Feredays of Gornal & Bickleys of Bilston

On November 3rd 1841 a wedding at All Saint's Sedgley provides an interesting insight of the times: "On the 2nd inst. at Sedgley, by the Rev. W. Lewis, Vicar of Sedgley, John Latty Bickley Esq., of Ettingshall Lodge, to Ann Elizabeth, eldest daughter of John Turton Fereday, Esq. of The Quarries Upper Gornal." The Bickleys were a wealthy Bilston family, whose residence was the Hall in Willenhall Road.

John Latty B. would inherit a considerable estate, becoming seen as a local squire, but was also known in Bilston as something of an eccentric. At times he was subject to ridicule, being described as "Silly Latty". Amongst his many strange actions were his reaction, after being ridiculed, when he said, "He was tired of the world and was going to leave it!" To do so he walked to the "Fiery Holes" area, (close by today's Metro line as it runs through Bradley), climbed a tree to look at the world! Giving up, and returning home, he said that what he had seen from the tree showed him that the world was a much bigger place than he ever thought! If, at marriage, he was living at Ettingshall Lodge, it means that he had now left the family home. Ettingshall Lodge almost faced the entrance to Ward Street, formerly known as Gibbet Lane, having the local place of execution at the far end of it. Ettingshall Lodge, had been previously associated with the famed Bilston enamelling trade, and was very near to the old Sedgley parish boundary.

The Feredays, being early Ironmasters, had begun to develop the Ellowes area from 1793 when cannon balls were much in demand. Following the end of the war with France (1815), the iron cannon balls provided a declining market. By 1821 Sam was bankrupt. He was eventually bought out by his nephew, who now in 1841, is the father of the bride. The Ellowes frequently changed hands throughout its history, and the fondly remembered Ellowes Hall we knew bore little resemblance to that lived in by the Turton-Feredays, and some of their successors. Here, at his daughter's wedding, it will be seen that John now lives at "The Quarries", a fine house on Kent Street Upper Gornal (remembered as the home of the Howl brothers), but not quite so grand, nor with the same spacious surroundings of the Ellowes. (At this time the peaks and troughs of the iron industry often saw both houses and works changing hands rapidly.)

On April 13th 1842 Edward Nayler mentions local government, reporting that: "Theophilus Tinsley, junr. Thomas Fereday, and Isaac Caddick have been appointed Overseers of the Parish for the ensuing year."

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