History of The Ancient Forest and Chase of Sutton Coldfield & The Border Districts
written in 1860 by unknown author
1728, Parish Register:

Buried Thomas Eashtam, a stranger, found murdered at the upper end of Holly Lanem by Edward Powers, who was gibbeted on Little Sutton Common.

1737, The corporation ordered the almshouses to be taken down and a workhouse to be built, for which they voted £800 in the year 1727.

Anecdotes contributed by B D Webster, esq.

In 1745, ll, portion of the Duke of Cumberland’s army marched across the parish on its way to meet the Pretender in Scotland. Some of the troops lay at night at Castle Bromwich, the ofiicers occupying the new inn now called the Bradford Arms. Here they spent the evening with so much revelry that the officer in command, on moving with his regiment next morning, was not suficiently sober to know that he was without his sword. On reaching Basset’s Poll he made the discovery, and was obliged to retrace his steps to recover his weapon He was, however, so much entertained by the adventure, that on reaching the inn he declared that as long as he lived he would give a banquet there on the anniversary of the day on which he marched to fight for his king and country without his sword. This promise he fulfilled, and persons now living have had the circumstance related to them by those who actually assisted at the celebration of an exploit, which at this day would not be regarded as justifying an annual jubilee.

The same ofiicer may have been a principal actor in another adventure of that morning. The advanced guard being ignorant of the road, made inquiries of a man whom they found near Tyburn. The poor fellow had no roof to his mouth, and the soldiers being unable to understand a word he uttered, pronounced him a spy, and took him as such before the commanding ofiicer. He at once ordered him to be shot. The order was instantly executed, and in further vengeance his head was struck off and carried on a halbert as far as New Shipton, and there tossed into a tree, the body having been thrown into a ditch in the Echelhurst, just below Pipe Hays. Singular enough, to confirm the tradition, the body and head were found within a few weeks of each other, in the year 1827. The one at the draining of the meadows, where the execution had taken place; and the other on the felling of the ruins of one of the finest old oaks in the parish.

An annual publication, entitled Present ‘ State of England, in 1750, says: “ Birmingham is a large improving town ; and Sutton Coldfield, distant from London eighty-eight computed miles, and 106 measured miles, though a small town, and the soil of it but poor and barren, is noted for its excellent air and its situation, amongst a great variety of delightful woods.”


In 1806, a Sunday school for girls, under the superintendence of ladies, was established in connection with a clothing club of long standing; afterwards a Sunday school for boys was instituted. Those were maintained by subscriptions. In 1815 a camp was formed on part of Hill Common nearest to Little Hay. It consisted of the Edinburgh and Sussex Militias, the Seventh Dragoon Guards, and a brigade of Artillery.

At the battle of Waterloo, Colburn, a Sutton private soldier, was one of the heroes who held the gate of Hugomont. He afterwards returned home on his pension, and ended a long life in peace at Little Sutton. In 1826 a piece of new road was constructed between the Manor Hill and Sutton, in order to obtain a better level and more direct line for the turnpike road, by raising it across the  valley. The stone dam of the ancient pools was removed, which had hitherto formed the Wall beside the old road, the portion of road remaining still bearing the name of the Dam. Another Wall of living rock, which pursued the curved descent of Milk Street to the Dam, Was cut away from thwarting the top of the new road. The position and height of this wall shewed how much of the hill had been hewed down for the progress of the town.

In l836 the parish of Sutton was thrown into the Aston Union, and the duty of restraining the Wants of the needy devolved on strangers. In 1837, Aug. 8, for the first time, Sutton became a polling place for the members for North Warwickshire.
History of the Corporation in the Law Courts.
In 1581, a complaint having been made by William Taylor and other inhabitants before the Star Chamber, against Thomas Gibons, esq., and others, stating, amongst other things, that the defendants having been sixteen or seventeen years past chosen to be Wardens, had made grants in fee-farm of lands belonging to the corporation to their own uses, to the number of 600 or 700 acres, reserving only twopence an acre rent to the corporation ; and had also made other grants to themselves ; and had stocked the park with strangers’ cattle, and spoiled the Woods, and employed the profits belonging to the town to their own use: sir Fulke Grcville and others, under a commission at Sutton, inquired into the case, and then ordered that such coppices and inclosures in the park, or Within the parish which appertained to the corporation, and had been enclosed in the lifetime of bishop Vesey, should from thenceforth be kept enclosed, as in his days, saving that the inhabitants should have such common of pasture as they were used to have in the coppices since their enclosure, and that they should also have the profits of all other lands enclosed belonging to the corporation separated since the death of the bishop, as they of right had had, saving that the corporation might keep enclosed the coppices for the preservation of the woods.

They also ordered that there should not be made in future any further enclosure or improvement, or conveyance away of any part of the manor, by any person whatever, unless by the assent of the corporation and the greater part of the freeholders ; also, that no person occupying a cottage, built since the death of the bishop, should, in respect of such cottage, have common of pasture: all other residents might turn cattle into the park, as accustomed, paying the accustomed charge; and that any one fraudulently turning in strangers’ cattle should be disfranchised. That order was not to apply to any small enclosure under an acre. By a decree in the Court of Exchequer [1617] it appears that one Robert Blakesley had exhibited a bill in that court against the corporation, charging them with having employed the profits of the estate to their own uses, and that they had sold the king’s manor house there, the stone, timber, glass, lead, &c., and the lands, mylnes, pools, and park, and had wasted his majesty’s woods to the value of £1,000, and conveyed away farms and tenements, reserving a rent of £10 per annum, to the overthrow of the free school; and within three years had consumed the underwood in Lindridge and Sidnall Hay, containing forty acres, by putting cattle therein; and had converted one hundred acres of common pasture into tillage, reserving a yearly rent, whereby the poor lost the benefit of common, and had made free many of the customary tenants; and had sold away one thousand acres, and had kept in their hands lands escheated to the manor, affirming themselves to be lords thereof; and had received to the value of £10,000 for the bargains without employing it according to the charter, and continued selling or converting lands to their own use.

The corporation denied the mal-administration charged against them; on which a commission was awarded to sir E. Bromley, kt., and others, who decreed that the award of sir Fulke Greville should be confirmed, and that all grants and conveyances made according to it should stand. That the corporation might enclose and preserve the coppices, and that they might set out, from time to time, portions of the waste ground for tillage, for which the following rules should be observed: 1st, the poorest inhabitants should have one-third of this enclosure for getting of corn, and should choose on which side of the enclosure their parts should be, so that all the portions of the poor lay together, and were well fenced for the allotted period; and the corporation and freeholders might use the rest in tillage according to their proportions, and should properly fence their lots; 2nd, no part of the ground should be burned; 3rd, all the grounds should be well manured and tilled; filth, these lands should not be tilled more than four years; lastly, there should be paid yearly to the corporation twopence an acre for these lands; also that no more cottages should be built on the wastes, unless sparingly, for the relief of poor and impotent people; that all persons inhabiting cottages, built on the wastes in the lifetime of the bishop, might have the same and their commons according to custom; but that cottages erected since his death should he pulled down, as soon as the tenants died or vacated them; and any of the Wastes that had been enclosed to them should be restored to the common. The commissioners found that lands of the yearly value of one hundred marks, given for the maintenance of the school, had been by former wardens and corporations made away with: so that there was then only £10 yearly for the school-master, by which the school which had been famous was almost destroyed. The commissioners, therefore, advised that the corporation should commence a suit for the recovery of these alienated lands, or for the obtaining of a reasonable rent for the maintenance of the master, according to the intent of the founder; and as regarded Blakesley, the plaintiff“, they found he was no inhabitant of Sutton Coldfield, nor interested in the things of which he complained, and yet he had molested the corporation with suits in law the fourteen years past, not upon any just ground of suit, nor intending the good of the corporation, but only seeking his own ends to erect a cottage, and enclose sixty acres of land for his own private benefit, directly contrary to the award of sir Fulke Greville; and the commissioners were of opinion that Blakesley had, by his contentious proceedings, rather deserved punishment than praise, and, therefore, ordered good costs against him. The court ordered that the advice of the commissioners should be confirmed.

Another suit in chancery was long after instituted by Benjamin Blackham against the corporation, complaining of abuses of the property, and of injury done to the freeholders by enclosing. By the decree of the court in 1675, it was declared that the enclosure of the park and commons, and the felling of timber without the consent of the major part of the freeholders, were contrary to the letters patent of Henry VIII, and a perpetual injunction to restrain them was issued.

In 1726 John Bickley commenced a suit respecting the letting of the cottages within the manor, which was ter-minated by a compromise by Which leases of twenty-one years were granted to the complainants.

About the year 1727 proceedings were commenced against the corporation by William Twamley and others, for the purpose of resisting an attempt made by them to increase the payments of the inhabitants for the agistment of horses and cattle in the park. This litigation was terminated, in 1788, by an agreement that the ancient payments should be accepted.

In 1788 immediately after that agreement, an information was filed by the attorney general, at the instigation of the same Wlliam Twamley and others, against the corporation and seven others, complaining that large quantities of timber had been felled and large quantities of ground enclosed, and let at inadequate rates. In their answer the corporation submitted that the premises granted by Henry VIII were vested in them, but not for their own use; and that there Were extensive Woods in the park, and upon the Waste lands, and that the moneys derived from the sales of timber, &c., had been received by the corporation; and, with the consent of the inhabitants, certain portions of land had been enclosed by former Wardens out of surplus revenue, and placed under the same trust; and that the rents and profits had been for some time paid to the overseers of the poor : and they did not claim any benefit to themselves, as was suggested by the complaint; but they claimed to be legal owners of the park, and to be entitled to cut down Wood as they should think fit, provided they applied the profits to the purposes intended by the charter: that they kept accounts of receipts and disbursements, but had not in their custody any accounts previous to the year 1760. In the progress of this suit an injunction was granted (1792), whereby the corporation was restrained from cutting down any Wood on the estate until further orders from the court. And in 1799 it Was referred to one of the masters in chancery to settle a plan for conducting the charity, regard being had to the charter.

In 1801 the master certified that it Would be proper for the Warden and society to continue the management of the charity, and that out of the annual revenue, stated by the relators to be £220, there was to be paid the crown rent of £58, and corporation expenses. In 1802 he ordered that the proceeds from timbers about to be sold should be vested in 3 per cent. Consols. The net proceeds Were thus invested, after the payment of £1,825. 5s. 4d., the costs of the suit. From the dividends further purchases of like stock were from time to time made; and in 1822 the whole of this fund amounted to £38,475. 8s. 10d., and £3561. 14s. 3d. in hand. For the application of this fund the corporation obtained leavef of the court to bring in a scheme, which was confirmed, and which has been in operation since the year 1825. The affairs of this branch of the charity continued under the regulation of the court ; the interest on the timber fund
was paid to the corporation; and the accounts were passed before the master until, in 1833, by petition, the corporation were relieved from this expense, which averaged £70 per annum, and they were themselves allowed to receive the dividends.

In 1827 a law suit, entered upon by some of the cottagers, to establish their claim to the freehold of their buildings, was terminated in favour of the corporation. In 1885 the Municipal Act, which abolished most of the old corporations, was carried through parliament; but Sutton made a great effort to escape demolition, and succeeded in preserving her ancient charter, the house of lords judging that the new act could not be applied here beneficially, as the trust committed to the corporation was principally that of the management of a charity.

About the year 1855 an attempt was made by some inhabitants and others to bring the corporation under the powers of the Municipal Act. A commission, conducted by major Warburton, was appointed by the privy council, and, in August, 1855, sat twelve days inquiring, in open court at Sutton. The result was that the commissioner recommended that there should not be any interference with the present powers of the corporation. As the whole of this investigation has been printed and published in a separate volume, it is unnecessary here to enter into particulars.

It has been seen by the decree of the exchequer, 1617, that the periodical tillage of a portion of the waste ground was allowed, which continued until the passing of the Inclosure Act, 1824. The land was called the Field Acres. Every fourth year the quantity set out Was equal to an acre for each householder, who drew for it by lot. Before the lots were drawn the value of the chance was latterly £5. There are not at the present day any means of ascertaining What was the state of the property under the charter when first it came into possession of the corporation, nor of tracing the subsequent Variations of the property alluded to in the early law suits. The first complete rental found is in 1720; but neither in that nor in subsequent rentals are the quantities of land specified. These Were first ascertained in 1811. The InclosureAct, in 1824, has caused considerable alterations.
Income and Expenditure of the Corporation

The income of the corporation arises principafly from three sources: first, from the dividends on money vested in the public funds, originating in the sale of timber 1803. Secondly, from the rents of lands and tenements’ in the parish 5 and, thirdly, from the produce of the fall of timber in the park- the income varying from about £2,099 to £3 000.


The sum now in the public funds amounted to £30,554. 18s. 10d., Three per Cent. Consols, the dividends on which are £916. 13s. per annum. The greater part of this is appropriated to schools and other charities, under the scheme sanctioned by the court of chancery, which has been in operation since the year 1825. Some of the principal of this fund was expended by an order of the court, 1825, in draining the park in building schools in the town, at Hill, and at Walmley; yhe building almshouses and keepers’ lodges in the park, and in defreying the costs of a chancery suit instituted by the cottagers who claimed the freehold of their holdings. The suit terminated in favour of the corporation in 1827.

The second branch of the corporation revenue arises from rents, chiefly of lands, with or without farm buildings and of cottages, with small allotments of land, from a perch to three or four acres. Before the year 1824 the commons comprised nearly 3 000 acres. In that year the act for inclosure confirmed to the corporation, as lords of the manor, all cottage inclosures from the waste of twenty years’ standing. The quantity of waste allotted to the corporation was 302A. 1r. 12p, About 190 cottages had been built at different and remote times at a mere nominal rent. Most of these cottages having been rebuilt or repaired, are let now at a moderate rent. The quantity of land belonging to the corporation is upwards of 355 acres. The rental of the Whole property is upwards of £1 200 per annum, from about 120 tenants. The third source of corporation revenue is the park in its timber and underwood. The sales from 1727 to 1787 inclusive, at ten different periods, produced the total of £8,263 7s. 11d.
Expenditure

The first items are the various charities, most of which remain as they were allowed by the court of chancery in 1825, and are so far defrayed by the dividends from the funded property. The decree made in 1825 did not extend to the rents of the real estate. Amongst these charities are seven free schools, in which 120 boys and 120 girls are clothed and educated ; and the education is extended to other children admitted into the same schools. The boys’ schools at Sutton and at Hill are allowed each fifty on the clothed list, with about twenty additional scholars, to meet the wants of the neighbourhood. . The girls’ school in each place has a similar number of pupils. The original numbers allowed to Walmley were twenty boys and twenty girls on the clothed list: but in 1840 the boys were removed to a new school built in the Green Lanes, near the Coldfield, where their number is increased by free scholars; and in 1851 the Walmley girls’ school was removed to a new school house, built near the church at Walmley, to accommodate, besides the twenty free girls, other girls and infants in the neighbourhood. The numbers on the books are sometimes 150. A girls’ and infant school recently built on the Coldfield is mainly supported by the corporation who also assist one infant school and two Sunday schools in the town, an infant school at Mere Green, and one at Hill. The expenses of the recently built schools, and the additional salaries for the masters and mistresses have been defrayed out of the proceeds of the landed estate. Thus about 600 children receive instruction, and about 400 receive medical attention at the cost of the corporation.

The amount of salaries for masters and mistresses is now (1859) about £340 per annum. The following charities are also supported by the corporation, and form part of the scheme : Ten almshouses, with an endowment each of 15s. per month for a single person, and £1. 5s. per month for a man and his wife. They have also a good supply of coals. The gift of fifty pairs of blankets, at the cost of £30 a year, to poor inhabitants, chosen by the corporation. To a lying-in charity £76 per annum. Ten children apprenticed annually, or allowed clothing on going to service, as school rewards; and twenty-four boys assisted in their education at the Grammar School, or other schools in the parish, at the cost of about £50 per annum.

A considerable outlay has been made on the buildings belonging to the estate, especially on the cottages, and this work will continue to make a large demand on the revenue. As regards the cottages, a pecuniary remuneration is not to be expected; but when, against any objection on this head, is weighed the great importance of providing commodious dwellings for the working classes, it will be seen that in this appropriation of the funds the original intention of the charter, to convey moral as well as physical benefits to the Sutton community, is carried out ; and that a more advantageous measure, in connection with the others named, can scarcely be proposed. Other expenses annually incurred are the maintaining of a public weighing machine ; also a parish hearse; the salaries of municipal officers, of park keepers, and Woodmen; and usual and incidental expenses in the management of the estate.

The gradual improvement of the property has allowed of the extension of the charities from time to time. On the 1st of May in every year the corporation awards out of their Funds a marriage portion to four poor maidens, natives or long resident in the parish ; and the choice falls on those who produce the highest testimonials not only regarding themselves, but as to the characters of the men with whom they are about to unite themselves. A valuable trust is, also administered by the corporation, that is, the meadow land given by the bishop, and commonly called the “ Lord’s Meadow Charity,” which confers on fifteen poor widows £2 per annum each. It is calculated that upwards of 700 persons receive direct benefit from the corporation expenditure. The inhabitants also derive from the park the depasturing of their cattle, and labour for men in the winter in making kids and besoms for sale ; and also fuel picked for their own use.

The Moot Hall has been thrice built. That originally erected by bishop Vesey fell to decay, and was pulled down in 1671. A note in the parish register says -

“ At which time the Towne Hall fioore fell done by the presse of people there.”

It was on occasion of receiving a dole : but no one was seriously injured. The second edifice was found to be in so insecure acondition that it was taken down in 1854, and its site, in the middle space at the top of the hill of Mill Street,  being too confined for a spacious hall, and a building there interfering with the traffic and appearance of the street, a.new place was chosen on the side of the church hill, some of which was cut away, and a new town hall was commenced in 1858; the ceremony of laying the first stone took place on the 25th of August, and on the 29th of September, 1859, the building was opened with a banquet, given to the high steward, lord Leigh. Mr. George Bidlake, of Wolverhampton, was the architect; and the Whole Work was completed, with its interior fittings, at a cost of £4,400. Baron Webster, esq., having interested himself much on the subject, was chosen warden, the fourth time in succession, that he might carry out the plans.

It may be asked Whether such large immunities bear proportionate beneficial results. Of course the effects will always correspond to the mode of administering a public fund. If expressly used to promote the moral, that is, the true, benefit of the community, it cannot fail of so happy a result, and that in proportion to the Wisdom exercised. In proof of the benefits actually obtained by this parish, its statistics can be compared with those of neighbouring agricultural districts; and on the lowest ground, the pecuniary, the rates of Sutton are, in proportion, less than half those of Coleshill, Swinfen, Middleton, Drayton, Tamworth, and Kingsbury, as calculated on the population per head. See printed report of 1852. Whilst other tables shew that this parish stands far before the best of eighteen neighbouring rural parishes, in a prominent indication of general good conduct. See the returns of the parishes from 1849 to 1851, in the report of the Registrar General.

Flowers And Ferns


Thus We have reviewed the eras which have left their traces on the loved spot on which we stand. The vision of its own primaeval landscape, the footprints of early ages,  the monuments of more civilized periods, should render the soil sacred to its inhabitants, and appeal to them, with solemn irnportunity, to prove themselves grateful recipients of so many privileges; to stand forth earnest in the cause of truth; trained in the service of humanity, and faithful to transmit to future generations the benefits in which they themselves rejoice.

“ TRUST IN THE LORD AND DO GOOD, SO SHALT THOU DWELL IN THE LAND, AND VERILY THOU SHALT BE FED.”
Border Districts
Aldridge, Co. Stafford, a manor touching on Sutton Chase, is written in Domesday Book, Alrewic (from the Saxon words ald, old, and rike, a domain), which intimates that before the Northmen took possession, a British lordship existed here. The name of Druid Heath, the small tumulus in the field north of the church, and British remains in the neighbourhood, favour the conjecture that some cogent interests on Barr Beacon led to the early cultivation of this high and dry region. Domesday records that Robert holds of William Fitzansculph, three hides in Alrewic. The land is three carucates. There are two in demesne, with one bondsman, five villans, with one borderer. They have two ploughs. There is one acre of meadow ; and the woods, where cattle may be depastured, are five quarantines long and three broad. It is valued at 15s. The seignory paramount (its style, Manor of Great Barr and Aldrewich) causes great intricacy in the older part of the title, and at this time it is not perhaps possible to trace the early descents and transmissions of either manor. The seisin of Stapleton, and also that of lord Ferrers, appear to have been in the manor paramount, and in the Barr lands. Hilarys had an interest in the inferior manor, Alrewich. But the family of de Alrewich were lords here for a number of descents ; from them it passed to Roger Merton; then to sir Robert Stapleton (time Henry III), whose crossed-legged efligy is in the church ; afterwards to the family of Mountford (time Henry VI), warm adherents to the house of Lancaster ; and perhaps sir WVilliam Mountfort had it by his second wife, Jane, daughter of William de Alrewich, who caused her husband to exert unjustifiable means to deprive his first family of their paternal inheritance in favour of her son, sir Edmund Mountford. Sir Edward Mountford and his son, Simon, sold, in 1629, the manor and estate to Jordan and Brandreth ; which latter, the next year, released to Jordan solely, Whose descendant, John, clerk, in 1761, devised them to his nephew-in-law, Edward Croxall, csq., in whose representatives they still remain. On the 10th March, 1645, it was ordered by the committee of the rebel forces at Stafford, for the speedy supply of their garrison at Rushall, that captain Robert Tuthill, governor of Rushall, should gather from persons in Aldridge, Stonall, &c. the money required by the parliament, i.e., The 20* part of theyr personall estate, and the 5“ part of one yeare's rent of land, for which they shall have the publique faith of the kingdome.”


* The rights of the Chase extending over border parishes, as enjoyed by former lords, were not conferred with the Free Warren of the parish of Sutton Coldfield, granted to the Warden and Corporation in the Charter ; therefore all connection ceased with the surrounding districts. Their separate history is, however, given in a concluding chapter.

The persons that were to advance moneys according to this order, were John and Thomas Harrison, of Aldridge, John Adcock, of Nether Stonnell, &c.

At a court leet of John Jordan, gent, October 15, 1664, “ Yt‘ is ordered that the constable of "Barre and Aldrich for the year ensuing, shall, at the parishe charge, sett up a sufficient payre of longe shootinge butts, in the ancient and accustomed place, where the old butts formerly stood, before the five and 25 day of March next, upon payne to forfeit y‘ he make defaults, 39s.”

In 1795, two separate acts parliament were obtained for enclosing the waste lands of Aldridge and Barr, comprising 2,300 acres on the Coldfield, some of which lay Within the limits of the Sutton Chase. Edward Tongue, csq., has preserved some of the fragments of conglomerate rock and granite which formed the stones, supposed to be Druidical, found in several fields near Aldridge and on the rise of the Beacon, having been split with gunpowder or otherwise, by cultivators of the land. From a neighbouring field he has also preserved a heavy globular stone, about fourteen inches in diameter, with a hollow on one surface of about nine inches in diameter, forming a perfectly smooth bason, in a stone of so hard a quality, that workmen
declare their tools could not effect it.
Great Barr co Stafford taking its name, probably, from the British word bar, a summit. Dr. “Hikes gives a Hebrew derivation of the name, barrah, to eat sacrifices, as the spot where the Druids gave notice of their ceremonies. In later times the Beacon may have given warning of the approach of the Danes, but it has no tradition existing, except its name. In 20 Conqueror, Drogo held of William Fitzansculph three hides in Barra. The arable land was three carueates, but none in demesne. There was one villan and one borderer, a Wood With pasture, or a park, one mile in length and four quarantines in breadth. It was formerly, and then, valued at 5s. In time of king John, Barr was divided into two manor‘s, Magna Barr and Farm Barr : one Guido held Magna Barr. (In 20 Edward I there was a Wyrley named Guido.) In Henry III’s time a Henry held it ; and in Edward II’s time John Somery 5 and in 15 Edward II sir Robert ole Stapleton, who had possessions in Aldridge, was lord of Magna Barr, and appears to have settled it on his wife’s relations, the Birminghams. Their descendant through de la Roche, Walter earl of Essex, in 1573, conveyed the manor, or a moiety of Barr, to W'illiam Barroll.

In I618 William Scott is said to enjoy Great Barr. Frances Scott brought it in marriage to John Hoo, esq., from whose son, Thomas Hoo, esq., it was inherited by Joseph Scott, esq., 1791. He was created a baronet in 1800, and in his descendants it remains. His eldest son, Edward Dolman Scott, married the eldest daughter of sir Hugh Bateinan, bart., who brought with her the inheritance of her father’s baronetcy; and her eldest son, sir Francis Scott, was from his birth a baronet. See Baronetage.

The old manor house was a curious half-timbered edifice, in which the last of the name of Hoo, who was sheriff for the county lived in great aflluence, and in fox-lninting style. This old hall was pulled down, and replaced by a new and handsome mansion, by sir Joseph Scott. There is an ancient account book, containing particulars of the neighbourhood—the names of those in Aldridge and Barr who had ground set forth on the Coldfield to plough. It states that, in 1667, a strike of barley was sold at 1s.6d., and a strike of wheat at 2s.8d. ; the next year a strike of barley was 1s.4d., and a strike of wheat 3s.6d. In 1800 Barr Beacon was occupied for nearly a month by a detachment of engineers, to take the bearings of the different stations, as seen from the Beacon, for the government survey. These stations are, the Lickey Hills, Worcestershire; Walton Hill ; Clay Hill; the Wrekin, Shropshire ; Castle Ring, Beaudesert, Staffordshire ; Wleaver Hill; Orpit, Derbyhire; Sutton, Notts ; Hollyhill ; Bardon, Leicestershire ; Corley; Asbury Hill, Northamptonshire; Epwell, Oxfordshire; and Camden, in Gloucestershire.

Across the ridge of the Beacon, in a direct line between the “ teste de Bourne,” and the Holbrook, must be sought the ancient land marks of Bottestile, Tindit-hoc, and Mose-wall, which were there the boundaries of the Sutton Chase.
 
Perry Barr co Stafford.  called so, perhaps, in early times from its fruit trees (per and perain, Br. pear trees). In Domesday, Drogo held of "William Fitzansculph, lord of Dudley, three hides in Pirio. About king John’s time one Henry de Pirie was lord of it. Afterwards Vlfilliam Vllirley gave to Philip, his son and heir, all his lands, tenements, &e., in Pirie, Parva Barra, and Asente (or East Cot), &c., from which there appears to have been a distinction between the lands of Perry and Little Barr, In 25 Edward I, John, lord of Little Barre, had license from the earl of Warwick to enclose his woods, being within the bounds of Sutton Chase, for Which he was to pay six barbed arrows at the manor house at Sutton.

In 20 Edward III, John de Perry held of William de Birmingham the village of Perry, by service of a knight’s fee, £10. In 9 Henry VIII, Eustace Fitz Herbert, esq., died lord of Perry and Sutton Coldfield. One of his daughters and co-heirs carried these by marriage to Thomas Smith, gent, son of sir T. Smith, baron of the exchequer, and they, in 1546, sold Perry Hall and land to sir William Stamford, knight, attorney-general. It is stated that during the Civil Wars, in the time of Charles I, these estates of his descendant, Edward Stamford, esq., were sequestered by the rebel army for their own use, he being a recusant, i.e., loyal to the king, in whose service he was a colonel. But they granted out of the lands a small maintenance to his wife, and allowed her to remain at a rent in her own house of Perry Hall. Edward Stamford afterwards took the covenant, 1646, that he might compound. One of his sons sold Perry Hall to sir Henry Gough, knight, 1669. The family of Gough trace their pedigree from Inneth Gosh, possessed of land in Wales, time of Henry I. Several of the Goughs were active in the wars of the English kings in France, especially Matthew Gough, from 1424‘ to 1450. The historian Speed says “ This esquire of Wales, Matthew Gough, was a man of excellent virtue, manhood, and zeal for his country, and of great renown in the wars in France, where he served upwards of twenty years.” In 1450 he was appointed to help the mayor of London to defend the city against the insurgents headed by Cade. He Was posted on London Bridge, which the rebels attacked by night, and he was killed whilst defending it.

In the time of the Civil Wars, king Charles I was entertained at Wolverharnpton by Mr. Henry Gough, who also received as his guests prince Charles and the duke of York. A subscription in aid of the royal cause was liberally carried on in the town, but the committee thought they had failed in their application to the wealthy and loyal Mr. Gough. However, the same evening, he obtained a private audience of his majesty, and prayed his acceptance of a purse, which, it is said, contained £1,200, and added that it was all the cash in his house, or he should have offered more. His liberality and loyalty were not sinister. He declined the honour of knighthood. That was conferred on his grandson, Henry Gough, of Perry Hall, by Charles ll; and his descendant, Henry Gough, born 1749, was created baron Calthorpe, 1796, in whose descendants the manor and estate remain.
Witton
This was the freehold of one Staunchel before the Norman invasion; but afterwards, being disposed of, with Aston, to William Fitzansculph, Stauuchcl became tenant to this new lord, as generally the native English were constrained to do. It then contained one hide, valued at 20s., and was written Witone. Andrew de Wicton held it, 25 Henry III, when he had a dispute with William de Pyrie respecting boundaries. Upon which the king directed the sheriff of Warwickshire to bring with him twelve discreet and lawful knights of this county, so that a perambulation might be made, and the bounds certified at the next assize. There it is written Wicton, as derived from the bend of the river. In 19 Edward I, John Dyxele held it by the eighth part of a knight’s fee. A descendant passed away must of the manor to Richard de Pyrie. In 47 Edward III it was held by William de la Hay and Marion his wife, and afterwards by Thomas East, yeoman of the crown, who, in 5 Henry VI, enjoyed it; who had a son, Thomas; and he a son, Henry East, of Hay Hall, in Yardley; who sold it to John Bond, a rich draper, of Coventry; and by one of his daughters it was sold, 15 Elizabeth, to Edward Kynardsley, esq., who had married another sister. Their son John alienated the manor to William Booth, esq., an outer barrister of the Middle Temple descended from the Booths in Cheshire, and one who assisted Dugdale in his antiquarian researches.
    Erdington
in former days was popularly pronounced Yenton, or Yernton, and, as the commuting of the g into y was common to our predecessors, the name was probably from two words, gardd and inge (British) becoming gym! and inge (Saxon) enclosed meadows, at first, on the border of the Tame. Dugdale thinks it took its name from some Saxon possessor of the name of Harding, as in Domesday it was written Hardington. Before the Norman invasion, Edwine, earl of Mercia, was owner of this town ; but the Conqueror gave it to William Fitzansculph, baron of Dudley. It was estimated at three hides, valued at 30s, having a mill rated at 3s (perhaps at the site of Bromford Forge), and woods one mile in length, and half a mile in breadth. The barons of Dudley owned it till king Stephen’ s time. Then, or early in Henry II’ s time, it was granted to Henry, surnamed de Erdington, on account of his residence here, by Gervais Pagnall, to hold by the service of a knight’s fee, to whose descendants, in the male line, it continued till Edward IV’s time; and being their principal seat, was strongly fortified with a large double moat on the front and two sides, having the river for a defence at the back. Within this moat was a chapel, peculiar to the house, the ruins of which were seen in the middle of the 17th century. In 6 John, Thomas de Erdington was sheriff for Salop and Staffordshire. Between him and the rector of Aston there was a dispute respecting his private chapel, which was terminated by agreement, that the said parson should receive the tithe of all the profit from Aston mill; and that the mother church of Aston should not lose any tithe or oblation through this chapel ; that the family of Erdington should repair to Aston church on the principal feast days; and on that of St. Peter and St. Paul bring with them three wax tapers, weighing 2lbs. This Thomas was chamberlain to king John, and received many great favours from him, which had not the effect of rendering him true to the King of kings, as opportunity unhappily proved. From royal bounty he received the manors of Kington and Norton, and in 14 John, the lordships of Wellington and Shawbury in Salop: and was so much in the confidence of John that the next year, 1213, he, with Ralph Fitz Nicholas, was secretly sent on a mission to Admiralius Murmelius, great king of Aphrica, Marrochia, and Spain,” to propose that John should surrender the kingdom of England to this Moor, and hold it of him at a certain tribute; and also forsake the Christian religion for that of Mhomet, provided the Mahommedan sovereign would assist him against his turbulent barons : an embassage which would have been resisted with horror by any true Christian patriot.

After his return from this errand of treason to God and his country, he was rewarded with other manors. Nevertheless his needy master engaged him to pay 5,000 marks for the guardianship of the orphan son of Robert Fitzalan, a great Shropshire baron 5 and for leave to marry his daughter to the young noble: possibly a transaction of as selfish a character in private life, as his participation in national concerns was destitute of principle, In 1'7 John, he was commanded to hasten With some forces to Tamworth Castle, to bring out of it all the prisoners’ horses, arms, and ammunition, and to pull it down to the ground: We cannot find that the sentence was executed. His son, Giles, was a large benefactor to monasteries, that the monks might pray and sing for himself, his ancestors, and successors, to the World’s end; and that after his decease his name should be registered in the martyrology, and his anniversary duly kept in as ample a manner as for their patron saint.

His son Henry succeeded him, Who, in 5 Edward I was "With William de Beauchamp, in his Wars in Wales, and there knighted. He married Maud de Someri, who was descended from Roger de Someri, 5 Stephen, and from Ranulph de Meschines, Viscount of Baieux, who married Lucy, daughter of Algar, earl of Leicester, and sister of Edwin, earl of Mercia, and Morcar, earl of Northumbria. He gave to the nuns of Catesby the perpetual patronage of the church at Yardley, that a canon might celebrate mass daily to the world’s end, for himself and Wife, and his father, with all their ancestors and successors. His widow, Maud, married without license from the king, and had to pay £100 for her pardon.

In the time of Edward II, Henry hisson had many royal commissions, amongst them, that of raising men and arms in this county for the Wars in Scotland. He gave 60s. per annum to his private chaplain. It is probable that he built the south aisle in Aston Church, called Erdington Chancel. His descendants served in the wars, and as sheriffs and knights of the shire. One of them, Giles, received a pardon for not appearing to be knighted, 10 Edward III. Another, Thomas, though much employed by Henry VI, preferred the claims of the House of York, and in Edward the Fourth’s greatest difficulties, declared in his favour. The vassals of Erdington would be called out against their neighbours of Sutton ; but there is no evidence that these fields and groves were stained by civil strife. For his services Edward granted him the manor of Bordesley for life. He founded a chantry in Aston Church, and was the last of his family that possessed this place.

The next owner, for whom there is authority, was George duke of Clarence; after which it came to one Robert Wright, who passed it, 11 Henry VII, to sir Reginald Bray, knt., whose nephew sold it to sir Francis Englefield, knt., from whom, in 4 Edward VI, it was purchased by H. Dimock, esq., after the death of Whose sons it was possessed by their sister, who married sir Walter Earle, of Charborow, who sold it in 1 Charles I to sir Walter Devereux, bart., who sold it to sir Thomas Holte, bart., whose hall at Aston was cannonaded, and whose family papers there were destroyed by the parliament troops in 1643. His descendant, Charles Holte, esq., who became the last baronet after the death of his brother, sir Lister Holte, resided chiefly at Erdington Hall, and built the large room there. His only daughter and heiress married Abraham Bracebridge, esq., of Atherstone. At the partition of the Holte estates, in the year 1817, Erdington Hall and Manor were taken by Wriothesley Digby, esq., and they were afterwards bequeathed by him to the only grand-daughter of the late sir Charles Holte, Mrs. Walter Henry Bracebridge, the present proprietor, with remainder to Charles Holte Bracebridge, esq., her brother. Pipe, now known as Woodend, a manor within the precincts of Erdington, was anciently possessed by one William Maunsel, sherilf for this county and Leicestershire, time of Henry III, and having other commissions. From him it came into the family of Pipe; and at length to Thomas Pipe, abbot of Stoneley, and the abbey sold it to Thomas de Beauchamp, earl Warwick, with the rest of whose lands it was seized by the crown, 3 Henry VII. In 36 Henry VIII it was granted to sir William Staunford, one of the justices of the king’s bench, and by him sold to John Butler, citizen of London his son sold it to Edward Holte, esq., 11 Elizabeth, and he to Francis Dirnock, esq., and his heir to sir Williani Devcreux,  Bart., together with Erdington ; after which it was purchased by sir Thomas Hoite. Within the precincts of Erdington there has been a family of the Massys (descended from those of Cheshire), Which, by marriage of an heir female, of Holden, first settled here in Henry VI’s time. Of these John Was a justice of the peace in this county, the latter end of Henry VIII’s reign, and had issue Hugh, and he John, which last John, Wasting his estate by excess, Was the last that had to do here. In 1801 an act was passed for inclosing waste lands in Erdington.
Berwood
from bearw, bearwas, SaX., a Woody place. This being involved originally With Curdworth, is not at all mentioned in Domesday Book, nor noticed till Henry the Second’s time, When Hugh de Arden gave it to the canons of Leicester: “ The place of Berwda, with the exarts and meadows, and all pertaining to it, in the Wood and in the open, and all that part of its groves which is between the stream of Ebroc and the stream of the Tame, with the island of Wychesholm (flag island, from the abundance of the yellow iris), as far as the bounds of Erdinton, with the paunage and all liberties.”  Which grant Was confirmed by William and by Waleran, earls of War\vick, it being of their fee, with all the rest of Arden’s lands here. Thomas de Arden also gave some small parcels of land here to those canons.

There was anciently a chapel of the Blessed Virgin belonging to those canons, long since decayed ; for as early as the beginning of Henry the Fourth’s time it Was certified that there Was only a hall, with chambers and buttery, bakehouse, and other rooms. To support this chapel sir William de Arden, knight, had given to Robert Abbott, of Leicester, and his successors, one messuage, one mill (probably on the river, at Castle Bromwich bridge, Where one still stands), and a large portion of land lying in Curdworth, that two canons might be found to celebrate divine service therein for the health of his soul, and the souls of his predecessors and heirs; but this, together with the manor of Berwood, as also the rectory of Curdworth, appropriated to these canons, was, after the dissolution of the monasteries, purchased from the crown by Thomas Arden, of Park Hall, and Simon his younger son, for the sum of £272. 10s., to be held of the king by the twentieth part of a knight’s fee paying the yearly rent of 30s. 4d. into the exchequer. This inheritance became vested in William Arden, his oldest son and his heirs male ; in Whose family it continued till the (loath of Robert Arden, esq., 1643, when it fell to the share of Dorothy, one of his sisters and co-heirs, who married, time of Charles II, Hervey Bagot, esq., second son of sir Hervey Bagot, knight, in Whose family it still remains.

In 2 Henry VIII, the king, in his right over the ancient chase of Sutton, granted the custody of the outwoods of Berwood to John Blakenhall ; and, in 3 Elizabeth, William Blakenhall granted the same to Richard Greaves. The last Waste ground here Was that of the Hollyhurst Common, near the Birmingham and Sutton high road, which was inclosed 1808-9.
Pipe Hayes
an ancient mansion on a. part of the Berwood estate, which estate came from the Ardens by marriage of Dorothy Arden to the second son of sir Hervey Bagot, in Whose descendants it remains.
Minworth
Maenawr, Br., signifies a manor or district marked out, or walled round with stone boundaries; weorth, Sax, a farm, especially near a river. Before the Conquest this was the freehold of one Godric, and in the Conqueror’s time it was possessed by Turchill de Warwick, and was certified to contain one hide, the woods extending to half a rnile in length and three furlongs in breadth, all valued at 5s. It is there written Meneword. It continued in the Arden family till the attainder of Edward Arden, 27 Elizabeth; then it was given by the crown to Edward Darcey, esq. That part north of the river had been impaled as a park to Park Hall by this Edward Arden; but before his son Robert could recover it from Darcey all the trees had been out down and removed.
Curdworth
anciently Written Croddeswyrth, Cruddewyth, and Credeworth. Cwrt is ancient British for a court, or a circular mound, and the letter 'r' was forcibly uttered. Dugdale conjectures from the spelling that it received its name from a Saxon possessor of the common name of Creda. It includes in its parish Minworth, Berwood, and Dunton. Before the Conquest one Ulvinus had it. In the Conqueror’s time it was possessed by Turchill de Warwick, and by the general survey was certified to contain four hides ; the Woods being half a mile in length and a.s much in breadth, and all valued at 50s.

That most ancient family resided here, whose surname of Arden was assumed from this part of the country north of the Avon, called Arden, or perhaps more properly Ardern, from the British etymology Arderwn, abounding in oaks the Kelts so employing the word, which Caesar says was Arduen in Gaul. Turehill and his descendants had their principal seats at Kingsbury, Hampton-in-Arden, Rotley, and Rodburn, while several male branches lasted, but this place continued longer in their family.

Hugh de Arden gave to the canons of Leicester one messuage, one mill, two carueates of land, 60 acres of meadow, 60 acres of pasture, 300 acres of wood, and 10s. rent, with advowson of the church here, besides his manor of Berwood and a hermitage there. Fines for rebellion, time Henry III, occasioned sir Thomas Arden, knt., to pass the inheritance of all his lands here to Hugh de Vienna, and to Thomas de Arden, of Hanwell, and Rose, his wife, whose son, sir John Arden, knt., a powerful man in the county in 33 Edward III, impleaded the abbot of Leicester for the manor of Berwood, with the advowson of the church at Curdworth ; on which the abbot, fearing partiality in hearing the cause, for it was to be tried at Warwick, procured the king’s letter to the judges of this circuit, sir John de Mowbray and Thomas de Hingylby, requiring them that he might have equal right ; by which means the verdict passed for the abbot. His daughter and heir, Rose, released to her uncle, sir Henry Arden, all her interest in the lands of Curdworth, Minworth, Sutton, and Moxhull, of her father’s inheritance; but this Was lost to the family by the unmerited attainder of Edward Arden, time of Elizabeth, and given to Edward Darcey, esq., and his heirs. Edward Arden’s son, Robert, recovered all but Curdworth and Minworth. In after times four co-heiresses of Edward Darcey, esq., of Newhall, co. Derby, (descended from the Edward Darcey of Elizabeth’ s reign), shared this manor between them. At the present time it is divided between the right hon. Charles Bowyer Adderley, B. P. G. C. Noel, esq., and the rev. William Wakefield, M.A.

Within this manor of Curdworth in 31 Edward I, the abbot of Leicester, having a large proportion of land by the grant of Hugh de Arden, claimed a court leet and infangthef, with assize of bread and beer, when tlle jury found tlle claimgood and allowed it ; and as it appeared that in the time of the abbot Henry, a gallows had been erected, and a thief taken there had been adjudged to death, and hanged by the bailifl’ of the abbot, the same privilege was again allowed. The church dedicated to St. Nicholas was given to the canons of Leicester, in time of Henry II ; it was valued in 19 Edward I, at seven and a half marks, but the vicarage at no more than two marks, which, in time of Henry VIII, was certified to be Worth 100s. per annum ; above 10s. were deducted for procurations and synodals. Patrons (alternately) the right hon. Charles Bowyer Adderley, B. P. G. C. Noel, esq., and the rev. W. Wakefield, MA.

In 1730 it is stated, “ there are here twenty houses and about six teams.” In 37 Henry VI, 1458-9, the bishop of the diocese, taking into consideration that the bridge was out of repair, granted a special indulgence, of forty days, to all the inhabitants of the archdeaconry of Coventry, who should, within three years, charitably contribute to its repair; but it does not appear that the bridge was then of stone, if so, the indulgence had not secured a solid construction, for in less than 100 years afterwards bishop Vesey is said to have built both this bridge and that at Water Orton, at his own charge, with stone brought from the manor house of Sutton. This bridge at Curdworth was pulled down in 1836, having stood three centuries, and was replaced by one built at the expense of the county. The village has much rural beauty in its scenery, and lies amongst banks and knolls, which might be chosen for habitation and defence at a remote period. A battle was fought here between the parliament troops and the royalists, time of Charles I.
Moxhull
anciently written Mukeshull, may have a British origin in mwswgyl, signifying moss. Though in the parish of Wishaw, it seems to have been originally a member of Curdworth, for it is evident the Ardens held it immediately of the earls of Warwick but the de Lisles owned it more than 400 years, and had it first from one of the Ardens, lords of Curdworth. The family name was spelt del Yle, in the time of Henry II, and ranked among the superior gentry of the country. Anketel de Lisle did homage to Philip Marmion, lord of Tamworth Castle, for the lands in Middleton, which he had With his Wife, the heiress of Robert de Blaggreve. His son Henry was termed by Ralph, lord Basset, of Drayton, “ Nostre chiere et bien ame vadlet,” (Dear and well beloved Squaire)

In 18 Edward II, he served in the parliament as a knight for the shire, having 2s. 6d. allowed him per day for his expenses. But in 1 Edward III (1273), upon a strong suspicion of heresy, suggested to the king against him, on the 3rd of May, a commission was issued to William de Clinton, not only to arrest him, but to seize all his lands,  goods, and chattels. On being made acquainted with this process he submitted himself to prison, and brought in sureties to stand a lawful trial. On this he was set at liberty, and his lands and goods were restored to him by the king’s special precept. Opposition to church payments was sometimes treated as heresy. Had he been charged With innovations in doctrine, he would hardly have escaped so easily. After Which, in 5 Edward III, the lord Basset received his full account for all the time he had served and retained to him, and gave him a general acquittance. To him succeeded John, who paid to the executors of Ralph de Arden the sum of 6s. 8d. for reasonable aid, due on the marriage of Sibil Arden, his eldest daughter, in respect of lands at Moxhull, Which he held of the Ardens by military service ; and at the same time 38s. étd. for a relief for those lands. John had a special reverence for the monks at Merivale, and desired that his body might be buried there, and assigned land and rent for wax lights to burn every Sunday and holiday in the chapel adjoining the gate of that abbey; for which he had a grant from the abbot and his convent, in 1359, of a portion of ground within that chapel, seven feet square, Where he and Maud his Wife should have sepulture. His son John was, in time of Henry V, retained as a squire by the earl of Warwick, to serve him with one lance and one archer at the siege of Calais, for which he was to receive £20 per annum, besides his diet. One of his descendants, John, received from queen Anne Boleyn a letter informing him of the birth of her daughter (the future Queen Elizabeth), and desiring his prayers for herself and the infant princess. In the first year of queen Mary’s reign, Thomas de Lisle was commissioned to levy men to serve against the duke of Suffolk, and to bring them to Warwick Castle, where the queen’s lieutenant, the earl of Huntingdon, was staying. He was so zealous in this service that the queen granted him a reversion of the manor of Hampton-in-Arden, for thirty-one years, at a rent of £330 to the crown; but in the patent the number of years was shortened to twenty-one, and the rent raised to £55. The pedigree ends with the co-heiresses of John do Lisle. Maria, eldest of the three sisters, brought this manor, in marriage, to sir Andrew Hacket, knt., master in chancery, son of John Hacket, bishop of Lichfield and Coventry. She died in 1716, and their descendant, Andrew Hacket, esq., left Moxhull, by will, 1815, to his widow, L. Penelope, daughter of Ralph Adderley, esq., who, for her second husband, married the hon. Berkeley Noel, son of sir Gerard Noel, bart., and his wife, the baroness Barham. The hall was originally built in the 14th century.
Wishaw
in the Conqueror’s survey is written Witscaga, for which the following derivations offer themselves—wisz‘a (Saxon), half a hide of land, shawe, a woody slope ; or Wz'tache (mountain ash) and shaw. Before the Conquest it had been possessed by one Ordric (Aldric ?), and afterwards by William, the son of Corbucionis, who was an eminent man in his day, having eighteen lord ships in this county, besides others in Berkshire and Staffordshire. He had a castle at Studley in this county, and it is thought he was sheriff for some part of the Conqueror’s reign, and that his son afterwards held of the earls of Warwick some of the lands that his ancestors had possessed. In Domesday Witscaga is certified to contain two hides, there being then a church, as also woods that contained three furlongs in length and one in breadth, all valued at no more than 10s., which argues that it then lay for the most part waste, as it is said to have been worth 30s. in Edward the Confessor’s time. It is not recorded who possessed it afterwards till Edward the First’s time. In 29 Henry II, John de Doura impleaded Robert and William de Arden for the fourth part of a knight’s fee, lying in Groscote, near Studley, and in Witteshage; and the Knights Templars were anciently possessed of some lands here; for about 12 Henry I11 (1227-8),
they granted unto Margaret de Lisle two yardland and a half lying here, and that family have long owned land within this lordship. The Templars also continued to hold possessions here.

Their tenants were indulged with many privileges ; and to facilitate the attainment of these, they were accustomed to set crosses on their houses. A fraud Was in this Way attempted here by one Chestershire, Who, although he had no connection With the order, affixed their cross to his house, hoping to benefit by their liberality ; but the Templars having gained an ill repute, their possessions Were seized by the crown ; and with them all the property of this covetous Chestershire passed into the king’s hands.

Perhaps the Berefords had the Templars’ lands in this lordship. Of which family, Osbert, in 16 Edward I, settled, by a deed of entail, all his lands in this Wishawe, Langley, Sutton, and elsewhere upon William de Bereford, his brother. In 20 Edward II, it Was found that William de Bereford held a manor here of the Hospitallers, by the service of 17d. yearly. These had succeeded to some of the possessions of the suppressed Templars. In 19 Edward III, Edmund de Bereford had a charter of free Warren in all his demesne lands hero ; from which family it came to Hore , and from Hore to Pudsey ; and from Pudsey to Jesson ; and, in 1696, it was made part of the share of Elizabeth, eldest daughter and co-heiress of George Pudsey, esq., and was brought in marriage by her to Lord ffolliott, and by his heirs sold about the middle of the last century, When its value, under old leases, is stated to have been about £8,000.

In 1291, the church, dedicated to St. Chad, was valued at five marks: but, in 26 Henry VIII, the value Was certified at 105s., over and above 9s. for procurations and synodals. In 1431, one John Harman was incumbent: patron, Robert Hore. In 1696, When the estates Were divided between the heiresses of George Pudsey, esq., the patronage of the living, Which is a rectory, Was made alternate between the two sisters and their heirs, of Whom John flolliott, esq., represents the one, and Charles Holte Bracebridge, esq., the other.
Dunton
The name has a British origin, Din, as well as Danish and Saxon, signifying a fortified hill, or a fort; the first .syllable seems to denote the antiquity of its occupation. The first historical notice of it is in 36 Henry Ill 1252, when Hugo de Mancestre had a charter of free warren in all his demesne lands here, but he had not the capital. messuage, for in 41 Henry III, Philip Luvell had the like grant, from whom the lords of this manor afterwards derived their title. This Philip appears to have been one of the king’ s clerks, 3-1. Henry III, brought into the service by sir John Mansell, his chief counsellor (at that time a ’William Mansell was possessed of Pipe in Erdington) : but Luvell obtained a character for craft; and on account of his corrupt practices was disgraced ; ere long he was restored to favour by the interference of the king’s son-in-law, Alexander, king of Scotland; and was made the king’s treasurer, until he again abused the royal favours by wasting the king’s deer on his forests ; and so was again dismissed.

This discredit, or rather this pecuniary loss, went so near to his heart,/that he retired to his benefice at Hamestable, for he was a priest, and there died of disappointment in about a twelvemonth; on which the king seized his possessions until satisfaction for the frauds should be made. His successor in this lordship, Henry Luvell, clerk, required suit to his court here of the abbot of Leicester, for a certain yardland named Monksfield: as also an oath of fealty, and other services; and whilst the difference Was pending, the canons of that house passed away their title to William, son of Anketel de Bracebrigge, of Kingsbury, of whom Luvell required the same service, but, at the intercession of friends, they came to this agreement, that the said William and his heirs should pay twenty pence yearly rent, without suit of court or other service, to the lords of Dunton.

Ere long, Ralph de Gorges became lord of this manor, and with Joan his wife commenced suit, 22 Edward I, against William de Bracebrigge, concerning those lands: as also against Luvell, who, for contempt of court, found that the sheriff had command to distrain him, and compel his appearance. Hugh de Gorges, the son of Ralph, obtained license from Guy de Beauchamp, earl of Warwick, to inclose that place of wood lying within his manor of Dunton, called Clapshaw; and to make such a fence about it as that neither hart, hind, buck, nor doe, no, nor goat, might enter therein ; with this proviso, that if it should not be sufficiently inclosed to keep out the earl’s deer, belonging to the chase at Sutton, and that upon warning given by the earl’s bailiffs, the same were not made good, Within twenty days, that then it should be lawful for the earl to lay it open again; and if any of the said earl’s deer, being driven by hunting, did break into it, that the earl, or his servants, might pursue them into the said park, and there take and carry them away, without doing wilful hurt to any of the deer belonging to the same Hugh de Gorges: and for the better finding such hunted deer, that the earl’s hounds might likewise enter, but no bow to be brought in with them.

This concession was made about the 28th Edward I. Afterwards sir Ralph, for he was then a knight, came to another agreement with the same earl, for cutting down his woods at Dunton, and making improvement of his waste, according to the assize of the chase, i.e., that he and his heirs should have liberty to make a ditch of three and a half feet large, with a hedge upon it, not a foot and a half high: in consideration whereof, he and his heirs were to pay yearly to the earl, and his heirs, or assigns, at their Manor House at Sutton, a soar sparhawk, or 6d. at Lammas. Shortly after he passed this lordship away to John Lovell, of Tichmarsh, his uncle, Who, in" 1310, sold it for £300 sterling to Hugh de Quilly, together with all his lands in Lea, Curdworth, Minworth, and Mokshull. This Hugh de Cuilly was lord of Radcliffe, Leicestershire, and constable of Kenilworth castle, under Thomas, earl of Lancaster, and so was concerned in the execution of Piers Gaveston, for which, with others, he had a pardon, 7 Edward II. He resided here, and was a knight, and, in 8 Edward II, a knight for this shire in parliament: but he ended his days as prisoner of the king in Pomfret Castle, 16 Edward II (1322-3), his son being also a prisoner, at the same time, for joining with his father in the earl of Lancaster’s rebellion;  but the son was discharged on payment of a fine, and finding security for good conduct.

In 37 Edward III, Thomas de Cuilly, a descendant, obtained lieense from Thomas, earl of Warwick, to cut and fell timber in his wood, called Clapshaw, with proviso, that it should be for the defence thereof, till the spring were grown up, according to the custom of this chase. The male line failing, the manor was sold, 1422, by the son of the female heir, sir Richard Stanhope, knt., to Nicholas Ruggeley, esq., of Hawkshead, co. Stafford, whose ancestors were gentlemen of good note in Staflbrdshire. The special affection he had for hunting probably caused him to settle at Dunton; for, before he purchased that lordship, he had had the rangership of Sutton Chase for twenty years, and he continued to hold this office, under the earls of Warwick, ten years longer, when age unfitted him for the work. In 12 Henry VI, he was amongst the knights and esquires of the county who made oath to observe the articles agreed on in the parliament then held. There was a connection formed with bishop Vesey’ s relations, for Hugh Harman, his brother, married Joyce, daughter of William Ruggeley, and Jane, his wife, daughter of assey; and Joice, the daughter of Hugh Harman, by his first wife, Amicia, married John Massey (of Erdington, J.P. P) ; also John Ruggeley, the son of William and Jane, married Joice, the daughter of Ralph Sheldon, esq., of Beoley, and Margaret, daughter of Hugh Harman, by his second wife, Joice Ruggeley, married Richard Sheldon. The manor of Dunton was sold by the representatives of the Rugeley family to lord Leigh, whose descendant holds it.
Lea
signifies an open field. Of this place there is no mention in the Conqueror’s survey, it being involved in Whitacre, and with land there, probably belonged to Turehill de Warwic, and afterwards passed to the Marmions, of Tamworth Castle. By one of them James de Launde was enfeoffed of it in time of Henry III; and in 37 Henry III he had a charter of free Warren in all his demesne lands here. In 3 Edward III, John de Launde, proving that his ancestors had enjoyed a court leet here, with assize of bread and beer, and other liberties belonging, obtained a charter from the king to confirm them, with infangtheft, tumbrell, and pillory. The manor was passed, in 44 Edward III, to Sir Baldwin Trevill, knt., and came, by one of his co-heiresses, to her husband, Thomas Ferrers, in whose line it continued until about the beginning of Charles the First’s reign, when it was sold by sir John Ferrers, knt., to Charles Adderley, esq., afterwards equerry to the same king, and by him knighted. In his family it has since continued, and is now the property of the right honourable Charles Bowyer Adderley, whose residence, at Hams, is within the Parish. The church, dedicated to St. John the Baptist, was anciently given to the nuns of Mergate, co. Beds ; but in 26 Henry III, James de la Launde recovered the right of presentation. In 36 Henry III, for 57 marks of silver, he quitted to them his claim, and the curate there became a stipendiary to the convent.
Marston
from the Word mere, or marsh, was possessed by Turchill de Warwic, in the Conqueror’s time, and then rated at three hides, valued at thirty shillings, at that time held of him by one Roger, but ere long it came to the Marmions, for in 20 Henry III, Robert Marmion answered for half a knight’s fee, at which time it Went by the name of Merston-Marmion. It appears as if the Marmions were only superior lords of the fee, for at that time the Limesis of Maxstoke held it immediately of them ; and the Odingsells, who had inherited by marriage from the Limesis, had fourteen tenants here and at Cotes, 23 Edward IV, paying 36s.8d. rent yearly: by an heir female it came to Clinton, and from sir John Clinton, in exchange, to Humphrey, earl of Stafford, 16 Henry VI, as a member of Maxstoke.
Hemlingford
from holm, an island, and inge, a meadow (Sax). This place, whence the Hundred takes its name, is the ford over Tame, somewhat more than a “flight shoot” southward from Kingsbury  Church. Anciently Coleshill gave the name to the Hundred, as in the Conqueror’s survey: and the three Weeks court held for the Hundred was continued there. It is probable that the original occasion of calling the inhabitants to this place Was, that some of the Ardens, Whose seat was at Kingsbury, when they Were sheriffs for the county, found the vicinity convenient for the meeting of the hundreders.

This name of the Hundred is first mentioned 8 Henry II (1162), when Ralph Basset, then sheriff, accounted for certain money paid out of the Hundred as amercement for murder; and after this, 21 Henry II, fifteen marks were accounted to the king for three murders in the Sithesoca (that is, a company’s privilege) of Hemlingford. The name of the river Tame is from Tav, or Tam (British), overflowing. Kingsbury was a seat of some of the Mercian kings, pleasantly situated on a cliff overhanging the right bank of the river, on the other border of which spread rich meadows and the Sutton forest. The countess Godiva held it in the Confessor’s days, and after the Conquest Turchill de Warwic, in right of his second Wife, Leverunia, whose inheritance it was, and their descendant, Amicia Arden, inheriting it, married Peter de Bracehrigge, so called from his possessions in Lincolnshire. It remained in the family of Bracebridge until the time of Elizabeth. In the time of Henry V, Ralph de Bracebridge leased the manor house, park, and pools, of Sutton, from the earl of Warwick. See “ The Manor House,” Sutton, p. 5].
Middleton
probably received its name from its situation between places of Saxon royal, or vice-regal resort, Tamworth, Kingsbury, Sutton. It is mentioned in Domesday, first under the title of the lands there belonging to Hugh de Grentemaisnill, where it is rated for four hides, having a church, as also a mill, esteemed at 20s., Which, With the rest, were all valued at £6, having been the inheritance of one Pallinus, in Edward the Confessor’s time. It is next mentioned under the title of lands belonging to Adeliz, the wife of the said Hugh, when the quantity and value in the gross sum do not differ ; but there it is said to have been the freehold of one Turgot, before the Conquest: after Which, ere long, it was disposed of to one of the Marmions (if we may believe the ancient Windows of the church, and some other authorities), by the Conqueror himself. By an account of the revenues of the Templars, taken 31 Henry II, it appears they had lands here granted by Geffry Marmion; in Which family it continued whilst the male line lasted. Philip Marmion, in 13 Edward I, claiming by prescription a court leet and gallows here, which were allowed, as also free Warren within his demesne lands of this place, but to this the jury answered, that the earls of Warwick had free chase within the same, taking forfeitures for all offences done therein and that the said Philip had no warren, except by grant from Ela, countess of Warwick, only for term of her life: whereupon he was amerced for his undue challenge. Ho also disputed with her common of pasturage, perhaps in this neighbourhood.

But this Philip Marmion, dying without male issue, his lands were divided between several co-heirs, of which Alexander Frevill and Joan his wife, Ralph Boteler the elder, with Maud his wife, and Henry Hillary and Joan his wife, had their particular shares in this manor, until at length sir Baldwin Frevill obtained by purchase Hillary’s part. After this he procured license from Scroope, bishop of Coventry and Lichfield, about 1390, to have a private chapel within his manor house here. Boteler’s part appears to have been united to the rest before 1452, when a partition was made between the sisters and heirs of the last sir Baldwin Frevill; for by that it appears that Margaret, the youngest of them, had (inter alia) the whole of this manor of Middleton, as parcel of her share, she being then the wife of Richard Bingham, one of the justices of the king’s bench, and afterwards a knight. He resided here till he died, 14975 (15 Edward IV), being joined in all commissions of peace, and other matters of importance, With the superior gentlemen of this county. She continued a widow to a great age, making a presentation to the church of Preston Bagot, 1504-5. To her succeeded in the inheritance of this lordship, sir Henry Willoughby, knt., her grandson by her first marriage with sir Hugh Willoughby, of Wollaton, knt. Sir Henry was made a banneret at the Battle of Stoke, June 11, 2 Henry VII. This distinction is accounted so honourable that a knight made on the field of battle is allowed to display his arms in the king’s army as barons do, and he may bear arms with supporters. In 4 Henry VII, he was a commissioner in this county for appointing archers to the relief of Brittany, as also a Knight of the Sepulchre. He died 1528.

His sons were sir John Willoughby, knt., his heir, sir Edward Willoughby, knt., and sir Hugh Willoughby, knt., who gained a melancholy celebrity in his navigation of the north seas, in the two last years of king Edward VI’ s reign. In 1553, under the direction of Sebastian Cabot, then Governor of the Mysterie and Company of the Merchants Adventurers for the Discoverie of Regions Unknown, three ships were fitted out for the discovery of a north-cast passage to China, and were placed under command of sir Hugh Willoughby. His instructions consisted of tliirty-three articles, in which Christian principles were declared the source of duty morning and evening prayers the reading of the scriptures and other religious exercises were required to be observed in the ships. There were also strict regulations against carding, dicing, and such other divelish games.
 
“ Item 30. If you shall see any people weare lyons or beares skinnes, having long bowes and arrowes, be not afraid of the sight, for such be worn often times more to feare strangers than to any other end.”

The young king Edward, interested in whatever might enlarge the intelligence of his people, and more especially in all that might eonduce to the diffusion of gospel truth amongst mankind, Wrote in English, Greek, Latin, and other languages, to all the kings inhabiting the north-east parts of the world towards the mighty empire of Cathay, 1l.e, the north of China. Sir Hugh sailed from Deptford May 11, 1553; his journal then commences. The vessels encountered much severe weather, and were separated. Sir Hugh, with two vessels, was obliged to find a harbour for the winter on the coast of Lapland, near Kezor, where he and most of his company were alive in the following January, 1554, as is shewn by written papers found in the vessels. But in the next year the two ships were discovered by some Russian fishermen; and the sad spectacle presented itself of their commander and seventy men frozen to death. The Written documents revealed something of their melancholy story.

Sir Francis Willoughby built the mansion at Wollaton ; he died 38 Elizabeth; and the male line failing, this manor was allotted to Bridget, his eldest co-heiress, who married sir Perceval Willoughby, knt., descended from the Willoughbys of Eresby. Their son and heir, sir Francis Wlilloughby, knt., married Cassandra, daughter of the earl of Londonderry, and by her had one son and two daughters, which son, Francis, was possessed of much talent and virtue. He was born 1635 ; he passed with credit through Trinity College, Cambridge; and afterwards, in conjunction with his college friend, the rev. John Ray, fellow of Trinity College, prosecuted the study of natural history with unremitting ardour. Observing that the investigation of animated nature had been neglected in England, he made that his department, Whilst Mr. Ray undertook the vegetable kingdom. They travelled much in this country and on the continent to make collections. Mr. Willoughby Was the first naturalist who treated the study of birds as a science, and the first who made any thing like a rational classification in zoology.

The systems adopted by Ray, and also by Linaeus, were originated by him. Dr. Barrow Was one of his friends, and observed that he never knew a gentleman of such ardour after real learning and knowledge, and such capacity for any kind of mental acquirement. He died at Middleton, 1672, in the 37th year of his age. He left two sons and a daughter. His works were Ornithologiaz, in 3 vols. folio, and Historiae Piscium, folio, with Papers in the Philosophical Transactions. His friend, Mr. Ray, edited and published the two former works after the death of the author. Mr. Ray had spent much time at Middleton, and Mr. Willoughby left him an annuity, and made him one of his executors, and a guardian of his children during their education. He, therefore, continued for some time to reside at the hall, and married whilst there. Mr. Ray Was the son of a blacksmith at Black Netley, in Essex. In 1649 he obtained a l'ellowship at Trinity College, Cambridge, and after the Restoration he was ordained by the bishop of Lincoln, 1660 ; but in 1662, not being able, conscientiously, to sign the declaration imposed that year, “that such persons as had taken the oath of the Solemn League and Covenant, Were under no obligation to that oath,” he was deprived of his fellowship, and disqualified from holding any ecclesiastical office. In 1667 he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society, and he contributed to its papers many of his observations. After 1676 he ceased to reside at Middleton Hall, and for a short time took up his abode at Sutton Coldfield, before he retired to spend the remainder of his life at his native place in Essex.

Amongst his numerous Writings are A Catalogue of English Plants, The Wisdom of God Manifested in the Works of Creation, and Synopsis Methodica Animaliam Qaaolrupedam. He died January, 1705. The daughter of Mr. Willoughby married the duke of Chandos. His eldest son, Francis, was created a baronet by Charles II, at the age of ten years, as a compliment to his father; but he died before he was twenty. Thomas, the younger son, was one of the ten peers created on the same day, 1711, by queen Anne, and received the title of baron Middleton, of Middleton. The manor and estates continue in this family. See Peerage. The hall, an ancient building, still retains its moat.
Drayton Basset
Its situation on the river Tame and near the Roman road, Watling Street, renders it probable that an ancient village or mansion (in the Celtic tongue, T1'ef, or Tray, in composition) gave the first syllable to this Saxon hamlet and manor. The stream which flows through it, and here joins the Tame, has obtained no more distinctive name than Bourne, or Blackbrook. In the time of Edward the Confessor, this lordship belonged to Algar, earl of Mercia, Whose son, Edwine, lost it by endeavouring to oppose William the Conqueror. At the time of the Conquest, Turstine de Basset resided here, and had five hides here. He Was the founder of several noble families. At the survey, the king had four hides here, which came to Hugh Lupus, earl of Chester. His daughter, Greva, Wife of Henry Riddel, justice of England, time of Henry I, possessed it. She founded the monastery at Canwell. her daughter inherited this manor, and married Richard, son, of Ralph Basset, chief justice of England, and the grandson of Turstine Basset. About the beginning of .lohn’s reign, the lord Basset of Drayton, a great baron in those parts, enclosed a park out of the Sutton Chase, For which he had to come to an agreement With the earl of Warwick, as related under “ Sutton Chase.”

In 48 Henry Ill (1363-4) he was in arms with Simon Mountfort, and other barons, for the recovery of their liberties, and was killed at the battle of Evesham, after having rejected the proposition of Mountfort, to leave the kingdom until better times. One of his successors, Ralph Basset, when steward of Aquitaine, 15 Edward II, acted so well for the English interests, that the king of France endeavoured, but in vain, to expel him by force or by negotiation, from the possessions of the king of England in France. Ralph, the last lord Basset, was, time Edward III, eminent in Wars, and was the forty-fifth Knight of the Garter. In 4 Richard II, he was in the retinue of the earl of Buckingham in France, with 200 men-at-arms and 200 archers, and rode with his banner displayed. He is reputed to have slain a Wild boar on Basset’s Heath; his tomb and efligy werein Lichfield Cathedral, but were destroyed by the parliament army, time of Charles I. By his will he left that whosoever should first bear his surname and arms should have his great velvet bed for life. His aunts became his heirs; and the first earl of Stafford, his cousin, received Drayton for his inheritance, and it remained in his posterity until the attainder of its owner, Edward duke of Buckingham, 13 Henry VIII (1521). It then escheated to the crown ; and the king made a long lease of it to George Robinson, a rich mercer of London. He married, for his first wife, Ann Levison, daughter of John Levison, of Sutton Coldfield, and Ainicia Harman, his wife, a sister of bishop Vesey. Their son, Nicholas, died without issue. By his second wife, Joan, he had a son,William, who was mixed up with a crime and tragedy at Shirford, in which an old gentleman was strangled by a young wife. For this murder she was burned to death, in the first year of queen Mary’s reign. William Robinson’ s son Thomas wasted his inheritance, and mortgaged or sold Drayton to Richard Paramore, a Londoner, who had much trouble and suit about it, and on October 4, 1578, Robinson’s servants forcibly entered Drayton House. To oppose this violent proceeding, lord Stafford, sir Ralph Egerton, Mr. Bagot (the sherilf), and 7,000 people, beat down part of the premises with cannon I and obliged them to surrender, when they found three men within the house, whom they sent to Stafford gaol. Not liking further trouble in this matter, Paramore passed over his interest in the lordship to the earl of Leicester, Robert Dudley, whom few dared to disturb. He left it to his countess, who, by her first marriage with the good earl of Essex, was mother of queen Elizabeth’s favourite. She lived to see the grandchildren of her own grandchildren, and died in 1634. Though her son Robert never possessed the estate, he frequently visited his mother there. In 1597, she wrote to him that if he wished to see her in London, he must send some coach horses to fetch her, as her own would not be able to drawn her out of the mire.

In the Tamworth parish register is a note, dated 1598 :

Mem: ‘That the 30th day of April, Robert E1 of Essex went from Drayton Bassett towards Ireland, with a hoste of men, to make warre against the Earl of Tyrone, an Irishman.”

His well known history was concluded by the axe (1600), in the thirty-fourth year of his age, and the last of Elizabeth’s reign. Robert, his son, was born 1590, and on the accession of James I was restored to the honours of his father. He became the youthful associate of Henry prince of Wales, and excelled in manly diversions and mental accomplishments. From his youth he Was in favour of church reform, and his natural temper seems to have been no improvement on the impetuous one of his father. He was unfortunate in his matrimonial choice, and was twice divorced. He went abroad and gained a celebrity in arms, and afterwards devoted himself to study and the patronage of the fine arts. Arthur Wilson, the historian of James I, was, as a young man, in the service of the earl of Essex, whose grandmother was then residing at Drayton ; he writes-—

“My lord would ride very hard, and loved it extremely; he was an excellent horseman: fore score, or a hundred miles a day, I have often ridden with his lordship. Going from Draiton, in Stalfordshire, to the earl of Hartford's house, in Wiltshire, the lord Cromwell being with him, they dined at Warwick. And the said lord had a constitution that hee could not settle his stomach till hee had enough to overlay his head. As soone as wee had passed the towne stones to spare their feet, our horses had the feeling of our heeles. My lord. Cromwell putt for it (being well horsed and armed) with such fury, that hee made my horse run away with mee; at the bridge, a mile beyond Warwick, the waters were out; my lord of Essex took up before he came to them, being on a well guided horse : my lord Cromwell had a strong horse, which plunged, with much adoe, through the water. I rid upon a barberie, which l could not command—a fiery nag—and being parted by the water, and he not able to go through with it, nor I to stop him, wee floundered into the midst of it: and, being parted by the waters, wee shifted for ourselves, and came dropping out. But, shaking our eares, we peeced againe, and away.”

On the first insurrection of the Scots, the earl of Essex was made by Charles I lieutenant general of his forces, afterwards lord chamberlain, but he proved disloyal the fruit of temper and was appointed general of the English rebel army. He did not long command the men who, with real or feigned zeal in the cause of religion, upset those divine laws “ they had no mind to,” and considered it righteous to make havoc of their neighbours’ goods, and slaughter of their persons, inorder to carry out their own designs, or those of more crafty leaders. The Worst characters are made instruments in the overruling hand of Providence, and do work which good men are restrained from. They pass over the earth like the harrow on the clods with a sharp and fierce rending, but the fallow is thus laid open to the sunshine and showers, and evil roots are exposed for rejection. The earl died of disease in 1647.

His son had died an infant, and his two sisters became his heirs. His manor, which he had, in fact, purchased from his grandmother’s third husband, came to his sister, the marchioness of Hertford, who devised it to her granddaughter, lady Mary Finch, wife of sir Thomas Thynne, hart., from Whose family, enobled by the title of Viscount and earl of Weymouth, it was purchased by the first sir Robert Peel, bart., in I790. His son, sir Robert, the eminent statesman, built the modern, handsome, and tasteful mansion, now in the possession of the third baronet. See Baronetage. The ancient hall was a curious specimen of the rudeness of our early domestic architecture. It was principally of wood and plaster (in time Henry VIII all the houses in Tamworth were built of wood) ; there was a rough old hall, hung round with portraits, stags’ heads, &c. ; the house was quadrangular, with several little staircases, like an old college, and the rooms mostly small. Yet here the earls of Leicester and Essex frequently resided. In one of the largest bedrooms, over the chimney-piece, hung a half-length portrait of a lady, in a rich flowered dress, with large ruff, said to be queen Elizabeth; and on the opposite side a portrait (supposed to be that of the earl of Essex, the parliament general), holding in his hand a ponderous lance, on which is the motto :

“He that can this ebon lance weilde, Shall have the same and eke my shield.”

This picture was bought, at the time of the sale of the property, by Charles Chadwick, esq., and it has since been placed at New Hall. Basset’s Pole, where the high roads from Tamworth and Sutton, and from Coleshill to Lichfield Cross, formerly stood very high as a guide to the traveller over a desolate heath.  The Coleshill road was, previous to the railroads, a high road from London to Liverpool. An old poet describes a scene in this quarter between Edward IV and a tanner of Tamworth, when the king:

“ With hawke and hounde he made him bowne,
With horne and eke with bowe,
To Drayton Basset he took his waye,
With all his lords arowe.
And he had ridden o’er dale and downe,
By eight o’clock in the daye,
When he was ware of a bold tanner
Come riding along the waye;
A fairs russet coat the tanner had on,
Fast buttoned under his chin;
And under him a good cow-hide,
And a mare of four shilling.

God speede, God speede thee, sayde our king,
Thou art welcome, sir, sayde hee,
The readyest waye to Drayton Basset,
I praye thee shewe to me.
To Drayton Basset wouldst thou goe,
Fro’ the place where thou dost stand?
The next payre of gallowes thou comest unto,
Turn in upon thy right hand.”



And as the witty tanner adds :

All daye have I ridden on Brocke, my mare, And I am fasting yett.

It may be conjectured that he was returning from a visit at a Wolverhampton fair, and met the king on the Sutton side of Basset’s Pole, where probably a gallows stood. Basset’s Heath, consisting of 171 acres, was inclosed at the end of the‘ last century; On the Tamworth road, across it,‘ is a part called Carraway Head, which is perhaps a corruption 0f Canoleway Head.
Canwell
Anciently written Canole, Cranewell,’ Kanewell, Canenvella. A British derivation is perhaps ‘found for it in the words: can = whiteness, and gwal = a fence or wall, or a fenced and cultivated place, or Caenawl, inclosing. The aspirated c might be corrupted to Cranewell. Geva, daughter of Hugh, earl of Chester, founded a small priory here, time Henry I, having in her widowhood the neighbouring manor of Drayton. In Stephen’s time, Roger earl of Warwick, gave to the monks of St. Benedict, of Canwell, three virgates of land lying in Hull or Hill, within the lordship of Sutton Coldfield. It became a poor monastery. One John was prior in the time of Henry VIII, and when it was suppressed there was only one monk in it. Cardinal Wolsey obtained it in 17 Henry VIII, to bestow on two colleges.

This manor, four messuages, and 1,500 acres, held of the king by a knight’s service, were purchased by bishop Vesey from Henry VIII. In 1555 the bishop left it to his nephew, John Harman, who is said by Shaw, History of Stafordshire, to have died 6 Elizabeth, and left it to his daughter and heir, Sibil, a child of six years of age , but that the inquisition says it was Thomas Harman, gent., and Thomas, dying 1563-4, left it to Sibil, his daughter and heir, a child of six years of age. It is remarkable that nothing more certain has been met with respecting the family of bishop Vesey, and the transfer of this estate from them and other persons, until sir John Pershall bought it of lord Brabazon, and gave it to sir William Pershall, his younger son, Who, not long after, sold it to sir Francis Lawley, bart., in whose family it still remains. He was descended from Thomas Lawley, esq., cousin and heir of John, Lord Wenlock, who was privy counsellor to king Edward IV, and Knight of the Garter. The first baronet was Thomas, created 1641; and his descendant, the late sir Robert Lawley, was created baron Wenlock in I831. See Peerage.

The site of the priory is that of the stables, which have been formed out of its ruins. It was a curious old fabric, with bay-windows and other gothie ornaments, and was destroyed in the 17th century, when a tenant, in demolishing it, and in forming a pool of water below it, found as much lead in the old buildings, and in the exhumed coffins, as would defray the expenses of the work. There was in this priory an inclosed well, called St. Modenafs Well ; and some have thought it obtained the name of can, or powerful, from its supposed virtues: but that etymology wants analogy.
Hints
The village and other principal parts were not within the boundaries of the Chase of Sutton Coldfield, for that could extend only over lands belonging to the Hints manor, which lay on the Sutton side of the Bournbrook. Hynt, in British, signified a common road, the village lying on the old Watling Street. In the Conqueror’s time it was held by Oswald of the bishop, as part of his barony of Lichfield. family took its name from the place. Afterwards the Meynells had it ; then the Bassets ; and, in the time of Henry Vl I I, the Sacheverells had a part; and, in the time of Elizabeth, Ralph Floyer, esq., of the Middle Temple, purchased of the Bassets the manor house and other parts. On the death of Ralph Floyer, esq. (1793), his nephew Cawley took the name of Floyer With this manor and estate, in Whose family it remains. Besides the lords of the manor, there Were formerly here other families of note, as the Veres. In 1643-4, the committee at Stafford, acting for the parliament, allowed William Vere to pass through that town, on payment of £30; and in 1644, this committee ordered that Mr. Vere shall pay £5 for the present ; and as the committee, there present, Were unacquainted With his state, Mr. Swynfen and Captain Barbour shall add to it or diminish from the £5 as they shall think fit.
Weeford or Weyford
So called from the London high road crossing the Bourne, or Blackbrook. In the C0nqueror’s time, Raufe held the manor of the bishop, as a member of his barony of Lichfield ; afterwards William de Odingsells. In 17 Edward I, the earl of Warwick granted the bishop to make a park here of his Wood, callcd Ash Hay, as being within Sutton Chase; and in 21. Edward I, he gave leave to William de Odingsells to hunt in the Woods of Weeford, Thickbroom, and Hints. One of the Purefoys was slain near this ford in the cause of Edward IV, by sir Henry Willoughby and sir Henry, in the same place, fought lord L’isle, and was desperately wounded. In the time of queen Elizabeth, the family of the Wingfields possessed this manor, afterwards sir John Digby; and a Digby sold it to John Brandreth, esq; either he or his son was one of the Commission, in the reign of James I, to settle the boundaries of the adjoining parishes. Henry Brandreth Was a warm partizan of the revolutionsts, in the Civil War, and was one of the so called Committee of Safety, appointed by the rebel army, 1649, Which was to exercise all the powers of a council of state, to punish opponents, to dispose of places of trust, and to treat with foreign states, &c.

In 1640, Mr. John Heath, of this place, was guaranteed by the royalists from pillage, on account of his payments to the king’s army. He also received a guarantee from the parliament committee of Stafford, on payment of £50. In 1643, he was ordered to pay £50 to the parliament committee at Tamworth. In 1643  he was required to lend £20 to the king’s garrison at Lichfield  and in 1645, to pay £50 to the same garrison : at the end of that year two successive acknowledgments of £20 each are extant ; and in 1661, there was a receipt for £3 towards his majesty’s cause.

Under the parliament and Cromwell, 5,000 persons had their estates sequestered; and 3,000 compounded for their estates during twelve years. This manor is in the Lawley family. The manor of Thickbroom is not noticed in Domesday. It was held, in 24 Edward I, by Williarn de Odingsels, as part of the bishop’s barony. The Thiekbroogrns were a very old family here. In 13 Charles II, the Dixeys, of Sutton Coldfield and Sheldon, sold lands here adjoining to that of Ralph Thickbroom; and one Thomas Tykebroom, of Tichebroom, married Margery Harman, daughter of Harman, and great niece of bishop Vesey. One Thomas Thickbroom was settled at Little Hay in 1655. Thickbroom and other lands in Weeford at length came, by purchase, ;into the possession of John Manley, esq,, whose grandson, the present owner, has built here the handsome mansion called Manley Hall
Shenstone
was written in Domesday, and other ancient records, Senestan, which might be derived from Sejenstan, a sign-stone, or scynestan, a white shining stone, marking the boundary of the county and forest. William the Conqueror gave this manor to Roger de Montgomery, and of him it was held by Robert D’Oiley, son of the baron de Olgie, in Normandy. It came to the earls of Warwick, as superior lords, when earl Henry married the eldest of the two daughters of Henry D’Oyle. Ela, countess of Warwick, widow, gave license to sir Robert de Grendon, to inclose forty acres in the territories he held of her in Great Barr; thirty acres between Hikeyeld Street and the Haye Farm, below the town of Aston; and ten acres in the forest of the said Ela, of Sutton: for which donation he gave her a pipe of wine. In the time of Edward II, sir Ralph de Grendon, lord of Shenstone, who held it under the earls of Warwick, granted to Hugh of the Moor, of Little Aston, in Colfeld, one acre of his waste upon the Colfeld, in fee of Shenston, rendering annually to him and his heirs 8d. of silver, for all services: witnesses were William lord of Alrewich, Rd° de Pipe, Gilbert de Hince, &c.

It continued with the earls of Warwick until the attainder of Richard Neville, after which it was conveyed, compulsorily, by the heiress, his widow, with all her Inanors, to Henry VII. Edward VI renewed the grant to John Duke of Northumberland and earl of Warwick, who was beheaded by queen Mary ; queen Elizabeth granted it to Ambrose Dudley, the good earl of Warwick, brother of the earl of Leicester.

This estate having again been forfeited to the crown, by sir Robert Dudley, in James the First’s time, king Charles I granted it to one Balmerino, a Scotchman, who sold the park to one Lake, and the lordship to Rowland Frith, esq., a clerk in chancery. The manor came into the possession of William Tennant, esq., time of George II, by will of the last owner, John Smith, esq.

The church, dedicated to St. John the Baptist, and valued in the king’s books at £6. 5s. 8d., Was built originally soon after the Conquest, by the D’Oyleys, since which it has undergone many reparations , and in 1853, an entirely new church was built within the churchyard, having the ancient tower standing. Robert D’Oyley, founder of Oseney Abbey, gave to it this church, with its rights and lands, previously given to St. George’s Church, Oxford. Henry VIII sold the great tithes, it is thought, to the Brandreths. In the time of George the First they were bought by the rev. Richard Hill, whose nephew, Samuel Hill, esq., also obtained the advowson from the crown. This was purchased by the first Sir Robert Peel, who bought from Leigh, esq., the manor and the great tithes.

Radley Moor was partitioned in the 17th century. The Peat Moor, containing 600 acres, was inclosed in 1800 ; buried trees have been found in it of some length, but scarcely a foot in diameter, said to be fir trees, and cut from the roots by the axe, the marks of which were found upon the roots still standing. As fir trees are not the natural growth of these parts, they must have been a plantation of some early date. About the year 1620, Shenstone paid £29. 12s. hearth money, for 296 hearths.

During the Civil Wars, time of Charles I, Shenstone was much harassed by the garrisons of Stafford and Rushall house, and protected only when Lichfield was in the hands of the royalists. In general the gentry were loyal. In 1644, the parish was ordered to pay its weekly assessments as settled by the Stafford parliamentary committee. Rowland Frith and his son were sufferers for their loyalty, and were obliged to a composition at £270. Shaw states that certain crown rents are paid by several tenants in the parish to the Pendrill family, descended from the countrymen of that name, five brothers, Who, at the peril of their own heads, and in the face of a high reward for the person of the king, preserved Charles II under their roofs, and in an oak tree, and conducted him with skilful secrecy from place to place, until at length the Staffordshire heroine, Jane Lane, assisted him, as her groom, to reach the sea coast, and escape to France.

Whilst escorted by these five heroes, in a dark night, between Boseobel and Moseley, in Staffordshire, the young king observed to one of them, the miller, that his mill horse was the dullest jade he had ever ridden; Humphry replied, “ My liege, can you blame the horse to go heavily when he has the weight of three kingdoms on his back?

Times of public difficulty strengthen and develop the noblest qualities of the human heart in the honest and single minded, Whilst they render more apparent the meanness of the selfish and luxurious. Shenstone Hall was built by the Rugeleys, and stood on the site of the stables of the present house. It belonged afterwards, in succession, to the Brandreths, to Hill, to Harwood who took the name of Hill, and was grandfather of lord Berwick to Cook, and to Gough. Shenstone Park was first inclosed 20 Henry III, by one of the Grendons; it was three miles in circumference, and in Henry VIII’s time was well stocked with game ; but it was disparked, time Charles II. It had three lodges of entrance towards Sutton, Little Hay, and at Wood End. The Nevilles succeeded to the Grendons, afterwards Lake and Ward, Head, Striekson, who built the present house, and sold it about 1724 to the hon Richard Hill, clerk, whose nephew, Rowland Hill, was created a baronet, 18 George I ; for want of issue the park, advowson, and tithes, of Shenstone, Went to an heir, Thomas Harwood, afterwards Hill, esq., of Terne. The family and the name of Harwood are of Saxon origin,  spelt Herwood, Horwood, or Whorwood. According to Domesday, Herewood had lands in Warwickshire and Lincolnshire previous to the Conquest. He was the son of Leofric, earl of Mercia, and was chosen by the prelates and nobles of Lincolnshire, to be general of their forces. He was called the mirror of knighthood. His descendant, Noel Hill (a Harwood), first lord Berwick, sold Shenstone Park in 1797, to Edward Grove, esq., son of William Grove, esq., sheriff for Warwickshire, 1773, in whose family it remains.

Shenstone Moss was given, by Henry D’Oyley, to the abbey of Osney, whose monks built a grange here for their residence. At the Dissolution it was granted to the Stanleys; then came, by marriage, to the Dolphins; from them, by purchase, to William Turner ; then to lord Spencer Chichester; then to Henry Case, esq. Wood End, Park Hall, was perhaps built in the reign of Charles I, by Alexander Ward, after he had purchased a part of the old park from lord Balmerino. Footherley, in the time of Elizabeth, belonged to Francis, one of the Floyers, of Hints. It afterwards passed to Samuel Whalley, then to Lewis Buckeridge, esq., at whose death it was again sold.
Little Aston or Easton
so called as being due east of the old lordship of Aldridge was written, 7 Edward IV, Aston-in-the-Colyfield, and, in 7 Henry VI, Aston-1./19012-Colfield. In time of Henry III, John lord of   Easton, grants to Richard, son of Philip de Easton, two acres of land, with appurtenances, lying between Ykenilde Street and Schupenewi, &c. witnesses, Nicholas de Alrewic, Robert Jordan, &c. The Fowkes possessed this manor and seat in 1583, and of them the Ducies, originally from Normandy, bought it in the time of Charles I. Robert Ducy Was a banker in  London, and wealthy. He was lord mayor in 1630-1, and was created by Charles I a baronet, 1629. At the commencement of the Civil War the king borrowed from him £80,000, all of which he lost ; but at his decease he left upwards of £40,000 to his children. His eldest son, William, succeeded to the baronetey, and resided at Aston Hall ; and, after his death, a third son, Richard, who twice paid towards the assessment for the royal aid ; but Little Aston had been given to the youngest son, Robert, by his father, the first baronet, and in 1643, when residing here, he was under the disagreeable circumstance of being captured, by order of the committee of Stafford, as a person no way devoted to serve the parliament’s designs; and not being released until he had promised, and given a note under his hand, either to return to Stafford as a prisoner Within a month, or to send the committee £100. By a female heir Little Aston was carried into the family of Moreton, from Whom it was purchased by Richard Scott, esq., Who built a large mansion on the estate, and married Anne, daughter of John Addyes, esq., of Moor Hall. He died 1734, aged 62; their only daughter, Mary, born 1713, married, in 1734, Andrew Hacket, esq., of Moxhull, to whom she carried Little Aston Hall, and other estates ; and from the Hackets, in the time of George II, it was bought by William Tennant, esq.,and by his descendant sold, in 1828, to Leigh, esq., and by him to earl St. Vincent. William Tennant, esq., by a mean of thirty observations on the sun and fixed stars, found the latitude of Little Aston Hall to be 52° 37’ 26” north. The longitude supposed 1° 42’ West. The discovery of remarkable remains of an early British period, found on one of Mr. Tennant’s estates in this neighbourhood, is related at the commencement of this Work. The hon. Edward Jervis, the present possessor, has enlarged and beautified the house, and fronted it with stone in the best style and taste.

This concludes the history as recorded up to 1860. The following family tree's are only up to 1860, when published.

The Harman Tree (can be downloaded and enlarged)

The Hackett Tree

The Riland Tree

Pudsey Tree

Arden Tree


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