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The Holy Roman Empire and the Black Country

There can hardly be two less similar entities than the Holy Roman Empire (which covered most of Europe and lasted a millennium of more) and the Black Country, which even its most ardent advocates will admit is much more geographically and chronologically constrained. But there is a link, however tenuous, in the St Paul family. Sir Horace St Paul (1775-1840) was a career soldier who became MP for Bridport from 1812-1832 and was created a Baronet in 1813. His father was

“a Northumbrian gentleman driven into exile after killing a man in a duel and was a soldier of fortune in the Seven Years’ War, who returned to England with an Austrian title and a royal pardon, subsequently distinguishing himself in diplomacy, before retiring to his ancestral home.”

The Austrian title was as a Count of the Holy Roman Empire, which his son inherited, and was the most impressive of all the titles of Kingswinford landowners recorded on the 1822 Fowler map of the parish. .He owned around 30 acres of arable land in the Kingsley Road / Mount Pleasant area of Kingswinford, to the east of Ridgehill Wood, and almost certainly came into his possession through his marriage in 1803 to Anna Maria, the natural daughter of John, 2nd Viscount Dudley whose forebears were granted the lands at the Ashwood Enclosure in 1776. Unfortunately however, the current residents of Kingsley Road and Mount Pleasant share the defining characteristics of their former owner’s title – they are neither Holy, nor Roman, nor in any sense, Imperial.

The St Paul crest

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