Local history

Pattingham Local History & Civic Society

Pattingham Local History & Civic Society have transcribed the Pattingham Church records of baptisms, marriages and burials from 1559 to 1939 onto Excel and have hard copies sorted by surname to assist family history enquiries. We also have Patshull Church records from 1837 until its closure.

High StreetHouse histories of all the older houses in Pattingham and Patshull have been compiled using the census returns from 1841 to 1901, Enclosure Awards and Tithe Awards.

A comprehensive photograph archive dating from late Victorian times to presentday exists of buildings, events and people. This collection includes neighbouring hamlets and villages and currently is in excess off 2000 pictures.

The archive was for many years curated by Peter Leigh, the society’s archivist. Ill health prevented him from continuing and unfortunately the society was unable to find anyone to take over from him.

The archive is now held at Perton Library, where it is available for consultation during regular library opening hours. For further details please contact the library at or via the Staffordshire County Council contact centre on 0300 111 8000. The library regrets it cannot offer a research service; the archive must be viewed at the library.

Old picture of churchThe Society produced newsletters and had a programme of speaker meetings open to the public, and research meetings attended by members but has been less active recently.

The Chairman is Michael O’Byrne

Pattingham in the past

Imagine a dry and arid climate barely a thousand miles from the Equator. Hot northerly and easterly winds blow the sand into dunes. Temporary rivers bring down debris from higher land to the cast. This, say the geologists, was the scene two-hundred-and-twenty-five million years ago when the Triassic sandstones were formed.

Pattingham village stands on a strata of these rocks known as Keuper Sandstone and this strata covers most of the four square miles of the Civil Parish of Pattingham. The Keuper Sandstone comes to a sharp edge which runs across the parish as a continuation of Perton Ridge and it passes south of Great Moor, Little Moor and The Clive to the parish boundary at Rudge. South of the ridge an earlier Triassic rock, the Bunter Sandstone is covered in places by a thin layer of recent material.

The sea has flooded over the area twice since these rocks were laid down and other rocks have overlain the Triassic rocks, only to be removed by erosion and fracture as the movements of the European continent brought our land to its present position.
Within the last two million years periods of intense cold have covered the area with glaciers and these have assisted the erosion process. They also left a deposit of sand and gravel over the Keuper sandstone between Copley and Pasford.

In between successive cold periods forests flourished and, a quarter of a million years ago, before the last glaciation, men came to live here, sharing the land with elephants, rhinocerous, bison and cave lions.

Then the ice returned and it stayed until ten thousand years ago, when the temperate climate we now enjoy today established itself and the countryside became covered with thick woodlands. Men returned, first to the unforested higher lands and then, as they learned to grow their food, they cleared the trees and cultivated the land.

Celtic settlers spread slowly from Northern France. They came with skill in stone, pottery and metal working and here we have the first evidence of human presence in the village. A large gold torque – a strip of metal twisted into a spiral and turned at each end so that the ends can be hooked together to make a circle – was found in a field to the west of the church. This find was made in 1700 AD and it is reputed to have weighed three pounds, two ounces and to be four feet in circumference or fifteen inches in diameter. This ornament, probably used as a necklace, no longer exists.

There is no direct evidence of Roman occupation in the parish but the A5 eight miles to the north is on the line of the Roman road to Uriconium beyond the Wrekin. The Romans may also have used the ancient trackway which ran west from Greensforge, south of Swindon.

A much firmer indication of human occupation lies in the name of the village. This is definitely Anglo-Saxon. It is derived from the name of a Saxon family-the Peattas. Thus we have Part = Peatta’s; ing = family or tribe; and ham = a homestead or settlement.

This part of England is thought to have been settled by the Anglo-Saxons around 550 AD They assimilated any existing British (and Christian) inhabitants and they brought with them a pagan religion that is still reflected in the names we use for the days of the week and in the names of towns such as Wednesbury (Wodens Burgh). They were probably converted to Christianity in the seventh century AD and they must have had a church here before the Norman Conquest.

The settlement was part of the Kingdom of Mercia and the last of the Saxon overlords of the village was Edwin, who was a grandson of Leofric, Earl of Leicester, and the Lady Godiva.

After the Norman Conquest in 1066, Edwin acknowledged the authority of William the Conqueror but he changed his mind later and rebelled, joining the forces of Hereward the Wake. William now owned Pattingham and it passed to William Rufus who gave it to the Conqueror’s nephew, Hugh de Avranches, Earl of Chester.

The entry in Domesday Book gives a brief view of the condition of the village in the last half of the eleventh century. The translation goes thus :`The King holds Pattingham. Earl Algar held it. There are two hides (a hide was as much as could be tilled with a plough in a year). There is land for eight ploughs. There are three %illeins with a Priest and ten Cottagers who have three ploughs. The wood there is one mile long and half a mile wide. It was and is worth three pounds’.

After the Conquest Pattingham was touched only occasionally by the big events in English history. The second Earl of Chester had a daughter who married a Geoffrey Ridel and he succeeded to the ownership of the Manor of Pattingham. He lost his life in the White Ship disaster in 1126 A.D. and his daughter took possession of the village into the Basset family of Drayton Bassett who then owned the manor until 1390.

The Black Death (1348-50) must have changed the appearance of the countryside as the fields which had been cultivated quickly grew a cover of weeds for the lack of labour to plough them.

This was the period when the wool trade was growing in the area and the neighbouring town of Wolverhampton was gaining importance as a market for this product.

There was always a close connection between the church and the tenants of agricultural land and, in 1407, the vicar found himself in court for leading the tenants in a riot against the landlords.

Ownership of the manor passed through several hands until, eventually, it became the property of Henry VII in 1488. The King leased it to successive owners until it was seized by Cromwell in 1650. Cromwell then bestowed it on a man named Clement Throgmorton.

The religious differences of the times found expression locally. In 1644 it was suspected that Patshull Hall was housing a`Popish’ garrison and it was successfully raided by a band of men commanded by a certain Captain Stone.

On September 10th, 1677 – eleven years after the Great Fire of London – Pattingham had its own fire. It destroyed the workshop of a locksmith, parts of his house and another house, and all of the church except the steeple and outer walls. At least three other houses were also severely damaged together with numerous outbuildings and stables. The total damage was assessed at £3,309 13s. 4d.In 1732 the Astley family, who lived at Patshull Hall were the owners of the manor but they sold it to Lord Pigot whose family were owners of a famous diamond, the Pigot diamond, which was valued at £30,000 in 1771.

The end of the eighteenth century was evidently a time for rebuilding in the village and many of the older buildings date from this time. The growth of industry to the east was possibly responsible for this. There was certainly more variety in the activities carried on in the village than is the case today. Brickmaking, tanning, flour-milling and tailoring are among the occupations listed in old directories. These continued through the Victorian era and only died out when communications improved in the early part of this century.

In the nineteenth century Pattingham was a notorious place. Miners and ironworkers frorn the Black Country and the industrial belt of Wellington, Oakengates and the Severn Gorge came here for their sport. Bull baiting was enjoyed on the wide roadway between the church and The Pigot Arms, and this area is still called the Bull Ring by older residents. There were more public houses then for the refreshment of visitors and they were often open day and night.

The first Post Office was opened at Ivy House, Wolverhampton Road, in 1844 and the curate guaranteed the sum of £17 a year to defray the cost until such time as the Postal Department took over the responsibility.

The Pigot family left in 1848 and were succeeded by the fifth Earl of Dartmouth. The new Lord of the Manor soon made his mark on the parish with a programme of new building and it is possible to distinguish this work by the similarities in the architecture of several of the farm buildings and cottages.

A School had been established since just after 1684 but it had a fitful history. The building was used as a workhouse at one time. With the advent of compulsory education a sum was raised by subscription and the present buildings were commenced. The school was opened in 1875 and has been in continuous occupation since. It was taken over by Staffordshire County Council in 1903.

After the first World War there was a move to build a Village Hall. The Earl of Dartmouth gave the land and a wooden structure was erected and opened for use in 1922.

Communications began to improve. The telephone service had ten subscribers in 1925, a bus service to Wolverhampton started in 1925, and, in 1931, an electricity supply became available. Piped water came in 1939 and the sewerage system was installed in 1957. But it was not until 1965 that gas mains were laid to parts of the village.

The old Village Hall did good service but, in 1960, it was thought that it was time that the village had a more up-to-date building. The money was raised by voluntary effort and from local and Government grants and, in 1966 the present hall was opened.