Shelsley Mill - Some Historical Research

This Shelsley Mill post first appeared on a personal blog on 15th September 2006

Normally I would have spent Thursday at the mill but I would have been on my own yesterday so I went to the Worcester Records Office to see if I could find a little more history for Shelsley mill.

I've never tried to do any sort of historical research before but the staff at the centre were very helpful and showed me the basics of searching for records.

I can't claim to have found out much about the mill itself because I didn't find a single direct reference to it but I had an interesting day in the archives. I now know that the rector of St Andrews Church had a battle with the Inland Revenue in 1898 about Land Tax on the church glebe lands. Civil servants had good handwriting in those days before typewriters but the same cannot be said of all the correspondence I tried to read.

A surprising discovery was that there was a World War I German soldier buried in Shelsley Walsh churchyard. I found this from the exhumation order authorising the removal of this soldier to the German Cemetery at Cannock. Amongst the papers I found the soldiers name, Ernst Altmann, and the date of his death, 25th December 1918. No reference to rank, what he was doing in Shelsley Walsh or what he died of. I would guess that he was a POW doing farm work and that he died in the influenza epidemic that swept through the country. You have to feel sorry for him, dying far from home and on Christmas Day as well. Perhaps his story could make a background history page for the mill website. I must find out more!

What I do have from a single day's research is a list of further references to follow up, especially the names of the landowners. As the mill seems to be part of the farm rather than a separate business the best hope for finding dates for major changes to the mill is in the farm accounts and records. I think the Records Office staff are going to get used to my face. Even a tiny parish like Shelsley Walsh has a lot of records.

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