Wonderful Wolverhampton

Himley (spelt 'Himelie' in the Domesday Book) is a small village in a rural area on the edge of the Black Country and about six miles south of Wolverhampton with a population of around 500.

The village is not without history, Himley Hall being the home of successive Earls of Dudley perhaps from as far back as 1740. Now owned jointly by the local authorities of Wolverhampton and Dudley, the hall is set in 200 acres of parkland laid out by Capability Brown, which is open to the public and provides for golf, sailing, fishing, lovely walks and picnic areas together with a model railway and model village and other activities at different times during the year.

Close to Himley Park is the church of St Michael. Built in 1764 by the then Earl of Dudley to accommodate the ever increasing congregation attending the earl's private chapel annexe at the hall, the church contains many interesting features. A focal point is 'the Good Shepherd' stained glass window in the apsidal sanctuary. Most of the panelling and rood screen were transferred to St Michael's from the original chapel.

In years gone by Himley had its own railway station but, sadly, this has gone and instead the old lines have been torn up to make way for a nature trail to be enjoyed by residents and visitors.

Near Himley Park there is a public house called the Glyn Arms, better known as the Crooked House. Here you may not need to buy a beer to feel drunk. Doors and windows appear at funny angles and bottles appear to roll uphill. The building lies at an angle of 15 degrees. Both it and Himley Hall are listed on the Dudley Heritage Trail.

Another interesting building is Holbeche House. Though not open the public, this is the house where some participants in the Gunpowder Plot in 1605 were hidden after they fled from the scene of the crime, before being captured and taken back to London.

As is the case in many villages these days large old buildings get taken over and used for other purposes. Himley is no exception. The rectory, school, post office, the Dower House and Whitehall Farm are all serving other purposes now. A sign of the times!

Swindon, through which runs a canal, is a much larger village than Himley. An iron works was once established there but in its place now are houses and a community hall.

A point to note is that Swindon is situated only a very short distance from Enville and High gate commons, a large area of wooded and recreation land, which is very much used and appreciated by the public.

The village information above is taken from The Staffordshire Village Book, written by members of the Staffordshire Federation of Women's Institutes and published by Countryside Books. Click on the link Countryside Books to view Countryside's range of other local titles.