A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 4, Hemlingford Hundred. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1947.
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THE BOROUGH OF SUTTON COLDFIELD
The municipal borough of Sutton Coldfield is situated about half-way between Birmingham and Lichfield, along the main road joining these two places. It covers an area of about 13,978 acres, of which more than 2,400 acres are occupied by Sutton Park, an area of natural moorland, heath, and woodland, lying to the west of the town, and including several large pools and three ancient wells. The park is crossed by part of Rycknield Street and by other paths and roads. Running through Sutton Coldfield from north to south is an outcrop of Lower Keuper sandstone, limited on either side by faults, which forms a prominent ridge, followed for the most part by the main Birmingham-Lichfield road. To the west are extensive deposits of Bunter Pebble Beds and underlying Hopwas Breccia, which give rise to the open moorland country of Sutton Park. To the east the principal rock is Keuper Marl, but much of the solid rock is masked by extensive sheets of superficial boulder clay and sandy and gravelly material (fn. 1) which is quarried for road metal and building purposes. There are numerous springs in the park and many wells down to 50 ft. in depth in the borough, but most of the water now used in Sutton comes from wells and boreholes sunk in the New Red Sandstone and Pebble Beds in the Streetly district by the South Staffordshire Waterworks Company, and pumped to a service reservoir at Barr Beacon. (fn. 2)
The older part of the town consists of a main street, over a mile in length, extending from Maney to beyond the parish church of Holy Trinity, which occupies a commanding position on a hill spur, some 400 ft. above sea-level, overlooking the well-defined valley of Plant's Brook, which flows eventually into the Tame. Most of the older houses are built of local, mellow bricks, and some have foundations and quoins of local red sandstone.
In 1778, as a result of local agitation, the first scheme for inclosing the commons was put forward, but was rejected by the Warden and Society in April 1778, (fn. 3) and it was not until 1824 that an Act was passed permitting inclosures from the commons, wastes, and open fields in Sutton Coldfield. (fn. 4) The Corporation then acquired about 300 acres (fn. 5) and more than 3,500 acres appear to have been inclosed and put under cultivation. (fn. 6)
By 1762 the population of Sutton Coldfield was about 1,800, (fn. 7) and by 1831 it had reached 3,684. (fn. 8) In 1891 it was 8,685, in 1901, 14,264, (fn. 9) and in 1931, 29,928. Between this date and 1935 it had increased to about 33,000. (fn. 10) The area of the borough at the date of its incorporation, 1885, was 12,828 acres. This was extended in 1927 to include part of Perry Barr (351 acres) and in 1930 to include part of Great Barr and Shenstone (44 acres) also in Staffordshire. When the boundaries of Birmingham and Sutton were adjusted, following the Local Government Act of 1929, part of the parish of Minworth (758½ acres) was transferred to Sutton from Curdworth. (fn. 11)
Maney and Walmley, originally hamlets of Sutton Coldfield, were formed into separate ecclesiastical parishes in 1907 and 1846, respectively. (fn. 12) The district of Hill (which with Little Sutton had early been given either wholly or in part to the Staffordshire priory of Canwell) (fn. 13) was created an ecclesiastical parish in 1853 with its church at Mere Green, and from it, in 1920, was carved the parish of Four Oaks. (fn. 14) Boldmere parish was created in 1857 (fn. 15) and Wylde Green was separated from it in 1923. (fn. 16) Another district of Sutton Coldfield was Ashfurlong. (fn. 17) Four Oaks Hall (see below) was built by Elizabeth, elder co-heiress of George Pudsey of Langley (q.v.), on land that formed part of her inheritance, (fn. 18) and the estate, Four Oaks Park, was bought in 1880 by a limited company to be used as a racecourse. Races are, however, no longer held and the land has been sold for building purposes. (fn. 19)
In 1792 the corporation paved the streets of Sutton Coldfield with cobble-stones at the cost of £350, and the high roads to Canwell and from Chester Road to Watford Gap were placed under trustees and tollgates were erected. By 1827, 24 coaches a day passed through the town. (fn. 20) There was much local opposition to the construction of the railway, and especially to the line passing through Sutton Park, but in 1860 Sutton Coldfield was linked by railway to Birmingham. (fn. 21) The borough is now served by two branches of the L.M.S. Railway. The section running from Birmingham to Lichfield has stations at Chester Road, Wylde Green, Sutton Coldfield, Four Oaks, and Blake Street, while the Walsall and Wolverhampton branch has stations at Sutton Park for excursion traffic, and also at Penns, for Walmley. (fn. 22)
Apart from New Hall and Moor House Farm there are few buildings of interest in the town and parish. The oldest street is the High Street running northwards from the church. It contains mostly 18th-century and later fronts, but it is probable that a few of the buildings have older interiors. On the east side towards the north end is a 17th-century (former) farm-house partly built of red sandstone and partly of brick. It has two gabled wings on the west front, a middle gabled porchwing, and an original chimney-stack.
On the north side of the Coleshill Road, about ½ mile south-east of the church, is a late-16th-century cottage showing one angle-post of former timber-framing in the 18th-century brick front, and a central chimney-stack with the remains of two original star-shaped shafts of thin bricks and later heightening.
Erdington Road, running south to Birmingham, is now mainly a modern thoroughfare, but a few buildings near the church show vestiges of early-18th-century brickwork. At Maney, about ½ mile south of the parish church, on the west side of the road, is a timber-framed cottage of c. 1600 with curved braces below the eaves. Near it, south of the road eastward to Walmley, is an early-16th-century house of two stories facing north, with walls of red sandstone rubble and ashlar dressings and a tiled roof. The middle doorway has a four-centred head. The windows, once mullioned, retain their stone lintels but now have lowered sills and are fitted with wood frames. At the back is a blocked arched doorway and altered windows. The gable-ends have chimney-stacks—the western, of original stonework, being corbelled out at first-floor level. The ceilings are open-timbered, with chamfered main beams. It was formerly a farm-house and has a large 18th-century brick barn.
Moor Hall, the home of Bishop Veysey, has now been replaced by a modern building, but Moor Hall Farm, his reputed birth-place, is a small rectangular house of two stories and attics with walls of red sandstone ashlar and a tiled roof; it faces south. At the west end is a lower extension. The main front has square-headed windows of two pointed lights to both stories, and a segmental-headed doorway. There is also a small round-headed light to the first-floor closet south of the central chimney-stack. In the roof are gabled dormers. The gable-ends have old stone copings; the chimney-stack in each end wall is of the 18th century or later. At the back are a blocked doorway, one original window, and others altered. In the middle is the original stair-vice, of semi-octagonal projection. The plan has only two rooms on each floor, with the central chimney-stack between them. This has a wide stone fire-place towards the west room with a chamfered oak lintel, and on the first floor an arched fireplace towards the east chamber. The ceilings are open-timbered and have stop-chamfered main beams. There are ancient timbers in the gabled roof but no distinctive medieval framing. There are also several 17th-century panelled doors. The lower west extension of similar masonry is as old. It has a modern arched doorway and windows, but seems to have been lighted originally by tiny lancets, of which two remain (glazed) in the lower story and others blocked to the upper story. An ancient roof truss has a tie-beam and curved collar-beam.
At Little Sutton, about ½ mile north of Moor Hall Farm, is a renovated red-sandstone cottage which may be nearly as old. A small timber-framed barn stands east of it. At Hill, north of Mere Green, is a hamlet on what was probably the ancient road to Lichfield before the straight road farther west was made at a lower level. It has a number of early-18th-century brick cottages, &c., and one at the corner of Butlers Lane which shows an early-17th-century central chimney-stack. Another farther north has a barn with some ancient timber-framing.
Warrenhouse Farm, ½ mile north of Walmley, is of two stories with rough-casted walls. The main block facing east and west has a 17th-century central chimneystack with two square shafts having a square pilaster on each face and at the south end a projecting chimneystack with a heavy buttress of red sandstone. A red brick middle wing on the east side has a stone inscribed 1671 M M.
'Wincelle', west of it, is a timber-framed house recently rebuilt with 17th-century material said to have been brought from Wiggins Hill. (fn. 23) The Mill House, a little farther north-west just off the road from Wylde Green to Walmley, is an 18th-century brick house with a lower wing that shows some ancient timber-framing. A cottage, at the bend of the same road west of the mill, is another of the local buildings of c. 1600 of red sandstone rubble with ashlar angle-dressings and original stone mullioned windows; the doorway has a triangular head.
The church of St. John the Evangelist at Walmley is built in the 12th-century style with blue-brick walls and red sandstone dressings. Langley Hall, 1½ miles north-east of the church, is an 18th-century brick house with stone dressings. Near it are the remains of a medieval moat.
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.
Wiggins Hill Farm, ¾ mile south-east, is an L-shaped house facing north, of which the lower story is of early-17th-century brickwork with red sandstone quoins and a stone chamfered plinth. The upper story is of late-17th-century brickwork and has curvilinear ('Dutch') gable-heads. At the back is an early-17th-century brick chimney-stack. Just north of it is an early-17th-century cottage with remains of original timber-framing and a rebuilt central chimney.
New Hall stands about a mile south-east of the parish church, surrounded by a rectangular moat that washes the walls on three sides and incloses a garden to the west. (fn. 24) The house is said to date from the 13th or 14th century. Although there are no windows or other architectural features to verify this, the greywhite masonry of the walls of the west range and south wing is certainly very ancient. These formed an L-shaped plan to which, late in the 16th century, the north wing, containing the great Banqueting Hall, was added, approximately to match the other, but all of red sandstone. The main stair-hall against it is also of the same period and material. The one-storied wing west of the Hall is probably of a little later date; it is of red and grey stone. A narrow wing north of it was added probably early in the 17th century: it was of two stories but was heightened to form a high tower in 1796, when a good deal of alteration and enlargement was carried out. The modern enlargements are mostly of 1870, the date inscribed on part of the west front.
The south-east wing containing the Dining Room has walls of grey-white stonework, probably 13th or 14th century. The plinth and two or three courses above it are of ashlar (perhaps later repair) the remainder of weatherworn rubble, mostly squared stones, with ashlar angle-dressings. The gabled east end has a coping and apex pinnacle of later red stone. The ground-floor window is modern (1796?) 'Gothic' set in a former wider opening of which the straight joints remain. The side windows of the Dining Rooms are similar. The square-headed windows of the second and third stories, the former with transoms, appear to be insertions, of the 16th or 17th century. The north side, towards the courtyard, has a projecting chimneystack of red stone, with a moulded stone fire-place of the late 17th century. The south side has a larger square projection. Of this the plinth is of 16th-century brick with stone quoins and was probably the base of a Tudor chimney-stack. The upper part for two stories is mainly of later brickwork with white stone quoins, the chimney-stack being converted into a square bay when the late-17th-century fire-place was made in the opposite wall. The bay was widened in 1796 on the west side, and a third story was added above the whole widened bay to form a low tower above the roof with a still higher square turret (fourth story) above the newer part. This work is of brickwork with red stone quoins and 'Gothic' windows, and has embattled parapets. It has carved stones—shields with monograms CS and [CC?] and date 1796, the Sacheverell arms, and the motto EN BON FOY.
The walls of the west range are of similar masonry and date to the south wing. It contains the Hall, the east side of which has a fire-place and chimney-stack like the Dining Room and north of it the moulded red stone entrance from the east courtyard, probably of the same period: the lintel is carved with a shield of nine quarters and the same motto. The south end stops 7 or 8 ft. short of the south wall of the wing. It is a thick wall and has a three-light square-headed window in red stone of late-16th-century insertion. East of it a straight staircase, probably of 1796, is built against the west wall of the south wing. Over the south-west angle is a corbelled-out modern chimney-stack to the second story. This story has walls of similar masonry with restored windows. A third story is of modern grey stone with red stone windows and an embattled parapet dated 1870. Against most of the west side of the Hall and almost flush with its south wall is a late-16th-century one-storied wing of coursed red and grey stone walling, original red stone moulded windows, and an embattled grey stone parapet. The whole of the wing is open to the Hall. A courtyard about 9 ft. wide between this and the tower has an entrance to the Hall. The two lowest stories of the tower are of old red sandstone rubble, probably early-17th-century. The upper three stories are of red brick with stone dressings, dated 1796. The top story is more modern and has an embattled parapet. The range north of this is modern, but the part at the north end has more of the 1796 brickwork.
The northern wing, containing the Banqueting Hall in the second story with a kitchen, &c., below, is a late-16th-century addition, equal in width and projection to the south wing. The walls are of red sandstone coursed rough ashlar. The gabled east end, of three stories, has a bay-window to the second story carried on moulded corbeiling above a smaller three-sided projection. In the north side are two bay-windows, similar but to both stories. Another bay on the south side has its west splay cut off square by the stair-hall. All have embattled parapets behind which are gables in the main walls with mullioned windows to the third story. The north chimney-stack has two late-16th-century brick shafts of star-shaped plan. The lower story of the stair-hall is contemporary, with an original south window, but the upper story is modern.
The Banqueting Hall has a fine ribbed ceiling divided into panels with decorative centres of foliage, grapes, scroll patterns, faces, and one shield with the Sacheverell arms. The frieze of the cornice is treated with raised ornament with goats (the Sacheverell crest) and sea monsters, &c. The walls are lined with late-16th-century panelling with fluted and scaled pilasters at the angles of the bays and flanking the fire-place, which has an overmantel of plain panelling. The windows are glazed with small leaded quarries in a distinctive geometrical pattern. The ground floor of the wing was undoubtedly all one chamber originally, but is now divided up into the kitchen, &c. In place of the original fire-place in the north wall is now a window; a new fire-place was inserted at the west end. The ceiling has old chamfered beams.
The entrance hall and the chamber north of it, in the west range, are lined with c. 1600 oak panelling, and the chamber is entered by a 16th-century doorway from the passage between it and the main staircase east of it. The staircase is ancient from ground to first floor and modern above. It has square panelled 6½-in. newels with moulded caps and bases, heavy handrails, and sloping pierced balustrades of strap work and scroll carving. On the tops of the newels, except the lowest, are carved wood figures; the two on the half-landings are a griffin sitting up on its haunches, painted red and gold, and a crowned lion (painted black) also sitting upright and holding a shield painted with the quartered Sacheverell arms. That on the first floor is a goat holding a pennon-like shield. Although the upper newels are modern, the figures on them appear to be old: on the half-landings are a bear and ragged staff and a lion, and at the top a unicorn. The griffin and both lions are provided with later tails of iron. (fn. 25) Other rooms have panelling and chamfered beams.
North-east of the house, just outside the moat, is a two-storied building, about 25 ft. by 18 ft., with walls of scabbled squared rubble. It has been used as a stable, but the sizes of the windows suggest that it was built in the 17th century for other uses—possibly a chapel. The east window is of three square-headed lights—two blocked—and above it is an old taller window of two lights. The stone doorway in the middle of the south side has a segmental arched lintel and a range of four dwarf lights over it. Both doorway and head-lights are blocked with 18th-century brickwork. The north wall had also three bull's-eye windows over the long manger, now walled up. A little farther east is a 17th-century cottage of brick on stone rubble foundations. The east entrance to the grounds, on the Walmley road, has gateposts of 18th-century stone and brick with moulded caps and stone ball-heads.
In Edward the Confessor's time the manor of SUTTON was held by Earl Edwin of Mercia, and in 1086 by William I. (fn. 26) It remained in the possession of the Crown until Henry I exchanged it with Roger, 2nd Earl of Warwick (d. 1153), for the manors of Oakham and Langham, co. Rutland. (fn. 27) After this Sutton descended for some time with the earldom of Warwick.
The manor was granted in dower in 1242 to Ela daughter of William de Longespee and widow of Thomas, 6th Earl of Warwick, (fn. 28) and confirmed, as the manor of SUTTON-IN-COLDFIELD, to her and her second husband, Sir Philip Basset, in 1265 by William Maudit, the next earl. (fn. 29) The countess was granted free warren in the manor in 1251 (fn. 30) but exchanged Sutton in 1287 with William de Beauchamp, then earl, for the manor of Spilsbury in Oxfordshire. (fn. 31) Meanwhile, in 1285 the earl's prescriptive right to court leet, with assize of bread and beer, free chace, infangthef, tumbril, team, waif, and gallows, had been recognized, (fn. 32) and in 1309 the customs of the manor were very fully set out as the result of an inquiry held before the lord's steward. (fn. 33)
During the minority of Thomas, son of Guy de Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick (d. 1315), (fn. 34) the manor of Sutton was in the hands of successive custodians, some appointed by the Crown and some by Guy's executors, all paying an annual farm of £24 0s. 3¾d. at the Exchequer. (fn. 35) Thomas was given livery in 1329 (fn. 36) and in 1344 made a settlement on himself and his wife Katherine (daughter of Roger Mortimer) and their heirs in tail male. (fn. 37) He was succeeded in 1370 by his eldest surviving son Thomas, (fn. 38) who as one of the Lords Appellant was deprived of his possessions by the king in 1397, when Sutton Coldfield was among his lands given to Thomas Holland, Earl of Kent. (fn. 39) After the deposition and death of Richard II Thomas, Earl of Warwick, was restored in 1400 to his honours (fn. 40) but died in 1401. (fn. 41) When his grandson Henry, Duke of Warwick, died in 1446, (fn. 42) the king appropriated all the profits of his lands during the minority of the heir for the expenses of the royal household. (fn. 43) Henry's daughter Anne died in 1449 (fn. 44) and the estates of the earldom passed to her aunt Anne, sister of the late earl and wife of Richard Nevill, afterwards known as Warwick the King-maker. (fn. 45) Nevill was attainted in 1459, and in 1460 the manor and lordship of Sutton Coldfield, with park, chase, and waters, were leased for 10 years by Henry VI to his sergeant Edmund Mountfort. (fn. 46) Nevill soon regained his power and his lands, but after his death, in 1471, his lands were taken from his wife and settled on their two daughters and their respective husbands. (fn. 47) The lordship of Sutton went to the elder, Isabel, who died seised of it in 1476 leaving an infant son Edward. (fn. 48) Her husband George, Duke of Clarence, created Earl of Warwick in 1472, was attainted and executed early in 1478, and for some years Sutton Coldfield, with other lands of the earldom, was in the king's hands because of the minority of the heir. (fn. 49) In 1487, however, Henry VII restored the lands of the earldom to Anne, Countess of Warwick, widow of the King-maker, since both her daughters were dead. (fn. 50) Anne straightway conveyed these lands to the Crown, (fn. 51) but in 1489 received back Sutton Coldfield, with other manors, for life, with all issues from Michaelmas 1487. (fn. 52) Anne was dead by 23 December 1492, (fn. 53) and the manor then remained with the Crown till the incorporation of the borough in 1528. (fn. 54)
By the early 16th century the township of Sutton Coldfield had fallen into decay, (fn. 55) but through the interest of John Veysey alias Harman, Bishop of Exeter, a native of the place, (fn. 56) Henry VIII was induced on 16 December 1528 to incorporate the inhabitants, by the name of the Warden and Society of the Royal Town of Sutton Coldfield, and grant them his town, manor, or lordship, free chase and park of Sutton Coldfield at an annual farm of £58. (fn. 57)
The charter named Bishop Veysey's brother-in-law, William Gibbons of New Hall (q.v.), as first warden, (fn. 58) to hold office until the following All Souls' Day, on which date a new warden was to be elected annually from among the fellowship of 24, who were to be chosen, for life, from among the most discreet inhabitants of the town. (fn. 59) The warden was to act as clerk of the market (see below) and as coroner within the town, whilst the warden and fellowship were granted return of writs; courts leet and view of frankpledge twice a year held before a steward appointed by them, and learned in the laws of England; a weekly court on Mondays (to be held before the warden or the steward or his deputy) (fn. 60) in the Mote Hall which should be provided for such purposes (or in some other suitable place). (fn. 61) The warden and society might make statutes, &c., for the township; they might erect a prison; and for the execution of summonses of the court and to attend on themselves they might elect one or two serjeants-at-mace. The steward might be elected for life or for a term of years at the will of the corporation, and might do his work himself or by a deputy.
All rents and profits of the town or lordship were henceforth to be collected by the warden and society, who were enjoined to use them for the relief of poor inhabitants of the town. (fn. 62) The inhabitants themselves might freely hunt, fish, and fowl in the chase with dogs, bows, and arrows, and further, any inhabitant might build a house in the waste of the manor and inclose up to 60 acres, paying a fee-farm rent of 2d. an acre to the corporation. (fn. 63)
The corporation, as lords of the manor and free chase of Sutton Coldfield, were bound, eventually, to pay to the Crown the annual rent of £58, but the whole amount did not fall due until the expiry or surrender of the patents of various officials of the manor, appointed by the Crown, whose salaries were a charge on the manor. (fn. 64) The corporation were liable, however, immediately for a rent of £9, with £5 increase for all woods of the manor. A further £11 would fall due on the expiry of a lease of the herbage of the park for 21 years (Mich. 1520–41), then held by Ludowic Wynewode. (fn. 65) They were released from £16 2s. 11½d. a year, which they had to pay as salary to Walter Devereux, Lord Ferrers of Chartley, for his life for offices that the king had granted to him and to his son Henry for the life of the longer liver on 11 February 1525. (fn. 66) These offices comprised those of bailiff of the manor, (fn. 67) keeper of the park (fn. 68) and of Coldfield Walk, (fn. 69) with a further £5 19s. 0½d. payable to him as steward. (fn. 70) Another £5 6s. 2d. was payable to William Rigley so long as he was keeper of the chase of Hillwood, (fn. 71) and keeper of the vert and venison of the outwoods of Linridge; (fn. 72) and £3 0s. 2d., with an increase of £2 11s. 2d. due after the death of John Welsbourne, keeper of the woods. (fn. 73)
The duty of the steward of the manor, both before 1528 when he was appointed by the Crown (fn. 74) and after 1528 when he was appointed by the corporation, was to hold courts, though this duty was performed, at least after the Charter of Incorporation, by deputies who were lawyers. (fn. 75) Walter Devereux, Lord Ferrers of Chartley, may have continued to receive his fee as steward until his death in 1558, (fn. 76) but in 1547 the corporation appointed John Throckmorton. (fn. 77) His successors were Henry Goodere (1582), Richard Reppington (1595), Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex (1612), Richard Newdigate (1646), (fn. 78) Thomas Thynne, M.P., afterwards Viscount Weymouth (1679), (fn. 79) and the first four Lords Middleton in succession (1714–74). After them, the 3rd Lord Weymouth, later Marquess of Bath (1781), was succeeded in 1796 by his son-in-law, Heneage Finch, 4th Earl of Aylesford, and he by the 6th Lord Middleton (1812), the 5th Earl of Aylesford (1835), Lord Leigh of Stoneleigh (who held office from 1859 to 1882, and from 1902 to 1905), Sir Benjamin Stone, M.P., of Erdington (1905), Sir Francis Newdigate-Newdegate (1925), and Colonel Sir Henry Fairfax-Lucy (1936). (fn. 80)
Complaints of maladministration by the warden and corporation and of abuse of their privileges soon arose, and when Thomas Kene (alias Keene), warden in 1548–9, was alleged to have misappropriated corporation funds, the defence of his executors was that all wardens had kept surplus rents and profits for themselves and had not turned them to charitable uses. (fn. 81) Thomas Gibbons, warden, and others were charged in 1581 with having appropriated between 600 and 700 acres of land to their own use at the rent of 2d. an acre, and stocked the park with strangers' cattle, spoiled woods, and inclosed land. (fn. 82) After further complaints of the wasting of woods, the sale of the manor-house, and the appropriation of profits in 1617, it was decreed that the yearly rents must be applied to the charitable uses named in the charter of 1528 and for the purposes of the free Grammar School. (fn. 83) Eventually, 'for the improvement of the town and the amendment of evils' a new charter was granted by Charles II on 27 July 1664. (fn. 84) This confirmed Henry VIII's Letters Patent of 1528, but provided further for the appointment of two of the society as capital burgesses to hold office for life (George Pudsey and Henry his son being nominated by the Crown as the first holders) and to act with the warden as justices of the peace. (fn. 85) They were given authority to enforce statutes concerning vagabonds, artificers, and labourers, and also concerning weights and measures, but they might not, without special mandate, concern themselves with cases involving treason, felony, murder, or loss of life or limb. (fn. 86) The warden of the town for ever was allowed to carry a white staff. (fn. 87) The Monday court was continued and no minister or servant of the Crown might meddle with the affairs of the town and manor, provided that every officer of the town (including the deputy steward), before taking office, took an oath of obedience and the Oath of Supremacy, and was approved by the Crown. (fn. 88)
There were still complaints of maladministration (fn. 89) until in April 1885 the government of the town was reorganized (under the provisions of the Municipal Corporations Act of 1882) and the parish of Sutton Coldfield was created a municipal borough. (fn. 90) The old corporation was dissolved, their charitable funds were vested in eight trustees and all their other property in the new corporation, which consisted of a mayor, six aldermen, and eighteen councillors, popularly elected. (fn. 91) The six wards of the town created by this charter were Holy Trinity, Hill, Boldmere, Wylde Green, Maney, and Walmley, (fn. 92) but in 1935 the Boldmere ward was divided into Boldmere East and Boldmere West, and one alderman and three councillors were added to the council. (fn. 93)
The corporation received a grant of arms in 1935. (fn. 94)
MARKETS AND FAIRS
In 1300 the king granted to Guy de Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, a weekly market on Tuesdays, and an annual fair on the eve and feast of the Holy Trinity and the two days following. (fn. 95) It has been conjectured that this Tuesday market fell into abeyance, (fn. 96) because in 1353 a charter was granted to Thomas, Earl of Warwick, to hold a market on this same day, with fairs on the eve, feast, and morrow of Holy Trinity and on the eve and feast of St. Martin (10 and 11 Nov.). (fn. 97) Again both market and fairs would seem to have lapsed, for in 1519 the inhabitants of Sutton Coldfield were given licence to hold a market on Mondays, with one fair on the eve, day, and morrow of Holy Trinity and another on the morrow of SS. Crispin and Crispinian and the eve and day of SS. Simon and Jude (i.e. 26–8 Oct.). (fn. 98) These were confirmed in 1528 when the town was incorporated, and when the newly constituted warden was empowered to act as clerk of the market. (fn. 99) He was forbidden to exact any tolls from persons attending this market. (fn. 100)
By the first half of the 18th century the fairs again appear to have fallen into disuse, (fn. 101) but in 1757 fairs are noted for 8 November and Trinity Monday in Rider's List of Fairs, (fn. 102) and these continued at least until 1850. (fn. 103) By 1850, a market was still held on Mondays, for cattle, sheep, and pedlary, (fn. 104) and this continued at least until 1902. (fn. 105) From 1897 to 1902 stock sales for cattle, sheep, and pigs were held at Sutton Coldfield on the first Tuesday in every month, (fn. 106) but in 1903 the date was altered to alternate Mondays. (fn. 107) An auction market for live stock and poultry is now held on alternate Tuesdays, and a general market every Saturday. (fn. 108)
By 1900 two fair days had been added to the former 8 November and Trinity Monday, namely 14 March and 19 September, (fn. 109) but all these have now lapsed.
CHASE AND PARK
In 1086 there was woodland 2 leagues long by 1 league broad attached to the royal manor of Sutton (fn. 110) and this became the free chase of Sutton, with the park and free hay and foreign wood, lying between the rivers Tame and Bourne. (fn. 111) At the death of William de Beauchamp, in 1298, its bounds ran from Salford Bridge by Perry Barr and Barr Beacon to the source of the Bourne Brook (otherwise Black Brook), following this to its junction with the Tame at Drayton, and back to Salford Bridge. (fn. 112) It thus took in a south-eastern corner of Staffordshire, where it extended at least into the manors of Drayton Bassett, Weeford (with the hamlet of Thickbroom), and Hints, in all of which places the Earls of Warwick granted rights to impark or hunt. (fn. 113) The boundary between the two counties was marked by the 'Rugeway', which ran through that part of the chase known as Coldfield. (fn. 114)
Within the county of Warwick the chase extended beyond the bounds of the manor of Sutton Coldfield. Thus Berewood in Minworth was administered a spart of the lordship of Sutton at least until Michaelmas 1529, (fn. 115) while 100 acres of wood and waste in Sutton Chase pertained to the manor of Middleton. (fn. 116) In 1315 there pertained to Sutton manor and lordship a park, inclosed and fenced, containing a fish-pond, with a wood called La Lee (now Ley Hill), a close called 'Sidehalehaye', and an outwood in which was a free chase with beasts and underwood. (fn. 117) By the later 15th century there was the outwood of Lindridge and the wood of Hillwood, each with a lodge and its own keeper, (fn. 118) and the bailiwick of Coldfield Walk (fn. 119) as well as the park. (fn. 120)
In 1289 the Earl of Warwick was given licence for life to follow deer started in his free chase into the royal forest of Cannock (co. Staffs.), there to kill them and to carry them away. (fn. 121)
A few days before the first charter of incorporation of Sutton Coldfield, that is to say on 7 December 1528, the king's surveyor of woods agreed to sell to John Harman alias Veysey, Bishop of Exeter, all the oaks and other large timber growing within the lordship, manor, park, and chase, for £500. (fn. 122) This bargain had not been carried out, however, by May 1530, when the surveyors reserved to themselves the right to dispose of the premises more advantageously before the end of the next month. (fn. 123) But Bishop Veysey is held responsible for the destruction of the chase 'for the benefit of the Poor, who for xxd. per an. had keeping for their Cows'. (fn. 124) Further he inclosed all the coppices called the Seven Hays and set up gates and locks to them, stored the park with mares, colts, and horses, and twice gave money for ditching and quick-setting it. (fn. 125) He also gave a meadow for hay for the benefit of poor widows. (fn. 126)
After the park and chase had come to the corporation the felling and sale of timber was frequently a source of waste and dishonest dealing. (fn. 127) In 1790, after an inquiry instigated by the inhabitants into the revenues of the corporation, the Court of Chancery ordered timber to be felled and the money used for schools and almshouses. (fn. 128) In 1826 timber worth £1,116 3s. was sold. (fn. 129) An inquiry in 1835 showed that other smaller sales of timber had been made subsequently, that timber was felled by a member of the society, without public tender, and that timber had also 'been sold from time to time to the party in question; but he has not accounted to the corporation since 1826'. (fn. 130) Moreover, excessive timber was cut, from time to time, for the fencing of the park and inclosures. (fn. 131)
POOLS AND MILLS
Tradition maintained that from the time of King Athelstan there had been a watermill in the manor of Sutton and a windmill in Maney, both belonging to the lord of the manor. (fn. 134) A mill and a preserve with the mill-pond pertained to the manor of Sutton in 1298 (fn. 135) and 1315, (fn. 136) and a fishery and fishponds were mentioned in 1370, (fn. 137) but the construction of five pools, all with 'great and costly heads of stone', is attributed to Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, in Henry V's day. (fn. 138) Four of these were leased in about 1420 by Henry V, for life at a rent of £10 a year or 120 bream, to Sir Ralph Bracebridge of Kingsbury (fn. 139) (who may have been responsible for the creation of Bracebridge Pool). (fn. 140) By Michaelmas 1510 four pools were held at farm by William Vampage, who was still holding them for 40s. a year at Michaelmas 1527. (fn. 141) From 1525 to at least 1546 Walter Devereux, Lord Ferrers, received 40s. a year fee as keeper of fisheries and pools in the manor. (fn. 142)
By the mid-16th century four pools in the manor had been drained and turned into good meadow-ground; a fifth lay 'against the west end of the parish church of Sutton', and had a head, formed of a strong wall of stone, which served for a way into the town. (fn. 143) Through an arch in this wall flowed a brook that drove a mill. (fn. 144) These pools had been known as Mill Pool, Cross Pool, Wyndle Pool, Keeper's Pool, and Bracebridge Pool.
Subsequently, Bracebridge Pool, described as 'a parcel of land within our pasture called the Park', was granted in 1577 by the warden and society (in consideration of two horses and a mare) to Richard Barlowe of that town, to dig up and dam and make a pond there, and to erect a blade-mill or a fulling-mill. (fn. 145) This pool is said to have been held by Sir Francis Willoughby in 1641. (fn. 146) Powell's Pool, described in the 19th century as the largest in the parish, is believed to have been granted originally to a member of the Gibbons family who embanked it, (fn. 147) while Langley Mill Pool was leased by the corporation in 1604 to Edward Pudsey for a rent of 5s. (fn. 148) In 1697 the corporation allowed William Jesson of Langley Hall (q.v.) to add to Lindridge Pool and, in return for making a dam, to hold it for 100 years. (fn. 149) John Riland was permitted in 1733 to make a dam and a pool across Longmoor Brook in the park, and in 1754, along with his co-tenant of half the pool, to build a mill there and have a lease for 63 years. (fn. 150) Blackroot Pool appears to have been constructed in about 1757 by Edward Homer and Joseph Duncomb, who had a lease for 42 years, (fn. 151) though a lease for 30 years was given by the corporation in 1772 to Thomas Ingram. (fn. 152) Round 1860 the pool was leased by S. F. S. and W. S. Perkins. (fn. 153) Mere Pool was leased in 1782 to Henry Curzon, but in 1826 the larger part was converted into gardens for the Hill corporation schools, and it was by 1860 a small pond. (fn. 154) At the present time the most considerable pools are Powell's (with Stone House Mill), Windley, Blackroot, Bracebridge, the ponds of Longmoor and Hill Hook Mills, Langley Pool, Lindridge Pool, and the pools at Moor Hall and New Hall.
Two water-mills within the park, with waters and ponds pertaining to them, were already at farm to William Weston by Michaelmas 1510, (fn. 155) and he was still paying 100s. rent for these at Michaelmas 1536. (fn. 156) Three water-mills were conveyed in 1576, along with the manor-place, by Thomas Kene and Sybil his wife to Thomas Gybons and Humphrey Chatterton. (fn. 157) In 1585 John Bull and Sybil his wife made a conveyance or settlement of one water-fulling mill and two watermills called blade-mills to Edward Sprott, with warranty against Sybil's heirs, (fn. 158) while in 1588 Humphrey Kene conveyed two fulling-mills and two blade-mills to Simon Perott. (fn. 159) Land and two water-mills here were conveyed in 1595 by Thomas Gybons and Francis Gybons and Ursula his wife to Mary Gybons, widow, and her heirs, (fn. 160) while in 1608 these were leased to Thomas Fulford and his wife Mary (possibly Mary Gybons), for her life, at an annual rent of £40. (fn. 161) In 1688 John Batchelor and Elizabeth his wife conveyed land and four water-mills to John (or James) Watson. (fn. 162)
The mill attached to Windley Pool (at one time known as New Forge Pool and forming part of the property attached to the old manor-house site) (fn. 163) was leased in 1763 by Sir Lister Holte of Aston to Thomas Parkes of West Bromwich. (fn. 164) His son and successor, Sir Charles Holte, leased Windley Mill and Pool, and Keeper's Pool to John Onion. (fn. 165)
There was a capital messuage in Sutton Coldfield in 1315, at least, (fn. 166) and there was 'a lodge or meane manor place at Southton on a hille by west [from] the paroche churche in Erle Richarde's time', (fn. 167) but 'Nevyll, Erle of Warwike made [as some say] a praty hawle of tymber there'. (fn. 168) This was presumably where members of the Mountfort family lived for a time after the lease of the manor and park to Edmund Mountfort in 1460 (fn. 169) (see above). Simon Mountfort, lord of Coleshill, who was attainted under Henry VII, 'had a manor place here caullid Sutton by Sutton toun'. (fn. 170) His son, Thomas, was described as 'of Sutton Coldfield', (fn. 171) and so, in 1516, was Thomas's son Simon. (fn. 172)
This timber hall was pulled down early in the 16th century (fn. 173) and from at least 1510 until at least 1540 the site was yielding no rent because it was untenanted. (fn. 174) Later a farm-house was built there and was inhabited (c. 1543) by a kinsman of Bishop Veysey. (fn. 175) In 1576, what was called the manor but was evidently the site of the manor-house, was conveyed to Thomas Gybons and Humphrey Chatterton by Thomas Kene and his wife Sybil, (fn. 176) who may be the Sybil who with her husband John Bull conveyed the site in 1585 to Edward Sprott and another, with warranty against her heirs. (fn. 177) Humphrey Kene alias Keene made a conveyance in 1588 to Simon Perott. (fn. 178) Robert Perott is said to have held the manor-house, which was carried by his widow Anne (d. 1597) to her second husband Marmaduke Dawney (of the Yorkshire family). (fn. 179) In 1648 the site was conveyed to Thomas Dawney, (fn. 180) possibly the Thomas who died there in 1671, after which his son returned to Yorkshire and no longer inhabited the house. (fn. 181) By 1762 this was in a ruinous condition and inhabited by a labourer, but the freehold was owned by Sir Lister Holte of Aston. (fn. 182) At his death in 1770 he left only a life interest to his brother and heir, Sir Charles Holte, who died in 1782. Eventually, by the terms of Sir Lister's will, and by virtue of an Act of Parliament in 1817, the manor-house with mills and pools pertaining, passed to a surviving legatee, Wriothesley Digby of Meriden. (fn. 183) His daughter Mary married Hugh Somerville, and their fourth son Lord Somerville was holding the estate in 1860, by which time he had built a new house in place of the old one. (fn. 184) He died in 1864 and his son and heir Hugh in 1868 (unmarried), and after the death without heirs of the next Lord Somerville, a cousin, in 1870, (fn. 185) the property passed to Hugh's five sisters. (fn. 186) Thomas Hayward of the Manor House was one of the trustees of the town's charities in December 1885. (fn. 187)
In the middle of the 13th century Walter de Bereford held 50 acres in Langley, 'Blackmore', and Brockhurst, all in Sutton, which he gave to his son Walter. (fn. 188) The younger Walter's son William de Bereford died in 1326 seised of the manor of LANGLEY, with a park, pond, and fishery, held of the Earl of Warwick by service of 42s. 2d. a year. (fn. 189) His son Edmund, described as a king's clerk, in 1327 had licence to crenellate his house at Langley. (fn. 190) The manor then passed with that of Wishaw (q.v.), coming through the family of Hore to that of Pudsey. (fn. 191) When Robert Pudsey died in 1558 he was holding it of the Warden and Fellowship of Sutton Coldfield, having settled it in 1555 on his son George, then a minor. (fn. 192) It descended in the Pudsey family (fn. 193) until the death of Henry Pudsey in 1677 (fn. 194) when it appears to have been divided between two of his daughters, Anne wife of William Jesson (fn. 195) and Elizabeth wife of Henry, 3rd Baron Folliott of Ballyshannon. (fn. 196) William Jesson and Anne were dealing with half the manor in 1695 (fn. 197) and both sisters and their husbands with the whole manor in 1697, (fn. 198) after which it appears to have passed entirely to Anne, the younger sister. (fn. 199)
Anne Jesson is said to have died in 1718 leaving a son Pudsey Jesson who died in 1748 and was succeeded by his son William Jesson. (fn. 200) On William's death in 1786 the property was divided between his two daughters, Hannah Freeman and Elizabeth Pudsey, (fn. 201) who with their respective husbands, William Pearson and Thomas Groesbeck Lynch, were dealing with the manor in 1788. (fn. 202) William Jesson Pearson son of Hannah and William was dealing with half the manor in 1808, (fn. 203) and on his death bequeathed his property to his 'cousin' Mary Holte Bracebridge. (fn. 204) The other moiety was in the hands of Henry Gratien Lynch in 1816 when he conveyed it to John Stone. (fn. 205)
It seems probable that William Jesson leased the Langley estate, on the death of his two sons, to Andrew Hacket of Moxhull (q.v.), (fn. 206) and William Hacket was in 1794 paying a rent of £1 for the Hall and lands in Sutton. (fn. 207) Andrew Hacket is said to have bequeathed the estate in 1815 to George Bowyer Adderley, who sold it in 1817 to the first Sir Robert Peel. (fn. 208)
Elizabeth, elder sister of Anne Jesson and daughter of Henry Pudsey of Langley received c. 1696, as part of her share of her father's property, land in the district of Four Oaks. (fn. 209) Elizabeth's husband, Henry, Lord Folliott, died in 1716, while she died in 1742. (fn. 210) Lord Folliott's heirs were three sisters and a niece, but the Four Oaks property passed by grant and purchase to a cousin Colonel, afterwards General, Folliott, who died in February 1762. (fn. 211) Meanwhile, Simon Luttrell, afterwards Baron Irnham and Earl of Carhampton, (fn. 212) had bought the estate and Hall by 1757; he also acquired and inclosed 48 acres of Sutton Park. (fn. 213) He is said to have sold the estate in 1778 to the Rev. Thomas Gresley, D.D., after whose death it was sold to Hugh Bateman. (fn. 214) He sold it in 1792 to Edmund Cradock-Hartopp (fn. 215) of Freathby, co. Leics., who was created a baronet in 1796 and in whose family Four Oaks Hall descended until Sir John William Cradock-Hartopp, 4th bart., (fn. 216) sold the estate in 1880 to a limited company who proposed to hold race-meetings there. (fn. 217) The estate has now been laid out for building purposes.
Roger Harewell of Moor Hall is mentioned in 1434. (fn. 218) William Harman lived in a house called Moor or Moor Hall (fn. 219) and his son John, the future John Veysey alias Harman, Bishop of Exeter, was probably born there c. 1465. (fn. 220) In 1517 the bishop acquired from the king about 4 acres of waste called 'le Moreheth', adjoining his orchard on the north, and another acre nearby, in which he made two pools. (fn. 221) In 1527 he secured parcels of inclosure known as Moor Crofts and Heath Yards, with about 40 acres of waste, (fn. 222) and there built a new mansion of Moor Hall. (fn. 223) Bishop Veysey died in 1554, (fn. 224) his heir being his nephew John Harman (son of his brother Hugh, described as of Moor Hall, (fn. 225) who died in 1528), (fn. 226) who was holding Moor Hall in 1557 and 1559. (fn. 227) It was probably this John who sold the capital messuage of MOOR HALL, with other tenements in Sutton Coldfield, to John Richardson, who died seised of it in 1584, leaving an infant son and heir, William. (fn. 228)
Sir Hugh Brawne of Poole Hall, died seised of the capital messuage in 1615; (fn. 229) his son Richard was granted free warren in his demesne lands here in 1617 (fn. 230) and in 1623 sold the messuage to Gawen Grosvenor. (fn. 231) Fulke 'Gravener' was holding it in 1628 (fn. 232) and his son Leicester Grosvenor was subsequently described as of Moor Hall. (fn. 233)
John Addyes was holding Moor Hall in 1671 (fn. 234) and a John Addyes died seised of it in 1766. (fn. 235) He was succeeded by his great-nephew John Hacket (second son of Andrew Hacket of Moxhull in Wishaw). (fn. 236) John Hacket took the additional surname of Addyes and died in 1810, leaving the estate to his nephew Francis Benyon Hacket (second son of his elder brother Andrew), who died in 1863 and was succeeded by his grandson George Algernon Benyon Disney Hacket. He died in 1904 and his eldest son, Lt.-Col. John Lisle Hacket, sold the Moor Hall estate in 1920. (fn. 237)
New Hall in Sutton is said to have been granted by William de Sutton of Warwick c. 1327 to Robert de Sutton, who in 1340 conveyed it to Thomas de Beauchamp, presumably his overlord, and to Sir John de Lizours of Fledborough, co. Notts., and his heirs. (fn. 238) Sir John died in 1361 holding a messuage and land here of the Earl of Warwick, (fn. 239) which were later taken at farm by Richard Cole, chaplain. (fn. 240) Sir John's son James was dead by 1370 leaving an infant son John, (fn. 241) but New Hall evidently passed with Fledborough to the Bassets of Normanton, co. Notts. (fn. 242) William Basset son of Thomas conveyed it with other possessions in 1428 to Sir Richard Stanhope. (fn. 243)
NEW HALL is said to have been described as a manor in 1435 by the homage in a court baron at Sutton after Sir Richard Stanhope's death, when, it was stated, he held it of the Earl of Warwick by service of 10s. 10d. a year. (fn. 244) He left a son and heir James, but in 1442 Katherine, widow of William Basset the younger of Fledborough (and sister of Richard Stanhope), (fn. 245) demised New Hall for 21 years to William Deping of Sutton and Richard Lee of Maney. (fn. 246)
Thomas Gibbons is said to have bought New Hall in 1552. (fn. 247) In 1610 Thomas and Edward Gibbons conveyed the manor (with a water-mill) to Henry Sacheverell. (fn. 248) He died in 1620, (fn. 249) and New Hall passed to his son Valence Sacheverell (fn. 250) and then to George, eldest son of Valence, who died without issue in 1715. (fn. 251) George Sacheverell bequeathed it to his great-nephew, Charles Chadwick, who assumed the surname of Sacheverell (fn. 252) and who, in 1739, mortgaged his New Hall estate to Francis Horton of Wolverhampton. (fn. 253) On his death, in 1779, New Hall passed to his sister Dorothy who died unmarried in 1784, and bequeathed the manor to Charles Chadwick son of her half-brother John. (fn. 254) His son Hugo Mavesyn Chadwick (who had succeeded him in 1829) was followed in 1854 by his son John de Heley Mavesyn Chadwick, who died in 1897 (fn. 255) and whose mortgagees were holding New Hall in 1892 and 1900, when it was used as a school. (fn. 256) Mrs. Owen was tenant in 1936. (fn. 257)
A manor of PEDDIMORE is first heard of c. 1281 when it was conveyed by Thomas de Arden of Ratley to Hugh de Vienna, (fn. 258) as feoffee, and then to Thomas de Arden of Hanwell, co. Oxon., and Rose his wife along with Curdworth. (fn. 259) This land was presumably given to the Arden family by one of the Earls of Warwick. (fn. 260) William de Beauchamp gave Thomas and his heirs the right to fish in the little stream called 'Ebroch' (now Plant's Brook) so far as his lands lay adjacent thereto. (fn. 261) He gave them also privileges within Sutton Chase, including pannage, and the right to take timber to repair buildings within the manors of Peddimore and Curdworth and also to sell twenty pounds' worth. (fn. 262)
From this time Peddimore presumably descended with Curdworth (q.v.) in the Arden family. (fn. 263) John Arden died seised of a capital messuage here in 1526 and was succeeded by his son Thomas. (fn. 264) Thomas's younger grandson Francis was described as 'of Pedmore' in 1619. (fn. 265)
The manor subsequently came into the possession of the Addyes family and in 1768 was conveyed by William Perkins and Anna Maria his wife to Mary Addyes, spinster, (fn. 266) daughter and heir of Thomas Addyes. (fn. 267) She died unmarried in 1786 and bequeathed her lands here to her cousin Anne, wife of William Scott of Stourbridge, (fn. 268) who bequeathed them to a nephew of her husband, John Scott. (fn. 269) His daughter and heir Mary Scott married in 1830 the Rev. Charles Wellbeloved of York, who took the surname of Scott. (fn. 270)
The manor of POOL HALL is first heard of in 1581 (fn. 271) and 1582 when William Charnells of Snareston, co. Leics., and Meriella his wife (fn. 272) leased it for 20 years to Henry Goodere of Polesworth. (fn. 273) In 1583 Goodere conveyed his rights to John Aylmer, Bishop of London. (fn. 274) The bishop died in 1594 (fn. 275) and the manor was conveyed by Samuel and Zachariah Aylmer, probably his sons, (fn. 276) to Robert Burdett, in 1598. (fn. 277)
Sir Hugh Brawne acquired the rights of William Charnells and his son Edward in the manor (fn. 278) and died seised of it in 1615. (fn. 279) Richard Brawne, then aged 19, succeeded his father (fn. 280) and in 1617 was granted free warren in his demesne lands here. (fn. 281) In 1633 Sir Richard and his wife Theodosia conveyed the manor to John Keyt of Ebrington, co. Gloucs. (fn. 282) From him it passed, presumably, to his son Sir John, the first baronet (created 1660), who died in 1662, (fn. 283) and whose younger son Thomas bequeathed it to his nephew William Keyt, 3rd but last surviving son of Sir William, the 2nd baronet. (fn. 284) William Keyt died in October 1702 (before his father), and bequeathed the manor to his widow Agnes (daughter of Sir John Clopton of Clopton) and her heirs and assigns, (fn. 285) but the will was immediately contested by their eldest son Sir William, (fn. 286) who had succeeded his grandfather on 30 November 1702. (fn. 287)
In 1764 the manor was conveyed by Joseph Collett and Dorothy his wife and John Parker and Rhoda his wife to John Mills. (fn. 288) In 1794 Mrs. Orton was paying 2s. rent for Pool Hall and land in Sutton Coldfield. (fn. 289)
A park called Frithes, a moor adjoining, called Hollingworthes, and a messuage called the Kingeshouse pertained to the manor in 1615. (fn. 290)
Three virgates of land in 'Winchicelle', with woodland two furlongs square attached, were held in 1086 by Bruning of Turchil, (fn. 291) and the overlordship subsequently passed to the Earls of Warwick, (fn. 292) who held it at least until 1407. (fn. 293) In 1403 this ¼ knight's fee was given to Margaret, widow of Thomas, Earl of Warwick, in dower. (fn. 294)
William Bonchevaler held Wiggins Hill in 1235, together with Cherington and Bedsworth Farm (in Tanworth) as one knight's fee. (fn. 295) In 1239 Bartholomew de Turbervill conveyed 3 carucates of land in Cherington and Wiggins Hill to William son of Ralph de Wylinton, (fn. 296) who was holding one fee in these two places in 1242. (fn. 297) John de Wylington held the fee in 1315, (fn. 298) but by 1347 he appears to have subinfeudated it, so that Wiggins Hill was then held as ¼ knight's fee by William de Lucy of John de Hull, who himself held of John de Wylinton. (fn. 299) Baldwin de Bereford held it in about 1362, (fn. 300) along with Langley (q.v.), with which it descended, as ¼ fee, to John Hore, who held 3 messuages here in 1431. (fn. 301) Subsequently Robert Pudsey sold these messuages to Thomas Gibbons of New Hall but reserved an ancient rent of 46s. 2½d. to himself and his heirs. (fn. 302) In 1589 WIGGINS HILL, here first called a manor, was conveyed by Thomas and Francis Gibbons to Edward Burrowes, (fn. 303) who in 1596 conveyed it to Nicholas Wilson. (fn. 304) It would appear that it was later divided, possibly between two co-heiresses, one of whom may have been represented by Anne wife of Nicholas Wolley, and Mary wife of John James since they, along with Robert Milner and Anne (probably daughter of Anne Wolley) and Edward Crompton and Mary (probably daughter of Mary James) conveyed half the manor in 1691 to John Addyes, Thomas Homer, and Anne Burgoyne widow. (fn. 305) These three probably represented the other co-heiress since the whole manor was conveyed in 1766 by Mary Homer, widow, Richard Pitts and Mary his wife, Elizabeth Homer, spinster, and Edward Felton and Jane his wife, to Richard Geast. (fn. 306)
The parish church of HOLY TRINITY, stands on a rise to the east of the junction of the High Street with the Erdington-Birmingham Road and consists of a chancel, north and south chapels, nave, two north aisles, south aisle, south porch, and west tower. There are modern vestries east and west of the outer north aisle.
The church is of early-13th-century origin, but the only identifiable detail in the masonry is in the lower part of the east wall of the chancel; this has an early plinth and remains of shallow clasping buttresses. The nave was probably shorter than the present nave. There is no material evidence of enlargements before the end of the 15th century, to which date the west tower may be allocated: probably the nave was then also lengthened. The north and south chapels and nave-aisles were added by Bishop Veysey. The date 1533 is recorded for the aisles; the chapels may have preceded them by a few years, showing some difference of detail. (fn. 307) Whether the clearstory to the nave was raised at the same time or subsequently is not evident from the masonry, which is modern. Part of the nave is said to have collapsed in 1759 and to have been rebuilt by the corporation in 1760. How much was involved in the fall is not certain, but apparently the two arcades were rebuilt with the old material. Perhaps the clearstory was then added, but packing or filling-in around the extradoses of the round arches suggests that the superincumbent walling had not given way and the arches were rebuilt below it. The roofs were probably reconstructed at the same time, but they were renewed in 1863.
The outer north aisle and vestries were added 1874–9 and much restoration has been carried out since then, especially in 1929, when the south wall was renovated, the Veysey chapel refurnished and redecorated, and other work done. Galleries of 1760 were built in the aisles and at the west end of the nave and later galleries were set in both chapels. That of the south aisle still remains, the others have been removed, but there are modern galleries at the west end of the inner north aisle and along the outer north aisle. The south porch was added probably in 1533 or soon afterwards.
The chancel (about 28 ft. by 18 ft.) has an east window of five lights and tracery in a four-centred head, probably of 15th-century origin, but all restored. Above it in the gable-head is a small pointed blocked light or niche. On the north and south sides are arcades of two bays of c. 1530. The piers are composed of four round shafts divided by hollow chamfers and the responds match. The capitals are of unusual form; in section they are slightly ogee-curved with flat fillets as abaci and neck-moulds. Those to the piers have also intermediate bands; on the northern are pendant shields and others reversed, in no regular order. In plan they follow approximately the forms of the piers and responds. The arches are semicircular and are moulded like the piers with rounds and hollows. The chancel arch has plain splayed responds and semicircular head with moulded capitals at the springing-level. The modern roof is gabled and has a barrel-vaulted ceiling.
The north chapel (the Veysey Chapel), in line with the chancel and 16 ft. wide, has an east window of four plain lights below a four-centred head; the jambs are moulded externally. The masonry is largely modern. Below and south of it against the chancel wall is a blocked pointed doorway, said to have been the entrance to a gallery-stair. In the north wall is a priests' doorway with moulded jambs and four-centred head: in it is an ancient nail-studded oak door with ribs planted on the face and hung with strap-hinges with ornamental ends. It opens from a modern porch. Above it is a window of three four-centred lights under a square head, all restored. There is no west arch.
The south chapel, 13 ft. wide, has a similar east window but mostly ancient, and there is also a blocked doorway like the other against the chancel buttress: the external steps up to it still remain. In the south wall are two 16th-century windows, each of three four-centred lights under a square head; the jambs are moulded like those of the east window. There is no west arch.
The gabled east wall of the chancel is of modern red sandstone ashlar and has a plain string-course below the window. But the plinth is of early-13th-century date, with a series of four chamfered courses capped by a roll-mould, and at the angles are the remains of shallow clasping buttresses of the same period. Against them are built the 16th-century buttresses of the chapels. In the main wall above these buttresses are small glazed windows with round heads, but what they lighted is not evident from below. The walls of the chapels are of old red sandstone ashlar and have chamfered plinths and embattled parapets.
The nave (about 58 ft. by 19 ft.) has north and south arcades of five bays. The three eastern are 12-ft. bays, the two western, 9-ft. bays; the pillars are octagonal with hollow-chamfered bases, and capitals moulded like those of the chancel arch. They have all been retooled or restored. The arches, of a single chamfered order, are semicircular. The walls above are of squared red sandstone, retooled but ancient. Around the extradoses of the arches are more or less concentric rings of jointing in the masonry varying from 1 in. to 4 in. as though there had been packing after the dressed voussoirs had been rebuilt in place. The base of the westernmost pillar in the south arcade (i.e. the middle pillar of the two narrower bays) has on its north side a projection of the same height as the base, indicating that there was once a low cross wall to the nave.
The south aisle (13 ft. wide) has three south windows of two lights and tracery in two-centred heads; the easternmost is recessed down to the floor. The westernmost was originally a three-light window, of which the western light is blocked. The south doorway may be of the 14th century, reset from the nave wall. It has chamfered jambs and a two-centred head of one chamfered order with a hood-mould; there is a later rebate cut in the chamfer for a former door flush with the outer face. The present door is farther in and is ancient. It is of vertical and horizontal battens, nailstudded, and having nail heads picking out the letters TA TM CW and the date 1704. In the west wall is a window of two round-headed lights under a square main head. It is of two chamfered orders, the inner modern, the outer old. It was formerly of three lights, but here, as in the south-west window, one light was walled up to accommodate the splayed monument to George Sacheverell (d. 1715).
The south and west walls are of coursed ashlar coarsely tooled and have old string-courses at the top, but the embattled parapets have been restored. Below the west window the masonry is irregular, suggesting a former doorway there. While the modern stonework of the south windows is set plumb vertical the wall leans outward and the masonry has been chipped back around the window-heads. In the west wall near the tower is a higher small two-light window for a gallery, which extends to a short way within the south chapel; the stair is east of the south doorway. The plastered ceiling is similar to that of the chapel.
The inner north aisle (16½ ft. wide), has a modern north arcade of five similar bays. In the west wall is a tall window of four cinquefoiled ogee-headed lights and vertical tracery in a four-centred head, all restored. A west gallery cuts across the middle of it, and is reached by a curved staircase rising from under the tower archway. The aisle has a modern low-pitched gabled roof of five bays.
The west tower (about 13½ ft. square) is of three stages divided by moulded string-courses. The walls are of coursed ashlar and have a high plinth with a moulded top member. The parapet is embattled. The tower must lean a little to the north as a hollow chase cut in the bottom of the north wall to serve a clock-weight diminishes in depth upwards. At the angles are diagonal buttresses reaching nearly to the parapet.
The archway to the nave is of two chamfered orders continued in the two-centred head. The inner order has moulded bases and capitals. Above the arch are the marks of the former nearly flat ceiling or roof of the nave. The inner faces of the walls are of smooth ashlar. In the south-west angle is a stair-vice entered by a four-centred doorway; a former doorway through the south wall is now walled up. In the north wall is a modern doorway to the vestry. The tower floor is six steps up from the nave floor.
The west doorway has jambs and pointed head of two hollow-chamfered orders with a modern external hood-mould. The doorway was probably reset in the 18th century and its face sets back 3 in. from the main wall face, which has large 16th-century voussoirs above the door-head. The west window above is of three cinquefoiled ogee-lights and vertical tracery in a two-centred head with a hood-mould. The masonry is mostly modern. The ancient moulded string-course marking the stage is dropped about 15 in. for its sill. At the top of the second stage is a rectangular light in the west wall and the upper string-course is lifted over it to form a hood-mould. In the north wall a smaller light is similarly treated. The bell-chamber has windows of two trefoiled ogee-lights and a quatrefoil in a two-centred head; the jambs are casement-moulded. The parapet, probably of 18th-century restoration, has original grotesque spouts. Above the vice, behind the parapet, rises a stone eight-sided pyramidal roof with crockets and finial. The tower has a tiled pyramidal roof.
The south porch was of early-16th-century timberframing, but has been rebuilt with the retention of a few original details, including carved spandrels and keyblock to the four-centred head. The carving is a vine pattern to the eastern and a rose to the western spandrel, on both faces and double-roses on the keyblock.
There is no ancient fixed glass, but suspended from a saddle bar in the south-east window of the south aisle is a late-17th-century cartouche, probably Flemish, with the incomplete figure of a bearded bishop in a mitre and mass vestments, and apparently holding a quill pen.
The font has a circular slightly cup-shaped bowl of the 12th century. The lower half is faced with an interlacing arcade in low relief. At the top are four prominently projecting grotesque heads with straps in their mouths issuing at the sides and meeting each side in pairs of leaves. The top edge has indent ornament. The font belonged to the church of Over Whitacre and was turned out when that church was rebuilt in the 18th century. After being degraded to various uses it was recovered in 1856 and presented to Sutton Coldfield.
The pulpit dates from c. 1760. It has a hexagonal tub with carved and inlaid sides, standing on a central post. Over it is a sounding board also inlaid and with carved mouldings, and supported by slender Ionic posts. On it is a dome with open fretwork ornament and surmounted by a flying dove.
Between the chancel and north chapel is a mid-17th-century oak screen, said to have been part of an organcase and quire seats in Worcester Cathedral, discarded by Sir Gilbert Scott in 1878. It is of Italian Renaissance design and has seven bays and a doorway. The closed lower panels have carved round arches and are divided by Corinthian shafts that support carved consoles at the middle rail. The open bays above are divided by fluted and carved shafts with moulded and carved capitals which carry the carved entablature and cornice. The soffits of the entablature are treated with pendant swag ornament. A screen on the south side is similar except that the closed panels are modern.
A low screen in the south half of the chancel arch has two bays of 17th-century work with pierced carvings and frieze of scroll work with middle shields. The west screen of the south chapel, of 1891, incorporates some pieces of 17th-century carving and turned legs from a former communion table. A screen across the tower archway contains two carved posts and a frieze of dolphins, brought from Valetta.
The west entrance has an internal lobby partly made up of 17th-century woodwork from Worcester Cathedral and St. Michael's Church, Coventry, including round shafts with Corinthian capitals and, above them, silhouette carvings of a lion, unicorn, and two winged monsters.
On the north wall of the north chapel at the east end is a 19½-in. brass effigy of Barbara daughter of Raphael Simonds and wife of the Rev. Roger Eliot, rector, died 1606, aged 24. She is dressed in Elizabethan costume, with the standing figures of a son and a daughter. On the opposite wall is the 16-in. brass of Josias Bull, died 1621, aged 50; he also wears Elizabethan costume; on separate plates are a shield of arms and figures of four sons and a daughter. A large slab in the chapel floor has the indents of brasses of three figures in grave clothes set within a canopy that had a foiled head and crocketed finials, and pilasters also with crockets; it commemorated Hugh Harman alias Veysey (d. 1528) and his two wives. (fn. 308)
On the north side of the chapel is the altar tomb with the recumbent effigy of Bishop Veysey. He wears a mitre and mass vestments, and holds a pastoral staff. The effigy is original but has been renovated and recoloured. It was formerly in a recess protected by an iron railing (now the porch gates) and in 1876 was placed on the present base. The inscription on the base is probably of the 17th century and describes him as John Harman or Vesey who died in his 103rd year, (fn. 309) 1555. The monument was erected by Sir John Wyrley of Hampstead in Handsworth, Staffs., in memory of his great-uncle the bishop, and was repaired and beautified by the corporation in 1748. The inscription records that the bishop 'procured the town to be incorporate by name of Warden and Society of Kings Town of Sutton Coldfield' and that he built '2 isles to the church and an organ, erected a Moot Hall with a prison below, a market place, 51 stone houses, 2 stone bridges, one at Curdworth and one at Water Orton, paved the whole town and endowed a free grammar school'. On the east wall above the tomb is a carved achievement of the Tudor Royal arms with greyhound and dragon supporters, a crown and motto DOMINVS MIHI ADIVTOR and below it the bishop's own arms.
In the south-west angle of the south aisle is an alabaster mural monument to George Sacheverell of New Hall, died 1715, aged 83. (fn. 310)
The church of Sutton Coldfield descended with the manor, except that William de Beauchamp retained it in 1287 when he gave the manor to Ela, Countess of Warwick, in dower, (fn. 311) and presentation was frequently made by the Crown during the minorities of Beauchamp heirs. (fn. 312) The advowson passed (with the manor) to the Crown, in whose hands it remained (fn. 313) until Elizabeth sold it in 1559 to John Glascocke of the Inner Temple and Richard Blounte of London (fn. 314) and they to Thomas Gibbons of New Hall (q.v.). (fn. 315) Thomas and Francis Gibbons conveyed it in 1589 to John Shilton. (fn. 316) From 1617 to 1689 presentations were made by members of the Shilton family, (fn. 317) but in 1710 the advowson was bought by the incumbent, John Riland of Over Quinton, Gloucs., who had married Katherine Shilton, and in whose family it descended. (fn. 318)
In 1291 the church was valued at 20 marks (fn. 322) and in 1535 at £33 9s. 0d., over and above 12s. for procurations and synodals. (fn. 323) Down to at least 1536 2s. 6d. was paid annually from the manor to the Rector of Sutton Coldfield. (fn. 324)
The RECTORY descended with the advowson until 1907, when the Rev. W. C. R. Bedford, then rector, transferred it to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners (fn. 325) on the understanding that his successors, as incumbents of Sutton Coldfield should receive a salary of £700 with an allowance of £50 a year until a new house had been provided, (fn. 326) while the residue of the proceeds of the rectory should be applied to the development of the land transferred to the Commissioners, to the incomes of incumbents of parishes newly formed from Sutton Coldfield, and to the provision or improvement of their houses. The Act further provided that the patronage of any new district or parish formed out of Sutton Coldfield to which the Commissioners should make a grant, should be vested in the Bishop of Birmingham.
A CHANTRY in the church of Sutton Coldfield was founded by Thomas Broadmeadow for one priest to sing mass for his soul and those of his parents. (fn. 327) Richard Colet, who had been appointed by the Earl of Warwick, was chantry priest in 1366. (fn. 328) The chantry was worth 106s. 8d. in lands and tenements in 1535. (fn. 329) William Priest was then custos cantarie, (fn. 330) and was said still to be receiving a pension of £5 in 1553. (fn. 331) By 1549 this chantry had been suppressed, and its lands, in Over Whitacre, Coventry, and elsewhere, were sold to Thomas Fyssher and Thomas Dabrigecourte. (fn. 332)
A FREE CHAPEL, dedicated to St. Blaise, in the manor of Sutton Coldfield, was already in existence in 1328 when the king presented one of his clerks, Thomas de Hampton, during the minority of the heir of Guy de Beauchamp. (fn. 333) In 1441 John Hermon or Harman was appointed chaplain by Richard Nevill, Earl of Warwick, and the appointment was confirmed in 1471 by George, Duke of Clarence. (fn. 334) In 1495 Henry VII appointed the great John Harman or Veysey, perhaps a nephew of the earlier John, to be chaplain for life. (fn. 335) In 1519 the king presented Hugh Pole (fn. 336) and in 1530 Richard Manchester. (fn. 337) The stipend of the chaplain, from time out of mind and at least to Michaelmas 1536, was 33s. 4d. (fn. 338)
The separate ecclesiastical parish of WALMLEY was created in 1845 (fn. 339) and the patrons were the Rev. J. and Miss Riland. (fn. 340) Miss Riland alone was patron in 1859, (fn. 341) and Q. C. Colmore in 1900. (fn. 342) Since at least 1920 the patronage has been in the hands of trustees. (fn. 343)
The parish of St. James in Sutton Coldfield, the vicarage of which in 1849 was in the gift of the rector of Sutton Coldfield, (fn. 344) was in 1853 turned into the ecclesiastical parish of HILL. (fn. 345) The patron was the rector of Sutton Coldfield down to at least 1900, (fn. 346) but by 1915 the Bishop of Birmingham had acquired it (fn. 347) and still presents. (fn. 348)
The ecclesiastical parish of FOUR OAKS was separated in 1920 from Hill, with the Bishop of Birmingham as patron. (fn. 349)
The parish of St. Michael in Sutton Coldfield was formed into the ecclesiastical parish of BOLDMERE in 1857. (fn. 350) The patron was the rector of Sutton Coldfield, (fn. 351) but by 1936 the advowson had passed to the Birmingham Diocesan Trustees, Registered. (fn. 352)
The parish of St. Peter, MANEY, was created a separate ecclesiastical parish in 1907 and the living is in the gift of the Bishop of Birmingham. (fn. 355)
The municipal Charities.
A Scheme of the Charity Commissioners of 23 June 1905 directed that one moiety of the net income of the Corporation Charity (comprised in a Scheme of the High Court of Chancery approved on 14 May 1825) together with the several almshouse buildings belonging to the charity should constitute the endowment of the Corporation Almshouse Eleemosynary Charity. The income amounting to about £1,700 is applied in the maintenance of the almshouses, the payment of stipends to the almspeople, and in the following yearly payments: (1) A sum of £96 for marriage portions for poor maidens of good character long resident in Sutton Coldfield. (2) A sum of £35 for women resident in Sutton Coldfield at the time of their confinement, to be paid to the beneficiaries or to a Maternity Society. (3) A sum of £165 for clothing for the children of necessitous residents. Any residue to be applied for the poor of Sutton Coldfield generally as set out under various heads, including the payment of pensions.
Francis Lingard by will proved 14 April 1897 bequeathed £2,700 to the Trustees of the Municipal Charities for the erection and endowment of additional almshouses on land at Walmley. Two almshouses were duly erected and the balance of the legacy invested in ground rents, which produce about £69 per annum.
The Lord's Meadow Charity (or The Widows' Acre). The endowment of this charity, founded by Bishop Veysey, (fn. 356) formerly consisted of 12 acres known as Lord's Meadow, which was divided into 15 portions appropriated to the use of 15 poor widows of the parish. The land was exchanged for other land, now let at £26 10s. This sum, together with dividends amounting to £9 17s. 8d., is distributed to poor widows.
Thomas Jesson's Charity.
In 1907 land at Sutton Coldfield containing 15 acres called Five Sidalls was conveyed to trustees to pay a yearly sum of 40s. to the poor of the parish and to apply the residue of the profits in apprenticing poor children. The income amounts to about £70 per annum.
Clara Fowler by will proved 6 August 1935 gave to the Trustees of the Municipal Charities £1,000 to apply the income, now amounting to £45, in providing a pension for one deserving widow who has lived in Sutton Coldfield for at least 10 years.
John Wilkins by deed dated 1707 gave a piece of ground lying in Hill called Sharrat Field and appointed trustees to employ the issues in distributing Bibles, Prayer Books, &c., to poor children and others. The land was sold for £150 in 1922 and the proceeds invested, and the interest is distributed to the poor of the parish.
Charities of Sedgwick and others: Raphael Sedgwick by will dated 8 April 1665 gave £5 to the churchwardens and overseers of the parish, the interest to be distributed in bread among the most needful poor. Nicholas Dolphin by will left £20, the interest to be annually distributed to the poor by the rector. Mrs. Mary Jenks by will dated 28 September 1750 gave to the minister and churchwardens £50, the interest to be similarly distributed. William Beakesley by will dated 11 January 1803 gave £5 to the rector, the interest to be distributed in bread to the poor. Mrs. Jesson by will left the interest of £10 annually to the poor.
The above-mentioned sums, amounting to £90, are now represented by £99 6s. 2d. Consols and the interest, amounting to £2 9s. 8d., is distributed to the poor of the parish. The charities are administered by the churchwardens.
The Sacheverell Doles: Valence Sacheverell by will gave to the poor of Sutton Coldfield 20s. yearly, to be paid out of his messuage in Great Sutton; and George Sacheverell by will in 1715 gave £5 per annum, to be paid out of his messuage and lands in the parish to be distributed in bread to poor widows. The rent-charges issuing out of the New Hall Estate were redeemed in 1903 in consideration of stock producing £6 per annum, which is applied to the relief of the poor.
Thomas Cooper by will in 1687 gave two parcels of land called Pit Close and Long Leasow, the rents to be yearly distributed amongst the poor by the rector and churchwardens. The land was exchanged for other land which was sold in 1890 and the proceeds invested, producing £10 6s. 4d.