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Meeting Report - June 2018

On Tuesday 26th June the speaker at the meeting of the Romsley and Hunnington History Society was the President, Julian Hunt. The subject of his talk was, "Mills on the Belne Brook, Belbroughton". Julian has been using Court Rolls, Wills and Inventories in his research, as well as maps and photographs which he used to illustrate his fascinating talk.

I'm sure most of us have travelled from Romsley to Chaddesley Corbett, past the picturesque pools by the side of the road, without realising what a great deal of history there was in that short journey, as all those pools, fed by the Belne Brook, had a very useful purpose as mill ponds. One of the oldest mills was Shut Mill, Romsley, which used the waterpower to grind corn.

There was a mill at Bell End and as the Belne approached Belbroughton the mills became more industrialised, as Belbroughton was the centre for scythe making from about 1564, as well as making knives and edge tools. These were sharpened at the many blade mills in the area. There were mills at Drayton and the mill at Chaddesley Corbett, was used for spinning wool for the carpet factories at Kidderminster.

Many of the mill owners such as Isaac Nash, the Waldron family, and the Galton Family, who were also gunmakers, were very wealthy and built large houses such as Bell Hall, Field House, Broome Hall, Springfield House, and Drayton House.

Although today, these villages have an air of peace and tranquillity, they were once a hive of industry in the heart of the countryside, and Julian's talk gave us a glimpse of that past life, of not so long ago, as they were still making scythes in 1970.

The next meeting of the society will be on Tuesday 24th July at 7.30pm in the Church Hall when Max Keen will give a talk on, "The History of Dudley Castle 1071-1933." Everyone is welcome.

Pat Evans

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Some contents of this website are taken from the book Romsley and Hunnington, a Millennium History,
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