History of the Bull's Head Inn at Gornal Wood in the county of Staffordshire. Research is augmented with photographs, details of licensees, stories of local folklore, census data, newspaper articles and a genealogy connections section for those studying their family history.


Bull's Head Inn
Bull's Head Inn

Some History of this Pub
details to follow.
© Copyright. Posted on 6th January 2012
Images supplied by Digital Photographic Images.


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Licensees of this Pub
1904 - 1906 Joseph Ward
1906 - 1907 Daniel Hickman
1907 - 1907 John Marsh
1907 - 1912 Richard James
1912 - 1917 Joseph Ward
1917 - 1918 William Howard Smith
1918 - 1922 Noah Terry
1922 - 1923 Rowland Job Foster
1923 - 1925 Seth Robinson Jones
1925 - 1935 Joseph Ward
1935 - 1940 Robert Dudley Ward

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Genealogy Connections
If you have a genealogy story or query regarding this pub you can contact me and I will post it here in addition to including your message within the website pages for Staffordshire Genealogy.

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Links to other Websites
Ancient Manor of Sedgley
Genealogy and Gornal
Gornal and Sedgley Team Ministry
Sedgley Local History Society

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Oliver St. John
"If a queen bee were crossed with a Friesian bull, would not the land flow with milk and honey?"
Oliver St. John

Newspaper Articles
"James Bodin, the younger, aged 32, painter, was charged with having, on the 4th day of October instant, in the parish of Dudley, feloniously stolen a table, the property of Mrs. Wilde, wife of Mr. James Wilde, New Mill Street, Dudley. Mr. Streeton prosecuted, and the prisoner was undefended. It appeared that on Sunday, the 3rd of October Instant, about eleven o'clock at night, the prosecutor had a table standing in the yard, and missed it next morning. Mr, William Vicarage, shoemaker, living in the entry leading to High Street, stated that on the morning of October 4th at half-past six o'clock, he saw the prisoner at the bar carrying the table into the yard against the house in which he lived. Vicarage asked the prisoner whose table that was, and he retorted: "Oh, I'm not going to tell everybody my business." Police-constable John Morris [61], Dudley, produced the table, and said he apprehended the prisoner on the 6th of October, and on charging him with the robbery, he denied it. The table had been re-painted since the time it was missed, but it was nevertheless identified by the prosecutrix from its peculiar construction and the newness of two of its legs. The prisoner said the table was given to him by a man to paint, not mentioning his name. The learned Chairman summed up, and the jury returned a verdict of guilty, A previous conviction was proved against the prisoner. There was a second charge against Bodin of stealing on the 3rd day of October, at Stourton, twenty-two tame fowls, the property of William Forster, Esq. The prosecutor's butler, Mr. Pelham, went to feed the fowls on the 3rd of October, and found that the door of the house had been broken open, and the number stated above stolen. One fowl, of the golden-spangled Hamburg description, value 10s., was produced, which a man named Hillock, a collier living in Dudley, deposed that he bought of the prisoner on the evening of the 3rd of October, for the sum of 1s., the prisoner stating to him that he bought the fowl of Mr. James Price, of Lower Gornal, who lived within a door or two of the Bull's Head, kept by Isaac Hughes. James Price, a collier, stated that he lived within between two and three hundred yards of the Bull's Head, and was the only person of the name of Price, he believed, who lived there, but declared he never disposed of the fowl to the prisoner. Sergeant Davis deposed to apprehending the prisoner in King Street, Dudley, when he denied any knowledge of the robbery, but admitted that he had sold a fowl to Hillcock, which he bought of a man on the road, whom he did not know. Moreover, he denied having bought the fowl of a man of the name of Price. Police-constable Coupland stated that he was present when the prisoner was taken into custody. He had made enquiry at Gornal, and the only person of the name of Price was the witness last examined. Coupland also produced a quantity of feathers which were identified as being of the kind upon the species of birds stolen. The prisoner was sentenced to one month on the first charge, and being found guilty of the second, to four years' penal servitude."
"Stealing Household Furniture at Dudley" in
Birmingham Daily Post 20h October 1858

"An inquest was held on Monday by Mr. Phillips, Deputy-Coroner, at the Bull's Head Inn, Lower Gornal, on the body of a man named John Carter. Deceased was taken out of the pool on Saturday, near the spot where Miss Smith was found, and his body found to be in an advanced state of decomposition. It was shown in evidence that Carter was forty-seven years of age, and that on leaving his home on Tuesday he remarked to his landlady that if did not return she would find his keys in a particular spot. He also gave directions, provided he did not return, for the disposal of his clothes, and his burial with the proceeds. He was seen again on the following night at a public house, but, until his body was found, no further tidings were heard of him. He had been recently in great distress, and that was the only reason assigned for the rash act. An open verdict was returned."
"Another Body found in the Askey Bridge Pool" in
Birmingham Daily Post 20th July 1859

"Yesterday the enquiry touching the death of Isaac Hickman, thirteen years of age, son of William Hickman, and living at Gornal Wood, who came by his death from an explosion which occurred in one of Lord Ward's pits, of the Himley Colliery, in the parish of Sedgley, on the 16th ult., and who, from the effects of the burns, died on the following Thursday. It was held before W. B. Phillips. Esq., Deputy Coroner, and a body of Jurors, of which Mr. Thomas Gordon Bunch was the foreman, at the house of Mrs. Hughes, the Bull's Head Inn, Himley Road, Lower Gornal. The Inspector of Mines for this district, Mr. Longridge, was present during this third day of investigation of the affair. From the evidence taken on the previous days of enquiry it appears, from the testimony of several witnesses, that on the 16th of last month a boy, of the name of James Davies, had had instruction from the doggy to keep open a certain door, communicating with a worked-out portion of the mine, and that on the Saturday [16th] evening he shut it in entire opposition to his instructions. The result was that the sulphur caught fire, which, together with powder that was in the pits, caused a shocking explosion, burning the four men and two boys, who happened to be still remaining in the pit. The boy, whose blameable carelessness had so endangered the lives of his fellow workers, was badly burnt himself. The evidence elicited yesterday from Mr. Richard Groucutt, ground bailiff to Lord Ward, was to the effect that the said doors had only been placed there a few hours before the sad explosion. His opinion was that the catastrophe was wholly attributable to the door being shut. The Foreman of the Jury here enquired of the Coroner if there was any one on the Jury who were in the employ, or otherwise connected with, Lord Ward, as it had been rumoured that they dare not give their verdict in that case according to their own convictions, but must return the verdict as laid down for them. The Coroner said it would be a difficulty to find a body of jurors there who were not in some respects, either as workmen or as in business, who has no dealing with his Lordship. He would not believe in any such rumour, beside the Jury were sworn to give a conscientious verdict, and that he believed they would do. Mr. Longridge. mine inspector deposed that having seen the plan of the pits produced, and heard the evidence given by the several witnesses, he was of opinion that the explosion was the result of the doors being closed. I don't think that the sulphur would have stirred down to the place if the doors had been shut. James Davies, a youth, endeavoured to excuse himself by the plea that, "I shut the doors without a thought. I went from the doors, and was busy with the horse, and did not think of anything being the matter." After a very careful enquiry of the whole case, the Jury conferred for about twenty minutes, and returned a verdict of "Manslaughter" against one of the sufferers, James Davies."
"The Late Boiler Explosion at Himley Colliery" in
Birmingham Daily Post 17th August 1859

Bull's Head at Gornal Wood
"Mad O’Rourke’s has closed two of its three iconic Black Country pubs, leaving 35 workers out of a job, it was revealed today. The famous pie factory chain has handed its Gornal and Wordsley pubs back to Marston’s Brewery after revenue fell and profits were hit by the recession. But bosses said today that the quirky chain’s original Tipton branch will remain open. Mad O’Rourke’s boss Pete Towler, from Tettenhall, said: “It is with great regret that we have to announce that due to the recession, business has not been as we hoped and we have had to hand back our Gornal and Wordsley premises to Marston’s and retrench back to the original Mad O’Rourke’s Pie Factory in Tipton where we hope you will continue your support.” The Wordsley branch, in Camp Hill, has already been taken over by new owners and is due to reopen tomorrow under its former name The Vine. The future of the Lower Gornal branch, in Himley Road, is unknown. Rachel O’Conner, one of the new owners of the Wordsley branch, said traditional decorations would be retained but that all evidence of the Mad O’Rourke’s name would be erased. “It will still be a food house, and we will still serve a selection of pies, but it won’t be exactly the same,” said Miss O’Conner, aged 34, from Solihull. Workers from the branch are now re-applying for their jobs under the new management. Former manager Richard Smith, 21, from Woodsetton, said he had received a call from bosses on Monday morning to say the pub would be closing. “It came out of the blue, no-one expected it,” he said. “I knew the company was struggling though, we were doing half the amount of business we were before.” A former worker from the Gornal branch, who did not wish to be named, added: “Pete told us on that everybody was being made redundant but we’re hoping someone will step in.”
"Mad O’Rourke’s Shuts Two Pubs"
by Charlotte Cross in
Express and Star 1st July 2010
© Copyright. Image supplied by Express and Star

Ian Butts raises a glass to the reopening of the Pie Factory in Lower Gornal.
"An iconic Black Country pub has been rescued just days after it closed. The former head chef at Mad O'Rourke's Steak and Pie Factory in Lower Gornal will be taking over tenancy of the pub, it was revealed today. Ian Butts, aged 57, will be running the pub under the  name "The Steak and Pie Factory" and was due to reopen the pub at 5pm today. All evidence of the "Mad O'Rourke's'" signage has been removed. It come after news yesterday that a buyer had been found for the branch in Camp Hill, Wordsley, which was also due to open this evening - under the name "The Vine." Around 35 people were made redundant at the start of this week when Mad O'Rourke's boss Peter Towler suddenly announced he was closing his two newest branches due to falling profits. Mr Butts, of Sandstone Close, Lower Gornal, said he was taking on around half of the former workforce, including three full-time employees. "It seemed like a great opportunity, and I owned a pub in Shropshire for six years so I know how it all works," he said."
"Former Chef Rescues Venue"
by John Scott in
Express and Star 2nd July 2010
© Copyright. Image supplied by Express and Star

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