus a variety of food outlets for eat in or take away. On the northern edge of the village centre there is The Old House at Home public house, while The Fingerpost pub (formerly The Royal Oak) is situated just north of the Fingerpost road junction at Yorks Bridge, near to Pelsall Junction on the Wyrley and Essington Canal, and Nest Common and North Common, on the border with South Staffordshire.

Pelsall has lost several pubs in recent years, including The Free Trade in Wood Lane, which, though the building remains, has been closed for several years, and The Swan on Wolverhampton Road, which in 2007 was converted to The Cinnamon, an Indian restaurant. Furthermore, The Red Cow in Heath End is now closed awaiting redevelopment.

Motorists used to enjoy the luxury of 3 petrol stations, now all closed in recent years: Fingerpost (now a car wash), whilst Commonside & Riddings are both being converted to housing.

Education[edit]

Pelsall is currently home to three primary schools: St Michael's C of E Primary,[7] Pelsall Village School[8] and Ryders Hayes School [9][10] (now an Academy), and First Friends Day Nursery located at Pelsall Education Development Centre.[11]

Pelsall was previously served by Pelsall Comprehensive School, although technically over the border in neighbouring Rushall. It opened in the autumn of 1963 as an 11-15 secondary modern school before adopting 13-18 comprehensive status in September 1972. The transfer age was reduced to 11 in September 1986 under Walsall's reorganisation of education in the former Aldridge-Brownhills area but falling pupil numbers led to its closure in July 1994.[12]

The old Pelsall Comprehensive buildings are now home to Rushall JMI School, Education Walsall offices and a teacher training centre.

Places of worship[edit]

St. Michael's church

The parish church of Pelsall is St Michael and All Angels Church. Other places of worship are Pelsall Evangelical Church and Pelsall Methodist Church.

Sport[edit]

Pelsall's main football team is Pelsall Villa who play in the Midland Football Combination. They formed in 1961. Pelsall Villa's ground in Walsall Road neighbours Pelsall Cricket Club and the Old Bush pub.

Blind Date wedding[edit]

The first ever Blind Date wedding (a popular TV show hosted by Cilla Black) took place at St. Michael's Church in 1991 when Sue Middleton of Pelsall married Alex Tatham. They had met on the show three years previously. They now have a son (Charlie) and a daughter (Emily).

The event received national media coverage.

Notable People[edit]

Pelsall is the home village of former footballer Phil Gee.

Donna Cooper Memorial Garden[edit]

In 1997, a memorial garden was erected in the village in memory of Donna Cooper.

Thirteen year-old Donna Cooper died after being knocked over outside her home in Pelsall Lane, Rushall by a stolen car on 6 January 1993. The driver, 17-year-old Carl Sherwood from Goscote, who was on bail for another motoring offence at the time, admitted manslaughter and was sentenced to seven years detention;[13] he was freed in September 1997 after serving four-and-a-half years.[14] His accomplice Nigel Button, aged 26 and from Blakenall Heath, was found guilty of aggravated vehicle taking and failing to stop after an accident. He received a four-and-a-half year prison sentence which was later reduced by one year on appeal. Rear seat passengers Stuart Rollinson (aged 15 and from Aldridge), David Teale (aged 14 and from Blakenall Heath) and Shaun Brockhouse (aged 13 and from Darlaston) were given two-year supervision orders for aggravated vehicle taking.

After the trial, it was revealed that Sherwood and Button were both on bail after being arrested in connection with a hit-and-run incident in which two men had been injured just weeks before Donna Cooper's death.[15]

The garden was designed between 1997 and 1999, and was commissioned by Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council, who also maintain it. It was designed by Anuradha Patel, and the metal installations were manufactured by West Midlands Gates & Trailers. The entrance consists of an arched gateway of galvanised steel, painted green. It is 2.5 metres (8 ft) tall and 2.07 metres (7 ft) wide. At the centre of the archway is an owl motif, taken from a design drawn by Donna Cooper shortly before her death. Another feature is a galvanised steel tree, also painted green with a height of 2.34 metres (8 ft). Located throughout the garden are various pine tree stumps, varying in width up to 25 centimetres (10 in) in diameter. The garden itself is 200 metres (656 ft) long and 25 metres (82 ft) wide. The garden was created by Groundwork Black Country and Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council.[3]

References[edit]

External links[edit]