A Nineteenth Century Miscellany
Several sources can be used to gain an impression of Pendeford
and its inhabitants during the nineteenth century.
William Pitt included a brief description of his home area in
his "Topographical History
of Staffordshire", stating that Pendeford is situated on the Penk and consists of the mansion of Thomas
Fowler Esq., three farm houses, a few tenements and about 1000
acres of land: the
estate is well timbered and contains free stone.
1835 Register of Electors shows that five locals had a vote in
The Reform Bill of 1832 had given the vote to men of property
and so Samuel Allsop, owner of freehold lands at Pendeford,
though resident at Burton-upon-Trent, was a voter. Richard Evans was occupier of a house and land at Pendeford
Hall, Thomas Evans at Pendeford and John Jones was occupier of
Pendeford Mill and farm.
James Shaw-Hellier had a vote through his property qualification
population of Pendeford was given as 328 in White's Directory of
Staffordshire for 1851, though the inhabitants of Palmers Cross,
Lane Green, Cronk Hall and part of Birches were included in this
Fowler (who died unmarried that year) was still principal
landowner and the hall was described as a neat mansion,
surrounded by picturesque and well wooded scenery.
Censuses of one kind or another were taken from the beginning of
the nineteenth century;
those from 1851 onwards being reliable.
The enumerator visited each house taking information
about the inhabitants including age, rank, profession or
occupation and place of birth.
The enumerators were obviously very thorough for the 1861
census return shows one Thomas Beady, a 22 year old Irish farm
labourer, sleeping in Pendeford on the night of the survey in a barn.
1881 Census has information on 140 people listed as living in 23
houses at Pendeford.
Cathcart Boycott and his family were evidently resident at the
He is listed as being a JP.
The family, Cathcart aged 31, his wife Elizabeth and
their three sons and a daughter, were looked after by a staff of
Herfoot was Governess and the Butler was William Blake.
The rest of the staff comprised a cook, a lady's maid, a
nurse, two housemaids, two footmen and five grooms.
Also presumably connected with the Hall but not living in
it were a gardener and gamekeeper
mill was still in operation with Matthew Woodward aged 53 in
charge. He is described as a miller, maltster and farmer and was
assisted by his son Robert.
Nearby lived John Baslow who was also recorded as a
of the rest of Pendeford's inhabitants were involved in farming. James Bennett farmed 350 acres and Henry Wilson 660 while
fifteen residents were agricultural labourers. There were two
people were waggoners while another occupation reflects a newer
form of transport.
Edward Hill was a 22 year old engine cleaner, probably at the
Great Western Railway’s Stafford Road Works or Engine Shed.
unusual occupation noted in the 1881 census return was that of
The Ballincolig Royal Gunpowder Mills Co. of Liverpool had a
powder warehouse on the Shropshire Union Canal at Barnhurst from
about 1840 and it was evidently still there in 1881 with Thomas
Bosworth in charge.
Later, Gaunt & Hickman, gunpowder manufacturers of Horseley
Fields had a powderhouse here.
It was still in use in 1921.
On August 7th 1887 a shocking crime was committed
in Pendeford when a policeman, Henry William Browne of the
Staffordshire County Constabulary was murdered. His body was found in the Shropshire Union Canal near
He had last been seen, about ten o'clock on the previous evening
by the landlord of the Woodman Inn at Bilbrook and by some
customers of the inn he had passed on the road.
He never returned to Codsall and nothing further was
found out about his subsequent movements. A broken walking stick and the pocket of a man's trousers,
obviously torn out in a struggle, were the only clues found.
A nut and bolt maker from Ettingshall was charged with
the murder but although he admitted he was away from home at the
time of the murder he said he had been fishing that night near
Brewood and denied going to Pendeford.
Eventually he was found innocent and released and the
murder of Constable Browne remained unsolved.