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Residents of Chapel House, Cradley - compiled by Jill Guest

In the nineteenth century it was the practice for the well off and well to do to live amongst the rest of us, including in the highly industrialised Black Country town of Cradley.

Thus, many ironmasters, solicitors and the like lived in grand houses in close proximity to the poor housing that most people lived in. One of these was Chapel House, situated between Park Road and Chapel House Lane.

Back in 2003, Barry Blunt informed us of the history of Chapel House. He said: "In 1782 the field in which Chapel House came to be built was called Chapel Yard Close. It was owned by Humphrey Buffery and farmed by Thomas Allchurch. There was a block of buildings near to the road now called Chapel House Lane. This included Buffery's own house where he lived with his wife Ann, a tenement occupied by Mary Buffery and a stable block and warehouse where Buffery carried out his trade as a nail ironmonger. This block of buildings is shown on the estate map of Richard Brettell dated circa 1800. However, in the year 1800 Humphrey Buffery is described by James Scott (in his list of members of the Presbyterian congregation) as living in Chapel House. It is reasonable to conclude that Chapel House was erected just before 1800 by Humphrey Buffery, and that it took its name from the field in which it stood, Chapel Yard Close. The adjacent field was called Chapel Meadow. These fields took their names from the medieval chapel that once stood nearby, referred to by ancient historians Treadway Nash and William Scott. The precise location of this chapel is proving to be illusive, but we're working on it."

The significance of the year 1782 is that this was the date of the first survey of Cradley for the enclosure of land. The schedule lists every owner and occupier of every field in Cradley, together with its name, its acreage and the way in which the field was being put to use. Barry, working with Margaret Bradley, produced a book based on the 1782 Survey, and this is still available from the Cradley Links Bookshop.

Amongst the many people known to have resided in Chapel House were Joseph Priestley Jnr. (Dissenting minister, son of Dr. Joseph Priestley: theologian, Dissenting clergyman, natural philosopher, educator, and political theorist); the Reverend William Bowen (who married Priestley's daughter, Marianne); Noah Hingley (the ironmaster who introduced the making of ship's anchors and anchor chains to the Black Country, and whose workers famously made the anchors and chains for the Titanic); Dr. Ashley Belbin (General Practitioner, Medical Officer & Public Vaccinator, Cradley District, Stourbridge Union); and Dr. Shedden (who succeeded Belbin in all these roles).

The information that follows has been compiled from various sources, including censuses, books, Trades Directories, and other material, much of which is to be found elsewhere on Cradley Links. We are indebted to Priestley ("Pete") Toulmin in the United States for supplying us with the beautiful image of Chapel House (above). Pete's genealogical connection to the Priestley family is described in Mudd in Your Eye, the Newsletter of the Department of Chemistry, Lehigh University, Pennsylvania, Number 38, March 2010, page 6.

Chapel house residents





Mr Humphrey Buffery, Nail Ironmonger
Ann Buffery

The Presbyterian Congregation at Park Lane in 1800, listed in the James Scott Manuscript - A History of Cradley 1800-1826


Ann Buffery, died 28th Feb, aged 79

Persons deceased of the Presbyterian Church Cradley Ditto


Humphrey Buffery, died 2nd March, aged 76



Joseph Priestley Jnr. and family returned from America and settled in Cradley, at Chapel House. His daughter Marianne married Rev W. Bowen

Cradley's Forgotten Connections by Peter Barnsley


Bowen, Rev William 40 Dissenting Minister
Bowen, Marianne 35
Bowen, William 6
Bowen, Lindsey 5
Bowen, Thomas 3
Priestley, Sarah 30
Priestley, Lindsay 14
Towers, Mary 18 Female Servant

1841 census


Evers, James 34, iron master & County Magistrate
Evers, Ann J. 31
Evers, Mary I. 5
Evers, Allen J. 4
Evers, Agnes E. 2
Pussey, Jane 35 Cook
Southall, Mary 21 Nurse
Mills, Harriet 19 Housemaid
Patrick, Thomas 24 Groom
Court, Thomas 24 Footman

1851 Census


Noah Hingley

Kelly's Directory 1860


[11, Park Lane, Chapel House]
Hingley, Noah 64
Hingley, Ann 63
Hingley, Mary 45
Hingley, Joseph 39
Hingley, Leah 34
Hingley, Samuel 32
Hingley, Benjamin 30
Guest, Sarah 31
Bloomer, Elizabeth 18
Bloomer, Jane 17

1861 Census


Noah Hingley

Kelly's Directory 1868


Joseph Benjamin Homer

Post Office Directory 1872


Josh. Homer Esq.

Owen's Directory 1880


Mrs Sidaway

Kelly's Directory 1888


Edmondson,Rev. Robert Henry BA Vicar, Chapel House, Park Lane, Colley Gate

Kelly's Directory 1896


Russell Sturgis-White, Head M 46, Surgeon
Grace Sturgis-White, wife 38
Gertrude Sturgis-White, daughter 13
Ethel Sturgis-White, daughter 11
Gladys Sturgis-White, daughter 10

1901 Census


Dr Ashley Belbin, Medical Officer & Public Vaccinator, Cradley District, Stourbridge Union. Colley Gate (not given as Chapel House)

Kelly's Directory 1912


Dr Ashley Belbin

Kelly's Directory 1916


Dr Ashley Belbin

Kelly's Directory 1924


Dr & Mrs C J Lewis (Nursing Home)

Bills for Service


Dr Shedden, Medical Officer & Public Vaccinator, Cradley District, Stourbridge Union, Public Ass. Committee

Kelly's Directory 1940

 The Chapel House, Cradley, The Residence of Joseph Priestley Esq. [Image supplied by Priestley Toulmin, from the original that belongs to another Priestley descendant, Paulo Lowndes-Marques of Lisbon.]