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    Cradley Links

    First published in the Cradley Parish Magazine of May 1957, this essay by Norman Bird examines a charter made in 950 A.D. by Eadred, King of the West Saxons

    Although the Manor of Cradley as an administrative unit was first recorded in the Domesday book, that part of its boundary which coincided with the boundary of the old parish of Oldswinford (which included Lye and Wollescote) was detailed in a charter over a hundred years previously, in 950 A.D.

    The charter was made by Eadred, king of the West Saxons (946 A.D. to 955 A.D.) and it granted a number of hides of land at Swinford to a theyn named Burholm.

    As usual in such charters the area included is defined by reference to its physical features and land marks on the boundaries, and these were written in the Anglo-Saxon language. The land involved seems to be identical with the Parish of Oldswinford before it was split up.

    The River Stour is called Sture which is a Saxon corruption of the two Celtic or Ancient British words “Ys Dwr,” and these mean flowing water or brook. The common boundary starts at Hill Hole or Saltbrook End and finishes near Foxcote which is the only place name in the charter surviving to this day. It is actually in Wollescote.

    After mentioning two fords along the “Sture,” the charter continues:-

    “And from there (the last ford) to Holan Baece and on to Earth Brycge. Then to Tigwellan. Th'swa on Ymman Holig and on to Cuda's Dean, on to Dic bufan Foxcotun. Adlong Dices to Tham Broce to Tham Stangedelfe, etc.”

    Holan Baece means the beck or stream in the hollow (Hill Hole?). Tigwellen, I understand is a word which has connections with tile making. Were tiles made and used about here so early? We know that hereabouts, bricks have been made for centuries. Ymman Holig means Ymma's Holly Bush. Cuda's Dean might be the dingle which used to stretch along the boundary from the Hayes to Oldnall. Dic bufan Foxcotun means the dyke or ditch above Foxcote, and this would probably stretch from Oldnall to the pools at the far end of the Groaning Meadow.

    Oldnall is not mentioned, probably because it did not exist as a place name when the charter was made. Tham Stangedelfe is Anglo-Saxon for the stone digging or quarry. There is still the remains of a sandstone quarry on the Lutley-Wollescote boundary across Lutley Lane. I wonder if this is the one referred to.

    The foregoing is based on the charter as taken from an old book called Cartularium Saxonicum which contains a collection of medieval copies of Saxon Charters.

    The same area was surveyed and recorded again in 1733 and from the records of this beating of the bounds, the boundary appears to be practically the same as before. In this survey, the following interesting place names are recorded:- Brickill (Brick Kiln) Close, Oldnall Gate and The Pikes. This Brickill Close was at the Hayes, there being another at the bottom of Tanhouse Lane. Oldnall Gate was evidently a boundary gate. The Pikes was where the boundary crossed the road about halfway down Foxcote Lane. The word pike in the above sense means a landmark, either natural or erected to indicate a place of some importance or the way to it. In this case it was four ash trees and it marked the boundary.


    This article was first published in the Cradley Parish Church Magazine in May 1957.

    The author, Norman Bird, took an active interest in Cradley history, and was a regular contributor to the parish magazine. Deputy Head Master at the Cradley Church Schools for more than 20 years, he died suddenly in the school staff room in the late 1950s.


    Cradley Links wishes to thank Jill Guest, who generously provided a copy of the May 1957 Cradley Parish Church Magazine, together with a complete transcription of the above text.

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