WEDNESBURY, a market town and municipal and parliamentary borough of Staffordshire, England, in the Black Country, 121 m. N.W. from London by the London & North-Western railway, and on the northern line of the Great Western. Pop. (1901) 26,554. An overhead electric tramway connects with Walsall, 33 m. N. The town is ancient, but of modern growth and appearance as an industrial centre. The church of St Bartholomew, however, is a fine Perpendicular building, standing high. It is traditionally supposed to occupy the site of a place of the worship of Woden or Odin, and the name of the town to be derived from this god through the form Wodensborough. A church was built, probably in the 11th century, and from 1301 to 1535 the advowson, tithes, etc., belonged to the abbot of Halesowen. The present church was several times restored in the 18th and 1gth centuries. The chief public buildings are the town hall (1872), art gallery (1891), and free library (1878). Coal, limestone and ironstone are mined. A special kind of coal, giving an intense heat, is largely used in forges. There are great iron and steel works, producing every kind of heavy goods used by railway and engineering works, such as boiler plates, rails, axles, tubes, bolts and nuts. Stoneware potteries are also important. Similar industries, with brick-making, are practised at DARLASTON, an urban district (pop. 15,395), within the parliamentary borough. Wednesbury returns one member to parliament. The town is governed by a mayor, 4 aldermen, and 12 councillors. Area, 2287 acres.
Here Ethelfleda, widow of Jithelred of Mercia, in 916 constructed a castle. The place is not mentioned in Domesday, but appears to have belonged to the barony of Dudley. After the Conquest it became a demesne of the crown, and it was bestowed by Henry II. on the Heronvilles. It received parliamentary representation in 1867, and became a municipal borough in 1886.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)