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The Past - Sutton Coldfield's History

History is written in the eye of the beholder, or even worse, at third hand. What is written below should be taken as almost 'gospel' but certainly not 100% fact.
Some of that written below is from the online site, Wikipedia. This is written by members of the public and should most certainly not be taken as read.

Areas not on here have their own pages


The earliest known signs of human presence in Sutton Coldfield have been discovered on the boundaries of the town. Archaeological surveys undertaken in preparation for the construction of the M6 Toll road revealed evidence of Bronze Age mounds near Langley Mill Farm, at Langley Brook. Additionally, evidence for a Bronze Age burial mound was discovered, one of only two in Birmingham with the other being located in Kingstanding. Excavations also uncovered the presence of an Iron Age settlement, dating to around 400 and 100BC, consisting of circular houses built over at least three phases surrounded by ditches. Closer to Langley Brook (a tributary of the River Tame), excavations uncovered the remains of a single circular house surrounded by ditches, dating from the same period.

Near to Langley Mill Farm is Fox Hollies, where archaeological surveys have uncovered flints dating from the New Stone Age. Amongst the finds in the area were flint cores and a flint scraper, which had been retouched with a knife. The presence of flint cores suggest that the site was used for tool manufacture and that a settlement was nearby. Additionally, a Bronze Age burnt mound was also discovered in the area.

In his History of Birmingham, published in 1782, William Hutton describes the presence of three mounds adjacent to Chester Road on the extremities of Sutton Coldfield (although now outside the modern boundaries of the town). The site, southwest of Bourne Pool (named "Bowen Pool" by Hutton), is called Loaches Banks and was mapped as early as 1752 by Dr. Wilks of Willenhall. Hutton interpreted the earthworks as a Saxon fortification but further archaeological work led Dr. Mike Hodder, now the Planning Archaeologist for Birmingham City Council, to believe that the site was an Iron Age hill-slope enclosure. Centuries of agriculture on the land has severely affected the visibility of the features, with the earthworks now only apparent in aerial photography.

Further evidence of pre-Roman human habitation are preserved in Sutton Park. A major fire in the park in 1926 revealed six more mounds near Streetly Lane, excavations of which uncovered charred and cracked stones within them and pits below the two largest mounds. Although their date of origin is unknown, claims they were of Bronze Age origin were disproved. The mounds are now covered in rough heathland. The area around Rowton's Well has been the source of many archaeological discoveries such as flint tools, and in the 18th century, worked timbers were discovered near the well, suggesting a possible Iron Age timber trackway built across wet land, similar to others discovered elsewhere in the country. A burnt mound was also discovered in New Hall Valley.

Anglo Saxon days also had Rowtons Well which still exists in Royal Sutton Park today. Rowten's Well lies near Iknield Street. Rohedon was the name of a family in the neighbourhood around the times of Edward I. There was also a Rohedon Hill and a Rohedon Green. This is most likely the origins of the name Rowton. There is a tumulus near the well that favours that viewpoint. Another possibility is that Saxon dedication of the Holy Rood to the well. There are also the remains of others, Keepers Well and Lady's or Druids Well. Also, in Sutton itself was Robin Hood's well. but little or nothing is known of this.



Remains of the Roman road, north from Droitwich, can still be traced running northwards along the western boundary of Sutton Park. Marching along this road known Ryknild or Icknild Street, the Romans effectively bypassed the remote wilderness area that later became Sutton Coldfield. They may have refreshed themselves at Rowtons Well, which is adjacent to the road, on their way to Letocetum a Roman settlement situated near the junction of Ryknild Street with Watling Street ( now known as Wall). They remained in Britain until the 6th century and it was not until about 669 AD that Bishop Chad established his base at Licidfelth.

The excavated bathhouse of an army post on Watling Street, the great Roman road running from London to Viroconium (Wroxeter). In addition to the bath house there are partial remains of the buildings associated with the staging post. A museum displays finds discovered on the site. The staging post of Letocetum was an important stop on the main Roman road to north Wales. The foundations of a mansio, or Roman inn, have been discovered. Letocetum began as a 1st century army post. Later, a town grew up on the site. A series of forts were erected, covering up to 30 acres. No trace of the forts remain.

Anglo-Saxon establishment 600-1135

Upon the Roman withdrawal from Britain to protect the Roman Empire on the continent in the 5th century, the area of Sutton Coldfield, still undeveloped, passed into the Anglo Saxon kingdom of Mercia. It is during this period that it is believed Sutton Coldfield may have originated as a hamlet, as a hunting lodge was built at Maney Hill for the purpose of the Mercian leaders. The outline of the deer park that it served is still visible within Sutton Park, with the ditch and bank boundary forming the western boundary of Holly Hurst, then crossing Keepers Valley, through the Lower Nuthurst and continuing on south of Blackroot Pool. Due to the marshy ground at Blackroot Valley, a fence was probably constructed to contain the deer, and the ditch and bank boundary commences again on the eastern side, on towards Holly Knoll.

This became known as Suth tun or Sutton; meaning south farm. "Coldfield" denotes an area of land, a place where charcoal burning took place. Sutone, as the manor became known, was held by Edwin, Earl of Mercia during the reign of Edward the Confessor. Upon the death of Edwin in 1071, the manor and the rest of Mercia passed into the possession of the Crown, then William the Conqueror, resulting in Sutton Chase becoming a Royal Forest. The manor of Sutone was mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086, where it was rated at eight hides, making it larger than all surrounding villages in terms of cultivated land.  The manor remained in the possession of the Crown until 1135. When King Henry I exchanged it for the Manor of Hockham and Langham in Rutland, with Roger de Beaumont, the 2nd Earl of Warwick. The manor remained in the possession of the Earldom of Warwick for about 300 years, with numerous exceptions (?). As Sutton Royal Forest was part of this and no longer in Crown possession it reverted, for a while, to Sutton Chase.

Sutton is first recorded in the Domesday Book in 1086. It is a name commonly found across the country and comes from the Old English suth tun meaning 'south farm'. Where it was south of is unsure, perhaps the ecclesiastical centre of Lichfield, maybe Tamworth which was the capital of the Anglian kingdom of Mercia, or possibly it was named as being in the south of the Chase. At the time of the Conquest, Sutton belonged to Edwin, Earl of Mercia. He was the grandson of Godiva. Edwin struggled to the last for English freedom and was put to death in 1071. Godiva's husband, Leofric, would often stay in Sutton on his way to his home in Beverley Regis from Coventry. During the time of Shakespeare Sutton Coldfield was 'clean, well paved with quaint half timbered homes surrounding the church', being prosperous.

The Arms of Sutton Coldfield are based on the Arms of the towns greatest benefactor, John Harman, otherwise known as Vesey. Born in Sutton in the fifteenth century, he attained high office during the reign of King Henry VIII, being consecrated Bishop of Exeter in 1519. From the Arms of Vesey, the town Arms have taken the cross on a silver field with a stags head in the centre, and four birds, one on each arm of the cross. The stag surmounting the helmet holds two gold crossed keys and a sword, which are taken from the Arms of the Bishopric of Exeter. The mitre on the shield is a further allusion to Vesey as Bishop. The gold greyhound and red dragon supporters were used on the Arms of the early Tudor kings and commemorate the fact that Henry VIII granted a charter of incorporation for Sutton Coldfield to be a Royal Town in 1528 and placing the Chase and Manor in the hands of a local body for the benefit of the inhabitants in perpetuity.

The town has a historical connection to the British Royal Family, resulting in it receiving the title of Royal Town when it was a municipal borough in its own right and part of Warwickshire. When the Local Government Act 1972 came into force in 1974, Sutton Coldfield became part of Birmingham and the wider West Midlands county. The earliest known signs of human presence in Sutton Coldfield have been discovered on the boundaries of the town. Archaeological surveys undertaken in preparation for the construction of the M6 Toll road revealed evidence of Bronze Age burnt mounds near Langley Mill Farm, at Langley Brook. Additionally, evidence for a Bronze Age burial mound was discovered, one of only two in Birmingham with the other being located in Kingstanding. Excavations also uncovered the presence of an Iron Age settlement, dating to around 400 to 100BC.

John Harman, the eldest son of William and Joan Harman, was born in about 1462 in a property on the estate of Moor Hall in Sutton Coldfield. It is likely he was brought up in the household of distant relations of his mother, the Veseys, whose name he adopted as his own.  He studied at Oxford and in 1489, having taken holy orders, was appointed chaplain to the household of Henry the Sevenths' Queen, Elizabeth of York, a post he held when the future King Henry the Eighth was born to the Queen in 1491. Vesey rose to distinction as a result of natural ability, hard work, ambition and a pleasing manner. He was, in his 40's, well entrenched in the ecclesiastical hierarchy.

In 1509, Henry the Eighth became King and Vesey was one of a handful of men to whom the inexperienced and wilful King came to rely upon. In 1519, Vesey was appointed Bishop of Exeter, and the following year, he was one of six bishops to accompany King Henry the Eighth to an important meeting with Francis the First in France.

Vesey returned to Sutton Coldfield in 1524 to attend his mothers funeral and found his home town was in a sorry state. Under the patronage of the Earls of Warwick, Sutton had once been a busy and prosperous market town but when Richard Neville Earl of Warwick died in 1471, his lands, including the manor of Sutton, were forfeited to the crown. By 1524, the market place was deserted and the Manor House had been demolished.  Vesey did not like what he saw.

In 1528 Vesey obtained from the King a charter of incorporation for Sutton which entrusted the government of the town to a warden and 24 local inhabitants known together as the Warden and Society of the Royal Town of Sutton Coldfield. He rebuilt the market place so that the fairs and markets could flourish again, built a town hall and founded the Grammar School which still bears his name.  He died at Moor Hall in Sutton on October 23rd 1554 and he is remembered by a monument in Holy Trinity Church.

The association of Vesey with Henry the Eighth was also instrumental in giving to Sutton Coldfield the Tudor Rose as its emblem. Henry the Eighths father, Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond, and grandson of Owen Tudor, a Welsh knight, had become the first sovereign of the House of Tudor.

Not caring greatly for the complicated heraldic devices of mediaeval times, he took for his own emblem a simple rose, whose petals of both red and white, symbolised the reconciliation which took place between the Houses of York and Lancaster at the end of the Wars of the Roses.

While hunting one day in Sutton Park, Henry the Eighth, accompanied by Bishop Vesey was subjected to a sudden and quite unexpected charge by a wild boar. Before the animal could harm the King, however, it fell dead with an arrow through its heart.  The cry went out for the kings unknown saviour to be brought forward so that royal gratitude could be shown in some tangible way.  Much to the Kings surprise, the unseen marksman was found to be a young and beautiful woman and when Henry was told that her family had been dispossessed of their property, he ordered that restitution should be made to them.  Furthermore, to the young woman herself, he presented the Tudor Rose, his family emblem, which he said should henceforth also be the emblem of Sutton Coldfield, the girls native town.

In 1790, Royal Sutton Coldfield was mentioned in a Warwickshire book as a small hamlet with 14 taverns!! Much has changed in Sutton Coldfield, mainly since the forced boundary changes of 1974 which saw a proud and independent Sutton Coldfield merged with the metropolis of Birmingham. The arrival of the railway enabled businessmen to live further afield and they moved out of Birmingham to Sutton Coldfield, the rail also brought the folk, the day tripper, from town to the Royal Park. Another book describes Birmingham as 'not' a nice place to live due to the industry, dirt and 'poverty.'


Sutton Coldfield 1843

Sutton Coldfield is in the Birmingham division of Hemlingford hundred, 7 miles N.N.E. of Birmingham and 25 miles N.N.W. of Warwick. This town, having fallen into decay, was revived by the benefactions of John Vesey, a native of the place, bishop of Exeter in the time of Henry VIII Vesey procured for the town a charter of incorporation, paved the principal avenues, built a moot-hall and market-place, founded and endowed a free school, enlarged and embellished the church, and introduced the clothing manufacture, building many houses which were to be free for such as followed that business. The parish has an area of 13,030 acres, and contained, in 1831, 757 houses, namely, 736 inhabited, 18 uninhabited, and 3 building ; with a population of 750 families, or 3,684 persons, about half agricultural. The town has a neat appearance, and contains some handsome houses. The church is handsome, and comprehends a nave with side aisles and chancel. The nave is modern : the chancel contains the effigy of Bishop Vesey with his mitre and crosier ; he died A.D. 1555, at the age of 103. On the town-hall, a neat brick building, are the arms of the prelate emblazoned on a shield, surmounted with a mitre. South-west of the town is ‘the Coldfield,’ a bleak and cheerless tract of 13,000 acres, extending into Staffordshire ; and N.W. and W, of the town is Sutton Park, containing about 3,500 acres, granted to the poor of the town as pasturage by Bishop Vesey ; it was anciently the park and part of the chace of the lords of the manor, and contained some large pools or pieces of water. Some branches of the hardware manufacture, especially the manufacture of spades, saws, axes, and gun-barrels, are carried on, and gave employment, in 1831, to 34 men. The weekly market is on Monday, and there are two yearly fairs for cattle, sheep, and pedlery.

The corporation of Sutton Coldfield consists of a warden, two capital burgesses, and twenty-two aldermen ; the title of the corporation is ‘The Warden and Society of the Royal Town of Sutton Coldfield.’ It is not included in the Municipal Reform Act. The warden and the two capital burgesses are magistrates. Quarter-sessions are held, but their criminal jurisdiction has gone into disuse, and offenders are committed for trial to the county : the Court of Record is also disused. The borough is co-extensive with the parish. The income of the corporation consists of a rental of nearly £750, and the interest of £18,000 3 per cent. consols : this is expended in supporting three (or rather six) schools and ten almshouses, apprenticing two poor maids yearly, and other purposes chiefly charitable.

The living is a rectory, of the clear yearly value of which there is no return ; in the rural deanery of Arden, in the archdeaconry of Coventry, and in the diocese of Worcester. in the archdeaconry of Coventry, and diocese of Lichfield and Coventry, rated in the king's books at £33. 9, Q., and in the patronage of William Bedford, Esq. The church, dedicated to the Holy Trinity, is a fine ancient structure, built probably In the thirteenth century, though combining different styles of English architecture: the aisles were added by Bishop Vesey, whose effigy, in a recumbent posture, with a mitre on his head and crosier in his right hand, is in the chancel: part of the nave fell down about seventy years ago, and was rebuilt by the corporation, at the expense of £ 1500.

Grammar School

The free grammar school was founded, in the reign of Henry VIII, and endowed with land in the parish, by Bishop Vesey. The salary of the master in from £300 to £400 per annum, and a handsome house was erected for him, chiefly at the expense of the corporation, on the condition of his teaching twenty-four poor boys additionally In reading, writing, and arithmetic. National schools, in which about two hundred and forty children of both sexes are educated and clothed, are supported from funds belonging to the corporation. Almshouses for five aged men and five aged women, with gardens attached, were built and are supported by the corporation. Among various charitable benefactions, four marriage portions, of £24 each, are allowed annually to four poor maidens, natives or long resident. Near Driffold house, so called from the custom of driving and folding the cattle of the parishioners, a farm-house occupies the site of the old manor house, formerly an episcopal palace of great strength, of which a few remains are still visible. At the north-west extremity of Sutton, near the Chester road, is a pool called the Bowen, at the extremity of which are the remains of a fortification, called Loaches Banks, enclosing a quadrangular area of nearly two acres, surrounded by three large mounds and three narrow trenches, supposed to be an ancient British camp, from the neighbouring heath being named Drude heath (i. e. Druids' heath) : it is defended on three sides by a morass, and accessible only on the side from the Coldfield, where it is protected by a larger mound. [Lewis 1831]

There were, in 1833, ten day-schools, with 450 children, namely, 216 boys and 194 girls, and 40 children of sex not distinguished in the returns. About one in eight of the population was under daily instruction. Of these ten day-schools, six were endowed from the funds of the corporation ; and there was, besides, a richly endowed but nearly useless grammar-school ; the income of which was nearly £500 per annum, but the scholars seldom amounted to five. There was one Sunday-school with 16 boys and 40 girls.

Town Hall

The Moot Hall, or Town Hall, was built for the sum of £4,400 around 1852. Included in the building was a Library and a News Room, admission 1p. 'Antique Halberds and other quaint weapons used by the ancient watchmen are (were) on display in the Town Hall. On Trinity Monday of each year these are taken out and given an airing, born by the eldest members of the Parish tottering under the weight and headed by the Town Sergeant, in a curious green velvet uniform, carrying the silver mace of the Warden in procession to where the annual fair is located.' The income of the Corporation is derived purely from Trusts, nothing from rates. Considerable additions to the income is derived from the sale of timber, entrance fees to the park and other minor sources, totalling some £3000 a year. Surplus is devoted to educational and charitable needs.

Five buildings served as Sutton Coldfield's Town Hall over a period of 450 years. The first, the Moot Hall built in the Vesey years, was essentially an open market hall with an assembly room above. It was demolished and replaced in 1671 and its replacement was demolished in 1854. The old workhouse on Mill Street had become redundant in 1834 on the formation of the Aston Union, and that building was from 1854 used as offices for the Corporation. However an early agreement between the Warden and Society and the Birmingham, Lichfield and Manchester Railway Company to provide the town with a railway link was not honoured and the Corporation was able to collect £3000 on a penalty bond. These proceeds were utilised in the building of a new Town Hall. George Bidlake a local Wolverhampton architect was commissioned and designed the new brick building in an Italian Gothic style incorporating a square tower. The first stone was laid on site in Mill Street by Mrs B D Webster wife of the then Warden and the building opened in 1859. The tower was reduced to a stump in about 1970. The new building incorporated assembly rooms, a magistrates court, a library and offices. The town, and the work of the Corporation, grew rapidly in the second half of the 18th century. In about 1900 the Sutton Sanatorium which had been housed in the Royal Hotel building from the demise of the hotel, was itself closed down and in December 1901 the Corporation bought the building from the Charity Commissioners for £9000. Further costs of £400 were incurred in converting the building for use as the Town Hall. In February 1903 the old Town Hall and adjoining offices ( formerly the workhouse) were sold by public auction and raised £4150 and the new Town Hall was extended by the addition of assembly rooms and a new Council Chamber. The extension which is now known as the 'Town Hall' was designed by A R Mayston and built by T Elvins of Birmingham, and came into use in December 1905. There was an official opening ceremony in September 1906. A new entrance to the Town Hall now faced north, and the open space at the front of the building was landscaped and designated ‘ King Edward Square’.  Also in 1905 a fire station together with a tower was added to the building; the opening ceremony was held on 1st December 1905. Following the provision of a new fire station on Lichfield Road in 1963, the old building was converted to the present Bedford Suite; the  fire tower still stands ; it was renovated in 2005. The Town Hall remained as the seat of local government until Sutton Coldfield robbed of its independence in the 1974 boundary changes.


I think the sign on the left Says 'Morris Service, Spares & Parts'


Moxhull Hall

The Manor of Moxhull was owned by the Lisle family from the 16th century and later by the Hackett family. The last Andrew Hackett died in 1815 and his widow married Berkeley Octavious Noel, a grandson of the 4th Earl of Gainsborough. Their son sold the estate to Thomas Ryland. The original manor house, which stood in Moxhull Park, now the site of Belfry Golf Centre was destroyed by fire in about 1900. Losses in the fire included a fine oak staircase which had been installed from Kenilworth Castle in 1760. The then Lord of the Manor, Howard Ryland, Lord Lieutenant of Warwickshire, built a new Manor House, Moxhull Hall a short distance away at Holly Lane, Wishaw. His grandson, Thomas Howard Ryland, sold the estate in 1926 and it fell into the owner ship of two other owners until, in 1969, Moxhull Hall was converted into an hotel. (copied from wikipedia)

Ashfurlong Hall

There was a stone house in 1574 but I can find nothing on this. The present house, Grade 2 listed, is mainly Georgian with some Tudor stonework. Its early origins as stone cottages can be deduced from the rear elevations. In 1671 the owner was Thomas Scott and the house and land was valued at £48. The enlargement of the property and conversion from a farmhouse, was the work of Thomas Vaughton who was Sheriff of Warwickshire in 1804 and who had six daughters all born in Sutton Coldfield between 1801 and 1817. The building is now residential. See buildings

Four Oaks

Nowadays, for those of us with little capital, Four Oaks is looked upon as 'snobby' - where the residents stand aloof and out of touch with reality. People from outside, when I say I live in Sutton Coldfield ask me if I live in one 'of those big houses' and 'you have a garden the size of Wembley'. nothing could be further from the truth. Four Oaks first appears on the map in 1785.  Four Oaks Park or the Four Oaks Estate lies south and west of Four Oaks Road as far as the railway line. Early 20th-century houses here were built on the parkland of Four Oaks Hall from which the district derives its name. It is alleged that three of the original oaks may survive in a garden in Hartopp Road. The 17th-century mansion was built for Lord Ffolliot c1680 on land formerly part of Sutton Park near Luttrell Road. A good write up of the area can be found at this url: - many local people look at Four Oaks as an area which stole land from Royal Sutton Park. The disposition of the homes support this. Money talks? Crossed Palms? oh yes! See also  four oaks

While William Jesson and Anne (nee Pudsey) lived at Langley Manor, Folliott exercised the right granted in the Royal Charter of Sutton Coldfield to enclose up to 60 acres (24 ha) of Common land for a new house and engaged William Wilson (student of Sir Christopher Wren) to design and build a substantial mansion at Four Oaks. Jane Pudsey, the widow of Henry Pudsey and mother of Anne and Elizabeth, later married this William Wilson, architect of this new Four Oaks Hall, and he subsequently built the Moat House on Lichfield Road for his new wife. This building (next door to Bishop Vesey's Grammar School) is now occupied by Sutton Coldfield College (and was once the Art School).

Folliott died in 1716 without issue, but his widow, Elizabeth, remained at Four Oaks Hall until her death in 1744. Four Oaks Hall was sold to Simon Luttrell, 1st Earl of Carhampton (1713-1787) in 1751 and rebuilt in the Palladian style. In 1757, Luttrell obtained Parliamentary consent to enclose a further 48 acres (19 ha) of the Common land in Sutton Park, at a rent of £12 a year, to form a deer park. On becoming Baron Luttrell of Luttrells Town in 1778, he sold the estate to the Reverend Thomas Gresley of Netherseal. On Gresley's death in 1785, the estate was sold to Hugh Bateman who in turn sold it to Edmund Cradock-Hartopp in 1792.


Peddimore Hall, 1 mile south of Langley Hall, is a building of c. 1660 of two parallel conjoined ranges facing west, of red brick with red sandstone angle-dressings and moulded plinth. The front has a middle stone doorway with a pediment inscribed DEVS NOSTER REFVGIVM. The front windows have been modernized, but there are old mullioned and transomed windows to the east block. The building is surrounded by a moat crossed by a bridge. Some of the farm-buildings are timber-framed.


The railway vastly increased the number of visitors to the clean airs of Sutton Park and Job Cole ( born in Somerset in 1819 ) saw an opportunity to improve their visit and his earnings simultaneously. In 1868 he converted his market garden site at Wyndley into a pleasure ground and built a Crystal Palace; an imitation of the famous Great Exhibition of London building.( The site is now occupied by the Clifton Road Youth Centre). The attractions of his site included a hotel, stabling for 30 horses, accommodation for parties of up to 2000 people, 30 acres of grassland, steam and rowing boats on the pools, amusements, dancing, military bands, a fun fair and later zoological gardens. The gardens included a fernery, an Italian garden, croquet lawns, a bowling green, cricket, archery, an ornamental lake and shady avenues for ‘spooning’ (?? - mk).

By 1890 ownership was in the hands of Charles Earle. He introduced a miniature railway in 1907. In about 1910 Pat Collins a famous showman, acquired the business. He enlarged the funfair with modern and exciting equipment. In 1950 he sold the Big Dipper from Sutton to the organisers of the 1951 Festival of Britain. Over the years public interest waned and the site and attractions deteriorated. The funfair was closed and the Crystal Palace demolished in 1962.

From information supplied by David Wilcox.

History of Good Hope Hospital

Good Hope Hospital began life as a large Victorian house, which was purchased in the spring of 1943 for £5,000 for use as a convalescent home for patients from the Sutton Cottage Hospital. Good Hope stayed as a convalescent home until the early 1950s, when during the 'Cold War', two single story wards were built as a place to evacuate people from Birmingham in the event of a nuclear attack. A central kitchen was completed by April 1958, and this was the showpiece of the hospital as it provided a diet kitchen, pastry, vegetable and meat preparation rooms, stores and accommodation for the chef. The house was converted to provide residential accommodation for medical staff.

Modern Buildings

The Sheldon Unit was opened in 1967, comprising of four wards. The Richard Salt unit, a seven-story block, was officially opened by the RT. Hon. Lord Aberdare in 1971. The Fothergill Block was originally built as a Maternity Hospital, the seven story building housed the Baby Care Unit, Pre-natal Clinic and wards, was opened on 24th October 1967 by HRH The Duchess of Kent. The Education Centre was opened as such in march 2001. Previous to this, it was the College of Midwifery. The Partnership Learning Centre was originally a Postgraduate Medical Centre and was opened on 15 July 1967 by Sir Max Rosenheim, the then President of the Royal College of Physicians. Rreatment Centre built in 2003. It provides outpatient and diagnostic services for patients. The first phase, a new endoscopy suite, opened in July 2005. The second phase, the outpatient and diagnostic services, opened in September 2005. It is better known locally as 'No Hope' hospital.

Information provided by David Wilcox

Sutton Coldfield Race Course

In the 1840s a race course was built in Sutton Park, it stood above the gravel pit, which is now the Rangers depot and workshops. It extended to just beyond the railway. Famous jockey Tiny Wells won his first ever race here. But the Corporation had second thoughts about the impact on the Park and ordered its removal. In 1868 a new racecourse was constructed between Westwood Coppice and Longmore Pool. Over 139 years later evidence of the old first racecourse can still be seen, take the right fork over the bridge by park house--past holly knoll  and further up on the left the curve of the track can be seen sweeping through the cutting the section behind is now overgrown with trees and bushes.

Old Moor Hall 1905

Moor Hall takes its name from a medieval family. They may have taken their name their name from the settlement of Moor near a moor or 'marsh' locally. William de la More is documented in 1327. Ridge and furrow visible east of Moor Hall on the golf course is evidence of an organised medieval field system here. The first written record of Old Moor Hall is in 1434 in the ownership of Roger Harewell. Believed to have been the birthplace of Bishop Vesey c1462, the house is a Grade II* Listed building in sandstone with surviving 14th-century roof timbers and lancet windows of c1520. It has a circular staircase and timber floor and must originally have been timber-framed, although no timber framework survived the rebuilding of 1527 and the early 20th-century.

Cock Pit or Bear Pit
David Wilcox

At Moor Hall is part of a cock pit or bear pit, dated approximately 1750, which was then altered to a sunken garden at an unknown date.  The cock pit remains are  two stretches of red, rubble sandstone walls forming a circle about 20 metres across, which varies in height from 4 metres to 1 metre with the slope of the ground, and having a arched alcove and a pair of buttresses on their north side, which flank later steps. The circle can be entered from the raised ground to the north, down a double flight of steps, or from the south through an  arch. The steps run up either side of a circular pool, inner flanking walls meet above the pool, forming an arch over it; the underside of the arch and the wall at the back of the pool are encrusted with porous stone, above the steps is a short covered way, of timber framing resting on flanking walls and roofed with tiles, similar to a lychgate. The arch may have come from elsewhere.flanked by Doric pilasters, between each of which is a round-arched niche with a square window over having transoms in the form of an 'X' cornice and parapet; the inside of the arch is encrusted with porous stone.

The Quarry
from David Wilcox

My granddad worked for Harry Williams Builders. Their works were in a disused sand quarry. Work ceased however, when the pit became prone to rapid flooding. Where was this quarry? The quarry became known as James Pool and it was in fact situated on the corner of Bedford road and Barnard road. It was also the quarry where they tested the tanks as shown on the WW2 page.


Beggars Bush

A hawthorn bush growing alongside the Chester Road once marked the boundary between Warwickshire and Staffordshire and it is said that when a beggar died under the bush neither of the counties would accept responsibility for his burial. The origins of the Bush Inn on the Warwickshire side are not known, but a public house stood there in 1841; its landlord was William Goodwin and he lived there with his wife and six children.

In 1861 Goodwin took a new lease of 99 years at £40 pa from the land owner, the Rector Rev WK Riland Bedford, built a new pub (adjacent in Jockey Lane) and five cottages and converted the old pub building into three cottages. The licence changed hands. In 1881 Alfred King was the publican. In 1891 John Foden was recorded as both licensee and a farmer. The name change took place between 1891 and 1907; a photograph bearing the latter date clearly shows the name to be ‘The Beggars Bush’ and the landlord George Harding. The building was demolished and a new one erected in the 1930s, but I heard it referred to as the Hawthorn Bush in earlier days.

The hawthorn bush was lost to road widening scheme when it was removed from the centre of the roundabout being dug up. However, I was told when this occurred that the bush had been transplanted into the nearby park. The road widening scheme has actually made local traffic far worse than when the roundabout (& the bush) was there.


The triangular area we know as Boldmere is bounded by the Chester Road in the west, Sutton Park in the north and the railway in the east. This barren, pebbly and unpopulated part of the Common land is described on Speeds map of 1610 as ‘Cofield Wast’, Chester Road was once the main route from the south to the then port of Chester, the principal port for Ireland and its route through Sutton was notorious in the 18th century for robbers and highwaymen. In 1729 a London merchant was murdered here and his attacker was hanged on Gibbet Hill overlooking Chester Road . The route was turnpiked* in 1759.

The name Boldmere is generally thought to have been taken from Baldmoor Lake which was once situated adjacent to the Chester Road. Very little is known of the lakes origins or of its disappearance. No lake is shown on Speeds 1610 map. The 1841 census lists a small settlement named as ‘Baldmoor Lake’ and comprising ten dwellings and a malt house ( later the Oscott Tavern). The lake does not appear on later maps but the census of 1881 shows a Captain Holloway and his family living at ‘Lake House, Chester Road’. The present Lakehouse Drive is thought to mark the location. The larger area saw some limited development after the Enclosure Act 1825 brought Common land into private ownership. In 1841 there were 38 households housing 192 people including three farms (along the edges of Sutton Park) one pub ( the Bush Inn ) and 34 cottages mostly situated around the junction of Jockey Lane and the track to the Powell's Pool and the Park. The Catholic church was built in 1840 and new roads were cut in anticipation of the development to be encouraged by the coming of the railway. Girls and Infant schools were opened in 1848 and a new church St Michaels was built in 1857.Several large houses including ‘Boldmere House’ and ‘Normanhurst’ in the vicinity of the church at this time. The railway was delayed a little and did not open until 1862 when stations were built at Wylde Green and Chester Road. Thereafter housing and other building progressed rapidly.

 *Turnpike, a road built in the United Kingdom by a Turnpike trust, a body set up by Act of Parliament, with powers to collect road tolls for maintaining the principal highways during the 18th and 19th centuries.



‘The Anchorage’ was an 18th century mansion standing on the Lichfield Road. A long way from the sea its name suggests perhaps it was built for a retired nautical man. In 1868 it was owned by Rev C B Greatrex and in 1869 was sold to Richard Hurst Sadler with a view to redevelopment. In the event the old house was retained and sold to Thomas Moxham a gunmaker and maltster.

Sadler proceeded with plans to develop the extensive fields to the west of the Lichfield Road and in 1870 laid out Anchorage Road roughly on the line of the Reddicroft path to Tamworth Road. Building plots were offered for sale, one of the sale conditions being that no house should cost less than £500. The properties built for middle class occupation were mostly individually architect designed , many in the Arts and Craft style. The architects included all the best of the local professionals including Bateman, Crouch and Butler and Bidlake. Four houses were built in 1872/3. Wellington Terrace on the Lichfield Road was completed in 1885. The rest of the Anchorage Road house were erected between 1888 and 1913.

The article ‘ The Anchorage Road Estate’ by Janet Lilleywhite in ‘Scenes of Suttons Past’ published by the Sutton Local History Research Group provides much detail of this development. The biggest house on the road , ‘Oakhurst’ built for George Lowe, became the local hospital maternity unit in 1946 ( it had four wards and fourteen beds) and remained so until 1967 when the new maternity block was built at Good Hope hospital. The old ‘Anchorage House’ was demolished and the new fire station was built on the site in 1963.


School House Farm

Referring to early maps of Sutton Coldfield you can see references to School Farm. This farm belonged to Bishop Vesey Grammar School. During the 1950s the land was sold off to fund development costs at the school. Farmland stretched from Bedford Road along to Tamworth Road and to the site of the new cemetery. David Wilcox recalls the harvesting.

"I remember at harvest time the cutting of the corn and the sheaves being stacked in stooks. Later on these sheaves were taken back to the rickyard in the farm for eventual threshing. In the autumn the threshing contractor would come and thresh the corn. The above image is reminiscent of scenes which I remember at the farm.

Hi my name is Carole Palmer I lived on this farm till I was about 11 years old. I remember a Mr Wilcox who helped on the farm.  He had daughter Angela my friend. I have pics of the old farmhouse .I remember the threshing and the binder, if anyone remembers me I would like to hear from them. Kind regards Carole

The de Beresford family of Wishaw were granted 50 acres of land at Langley by Henry III, and in 1298 William de Beresford built a substantial moated house there which came to be known as Langley Hall. The family held the estate until the death of Baldwin de Beresford in 1422 when it passed by the female line through Hoare and eventually to the Pudsey family by virtue of the marriage of Edith Hoare to Rowland Pudsey in 1549.

Langley Hall Estate and the Pudsey family (timeline 1549 to 1677). The Pudseys became a prominent local family. Robert born 1520 married a relative of Bishop Vesey and was Warden of the town in 1543 and 1554, as was his son George in 1582 and 1604, and his grandson George in 1636 and 1650. Langley Manor descended in the Pudsey family until 1677 when Henry Pudsey died without a male heir. At this point, the estate was divided between his two daughters, Anne who had married William Jesson (c1666-1725) in Sutton Coldfield in 1696, and Elizabeth, the wife of Henry, 3rd Baron Folliott of Ballyshannon, Irish nobleman and politician.

Anne Jesson, who had inherited half the Langley Hall Estate on the death of her father Henry in 1677, died in 1718 leaving a son Pudsey Jesson (1696-1748). Pudsey Jesson married twice, and had two children, William Jesson (1730-1786) and Anne Jesson (1733-1799), by his first marriage in 1728 to Elizabeth Freeman (1707-1735), and a third child, Pudsey Jesson the younger (1740-1783) by his second marriage in 1737 to Mary Edwards.

Langley Hall Estate descended to William Jesson (1730-1786), and on his death the property was divided between his two daughters Hannah Freeman Jesson and Elizabeth Pudsey Jesson. Hannah and Elizabeth, with their respective husbands, William Pearson and Thomas Groesbeck Lynch, were dealing with the manor in 1788. William Jesson Pearson, son of Hannah and William Pearson was dealing with half the manor in 1808, and on his death bequeathed his property to his 'cousin' Mary Holte Bracebridge.

Sutton Coldfield 1800

Interesting points: Trinity Hill is called Blind Lane. There is a structure opposite the Gate called simply 'hovel'. The Blacksmiths is on The Parade and opposite there is another 'hovel. Workhouse on Mill Street. Pubs, long gone, Coach & Horses, The Sun, Royal Oak, Queens Arms, The Talbot, The Dun Cow (later Beehive), The Red Lion. By the Police station in Coleshill Street is a 'lock up'. The Gate, which is still there, it led out into the 'wilderness' beyond and to the Park. I suspect that the hovels above were description 2 below. My attempts to contact the above named group in the map index drew a blank, as the number online is NOT the Research Group. The Gate led through to the Park at this time but is now slap in the centre of town. The Gate Inn, in this map, is incorrectly marked, but only just. The original Gate Inn was in Reddicroft where now stands the Telephone Exchange. The Gate, as we know it, is further down at the base of Mill Street. Please note than the annotations are from 1979.

Definition of hovel:

1. a ramshackle dwelling place
2. an open shed for livestock, carts, etc.
3. the conical building enclosing a kiln



The West Midlands Police have something known as "Copper Cards" which depict early Police images and Sutton Coldfield images obtained from the Sutton Coldfield Library. I was in the local "nick", on another matter, and asked about these and was very kindly given a full set in a wallet. Having spoken to Sutton Coldfield Library (Marian Baxter) I can now share these images with you all. These images are copyright.

The Hare & Hounds Minworth taken circa 1922. Licensee was a Mr Barrett, his wife is in the doorway and his
two daughters on the right. Demolished in 1937.

Miscreants were punished by placing them in these stocks, in public. Some think they should be brought back!!
The stocks had room for three offenders. The post on the left was a whipping post for public humiliation!

Same stocks same gent, same punishment? Probably just a posed shot

Bishop Vesey Grammar School

Happy Hour Road House Sutton Coldfield. This stood near Bassetts Pole Image/Info from David Wilcox.

1920 opened as Blue Lagoon night club. In 1930s became the Happy Hour. in 1990 it became Chicanes
Late 1990s taken over by McDonalds, demolished and rebuilt in original art deco style

Sutton Coldfield's new 10 pin bowling alley 1966 - Pathe News Link

Type in '10 Pin Bowling Sutton Coldfield' into Google

The Pavilion Wylde Green

Frequently seen on roads in Sutton Coldfield. The sign was reversible. I know of at least one street in Sutton Coldfield today where
this would be very helpful and valid. I got 'stung' once because I did not know the parking 'changed sides' at a specific time. Image: David Wilcox

Image above & below: Debbie Wicks Australia

Taken from an 1860 book, the Harman lineage. It is of necessity, a large picture, hence the thumbnail.

 Maney Corner 1872 (The Odeon will, eventually, be on the right)

The Cup circa early 1900s

David Wilcox sent me the original of this. It was intended to be posted to France but there is a Post Office overtype on the
written word on the rear (below) and looks like it was never sent at the time? Date on the front states 1907 but the postage date is 1910?
Apparently the (loose) translation goes along these lines: When I think, my dear aunt Zuzanne that there is only 4 days to see itself as well as mom,
I there cannot believe anymore!!!  Thank you for the pretty card.  I am satisfies knowledge that you will arrive so beautiful to London.  Imagine you that mom
not me anything said on what you were going to do.  I think to arrive to London before you and to be able to go to look for you to the train.
 I believe that the chocolates will have more success.   Abientôt therefore!  While awaiting thousand vouchers kiss as well as to my uncle and ??

Another postcard (below) loaned to me from David Wilcox. The Council House 1905 

1887: Royal Oak Public House on Coleshill Street. See the above map for location. image: david wilcox

Trinity Church Procession in 1907

Old Police Station

Image: David Wilcox

Image: David Wilcox


Brief History of the Public House

In medieval times, ale houses were private dwellings where the home owner sells ale, usually home brewed. Should lodging be on offer it was probably little more than a straw pallaise on the floor, probably in a barn. Inns were bigger accommodation, and purpose built for the accommodation of travellers. The earliest of Inns were built by Monasteries to provide for pilgrims. Then came the Tavern, taverns sold wine and usually catered for the gentry of the time. Taverns existed alongside the Inn in towns, but were unlikely to be found in the more 'common' village. All three became centres of social activity, but the larger ones, had arena's for the likes of cock fighting or early dramas.

Signs. An alehouse would have a pole outside garlanded with foliage. An Inn and a Tavern would have a pictorial sign by which they could be identified by an illiterate people, a tradition which has 100% survived to this day.  During the 18th C the term ale house began to be replaced by Public house. Taverns were being replaced by coffee houses. A Hotel, the first of its kind, was built in Exeter in 1768. Actual purpose built public houses began to be built in the early 1800s. These were mainly in London and larger provincial towns. Legends and ghost stories are prevalent in Sutton Coldfield as in many other places, we have a drummer boy in the Three Tuns. With the coming of the railway, coaching taverns began to decline. and now, the pubs in Sutton Coldfield!

The Old Swan


List of Pubs in Sutton Coldfield in 1874

Barley Mow - John Pinder - Mere Pool

Crown - John Frederick Rymond - Four Oaks

Cup Inn - Joseph Clibbery - Maney

Dog Inn - John Willetts - The Dam

Emanuel College Arms & Inland College Arms - Robert Green - Mill Street

Fox and Dogs - William Burton - Little Sutton

Fox Inn  - John Weldon - Walmley

Gate - Thomas Jackson - Mill Street

Hawthorn Bush - Wm. Higgs - Chester Road

Horse and Jockey - Thos. Bond - Maney

King's Arms - Wilson Hughes - Coleshill Street

Museum Tavern - James Hugh Nevill  - Mill Street

New Inn - George Guy Hastilow - Ley Hill

New Road Tavern - Samuel Smith - Hill

Old Duke Inn - Chas. Hy. Atkins - Duke Street, Maney

Old Sun Inn - Chas. Kemp - Coleshill Street

Park Tavern - Henry Middleton - Four Oaks

Promenade Gardens Hotel - Job Cole - The Park

Railway Tavern - Samuel Bradbury - Station Street

Royal Hotel Co. Ltd. - Thos. Halbeard, sec. & Miss Emma Clisby, mgress            

Station Commercial and Posting Hotel - George Jones - Station Street

Swan Commercial and Family hotel - Thomas Corbet - High Street

Swan - James Penny -  High Street

Sutton Park Inn  - William Nicholls -  New Oscott

Three Tuns Commercial and Posting Hotel - George Catlin - High Street

White Horse - Joseph James - Whitehouse Common

White Lion - Edmund Rochford -Hill

Wylde Green Hotel -  John William Chandler -  Wylde Green



Bishop Vesey's Birthplace L: Rear R: Front

and the Vesey Memorial Gardens (approx 1930s)


GPO Images

The 1900 Telephone Exchange                                             The Operator

Situated in Wylde Green on the Sutton boundary, behind the image was Erdington & Chester Road
There is a couple of these signs left now, on the roundabout at the top end of Gracechurch Shopping Centre
and one by the Tudor Medical Practice on Tamworth Road
King Henry VIII granted Royal Charter to Sutton in 1528. The above was taken in 1938 © Marion Baxter

Arriving in Sutton Coldfield - BM was the only circus to move via train

Known locally as the Tin Tabernacle's there were at least two of these in the Sutton Coldfield area.
This one was in Little Hay, the other was in Whitehouse Common.

Ralph Readers Gang Show

Ask anybody from the 50s era about Ralph Reader's Gang Show and you will receive a detailed description of these entertainers. Not many people know that the first ever performance by this group was at the RAF Base here in Sutton Coldfield. RAF 216 Maintenance Unit entertained the Gang Show earlier than his more popular well known show in 1957 in Sutton Coldfield. Here is an image of the RAF visit. Reader's Gang Shows were popular amongst the Scouting Movement for a long time but this was the first WAAF show involving two local WAAF ladies.


The following is part of an article about Albert Pierpoint, the executioner, taken from the Bham Mail online

Some of those put to death were Birmingham criminals including 18-year-old Kingstanding killer James Farrell who was put to death at Birmingham Prison in 1949 for strangling Joan Marney in Sutton Park.

Joan was just 14 years old when Farrell killed her. They had met at their local cinema in Sutton Coldfield. He had returned to his parents’ home in Bevis Grove, Kingstanding, weeks earlier after going AWOL from national service in the army.

Soldier-life had left James forlorn and days earlier he had attempted suicide. When Joan rejected his sexual advances James flipped. He strangled her in Sutton Park at Banners Gate Entrance. When his case came to court James pleaded insanity.

But the judge refused to accept it despite medical evidence. James was executed for his crime a year later by Pierrepoint – one of the last teenagers to be hanged in Britain. Link to source:


At this time, a brake could have been a horse drawn carriage used to train or ‘break in’ young horses, either on their own, in pairs or in fours. Shooting brakes were used by blood sport parties. It does seem that the brake in the case above was being used for ‘pleasure activity’. Sutton Park was much visited by people from the cities and towns as a resort to get away from the dirty air and to enjoy the many facilities on offer to tourists. These activities do seem to have included visits to public houses. From info provided by Yvonne Moore as is the below items.


BEFORE THE Rector (the Rev. W. K. R Bedford), Mr H Duncalfe, and Mr E Harold Carter. LICENSING PROSECUTION. – John Walker, licensed victualler, Crown Inn, Four Oaks, Sutton Coldfield, was summoned for selling intoxicating liquors during prohibited hours on Sunday, the 5th inst, Mr. Joseph Ansell defended. – Police-constable Bracebridge stated that on the morning in question he saw three girls with a basket knock at defendant’s door, and heard them ask for a bottle of stout, which was handed to them. After leaving Bracebridge examined the basket, when one of the girls admitted that she had obtained the bottle of stout for her mother, Mrs Goldsby, who was ill. Witness returned to defendant’s house, when Mrs Walker acknowledged that she had given the stout to Mrs Goldsby, who was ill. Witness returned to defendant’s house, when Mrs Walker acknowledged that she had given the stout to Mrs Goldsby, who was ill: but being dubious about the matter she had told the girl not to call again. – Mr Ansell admitted that a technical offence had been committed, explaining that Mrs Goldsby, who was poorly, was of the impression, too prevalent amongst large numbers of people – even among licensed victuallers – that she was entitled as a matter of right to be served with what she required. Her medical attendant had advised her to drink stout, and hence a bottle of stout had been fetched from the defendants. Mr Ansell further alluded to the unblemished character of the defendant, extending over a period of years, and under the circumstances, submitted that the justice of this case would be met with the dismissal of the summons on payment of costs. The Bench imposed what they termed the nominal fine of 1s and costs.
In 1881, George Goldsby, aged 52 and an agricultural labourer and his wife Harriet, aged 50 did live at Four Oaks Common. Harriet seems to be a likely match to the Mrs Goldsby who was in need of stout on a Sunday. George Goldsby was a farmer at Hill Hook. In 1891, Joseph Ansell lived at The Oaklands, Lichfield Road and worked as a solicitor and Justice of the Peace.

Dr Iliffe, coroner for North Warwickshire, held an inquest yesterday at the Crown Inn, Four Oaks, touching the death of the landlord, John Walker. It was stated that deceased had a slight fit on Sunday evening, and he went out for a walk at the request of his wife to witness the military manoeuvres on Monday morning. At Watford Gap he spoke to one or two friends and immediately afterwards, with a groan, fell to the ground dead. Dr Brown expressed the opinion that death had ensued through the rupture of a large artery. The jury returned a verdict of “Death from the visitation of God.” The foreman adding that the jury wished to pass a vote of condolences with the widow and family in their sudden bereavement.  John Walker was buried at St James Church, Hill, Sutton Coldfield.

The Sutton Coldfield magistrates yesterday had before them Albert Henry Higham (18) a groom of Walsall Road, Four Oaks, who was charged with stealing 1lb of hair from the tail of a horse in a field in Walsall Road, the property of Edwin Finch, of the Crown Inn, Four Oaks; 7 oz of hair from the tail and mane of a horse in a stable in Hill Village Road, the property of Mr L H Wodhams, grocer, Four Oaks; and 4 oz of hair from the tail of a pony in a field in Clarence Road, Four Oaks, the property of Mr Elliott Cooper, greengrocer. The offences were committed on the 5th and 6th inst., and were admitted by the defendant. In each case the value of the animal had been lessened. The Bench ordered defendant to pay 20s compensation to Mr Finch and 10s to each of the other owners and to put him on probation for twelve months. 

You’ll never be stuck for reading on a rainy day with a copy of  Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the Tudors but were Afraid to Ask on your shelf. It’s packed with fascinating titbits on the notorious
Tudor monarchy, from the undervalued Henry VII to the overrated Henry VIII and his Queen Anne Boleyn’s brilliant daughter Elizabeth I. You’ll not only read about the monarchy and the nobility but the everyday life of the common people.
Covering everything from the economy, crime and punishment, music, literature, Tudor dress, ghosts, the origins of nursery rhymes and one of my favourite topics, Tudor food, there’s something to suit your every mood.
Terry Breverton.