Noake's Worcestershire Page 330


Stourbridge and Oldswinford.

OLDSWINFORD parish includes the comparatively modern town of Stourbridge, the former name being derived from a ford over the Swin brook at this place, and the addition of "Old" to distinguish it from Kingswinford. Stourbridge derives its name from a bridge over the Stour, and the earliest known mention of it is in a deed of 1358. Oldswinford contains the township of Oldswinford, the hamlets of Lye, Wollescote, Upper Swinford, and Wollaston, in the county of Worcester, and the hamlet of Amblecote, in the county of Stafford. There is still the manor of Oldswinford, of which the Earl of Dudley is lord, and the manor of Bedcote, the boundaries of which are identical with those of the township of Stourbridge, and containing 363A., 3R., 30P. Earl Dudley is lord of this manor also, but in neither this nor Oldswinford has a manorial court been held for many years. There is not a copyholder in either manor, and hence no necessity for holding courts. The Earl of Stamford and Warrington is lord of the manor of Amblecote, but exercises no rights or control in consequence, and I am not aware of a court leet having been held at any period, certainly not during the last forty years. The area of the entire hamlet is 513A., 0R., 19P. Acreage of Oldswinford, 2,559. The bridge over the Stour was no doubt a great attraction for traders and settlers, and in the fifteenth century the existence of a weekly market and two fairs denoted that Stourbridge must have been then a considerable village. An old MS. states that coal and ironstone were worked here in the reign of Edward III ; but if so, it could not have been to any great extent, as the population of both Oldswinford and Stourbridge combined numbered only 182 families in the time of Elizabeth. The free school