Book recounts a true history of churchyard

Author Chris Smith

Author Chris Smith

First published in News

A BOROUGH researcher has released his second book digging up more of the fascinating stories behind the graves in a Kates Hill churchyard.

Chris Smith has penned a sequel to his popular Tales from a Churchyard, which since 2010 has raised more than £2,000 in aid of St John’s Church Preservation Group’s ongoing campaign to reopen the iconic grade II listed building.

His second volume provides even more tales of those buried in the grounds, including John Beddard, who was Mayor of Dudley from 1857 to 1858, but is missing from the authority’s official mayoral role of honour, and the famous industrialist Sir Alfred Hickman, who was also the first president of Wolverhampton Wanderers FC.

The book, which was released shortly before Christmas priced £9.99, also includes new facts behind the final resting place of The Tipton Slasher, William Perry, and his wife Ann Maria.

All money raised from the book, which is dedicated to the late Dudley councillor and dedicated supporter, Jeff Jewkes, will again continue to help the preservation group’s work, with copies available from the its base in the Old School House, St John’s Road, the Dudley Market Saturday fundraising stall, the Quality Hotel, Dudley Archive and Tiwana Superstore by the church.

Deb Brownlee, chairman of St John’s Church Preservation Group, said: “Chris always works from the standpoint when told a story that he doesn’t believe a word of it and very often he has been proved right.

“Some of the stories attached to the graves at St John’s were very wide of the mark, but often the truth is even better.”

For more information visit savestjohnschurch.zoomshare.com.

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