the process of brewing, and some of the terms
used in the process
William Butler, born in 1816, worked as a shingler in the
finery at Shrubbery Ironworks, run by George Benjamin
Thorneycroft. He also kept a small grocery shop in
Ettingshall Lane (later Ettingshall Road), which must have been quite successful
because in the late 1830s he decide to expand the business.
He purchased a piece of land alongside John Street, in Priestfield
on which to build a house and a larger shop. Over the next
few years the area grew into a small village known as ‘New Village’.
John Street became the main shopping street in New Village
with a wide variety of shops and businesses.
William Butler. From Butler's
Magazine, June 1940.
Around 1840 he had the idea of
supplying his neighbours and his workmates at Shrubbery
Ironworks with beer, and began to build a small brewery. He
excavated clay from the back of his premises to make the
bricks, and built the brewery above the clay hole. This
became the cellar in which to store the beer.
He obtained a beer license for the shop
and began to supply beer in small casks, which he delivered
to the homes of his customers in a wheelbarrow. The new
venture exceeded all expectations. After about two years he
left his job at the ironworks to become a full-time grocer
The business continued to grow to such
an extent that he couldn’t continue alone. In 1850 he
employed Mr. John Parkes to manage the shop, so that he
could concentrate on the brewing side of the business. He
delivered the small casks with a pony and trap, but soon
found that larger casks were required. Unfortunately the
pony and trap were not suitable for the larger casks, so in
1853 he had a small float built, and engaged Mr. S. Faux as
his first drayman. A year later he employed Mr. Faux’s
brother, J. Faux as cellarman and general yardman.
|In the early 1850s William married
Hannah, who came from Willenhall. They had three daughters
and three sons: Annie born in 1855, Mary born in 1856,
Charlotte born in 1857, William Bailey born in 1859, Edwin
born in 1861, and Samuel born in 1864.
The location of Priestfield Brewery.
The original entrance to the brewery
was through a narrow passage between the shop and the
brewery. William decided to convert the passage into a small
bar, where customers were served from the shop, through a
sliding window. He lived in the shop building with his
family and John Parkes, until 1856 when he decided to leave
the running of the grocery business entirely to John. He
built a house in the brewery yard for himself and his
growing family, and around that time hired his first brewer,
William Salt, who was soon succeeded by George Geary.
The business continued to prosper, and
so in 1860 William engaged three new members of staff:
Thomas Salt who went on to give the
brewery twenty years faithful service, and became brewer and
general manager. Then Mark Taylor who became the book keeper and
cashier. And last but not least George Parkes, the brother
of John Parkes who managed the shop. He became the traveller
and agent, and in 1876 William Butler’s partner.
The office was located in a small dingy
upstairs room adjoining the back of the shop, from
which a view of the brewery could be obtained. The brewery
became known as Ettingshall New Village Brewery.