Coven History

Coven was originally a manor in the parish of Brewood. It is situated between Cannock and Wolverhampton on the western fringe of the Black Country. It is recorded that Coven was held by Ailric before the Conquest and by Robert Stafford in 1086. In 1166 it gave its name to the family of Alan de Coven, who held a knights fee under Robert Stafford. Such manorial rights as still existed in 1956 were held by Major R F Monckton.

Throughout the 1800s Coven was known as a working village, with locksmiths, chain-making and iron smelting. In 1860 the Village Foundry was built on the corner of Brewood Road and Lawn Lane. The Smith family already had a cottage in Lawn Lane next to the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel. The new works occupied the land in-between the cottage and Brewood Road. The main building, known as the machine shop had 5 bays, at least two of which were fitted with large heavy sliding doors. Above the machine shop in the loft was the pattern shop, which was also used as a village Sunday school. Next to the machine shop was the foundry and the blacksmith’s shop. There was also a separate boiler shop near to the chapel. Mr John Smith, who was a local preacher, gave part of his garden in Lawn Lane for the building of a Methodist chapel in 1839. To get to the chapel the minister had to pass through Mr Smith’s cottage.

 

On Brewood Road there is a William and Mary cottage dated 1679, which was the home for priests from Brewood, and in the 1930s was a police station. The village also housed two bakeries, blacksmiths and a wheelwright. Bricks were handmade at Light Ash and a water mill stood at Standeford. One mill in Coven village was burnt down giving rise to the name Burnt Mill and nearby is Jacksons Bridge, so called after a man named Jackson who hanged himself beneath the bridge.

Mr John Smith, who was a local preacher, gave part of his garden in Lawn Lane for the building of a Methodist church in 1839. To get to the chapel the minister had to pass through Mr Smiths' cottage. In 1857 St Paul's Anglican church was built on land given by Mr George Monckton. The stones were provided by Mr Thomas Giffard, the descendant of whom lives in Chillington Manor in the grounds of which it is said a panther was once killed by a bow and arrow! The old school in School Lane was used by the Church before St Paul's was built and was known as a chapel of ease.

In 1857 St. Paul’s Anglican church was built on land given by Mr George Monkton. The stones were provided by Mr Thomas Giffard, the descendant of whom lives in Chillington Manor in the grounds of which it is said a panther was once killed by a bow and arrow! The church of St Paul was designed by E. Banks of Wolverhampton. It was built on land given by George Monckton, who also donated towards the building costs. The 140th anniversary was recently marked with a re-dedication by the Bishop of Lichfield, following the re-ordering of the church interior.

The first recorded population of the village was in 1851 when there were 800 but the population in 1987 was 3,281, showing how the village has grown during that time with shops, local inns and a country club.

Coven is now very modern with new houses, bungalows, shops and businesses, but there are still several of the old houses, such as Grange Farm where King Charles reputedly stayed, en route for Moseley Hall. Opposite the modern shops stands the old Poplar Farm Cottage and where the Croft Garage stands was once a poultry farm. The village is flanked by the Staffordshire and Worcestershire canals and the river Penk runs through the village.

NB
The village information above is taken from The Staffordshire Village Book, written by members of the Staffordshire Federation of Women's Institutes and published by Countryside Books. Click on the link Countryside Books to view Countryside's range of other local titles.