Cannock Chase has had many changes in its boundaries over the years. This book deals mainly with the are which formed the ancient parish of Cannock; taking in Hednesford, Hatherton, Cannock Wood and Great Wyrley. Cheslyn Hay has been included, partly because its story is most closely linked with Great Wyrleym but also because it was always a sort of 'no-mans land,' coming under the jurisdiction of neither the lord of the manor nor the Church. It was regarded as a wild and lawless place! The Chase has a long and interesting history. Many are familiar with the popular local tales such as the deeds of 'The Wyrley Gang,' but there is much more to be told about the Chase in the past that is less well known. Why, for example, is there evidence of a major flint-working site near Castle Ring, when local flint deposits are few and far between? Who built the hill-fort at Castle Ring and why? Where are the remains of the first known bathroom, complete with hot and cold running water? What did the Norman forest laws mean to ordinary people? Why was the first blast furnace in the Midlands built near Hednesford? What had Cannock Chase miners to do with the first landmine ever detonated? Why should Cannock curate have his sermons burnt by the public hangman? Why, if some Victorian civil servant had made a different decision, might Hednesford Town F.C. have been Arsenal F.C. instead? Finally... How, when and why did the Chase emerge from its centuries-long isolation to become a major coalfield and industrial centre by the end of the 19th century? In this very lively and entertaining account of the history of the area, the author examines all these questions and many more. Well-researched and particularly well-illustrated, her book will appear to everyone with an interest in the past of the Chase as well as to those, from many miles away, recognise its significance in providing the first full history of an important, if previously neglected, part of old England!
Cannock Chase Past
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