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Meeting Report - October 2018

There were about 44 members present at the Romsley and Hunnington History Society meeting on Tuesday 23rd October, when Max Hunt gave a talk on, "Shelsley Walsh, The Story of a Village." About sixty years ago I remember sitting on a grassy bank amid noise and fumes watching a variety of cars attempt to climb up a very steep hill at Shelsley Walsh, in the fastest time. It was therefore very interesting to hear Max Hunt's account of how the smallest parish in Worcestershire evolved.

It was mentioned in the Doomsday Book when it was just a quiet clearing on a wooded slope. The Walsh family owned the land and built the Court House. Sir Richard Walsh became involved in the Gunpowder Plot when he pursued the plotters but failed to take them alive! The Manor was bought by the Black Country industrialist Thomas Foley who used the timber from the trees to make charcoal for his iron industry and a forge and water mill were set up and the village became industrialised.

The Manor then passed to the Dudley- Wards and in 1890 Montague Taylor bought the freehold. With the advent of the motor car, in 1901 he established the Midland Automobile Club. Hill Climbing became popular. In 1905 the first Shelsley Walsh Hill Climb took place and over the years it became quite an event. Apart from the War Years, it has taken place annually ever since and in 1932 the BBC's very first Sporting Outside Broadcast came from there. Eventually it became an international event with many well known racing drivers taking part.

Today the Hill Climb still takes place in the summer and Shelsley Walsh becomes alive with the roar of motor engines. The old Mill has been restored by a band of enthusiasts and still grinds corn and the little village welcomes visitors from everywhere. Max's talk was fascinating and was illustrated with some beautiful photographs.

The next Court Rolls meeting is on Wednesday 5th December and the next meeting of the History Society is on Tuesday 27th November at 7.30pm in the Church Hall when Paul Harding and Helen Lee will give a talk on, "Victorian Everyday Life." The first meeting in the New Year is on Tuesday 26th February when Max Keen will give a talk on, "Prince Rupert of the Rhine: King Charles 1st's Pirate Prince." Everyone is welcome

Pat Evans

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