Grave matters to discuss at Black Country talk

By Thomas Parkes | Stourbridge | News | Published:

A talk covering the history of English graveyards will be held in the Black Country this week.

Peter Bates will deliver the talk on Thursday

Peter Bates, who has given talks for more than 20 years on different subjects, will deliver the talk at Stourbridge Historical Society's first meeting of the year.

Mr Bates, group leader of the Kinver university of the third age (U3A) history group, said: "Originally, I taught technology for 35 years and history as has always been an interest. I do eight different talks to wider audiences and I've done it for many years.

"I talk most months to my history group and it's a case of picking an interesting subject, reading up about it and doing a talk about it.

"My expertise is English parish church architecture and I've done these talks for more than 20 years."

The talk will held at the Wollaston Room at Stourbridge Town Hall on Thursday at 7.30pm.

The 69-year-old, who lives in Wall Heath in Dudley, said: "The history of English graveyards is one I've written up recently. I also do a popular talk on the story of Woolworths which I've done around the area.

"Originally, there were grave markings in English graves and then they had to stop because Edward the III wanted all Englishmen – boys and men – to practice the art of bowmanship and because of that we became the best in Europe and won the Battle of Agincourt.

"From then there was no grave markings and then they did not feature until the 18th century.


"Of course, funeral directorship became a big business in the 19th century and it reached a point all the graves were full and councils had to build cemeteries."

Mr Bates will talk at the society for the first time and is 'looking forward' to the event.

He added: "This will be my first visit. I've been there as a guest but it's the first time I've talked there.

"I'm looking forward to it and I thoroughly enjoy it and I tend to get plenty of questions at the end – which I hope to answer."

Admission costs £3.

Thomas Parkes

By Thomas Parkes
Trainee Reporter - @TParkes_Star

Trainee reporter at the Express & Star, based in Wolverhampton. Got a story? Get in touch at

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