Whether Bloxwich was in existence as a British settlement is not known, but the Briton's certainly gave names to the hills, forest's and rivers of the area, at Barr, Lynn, Trent, Penk and Tame. The Roman occupation seems to have mostly passed the area by, just far enough from the Watling street to be ignored perhaps.
The Midlands were known in Saxon times as the Kingdom of the Mercian's, probably originating from "Mearc", meaning boundary between the English and the Britons. The Mercian's dominated the Eighth century until the arrival of Alfred.
Majority of the place names in the West Midlands came from the Mercian's, many from the name of the head of the family which settled there:
Bloxwich - Bloc's village
Blakenhall - The hall of Bloc or Blac
Bescot - Beorhtmund's cottage
Darleston - Deorlaf's village
The family of Bloc being one of the hundred families which made up the Hundred of Offlow (Offa's low, from King Offa, king of the Angles).
In the British Museum is a document written between 1215 and 1224 which states:
"Know all men present and to come that I, John, son of John of Blockeswys have quit claim to William Rufus my Lord my Mill which is called of Peleshale and which I held for him.........."
This is the first mention of the Bloxwich family. The name John suggests that he was of French origin. He was probably the son of one of Herbert Rufus's men, and, that he styles himself 'of Bloxwich' suggests he lived there and the document proves he was in authority over others.
My grandfather Peter Charles Lloyd, was born in Field Street,
Bloxwich, now known as Field Road.
The original street was believed to run between Chapel Field and Comwall Field on part of the Countess of Montrath Estate back in the mid 1700's. There were many pubs in the road and the 'Queen's Head', (in existence by 1861) was a meeting place for boxers and was visited on occasion by Len Johnstone, Empire Middleweight title holder and Billy Ball ABA champion. Part of the road was called Cemetery Road when they opened the Bloxwich cemetery in 1875, but after objections from the residence it became an extension of Field Road. Church Street, where my Grandmother lived, joined onto Field Road, and the Church, All Saint's, where it is said they met, is not far away. My grandmother, Lucy Jane Taylor, was a Sunday school teacher there, and my grandfather played the organ.
They married in Walsall registry office, and although his age
is indicated as 21, he must, from his birth certificate have only been 19. Strange
that they didnt get married at the church where they had met, and also that
on his marriage certificate, his name is Charles Percy Lloyd, his birth certificate
shows Peter Charles. The 1881 census has him down as Peter C, and the 1891 just as
Charles (occupation "bit filer" at 13).
On my Fathers marriage certificate he is down as Charles Peter Lloyd. He obviously must have liked changing the form of his name for one reason or another. His trade according to his marriage certificate was a carpenter/journeyman, and it is said that he walked as far as Wales seeking work.
His address at the time of his marriage is given as Bentley Lane, Bloxwich, although there seems some doubt if there was such a place. The 1891 census return puts the family at "Hatherton Works" Bloxwich. The road that was near to the works was known as Fryers Road, probably after the gentleman Banker who leased the furnaces, although the old lane did continue southwards to become known as Bentley Lane as it reached the Bentley area of Walsall. The Bentley area was made famous by the arrival of Charles II, who after his defeat at Worcester, hid at several places in the area including Bentley Hall, disguised himself as a servant and tried to escape to Bristol.
In the area south of the Hatherton Furnaces, from about 1755, a settlement had grown in the area of Leamore Lane, Broadstone (now Bloxwich Road) and the northern end of Green Lane. The part of the lane adjoining Green Lane was called "Bentley Lane" on a sale map of 1886, however this is not the case on the O.S maps of the same year. Leamore Lane also connected with Fryers Road so perhaps it was still known as Bentley Lane by the locals. The Hatherton Furnaces worked iron with two blast furnaces from the mid 1800's up to 1948, although they continued to refine iron until around 1965. The furnaces were almost certainly the area immortalised by the local author John Petty in his book 'Five Fags a Day', using his experiences of earning a living from gleaning scrap metal from the waste tips.