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Historical development of Trysull and Seisdon

The parish of Trysull and Seisdon consists of two country villages situated approximately six miles to the south-west of Wolverhampton.

These villages have not been greatly affected by over modern development and still retain a lot of the old country cottages, house, manor houses and halls.



A recent letter in the Express & Star newspaper of Wolverhampton said that the Domesday Book told us everything  about the life at the time it was written in 1086.

I can only assume that the writer had never looked very closely at that book. A "dome" was a judgment or assessment and this book was, in fact, the Crown's enquiry into ownership of property and its valuation for future taxation.

If an item wasn't to be assessed for tax it wasn't included, therefore, amongst many other items, no mention was made of churches or chapels. After the narrow victory of the Normans over the Saxons at Hastings in 1066 resistance to King William in Southern England melted away. Not so in the North Eastern counties where the people were mainly of Danish or Norwegian descent, or in the equally independent minded Saxon Staffordshire & Cheshire.

When William had brutally crushed this opposition he was then faced with a Danish invasion. To meet this threat in 1085 he imported an  army of European mercenaries and billited them on landowners according  to the size of their estates. Naturally there were objections and claims by many that they were unfairly treated (nothing changes) so William ordered an enquiry.

Teams of men, composed of equal numbers of Norman & Saxon (presumably to keep an eye on one another and to ensure no fiddling!) set out to ask these questions:-

  • The name of the place?

  • Who holds it now and who in 1066?

  • What size is the estate?

  • How many ploughs belonging to the Lord and men?

  • How many freemen?

  • How many villagers, cottagers & slaves?

  • How much woodland , meadow & pasture?

  • How many mills, pools & fishponds?

  • What was the value and what is it now?

The answers were recorded in what is best described as a form of latin shorthand. I have taken the translated answers by Hawkins & Rumble from Phillimores "Staffordshire Domesday" 


William holds 2 hides (about 240 acres) in Trysull and Baldwin holds it from  him. Tirgot held it, with full jurisdiction, he was a freeman.

Land for 3 ploughs.

In the estate 2 ploughs, 5 slaves, 4 villagers and 1 small holder with 2 ploughs.

A mill valued at 4 shillings and 4 acres of meadow.

The value was and is now 30 shillings.

William holds 1 1/2 hides himself in Crockington and Baldwin from him.

Three freemen held it, but the jurisdiction was the King's land for 2 ploughs.

It is waste (now uninhabited and uncultivated).

William holds 5 hides (about 600 acres) himself in Seisdon and Walbert from him.

Four freemen held it, but their jurisdiction was the Kings land  for 6 ploughs. 

In estate one. 

2 servants.

4 acres meadow

Value was and is now 8 shillings.

By A.L. Unwin

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The parish of Trysull lies almost entirely within the shallow valley of the Smestow brook, flanked either side by low sandstone ridges running north-south. A thin mantle of glacial drift covers the bedrock and consists of patches  of clay, silt and pebble beds. Also present are scattered granite boulders originating either in Southern Scotland or North Wales. 

Held before 1066 by the Saxon Turgot the manorial estates of Trysull, and the vanished Cocertune (Crockington) passed in capite to William Fitz Ansculf. 

Sub tenants initially styled "de Frankley and Bradeley" and finally "de Tresel" then held Trysull from 1086 until 1312.

By 1396 Trysull had been acquired by the Lowe family, Lords of Whittington in Worcestershire.

Seisdon, held by four free men in 1086, was also granted to Fitz Ansculf.

Again the subtenant was styled "de Bradley".  At the end of the 15th Century Seisdon was held by theWaring family of Wolverhampton, the Leveson family who held Shipley in Claverley parish and the Everdon family who held a  lordship in Orton.

Thomas Leveson, who appears to have held the majority of Seisdon, granted it to his daughter and her husband who sold it to Thomas Grey of Enville. 

The Grey family had previously acquired Trysull from Lowes so that in  1557 the two estates were reunited.

Walter Wrottesley purchased Woodford Grange soon after the Dissoltion  and in 1633 Sir Hugh purchased the joint Trysull & Seisdon estate which  remained in the family until the sale of 1929.

The accepted pattern of manorial farming practice appears  to have been abandoned in favour of tenant farming at an early stage, articularly in Trysull, but was still in evidence at  Seisdon in 1775. However early documents show leases of land in Seisdon, at Wolmore,  to tenants from Beobridge,  Claverley. These tenants may have been responsible for a farmstead within the now destroyed moated site at Wolmore Rough. 

There is early evidence to this fact in documents and field names for numerous assarts.

Until the latter half of the 13th Century most men were described by their occupations, consequently it is uncertain exactly who was involved  in leases, but from then on surnames appear. These surnames:  Cook, Dolman, Eliot, Grainger, Nichols, Rudge,  Sherwin & Sheinton all in various forms, are to be found in quantity  in the early registers. The Barnsley family, major landholders at the the  end of the 17th Century, appears first as tenants of the Lowes in 1535. 

The Astons, Peaches & Pudseys, with related Green & Banton families, major landholders in the 19th Century & 20th Century, do not appear in the registers until 1619.

Originally the parish of Trysull fell within the Wombourne "cure of souls" and was not a separate living until 1880. Recorded burials and baptisms suggest that several vicars of the joint parishes lived here in preference to Wombourne. Woodford Grange became an extra parochial district after the Dissolution and did not become part of the parish until 1900.

A chapel may have existed at Trysull in Saxon times but there is no firm evidence until 1182. Documents over the centuries, the last dated 1552, also suggest a "capelllanus" (chaplain) and chapel,  the later sited to the South of Seisdon Hall.

The latest diocesan report states that the Church at Trysull bears evidence of many centuries of alterations. 

The voussoirs of an early doorway, possibly Norman, are set low in the North wall.

The tower, considered to date initially from the 12th century, is thought to have been raised and strengthened in the 15th century.

The chancel, north & south aisles originally built in the 13th century are considered to have been rebuilt in the late 13th century or early 14th century.

At the same time the south aisle was extended to form a lady chapel.A vestry was added in a major reconstruction in the 1840s when the south aisle was completely rebuilt and the north aisle extended. 

Further reconstruction was undertaken in the 1880s.

Above the vestry door is a small carving of a figure in bas-relief, whose origin is a matter of debate and is thought by some to depict a 12th century bishop with a mitre and crozier. 

Other furnishings of note include a carved wooden sanctuary screen, pulpit derived from previous Jacobean three decker,  a Tudor communion table, various commemorative tablets and  the royal heraldic achievement of George III.

The east window of the chancel contains some 14th century scraps of glass. Immediately within the southdoor stands a vast wooden chest made fro a hollowed out tree trunk, for many years the repository of the parish registers. All the registers from 1558 are in existence.


The General Register is a narrow folio of 108 pages bound in parchment covered boards. It would appear that  originally the leaves were  loose and bound at a later date. his would explain why the first six pages are paper, badly damaged on the edge whilst the remainder of the pages  are parchment of varying quality and size. The remaining part of the front flyleaf carries a portion of title -

Register of Queene Elizabeth

Parrish Register

Grainger Parrish Register

The quality, clarity and literacy of the scrip is very variable and altogether some 34 different hands are discernible.  During the Commonwealth an attempt was made to regularize matters, a registrar was appointed, and someone in authority, possibly George Bryndley one of the local justices, showed the new registrar how to proceed.

Another register, specifically for burial in wool, is dated  1687 to 1812. Many of the entries are difficult to read as the ink has faded, the script is slovenly and the spelling eccentric.

After the appointment of James Bevan in 1796 as schoolmaster and curate there was a great improvement in the presentation of the entries.

A.L. Unwin - Seisdon 1998.

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