My great-grandfather, Peter, was born in Pelsall, Staffordshire.

Some have said that Pelsall is possibly derived from "Peol's Hall", referring to the Saxon leader named "Peol", or perhaps "Peol" and "halh", meaning a land between two streams. "Peolshale" was first recorded in 994 in Wulfrun's Charter. This Charter describes the land and village names of which the Lady Wulfrun gave at that time to the monks of Hamtune (Wolverhampton).

The Domesday Book, compiled as a record of land ownership by William the Conqueror, showed a very sparse population from the river Tame at Wednesbury up to Norton and Wyrley. The Conqueror had met some opposition in Staffordshire and in 1069 and 1070 he proved his power by burning and devastating much of the area.

The first recorded signs of industrial development come in 1717, when George Sparrow applied for the lease of a Newcomen engine to drain his coalpits at Pelsall. There is no evidence the machine was ever installed but it highlights the interest in exploitation of Pelsall's mineral resources and the problems of flooding which were to shape its growth. There was much poverty in eighteenth century Pelsall. Records reveal that between 1765 and 1792, of 238 deaths, one in every six was a pauper, unable to pay the burial fee's of 7 pence to the parish clerk. Of these 238 deaths, 61 (25%), were children.

1801 census figures record the population as 477

1831 census as 721

1851 as 1132

1885 there were twelve public houses within the parish boundary for a population of about 2,400.

1901, pop., 3,626.

In Pelsall the industrial development of the area was accompanied by a five-fold increase in the inhabitancy between 1830 and 1880. Many of the first immigrants came to work in the local foundries and the 1841 census reflects their occupations as moulders, coal miners and ironworkers. In Pelsall, the Pelsall Iron works employed several hundred men in the mid-late 1800's. By 1891 however the Iron works showed a deficit, the Bank demanded the payment of the overdraft and the Company collapsed. Many left to seek work elsewhere, others turned to the Mines, but soon most of the local mines where flooded and with the Iron works closed, Pelsall's period of industrialisation was over.

My great-grandfather followed his father into the iron industry and became an Iron Moulder by trade.
He married a lady named Mary Hazlewood born in Portobello in the Wolverhamton/Willenhall area. They where married in the Church of St Peters, Wolverhampton in 1867, both resident in Pelsall. They must have moved shortly after to Bloxwich, as the 1881 census shows their eldest son John born there in 1869. All the remaining children, including my grandfather, Peter Charles Lloyd, were also born in Bloxwich.

[Top]