Setting a Church Rate / One wedding in two churches!
Again we return to Edward Nayler's Sedgley archives. The year is 1844, and in February there has been the ticklish problem of obtaining a new Church Rate of 2½ pence in the pound. After 4 days of voting the count was close, but finally the new church rate was passed by 256 to 244!

By March they were still celebrating that success: "On Monday the 18th, a public dinner was given at the Court House, Sedgley to J. W Turton Esq., and to Josiah Creswell Esq., as a slight compliment to those gentlemen for their services during the late church-rate contest!" You and I might be a little offended by a slight compliment? Was the meal modest? Not from the report: "The company numbered about forty and included the most respectable inhabitants of the parish. Dudley Fereday Esq. presided and John Maughan, Esq., occupied the vice chair. The dinner, which was admirably served by Mr. Ebery (the landlord) consisted of every delicacy of the season."

In July of 1844 Edward Nayler draws our attention to a wedding between an Anglican and a Roman Catholic: "At the Catholic Chapel Sedgley by the Rev. T. Tyson, and afterwards at Sedgley Church by the Rev. W. Lewis, Mr. A. Comah Jnr., of Dudley to Miss E. Sheldon, daughter of Mr John Sheldon of Sedgley." Although this may not be the same family, in 1881 there were Sheldons described as safe makers working both in Dean Street and Priory Street, Sedgley. Other Sheldons are working in the iron trade, and to a Thomas Sheldon is attributed the early steel pen nib!

An interesting report appears of the New Year celebration at the beginning of 1845: "On New Year's Day a large party of the friends of the Established Church met in the school-rooms, Sedgley, at an entertainment given to the scholars. After tea the assembly was addressed by the Reverend W. Lewis, the Vicar, and was delighted by several well-performed pieces of music and singing. On the following day the whole of the children from the church schools in the vicinity, numbering about 500, were regaled with tea and plum cake, much to their gratification."

During this year the Parish records the deaths, on October 15th of William Such, farmer at High Arcal age 77, and on December 24th: "Most sincerely regretted by his family, Mr Samuel Perry of Sandyfields, age 69." Thus the seasons pass! 

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