Presbyterian minister James Scott left a priceless legacy to Cradley in the form of a manuscript recording contemporary events and personalities

The Reverend James Scott was Presbyterian Minister in Cradley from 1789 until his death in 1827. Scott was a prolific writer. Amongst his numerous works is A History of Cradley 1800-1826, also known as the James Scott Manuscript or simply "J.S.M.".

This is an important primary source of information for local and family historians about the people of Cradley and their lives and times. The original book, a leather-bound volume of some 550 pages, hand-written in ink, is held in safe-keeping by Higgs & Sons, Solicitors, Stourbridge. Cradley Links has had the opportunity of inspecting the manuscript and taking notes, which we reproduce here. We are indebted to Mr. Brian Evers, a Trustee of the Park Lane Unitarian Chapel, for assisting us in gaining access to the James Scott Manuscript, and also to Higgs & Sons for providing facilities for our research.

James Scott was born to John and Elizabeth Scott of Stourbridge on 1 March 1768. He was invited to succeed Joseph Baker as Presbyterian Minister in Cradley just as he was about complete to his studies at the Dissenter's Academy in Daventry, in 1789. The Reverend Scott was the driving force of the new "Religious Discussion Society" in The Lye at about the same time. He first preached at Cradley on 21 June 1789 and was ordained at the Pensnett Meeting House on 11 May 1790. The building of the Park Lane Presbyterian Chapel (now Park Lane Unitarian Chapel) commenced under Scott, and he officiated at its opening on 15 May 1796.

James Scott died on 19 December 1827, at the age of 59.

Portrait of James Scott by Jonah Child of Dudley
Click to open enlarged image (709 x 1107 pixels) in new window
 Portrait of James Scott by Jonah Child of Dudley 

The Manuscript has a Title Page in faint pencil giving its full title as: "History of Cradley, Principally designed to record interesting transactions depicting its religious societies and more especially the Presbyterian Church."

William Scott records (Stourbridge and its Vicinity, 1832):

... some further particulars may be inserted, when treating of Cradley, his chosen residence, and the scene of his distinguished usefulness.
A catalogue of his numerous publications, principally consisting of various religious tracts, besides several single sermons; will attest to the industry and fidelity of the author as a christian minister.
A folio volume of Cradley Records is still extant, with various other MSS. by the same hand. Not only the proceedings of the body to which the writer belonged are here detailed; but the ancient and modern history of Cradley and its vicinity, extending to that of the neighbourhood at large, with notices of public events, are here to be found.

G. Eyre Evans wrote of Scott and the manuscript (Midland Churches, 1899) thus:

Scott was a born antiquary and historian; he never seems to have let even the most trivial events in his congregations pass unrecorded, with the result that as time goes on his manuscripts and records become of the greatest value. Had all old and modern societies been so fortunate as to own great, heavy, substantial volumes such as are the priceless treasures of Cradley in its MS. History of Cradley Presbyterian Church, by James Scott ; of Stourbridge in its 3 MS. Vols. of Records of the Presbyterian Church, by James and William Scott ; [...] the task of historians would be far easier than it generally is.

The extremely valuable volume [...] is enriched with water colour drawings, engravings and portraits, as well as containing important notes by Scott on the histories of neighbouring societies.

Chapter 1st is an "Ancient History of Cradley", extracting from Nash's History of Worcestershire. However, most of the book comprises Scott's own observations on and descriptions of all manner of things. He touches on parish accounts, geology, genealogy, politics, industry as well as, of course, religion. The work was begun in 1800 and covers the period until 1826, shortly before his death.

In a foreword to the book Scott describes his purpose in writing the book, which in some respects resembles a diary. He writes as follows:

This Volume the preparation of which has been the amusement of leisure hours, is respectfully dedicated to the Trustees, and other members of the Society assembling for public worship at Park Lane Chapel Cradley.

It was originally intended only to write a brief history of the Presbyterian Church in this village. It was then thought to be expedient to add some particulars respecting the other religious societies, and also concerning the antiquities, and present state of Cradley. As the period in which it was written was pregnant with great events, it was supposed that a very concise note of the most remarkable political occurrences of each year might be interesting. And it was afterwards judged that a few essays, and historical details, immediately and remotely connected with the general subjects of this book, might be inserted with propriety, and that an Obituary would be prove a valuable appendage. A copious general Index has also been added.

Thus what was originally intended only to occupy a small Octavo, has imperceptibly swelled into a large volume, which is perhaps too diffuse and desultory. Being written at different times, and at distant intervals, some things will be found repeated, though in a different connection, or in more full detail. This Record, which consists chiefly of local transactions and occurrences, is not designed to meet the eye of the public. It may, however, be interesting to some of those for whose it was composed, and with this in mind is given to the Trustees of Park Lane Chapel Cradley, for the use of the congregation, to be deposited with other writings belonging to the Society.

The following data extracted from Scott's History of Cradley comprises the Obituary and two smaller sections. The Obituary is a list of members of the Cradley Presbyterian congregation who died between 1791 and 1827. There are one or two missing numbers in the entry list, at least one entry added out of order, and some unnumbered entries, where the deceased is perhaps not a member of the Cradley Presbyterian congregation but in some other way associated with it. The names extracted here are of all the persons listed by Scott, together with dates of and ages at death and places of residence, where given. However, the memoirs are only a sample of those given by James Scott, as time did not permit us to extract them all in full.  

The details of Local Taxation, money raised for the Poor, and the quantity and value of Land in Cradley, are derived by Scott or others before him from the Parish Books. The Members of the Presbyterian Congregation in 1800 resident in Cradley may be valuable, especially in conjunction with later Censuses and other sources, in identifying some families and individuals, and also in determining local surnames at this time.

State of the Congregation at the close of 1800.
Including those who occupy sittings
in the Park lane Chapel, with their
respective families, and places of abode.
Parish of Halesowen
Cradley District
NetherendMr. Thos. Pargeter  Mrs. Do.
 Mr. Sh. Pargeter  Son
 Servant  Do.
 Do.  Do.
 Do.  Daughter
 Do.  Do.
 H. Cox Senr.  Do.
 Mrs. Do.  Mrs. Phillips
 Jos Bloomer  C. Probert
 Mrs. Do.  Wm. Newton
 Son Lanes EndJ. Grovenor
 Do.  Servant
 Do.  Enoch Billingham
 Do.  Mrs. Do.
 Daughter  Son
 Mr. T. Meredith  Elijah Rock
 Mrs. Do.  Mrs. Do.
 Miss Eleanor Do. Light GreenR. Box
 Miss Mary Do.  Mrs. Do.
 Mr. Joseph Do.  T. Souden
 Mr. Wm. Do.  Mrs. Do.
 Servant  Son
 J. Moss Apprentice  Daughter
 Mrs. Brettell  Do.
 Jos. Weston  Do.
 Mrs. Do.  Do.
 R. Leonard Apprentice  John Brettell
 Jas. Bloomer Junr. Cradley VillageMrs. Forrest School Mistress
 Mrs. Do.  Ab. Sutch
 B. Homer  Daughter
 Mrs. Homer  S. Buffery
 W. Brook Junr.  Mrs. Do.
 Mrs. Do.  Mrs. Shaw
 Jas. Scott Minister  Son
 Servant  Mrs. E. Forrest
 Do.  Daughter
 D. Mansell OverendW. Beasley
 Mrs. Do.  Mrs. Do.
 Son Colman HillMrs. Roper
 R. Forrest  Son
 Mrs. Do.  Do.
 Son Colley GateRevd. J. Baker
 Daughter  Mrs. Baker
 Do.  Mr. Brettell
 Do.  Servant
 Mrs. Hamus  Mrs. Ph. Hill
 Daughter  Mrs. Sermon
 Mr. Wm. Oliver  Mr. W. Tay
 T. Oliver  T. Bennet
 H. Perks  Mrs. Do.
 Mrs. Do.  Son
 Daughter  Daughter
 W. Grovenor  Do.
 T. Martin  Do.
 Mrs. Do.  Do.
 Son  D. Mole
 Wm. Parkes  D. Mole Junr.
 Mrs. Do.  Mrs. Do.
 W. Do.  Son
 T. Do.  Do.
 Daughter  Mrs. Cox
 Do.  Mr. E. Brettel
 Do.  Mrs. Do.
 S. Brook  W. Light
 Mrs. Do. Park-SideMr. J. Pargeter
 Daughter  Mr. H. Shaw
 Mrs. Drew  Miss E. Shaw
 R. Carter  Miss Maria Do.
 Mrs. Do.  Servant
 Son  Mrs. Haden
 Daughter  Son
 J. Stafford Junr.  Daughter
 Mrs. Do.  Mrs. Round
 Son  Son
 J. Perkes  Jos. Dix
 Mrs. Do.  Mrs. Do.
 Son  Son
 Do.  Do.
 Do.  Daughter
 Daughter  Jos. Beasley
 Do.  Mrs. Do.
 Do. Chapel HouseMr. H. Buffery
 W. Dunn Junr.  Mrs. Do.
 G. Deally  Mrs. Giles
 Mrs. Do.  W. Gavin
 Son  Servant
 Do. Park LaneJ. Instone
 Daughter  Mrs. Do.
 Do.  T. Edwards Junr.
 S. Hill  B.R. Simpkiss School Master
 Son  Jos. Brettel
 W. Stafford  Mrs. Do.
 Mrs. Do.  Jas. Do. Son
 Wm. Junr.  Do.
 Jos. Dunn  Do.
 B. Drew  Daughter
 Son  Do.
Near CradleyJ. Bloomer Senr.  Do.
Old ForgeW. Bloomer  Do.

Taxes and Money Raised for the Poor in Cradley 1798-99

The following is a correct statement of the amount of the Taxes in the Township of Cradley, for the 5th of April 1798, to the 5th of April 1799.

Land Tax74186
Duty on Windows4616
- On Inhabited Houses174
- On Horses for riding or drawing Carriage1480
- On Horses used in Husbandry or Trade12180
- On Dogs2140
Income Tax from April 6th 1799, to April 5th 1800158,17,




The money raised for the Poor from April 6th 1799 to April 5th 1800 by 7 Levies at 10d in the pound, amounted to 417,, 11s 0d which added to the Taxes will produce the sum of 729,, 5s,, 8 .

Quantity and Value of Land in Cradley 1782

The quantity of Land in the Hamlet of Cradley, exclusive of Houses and Gardens, according to a survey made by Mr. H. Court of Stourbridge in the year 1782 is 756 acres,, 2 rods,, 19 perches. [Note by Cradley Links: This equates to about 306 hectares, or 3 square kilometres, or 1.18 square miles.] The average value of which at that time was about thirty shillings per Acre and amounts to the annual value of 1134,, 18s,, 6d.

Containing a list of persons deceased of the Presbyterian Church Cradley
- commencing 1791 - with occasional Memoirs
No.Date NameSurnameResidenceAgeMemoir
11791Jan 20JonathanCrampton   
21791 HumphryTaylor   
31791  Crane, MrsMargaret's Hill  
41791 Caroline HannahPargeterCarless GreenInfant 
51791Nov 3 Pargeter , Senr., MrsFoxcoat  
61792 MaryNock  A promising young person.
71792 Thos.Leonard   
81792 PhoebeDeally   
91792 WilliamForrest  An aged and venerable member of the Church.
101792 PhoebeBloomer, Senr.   
111793 Thos.Edwards 21Died of consumption.
121793 HannahLeonard   
131794 Thos.Talbot, Junr.   
141794 LucyNock   
151794 JohnBrecknel   
161795 SusannaCartwright   
171795 Wm.Gardiner   
181795 Wm.Dunn , Senr.   
191796 Thos.Bloomer 16 
201796May 9PhoebeHill, Mrs. 84 
211796 Thos.Taylor   
221796 RichardForrest, Junr. 18 
231796 JemimaWestwood Infant 
241796 RuthForrest Infant 
261796 ElizabethMansell Infant 
271797Jan 7ElizabethPargeter , Mrs.Park Side51 
281797 Nicholas HancoxPargeterCarless Green45 
291797 JaneBradleyLye Waste  
301797 J.WstwoodCarless GreenInfant 
311797Jul 4AnneShaw, Mrs.Near the Lye Forge  
321797Jun 2ElizabethTaylor   
331797 HannahStafford 8 
341797 EnochForrestCradley A man of well informed mind in an humble station. He had formerly been in the army; had travelled through many external regions of Europe and America, acquired some knowledge of the French and German languages, and read with advantage a great variety of Authors especially upon religious subjects. He was the person who first suggested the idea of this Work, which was actually begun in the year 1800.
351798Mar 10 Holland, Mrs.Cradley Heath  
361798 ElizabethManselLight Green  
371798May 23MaryDixPark Side  
381798Jun 20AliciaProbertCradley Forge  
391798 MaryHarrisCradley Forge80 
401798 HannahStaffordNear Netherend  
411798 HannahGrovenorLane End  
421798 MaryWestwoodChornal ( Gornal ?)  
431798 J.Grove Infant 
441799Feb 17Wm.DavisNear Cradley Heath  
451799Mar 15MaryChandler, Mrs.Park Side66 
471799 PhoebeJonesNear the Salt Well  
481799 MaryRoseNetherend80 
491799 Wm.RoperNear Cradley Park  
501799 W.Roper, Senr. 87 
511799Oct 27DanielDix 70 
521800 AnneRoperPark Side72 
531800 SarahAddleton   
541800 Wm.Cartwright 12Fell into a Coal Pit.
551800 Thos.HillNetherend  
561800 W.WestwoodHaye GreenInfant 
571800 LeahHingleyCradley HeathInfant 
581800 WmDavisCradley HeathInfant 
591801 AbelShaw   
601801 HannahDunn 70 
611801 JamesBloomer, Senr. 81 
621801 PhilipPargeter , Mr.   
631801 SamuelWestwood , Senr.   
641801 ThomasJones   
651801 ElizabethBloomer (late Weston)Netherend  
671801 JosephGrovenorNewtown  
681802 RichardBoxLight Green79 
691802 BenjaminWestwoodGreen Lane, Lye Waste  
701802 Eliz .Westwood , Senr.Netherend  
711802 JesseBloomerNear Cradley Forge6 
721803Mar 9WilliamRoseNear Newtown  
731803May 15E.Sermon, Mrs.  The daughter of Joseph Ainesley Esq and a member of the Revd. Noah Hill's Church London. Having lost her husband by death, she came to reside in Cradley for the benefit of her health. She was regular in her attitude upon all the ordinances of Religion, bore her last illness with fortitude and resignation.
 1803Jun 14ThomasFranks   
 1804Jan 5SamuelGriffiths, the Revd.  Pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Wolverhampton.
741804Jan 20JohnForrest  He had been a thoughtless youth, but during a long and painful illness discovered pleasing evidences of faith, persistence and resignation.
751804Novr .Wm.Grove Senr.   
 1804Feb 6JosephPriestley , the Revd., LLD, FRS  At Northumberland in North America ... many years Pastor of the New meeting Society in Birmingham.
761805Jan 21JosephBaker, the Revd. 7827 years Pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Cradley.
771805Jan 28ElizabethForrest  School mistress. Conscientious, pious and amiable, she well improved the talents committed to her trust, and discharged with fidelity the various duties of her office, being much respected and extremely useful.
781805May 26ElizabethCox   
791805Jun 8Wm.Tay, Mr. 72 
801805Oct 25Wm.TrowmanNewtown31 
811806Feb 28AnnBuffery , Mrs.Chapel House79 
821806 ThomasMartinNetherend  
831806Mar 30SamuelBrookNetherend  
841806 NoahBufferyCradley Forge  
851806  Cartwright, Mrs.Musham Far advanced in years.
861806Dec 2SarahHomerCradley Heath77Her original name was Lambert. She first married Fellows and some years after his Decease Daniel Homer.
871806 Thos.PargeterFoxcoatInfantSon of T. Pargeter, Esquire
881807 JohnGrovenorNetherend  
891807Feb 11MaryKettle, Mrs. 58 
901807Mar 18SarahBloomerOverend  
911807 CarolinePargeter , Mrs.Carless Green76 
921808Mar 2HumphreyBuffrey , Mr.Chapel House76Nail Ironmonger.
931808Dec 1MaryWestwoodCradley33Wife of James Westwood (Farmer)
941808 JaneStaffordNetherend  
951808Feb 4NathanialTrowmanNewtown78 
961808Nov 4JohnPerks   
971808May 12SarahBissel  Widow of Mr. Isaac Bissel who once resided at Park Side House and died May 12th 1784 aged 62.
981810Jan 23JamesWilliams 62 
991810May 4DanielMoleColley Gate  
1001811Jan 7SarahBox 82 
1011811Jan 21ElizabethWestonNetherend68 
1021811Jan 27HenrySweetCradley5 
1041811Jun 10JohnShaw  Whose death was occasioned by an unruly horse throwing him under the wheels of a loaded Waggon.
1051811Jul 24Wm.Cartwright 67 
1061811Aug 6HumphreyPerksNetherend63 
1071811Nov 1MaryCoxNetherend79Widow of H. Cox.
1081811Nov 22Wm.Newton 79 
1091812Sep 16SarahGiles, Mrs. 90 
1101812Oct 30 Yardley, Mrs.Lye Waste  
1111812Nov 29ThomasMeredith, Mr.Netherend65Scythe Manufacturer.
 1813Jan 8AnnScott, Mrs.Birmingham82Relict of Mr. William Scott, who died in 1791. Her father Mr. John Toncks was a native of Harborne and a Dissenting Minister.
1121813Jun 13ElizabethMeredith, Mrs.Netherend  
1131813 WilliamForrestLight Green  
1141813Dec 21ElizabethForrestCradley  
1151814Jan 6MargaretWattsLye Waste  
1161814Jan 9PhoebeRoundLye Waste  
1171814 JohnBourneLye Waste  
1181815Jan 4TimothyBrookeNetherend16 
1191815 HannahBeasley   
1201815 Jos.Beasley Senr.   
1211815Jul 11WilliamBarton, Mr. 56He died of Apoplectic Seizure.
1221815Jul 17LucindaSweet, Miss. 19At Cheltenham.
1231815Sep 12SusannaAllportNetherend  
1241815Dec 23JaneBillinghamNetherend  
1251816 AnnCox, Mrs.  Youngest daughter of Mrs. Phoebe Hill and sister to the Revd. Noah Hill.
1261816 MaryMucklow   
1271816Nov 23BenjaminCarpenter, the Revd.   
1281816Nov 26Bennet RayboldSimpkiss  School Master at Netherend.
1291817Apr 1AnneOliverNetherend16Daughter of Mr. Wm. Oliver.
1311818May 7IsaacFellowsNetherend  
1321818 JohnInstoneCradley  
1331818 NancyBloomerNear the Forge The Mother of a numerous Family.
1341818Dec 10SamuelBufferyCradley  
1351816Aug 26MaryBrettellCradley Wife of Edward Brettell.
 1819Feb 2JohnCardale , Mr. 87 
1361819Feb 7ThomasHarvey   
1371819Feb 13ElizabethPerksNetherend74 
1381819May 18PhoebeWooldridgeLye Waste  
1391819Jun 7ElizabethPargeterFoxcoat84Relict of Mr. Thos. Pargeter Senr. Who died in 1791.
1401819Jul 3MaryDrewNetherend88 
1411819Sep 16WilliamBloomerNear Cradley Forge58 
1421819Nov 4RichardCarter   
1431819Dec 10CharlesProbert   
1441820Jan 7SarahMansell 52 
1451820Mar 1RichardForrest   
1461820May 5PhoebeHill, Mrs   
1471820Nov 3PhoebeBrookes 80 
1481821Jan 31MarabBrook   
1491821Feb 10PhobyDeallyNear Netherend  
1501821May 4SarahHadenNetherend  
1511821Oct 15JohnEdwardsColman Hill Son of Mr. Richard Edwards
1521821Oct 12ElizabethPargeterCarless Green46 
1531822Jan 22MaryInstone   
1541822Nov 1HenryCrampton 67 
1551822Jan 15AnnBrooksNetherend82 
1561823Jan 6MaryParksNetherend  
1571823Jan 14WilliamForrestBrockmoor  
1581823Jan 15JosephBrettellNear Cradley Field92 
1591823Apr 22E.Marston , Mrs.   
1601823 WilliamWalkerLight Green  
1611824JanElizabethMole, Mrs. 50 
1621824 RebeccaBaker, Mrs. 32 
1631824Mar 30JohnBradleyLye Waste  
1641824May 7SarahForrest  Since the death of Mrs. M. Bate in 1799, she daily conveyed letters to and from Stourbridge.
1651824 LydiaJonesNear Shut End Born about the year 1753.
1661825Jan 16EstherKendrickCradley72 
1671825Jan 15PhoebeStaffordNetherend82 
1681825Mar 14WilliamHornblower , Mr. 44Iron Master.
1691825Mar 17TimothyBloomer   
1711825Sep 14Thomas TaylorBillingham 25 
1721826Jan 20WilliamStafford   
1731826 MaryDarby   
1741827Feb 23SarahPhilipsNetherend95 
1751827Mar 8EdwardBrettell, Mr. 65 

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