Walsall Wood: Manor and other estates

Page 279

A History of the County of Stafford: Volume 17, Offlow Hundred (Part). Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1976.

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In 1086 the king held a hide of waste land at Shelfield apparently as part of the manor of Walsall. (fn. 1) In 1300 the vill was still held by the lords of Walsall. (fn. 2) A separate manor of SHELFIELD is first mentioned in 1556. It originated in the property acquired by John le Rous in the early 14th century. In 1312 John and his wife Joan were granted land and rent in Shelfield by Florence de Verney and her husband Philip. (fn. 3) In the same year Sir Thomas le Rous, one of the joint lords of Walsall, granted John other rents and services there. (fn. 4) By 1317 John was holding courts at Shelfield. (fn. 5) In 1344 he conveyed all his property there to Sir Roger Hillary. (fn. 6) whose family had held other lands in Shelfield since at least 1278. (fn. 7) After Roger's death in 1356 his Shelfield estate descended with the manor of Goscote in Walsall until at least 1411. (fn. 8)

Soon afterwards, however, it was assigned to Margery Tylney, and it apparently descended through her son Frederick (or Philip) and her grandson Sir Frederick (d. before 1447) to her great-granddaughter Elizabeth Tylney (d. 1497). Elizabeth's second husband, Thomas Howard (d. 1524), earl of Surrey and from 1514 duke of Norfolk, was holding the estate by the courtesy from at least 1508. (fn. 9) In 1520 Elizabeth's heir, John Bourchier, Lord Berners, her son by her first husband, (fn. 10) conveyed it to the trustees of Sir John Skeffington of London. (fn. 11) Norfolk had resigned his life-interest by 1521. (fn. 12) Skeffington died in 1525, (fn. 13) leaving as heir his son William (d. 1551). When William's son John obtained possession of the estate on coming of age in 1556, it was described as the manor of Shelfield. (fn. 14) He died in 1604 and was succeeded by his son William (created a baronet in 1627), (fn. 15) who in 1632 sold the manor to William Glascote. (fn. 16) In 1634-5 Glascote sold it to Sir Richard Wilbraham, lord of Walsall, (fn. 17) and Shelfield manor was then presumably absorbed into Walsall manor.

St. Peter's chantry in Lichfield cathedral, founded by 1253, had property in Shelfield at the suppression, including a house and land granted to Walsall grammar school in 1554 and known by 1915 as School farm. The school governors acquired further property at Walsall Wood in 1844 and sold both estates in 1944. (fn. 18) School Farm, a brick building of the mid 19th century, still stood in 1973, but by then houses had been built over most of the farm-land.


  • 1. V.C.H. Staffs. iv. 38, no. 7; Homeshaw, Walsall, 7.
  • 2. S.H.C. v (1), 178.
  • 3. S.H.C. 1911, 77.
  • 4. Walsall Records, 41.
  • 5. B.M. Harl. MS. 2131, f. 13.
  • 6. Ibid. f. 12.
  • 7. Ibid. f. 13v.
  • 8. See p. 173 and references there cited.
  • 9. B.M. Harl. MS. 506, p. 332; Cal. Pat. 1446-52, 43; Complete Peerage, ix. 614-15; E 150/1018 no. 1; Visitations of Norfolk (Harl. Soc. xxxii), 288-9; Cal. Inq. p.m. Hen. VII, iii, p. 279.
  • 10. Complete Peerage, ii. 153-4.
  • 11. N.R.A., Chilham Castle, Kent, Massereene (Staffs.) deeds, 24; S.R.O., D. 260/M/T/2/6.
  • 12. S.H.C. xi. 262-3.
  • 13. C 142/49 no. 44.
  • 14. Massereene (Staffs.) deeds, 29.
  • 15. C 142/680 no. 12.
  • 16. Shaw, Staffs. ii. 81, states that the sale took place in 1641. The fine, however, is dated 1632 (C.P. 25(2)/485/8 Chas. I East.).
  • 17. Shaw, Staffs. ii. 81.
  • 18. Cal. Pat. 1553-4, 205; S.H.C. 1915, 157; O.S. Map 6", Staffs. LVII. SE. (1921 edn., revised 1915); Fink, Queen Mary's Grammar Sch. 245, 247.