William Ward and Son (of Bilston)
of Priestfield Furnaces, Bilston
1812 Priest Field Furnaces shown and named on map
1816 Shown but not named on map
1821 Took over Priestfield Furnaces on the bankruptcy of Samuel Fereday
1832 Map marks Priestfield Works.
1836 Marked as Priestfield Furnace on map
1839 Described as Priest Fields furnaces, the Coke Hearth etc belonging to William Ward
1845 Marked as William Ward's ironworks on map of 1845. Priestfields, now W. Ward and Son. 2 blast furnaces built. V strong grey forge.
Priestfields was the site of the old furnaces of William Ward and Sons, hence the name Ward Street (formerly Gibbet Lane). With the coming of the railway the furnaces were established a little further along Ward Street and re-named the New Priestfield furnaces (SMR 11045).
By 1887 area is shown as derelict land with railway and Priestfield Station to S. (9)
Owner of Priestfield furnaces prior to William Ward was Samuel Fereday. He issued tokens showing the foundry. The reverse reads 'Payable at Bilston. S. Fereday. Bradley Bilston and Priestfield Collieries and Furnaces.
Samuel Fereday was for a time the largest employer of labour in England but was declared bankrupt in 1821. Possibly it was after Fereday's bankruptcy that Ward acquired the furnaces.
1849 'The sudden death of Mr. Wm. Ward, the highly-respected proprietor of the Priestfield Works and Furnaces, from the prevailing epidemic...'
Sources of Information
- Hereford Journal - Wednesday 17 October 1849
-  Black Country History