Walsall: Manors

Pages 169-175

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

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.



WALSALL may be the 'Walesho' which Wulfric Spot left to Morcar in his will of 1002-4. (fn. 1) It does not appear in Domesday Book, but it seems to have been a royal manor by then and was probably omitted in error. (fn. 2) Certainly it was accepted as ancient demesne from 1373, when the men of the manor were granted quittance of toll throughout the realm. (fn. 3) In 1159 Henry II granted it to Herbert le Rous (or Ruffus) in fee farm for £4 a year. (fn. 4) Herbert, described by the king in his grant as serviens meus, was almost certainly a member of the royal household (fn. 5) and was probably a kinsman of one or more of Henry II's household officials surnamed le Rous; (fn. 6) his son Richard later became chamberlain to the king's son-in-law the duke of Saxony. (fn. 7) Herbert was still alive in 1166. (fn. 8)

Herbert or his son William died c. 1177 with William's son William, a minor, as heir. The boy was not at first put in ward, perhaps because his uncle Richard was abroad; instead the sheriff managed the estate from 1177 until 1189. Richard then became guardian. The fee-farm rent paid by the sheriff was raised twice, to £5 3s. in 1179 and £6 from 1180, apparently because the manor had been restocked. (fn. 9) William came of age in 1197-8 (fn. 10) and was holding the manor at the old rent of £4 in 1212. (fn. 11) Henry II's grant was confirmed to him in 1227. (fn. 12) He was described as a knight in 1235. (fn. 13) He died in 1247, (fn. 14) and the manor was divided between his daughters Emecina and Margery.

By 1247 Emecina had married Geoffrey de Bakepuse. (fn. 15) He was still alive in 1255, (fn. 16) but by 1262 she was the wife of William de Morteyn. (fn. 17) She was still living in 1275, (fn. 18) but about then her son Sir William de Morteyn succeeded to her share of the manor. (fn. 19) He died in 1283, holding the moiety from the Crown in fee farm, and was succeeded by his nephew Roger de Morteyn. (fn. 20) Roger, who had been knighted by 1298, (fn. 21) mortgaged his moiety to John, Lord Somery, in 1311, with reversion to Ralph, Lord Basset of Drayton. (fn. 22) He seems not to have redeemed the mortgage, and between November 1313 and January 1314 Somery conveyed the manor to Basset. (fn. 23)

In 1338 Basset also acquired Margery's moiety. In 1247 she was still under age, and she was put into the guardianship of her brother-in-law Geoffrey. (fn. 24) A few years later she married Richard de Alazun, but at the beginning of the civil war, after some eight years of married life at Walsall, she was abducted by John de Lay. Richard fled and for long did not return to Walsall. (fn. 25) He was still living in 1289, but in the earlier 1280s Margery appears as the wife of John Paynel. (fn. 26) John was killed at Walsall in 1298; Margery was accused of murdering him and was acquitted only in 1302. (fn. 27) In 1293 she had to vindicate her right to the moiety against her daughter Alice and Alice's husband Nicholas l'Archer. The share had been settled on Alice at her betrothal to the brother of a Ralph Basset, and although the two were not married Alice nevertheless claimed the moiety. Her mother, however, was able to uphold her own claim. (fn. 28) Margery died in 1302 or 1303 and was succeeded by her son Thomas, (fn. 29) who had been knighted by 1304. (fn. 30) He was known by the surname le Rous, taken from his mother's maiden name; Margery herself was frequently called by the surname la Rousse, perhaps because of her break with her first husband. (fn. 31) In 1335 the king released Thomas for life from payment of the rent due upon his moiety. (fn. 32) Alice l'Archer successfully revived her claim in 1338. (fn. 33) In the same year, however, Thomas had granted his share to Lord Basset, (fn. 34) whose grandson and heir was Thomas's godson, (fn. 35) and in 1339 Alice waived her claim in Basset's favour. (fn. 36)

Both moieties were thus united in the hands of the Bassets of Drayton. Ralph, Lord Basset, died in 1343. His heir Ralph was a minor, and by a grant of 1336 the custody passed to Thomas de Beauchamp, earl of Warwick, whose daughter Joan married the heir, probably in 1339. (fn. 37) Ralph took possession in 1355. (fn. 38) Under a settlement of 1339 the manor passed on his death in 1390 to his brother-inlaw Thomas de Beauchamp the younger, earl of Warwick. (fn. 39) The earl's estates were confiscated in 1397, and in the same year the manor was granted to John Beaufort, marquess of Dorset. (fn. 40) The grant was renewed in May 1399, (fn. 41) but Warwick was restored later that year and was holding Walsall at his death in 1401. (fn. 42) In 1400 the king granted Beaufort the fee-farm rent from Walsall manor; the rent was held by his son John, duke of Somerset, at his death in 1444 and later by Somerset's son-in-law Sir Henry Stafford. In 1485 Margaret, countess of Richmond, to whom the rent had been assigned, settled it on her husband Thomas Stanley, earl of Derby, for life. (fn. 43)

The manor descended from 1401 to 1525 with the manor of Sutton-in-Coldfield in Sutton Coldfield (Warws.), passing to the Crown in 1492 on the death of Anne, countess of Warwick. (fn. 44) In 1525 it was granted to the king's natural son Henry, duke of Richmond (d. 1536), (fn. 45) and in 1541 to Sir John Dudley, later earl of Warwick and duke of Northumberland. (fn. 46) The manor, which was leased out by the Crown mainly to royal officials, was described in the leases from 1506 as the manor of the foreign, perhaps because in 1501 the borough was leased to the mayor, bailiffs, and burgesses. (fn. 47)

On Northumberland's attainder and forfeiture in 1553 Walsall passed back to the Crown. In 1557 it was sold to Richard Wilbraham of Woodhey in Faddiley (Ches.), master of the queen's jewels and already the tenant, his brother Thomas, and Richard's heirs. (fn. 48) Richard died in 1558, a few weeks after Thomas, and was succeeded by his son Thomas, a minor. (fn. 49) Thomas died in 1610, and Walsall passed to his son Sir Richard, created a baronet in 1621. Richard died in 1643 and was succeeded by his son Thomas, who died in 1660 with his son, another Thomas, as his heir. (fn. 50) In 1686 Thomas and his wife Elizabeth settled the manor, subject to their own life-interest, on their younger daughter Mary, wife of Richard Newport, later earl of Bradford. Thomas died in 1692 and Elizabeth in 1705. Walsall passed to Mary and on her death in 1737 to her son Thomas, earl of Bradford, an imbecile. When he died in 1762 his property passed to his sister Diana, countess of Mountrath, and his nephew Henry Bridgeman. They divided the property in 1763, and Walsall went to Lady Mountrath. She died in 1766, leaving Walsall to her son Charles, earl of Mountrath. On his death in 1802 it passed to his cousin Orlando Bridgeman, Baron Bradford and from 1815 earl of Bradford. The manor then descended with the earldom. (fn. 51) In 1945 the greater part of Lord Bradford's Walsall estate, then consisting mainly of freehold ground-rents, was sold, and by 1974 little remained. (fn. 52)

There was a manor-house by the later 14th century south of the present Moat Road about a mile west of the town. The first buildings there were erected on what had been cultivated land (fn. 53) and may have dated from John's reign when William le Rous created a park in that area. (fn. 54) He was described as of Walsall in the later 1220s. (fn. 55) On the division of the manor between his daughters in 1247 a house probably passed to Emecina with the park and fishpond. (fn. 56) The house was, however, first mentioned in 1275, and Margery, the younger daughter, acknowledged, apparently in 1276, that it belonged to Emecina's son William de Morteyn. (fn. 57) He was holding it at his death in 1283, (fn. 58) and it presumably passed with his moiety of the manor to his nephew Roger de Morteyn and subsequently to Ralph, Lord Basset, when he secured the Morteyn moiety. Basset, whose principal seat was Drayton, apparently kept Walsall manor-house in use. He may have established his son and daughter-in-law there, since Ralph, his grandson and eventual heir, was said to have been born at Walsall in 1333. (fn. 59)

Excavation on part of the site has revealed at least two early phases of building, followed by the construction of a moat and further rebuilding. At some date between the first occupation of the site and the formation of the moat part of the site was used for metal-working: (fn. 60) perhaps an unmoated lodge or manor-house was temporarily converted to industrial use before being rebuilt on a more substantial scale. No precise dates for those developments have been established, but apparently by the 1380s the moated house was the lord's Walsall residence. It was presumably there that Lady Neville and two of her children lived in 1385 and 1386, when they were staying at Walsall. Meanwhile the owner of the house, Ralph Basset the younger, Lord Basset, was preparing to build 'a new castle' at Walsall, (fn. 61) but it seems that in fact no new house was built. Instead the existing 'manor-house within the moat of the park' was repaired and extended: in 1388-9 the roof of the hall was repaired, a wooden belfry was made for the chapel, a small room with a privy was built next to the knights' chamber, a new drawbridge was made over the moat, and the great gates were reinforced with iron. Basset presumably stayed in the house during his three short visits to Walsall in 1389. (fn. 62) After his death in 1390 there is no evidence that the owners ever stayed there. In the later 1390s, however, the house was repaired and a new chamber built. (fn. 63) The chapel was apparently disused by 1417, (fn. 64) and the house seems to have been abandoned by the later 1430s. Only the moat was thereafter of any value: in the late 1430s a 20-year lease of rights in 'the fishery called le Mote in the park of Walsall manor' was granted to the bailiff of the foreign. (fn. 65) The house had disappeared by 1576. (fn. 66)

In 1763 the moated site was in the tenure of a Mr. Holmes, probably Roger Holmes the town clerk, and two houses stood there. (fn. 67) The site was leased out as building-land in 1865, (fn. 68) and by 1885 the north side of the moat had been filled in and buildings had been erected on part of it. (fn. 69) In 1974 most of the remainder survived and still contained water.

The bounds of Walsall manor were those of the ancient parish. (fn. 70) Several sub-manors, however, emerged.

A carucate of land at BESCOT was held by the king in 1086 but was then waste. (fn. 71) By the later 13th century Bescot was part of the manor of Walsall, but it had become a separate manor by the mid 14th century. Overlordship remained with the lords of Walsall at least until 1610. (fn. 72)

William Hillary held land in Bescot in 1271. (fn. 73) About 1300 Roger de Morteyn granted him further land in Bescot and Walsall, including all the waste in Bescot which Roger had previously reserved to himself. (fn. 74) Those lands formed the demesne of the manor of Bescot, which William's son Sir Roger Hillary held at his death in 1356 at a rent of 2d. a year. Sir Roger was succeeded by his son, another Sir Roger. (fn. 75) In 1384 he settled the manor on himself and his wife Margaret, with reversion to Sir John Rochford, son of his sister Joan and her second husband. (fn. 76) Sir Roger died in 1400, (fn. 77) but Margaret was still living in the manor-house in 1411. (fn. 78)

In that year, however, Sir Roger's trustees granted the manor to William Mountfort of Coleshill (Warws.), great-grandson of Joan Hillary by her first husband John de Clinton. (fn. 79) In 1425 Bescot was settled by trustees on Baldwin Mountfort, (fn. 80) possibly William's eldest son, who was later knighted. (fn. 81) In 1451, however, William settled the manor successively on his third son Robert and his second son Edmund. (fn. 82) In doing so he disinherited Sir Baldwin, who was similarly deprived of estates in Warwickshire. (fn. 83) William Mountfort died in 1452. (fn. 84) Sir Baldwin evidently secured Bescot, for in 1453 William's widow Joan sued him for dower there. (fn. 85) Robert Mountfort, however, retained a claim to the Bescot estate, which in 1479 he settled in trust. (fn. 86) Nevertheless, by 1469 Sir Baldwin had been succeeded at Bescot by his son Sir Simon, (fn. 87) who was attainted of treason in 1495. (fn. 88) Sir Simon's son and heir Thomas petitioned for reversal of the attainder in 1503, and the king was then empowered by Parliament to reverse it. (fn. 89) Reversal, however, was not obtained until 1534, and Bescot was evidently included among the estates then granted to Thomas's son Simon. (fn. 90) Simon was succeeded between 1535 and 1548 by his son Francis (d. 1592). (fn. 91) On his death the manor passed successively to his son William (d. 1610), his grandson Sir Edward (d. 1632), (fn. 92) and his great-grandson Simon. (fn. 93) By 1648 Simon's lands had been sequestered for recusancy. (fn. 94) In 1652 he and his creditor Walter Hillary obtained a lease for seven years of two-thirds of the estate, the remaining third having been leased for a year to George Hill, mayor in 1654-5. (fn. 95) Simon had evidently recovered the manor by 1663, (fn. 96) and he died in 1664. (fn. 97) He was succeeded by his brother Edward, (fn. 98) who died in 1672, leaving a son Simon (d. c. 1672) and a daughter Elizabeth, both minors. Under a settlement of 1671 the manor passed to Edward's widow Elizabeth (d. c. 1675). (fn. 99)

The estate then passed into the hands of trustees, the survivor of whom gave possession c. 1681 to Thomas Harris, guardian of Edward Mountfort's daughter Elizabeth. By 1684 Elizabeth had brought Bescot in marriage to Harris's son Thomas. (fn. 100) After his death she married Jonas Slaney. (fn. 101) He had died by 1727, and in 1728 Elizabeth settled the manor on Jonas Slaney the younger of Dawley (Salop.), reserving £2,000 and a rent-charge to Dorothy, wife of Nicholas Parker of Bloxwich. On Elizabeth's death Dorothy entered the estate, but in 1739 the property was secured to Slaney. (fn. 102) He died in 1762 or early in 1763 leaving as heir his son Jonas, who lived at Bescot at some time before 1768 but by then had moved to Bristol. He had returned to Bescot by 1772 and was vicar of Rushall by 1778. (fn. 103) As a result of financial difficulties he conveyed the estate in 1781 to trustees, after settling 105 a. on his wife Mary. In 1791 they sold the hall and 80 a. to Richard Wilkes, who had been living at the hall since 1788. (fn. 104) Mary Slaney still held her share of the estate in 1796, but by 1825 it had passed to William Spurrier, who still owned it in 1843. It was then a compact farm east of Wednesbury Road. (fn. 105)

In 1794 Wilkes sold his property at Bescot to Richmond Aston, a Tipton banker. (fn. 106) Aston died in 1796, (fn. 107) and his widow lived at the hall until at least 1800. (fn. 108) She still owned the estate in 1817. (fn. 109) By 1820 the property had passed to Richmond Aston's trustees, who then sold it to Edward, Stephen, and John Crowther. (fn. 110) From at least 1817 they had held 152 a. of the estate, which Jonas Slaney's trustees had evidently sold to Dorothy Crowther by 1796. (fn. 111) By 1843 John Crowther was sole owner. The estate then consisted of a compact block of 204 a. at Bescot, houses, gardens, and a croft at Bloxwich, and 3 a. of meadow at Shelfield. (fn. 112) In 1852 Crowther left the property to William Crowther, a relative. (fn. 113) The Crowthers did not live at Bescot and the hall was occupied by a succession of tenants. (fn. 114)

William Crowther died in 1865. The estate then passed to trustees and in October 1871 was split up and sold. Richard Bagnall, who was living at the hall in April, agreed to buy it and c. 24 a. there but subsequently sold the option to James Slater, who bought the property in 1872. (fn. 115) Slater died in 1901 and the estate passed to trustees; among them was his widow Elizabeth, who lived at Bescot until her death in 1922. (fn. 116) The estate, consisting of 48 a., was then offered for sale by the trustees, (fn. 117) but without success. The house remained unoccupied for a short time, but in the mid 1920s it was the home of Pitt Bonarjee, minister of Wednesbury Congregational church. (fn. 118) It was demolished in 1929-30. (fn. 119) The trustees sold the estate in small parcels from 1925 to 1939. (fn. 120)

The original manor-house was moated. Along much of the north-west side the ditch was double. (fn. 121) It stood in what is now Pleck Park between the park entrance from Bescot Drive and the M6 motorway, which crosses the south-west corner of the moat. In 1972 the site was marked by a group of trees, the moat having been almost obliterated. The house existed by 1311 when William Hillary was besieged there by Thomas le Rous and over fifty others, (fn. 122) and in 1345 Roger Hillary was licensed to crenellate. (fn. 123) In at least the later 14th century it contained a chapel. (fn. 124) By 1666 the house was a substantial building taxable on fourteen hearths, and fourteen rooms are mentioned in 1672. (fn. 125) In the 18th century it was demolished and rebuilt on a new site northeast of the moat on what is now the west side of Bescot Drive. The old site was laid out as a garden connected with the new house by a bridge over the moat. (fn. 126) The bridge survived the demolition of the hall but was ruinous by 1937; (fn. 127) it has since been removed.

The Georgian house was a brick building of two storeys and an attic, with stone quoins and balustraded parapet. It was considerably enlarged by Richmond Aston, who added a third full storey, a one-storeyed wing on the north-west side, and a semicircular porch with Tuscan columns. (fn. 128) In the 19th century a second storey was added to the wing, and an annexe, including a basement and a conservatory surmounted by a balustrade, was built at the rear of the house. In 1922 there were 35 rooms. (fn. 129)

BLOXWICH was originally part of the manor of Walsall. (fn. 130) In the later 16th century a separate manor is mentioned (fn. 131) which is identifiable with the holdings acquired in Bloxwich by the Hillary family in the 14th century. There is, however, no evidence of manorial jurisdiction and the estate did not continue to be called a manor. It was held of the lords of Walsall manor until at least 1617. (fn. 132)

About 1300 Roger de Morteyn gave John son of Nicholas Wodemon of Bloxwich a plot of waste in Walsall, probably in Bloxwich. John gave all his lands in Bloxwich to William Hillary. By 1377 they had passed to Sir Roger Hillary of Bescot. Roger de Morteyn also gave a house and land in Bloxwich to John de Bloxwich, clerk, and 2 a. of waste there to Thomas, son of Robert de Ruycroft of 'Hulton' (probably Hilton in St. Peter's, Wolverhampton). Those holdings too later passed to Sir Roger Hillary. Margery le Rous (d. 1302-3) held as part of her moiety of the manor of Walsall a piece of waste in Bloxwich called Northwood Heath. Her son Thomas granted it to a Walter Marchis, and in 1315-16 Emme le Marchis and Thomas her son gave half of it to William Hillary. Thomas le Rous in 1330 granted the whole tenement to Robert Hillary, rector of Sutton Coldfield (Warws.). It too was later held by Sir Roger Hillary. (fn. 133)

All these tenements may have formed part of an estate in Bloxwich inherited by Sir Roger from his father Sir Roger in 1356. (fn. 134) After the younger Sir Roger's death in 1400 (fn. 135) the estate descended with the manor of Goscote; after 1510 the rights were shared between the coparceners of Goscote, half descending with Lord Berners's share and the rest with that of Lady Sheffield. When Lord Sheffield sold his share to John Skeffington in 1565 it was described as a moiety of the manor of Bloxwich. (fn. 136) Skeffington died in 1604 and his Bloxwich estate, no longer called a manor, passed to his son William, who was created a baronet in 1627 and died in 1635. William's son and heir John died in 1651 and was succeeded by his eldest son William (d. 1652). The rights to the Skeffington estate in Bloxwich then passed to his cousin John, son of his uncle Sir Richard Skeffington. (fn. 137)

At some time before 1632 Sir William Skeffington and his son John sold part of the estate to Simon Woodward and George Smyth of Great Bloxwich. (fn. 138) John mortgaged other property there in 1637 to a Katherine Barford. In 1638 she assigned the mortgage to her son-in-law Thomas Brome of Fisherwick in St. Michael's, Lichfield, in trust for her unmarried daughters. Brome sold it in 1648 to Theodore Colley of London. Meanwhile in 1642 John Skeffington had mortgaged a further 72 a. in Bloxwich to Colley and in 1648 granted him a lease for 93 years of all his holdings there. In 1660 Colley sold the lease to Edmond Lathwell of London and William Pretty of Fazeley in Tamworth. John Skeffington resigned his rights the following year. Lathwell disposed of his share of the estate by selling it in small parcels between 1661 and 1665 to John Slaney, William Bayley, Zacharias Greene, and Nicholas Parker, all of Bloxwich. (fn. 139)

A manor-house at Bloxwich occurs in 1564, when it was occupied by John Baylye. (fn. 140) At some time before 1637 the Skeffingtons leased it to a Joan Cowley, and it became known as Cowley's Farm. It passed in 1660 to Edmond Lathwell, who at some time between 1661 and 1665 sold it to Zacharias Greene. (fn. 141)

The manor of GOSCOTE is identifiable with the property in that hamlet held of the manor of Walsall by the Hillary family in the 14th century. The lords of Walsall manor remained overlords until at least 1604. (fn. 142)

Sir Roger Hillary of Bescot was receiving 20s. rent from free tenants at Goscote in 1356. (fn. 143) The estate descended with Bescot until 1411, when William Mountfort obtained seisin. (fn. 144) In 1411 or 1412, however, the estates of the younger Sir Roger Hillary (d. 1400) were divided and Goscote was assigned to Robert and Joan Roos, Margery, widow of Frederick Tylney, and John Gibthorp. Joan and Margery were Hillary's great-nieces and John was their nephew. (fn. 145) Later Goscote was apparently assigned to the Rooses and from 1423 presumably descended with Stretton on Fosse (Warws.) to Robert Whittlebury, who held it in 1498. Robert died in 1506, leaving the estate settled on his wife Anne for life; she, however, sold it in 1508 to Edmund Dudley. (fn. 146) After Dudley's forfeiture in 1510 the estate, then described as the manor of Goscote, passed to John, Lord Berners, and Ellen, wife of Sir Robert Sheffield. They were the heirs respectively of Margery Tylney and John Gibthorp. (fn. 147) In 1520 Berners sold his share to Sir John Skeffington of London. (fn. 148) It then descended with the manor of Shelfield. (fn. 149)

By 1516 Sir Robert Sheffield (d. 1517) was holding the other share of the manor by the courtesy. (fn. 150) His son Sir Robert obtained possession in 1518 and was succeeded on his death in 1531 by his son Edmund (d. 1549), created Baron Sheffield in 1547. Edmund's son and heir John, Lord Sheffield, sold the property (described as a moiety of the manor) to John Skeffington in 1565. (fn. 151) The two halves were thus reunited, and when Skeffington died in 1604 he was holding the whole manor. (fn. 152) He was succeeded by his son William, who in 1631 sold it to John Birch of Goscote. (fn. 153)

Birch's property had been sequestered for recusancy by 1648. (fn. 154) He died c. 1651 and his right to the manor passed to his widow Mary (or Joan), also a recusant, who died in 1652. She was succeeded by John Birch's nephew, another John, who immediately sold the right to Francis Gregg of Clement's Inn, London. Between 1652 and 1654 Gregg attempted to have the sequestration reversed, apparently without success. (fn. 155) John Birch recovered the manor after the Restoration and was living at Goscote in 1666. (fn. 156) In 1674 he settled the estate on his son Henry, (fn. 157) who conveyed it to his son Charles in 1703. (fn. 158) Charles was still in possession in 1710, (fn. 159) but by 1745 it had passed to his widow Anne and his son Thomas. Anne was dead by 1763, leaving Thomas as sole lord of the manor. (fn. 160) In 1776 he sold it to Thomas Huxley of Rushall Hall. (fn. 161)

Huxley died in 1790 and was succeeded by his daughter Dorothy. (fn. 162) In 1794 she sold the manor to Joseph Bradley and Francis Edwards of Leominster (Herefs.) and Elijah Waring of Tipton, who had entered into a partnership to mine and work iron and coal at Goscote. (fn. 163) The full purchase price was not paid, however, until 1810 when Dorothy's cousin and heir Thomas Green of Liverpool reconveyed the manor to Edwards and Bradley. (fn. 164) In the same year they dissolved their partnership and Bradley conveyed his share in the manor to Edwards in trust for the sale of the whole. (fn. 165) In 1816 the estate passed to a trustee for Dr. Samuel Hughes. (fn. 166) Joseph Smith, a Rushall corn-miller, bought it in 1819, (fn. 167) and in 1843 he owned 117 a. in Goscote. (fn. 168) By will of 1858 Smith left the property to his son Joseph Crowther Smith of Wolverhampton, who died in 1886. The property then passed to trustees for his niece Harriet Cooke of Aldridge. (fn. 169) She and her trustees sold 45 a. to R. T. Bradley in 1925, (fn. 170) and he conveyed it to the corporation in 1933. (fn. 171) Part of the estate passed with the Goscote sewage farm to the Upper Tame Main Drainage Authority in 1966; the corporation still held most of the remainder in 1973. (fn. 172)

The lords of the manor were absentees until the 17th century, and there seems to have been no manor-house before that period. In 1649, however, John Birch held a house and garden in Goscote, perhaps formerly part of his original tenement there. He sold them with the manor to Francis Gregg in 1652. (fn. 173) The house was still part of the estate in 1819 and apparently stood in Goscote Lane on the site of the present Barley Mow inn. (fn. 174) The inn, though dating largely from the 19th and 20th centuries, incorporates remains of an earlier building.

By 1810 the estate also included Goscote Lodge Farm between Slacky Lane and the present Hildick's Crescent. Joseph Bradley was living there in 1810 and Joseph Smith in 1834 and probably in 1854; in 1843, however, it was occupied by a tenant. It descended with the estate and was demolished in the earlier 1940s. (fn. 175)

In 1557 George Hawe held a lease of what was called half the manor of HAY HEAD. The other half was apparently held by his brother Nicholas, to whom George left his share on his death in 1558. (fn. 176) In 1560 Nicholas left the lease to Thomas Wollaston and John Curteys, his brothers-in-law. (fn. 177) The manor is probably identifiable with Hay Head farm, which formed part of Walsall manor demesne between at least 1763 and 1843 and was let to tenants. (fn. 178) By 1860 it had passed to the Revd. Thomas Burrowes Adams. In 1861 he conveyed it to Samuel Priestley, an Aldridge lime-master, who sold it to Robert Myers Wood in 1864. Wood was living there by 1868 and sold it to James Rooker Mason in 1871. Mason died in 1877 and the estate passed to his trustees, who conveyed it in 1903 to Mary, wife of Dr. Tom Longmore of Walsall. In 1937 she sold it to the corporation, which still held it in 1974. The farm continued to be occupied by tenants in the late 19th and the 20th centuries. (fn. 179) There was no farm-house at Hay Head in 1763, but one had been built by the late 1770s. (fn. 180) The present farm-house dates from after the Second World War.


  • 1. Dorothy Whitelock, Anglo-Saxon Wills, 48-9, 155; P.N. West Yorks. (E.P.N.S.), i. 155-6.
  • 2. Homeshaw, Walsall, 7.
  • 3. Cal. Pat. 1370-4, 322; Cal. Close, 1396-9, 251; 1399-1402, 2.
  • 4. Cartae Antiquae R. (P.R.S. N.S. xxxiii), p. 105.
  • 5. Thus in 1160-1 the king paid him £8 for the purchase of horses: S.H.C. i. 32.
  • 6. T. F. Tout, Chapters in Admin. Hist. of Med. Eng. i. 109, 113-15; R. W. Eyton, Court, Household, and Itinerary of King Henry II, passim.
  • 7. S.H.C. ii (1), 4.
  • 8. S.H.C. i. 156.
  • 9. Ibid. 89 sqq.; ii (1), 4; Curia Regis R. i. 413, 419.
  • 10. S.H.C. ii (1), 74,81.
  • 11. Bk. of Fees, i. 142. It was stated c. 1200 that he held by archer-service: ibid. 348.
  • 12. Cal. Chart. R. 1226-57, 32; Ex. e Rot. Fin. (Rec. Com.), i. 157.
  • 13. Cal. Papal L. i. 147.
  • 14. Homage had been taken from the husband of one of the coheirs by 31 Oct.: Ex. e Rot. Fin. ii. 22.
  • 15. Ibid.
  • 16. Shaw, Staffs. i, app. to Gen. Hist. p. xvii; S.H.C. v (1), 105-6.
  • 17. C 66/77 m. 12d. Several earlier writers give this husband as Eustace de Morteyn, who was in fact William's father.
  • 18. S.H.C. vi (1), 67-8.
  • 19. Ibid. 123; Cal. Close, 1272-9, 339.
  • 20. S.H.C. 1911, 187-8; V.C.H. Warws. iv. 40.
  • 21. Knights of Edward I, iii (Harl. Soc. lxxxii), 204.
  • 22. Walsall Records, 76-7; Cal. Pat. 1307-13, 401.
  • 23. Walsall Records, 36-7, 77; S.H.C. 1911, 317; Cal. Pat. 1313-17, 33. Somery was still described as lord in 1316: Feud. Aids, v. 14.
  • 24. Ex. e Rot. Fin. ii. 28-9.
  • 25. Cal. Inq. Misc. i, p. 418; Shaw, Staffs. i, app. to Gen. Hist. p. xvii.
  • 26. V.C.H. Warws. iv. 40; S.H.C. vi (1), 148, 174; Feud. Aids, v. 9.
  • 27. V.C.H. Warws. iv. 40 n.
  • 28. S.H.C. vi (1), 214-15.
  • 29. Cal. Close, 1302-7, 23, 145; S.H.C. xi. 89; xv. 38.
  • 30. B.M. Cott. MS. Nero C. xii, ff. 143v.-144.
  • 31. In 1262 a case of novel disseisin was brought by Ric. de Alazun and Margery his wife, but in 1270 Margery la Rousse brought another against her husband and Wm. de Morteyn: W.S.L., S. MS. 332 (i), pp. 319, 500.
  • 32. Cal. Pat. 1334-8, 131.
  • 33. S.H.C. xi. 85, 89.
  • 34. Walsall Records, 58-61.
  • 35. S.H.C. 1913, 156.
  • 36. Walsall Records, 63-75; Cal. Pat. 1338-40, 238; 1340-3, 176.
  • 37. S.H.C. 1913, 97-9; Complete Peerage, ii. 2-3 (wrongly dating to 1338 the document of 1339 which appears to be a marriage settlement); Walsall Records, 52-4 (the document of 1339, wrongly described in the margin as of 1340); S.H.C. xv.40; Cal. Close, 1343-6,248. Dugdale, Baronage, i. 380, followed by several later writers, gives Joan as the wife of the Ralph who d. 1343.
  • 38. S.H.C. 1913, 155-7; Complete Peerage, ii. 3-6; C 136/65 no. 9; W. A. Shaw, Knights of Eng. i. 3, 9.
  • 39. Cal. Close, 1389-92, 204; Walsall Records, 52-4; S.H.C. xv. 34.
  • 40. Complete Peerage, xii (2), 377; Cal. Pat. 1396-9, 186, 211.
  • 41. Westminster Abbey Muniments, 6045.
  • 42. Complete Peerage, xii (2), 377; C 137/27 no. 38.
  • 43. Cal. Pat. 1399-1401, 404; C 137/80 no. 44; Cal. Close, 1405-9, 141; C 139/121 no. 19; S.H.C. N.S. iv. 165, 167; Complete Peerage, x. 826-7; Rot. Parl. (Rec. Com.), vi. 311.
  • 44. C 139/94 no. 54; C 139/96 no. 3; C 139/123 no. 43; S.H.C. xi. 249-50; Rot. Parl. (Rec. Com.), vi. 100; Cal. Pat. 1476-85, 68, 137, 161, 487; 1485-94, 4, 55, 175, 298; Cal. Close, 1485-1500, p. 90; V.C.H. Warws. iv. 233.
  • 45. L. & P. Hen. VIII, iv (1), p. 673; Complete Peerage, x. 830.
  • 46. L. & P. Hen. VIII, xvi, p. 330.
  • 47. D.L. 29/641/10415-20; Cal. Pat. 1494-1509, 475; L. & P. Hen. VIII, i (1), pp. 120, 454; ibid. iv (1), p. 57; B.M. Harl. MS. 606, f. 7; C1/1319 no. 7; C1/1389 no. 41; E 326/12378; below p. 213.
  • 48. Cal. Pat. 1553-4, 83; 1555-7, 449.
  • 49. C 142/124 no. 176; G. Ormerod, Hist. of County Palatine and City of Chester (1882 edn.), iii. 379.
  • 50. Ormerod, County Palatine and City of Chester, iii. 378-80.
  • 51. Ibid. 380; V.C.H. Staffs. iv. 172-3; S.H.C. i. 376-8; S.H.C. N.S. ii. 144-5, 193, 267-8, 279; Complete Peerage, ii. 274-7.
  • 52. S.R.O., D. 1287/box 8, Walsall sales 1945; ex inf. Mr. G. C. Trentham of Fleetwood & Co. of Birmingham (1974).
  • 53. Ex inf. (1974) Mr. and Mrs. S. Wrathmell, who have excavated the site for the Walsall Local Hist. Soc.
  • 54. See p. 184.
  • 55. S.H.C. iv (1), 75; vi (1), 33; Pipe R. 1230 (P.R.S. N.S. iv), 212.
  • 56. See p. 184.
  • 57. S.H.C. vi (1), 56; Cal. Close, 1272-9, 339.
  • 58. S.H.C. 1911, 188.
  • 59. Ibid. 1913, 155-7.
  • 60. Ex inf. Mr. and Mrs. Wrathmell.
  • 61. S.R.O., D. 641/1/2/32.
  • 62. B.M. Eg. Roll 8467.
  • 63. Ibid. 8474-5.
  • 64. Ibid. 8501.
  • 65. Ibid. 8532.
  • 66. S.R.O., D. 1287/1/2, survey of Walsall manor, 1576, m. 1.
  • 67. Ibid. /8/2.
  • 68. S.R.O., D. 1362/57, p. 161.
  • 69. O.S. Map 6", Staffs. LXIII. SW. (1889 edn.).
  • 70. See p. 143 n. 11.
  • 71. V.C.H. Staffs. iv. 38, no. 6 (which wrongly gives the Bresmundescote of the original as Bremundescote).
  • 72. C 142/321 no. 84.
  • 73. S.H.C. iv (i), 183.
  • 74. B.M. Harl. MS. 2131, f. 11.
  • 75. Cal. Inq. p.m. x, p. 280.
  • 76. B.M. Harl. MS. 2131, f. 14; C 137/36 no. 36.
  • 77. C 137/36 no. 36.
  • 78. S.H.C. xvi. 89.
  • 79. B.M. Harl. MS. 2131, f. 16; Dugdale, Warws. ii. 1007-8.
  • 80. B.M. Harl. MS. 2131, ff. 19-20.
  • 81. V.C.H. Warws. iv. 50.
  • 82. S.H.C. xi. 247.
  • 83. V.C.H. Warws. iv. 50.
  • 84. C 139/150 no. 33.
  • 85. S.H.C. N.S. iii. 212.
  • 86. B.M. Harl. MS. 2131, ff. 24-5.
  • 87. S.H.C. N.S. iv. 160.
  • 88. Rot. Parl. vi. 503; 11 Hen. VII, c. 64.
  • 89. 19 Hen. VII, c. 28.
  • 90. L. & P. Hen. VIII, vii, p. 175; S.R.O., D. 260/M/T/1/ 47.
  • 91. S.R.O., D. 260/M/T/1/47; /M/F/1/5, f. 29; /M/F/1/8, Walsall foreign rental.
  • 92. S.R.O., D. 260/M/F/1/5, ff. 29, 144; C 142/321 no. 84.
  • 93. S.H.C. v (2), 219.
  • 94. Cal. Cttee. for Compounding, i. 90.
  • 95. Ibid. iv. 2745-6.
  • 96. S.H.C. v (2), 219.
  • 97. Ibid. 219 n.; Willmore, Walsall, 285.
  • 98. S.H.C. 1923, 126; S.H.C. v (2), 218-19.
  • 99. C 5/164/12; L.J.R.O., B/V/7/Aldridge, recording burial of Edw. Mumford of Bescot 25 Mar. 1672.
  • 100. C 5/164/12.
  • 101. Shaw, Staffs. ii. 81. Slaney was the executor of Humphrey Persehouse, who was living at the hall in 1692 and died in 1698: S.R.O., D. 260/M/T/1/74; W.S.L. 45/56, folder 28, no. 14; and see below pp. 233, 273.
  • 102. S.R.O., D. 260/M/T/2/74.
  • 103. Aris's Birmingham Gaz. 21 Mar. 1763, 1 Feb. 1768; W.S.L. 67/20/22, abstract of title of Jas. Fisher, pp. 7, 8, 14; F. W. Willmore, Records of Rushall (Walsall, 1892), 97; Willmore, Walsall, 447.
  • 104. Willmore, Rushall, 81-2; Willmore, Walsall, 447; Shaw, Staffs. ii. 81; Walsall Council House, Bescot deeds, bdle. 2, deeds of 24 Nov. 1791 and 25 Mar. 1817; S.R.O., Q/RTg/1/1, 1788-9, no. 67; 1789-90, no. 109; 1790-1, no. 104.
  • 105. S.R.O., D. 1041, indentures of 9 May 1796, 17 Dec. 1825; W.S.L., S. MS. 417/Walsall, sub Spurrier.
  • 106. Walsall Council House, Bescot deeds, bdle. 2, deeds of 3-4 Apr. 1794.
  • 107. Staffs. Advertiser, 12 Mar. 1796.
  • 108. Shaw, Staffs. ii, app. p. 15.
  • 109. Walsall Council House, Bescot deeds, bdle. 2, deed of 9 Apr. 1817.
  • 110. Willmore, Walsall, 447.
  • 111. Walsall Council House, Bescot deeds, bdle. 2, deeds of 5 May 1796, 25 Mar. 1817; S.R.O., D. 1041, copy indenture 20 Apr. 1796.
  • 112. W.S.L., S. MS. 417/Walsall, nos. 453, 455, 1422-56, 2921.
  • 113. Willmore, Walsall, 447.
  • 114. Pigot, Com. Dir. Birm. (1829), 90; W.S.L. 67/14/22; Ede, Wednesbury, 238; J. Roscoe, Book of the Grand Junction Railway (1839), 47; Willmore, Walsall, 286; W.S.L., S. MS. 417/Walsall; S.R.O., D. 595/12, probate of will of H. Barnett, 1st and 2nd codicils.
  • 115. Walsall Council House, Bescot deeds, abstract of title 1964; R.G. 10/2962 f. 22. For Bagnall see F. W. Hackwood, Hist. of Tipton in Staffs. (Dudley, 1891), 44-5.
  • 116. Staffs. Advertiser, 4 Jan. 1901; Walsall Red Book (1923), 420.
  • 117. W.S.L., Sale Cat. D/1/47.
  • 118. Kelly's Dir. Staffs. (1924); Walsall Red Book (1925; 1927); A. G. Matthews, Congregational Churches of Staffs. 266.
  • 119. Blay, 'Street Names of Walsall', 104.
  • 120. Walsall Council House, Bescot deeds.
  • 121. V.C.H. Staffs. i. 368; O.S. Map 1/2,500, Staffs. LXIII. 14 (1918 edn.).
  • 122. S.H.C. ix (1), 31.
  • 123. Cal. Pat. 1343-5, 48.
  • 124. S.H.C. N.S. viii. 6; L.J.R.O., B/A/1/6, f. 125v.
  • 125. S.H.C. 1923, 126; L.J.R.O., will of Edw. Mountfort (proved 18 June 1672), inventory.
  • 126. Shaw, Staffs. ii. 81 and plate facing p. 82, reproduced facing p. 176 below; W.S.L., S. MS. 417/Walsall, no. 1454.
  • 127. W.C.L., photograph 266.
  • 128. Shaw, Staffs. ii, plate facing p. 82.
  • 129. W.S.L., Sale Cat. D/1/47, pp. 2, 6, and plans.
  • 130. V.C.H. Staffs. iv. 38, no. 7; S.H.C. v (1), 178.
  • 131. Sims, Cal. of Deeds, p. 32 (1559); S.R.O., D. 260/M/T /2/7, deeds of 5 Nov. 1565. The manor mentioned in E 150/1027 no. 2 in 1517 may be Bloxwich.
  • 132. S.R.O., D. 260/M/F/1/8, ct. of recog. and survey, 1617, p. 26.
  • 133. B.M. Harl. MS. 2131, ff. 110-14; S.H.C. xiii. 145; above pp. 170-1.
  • 134. Cal. Inq. p.m. x, p. 280.
  • 135. See p. 171.
  • 136. See below and p. 174; S.R.O., D. 260/M/T/2/7, deeds of 5 Nov. 1565.
  • 137. C 142/680 no. 12; S.R.O., D. 260/M/T/2/7; J. Nichols, Hist. and Antiquities of the Town and County of Leicester, iii (1), 449.
  • 138. Sims, Cal. of Deeds, p. 62.
  • 139. S.R.O., D. 260/M/T/2/7.
  • 140. Ibid., deed of 5 Nov. 1565 (endorsement of 11 Dec.).
  • 141. S.R.O., D. 260/M/T/2/7.
  • 142. S.H.C. 1913, 167-8; C 137/36 no. 36; C 142/680 no. 12.
  • 143. S.H.C. 1913, 167-8.
  • 144. B.M. Harl. MS. 2131, f. 16v.
  • 145. B.M. Harl. MS. 506, p. 332; S.H.C. xvii. 135; Lincs. Pedigrees, iii (Harl. Soc. iii), 829.
  • 146. V.C.H. Warws. v. 154; E 150/1018 no. 1; Cal. Inq. p.m. Hen. VII, iii, p. 198; Cal. Close, 1500-9, p. 343.
  • 147. E 150/1018 no. 1; Act of Restitution of John Dudley, 3 Hen. VIII, c. 19. In 1506, however, it was called the manor of Walsall: Cal. Inq. p.m. Hen. VII, iii, p. 198.
  • 148. S.H.C. xi. 262 (not describing it as a moiety).
  • 149. Wards 9/129 f. 169; N.R.A., Chilham Castle, Kent, Massereene (Staffs.) deeds, 29; below p. 279.
  • 150. C 54/383 no. 7; E 150/1027 no. 2.
  • 151. C 142/53 no. 20; /92 no. 90; Complete Peerage, xi. 661-2; S.R.O., D. 260/M/T/2/7, deed of 5 Nov. 1565.
  • 152. C 142/680 no. 12.
  • 153. See p. 173; C.P. 25(2)/485/6 Chas. I Hil.; S.R.O., D. 1375/box 11, abstract of title to Goscote manor, 1815, ff. 1-2.
  • 154. Cal. Cttee. for Compounding, i. 89.
  • 155. W.S.L., S. MS. 339(i), pp. 361-83.
  • 156. S.R.O., D. 260/M/F/1/5, f. 158.
  • 157. S.R.O., D. 1375/box 11, abstract of title, 1815, ff. 4-5.
  • 158. Ibid. f. 5; C.P. 25(2)/965/2 Anne Trin. no. 539; C.P. 43/481 rot. 14d.
  • 159. Abstract of title, 1815, ff. 6-7.
  • 160. Ibid. ff. 7-8; S.R.O., Q/SO 4, f. 266v.
  • 161. Abstract of title 1815, ff. 8-9.
  • 162. Ibid. ff. 11-13; Aris's Birmingham Gaz. 1 Mar. 1790.
  • 163. Abstract of title 1815, ff. 13-14.
  • 164. Ibid. ff. 14-17. Waring had left the firm in 1809.
  • 165. Ibid. ff. 25-6, 21d.-23d.
  • 166. W.C.L., ACJ XII/25; C.P. 25(2)/1416/57 Geo. III East. (missing 1972).
  • 167. W.C.L., ACJ XII/25.
  • 168. W.S.L., S. MS. 417/Walsall sub Smith, Joseph.
  • 169. Walsall Council House, deeds bdle. 614, abstract of title of Harriet Cooke, 1925.
  • 170. Ibid., supplemental abstract of title of R. T. Bradley, 1933.
  • 171. Ibid., deed of 29 Dec. 1933.
  • 172. Ex inf. the town clerk (1973).
  • 173. W.S.L., S. MS. 339(i), pp. 379, 383.
  • 174. W.C.L., ACJ XII/25; S.R.O., D. 351/M/B/209.
  • 175. S.R.O., D. 1375/box 11, abstract of title 1815, ff. 25-6, 21 d.; White, Dir. Staffs. (1834); P.O. Dir. Staffs. (1854); W.S.L., S. MS. 417/Walsall, no. 694; Walsall Corporation files (showing renewal of lease in 1941); O.S. Map 6", SK 00 SW. (1956 edn., revised 1945).
  • 176. Fink, Queen Mary's Grammar Sch. 132. Geo.'s will also calls Walsall Park a manor.
  • 177. S.R.O., D. 260/M/F/1/5, f. 72; Fink, Queen Mary's Grammar Sch. plate facing p. 144.
  • 178. S.R.O., D. 1287/8/2; /18/26, business corresp. 1835–7, p. Potter to Lord Bradford, 26 Feb. 1835; W.S.L., S. MS. 417/Walsall, nos. 1824-9, 1855-61, 1863, 1865-6, 1868-70, 1954.
  • 179. Walsall Council House, deeds bdle. 805; P.O. Dir. Staffs. (1868; 1872; 1876); Kelly's Dir. Staffs. (1880 and later edns.).
  • 180. S.R.O., D. 1287/8/2; /6/14, sketch-map.