The Oxford Dictionary of place names gives five versions of the name of Wolverley as it appeared the earliest records; of these the most common is Wulfwerdiglea meaning the Leah (glade or clearing) of Wulfweard’s people. The name commemorates the gift of the Manor in AD 866 by Burgred the King of Mercia to Wolfweard, leader of a Saxon warrior band.
During the Middle Ages a court was held several times a year in the Manor House (Bury Hall) and its decisions were entered in Latin on rolls, the earliest relating to Wolverley dated AD 1285. In 1881 the Hall was purchased by the Sebright Foundation for use as one of its school buildings.
John Baskerville, who became one of our greatest printers, and whose name lives today in the printing and type-making world, was born in 1706 at Sion Hill House. He printed three editions of the Bible, nine Prayer Books, two books of Psalms and two Greek Testaments.
The River Stour, whose long loops and turns are broken into several separate watercourses, flows through the parish, and also crossing this part of the parish is the Elan Aqueduct which carries water to Birmingham from the Elan Reservoirs in Wales.
The Cookley works and offices of Titan Steel Wheels UK Ltd are situated on a 12-acre site. It is a works with over three centuries of history, for its origin dates back to 1650; and according to records John Knight started a forge in that year. In those days the River Stour provided both transport and power. By the end of the 19th century railway development in other areas led to a decline in the fortunes of the Cookley Ironworks, as it continued to be known, but motor transport restored the Company’s prosperity early in the 20th century and the greater part of the work recently has been in the service of the commercial vehicle industry.
Lea Castle was built in 1760 for the Knight family. This mock castle was sold to the Browns Ironmasters in 1819 but the line became extinct and was inherited by John Westhead: in 1943 it was demolished. Lea Castle Hospital now stands within the curtilage of the former castle.
Other items of interest are The Pound at Wolverley which is carved out of rock, and several Rock Houses in the Sladd and Drakelow areas. North of Drakelow is a stone obelisk dedicated to Richard Baxter, whose statue stands in the shadow of St. Mary’s Church, Kidderminster. The interesting hamlets of Blakeshall and Caunsall also lie within the parish.