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Presbyterian minister James Scott left a priceless legacy to Cradley in the form of a manuscript recording contemporary events and personalities

The Reverend James Scott was Presbyterian Minister in Cradley from 1789 until his death in 1827. Scott was a prolific writer. Amongst his numerous works is A History of Cradley 1800-1826, also known as the James Scott Manuscript or simply "J.S.M.".

This is an important primary source of information for local and family historians about the people of Cradley and their lives and times. The original book, a leather-bound volume of some 550 pages, hand-written in ink, is held in safe-keeping by Higgs & Sons, Solicitors, Stourbridge. Cradley Links has had the opportunity of inspecting the manuscript and taking notes, which we reproduce here. We are indebted to Mr. Brian Evers, a Trustee of the Park Lane Unitarian Chapel, for assisting us in gaining access to the James Scott Manuscript, and also to Higgs & Sons for providing facilities for our research.

James Scott was born to John and Elizabeth Scott of Stourbridge on 1 March 1768. He was invited to succeed Joseph Baker as Presbyterian Minister in Cradley just as he was about complete to his studies at the Dissenter's Academy in Daventry, in 1789. The Reverend Scott was the driving force of the new "Religious Discussion Society" in The Lye at about the same time. He first preached at Cradley on 21 June 1789 and was ordained at the Pensnett Meeting House on 11 May 1790. The building of the Park Lane Presbyterian Chapel (now Park Lane Unitarian Chapel) commenced under Scott, and he officiated at its opening on 15 May 1796.

James Scott died on 19 December 1827, at the age of 59.

Portrait of James Scott by Jonah Child of Dudley

The Manuscript has a Title Page in faint pencil giving its full title as: "History of Cradley, Principally designed to record interesting transactions depicting its religious societies and more especially the Presbyterian Church."

William Scott records (Stourbridge and its Vicinity, 1832):

... some further particulars may be inserted, when treating of Cradley, his chosen residence, and the scene of his distinguished usefulness.
A catalogue of his numerous publications, principally consisting of various religious tracts, besides several single sermons; will attest to the industry and fidelity of the author as a christian minister.
A folio volume of Cradley Records is still extant, with various other MSS. by the same hand. Not only the proceedings of the body to which the writer belonged are here detailed; but the ancient and modern history of Cradley and its vicinity, extending to that of the neighbourhood at large, with notices of public events, are here to be found.

G. Eyre Evans wrote of Scott and the manuscript (Midland Churches, 1899) thus:

Scott was a born antiquary and historian; he never seems to have let even the most trivial events in his congregations pass unrecorded, with the result that as time goes on his manuscripts and records become of the greatest value. Had all old and modern societies been so fortunate as to own great, heavy, substantial volumes such as are the priceless treasures of Cradley in its MS. History of Cradley Presbyterian Church, by James Scott ; of Stourbridge in its 3 MS. Vols. of Records of the Presbyterian Church, by James and William Scott ; [...] the task of historians would be far easier than it generally is.

The extremely valuable volume [...] is enriched with water colour drawings, engravings and portraits, as well as containing important notes by Scott on the histories of neighbouring societies.

Chapter 1st is an "Ancient History of Cradley", extracting from Nash's History of Worcestershire. However, most of the book comprises Scott's own observations on and descriptions of all manner of things. He touches on parish accounts, geology, genealogy, politics, industry as well as, of course, religion. The work was begun in 1800 and covers the period until 1826, shortly before his death.

In a foreword to the book Scott describes his purpose in writing the book, which in some respects resembles a diary. He writes as follows:

This Volume the preparation of which has been the amusement of leisure hours, is respectfully dedicated to the Trustees, and other members of the Society assembling for public worship at Park Lane Chapel Cradley.

It was originally intended only to write a brief history of the Presbyterian Church in this village. It was then thought to be expedient to add some particulars respecting the other religious societies, and also concerning the antiquities, and present state of Cradley. As the period in which it was written was pregnant with great events, it was supposed that a very concise note of the most remarkable political occurrences of each year might be interesting. And it was afterwards judged that a few essays, and historical details, immediately and remotely connected with the general subjects of this book, might be inserted with propriety, and that an Obituary would be prove a valuable appendage. A copious general Index has also been added.

Thus what was originally intended only to occupy a small Octavo, has imperceptibly swelled into a large volume, which is perhaps too diffuse and desultory. Being written at different times, and at distant intervals, some things will be found repeated, though in a different connection, or in more full detail. This Record, which consists chiefly of local transactions and occurrences, is not designed to meet the eye of the public. It may, however, be interesting to some of those for whose it was composed, and with this in mind is given to the Trustees of Park Lane Chapel Cradley, for the use of the congregation, to be deposited with other writings belonging to the Society.

The following data extracted from Scott's History of Cradley comprises the Obituary and two smaller sections. The Obituary is a list of members of the Cradley Presbyterian congregation who died between 1791 and 1827. There are one or two missing numbers in the entry list, at least one entry added out of order, and some unnumbered entries, where the deceased is perhaps not a member of the Cradley Presbyterian congregation but in some other way associated with it. The names extracted here are of all the persons listed by Scott, together with dates of and ages at death and places of residence, where given. However, the memoirs are only a sample of those given by James Scott, as time did not permit us to extract them all in full.  

The details of Local Taxation, money raised for the Poor, and the quantity and value of Land in Cradley, are derived by Scott or others before him from the Parish Books. The Members of the Presbyterian Congregation in 1800 resident in Cradley may be valuable, especially in conjunction with later Censuses and other sources, in identifying some families and individuals, and also in determining local surnames at this time.

State of the Congregation at the close of 1800.
Including those who occupy sittings
in the Park lane Chapel, with their
respective families, and places of abode.
Parish of Halesowen
Cradley District

Netherend Mr. Thos. Pargeter     Mrs. Do.

  Mr. Sh. Pargeter     Son

  Servant     Do.

  Do.     Do.

  Do.     Daughter

  Do.     Do.

  H. Cox Senr.     Do.

  Mrs. Do.     Mrs. Phillips

  Jos Bloomer     C. Probert

  Mrs. Do.     Wm. Newton

  Son   Lanes End J. Grovenor

  Do.     Servant

  Do.     Enoch Billingham

  Do.     Mrs. Do.

  Daughter     Son

  Mr. T. Meredith     Elijah Rock

  Mrs. Do.     Mrs. Do.

  Miss Eleanor Do.   Light Green R. Box

  Miss Mary Do.     Mrs. Do.

  Mr. Joseph Do.     T. Souden

  Mr. Wm. Do.     Mrs. Do.

  Servant     Son

  J. Moss Apprentice     Daughter

  Mrs. Brettell     Do.

  Jos. Weston     Do.

  Mrs. Do.     Do.

  R. Leonard Apprentice     John Brettell

  Jas. Bloomer Junr.   Cradley Village Mrs. Forrest School Mistress

  Mrs. Do.     Ab. Sutch

  B. Homer     Daughter

  Mrs. Homer     S. Buffery

  W. Brook Junr.     Mrs. Do.

  Mrs. Do.     Mrs. Shaw

  Jas. Scott Minister     Son

  Servant     Mrs. E. Forrest

  Do.     Daughter

  D. Mansell   Overend W. Beasley

  Mrs. Do.     Mrs. Do.

  Son   Colman Hill Mrs. Roper

  R. Forrest     Son

  Mrs. Do.     Do.

  Son   Colley Gate Revd. J. Baker

  Daughter     Mrs. Baker

  Do.     Mr. Brettell

  Do.     Servant

  Mrs. Hamus     Mrs. Ph. Hill

  Daughter     Mrs. Sermon

  Mr. Wm. Oliver     Mr. W. Tay

  T. Oliver     T. Bennet

  H. Perks     Mrs. Do.

  Mrs. Do.     Son

  Daughter     Daughter

  W. Grovenor     Do.

  T. Martin     Do.

  Mrs. Do.     Do.

  Son     D. Mole

  Wm. Parkes     D. Mole Junr.

  Mrs. Do.     Mrs. Do.

  W. Do.     Son

  T. Do.     Do.

  Daughter     Mrs. Cox

  Do.     Mr. E. Brettel

  Do.     Mrs. Do.

  S. Brook     W. Light

  Mrs. Do.   Park-Side Mr. J. Pargeter

  Daughter     Mr. H. Shaw

  Mrs. Drew     Miss E. Shaw

  R. Carter     Miss Maria Do.

  Mrs. Do.     Servant

  Son     Mrs. Haden

  Daughter     Son

  J. Stafford Junr.     Daughter

  Mrs. Do.     Mrs. Round

  Son     Son

  J. Perkes     Jos. Dix

  Mrs. Do.     Mrs. Do.

  Son     Son

  Do.     Do.

  Do.     Daughter

  Daughter     Jos. Beasley

  Do.     Mrs. Do.

  Do.   Chapel House Mr. H. Buffery

  W. Dunn Junr.     Mrs. Do.

  G. Deally     Mrs. Giles

  Mrs. Do.     W. Gavin

  Son     Servant

  Do.   Park Lane J. Instone

  Daughter     Mrs. Do.

  Do.     T. Edwards Junr.

  S. Hill     B.R. Simpkiss School Master

  Son     Jos. Brettel

  W. Stafford     Mrs. Do.

  Mrs. Do.     Jas. Do. Son

  Wm. Junr.     Do.

  Jos. Dunn     Do.

  B. Drew     Daughter

  Son     Do.

Near Cradley J. Bloomer Senr.     Do.

Old Forge W. Bloomer     Do.

Taxes and Money Raised for the Poor in Cradley 1798-99

The following is a correct statement of the amount of the Taxes in the Township of Cradley, for the 5th of April 1798, to the 5th of April 1799.

  £ s d

Land Tax 74 18 6

Duty on Windows 46 1 6

- On Inhabited Houses 1 7 4

- On Horses for riding or drawing Carriage 14 8 0

- On Horses used in Husbandry or Trade 12 18 0

- On Dogs 2 14 0


Income Tax from April 6th 1799, to April 5th 1800 158, 17, 4 ¼


Total 311,, 14,, 8 ¼

The money raised for the Poor from April 6th 1799 to April 5th 1800 by 7 Levies at 10d in the pound, amounted to £417,, 11s 0d which added to the Taxes will produce the sum of £729,, 5s,, 8 ¼.

Quantity and Value of Land in Cradley 1782

The quantity of Land in the Hamlet of Cradley, exclusive of Houses and Gardens, according to a survey made by Mr. H. Court of Stourbridge in the year 1782 is 756 acres,, 2 rods,, 19 perches. [Note by Cradley Links: This equates to about 306 hectares, or 3 square kilometres, or 1.18 square miles.] The average value of which at that time was about thirty shillings per Acre and amounts to the annual value of £1134,, 18s,, 6d.

Containing a list of persons deceased of the Presbyterian Church Cradley
- commencing 1791 - with occasional Memoirs

No. Date   Name Surname Residence Age Memoir

1 1791 Jan 20 Jonathan Crampton      

2 1791   Humphry Taylor      

3 1791     Crane, Mrs Margaret's Hill    

4 1791   Caroline Hannah Pargeter Carless Green Infant  

5 1791 Nov 3   Pargeter , Senr., Mrs Foxcoat    

6 1792   Mary Nock     A promising young person.

7 1792   Thos. Leonard      

8 1792   Phoebe Deally      

9 1792   William Forrest     An aged and venerable member of the Church.

10 1792   Phoebe Bloomer, Senr.      

11 1793   Thos. Edwards   21 Died of consumption.

12 1793   Hannah Leonard      

13 1794   Thos. Talbot, Junr.      

14 1794   Lucy Nock      

15 1794   John Brecknel      

16 1795   Susanna Cartwright      

17 1795   Wm. Gardiner      

18 1795   Wm. Dunn , Senr.      

19 1796   Thos. Bloomer   16  

20 1796 May 9 Phoebe Hill, Mrs.   84  

21 1796   Thos. Taylor      

22 1796   Richard Forrest, Junr.   18  

23 1796   Jemima Westwood   Infant  

24 1796   Ruth Forrest   Infant  

26 1796   Elizabeth Mansell   Infant  

27 1797 Jan 7 Elizabeth Pargeter , Mrs. Park Side 51  

28 1797   Nicholas Hancox Pargeter Carless Green 45  

29 1797   Jane Bradley Lye Waste    

30 1797   J. Wstwood Carless Green Infant  

31 1797 Jul 4 Anne Shaw, Mrs. Near the Lye Forge    

32 1797 Jun 2 Elizabeth Taylor      

33 1797   Hannah Stafford   8  

34 1797   Enoch Forrest Cradley   A man of well informed mind in an humble station. He had formerly been in the army; had travelled through many external regions of Europe and America, acquired some knowledge of the French and German languages, and read with advantage a great variety of Authors especially upon religious subjects. He was the person who first suggested the idea of this Work, which was actually begun in the year 1800.

35 1798 Mar 10   Holland, Mrs. Cradley Heath    

36 1798   Elizabeth Mansel Light Green    

37 1798 May 23 Mary Dix Park Side    

38 1798 Jun 20 Alicia Probert Cradley Forge    

39 1798   Mary Harris Cradley Forge 80  

40 1798   Hannah Stafford Near Netherend    

41 1798   Hannah Grovenor Lane End    

42 1798   Mary Westwood Chornal ( Gornal ?)    

43 1798   J. Grove   Infant  

44 1799 Feb 17 Wm. Davis Near Cradley Heath    

45 1799 Mar 15 Mary Chandler, Mrs. Park Side 66  

47 1799   Phoebe Jones Near the Salt Well    

48 1799   Mary Rose Netherend 80  

49 1799   Wm. Roper Near Cradley Park    

50 1799   W. Roper, Senr.   87  

51 1799 Oct 27 Daniel Dix   70  

52 1800   Anne Roper Park Side 72  

53 1800   Sarah Addleton      

54 1800   Wm. Cartwright   12 Fell into a Coal Pit.

55 1800   Thos. Hill Netherend    

56 1800   W. Westwood Haye Green Infant  

57 1800   Leah Hingley Cradley Heath Infant  

58 1800   Wm Davis Cradley Heath Infant  

59 1801   Abel Shaw      

60 1801   Hannah Dunn   70  

61 1801   James Bloomer, Senr.   81  

62 1801   Philip Pargeter , Mr.      

63 1801   Samuel Westwood , Senr.      

64 1801   Thomas Jones      

65 1801   Elizabeth Bloomer (late Weston) Netherend    

66 1801 Aug Daniel Mansel Netherend    

67 1801   Joseph Grovenor Newtown    

68 1802   Richard Box Light Green 79  

69 1802   Benjamin Westwood Green Lane, Lye Waste    

70 1802   Eliz . Westwood , Senr. Netherend    

71 1802   Jesse Bloomer Near Cradley Forge 6  

72 1803 Mar 9 William Rose Near Newtown    

73 1803 May 15 E. Sermon, Mrs.     The daughter of Joseph Ainesley Esq and a member of the Revd. Noah Hill's Church London. Having lost her husband by death, she came to reside in Cradley for the benefit of her health. She was regular in her attitude upon all the ordinances of Religion, bore her last illness with fortitude and resignation.

  1803 Jun 14 Thomas Franks      

  1804 Jan 5 Samuel Griffiths, the Revd.     Pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Wolverhampton.

74 1804 Jan 20 John Forrest     He had been a thoughtless youth, but during a long and painful illness discovered pleasing evidences of faith, persistence and resignation.

75 1804 Novr . Wm. Grove Senr.      

  1804 Feb 6 Joseph Priestley , the Revd., LLD, FRS     At Northumberland in North America ... many years Pastor of the New meeting Society in Birmingham.

76 1805 Jan 21 Joseph Baker, the Revd.   78 27 years Pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Cradley.

77 1805 Jan 28 Elizabeth Forrest     School mistress. Conscientious, pious and amiable, she well improved the talents committed to her trust, and discharged with fidelity the various duties of her office, being much respected and extremely useful.

78 1805 May 26 Elizabeth Cox      

79 1805 Jun 8 Wm. Tay, Mr.   72  

80 1805 Oct 25 Wm. Trowman Newtown 31  

81 1806 Feb 28 Ann Buffery , Mrs. Chapel House 79  

82 1806   Thomas Martin Netherend    

83 1806 Mar 30 Samuel Brook Netherend    

84 1806   Noah Buffery Cradley Forge    

85 1806     Cartwright, Mrs. Musham   Far advanced in years.

86 1806 Dec 2 Sarah Homer Cradley Heath 77 Her original name was Lambert. She first married Fellows and some years after his Decease Daniel Homer.

87 1806   Thos. Pargeter Foxcoat Infant Son of T. Pargeter, Esquire

88 1807   John Grovenor Netherend    

89 1807 Feb 11 Mary Kettle, Mrs.   58  

90 1807 Mar 18 Sarah Bloomer Overend    

91 1807   Caroline Pargeter , Mrs. Carless Green 76  

92 1808 Mar 2 Humphrey Buffrey , Mr. Chapel House 76 Nail Ironmonger.

93 1808 Dec 1 Mary Westwood Cradley 33 Wife of James Westwood (Farmer)

94 1808   Jane Stafford Netherend    

95 1808 Feb 4 Nathanial Trowman Newtown 78  

96 1808 Nov 4 John Perks      

97 1808 May 12 Sarah Bissel     Widow of Mr. Isaac Bissel who once resided at Park Side House and died May 12th 1784 aged 62.

98 1810 Jan 23 James Williams   62  

99 1810 May 4 Daniel Mole Colley Gate    

100 1811 Jan 7 Sarah Box   82  

101 1811 Jan 21 Elizabeth Weston Netherend 68  

102 1811 Jan 27 Henry Sweet Cradley 5  

103 1811 May Harry Cox Netherend 79  

104 1811 Jun 10 John Shaw     Whose death was occasioned by an unruly horse throwing him under the wheels of a loaded Waggon.

105 1811 Jul 24 Wm. Cartwright   67  

106 1811 Aug 6 Humphrey Perks Netherend 63  

107 1811 Nov 1 Mary Cox Netherend 79 Widow of H. Cox.

108 1811 Nov 22 Wm. Newton   79  

109 1812 Sep 16 Sarah Giles, Mrs.   90  

110 1812 Oct 30   Yardley, Mrs. Lye Waste    

111 1812 Nov 29 Thomas Meredith, Mr. Netherend 65 Scythe Manufacturer.

  1813 Jan 8 Ann Scott, Mrs. Birmingham 82 Relict of Mr. William Scott, who died in 1791. Her father Mr. John Toncks was a native of Harborne and a Dissenting Minister.

112 1813 Jun 13 Elizabeth Meredith, Mrs. Netherend    

113 1813   William Forrest Light Green    

114 1813 Dec 21 Elizabeth Forrest Cradley    

115 1814 Jan 6 Margaret Watts Lye Waste    

116 1814 Jan 9 Phoebe Round Lye Waste    

117 1814   John Bourne Lye Waste    

118 1815 Jan 4 Timothy Brooke Netherend 16  

119 1815   Hannah Beasley      

120 1815   Jos. Beasley Senr.      

121 1815 Jul 11 William Barton, Mr.   56 He died of Apoplectic Seizure.

122 1815 Jul 17 Lucinda Sweet, Miss.   19 At Cheltenham.

123 1815 Sep 12 Susanna Allport Netherend    

124 1815 Dec 23 Jane Billingham Netherend    

125 1816   Ann Cox, Mrs.     Youngest daughter of Mrs. Phoebe Hill and sister to the Revd. Noah Hill.

126 1816   Mary Mucklow      

127 1816 Nov 23 Benjamin Carpenter, the Revd.      

128 1816 Nov 26 Bennet Raybold Simpkiss     School Master at Netherend.

129 1817 Apr 1 Anne Oliver Netherend 16 Daughter of Mr. Wm. Oliver.

130 1818 Feb William Parkes Netherend    

131 1818 May 7 Isaac Fellows Netherend    

132 1818   John Instone Cradley    

133 1818   Nancy Bloomer Near the Forge   The Mother of a numerous Family.

134 1818 Dec 10 Samuel Buffery Cradley    

135 1816 Aug 26 Mary Brettell Cradley   Wife of Edward Brettell.

  1819 Jan Joseph Haden Netherend    

  1819 Feb 2 John Cardale , Mr.   87  

136 1819 Feb 7 Thomas Harvey      

137 1819 Feb 13 Elizabeth Perks Netherend 74  

138 1819 May 18 Phoebe Wooldridge Lye Waste    

139 1819 Jun 7 Elizabeth Pargeter Foxcoat 84 Relict of Mr. Thos. Pargeter Senr. Who died in 1791.

140 1819 Jul 3 Mary Drew Netherend 88  

141 1819 Sep 16 William Bloomer Near Cradley Forge 58  

142 1819 Nov 4 Richard Carter      

143 1819 Dec 10 Charles Probert      

144 1820 Jan 7 Sarah Mansell   52  

145 1820 Mar 1 Richard Forrest      

146 1820 May 5 Phoebe Hill, Mrs      

147 1820 Nov 3 Phoebe Brookes   80  

148 1821 Jan 31 Marab Brook      

149 1821 Feb 10 Phoby Deally Near Netherend    

150 1821 May 4 Sarah Haden Netherend    

151 1821 Oct 15 John Edwards Colman Hill   Son of Mr. Richard Edwards

152 1821 Oct 12 Elizabeth Pargeter Carless Green 46  

153 1822 Jan 22 Mary Instone      

154 1822 Nov 1 Henry Crampton   67  

155 1822 Jan 15 Ann Brooks Netherend 82  

156 1823 Jan 6 Mary Parks Netherend    

157 1823 Jan 14 William Forrest Brockmoor    

158 1823 Jan 15 Joseph Brettell Near Cradley Field 92  

159 1823 Apr 22 E. Marston , Mrs.      

160 1823   William Walker Light Green    

161 1824 Jan Elizabeth Mole, Mrs.   50  

162 1824   Rebecca Baker, Mrs.   32  

163 1824 Mar 30 John Bradley Lye Waste    

164 1824 May 7 Sarah Forrest     Since the death of Mrs. M. Bate in 1799, she daily conveyed letters to and from Stourbridge.

165 1824   Lydia Jones Near Shut End   Born about the year 1753.

166 1825 Jan 16 Esther Kendrick Cradley 72  

167 1825 Jan 15 Phoebe Stafford Netherend 82  

168 1825 Mar 14 William Hornblower , Mr.   44 Iron Master.

169 1825 Mar 17 Timothy Bloomer      

170 1825 Aug Sebright Stafford      

171 1825 Sep 14 Thomas Taylor Billingham   25  

172 1826 Jan 20 William Stafford      

173 1826   Mary Darby      

174 1827 Feb 23 Sarah Philips Netherend 95  

175 1827 Mar 8 Edward Brettell, Mr.   65  

The james scott manuscript A history of cradley 1800-1826

James Scott