Digging deeper

The one element of curating this blog that never ceases to astound me is the willingness with which people donate their free time and skill to further research the subjects presented. Last week, you’ll surely recall, there was a huge amount of interest in the story and history of Goblins Pit, Goblins Pit Wood, and the Derry family who lived there. This tiny hamlet, just on the Green Lane between Walsall Wood and Shelfield, seems to have a really engaging history and an important place in the development of Bullings Heath and the wider Walsall Wood.

Research dynamo Andy Dennis – a man of many talents to whom I owe a tremendous debt of gratitude – has put in an immense amount of work and drawn up a diagram of the known history of the Derrys and the houses at Goblins Pit. It’s wonderful, and you may want to download it and print it. It’s quite a big image.

An astounding and thorough piece of research from Andy Dennis - click for a larger version - you may wish to download and print, or zoom in.

Andy also kindly downloaded the further instalments of ‘The Poor Widow’s Offering’ Which I have combined into a handy, download and print PDF file for your perusal. Download it from the below link (it’s 3.3 megabytes in size, so it may take a while on a slow connection):

The Poor Widow’s Offering: further instalments 3.5MB

Andy had the following to say:

Hello Bob

As promised, further episodes of the Charles Derry story. I’m not sure how interested people will be as the narrative is increasingly swamped by an account of his developing faith and leanings toward the Latter Day Saints.

I have also found various other related bits of information about his family and will forward when I’ve tidied it up. If nothing else, it will at least help some people in the USA who are trying to trace their ancestors through Charles and his brother George.


I reiterate – I’m massively grateful to Andy for his wonderful contributions, on a whole range of stuff. His input on the Tesco planning issue was also calm, informed, and worthy of wider attention. Cheers old chap, I owe you a pint.

The Poor Widow's Offering - not quite a literary great, but remarkable when you consider how limited the writers' education must have been. A genuinely odd bit of local history.

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5 Responses to Digging deeper

  1. David Evans says:

    HI Bob

    Many, many thanks to Andy for his wonderful work. Another fascinating revelation indeed. I wonder if the Episcopalian Church mentioned in the story was the meeting room on the side of the original Horse and Jockey Pub? I understand that the first Methodists may have used this room also.
    There is still a Methodist Central Hall in Walsall, which may date from the time of the story, in fact.
    Having personally ” got lost” in the depths of a certain “ancestors’ website” I realise the hours and dedication that Andy has put in to making the family tree. Splendid, Andy
    with kind regards

  2. Andy Dennis says:

    Thanks, Bob. Keep the stimulation coming.

    It’s rare to find such a first-hand history and this one provided a family framework that made research pretty easy – Sue Lote’s website was especially useful. Often people’s recollections are less than perfect (as we have discussed), so there was an element of testing, but this one seems especially accurate and vivid. It also connects to other family history research; what sort of house would a coal miner occupy in a small Leicestershire village in the mid-late 17th century? Probably something like Charles’ birthplace, which seems to have been pretty old. The other factor was my being laid up with a knee problem (more or less recovered), so it was something to stave off even more severe insanity!

    The original image is A3 size. For anyone embarking on family history research this is a good way of organising information, especially recording what you can’t find and working out what fits and what doesn’t.

    As I said, I know of some folk across the pond who will find this helpful, so I will direct them to your blog.

  3. It’s fantastic to find out so much info about the family and the place and I’m always up for trying to find out where these wonderful old place names come from. I’ve really enjoyed it, cheers everyone!

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