Wonderful Wolverhampton

Willenhall was an early Saxon settlement -'The Meadowland of Willa'. Willenhall was mentioned in the Domesday Book in 1086.

A notable local family are the Levesons. Sir Thomas Leveson was Royal Governor of Dudley Castle during the Civil War .He had been Vice-Admiral of England in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, and took part in the daring attack on Cadiz. His effigy in Wolverhampton church shows him as one of the heroes of old romance. The present-day representatives of the family are the Leveson-Gowers. The head of the family is the Duke of Sutherland.

Willenhall first began to make keys in Queen Elizabeth I's time. Lock-making became the local speciality, and it was said that the people of the village were hump-backed because of the hours they spent over their work.

In the mid 18th century it was said of Willenhall that it was 'one long street, newly paved' and that 'more locks of all kinds are made here than in any other town of the same size in England and Europe.' There were then nearly 150 lockmakers in Willenhall, and by the mid 1800s the number had increased to over 300. This was a highly skilled trade, and it was only in the 20th century that machinery was extensively used. Willenhall is still a centre for lock making and the iron and brass industries.

In 19661ocal government boundary changes brought Willenhall into the borough of Walsall.

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.