Famous Sedgley People

Abraham Darby (1678 - 1717)

Abraham Darby (the Grandfather of the famous Ironbridge builder of the same name) was born in 1678 at Wrens Nest in the hamlet of Woodsetton in the Parish of Sedgley, son of John & Ann Darby. (His birthplace is often incorrectly given as Dudley in Worcestershire)

He died on 8th March 1717, Madeley Court, Shropshire and is buried at Broseley, Shropshire

John Cornfield, Coseley's Poet (1827-1890)

Born in Cann Lane, Hurst Hill in the Parish of Sedgley, he was known as Coseley's Poet. He was originally a brickmaker and then a pawnbroker in Hurst Hill.

He was active politically as a radical and was a rather eccentric member of Dudley's Board of Guardians.

His best known works are "Allan Chace and other Poems" published in 1877. He was found drowned on his Coseley estate on 6th Dec 1890.

Joseph Nicholds (1784 - 1860)

He was a famous man of the time and became a successful composer.

Many of the early recitals of his work paid for the initial building of the construction and then the upkeep of the Upper Ettingshall Chapel. His most famous composition is ' Babylon - an Oratorio '. It is this music that contains a special and almost unique piece for the curiously nicknamed instrument, 'osse's leg'. This brass rarity is called a Ophyloliede and from all accounts was a very difficult object to blow. Sadly his music is very seldom heard these days, but the enthusiastic members of the church will often sing these very rare, but very local hymns .

Sir Henry John Newbolt (1862-1938)

Poet and Novelist, best known for his poem "Drake's Drum" - More Details

John Johnson Shaw (1873 - 1948)

The Inventor of the Seismograph. John Johnson Shaw was one of Britain's greatest amateur scientists yet his work is little known outside books and newspapers cuttings. - More Details

William Hampton REYNOLDS (1875-1923) & Simeon REYNOLS (1878-1960)

Information supplied by Tom Reynolds, Florida, USA

My ancestors weren't famous, but quite accomplished and I've come to be proud of them after learning of their lives.

My great grandfather was William Hampton Reynolds who was born in Coppice on Hollywell St. in 1875. His brother Simeon Reynolds was born a few blocks away on King St. in 1878, within eyesight of the Coppice Baptist Church.

They came to the United States to the coal fields of western Pennsylvania in 1889 with their parents.

Around 1897, William was electrocuted in a coal mine and left an invalid. He turned to writing novels ("In the Carbon Hills" and "The Tide of Destiny" to name two) to support his family.

William and Simeon were instrumental in the following decades in lobbying the mine owners and the Pennsylvania and West Virginia state legislatures to establish workmen's compensation laws and enact safety standards. They co-wrote many safety-related articles and countless newspaper editorials to educate the American public on the perils and deplorable working conditions of mining. William died in his 40s in 1923. Simeon rose from being a miner to mine superintendant to safety inspector to entepreneur who owned two water amusement parks. He and his wife Mary had 15 children! Simeon lived until 1960 and was able to return only once to his native Coppice for a visit in his sunset years.

Thomas Barratt VC (1895 - 1917)

Private Thomas BARRATT was born (5th May 1895) and raised in the Darkhouse Lane area of Coseley. Son of James and Sarah Ann Barratt.

He was awarded the Victoria Cross (Britain's highest Military award) for most conspicuous bravery when as Scout to a patrol north of Ypres, Belgium, he worked his way towards the enemy line with the greatest gallantry and determination, in spite of continuous fire from hostile snipers at close range. These snipers he stalked and killed. See More details

Frederick William Johnson OC SOM QC (1917 - 1993)

The Honourable Frederick William Johnson, 16th Lieutenant Governor of the province of Saskatchewan, Canada. Emigrated with his parents at the age of 11 to Canada where he became a School Teacher before the Second World War. He attained the rank of Major before he was discharged in 1946.

He then took a Law Degree at the Unversity of Saskatchewan. In 1963 he was appointed as a QC (Queen's Councillor) and in 1977 he was elevated to the position of Chief Justice of Saskatchewan.

In 1983 he was appointed Lieutenant Governor of the province of Saskatchewan a postion he held until 1988.

Phil Parkes (1950 - )

Football player - Parkes, the man who in the official West Ham United members poll for the greatest West Ham XI was named the goalkeeper beating Ludek Miklosko to that position.

Joined Walsall FC in 1967 and was transferred to Queens Park Rangers in 1970. Signed by West Ham in 1979, Parkes remained as West Ham United's No 1 goalkeeper in the 80's and despite his awesome ability only ever had 1 senior England cap due to the intense rivalry and ability of two of England's greatest goalkeepers, Ray Clemence and then Peter Shilton.

Upon John Lyall's signing of Parkes it was claimed he was a huge risk due to the severity of the condition of his knees, however Lyall's signing was to pay off big time as Parkes was to remain No1 for the next 10 years

Chris Eaton (1958 - )

Since the early 1980s Chris Eaton has been building a profile as one of Britain's classic songwriters. His unique brand of ‘white soul' song writing has made him a favourite of the world's pop aristocracy. SIR CLIFF RICHARD has led the pack, recording more than a dozen of Chris' songs since 1981, and taking “Saviour's Day” to No. 1 in the UK singles chart over Christmas 1990. “Saviour's Day” has now become a Christmas ‘standard' and has been recorded by a growing number of artists. Chris' Homepage

Christopher Clements ( - )

The chief designer at Ford Team RS and the Ford Ka.

Harry Norman ECCLESTON OBE (1923 - )

Coseley born Eccleston was the first full time Banknote designer employed by the Bank of England. He design the 'D' series of notes and created several portraits of the Queen for them.

He was also an accomplished artist and was President of the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers from 1975 until 1983. He was awarded the OBE in 1979.

Michael "Kelly" William Groucutt, (8 September 1945 - 19 Feb 2009)

Coseley born Groucutt is a musician who is best known for being the Bass guitar player for the band Electric Light Orchestra (ELO), between 1974 and 1983.


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