GREAT WYRLEY /ˈwɜːrli/ is a civil parish and large village in the
district of South
Staffordshire , England, forming part of the
Staffordshire border with the metropolitan borough of
Walsall , West
Midlands. It had a population of 11,060 at the 2011 census.
* 1 History
* 1.1 Etymology
* 1.2 Early history
* 1.3 Post-Industrial Revolution
* 1.4 The \'
Great Wyrley Outrages\'
* 2 Politics
* 3 Localities
* 4 Schools
* 5 Transport
* 6 Nearest Settlements
* 7 Notes and references
* 8 External links
The word "Wyrley" derives from two
Old English words: wir and leah.
Wir meant "bog myrtle " and leah meant "woodland clearing", suggesting
Great Wyrley began as sparse woodland or marshland . "Great"
refers to its dominant size over
Little Wyrley .
Great Wyrley is mentioned in the
Domesday Book under the name of
Wereleia, and as early as 1086 is said to have been indirectly owned
Bishop of Chester St John's as part of the "somewhat scattered
holdings" of the Church of
Saint Chad in
Lichfield . Some 480 acres of
farming land were, assumingly, evenly distributed between Wyrley and
Norton Canes . However, all six dependencies of
Saint Chad had
been labelled as "wasta", which meant they had been abandoned by the
Domesday Book was made. Lord of the Manor
Manorialism continued for a long period and the current holder of the
rights to the feudal title of
Great Wyrley Manor is, Anthony Henry
Lord Great Wyrley, the freeholder of
Great Wyrley and Essington
Estates, Red Lane Essington, South Staffordshire, having acquired the
title deeds from the Right Honourable Elizabeth Millicent Countess of
Duke of Sutherland in 1989. There is considerable
documentation (dating from 1397) relating to this very large manor in
terms of land currently in the safekeeping of
In former times the town was a mining village — The Great Wyrley
Colliery — with metalworking (such as for nails, agricultural
implements and horseshoes) in outlying areas. The Wyrley and Essington
Canal passes nearby.
In 1848 Samuel Lewis included the settlement in his gazetteer and
stated it had:
* 799 inhabitants and 1600 acres, of which the Duke of Sutherland
* Several collieries ;
* The road from
Cannock passing through the village,
long, and consisting of detached houses;
* In 1844,
Great Wyrley it formed with
Cheslyn Hay a new
ecclesiastical district, having a population of 1,753;
* St. Mark\'s Church , a highly finished structure in the early
English style, built 1845, at a cost of £2430, of which sum £1200
was given by the Rev. William Gresley, prebendary of
Lichfield ; the
remainder was raised by subscription, aided by £333 from the
Diocesan, and £250 from the Incorporated Society;
* A perpetual curacy ; patrons, the Dean and Chapter of Lichfield;
* A school, purchased from the Independents (Nonconformists ), was
opened in 1843 which cross-references the gazetteer entry
Shapurji Edalji was appointed Vicar of Great Wyrley; he
served until his death forty-two years later. A
Parsi convert to
Christianity from Bombay, he may well have been the first South Asian
to become the incumbent of an English parish.
THE \'GREAT WYRLEY OUTRAGES\'
In 1903, the place was the scene of the "
Great Wyrley Outrages", a
series of slashings of horses, cows and sheep. In October, a local
solicitor and son of the parson,
George Edalji , was tried and
convicted for the eighth attack, on a pit pony, and sentenced to seven
years with hard labour. Edalji’s family had been the victims of a
long-running campaign of untraceable abusive letters and anonymous
harassment in 1888 and 1892-5. Further letters, in 1903, alleged he
was partially responsible for the outrages and caused the police
suspicion to focus on him.
Edalji was released in 1906 after the Chief Justice in
others had pleaded his case. But he was not pardoned, and the police
kept him under surveillance. Sir
Arthur Conan Doyle
Arthur Conan Doyle of Sherlock Holmes
fame was persuaded to "turn detective" to prove the man's innocence.
This he achieved after eight months of work. Edalji was exonerated by
Home Office committee of enquiry, although no compensation was
Local myth remembers the Outrages to have been enacted by "The Wyrley
Gang", although Conan Doyle believed that they were the work of a
single person, a local butcher's boy and sometime sailor called Royden
Sharp. Ironically, Conan Doyle’s suspicion was based on
circumstantial evidence. It was an over-reliance on this type of
evidence in the first place which had resulted in Edalji’s flawed
Poison pen letters in the name of the "Wyrley Gang" continued for
another twenty-five years, but these were subsequently discovered to
have been posted from outside the town by Enoch Knowles of Wednesbury
, who was arrested and convicted in 1934.
This case has been related or retold:
* Conan Doyle's The Story of Mr.
George Edalji (1907, expanded
re-issue in 1985).
* 1972 BBC anthology series The Edwardians:
Arthur Conan Doyle
Arthur Conan Doyle (one
episode) centres on his involvement in the Edaji case. Written by
Jeremy Paul and directed by Brian Farnham, it stars
Nigel Davenport as
Sam Dastor as George Edaji, and
Renu Setna as the
Arthur & George by
Julian Barnes (2005), nominated that year for
Man Booker Prize
Man Booker Prize . In 2010, Arthur by the parish boundaries are
junctions T7 on the
M6 Toll motorway and 11 of the M6 . Rail
Landywood railway station provides services south to
Street and north to
Rugeley Trent Valley . Wyrley and Cheslyn Hay
railway station to the north of
Landywood closed in the 1960s (see
Beeching Report ). Buses
Great Wyrley is served by two bus routes running between
Walsall , and two bus routes running between
Cannock and Wolverhampton
Arriva Midlands route 1
Arriva Midlands route 2
Arriva Midlands route 68 and
Arriva Midlands Route 69.
Cheslyn Hay (contiguous)
Newtown (small hamlet in
Pelsall Wood and
NOTES AND REFERENCES
* ^ "largely employing the population around." Per Lewis, below.
* ^ ward and town populations
Staffordshire County Council,
* ^ Etymology and History at Roman-Britain.org
* ^ Etymology and History at Roman-Britain.org
* ^ Wyrley - entry in translated Norman script Domesdaymap.co.uk.
Great and Little are suggested by the text and this historical maps
specialist to be one.
* ^ Samuel Lewis (editor) (1848). "Wyke - Wyvill". A Topographical
Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research. Retrieved 2
April 2013. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link )
* ^ Weaver, Gordon. "Conan Doyle and The Parson\'s Son". The
Plebeian. Retrieved 24 October 2010.
* ^ The Times 7 November 1934
* ^ Info on the stage adaption of "Arthur & George" at the
Birmingham Repertory Theatre\'s website
* ^ http://www.outrage-rogeroldfield.co.uk
* ^ http://moderngov.staffordshire.gov.uk/mgMemberIndex.aspx?bcr=1
* ^ "Council Members". South
Staffordshire District Council .
Archived from the original on 19 March 2012. Retrieved 28 April 2012.
Staffordshire County Council website showing South
Staffordshire ward boundaries Archived 23 February 2012 at the Wayback
* ^ Results on "Google Maps"
* ^ http://www.landywoodprimary.co.uk/
Landywood Primary School
* ^ http://www.moathall.staffs.sch.uk/ Moat Hall Primary School
* ^ http://www.stthomasmore-primary.staffs.sch.u