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LISTING APP PAGE 5
OTHER FAMOUS PEOPLE AND CONNECTIONS
Reverend Edward Henry Lane Noott
Reverend Noott served St John’s Church for 63 years, until his death in 1905. We believe that this may in itself be a record.
Rev Noott’s Godfather and first cousin was Edward Jenner, the physician who discovered vaccination and started the UK on its long journey to total smallpox eradication in 1979.
Rev Noott’s wife Sarah was a daughter of Sir Alfred Hickman, MP for Wolverhampton and industrialist. On his death his family donated the land for the well known Hickman Park, which opened in 1911. Hickman Park recently received a grant of just under £900,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to restore it to its original state.
CLIFFORD WATSON who played Rugby League for Great Britain on 30 occasions from 1963 to 1970, was married in St John’s Church in 1960. He was also in the Scouts at St John’s and his family were great fundraisers for the church. Cliff now lives in Australia but his nephew who lives locally keeps him informed. Cliff Watson wedding at St. John’s Church, 1960
who played Rugby League for Great Britain on 30 occasions from 1963 to 1970, was married in St John’s Church in 1960.
He was also in the Scouts at St John’s and his family were great fundraisers for the church.
Cliff now lives in Australia but his nephew who lives locally keeps him informed.
Cliff Watson wedding at St. John’s Church, 1960
MARY ANN MASON - Famous local history murder story which took place in 1855. Mary Ann Mason was shot by her jealous ex boyfriend in the Sailors Return pub in Cromwell Street, very close to St John’s Church.
The murderer, Joseph Meadows was hung on 4th August 1855 and was the penultimate person to be hung in Worcester Jail.
The Sailors Return was still standing until fairly recently and was known locally as “Murder House”.
MARION RICHARDSON (1892-1946) was an influential art teacher and pioneer of the child art movement.
She trained at Birmingham College of Art and Design.
Her first job was at Dudley Girls High School where she was Arts Mistress from 1912 to 1923.
Later, she worked at the London Day Training College and as an Inspector of Art to London County Council. She developed methods of teaching art that were far removed from the traditional emphasis on copying and technical skill. Instead she aimed to arouse children’s visual awareness, to encourage self-expression and enable pupils to evaluate their own work.
She also developed a system for teaching handwriting based on patterns and natural movements ‘Marion Richardson handwriting’. She pioneered the exhibition of children’s work as art and introduced craft education into prisons. She lectured and published widely. She was internationally known in her own right as an artist. Ms. Richardson lived in the parish and is buried in the churchyard of
There is a school named after her; The Marion Richardson Primary School in Tower Hamlets, London. We hope to make contact with them at an appropriate time.
PERCY SHAKESPEARE was born 28 February 1906 at 24 St. John’s Road, Kates Hill,
Both Percy Shakespeare and Marion Richardson studied, and taught, at the Birmingham School of Art, and it is highly probable that they knew each other.
Exhibitions of Percy Shakespeare work are still held periodically at Dudley Museum
and Art gallery.
 Entry in Parish Register and Monumental Inscriptions
 “Percy Shakespeare –
autobiography by Robin Shaw
JULIA HANSON was the co-founder of Hanson’s Beer with her husband, Thomas.
The company was established in 1847 with the brewery, warehouse & offices and the bonded stores all located in the Dudley area. The huge former Hanson Brewery is now the site of a Netto supermarket near to Top Church in Dudley .
Hanson’s Ale memorabillia is collectable today.
Hansons plaque above former warehouse and offices, Tower Street, Dudley
Hansons plaque above former warehouse and offices, Tower Street, Dudley
Although Hansons Beer has not been brewed for several years now, the brand name remains firmly ingrained in local knowledge.
One of the stained glass windows is dedicated to the Hanson family – to the glory of God and in loving memory of Thomas Hanson who died 18th April 1870 and also of Julia, his wife who died 29th June 1894 and of Thomas Piddocke, son of the above died 9th May 1919 and of Mary Jackson Hanson died 16th December 1919. This window is dedicated by William son of Thomas and Thomas, son of Thomas Piddocke “We know that his testomony is true.”
Thomas Hanson was Churchwarden at St John’s from 1895 to 1899.
There are several other Hanson graves at St John’s but we have not yet been able to show the family connection.
JAMES WHALE born 22nd July 1889 in Kates Hill. Famous as a Movie Director, primarily of the horror film genre.
His works include “The Invisible Man”, “Frankenstein”, “Bride of Frankenstein” and “Old Dark House”. We are currently researching which of his relations are buried in St. John’s churchyard.
It is known that his Mother remained in the Parish, in Selbourne Road, after James had gone to Hollywood, where he committed suicide by drowning in 1957.
The painful last years of his life in Hollywood, where he was one of the few celebrities to live openly acknowledging his homosexuality, were depicted by Ian McKellen in ‘Gods and Monsters’ (1998).
LENNY HENRY (1958 –) comedian, author and actor was born in Dando Road in St John’s Parish.
He attended Sledmere and Blue Coat local schools, both within the parish and was a choirboy at St. John’s.
The house where he grew up in the Parish, in Rollason Road is still standing but is now converted to flats.
DOROTHY ROUND (1908 – 1982) was born in Dudley and lived in St John’s parish. She won Wimbledon singles twice, in 1934 and 1937, and mixed doubles three years running, 1934, 1935 and 1936.
MICHAEL TAYLOR – Author (Hodder and Staughton, Severn House). Musician (Herbies People). Photographer, exhibited at Laycock Abbey.
Michael was born in Kates Hill and was an active member of the St. John’s Church Youth Club. He has featured
FLIGHT SERGEANT STEPHEN BURNS, DAMBUSTER
Flight Sergeant Burns was an Air Gunner in 617 Squadron (Dambusters Squadron), Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.
He was 22 when he was killed in action on 20th December 1943. His
The raid was aborted but the Lancaster was caught by a German night fighter and set on fire. The plane broke up over Merbles-Le-Chateau.
Of the seven young men on board there was only one survivor; Flight Lieutenant Geoff Rice was thrown clear as the plane disintegrated.
Stephen’s sister Dorothy Mundon nee Burns still lives in the parish and has given permission for his story to be used in support of this application. She has told us that as the Gunner on board he continued firing after being injured in an effort to save his colleagues.
Stephen is buried at Gossellies Communal Cemetery, Belgium, Row 2 Grave 12. There is a plaque to his memory in St John’s.
WILLIAM MASEFIELD (1801 – 1890). He was initiated in the Harmonic Lodge, Dudley in 1842 and was twice Master in 1846 and 1862.
He held the office of Grand Standard Bearer, a post to which he was appointed by
The Masefield Chapter of the Grand Provincial Lodge of Worcester was founded as a memorial to William Masefield, “an honoured name in the annals of Worcestershire masonry”. The Masefield Lodge has played a large part in promoting Freemasonry, with five Daughter and five Grand Daughter Lodges stemming from its early days.
Masefield Lodge meets seven times each year. There is an annual Masefield Golf Day (this year, 12th August 2008). The warrant to form the William Masefield Lodge was issued on 15th February 1884 on the authority of Albert Edward HRH The Prince of Wales (King Edward VII).
William Masefield is buried in the churchyard of St. John’s and there is a memorial tablet to him inside the church.
William Masefield was a churchwarden at St John’s from 1876 – 1877.
William Cheese (1830-1896) was a Sergeant of the 83rd Regiment and fought in the Crimea and the India Mutiny.
He was listed in the 1881 census as a Chelsea Pensioner living at Dudley Castle Lower Lodge. Chelsea Pensioners were required to assist the magistrates in times of riots.
He was interred with military honours.
 www.dambusters.org.uk and Dorothy Mundon
SERGEANT MAJOR THOMAS HARRISON
Sgt Major Harrison served with the 2nd West India Regiment.
We have not yet been able to find out any further information about his career but his gravestone is an incredible piece of sculpture.
We have not as yet been able to identify the sculptor but we do know that the uniform and equipment portrayed is that of the 2nd West India Regiment, including the unusual Fez type hat.
Part of the bayonet tip is broken but other than that the stone is in excellent condition.
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