Great Barr Gang Assault – Seven Youths Wanted For Questioning

Police have released images of seven youths they’d like to speak to in connection with an assault in Great Barr in early June.

The assault happened at approximately 7pm on June 2 when a man, in his 40s, was kicked and punched in an attack that took place in Raymont Close, near to Great Barr school.

raymont grove

The youths are suspected to be between 15-18 years-old.

Images now show clear pictures of the seven suspects that police would like to speak to in connection with the incident.

great barr gang

Writing on Twitter, Birmingham Police wrote:

“We want to speak to these lads after a man was seriously injured by a group in #GreatBarr. The man in his 40s was repeatedly punched and kicked by a group of seven lads in Raymont Grove at 7pm on 2 June. He was treated in hospital. His injuries are not life-changing.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact us via Live Chat or by calling 101. Quote 20/624260/21.

Long-Lost Stone Epitaph Uncovered At Great Barr Hall

An epitaph to a dear-departed horse has been moved to the graveside of Lady Mildred Anne Bateman-Scott, the former lady of Great Barr Hall, after it was found by an intrepid urban explorer.

Kevin Phillips, a writer, uncovered the two feet high stone, which is one foot thick at the base, outside the derelict chapel at the old Great Barr Hall, after building upon the research of fellow paranormal investigator Toby Langford.

Kevin, who lives in Handsworth, was contacted by Toby after he had posted a video on YouTube of him exploring the ruins of the long-abandoned 18th century hall, which was built by Joseph Scott.

The nine-bay mansion, which replaced Nether House that was built by his ancestor, Richard Scott, in the mid 17th century, was extended about 1840 and later in 1863, and an adjacent chapel, which was never consecrated, was erected.

Epitaph To A Horse Found Near Great Barr Hall Chapel

After a couple of weeks of searching and painstakingly shifting the thick brambles and rubble, Kevin uncovered the heavy stone slab by one of the chapel walls. He and Toby quickly confirmed that it was the lost epitaph to The Bounder, a horse that had belonged to Lady Mildred’s son, Sir Arthur Bateman-Scott, who died March 1884, aged just 23.

Although worn, the epitaph clearly reads:

Favourite Mare of

The Late

Sir Arthur Scott

The Bounder

Died OCT 22, 1908


It was a eureka moment for the 40-year-old writer, who worked with the landowner to ensure the stone was safely removed to Lady Mildred’s grave at the nearby St Margaret’s Church.

great barr hall horse

“What is particularly touching is that Sir Arthur died in 1884 and his horse died in 1908, yet Lady Scott makes a dedication to his horse,” he said. “This horse was her last sentimental link to her much-loved son, whom she loved so much she had his image placed in the stained glass window of the church.”

Lady Mildred died in 1909.

When the stone was moved, Kevin and Toby discovered that the sides were ornately carved to look like tree trunks with chopped branch knots.

On the rear side of the stone was another engraving, “Died Jan 20 1899” and there was a name above. It is likely to have been a stone mason’s mistake, and the stone was turned over and used for the epitaph of The Bounder.

“The stone tapers to the top, leaving a heavy set base. So much of it stands free, although it was meant to be sunk into the ground originally because the writing seems wasted on such a big stone,” said Kevin. “But it means it was designed and probably stood up when Lady Scott had it placed.”

lady scott

Great Barr Hall Search Continues

Now, Kevin, who is also a YouTube paranormal investigator, is determined the find three further commemorative stones etched with poems that Lady Mildred had made for the family pets, believed to be a bird, a dog and a horse.

These are believed to have been stolen from the grounds when St Margaret’s Hospital, which was on the estate from 1918 until it closed down in the 1990s.

Although little is known about two of the stones, a surviving photograph reveals the dog poem reads:

Farewell dear Billy, never more

That cheeky bark I hear;

O’er thy little grave I pour

My grief with many a tear;

And yet thou’re happy in thy rest,

And from all troubles free;

My long bright life was surely blessed

So good you were to me.


DIED APRIL 24, 1886

M.A.B.S is Mildred Anne Bateman-Scott.

Let Everyone Know You Are Open For Business

Copy deadline is 9 April for May 2021 printed editions.

Let local people know you are open and working. We will be delivering our May editions of The Pioneer Magazines and Great Barr Gazette to 42,000 homes. Our magazines are hand delivered free to local people in Walsall and the surrounding areas.

People read our magazines from cover to cover and keep them for an average of two months.

We were one of the very few publications that managed to print during the first phase of the current Coronavirus crisis. We are determined to deliver news and information to local people when they need it most, and to support our local business community.

See our Bounce Back leaflet below or follow this link to see where we deliver. You can advertise with us from as little as £25 plus VAT.

1947 Pheasey Magazine Resurfaces

A magazine sent to the tenants of the Pheasey Estate in 1947 has resurfaced after many years, offering a fascinating insight into what was happening in the community shortly after the end of the Second World War.

pheasey magazine

An original copy of the magazine was scanned and sent to us by a man from Wales called John Newton, whose father grew up in the Great Barr area. John moved from Pheasey to Wales in 1949 and his father kept the magazine as a memento as it was his design on the front cover. When his father passed away, he discovered a copy of the old community magazine and scanned it for preservation.

“On the death of my father, I found this magazine among his paperwork,” said John. “As a small child I can remember him working on the kitchen table to produce this cover. It’s obvious this magazine was special to my father for him to keep it.”

Pheasey Magazine Started in 1944

Believed to have first launched in 1944, the 1947 editions of the Pheasey Magazine were issued for free to the 1,800 tenants of Pheasey on a quarterly basis.

The Chairman during this era was Mr. J. T. Wright, owner of the Beacon Dairy Farm, who was said to have “a heart-interest in the welfare of the people”.

The Pheasey magazine was a mouth-piece for the community, focusing on events, gossip and humor. As well as featuring a section specifically for youngsters on the estate, it also included insightful editorial, educational articles and advertisements from some of the local businesses.

Page 1 of the 1947 July edition, for example, reveals some of the activities that took place at the Community Centre at the Old Barn on Hillingford Avenue. They included cinema clubs, dances and even a poultry club!

In this edition, we also learn of Carnival Day, which featured such delights as the Crowning of the Queen, a band procession, donkey rides and the Poultry Club show.

It’s a fascinating snap-shot of history from the Pheasey Estate, which can read it in full here.

Reproduced as part of local heritage interest.

Do you have any other copies of the Pheasey magazine tucked away? If so, get in touch and let us know.

Walsall Walking Group Needs Your Help

A Walsall walking group is campaigning to secure permanent public right of access to a popular roadway through the Great Barr Hall estate in Pheasey.

walsall ramblers logo

The Walsall Ramblers wants Suttons Drive, between Chapel Lane and Horseshoe Crescent in the Nether Hall Avenue area and which sits in the historic Great Barr Hall estate, to be included in the definitive map of the borough. This would protect it from being closed off to the public and safeguard its future as a right of way.

Walsall Ramblers Collecting Evidence

However, Dick Turton, the walking environments officer for Walsall Ramblers group, says it needs to collect evidence from the public who have used the roadway over the past 20 years, to add weight to its application to modify the map.

“Walsall Ramblers have been trying since late last year to formalise the route into the Great Barr Hall site, known as Suttons Drive, by having it included on the definitive map of Walsall,” he said.

suttons drive great barr
Suttons Drive in Great Barr

“This would protect at least this part of the estate for the public to use by making it into a public right of way and would mean the current landowner or any future landowner could not close it the public without a closure order.

“For us to have a good chance in our application, we need evidence from the public to confirm they have used the route – whether regularly as a walker, cyclist or horse rider – or if they used it to get to work or to church. This would help us to confirm that the route has been used as a right of way for more than 20 years.

We would ask any readers of the Pioneer to get in touch and fill in a form as every piece of evidence will help us.”

The derelict Great Barr Hall, which is Grade II listed and on the Buildings At Risk register, is currently on the market for £7 million and includes 153 acres of grounds, parkland and two lakes. Last year, Walsall Council refused a planning application to build five exclusive homes on part of the old St Margaret’s Hospital, saying it would negatively impact on the conservation areas and Green Belt land that it sits in.

great barr hall lake

Dick said any application to create a public right of way would need the approval of the current landowner – or any buyer, should the estate be sold. However, if the landowner refused or did not want to divert the roadway so that the public could have a right of way, the Ramblers could take it to a public enquiry.

The Ramblers group is hoping to gain as much evidence as possible by June 30, 2021, so that it can go forward with its application.

Information and forms can be obtained from The Ramblers group and the Rights of Way team at Walsall Council can help anyone with filling in the forms.

Written by Jane Howarth.

Related Articles

Sign Petition To Help Save Great Barr Green Belt, Says Mayor Andy Street

Great Barr Magazine
West Midlands Mayor Andy Street with West Bromwich East MP Nicola Richards

By Craig Winyard

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street is urging Great Barr residents to sign a petition which aims to protect local Green Belt and open spaces from being developed.

Mr Street, who leads the West Midlands Combined Authority, is campaigning to ensure that derelict and disused ‘brownfield’ sites are targeted for development before cherished Green Belt.

“We all understand that we need more houses, but I passionately believe we need to be careful where we allow them to be built,” he said.

“Meeting the needs of local people and families in Great Barr and the wider region is a major challenge, but progress is being made with record regional housebuilding and 784 being built in Sandwell last year.

“However, this should not be at the expense of our open spaces, and we are now seeing planning applications targeting the beauty spots that are so important to us. That’s why I am campaigning with local MP Nicola Richards to protect the Green Belt and promote ‘brownfield first’.”

Mr  Street has championed the region’s “brownfield first” approach to housing and is making it happen, winning £350 million of Government funding to clean up derelict sites – funding topped up with another £84 million this Summer to keep up the pace.

He said: “The fact is there are enough of these old brownfield sites in Sandwell and the wider Black Country to ensure we don’t have to build on the Green Belt between now and 2031.

“I would urge local people to sign this petition, to add their voice to the campaign to protect our open spaces.”

Mr Street has also pressed to see 20% of new homes built as affordable and changed the definition of “affordable” locally to be linked to local pay – bringing new homes within reach of more people.

In Sandwell, Mr Street is working with Nicola Richards and fellow MPs Shaun Bailey and James Morris to promote ‘brownfield first’ – with regional funding to enable 750 homes to be built on the former Friar Park sewage works and also to bring housing into town centres like West Bromwich – reducing the pressure on prized green spaces.

To sign the petition visit


Tracing Family Histories

tracing family history
Sgt Thomas Wilkes

Tracing family histories is a fun hobby but for some people it becomes a passion. Maybe its because learning about our family helps us understand our place in the world. In the digital age there has never been so much information available to the public. This has resulted in the birth of a new industry devoted to helping us find the old records we need.  I’m sure you will have seen the ads on TV. But rather than get lost in data, why not just ask people.  Whether that’s family members or local history groups. For example, talk to older relatives. They will know family names and previous addresses. They will also know family stories, which will give you the first clues in your  search.

Sam Harvey posted on the Aldridge History Group Facebook page because she needed local information. She lives in South Yorkshire and had found that her family was living in Aldridge in the 1830s.  Following a phone call we featured her in our magazines.  Hilary Wilkes was also looking for information on her family history. Regarding her grandfather Sgt Thomas Wikes (pictured) who had lived in Walsall. We also featured her story in our January magazines.

How We Help Trace Family Histories

We will be having a regular feature in our printed magazines to help people tracing family histories. So if you would like to tell your story and get some local help, email Please let us have your phone number and a brief overview of who you are looking to trace. We can also share your Facebook posts.

Top Tips For Tracing Your Family Tree

  1. Ask Family Members
  2. There are online tools, census and registers
  3. Use other people’s research
  4. Use the free online Births, Marriages & Deaths directories
  5. Search parish records and visit churchyards
  6. Ask for information on social media
  7. Get in touch with Pioneer Magazines & Great Barr Gazette

Below we have listed some websites and social media groups to get you started. We would love to hear from you if we can help you trace your family tree.

Useful Websites/Social Media Groups

Aldridge History Group

Walsall Places, People, Pictures and History

Yours locally

Editor Great Barr Gazette


The Five Best Hidden Walks In The Local Area

Walsall Magazine
Holly Wood Nature Reserve, Great Barr

The Five Best Hidden Walks in the local area by SMALLHOUSEBIGTRIPS

Correction: This article was updated on 29 March, 2021 to clarify that much of the area of Great Barr Hall is privately-owned and cannot be accessed by the public.

As the New Year kicks in, resolutions for a healthier year begin. How about burning off your Christmas treats and starting 2021 walking around some fabulous local, hidden gems.

We at SmallHouseBigTrips have you covered with some of our personal favourites. But sshhh – remember, it’s a secret!

Great Barr Hall, Sutton’s Drive, B43 7BA

A hidden gem that even we didn’t know about until lockdown in March 2020. Much of the grounds of the Great Barr Hall estate is privately-owned with no public right of way. However, Sutton Drive and the land situated to the East of Sutton Drive are beautiful, public open spaces.

Holly Wood Nature Reserve, Whitecrest, B43 6EA

Enter the nature reserve through a magical gate where you will be greeted with 5 hectares of mixed broadleaf woodland and wet meadow. Trees to climb, a stream to paddle in and the largest blanket of bluebells in spring.

Park Lime Pits Nature Reserve, Rushall, WS4 2HH

A former limestone quarry in the woods, this woodland walk has a rope swing over one of the two clear pools, horses, walking trails and plenty of streams for little ones to paddle in.

For nature lovers, there are over 300 species of plants and it is the home to over 100 species of birds.

Cuckoo’s Nook and The Dingle, Walsall, WS9 0PQ

Cuckoo’s Nook is an ancient woodland over 400 years old full of acidic loving trees like holly, oak, birch and alder, winding picturesque paths and a sea of bluebells during spring. Step into The Dingle part of the walk and you enter an area surrounded by hawthorn, ash, beech and elder trees.

It is the perfect place to learn about geology as you enjoy your walk,through the woodland flowers, by the babbling Longwood Brook running next to the path.

There’s a rope swing and little bridges for children and keep your eyes out for the wishing tree which is decorated beautifully throughout the year. Recently it had Christmas lights, tinsel and other decorations.

Sot’s Hole Nature Reserve, B71 4DE

A fabulous circular route starting at Sot’s Hole Nature Reserve, walking through the ancient woodland, looking at wooden statues and various species of plants, leading through to Sandwell Valley Farm seeing cows and horses, before following the path all the way round back to the car. Fields, woodland and kissing gates. Make for some perfect exploring.

If you would like to follow our adventures, you can find us on Instagram or Facebook or Twitter

Christmas & New Year Opening Hours

Walsall MagazineTo all our lovely readers and advertisers we wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from the team at the Pioneer Magazines and Great Barr Gazette.

We will be closing our office for the festive break at 5pm on Thursday 17th December, and re-opening on Monday 4th January 2021.

This has been a very difficult year for everyone and we thank our readers, advertisers and community groups for your support.

Editor Great Barr Gazette

Christmas Church Services

Walsall Magazine
St Matthews Church in the Snow by Phil Buckley

Church services may be subject to change in line with national and local restrictions, so you will need to contact individual churches before attending in order to book your space. Many of our churches were unable to provide details before we went to press.



Aldridge Methodist Church

Anchor Rd, Aldridge WS9 8PT

Christmas Day 10.30am: Christmas Day service

Our carol service will be via Zoom and we are exploring the possibility of a Christingle service.

Please call or check our facebook page for updated details.


Tynings Lane Church

Tynings Lane, Aldridge WS9 0AS

Sat 19th Dec 4-8pm: Church is open to drop in for a carol and prayer experience (no need to book, spend as much or as little time as you like).

Sun 20th Dec 4pm: All Age Christmas experience. Come dressed up and explore Christmas as a family.

Christmas Eve 6pm: Christingle on Zoom. Get in touch for your Christingle in a bag and a zoom invite to join in Christingle wherever you are.

Christmas Eve 9:30pm: Midnight in Bethlehem.  A communion service.

Christmas Eve 11:30pm: Midnight Communion

Christmas Day 9:30am: Christmas morning Communion for all ages



The Calvary Pentecostal Church

Brickiln Street, Brownhills, WS8 6AU

Christmas Day, Communion Service 11am-12noon

Sunday 27th December, Communion Service, 10.30am



Clayhanger Methodist Church

Clayhanger Lane, Clayhanger WS8 7DS

Sunday Services have recommenced fortnightly at 4pm.

1st & 3rd Sundays in the month

Contact for details of Christmas services.



Pelsall Evangelical Church

Old Town Lane, Pelsall WS3 4NJ

Sun 13th Dec 6pm: Carol Services

Sun 20th Dec 6pm: Carol Service

Christmas Day 10am: Christmas Morning Family Service

Please sign up via our website.



St Michael the Archangel

Leigh Rd, Rushall WS4 2DS

Sun 13th Dec 4pm: Family Carol Service

Sun 20th Dec 4pm: Carols by Candlelight

Christmas Eve 11.30pm: Midnight Mass

Christmas Day 8am: Holy Communion

10am Christmas Communion

Please look at our website for further details in early December



St Mark’s Parish Church

Green Lane, Shelfield WS4 1RN

9.00am & 10.00am – Spoken Services of Holy Communion; Every Sunday of Advent

(29th November; 6th December; 13th December & 20th December)


24th December – 11.30pm – Midnight Mass (first Communion of Christmas)

25th December – 10.00am – Holy Communion on Christmas Day

27th December – 9.00am & 10.00am – First Sunday of Christmas; Holy Communion


Extra Online Services:

Please note that our Online Services are joint services with St. John’s, Walsall Wood.

To access these, see St. John’s details further down or go to: St John’s Walsall Wood on YouTube or via


St. Michael & All Angels Church

Hall Lane, Pelsall WS3 4JN

Sun 20th Dec 6.30pm: Service of Lessons, Carols and Music

Christmas Eve 4.30pm: Crib Service

Christmas Eve 11.15pm: Midnight Mass

Christmas Day 10am: Christmas Day Communion Service

Sat 26th Dec 10am: St. Stephen’s Day Eucharist

Sun 27th Dec 10am: St. John’s Day Eucharist

Mon 28th Dec 10am: Holy Innocents Day Eucharist



Blackwood Methodist Church

Blackwood Road, Streetly B74 3PL

Happy Christmas from Blackwood Methodist Church!

Please see for events and services.


St Anne’s Catholic Church

Bridle Lane, Streetly B74 3HB

Thurs 24th Dec Vigil Mass for Christmas 6pm: Blessing of the Crib

Thurs 24th Dec 8pm: Mass of Christmas night

Fri 25th Dec 8.30am: Mass of Christmas dawn

Fri 25th Dec 11am: Mass of Christmas day

Sat 26th Dec St Stephen, Martyr 11am: Servers’ Mass



Broadway United Reformed Church

Gillity Ave, Walsall WS1 2PY

“Live” services at the church will only take place on Sunday mornings at 10.30am,

including 20th and 27th December.

In addition to Sunday online “virtual” services, extra online services will be arranged for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Check our website for latest details.


St Mary’s the Mount RC Church

Glebe St, Walsall WS1 3NX

Thurs 24th Dec

5:30pm: Children’s Carol Service

6pm: Christmas Folk Mass

11:30pm: Parish Carol Service

12 Midnight: Christmas Solemn Mass


Christmas Day

9am: Christmas Solemn Mass

11am: Christmas Solemn Mass


St. Stephen’s Day

Sat 26th Dec

10am: Mass with all altar servers -Renewal of Commitment

5:30pm: Sunday Vigil Mass – Special Blessing for Families


Feast of the Holy Family

Sun 27th Dec

9am: Sunday Mass – Special Blessing for Families

11am: Sunday Mass – Special Blessing for Families


Mary, Mother of God

Fri 1st Jan 2021

10am: New Year Thanksgiving Mass


St Matthew’s Church

St Matthew’s Close, Walsall WS1 3DG

Details of our Christmas services will be available on our church website  and displayed outside church. Also being publicised via social media on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram: Facebook:; Twitter: @StMattsWalsall and Instagram: @stmattswalsall.


Walsall Wood

St John’s Parish Church

High St, Walsall Wood WS9 9LP

Church Services:

Every Sunday at St John’s 9am & 10am

24th Dec11.30pm: Midnight Communion

Dec 27th 9am & 10am: Feast of St John


Extra Online Services:

Sun 8th Nov 2pm: Walsall Wood Remembrance Service

Tues 1st Dec 6pm: World AIDS Day Service

Sun 13th Dec 5pm: Christingle

Sun 20th Dec 6pm: 9 Lessons & Carols

Dec 24th 5pm: Crib Service

Dec 24th 11.30pm: Midnight Communion

Dec 25th 10am: Christmas Day Communion

Sun 20th Dec: Drive In Carol Service @ The Horse & Jockey Pub, Carpark, WS9 9AJ (details on

Sun 27th Dec 10am: Sunday Feast of St John

NB: Our Online Services are joint services with St Mark’s, Shelfield & High Heath. To access them just go to: St John’s Walsall Wood on YouTube or via


Great Barr Church Services

St Margaret’s Church

Chapel Lane, Great Barr, B43 7BA 

Please check website


St Paul’s Church

Walsall Road, Hamstead, B42 1ES

Sun 20th Dec Carol Service: A pre-recorded version available to view online via our Facebook page

Christmas Eve 6pm: A pre-recorded children’s Christmas bedtime story which will go online via our Facebook page

Christmas Eve 10pm & 11.30pm: Midnight Mass services

Christmas Day 10am: Holy Communion service

Please note that due to COVID-19 restrictions on numbers, places will need to be booked at these services by ringing the church office on 0121 357 8941 or emailing and social distancing must be observed, face coverings worn and sanitising guidelines followed.


St Matthew’s Church

Aldridge Road/Birdbrook Road, Perry Beeches, B44 8RA

For these services you will need to ‘book a pew’ by phoning the office on 0121 360 6964

Sun 20th Dec 6pm: Carol Service

Christmas Eve 6pm: Crib Service for all ages

11.30pm: Midnight Mass

You can join in our phone-in worship now and over the Christmas period. All you need is your phone, and it’s a free number from most phones (if in doubt check with your provider.) Every Tue. and Thur. at 8pm, and Sundays at 10.30am. Just phone 0333 011 0616, and then when asked enter the code 1499 488#. For regular updates please visit


Beacon Evangelical Church

Sandwell Road, Handsworth, B21 8NH

Our Christmas services should be available online on our YouTube channel, Beacon Evangelical Church Handsworth:

Sun 20th Dec 11am:  live streaming of our Christmas Family Outreach Service (Those who wish to attend in person should contact the church in advance to access our booking system).

Christmas Day service will premiere at 10.30am on YouTube.


Perry Hall Methodist Church

Rocky Lane, Perry Barr, B42 1QF

At the time of writing we are unsure how we will celebrate Christmas this year, but we will be celebrating! If you would like to join us, please look at the latest information on our website


Great Barr Methodist Church

Sundial Lane, Great Barr B43 6PA

If you would like to join us, please look at the latest information on our Facebook page:

If you would like to join us at Great Barr Messy Church, please look at the latest information on our Facebook page:


Our thanks to Phil Buckley for allowing us to use his wonderful image of St Matthews in Walsall.