St. Peter's Consecrated / A Firearms Accident

In our last article we read more of Sedgley Parish life in Victorian times, and find events, having equivalents in triumph and tragedy, and ordinary life, not so different to our own. Edward Nayler still finds much to interest him in local newspapers! Reports showing progress in the building of Chapels of Ease lessening the burden upon All Saints, once the only Anglican church for the enormous parish of Sedgley. April 27th 1842 - "The collections at the opening of the new church in Upper Gornal (St. Peter's) on Sunday last amounted to £60, including ten guineas from the Lady Ward." Nayler's next record is March 1843, and this an important and happy event at Sedgley Vicarage! March 15th - "On the 10th inst., at Sedgley Vicarage, the wife of the Rev. W. Lewis, (birth) of a son." Then follows news of a local marriage - "On the 9th inst, at the Parish Church, Sedgley, by the Rev. W. Lewis, Mr Richard Pinches to Sarah Hickman, both of Sedgley." (Both surnames are still well remembered by local Sedgley folk!)

On Friday July 19th 1843 the new church at Upper Gornal was dedicated to St. Peter, and was consecrated by the Lord Bishop of Hereford. A sermon for the occasion was preached by the Rev. C. Girdlestone, Rector of Alderley Edge, after which a collection amounting to £28 was made towards defraying the cost of Communion plate etc. The church contains 950 sittings, 628 of which are free! The 322 reserved for renting by those wealthy enough to secure a pew permanently for their own use.

Not all Nayler's news is good, and the following item reminds us sadly of events not unknown in today's world. December 27th - "A lamentable accident occurred from firearms at Sedgley on Wednesday last." It appears that the eldest son of Mr. Samuel Pemberton of Deepfields, a fine youth of about 14 years of age, having procured a double barrelled gun, without the knowledge of his parents, loaded both the barrels, one of which he fired at a small bird which fell over a cinder wall by which he was standing, and that after climbing the wall in pursuit of the bird, while in the act of drawing the gun after him, something caught the lock which caused the remaining barrel to explode, and the contents were lodged in his right arm, inflicting most frightful injuries. Surgical aid was immediately obtained and the amputation of the limb was found necessary. The unfortunate young gentleman is said to be going on favourably. (Pemberton was a local ironmaster. Pemberton Road Coseley is named after him. He is said to have built fine houses in creating The Old Square Birmingham, east of what was formerly known as Lewis's Department Store.)

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