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    Cradley Links

    Residents of Chapel House

    Residents of Chapel House, Cradley - compiled by Jill Guest


    In the nineteenth century it was the practice for the well off and well to do to live amongst the rest of us, including in the highly industrialised Black Country town of Cradley.


    Thus, many ironmasters, solicitors and the like lived in grand houses in close proximity to the poor housing that most people lived in. One of these was Chapel House, situated between Park Road and Chapel House Lane.

    The Chapel House, Cradley, The Residence of Joseph Priestley Esq. (Image supplied by Priestley Toulmin, from the original that belongs to another Priestley descendant, Paulo Lowndes - Marques of Lisbon.)


    Back in 2003, Barry Blunt informed us of the history of Chapel House. He said: "In 1782 the field in which Chapel House came to be built was called Chapel Yard Close. It was owned by Humphrey Buffery and farmed by Thomas Allchurch. There was a block of buildings near to the road now called Chapel House Lane. This included Buffery's own house where he lived with his wife Ann, a tenement occupied by Mary Buffery and a stable block and warehouse where Buffery carried out his trade as a nail ironmonger. This block of buildings is shown on the estate map of Richard Brettell dated circa 1800.


    However, in the year 1800 Humphrey Buffery is described by James Scott (in his list of members of the Presbyterian congregation) as living in Chapel House. It is reasonable to conclude that Chapel House was erected just before 1800 by Humphrey Buffery, and that it took its name from the field in which it stood, Chapel Yard Close. The adjacent field was called Chapel Meadow. These fields took their names from the medieval chapel that once stood nearby, referred to by ancient historians Treadway Nash and William Scott. The precise location of this chapel is proving to be illusive, but we're working on it."


    The significance of the year 1782 is that this was the date of the first survey of Cradley for the enclosure of land. The schedule lists every owner and occupier of every field in Cradley, together with its name, its acreage and the way in which the field was being put to use. Barry, working with Margaret Bradley, produced a book based on the 1782 Survey, and this is still available from the Cradley Links Bookshop.


    Amongst the many people known to have resided in Chapel House were Joseph Priestley Jnr. (Dissenting minister, son of Dr. Joseph Priestley: theologian, Dissenting clergyman, natural philosopher, educator, and political theorist); the Reverend William Bowen (who married Priestley's daughter, Marianne); Noah Hingley (the ironmaster who introduced the making of ship's anchors and anchor chains to the Black Country, and whose workers famously made the anchors and chains for the Titanic); Dr. Ashley Belbin (General Practitioner, Medical Officer & Public Vaccinator, Cradley District, Stourbridge Union); and Dr. Shedden (who succeeded Belbin in all these roles).


    The information that follows has been compiled from various sources, including censuses, books, Trades Directories, and other material, much of which is to be found elsewhere on Cradley Links. We are indebted to Priestley ("Pete") Toulmin in the United States for supplying us with the beautiful image of Chapel House (above). Pete's genealogical connection to the Priestley family is described in Mudd in Your Eye, the Newsletter of the Department of Chemistry, Lehigh University, Pennsylvania, Number 38, March 2010, page 6.


    Chapel House - Residents
    Year Detail Source
    1800 Mr Humphrey Buffery, Nail Ironmonger Ann Buffery The Presbyterian Congregation at Park Lane in 1800, listed in the James Scott Manuscript - A History of Cradley 1800-1826
    1806 Ann Buffery, died 28th Feb, aged 79 Persons deceased of the Presbyterian Church Cradley Ditto
    1808 Humphrey Buffery, died 2nd March, aged 76 Ditto
    1812 Joseph Priestley Jnr. and family returned from America and settled in Cradley, at Chapel House. His daughter Marianne married Rev W. Bowen Cradley's Forgotten Connections by Peter Barnsley
    1841 Bowen, Rev William 40 Dissenting Minister. Bowen, Marianne 35. Bowen, William 6. Bowen, Lindsey 5. Bowen, Thomas 3. Priestley, Sarah 30. Priestley, Lindsay 14. Towers, Mary 18 Female Servant 1841 census
    1851 Evers, James 34, iron master & County Magistrate Evers, Ann J. 31. Evers, Mary I. 5. Evers, Allen J. 4. Evers, Agnes E. 2. Pussey, Jane 35 Cook. Southall, Mary 21 Nurse. Mills, Harriet 19 Housemaid. Patrick, Thomas 24 Groom. Court, Thomas 24 Footman 1851 Census
    1860 Noah Hingley Kelly's Directory 1860
    1861 [11, Park Lane, Chapel House] Hingley, Noah 64. Hingley, Ann 63. Hingley, Mary 45. Hingley, Joseph 39. Hingley, Leah 34. Hingley, Samuel 32. Hingley, Benjamin 30. Guest, Sarah 31. Bloomer, Elizabeth 18. Bloomer, Jane 17 1861 Census
    1868 Noah Hingley Kelly's Directory 1868
    1872 Joseph Benjamin Homer Post Office Directory 1872
    1880 Josh. Homer Esq. Owen's Directory 1880
    1888 Mrs Sidaway Kelly's Directory 1888
    1896 Edmondson,Rev. Robert Henry BA Vicar, Chapel House, Park Lane, Colley Gate Kelly's Directory 1896
    1901 Russell Sturgis-White, Head M 46, Surgeon. Grace Sturgis-White, wife 38. Gertrude Sturgis-White, daughter 13. Ethel Sturgis-White, daughter 11. Gladys Sturgis-White, daughter 10 1901 Census
    1912 Dr Ashley Belbin, Medical Officer & Public Vaccinator, Cradley District, Stourbridge Union. Colley Gate (not given as Chapel House) Kelly's Directory 1912
    1916 Dr Ashley Belbin Kelly's Directory 1916
    1924 Dr Ashley Belbin Kelly's Directory 1924
    1929 Dr & Mrs C J Lewis (Nursing Home) Bills for Service
    1940 Dr Shedden, Medical Officer & Public Vaccinator, Cradley District, Stourbridge Union, Public Ass. Committee Kelly's Directory 1940
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