A History of the County of Stafford: Volume 17, Offlow Hundred (Part). Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1976.
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Daffodil Farm, Wood End, stood south of Sutton Road near the present Fallowfield Road. It seems to have belonged to the Hurst family in the 14th century. In 1333 William atte Hurst held land at Wood End which later formed part of the estate; he was still living in 1338. (fn. 1) In 1388 John atte Hurst conveyed his property there to trustees, who in 1404 granted it to his widow Isabel. John's son William was apparently in possession by 1408. (fn. 2) In 1434 he leased most of the estate to his son John, retaining part of the house and outbuildings and some land. (fn. 3) William was still alive in 1438 but by 1446 had been succeeded by another son, Thomas. (fn. 4) By 1479 the estate had passed to Edmund Hurst, who was still in possession in 1493. (fn. 5) It had apparently descended by 1504 to his nephew Geoffrey Hurst, who died between 1514 and 1527. (fn. 6)
The estate was later held by Henry Hurst but had passed to John Floude of London and his wife Alice by 1546 when they leased it to Rowland Charles, a spurrier. The house was then called Hurst's House. (fn. 7) John was dead by 1556 when Alice leased the property to Robert Conyworth, a London merchant taylor. (fn. 8) By 1576 it had been bought by John Conyworth. He still held it in 1612, but by 1614 the estate had passed to his son-in-law Thomas Ashton of Sheldon (Warws.). In 1621 Ashton's daughter Anne and her husband Gamaliel Purefey of Wolvershill in Bulkington (Warws.) held the property; the house was then known as Hurst House or Wood End House. (fn. 9) The Purefeys sold the estate to William Scott in 1624, and he made a settlement of it in 1629. (fn. 10) A William Scott was living at Wood End between at least 1661 and 1672, (fn. 11) and between at least 1719 and 1722 the estate was held by Richard Scott, a Walsall ironmonger. (fn. 12) By 1784 it had passed to a Mr. Goodall, (fn. 13) and the house was known by 1816 as Daffodilly House. (fn. 14) In 1843 the estate was owned by Frances Hewett and consisted of 76 a. let to Robert Parsons. The house was then called Daffydowndilly House. (fn. 15) John Shannon (d. 1875), a Walsall clothing manufacturer, was apparently the owner in the later 19th century; in 1894 his trustees held the property. (fn. 16) It later passed to his son E. J. Shannon (d. 1913) and descended with Wood End farm until 1957. (fn. 17) From c. 1900 it was known as Daffodil farm. (fn. 18) The estate was broken up from 1957; most of it was sold in lots to John Maclean & Sons Ltd. between 1957 and 1959 as building land. The corporation bought 5 a. in 1968, and the remainder, a small plot in Skip Lane, was sold to K. M. Gilmore of Sutton Coldfield (Warws.) in 1970. (fn. 19)
In 1434 Hurst's House was apparently timberframed and had a detached kitchen. (fn. 20) By the mid 16th century it was moated. (fn. 21) It was taxable on five hearths in 1666. (fn. 22) The house in 1819 consisted of a rectangular range with a north wing, a projecting block in the centre, and a further wing at the south-east corner. A pool at the north-west corner may have been the remains of the moat. (fn. 23) By 1885 the house had been rebuilt. (fn. 24) It had been demolished by 1959. (fn. 25)
Gillity Greaves, a farm-house at Wood End, stood at the south end of the present Allington Close. In 1525 the farm was held by Richard Hill and was then known as 'Gyllot in greves'. (fn. 26) By 1548 the property, including a house, belonged to Thomas Webbe; a Thomas Webbe held it in 1576. (fn. 27) On his death his property was divided between his heirs Joan Ball and Thomas Nicholls. (fn. 28) Nicholls still held his share in 1616. (fn. 29) In 1628 Joan Ball settled her moiety on her son John, retaining a lifeinterest. (fn. 30) The farm later passed to John Scott, who occupied it between at least 1753 and 1766, (fn. 31) and then successively to Thomas Paviour, to John Brown, and by 1770 to Simon Burrowes. (fn. 32) Burrowes died in 1785. His estates apparently passed to Joanna, daughter of Thomas Burrowes and wife of Francis Goodall. She died in 1790, and the property was then shared between her daughter Joanna Freer, Elizabeth Delight (probably another daughter), and a third coheir. Elizabeth was dead by 1825, and in 1826 her heirs and those of Joanna Freer agreed that the property should be divided. (fn. 33) By 1843 Gillity Greaves had passed to Fanny Goodall, who was presumably the third coheir or her successor. Samuel Wood, then the tenant, later bought the property and was succeeded by John Wood. (fn. 34) In 1918 it was bought by George and Charles Frederick Griffin; Charles died the same year, and in March 1919 George sold it to Edward Holt, who resold it to G. H. Stanley in July. (fn. 35) Stanley apparently continued to own and occupy the farm until 1939. (fn. 36) The area has since been covered with houses, (fn. 37) and the site of the farmhouse is a playground and open space.
Goscote Hall on the corner of Slacky and Goscote Lanes formed part of an estate owned by the Price family in the mid 18th century. (fn. 38) In 1756 it was held by Elizabeth Beckett, widow of Thomas Price of Goscote, and their son John Price. In 1788 John settled the hall and farm on his brother Thomas Price of Shareshill, who died in 1826 leaving the estate to Anne Cale, widow of Benjamin Cale, a London japanner. In 1827 she settled it on her son John, who in 1862 granted it to his son Benjamin George Cale; it then consisted of 149 a. In 1876 Benjamin sold the estate to Elias Crapper, a Walsall lime-master, who died in 1885. In 1889 his trustees sold it to John and William Starkey, coal-masters of Pelsall. As a result of mortgage transfers it passed in 1902 to Edward Davies of Whittington Hall and F. W. Smith of Walsall, who sold it to the corporation in 1905. The corporation transferred 24 a. with Goscote hospital to the Ministry of Health in 1948, and part of the rest with Goscote sewage farm to the Upper Tame Main Drainage Authority in 1966. The hall had been demolished by 1966, but the corporation still owned the site in 1973.
Sir William Skeffington (d. 1635) sold to John Cowley land in Bloxwich which apparently included the site of the Hills in Bealey's Lane. (fn. 39) Cowley lived in Bloxwich between at least 1636 and 1642. (fn. 40) In 1682 the property belonged to his daughter Winefrid Pretty of Great Barr in Aldridge. (fn. 41) By 1694 she had been succeeded by her son Thomas, (fn. 42) who sold the estate in 1697 to his brother-in-law John Hunt of Birmingham. (fn. 43) The property, known as Hills farm in 1766, had passed by 1781 to John Bealey of Bloxwich. (fn. 44) A John Bealey was living in Bloxwich in 1829, (fn. 45) but by 1832 he had been succeeded by Joseph Bealey, who was living at the house, then known as the Hills. (fn. 46) In 1843 the estate consisted of 109 a. occupied by Bealey and other land let to tenants. (fn. 47) Joseph was succeeded between 1850 and 1854 by his son John Edward Bealey (d. 1889), who left the estate to his nephew Joseph Bealey Strongitharm, subject to the right of Eliza Farnall (d. 1893) to occupy the house for life. (fn. 48) Strongitharm lived at the Hills between at least 1896 and 1907. (fn. 49) In 1907 he settled the estate in trust for sale; the Hills Estate Co. bought it in 1918. (fn. 50) The company sold it in 1935 to the corporation, which assigned 25 a. as part of the King George V Playing-fields in 1938 and sold more for building in 1959. About 1946 it let the house and 120 a. to a tenant, who was still farming there in 1973. (fn. 51) The Hills is a three-storeyed brick building of c. 1800, with mid-19th-century extensions including an Italianate stuccoed front.
Having appropriated Walsall church in the mid 13th century (fn. 52) Halesowen abbey retained the rectory until its dissolution in 1538. In 1255 the church was said to be worth 40 marks a year (fn. 53) and in 1291 £12. (fn. 54) By 1535 the rectory was farmed for £10. (fn. 55) In 1538 the Crown granted it with the advowson to Sir John Dudley, later earl of Warwick and duke of Northumberland, (fn. 56) who leased the rectorial tithes to William Taillour, ex-abbot of Halesowen, for life. (fn. 57) The Crown resumed possession of the rectory on Dudley's attainder in 1553 and granted it in 1590 to Robert Balthrop of London and John Welles. (fn. 58) Later in 1590 Balthrop sold it to Edward Leigh of Rushall; a barn was included. (fn. 59) The rectory then remained with the Leighs until the earlier 18th century. (fn. 60) In 1718 William Leigh's brother Edward and his widow Esther sold the portion of the rectorial tithes known as the borough tithes to John Dolphin of Stafford and Shenstone. Those tithes arose from the southern part of the foreign but were called the borough tithes because they were then rated to the borough; the borough itself was apparently tithe-free. Dolphin (d. 1724) was succeeded by his son John, of Shenstone (d. 1756). His heir was his nephew John Dolphin of Shenstone (d. 1782), who was succeeded by his son Thomas Vernon Dolphin. Under an Act of 1795 Thomas sold the tithes in thirty-two lots; those from the property of the lord of the manor were settled in trust to meet half the repairs of the chancel of St. Matthew's. (fn. 61) The tithes from the rest of the foreign had passed by 1719 from the Leighs to William Persehouse of Reynold's Hall (fn. 62) and descended with the Reynold's Hall estate. (fn. 63) By c. 1830 the two largest shares of the tithes were held by Lord Bradford and John Walhouse, who were jointly responsible for the repair of the chancel. (fn. 64) By 1843 part of the tithes, including Lord Bradford's share, had been commuted. The rest were commuted that year for a rent-charge of £445, of which £330 was assigned to Lord Hatherton and the remainder to 139 other tithe owners. (fn. 65)
In the 15th century William Reynold held a large estate in Walsall. It included a house near the present Arboretum Road known by 1575 as Reynold's Hall. (fn. 66) Reynold was dead by 1488 and was succeeded by his granddaughter Elizabeth Pearte of Darlaston. She married William Flaxall and then William Walker of Darlaston, who in 1500 did fealty for the estate. By c. 1528 she had been succeeded by her son Richard Walker, who still held the estate in 1546 when his daughter Elizabeth married John Persehouse. (fn. 67) Walker was dead by 1551, (fn. 68) and Elizabeth died in or soon after 1552. (fn. 69) John Persehouse continued to hold the estate by the courtesy, and from 1561 to 1590 he redeemed the rights of the collateral heirs of Richard Walker. (fn. 70) He died in 1605 and was succeeded by John, his eldest son by his second wife. (fn. 71) The younger John died in 1636, (fn. 72) and the property passed to his son Richard, whose estates were sequestered for his delinquency in 1648. (fn. 73) He died in 1650 and his rights passed to his son John, who had obtained a discharge in 1649 but was still seeking confirmation of his title in 1652. (fn. 74) John was in possession by 1660 and died in 1667 or 1668, leaving as heir a son John, a minor (d. 1713). (fn. 75) The property passed successively to his sons John (d. between 1724 and 1735) and William (d. 1749) and William's son Richard (d. 1771). (fn. 76)
Richard Persehouse left the property in trust for his godson John Walhouse, son of Moreton Walhouse of Hatherton in St. Peter's, Wolverhampton. (fn. 77) His copyhold lands in Walsall, however, passed to his sister Elizabeth and her husband Robert Burgis of Offenham (Worcs.); in 1778 they agreed to sell them to the trustees. (fn. 78) John Walhouse died in 1835, leaving his Staffordshire estates to his nephew Edward John Littleton, created Baron Hatherton in 1835. The Reynold's Hall estate then descended with the barony until the early 20th century. (fn. 79) Most of it was apparently sold c. 1909; the Hatherton estate trustees still held ground-rents in Walsall in 1926 but in 1951 owned no property there. (fn. 80)
By 1588 Reynold's Hall included hall, parlour, kitchen, and outbuildings. In 1588-9 a further three-storeyed and jettied timber-framed block with a short range joining it to the old hall was built. It included kitchen, larder-house, and boulting-house on the ground floor, two chambers above with dormer-windows, and a cock-loft with three 'clerestories'. A porch was built at either end, with a study over the one facing the town. The old kitchen, apparently also timber-framed, was rebuilt and extended, and a new timber-framed barn, gatehouse, and brick and timber dovecot were constructed. (fn. 81) The house included at least 30 rooms in 1639, (fn. 82) and in 1749 20 rooms were mentioned. (fn. 83) It was still occupied in 1784 but had been demolished by 1800. (fn. 84)
Reynold's Hall Farm, south of the former hall and east of Persehouse Street, existed by 1819. (fn. 85) It occurs as Reynold's Hall in 1864 and Reynold's Hall Farm from 1882. It was occupied by tenants in the mid and later 19th century and was demolished in 1897 for the building of Foden Road. (fn. 86)
Apparently in the later 14th century John March held land or pasture, known as the Wastes, between the town and the park; it passed after his death to William de Walsall and Roger de Mollesley. By 1388 it had been bought by Lord Basset (d. 1390), who left it in trust for the endowment of a chantry in Lichfield cathedral. (fn. 87) Instead, however, the property, with a pasture called Bentleyland in the park, pasture in Walsall called the Coningre, a carucate and pasture at Clayhanger, and other pasture in Walsall, passed to Thomas, earl of Stafford (d. 1392). (fn. 88) The estate then descended with the Stafford earldom. In 1403 it was assigned to the queen during the minority of Humphrey, earl of Stafford. (fn. 89) The Staffords' title, however, was disputed by the earls of Warwick as heirs to Lord Basset's possessions in Walsall. (fn. 90) By 1403 Richard, earl of Warwick (d. 1439), was leasing Bentleyland from Lord Stafford (fn. 91) and by 1408 had apparently abandoned his claim to the Wastes. (fn. 92) On the other hand he seems by 1409 to have made good the claim to the Clayhanger property and the Coningre, (fn. 93) though Stafford's heirs continued to claim them until at least 1535. (fn. 94) The earls of Warwick continued to lease Bentleyland from the earl of Stafford until at least 1435, (fn. 95) although by 1441 they had ceased to pay the rent and the pasture had been re-absorbed into Walsall park. (fn. 96) The Wastes was held by the Staffords until the forfeiture of Edward, duke of Buckingham, in 1521. (fn. 97) In 1526 the Crown leased it to Robert (later Sir Robert) Acton for 21 years, and in 1528 granted it to him in tail male. (fn. 98) In 1531 the reversion was granted to Henry, Lord Stafford. (fn. 99) Acton sold his life interest in 1547 to John Dudley, earl of Warwick, later duke of Northumberland. (fn. 100) The property then descended with the manor of Walsall, Lord Stafford receiving compensation for the reversion in 1558. (fn. 101)
The house at Caldmore Green which is now the White Hart inn is said to have belonged to the Hawe family in the 17th century. (fn. 102) They had already acquired property in Walsall from the Flaxall family in the earlier 16th century. Thomas Flaxall in the late 15th or early 16th century had held a house and land in Walsall, which descended to his son Roger and then to his four daughters, Joan, wife of John Hawe, Elizabeth, wife of Richard Avery, Agnes, wife of Robert Wykes or Wilkes, and Eleanor, a spinster. The daughters held it jointly at some time before 1529, but John Hawe later bought the rights of his sisters-in-law. He was dead by 1548; his widow Joan died in 1558, leaving the property to their son Nicholas (d. 1560). It then apparently passed to Nicholas's nephew George, who also inherited land in Walsall from Nicholas and his brother George (d. 1558). (fn. 103) He died in 1605 and was succeeded by his son, another George. (fn. 104)
George Hawe acquired a house and land in Caldmore and further property in Walsall by his marriage to Mary, daughter of John Hall of Caldmore (d. 1622). George was living in Caldmore by 1635. (fn. 105) During the Civil War he moved to Lichfield; his property was sequestered because of his delinquency but was granted in 1644 to Mary, who had compounded for it. The estate had again been confiscated by 1646 and was still under sequestration in 1648. It later passed to George Hawe's eldest son George, a parliamentarian (d. 1660), (fn. 106) his grandson George (d. 1679), his great-grandson John (d. 1721), and his great-great-grandson, another John, who died apparently in 1755, leaving his property to his daughter Mary. In 1764 she married Thomas Parker of Park Hall in Caverswall (d. 1797). The property passed to his son Robert (d. 1806), who left it to his brother Thomas Hawe Parker. (fn. 107) Thomas sold most of it in lots in 1814. (fn. 108) If the identification of the house with the White Hart is correct, it was presumably included in the sale, as it was an inn by 1818. (fn. 109) After numerous changes of ownership it passed in 1966 to Ansells Brewery Ltd., (fn. 110) the owner in 1973.
The White Hart inn dates from the later 17th century and was presumably built by George Hawe (d. 1679), who is said to have improved the estate. (fn. 111) It was probably preceded by a timber-framed house, the timbers of which were reused in the present roof. The present house, of two storeys and attics, is of brick with moulded-brick dressings. It includes a principal range with gabled projections at the rear forming a double-depth plan, and a crosswing and projecting block at the east end. A porch in the angle of the main range and the wing marks the original entrance. All four fronts are surmounted by shaped gables and have brick-mullioned windows; two canted bay-windows, rising through two storeys, on the south front of the main range probably lit the hall, the parlour, and the principal bedrooms. On the north front are three gables; the two easternmost are original, and there are canted bays, apparently original, below them. The third gable marks the position of the stair. About 1884 the interior of the house was replanned, much of the brickwork was restored, a new front door was inserted, and a bay-window was added to the crosswing. (fn. 112) The inn has since been twice extended, first at the north-west corner when the north-west gable was rebuilt, and later at the north-east corner.
In the 15th century the house on Sutton Road later known as Wood End Farm and land at Wood End were held by William Shelfield. The estate passed to his daughter Eleanor and her husband William Burgess, a Leicester carpenter, who in 1493 granted it to the chaplain of John Flaxall's chantry. (fn. 113) In 1554 it was included in the endowments of Walsall grammar school, which held it until 1894. The governors then sold it to E. J. Shannon, a Walsall clothing manufacturer (d. 1913). His executors sold it in 1917 to the tenant, T. W. Downes. (fn. 114) Downes died in 1949; the farm passed to his widow Evelyn and on her death in 1956 to their children, Thomas, Gilbert, and Joan Downes. In 1959 Thomas and Gilbert released their rights to Joan, who still owned the property in 1973. (fn. 115)
The 15th-century farm-house apparently stood within a moat c. 100 yd. west of Sutton Road. (fn. 116) Three sides of the moat survived until the later 1960s when the ditches were filled in; (fn. 117) traces were still visible in 1973. By 1784 the house had been rebuilt on a site east of the moat. (fn. 118) The present house, a brick building nearer the road, dates from 1836. (fn. 119)
The other endowments in Walsall granted to the grammar school in 1554 consisted of former chantry lands in Bloxwich, Caldmore, Harden, and the borough. (fn. 120) The governors acquired further property in Little Bloxwich in 1657. (fn. 121) They sold their Walsall estate in parcels from c. 1921. (fn. 122)
In 1549 the Crown sold land called 'Yeld feldes' in Little Bloxwich and other property there to speculators. It had belonged to the chantry in Walsall church founded by John de Beverley and William Coleson, who had given houses and land in the parish as part of the endowment in 1365. (fn. 123) The estate passed to John Bowes (d. 1551) and then to his son John, who sold it in 1559 to Francis Cockayne. (fn. 124) Cockayne was living at Bloxwich at his death in 1568 or 1569 and left his property to his wife Mary for her life. (fn. 125) She died there in 1582; one of her executors was Gilbert Wakering, (fn. 126) who apparently acquired some of the estate. (fn. 127) In 1586 he was confirmed in possession of two houses and land in Walsall and Bloxwich by William Pirton and his wife Dorothy, daughter and heir of Francis Cockayne. (fn. 128) In 1587 Wakering bought further property in Bloxwich from Edmund, Lord Sheffield, and from Richard Middlemore and in 1590 acquired meadow and pasture there from John Stone. (fn. 129) By 1593 he was living at Bloxwich in a house known by 1596 as Yieldfields. (fn. 130) He acquired further land in Bloxwich and Goscote in 1598 and 1600 from James and Edward Noell. (fn. 131) He was knighted in 1604 and died in 1616. (fn. 132) The estate passed successively to his nephew John Wakering (fn. 133) and to John's son Dionysius, (fn. 134) whose daughter and heir Mary married Francis St. John of Longthorpe (Northants.). St. John held the estate in 1675. By 1770 it had passed to Sir Robert Bernard of Huntingdon, son of St. John's daughter Mary; it was then 210 a. in extent. (fn. 135) Bernard had sold it to Henry Vernon of Hilton in St. Peter's, Wolverhampton, by 1776. (fn. 136) The Vernon family remained owners until 1936 or 1937 when they sold the estate to the tenant, Mrs. M. E. Yates. In 1958 she settled it on her children Walter and Geoffrey Yates and Mrs. P. Whitehouse; they still held it in 1973. It then included c. 400 a. in Walsall and a farm in Newtown in Essington (in Bushbury). (fn. 137)
The present Yieldfields Hall dates largely from the 18th century. It is a red-brick double-depth building with three storeys and cellars. There is a central entrance hall approached from the south front and leading to a staircase at the rear; it is flanked by two rooms on either side. Seventeenthcentury panelling on the first floor and some reused timbers in the cellars were probably taken from the earlier house. In the earlier 19th century a twostoreyed kitchen block was added on the north side of the house, and the front range was extended eastwards c. 1900. (fn. 138)
From 1599 Henry Stone, mayor of Walsall in 1604-5, bought several properties in the parish. (fn. 139) By 1617 his holdings included five burgages and several part-burgages in the borough, and a house and land in the foreign. (fn. 140) The house was apparently in Birmingham Street. (fn. 141) In 1624 he bought another house, a windmill, and lands in Walsall and Great Bloxwich. (fn. 142) By his death in 1642 he also held land in Cannock, Yardley (Worcs.), and Castle Bromwich (Warws.). Under his will his property passed to his nephew Henry Stone of Plymouth, who was required to occupy his house in Walsall. (fn. 143) The younger Henry, a prominent parliamentarian, died in 1689. (fn. 144) He left his property to his second son Samuel, after whose death it was to pass successively to his third son Henry and his grandson Samuel Bury of Plymouth. (fn. 145) He thereby disinherited his grandson Henry Stone of Plymouth, son of his eldest son John. (fn. 146) Samuel Stone was still alive in 1698 but had died by 1700. (fn. 147) After proceedings in Chancery the estate seems to have been divided between his daughters, Sarah, Elizabeth, and Anne, Samuel Bury, and their cousin Henry Stone. (fn. 148) Some or all of the Walsall property, including land at Bloxwich, passed to a Mary Stone, who sold it in 1706 to Jonas Slaney. It was later owned by Matthew Stubbs, whose descendants held it in the early 1750s. Most of the property was evidently sold in lots in the late 18th century. (fn. 149)
Henry Stone the younger was living in Birmingham Street in 1662 when he rebuilt a house there, presumably that left to him by Henry Stone the elder. By the late 18th century it had become the Wheatsheaf inn and was demolished c. 1813. (fn. 150)
In or before 1272 William de Morteyn granted Halesowen abbey land in Walsall said to be 2½ a. in 1275 and 3 a. in 1291. (fn. 151) The abbey had acquired further property in the parish by the Dissolution. (fn. 152)
Dean Yotton's chantry, founded in 1513 in Lichfield cathedral, was said in 1535 to hold land in Walsall, though the property was apparently not recorded at the suppression. (fn. 153) By the mid 1540s St. Mary's guild at Lichfield held property in Little Bloxwich, and St. Mary's chantry at Wombourn held land at Wood End. (fn. 154)