David Evans has been busy on a variety of projects lately, and one side-issue occurred just after Christmas when he was offered various plans of the Linley and Winterley limestone mines by historian John Sale via Bill Mayo – and in his inimitable way, David has connected these plans to something that would not have occurred to me: the long-gone Wesley Church in Walsall Wood.
Years ago, I mused that it was constructed from limestone unlike most other local churches, and wondered why. We’re no closer to an answer here, but we have a valid source for the raw material!
I’d like to thank David for yet another wonderful article – an please, if you have anything to add, please do. Either comment here, of mail me – BrownhillsBob at Googlemail for com. Thanks.
This photo of the old Wesley Church in Walsall Road, Walsall Wood is interesting, not only for the scene of a soup kitchen, but for the building itself . Thanks to the excellent research of Peter Cutler we know that it was opened in 1862 and cost £400.
But the choice of building material, stone, is in itself a mystery because only one year later, 1863, the first Primitive Methodist church opened half a mile away, along the same road, and was built in brick, and was an altogether far more modest simple building as we can see below. It is the small chapel with the round arch windows.
We know that the Wesley chapel was built almost opposite the Travellers Rest pub, which itself lay immediately by the canal, and that the pub lay on the towpath side of the canal.
So, do we have the possibility that the stone was transported by canal. If so, where would the stone have come from?
Perhaps we may have an answer if we travel along the canal, to Daw End in Rushall where there were important limestone workings… adjacent to the canal!
One local limestone mine and its workings have featured on the blog, in the Linley Wood articles, where we read of the use to which the old workings were put during the war.
But to see where the stone for the church may have come from we need to go back in time to the 1860s.
These maps and plans show where the Linley limestone mines were.
The canal that runs through Walsall Wood and Brownhills has borne silent witness to the many heavily laden narrowboats passing along over the two centuries or more.
I would like to offer my sincere thanks to John Sale, via Bill Mayo, for offering these amazing old maps and plans and thereby enable another part of our local history to be recorded, and appreciated, and for the ongoing superb research contribution made by Peter Cutler