Sutton Coldfield - 1860 Version of Local History

History of The Ancient Forest and Chase of Sutton Coldfield & The Border Districts
written in 1860 by unknown author
The retainers of the great earls having ceased to occupy the manor house and the town, and the public troubles having suspended any interest in the Chase, and probably thinned the population, the place went to decay. The markets were forsaken ; and at length the manor house was totally pulled down, by one Wingston, an oflicer of the king in this lordship, who made a profit to himself by the sale of the timber. The entire fabric of the hall (by which we understand the wood work of a half-timbered building), he parted with to the marquess of Dorset, to be employed in building the mansion of Bradgate, in Leicestershire. Dugdale truly says the manor house stood very delightfully. Fine pools spread below its steep promontory, and over them it looked on the little town which clung round the church hill. To the left hand and in front extended the most picturesque forest tracks as far as the wild heaths of Barr Beacon: and from its turrets the eye traced the rich wooded distance,

“ Where nightingales in Arden sit and sing Amongst the daintie dew-impearled flowers?

Within the walls was a chapel dedicated to St. Blaize, of which the earliest notice is that, in 2 Edward III, the king, on account of the minority of the earl of Warwick, conferred it upon Thomas de Hampton as a donative. In 24 Henry VI, the officiating priest had 33s. 4d. per annum stipend. As will be seen, it was given to bishop Vesey by Henry VII, and having become ruinous, it may have been pulled down by him, with the rest of the stone walls of the manor house.The area of these buildings is still perfectly traceable} The 'V summit of the hill has an escarpment, which has scarcely been disturbed since bishop Vesey removed its supporting stone wall.

Bracebridge Pool 2010

Keepers Pool 2010
This area is an oval of about one hundred yards in its longest diameter. Foundations, supposed to be those of the chapel, are on its east side, partly under the present house, and the site of a tower and its dungeon is observed on the north-west corner, where rubbish has been filled in, and from which have recently been dug up a few relics of antiquity pieces of broken encaustic tiles, of different eras of workmanship, the earliest having in their patterns oak leaves and the trefoil ; the one of later date, the fleur de lis, &c., probably remains of the tesselated pavement of the chapel, and from the same place, a globe of stone, with lead in its socket, sliewing it to have been an ornament of some portion of the building. On the north end of the area part of the foundations of the exterior wall have been laid bare. A narrow gravel path has also been traced a little below the present surface, which may have led from a door in the tower to one near in a building on the west, where foundations have been met with. A wall has been traced dividing the area into two courts. From the flat of the hill, south, a road now runs on the west side of the hill to the causeway leading between the two ancient pools to the park. Since the drainage of the pools in the middle of the last century, this raised dam has divided the meadows.

The entrance of the manor house may have been on the east, where there are hollows, as if towers had been rooted up, and where there are traces of extended adjoining buildings. There is still a gateway, leading now to nothing, under a farm 'building of timber and brick, a few centuries old, but apparently raised upon more ancient foundations of stone, which may have supported the towers and portcullis protecting the steep eastern ascent, where is seen a rudely marked road to this gateway from the pools below. A well is in the rock half-way down this supposed road. A deep well is also within the area. In 7 Henry V there were four pools, which Sir Ralph Bracebridge leased from the earl of Warwick for life, from that date. It is probable that he made the dam which forms Bracebridge pool, and gave it his name.Whether it had been previously granted away, or that the Corporation received it as part of the park estate, and afterwards alienated it, is not now known. It is not known whether the Keeper’s Pool or Iindrich formed the fourth: it is possible the former took its name when John Holt, esq., was ranger or keeper, time Henry VI. Sir Ralph Bracebridge agreed to pay the yearly rent of £10, or 120 bremes, the price of each breme reckoned at 20d; but if they should happen to be at a greater rate, then to be allowed back in proportion. An account made by the earl of Warwick’s bailiff shews their value in those days, compared with some other things;

Item : John Burbage and Wm, Lempe for fyching on Wensday nexte befor the Exaltacion of the Cross, and dyde take 2 Brems and were lade to my lord to Lychefelde be Will. Alyn; and to the said Fychers hyre and for her costs, mans mete and horsmete 3s. 10d.

Item: The same Fychers ware send for again, on Thursday, Frydaie, and Satyrday, and took four Brems, ther hyre and other costs 4s. 8d.

Item: The costs of bakyng the seyde 4 Bremes in flowre 12d.

Item : In Spys, Pepyr, Safurn, Clows and Synamon, 6d.

Item : The costs of carying the seyd 4 Brems to Mydlam to my Lord to the North Contrey, by Thomas Harys of Suttun, 10s

Item: For the Swans, four quarter Otes, and a bushell two quarters of hem a strike 2d. ob. and two quarter and a bushel a strike 3d. (viis. xd.)
On the flat of the hill a little to the south of the manor house is the driffold, or drift-fald ; drift signifying the examination of such cattle as were in the forest, that it might be known whether the land were surcharged with cattle or not, and whose the beasts were, &c. These drifts were made at certain times in the year by the officers of the forest, when all the cattle in the forest were driven into a pound, or place enclosed. Here a rude stone water trough was found a few years since, several feet below the surface of the ground. On the west of the hill are the hollows of old stone quarries, and the fields are called Rocksall; the little promontory to the east of the manor house has also been worked for stone.

Bishop Vesey is said to have pulled down the remaining walls of the manor house, when he was about to build the bridges at Curdworth and Water Orton with the stone ; after which time the history of the property is unknown: it may lie buried in contracted black-letter title-deeds and corporation court-books, to be hereafter exhumed by some enterprising antiquary. A small dwelling was built of stone on the ancient site, at one time tenanted by a Mr. Dawney, whose grave was, in 167l, at his own desire, made nine feet deep, that is, five feet in the solid rock of the church yard, where his singular tomb still exists. The freehold was possessed by sir Lister Holte. It appears to have consisted of the manor hill and pools below, gradually being drained ; a new pool called Windley, on whit a forge mill had been built , and the house and land of the driffold. Notwithstanding that sir Lister Holte was affectionate terms with his younger brother Charles, under the influence of his third wife he made such a disposition of this and other landed property at his death, in 1770, that h isonly brother Charles had but a life interest in the real estate for, in default of male issue to him, it was to revert to Heneage Legge, esq., and his heirs; in default, to Lewis Bagot, bishop of St. Asaph ; in default, to Wriothesley Digby esq. , in default, to the heirs general. In consequence heirs failing to all these families, Mrs. Bracebridge, the only daughter of sir Charles Holte, was heir at law; and an arrangement having been made with Mr. Legge and Mr Digby, the surviving legatees, both then in advanced age, an act of parliament was obtained, in 1817, to appropriate the benefit of the estates to Mr. Bracebridge.Mr. Digby accepted the manor house, mills, pools, and lands, in Sutton with other lands, as an equivalent for his reversionary interest in the estate, and he bequeathed the Sutton property to lord Somerville, who now possesses it. After it became Lord Somerville’s, the old tenement on the manor hill was pulled down, and a new house built, which has since been enlarged. Of these families, so much connected with Sutton, that of Holte took its name from the Saxon word, signifying a grove. The first ancestor known is sir Henry Holte of the 13th century, whose son, Hugh del Holte, or atte Holte, married Maud, daughter of sir Henry de Erdington, and died 1322.

Simon del Holte purchased the manor of Nechells for 410 lbs.of silver, in 1331. In 1365 John atte Holte purchased, for 40 marks, the manor of Duddeston, and, two years after, the manor of Aston was conveyed to him. John Holte was an esquire of the household, and in high esteem with Henry VI, who, on the rebellion of Richard Neville, earl of Warwick, made him ranger of Sutton Chase. Sir Thomas Holt was the first baronet in the family, created in 1612, the year after the institution of the order, which was given by James I, to gentlemen bearing arms and having £1,000 per annum income, who would maintain 30 foot soldiers in the king’s army for three years, which would be at the cost of £1095. In 1618, sir Thomas began to build the mansion of Aston Hall, in which he took up his abode in 1631, and, being very wealthy, lived there in affluent style. He also purchased the rectory tithes of Aston. In October, 1642, King Charles I, paid a visit of two nights on the 16th and 18th of October, at Aston Hall, and, ere he proceeded on the 18th to Packington Hall, it is said he met the loyal gentlemen of Staffordshire, and reviewed their troops on Sutton Coldfield, where a small artificial mound bears the name of  King Standing. Sir Thomas’s son and heir, Edward, was groom of the bedchamber to the king, and was wounded in his army. during the Civil Wars. In 1643, on December 26, 1,200 Parliament troops attacked Aston Hall, and cannonaded it. Sir Thomas held it until twelve of his people had been killed, and on the 28th surrendered. A few of the balls that penetrated his house have been preserved; the rebels destroyed all the family papers they could seize, and caused a damage of about £20,000. Sir Thomas had to compound for his estate at 1£4401. 2s. 4d. ; he also suffered imprisonment.
In 12th Charles II, the king licensed James, earl Northampton, master of his ii, to take for his majesty’s use and in his majesty’s name, within all places his majesty’s dominions, as well within franchises as without, just so many greyhounds, in whose custody soever they be, as the earl shall think fit for his majesty’s disport and recreation, as my predecessors, masters of the leash in the time of king Henry, &c; and I, the said Earl, license sir Robert Holt, of Aston, to be my deputy to take for his majesty’s use, such greyhounds, Bac. ; and to seize and take away all such greyhounds, beagles, and whippetts, as may any way be offensive to his majesty’s game, &c.  Dated 16 Oct., 15 C. II (1663).

The arms of Holt are : azure, two bars or ; in chief a cross patence of the second. The Bracebridge family took the name from a lordship in Lincolnshire. Peter de Bracebrigg was the first to settle in this county, about 1100, on his marriage with Amicia, daughter of Osbert de Arden, and grand-daughter of Terchil de Ardene, earl of Warwick previous to the Norman Conquest. See the family history under Pedirnore. With Amicia theI manor of Kingsbury came to the family. One of the descendants in the seventeenth century purchased Atherstone Hall, and into this branch of the family the only daughter and heir of sir Charles Holte married, in 1775.The present owner of the manor house and estate, Mark Somerville, baron Somerville, 16th lord is descended from sir Gaultier de Somerville, lord of Wichnour, county Stafford, who came into England with William the Conqueror, some of whose descendants settled in Scotland, where Thomas was a Baron, time of Robert III, King of Scotland. James, the 11th lord, who died 1690, was author of memoirs of the Somervilles, which display a family raised to power and eminence by a succession of men of valour and patriotism, then sunk into obscurity through prodigality and family dissensions, and at length again elevated by the prudence of an individual representative.

James, the thirteenth lord, received an addition to the family estate under interesting circumstances. An ancient branch of the Wichnour family was represented by William Somerville, esquire, of Eadstone, county of Warwick, the author of The Chase, and other poems ; and he having been relieved by lord Somerville from pecuniary difficulties, and being without issue, settled his estates on the baronial house of Somerville, in Scotland. John, the fifteenth and late baron, introduced the Merino sheep into Great Britain.
Bishop Vesey

Suffering from the effects of civil war, unsupported by a great  feudal lord and his retainers, Sutton was left in a neglected condition, the market deserted, the manor house in ruin; but in her solitudes she was nurturing a son faithful to the home of his youth. John Harman, arrived at eminence and enjoying royal favour, employed his advantages to bestow on Sutton a new vitality, freedom, and power. Little can be discovered respecting the family of this benefactor. In 1431 there was a John Harman incumbent of Wishaw, patron, sir John Hore, knight, lord of Wishaw and Langley. The next year a John Harman was vicar of Hampton in Arden, patrons, prior and convent of Kenilworth, at the nomination of sir William Mountfort, lord of Hampton, by his first marriage. In 1441 a John Harman was incumbent of Saint Blaize Chapel, in the manor house of Sutton, patron, duke of Clarence. In 1446 Thomas Harman was rector of Aldridge, patron, sir William Mountfort, lord of Aldridge by his second marriage; and who was the son of sir Baldwin Mountfort, and became thc great grandfather of Thomas Mountfort, who resided at Sutton in the reign of Henry VII, whose son Simon married the widow of Hugh Harman. In an Harleian MS. we find a Walter Harman, and the son of Walter, John, and the son of John, William Harman, of Moor Hall. He married J oan, the daughter of Henry Squeir, of Handsworth, of a respectable Staffordshire family. In the monumental inscription in Sutton church, quoted by Dugdale, he, as well as his son Hugh, are called, alias Vesey; but no allusion is made to the origin of this "alias," and the author of the inscription, if the great-nephew Wirley, who erected the monument to the bishop, was apparently ignorant of the occasion of its adoption. Tradition fixes the Moat House as the birthplace of the bishop, and it was perhaps originally known as Moor Hall. It still remains a small stone-built house, in the hollow below the Moor Hall of later date. William Harman died May 31, 1470 ; his wife Joan survived until March 8, 1524, new style. They had four children, John, Hugh, Amicia, and Agnes.
John, the heir of the small Sutton patrimony, was induced to take ecclesiastical orders. In 1482 he became a student at Oxford; in 1486 probationary fellow of Magdalen College ; and in 1487, by the name of John Harman, perpetual fellow of the same college. Cardinal Wolsey had studied there, and it is thought that to his appreciation of its members, John Harman was indebted for his introduction to royal notice. He took the degree of D.C.L., and became professor of civil law at Oxford. In 1495 Henry VII granted to him, by the name of John Harman, D.C.L., the free chapel of St. Blaize, within his manor of Sutton Coldfield, with all the lands and possessions thereto belonging for life. In the patent recital is made that the said chapel, &c., was formerly granted, also for life, unto one John Harman, priest, 20 Henry VI [1441-2] to celebrate divine service therein, according to the founders thereof ; and confirmed to him by George duke of Clarence in right of his earldom of Warwick, 12th October, 11 Edward 1V [1471] and then (viz. 11 Henry VII) surrendered to the king and cancelled to make way for this grant. It was perhaps an uncle, who thus, at an advanced age, made way for him, after holding this small preferment about fifty-four years. The younger John, was made com missary of the bishop of Lincoln, in the archdeaconry of Oxford , from the year 1498 to 1503 he was appointed by the bishop of Coventry and Lichheld, vicar-general of this diocese, about 1500 he was vicar of St. Michael’s, Coventry, being then more noted for his abilities than his divinity; and in 1515 he was made prebendary of North Aulton in the church of Salisbury, by the name of John Vesey ; and also by king Henry VIII tutor to his daughter, the princess Mary, and president of Wales. In 1515 he became dean of Windsor, registrar of the Order of the Garter, archdeacon of Chester, and dean of the king’s domestic chapels at Windsor and Exeter, and archdeacon of Barnstaple and praecentor of Exeter.
Lichfield Cathedral
In 1516 he was dean of the free chapel of Saint Peter and Saint Paul at Wolverhampton, and in 1519 he was consecrated bishop of Exeter. W hen the talents displayed by Vesey, in several offices, had brought him under the observation of Henry, whose sagacity led him to employ the serviceable powers of men from every rank of life, the king found in him a facile temper, and an intellect marked by penetration, method, and application to business , and became conscious that these qualifications were associated with a heart capable of a strong attachment. And at a period when absolutism did not shock the moral and independent sentiments of mankind, the vigour of that prince’s mind and will compelled the admiration, and even the adection, of those persons whom he drew into his service. I Vesey was sent on several embassies; and his successive preferments marked the approval of his sovereign. It is said of him, that having been well trained from his youth, he was considered the most accomplished courtier amongst the English bishops. Whether to flatter the king, or from a real discernment of right, he encouraged Henry to oblige ecclesiastics to submit to the civil law. In 1515 Richard Hunne, a merchant tailor, was thrown into the Lollard’s tower, accused of heresy, as having a bible of Wickliff’s in his house. His case became inconvenient to the spiritual lords, and he was found murdered in the prison. Dr. Horsey, chancellor to the bishop of London, was charged with the crime. The convocatian maintained that the clergy were exempt from trial by the civil courts ; but Vesey, then dean of the chapel royal, being consulted by the king, advised Henry to maintain the law of the land, and to support Dr. Standish, who had asserted that, in cases of murder, the clergy ought to be subjected to trial before the secular judges. Vesey also observed before the council, that it was certain the laws of the church did not bind any but those who received them. In 1520 the earl of Derby had paid a tribute to the bishop of Exeter’s character by appointing him joint executor to his will with the cardinal archbishop of York, and other bishops. He was one of the splendid train which accompanied the king to Calais, on the occasion of his visit to the French monarch in 1532; and in 1534 he was one of the prelates who consecrated Cranmer archbishop of Canterbury. However much his ambition had risen with his fortunes, it must have been gratified by his appointment to one of the most important bishoprics in England, the wealthy see of Exeter, which held rights over extensive territories, and was possessed of upwards of twenty manors, If he entered on this responsibility under the self-deception that increased influence would only conduce to the wider diffusion of his nets of beneficence, he had to learn what was the feebleness of merely self-supported good intentions; and to discover that his position could only be maintained at the expense both of his inclinations and his conscience. These had proliably already yielded to circumstances.Errors in the church have been ever accompanied by a proportionate low standard of public morals, and integrity was not the characteristic of courtiers at that period. It would seem that Henry placed him amidst these large benefices to avail himself of the bishop’s pliant temper, and absorb, without unpopular notoriety, the riches of this see. The spoliation was not carried on with the cordial submission of the incumbent. It was by constraint that he surrendered the extensive manor and hundred of Crediton to the crown. The king wrote his desire that Crediton Park should be conveyed to sir Thomas Dennis; but this was not executed until lord Russell, lord lieutenant of the western counties, and afterwards earl of Bedford, addressed a letter to the bishop, expressing surprise that he should be so backward to accede to his majesty’s request, and intimating that the king was determined that sir Thomas Dennis should he accommodated. Numerous were the demands on Vesey’ s powers of transfer.Bishop-Cheriton and other manors, were wrung from him by men of influence, who perhaps considered the spoil but the restitution of enormous grants formerly extorted from their priest-awed ancestors. Of twenty-two lordships, producing a large revenue, which had devolved upon him from his predecessors in the see of Exeter, he left but seven or eight, and those leased out; and where he found fourteen bishops’ residences, well furnished, he left only one, and that denuded. And even these properties were charged with many fees and annuities, by which means the see of Exeter from being one of the richest became one of the poorest in the realm. Nor was any recompence made to him for this surrender of the endowments of his see. He could only carefully enregister all those privy-seals for the vindication of himself to his successors ; and perceiving the course taken with church property, he seems to have deemed it expedient not to leave himself altogether unprovided for; accordingly, in 1548, he sold to Thomas Hawkins, the manors, rectories, and vicarages of Chadham and Thorney, in Sussex; of Horsley and Tyting, in Surrey; the rectory of South Mims, with the manor of Fernefields, in Middlesex ; and the advowsons of the rectories and vicarages of Chadhann, Horsley, South Mims, Fernefields, and Haringham. This Thomas Hawkins, alias Fisher, was the son of a fish dealer in Warwick. He was in the service of Viscount L'isle, afterwards earl of Warwick and duke of Northumberland, as steward, and became secretary to the duke of Somerset, consequently a person whose favour was to be propitiated.
 In 1517 he purchased from the bishop of Coventry and Lichfield, and in 1549 from the crown, many church properties, amongst which were the chantry lands of Sutton Coldfield, and those of Deryate-End, near Birmingham. In queen Mary’s reign he was examined for a sum of money that had been placed in his trust by the duke of Somerset, for political purposes, and though most severely racked, so that all his fingers were drawn out of joint, he would not reveal it. Doubtless Vesey speculated anxiously on the consequences of the theological agitations, and the changes in church temporalities then in progress. He was too wise to approve or advocate the past ecclesiastical system, and too worldly to adopt a better; and his secular eye perceived not the course to genuine reformation, and a holier application of church wealth. Yet he had probably thought of improving the rural districts under his charge ; and as his arms appear on a few parsonage houses, he must have aided in the important work of giving a residence to the parish minister. But we find a gloomier fact against him than the confiscation of church temporalities. He who had submitted his own conduct to the unwarrantable exactions of the king, and to his doctrinal caprices who had allowed his own name to be appended to the articles of faith which Henry thought proper to patronize, but which all who adhered to the Romish faith must have judged heresy the man who had himself yielded the interests of his church to the demands of unscrupulous spoliators, was called upon, in his diocese of Exeter, to pass sentence on an humble individual who had openly protested against prevailing errors.In 23 Henry VIII, Thomas Bennet, MA., of the University of Cambridge, publicly avowed his religious opinions, and attached papers to the doors of the cathedral, at Exeter, declaring the pope anti-Christ ; and that God should be worshipped, and not the saints. For this he was charged at Exeter with heresy, brought before the bishop in open consistory, found guilty, and condemned to be burned.  The sheriff ordered a stake to be erected at Southernhay, but the chamber of Exeter did not allow it, and the terrible scene was enacted at a place called Livery Dole. The church of Rome having, for ages, found herself under the necessity of maintaining her influence by violence, had so thoroughly educated the mind of Europe in the persuasion that the persecution of an opposing creed was an acceptable service to God, that it was long before a full acquaintance with His Word disabused the public mind of England on that point. And here we see the polished courtier, the amiable philanthropist, the large-minded patriot, compelled by his church to be the perpetrator of the cruellest of deaths, on a youth who dared to be a martyr in honour of his Saviour, and in behalf of his fellow Christians. But did the agonies of that tortured frame ever cease to haunt the inner eye of his judge?
We will now turn to the brightest traits in the bishop’s character, evidenced by his conduct towards Sutton. To this, his early home, he seems to have turned with fonder regard as the times produced fresh troubles, and his own observation discovered more and more the insecurity of all connected with public life, and the great world. Neither episcopal duties nor episeopal palaces held him in Devonshire, and in 1527, determining to have a residence at Sutton, he obtained from the king certain parcels of inclosure, called Moor Crofts and Heath Yards, and more than forty acres of waste, with license to enclose it. Here he built from the ground near the ancient Moat House of his ancestors, the mansion of Moor Hall, in which he could maintain an hospitality suited both to his station and his inclination; for he had not so long frequented a splendid court without acquiring its tastes. Here he expended the income of £1,500, a large one in those days. His retinue consisted of 140 men in scarlet caps and gowns. Not ungrateful to his royal patron, nor unmindful of attentions which were known to be agreeable, he sent twenty able men, provisioned with £100, to attend the king at the Siege of Boulogne, in 1544, and twice as many brave Sutton men to the field of Norwich. The historian does not give the date, whether the following year, when they might join the army preparing to invade Scotland, or 1549, when they might aid the earl of Warwick to suppress Kett’s rebellion in Norfolk , he also gave them additional funds, in case of sickness, and, on their return, rewarded them with lands and maintenance.
In 1527 he made arrangements with several persons for trusteeship of certain rents, to provide a competent priest who should perform divine service three times a week in parish church. This scheme failed after a few years. But his most distinguished measure for the welfare of Sutton, was the obtaining from the king, December 16, 1528, charter containing the grant of the manor of Sutton Coldfield to be placed in trust of a Corporation, for the benefit of theinhabitants. This charter has been translated and published, and therefore a digest only will be given in this work. The philanthropy in advance of his age, the forethought and wisdom which it displays, command our warmest admiration ; and we reverence in him a patriotism, which, at a time when he might have grasped the whole territory for himself and when the nobles of the land still prided themselves on feudal power, led him to transmit to Sutton an untrammell  self-government, and a free enjoyment of rich local advanages.

He destroyed the Chase, as regarded the preservation  of deer, with its feudal regulations and, making the Corporation lords of the manor, he enabled the inhabitants to depasture their cattle in the park and commons at a small yearly payment. At his own cost of £43. 2s. 6d. he inclosed the coppices called the Seven Hayes, i.e., Ladywood, Pool Hollies Stretley Coppice, Darnelhurst, Upper and Lower Nuthurst and Hollyhurst, and added gates and locks ; and towards the ditching and quicksetting of the park fences, at one time gave £l6. 8s. 10d, and at another, £10. 16s. 8d., and then he stored the park, at the cost of £40., with mares, colts, and horses. He paved the whole town at the cost of £40. 3s. 8d which work has lasted to the present day, except where the  road-surveyors have removed the carriage-way stones, for the less noisy Macadamized material. He paid 41s. for the warden’s expenses at the first Court Leet, and for weights and balances for the assize. In 1530 he gave to the church an organ costing £l4. 2s. 8d; and in 1533 enlarged the church by building two aisles, at the cost of £92 12s. 2d., with £4. 6s. 11d. for their further fittings. He built a free grammar school, probably that building called St. Mary’s Hall, opposite the south-east corner of the churchyard, which fell down at the beginning of the eighteenth century. The dwelling house for the master, at the south-west corner of the churchyard, was of stone, and might be of the same date. It was pulled down in 1832, when the churchyard was enlarged and extended over its site and garden. This school he endowed in 1541 with the lands, &c., on which he had, 16 years previously purposed to lay a perpetual rent-charge for the benefit of the parish minister.He gave, for the benefit of poor widows, a meadow, which bears the name of the Lord’s Meadow, and, desirous to see the extensive wastes cultivated, and hamlets rising amid the outwoods, he built within the lordship 51 houses of stone, a few of which yet stand, with Tudor-arched doorways, and, in in few instances, spiral staircases. He also endeavoured to promote the welfare of the district, that the people might live more happily, as he expresses it, in his grant to the school, by introducing the trade in kerseys, as he had met with it in Devonshire, and he set up looms for this manufacture, one of which remained in a half-timbered cottage adjoining the north-west wall of the churchyard, until it was pulled down, in 1835, to make room for a new school-room. But the want of water-carriage, and of neighbouring towns connected with the wool trade, soon brought the attempt to a failure and pleasantly so, for otherwise the time had come, when the click of the solitary loom would have yielded to the rumble of the mill, and attendant chimneys would have deluged our skies and fields with darkness, and drawn around a squalid population, which would soon have rendered the benevolent bishop’s legacies of fractional value, or reduced them to a mere check to misery, instead of a liberal encouragement to virtue.

To prevent robberies, which in those days were frequent on the roads crossing each other over Bassett’s Heath, the bishop built a house on a piece of waste called Cotty’s Moor, containing nine acres of ground, lying in a desert place near Canwell Gate, which place, Dugdale remarks, was deservedly styled the den and haunt of thieves. This is now known by the names of Muffin’s Den and Roughley Cottage. In the newly-built house he placed one of his servants, for the rent of 2s. yearly at Midsummer, paid to himself and his heirs, and 1s. 6d. to the warden and fellowship of Sutton and their successors. According to the evidence of a woman, who spoke from her personal recollections, before a commission appointed in the time of James I, to take the boundaries of Weeford and the surrounding parishes, the bishop frequently visited the parts in which he was carrying on these works of civilization, and At his own expense he also built two bridges of stone, one at Water Orton and one at Curdworth; and for the purpose pulled down the remaining stone walls of the Manor House at Sutton.

Henry VIII
The death of Henry VIII, in January, 1547, did not relieve the bishop from extortions. As has been shewn, they were renewed by men in power about the young king. Vesey also sold church property, in the following year, on his own account. His frequent absences from his diocese betray much disregard of the duties attached to it, and in 1549 an alarming agrarian insurrection broke out in Devonshire, which was not crushed until lord Russell encountered the rebels who were besieging Exeter, and routed them with the loss of one thousand of their force. The bishop has been reproached with this disturbance: by some it has been attributed to his neglect, by others to his instigation in behalf of the Romish faith, but it is improbable that his conduct had any connection with the commotion, which was led by the dispossessed monks. Witli the exception of his unsuccessful attempt to institute three services a week in Sutton church, we know of no direct effort that he made in behalf of religion, and in the  founding of the free grammar school, he expressly stipulated for a layman as master.
Archbishop Cranmer and his pious friends determined to carry on the reformation with patience, progressively. It was by a slow and careful consideration that they had themselves arrived at the perception of truths. Most of the bishops were decidedly in their favour, or resolved to swim with the stream and Vesey, during the first three years of Edward’s reign, was of the latter class; but afterwards chagrined, perhaps at what he had seen and done, and fearing to come into collision with the reforming party, Coverdale having been made his coadjutor 26th June, 1550, in that year he tendered his resignation of the see of Exeter, pleading his advanced age as rendering him unfit for the arduous duties of the office.This was done only by word of mouth to the earl of Bedford , but it was an act so well received by the king and his council, that they wrote gracefully to thank the aged prelate for the surrender, whom, as the long·tried servant of the late king,  they could not but respect., It was then granted that he should enjoy all annuities given him out of the lands of the bishopric, whereof he had made a state in fee simple to the earl of Bedford and other noblemen; and also enjoy certain rents, previously granted out of the bishopric, that were then come into his hands; and that he might plead in any court by the name of John Vesey. These grants for his future subsistence were made in July, 1551. The Government was anxious to place an active, preaching bishop in the see, and therefore appointed to it the eminent Miles Coverdale. The revenues had been so much impaired under the late diocesan that, although it had been formerly valued in the king’s books at £1,565. 13s. 6d. yearly, it was now set there but at £500, and the tenths to be £50 hereafter yearly; and Coverdale was to be discharged of that first year’s  tenths, and all arrearage in the old bishop’s time. The early death of the pious young king brought his sister Mary on the throne, and a dark cloud over the Reformation. The appointments under a Protestant reign were reversed, twelve thousand clergy were removed from their benefices, and the fires of martyrdom were soon re-lighted. Coverdale fled to the continent, and at Geneva assisted in a new English translation of the Scriptures. Vesey was restored to his episcopate; but as the infirmities of age disabled him from attending to his see, Dr. Moreman was made his coadjutor. After a long public life during a period of most important political and religious changes, Vesey ended his career in the quietness of his Coldfield home. He died suddenly in the year 1555, at the age of 103, according to the inscription placed on his monument by his great-nephew, John Wyrley; but according to the opinion of later chroniclers, ten years may be taken away from that age.

Trinity Church

Exeter Cathedral
The bishop was surrounded at Sutton by his relations. Those connected with him who held the office of warden during his lifetime were, in 1529, the first year of the corporation, William Gibbons, who had married his younger sister, Agnes, and whose descendants occasionally filled that office until the year 1473, when Joseph Gibbons held it ; John Levcson, or Lewson, warden the second year, who had married his elder sister Amicia ; John Harman, the son of his deceased brother, Hugh ; William Harman, a younger nephew ; Thomas Keen, the husband of one of his nieces, Gibbons; Thomas Gibbons, a nephew; Robert Pudsey, husband of his niece, Eleanor Harman; Thomas Yardley (to persons of whose name two of the great-nieces of the bishop were married); and Thomas Lisle, whose name was perhaps the same with that of the family at Moxhull, and of the wife of Thomas Harman, spelt Lisley. The name of Massey, one of whom Joyce Harman married, appears as warden after the death of the bishop. It was that of a respectable family at Erdington, and John Massey, justice of the peace there, was probably the same with the husband of the bishop’s niece.

In the north aisle of the church is a monument placed there to the memory of bishop Vesey ; upon it is his eliigy in episcopal attire, coloured, and the inscription below is as follows:

" Beneath lie the remains of that pious and learned prelate, John Harman, alias Vesey, who was promoted by king Henry VIII, in the eleventh year of his reign, to the see of Exeter ; was employed by him on sundry embassies; was tutor to his then only daughter, the lady Mary; and president of Wales. So great was his affection for this his native place, that he spared neither cost nor pains to improve it, and make it flourish. He procured it to be incorporated by the name of a Warden and Society of the king’s town of Sutton Coldfield, granting to them and their successors for ever the Chase, Park, and Manor.

"He built two aisles to the church, and an organ; erected the Moot Hall, with a prison under it, and a market place ; fifty one stone houses; two stone bridges, one at Curdworth and one at Water Orton; paved the whole town; gave a meadow to poor widows; and for the improvement of youth, founded and endowed a free grammar school (which was rebuilt 1728).

"He built Moor Hall, where he spent the latter part of his life in hospitality and splendour; saw for many years the good eifects of his muniiicence ; and died in the 103rd year of his age, in the year of our Lord 1555.

"This monument, erected by John VVyrley, of Hampstead, in Handsworth, esq., to the memory of the good bishop, his great-uncle, was repaired and beautified by the corporation in the year of our Lord 1827."

Above the bishop’s tomb are placed two Latin inscriptions, copied from tombstones now perished. This one beneath two large and four small efligies:

" Orate pro animabus of William Harman alias Vesey and Joan his wife, having four children, viz., John, Bishop of Exeter: Hugh, married to Joyce, daughter of William Rigeley of Dunton, Amicia their elder daughter married to John Leveson, and Agnes their younger daughter married to William Gibons. Which William Harman died the last day of May 10 E. IV. And the said Joan died 8th of March 15th H. VIII, and the year 1523." [1524, N.S.]

And at the foot of three effigies on a tomb:

" Orate pro anima of Hugh Harman alias Vesey brother and heir of John Bishop of Exeter, which Hugh died 24th day of November, 1528, and in the 14th H.VIII. His first wife was Anna daughter of Humphry Golson, by whom he had two daughters, Joyce the elder and Eliz. the younger. His second wife was Joyce daughter of William Rugeley, by whom he had two sons, viz., John and William, and four daughters, Joan, Eleanor, Margaret, and Dorothy.

Another tablet had the inscription:

"ln piam Harmannorum familiae memoriam, et Johannis Exon. Episcopi. Posuit suus adnepos Joh; Wyrley de Hampsted. Eq : Aur :"

When Dugdale wrote, in 1656, there were, in a window on the north side of the chancel, a figure of a bishop kneeling, with crozier, and the mitre before him, and this inscription below: `

" Orate pro anima John Harman nuper prelictis Exoniae."

Also the bishop’s arms, with legend on either side :

“ Dextra Dei exaltavit me. Dextra Dei fecit Salutem’

Dugdale gives the two following epitaphs as from the north wall:

" Here rests Agnes younger daughter of William Harman, lord of Moor Hall, wife of William Gibons, by whom he had two sons, John, clerk, and Thomas; and three daughters, the eldest married to Edward East; which Agnes, the mother, died 5th day of Feb., 1520/’ [1521, N.S.]

" Omtepro cmimabus John Leveson and Amicia his wife, who had issue William Chancellor of Exeter cathedral; and Elizabeth married to Thomas Yard, esq. co. Devon : and Anna married to George Robinson merchant of London."

In Handsworth church:

" Here lyeth buried the bodyes of Thomas Wyrley, esq., and Dorothye his wife, daughter of Hugh Harman, esq. The said Thomas died in March A.D. 1583, and the said Dorothye in Jan. 1597 (1598) and they had ten sons and eleven daughters between them."

Bishop Vesey's Home in 2012

The rear of the Bishops home

Moor Hall 2012, now a hotel

Handsworth Church
The pedigree of the Wyrleys is in Shaw’s history of Staffordshire.

With regard to the name of Vesey, it is probable that the bishop had grounds for considering it his original family name, and that the name of Harman, which had been borne for several generations, was an assumed one. The family of Veci came into England at the Conquest; after which Robert de Veci had, with other possessions, lands in Whitacre. Many of the name, variously spelt, are recorded in the bishop’ s registers at Lichfield.

There appear to have been several families of the name, often spelt Veasey, contemporaries of the bishop, at Sutton; and their descendants continued at Sutton for several generations, as is shewn by numerous entries in the parish registers, and also in the list of wardens ; but from wills and other evidence they were in humble circumstances.  The last of the Harmans traceable at Sutton is Raphael, probably great-nephew of the bishop. He was warden 1577 and 1591. A child of his is registered as baptized by the name of Frances in the year 1603, the earliest date of the Sutton registers , and the registry of Raphael’s death occurs in January, 1606-7. In 1759 William Orton and Elizabeth Harman, both of this parish, were married.

It would be interesting to discover the direct descent of families from the nephews of the bishop.

Of the Gibbons there are numerous entries in the list of wardens and in the parish registers. In the time of queen Elizabeth, 1559, John Gibbin, or Gibbon, of London, D.C.L., purchased the advowson of Sutton Church, and transferred it, by sale, to Thomas Gibbon, of New Hall, who, in 1586, sold it for £100 to John Shilton. The family were possessed of landed property in this parish, and appeat to have inclosed lands for themselves on the Coldfield, under the provisions of the Charter. In 1739 John Gibbons was deputy steward. The last warden of the name was Joseph Gibbons, in the years 1742, 1743. And the last recorded in the register of Sutton burials was Mrs. Mary Gibbons, 1798,the daughter of the deputy steward, born 1739

Vesey arms : argent, on a cross sable, a buck’s head, couped between four martlets of the first; on a chief azure, a cross patonce, between two roses or, barbed and seeded proper. For pedigree of the Harman family, see below"
Moor Hall

Built and inhabited by bishop Vesey, became, at his death, 1555, the inheritance of his nephew, John Harman, after which there does not appear a trace of its history for more than a century. An entry in the parish register states that on the 8th of February, 1665, was baptized at Moor Hall, by Dr. Watson, Jane, a child of Arthur Fleetwood, esq. During the Civil Wars, the rev. James Fleetwood had been appointed to the rectory of Sutton. In the same register, in the year 1690, John Addyes, esq., is first styled of Moor Hall, at the baptism of his sixth child, his eldest having been registered in 1682. John Addyes was, in all probability, the younger son of Thomas Addyes, of Great Barr and Maney, warden in 1633. John was warden in 1668 and 1688, and was appointed a trustee of the Grammar School in 1675; he died in 1706. Of his nine children only three are recorded as surviving their youth : Mary, born 1682, married in 1700 Robert Yates, gent. , Anne, a younger daughter, born 1689, married in 1712 Richard Scott, esq., of little Aston. Their only child, Mary Scott, married Andrew Hacket, esq., of Moxhull, whose second son, John Hacket, inherited Moor Hall from his great uncle, John Addyes, junior, born 1684. This John Addyes was appointed a trustee of the Grammar School in 1709, and died 1762, leaving Moor Hall to his great-nephew, John Hacket. The latter then added to his own name that of Addyes, and came to reside at Moor Hall; he died in 17 I0, bequeathing the estate to his nephew, Francis, Beynon Hacket, esq., the present proprietor. (
at this point, a previous reader of the book had annotated in pencil '1860? Must have been over 150 years old!)

The Hacket family was formerly settled in Lincolnshire. Andrew Hacket, by birth a Scotchman, came to London. His sou John, born in the Strand, was educated at Westminster School, and became Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge. He entered into holy orders, and was made chaplain to Dr. Williams, bishop of Lincoln, whose memoirs he afterwards wrote. The bishop was lord chancellor to James I, and he made Hacket chaplain to the king; he was also rector of Holborn, parson of Cheam, and archdeacon of Bedford, all of which preferments he held until the rebellion of 1642. In his time the church of Holborn was much decayed, and he collected several thousand pounds for its restoration, which money, with other similar charities, was seized by the Long Parliament to assist in carrying on their resistance to the king.

He was on the committee appointed to examine the liturgy, in order to rectify what most displeased the prevailing party; but this measure was frustrated by a bill which overturned episcopacy. He had been chosen by the clergy as mediator, and his efforts had for some time delayed the bill. Hacket was then forbidden to preach at Holborn, and he retired to Cheam, where he persevered in the use of the liturgy, although it had been forbidden under severe penalties. At length a sergeant and troops were sent to compel his silence. They found him in the church, reading the service of the prayer book. He continued his devotions in a strong steady voice, and when a pistol was presented to his head, he said calmly, " Soldier, I am doing my duty, do you do yours," and with a loud voice he read on, upon which the astonished soldiers left the church. Dr. Hacket was for some time imprisoned for this offence. At the Restoration he refused the bishopric of Gloucester: but in 1661 he was instituted to the see of Coventry and Lichfield, the appellation of which he changed by giving the church of Lichfield the precedency. He used great exertions for restoring the cathedral, which had been severely injured by the parliament army, and spent on it, in eight years, £19,000 of his own money. He also took great pains to promote the efficiency and holiness of his clergy. He preached much himself and his sermons at Sutton church were noted in the parish registers. After his death, in 1670, two works were published in his name Christian Consolations, and A Century of Sermons, with his life, by Thomas Plume. His body was buried in Lichfield  Cathedral and a monument was placed over it, by his son, sir andrew Hacket. He was one of the masters in chancery and married the daughter and co-heiress of John Lisle, esq., of Moxhull.

Analysis of the Charter 20 Henry VIII (December 16 1528)

Henry VIII unto our well beloved liege men, inhabitants and residents within our town, manor, and lordship of Sutton Coldefield, otherwise Sutton Colvyle, or Coldefylde, that henceforward they be one body incorporated of one warden, and society of the same town, manor, and lordship, for ever ; the town and village to be called the royal town of Sutton Coldefylde; the same men to be called the warden and society of Sutton Coldfylde, and have power to purchase under that name, and to plead under it in any court, and,have a common seal. William Gybons to be the first warden. The corporation to build a Mote Hall, in which the inhabitants of the lordship men of the age of 22 shall convene and choose out of themselves 25 good and honest men, of which the warden shall be one; thenceforth, from year to year, on the 2nd November, after divine service, to elect one of themselves to be warden for one year, who, if he shall refuse the office, shall lose his place in the corporation. The warden to take an oath of allegiance and just administration ; and that he will take care that true weights and measures be in use; and that vagabonds be duly corrected that no such persons shall have a voice in the aforesaid elections (this was aimed against the begging friars and other orders of monks ejected); that he will take care that the profits of the lands, &c., be distributed in exonerating the poor from the subsidies of the king, or for the building of houses within the lordship, or for the marriage of poor girls, or some pious secular use. The other members, on election, to take an oath to assist the warden. The full number to be filled up by the election of a majority on or before every 2nd of November.

Whereas in 16 Henry VIII we had given to sir Walter Devereux, knight, lord Ferrars, and his son, the office of bailitf of our manor of Sutton Coldfeld; and also the office of park keeper, and keeper of our bailiwick called Coldefyld Walk, within our Chase of Sutton, for the term of our lives, to receive the profits, as sir Henry Guildford had previously; and free fishing of all the pools. And Henry VII, in 20 Henry VII, had given to Henry Willoughby, knight, the oflices of steward of his lordship of Sutton and Coldefyld, in the counties of Warwick and Stafford, and master of the toils of his park of Sutton and the Chase there; and after the death of Henry Willoughby, gave the same to Walter Devereux. And we, in 3 Henry VIII, had granted to William Rigley the office of keeper of our Chase of Hilwood (which Rowland Stafford lately had); and also the office of keeper of our wood and wild animals, and outwood, called Lynriche (which Thomas Wollerton lately had) ; and, to Lodovico Wyndwood, the farm of the herbage in our park, parcels of the land of late belonging to Anne, countess of Warwick, to hold for 2l years, rendering to us .68. 13s. 4d., as formerly, and 6s. 8d. more of increase by the year. Notwithstanding these grants, we give the warden, &c., all our town and manor of Sutton Colfelde,with our chase and park, pools, messuages, woods and wastes, &c., to hold all the great liberties anciently appertaining to the lordship, in fee farm for ever, rendering of the manors and tenements called Warwick’s lands and Spencer's lands, £9, and beyond that £5 for all underwoods there ; and after the term of the said Lodovick, £14, and £l1 increase yearly; and after the death of lord Ferrars, £16. 2s. ll 1/2d. yearly; and after the death of, Walter Devereux and sir Henry Willoughby, knight, 119s. O 1/2d. ; and after the death of William Rigley, the additional sum of £5. 6s. 2d.; and after the death of J, Wolsborne, $3. Os. 8d. ; and for an increased rent, 51s. 2d. yearly; all which sums will amount to £58., to be paid to us and our heirs on Michaelmas Day.

The warden, &c., to have power to purchase lands of the yearly value of £10. The warden to be clerk of the market. We grant to the warden, &c., the leet and view of frankpledge within the lordship, and whatever belongs to the leet; and to have the amendment of the assize of bread and ale, and saleable wares, with profits and fines, waifs, strays, infangtheft, and outfangtheft, within the manor. The society and inhabitants to have one market on Monday, and two fairs within the town, during three days at the feast of the Holy Trinity and of St. Simon and St. Jude. No toll to be taken on our subjects resorting there.

We give to the society and inhabitants free warren in all lands, waters, &c., within the lordship, so that no one may hunt or take any thing there without license of the warden, &c., on pain of forfeiture of £10 to them. The warden, &c., may freely hunt, fish, and fowl there, with dogs, bows and arrows, and other engines, for deer, stag, hares, foxes, and other wild beasts. Any person being willing to build and inhabit a house in any parcel of the waste land, may inclose 60 acres of the waste, contiguous to the house, to hold for over, rendering yearly to the warden, &c., 2d. for every acre, in fee farm.

The warden, &c., to appoint a fit person, learned in the law of the land, to be steward of the corporation, to hold the courts, leets, and view of frankpledgé, by himself or his suffcient deputy; one court to be held every week, on Monday, of all manner of pleas, so that one party in the complaint be dwelling within the lordship with power to determine all suits, trespasses, debts, covenants, and deceits, happening within the lordship; that court to be a court of record, and the warden, or steward, to have full power, as in our city of Coventry; they may have one or two sergeants at mace.

Grammar School
The warden to be coroner, so that no other coroner may enter within the lordship. The warden, &c., to have full return of all writs, and the execution of them, so that no Sheriff may enter the lordship to execute any writ. The warden, &c., to make statutes and provisions in the town for the public good of the inhabitants; and to provide within the lordship a prison, and by theirservants to have the custody of the persons detained in it.

Witnessed at Westminster.
Charter, 16 Charles II (July 27), 1664:

We confirm to the warden, &c., all the privileges granted by Henry VIII, or that by other prescription they have lawfully enjoyed ; also that from henceforth there shall be two persons of the more honest and discreet men of that society chosen, to be named capital burgesses George Pudsey, esq., and Henry Pudsey, his son, to be the first two, and for life; in case of death or removal the Warden, &c., to elect from their body to fill up the vacancy. The warden and capital burgesses to be our justices of the peace in the lordship, to determine all manner of riots, routs, oppressions, extortions, forestallers, regrators, trangressions, offences, matters, articles, and things that can belong to the office of justice of the peace, so that they do not determine of any matter touching life or limb without our special mandate. The warden may carry a white staff. Warden, capital burgesses, steward, deputy steward, to take the oath of obedience and supremacy.
The Grammar School

In 1527 John Gibons, clerk, and twenty others, granted to bishop Vesey all their possessions in Great Sutton, Ashfurlong, Maneyhill, and Wigginhill, to the intent that he might grant to them a yearly rent of £7 on these premises, with which they and their heirs should support for ever a fit priest, to celebrate divine service, thrice in the week, in the parish church of Sutton: or should find, with the advice of the curate of the said church, an honest layman to teach grammar and rhetoric in the town, who, with his scholars, should daily sing the psalm, de profundis, for the souls of their benefactors, and if such a fit person could not be had, then they should I find lay artificers to teach the arts: or should apply the rent to other pious uses, as directed by the bishop in a schedule annexed, in which he ordained that, as often as nine of the grantees should die, the survivors should enfeof nine other trustworthy inhabitants of the same rent for ever.

In 1540 the bishop, aided by Thomas Gebons, Hugh Turner, Richard Turner and Mary his wife, granted a rent of £7 on certain tenements in King’s Sutton to the warden and society, that they might provide a learned layman to teach grammar and rhetoric. In 1541, thinking this an insufficient provision, the bishop augmented it by lands to the annual value of £3. 9s. 7 d. The names of tenants were Norman, Ketyll, Wright, Cowper, and Richard Veysie, who had two pastures called Highfields , this scheme having failed, in consequence of the death of twelve feoffees, without the appointment of successors, and also of an act of parliament transferring uses into possession, the bishop, desirous to perfect his intentions, granted, in 1543, to the warden and society, lands, &c., to the annual value of £2. 17s. and 2 lbs of wax: the names of occupiers were Richards, Haughton alias Smith, Underwood, Wright, Smallwood, Blythe, Priest, Charnell, Merson, Stalward, Spooner, Turner, and Bogen, to whom the bishop had given the two Birchcrofts in Ashfurlong, charged with 2s. rent. The names of some of the premises were Rodway Field, Comberlands (late tenanted by T. Comber), Hogs Fields, called Pentrich, from a late tenant, all in Ashfurlong , a Pentrich-in-the-Hill, Bedsthyng (late occupied by Bede), le Breche, Gallowcroft (late of John-in-the-Holes, in Hill), land in the Moor-meadow and Brookfield, Stony-furlong Wellfelde, and le Gate, St. Mary Hall in Great Sutton, late of the tenure of sir Roger Moseley, knt., then of Thomas Aderley, and, in 1543, of John Savage, schoolmaster ; a cottage, with appurtenances, lying upon Oker Hill, near the High Cross, in Great Sutton, late of sir Roger Moseley, knt., and "upon which the Mote Hall is now built, at the charges of me, the aforesaid bishop," and Red Hill, in Sutton, late held by John Holbage.

Then Thomas Gibbons, Hugh Turner, Richard Turner, and Mary his wife, granted to the warden and society lands of the annual rent of £3. 6s. 4d., that the Corporation might find a learned layman to teach grammar as beforesaid: or if such lit person could not be had, some lay artiiicers to teach their arts, that the inhabitants might live well and more happily or that they should distribute the said rents, in exoneration of the king’s taxes, on the poor of the parish; or for the marriage portions of poor girls; or other pious secular purposes. Thus empowered, in 1544 the Corporation instituted John Savage to the school for life, granting him a salary of £10 per annum out of the lands, and in 1546 they again exercised their power, and appointed another master, Lawrence Noel, " whose memory is still famous," says Dugdale, "for his singular learning." But though he was a man so eminent in scholarship, his skill in training pupils fell far short of expectation , for it appears the Corporation soon exhibited articles in chancery against him for neglecting his school. But after a commission had received the depositions, he procured letters from the council table, admonishing them that they should not attempt his removal except any notable crime were proved against him. Eventually, feeling himself unacceptable, he took his arrears, towards which the bishop gave five marks, and, in 1548, resigned.

A century later, Dugdale wrote thus: “ How long these trustees continued so zealous for the good of the school I cannot affirm ; perhaps whilst the bishop lived. Sure I am, that to such a height of covetousness they did in time grow, that to prevent the schoolmasters from enjoying what was justly due to them, they contrived to elect them of the Corporation before they could be acquainted with their right ; so that, having made leases of their land to their children, or friends, for small rents received, it should not be in the schoolmaster’s power, being so bound up as one of that body politic, to question the same. Thus was the pious intent of the Well meaning founder abused, till that the fraud was discovered, and remedy had by a chancery decree, at the prosecution of John Michael, then master of the school, lord Coventry being keeper of the seals."

Two successive commissions, issued in the reign of Charles I, after inquisitions, declared that those alienations should be set aside, and the lands should be transferred by the Corporation to two separate bodies of trustees, named by the commissioners. By the first decree, in 1634, the trustees should make leases in possession, not exceeding the term of twenty-one years ; and when the number of trustees should be reduced to three or four, the survivors should fill up the trust, so that, there should be thirteen trustees, at the least, of the honest and sufficient inhabitants within twenty miles of Sutton , and that the trustees should permit the schoolmaster to enjoy, for his more convenient housekeeping and tabling of scholars, a close called Highfield, tenanted by William Cock, another Highfield, held by John Hall, and a pasture ground, called Broomy Close; and that the writings concerning the school lands should be kept in a chest with three locks, in the parish church or other convenient place, the keys to be kept by three trustees, nominated by the rest. The second decree [1639] permitted the master of the school to make his best profit of the land, by letting it from year to year, or for twenty-one years ; and to hold some other premises mentioned. These premises became vested, by survivorship, in William Dugdale, esq., who, in 1765, conveyed them to new trustees; and the premises having again become united, by survivorship, in the same persons as trustees, have since been all transferred, from time to time, by one deed, to one set of trustees.

Several rentals belonging to the school, taken at different periods, are preserved. A survey in 1724 shews the amount of land to have been 138A. OR. 31 1/4p. And in 1817 the amount was 136A. 1r. 36p. In the account of 1724, Hall’s tenement and the croft called le Breche are missing. A few rents in Maney, Wigginshill, Ashfurlong, and Sutton have also been lost. In 1762 the estate was considered worth nearly £1OO per annum.  The trustees made some alterations of the property by exchange, under the Inclosure Act of 1824. They exchanged with the Corporation some tenements on the church hill (ie:, the old school-house, with garden and two outbuildings, and a yard below) for the schoolhouse situate at the upper end of the town, on the north-east side of the turnpike road, with garden, orchard, and land (about three and a half acres), formerly held by Mr. Lowe. In 1835 the Charity Commissioners stated the annual value of the property at £469. 7s. The school-house was a small dwelling, built of stone, on the rocky cliff at the south-west corner of the churchyard, to which the aspirants to learning had climbed by a flght of steps out of Blind Lane. It was pulled down in 1832, that the churchyard might be extended over its site and its garden.

It is stated, in a Corporation deed of 1727, that thc schoolhouse had recently fallen down. This was most probably the St. Mary Hall, a separate school-room of suitable dimensions, opposite the south-east corner of the churchyard, where a more modern dwelling has been raised on old stone foundations. ln 1727-8 the Corporation allowed £400 to Mr. Paul Lowe, then master of the school, that he might build a new school-room and house on a croft purchased by the Corporation for the purpose, the old school having lately fallen down.

Mr. Lowe expended £300, at his own cost, to complete the buildings, on which account the Corporation covenanted with him that he should have possession of the premises during life, and that £100 should be paid for them to his executors, and that his successors should enjoy the premises at the yearly rent of £5 , for which the master was to instruct, in writing, arithmetic, and English., a class of twelve boys, of Sutton parish, under the age of fourteen. The £100 was paid to the executors of Mr. Lowe, in 1766, by the succeeding master, William Webb, B.A., of Brazenose College, Oxford, who, in 1817, was succeeded by Charles Barker, B.C.L., of Trinity College, Oxford, who, under the Inclosure Act of 1824, effected an arrangement by which these premises were made over to the trustees of the school, and the master was released from the care of the English school, which was removed to the building formerly used as the parish workhouse, and afterwards provided with a schoolroom, built in 1835, on the church hill, at the north entrance of the churchyard. In 1842 Mr. Barker was succeeded by Mr. Eccleston, of Dublin University; and in 1849 he was superseded by Josiah Wright, A.M., of Trinity College, Cambridge, the present head master.

The following regulations of the Free Grammar School were confirmed by the Court of Chancery in 1843 :

The trustees, elected from within twenty miles of Sutton, to be the governors; and when reduced in number to three, the trust to be filled up by a fresh election; to meet twice a year, and transact business; to have power to let the estates for a period not exceeding twenty-one years; to provide suitable regulations for the school; and to appoint a treasurer. The master to be a learned layman, a graduate of one of the universities, elected by the governors. An under master to be appointed, nominated by the master, of the Church of England, and competent to teach the classics, mathematics, and general literature, at £100 per annum salary, to which one-fourth of the sums paid by the scholars to be added. All boys whose parents or guardians live within the parish to be admissible into the school at the payment of 10s. per quarter. Boys residing outside the parish to be allowed to attend at a farther charge of £1. 10s. per quarter, if under the age of fifteen, and of £2. 10s. per quarter if above that age. None admissible under eight, or who cannot read, write, and work the first four rules of arithmetic. The expulsion or suspension of a scholar to be submitted to the governors.

The school to be for instruction in the classics and religion, according to the principles of the Church of England, and also to teach arithmetic, algebra, English composition, history, &c., and drawing, &c. The master to arrange for proper masters to instruct in modern languages and the arts. An annual examination of all the scholars to take place, the examiner to be appointed by the governors.

There does not appear amongst the school documents a list of the masters.  In 1544, John Savage was the first instituted. In 1546, he was succeeded by Lawrence Noel. John Michael is mentioned by Dugdale at a later period. A John Savage appears as master amongst the signatures of a trustee deed in 1639. William Hill was for some time master. He was born at Curdworth in 1619, and became a Fellow of Merton College, Oxford. In after years he applied himself to medicine, and practised in London. He then removed to Dublin, and became D D, and had the mastership of St. Patrick’s school, from which he was expelled at the Restoration. He died 1667. He was a learned critic, and published Dyonisie Orbis Descriptio.

John Elley, 13.A., Fellow of King’s College, Cambridge, was master in 1647—Cole’s MSS., Brit. Mus.
William Chaney is named as master in the parish register, where his children are entered from 1661 to 1668, and his name appears in the list of householders of 1671. He died, at Sutton, 1687. l The next name on record is that of Paul Lowe, in the middle of the eighteenth century, who is said to have held the school for fifty years.
The Church

is dedicated to the Holy Trinity. There is no mention of a church in the Conqueror’s survey, and the date of its foundation is not recorded; but the style of its tower and chaneel window point to the 13th century, when first the powerful earls of Warwick resorted to Sutton for the chase. In 1553 the church was enlarged by bishop Vesey, who added the north and south aisles. He also gave to it an organ ; and in 1556 Richard Veisey, yeoman, bequeathed "3s. & 4d. toward the castyng of the fyrste bell, and making it consonant with the other bells".

In 1739 the Corporation agreed to apply their rents to the repair of the church. In 1758 they gave ,£737 towards the new pewing of it, which was completed in 1761. In I759 the nave, being much decayed, fell down, and the corporation were at the charge of fitting up the chancel for divine service, and of the repair of the church, which restoration was effected in all the bad taste in architecture common Io the period. About the same time the church was provided with a clock and a chime of six bells; but these becoming out of tune, in 1786 the inhabitants proved themselves not insensible to the charms of melody, by preferring the expense of a new fine chime of six bells, to an outlay of the money in flagging the street, the option having been placed before them.

By an inquisition after the death of Guy, earl of Warwick  [1291] the advowson was estimated at twenty marks, and in 26 Henry VIII [1534] at .£33. 9s., over and above 12s. yearly, allowed for procurations and synodals. There was in the church a chantry, founded by one Thomas Broadmeadow (time unknown), for one priest to sing mass and to pray for the soul of the same Thomas and his parents; the value of the lands and rents belonging thereto being, in 26 Henry VIII, rated at 106s. 8d., and in 37 Henry VIII at 100s. This was purchased, about the year 1549, by Thomas Hawkins, alias Fisher (mentioned in the life of bishop Vesey)

The patronage, which had been seized by Henry VII, alongwith the estates of the earl of Warwick, remained with the crown until the advowson was sold, by queen Elizabeth, to John Glascock, and Blunt, of London, gent., and others, 30th December, 1559, for £600. 13s., with rectory, woods, underwood, and trees. And on the same day Glascock and Blunt sold it to John Gibbons, of London, Esq., L.D. And on the 10th January ensuing Dr. Gibbons sold it to Thomas Gibbons, of New Hall, co. Warwick, esq. In 1586 Thomas Gibbons sold it to John Shilton, of Birmingham, mercer, for £100. In 1626 Robert Shilton, of Birmingham, suffers a recovery of the advowson. In 1662 John Shilton presented William Watson to the rectory, In 1706 John Shilton, of West Bromwich, was patron, and when his son declined to conform, the advowson was purchased from him by John Riland, the incumbent, who had married John Shilton’s daughter. The advowson continued in the family of Riland until the commencement of the present century, when it was transferred by an heiress to the family of Bedford.

Monuments in Sutton Church. Where page formatting would be erased by scanning, I have replaced the page with a scanned image:

Grammar School 1880
A terrier of 1612 gives the following inventory of the rectory :

"A parsonage house, with barns, stables, oxhouses, all in good repair (supposed to have been the house and buildings now possessed and occupied by V. Holbeche, esq.). Two outyards and gardens. Six closes appertaining the Home close, stable close, Keetly or Blab‘s close, Warningall’s or calves’ close, Gilbert’s croft, the Mettall. Two meadows one, a little meadow lying between the caIves’ close and the Blab’s close, the other betwen the Mettall and the town. A dole of meadow in Water Orton, except which all the lands lie together, separated only by one lane leading from the common belonging to Sutton, called the Blabs, towards Middleton.

“Signed, Roger Eliot, rector.                "John Keth.
Zacharrell Massey.                              Old Richard Symond X his mark.”
William Gybons.

By the above terrier of 1612, which only mentions the quantity of land and building belonging to the rectory, we resume that at that time all tithes were due in kind. From this period, 1612, until 1698, no terrier seems to have been delivered, though four successive rectors had been inducted to the living. Within this interval Charles I had been beheaded, and the country had been long in a state of confusion. Probably certain payments had then been imposed on the rectors, which they were glad to accept rather than run the risk of losing every thing. In 1701 the rev. J. Riland contracted with W Smith for the building of a parsonage house 45 feet long in front, and 35 feet deep, and 23 feet high to the top of the wall, &c. The cost was £239. 11s. 3d., which also gave a wall round a front court or garden, standing until 1823. The avenue of limes was, in after years, planted by the rev. Richard Riland.

In 1705 the rev. J. Riland resisted the raising of his land tax from the original assessment of £21. 4s. 0d., stating that, before some improvements of the (old) parsonage in 1689, it was not worth above £118. 10s. 7d. Answer to bishop’s queries by the rev. R. B. Riland, 1772:

"The whole number of houses is nearly 370. There are three Roman catholic Families—one of a carpenter, and the others of two labourers; they have no place of worship here, nor a priest that I know of. There is one family of Quakers, and a meeting house at Wigginshill, seldom used. There is one meeting house of Independents within the town of Sutton, duly licensed, to which Methodists resort to the number of eight or ten families"

Some biographical information has been preserved of a few of the incumbents. The earliest is of John Arundel, rector, 1431-2, who was probably the same person who was appointed praecentor of Hereford, 1432-34, having been prebend of Wells from 1427. He was physician to king Henry VI, and after a rapid course of preferment, in which he exhibited a capacity for pluralities fully equal to any modern instance, was consecrated bishop of Chichester, 1459, and died 1477. John Taylor, rector, 1504, was the eldest of three sons at one birth, in Barton-under-Needwood. His father was a poor man it is surmised, a tailor. The three children were presented to Henry VII, perhaps when hunting in the forest.

He ordered that they should be educated at his charge. It is said they all became doctors, and obtained good preferment. John became doctor of degrees beyond the seas. In 1503 he was rector of Bishop’ s Hatfield ; in the following year ambassador to Burgundy ; and, in 1504, rector of Sutton Coldfield. He became clerk of the parliament, 1509 , and was installed archdeacon of Derby, 1515, in which year he became prolocutor of the convocation. He became arch deacon of Buckingham, 1516. In 1520 he accompanied king Henry VIII to France, as one of his chaplains. In the same year he was incorporated in the university of Cambridge, on the visit of cardinal Wolsey, and, in 1522, in that of Oxford. He was again an ambassador in 1525 ; and became master of the rolls 1528. He was also vicar of Halifax.

He was the author of several works, all of which remain in MS. He died 1534. Some of his numerous letters have been printed. He built the church at Barton  it is said, on the site of the cottage in which he was born. Groups of three infant heads are sculptured as ornaments on several parts of the interior, in which a Latin inscription records the principal circumstances here related. He appears to have resigned the living of Sutton on or before his acceptance of the archdeaconry of Buckingham.

John Burges, rector, 1617, was M.D. of the university of Cambridge (of what college is uncertain), and incorporated at the university of Oxford, as doctor of physic, in 1627, receiving, at the same time, a license to read in the public library. He married the daughter of Mr. Thomas Wilcocks (a grave Oxonian divine of queen Elizabeth’s time), whose works he reprinted. He was also author of an Apology to the bishop of Lincoln; and The pope’s deadly wound resolving the controversies between us and them; The lawfulness of kneeling at the Lord’s supper, &c. He died August, 1635, aged 72, and was buried in the chancel of Sutton Coldfield church, in the same vault with his late wife, Dorothy. His daughter, Abigail, who gave the communion plate to the church, married, in 1618-9, the celebrated puritan, Dr. Cornelius Burges.

Antony Burges, M.A., presented to the living 1635 Robert Shilton being patron—was the son of a learned master of a school at VVatford, where Dr. Cornelius Burges was minister. He succeeded in the living of Sutton Dr. John Burges, and yet was not related to either of his namesakes. He was of St. John’s College, Cambridge, and thence was elected fellow of Emanuel, on account of his learning and his personal character. After his presentation to this living, he continued the conscientious exercise of his ministry until the plundering, and other terrors of civil war, drove him to seek an asylum in Coventry, at that time full of similar refugees. They established a daily morning service and lecture, in which Mr. Burges frequently took part. He was afterwards a member of the Westminster assembly, and distinguished himself by his erudition and piety. Under the Commonwealth he was appointed one of the commissioners for Warwickshire, " for the ejecting of scandalous, ignorant, and insufficient ministers and sehoolmasters ; " and, notwithstanding the rev. James Fleetwood had superseded him in the Sutton living in 1642, we find in the parish register of 1656 a couple married " before Mr. Antony Burges, minister of Sutton Coldfield parish, in the parish church."

On the Restoration of Charles II, he was unable to agree conscientiously with the new act of conformity, and in 1662 resigned this living, then worth £300 per annum. The bishop of Lichfield, Dr. Hacket, sent for him and other ministers, and endeavoured, but in vain, to induce him to take a different view of the act, afterwards observing of Burges that he was fitted for a professor’s place at the university. The celebrated Richard Baxter also had the opportunity of recommending him for the bishopric of Hereford.

But he retired to Tamworth, as one of the ejected ministers; and there, whilst silenced himself, attended the ministrations of the incumbent of that church, who became his intimate friend. The rev. Samuel Langley resigned Tamworth in 1662, and the rev. Ralph Astle was appointed, but he resigning in 1663, Samuel Langley was restored to the vicarage. Much pain must the spirit of the times have caused the truly pious. The sword is not the means divinely authorized for advancing religious truths. It slays the christian graces of him who unsheaths it in misdirected zeal, and leaves in its ensanguined track fierce earthly passions, and inert latitudinarianism. But a band of true patriots " spake often one to another’ and pleaded for their country in aisles consecrated to the devotion of a thousand years. Blessed, whilst earth awaits through the tempests of night the dawn of perfect day, be that sanctuary of Christ’s people! May the lamp they have tended never be dimmed! May it shine far into the darkness of the world, and illumine the via dolorosa of those who follow their Master unto suffering!

Mr. Burges died at Tamworth, and was buried there in 1664.
Among the voluminous writings of this conscientious man may be specified, Spiritual Repinings, folio, 1652 ; an Exposition of the 17th Chapter of St. John, folio, 1656; The Doctrine of Original Sin, folio, 1659; A Practical Commentary on the lst and 2nd of Corinthians, 2 vols., folio, 1659; The true Doctrine of Justifcation asserted, quarto, 1648; Pia dicioa Legis, quarto ; with several smaller treatises.

James Fleetwood, rector, 1642, was the seventh son of sir G. Fleetwood, of Bucks, and of the same family as the parliamentarian George Fleetwood, though very different in opinion. He was of King’s College, Cambridge, and chaplain to Dr. Wright, bishop of Lichfield, who gave him the living of Prees, and conferred on him a prebend, but the breaking out of the rebellion prevented his being installed. He was forced to quit his vicarage, and follow the fate of king Charles, in whose army he became chaplain to the regiment of the earl of Rivers, and continued in that capacity to the end of the war, although, in 1642, he was appointed rector of Sutton Coldfield. The same year, by his majesty’s command, he was made D.D. at Oxford, for the good service he had done the royal cause at Edgehill. Soon after, he was made chaplain to prince Charles, and tutor to two dukes of Richmond, and to a the earls of Lichfield, Kildare, and Stirling. At the Restoration he was the first person sworn chaplain in ordinary to Charles II, and was made provost of King’s College. In 1675 he became bishop of Worcester, where he died 1683, aged 80 years.‘

Of the patrons who, through the medium of Glascock and T Blunt, purchased the advowson from the crown in 1559-60, Dr. Gibbons and Thomas Gibbons, of New Hall, were doubtless members of the family at Sutton connected with bishop Vesey. The Shiltons, Sheltons, or Sheldons, who purchased from Thomas Gibbons, in 1586, had been settled in Birmingham.
The first rector and patron of the name of Riland was the son of John Riland, of Over Quinton, co. Gloucester, where the family had been long settled, who became fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford, in 164], and held at the same time the Crown living of Exhall. He was turned out of that rectory in1647, by a party of soldiers from the parliament force at Warwick, who, at the same time, placed one Moor, a Jersey-comber, in the rectory ; and though John Riland spent many years in prosecution of his rights, it was in vain.

Some time after this ejection he met a few of the soldiers on the road, when one of them discharged a pistol at his head so close, that his hair and hat were burned, but, by the privdence of God, the ball missed him. In memory of this deliverance he set apart the day for religious uses during the remainder of his life. His room at the college, which he still maintained, was broken open, and his books and papers were taken away , and there was a man who, with this and similar plunder, set up two sons as booksellers. In the year 1660 Mr. Riland was presented to the rectory of Bilton, in Warwickshire.

 In 1661 he was promoted to the archdeaconry of Coventry, and about the same time to a prebend at Lichfield; and in 1665 he had the rectory of Birmingham conferred upon him, where he continued until his death, March 3, 1672-3, in the fifty-third year of his age. His son draws up a review of his character thus : He was a very learned, humble, peaceable, and heavenly minded man; of unwearied application in the study of the Scriptures and the primitive fathers in the original languages rnaking large extracts, all of which were lost in the general ravages he was constant in his devotions in public and private, and conducted worship with plainness of speech and deportrnent: there was such strictness in his life and conversation, that he was called in Birmingham, the holy man: he frequently paid from his own purse the sums disputed by two parties, and he laboured to reconcile those who were at variance : when he gave away a dole in the church, he called the poor together to a discourse, which he made suitable to their circumstances, and on such occasions many of the chief inhabitants assembled to avail themselves of his edifying sermon.
At the Restoration the benefices were conferred upon him without his having sought them. There is a tradition that he made a daily prayer that Birmingham might be protected from fire. A monument was placed to his memory in the parish church of St. Martin, Birmingham, and the following is a translation of the inscription, in not very classic Latin:

"Sacred to the memory of John Riland (as well as to his dearest wife, Cicely, and only daughter, Maria), archdeacon of Coventry, and minister of the parish, as well as its highest ornament, who corrected unbelief and fanaticism and all the evils of this depraved age, not so much by his writings and sermons, although with spirit in these too, as by the constant and unbending course of an unblameable life. Having in youth completed an exemplary pupilage at Magdalen College, Oxford, he was speedily elected a fellow of that society, and, after a life spent in various places and regions, suifering from the ingratitude of the times, here he settled at last, and here he died in the 53rd year of his age, March 3rd, in the year of our Lord 1672.”

Riland arms: sable, a chevron between three martlets argent. For pedigree of the Riland family see Appendix, N0. 3.

The last of the name of Riland who held the Sutton rectory was John, only brother of Richard Bisse Riland. He became curate to his brother in 1759; but his religious impressions deepening, and leading him to seek the influence of the rev. Henry Venn, whose ministry in Yorkshire had excited much notice, he entered on the curacy of Huddersfield. There he married Miss Hudson, and a christian friendship was cemented between the families of Venn and Riland, as depicted in the valuable memoir of Mr. Venn. A lady who esteemed the preaching of Mr. Riland, built for him St. Mary’s church, in Birmingham, where he had an attentive congregation for some years, until, in 1790 the death of his brother, who had bequeathed to him a life interest in the Sutton rectory, caused him to remove to Sutton. In this extensive parish he ceased not to exercise diligent pastoral care to the hour of his sudden decease, which occurred in March, 1822, in his 86th year, upon his return home from his usual parochial visiting. Over his grave, in the chancel of Sutton church, is a tablet to his memory, the inscription concluding with two appropriate verses from Scripture—I Corinthians ii, 1, 2 ; I Thessalonians ix, 14.

Mr. Riland was assisted in the parochial charge by his son in law, the rev. Joseph Mendham, M.A., of St. Edmund’s Hall, Oxford, who continued in the curacy of Sutton from 1795 to 1825.

In 1835, when the district church at Hill was built, he was presented to it by the Rev. W. R. Bedford, rector of the parish, but after a few years, increasing infirmities of health induced him to resign it. Mr. Mendham was a scholar of deep research in biblical and ecclesiastical learning: and his attention having been drawn to the points of difference between Protestant and Romish doctrines, he exerted the utmost diligence in making himself thoroughly acquainted with the controversy. For this purpose he acquired a knowledge of European languages, and by means of correspondence, explored foreign libraries. His works are evidences of his exactness and industry. The Literary Policy of the Church of Rome was written after great research among authorities of the papal hierarchy; and the Memoirs of the Council of Trent were compiled from a fortunate acquisition and careful study of 70 folio volumes of MSS. in the Spanish tongue. He was a man of acute sensibility, with a high appreciation of the fine arts; and in music, in which he had some skill, his taste was scientific. His constitutional reserve, and his steady application, even to the last hour of his life, to exercises which conscience suggested, led him to a secluded life, whilst a strong faith and deep piety kept him cheerfully expectant of the “ rest which remaineth," and to which he was suddenly called in his 83rd year.

His only son, the rev. Robert Mendham, l\/LA., of Wadham College, Oxford, was the literary companion of his declining years, and assisted his father in his constant and munificent efforts to relieve distress. His decease followed that of his father within a few months. The works published by the rev. Joseph Mendham are chiefly as follows:

He supplied a series of papers to the Protestant Journal, entitled " Papal Bonds," and several of a valuable character, as reviews.
District Churches

The increase of population has occasioned the erection of three district churches, within the last thirty-five years

1. Walmley Church         2. Boldmere Church
Hill Church

In December, 1835, the chapel of St. James, at Mere Green, was consecrated by the bishop of Lichfield and Coventry (Ryder), being almost the last public act of his episcopate, and the last visit of a bishop of Lichfield to Sutton. The edifice, of brick and stucco, presents no features of architectural interest, though the interior, especially since the restoration in 1855 is decent and commodious. In 1852, during the incumbency of the late rev. S. C. Saxton, a district was assigned to this church, the boundary line of which commences at the Milking Gate, and, following the fences of Sutton and Four Oaks Parks to Doebank, crosses the Lichfield turnpike road at the pit opposite to Cooper’s Coppice, and proceeding from thence by the side of the wood to the lodge at Moor Hall, skirts the fence of Moor Hall Park, until it meets the Tamworth road, by which it proceeds to the boundary of the parish, at Collett’s Brook. The site of the church was given by Francis Beynon Hackett, esq., and the parsonage and endowment were added by the late rev. W R. Bedford, rector of thc parish. The cost of building the church and of the restoration in 1855 was defrayed by private subscriptions.

Boldmere Church

The church of St. Michael, Boldmere, consecrated by the bishop of Worcester, September 29, 1857, stands upon the ridge of rising ground overlooking Boldmere Lake. The district assigned to it commences at Bell Lane, and following the boundary of Walmley district to New Hall Mill, returns towards the Birmingham road, by the lane leading to Wild Green. Its boundary, however, remains one field’s distance on the east of the road until it reaches Maney, where, crossing the turnpike road, it continues up the lane leading to the Driffold, and from thence to Windley Pool, and becomes identical with the bounds of the Park.

The church, of Rushall limestone, with Bath and Hollington dressings, has been erected as a portion only of a larger design ; naveand chancel being finished, and the pillars and arches for aisles constructed and embedded in the walls. The tower at the north-west corner of the present church, will he eventually ornamented with a spire, a legacy having been bequeathed for that purpose by the late rev. R. R. Mendham. The cost of the building was defrayed from private subscriptions and other sources, the deficiency being made up by the present rector, who also provided an endowment for the incumbency. The cost of erection of the parsonage-house was borne by the rector and the rev. E. H. Kittoe, B.A., of Exeter College, Oxford, the first incumbent.

The following charitable bequests are on benefaction tables in the parish church:

John Wilkins, esq., in 1707 gave Sharrat field in Hill to provide bibles and religious books for poor persons and children catechised in church.

In accordance with the wish of Thomas J esson, jun., deceased, 1707, lands atHill were placed in trust for the apprcnticing poor boys whose parents do not receive parochial relief, and for distribution of bread on St. Thomas’s Day.

John Addyes, esq., who died 1762, gave a rent of £5 to be applied in apprenticing boys, and distributing bread. John Hackett, esq., augmented the last gift of his uncle, John Addyes, by £5 rent to be applied in a similar way.

Valens Sacheverell gave a rent of £1 to the poor on St. Thomas’s Day.

Mr. Raphael Sedgwick, of Wild Green, 1665, gave £5; Mr. Nicholas Dolphin £20; Mrs. Mary Jenks, 1750, £50 ; William Blakesley, £5 : the interest of which sums is distributed on St. Thomas’s Day.

George Sacheverell, esq., 1715, gave a rent of £5 to poor widows on February 2, and April 23.

Mr. Thomas Wheele, 1627, gave the Railed Close in Maney; the rent to be distributed to the poor.

Mr. Thomas Cooper, 1687, gave land in Little Suttonquarter; the rent to be distributed to the poor.

Mrs Jesson of Langley left £10. The produce of the three last charities is given away on Good Friday.

Mrs. Sarah Dreny, 1839, gave a rent of £1 to widows on 14th January.

Three bequests have been lost, of Mrs. Jacob, Nicholas Birch, and Eliza: Kempson.
Walmley Church

Miss Lucy Riland, daughter of the late rev. John Riland, rector, wishing to contribute £1000 towards the endowment of a church at Walmley, on certain conditions as to site and accommodation, subscriptions amounting to about £4,000 were raised in addition. The corporation provided land for the sites of the church and parsonage, and sittings for school children. The parsonage-house was built in 1843, and the church was consecrated in 1845. It contains upwards of 400 sittings, 257 being free, and 96 appropriated to school children. The patronage was vested in the rev. John Riland and his sister, Lucy Riland, during their lives, and afterwards in the rector of the parish. The rev. Gilbert William Robinson, MA., of St. Peter’s College, Cambridge, the present minister, was appointed the first incumbent. The district of Walmley was legally assigned, in 1846, with an area of 3,000 acres, the boundary of which, from the end of Bell Lane, at the south-west border of the parish, takes a zig-zag line to New Hall Mill , from thence, still across fields, to the Warren House, and keeping about 100 yards to the north of the road from that point to Holly Lane, reaches the boundary of the parish again at Langley Brook. The endowment of the church has been augmented by the rector and by Joseph Webster, esq., of Penns, who, as residing in the immediate neighbourhood, took a prominent part in the work, and a very liberal share in the subscription and expenses.

Within the chancel are mural monuments:

To Joseph Webster, Esq., formerly of Penns, J. P. for the Co. of Warwick, Staiford,and Derby; one of the principal founders of this church, died July 7, 1856, aged 73.

And Maria Mary his wife, daughter of Sir Peter Payne, Bart. She died March 4th, 1848, aged 56.

To Frances Sharpe Webster, their fourth daughter. She died July 8th, 1843, in her 17th year.

To Anna Maria, wife of Baron Dickenson Webster, Esq., of Penns, and daughter of Stanley Pipe Wolferstan, Esq. She died July 20, 1848, in the 28th year of her age. Also Baron, their infant child, died March 21, 1845, aged 7 weeks.

A richly coloured east window has also been placed to the memory of Joseph Webster, esq.
Four Oaks Park

Lands here possessed by the Pudsey family were, in 1696, settled as part of the share of Elizabeth, eldest daughter and co-heiress of George Pudsey, of Langley Hall, esq. She had married Henry, third lord ffolliott, of Lickhill; and he, determining to settle here, employed sir William Wilson as architect of the mansion, to be called by the name of Four Oaks. This was substantially the same as the existing hall. In the fashion of the times, it had a court in front eastward, on each side of which were offices. The surrounding estate was small, producing a rental of not more than £32 per annum; but the neighbourhood of Sutton Park doubtless induced the choice of this spot for a residence, rather than one at Wishaw, the much larger estate in his Wife’s portion.

The genealogy of Pudsey will be found under Langley. The family of ffolliott claims descent from Rolla the Dane, who, in 911, wrung from Charles the Simple the cession of a maritime province, henceforward to bear the name of Normandy, as the territory subdued by himself and his followers ; and there he became its first duke. He also married Gisele, daughter of the French king, and by her had a son, ffolliott, Whose descendant, Harlovin, came into England with William the Conqueror, and became lord of Fenwick and ffolliott’s fee, co. York.

Of this family was Gilbert lfolliott, bishop of Hereford 1148, translated to London 1163 this being the first instance of translation from one bishopric to another in English ecclesiastical history. He was distinguished for supporting Henry II in his struggle against Becket. Robert ffolliott was bishop of Hereford in 1174, and Hugh ffolliott was bishop of Hereford in 1219. Peter, bishop of St. David’s, 1176, is supposed by Ashmole to have been a lfolliott.

At a later period a member of the family, Thomas lfolliott, of Pirton Court, co. Worcester, esq., had two sons John, knighted by queen Elizabeth, and Henry, who, in 1599, commanded a regiment of foot with success under the earl of Ormand at Kilkenny; and in 1601, at the head of his regiment, had a large share in the victory of Kinsale, under the lord deputy Montjoy. For these services he was made knight banneret, and afterwards a peer of Ireland, by the title of baron of Ballyshannon, with a grant of large royalties and estates there. He was also made president of the north of Ireland. He died 1680. Thomas, second lord ffolliott, commanded a company of foot, in the service of Charles I, in 1641 ; and a regiment in 1645 ; and was made governor of Londonderry. He died at Ferny Hall, co. Salop, 1696, aged 89. Henry, his only son, third lord fiblliott, inherited the estates of his father and grandfather, and married Elizabeth Pudsey, by Whom he had a daughter, and only child, Rebecca, who died in her fourteenth year, and Was buried in Westminster Abbey. Lady ffolliott Was born 1667, and died about the year 1742 ; but the date, and the place of her interment have not been discovered for the present history.

Lord ffolliott died 1716, in the 54th year of his age, and was buried in the parish church of Sutton Coldfield, perhaps in the Pudsey vault. There Was it is stated, in family papers, a monument to his memory, but there is not any trace of it now in the church. His sister Ann Was interred in this church, 1696. She married John Soley, esq.; and their only child, Rebecca, married her cousin, Arthur Lugg, esq., great-grandson of sir John ffolliott, of Pirton Court. He died, 1726, in the 56th year of his age, and was also buried in Sutton church, Where there was a monument to his memory. Thcsc three monuments or tombstones cannot now be traced.

The heirs of lord ffolliott were three sisters and a niece. By grant and purchase, colonel, afterwards general, ifolliott (the cousin of lord ffolliott, and inheritor of his Irish estates) became possessed of Four Oaks and other portions of the English property, subject to a mortgage. He died February 26th, 1762. His representative and heir is John ffolliott, esq., of Hollybrook House, co. Sligo, and Lickhill Hall, co. Worcester. About the year 1744, the house and outbuildings of Four Oaks were valued at £1,795, and the rent of the land, let to three tenants, was £32. 14s. 11d. The chief rent to the Warden of Sutton Coldfield for land at Four Oaks Was, at the same time, 9s. 8d., which, at 2d. per acre, shews the original quantity inclosed, after the manor was in the hands of the corporation, to have been 58 acres. This Work is indebted to the rev. Francis ffolliott, rector of Wishaw, for interesting family records.

Simon Luttrell, esq., became the purchaser of the estate and hall at Four Oaks. It is stated in a corporation document (I757) that Mr. Lnttrell, wishing to pull down the hall and build a new one, obtained the sanction of the corporation and the consent of the inhabitants of the parish (freeholders, tenants, and cottagers signing a petition) to have an act of parliament for inclosing and rendering freehold, to Luttrell, 48 acres of the park, to add to the west and south of Four Oaks grounds, for the annual rent of £12 (Which is still paid). It appears that he removed only the front court and outbuildings, raised the four turrets and the parapet, altered the flight of steps on the east front, and added pilasters to that face of the house. The original design is shewn in an engraving of Four Oaks Hall, dedicated to lady ffolliott, then a Widow. In 1768 he was created baron Irnham, and in 1780 Viscount Carhampton, and in 1785 earl Carhampton. [See Peerage] An anecdote has been preserved of one of his daughters, illustrative of country fashions past, on the occasion of the Christmas ball at Tamworth. The sir Robert Lawley of that period, father of the last sir Robert Lawley, rode to it, carrying behind him, on a pillion, the beautiful Anne Luttrell, her hoop being adjusted, for convenience of transport, as a parapet before her face. She married first, Christopher Horton, of Catton hall, esq., and secondly, his royal highness the duke of Cumberland, brother of George the III. Lord Irnham’s ancestor came with the Conqueror into England, and was placed on the roll of Battle Abbey. To one of the family king John granted the castle and estate of Luttrell town in Ireland. Lord Irnham seriously injured his purse by buying up all the estates on sale in this neighbourhood ; and he sold Four Oaks in 1778 to the rev. Thomas Gresley, D.D., who enjoyed it but for a short period.

His great-grandson, the present sir Thomas Gresley, has succeeded to the baronetcy, created 1611. The pedigree of this ancient family is traced to Malahucius, uncle of Rollo, first duke of Normandy, two of whose descendants, Robert and his brother Nigel, attended. William the Conqueror to England, and Nigel obtained Drachelawe in Derbyshire, and many other manors. Thus by a curious coincidence the Gothic cousins, ifolliott and Gresley, after about nine hundred years separation from the parent roof, came successively into the same homestead at Four Oaks; but the periods of their sojourn did not synchronize with more exactness than the arrivals of the mutually pursuing and unhappy Evangeline and her affiancé.

After the death of Dr. Gresley, Four Oaks was sold to Hugh Bateman, esq., whose ancestors had been settled for some generations at Harlington, co. Derby. He rnarriod Temperance, daughter of Thomas Grirborne, of Yoxall Lodge, esq., and was created a baronet in 1806. [See Baronetage.] His elder daughter and co-heiress carried the baronetcy into the family of Scott, of Great Barr, when she married Edward Dolman Scott, esq., eldest son of sir Joseph Scott, hart. In 1792, sir Hugh Bateman sold Four Oaks to Edmund Cradock Hartopp, esq., who was created baronet in 1796. [See Baronetage] He married Anne, the only daughter and heir of Joseph Hurlock, esq., governor of Bencoolen, and one of the directors of the East India Company: and she was sole lineal descendant and heiress of sir John Hartopp, bart., who who died in 1762, being fourth and last baronet of the creation, 1619. In the family of sir John Hartopp, the third baronet, lived the pious and learned Dr. Isaac Watts, as tutor for two years from 1696: and in this christian society enjoyed whatever was most congenial with his own feelings in friendship and in devotion.

To increase the domain around Four Oaks Hall, sir Edmund Hartopp effected, in 1826, an exchange of land with the corporation, by which he obtained out of the park 63 acres, adjacent to Four Oaks, including the wood called Ladywood, and gave up in return 97 acres of pasture, some of which are on the north side of Powell’s Pool; and other portions on either side the present entrance of the park from the town, all of which were thrown open and added to the park ; to which, also, he made and gave the present and first road conducting to it from the town. It is gratifying to state that to the obliging interest taken in the publication of this history of Sutton, by sir William Edmund Cradock Hartopp, the present baronet, and lady Hartopp, is principally due the favourable attention with which the announcement of this work has been received.

New Hall

This, being a member of Sutton, was, about the beginning of Edward III’s time, possessed by one William de Sutton, of Warwick; which William, or his predecessors, had it (doubtless) from one of the earls of Warwick, and granted it to one Robert de Sutton, a merchant of Coventry, who passed it, in 13 Edward 111, unto Thomas do Beauchamp, earl of Warwick, and sir John Lizours, of Fledborough, in the county of Nottingham, knight, to the behoof of the said sir John and his heirs: for the next year following the said earl released all his right therein accordingly; in which release it is termed one messuage called New Hall. After this, till 15 Henry VI, there appears no mention of it, but then the homage and a court baron, held at Sutton, shewed that sir Richard Stanhope, knight, died seized of it by the name of the manor of New Hall, held of the earl of Warwick by the service, 10s. 10d. per annum, a heriot being then seized by the bailiff; upon which James Stanhope, son and heir to sir Richard, exhibited a deed, by Which it appeared that his father had in  his lifetime enfeoffed sir Thomas Aston, knight, Nicholas Gonshall, esq., and others, in this manor and other lands, and therefore required a discharge from the heriot. In 20 Henry VI, Katherine, widow of William Basset, of Fledborough, demised it to William Deping, of Sutton, and Richard Ley, of Maney, for twenty-one years, by the name of Dominium vocatum, New Hall."

It appears to have been possessed by Thomas Gibbons in 1559, when he was styled of New Hall, on his purchasing the advowson of Sutton church, which he retained until the year 1586. Before the end of Elizabeth’s reign New Hall was bought by Henry Sacheverell, esq., of Morley and Callow, co. Derby, of an ancient family in that county. He gave Callow and New Hall to Valens Sacheverell. The latter came here to reside; and the registration of his children in Sutton church commences in 1628. His daughter Anne married Charles Chadwick, who also settled at Sutton, where he acted as magistrate. George, the eldest son of Valens Sacheverell, was in the commission for the peace. In 1709 he was sheriff for Dcrbyshire, but was represented by his nephew, Charles Chadwick, at the assizes in Derby, when his chaplain, the celebrated Dr. Henry Sachcverell, preached at All Saints’ church, one of the sermons which drew on himself the impeachment of parliament. On his descending from the pulpit Mr. Chadwick exclaimed, “ You ’ll be at Rome before you are aware, doctor,” intimating that he would be compelled to follow the deposed king. This sermon, and one preached in London, were interpreted as condemnatory of the late revolution, which had secured the Protestant succession, yet such was the versatility of popular feeling, that, although the House of Commons prosecuted him with great vigour, the public expressions in his favour prevented a heavier judgment than the prohibition against the doctor’s preaching during three years, and the committal of his two sermons to a bonfire by the common hangman.

The immediate ancestors of Dr. Saeheverell were of Dorsetshire, and, as his great-grandfather wrote his name Cheverell, it is probable that he was descended from the Cheverells of WViltshire. His grandfather was Presbyterian minister of Wincanton, and many of his family were Puritans. His father died minister of St. Peter’s church, in Marlborough, and Henry was adopted and educated by Mr. Edward Hearst, an apothecary, and he became fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford. Bishop Burnet aided his widowed mother. He was latterly desirous of being considered one of the Derbyshire Saeheverells, but his relationship is not made out. However, George Sacheverell bequeathed to him a moiety of the Callow estate in 1715, when he left the other moiety, containing the hall and demesne, and the estate of New Hall, to his great nephew, Charles Chadwick, who took the name of Sacheverell. He came to New Hall in 1729, and died here in 1779, leaving his sister,  Dorothy Chadwick, his heir.

In 1784 her will gave to her relative, Ralph Floyer, esq., of Hints, a life interest in the Sacheverell estates of Callow and New Hall, and to her nephew, Charles Chadwick, his ancestral property at Ridware, both equally great-grandsons of Charles Chadwick and his wife Anne Sacheverell ; but on the death of Ralph Floyer, without issue, in 1793, the same will entailed Callow and New Hall on the above-named nephew, Charles Chadwick, with whose descendants they have since remained.

The family of Chadwick claims descent from an ancient one in Lancashire, as also from the early lords of Malvesyn Ridware. Through how many generations their possessions here and in the north, have been transmitted, will be seen in the following history. A Malvesyn appears on the roll of Battle Abbey; the name was derived from the Norman castle, which had been rendered a dangerous neighbour to an enemy. So, when William II could not take Bamborough, he built a castle before it, which he called Malveisin. Tradition states that the Norman knight was rewarded by the grant of this Ridware, held under the earls of Shrewsbury by the service of bearing arms against the Welsh. Robert Malveisin, of Colton, contemporary with Willelmo, of Ridware, was engaged in the conquest of Ireland, under Henry II, and received grants there, to which were witnesses three ffolliotts, a Haket, and others. Sir Henry, the seventh in descent, was a Crusader, and, under Edward I, engaged in the war with Scotland. Sir Robert was, in the 19th Edward II, steward of the forest of Cannock. Under sir Robert, the tenth in descent, there was ill-will between the people of the "manors north and south of the Trent respecting rights of fishery; and in 1 Henry IV there was a violent affray, when Malveisin’s adherents burned the mill at Handsacre Bridge, and one of Handacres people was slain in the assault.

The lords of the two manors were on different sides in the Civil Wars; and when it was rumoured that the earl of Northumberland had taken up arms in support of the deposed Richard II, Malveisin rode forth, with six or seven vassals, in the cause of king Henry IV. Handsacre, with the same number of retainers, Was proceeding to join Percy in the opposite interest, when the two rivals met in a meadow above the high-bridge at Malvesyn Ridware, and rushed furiously into combat. Handsacre was killed, and Malveisin marched on to Shrcwsbury; but there he was himself slain in the battle which ensued, 22 July, 1403.

He left no son, and Margaret his youngest daughter married the son of the Handsacre Whom her own father had slain: Handsacre was descended from kings of Scotland. The eldest daughter, Elizabeth, married, secondly, sir John Cawarden, knight; and their son, sir John Cawarden, succeeded to Malvesyn Ridware. David Cawarden, the sixteenth in descent, married a descendant of William Handsacre and Margaret Malveysin. Their son Thomas left four daughters, between whom the manor was divided. Joyce married John Chadwick, esq., 1594, who, by purchase, obtained most of the other three shares of the manor and neighbouring estates.

His son and heir, Lewis Chadwick, nineteenth in descent, took up arms in the Civil Wars, in the service of the parliament, and was lieutenant colonel of their horse, at the battle and taking of Stafford, (1642) of which place he was made governor, and was president of the committee of sequestration there, and one Who, with Mr. Pudsey, signed the order for the demolition of the castle. In January, 1643, colonel Leigh and lieutenant-colonel Chadwick paid one shilling each for departing from the committee without leave. In 1644 he was on the committee at Stafford, and was appointed, for the parliament, governor of Caverswall castle, and afterwards commander at Biddulph house; but at length, disgusted by his party, he resigned. In later years he purchased from lord Carlisle the island of St. Lucia, West Indies. He left one daughter, Katherine, his heir. She married a kinsman, John Chadwicke, esq., of Healey Hall, near Roehdalc, who was of the ancient family, Chadwicke of Chadwicke, in the same manor, and also heir by descent of John de Heley, time of Henry III. He joined his father-in-law in the Civil Wars, but resigned his commission, being lieutenant-colonel, when general Fairfax quitted that army; and in 1661 he gave £5 voluntary aid to Charles II, and afterwards contributed to a foot soldier, and a corslet for the king’s service. Katherine, his widow, married another kinsman, Jonathan Chadwick of Chadwick, esq. and afterwards a third husband. Her eldest son Charles, the twenty-first in descent, succeeded to Healey Hall and Malvesyn Ridware; and, in 1665, married Anne, daughter of Valens Sacheverell, esq., of Callow, in Derbyshire, and New Hall, in Sutton Coldfield. He fixed his residence at Sutton, where he acted as magistrate, with his brother-in-law, George Saeheverell, esq.; yet, notwithstanding this Jacobite connection, he remained a warm advocate of king William.

His daughter Katherine married, in 1698, Ralph Floyer, esq., of Hints; and his son Charles married the daughter of sir Thomas Dolman, knight 5 and their son Charles succeeded his great-uncle, George Saeheverell, esq., at New Hall, in 1715, and went there to reside in 1729, and assumed the name and arms of Sacheverell. He died 1779, without issue. His heir was his sister Dorothy, who died, unmarried, in 1784, having suffered from an accident by fire at Hints. Charles Chadwick, the father, was succeeded at Healey, in 1756, by his youngest son John, who left Charles his son and heir, also the heir of his aunt Dorothy Chadwick. Charles died in 1829 ; and his only son, Hugo Malvesyn Chadwick, born 1793, was the twenty-fifth in descent ; he, dying in 1854, left his only son, John de Heley Chadwick, esq., then a minor, the representative of the families and the inheritor of the estates of Malveysin Ridware, Healey, Callow, and New Hall. The ancient edifice of New Hall, enclosed within a well preserved moat, was built about the year 1200, rebuilt and called New Hall, in 1360, enlarged in 1590, and had a tower and other additions built by Mr. Chadwick in 1796, the whole being in appropriate style, and having much picturesque effect.

Arms of Chadwick: gules, an inescutcheon within an orle of martlets argent; crest, a lily.


Langley Mill Pond 2012

Langley Mill Pond
parish of Sutton, from long leag, an open field, was originally a member of Sutton, as, in 37 Henry III [1252-3] Walter de Bereford did grant unto Walter, his son, fifty acres of land lying in Lonkcleye, Blackmore, and Brookhurst, within the territory of Sutton; so that it may he concluded that Walter, or his ancestors, had it from the earls of Warwick, as, by a multitude of inquisitions, it appears to have been of their fee. In 23 and 36 Henry Ill this Walter brought an assize of novel Disseisin against Nicholas L'Isle for certain common pastures at Moxhull. 'l‘o whom succeeded Walter, his son and heir; and to him Osbert do Bereford, who, in 2 Edward I [1274] was constituted sheriff of this county and Leicestershire, and in the next year a commissioner for levying a fifteenth, and in 8 Edward I sheriff again of these counties. And to him succeeded William, his brother, whose descendants continued to possess this Langley and lands in Wishaw, Sutton, Curdworth, Minworth, Middleton, and Wigginshill, in this county, and Stapleford, in Leicestershire.

This William was a knight in 16 Edward I, and being learned in the law, he had, in 2 Edward II, the chief-justice-ship of the common pleas; but, about three years after this appointment, there was a high complaint made against him to the king by John de Someri (a great baron at Dudley) for words of defamation, viz., that he, Someri, did so domineer in Staffordshire that no man could enjoy the benefit of the law or reason, taking upon him more authority than a king; as also that it was no abiding for any thereabouts, unless they did bribe him in contributing largely towards the building of his castle at Dudley; and moreover that the said John de Someri did use to beset men’s houses in that country, threatening to murder them except they gave him his demands.

Whereupon the king issued a commission to Allan Zouch and William Trussell to inquire thereof, and, in case the words were proved, then to find out whether the before-specified John were really guilty of these misdemeanours. How William de Bereford answered this business does not appear, but in 8 Edward II [1314]  he was one of the justices of assize in this county; so also in 13 Edward II, and in that year a benefactor to the canons at Kenilworth, by granting to them sixty acres of land, and two acres of meadow, lying in Radford Similie. He died 20 Edward II [1326]  leaving Edmund, his son and heir, twenty-eight years of age, who did his homage the same year, and had livery of his lands; which Edmund, in 1 Edward III [1273] btained license from the king to fortify his manor house here at Langley with a wall of lime and stone, and to embattle it. In that record the king calls him delectus clericus noster ; yet he was then a knight, for in a release, bearing date at Chaucombe the same year (whereby Henry de Bereford, parson of the church of Corson, gave up unto him all his right in this manor, as also in Wishaw), he is styled a knight.
The sealing of this release was somewhat remarkable; “ In testimony of which,” saith the parson, “ I place my seal : and because my seal is unknown to many, I have procured the seal of Roger Hillary, my nephew, to be aflixed to it.” Whereunto were witnesses sir Gilbert de Elsefield, sir Simon de Bereford, sir Miles de Beauehamp, sir James de Audley, and sir John de Broughton, knight, and Roger I-Iillari, John Dimock, and others.  Seals were anciently in great regard, few persons being able to write their signatures with ease or legibly. King Edward the Confessor was the first in England who put seal to his charters, in imitation of the Normans, amongst whom he had been educated; but there is no proof that any subject made use of them until after the Conquest. Our kings and great persons at first used their own portraits, or supposed resemblances, in the impression of their seals. Military men always on horseback, in the same kind of armour that they wore, mail for the most part, with a shield on the left arm, and in the right hand a naked sword. When, after the time of Richard I, it was held an honour for those whose ancestors had served in the crusades, to retain their badges on their shields, and also painted behind and before on their sureoats of silk, worn over the mail, the custom began of engraving the arms on the seals, and the figure on horseback was discontinued. The seal establishes the validity of a deed, and banishment was the punishment of counterfeiting a seal. When a man accidentally lost a seal, it was publicly declared, lest any one should make an unfair use of it. Sir Edmund de Bereford, on his death, 28 Edward III [1354] bequeathed liberal legacies to his poor tenants at Wishaw, Wigginhill, Maney, Sutton, and other places, leaving John, his son, possessed of most of his lands by special entail, as not legitimate, who, dying in Gascony, left Baldwin, his brother and heir, aged 24. He was a knight, and in Richard II was constituted, by the king’s half-brother, Thomas de Holland, chief guardian of all the forests on this
side Trent, his lieutenant in that ofiice. In years following he received other grants and offices, amongst them free warren in his demesne land in Wishaw. He was a powerful favourite with Richard II, and had, from the tumultuous parliament held in 2 Richard ll, the character of an evil counsellor, and, with other great men, was expelled from the court. The king had good cause for his partiality towards him. He had been servant to his father, the Black Prince, retained for peace as well as for war during life, with an annuity of £40 per annum out of the lordship of Coventry, which was confirmed to him by Richard. II. This sir Baldwin had a bear for his crest, in allusion to his name, a common practice in those days. His estates passed to his relative, John Hore; and about the beginning of Henry the Seventh’s time they descended to the Pudseys; for Edith Hore, cousin and heir of the last Gilbert Hore, residing at her manor of Ellesfield, near Oxford, “having a special liking to Rowland Pudsey, a younger son of Henry Pudsey, esq., of an ancient family at Barfordiand Bolton, county York, then a student at Oxford, and a gentlemen much accomplished, took him as her husband,” and their posterity continued in possession of Langley. In the direct descent, Robert Pudsey married Eleanor Harman, daughter of Hugh Harman, and niece of bishop Vesey. Robert Was Warden of Sutton in 1543 and 1554. His son, George Pudsey, married for his second wife Margaret, daughter of William Gibbons, probably great-great-niece of the bishop. A William Gibbons was warden in 1592; and George Pudsey in 1582 and 1604. One of the family, Thomas (great~grandson of Robert, through his younger son, Thomas, of Seisdon), was in the parliament army in the time of Charles I, and one on the committee that ordered the demolition of Stafford castle, December 22, 1643.

On the death of Henry Pudsey, esq., 1677, his two surviving daughters became his co-heiresses. Elizabeth, the elder, married lord itolliott, and Anne, the younger, married, 1696, William Jesson, esq., son ol’ William Jesson, knight, of New House, near Coventry. The estates were in that year parted between the sisters. They were as follows; The manors of Langley and Wishaw, with the appurtenances, 20 messuages, 6 cottages, 26 gardens, 26 orchards, 1 dove-house, 1 windmill, 1 watermill, 500 acres of land, 140 acres of meadow, 250 acres of pasture, 10 acres of wood, 20 acres of furze and heath, 7 (Denomination of money not known) rent, and common of pasture for all cattle, and the appurtenanees in Langley, W1Sll2LW, Sutton Coldfield, Little Sutton, Wigginsliill, Greaves, Whitacre, Minworth, Moxhull, Curdworth, Lea Marston, and Kingsbury, and the advowson of the parish church of Wishaw. Lady ffolliott took the manor of Wishaw, and the lands, at Sutton, afterwards known as Four Oaks. Mrs. Jesson took Langley Hall; and they held the advowson of Wishaw church by alternate presentation, which continues in the representatives of the two families, Charles Holt Bracebridge, esq., being the representative of the Jessons.

Over the Pudsey vault on the wall of the north aisle is a monument on which are placed two marble busts; the inscription records the deaths of Henry Pudsey, esq., son and heir of George Pudsey, of Langley; and of Anne his wife, daughter of Paul Risley, esq., of Chetwood, co. Bucks, who married Jane, second daughter of Francis Thornhagh, esq., of Fenton, Notts. Their five children were Elizabeth, Jane, Henry, Anne, and Frances, of whom Elizabeth, Anne, and Frances survived them. He died March 29, 1677, in the 45th year of his age. Jane Pudsey, his relict, erected this monument. Jane, the widow of Henry Pudsey, made a second marriage with Mr. William Wilson. He was born in Leicester, and was a builder and architect. After his marriage he resided at Sutton, and continued this business. His wife’s influence obtained knighthood for him in 1681. In 1694, a fire at Warwick having destroyed the greater part of St. Mary’ s church, sir William Wilson was selected by the crown commissioners to re-construct it. And to him must be attributed the censure and the praise which the fine proportions but incongruous detail of this singular building have so frequently and so loudly called forth. He was employed by lord ffolliott to build Four Oaks Hall. He also built Nottingham Castle; and, for his own residence, the house in Sutton which is possessed and occupied by William Steele Perkins, esq. ; and he was the sculptor of the statue of Charles II, at the west front of Lichfield cathedral. He died in 1710, in his 70th year, but was not allowed sepulture in the Pudsey vault within the church, and was buried near it outside, where, upon the north wall, a mural monument to his memory was placed by his nephew, Mr. John Barnes. Its inscription is now nearly effaced.

A handsome monument at the east end of the north aisle records, in a long Latin inscription, the deaths of William Jesson, of Langley, esq., only child and heir of William Jesson, knight, of New House, near, Coventry; and of Anne his wife, daughter and heiress of Henry Pudsey, of Langley, esq., to whom, in the possession of Langley, his son~in-law succeeded. She left seven children. Pudsey, William, Robert, Frances, Alexander, George and Anne (she had had eight sons, but Henry died 1705). She died 25th August, 1719, aged 45. He died 22nd of November, 1725, aged 59. Eliza wife of Pudsey J esson, daughter and co-heiress of John Freeman, late of Wellingborough, esq., had two children, William and Anne ; and died 28th March, 1728, aged 28.

Anne, the only daughter of Pudsey Jesson, married Charles Holte, esq., who afterwards succeeded his brother, sir Lister Holte, in the baronetcy, and was the last of the name. He resided chiefly at Erdington Hall. His only daughter and heiress married Abraham Braeebridge, esq., of Atherstone, Whose son and heir, Charles Holte Bracebridge, esq., represents the ancient family that for many ages possessed Langley Hall. To him Sutton owes some gratitude: for when, in an agony of distress, she learned that her gallant sons were exposed, not only to the fierce war of the Crimea but also to the rotracted miseries of a Turkish hospital this englishman and his accomplished wife laid aside the refined employments of taste and benevolence at home, proceeded to the tainted hospitals of Seutari, and there, associated with Miss Nightingale, personally administered all the consolations of which the sick and dying soldier was susceptible. William, the only surviving son of Pudsey Jesson, saw the death of his two only sons and sold the Langley estate to Andrew Hacket, esq., of Moxhull. His eldest daughter, Hannah Freeman Jesson, married ------- Pearson, esq. ; and her only child and heir, William Jesson Pearson, died in Portugal during the Peninsular War, 1810. Her only sister, the younger daughter of William Jesson, married a foreigner of the name of Linche, but left no heir.

In the north aisle of the church is a tablet to the memory of William Jesson, esq., of Langley, who died October 21, 1786, aged 56 years.
Also to William Ash Jesson, son of William Jesson, esq, who died July 29, 1776, aged 22 years.
Also to Hannah Freeman Pearson, daughter of WVilliam Jesson, esq., who died February 38, 1825, aged 72.
This tablet was erected to their memory by Elizabeth Pudsey Linche, only surviving daughter of William Jesson, esq.

Another tablet near has the following inscription : “ To the memory of William Jesson Pearson, esq., of Chetwood, co. Bucks, and of Sutton Coldfield, co. "Warwick, last male descendant of the families of Pudsey and Jesson, this stone is inscribed by a grateful friend and relation. Having served his country and his king, with the British forces under Lord Wellington, in Spain and Portugal, with the rank of lieutenant, in the 14th Light Dragoons, and having witnessed the victory of Talavera de la Reyna, he fell a victim to fatigue and sickness at the age of 26 years, and died at Santarem, near Lisbon, in the month of April, A.D. 1810. most deservedly beloved, and most sincerely lamented.”

The estate of Langley was bequeathed, in 1815, by Andrew Hacket, esq., to George Bowyer Adderley, esq., Who sold it, in 1817, to the first sir Robert Peel, bart. The ancient hall was wholly removed. The area of the moat has since been cultivated as a garden.

Arms of Pudsey: S, a chevron between three mullets or. Arms of Jesson: Azure between three cocks’ heads, erased argent, crested and jawlopped or ; a fess embattled of the third crest; a hand and arm in armour proper, holding a rose gules, stalked and leaved vert.

For pedigree of the Pudsey family see Appendix, No. 4. Below, the Langley area as it is today (2012)
The Langley Area as it is today 2012
In Domesday written Winchicelle, perhaps from wincel, a corner, and celle, a cell, or ceola, a cottage on a corner of the waste. This, possessed by Turchill in the Conqueror’s time, was certified to contain three yard-land, having woods of two furlongs in breadth, all valued at 5s., one Bruning being then the tenant, although, before the Norman invasion, it had been his freehold. With the rest of Turchill’s lands, it came afterwards to the earls of Warwicli, as is evident by the certificates of their fees in 20 Henry, III, at which time one Bonchivalier enjoyed it. Afterwards, in 36 Henry III, Ralph de Willington held it and Clinton of the same earls by the service of a knight’s fee; to whom succeeded John de Willinton, in 9 Edward II, who held it singly for the fourth part of a knight’s fee; then it is written Wygenhill.The earliest of this family on record was John de Willington, in the Conqueror’s time. The gifts of his son and grandson to the convent of Repton, of a neighbouring manor and church of Willington, were confirmed by Henry III, 1252.

Ralph de Willington was at the Siege of Acre, under Richard Coeur de Lion; and, in the time of king John, he settled in Gloueestershire. His grandson, sir Ralph, and on his death, his son, John, were summoned to parliament as barons. In 1311 John de Wylinton was commanded to abstain from repairing to Norwich, for the purpose of taking a part in the quarrel between Henry de Segrave and Walter de Bernyngham. In 1313 he was peremptorily enjoined to abstain from attending tournaments, seeking adventures, or performing feats of arms. In 1321 Ralph and John de Wylinton, as followers of John Giffard, obtained pardons for all felonies, &c., committed in the pursuit of the Despensers.

In 1322 sir Henry de Wylynton, knight banneret, third son of John, took up arms with the barons against Edward II. He attacked Gloucester and burned Bridgnorth, and fought the king’s troops at Burton-on-Trent. After other treasonable acts he was made prisoner at the battle of Borobridge, and was executed at Bristol in 1322. It was pretended that miracles were worked by his body hanging in chains. The old poet Drayton, in his Barons’ Wars, thus treats him and the other heroes of rebellion:

“ Nor, Willington, will I applaud thy spirit.
Your bayes must be your well-deserved blame,
For your ill actions quench my sacred flame.”

In the same year John de Wyllyngton, who had also been in arms against the king, and had assisted in the burning of Bridgnorth, submitted to a fine of £3,000, and to a perpetual rent-charge, and thus obtained the condition of life and release from prison. He was summoned to parliament, as a baron, from 1329 to 1338, when he died. Their descendants held offices in the realm. In later times one of the family, Waldyve Willington, was actively engaged as a parliamentarian in the Civil Wars, and was governor of Tamworth castle ; and, during the year 1654 he was the magistrate before whom, at Hurley Hall, the Sutton pairs went to be married, according to the new regulations of the Commonwealth. The representative of thisancient family is Francis Willington, esq., of Tamworth.

In 20 Edward III William de Lucy held Wigginshill, ofJohn de Hull, by the fourth part of a knight’s fee; and he of John de Wylington ; and he of the earl. I But by a court roll, 35 Henry III, Baldwin de Bereford, owner of Langley, is said to be lord of it; whose ancestor, Osbert de Bereford, had lands here in Edward the First’s time. In 10 Henry VI John Hore, esq., of Wishaw, descended from the same Baldwin, had it as three messuages, and held them by the fourth part of a knight’s fee. These messuages were, in queen Elizabeth’s time, sold to Thomas Gibbons, then of New Hall, by Robert Pudsey, csq. (heir of T. Hore), reserving the ancient rent, 46s. 2d. per annum, to himself and heirs. There was anciently a suit between the abbot of Leicester, as rector of the church of Curdworth, and the parson of Sutton, for certain tithes arising out of nine yard-land lying in this hamlet, of which six were of the earl of Warwicks fee, and the other three of the fee of Thomas de Arden, and pertaining to the church of Curdworth. And because it was hard to distinguish between these fees, at length, by authority from the pope, certain judges were appointed, who decreed that two parts of the tithe corn of the nine yard-land should be paid to the church of Sutton, and the third to Curdworth ; and also that the inhabitants upon the six yard-land of the earl’s fee should repair to the mother church of Sutton, at Easter and the Assumption, and there communicate; and that the priestof Sutton should shrive them in Lent and on their deathbeds; and that they should bury at Sutton, and pay to that church all their small tithe ; and because of their great distance from the mother church, they could not, without much inconvenience, go thither, that they should pay all their oblations to the priest of Curdworth, from whom they might receive spiritual comfort as occasion should require ; as also that the priest of Sutton should yearly pay to the church at Curdworth 4d. to buy frankincense ; and, lastly, that the inhabitants upon the three yard-land of Arden’s fee should be answerable to the mother church of Curdworth for all oblations.

In 1730 there were three houses on Arden’s fee.Wigginshill is now included in the district allotted to Walmley Church. A Quaker’s meeting-house stands in this hamlet, but, except as a burial place, it has not been used for many years.

may owe its name to the situation in a hollow, pied de moor. Dugdale says there is no more remaining of an ancient manor place that the Ardens had than a large double moat; for after they settled in these parts, having another house on the south side of Tame, called Park Hall, they resided for the most part there, and let this go to ruin ; and in 1656 it was level with the ground. The double moat still remains (1859), and encloscs an area of about 80 yards by 60 yards Within it. Beneath the surface have been traced foundations of walls; and on a part of the ruins a farm house has been built, which shews some ancient masonry, and over the entrance door this inscription on an oval stone “Deus noster Refugium.”


Dugdale thinks the Ardens had not this manor until Sutton came into the hands of the Norman earls of Warwick. No mention of it appears before 9 Edward I, then it was styled the Manor of Peddimore. The traditions and records of the Arden family, as Saxon earls of Mercia and Warwick, have already been given in their connection with this neighbourhood. Turchill, earl or vicecomes of Warwick, was the last of the family who held the dignities of his ancestors. I-Ie assumed the surname of de Ardene, from the part of Warickshire in which his chief estates lay. He held forty-two manors, several of which were on the right bank of the Tame. He had submitted to the Conqueror, who, nevertheless, conferred the earldom of Warwick on a Norman, to whom, on the death (Turchill, William Rufus gave all his lands, and Siward, th eldest son of Turchi|l, held only a portion of them by military service to that earl. Siward’s name appears to certain deeds; and he was a considerable benefactor to the monks of Thorney. Hugh, his eldest son, was also very liberal to the religious orders, making large grants out of his manor  of Rotley to the monks of Stoneleigh, and giving his manor of Berwood, with an hermitage there, to the canons of Leicester and with it large possessions in Curdworth, With the advowson of the church, and confirmed to the monks of Canwell a yard-land in Curdworth.

His brother Henry succeeded him, and, in 12 Henry II, held of William earl of Warwick, knights’ fees. He gave largely to monasteries. His son Thomas also gave to the canons of Leicester lands and Woods in Berwood, and gifts to other monasteries. This Thomas was one of those who met at the tournament at Blithe in Notts, contrary to the king’s prohibition 5 for which his lands were seized on by the crown; but, in '7 Henry III, they were restored to him. He married Eustachia, daughter of a French courtier odious to the English nobility. He died before 1233, for in that year, Avicia, Wife of William Arden, of Rodburn, made a complaint to the king, Henry III, that her husband was gone on pilgrimage to Jerusalem and not returned, and yet there was no certainty of his death; and that Eustachia had not only seized upon those lands which Avicia had, by her husband’s assignment to maintain herself during his absence, but had also taken away her son and heir: whereupon the king commanded restitution of both. This son Thomas was a knight 118 Henry III, and was summoned to Oxford With the leading men of the country to advise with the king, and accompany him against Llewelyn, prince of Wales, then in rebellion : but he had little affection for this feeble and ill-conducted king, and soon after joined the insurgent barons, whilst Waleran, earl of Warwick, maintained the royal cause, and in 1265 he participated in the overthrow of his party, when the valiant prince Edward surmounted all adverse circumstances, and released his father from the hands of the rebels. The prince had effected his own escape from their custody, and lay at Worcester with an army. The barons, with twenty banners from the north, pillaged Winchester, and returned to Kenilworth. Their movements were made known to the prince by Ralph de Ardern, at that time amongst the rebel party. He employed a woman to convey the intelligence, who cunningly travelled in man’s apparel.

This Ralph of Hanwell was grandson of Thomas de Arden of Draiton, and great-grandson of the first William de Arden of Rodburn. The prince affected to march towards Salisbury ; but suddenly turned, and in the night reached a valley near Kenilworth Castle. Whilst arraying his troops there, he heard sounds which at first led him to suppose the movement was discovered, and the enemy approaching: but the alarm was soon found to proceed from a train of foraging carts passing to the rebels these were secured the fresh horses employed, and the prince, entering Kenilworth, surprised and captured many of the insurgents. These he carried prisoners to Worcester, and obtained the liberty of the king, and a victory over the barons at the battle of Evesharn. Thomas de Arden was there made prisoner, and although the Dictum de Kenilworth allowed him, by a moderate fine, to redeem his forfeited possessions, the disloyal enterprise appears to have ruined him; for in 9 Edward I [1281] he passed away, probably in trust, all his lands at Curdworth and some other places to Hugh de Vienne, and in 14 Edward I he quitted to the Knights Hospitallers his whole interest in Riton ; in 15 Edward I sold the manor of Rotley, with the advowson of the church, to Nicholas de Eton; and about that time granted to Thomas de Arden, of Hanwell, and Rose his wifc, the inheritance of the manor of Peddimore, and of all his lands in Curdworth, Moxhull, Minworth, Echinours, and Overton [enclosures at Echelhurst and Water Orton ?], and finally conveyed to William de Beauchamp, earl of Warwick, and Maud his Wife, and his heirs, all the fees that he held of him.

The arms he bore were a chequi or, an azure, a chevron gules, which his ancestors assumed, as holding their lands of the earl of Warwick.

Thomas de Arden, of Hanwell, to whom Peddimore and other places had been passed, had his seat at Rotley. He accompanied Edward 1 [1276]  in the Welsh expedition. When he came into possession of Peddimore he began to exercise there the liberties he enjoyed in other properties, not considering it was within the compass of Sutton Chase, Where the earl of Warwick had so much privilege relating both to vert and venison, so that the earl, having begun suit against him, he was glad to seek his favour, and submit to a peaceable agreement; by which it appears that William Beauchamp, the earl, granted unto Thomas and Reese, and the heirs of Thomas, liberty to fish in that little stream called Ebrook, at his coming to Pedimore, so far as his lands lay adjacent to it; as also they might have liberty to agist hogs within their woods at Curdworth and Peddimore ; take benefit of the paunage ; and beat down acorns for their swine; and likewise gather such nuts as should be there growing; and moreover to cut down wood for their fuel and hedges, without any assignation of the said earl’s forester ; and to sell £20 worth thereof, so that it were by the oversight of the said forester (to the end the chase might have the least prejudice thereby) ; as also timber to repair the buildings within the manor of Curdworth and Peddimore, by the like oversight of the forester, upon warning, or at least one of the earl’s bailiffs at Sutton, or in those woods, in the presence of two neighbours. And if, upon such warning given, the forester should absent himself, that then the said Thomas and his heirs might, by the view of two neighbours, enter those woods, and cut down and carry away as much as should be necessary; but after the death of the said Thomas and Roese, neither his heirs nor assigns to take estovers for their fuel and hedges, nor timber, but by assignation of the earl’s forester : and that their woodward should be sworn to the earl and his heirs as touching his venison, carrying a hatchet or forest bill, without bow and arrows.

And further, the earl granted to Thomas and Roese, and their heirs, liberty to make improvements of their Waste within the said manors, according to the Sutton measure, to the extent of twenty acres only, and to enclose them according to the custom of the chase, so that does with their fawns might leap over the hedges; and that they might reduce the same land to tillage in several places, as they should think fit, to the least damage to the chase, and most advantage to themselves; saving to the commoners their common of pasture when the corn was off ; and lastly, that the said Thomas and his heirs might peaceably hold in and enjoy four acres and half of the waste from which they had received the crop before this date, which was "at Minworth, 1287. Thomas married Rose, daughter of Ralph de Vernon, and left an only child, Joan, married to sir John Swinfen. To him succeeded Robert his brother, who, living at Wykham, became governor of Banbury Castle, and in 15 Edward II was in the Scotch expedition. He was a knight, and obtained license of the king to fortify his manor house at Wykham with embattled walls of lime and stone, and died 1331, possessed of a very fair estate. His grandson, Giles, being the last male of this branch, left an only daughter, Margaret, married to Ludovick Greville, esq., from whom the Grevells of this county are descended.

The next known possessor of this manor was Ralph, grandson of sir T. Arden, of Hanwell. In 17 Edward II he was certified to be one of the principal esquires of this county. His son John was a knight of much influence in Warwickshire. He impleaded the abbot of Leicester for the manor of Berwood with the advowson of the church of Curdworth, given to the canons of that house by his ancestor, on which the abbot, fearing partiality in the trial of the cause at Warwick, procured the king’s letter to the judges on the circuit, sir John de Mowbray and Thomas de Hingylby, requiring for him equity, by which means the verdict was in favour of the abbot.

This sir John de Arden resided at his manor of Peddimore for in 1360 he obtained license from the bishop to have a priest to celebrate divine service in his chapel there. He left a female heir, Rose, who married one Thomas Pakeson, afterwards outlawed for felony. The heir male, his brother Henry, appears to have been the first of the family, who seated himself at Park Hall, for then sir J. de Botetourt, of Weolegh Castle, confirmed it to him with appurtenances in Castle Bromwich, reserving only a red rose to be yearly paid to himself and heirs for all services. The site of Park Hall is still marked by a moat, near the house now known by the same name, but the ancient buildings have been levelled with the ground. Henry de Arden was made a knight, and obtained from the earl of Warwick, (1 Richard II), in consideration of his good service done and to be done, a grant of the manors of Combe Adam, and Grafton Haworth, in Worcestershire, to hold for life, paying only a red rose. The same year he served as one of the knights of the shire in the parliament at Westminster, afterwards he served in the parliament of (3 Richard II), and in the following year had a release from Rose, daughter and heir of the late sir John de Arden, of all her interest in the manor of Peddimore and the lands in Curdworth, Minworth, Sutton, and Moxhull. In 5 Richard II, he was in commission with the earl of Warwick, and a few others of high rank, to suppress the rebels in arms in this county, at the time of Jack Straw’s insurrection. He left l1is son Ralph his heir, who was one of the retinue of the same earl of Warwick, and in 7 Henry IV [1405] assigned some manors for life to Elena, the widow of the late sir Henry, and to her brothers. He served the earl of Warwick at the siege of Calais, with one lance and two archers, taking for the lance and one archer £20 per annum, and for the other ten marks, without diet. He was a knight, and died 1419; on which Joan Beauchamp, lady, of Abergavenny, had the custody of Robert his son and heir, aged eight years.

This Robert, in 1433, was one of the chief gentlemen of the county who, in commission, made oath to observe articles determined by parliament. In 16 Henry VI, he was sherifl“ for this county and Leicestershire. In 1443, being designed to accompany Henry Perey, governor of Berwick, towards Scotland, he had the king’s special letters of protection to endure for a whole year: but it seems he withdrew himself from the service, and stayed at Westminster, of which the king was informed, and revoked the protection. In 29 Henry VI, he served as one of the knights of this shire, in the parliament of Westminster. After this he sided with the Yorkists, and attempted to raise forces in Shropshire, but being taken prisoner, before the success at St. Alban’s had strengthened his party, he was attainted of high treason by James, earl of Wiltshire, Richard Bingham, of Middleton, and John Portington, being judges to try him and others of the party, and lost his life in 1452, the custody of his lands being committed to Thomas Littleton, serjeant-at-law, Thomas Greswold, and John Gamall, esqrs. To him succeeded Walter, his son and heir, who obtained, within two years after his father’s death, the king’s precept to his escheator, for render of those lands in this county of his mother’s inheritance, and of some others, and became ere long possessed of the residence. He wedded Eleanore, daughter of John Hampden, of Hampden, Bucks.

And now we arrive at a romantic episode to the chronicle of legal conveyances, forfeitures, and executions. Two separated lovers reveal their woes to the gentle Tame. From the gable casement of Kingsbury Hall Alice Bracebridge, the fairAlice Bracebridge, gazes along the valley. Only peaceful cattle move there ; they eat and grow fat unfeeling herds! In vain from the moated cliff she ponders on the stream below, as though it would bear to her feet the ineffaceable image of her lover; the languid wave comes unreflecting, and passes on the unimpressible wave ! Yet beside the lily bordered river, and through the groves which climb its banks, wanders with distraught step the youthful and disconsolate Arden, plucking and throwing away in disdain the flowers which fail to represent the charms of his forbidden idol: whilst an unsympathizing papa, and more unreasonable mamma, deny him the privilege of a matrimonial choice (as we are led to presume), and place him under a jealous surveillance. But the dejection of a daughter rouses the spirit of him of Kingsbury, who grows indignant to find his family alliance rejected by his neighbour and kinsman. Better skilled to hunt and fight than to parley, he determines to obtain redress by a bold foray; and learning that on a certain day the master of Park Hall would leave it slightly defended, he summons his stalwart retainers. The first blink of morning sees them in the saddle, and a few miles bring them to the unguarded drawbridge of the Ardens’ Hall. The sudden invasion suspends all powers of opposition, and the squire of Kingsbury marches off with the heir of Peddimore and Park Hall. But not quiescently did the returning master and the contravened lady take this unparalleled theft. King, lords, and law courts were invoked to restore their son, whom Walter Arden, the father, alleged to have been stolen away by Richard Bracebridge and his servants.

At length, by a reference to sir Simon Mountford, of Coleshill, and sir Richard Bingham, the judge then living at Middleton, it was determined that the marriage should be solemnized in February, 1474, and in consideration of 200 marks portion, a convenient jointure should be settled; as also, for the trespass done by the same Richard Bracebridge in so taking away the young gentleman, he should give to Walter Arden the best horse that could be chosen in Kingsbury Park. On the death of Walter he bequeathed his body to be buried at Aston-juxta-Birmingham ; and to the vicar of Aston, for tithes forgotten, his best ox, appointing that at his burial 12 lbs. of wax should be spent in lights, and six torches, to be borne by six poor men, each having a black gown for that service; also a trentall of masses to be sung for his soul, and the souls of his father and mother, and for all christian souls; appointing John Bracebridge one of his executors.

His son and heir, the romantic John, was one of the esquires of the body of Henry VII; and the next notice of him records that he bequeathed his body to Aston church and for his mortuary a black amblyng, “ that Almighty God may the rather take my soul into his mercy and grace * * * also my White harness complete to the church of Aston, for a George to wear it, and to stand on my pew, a place made for it: provided that, if the same George be not made within a year after my decease, that then I will that mine executors do sell it, and hire a priest to sing in the chapel at Orton so long as the money will extend. * * * * twelve poor women of my tenants to have each a black gown, hood, pair of bedes, four pence, and a dinner, to bear each a torch about my hearse. Item, about my hearse to be 24 tapers, 1/2 lb. of wax each. Item, every month’s day during the year to be sung a solemn dirge, and on the morrow masse of requiem, for my soul and all christian souls. At each dirge and masse 8s. 41d. to be bestowed among priests and clerks, ringing, and lights. At Orton, a priest to sing two whole trentalls of St. Gregory, with the dirges, for two years, and to have £5 a year, &c. Item, my best gown of black damask to my parish church of Aston, to make a cope withal. That which is here called mortuary was, in the laws of Canute, saul yceat‘, a tribute paid for the safety of the soul!

Alas, for the darkness of those ages ! the Saxon Word, yceat‘, or pension, became used as the word shot, or payment for a traveller at an inn. This tribute was to be paid at the opening of the grave, and might be, at pleasure, an ox, a horse, money, or other goods, anciently led or carried before the corpse. The legacies for tithes forgotten became, in after times, united to the mortuary. To this John, who died 17 Henry VIII, succeeded Thomas, and to him, in l562, Edward, his grandson, who, though not inferior to his ancestors in virtue, had the hard hap to come to an untimely end, in 27 Elizabeth. The charge laid against him being no less than high treason against the queen, as privy to some foul intentions against her, that master Somerville, his son-in-law (a Roman Catholic), was charged with, and for which he was prosecuted with great violence by the earl of Leicester’s contriving. He had irritated this earl in some particulars, partly by disdaining to wear his livery, which many of his rank in the county thought no small honour to them ; but chiefly for galling him by certain harsh expressions touching his conduct towards the countess of Essex before she became his wife: so that, through the testimony of one Hall, a priest, he was found guilty, however unjustly, and lost his life at Smithfield.

Upon his attainder his lands were given away to Edward Darcey, esq., and his heirs ; but Robert Arden, the son and heir of Edward, being a prudent person and Well read in the law, by virtue of an entail made upon his marriage in his father’s life-time, after very long suit, recovered all again, except the manor of Curdworth and Minworth; and living to a great age with no small reputation in this county, left, in 1635, Robert his grandson heir to the estate. This Thomas, an accomplished scholar, died in the flower of his youth, and his inheritance resorted, in 1643, to his four sisters, of whom, Dorothy, married Hervey Bagot, esq., and Anne, married Charles Adderley, esq., of Lea.

The family name is preserved in the descendants of Simon, second son of Thomas Arden and Maria his Wife, daughter of Andrewes de Charwelton, Which Thomas died 5 Elizabeth, and Simon purchased Longcrofts Hall, co. Stafford, 1575. For the queen’s service he found one light horse. The mother of our Warwickshire bard, William Shakespeare, Was Mary, daughter of Robert Arden, of Wilnecote, who was son of Arden, groom of the stole to Henry VII, and a great-nephew of sir John Arden, squire of the body to the same king, named above. It is probable that Mary married John Shakespeare, the father of the poet, soon after the death of her own father, whose will, in 1556, leaves to his youngest daughter Mary all his land in Wilnecote, &e. ; and it is stated in a bill in chancery, November 24, 1597, that John Shakespeare and Mary his Wife were lawfully seized in their demesne as of fee in the right of the same Mary, of and in one messuage and one yard-land, With the appurtenances, in Wilneeote. A grant of arms Was made to John Shakespeare in 1569, and confirmed in 1599, when it was recited that he had married the daughter and one of the heirs of Robert Arden, of Wellingcote ; he was allowed to impale the arms of Shakespeare with the ancient arms of Arden‘ of Willingcote. The united arms were used in the seal of William Shakespeare’ s daughter.

It is not improbable that the “lad of all lads, the Warwickshire lad,” visited his kinsman at Park Hall, and tuned his lyre amid the song-inspiring wilds of Sutton Chase and the spirit-stirring ruins of its manor house. The following pedigree of the family begins with the traditional heroes of their line, and includes only the direct ancestors of the existing branch, represented 1859, by Henry Arden, esq., of Longerofts Hall, who married Alice Hill, daughter of the bishop of Colombia:
Probably in the early part of the 17th century, the family of Addyes became possessed of Peddimore. They were descended from sir Degory Addis, knight, Who died 1521. Thomas Addyes, of Great Barr, acquired much landed property in Sutton parish and came to reside at Maney, Where his ancient house still adorns the hamlet. He Was Warden, 1633, and at Sutton church some family registries Were entered. He died in 1670. His younger son, John, settled at Moor Hall. His eldest son, Thomas, after having been Warden 1642, 1651, and 1658, married Mary Grimshawe, the heiress of an estate at Knowle, and he appears to have lived on the family property at Barr during the lifetime of Thomas Addyes, sen., as his five elder children Were registered in that parish. His youngest child Was baptized at Sutton, 1676, and he was again Warden, 1692. His sons and daughters Were all buried at Sutton, excepting Mary, his eldest child, born 1662, Who married the rev. John Tonckes; their only daughter, Anne Tonckes married Williarn Scott, esq., of Stourbridge.

Thomas Addyes, the eldest son and heir, born 1664, married Anne Hopkins, of Moor Hall. He died at Barr, and was buried at Sutton, 1723. His only son, John, died young, Without issue, and his daughter and heir Mary Addyes, died 1786, unmarried, and left her paternal estates to her cousin Anne, Wife of William Scott, of Stourbridge. Mrs. Scott bequeathed these estates to the three nephews of her husband. John, the second nephew, had the lands in Great Barr and Sutton, Which remain in his family. His only daughter and heir, Mary Scott, married in 1830 thc rev. Charles Wellbeloved, of York, Who then dropped his paternal name, and took that of Scott. The family of Scott have been long settled in Worcestershire. Arms of Addyes Scott: arg., on a mount of bulrushes, in base pp.r, a bull passant, sa, a chief pean billety, or, with a canton of the first.
Manor, Parish, and Corporation

When the king, in 1528, had granted the Charter to the inhabitants of the manor and parish of Sutton Coldfield, the political relations of this district Were changed. Feudal tenure ceased. Fixed rents supplied the place of personal service. The rights of the chase extended only to the limits of the manor and parish. Soon after the Reformation the care of tlle poor was laid on their respective parishes ; but these ecclesiastical divisions had existed in England since the year 1336. The boundaries of Sutton parish have not been undisputed; and it is supposed to have lost territory through neglect on more than one occasion, as when its neighbours encroached on the Coldfield. In l725, for the preservation of the boundaries between the Coldfield and Perry Barr, the corporation set to Francis Gibbons, the parcel of waste, mearing and bounding itself on the cast With the highway called Ridgeway ; and on the south with the highway that leads from Sutton towards Perry Barr; on the west by Hawthorn Brook; and on the north with the highway from Sutton to Oscott ; for the purpose of making a coneygree and lodge for a keeper, without enclosing it. This tract has not been preserved to the parish, though the subject of boundary was agitated in 1760, and again in 1801-2.

On the north the parish has been shorn: it once rejected the cost of burying a man, found dead on Four Oaks common, and that fact was fairly put forward by Shenstone parish, in its claim to a large slice of the adjoining waste. The evidence of numerous witnesses to its actually belonging to Sutton was inadmissible, they being all interested parties. As it is, the parish contains 14,000 acres. That portion within the park, which extends west beyond the Ickneild Street, is in Staftordshire. When the parish ceased to be part of a chase the bishop destroyed the deer, that the poor might have the benefit of the pasturage on the commons. The cultivated portions at that time appear to have been chiefly meadows and fields belonging to Park Hall, Peddimore, and Langley, to the east (since written in the parish books “beyond the wood”), patches at Ashfurlong, Little Sutton, and Hill (Where the Church Leasows were perhaps the land anciently given to the Canwell monastery) ; and narrow fringes of enclosure about the town, the Ebrook, and the foot of Maney Hill.

From the Echelhurst (or Ashwood, distinguished by some ash trees from the prevailing oak woods), and Signal Hayes, to the extent of Hill, the commons were clothed with out-woods, as Lyndrych and Hill-wood (where, at the last enclosure, traces of charcoal burning were turned up). At the extremity of the parish, near Pype, a little field is still called the Bowbearer’s Croft. Tradition says two oflicers of the chase, bowbearers, had a lodge there; and that their duty was to guide the travellers across the wild country. A very old cottage, that had been well built, was removed from the croft in 1828. In that neighbourhood was a fountain, called Robin Hood’s well, now enclosed Within the grounds of Penns, where the natural beauties of the situation have been judiciously displayed and improved by the taste of the late proprietor, Joseph Webster, esq., and by his son, Baron D. Webster", esq., the present owner.

The name of Walmley, or Warmley, has not preserved an obvious etymology. The soil, previous to drainage, does not warrant the designation of warm; but those who are acquainted with the provincial sound of our word home, a word often the cognomen of a field, as “the home-close,” will be able to enter into the suggestion that the lea near Peddimore, in contra-distinction to the Lang-lea, Was called Woam-Lea, or Home-lea. From this also may have originated the family name of Twamley, or “ at Woam-lea.”

On the brow of the hill, above the Ebrook, New Shipion, in old deeds written The New Shippen, Was probably a fold constructed for the flocks of the earl of Warwick at a later period than any near the manor house. Bassets Budds, near Langley, perhaps note the shooting butts where a lord Basset performed some feat of archery: and a mile further north, Hammons Budds may bear the name of a keeper of the butts. The family name of Hammon appears in the early registers. Inclosures where the rectory now stands, were divided from the town by an irregular waste, termed the mettals (meddel fields?), where many ways converged to the town. It led a thread of water from the Moat-house of Hugh Vesey to the Blabs, a flat town common, the abode of frogs and eels, where the Ebrook found its way through the stone bed moor, after it had turned the flour mill below Mill-Street. In 1754, the corporation leased to Joseph Oughton, of Birmingham, for one thousand years, the stonebed moors. Two centuries since Redicap lane was written Eddacop, and afterwards Red-way cop (cop, Saxon, head or top).

The fields adjoining the town on the west were called the Eddowes, or inclosed crofts. The upper part of Maney Hill, called the Wall Moor—the ridge towards Erdington, called  the Wild and Wildgreen, were scarcely disturbed by cultivation. The Coldfield formed an extensive Waste, united to heaths of other parishes. Upon it lay a lake or mere. It has some spots as Welshman’s Hill, Jordan’s Grave, where tradition fails: but King’s Standing is a small artificial mound, reputed to be the position occupied by Charles I, when reviewing troops brought up by the Staffordshire gentry, on the 18th of October, 1642. He was then on his way to Meriden, from a two days’ visit at Aston Hall, and continued his journey by the Chester road to Castle Bromwich.

On Gibbet Hill a silk dyer, from London, was murdered, and his murderer gibbeted in 1729. Within the park a spring, underneath a little hill, has long been known as Rowton Well. In a former age it was thought to possess medicinal virtue, which may have been due to the presence of chalybeate, of which there are several traces in the park. If it were so, the supply has ceased, and the well does not now discover any powers beyond that of a pure, cold spring.

“In Nuthursts windings would you stray,

Or o'er wild heath and length’ning way
That leads to Rowton Well?
Pellucid fount! what annual scores
Thy stream to cleanliness restores
The scribbled post may tell!
How many Smiths and Joneses came
And left to thee their votive name,
How many more had done the same,
Only they could not spell! ”

Sutton Park: poem by Charles Barker, esq.

The origin of the name of Rowton is not known. No such family name appears on the parish records, and it may possibly owe its appellation to British times, when it is said Rah signified the place of a camp, and Din was a hill. On a neighbouring mound there is a tumulus about thirty yards in diameter and three or four feet above the level of the hill summit. On the 12th July, 1859, an examination of this tumulus was made under the superintendence of Mr. Cooper, agent of the corporation, with the hope of discovering British remains.

A trench across the tumulus, and pits, were dug, from four to five feet deep, without other result than the ascertaining that the first three feet in depth were artificial, of disturbed soil, and that below was solid sand, approaching to rock. Several small eminences in this part were well adapted to the encampment of uncivilized tribes, having been sheltered by Woods, and protected by a marsh which supplied water. Although the clause in the charter, allowing the enclosure of sixty acres by any settler, was soon found incompatible with manorial rights, advantage appears to have been taken of it at first, by the evidence of some farms amounting to that number of acres. The fifty-one houses, built by the bishop, were of various dimensions. Some have stood the wear of three centuries.

The old part of Ashfurlong House, the White House near the Rectory, and the Warren House, are examples of massive farm buildings, and the stone house on the Ebrook, and small dwellings at High Heath, Little Sutton, and elsewhere, with Tudor-arched doorways, and, in a few instances, spiral stairs, still linger to his memory. Several ancient ‘houses of stone in the town have been partly reconstructed, or faced with brick. “ Near Hammon’s Budds there are remains of strong stone walls ; and old men say that, half a century ago, they inclosed a large hall: but occupiers of the land have gradually cleared away as much as they were able to break up. A few trees hang over the ruin - a few garden flowers spring up in the meadow. where there are traces of fences and a terrace: but there exists no record of its inhabitants. These now jagged walls once engaged the ingenuity of men, and witnessed their doings. Of what is the ruin a memorial ? Of calamity, fraud, or violence ? Has folly disabled an heir from maintaining the mansion or have successors abandoned a dwelling darkened by crime? Its story has perished.

The names of places suggest histories. If Signal Hays be a correct orthography, that high land near Walmley Church may have been used for signals for the chase, raised on its trees. The derivation of Lyndrich is lyn (Br. pool), and rice (Sax.) region. Ashfurlong has been a very early inclosure, the more ancient portion, west of the present house, measures sixty acres, which leads to the surmise that it was reckoned as the fourth part of a hide, and that the Sutton hide was two hundred and forty acres. Bishop Fleetwood says that ferling, or farthing, gave name to the fourth part of a perch or other measure of ground, ferlingata being as much as would yield the rent of a farthing. Pill-riddings must be a tract where peat was pealed from a moor or rough ground (Br. rhedyn fern) or (Sax. Hreod Sedge) ; Ladycroft near Lindridge - land given by William de Overton to the nuns of Polesworth ; the Church Leasows, and gaubage, or gabelage, toll or glebe land for the monastery at Canwell. There are three places called Oslets north-west of Hill Common, at Shepherd’s Pool, and in the Mettals. Were they small hostels built of wood, and so gone to decay unnoted  Pleck is the Saxon plaec, a spot, the Hade meadow, one surrounded by a fence or hay; the Coney-greve, rabbit graves or burrows; Burrels from Berra, open heaths; Sherrals, places of division between manors ; the al derived from British times, signifying much, or prevalent, as our Word all, as in Rocksall, west of tlie Manor Hill, where quarries were worked. The upper and lower Dom Meadow, and Stew Meadow, are on the site of the ancient manor pools. In the early part of this century a hawthorn tree in the middle of the turnpike road marked the division between this parish and Erdington; and the Beggar’s Bush, on the Coldfield, was at similar landmark.

Pools still belonging to the corporation estate :

In 1604 the corporation made a grant in perpetuity to Edw.Pudsey, esq., of Langley Mill Pool, at the rent of 5s. In 1697 the corporation granted to Wm. Jesson, esq., of Langley Hall, to add to Lindrich Pool ; and, for making the dam, to have it for the term of one hundred years, for the rent of 3s. and six bottles of wine to the warden. The two pools contain 5A. 2R.9p.

In 1733 the corporation granted to John Riland, gentleman, to make a dam and a pool across Longmoor Brook, in the park, in which John Gibbons took part; and in 1754 leave was given to John Riland and Thomas Bonnell, tenants of half the pool, in right of Humphry Gibbons on one part, and Richard Reynolds on the other, to erect a mill at Longmoor Pool, and to hold it sixty-three years. It contains 7A. IR. 14p).

In 1757 the corporation granted to Messrs. Edward Homer and Joseph Duncomb, to make a dam and pool in the park at Blackroot, and to hold it for forty-two years, at the annual rent of 2s. In 1772 they let it to Mr. T. Ingram for thirty years. Blackroot Pool has for many years been rented by S. F. S. Perkins, esq., and W. S. Perkins, esq. It contains 15A. Or. 30p.

Mere Pool was, in 1782, leased by the corporation to Henry Curzon, but the larger part Was, in 1826, converted into gardens for the Hill Corporation Schools. It is now a pond of 1R. 36P.
 A.     R.     P.
High Hill Pool contains                                                                                                            4       2      9
Hill Hook Mill Pool contains                                                                                                     3       1      21
Second Pool contains                                                                                                              1       1      4
Pools alienated from the manorial estate :

Bracebridge Pool, perhaps constructed by sir Ralph Bracebridge in the reign of Henry V, is possessed by sir W. E. C. Hartopp. It contains thirty-five acres. Powell’s Pool, probably originally granted to one of the Gibbons family, who made inclosures surrounding it, is the largest pool in the parish.

Keeper’s Pool, as it has belonged to the Manor Illill property, probably received its name from John Holt, esq., when park keeper, time of Edward IV.

In 1754, the corporation leased to Joseph Oughton, of Birmingham, the Stonebed Moors, Fleam-brook, Blade Mills, and Moorish Grounds, for one thousand years. Windley Pool, belonging to the Manor Hill property, was at one time called the New Forge Pool, as more recently made than Powell’s Pool. Although, as has been stated, there is not a stream running into the parish, yet the supply of water within it is so abundant, that six mills are worked at the present time without the assistance of steam power. They are Longmoor, Powell’s, Windley, Holland, New Hall, and Hill Hook Mill. Others formerly existed, of which the most important has only recently been removed. At the present time there is not a steam engine in the parish.

Two old roads from London have crossed the Chase. That from Coleshill to Lichfield, by Basset’s Pole; and that from Castle Bromwich to Stonall, called the Chester road, on which the Chester heavy goods waggon moved slowly, until outrun by railways. These roads have seen military movements westward, and they must have crumbled under the “ thousand baggage waggons” which William III despatched in 1690, with provisions for his troops in Ireland.

Until railways carried off travellers the Sutton turnpike road was the grand north communication with Bristol, and six different coaches relieved the town from ennui. Other modes of breaking the silence have since been discovered in omnibuses oscillating between Birmingham and Sutton, with multitudes imported for a few hours’ respiration of Coldfield air. Long may it continue worth the seeking long may the gallant old Beacon hold his ramparts against the sappers and miners of the West, and the Tame stretch out lines of defence against dark cohorts from the south ! Sutton may readily be spoiled not easily improved. Munificent privileges are her domicile ; primaeval nature is her decoration. Whatever diminishes the one or the other damages Sutton. Here, amidst her woods and heaths, the man, weary from the world’s work, breathes freedom and refreshment; here the cottager, rambling in search of his depastured cattle, feels the pleasure of possessing rights, not the less acceptable that he shares them in common with his richest and his poorest neighbour.

The Parish registers commence in 1603. The number of christenings for the first 20 years was 645, of burials, 501.
In 1636, under the tax for ship money, Birmingham paid £100,Coventry £266, and Sutton Coldfield £80. In 1643 (Apri14), Prince Rupert must have marched through Sutton on his Way to Lichfield, after the battle of Birmingham. The people of Birmingham had supplied the parliament army with arms, and refused them to the king’s service; and when it was reported that prince Rupert was about to pass through the town, the inhabitants took up arms, and With the assistance of one hundred musketeers, attempted to oppose his progress. They were soon overcome: and although the commanders of the royal force used every effort to prevent their men from retaliating on the inhabitants, parties of soldiers contrived to set fire to the town, and destroyed eighty houses: and the people cried out loudly of pillage and acts of violence the probable consequences of civil War. During the Commonwealth, marriages Were performed before the civil magistrate. The happy pairs from Sutton sometimes Waited on a bailiff of Tamworth, or Mr. Willington, at Hurley Hall, or Mr. Thomas Willougliby, at the Brick House, in Sutton (the house built in the Elizabethan style, but at a later period coated with rough stucco, and altered by three sets of bay Windows). 1665, memorandum, parish register: There Was a great fire in the park, April 14th. In an account, preserved in the British Museum, of moneys received for the relief of the poor Protestants of Piedmont, it is stated that in 1655,

Prince Rupert
1668, memorandum, parish register:

“ There was a great fllood of water, so great here att Sutton pools, that it ffloed over the stone wall at the further end of the dam, by reason of a suden Rayne, which did breake downe Wynly-poole Dam, and alsoe Brass-bridg pool dam: July 24.”

1668, parish register:

“ Buryed Elionor Olibery, widdy ; alsoe William Clibery, sonn of the sd Eleanor; was buryed the same 4th daiy of June. Both broyght to their graves together (who were both of ym drowned 1n a. pytt 1n goeinge into a pytt to ffetch out a gosling, as it was credibiely reported).”

There is a certificate [1671] of the names of those who held land and houses in the parish, With the value of the estates, according to a book of one shilling in the pound, made by Thomas Scott, John Adyes, Abraham Pemberton,Thomas Cotton, Richard Rogerson, Ralph Cooper, William Penn, Richard Turner, Benjamin Cockersole, viz.
1677, parish register:

Buried the wife of John Norris, of Four Oaks, being the sixth wife.” 1678 Married John Norris unto flelis Dibble, she being the seventh wife which he hath hadd.”

1721—Number of families in parish were 360.