Reader Caz: what a star!

Caz, a regular, long time reader of the Brownhills Blog has recently mailed me a couple of brilliant items which will be of huge interest to local history enthusiasts reading the blog. I’m turning them into a post of their own, because I’ve replied to Caz’s email, but she doesn’t seem to be receiving my mail. I’d just like to tell you, Caz, that your mails to me are fine. I think there might be a problem in the other direction.

First up, there’s this wonderful photo:

Come on folks, lets see what you know about this wonderful period group. under where they were off to? Picture kindly supplied (and scanned beautifully) by reader Caz.

Hi Bob,

I came across this photo, and tried to figure out how to send it to you when you did a post about The Weslyan Church in Walsall Wood, but being the thickie I am, when it comes to computers, I couldn’t do it and gave up.

I’m hoping I’ve figured it out now… if not, then this is going to be a really stupid email.

It’s a photograph of a day trip, which I think was organised by the Weslyan Church, although it doesn’t say where it was going to.

My grandparents,William George and Emily Maud Edwards worked at the Church. My Gran is the lady with the bow on her hat, highlighted with an arrow. I don’t know the year, but my Gran died in 1953/4 so it’s obviously before then. I can’t see my Grandad on the picture, but he died about 1950/1 so perhaps it was later than this. Perhaps one of your readers may recognise someone and be able to give some info about it.

Assuming that I’m not a complete idiot and the pic actually comes to you, feel free to use it, if you wish. If not then delete and accept my apologies for wasting your time.


Caz, I can assure you this is a fine submission as any I’ve had. Well scanned, got here in one piece and I love the writeup. You are certainly never wasting my time and I always look forward to hearing from you. Lets see what the readers know about this one – please drop me a line at BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com or comment on this post. Cheers.

Caz sent me another cracking item later that day. It’s related to the ongoing interest in the Mortuary, in Bulliings Heath, Walsall Wood. It’s a map of the immediate area dated 26th February 1879:

The mortuary appears to be, from later maps, where the two square buildings are marked, cutting off the corner of plot number 142. The original image was in colour, but I've greyed it to prevent identifying information being shared. Map kindly supplied by reader Caz.

Hi Bob,

Hope I’m doing this right and you get the Map.

If the mortuary was built about 1905? I’m wondering what the ‘square’ is on this map, in a similar area to the mortuary on later maps.The map is dated 26th february 1879 and stamped and ”certified to be a true extract from the Plan attached to the Walsall Wood Inclosure Award deposited in the office of the Clerk of the Peace for the County of Stafford” it’s signed by a Matt F Blackiston, Clerk of the Peace. I have got another map with the mortuary marked on, but it isn’t dated, so probably wouldn’t be any use to you or would it?

I tried sending you a family photograph this morning of a goup of people, [adults and children], going on a day trip from the Weslyan Church, possibly from early 1950’s.Didn’t know if some of your readers would be interested…maybe recognise themselves or one of their family in it? I’m not sure if you would have received it though, as i’ve just read that pics have to be resized to a smaller megabyte?

As you can tell Bob, I’m not that good when it comes to this, so if i have made mistakes let me know and I’ll try again.

best wishes Caz

This is a brilliant thing – it gives a bit more insight to what’s going on in this area before the earliest decent Ordnace Survey maps. Am I correct in thinking that the name Arblaster sounds familiar? Sure I’ve seen that before in some context.

If you look at the 1888 and 1902 extracts in the original post, ‘A Strange Undertaking’, they both show these buildings as the above segment. The closest map post-1905 I have access to right now is the 1919 segment featured int he post ‘The way the land lies’ which shows a driveway to a building slightly further away, at a different angle:

1919 Ordnance Survey map of Bullings Heath. Note the arrangement of the mortuary.

What the two original buildings are, is anyone’s guess. I’m thinking maybe a barn and pig sty, but that really is a guess. I’m saying that purely because of it’s proximity to a farmyard and shape and relative sizes, but I have no idea other than to guess. Anyone care to speculate?

I, and other readers, would love to see any maps you have… even undated, they are a fun and engaging point of interest. I can assure you that the scan was fine and just the right size and settings. Thanks Caz for your act of generosity and for your continued wonderful contributions.

Can I also point out that you have indeed got the hang of scanning and sending documents. Please let me know if you didn’t receive my email… and thanks again.

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20 Responses to Reader Caz: what a star!

  1. Andy says:

    The Arblasters used to own a shop on Ogley Hay Road (the one by the Triangle) which later became just a house. Mrs Arblaser still lived there when I was growing up there in the 80’s / 90’s

  2. CAZ says:

    Hi Bob,Thanks.
    Yes, I did receive an email on Sunday saying you’d received the daytrip pic, but by then I’d already sent the map. Because I thought I’d done the first one wrong [the daytrip], I looked up on the internet how to do it right,and followed the instructions for sending the second one [ the map].Because the map was sent as an attachment, I was getting a message saying it may be blocked by the server? so when i then got the email to say you’d received the first one I thought then, that maybe the second one was wrong, as l haven’t received a reply to this one.
    Hope you’re following this?…..I’m confusing myself lol
    To the young ‘techies’ out there who must think I’m stupid……….well let me tell you something……you’re right LOL
    Glad you could use them, and hope some of your readers will recognise someone and be able to give info on the daytrip.
    best wishes Caz

    • Hi Caz…

      Sorry, I’m not the best at replying to email. I do my best, but Sunday was a little hectic and workdays are even worse. I do try to reply to everyone, but it takes a lot of time and sometimes stuff gets missed. If anyone has mailed me and failed to get a response, my apologies, please feel free to give me a prod. It’s not rudeness, but with comments on the blog I get quite a lot of stuff come in and marshalling it is quite difficult.

      I can assure you, we don’t think you’re stupid. You did a cracking job of those and I thank you profusely. It’s readers like you who make doing this such a great fun, communal experience. Thank you.

      Best wishes


      • CAZ says:

        it’s okay Bob,
        I’m not very good at replying to email either, probably bacause 99% of mine is usually junk.
        best wishes Caz

  3. CAZ says:

    Sorry everyone, just skimmed through the ‘life story’ my Dad wrote, to see if i could find anything useful and his Dad was actually caretaker of the Ebenezer Chapel in Lichfield Road, not the Weslyan Church.He also wrote of his Mother passing away later than I thought,late 50’s. I’ve found out the photo again and it says…Day trip from Chapel.
    So to correct the post, it’s probably EBENEZER Chapel, not Weslyan Church and probably taken sometime in the 1950’s.
    Sorry again for any confusion

  4. Andy Dennis says:

    When searching Census records Arblaster crops up frequently. A Thomas Arblaster was publican at the Yew Tree Inn (used to be in Pelsall Road) in 1881 and 1901 and, in between, the Anchor Inn in 1891. Apparently, the name is derived from a Norman or medieval term for a man armed with a crossbow, but, there being little call for crossbowmen in 19th century Brownhills, most of the local men seem to have been coal miners.

  5. Andy Dennis says:

    GUIDE TO SOURCES No 5 STAFFORDSHIRE ENCLOSURE ACTS, AWARDS & MAPS” the inclosure award for this part of Walsall Wood was in 1876.

  6. CAZ says:

    Bullings Heath, was one of the first settlement areas in Walsall Wood, and according to info found on the web, Edmund Arblaster and John Cooper were the main landowners.

    Edward Arblaster b1753 [Norton Canes] married a Mary Turner and they had a son called Edmund b1791 / d1878 age 87. This son Edmund, married Anne Woodhouse and they had 6 children between 1814-1825. Their 2nd son Edmund was born 1817 and he went on to marry Jane? b1825, and they had a son, also called Edmund b1847 [Aldridge]. Could he be the landowner in question?

    I also found a court roll dated 7th Oct 1731, concerning land in Longdon, Staffs?
    An Edmund Arblaster was surrendering pastures called Bileways,Fullbrook and Long Meadow to the use of his son Edward. Could these have been his ancestors?

  7. Andy Dennis says:

    Looks likely. A quick search reveals that the Arblaster family was one of the wealthiest in the manor of Longdon in the 17th century (and earlier?) and an Edward Arblaster held Lysways Hall (demolished 1936) until about 1770. In 1709 an Edward Arblaster of Arblaster Hall, Brocton, was High Sherriff of Staffordshire.

    In 1871 an Edward Arblaster (b.1811) farmed 40 acres at Swing Bridge Farm, Clayhanger and in 1881 65 acres. His parents were Edward Arblaster (b.1773) and Elizabeth Cooper. Edward senior’s father was also Edward (b.1753 Shenstone, d. 1825 Clayhanger) – see reply by Caz.

    In 1871 an Edmund Arblaster (b. 1816 Little Wyrley) farmed 170 acres at Druids Heath, Aldridge. He must be the man named on Caz’s map. Edmund died in 1878 and according to the probate register left “under £4,000” (another estate was under £3,000, so he left a lot of money/property). In 1881, his son, also Edmund, farmed 140 acres in the same area.

    Presumably, there is a connection with the landed gentry of the 18th century and perhaps Henry VIII’s time?

  8. CAZ says:

    You only have to look at death records from ‘olden’ times, and see how many people died young back then , many during childhood and very very rarely do you see someone living to be 80 or even 70 and yet the Edmund that died 1878 was 87years old, so i can’t picture him having worked himself to death down a mine.
    More likely to have been a wealthy landowner with servants attending to his every whim. Oh…….. how the other half live

  9. David Evans says:

    Hi Bob

    for Caz…I don’t recognise any of the coach party as being from Ebenezer but I will try to send Bob a mail with 1952 Ebenezer people to see if anyone recognises some of the people in this photo..perhaps he can who this in his blog
    best wishes
    David Evans

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