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Beginning its life as number one Albert Place in the early 1800s  as a funeral carriage business ,Samuel Taylor  (first  landlord )  had the idea of selling ales to the public as well as serving the local council with carriages and horses to bury Wolverhampton’s dead . Born in Tettenhall in 1805 Samuel Taylor is still to date the longest serving landlord,  beginning in 1845 until his death in 1865.

Miss Elizabeth Jones became the second licensed victualler notable, for having  seven sons and six daughters between 1864 and 1882. Remarkably three sets of twins.

Listed in the 1891 census ,the Royal Oak became 48 Compton Road run by Mrs Margaret A Morris with her son Fred Morris ,a retired blind ,maker and her niece Florence Williams . She ran the public house with her husband from 1890 but her husband sadly died three years earlier .

Two more landlords followed  (F Cross 1893-1895 and E Jackson 1896) before the inn had its first refurbishment from a simple two up two down with stables  and stores into a what we see today  . The First World War passed with Mr. James Turley  in charge (1910-1923),the same Turley family who run the office stationery business on Newhampton road  opposite the Summer House public house to this day  . Later in the twenties the architect Joseph D. Wood  oversaw the complete rebuild of the  pub which would be run by Mr M Woodward until 1935.

Mr Wilfred Shaw saw in the war years  (1935-1948),his family using the wine cellar as a bedroom  during the bombing raids. Finally in 1948 he moved onto the Wheel at Codsall with his family .

Not much more is known of the next eight or so landlords apart from  Sydney Jones who was a demon dominoes player, as proven with his two wooden shields which still hang on the wall today .

A Dutchman took the helm ( Arie Hoogen)in 1965 and carried on till 1972. Ivor Gethin famously appeared on the  ATV news show with his “pie and a pint deal “. From there other landlords came along but not stopping  more than four years or so until the current licensee ,Susan Fullwood ,with her husband Keith,who have continued to serve pints  since 2006



The storyof Maurice Woodward.

He was born in Enderby in 1891, and played local football there before joining

Leicester Fosse as a centre-half in August 1912. Hampered by an ankle injury he only played two games for the Fosse. He signed for

Southern League Southend United in July 1914, but war broke out before he could play for them. When the First World War broke out, league football continued for the whole of the following season. Footballers came in for much criticism for ‘not doing their bit’. This led to the

‘Footballers’ Battalion’ (otherwise known as the 17th Middlesex Battalion)being created in December 1914 at a meeting at Fulham Town Hall. Quite soon professional footballers with connections to over 70 clubs, including Leicester Fosse, signed up. The Battalion was brought up to strength (about 1,000) by amateur players, officials and football fans eager to serve alongside their favorite players. 

In November 1915, Maurice went to France with the Footballers’ Battalion where he served under Bradford City’s England international Major Frank Buckley, who later became a famous manager at Wolverhampton Wanderers. The battalion first saw serious action on the Somme, losing over 500 officers and men between 25July and 11 August 1916.  On 24th July 1916, the day before his Battalion’s serious involvement in the battle, (which had already been raging for three weeks), Maurice, by now a sergeant, played for a team of NCOs against a team from ‘B’ Company. One of the players in the‘B’ Company team was Joe Mercer, the father of the famous player Joe Mercer,who later managed Manchester City against Leicester City in the 1969 FA Cup Final. The following day the Footballers’ Battalion moved up to the front with a fighting

strength of 38 officers and 872 men. They occupied some recently captured German trenches astride the Montuban-Carnoy Road, relieving the 10th Royal Welch Fusiliers. The trenches had been badly damaged by British guns prior to their capture, and were littered with the bodies and body parts of many dead German soldiers, together with many dead horses. Soon afterwards, the Battalion was involved in an assault on Delville Wood and Longueval. Over the next eighteen days, the Battalion lost over 500 officers and men. In 2010 a memorial to the Footballers Battalion was erected in this area (above). Four months later, the Battalion suffered another 300 casualties at Redan Ridge and

462 more at Oppy Wood, near Vimy Ridge, the following spring. Maurice was wounded twice during the war but survived and rejoined Southend United before joining Second Division Wolverhampton Wanders in April 1920 for a fee of£700. He was badly troubled by sciatica, but he was fit to play for Wolves in the 1921 FA Cup Final at Stamford Bridge against a Tottenham Hotspur side which contained his former Fosse team mate Tommy Clay as well as Jimmy Seed, the brother of Leicester Fosse’s Angus Seed, another member of the Footballers’ Battalion . 

Tottenham Hotspur won the Final 1-0, their goal coming after the ball bounced off Maurice’s thigh into the path of the Spurs winger Dimmock whose 25 yard shot skimmed offthe very muddy surface before sailing over the Wolves goalkeeper into the net. His sciatica and a knee injury kept Maurice out for most of the following season. He was transferred to Bristol Rovers but was never able to play for them. Whilst

playing for Wolves, Maurice lived in Nuneaton and played as a batsman for Chilvers Coton Cricket Club alongside ‘Billy’ Barratt the Leicester City

full-back. In later life, Maurice kept the Old Bush Inn at Wall Heath nearWolverhampton and Royal Oak at Chapel ash .He died on February 17th 1950 at West Bromwich General Hospital.


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