Pelsall's Orphanage

Rev.W Climpson and The Home of the Good Shepherd

Rev. W Climpson Vicar of St Michael and All Angels Church Pelsall

1894 - 1910

Rev W.M.Climpson was the husband of Annie Catherine Charles of Pelsall Hall.  Annie Catherine Charles was the eldest daughter of John Smith Charles and Annie Snowdin Charles.

The Rev William Climpson and his wife Annie Catherine Climpson lived at Pelsall Vicarage with 12 year old Arthur Henley who was the domestic servant at the vicarage and Catherine Birch who was the 21 year old general domestic servant.

Rev Climpson and his wife, Annie Catherine at the centre of the photograph at the rear of Pelsall Hall

In addition to his primary role, as seen below, it appears that Rev W M Climpson may have been part of the teaching staff at Pelsall C of E School in 1899.

Photograph above courtesy of Mr A Weller, Pelsall History Centre

Pelsall C of E School Teachers 1899

Back Row L-R Miss Polly Thompson, Miss Ann Smith, Mrs Brownridge, Miss E York, Miss M Mercer.

Middle Row L-R Miss S Wildig, Rev W M Climpson, Mr W H Brownridge, Miss A Brownridge (Mrs Reynolds)

Front Row L-R Miss Bertha Garfield, Mr Charles Hodson, Miss Jenny Bill.

However, it could be said that the most significant part Rev W M Climpson played in the history of Pelsall was through his connection with the Waifs and Strays movement of the time.  

From 1898 - 1907 Rev W M Climpson was the saviour of many orphaned boys in the village.

The image above which was part of Annie Snowdin Charles' photograph album appears to show the Rev W M Climpson with one of the boys and possibly the orphanage behind him.

Rev W M Climpson was responsible for St Michael's Home for Boys from 1898 - 1907.  The establishment was known as The Home of the Good Shepherd.  

Regrettably, there is very little known about the home or the boys who were taken in as the home rarely appears in records, however I have found a parish magazine which lists the names of some of the boys who were there at the time when the magazine was published.

The home was open for 9 years and closed in 1907.  The home was one of 5 in the Lichfield diocese.

Readers may be able to shed some light on the fragment of information shown below.

The home was known to be a small cottage that could only house 6 to 8 boys aged between 8 and 12 and Rev W M Climpson was the Honorary Secretary.

The boys of the orphanage were educated at the Church School and received pre employment training.  A number of the boys were prepared to emigrate to Canada.

Case 9635 as seen below, tells the desperate plight of a boy known as T.

It is interesting to see the impact Rev W M Climpson's intervention had on the life of T.  His role can really be appreciated when reading this case, which was one of many such cases. 

Further documentation relating to this case and others are held at Pelsall History Centre.

Case 9635

Application to the Waifs and Strays' Society 22 April 1903

T was one of 7 children.  His father had committed suicide being depressed after a long illness and his mother was delicate.  She was willing to work but trade was quiet in Walsall at this time and consequently work was hard to come by.  The only child working was the eldest girl and her wages were low.  It was hoped to find a place for the eldest boy on a Naval Training Ship, but this was proving difficult as he was underage.

The clergyman completing the form cites the support that T's parents have given their elderly parents as a point in their favour, demonstrating the goodness of their characters.

T was accepted by the society and was sent to the Pelsall Home on 19th May 1903.

In June 1903 the clergyman interested in his case reported to the child's mother stating that her son was 'very happy'.

There is some correspondence in the file relating to the maintenance payment for T.  His case was taken over by the Dowager Lady Bromley when the boy she had been supporting obtained a free place at St Benet's Home , Caversham.  On 26th January 1907 T was transferred to the Stanton Farm House, Staffordshire.

In May 1911 T's mother requested that he be returned to her care.  She had married again and seemed very 'comfortable'.

She had a situation in mind for T who was by this time 16 years old.

The society agreed to her request and asked the local clergyman to keep in touch with the boy on his return.

T was restored to his mother on 7th August 1911.

Photograph above courtesy of Pelsall History Centre

Above: Rev W M Climpson pictured in 1906 with three of the Pelsall boys from The Home of the Good Shepherd

The Home of The Good Shepherd, Church Road Pelsall, 1898

Photograph courtesy of Pelsall History Centre