Bates John              awl, blade, and needle maker    Newtown  



by James Pigot  (1818)

Bilston, a large and populous village, in the parish of Wolverhampton, (but a distinct township for all parochial purposes,) from which it is distant about three miles, ten from Birmingham, and 121 from London. It is about one and a half miles long, contains two thousand houses, and eleven thousand inhabitants. It is famous for its coal and iron mines, and iron-works; is excellently situated both for land and water carriage, the great road from London to Holyhead, and from Birmingham to Manchester and Liverpool, passing through it; the Birmingham canal also passes close by it. By these means it has a constant and active communication with the metropolis, the western ports, and the large and numerous towns around it, so justly distinguished for their manufactures. Previous to the canal being cut, about the year 1772, only one blast furnace for smelting iron ore was erected; since which time to the present, 16 blast furnaces, and six mills for rolling and slitting the pigs into bars, have been erected. The principal trade carried on here, besides the iron and coal, is japanned and enamelled goods, which are got up in great abundance and cheap. Buckle-chapes was formerly the staple trade, which is still carried on, but very much reduced. There is a deep orange-coloured sand got here, which is sent for by founders from a great distance, to be used as a spuad to cast metal in ; and it is also noticed for a quarry of remarkable stones, lying horizontally one under another, in 12 beds deep, every bed thicker the lower they go; the lowermost about one yard thick. The inhabitants make cisterns, troughs, &c. of the stone; some of which is curiously streaked with black. It has a chapel, a modern building, covered with slate. The chapelry is within the exempt jurisdiction of the dean of Wolverhampton, and is a perpetual curacy; the right of nomination to which is in the inhabitants at large, and its endowment is about £200 per annum. There are also two dissenting meeting-houses, and likewise a charity school. Attached to Bilston is Bradley, which is subject to the same officers, and is one and the same place, except in the Court of Requests, it being included in the Oldbury act, a few years before the Bilston act was prayed for. The decisions in the Oldbury court are final, and not subject to any appeal to a higher court; but the Bilston court is a Court of Record, and subject to appeal to the Court of King's Bench.