Wonderful Wolverhampton

Wednesfield, just two miles north-east of Wolverhampton, is possibly the oldest of the Black Country townships. It is another place dedicated to Wotan, the Anglo Saxon god, with the addition of 'field' or open land. The name 'Fallings' at Falling Park and Old Fallings indicates woodland felled by the axe and comes direct from the Early English 'feallen'. There was quite possibly a pagan shrine to Woden in the vicinity of Wednesfield.

It was in this area that, in AD 910, Alfred's son Edward defeated the Danes with his Mercians and West Saxons.

At the beginning of the 19th century the artisans of Wednesfield had established the monopoly in the manufacture of animal and man traps. They held this monopoly for one and a half centuries. These traps were for arresting or killing, they were not the cage type. The animal traps were used in the fur trade. Many of the man traps went to the estates of the landed gentry and the plantations of the slave owners. The trap makers were specialised blacksmiths.

The church of St Thomas was built in 1751, but it was burned down in 1902 and rebuilt a year later. Wednesfield reached its time of greatest prosperity in the 19th century, but the skills and trades developed then (with the exception of man traps!) are still supporting it today.

The village information above is taken from The West Midlands Village Book, written by members of the West Midlands 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.