Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for WALSALL

WALSALL, a town, two townships, a parish, a sub-district, and a district, in Stafford. The town stands on the South Staffordshire railway, and on the Birmingham and Wyrley canals, 8 miles N NW of Birmingham; was a place of some note in the Saxon times; was given, by William the Conqueror, to R. Fitz-Asculf; passed to Warwick the king-maker, and to the Protector Dudley; was visited by Queen Elizabeth, and by Queen Henrietta Maria; became a municipal borough in the time of Henry IV., and a parliamentary borough in 1832; is governed by a mayor, 6 aldermen, and 18 councillors, and sends one member to parliament; is a seat of sessions and county-courts, and a polling place; publishes three weekly newspapers; carries on many departments of iron manufacture, tanning, currying, brush-making, saddlery, harness-making, and an extensive coal trade; commands great traffic from neighbouring mines of coal and iron-stone, and neighbouring sources of limestone and brick-clay; was formerly a resort of invalids to a chalybeate spring, about a mile distant; comprises an old portion on a limestone eminence, and modern portions on adjoining marshlands; has been much improved and enlarged, since about 1835, by renovation of old streets, formation of new streets, and erection of numerous handsome dwellings and public buildings; and has a head post-office,‡ an elegant r. station with telegraph, two banking offices, several chief inns, a town hall, assembly-rooms, a police station and borough jail, four churches, seventeen dissenting chapels, two Roman Catholic chapels, a public cemetery, a subscription library and newsrooms, a public free library, an endowed grammar-school with £778 a year, a blue-coat school, with £29, five national schools, a workhouse, three suites of alms houses, charities £466, markets on Tuesdays and Saturdays, three annual fairs, and a race-stand and annual races. The town hall was built in 1867, at a cost of less than £5,500; and is in the Grecian style, with Doric and Ionic decorations. St. Matthew's church was mainly rebuilt in 1821, at a cost of more than £22,000; retains the chancel and the tower and spire of a previous church; and is in the later English style, and cruciform. St-Paul's church was built in 1826, and is in the Grecian style. The grammar-school was rebuilt in 1850; gives a classical education; and had Lord Somers and Bishop Hough for pupils. The borough limits are the same municipally as parliamentarily; and include the greater part of W. parish. Electors in 1833, 597; in 1863, 1,250. Pop. in 1851, 25,680; in 1861, 37,760. Houses, 7,445.

The two townships are W.-Borough and W.-Foreign; and the latter includes the hamlets of W.-Wood, Shelfield, and Bloxwich. Acres of the two, 8,182. Real property of W.-Borough, £26,560; of which £360 are in gasworks. Pop. in 1851, 8,761; in 1861, 8,166. Houses, 1,576. Real property of W.-Foreign, £132,008; of which £8,408 are in mines, £161 in quarries, £7,287 in iron-works, and £68,888 in railways. Pop. in 1851, 18,061; in 1861, 31,524. Houses, 6,242. The parish consists of the two townships; and is ecclesiastically cut into the sections of W.-St. Matthew, W.-St. Peter, W.-Pleck, W.-Wood, and Bloxwich. The living of St. Matthew is a vicarage, and the other livings are p. curacies, in the diocese of Lichfield. Value of St. M., £500;* of St. Peter, £300;* of W.-Pleck, £112;* of Wood, £108.* Patron of St. M., the Earl of Bradford; of the others, the Vicar of Walsall. Bloxwich is separately noticed.—The sub-district excludes W.-Wood, Shelfield, and Bloxwich. Pop. in 1851, 21,203; in 1861, 30,415. Houses, 6,021.—The district comprehends also Bloxwich, Aldridge, and Darlaston sub-districts; and comprises 21,603 acres. Poor rates, in 1863, £15,985. Pop. in 1851, 43,044; in 1861, 59,908. Houses, 11,816. Marriages in 1863, 458; births, 2,762, -of which 146 were illegitimate; deaths, 1,504, -of which 867 were at ages under 5 years, and 18 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 3,923; births, 23,190; deaths, 13,330. The places of worship, in 1851, were 12 of the Church of England, with 8,485 sittings; 3 of Independents, with 1,320 s.; 4 of Baptists, with 1,275 s.; 13 of Wesleyans, with 3,640 s.; 6 of Primitive Methodists, with 2,022 s.; and 2 of Roman Catholics, with 910 s. The schools were 27 public day-schools, with 2,730 scholars; 69 private day-schools, with 1,920 s.; 37 Sunday schools, with 5,495 s.; and 1 evening school for adults, with 26 s.

(John Marius Wilson, Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72))

Linked entities:
Feature Description: "a town, two townships, a parish, a sub-district, and a district"   (ADL Feature Type: "cities")
Administrative units: Walsall AP/CP       Walsall CP       Walsall SubD       Walsall PLU/RegD       Staffordshire AncC
Place: Walsall

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