Shant regard for safety

BrownhillsBob has posted some images of bridges in the Brownhills area. I recognise some, of course, but one that always seems to be missing (and this is no criticism of an exemplary blog) is the Shant Bridge, which carried Watling Street (A5) over the old London Midland and Railway (Norton Branch) at Brownhills West. The bridge remains, as does the track bed, which can be walked or cycled along.
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Strange marriage

What is the likelihood of two couples with identical names being married in the same quarter?  Well, I guess if they were John Smith and Mary Jones it would not be such a surprise,  but in this case they were Josiah Cooper and Edith Maria Birch. Continue reading “Strange marriage”

Hard Times At The Collieries

I found an article in the local press, one among many about parents not sending their children regularly to school, which resonated in two ways.  Most recently the debate about parents who take their children out of school for holidays, and maybe the reason from around 1875-80, why some of Andrew’s Kindred migrated to Derbyshire to find work.

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Child labour at the colliery

Following a number of disasters involving children, whether caused by them or not, the Collieries and Mines Act was passed in 1842. Among other things, this prohibited the employment of females and boys under the age of 10 from working underground. I wanted to understand how this might have affected Andrew’s Kindred. The earliest comprehensive data on occupations is the 1841 census. I wanted to explore the interplay between work and school, but no information is recorded as to which children were scholars and I was confined to comparing work and no work. It should be noted that my samples are small and it cannot be claimed that my analysis has any national or regional significance. Nonetheless, it does say something about the communities in which my coal mining forebears lived and worked. Continue reading “Child labour at the colliery”

F is for …

From: Reaney, P H, (ed. Wilson, R M), 1997, Oxford Dictionary of English Surnames, 3rd ed., OUP, Oxford, unless otherwise stated.


Earliest in Andrew’s Kindred: George Fairfield born 1854 Norton Canes, Staffordshire.

Dweller by the fair field.


Earliest in Andrew’s Kindred: Benjamin Fewkes born 1786 Swannington, Leicestershire.

There seems to be nothing conclusive. Old German for folk? Old French for falcon – more likely after conquest? Perhaps evolved into Fox? Maybe something to do with Fuchs, such as the German botanist?


Earliest in Andrew’s Kindred: Henry Finch born 1743 Measham, Derbyshire.

From the Anglo-Saxon Old English finc the modern finch, a nickname for a simpleton, or perhaps bird-brain. The English finch has the German equivalent fink. Today fink is used, mainly in America, to refer to an unpleasant or contemptible person.


It is suggested that one origin may be from a catcher or seller of birds for cages or the table (Dictionary of American Family Names 2013, Oxford University Press); for example like Tamino, in The Magic Flute.


Earliest in Andrew’s Kindred: James Fletcher born 1807 Horsley Woodhouse, Derbyshire.

Old French flechier or flecher, maker or seller of arrows.



Earliest in Andrew’s Kindred: John Fryer born 1830 Bishampton, Worcestershire.

From Old French frere, brother = friar (as in Friar Tuck, of Robin Hood fame).


Earliest in Andrew’s Kindred: William Fullelove born 1848 Whitwick, Leicestershire.

Full of love. Subsidy Rolls Cambridgeshire ffulofloue 1327, Subsidy Rolls Cumberland ffuloflof 1332. To be fair this looks obvious!  Seems very much a Yorkshire name.

Aer Reg, if you are passing by, this seems to fit.