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Forum Home > Tale's from the region. > Clent, Rowley, and the Romans.

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Clent, Halesowen Abbey, Hasbury, Cradley, Quinton, Lyttleton


Why, have some of you asked, did my relative, who had no connection with the place that I can find, get married in the Parish of Clent. A question I have to admit, I had to ask some years ago as well. You may all be aware, that way back in time, Rowley and Clent were linked by the Somery Family, as they held the manor. For religious purpose's, Clent was under the patronage of Halesowen Abbey, together with all the other smaller parish's such as Hasbury, Hagley, Cradley, Hill, Quinton, and several other places. After Henry VIII ordered the dissolution, the area came under the control of the Bishops of Worcester, but only for the spiritual comfort of the inhabitants. Prior to 1553, Sir John Dudley, the then lord, appointed one Thomas Gaunt, as the vicar of Clent, and promptly went and kicked the bucket. The whole lot then passed back to the Crown, Queen Mary. ( the Bloody Mary from your history books) Now I know how much effort some people put into finding relatives, and when not a lot of records survive, it can be a daunting task. From the archives, we have the following.


Clent.

We, Edward Moseley, John Underhill, Thomas Sparry of Walton, and John Loberich, tenants to the Queen's grace within the said lordship, by virtue of a commandment from Sir William Sneid. In the first year of Queen Mary her grace's reign, ( from 15th October 1553 - to Oct 1554 ) do present that:  There follows a short list of those who held land, and their payments due.


John Underhill,           payment,        8s   2d.

Thomas Hill                                     3s   9d

Thomas Sparry                                1s   6d.

Edward Loberich                              1s    4d.

William Sparry                                2s    0d.

Edward Moseley                                 71/2d.

John Sparry                                    1s    1d.

John Dunkley                                          6d.

John Pen                                                 2d.


All the rents were to be paid to the Vicar, the said Thomas Gaunt, who was also Vicar of Rowley. His yearly take from the rents was £8  16s  5/12d. Each one agreed, that should a tenant die, a fine, or death tax, called a Heriot, and usually the best beast on the farm, should be paid to said Vicar. The second best went to the Queen, wouldn't do to let the poor woman starve would it. They also said that the fee's from both the Chancels, Rowley and Clent, should be kept by the Queen, as the Church at Clent was in need of urgent repair. Now that sounds like the crafty Vicar, had been spending a lot of money on the Rowley Church, and neglecting the one out in the sticks. Queen Mary died on 17th November 1558, and the lands were eventually passed on to Sir John St Ledger, who sold the lot to the Lyttelton Family, in 1564. The Rowley part was then sold, but the rest, including all the little parish's I mentioned before, remained under the Bishops of Worcester, giving the inhabitants the choice of where they could get married. Only the one's with a bit of money married at Clent. It was a fair distance in those days, and transporting all the guests was an expensive game. Now my relative, who lived in the old parish of Hill, Halesowen, tied the knot there in the 1820s, so has anyone else got a later date. Non of his wealth, by the way, has filtered back to me, I'm as poor as the Clent Church mice appeared to be in 1554.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

October 31, 2011 at 4:47 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Walton Hill, Clent, Hagley, Offmoor, Rowley and Dudley.


Much farther back in time, and we have the old, but not so well known " Battle of Walton Hill ".  How far back?, A.D 400, the time of the Roman Occupation, and the reason, a little dispute about land I suppose. So the story goes, there was a large Roman Garrison, encamped on and around Wychbury Hill, Hagley, and Pedmore. They had, by sheer weight of numbers, forced the old ancient Britons from their farms and hovels, and from the long established fortress of Wychbury Hill. This did not go down well with our blue painted ancesters, who, taking up their cudgels, marched from Saint Kenelms, Offmoor, Holy Cross, Rumbow, and Calcot, hell bent on getting their own back, by hurling insults from Walton Hill. ( The places wern't called that in Roman times of course, a little poetic licence is required otherwise we will all be lost ) Romans being Romans, didn't take to kindly to this, and decided to clear the whole area of this ungrateful rabble. On the flat land around Offmoor, they wiped out the blue hoards stock of Cavalry and Chariots, ( A few horse's and flimsy hay carts ) and chased the ancient Brits to the top of the hill. Pausing for breath, ( it's a steep old climb that ) allowed the Brits to mass their forces, and fierce hand to hand fighting started. Several hours later, with the hilside now covered in in the blood and mutilated bodies of both sides, the Romans were forced to withdraw in some disorder. ( some claimed it was tea-time, others dinner-time, a habit picked up from the Brits over 300 years ) While the argument raged, the Brits descended on the Valley of the Clatterbach, and mightily smote the Romans in an orgy of mass distruction. The remaining Romans ran back to the safety of Wychbury Hill. Sensing a complete victory, our ancesters, being short of a few men, not to say short of few roof tiles as well, scoured the countyside for reinforcements. The inhabitants of Rowley and Dudley, living as they did in a loftier location, had no idea what was a afoot, and after possibly being told it would be a doddle, put down their Ale Jugs and joined the fray. The Romans weren't daft, and assembled what remained of their Army on the flat ground of Clent Heath. ( Lower Clent to us ) The opposing sides smashed into each other in a virtual repeat of the mayhem on Walton Hill, and fighting furiously against their better armed rivals, succeeded in decimating the Roman ranks. Returning in triumph to their little hovels, they commenced a bout of drinking, even worse, than by the standards of today, but at least they had their land back. It may just be a coincidence, but the last Roman Legion left Briton in A.D.407.


Now whether the above story is true or not, I leave open to debate. It's a fact, that some Roman artifacts have been unearthed in the area of Hagley Park and Clent. As for the story of the discovery, of a Roman Helmet, complete with a mouldering skull, I personally would take that with a very large pinch of salt. The same with finding charred Chariot wheels, but the ancient rusted weapons could be possible. Maybe, just maybe, lying beneath the pristine green grass of Hagley Park, are the long forgotten bones of both victors and losers. Then again, maybe not.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

February 16, 2012 at 11:55 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Romsley, Bebroughton, Pedmore, Halesowen, Stourbridge, Clent.


Someone asked, if Clent has always been a quiet little backwater of North Worcestershire. No it hasn't. The area, including Romsley, Belbroughton, Hagley, Pedmore, and Halesowen, rang with the sounds of many hammer's from Blacksmiths Forges. The district, from at least the 1500s, was renowned for farm implements. Sycthes, Sickles, and Bill Hooks. In fact, almost anything that contained a cutting edge, including the old fashioned Cut Throat Razor. It was a highly skilled craft, taking many years to learn the art of " Peening  and Honing ", not to mention judging when the Iron was right. The blades were hammered to fine edge, about the thickness of a standard page, ( Peening ), and then honed to the sharpness of a razor. The reason the trade seems to have settled here, was the manufacture of Iron, from the nearby coal rich seams of the southern Black Country. The trade spread to Stourbridge and beyond, as a great many younger men, moved away to make a living for themselves. Only the coming of better farm machinery, and that invention of genious, The Lawnmower, saw off what had become, a fairly well paid Cottage Industry. Time, as they say, stands still for no man, but as one Industry faded from sight, another took it's place. Clent became a place of tranquility and rest, even if only for the day,  for the hard pressed mass'es from the Black Country. Tourisism had arrived, and I should add, Clent, and it's Hills, have never lost their charm.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

February 19, 2012 at 2:50 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Clent, Metchley, Romans, Cakemore.


Now some folk may have noticed, that whenever the subject of the " Roman Question " comes up, I approach it with my customary sigh of  'here we go again '. This arises from being exposed to a multitude of theories, sent in by some, in order to goad me into a rant and rave. Sadly, it works everytime. It has been suggested, that after the severe bashing the Romans had at Clent, they retreated to the safety of the Rowley Hills, to lick their wounds. Now why they should do this is not explained, when they had a perfectly good marching fort at Metchley, Wall, or Wroxcester. Would they, I ask, given the short skirts and flimsy underpants they wore, risk further exposure, on the top of a barran and dismal hill. No offence to anyone, but back in the 2nd century AD, thats how Rowley was. Based on the evidence of a single find of coins, found hidden in a dry stone wall, I am being asked to believe, that in the area, there must have been many magnificent Roman palaces. All paid for with the wealth of the region which they supposedly developed. ( This apprently included Ironworks, Pottery, Bricks and Tiles, and large Farms. ) In your dreams maybe, but certainly not in mine. I am no expert on the matter, but as there is not a single strand of evidence to support any of this, other than a tendency for the so called Romans to ocassionly get lost, and lose an odd coomb, bauble, or coin. No one has yet dug up a Villa, Mosaic floor, Furnace,  Roman Brick, or indeed, a Roman, dead, mummified or cremated. This, my theorist declares, is because it's all been lost beneath a layer of industrial activity. Which layer I asked, theirs, or ours, for there must then surely be at least one more layer of dusty old soot, beneath the one we have so recently got rid of. It went strangely quiet, and the subject of the coins was introduced. Now why would a Roman, conceal in an old dry stone wall, several coins from every Emperors reign, from say,100BC to 600AD. Concidering they left these shores, never to return, around 400AD, how the devil did they manage to collect all the later ones. I mentioned Doctor Who and the Tardis at this stage, and got a very funny look. Given the Roman habit of cementing everything together, would they have also built a flimsy dry stone wall around a very expensive Villa. Ah says my friend the theory man, thats how they constructed Hadrians Wall. Ah! says I, so it must then have been a short section of practise wall, and if so, where is it now, for I can take a holiday, and walk the length of the one he mentioned. It's been ploughed up he says, ignoring the fact that the soil around Rowley has alway been a bit sparce, and they would have had trouble growing a couple of carrots, never mind enough corn to feed a Roman garrison. His trump card is the story that a second hoard of Roman coins, were found at the bottom of the Rowley Hills, at a place called Cakemore. Where are they then I ask, as he says the find was fairly recent. ( within a couple of hundred years ) The finders he says, didn't want anyone to know, so kept it all top secret. So secret I tell him, that apparently everyone in the region knows about it, but there's still not a single coin from the hoard on display anywhere. It would be nice to think, that in a place I once lived, lurking beneath centuries of accumulated settled dirt, lies the remains of a fantastic Roman Villa. The owners of whom, when they saw the dirty unwashed peasants from Rowley Hill, come swarming down, hastily buried their ill-gotten loot. Saving a portion no doubt to pay for a trip home on " Roman Galley Holidays ", or a cheap flight on " Ro-man Air " .

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

September 20, 2012 at 3:43 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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