Sunday 4th August.Report by Francesca, a Member of Astley & Dunley History Society (As seen on TV)


On 4th August 1919, nine people; two men, four women and three children, drowned while crossing the River Severn at the Hampstall Inn, Astley. There were seventeen people standing up in the punt which acted as the ferry boat and when the steamer, ‘May Queen’ went past, the wash swamped the boat and it overturned.

On 4th August 2019, residents of Astley and other interested people gathered at The Hampstall Inn, to remember those who drowned a hundred years ago. After an account of the disaster had been read, the plaque and information board were unveiled by Fred Greenhow and Terry Matthews. Prayers were said by Rev Mark Turner and roses were thrown into the river in remembrance. Finally a poem written by the poet laureate of Wednesbury was read out.

ferry pic 1

Introduction to the event by Clare Badham.

ferry pic 2

The unveiling by Fred Greenhows the grandson of Ellen Greenhow who rescued five people from the disaster; Terry Matthews the grandson of the brother of Harry Matthews, one of those who drowned.

August 7th 2019 another day at Winnall Mill.

An overcast but warm day, saw six members of NWAG on site at Winnall Mill. New member Chris assisted by Ian then later by Keith and Sam. The job in hand was to clear the area to the rear of the Cool House ready for drawing as part of the Stage Two report. Sam had been reinforcing the base of the Waterfall where the water enters the pipe under the track.

winnall waterfall

Looking up at the six metre plus height Winnall Waterfall.

Meanwhile Liz and Terry were perched on the top of the Waterfall looking for the start of the leat proper after a possible spillway. There are clear signs that the sandstone bedrock had been cut to form a giant set of steps to break the fall of water. This work was most probably carried out at the beginning of the watermill construction, hundreds of years ago!

More work will need to be carried out here.

top of waterfall 1

Top of the WATERFALL showing the clean cut sandstone step

with a  wall left to act as a possible spillway down the steps.

Northwag News update for 12th April 2017

Today we met at The Lenchford Inn for a meeting.  Top of the agenda was our planned Open Day at Winnall Mill as part of the Council of British Archaeology, Festival of Archaeology. We intend to show folks around the mill remains and the more recent discoveries. To save the guides having to walk down and back to the car park with visitors, we have devised a self-guide walk plan.

The team (well five of us) returned to Winnall Mill armed with strimmers and secateurs to prepared the site for our annual CBA open day (see the events page). The photos below shows what it looked like when we first arrived and then how it looked by the time we left. Quite a difference. Well done team! It was a hot and humid day so the insects were nibbling, despite us having sprayed every exposed part of our flesh with instect repellant. We will be back again next week to finish off and put up signposting, etc.



Before work




whos this

Terry putting up an advertisment for our open day


We hope to see as many of our readers at the Open Day tours, which is free. There will be a tent displaying our work on this site since 2010 as well as work on other recent sites, plus, of course, the all important refreshment tent. For those of you who have not yet been, you will find it a very interesting day out in a lovely rural setting. 


Northwag News for 28th June 2017

  • · Published June 28, 2017 · Updated June 29, 2017

We held a meeting at the Lenchford Inn this morning.  Nine of us worked our way through the plans for the Open Day at Winnall Mill, on 29th and 30th of July 2017.  Francesca read out a list of all the societies she will be contacting and the parish magazines that will be listing the event.  The direction arrows for the self-guided walk are ready, there is a bit more work to be done on the self-guided walk returnable handout.