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Junction of Mouse Hill and Foundry Lane, Pelsall
Pelsall shown within the West Midlands
|OS grid reference|
|Metropolitan borough||Metropolitan Borough of Walsall|
|Metropolitan county||West Midlands|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||West Midlands|
|UK Parliament||Walsall North|
Pelsall is a suburban village and civil parish, situated in the Metropolitan Borough of Walsall in the West Midlands, England.
Pelsall was first mentioned in a charter of 994, when it was among 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 Domesday entry of 1086 describes Pelsall as being waste, still belonging to the church.
A chapel of ease was built in about 1311. The medieval population was small and a return of 1563 lists only 14 householders. 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. The tithe map of about 1840 records some evidence of the medieval strip farming system.
In the second quarter of the 19th century clusters of houses were built on the fringes of the extensive commonland and at the Newlands. The greatest concentration was in what is now the village centre. This area gradually developed; a Methodist Chapel and school were opened in about 1836, in the modern day Station Road and a new St Michael's Church was built in 1844 – the old one 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 by about 1800 the shallow and deep seams were 'much worked'. The cutting of the canal in about 1794 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 stated this as their occupation.
On 14 November 1872, 22 miners died when the Pelsall Hall Colliery was flooded. 21 of the 22 miners were buried underneath a polished granite obelisk in the churchyard of St Michael and All Angels Church.
An ironworks 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.
Several working farms survived in the village until after the Second World War. Since then much land has been used for housing development but the ancient common remains.
Pelsall previously had a railway station and line that ran along the fringes of what is modern day Pelsall, though these have now closed. Only the main road bridges survive as evidence.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
In 1997 the Donna Cooper Memorial Garden was created in the village in memory of thirteen-year-old Donna Cooper, who died after being knocked over by a stolen car outside her home in Pelsall Lane, Rushall on 6 January 1993. The driver and his accomplice were both on bail at the time, after being arrested in connection with a hit-and-run incident in which two men had been injured weeks before Cooper's death. The garden was commissioned by Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council, who also maintain it. It was designed by Anuradha Patel. The entrance consists of an arched gateway that contains an owl motif, taken from a design drawn by Cooper shortly before her death. The garden is 200 metres (656 ft) long and 25 metres (82 ft) wide.
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.
Pelsall is currently home to three primary schools: St Michael's C of E Primary, Pelsall Village School and Ryders Hayes School (now an Academy), and First Friends Day Nursery located at Pelsall Education Development Centre.
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.
The old Pelsall Comprehensive buildings are now home to Rushall JMI School, Education Walsall offices and a teacher training centre.
Places of worship
The parish church of Pelsall is St Michael and All Angels Church. Other places of worship are Pelsall Evangelical Church and Pelsall Methodist Church.
Pelsall's main football team is Pelsall Villa who play in the Midland Football League. They formed in 1961. Pelsall Villa's ground in Walsall Road neighbours Pelsall Cricket Club and the Old Bush pub.
Blind Date wedding
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.
Pelsall is the home village of former footballer Phil Gee.
The pianist Robert Emery grew up in Pelsall.
- "Walsall ward population 2011". Retrieved 19 December 2015.
- Pelsall Hall 1872
- George Thomas Noszlopy; Fiona Waterhouse (2005). Public Sculpture of Staffordshire and the Black Country. Liverpool University Press. ISBN 0-85323-999-1.
- "Politics". The Guardian (London). Archived from the original on 20 August 2008.
- "Seven-year sentence for joyrider who killed girl: Judge attacks 'folly' of giving repeated bail to youths who ignore conditions". The Independent (London). 8 October 1993.
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