In Deed


The folded deed. Image courtesy David Evans.

Some time ago, when Brownhills local Councillor Barbara Cassidy very generously donated some excellent images for publication on the blog, there was an extra item David Evans was allowed to handle and photograph, which is a rather astonishing and wonderful artefact. The item in question is a Deed or Inclosure document, pertaining to land just off Hednesford Road in Brownhills.

The Deed was drawn up by the Inclosure Commissioners for England and Wales on the 15th October, 1868, for Mr. Charles Thacker.

Keen readers will note that the Thacker family have been mentioned in relation to that area of Brownhills – up on the West – before.

Untitled 9

Ordnance Survey 1:10,000 scale 1884 plan of the area in question, the specific general sale area highlighted in red. Bare in mind this is 15 or so years after the deed was drawn up and much has changed. However, I’m convinced the road ‘Leading to the New Colliery Plant belonging to the Conduit Colliery Company’ is now Albutts Road. Some treats buried in the map too, including the Rifle Range and Magazine. Click for a larger version. Image from the National Library of Scotland Archive (NLS).

What happened to the photos of the deed next is remarkable. The patient, generous spirited and eagle-eyed Andy Dennis offered to transcribe the document from David’s photos – no mean feat, and no small task. This Andy did, and not only that, he added to the history known by finding the relevant sale notice in newspaper archives.

This whole project is a demonstration of collaborative local history at it’s best, and at the outset, I’d like to express my deepest gratitude to Barbara, for her generosity and time; Andy Dennis for his patience and excellent work; and David Evans for organising it all and doing the running, emailing and photography.

I’m hoping that as folk read this, let it sink in and digest, we may be able to add even more to the knowledge.

I will include the transcription first. The text is heavy, legalese and demanding to read. Skip down if it’s heavy going, there are notes and further material below it – you can refer back as required.


The full deed, painstakingly transcribed by top history whizz Andy Dennis. Image by David Evans. Please click for a larger version.

In the matter of the Inclosure of that part of Cannock Chase which is situate in the manor of Norton Canes in the Parish of Norton Canes in the County of Stafford

We the undersigned Inclosure Commissioners for England and Wales by virtue of The Acts for the Inclosure Exchange and Improvement of Land and in consideration of the sum of twenty one pounds paid into our hands by Charles Thacker of the Manor and Parish of Norton Canes aforesaid Miner being the purchase money of the heriditaments hereinafter described do by these presents do convey unto the said Charles Thacker his heirs and assigns ALL that piece of land containing two roods and three perches or thereabouts situate in the Parish and Manor of Norton Canes in the said County of Stafford being part of Cannock Chase and constituting Lot 10 in a certain printed particular and plan at an Auction held at the “Fleur de Lys” Inn Norton Canes on the sixth day of April one thousand eighteen hundred and sixty eight fronting on the North East to the New Road over Norton Common leading from Brownhills to Hednesford and being bounded on the south east by part of the said Chase being Lot 9 in the Particular and plan sold to Frederick [?] Thacker on the south by land of William Hanbury Esquire and on the North west by other part of the said Chase being Lot 11 in the said Particular and plan sold to Thomas Thacker and others Together with all rights members and appurtenances to the said piece of land belonging or appertaining To hold the same unto the said Charles Thacker his heirs and assigns To such uses as the said Charles Thacker by any deed or deeds shall from time to time appoint and in default of and until such appointment and so far as any such appointment shall not extend To the use of the said Charles Thacker and his assigns during his life without impeachment of of waste And after the determination of that state by any means in his lifetime To the use of Richard Hickin of the Parish and Manor of Norton Canes aforesaid Miner his executors and administrators during the life of the said Charles Thacker In Trust for the said Charles Thacker and his assigns And after the determination of his estate so limited to the said Richard Hicken his executors and administrators as aforesaid to the use of the said Charles Thacker his heirs and assigns for ever Subject ??? ?? hereinafter mentioned that is to say the mines minerals stone fossils and other substrata except surface sand and gravel under the land hereby conveyed are reserved unto William Hanbury Esquire his heirs and assigns and the devices in trust and heirs and assigns of Finneas Fowke Hussey deceased as Lord of the Manor of Norton Canes with full liberty and authority for them their heirs and assigns or by their agents and servants from time to time and at any time to enter into and upon the said land hereby conveyed or any part thereof and to make and sink such pits shafts and levels and to make and construct such buildings engines machines canals basins railways waggonways and roads and afterwards to remove all or any or such of them as can practicably be removed or the materials of all or any of them and to deposit any spoil and to exercise all such other easements in and over the said land or any part thereof as they may deem necessary and convenient for the searching or sawing working converting depositing and carrying away the mines minerals stone fossils and other substrata hereby reserved And also all other rights powers and liberties (being sinecure [?] to those before stated) for working the said mines given or reserved to them by a certain Indenture dated the twentieth day of March One thousand eight hundred and fifty eight and made between the said William Hanbury of the first part Phineas Fowke Hussey of the second part Sophia Hussey of the third part Richard Green and James Lewis [?] of the fourth part and Richard Jesson of the fifth part or by virtue of an Act of Parliament the 22nd and 23rd Victoria Chapter 43 Section 3 they the said Willaim Hanbury and Phineas Fowke Hussey their heirs or assigns paying to the said Charles Thacker his heirs and assigns in respect of any of the land hereby conveyed shall be so entered upon used or occupied for all or any of the purposes aforesaid at and after the rate of Two pounds per acre per annum and so in proportion for any quantity less than an acre during the use and occupation of the said land and no longer and also paying for any damage or injury which may be done to any then growing crops by so entering upon such lands But the said William Hanbury and the devices heirs and assigns of the said Phineas Fowke Hussey deceased are not to be liable for any damage or injury which may happen to any houses buildings or erections of any description which may hereinafter be erected on the said land or any part thereof for any damage or injury which may be caused by the opening falling in or subsidence of the surface thereof or otherwise howsoever through or in relation to the searching for working getting or carrying away the said mines minerals stone fossils and other substrata hereby reserved or any of them. And the said Charles Thacker is to make within six months from the date hereof the fences for inclosing the land hereby conveyed situated on the north east and north west sides thereof and for ever hereafter to keep the same in good order and repair. In witness we the said Inclosure Commissioners have hereunto set our hands and affixed our seals and the said Charles Thacker hath hereunto ste his hand and seal this fifteenth day of October One thousand eight hundred and sixty eight /./


Andy says:

On its own this does not reveal much except that the Lords of the Manor, Hanbury and Hussey, retained all underground mineral rights and absolved themselves of any liability for damage caused by subsidence from their mining activities, though they agreed to compensate for damage to crops. Charles Thacker had paid £21 for the privilege of having this contract drawn up and would receive £2 per acre per year in perpetuity in respect of mining beneath his land.

The auction particulars (below) reveal that the 2 roods and 3 perches[1] (approximately 0.52 acres or 0.21 hectares) of Lot 10 were for building land. The neighbouring plots were for building (9) and just ‘land’ (11).

Conveyance 1868

From the Birmingham Journal, Saturday, April 4th, 1868 p1,col1 Via Click for a larger version.

In the 1871 census a Charles Thacker lived next to the Pear Tree Cottage (William Hartson, Publican). Next to him was an unoccupied house ‘recently built’, then Thomas Hicken, Miner (not the son of Richard Hicken, Miner, whose address was ‘Wilkin’ and who also had a son William), then Thomas Thacker, Grocer.

Still, this looks like the people mentioned in relation to Lots 9, 10 and 11. The auction particulars refer to Conduit Colliery Works, but this was surely not the place we understand as Conduit Colliery at Betty’s Lane, see details about Lot 19, which places the works next or close to the reservoir.

[1] 1 acre = 4 roods and 160 perches; 1 rood = 40 perches.

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Looking for Brenda Pitt, please

Hi folks –  this is just a small enquiry for a reader.

I’m interested in contact details for a local lady called Brenda Pitt who was very possibly married to John Thomas. I think Brenda was a Brownhills resident originally, but may also have lived in Rushall and/or Aldridge. It is believed she may be resident in the local area still.

There’s nothing wrong, and no need for concern, but if anyone knows Brenda and would be so good as to pass on my email address, I’d appreciate it.

BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.


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These are not well-to-do folk…

It’s always a pleasure and delight to feature contributions from Walsall Wood history experts John and Paul Anslow – yesterday they sent me an absolutely remarkable group photo following the wedding of Walter Yates from Walsall Wood to Annie Baker of Stafford in 1910.

Paul and John have made some absolutely remarkable contributions to our knowledge of local history over the years here on the Brownhills Blog; from the movers and boneshakers of times passed, to the solemn gravity of child labour.

My thanks to John and Paul, as ever. Opening their emails is always a delight, and this is an astoundingly clear picture. The groom, dapper in his suit, could have walked in off the streets today. Look at those faces. These are not rich people, but the dignity is remarkable.

I’m sure the Walsall Wood contingent will enjoy picking the bones out of this, and all comment is as ever, welcome. Comment here, please or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

John Anslow wrote:

Walter and Annie 1910

Back row, L to R: Unknown, Sam Morgan? Lizzie Jackson (married Sam Morgan 1912), Lizzie Baker, Teresa (surname unknown)
Middle row, L to R: John Jackson, Harry Newbould, Walter T C Yates (groom), Sarah Ann Baker (bride), Beattie Baker, Unknown (possibly bride’s brother, Alex),
Front row,seated, L to R: Louisa Wood? (married John Jackson 1912) Mary Jane Jackson (married Harry Newbould 1910), Eliza Baker (bride’s mother), Mary Ann Baker (aka Polly), Agnes Johnson? (née Baker) with baby May.

Hello again Bob.

Paul and I thought this photograph might be of interest to you and your readers. We’re hoping that descendants of the Walsall Wood folk in the picture might read your blog and help us to identify those whose names we either don’t know at all or else are uncertain about. You might also help us with some historical questions about the movement of people away from Walsall Wood during the early years of the last century.

The photograph was taken at the wedding of Walter Yates and Annie Baker on 1st August 1910. The groom’s guests are all from Walsall Wood, where Walter had been living and working, and the bride’s from Stafford; they are probably celebrating at the bride’s family home just off the Stone Road.

These are not well-to-do folk: Walter is a coal miner, Annie had been in domestic service; the guests, likewise, are in the boot-making trade, are domestic servants or colliers or work at the brickyard. (Stafford was at that time, I believe, a centre for boot and shoe manufacture.) Here they all are, ordinary working people, in their Sunday best for a very important day.

Some appear solemn while others suppress a smile. It was not considered the done thing to show one’s teeth: only lunatics did that; the dazzling grin became fashionable, I’m told, only after the influence of Hollywood film stars.

We do not know how it was that Walter came to lodge with the Jacksons at the thatched cottage on Streets Corner, or during which years he resided there; he had been born at Aston in 1885 and we believe he had no surviving immediate family in 1910. Shortly before this picture was taken he moved up to Yorkshire and, after the wedding, he and Annie settled there in the well-known coal-mining village of Grimethorpe.

Perhaps someone can also help us to understand why so many people moved away from Walsall Wood in the early years of the Twentieth Century. Were the coal seams becoming worked out? Was there a recession? Miners in our own family moved to the coalfields of Kent, South Wales and Yorkshire, just as their fathers had gone looking for work in Northumberland during the 1880s. Others went out to the United States, particularly around Pittsburgh, ‘the Silicon Valley of the early 1900s’. Here the men found work in the steel mills and the women in domestic service; most never returned.

Walter and Annie had three children by the time conscription for married men came into force in June 1916. Walter was conscripted into 2nd Battalion, Bedfordshire regiment and was posted missing in action during the Battle of The Somme on 11th July 1916. His name is inscribed on the Thiepval Memorial to those whose bodies have never been recovered.

Back row, L to R:
Unknown, Sam Morgan? Lizzie Jackson (married Sam Morgan 1912), Lizzie Baker, Teresa (surname unknown)

Middle row, L to R:
John Jackson, Harry Newbould, Walter T C Yates (groom), Sarah Ann Baker (bride), Beattie Baker, Unknown (possibly bride’s brother, Alex).

Front row,seated, L to R:
Louisa Wood? (married John Jackson 1912) Mary Jane Jackson (married Harry Newbould 1910), Eliza Baker (bride’s mother), Mary Ann Baker (aka Polly), Agnes Johnson? (née Baker) with baby May.

All the Jacksons were living at Streets Corner at the time this picture was taken. John, a miner, later kept the General Store of the opposite side of Lichfield Road.

Sam Morgan was also a miner, living in Brookland Road, but we’re not sure if that’s him on the back row.


John Anslow

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Woodmen fail to dent Stafford Rangers


The Wood had at least one near miss. Picture supplied by David Evans.

Before a large crowd of supporters and a coach load of away fans, Walsall Wood FC bravely, but ultimately unsuccessfully fought Stafford Rangers on Saturday afternoon (30th August 2014), to be eventually beaten 3-0.

Bad luck lads. There’s also a match review by the wonderful Vimes on his ‘I see floodlights’ blog with additional pics and commentary.

Bill Shaw submitted the following match report:

Hiya Bob,

Walsall Wood 0 v 3 Stafford Rangers

The last time these two teams met in the FA Cup was 27 years ago – it finished Walsall Wood 0 v 3 Stafford Rangers.

Fast forward to 2014, obviously personnel have changed but the result was the same. This time the Wood just couldn’t Cope with Daniel.

A hotshot Daniel Cope scored a hat-trick, a tap in after 13 minutes, a bullet header on 30 and a calm, composed low drive on 66 minutes.


The match never really went Walsall Wood’s way. Image supplied by David Evans.

Wood never gave up trying but Neil Kitching’s side looked composed under pressure whilst Walsall Wood, already missing last season’s leading scorer Harry Harris through suspension then lost midfield dynamo Anthony Juxon with a hamstring injury just before the second goal, leaving them with a real mountain to climb.

Rangers continue on the road to Wembley in the flagship competition, for Wood it’s the FA Vase when next Saturday they visit Malvern Town, with the winners facing a home tie with Pershore Town on Saturday October 4th.

Bill Shaw.

Walsall Wood are a good team and an excellent, community-spirited club. They need our support.

With the new season well underway, do get out and support the Woodmen – with footy this great on your doorstep for such a small ticket price, you’d be mad not to go see them and experience the fantastic atmosphere at this historic club.

As ever, thanks to Bill for the report – always appreciated – for The Good of the Wood!

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Aldridge Charity Cricket Match and Barbecue this afternoon!

charity cricket game

Looks like a great event! Why not pop down?

Jasmin Fisher has been in touch to ask if I’d let readers know about the above event – a Charity Cricket Game and Barbecue being held at Aldridge Cricket Club at 1:30pm today, Sunday 31st August 2014.

The match is between Aldridge Cricket Club XI and Walmley Cricket Club.

The teams feature some top cricketing names – including Warwickshire’sDominic Ostler and Nick James – and a host of Brum Premier League players, so it’s guaranteed to be a good game.

The game is all in aid of Crohn’s and Colitis UK, a very worthy charity indeed who are  fighting a really horrid condition, so it’s all for an excellent cause.

Parking and entry are free, so what’s not to love?

The match is at:

Aldridge Cricket Club, The Green
Off Little Aston Road
West Mids
Postcode WS9 8NH

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Shed burglaries in Shire Oak overnight: did you see anything?


Shire Oak is normally pretty quiet….

Terri Fallon Nicholls from Lichfield Road in Shire Oak has been in touch today regarding the fact that her shed, and that of a near neighbour were burgled in the early hours of Saturday, 30th August 2014.

Hi Bob

Please ask readers to be vigilant!

We were robbed last night when our shed was broken in to between the hours of 2am – 8am.

The thieves stole a hedge trimmer, lawn mower, strimmers, chain saw, drill etc. They climbed over our 6ft fence/gate!

We live in Lichfield Road, Shire Oak and our neighbour had his lawn mower robbed too.

Just trying to make everyone aware, we thought our garden was really secure, our gates are massive, but it seems not. 

Take care folks!


I’d like to offer my sympathies to Terri and her neighbour, and I thank her for letting us know. You can keep up with news from the Shire Oak area in the Shire Oak group on Facebook.

I say this every time, but it bares repeating: lock up your house properly, don’t leave valuables on display or keys where they can easily be taken. Ensure sheds, garages and outbuildings are secured, and if possible, have alarms fitted.

A shed alarm isn’t expensive and can save your stuff.

It’s sad that we have to be like this, but it pays to be that little bit more careful.

Brownhills is generally a low-crime area, and this current grim patch seems to be unusual. The people doing this are more than likely doing it to raise cash from the proceeds of selling what they steal. If you know of anyone hawking around gear that seems to be dubious, please grub them into the police – the stuff they’re flogging is probably nicked.

Anyone with information is urged to contact West Midlands Police by dialling 101 or speak to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Please, lets see if we can nail these thieving buggers.

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Walsall Wood battle Stafford Rangers in FA Cup match this afternoon


Walsall Wood FC have a great reputation for entertaining football, and a keen, loyal and friendly bunch of supporters! Come join in the fun tonight and see some cracking football.

Saturday 30th August 2014

Walsall Wood FC at home to Stafford Rangers

This is a remarkable occasion – can the plucky Wood boys slay the mighty Staffordshire lads in this vital FA Cup match?

Can manager Neil Kitching do for Rangers what he did for Rushall last season and go away with a win?

Don’t break your Wood vows, be there, be faithful to your local heroes

3:00pm kickoff

Please come and get behind your local club

For The Good Of The Wood!

Oak Park, Lichfield Road, Walsall Wood. WS9 9NP.


Let’s hope it’s Walsall Wood’s day…


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