Residents of Chapel House, Cradley - compiled by Jill Guest

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.]

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.

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.

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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