The original Bull’s Head and The Wishing Tree (left), Bloxwich, 1o June 1927 (W. Meikle)
Both Billy Meikle, writing in 1938, and later fellow local historian E. J. Homeshaw, who published his book The Story of Bloxwich in 1955, recorded versions of the following tale of the old Bull’s Head pub in Park Road, the events of which Meikle dates to about 1906:
Samuel Moseley, a miner, sat drinking in the kitchen of the Bull’s Head one day, when his wife Margaret came to remind him that it was time he was preparing for work. She told him the time but he paid no heed to her warnings. In fact he told her that he did not think he would go to work that afternoon.
Margaret left the Bull in a towering rage and when she got to the door she cursed him and wished that the Bull would fall on him and bury him.
According to the story she only got as far as a nearby tree, where she repeated her wish and suddenly the roof of the Bull’s Head fell in with a great crash! Everything in the upper rooms including the furniture was smashed, but both the old kitchen and Samuel Moseley escaped unscathed.
When Mrs. Moseley saw the roof fall in according to her wish, she took to her heels, ran all the way home and fell down in a dead faint! Henceforth, the tree beneath which she was granted her wish became known as ‘The Wishing Tree’, and was held in great awe.
Today, it even features on the top of “The Bloxwich Tardis”, a public monument to Bloxwich in steel and cast iron erected on Elmore Green in 2007.
The present Bull’s Head pub, closed in August 2007 but not yet sold, was built about 1928 on the same site and can just be seen in an early photograph of the Promenade Gardens.
In July 1928 local Councillor Cartwright expressed the opinion that there was nothing in Walsall, or within 30 miles, to touch the Promenade Gardens in Bloxwich.
Certainly, despite the demise of the Bull’s Head, the gardens are still a very pleasant place for a stroll at this time of year, and they will be even better when the town’s famous Victorian fountain returns from its long-delayed refurbishment.
Remarkably, the Wishing Tree survived the destruction of the old Bull’s Head for many years, but sadly it now seems that, according to anecdotal evidence from a local resident who has come forward, the legendary Bloxwich Wishing Tree was destroyed by Walsall Council some time in the 1960s during the creation of a small car park in front of the ‘new’ pub. The gnarled roots of a tree in a pothole on the spot now offer firm indications of this possibility.
But, despite the demise of the original tree, what may well be called its ‘spiritual successor’ by tradition, still stands nearby on the corner of the Promenade Gardens. So be careful what you wish for when standing beneath its shade – you may get it!