The Pubs of Great Wyrley and Leacroft: One Swan Inn and One Swan Out

Introduction
I have a massive interest in pubs :). A few years ago I helped write some basic history on the pubs of Great Wyrley for a book that the Local History Society was producing on the village  – and over the past couple of years I have written-up on Wyrleyblog, and significantly added to, those sections I wrote on the Churchbridge pubs, the lost pubs of Wyrley (Bird in Hand, The Engine etc.) and more recently, the Royal Oak.

The Bird-In-Hand, showing later additions to the rear. The earlier brickwork can be seen on the blackened chimney . 2014.

The Bird-In-Hand, which I believe is represented on the enclosure map of 1797. 2014.

As Wyrley tragically witnesses – now witnessed – the destruction of the Robin Hood, a late Georgian building with the last local example of barrel vaulting that I am aware of, I felt it was time to return to the local pubs after my project on the First World War soldiers of Wyrley. As I simply decided to move along the main road, the next pub on the list to write-up was the Swan Inn. The Swan Inn is located on the Walsall Road in Great Wyrley, near to its junction with Norton Lane and opposite what is now Brook Lane.

I was looking forward to doing the pub as I love the Swan as a building, but it is to me the most frustrating of the Great Wyrley pubs: this is due mainly to the fact that its origins appear to be lost and there are neither historic plans that survive at the Staffordshire County Record Office or, upon enquiring, recently lodged plans held at the offices of the South Staffordshire District Council Planning Department – all of which means that we have little idea as to the layout of the rooms and to any alterations over time.

The Swan Inn, Walsall Road, Gt Wyrley. 2016.

The Swan Inn, Walsall Road, Great Wyrley. 2016.

Further, I visited the Swan and asked the new owners, the Royal (Loyal) Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes, if they had any deeds for the pub. The Buffs said I could see them if they had any, but nothing was transferred from the previous owners – not a surprise when you know it was Enterprise, a pub company that cares little for the pubs and publicans under its umbrella. In short, there are currently more gaps in our knowledge of this pub than the Star, Royal Oak, Wheatsheaf or even the lost Robin Hood.

What the lack of publicly, and now seemingly privately available records, leaves us with is a site pregnant with possibilities over its early history and development, but with few certainties. This lack of certainty is even summed-up by looking at the name of the pub itself, as we will see.

As I started to piece together a development theory for the pub, and it was just a theory, it became obvious that there were somewhat larger elements of local and family history involved: chief of these were the fact that I became aware that we were dealing an extended family – named Greensill – that operated two pubs, at least in 1834, which were both called ‘The Swan’. One Swan, that in Great Wyrley, survives; the other, a stone-throw into Leacroft, is now defunct. I knew that if I traced what I could of the Leacroft Swan, which I wanted to do out of interest, the article would be significantly extended. I therefore decided to split the original article into two, with this part dealing with the name and origins of the two pubs, as well as the lifespan of the Leacroft Swan – a forthcoming article will deal with the Wyrley Swan.

Swan – More Than a Name?
So, after that long introduction, the name. Firstly, and it must be remembered that I can only trace it from 1834 onwards, although I certainly feel it was in existence before that, I could find no other name for the Great Wyrley pub than ‘The Swan’ – although it does seem to fluctuate between the Swan Inn and the Swan Hotel. It is possible that if it existed pre-1830-ish, it was was called something else.

The Leacroft pub, on the other hand, was referred to in one primary account I found as the White Swan and in another, but secondary account, as the Black Swan; however, in all other primary sources I used, the pub it is just called The Swan.

So what is in the swan name? The answer is potentially a lot, although the true meaning behind the name used would only be known to the person that named it. Taking first things first, the swan name could have been chosen simply as a generic one, taking the bird simply as a bird and, in an age of illiteracy – well, way before compulsory education – it may just have been used as a familiar image on the Inn sign.

Saying that, the name has over time has had suggestive meanings: the most obvious is that the swan image, like that of a crown, red lion or white hart, could be used to show royal (and state) allegiance. The King’s Head or Queen’s Arms would do the same. The royal connection in this case is because all swans that are on open water are technically the property of the monarch.

Similarly, the Worshipful Company of Vintners own swans on the River Thames, so it could be a reference to the ale trade.

It could be a heraldic device of a financial patron. The main land-holder in Wyrley was the Sutherland family, but I cannot trace a ‘swan’ link to them; I can, however, trace a link to the Stafford family and especially Humphrey Stafford, who became the duke of Buckingham in 1444. I suppose there could be a connection, but it seems a little tenuous.

Buckinghamshire's county flag, taken from the Stafford family - who became dukes of Buckingham in the medieval period. ( https://britishcountyflags.wordpress.com/2013/04/26/buckinghamshire-flag/ )

Buckinghamshire’s county flag, taken from the Stafford family – who became dukes of Buckingham in the medieval period. (britishcountyflags.wordpress.com)

One other link emerged. The first occupier of the Wyrley Swan pub that can be traced through a trade directory – White’s 1834 Directory – was a Joseph Greensill. Greensill was simply listed as ‘vict. Swan’, under ‘Wyrley (Great)’. The same directory reveals a William Greensill, who is also described as ‘vict. Swan’ in the Leacroft and Rummer Hill area (spelt Reaumore Hills). Fleetingly I thought this could be the same Swan pub, but if not, as they proved to be, you can’t tell me the two victuallers are not connected in some way – two Greensills and two Swan pubs?

Finding The Lost Swan
According to the census of 1841 (replicated further below) William Greensill and his family were described as being of the Swan Inn, Street Road. Street Road can’t be traced on a map, but I suspected the ‘Street’ in question was something to do with Watling Street. Further, it seemed by its neighbouring entries to be placed in that vicinity, as the Swan fell in between the returns for Kingswood Farm and Rummer Hill.

A quick trip to the Lichfield afforded me a look at the tithe records for Leacroft: tithe records were a map and accompanying schedule, dating between 1836 – 1845 (with an earlier date suggesting that the map and schedule was agreed by all parties), designed to convert the tithe tax (which went to the Church) into a fixed amount of money.

The map and schedule were pretty clear regarding William Greensill: the map below shows the stretch of Watling Street that cuts through the southern tip of Leacroft, sandwiched either side by Great Wyrley Parish, that falls between its junction with Norton Road and where Leacroft Road used to join it.

Kingswood and Steetway Farm, 1838. (Lichfield Record Office)

Kingswood and Steetway Farm, 1838. Click to expand.  (Lichfield Record Office)

The schedule shows the buildings on the corner of Watling Street and what turns out to be Streetway Road are the farmhouse and barns rented by William Greensill (numbers 971 and 972 on map), thus firmly locating William. The schedule does not mention that the property is, or contains, a public house. The census of 1851 does mention the Swan, only not in the return but census area summary that precedes the enumeration district returns. The same is true for 1861, but this time the summary places the Swan on Watling Street.

Schedule of part of the lands rented by William Greensill c1838 (Lichfield Record Office)

Schedule of part of the lands rented by William Greensill c1838 (Lichfield Record Office)

One final, and interesting piece of evidence on the pub’s location, is supplied by Homeshaw and Sambrook in their 1951 publication on Great Wyrley: Great Wyrley 1051 – 1951. Within their pages, the duo have a reasonably well drawn map of Great Wyrley – which correctly pinpoints the location of the pub – but names it as the Black Swan. The duo do not appear to substantiate the name in their text, and I can currently find no evidence elsewhere to do so either. The couple may have based their name on oral tradition – in which case it is worth remembering that they penned their book some 90 years after the demise of the pub.

Homeshaw and Sambrook's map of Wyrley, showing the Black Swan at street-way Farm (Walsall Local History Centre)

Homeshaw and Sambrook’s map of Wyrley, showing the Black Swan at Streetway Farm (Walsall Local History Centre)

The site today is occupied by the ‘Midland Horse Slaughterers’ abattoir. The path to the rear of the old farm that led towards Kingswood and Rummer Hill can clearly be seen in the Google Earth image below, but while there is brick debris in the area it appears that nothing of the original buildings survive.

MHS Horse Disposal - on the site of Street-way Farm and the lost Swan Inn. (Google)

MHS Horse Disposal – on the site of Streetway Farm and the lost Swan Inn. (Google)

The Greensills: Bill, Joe and Dickie
I said earlier that to show a link between the two Swans I really needed to prove that William and Joseph Greensill were connected in some way: this was shown by the fact that after the pair died, Joseph in early 1861 and William on 2 April 1862, an auction of some of their holdings was then held at the Swan in Wyrley under the watch of George Greensill, who turned out to be William’s executor and Joseph’s son.

Having proved a link to myself, I turned to the work of local historian Helen Ralphs to show the actual connection. Helen has lodged some of her research on the Greensills with the Great Wyrley Local History Society, so I read through it: it revealed that William and Joseph were in fact brothers, the two being sons of a Richard Greensill. Richard Greensill farmed at Streetway, as well as the Croft and other lands in Great Wyrley (more of that later).

Richard married Margaret Sutton, then already a widow, at Wolverhampton St Peter’s on 13 January 1783 and the couple went on to have several children: Joseph (baptised at Cannock in 26 September 1783), Anne (baptised at Cannock 6 November 1785), William (born 8 September 1788), Edward (baptised at Cannock 15 June 1791) and Elizabeth (baptised at Cannock 17 June 1795). Richard died in 1817.

The tithe map also showed that the extended Greensill family were prominent in the Wyrley area – I believe a Hannah Greensill owned the blacksmith forge on the corner of Norton Lane and Walsall Road for example.

Origins of the Leacroft Swan
Watling Street was possibly an arterial route even before the Romans, so it is possible that the Cygnus was operating then :), however, local events during Richard’s life, and in the decade or so that followed it, offer some more compelling potential as the raison d’etre for the Leacroft Swan.

The first date would be 1766, as that was when parts of Watling Street and what is now Walsall Rd in Great Wyrley were turn-piked. Turn-pikes were the trunk roads of their day. To create a turn-pike a trust was set-up by an act of Parliament; this allowed them to effectively turn a road into a toll road, using the money (minus profits!) on the upkeep of the highway. This would have seen an elevation both in the status of the road and its condition – and the Swan may have been opened to cash in on what may have been an increase in traffic.

A listing of ale licences issued in the 1780s – 1790s does survive in the Staffordshire Record Office, but sadly it is arranged by victualler and not by premises. There are a few Great Wyrley people listed in it – and a Richard Greensill is one. The problem is we can’t even be sure it is the same Richard Greensill, as there is no real qualifying information, nor can we be sure the licence is for the Swan in Leacroft. It remains too vague without further evidence.

In 1800, Ireland was unified with Great Britain. Parliament decided that closer communications were needed between London and Dublin, so in 1815 an act was passed authorising the purchase of the Watling Street turn-pikes and Thomas Telford was given the task of upgrading and rebuilding the road. This was done over some years, and we know the Washbrook bridge on Watling Street was described as new in 1830. It is possible that the Swan was founded either just before or after Richard’s death in 1817 to reflect the increasing status of the road, but also as late as 1830 if the new bridge is to go by – and 1830 is a very interesting year.

Beer-houses were ushered in after the Duke of Wellington’s Act of 1830, where a couple of guineas allowed the opening of a premises to sell beers and ciders (but not spirits). They were designed to tackle the gin scourge and some 46,000 properties were established in the wake of the act – which included the Star, Royal Oak and the Wheatsheaf in Great Wyrley. We know the Swan was in existence in 1834 due to its appearance in a trade directory, but with the lack of written evidence, especially the lack of its naming in the census – something often reflective of the lower status beer-houses – it could be possible that it was one of those beer-houses set-up in the wake of the act.

For my tuppence worth, I think it is highly likely the Richard Greensill that held the ale licence between 1788 – 92 was the father of William and Joseph; after all, is seems sensible to assume that through their father they both got their experience of farming and running a public house. Was it the Swan? That remains a moot point, but there is a strong suspicion that it was. It is possible that the Leacroft Swan could have closed, say after Richard’s death, then re-opened under William, but whether it did or didn’t, the slight evidence suggests to me that Leacroft was the elder of the two Swans.

The Smiths, Greensills and the Origin of the Wyrley Swan
As I have already said, the origins of the pub can only currently be traced to 1834 with certainty. Originally, I firmly believed the pub was a lot older than this although now I am not so sure; I now think that its origins lie somewhere around 1828 to 1832.

So, why did I originally believe it to be older? Well, I could not believe that a site that lies at the focal point of what was medieval Wyrley – and still called Wyrley Town on the tithe map (see below) – was not prime for a building of some sort. Remember, it lies near the old and rebuilt Moat House (in my view the closest we had to a Manor House), two major farms (Whitehouse and The Croft), the junction of two possible medieval roads (Walsall Road and, I believe, Norton Road) and the surrounding medieval field system.

The medieval field system was enclosed at some point: we know from the Victoria County History that some enclosure took place in 1668 and some in 1797, although we know that the latter enclosure did not encompass the area of the Swan (442 on the map below). We also know, from the same source, that many buildings in Wyrley Town were built or rebuilt in the 18th century: Whitehouse Farm in 1711 (441), the Moat House (436) was moved from within the moat to an adjacent site in 1758 and the Croft Farm (440) was in existence by 1755 (thanks to Helen’s work). I do not currently know when the road side boundaries were cut from the older fields or if any buildings stood on the site of the Swan previous to the current building.

Walsall Road/Norton Lane junction on the Tithe Map 1838. (Lichfield Record Office)

Walsall Road/Norton Lane junction on the tithe map 1838. (Lichfield Record Office)

The same local changes, as in the turn-piking of Walsall Road and Watling Street in 1766, the upgrading of Watling Street after the 1800, the opening of Gilpin’s Chuchbridge works in 1817 and the 1830 Beer-house Act are all just as relevant to the Wyrley Swan as to the Leacroft Swan in potentially turning the a building into a commercial venture.

The Wyrley Swan also has the curious existence in 1838 of an animal pound behind the pub, which was owned by the duke of Sutherland. The pound is discussed in the next article, but I believe it was part of what today would be called the initial business plan – a little like the Star Inn, a short way up the Walsall Road, being next to the toll-gate.

For the origins of the Wyrley Swan, I think we need to turn back to 1817 and to Richard Greensill’s death. Again, thanks to Helen, we know his property was divided in his will equally between his children. We know, according to the tithe schedule, that the Croft farm had come into the possession of Joseph Greensill by 1841; I suggest that if he had not took possession of it upon his father’s death, when he was around 34, he had definitely done so by 1828. The farm, and Greensill always described himself as a farmer and not a publican, consisted of 66 acres located between the now Hazel Lane and Jones Lane – incorporating what is now the village memorial garden – and 6 acres immediately behind the farm, opposite the Swan Inn.

Why do I say 1817 – 1828? Well, on the 1851 census both William and Joseph Greensill were described as farmers of 70 acres, which sounds like the 1817 provisions of Richards will had been observed. Thanks to Helen, we know that Joseph married Elizabeth Smith at Cannock St Luke’s on 19 April 1828.

The Smith family had moved into Great Wyrley from Norton Canes and were direct neighbours of Joseph, living as they did at Whitehouse Farm. The family farmed swathes of land in Norton Canes, Little Wyrley and Great Wyrley, as well as having coal interests too. John had died in 1816, but his widow, Dorothy, was listed in the tithe schedule as the first owner of the pub in 1838. Thanks to Helen, we know she died in 1842 and ownership of the Swan devolved to her son William.

William, I believe, is key. The Smiths had operated the Fleur-de-lys coaching inn on Watling Street for hundreds of years and William was listed in the same 1834 directory its victualler. No stranger to the pub trade, he and Thomas owned the two cottages, William the larger, that became the Star Inn beer-house. While described as cottages in 1838 rather than a public house (only on the census in 1851 is it first so), I cannot believe it was not a beer house in the years immediately after the 1830 act, as it stood next to a toll-gate making it an obvious commercial venture to the entrepreneurial family.

To me, the pub pedigree of both families, the 1828 marriage and possibly the 1830 act saw the birth of a joint venture between the Smiths, who owned the land and pub, and the Greensills that operated it. One other piece of historical evidence does support this: the Wolverhampton Chronicle for 5 February 1862 has an auction notice for the Swan that states that Elizabeth Grinsell (Greensill) had been in occupation for above 30 years – making her tenancy date from 1832 at least, and, I believe, possibly back to the marriage of 1828.

The auction notice in the Wolverhampton Chronicle, 5 Feb 1862. (Findmypast)

The auction notice in the Wolverhampton Chronicle, 5 Feb 1862. (Findmypast)

To an architectural layman like myself the pub does fit in with this date. The first thing to say is that there is no real brickwork exposed on the front or sides of the pub – it is instead rendered with plaster (stucco) and scored to give a stone-like appearance. While this could easily be later, it was a Georgian feature (Victorian period starts in 1837, but styles did not change overnight). The only exterior brickwork exposed is on the gable ends at the rear, on what I believe is a later extension and in the boundary walls – so I ventured inside and down to the cellar.

The plastered brick exterior, scored to look like stone, is contemporary with late Georgian. 2016.

The plastered brick exterior, scored to look like stone, is contemporary with late Georgian. 2016.

The cellar must have been a part of the original construction; the bricks are painted over in white, but the bonding can be seen to be one of simple ‘stretchers’ (bricks placed longways). This, and the slightly irregular sized bricks, again consistent though not definitive of the period, does at least not detract from a construction date around the 1820s. I must stress, the experience of proper architectural historian is needed.

The cellar at the Swan Inn. 2016.

The cellar at the Swan Inn. 2016.

The History of the Leacroft Swan
Well, it isn’t much of a history as such. I have already outlined dates for the founding of the pub and the basic Greensill family background. It is possible that the Leacroft Swan was open c1790, when Richard Greensill farmed at Streetway, but we know the pub was in operation by 1834 under his son William. In 1834, the Leacroft Swan would have been flanked by the Fluer-des-Lys further up Watling Street and on the other side by the Robin Hood and the Red Cow at Churchbridge. The nearest pub in Wyrley would have been the Bird in Hand, as the Royal Oak on Norton Lane had yet to be opened.

In March 1838, William’s status was shown as he was called for jury service at the Staffordshire Quarter Sessions.

According to the census of 1841, William Greensill and family were described as being of the Swan Inn, Street Road. He was described just as a farmer and incorrectly aged at 35 – in was in fact already around 50 years of age. William had married Elizabeth Willcox at St Martin’s, Birmingham, on 24 October 1837. Elizabeth lived in Digbeth and was the daughter of a farmer originally from Much Wenlock in Shropshire. The couple remained childless by 1841. William’s sister Elizabeth also lived with them, as did the 80 year-old Elizabeth Dekin, a 20 year-old domestic Martha Jones, and a 20 year-old agricultural labourer named Benjamin Butcher.

William Greensill on the 1841 census, (National Archives)

William Greensill on the 1841 census, (National Archives)

On the 1851 census William was listed as a ‘farmer of 70 acres and labourer’, the same description as Joseph had at the Swan in Wyrley. William is described as being 54 years of age – again, a lie – he was 63 by this stage. Elizabeth, his wife, was described as being 43 years of age, but as her age at marriage was simply described as ‘full’ on the certificate I cannot be sure of her exact age.

Living with the couple, and receiving annuities, were William’s sisters Elizabeth and Anne. Anne, described as 59 years-old, although around 65, was now a widow after the loss of her husband George Hand. George had come from Hampton in Arden way, the couple having been married in Cannock on 12 October 1824. I believe the couple settled in Huntingdon (Cannock), as the death of a George Hand, formerly of Water Fields (possibly a farm between Knowle and Hampton), Warwickshire, now of Huntingdon, was recorded on 22 December 1830. Hand was just 34. I suspect Anne died in 1852.

Elizabeth was described as 49 years of age, but she was in fact around 56. It is possible the sisters looked after the pub side of the farm. A house servant and a farm servant were also listed, Emma Hodson and Joseph Ingram were both 18 years-old.

Street-way Farm on the 1851 census. (National Archives)

Streetway Farm on the 1851 census. (National Archives)

A curious incident was reported in the Staffordshire Advertiser and the Wolverhampton Chronicle in the August and September of 1855. As the Crimean War raged in Russia, an Elizabeth Greensill took a trip to Gitton & Beddows, a drapers in Dudley Street, Wolverhampton. In the Chronicle’s account of 15 August, Elizabeth was described as the ‘wife of Mr W. Greensill, farmer, and landlord of the White Swan Inn, Great Wyrley’. The White element in the name may be just a journalist error, it is unlikely we will know for sure.

On Wednesday 8 August Elizabeth was in the shop where there were also two ‘well-dressed females’, an Ann Oakley and Jane Riggey. Riggey pushed into Elizabeth in a rather rude fashion and subsequently left the shop, after which it was discovered that Elizabeth’s purse, containing a £20 Stafford Old Bank note and between 30-40s in silver (mainly in half-crowns), was missing. Edward Hall, the sales assistant, left the shop to track Oakley and Riggey – and caught-up with them in Queen Street, heading towards the railway station. Here Hall sought assistance from John Dallow, a railway constable, and they followed the ladies who, having noticed they were being followed, headed down Mill Street where they were apprehended.

The couple, known to the police already, were in possession of 36 shillings (mainly in half-crowns) and Riggery’s victorine (a boa) was also found to contain the £20 note – the boa had been opened-up, the note placed in the lining, and then stitched back together. The note was identified by William Smith, the then owner of the Swan Inn on Walsall Road, Wyrley, who had swapped it for change with Elizabeth – the note being clearly identifiable due to its condition.

The two were committed for trial by the Magistrate Court the following day; at their trial held at the Staffordshire Quarter Sessions, Shire Hall, Stafford, on 8 September 1855, Ann Oakley, a 22 year-old labourer, and Jane Riggey, a 24 year-old servant, were sentenced to 9 months imprisonment each. Edward Hall’s speedy and decisive actions were praised by the Chronicle, as were the actions of Inspector Butler.

There is nothing more I can say about the Leacroft Swan until April 1861. By this point, I believe both William’s brother Edward and sister Anne were dead – Edward as far back as October 1832 – and his brother Joseph, publican at the Wyrley Swan, would pass away in the opening months of that year. The pub name appears in the 1861 census, but not in the return: Thomas Gripton, the enumerator, used it as a boundary for the district – perhaps indicating that it as either still in operation at that point or only recently demised.

The 1861 census return masks a real concern: it shows that William and Elizabeth, having married late in life, would not have children of their own, and that William’s only direct surviving immediate relative was his ageing sister Elizabeth. In short, William has no ‘heir’ for the farm or pub business. William, again listed as over 10 years younger than his true age, is listed as a farmer of 70 acres and employing a labourer – James Thomas, a 52 year-old carter. Both of the Elizabeths are described as being 60 years of age. The household is made up by Hannah Stokes, a 24 year-old domestic.

1861 census for Steetway Farm - the last days of the Swan Inn? (National Archives)

1861 census for Steetway Farm – the last days of the Swan Inn? (National Archives)

William’s world changed within days of the census being taken. On 20 April 1861, a 63 year-old Elizabeth Greensill from ‘Watling Street Road’, which I discovered later referred to William’s wife, was buried at Cannock St Luke’s parish church. By the August of that year, William’s health was also declining and he decided to sell-up. An auction was held at the ‘Old Streetway Farm’ – which was also described as ‘formerly the Swan Inn’ – where William sold-off household goods, growing crops and brewing equipment (casks and mash tubs) – the latter suggesting the pub had only recently closed.

The selling of Streetway Farm, 1861. (Findmypast)

The selling of household goods at Old Streetway Farm (formerly Swan Inn), 1861. (Findmypast)

April 1862 would see the end of the Greensill connection with Old Streetway Farm. William’s illness soon proved too much and he passed away on 2 April. Sister Elizabeth followed a few weeks later. On 26 April, an auction of William and ‘Miss’ Elizabeth’s remaining property was held at, what was called in the newspaper, the Old Swan Farmhouse, Watling Street. The property itself was then rented out to someone else. If any doubt remains, with all the strange ages used in the census, that this was the same William Greensill, then his obituary in the Wolverhampton Chronicle finally gave his correct age – 74 years.

William's obituary in the Wolverhampton Chronicle, April 1862. (Findmypast)

William’s obituary in the Wolverhampton Chronicle, April 1862. (Findmypast)

I think it likely that Richard Greensill kept the Swan at Streetway Farm, Leacroft, in the closing years of the 18th century. Richard died in 1817 and it is likely that at that stage the farm was taken-over by William, his second son; whether the Swan was still operating we cannot be certain, all we know is that it was by 1834. The Leacroft pub operated until 1861, when the death of William’s wife, William’s own health and the lack of any family saw the brewing equipment sold off and the pub close.

Richard’s eldest son Joseph took-over Croft farm. I believe that upon his marriage to Elizabeth Smith in 1828 the two wider families, both with public house experience, started on a venture that became the Great Wyrley Swan Inn. The pub was operating around 1832 and likely took its name from Joseph’s family association with the Leacroft Swan. This suggests that either there was a bit of sibling fun or rivalry involved, or possibly that the Leacroft Swan had closed making the name ‘free’ and that it re-opened as a beer-house after 1830 and after the Wyrley Swan had opened – we will never know for sure.

Coming soon: The Pubs of Great Wyrley: The Swan Inn (part 2).

This article is dedicated to another Wyrley local historian, Helen Ralphs – how could it not be!

I would also like to thank:
Great Wyrley Local History Society
britishcountyflags.wordpress.com
Lichfield Record Office
Walsall Local History Centre
Homeshaw and Sambrook: Gt Wyrley 1051-1951
Google
Findmypast
The Buffs and John at the Swan Inn, Gt Wyrley
National Archives