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Wombourne
Wombourne
(also spelt Wombourn) is a large village and civil parish located in the district of South Staffordshire, in the county of Staffordshire, 4 miles (6 km) south-west of Wolverhampton and just outside the county and conurbation of the West Midlands. Local affairs are run by a parish council. At the 2001 census it had a population of 13,691, increasing to 14,157 at the 2011 Census.[1] Due to its proximity to the county and conurbation of the West Midlands, it is, to some extent, an urban fringe settlement or dormitory village for the conurbation, although it also has a distinctive centre and a long history.

Contents

1 Etymology and usage 2 History

2.1 Origins 2.2 The medieval village 2.3 Industrial developments 2.4 The modern village

3 Amenities 4 Walks and Local Countryside

4.1 The Wom Brook
Wom Brook
Walk 4.2 The South Staffordshire
Staffordshire
Railway Walk 4.3 The Staffordshire
Staffordshire
and Worcestershire Canal 4.4 Surrounding Area

5 Governance 6 Politics 7 Transport 8 Schools 9 Around Wombourne 10 Sport 11 References 12 Further reading 13 External links

Etymology and usage[edit] The Old English
Old English
word burna signifies a stream, and a stream is a notable feature of the village. Formerly the village name was thought to mean "Womb Stream", or stream in a hollow,[2] because this is a reasonable description of the situation. However, more recent scholarship explains the name as meaning a Crooked Stream,[3] which is at least as good a description. Burna was one of the terms for a stream used in the earliest Anglo-Saxon
Anglo-Saxon
place names, and the stream was presumably itself called the Wom Bourn. However, today it is always distinguished from the village by the name Wom Brook, from another, slightly later, Old English term for a stream: brōca. The Wom Brook, which has required considerable work to ameliorate its flooding, originates on Penn Common and is a tributary of the Smestow Brook, which it meets just south of Wombourne. The spelling "Wombourne" is now preferred for official use. However, the village is marked "Wombourn" on the 1775 William Yates Map of the County of Stafford
Stafford
and as late as the 1945–48 series Ordnance Survey maps.[4] There has been considerable feeling about the issue and road signs were regularly amended unofficially with spray paint until the 1990s at least. History[edit] Origins[edit]

Flint axehead, likely neolithic, found at Wombourne
Wombourne
in 1943. Now in the collection of Wolverhampton
Wolverhampton
Art Gallery.

The village has Anglo-Saxon
Anglo-Saxon
origins, and was part of the large central kingdom of Mercia, which was settled by Angles. The whole region was wooded when the Germanic settlers arrived, and hamlet names like Bratch
Bratch
("newly-cleared-land") and Blakeley ("dark clearing") attest to the need to clear land for settlement. The settlers reared large herds of pigs, which were easily fed in the beech, oak and birch woods, which are the naturally-predominant vegetation in the region. Local toponyms like Kingswinford
Kingswinford
("royal pig crossing") and Swindon ("pig hill") confirm the importance of pig rearing in Anglo-Saxon
Anglo-Saxon
times. The medieval village[edit] Wombourne
Wombourne
is mentioned in Domesday Book
Domesday Book
and was clearly a medium-sized village by the standards of the time. Before the Norman Conquest, it was owned by an Anglo-Saxon
Anglo-Saxon
nobleman called Thorsten. By the time of the survey, probably 1086, William, Fitz Ansculf, held seven hides of land, some of them let from him by one Ralph of Wombourne. William was an important landowner throughout the West Midlands, the son of Ansculf of Picquigny, a Picard baron who came to England
England
with William the Conqueror and built a castle at Dudley. William's total holding at Wombourne
Wombourne
supported 8 ploughs and was worth £3. There were 13 villagers (probably not including dependents, so perhaps thirty to forty people in total); a priest, and so perhaps some sort of church; as well as two mills, the first evidence for the importance of water power in the area. Wombourne
Wombourne
was part of the Seisdon
Seisdon
Hundred. The Priors of Dudley
Dudley
built or rebuilt the Parish Church of St. Benedict Biscop
Benedict Biscop
around 1170, the only parish church dedicated to this Anglo-Saxon
Anglo-Saxon
cleric. The building as it is seen today, however, is the result of numerous reconstructions and refurbishments, particularly in the 18th and 19th centuries. The parish of Wombourne
Wombourne
extended far from the village, taking in Orton and Swindon.

The former Heath House, a residence of the Foley family attached to their industrial complex at Heath Mill. Today it is an apartment block, known as Mansion Court.

Industrial developments[edit] For most of its history Wombourne
Wombourne
was mainly an agricultural village. However, its involvement with industry began unusually early. From the Middle Ages, the Smestow Brook
Smestow Brook
and the Stour were lined with small iron bloomeries and forges, using local reserves of charcoal and water. The Industrial Revolution
Industrial Revolution
brought coke-fired furnaces. In 1772, the Staffordshire
Staffordshire
and Worcestershire Canal was opened, with major canal locks at the Bratch
Bratch
and Bumble Hole, integrating the area more closely into industrial Britain. Iron production concentrated in a smaller number of centres – at Swindon, in the southern part of the Wombourn parish, at Gothersley, at the Hyde near Kinver, and increasingly in the nearby Black Country
Black Country
– using the canal to bring ore, coal and limestone to the works. Other villages, however, remained centres for smithing, with cheaper and more available iron greatly increasing the number of workers. Increasingly, Wombourne became a centre for nail-making. The Wom and the Smestow continued to provide both power and cooling water, with several large mills along each stream by the late 18th century. Perhaps the largest water-driven forge was to the west of the village, where, an 1817 history remarks, "has been erected an iron-work called the Heath-forge, with genteel mansion".[5] This works had a large mill pool, supplied by the Merryhill Brook and by a contour canal from the River Smestow. Water fell thence in several stages to the Wom, which then joined the Smestow a short distance to the west. The forge mill was later converted into a corn mill, which functioned until the 1930s. The Heath Mill industrial estate on the main Bridgnorth
Bridgnorth
road preserves the name of the complex. The mansion building, now converted into flats, is still to be seen in the Poolhouse estate, itself named after the poolhouse that stood at the dam. The water mill is clearly marked on the 1775 Yates map of Staffordshire, along with one at the Wodehouse, and another just south of the village centre, the remains of which are now the Pool Dam. It was around the same time that the Hellier family reached the peak of their influence in the area. The Helliers lived at the Wodehouse, on the Wom Brook, to the east of the village. It was the fourth Samuel Hellier, knighted in 1762, who turned the Jacobean house into a centre of culture. He had the grounds laid out in fashionable style, with a hermitage, a temple to the memory of Handel, and a music room. He spent a fortune on musical instruments and books of music,[6] building up a private collection and endowing both the church at Wombourne
Wombourne
and St. John's, Wolverhampton. The family collection included the Stradivarius named after them. Dying without issue in 1784, he left his property to a family friend, the Reverend Thomas Shaw, on condition he change his name to Hellier. One of his descendents spent years as commandant of the Royal Military School of Music
Royal Military School of Music
at Kneller Hall. It is claimed that the Wodehouse has not been sold for over 900 years.[7] In 1851, Wombourne
Wombourne
was described by William White as a large village, "occupied chiefly by nailors, who work for the neighbouring manufacturers".[8] Nail-making remained important into the 20th century. As White implies, it was mainly the preserve of outworkers, who operated small-scale machinery in, or attached to, their own homes, fetching iron sheet or rod from the foundries and returning the finished product. White tells us that the main landowners in the area in the mid-19th century were John Wrottesley, 2nd Baron Wrottesley, a notable astronomer, and Lord Ward – at this time the Reverend William Humble Ward, the tenth Baron, a relative of the Earl of Dudley. The Wards made their wealth not merely from land, but what lay under it: the coal and limestone of the West Midlands. Another important landowner, the Reverend William Dalton, was an Evangelical clergyman from Ulster, but he owed his wealth to marriage to the widow of a Bilston
Bilston
iron master.[9] The modern village[edit] Although the parish had a population approaching 2000 by the mid-19th century, the village itself remained quite small – essentially confined to the area around the present village green. The hamlets of Giggetty, Blakeley, Ounsdale, and the Bratch
Bratch
were quite separate from the village and were only absorbed into it as suburban housing spread from the mid-20th century. This changed the whole character and structure of the village. The area around the green, the original village of Wombourne, evolved as the commercial and cultural centre. The green was surrounded by small, independent shops, which remain a distinctive feature of the village's commercial life. A new civic centre, housing local council services, was constructed near Lower End, just south west of the centre. Suburban housing grew to form a wide ring around it, absorbing most of the hamlets. In the 1950s, several hundred council houses were built around Wombourne
Wombourne
by Wolverhampton
Wolverhampton
council as part of an overspill rehousing programme for residents of the large town's slums.[10] Large housing developments of the 1960s and 1970s around Giggetty and Brickbridge, to the west, were followed by a still larger westward extension in the Poolhouse estate of the 1980s, which absorbed the former Heath Mill. Meanwhile, light industry developed along the canal and the River Smestow, particularly beyond the main Bridgnorth
Bridgnorth
Road, with industrial estates replacing former foundries. A new bypass was driven through to the south of the village in 1988, carrying Bridgnorth
Bridgnorth
and Telford
Telford
traffic around Wombourne
Wombourne
and Himley, and clearly separating much of the industrial area from the residential section. Housing development continued into the new millennium, with building to the west of the canal between Ounsdale and the Bratch. In 2011, Westfield Primary School pupils Gabriel (Gabo) Knight and Will (Wilbo) Evans created a series of comics called Very Random, and started a YouTube channel called eminemfan12367 and they gained around 300 subscribers until 2013, when Will moved away from the village, leaving the channel in the hands of Gabriel Knight and Jake Morgan. Sadly, there has been little to no activity on the channel since then and Gabriel and Will are now living their separate lives happily. Today the village population works partly locally, and partly in the larger centres of Wolverhampton, the Black Country, Birmingham and Telford. Amenities[edit]

The Vine, a pub on the edge of Wombourne
Wombourne
village opposite the police station

The Staffordshire
Staffordshire
and Worcestershire Canal runs north-south through the western side of the village and Bratch
Bratch
Locks are located just to the north-west. Another popular local spot is the South Staffordshire Railway Walk, which follows the path of a now disused railway (it served as a goods railway prior to the 1960s and as a passenger line for a few years between the two wars). Wombourne
Wombourne
Village Green is considered to resemble an archetypal 'English village', as it is in the centre of the village and opposite St Benedict's Church. It regularly plays host to local cricket matches. The main commercial area is around the village green and on the neighbouring streets. This contains a considerable range of small, independent shops, as well as banks, cafes and other services. There are also small developments of shops and services in the outlying areas of the village, particularly at Giggetty and Blakeley. Wombourne
Wombourne
has a retained fire station, run by Staffordshire
Staffordshire
Fire and Rescue Service, which is currently being refurbished. The station houses one pumping appliance and is located on Giggety Lane next to Wombourne
Wombourne
Ambulance Station. The ambulance station was run by West Midlands Ambulance Service and was manned full-time. The west midlands house builder Kendrick Homes acquired the site for residential development in June 2014, it has planning permission for 9 dwellings. Wombourne
Wombourne
Police Station can be found on the High Street and is part of Staffordshire
Staffordshire
Police. Police officers work from the police station 24 hours per day, however staff of the enquiry office are only available at certain times. The village is served by a wide variety of churches, many based around the village green, which do much in the way of maintaining village traditions and in serving the more needy people in the parish. There was considerable volunteer support for the mental health centre in Planks Lane before it closed. The Hand in Hand Centre is well-supported by Christians and a number of activities for older members of the village are run and paid for by volunteers. Walks and Local Countryside[edit]

Lower End Bridge, just south-west of the village centre, marks the eastern edge of the Ham Meadow section.

Ham Meadow, south-west of the village centre, through which flows the Wom Brook.

The nearby Bratch
Bratch
Locks.

Wombourne
Wombourne
Railway Station on the South Staffordshire
Staffordshire
Railway Walk.

A number of important footpaths cross Wombourne, constituting an important leisure amenity as well as providing safe access to the village and surrounding countryside for walkers and cyclists. The Wom Brook
Wom Brook
Walk[edit] Main article: Wom Brook

Signpost for the Wom brook Walk at Wombourne, Staffordshire

The Wom Brook
Wom Brook
Walk is a Local Nature Reserve entirely within the boundaries of the village. It stretches for about 1.5 miles (2.6 km) along both sides of the Wom Brook, traversing the village from east to west. It contains a mix of meadow and woodland. It was established after some years of work by a local conservation group, the Friends of Wom Brook. There has been great excitement over the arrival of Wombourne's very first Little Egret in October/November 2010. It was seen hunting and roosting around the Wombrook on a number of occasions and Daniel Traynor captured the very first image of the bird which was later shown in the Parish News.[11] The South Staffordshire
Staffordshire
Railway Walk[edit] Main article: South Staffordshire
Staffordshire
Railway Walk The South Staffordshire
Staffordshire
Railway Walk is another Local Nature Reserve. It follows the course of the former Wombourne
Wombourne
Branch Line, traversing Wombourne
Wombourne
from north to south, before swinging east towards Himley
Himley
and Dudley. It intersects with the Wom Brook
Wom Brook
Walk at the western end of Ham Meadow. To the north, it connects with the Wolverhampton
Wolverhampton
Railway Walk, affording a pedestrian route into Wolverhampton
Wolverhampton
via the Smestow Valley LNR. The former Wombourne
Wombourne
station at the Bratch
Bratch
has car parking facilities, as well as a café and information. The Staffordshire
Staffordshire
and Worcestershire Canal[edit] The tow path of the Staffordshire
Staffordshire
and Worcestershire Canal also runs north-south through the western part of Wombourne, roughly parallel with the South Staffordshire
Staffordshire
Railway Walk and intersecting with the Wom Brook
Wom Brook
Walk at Giggetty. It forms part of a conservation area and can be followed as far as Kidderminster
Kidderminster
and Stourport on Severn
Stourport on Severn
to the south and Wolverhampton
Wolverhampton
and Stafford
Stafford
to the north. It is said that once a year the phantom ghost train runs through Wombourne, with many of the local residents claiming they have both seen and heard it.[citation needed] Surrounding Area[edit] As well as the walks in or passing through Wombourne, there are also many country parks and places to walk in the surrounding area including: Baggeridge Country Park, Highgate Common, Himley
Himley
Hall and Kinver
Kinver
Edge. Governance[edit] Wombourne
Wombourne
is part of a two-tier local government structure, typical of rural county areas in England.

It is situated within the district of South Staffordshire. This is based in Codsall, to the north of Wombourne, although it has district offices locally. It was established in 1974 by the merging of Seisdon Rural District, to which Wombourne
Wombourne
had belonged, with Cannock
Cannock
Rural District. Wombourne
Wombourne
consists of three district council wards, each represented by three councillors: Wombourne
Wombourne
North and Lower Penn; Wombourne
Wombourne
South West; Wombourne
Wombourne
South East.

South Staffordshire
Staffordshire
itself is contained within the county of Staffordshire. This was established as an administrative county in 1889. Wombourne
Wombourne
constitutes a single division in County Council elections: South Staffordshire
Staffordshire
– Wombourne.

Wombourne
Wombourne
also has a parish council. This was originally established in 1894 and took its present form in 1974. Wombourne
Wombourne
is part of the South Staffordshire
Staffordshire
parliamentary constituency, which is not coterminous with the district of the same name. It is also part of the large West Midlands, which has seven MEPs. Before the local government reforms of the 19th century, the local parish or vestry was both a civil and an ecclesiastical unit within the Seisdon
Seisdon
Hundred of the historic county of Staffordshire. In Victorian times, it became part of the Seisdon
Seisdon
Poor Law Union. Politics[edit] Wombourne's Member of Parliament is Gavin Williamson, who represents the South Staffordshire
Staffordshire
constituency in the House of Commons after Sir Patrick Cormack
Patrick Cormack
stepped down in the 2010 general election . He is a Conservative. In elections to the European Parliament, Wombourne
Wombourne
is part of the very large West Midlands constituency which is represented by a total of seven MEPs: 3 Conservative, 2 Labour, 1 Liberal Democrat and 1 UK Independence Party. All nine of Wombourn's district councillors are Conservative and the district council is Conservative-controlled. Transport[edit] National Express West Midlands
National Express West Midlands
bus routes 255, 256, 255s and 256s all serve Wombourne, with the 255s and 256s serving Ounsdale High School along with Staffordshire
Staffordshire
CC sponsored route 584 (operated by Arriva Midlands. Timetables for these buses can all be found on the internet. A bus route 254 served Wombourne
Wombourne
until it was discontinued in 2010. There used to be a railway line[12] but this closed to passenger services in 1932. Also, this area is near the main A449 road. Schools[edit] There are four primary schools in Wombourne; Westfield, St. Bernadette's R.C., Blakeley Heath and St. Benedict Biscop. There is also a secondary school, Ounsdale High School, that takes many of the local primary schools pupils on. Students also come from local areas on coach and bus services to the school. There is also Cherry Tree's special school and Adult Education centres operating in several locations around the village, including Ounsdale High School and the Library. Around Wombourne[edit] A small Sainsbury's supermarket was completed in spring of 2010, following a fierce campaign by villagers, led by Anna Owen, a resident in the village for all of her life. Along with major road adaptations to the B4176 and community investments such as a local free shuttle bus. This was preceded by a long contest with Tesco to secure a site and planning permission near the village. The supermarket is located to the south of the village centre, just off the main road to Bridgnorth, in an industrial estate. Sport[edit] Wombourne V.C. was founded in 1995 and currently competes in the West Midlands Volleyball Association. The club has recently moved to train and compete at the brand new Evolve building near Dudley
Dudley
town centre. At the conclusion of the 2015 season the club was named "Volleyball England
England
Club of the Year", topping competition from across England.[13] References[edit]

^ " Civil parish
Civil parish
population 2011". Retrieved 5 December 2015.  ^ W. H. Duignan, Notes on Staffordshire
Staffordshire
Place Names, Henry Frowde, London, 1902. ^ Margaret Gelling, Place-names in the Landscape, Dent, London, 1984, ISBN 0-460-86086-0, p.17-18, 325 ^ Viewed at Staffordshire
Staffordshire
Past Track ^ William Pitt: A Topographical History of Staffordshire, Newcastle-under-Lyme, 1817, p.187. ^ Catherine Frew and Arnold Myers, Sir Samuel Hellier's 'Musicall Instruments', Galpin Society Journal, vol. 56, June 2003. ^ "Friends of Broadfield House". From the Stourbridge News, 18 May 2007[permanent dead link] ^ William White, History, Gazetteer and Directory of Staffordshire, Sheffield, 1851 ^ Peter Hickman, The Remarkable Story of the Reverend William Dalton, Wolverhampton
Wolverhampton
History and Heritage Web Site, accessed 9 February 2014. ^ [1] ^ South Staffordshire
Staffordshire
Council Web site, Wom Brook
Wom Brook
Walk Friends Group page, accessed 1 June 2009. ^ By rail to Wombourn, J. Ned Williams and students of Wulfrun College, Uralia Press, 1969. ^ http://www.blackcountrybugle.co.uk/Wombourne-crowned-country-s-best-volleyball-club/story-26440911-detail/story.html

Further reading[edit]

May Griffiths. Around Pattingham
Pattingham
& Wombourne
Wombourne
in Old Photographs. 1992 May Griffiths. Wombourne
Wombourne
What Was. 1990 WHiG ( Wombourne
Wombourne
History Group). Made in Wombourne. Ellingham Press, 2014 WHiG ( Wombourne
Wombourne
History Group). " Wombourne
Wombourne
Worthies and those who were not". Ellingham Press 2016

° Images of England: Wombourne
Wombourne
Compiled by Derek Thomas and John Bowler (Tempus 2000) External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Wombourne.

Wombourne.net Local Website for Wombourne Wombourne
Wombourne
News Local Digital Newspaper for Wombourne Staffordshire
Staffordshire
Past Track Maps, photos and historic documents for all areas of the county. Genuki page for Wombourne, with links to local history resources. South Staffordshire
Staffordshire
District Council Wombourne
Wombourne
Online Community Website for Wombourne

v t e

Ceremonial county of Staffordshire

Unitary authorities

Stoke-on-Trent

Boroughs or districts

Cannock
Cannock
Chase East Staffordshire Lichfield Newcastle-under-Lyme South Staffordshire Stafford Staffordshire
Staffordshire
Moorlands Tamworth

Major settlements

Biddulph Burntwood Burton upon Trent Cannock Cheadle Eccleshall Fazeley Hednesford Kidsgrove Leek Lichfield Newcastle-under-Lyme Penkridge Rugeley Stafford Stoke-on-Trent

Burslem Fenton Hanley Longton Stoke Tunstall

Stone Tamworth Uttoxeter See also: List of civil parishes in Staffordshire

Rivers

Anker Blithe Churnet Dane Dove Manifold Mease Penk Sow Swarbourn Tame Trent Wheelock

Canals

Birmingham & Fazeley Caldon Lichfield Shropshire Union Staffs & Worcestershire Trent & Mersey Wyrley & Essington

Topics

Flag Museums Schools Grade I buildings Grade II* buildings Windmills High Sheriffs

v t e

Civil parishes of South Staffordshire

Council

South Staffordshire
Staffordshire
District Council

Civil parishes

Acton Trussell, Bednall & Teddesley Hay Bilbrook Blymhill and Weston under Lizard Bobbington Brewood
Brewood
and Coven Cheslyn Hay Codsall Coppenhall Dunston, Staffordshire Enville Essington Featherstone Great Wyrley Hatherton Hilton Himley Huntington Kinver Lapley, Stretton and Wheaton Aston Lower Penn Pattingham
Pattingham
and Patshull Penkridge Perton Saredon Shareshill Swindon Trysull &

.