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Map sources for Wednesbury at grid reference SO9895Wednesbury is a town in England's Black Country, part of the Sandwell metropolitan borough in West Midlands.
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Originally, it is believed that Wednesbury was founded as an Iron Age Hill fort. Wednesbury is one of the oldest parts of the Black Country. The "bury" part of the name indicates there may have been an Iron Age fort or "beorg" on Church Hill as long ago as 200BC, and the town was certainly a key defensive feature of the kingdom of Mercia.
In 1086, the Domesday Book describes Wednesbury (Wadnesberie) as being a thriving rural community encompassing Bloxwich and Shelfield (now part of Walsall). During the Middle Ages the town was a rural village, with each family farming a strip of land with nearby heath being used for grazing. The town was held by the King until the reign of Henry II, when it passed to the Heronville family.
In 1315, coal pits were first found and recorded in Wednesbury - which led to an increase in the number of jobs that Wednesbury offered.
Mediaeval Wednesbury was very small, and its inhabitants would appear to have been farmers and farm workers. However, by 1315 coal had already been discovered and was being worked. Nail making was also in progress during these times. William Paget was born in Wednesbury in 1505, the son of a nail maker. He is noted as having risen to the position of Secretary of State, a Knight of the Garter and an Ambassador. He was one of executors of the will of Henry VIII.
In 1769, Wednesbury's canal banks were soon full of factories as in this year, the first caal was cut, linking Wednesbury's coalfields to the Birmingham industries. In the 17th century Wednesbury pottery - "Wedgbury ware" - was being sold as far away as Worcester, whilst white clay from Monway Field was used to make tobacco pipes.
By the 18th century the town's main occupations were coal mining and nail making and with the introduction of the first turnpike road in 1727 and the development of canals and later the railways came a big increase in population.
Wednesbury became notorius in the 1740s for its persecution of the new Methodist movement lead by John Wesley. Francis Asbury, Richard Whatcoat and the Earl of Dartmouth are among those who attended Methodist meetings in the town, and all of whom were in different ways to have a profound effect on the United States.
In 1887, Brunswick Park was opened to celebrate Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee. The year before this, Wednesbury had became a Municipal Borough. During the later half of the 20th century, Wednesbury's industry declined, but new developments like the automotive park, the retail park and the pedestrianisation of Union Street have given a new look to the town. The traditional market is still a feature of the bustling centre; while the streets around Market Place are now a protected conservation area
Wednesbury became a municipal borough in 1866, and continued in existence until 1966 when it became part of the County Borough of West Bromwich, which then itself merged with the County Borough of Warley in 1974. It gained the postcode WS10 which is shared with the town of Darlaston - part of the Walsall borough. The postal address for Darlaston is now Darlaston, Wednesbury.
Wednesburys bus station is located in the centre of the town near the swimming baths and links are available to Wolverhampton, Birmingham, West Bromwich and the shopping complex of Merry Hill.
It is served by the Midland Metro light rail (tram) system, with stops at Great Western Street and Wednesbury Parkway. The system's only maintenance depot is also located here. The current line runs from Wolverhampton to Birmingham, and a proposed extension to Brierley Hill is set to open in 2008.
Wednesbury is derived from Wodin's borough.
Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wednesbury"
Category: Towns in the West Midlands