Stonnall eye-witness history
The History and Antiquities of Shenstone
The Stonnall Pages
Rev Henry Sanders BA, 1794
Introduced and edited by Julian Ward-Davies BA Hons
The following pages are extracts from The History and Antiquities of Shenstone by Reverend Henry Sanders. These pages represent his impressions of the village of Stonnall as it existed in the mid-1700s.
Henry Sanders was the son of Henry and Rebecca Sanders of Dudley. He attended Wolverhampton Grammar School, after which he secured employment at King Edward's Hospital near Oxford. By this means he was able to support himself while studying at Oriel College, University of Oxford.
After his graduation, he entered holy orders and was appointed to a curacy at Wednesbury. He married Elizabeth Butler and shortly afterwards the family moved to Shenstone, where he was the curate for the next 13 years.
Perhaps as a result of this somewhat excessive period as a junior cleric, Rev Sanders became a schoolmaster at King Edward VI School, Birmingham and then, in 1771, at Halesowen Grammar School. He did not, however, abandon Holy Orders, combining his work as a teacher with curacies, the last of which was in Oldbury.
Although now removed from his beloved Shenstone, the parish occupied his mind and labours in his spare time for the next several years. Most of the work that went into the History was undertaken while he was resident in Birmingham and was largely completed by 1769, although improvements to the manuscript continued while he was in Halesowen.
Reverend Henry Sanders died in 1783. His work was published posthumously in 1794, around 20 years after it had been completed.
Stonnall was one of the two major divisions of the ecclesiastical Parish of Shenstone until the mid-19th century, when the village became a parish in its own right. (The village is still part of the civil Parish of Shenstone.)
The spelling of Stonnall and various other place-names were not standardised in Rev Sanders' time.
The book's typography and the author's language are somewhat medieval. You just have to get used to it.
Although the pages reproduced here represent the section of the book that is devoted to Stonnall, in fact the village is mentioned throughout the History in various contexts.
Stonnall had neither church nor chapel in Rev Sanders' time.
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Note that the following images are scans of the original pages that were published in the 1790s. They are not very suitable for viewing on mobile phones.
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Design, image editing and programming Julian Ward-Davies BA Hons, May 2018, revised January 2019..
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