Obituary - Peter Barry Blunt (1939 - 2009) - by Margaret Bradley




Barry Blunt at Cradley Library on Saturday 19 May 2007 at the launch of Tithe Map & Schedules, A study and transcription of Cradley Tithe Map & Apportionment 1843, in the History of Cradley series, researched and compiled by the prolific Margaret Bradley and Barry Blunt. Another new History of Cradley book by the same writers appeared on the bookstall at the same event - Cradley Baptist Trust Deeds 1778-1863, A study and transcript of property deeds relating to Cradley Baptist Church.

Regular visitors to the Cradley Links website will be saddened to hear of the death of Barry Blunt, co-author of books on The History of Cradley. For the past 12 months Barry had been living with bowel cancer and on Thursday 7 May he died at home, in his sleep, at 8.30 am.

He was a great admirer of this site and one of his final requests was that I, as his co-worker, should write an obituary for it so that people might know how much the local community, where generations of his family had lived and worshipped, meant to him.

Barry was born on 14 April 1939 at Talbot Street, and just managed to celebrate his 70th birthday with a wonderful gathering of family and friends. He was educated at Colley Lane school and Halesowen Grammar school, followed by training as a Quantity Surveyor. By the time of his marriage to Madeline he was living on Fatherless Barn. For the first months of their marriage he had to live at Edgbaston, but he was impatient to return to Cradley, and in 1963 they moved into their home at Colman Hill, where he chose to die.


In Memoriam
Express & Star, 14 May 2009

A faithful member of Trinity Methodist Church, and then of Overend, following the relocation of the congregation to the Mission in 1995, Barry was a popular preacher in the local churches. With the dawn of the new millennium he embarked upon a project to write a history of the Cradley churches, bringing it up to the present time. It proved to be just a little too ambitious. Although all worshipping groups were covered in detail up to 1900, only the four Methodist societies were completed up to 2000. It was always his hope that members from the other congregations at St Peter's, with its mission satellites St Katherine's and The Good Shepherd, High Town Ragged School, Two Gates Ragged School, Fatherless Barn Evangelical Church and the Assemblies of God, would fill in the gap.

Material that was discovered led to 14 other books being written. The three volumes of the Court Rolls of Cradley Manor (1519 - 1664) involved Barry in learning to transcribe abbreviated Medieval Latin. At a lighter end of the scale, he had tremendous enjoyment in writing Cradley celebrates VE Day, which allowed him to wallow in nostalgia. Copious notes ensure that other books will continue to be written in his memory.

The various Cradley Days that were held gave him enormous pleasure, as they offered the opportunity of meeting up with old, and new, friends.

But Barry's love for his community was not chained to the past. Its present well-being was vitally important to him too. He stood for election to Dudley Council in the 1980s as the Liberal candidate. In the 1990s he was instrumental in setting up a Drop-in Centre in Windmill Hill for those living on the edges of society.

He was annoyed that a cohesive community, whose boundaries were set in Saxon times and which was mentioned in the Domesday Survey of 1086, should be cavalierly carved up by Dudley MBC and submerged into three other wards. He was annoyed that its name should be subsumed into 'Halesowen' and insisted on including Cradley in his postal address. He was annoyed when people, especially local reporters, confused it with Cradley Heath.

It was a strong sense of his roots that caused him to want his final resting place to be in the tranquillity of what was the Free Church burial ground at Homer Hill. May he rest there in peace.

Margaret Bradley

May 2009

See The History of Cradley books listed at the Cradley Links online bookshop.

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