A walk around the village

It’s so simple, Great Wyrley has an active club which does just that, it’s healthy and gets one out of the house for a couple of hours. Then there is the walk on the 1st of January each year, which they call ‘Beating the Bounds’, helpful for getting the previous nights excesses out of the system. It meets at the Scout and Guides Centre on the Walsall Rd; many do it, wrapped up, plus a good pair of stout boots. Through the fields at the rear of the Star Public House, onwards and across the Wash brook and making a return journey across open heath and back towards Jones’s Lane then returning to the centre for an hot beverage, a good couple of hours, then back home to put your feet up, but this wasn’t the extent of the ‘Bounds’ as we shall see.
Back in 1822 there was to be a Jurors Verdict of the boundaries surrounding the parish of Great Wyrley. With the grand sounding title of ‘The Perambulation of the Boundary of the Liberty of Great Wyrley’. It meant a walk from place to place, and what a walk it would have made. No detailed maps then, no Ordnance Survey to find the way, just the knowledge of the boundary over the past centuries, from the end of one parish to the next. It must have been a traipse for this committee of esteem locals. Robert Green the Churchwarden, Joseph Lycett an Overseer, I shan’t name them all, but a name that sprang out was John Greensill, probably a forefather to one of the original committee of Great Wyrley Club in 1919, and also a Richard Whitehouse Jnr. (another surname that would crop up time and time again in the village). Then on the 13th March 1823 they made a report back to the ‘Court of Survey of the Most Noble George Granville Leveson Gower Marquess of the County of Stafford’ (what a mouthful!)

Anyway back to the story, I have tried to interpret the language of that time, some of the places spring to mind, others I haven’t the slightest idea of. Off the committee went, they began at Norton Bridge and following the Wash Brook they crossed a foot path leading to Norton, then proceeded south to Norton Brook End! Following the water course till it met the Gains Brook crossing a road (lane) they followed the stream to Row bridge an ancient foot bridge where three parishes met, they kept to the brook till coming to Dark Lane (it is still there now, though only as a footpath at the bottom of Jacobs Hall Lane) and proceeded to Hobble End and then onto the Turnpike (Walsall Rd) leading to Church bridge after crossing over the road, (this is where it gets complicated.)
The report stated they followed the said watercourse through Colonel Grahams
and Mr Hussey’s land, then crossed a lane with stepping stones to Corbett’s Green

then to Madgetts piece in one! On to Gin Leasowe and to the Old Field then to
the Quatches adjoining the township of Sardon, continuing on to the old Campions Wood, through a gate into a lane that led to Cheslyn Hay, off they went in a straight line to Shepherds brew house (and through it!) across his garden and a Mr Poynors Barn Flatts (whatever they were) for another 60 yards then into a Mr Whitehouse’s garden along the fence into the front garden of a Mr Gilpin and out through the back! Then onto Halls Croft which adjoined Burtons Garden. Where we are now I’ve no idea, but they did as they made their way into Mr Joynors garden along his house about four yards from the front door! Over the garden wall through the fold yard! into a lane crossing into the Conduit Land following the fence past a Mrs Kent and Worrall and Mr Charles’s land to the Coal Pit Leasow, onto Widow Lowe’s garden (taking part of it) and then to Widow Bird’s doing the same, taking about 10 yards of ground from the old lady, they then cut across the gable end, the barn and the rick yard taking another eight yards (I bet these guys were popular) they then crossed over from the Paddock to the road by the Stepping Stones into the Hay Meadow leaving half an acre to Cheslyn Hay! Back through Widow Bird’s garden (must have been a big garden) past the pigsty to Mr Hatton’s Meadow and taking in three roods in the holding of Widow Bird’s property (she must have had some land). The committee continued their way down a fence! To Stokes’s Meadow, they followed a stream to an ancient foot bridge (in their words) called Hadley’s Bridge. This last part is as how the report was written in 1823.
“From thence to Church Bridge following the Current to the crossing of a road
leading from Wyrley to Leacroft, then following the Brook side to the crossing of the Watling Street road at Black Brook Bridge and from thence followed the Brook to Plow Bridge. Crossing the said road again and from thence follow the stream side to Norton Bridge where we began.”
Remember that was close on 200 years ago, there was perhaps only a couple of
roads as such, the rest were just track ways and small lanes. What a walk it must
have been, like our New Years walk I bet they also needed a good pair of stout
By Gary Smith
Taken from Decemeber 2009 newsletter. If you would like a copy of the Newsletter for £1.30 please email: winsongary@aol.com

2 thoughts on “A walk around the village

  1. I found your artical about the beating of the bounds interesting. I used to live in gt wyrley,we did the bounds when i was at school in the early sixtys, the beating of the bounds as i was told was for the young people of the village in years gone by to be taken round at certain places there were stumps and rocks, where the young would have there heads knocked against so hence the beating of the bounds.Part of the bounds could not be followed because of the opencast which was RE davies the poplars site. We met on the village green which was in front of the star inn the old coop used to be there any body remember it,

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