By George!

Howdles Lane is named for George Howdle, who was proprietor of houses in in 1861.  But who was George?  Where did he come from?  And how did he end up in an obscure lane off Watling Street, Brownhills?  George is also related to my Dennis kindred.

In George the Eponymous I wrote: Continue reading “By George!”


Howdle’s Cottages: How old?!

howdles cottages os 1882 1883
It’s that plan again.  Howdles Cottages. Ordnance Survey, surveyed 1882, published 1883. Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland.

In the 1871 census the six pairs of cottages, edged red above, were known as Howdle’s Row, but by 1881 had become Howdle’s Cottages.

When were Howdle’s Cottages built?

When they were demolished in about 1967 it was said that the cottages were about 200 years old. Martin Littler, who grew up in one of them recently reminded us that it was what people said at the time, both on BrownhillsBob’s Brownhills Blog and to me in person. But why build back then? Continue reading “Howdle’s Cottages: How old?!”

George II

Here is the third section of my exploration of the history of my old house and surroundings in Howdles Lane.  The series begins here.

In the previous post we saw how the land lay in 1882.  Little had changed by 1901 and 1915.  So the following maps give a good idea of what the area was like when the lease came up for auction in 1911. Continue reading “George II”

George the Eponymous

This is the second in my series about the deeds to my old house and the people named in them.  Here is a link to the first.  There is only one Howdles Lane in the world and it seems to have been named after George Howdle.


deeds 28 p1
Page one of the conveyance of 28 Howdles Lane to my father.


George Howdle (1799-1885)

The deeds say that George Howdle leased some land in the area from the Marquis of Anglesey in 1877. This did not include the land on which my old house stands; that was leased at the same time to John Dennis, my great grandfather.

A George Howdle is recorded in the 1851-1881 censuses for the area. He was born about 1799 at Hemingborough, Yorkshire. His occupation at these times was recorded as agricultural labourer (1851), proprietor of houses (1861), letter carrier (1871) and no occupation (1881).

In 1873 a George Howdle, of Walsall, owned an area of 4 acres 24 poles generating annual rental of £188 5s. George Howdle (snr) died in 1885 with an estate value £180 3s 10d. His son Henry lived in Howdles Lane (as it is known today) in 1891 and 1901 and was a well sinker.

George’s son, also George, born 1825, could also have been the lessee or inherited the lease, which was up for auction following his death on 12 May 1911. I have found no record of sale of the cottages in the period between 1850 and 1880 – there are no relevant news reports online from the 1860s. From this it seems reasonable to infer that George Howdle (snr) leased land from the Marquis, had the twelve cottages built, benefited from the rent, then passed them on to his son. However, it seems there is evidence, as yet unseen by me, that the cottages were much older, but I will return to that in future.

Almost coincident with the elder George’s death the Ordnance Survey mapped the area in 1882-1883.

howdles cottages os 1882 1883
Howdles Cottages. Ordnance Survey, surveyed 1882, published 1883. Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland.

The map above is designed to cover future posts as well as this one.

Red:  The original 12 cottages belonging to George Howdle in 1861.

Yellow:  I think later censuses might have recorded these as Howdles Cottages.  I believe second great grandfather Joseph Carter lived on the inside of the bend, at the top of the map.

Blue:  Land developed for housing in 1960, leased sometime by both my great grandfather John Dennis and his son John, aka Jack.  Number 30 is at the northern end of the southern plot.

Green:  H Twist Cottages.  The northern pair remains as numbers 36 and 38.  Great grandfather John Dennis lived in the southernmost of the four from some time in the 1870s until his death in 1915.  His family is pictured below – I have used this before in John I Chapter II.

John Dennis (1852-1915) and family. Seated: John and Emma. Standing Harry, Jack, Lizzie and Sam. Original print kindly given by Martin Littler.

More to come …