A History of the County of Stafford: Volume 5, East Cuttlestone Hundred. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1959.
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The ancient parish of Penkridge consisted of the four townships of Penkridge, Coppenhall, Dunston, and Stretton. Penkridge township, covering nearly three-quarters of the parish in 1834, was roughly coextensive with the present civil parish of Penkridge. The history of Coppenhall and Dunston will follow that of the area now contained in the civil parish; the history of Stretton is treated in the volume dealing with Cuttlestone West.
The present parish of Penkridge includes the hamlets of Levedale, Longridge, Drayton, Whiston, Bickford, Congreve, Mitton, Pillaton, Lyne Hill, and Otherton and the village of Gailey. It is crossed by the River Penk, which forms the south-western and north-eastern boundaries, and by several small streams. The ground lies mostly between 275 and 400 ft., and the soil is light loam in the east of the parish and strong in the west, the subsoil being red sandstone in some places and gravel and clay in others, while the geological strata are Keuper to the west and Bunter to the east. (fn. 1) Under the Staffordshire Review Order of 1934 the civil parish was extended to include Kinvaston, previously a separate civil parish, and parts of Acton Trussell and Bednall and Lapley parishes, while at the same time parts of Penkridge were added to Acton Trussell and Bednall, Lapley, and Dunston. The area was increased as a result from 10,783 acres to its present 10,809 acres. (fn. 2) The population in 1951 was 2,195. (fn. 3)
In 1834 Penkridge township was divided into the four constablewicks of Penkridge, Levedale, Pillaton, and Whiston, each responsible for the upkeep of its own roads. (fn. 4) The town of Penkridge was described at the end of the 16th century as 'at present. . . only a small village, famous for a horsefair'. (fn. 5) The constablewick of Penkridge contained 212 households in 1666, (fn. 6) and by 1834 the town was composed of several short streets and a large marketplace. (fn. 7) The widening of the main Stafford-Wolverhampton road between 1932 and 1934 (fn. 8) drastically altered the west side of the town. In the early 19th century the thoroughfare was so narrow that coachmen were said to have found the manipulation of a four-in-hand more difficult in Penkridge than at any other place between London and Liverpool. (fn. 9) On the east side of the stretch known as Clay Street 20 or 30 houses were destroyed, several of them ancient. These are now replaced by a row of modern buildings. Landmarks on the west side of High Street, including the little square known as Stone Cross and the partly timber-framed (fn. 10) George and Fox Inn, also disappeared. A map of 1754 (fn. 11) shows the base and shaft of the Cross still standing near the junction of High Street and Pinfold Lane; the pinfold itself is shown east of the Old Deanery. At this time there was no road connecting Pinfold Lane with Church Lane, and Church Lane itself was built up on both sides. A roughly triangular group of buildings stood on the present open site at Crown Bridge with a narrow lane and a small bridge to the south of them. (fn. 12) On the north side the open stream was crossed by a ford. The St. Michael's Road area, probably developed after the coming of the railway, has middle-class houses in good gardens dating from the middle and late 19th century. The area to the east of the town between the Penk and the Cannock road, still known as the Marsh, was mentioned as common grazing land in 1598 (fn. 13) and was inhabited by at least 1614. (fn. 14) The common was inclosed in 1827 under an Act of 1814. (fn. 15) The area was used by troops during the Second World War, (fn. 16) and the new housing estate there, started before the war, has since been extended. There are modern houses and bungalows along the main road both north and south of Penkridge town.
The constablewick of Levedale contained nine households in 1666. (fn. 17) There were 18 or 20 yeomen's houses in Levedale itself in 1680 and four houses, none of which was a gentleman's residence, in Longridge. (fn. 18) By 1834 the constablewick included the present hamlets of Drayton, Longridge, and Preston. (fn. 19) Drayton in 1666 had formed with Dunston a constablewick in which there were 49 households, 15 of them too poor to pay hearth tax, (fn. 20) and in Drayton itself there were 9 or 10 houses in 1680, none of them a gentleman's residence. (fn. 21) Preston had 4 houses in 1680, with several 'good yeomen' residing there but no 'gentlemen'. (fn. 22)
Whiston and Bickford formed one constablewick in 1666 when there were 15 households in Whiston and 8 in Bickford, besides 5 others in the constablewick too poor to be chargeable for the hearth tax. (fn. 23) There were 12 or 14 houses in Whiston in 1680 and 5 or 6 yeomen's houses in Bickford. (fn. 24) By 1834 the constablewick of Whiston included the hamlets of Bickford, Congreve, and Mitton. (fn. 25) Congreve had contained 6 or 7 houses in 1680. (fn. 26) Mitton, with Longnor in Bradley parish, in 1666 formed a constablewick in which there were 9 households. (fn. 27) Mitton itself contained 6 or 7 yeomen's houses in 1680 (fn. 28) and 3 farmhouses and 2 cottages in 1834. (fn. 29)
Pillaton constablewick contained 14 households in 1666, (fn. 30) and there were 14 or 15 houses in the hamlet of Pillaton in 1680, in addition to the Hall, (fn. 31) but only 2 farms in 1834. (fn. 32) In 1955 the buildings of a former airfield to the south-west of the Hall were being used as stores by the County Council Agricultural Executive Committee. Pillaton constablewick in 1834 included the hamlets of Wolgarston, Otherton, Rodbaston, Water Eaton, and Gailey. (fn. 33) Wolgarston contained 12 houses in 1680, none a gentleman's residence. (fn. 34) Otherton and Rodbaston formed a single constablewick in 1666 containing 10 households, 5 of them too poor to be chargeable for hearth tax. (fn. 35) Otherton was said to contain 3 houses in 1680, and one good house in Rodbaston was noted then. (fn. 36) By 1834 there were 5 farms and a few cottages in Otherton. (fn. 37) There was a small Roman settlement on Watling Street in what is now Water Eaton about 1½ mile east of Stretton Bridge. (fn. 38) By 1666 the Water Eaton portion of Stretton and Water Eaton constablewick contained 17 households, 9 of them too poor to be chargeable for hearth tax. (fn. 39) The hamlet contained 5 houses in 1680, all occupied by freeholders. (fn. 40) In about 1841 Water Eaton consisted of 778 acres of 'old inclosed land', including what is now Gailey, in addition to 626 acres of 'new inclosed land' on Calf Heath. (fn. 41)
Gailey Hay formed, with Teddesley Hay, a division of the Forest of Cannock which before 1300 included the vills of Penkridge and Wolgarston, Pillaton, Otherton, Rodbaston, and Water Eaton, and also Calf Heath, (fn. 42) and it was in the parish of Penkridge by 1252. (fn. 43) By 1834 Gailey seems to have been an alternative name for the hamlet of Spread Eagle, (fn. 44) which had consisted by 1775 of a few houses around the crossroads formed by Watling Street and the Stafford–Wolverhampton road (fn. 45) and was still part of Water Eaton in 1851. (fn. 46) The road widening at Gailey crossroads in 1929 and 1937, besides absorbing parts of Gailey churchyard, involved the demolition of the Spread Eagle Inn at the north-west corner of the crossing, (fn. 47) but a new inn has replaced it. There are five post-1945 council houses in the cul-de-sac near Croft Farm.
The Stafford-Wolverhampton road runs from north to south across the parish, and Watling Street crosses the southern portion from east to west. In 1754 a road which has now largely disappeared led from Lyne Hill to Hatherton, running south of Pillaton Hall. (fn. 48) The old road from Penkridge to Pillaton Green then ran in a straight line south of the present road, cutting off the corner by Quarry Heath, and existing field boundaries follow the line of the old road at the Pillaton end. (fn. 49) The road running north of Quarry Heath towards Cannock Chase was not in existence. (fn. 50) Much of the Stafford-Wolverhampton road in the parish was widened between 1929 and 1937, and the work included the building of the dual-carriageway south of Penkridge town and the construction in 1937 of the roundabout where the road crosses Watling Street at Gailey. (fn. 51) In 1754 a cross stood at the junction of the Stafford-Wolverhampton road and the lane leading to Lower Drayton. (fn. 52) Coaches travelling between London and Manchester, Birmingham and Manchester, and Birmingham and Liverpool passed through Penkridge daily in each direction by 1818. (fn. 53) A daily horse-mail was established in 1829 to run between Walsall and Penkridge via Bloxwich and Cannock. (fn. 54) There was formerly a toll gate on the Wolverhampton road north of the turning to Rodbaston where 'Mile Houses' now stand. (fn. 55) The timber-framed house in Cannock Road east of the canal bridge is known as 'Tollgate Cottage'. An early 19th-century brick toll house stands on the road to Cannock at the eastern extremity of the parish. It is octagonal in form, the hipped slate roof terminating in an octagonal chimney.
Cuttlestone Bridge, (fn. 56) which carries the road from Penkridge to Congreve over the Penk, was mentioned at some time between about 1225 and 1259 as 'pons de Cuthuluestan' (fn. 57) and occurs again in 1261. (fn. 58) Its upkeep was the responsibility of the hundred in the 17th century (fn. 59) and of the county by 1830 when it was described as old but in good repair. (fn. 60) It is built of stone ashlar and consists of five segmental arches, the piers between them resting on splayed cutwaters. It may date from the 17th or 18th century but has been widened at least once and altered and repaired at various times. Bull Bridge, which carries the Stafford–Wolverhampton road over the Penk, occurs as 'Bolde brugge' in 1376, (fn. 61) and although it was the hundred's responsibility in the 17th century, (fn. 62) it was repaired in 1711 at a cost of £25 raised in the county. (fn. 63) In 1763 it had neither posts nor rails (fn. 64) and was rebuilt in 1796. (fn. 65) It was widened in 1822, (fn. 66) and in 1824 £64 5s. 3d. was spent on removing 'buildings at Bull Bridge'. (fn. 67) The present bridge is of stone ashlar and has five graduated arches with rusticated voussoirs. The stone parapets are curved at the ends and terminate in small octagonal piers. Crown Bridge which used to carry the Cannock road over the Boosmore Brook, to the east of the junction of the present Market Street and Mill Street, seems to have been the hundred's responsibility in the 17th century (fn. 68) and the county's by 1830 when it was described as new. (fn. 69) It has since been built over. Mitton Bridge, presumably that which now carries the road from Bradley over the Church Eaton Brook, was described as new in 1830 when it was the county's responsibility. (fn. 70)
The Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal, opened in 1772, (fn. 71) had a wharf at Penkridge by 1831 (fn. 72) where by 1834 boats were calling several times daily to take goods to all parts, (fn. 73) while the wharf on the same canal at Gailey seems to have been in use since the opening of the canal. (fn. 74) By 1955 these two wharves were little used except by pleasure craft. (fn. 75) There are fifteen canal bridges in the parish. All are small humped bridges of red brick except that carrying Watling Street near Gailey Wharf which in its present widened form dates from 1952. (fn. 76) The older bridges are all numbered and named on small oval cast-iron tablets. The lock-keeper's house by Penkridge Bridge was built or adapted in the late 18th century and has round-headed windows with Gothic glazing. At Gailey the canal basin and former coal wharf lie on the south side of Watling Street. Opposite the wharf is the former toll-clerk's house, now enlarged. Nearer the bridge are two cottages with round-headed Gothic windows. One of these, in the shape of a circular tower, was the lockkeeper's cottage within living memory. (fn. 77)
The Grand Junction Railway was opened in 1837, with two trains daily to both Stafford and Wolverhampton stopping at Penkridge and Spread Eagle (later called Gailey) by 1838. (fn. 78) The railway viaduct, which spans the Levedale Road and the River Penk, is faced with rusticated stone and has seven segmental arches, each 30 ft. in span and 37 ft. high, springing from battered piers. It dates from 1837 and is considered a fine early work of Thomas Brassey (1805–70), the railway engineer. (fn. 79) Penkridge station lies a little to the south-west of the centre of the town. Gailey station, just south of Watling Street, was closed in 1951. (fn. 80) To the south of Penkridge station the main line is joined by a branch line which runs from the Littleton Colliery in Huntington (Cannock parish) and has sidings on the canal south of Otherton.
During the early 17th century maintenance of a beacon near Congreve, probably situated on Beacon Hill a mile and a half south-west of the town of Penkridge, was the responsibility of the hundred. (fn. 81)
There are several instances of burgage tenure in the town of Penkridge between c. 1290 and 1471. (fn. 82)
The townships of Penkridge, Coppenhall, Dunston, and Stretton were each supporting their own poor by 1834. (fn. 83) Before the establishment of the Penkridge Union, with its workhouse first at Brewood and then at Cannock, the parish workhouse stood on the north side of Cannock Road, formerly Husbandman Street, opposite Reynolds Cottage. (fn. 84) The building was used as cottages in the last half of the 19th century but has recently been demolished. (fn. 85) The site is occupied by modern houses.
The gasworks were built by a limited liability company in 1872 and taken over by the Stafford Corporation in 1902. (fn. 86) A sewage scheme was installed in 1931. (fn. 87)
A Free Reading Room was established in the Market Square by Lady Hatherton in 1881. (fn. 88) The present room was built in Market Street by the Revd. the Hon. Cecil J. Littleton in 1885 for 'working men of good character on payment of a nominal subscription' and was at once 'largely patronized by the class for whose especial benefit it was designed.' (fn. 89) Although partly occupied as a billiards and snooker club, its use as a reading-room had ceased for some years before its opening as a church hall in 1957. (fn. 90)
The police station at the junction of Bellbrook and Cannock Road is a small classical building of red brick with stone windows and a moulded cornice. Part of it formerly housed the Savings Bank and may date from the bank's establishment in 1819. (fn. 91) An inscription on the frieze, dated 1858, probably refers to the building's enlargement and conversion into a police station. The brick lock-up, containing two cells, and the wooden stocks stand on the opposite side of Bellbrook. In 1954 three police houses were built south of the town on the east side of the Wolverhampton road, and there is a single house of this date at Gailey roundabout.
The Peace Memorial Hall in Pinfold Lane dates from 1926. It is a single-story brick and roughcast building with a half-timbered porch. A bowling green lies immediately to the south.
A Provident Clothing Society was started in Penkridge in 1831 (fn. 92) and was still in existence in 1928. (fn. 93)
There was horse-racing at Penkridge after the fair on Midsummer Day by 1680, (fn. 94) and in 1696 £1 was spent on 'staking for the plate at Penkridge' on behalf of the Duke of Rutland. (fn. 95) There was a threequarter mile race-course to the east of Preston Hill where September races were held by about 1825 and were still being held in 1834. (fn. 96)
Elizabeth I passed through Penkridge in 1575. (fn. 97) Royalist troops quartered here were worsted in a small skirmish in May 1645. (fn. 98) Richard Hurd (1720– 1808), Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield (1774–81) and of Worcester (1781–1810), was born at Congreve, the son of John Hurd, a wealthy farmer there, and was educated at Brewood Grammar School. (fn. 99) He was appointed preceptor to the Prince of Wales and the Duke of York in 1776 and declined the Archbishopric of Canterbury in 1783. (fn. 100)
About 1590 Edward Littleton was said to be willing to build a furnace if he could secure 'any vent and utterance for sowes'. (fn. 101) There was an iron foundry at Penkridge by 1635, (fn. 102) and by 1754 there was a pool called Ironmonger Pool to the east of Pillaton Hall, (fn. 103) while to the south-east of what is now Preston Hill Farm there was a pool with two fields called Far Sough Piece and New Sough Piece. (fn. 104) The former Hazel Mill, in Pillaton, seems at some period to have been connected with iron-working. (fn. 105) Although by 1817 iron was still the town's chief manufacture, its extent was by then 'inconsiderable'. (fn. 106) The mill downstream from Bull Bridge was in temporary use as a rolling-mill between 1827 and 1832. (fn. 107) There was a forge at Congreve, probably on the site of the former mill, by 1717, and its output then and in 1750 was 120 tons. (fn. 108) It continued in use until at least 1832 (fn. 109) but was untenanted c. 1841. (fn. 110)
Quarry Heath to the east of Penkridge town occurs as common land in 1598, (fn. 111) but the area was inhabited by at least 1635, (fn. 112) the heath being inclosed in 1827 under the Act of 1814. (fn. 113) There were 'stonepits' at Quarry Heath, in the Wolgarston–Wood Bank area, and to the south-east of the town in 1754. (fn. 114) Lord Hatherton owned quarries at Wolgarston, Wood Bank, and Quarry Heath by 1862, (fn. 115) and the stone used in the 19th-century restoration of Lichfield Cathedral is thought to have come from Penkridge. (fn. 116) The firm of Ingram was quarrying at Wood Bank and Quarry Heath between at least 1892 and 1912, (fn. 117) while the firm of Walker was working at Quarry Heath between at least 1924 and 1940. (fn. 118) All these quarries were abandoned by 1955, those at Quarry Heath being then used by squatters as a caravan site, while those at Wood Bank were being used as a rubbish tip by the Cannock R.D.C. Yew Tree Cottages and several other mid-19th-century buildings in the area have walls of small coursed rubble, probably surplus material left when larger blocks were quarried.
West of Calf Heath Bridge and adjoining the Midland Tar Distillery (Brewood parish) is the United Lamp Black Ltd. Carbon Works, opened during the Second World War. (fn. 119) Immediately to the south is the Four Ashes Sand and Gravel Quarry.
Church Farm in Pinfold Lane and a cottage in Bellbrook are the only domestic buildings of certain medieval date in the town itself. Church Farm is T-shaped in plan, having a long two-story range parallel to the road and a tall brick wing at its east end. The former, which was faced with brickwork in the 18th century, contains in the centre a former single-story hall enclosed at both ends by tall cruck trusses. Weathering on the outer face of the west truss and a mullioned window below the collar-beam indicate that this was formerly the west end of the building. The brick outhouse with heavy roof timbers which now lies beyond it may represent a 17th-century malthouse. Within, the hall roof has smoke-blackened purlins and curved wind-braces. A rough upper floor and a chimney are insertions, probably of the 17th century. The long bay lying east of the hall has a 16th-century stone fireplace and chamfered ceiling beams. It may represent a much-altered bay of the medieval house. The brick cross-wing dates from c. 1680 and has a contemporary staircase, possibly brought from elsewhere, in its south-west angle. The house in Bellbrook probably dates from the later 15th century and retains most of its original framing. The front or north wall has close-set studding; at the back the studs are widely spaced. The gable-ends have been largely rebuilt in brick. Evidence in the roof space shows that the house had three distinct divisions: the centre was a single-story open hall and has heavily smokeblackened roof timbers, the flanking trusses having cambered tie-beams below which are large curved braces. The east bay, always of two stories, has externally a shallow 16th-century oriel window to light the solar. The west bay, also probably twostoried, had a cross-passage, blocked in the 17th century by a chimney. An earlier chimney, inserted in the hall bay, joins it in the roof space.
There are many timber-framed houses in the town dating from the 16th and early 17th centuries; in most cases the walls were refaced or rebuilt in brick from c. 1700 onwards. The Old Deanery in Pinfold Lane is exceptional in being partly of stone, possibly reused material from demolished buildings connected with the college. It consists of a stone central block of 16th- or early-17th-century date flanked by two timber cross-wings which are slightly earlier. The two-storied central block may have replaced an earlier timber-framed hall. It has a massive contemporary stone chimney with brick stacks above the roof line. An original stone doorway in the north wall has deeply splayed jambs. The doorway on the south side has a four-centred head and the stonemullioned windows are original. The loft space was designed for use as attics and has cambered collars to give headroom. The timber-framed east wing has a stone plinth and may be slightly later than the west wing, which is now enclosed by 18th-century brickwork. Church Cottages, lying north of the churchyard, formerly comprised a single timberframed house of three or more bays, possibly of early-16th-century origin. An altered open truss near the north end indicates the position of the single-story hall. A cross passage, blocked by a later chimney, is incorporated in the two-story south bay.
The White Hart Inn on the east side of High Street is a three-storied timber-framed building dating from c. 1600. The front, which has three small gables, shows a different decorative use of framing to each story. The ground floor is close-studded, the first floor has a herringbone pattern and on the top floor the gables have small square panels with quarter-round fillings. At first-floor level is a slight projection supported on small shaped brackets. A carriageway originally penetrated the central bay but this feature has now been moved to the south bay, replacing a mullioned and transomed window on small supporting brackets. (fn. 120) Similar windows, all restored, still exist on the first floor and there are restored four-light windows in the gables. The rear of the building has modern alterations and additions.
In Market Street a house known as 'Two Steps' was formerly the Blacksmith's Arms Inn. In its present form it dates from the later 16th century but contains in an altered central bay some evidence of a single-story hall. The sides of the carriageway piercing the south-east bay and the wall facing the street have exposed timbers. The adjoining cottage may originally have formed part of the building and one of its walls, exposed in the carriageway, has an original carved door-head pegged between uprights near ground level. A house on the opposite side of the street has a front elevation of mid-19th-century brick but remains timber-framed at the rear. It dates probably from c. 1600 and consists of a central block with two cross-wings. Near the centre are remains of what may have been a medieval cruck truss.
On three sides of School Square, formerly the Market Place, are timber-framed buildings probably dating from before 1600. Corner Cottage, at the junction of the square with New Road, has a small two-storied wing which probably represents the solar wing adjoining an original hall, now rebuilt. A carved stone, perhaps a fireplace lintel, has been built into a chimneypiece and is now dated 1680. The houses on the north-east and south sides of the square have been brick-faced. On the south side the building recently named the Manor House (fn. 121) has modern oriels with lead glazing. It has original timbers internally and a separate brick wing of the late 17th century.
Bowcroft Cottages in New Road is a restored timber-framed range of three bays of which the east bay is the oldest. There are indications internally that the structure was originally single-storied. In Cannock Road Reynolds Cottage is a three-bayed timber house probably dating from the late 16th century with a contemporary chimney in the central bay. The row of timber-framed cottages west of Haling Grove was originally one long house, possibly of the early 16th century, with a hall bay and a crosspassage. Facing the road is the early stout timberframing, now brick-filled. Other timber-framed houses in the town which appear to date from the 16th and early 17th centuries include three cottages in Mill Street, one at Mill End, a two-bay house in the Marsh and Old Tollgate Cottage in the Cannock road.
Wyre Hall in the Cannock road is a stone and brick house dating in part from the early 17th century. The west half of the road front is of this date, the lowest story being of stone ashlar. The present doorway occupies a window site, the earlier door jambs and lintel being visible a few feet farther west. The upper stories are of brick with stone mullioned windows and stone quoins. The east wing was altered and additions were made to the house in the 19th century. Most of the house fronts in Mill Street date from the 18th and early 19th centuries but at its junction with Bellbrook is a brick house dated 1673. Ivy House (fn. 122) in Church Lane has a symmetrical brick front with stone key-blocks to the windows and a moulded stone cornice. It is dated 1741. Rock House, standing back from New Road in a large garden, is a red-brick house with a Tuscan porch of the late 18th century probably built by a member of the Croydon family. (fn. 123) The Littleton Arms at the corner of Church Lane is a tall early19th-century building of colour-washed brick. It replaced an earlier inn of the same name. Its principal front has sash windows and a central doorway approached by a double flight of steps. Haling Grove or Haling Dene, now the offices of the Cannock R.D.C., stands on the south side of the Cannock road and dates from c. 1840. A row of cottages was demolished to clear the site. It is a mansion with an Ionic porch, a three-story central block, and two-story flanking wings.
In general many of the red-brick frontages in the town date from the mid-19th century (fn. 124) when much rebuilding was done on the Hatherton estate.
In Levedale a largely rebuilt cottage known as 'Salen' has a medieval cruck truss forming the central partition between its two bays. The upper part of a similar truss is visible internally at the east gable end. The roof has heavy purlins and inverted curved wind-braces. The west bay contains a wide fireplace having a heavily moulded 16th-century lintel which spans the room. The central partition contains early wattle and daub filling. The brickwork of the side walls probably dates from c. 1700, and there have been later additions to the house.
The Swan Inn, Whiston, is a timber-framed house of 16th-century origin, later faced with brickwork. A bay has been demolished at its west end. The central bay, which retains a wide fireplace and a moulded ceiling beam, was probably the hall with its cross-passage to the west. On one gable-end is a stone dated 1711, with initials T.H.A.; this may represent the date of the brickwork facing. At Bickford there are two timber-framed cottages partly rebuilt in brick which date from the 16th or early 17th century. The bailiff's cottage on the Whiston-Bickford road is much altered but is probably of the 16th century. There is some original framing and a large early chimney at its east end. A fireplace at the west end is dated 1697 with initials G.I.M. A barn east of the house is partly timberframed.
In Otherton the ruined buildings known as Otherton Cottages comprised originally a single timber-framed house of four bays, dating probably from the beginning of the 16th century. The south bays have close-studding to the side walls with heavy braces and original early window spaces. The southernmost bay, always of two stories, retains curved wind-braces to the roof and most of its original upper floor. A small central bay with a laterinserted floor has a wide fireplace with stone jambs and an embattled wooden lintel. The north bay of the house was rebuilt in the early or mid-17th century, the older roof being retained. The groundfloor walls are of stone ashlar, those above being of brick with stone quoins. The stone mullioned windows are of two and four lights, and there are oval lights in the side walls of the upper room. A lean-to of similar date on the north side of the house has been partly destroyed by the addition of a small 18th-century brick wing. The building, which was subsequently divided into cottages, had been abandoned by 1955 and stands isolated in the fields without road access. In 1754 it was still a 'homestead'. (fn. 125)
At Lyne Hill, a brick and stone rubble cottage with dormer windows, of 17th-century origin, is said to be the only thatched house left in the parish. The west bay is open to the roof and was probably built and always used as an outhouse.
Near the site of Hazel Mill is a much-altered timber-framed cottage which may date from the 16th century. A 17th-century stone cottage at Quarry Heath has had an upper story added in brickwork. Longford House, 200 yds. south of Longford Bridge, is a two-story brick house with stone dressings. It is dated 1706 and has alterations of 1872.
About 300 yds. south of the old road from Penkridge to Pillaton Green is a moated site (possibly that of Hussey Hall), its position marked by depressions in a ploughed field.
A cottage at Gailey on the Wolverhampton road near Marsh Farm is partly timber-framed and probably dates from the early 17th century. Pool Farm and Plough Farm are 17th-century brick houses on the north side of Watling Street. The former has a timber-framed barn at the rear and was raised one story at a later date. Plough Farm was formerly the Plough Inn. (fn. 126) Gailey Farm and Eaton House, south of Watling Street, are 18th-century brick houses, the former having a good pedimented doorcase.
Such manor-houses as still exist are described under their respective manors.
PENKRIDGE, held before the Conquest by King Edward, was still a royal manor in 1086 when it was assessed at ½ hide. (fn. 127) To it belonged six members, namely Wolgarston ('Tuhgarestone'), Drayton, Congreve, and Dunston, and also Cowley and Beffcote (both in Gnosall), together assessed at 6½ hides. (fn. 128) By at least 1156 and until 1172 Walter Hose, or Hussey, held land in Penkridge of the king worth £8 a year. (fn. 129) In 1173 Penkridge was apparently restored to the Crown for from that year until 1206 it was tallaged as royal demesne, (fn. 130) but in 1207 land here, described as the manor, was restored to Hugh Hose, son of Walter, for a fine of 200 marks and two palfreys to the king and 2 marks and a horse worth 20 marks to the queen, to hold by service of 1 knight's fee and payment of £10 a year. (fn. 131) Hugh, however, was in the king's wardship from 1209 to 1214 (fn. 132) and in 1215 conveyed the manor with the dependent vills of Congreve, Wolgarston, Cowley, Beffcote, and Little Onn (in Church Eaton) to Henry of London, Archbishop of Dublin (1213–28), (fn. 133) and formerly Archdeacon of Stafford. (fn. 134) Some intermediate lordship appears to have remained with the Hussey family, for it was claimed for John Hussey in 1300, (fn. 135) Thomas Hussey in 1462, (fn. 136) and John Hussey in 1503. (fn. 137)
Before his death in 1228, and probably by 1225, the Archbishop of Dublin had granted two-thirds of the manor to his nephew Andrew le Blund (fn. 138) who in 1236 was holding this part of the king by service of 1 knight's fee (fn. 139) and in 1259 was sued by a later archbishop, Fulk (1256–71), for land in Penkridge as the right of the church of Dublin. (fn. 140) Andrew died in 1259, apparently not of sound mind, leaving a widow Ellen who was given custody of his lands and heir. (fn. 141) Their son Hugh had succeeded by 1271 (fn. 142) and was said in 1285 to be holding two-thirds of the manor of Penkridge, worth £20, of the king by homage and service of two armed horsemen, one of them with a caparisoned horse, for 40 days at his own expense whenever the king went with an army to Wales. (fn. 143) In 1293 Hugh claimed the rights of infangthief and gallows in Penkridge (fn. 144) and in 1305 was granted free warren there. (fn. 145) By 1315 Hugh had settled Penkridge on Margery, or Margaret, widow of his son Hugh, and her son Hugh (fn. 146) but before July 1316 made another settlement, retaining Penkridge for himself. (fn. 147) Hugh and his wife Nichola were alive in 1318, (fn. 148) but in 1328 his grandson Hugh succeeded. (fn. 149) In 1350 Nichola, then the wife of John de Alveton, conveyed to Hugh her rights in onethird of the manor which she held in dower. (fn. 150) This Sir Hugh was succeeded in 1361 by his son John. (fn. 151)
In 1363 John Blount conveyed the manor to John de Beverley, (fn. 152) against whom Sir Hugh's widow Joyce recovered one-third as her dower in 1366. (fn. 153) By 1367 John de Beverley had settled the manor on himself and his wife Amice. (fn. 154) John was granted free warren on all the demesne lands belonging to the manor of Penkridge both within and without the royal forest of Cannock in 1368, (fn. 155) and in 1372 he was given view of frankpledge with infangthief and outfangthief and waif and stray in the manor and its fees and members, namely Wolgarston, Drayton, Congreve, Dunston, Cowley, Beffcote, and Little Onn, for a rent of 5s. (fn. 156) John de Beverley died in 1380, and his widow Amice then held the manor in chief by knight service until her death in 1416. (fn. 157)
In 1414 Amice leased the manor to Sir Humphrey Stafford of Hook (Dors.) for five years at a rent of 24 marks, Sir Humphrey undertaking to repair the weirs, walls, 'haies', inclosures, and all the buildings of the tenants-at-will. (fn. 158) In 1415 one of Amice's grandsons and coheirs, Robert Langford, conveyed the reversion of his half of the manor to Sir Humphrey, his wife Elizabeth, and their issue, (fn. 159) and in June 1416, a few months before Amice died, her other grandson and coheir Walter Dauntsey conveyed the reversion of his half to Sir William Haukeford (or Hankeford) and his heirs. (fn. 160) These two grants were confirmed by the king in 1417. (fn. 161) When Sir William Haukeford died in 1424 his trustees did fealty for his moiety, and he was succeeded by his grandson Richard. (fn. 162) The later descent of this half of the manor is obscure. The other moiety was settled by Sir Humphrey Stafford on himself and his heirs in 1427 (fn. 163) and was soon afterwards conveyed by him to his son John and daughter-in-law Anne with Littywood (in Bradley.) (fn. 164) John was dead by January 1428 and was succeeded by his infant son Humphrey, (fn. 165) who in 1457 was described as lord of Penkridge (fn. 166) and was holding what may have been the whole manor at his death in 1461. (fn. 167)
Penkridge then descended with Littywood in Bradley (fn. 168) until 1519 when Robert, 2nd Lord Willoughby de Broke, who had mortgaged Penkridge to Edmund Dudley for five years in 1507 (fn. 169) and to Edward Greville of Milcote (Warws.) in 1518, (fn. 170) mortgaged it to George Monoux, citizen and alderman of London, reserving to himself a rent of £5 and the fair of Penkridge. (fn. 171) Robert died in 1521, (fn. 172) and this rent was divided in 1535 or 1536 with his other Staffordshire possessions, including Littywood, between his two surviving granddaughters and coheirs, Elizabeth, wife of Fulke Greville, and Blanche, wife of Francis Dautrey. (fn. 173) In 1542, after the death of Blanche, what was described as the manor of Penkridge was conveyed to Elizabeth and Fulke by Sir Anthony Willoughby, (fn. 174) presumably the brother of Robert Lord Willoughby de Broke (d. 1521). (fn. 175) Meanwhile, Monoux had foreclosed on the mortgage and in 1539 granted the manor to Sir John Dudley who, as the heir of Edmund Dudley, the mortgagee of 1507, had earlier claimed the manor against Monoux, and to Edmund Sutton. (fn. 176) In 1550 Dudley, then Earl of Warwick and later Duke of Northumberland, settled it on his son John Viscount Lisle (d. 1554) and John's wife Anne, daughter of Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset and Lord Protector until 1550. (fn. 177) The younger John Dudley died without issue in 1554 as Earl of Warwick, (fn. 178) and his widow, who married Sir Edward Unton of Wadley (Berks.) in 1555, (fn. 179) retained a life interest in Penkridge. (fn. 180) She became insane in 1566, and on her husband's death in 1582 the queen granted to Fulke Greville, the son of Elizabeth and Fulke, the reversion of the manor which lay with the Crown as part of the estates forfeited by the Duke of Northumberland in 1553. (fn. 181) The custody of Anne's person and lands during her lifetime was given to her younger son Henry Unton in 1583. (fn. 182)
The manor passed to Fulke Greville and his heirs in 1590, (fn. 183) and in 1606 he was succeeded by his son Fulke, the poet, created Baron Brooke of Beauchamp's Court (Warws.) in 1621, (fn. 184) who in 1626 or 1627 settled half the manor of Penkridge as jointure on Lady Katherine Russell who married his cousin Robert Greville. (fn. 185) In 1628 he settled the whole manor on Robert and, dying unmarried later in the same year, was succeeded by him. (fn. 186) Robert Lord Brooke was killed by a musket ball while directing the siege of Lichfield Cathedral in 1643. (fn. 187) The manor then descended with the barony of Brooke (fn. 188) until 1749 when Francis Greville, Lord Brooke and Earl of Warwick (d. 1773), conveyed it to Sir Edward Littleton of Teddesley Park, (fn. 189) to whose ancestor it had been leased in 1583 by Henry Unton. (fn. 190) In 1812 Sir Edward was succeeded by his great-nephew, Edward John Walhouse, who took the name of Littleton and was raised to the peerage as Baron Hatherton in 1835. (fn. 191) The 4th Lord Hatherton still held manorial rights in Penkridge in 1940, (fn. 192) but his son, the present Lord Hatherton, sold over 1,520 acres there in 1953. (fn. 193)
The view of frankpledge within the manor of Penkridge and its fees and members, namely Wolgarston, Drayton, Congreve, and Dunston, with Cowley and Beffcote (in Gnosall), and Little Onn (in Church Eaton), was granted to John de Beverley and his heirs for 5s. a year in 1372. (fn. 194) By at least April 1540 the townships included were Penkridge, Coton and Cowley presenting jointly, Little Onn and Beffcote presenting jointly, and Congreve. (fn. 195) Penkridge vill then presented by four frankpledges, (fn. 196) and by at least 1576 Coton and Cowley were presenting by three, Little Onn and Beffcote by five, Dunston and Drayton by five, and Congreve by four. (fn. 197) By 1611 the three sets of joint townships were presenting by four pledges each, as was Penkridge, while Congreve sent five. (fn. 198) An incomplete series of records of this court leet survives from 1539 to 1695. (fn. 199) Incomplete series of records of the court baron of Penkridge for 1398 and from 1539 to 1695 also survive. (fn. 200)
When Andrew le Blund sued John, chaplain of Penkridge, in 1250 for taking fish from his free fishery of Penkridge, John's defence was that it was a public fishery. (fn. 201) The lord of Penkridge was stated in 1598 to have all fishing rights within the manor and a moiety of them outside the manor between Swanford Down and Acton Bridge, (fn. 202) but his rights in a mile of the Penk were disputed by the lords of Congreve between at least 1633 and 1698. (fn. 203) When Sir Edward Littleton bought the manor of Penkridge in 1749 he asserted his rights in the river against the lord of Congreve (fn. 204) and was holding a free fishery in the Penk in 1763. (fn. 205) He again asserted his rights in the river in 1775, as did Lord Hatherton in 1838 and 1840. (fn. 206)
One third part of Penkridge manor, later to become the DEANERY MANOR, was retained by Henry of London, Archbishop of Dublin, when he alienated the rest of the manor to his nephew Andrew at some time between 1215 and 1228. (fn. 207) In 1256 Fulk de Saundford, soon after his accession to the Archbishopric of Dublin and before his appointment as Dean of Penkridge, mortgaged his land in Penkridge. (fn. 208) The offices of archbishop and dean were united in perpetuity in 1259, (fn. 209) and in 1293 this third of the manor of Penkridge, valued along with the advowson of the church at 70 marks a year, was held by the archbishop. (fn. 210) At this time the dean and chapter of the college were claiming view of frankpledge, fines for infraction of the assize of bread and beer, and infangthief within their manor of Penkridge. (fn. 211) Archbishop Richard Feringes (1299–1306) leased 90 acres of arable, 17 acres of meadow and 53 acres of pasture and moorland in Penkridge to Robert de Shireburne, without royal licence, at an annual rent of 61s. 4d. (fn. 212) The land was seized by Edward I, presumably on the archbishop's death, and remained in the hands of the Crown until 1313. (fn. 213) From this time until the dissolution of the college in 1547 the overlordship presumably descended with the deanery. At some time between 1528 and 1534 the value of the dean's prebend in the church of Penkridge was given as 26s. 8d., (fn. 214) consisting in 1535 of 20s. from land and 6s. 8d. from waif and stray. (fn. 215) In 1543 the dean granted to Edward Littleton the farm of the site of the college with the house and a croft, of two fields or closes in Penkridge, of arable, of a pasture there, of the perquisites of the view of frankpledge and the deanery court, and of all other lands and tenements belonging to the deanery in Penkridge, for 80 years. (fn. 216)
In 1548 these lands, along with the site of the dissolved college 'or mansion house of the priests of that college', all still leased to Edward Littleton, were granted by the Crown with all other possessions of the deanery to John Dudley, Earl of Warwick. (fn. 217) Dudley's lands were forfeited to the Crown in 1553, (fn. 218) and in 1557 the house and the adjoining croft, now said to be of 1½ acre, were granted to William Rigges of Stragglethorpe (Lincs.) and William Buckberte. (fn. 219) The lease was then still held by Edward Littleton, (fn. 220) and at his death in 1558 he held what was described as the reversion of the house and half the croft. (fn. 221) When his son and heir Sir Edward died in 1574, this capital messuage was in his hands and known as College House. (fn. 222) The college with all its rights, members, lands, tithes, and appurtenances was granted by the Crown in 1581 to Edmund Downynge and Peter Aysheton, (fn. 223) who sold it in 1583 to John Morley and Thomas Crompton. (fn. 224) In 1585 the site of the college, with lands and tithes, was settled on Edward Littleton by John Morley, Elizabeth his wife, and Thomas Crompton. (fn. 225) What was described as the liberty of the deanery in 1598, and as the deanery manor of Penkridge by at least 1722, descended in the Littleton family with the manor of Pillaton (fn. 226) until at least 1827. (fn. 227) The great tithes remained in the family until at least 1862. (fn. 228) The 3rd Lord Hatherton sold over 360 acres of the deanery estate in 1919. (fn. 229)
The manor was surveyed in 1566, (fn. 230) 1587, (fn. 231) 1598, (fn. 232) 1658, (fn. 233) and 1722. (fn. 234) Various records of the courts leet and baron exist for the years 1565 to 1737. (fn. 235) The bounds of the deanery leet were given at the survey of 1598. (fn. 236)
The mansion house of the resident canons appears to have survived until at least the end of the 16th century. (fn. 237) It may have been identical with an 'old house called Deanery Hall, long the seat of the Chambley family' which was demolished in 1850. (fn. 238) If so it probably formed part of a row of buildings on the north side of Church Lane, (fn. 239) all of which have now disappeared. Church Cottages, formerly a single house, may date from the early 16th century and Church Farm is in part medieval. It is possible that these buildings had some connexion with the college. The house in Pinfold Lane, now known as the Old Deanery, contains no medieval work and was probably built after the dissolution of the college. Deanery Farm, demolished in 1937, (fn. 240) was not a building of great antiquity.
Before the Conquest Alric, a free man, held 3 virgates in BICKFORD of the king, and he held the same land as a king's thegn in 1086, when it was described as land for one plough. (fn. 241) By 1274 Bickford was held along with Whiston of Burton Abbey as 1½ hide, (fn. 242) and the overlordship seems to have descended with that of Whiston, apparently passing in 1546 to the Pagets who held it until at least 1633. (fn. 243)
In 1251 and 1253 Alexander de Bickford and Hawise his wife were suing Robert de Whiston, Henry de Bardmerscote (or 'Bermundeston') and Ismannia his wife, and Reynold and Richard de Bickford for land in Bickford. (fn. 244) Robert de Whiston claimed in 1253 to be holding two parts of 2 virgates there, while Henry de Bardmerscote and Ismannia claimed the third part as her dower, (fn. 245) and in 1255 Robert secured against Alexander and Hawise his claim to 2½ virgates there. (fn. 246) By 1255 Bickford and Whiston were held as one estate by a Robert de Whiston. (fn. 247) Robert 'lord of Whiston' in 1311 conveyed to his daughter Cecily rents and services from a tenement in the vill of Bickford, (fn. 248) and in 1334 Rose and Adam de Shareshill were given land in Bickford, Whiston, and Saredon (in Shareshill) as Rose's dower. (fn. 249) Bickford then appears to have been absorbed into Whiston until 1556 when as the manor of Bickford it passed with Whiston to Sir Thomas Giffard on the death of his father Sir John. (fn. 250) It descended with Whiston and Chillington (in Brewood) in the Giffard family until at least 1823. (fn. 251) In 1834 and 1851 the land in Bickford was owned by T. W. Giffard. (fn. 252)
In 1086 CONGREVE, a member of the royal manor of Penkridge, was assessed at 1 hide. (fn. 253) It descended as a member of Penkridge until at least 1372, (fn. 254) and by 1814 the manor of Congreve was held of the manor of Penkridge by a rent of £1 1s. (fn. 255)
Four virgates in Congreve had passed by November 1227 from Alditha de Congreve to Andrew de Sandon and a mill there from Alditha to John de Teveray, although Alditha was survived by three nieces, daughters of her sister Alice. (fn. 256) In 1236 two of the nieces, Edith de Congreve and Iseult, laid claim to part of the land and mill against John de Teveray and his wife Alice. (fn. 257) Robert Teveray, described as of Congreve, held a free tenement here in 1271 (fn. 258) and was dead by 1302 when his widow Juliana held in dower one-third of what was described as the manor. (fn. 259) The remaining two-thirds had passed to Robert's son John, who had granted them to his brother William Teveray and William's wife Idonea. (fn. 260) William died childless, but in 1302 John Teveray's heir Adam, son of Richard Collins of Rugeley, conveyed his rights in the whole manor to Idonea, by then married to Matthew son of William de Hales, and her heirs. (fn. 261)
By 1323 the rights of all claimants of the manor, including Idonea and Matthew, Juliana, John son of Robert Teveray and Adam Collins, had been conveyed to Simon de Dumbleton, clerk, and his wife Eleanor. (fn. 262) Simon, in 1326 described as of Congreve, (fn. 263) had been succeeded by 1344 by his son Roger de Congreve, (fn. 264) who was followed by his brother Geoffrey. (fn. 265) By his will of 1403 Geoffrey de Congreve left his possessions to Agnes his wife, Robert his son, and Agnes, Robert's wife, after the payment of 13s. for prayers for his soul. (fn. 266) Robert was still living in 1433 (fn. 267) but was dead by October 1438 when the king ordered the restoration of the manor to Richard his son and heir. (fn. 268) Richard, who made a settlement of at least the capital messuage of the manor in 1460 or 1461 (fn. 269) and was still living in 1477, (fn. 270) was followed by his son Ralph who was alive in 1537. (fn. 271) His son John having predeceased him, Ralph was succeeded by a grandson Francis, who occurs in 1578 (fn. 272) and 1591. (fn. 273) The next heir was Francis's son Thomas, who occurs in 1594 as the husband of Elizabeth, daughter of Roger and Margaret Fowke of Gunstone (in Brewood), (fn. 274) and was still living in 1607. (fn. 275) He at some time demised the capital messuage or 'mannor place' called Congreve Hall to his son Thomas for seven years. (fn. 276) Another son, Francis, had succeeded his father by 1620, (fn. 277) and after some dispute he secured the Hall from his brother in 1622 in return for an annuity. (fn. 278) The Hall was at that time occupied by a John Bryan, Francis being described, like his father and grandfather, as of Stretton. (fn. 279) Francis died in 1629 and was succeeded by his son Richard, (fn. 280) who was still alive in 1680. (fn. 281) Richard was succeeded by his son John, (fn. 282) who had been resident at Congreve in 1680 (fn. 283) and whose son John (II), with his son John (III), made a settlement of the manor in 1725. (fn. 284) A John Congreve died in 1729 (fn. 285) and it was John (II)'s youngest son, the Revd. Richard Congreve, who became head of the family, dying in 1782. (fn. 286) His heir was his elder son William, who made a settlement of the manor in 1798 (fn. 287) and owned most of the land in Congreve c. 1841. (fn. 288) William died without issue and was succeeded by his brother Richard, who was holding the manor by 1851 and died in 1857. (fn. 289) His heir was his son William Walter who died in 1864 and whose son and heir William Congreve of Congreve and of Burton Hall (Ches.) died in 1902. (fn. 290) His son and heir, General Sir Walter Norris Congreve, a V.C. of the Boer War, of Congreve and Chartley Castle, (in Stowe parish, Pirehill hundred), died in 1927, and his elder surviving son and heir, Sir Geoffrey Cecil Congreve, a V.C. of the First World War, who died in action in 1941, was succeeded by his brother, Major John Congreve, who in 1956 still owned Congreve Manor (c. 4 a.) and Congreve Manor Farm (c. 200 a.). (fn. 291)
The Manor House is a red-brick building standing above the road on its west side. It incorporates an early-18th-century farmhouse and has flanking wings in a later-18th-century style which were added c. 1930. It has since been converted into flats, the tenants being the Midland Tar Distillery of Four Ashes, Brewood. (fn. 292) The Manor Farm, on the east side of the road near the river, is a late-17th-or early-18th-century brick farmhouse.
The part of Beacon Hill Common that lay within the manor of Congreve was inclosed in 1827 under the Act of 1814. (fn. 293)
Although in 1598 the lord of Penkridge was said to have all fishing rights in the Penk within the manor of Penkridge, (fn. 294) the lords of Congreve were claiming a fishery in a mile of the river between at least 1633 and 1698. (fn. 295) When, moreover, Sir Edward Littleton bought the manor of Penkridge in 1749, he asserted his right to fish in the Penk from Jeverns Croft down to Cuttlestone Bridge against the lord of Congreve. (fn. 296)
The prebend of Congreve in the collegiate church of Penkridge was valued at £2 13s. 4d. in 1291. (fn. 297) In 1535 it consisted of the site of the PREBENDAL MANOR and its lands, worth 5s., assised rents of 5s. and great and small tithe averaging 46s. 8d. (fn. 298) Synodals of 3s. were due every three years to the Dean of Penkridge. (fn. 299) From 1537 the last prebendary was granting three-yearly leases of the prebend, (fn. 300) which in 1548 was held jointly by William Fyncheley, John and William Bourne, and William Mountford at a rent of £4 4s. (fn. 301) At the dissolution of Penkridge college the prebend presumably descended with the rest of the collegiate possessions, and in 1585 it passed to Edward Littleton (fn. 302) who had already been granted a 21-year lease of it in 1577 or 1578. (fn. 303) It then descended in the Littleton family with Pillaton (fn. 304) until at least 1709. (fn. 305) In 1919 the 3rd Lord Hatherton sold Congreve House and some 146 acres in Congreve, (fn. 306) an estate which may formerly have been prebendal property.
Congreve House lies some 250 yds. north-east of Congreve Manor House and has a separate farmhouse and farm buildings immediately to the south-west. It is a square red-brick house dating from c. 1800 with a frontage added late in the 19th century. A stone dated 1673 with the initials 'I.B.' has been reset in one of the chimneys.
In 1086 DRAYTON was a member of the royal manor of Penkridge and consisted of one hide which was waste. (fn. 307) By 1194 the vill was in the possession of Hervey, husband of Millicent the sister and heir of Robert de Stafford, (fn. 308) and in 1211 Millicent, then a widow, sued for ⅓ virgate in Drayton as dower. (fn. 309) The overlordship descended in the Stafford barony until at least 1460. (fn. 310)
William de Stafford, a younger son of Hervey Bagot and Millicent, seems to have held an intermediate lordship after his father's death, (fn. 311) and this was said to be in the hands of his heirs in 1460. (fn. 312)
In 1194 Hervey Bagot, with the assent of Millicent, granted the vill of Drayton to the priory of St. Thomas, near Stafford, for a rent of ½ mark a year and a gift of 35 marks towards the fine which he owed the king for the barony of Stafford. (fn. 313) Richard de Stretton, who was disputing Hervey Bagot's right to Drayton, quitclaimed to the canons such rights as might be adjudged to him, (fn. 314) and William de Stafford, with the assent of his brother Hervey and his mother Millicent, subsequently confirmed his father's grant. (fn. 315) Edward I granted the prior and convent the right of free warren in all their demesne lands in Drayton and elsewhere in 1284. (fn. 316) By 1291 the prior and canons were holding 1½ carucate in Drayton worth £1 a year, £1 5s. 2d. in rents, and profits from stock of £1 1s. a year, (fn. 317) and by 1535 the priory's annual income from what was then called the manor of Drayton was £9 4s. 8d., consisting of 26s. from demesne lands, £5 18s. 2d. in rents, 6d. from the courts, and 40s. from the mill. (fn. 318)
In 1539, after the dissolution of St. Thomas's Priory, the manor was granted to Roland Lee, Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield, (fn. 319) who in 1540 settled the reversion on a Thomas Fowler. (fn. 320) When the bishop died in 1543, Thomas having predeceased him, the manor seems to have passed to the bishop's nephew, Brian Fowler, who died seised of it in 1587. (fn. 321) It then descended with the Fowlers' estate in Baswich eventually passing to George John Earl Spencer (fn. 322) (d. 1834), who sold it in 1790 to George Molineux, a merchant of Wolverhampton. (fn. 323) Molineux sold it in 1790 to Sir Edward Littleton of Teddesley Park, (fn. 324) whose heir, created Lord Hatherton in 1835, (fn. 325) held it in 1851. (fn. 326) The 3rd Lord Hatherton (d. 1930) sold some 368 acres in Lower Drayton and some 312 acres in Upper Drayton in 1919. (fn. 327)
The farmhouse known as Drayton Manor dates from the early 19th century, and the site is not ancient.
GAILEY (Gageleage) had been granted to Burton Abbey by Wulfric Spot by 1004, (fn. 328) but during the reign of the Confessor it was held by Bodin, a free man. (fn. 329) By 1086 Gailey (Gragelie), assessed at one hide and worth 2s., was parcel of the lands of Robert de Stafford and held by Hervey. (fn. 330) At some time between 1158 and 1165 Rennerius, son of Edricht of Wolseley, having been granted the land of Gailey by Robert de Stafford (II) in fee and inheritance, gave it along with its woodland to the nuns of Blithbury (in Mavesyn Ridware, Offlow hundred). (fn. 331) Gailey appears to have passed from the nuns of Blithbury to the nuns of Black Ladies, Brewood, and before 1189 to have been taken into the king's hands. (fn. 332) In 1200 King John gave land in Broom (Worcs.) to Black Ladies as compensation, (fn. 333) and by 1247 this land of Gailey formed a hay in the royal forest of Cannock. (fn. 334)
In 1550 the king granted Gailey Hay to John Dudley, Earl of Warwick, (fn. 335) and in 1554 it was given to his widow for life. (fn. 336) She died in 1555, (fn. 337) and the Hay seems subsequently to have passed to her son, Ambrose Dudley. (fn. 338) Some interest in the Hay, apparently the keepership of the herbage and pannage, was granted by the Crown to Lord Stafford in 1558. (fn. 339) In 1561 one twenty-fifth part of Gailey Hay, with lands, woods, rents, and other appurtenances, held by knight service of the queen by Sir Edward Littleton of Pillaton and Edward James, was leased by them to William Fowke, who in 1580 conveyed it to Richard Mylles with reversion to Sir Edward Littleton and Edward James. (fn. 340) Mylles died in possession of it between 1591 and 1607. (fn. 341) In 1567 Lord Stafford granted the herbage and pannage of the Hay to twenty persons, including Sir Edward Littleton, Edward James, Thomas and John Webbe, John Eginton the elder and younger, John and Thomas Fletcher, William Lynehill, Richard Walhouse, William Henney, William Fowke, Humphrey Norton, John Swancott, and William Cartwright. (fn. 342) Land in Gailey Hay was conveyed to Sir Edward Littleton and Edward James by Ambrose Dudley in 1569, (fn. 343) and in 1589 Henry, son and heir of William Cartwright, conveyed one twenty-fifth part of lands in Gailey and elsewhere to Edward James. (fn. 344) John Fletcher of Lyne Hill, Humphrey Norton, and Thomas Webbe died in 1604, each holding one twenty-fifth part of the Hay, and were succeeded by their respective children, John Fletcher, Elizabeth Norton, and John Webbe. (fn. 345) In 1610 eleven persons, including a William and John Henney, John Swancote, Elizabeth Norton, Edward Webbe, and William Lynhill, settled eleven twenty-fifths of land in Gailey Hay on Walter Walhouse, (fn. 346) on whom in the same year his father William settled a further twenty-fifth part, formerly held by Richard Walhouse, William's father. (fn. 347) Walter succeeded his father in 1615 (fn. 348) and died in possession of a twentyfifth part in 1633. (fn. 349) The Sir Edward Littleton who died in 1610 was said to be holding the Hay of the king at that time, (fn. 350) while Edward James was holding six twenty-fifths when he died in 1613 with a son Edward succeeding him. (fn. 351) In 1619 John Eginton died in possession of a twenty-fifth part of 'a certain great waste called Galey Hay' and was succeeded by his son John. (fn. 352) Edward James of Kinvaston was lord of nine parts by 1663, (fn. 353) and in 1674 Humphrey Giffard of Water Eaton, a grandson of a Thomas Fletcher of Water Eaton, (fn. 354) with his wife Dorothy made a settlement of a twenty-fifth part. (fn. 355) In 1693 or 1694 a Thomas Linton and others were dealing by fine with a twenty-fifth part. (fn. 356) A Thomas Lionell, otherwise Lynell, held a twenty-fifth in 1763. (fn. 357)
About 1775 11 of the twenty-five parts were apparently held by Moreton Walhouse, 3 by Robert James of Kinvaston, 2 by the Revd. Jonas Slaney of Rodbaston, 1 by the four Misses Stubbs of Water Eaton, the descendants of Humphrey Giffard, 1 by Robert Crocket, 1 by James Perry of Lyne Hill, 1 by Mary Yates which was sold in about 1786 to Edward Monckton, and 5 respectively by George Lynell of Stourbridge, Simon Glover, John Bourne, John Collins, and John Birch. (fn. 358) These last 5 parts were subsequently sold to Sir Edward Littleton, (fn. 359) who was named as lord of the manor in 1778. (fn. 360) In 1789 Thomas Devey Wightwick and Lucy conveyed a quarter of two elevenths of the manor to Joshua Ledsam, (fn. 361) and in 1791 William Lionel Holmes and Margaret conveyed what was described as the manor of Gailey to Sir Edward Littleton. (fn. 362) In 1820 William Brearley, his wife Mary, and other members of his family held an eleventh part of the manor. (fn. 363) Edward John Littleton was said to be lord of the manor in 1834 (fn. 364) and as Lord Hatherton still held it in 1851. (fn. 365) In 1919 the 3rd Lord Hatherton sold over 250 acres in Gailey including the Spread Eagle Inn. (fn. 366)
No house with the name of Gailey Hall has existed within living memory. (fn. 367)
In 1086 Robert de Stafford was lord of 3 hides in LEVEDALE worth 10s. (fn. 368) These 3 hides probably correspond with the 2/3 knight's fee held of Robert de Stafford (II) in 1166. (fn. 369) Levedale was held of the barony of Stafford as 1 knight's fee from at least 1236 (fn. 370) until at least 1460 (fn. 371) and by a rent of 1s. 2d. between at least 1727 and 1756. (fn. 372)
The tenants of the 3 hides in 1086 were Brien and Drew. (fn. 373) Brien's heir was his son Ralph, whose son Robert seems to have held the mesne lordship of 2/3 knight's fee in Levedale in 1166. (fn. 374) In 1272 and 1285 Robert de Standon, a descendant of Robert, was holding Levedale of the Stafford barony, (fn. 375) and in 1316 Vivian de Standon was lord. (fn. 376) This Standon mesne lordship was still said to be held by the heirs of Robert de Standon in 1558 (fn. 377) and 1610. (fn. 378)
Three free men were holding the 3 hides of Brien and Drew in 1086. (fn. 379) In 1166 Engenulf de Gresley seems to have been holding 2/3 knight's fee in Levedale of Robert fitz Ralph, (fn. 380) and in 1199 Henry de Verdon, who had married Hawise, one of Engenulf's three daughters and coheirs, (fn. 381) was claiming a virgate here in his wife's right. (fn. 382) In the same year Robert de Sugenhall and Parnel, another sister, made a conveyance of 4 bovates in Levedale. (fn. 383) A Henry de Verdon was holding a fee in Levedale with other coparceners in 1242 or 1243, (fn. 384) and in 1255 Henry de Verdon and Richard de Kilkenny were described as lords of Levedale, holding there 3 hides which contributed 3s. to the sheriff's aid, 3s. to the view of frankpledge, and 12d. to the hundred. (fn. 385) In 1272 Robert de Standon as mesne lord was suing Amice, widow of Henry de Verdon, for the wardship and marriage of Henry's son and heir Henry, (fn. 386) who was holding the vill as coparcener with Roger de Pywelesdon and Henry de Caverswall in 1285. (fn. 387)
In 1294 Joan, widow of William de Caverswall, and William de Doune were suing Henry de Caverswall of Levedale, who may have been Joan's son, for taking fish from their free fishery at Levedale and 'Doune'. (fn. 388) A Henry de Caverswall was holding the knight's fee in Levedale in 1303, (fn. 389) and in 1329 Roger de Caverswall, described as of Levedale, was suing Margaret, Henry's widow, for waste in the houses held in dower of his inheritance there. (fn. 390) By 1374 lands and tenements there had descended to one Agnes, then wife of Walter de Stafford, described as of Levedale, (fn. 391) and William and Agnes made a settlement of 3 messuages, 2 carucates, meadow, and rent in Levedale and Stafford in 1373. (fn. 392) A John Stafford died in 1420 holding a messuage, a carucate, and meadow in Levedale directly of Humphrey Earl of Stafford and was succeeded by his son John, a minor. (fn. 393) Levedale appears to have descended eventually to Sir William Stafford of Bishop's Frome (Herefs.), whose daughter and heir Margaret, as widow of Sir George de Vere, settled the reversion in 1537 on her elder daughter Elizabeth and son-inlaw Sir Anthony Wingfield. (fn. 394) Sir Anthony, with his son and heir apparent John Wingfield, conveyed the manors of Levedale and Longridge in 1542 to Edward Littleton, (fn. 395) who as Sir Edward died seised of them in 1558. (fn. 396) Meanwhile, in 1552, on the death of Sir Anthony, his eldest surviving son Robert Wingfield suffered a recovery of the manor (fn. 397) but in 1561 conveyed his rights in it to Sir Edward Littleton, son and heir of the first Sir Edward, (fn. 398) as did Charles, Richard, Anthony, and Henry Wingfield, Robert's brothers. (fn. 399) This Sir Edward, who made a settlement of the manor in 1573, (fn. 400) died holding it in 1574, (fn. 401) and his son and heir Edward held it at his death in 1610. (fn. 402) The manor then descended in the Littleton family with Pillaton (fn. 403) until at least 1851 when the 1st Lord Hatherton was described as its lord and the owner of the soil. (fn. 404) The 3rd Lord Hatherton sold over 500 acres in Levedale in 1919. (fn. 405)
The capital messuage called the Hall House was occupied by Thomas Warde in 1654. (fn. 406) In 1754, as Levedale Hall, it was tenanted by Edward Bartlem, (fn. 407) and c. 1841, as the Old Hall, by Richard Bartlem. (fn. 408) It is no longer standing.
Certain lands in Levedale appear to have remained with the overlords between at least 1368 and 1720 when rents were paid by tenants there to the barony of Stafford. (fn. 409)
A messuage, virgate, and nook of land in LONGRIDGE were settled in 1272 by Robert son of William de Longrug on Rose, daughter of Richard the miller and probably mother of Robert, with successive remainders to her sons Robert, Richard, Thomas, Nicholas, and her daughter Juliana. (fn. 410) Richard de Teveray, Canon of Penkridge, was sued by Thomas de Longrugge in 1276 for disseising him of common of pasture in 10 acres in Longridge, (fn. 411) and in 1308 Master Richard de Teveray (presumably this same Richard), his wife Ann, and his son Richard, with Robert de Colton, were accused of disseising John Colling and his wife Rose of 10 acres here. (fn. 412) In 1406 Simon Pykstoke and his wife Alice conveyed lands in Longridge to Ralph Stafford, (fn. 413) and in 1420 John Stafford died holding lands in Longridge of the Dean of Penkridge as of the college. (fn. 414) In 1558 and 1574 the manor of Longridge was said to be held of the rectory or prebend of Coppenhall. (fn. 415) John Stafford was succeeded by his son John, a minor, and Longridge appears to have descended with Levedale (see above) to Margaret, daughter and heir of Sir William Stafford of Bishop's Frome (Herefs.), who in 1537, as the widow of Sir George de Vere, settled the reversion of the manors of Longridge and Levedale on her elder daughter Elizabeth and son-in-law Sir Anthony Wingfield. (fn. 416) Longridge continued to descend with Levedale, (fn. 417) and c. 1841 the land there was owned by Lord Hatherton. (fn. 418) In 1919 the 3rd Lord Hatherton sold some 340 acres there. (fn. 419)
A lordship over land and tenements in LYNE HILL (Linhull) was held in 1237 by Hugh de Loges, (fn. 420) lord of Otherton, and in 1284 by Andrew le Blund, (fn. 421) lord of Penkridge. Edward Littleton was apparently claiming some rights there in 1558, (fn. 422) and land at Lyne Hill within the deanery manor of Penkridge was held by a later Edward Littleton in 1585. (fn. 423) The hamlet of Lyne Hill was stated to be within the manor of Penkridge in 1598, (fn. 424) but Lyne Hill was described as a manor held by the Littletons in 1629, (fn. 425) 1642, (fn. 426) and 1654. (fn. 427)
Richard de Linhill was holding land there of Hugh de Loges in 1237, (fn. 428) and a Richard son of William Edrich of 'Loynhull' occurs in 1271. (fn. 429) Adam, son of Roger de Lynhull, was claiming a messuage and ½ virgate there in 1308, (fn. 430) while a William Lynehull and his wife Alice occur in 1467. (fn. 431) At some time between 1551 and 1553 and again in 1558 a messuage and land there, previously held by Thomas Lynell, were claimed by his son William. (fn. 432) Edward Lynehill of Lyne Hill occurs between 1586 and 1602, (fn. 433) and his house there was mentioned in 1598. (fn. 434) A Thomas Lynell and his wife Anne occur in 1618, (fn. 435) and a Thomas Lynell of 'Lynell' died in 1655. (fn. 436) Another Thomas Lynehill of Lyne Hill occurs in 1657 (fn. 437) and is probably the Thomas Lynell who was chargeable for tax on two hearths in Penkridge in 1666, (fn. 438) and the Thomas Linehill, 'a rich yeoman', who occupied one of the two houses in the hamlet in 1680. (fn. 439) A Thomas Lynehill of Lyne Hill died in 1708. (fn. 440)
John Fletcher of Lyne Hill, who occurs from 1596 (fn. 441) and whose house there was mentioned in 1598, (fn. 442) died at Lyne Hill in 1604 seised of a messuage and lands there, with a minor son, John, as his heir. (fn. 443) It was probably this John Fletcher who died between 1659 and 1662, leaving a son John as his heir. (fn. 444) This son is probably the John Fletcher who had five hearths in Penkridge chargeable for tax in 1666 (fn. 445) and who died in 1678. (fn. 446) A John Fletcher occupied the second of the two houses in Lyne Hill in 1680 (fn. 447) and died in the following year, 'the last of the Fletchers of Lynell'. (fn. 448)
In 1834 and 1851 Lyne Hill was described as a farm situated a mile south of Penkridge. (fn. 449)
Two hides in MITTON formed a berewick of Robert de Stafford's manor of Bradley in 1086. (fn. 450) By 1166 Mitton appears to have formed part of the knight's fees held of the barony of Stafford by Robert fitz Ralph of Standon. (fn. 451) Fitz Ralph's intermediate lordship apparently descended to Vivian de Standon who by 1250 had devised his rights to Thomas and Walter his sons. (fn. 452) Nothing more is heard of this mesne lordship. The overlordship descended with the barony of Stafford until at least 1720, (fn. 453) and Lord Stafford still had some rights in the manor in 1851. (fn. 454)
It seems probable that the 2/3 knight's fee held of Robert fitz Ralph in 1166 by Ivo de Mutton was this land in Mitton. (fn. 455) Ivo de Mutton was succeeded by a son Ralph and Ralph by a son Adam (fn. 456) who held land there (fn. 457) and whose son Ralph de Mutton (II) was dead by 1241 leaving an infant daughter Isabel. (fn. 458) The custody of Mitton was still in the hands of Thomas and Walter, sons of Vivian de Standon, in 1250, (fn. 459) but by 1257 Isabel seems to have been in possession and already married to Philip de Chetwynd. (fn. 460) Philip was dead by 1284, (fn. 461) and in 1290 Isabel and her second husband, Roger de Thornton, were suing Eve de albo monasterio, her sons William and Alan, and Roger de Pullesdon, lessees of Mitton, for cutting down trees and taking fish from the stew and for other waste there. (fn. 462) In 1291, after Isabel's death, her son Philip de Chetwynd (II), granted a life interest in what was then called the manor of Mitton and in Brereton (in Rugeley) to Roger de Thornton, (fn. 463) who was dead by 1297. (fn. 464) Philip (II) and his wife Isabel made a settlement of the manor in 1305, (fn. 465) and by 1308 Philip (II) was dead, leaving a son Philip de Chetwynd (III), a minor. (fn. 466) Isabel was described as lady of the manor in 1316, (fn. 467) but in 1317 Philip (III) was granted free warren there. (fn. 468) Mitton then descended in the family of the Chetwynds of Ingestre, with The Reule in Bradley until 1735, (fn. 469) and with Brereton in Rugeley until at least 1828 when the manor was held by Charles Chetwynd, Earl Talbot (d. 1849). (fn. 470) In c. 1841 the earl held most of the land here, which was at that date divided into three farms of roughly equal area. (fn. 471)
The house now known as Mitton Manor is a mid19th-century red-brick house with stone dressings. It has two front gables with ornamental bargeboards and a central gabled porch.
A messuage and virgate in Mitton were held in 1411 by Richard Mercer of Mitton as a freehold tenement. (fn. 472) At some time between 1504 and 1518 John Mercer, and at some time between 1518 and 1529 John's daughters, were suing a Richard Mercer for detention of deeds relating to messuages and lands in Mitton and elsewhere that had belonged to Roger Mercer, John's grandfather. (fn. 473) A John Mercer conveyed 2 messuages and lands in Mitton to a Thomas Pycto in 1554, (fn. 474) and in 1599 a Francis Pictoe and his wife Elizabeth made a settlement of two messuages and lands there. (fn. 475)
Mitton was within the leet of Forebridge in Castle Church between at least 1472 and 1801, and presented jointly with Longnor (in Bradley) by at least 1499. (fn. 476) The township paid 20d. a year in frith fee, wake fee, and kelth from at least 1402, (fn. 477) and 20s., then described as rent, was still being paid in 1698 (fn. 478) and probably in 1720 also. (fn. 479)
By 1391 the Earl of Stafford had free warren here. (fn. 480)
Land in 'the More near Penkridge' was held of the church of Penkridge, probably at some time during the 13th century, by an Omiat de More, whose son Adam subsequently granted it with the marriage of his sister Edith to Humfrey de More to hold of the church for 2s. a year. (fn. 481) Anne, daughter of Stephen de More, granted all the land held by her father 'in the moor and without' to Alfred de More to hold of the church for 2s. a year, probably c. 1300. (fn. 482) The Dean and Chapter of Penkridge were claiming view of frankpledge, assize of bread and beer, and infangthief in 'More' by 1293, (fn. 483) and in 1298 the king gave the Archbishop of Dublin, as Dean of Penkridge, to hold in free alms a messuage and virgate in Penkridge, formerly held by William de la More (fn. 484) who had been hanged for felony in 1293. (fn. 485) In 1312 the Archbishop of Dublin was proceeding against persons who during the recent voidance in the archbishopric had damaged the fishpond in what was described as his manor of LA MORE by Penkridge. (fn. 486) A similar charge was brought against John de la More in 1345 concerning a close at La More and fishponds there. (fn. 487)
Land in the manor of Moor Hall was parcel of the lands shared by the canons resident and the sacristan of Penkridge by 1547. (fn. 488) The hamlet of Moor Hall in the manor of Penkridge occurs in 1598 when there was also mention of Moor Hall House and Moor Hall Wood. (fn. 489) In 1680 Moor Hall was described as an old farm owned by the Littletons, (fn. 490) and in 1752 as a manor owned by Sir Edward Littleton. (fn. 491) Moor Hall Farm occurs in 1820, situated to the west of Pillaton, (fn. 492) and c. 1841 Moor Hall, with a garden, was owned by Lord Hatherton and leased to John Cooke. (fn. 493) Lands nearby, called Moor Hall Piece and Big Moor Hall Close, were also owned by Lord Hatherton and leased to various tenants. (fn. 494)
In 1754 the house known as Moor Hall stood on the site of the present Moor Hall Cottages. (fn. 495) These cottages date from the middle of the 19th century. They were owned in 1956 by Lord Hatherton. (fn. 496)
Before the Conquest Ailric, a free man, was holding a hide in OTHERTON (fn. 497). By 1086 this hide, valued at 3s., was parcel of the lands of Robert de Stafford (fn. 498) and probably represents the ¼ fee which was held in 1166 of Robert de Stafford by William fitz Walter. (fn. 499) The overlordship remained in the Stafford barony until at least 1284. (fn. 500)
In 1086 Clodoan held Otherton of Robert de Stafford. (fn. 501) The William fitz Walter who held ¼ knight's fee of Robert de Stafford in 1166 (fn. 502) was probably the William who was lord of Otherton in 1167. (fn. 503) By 1237 Otherton was held by Hugh de Loges, (fn. 504) lord of Great Wyrley (in Cannock). This intermediate lordship was held by Hugh's son Richard in 1285 (fn. 505) and by Richard's son, also Richard, in 1300, (fn. 506) but by 1350 it was in the hands of Sir Robert de Haughton as lord of Rodbaston. (fn. 507) Between at least 1397 and 1610 a lordship over Otherton seems to have remained with the lords of Rodbaston. (fn. 508)
By 1255 Adam de Otherton was the tenant in occupation of Otherton, which was still assessed at a hide, which was geldable, and owed 12d. to the sheriff's aid, 12d. to the view of frankpledge, and 4d. to the hundred. (fn. 509) Adam occurs again in 1271 (fn. 510) and though still alive in 1300 (fn. 511) was dead by 1308, leaving a widow Alice and a son and heir John. (fn. 512) In 1336 John gave his son William a rent of 40 marks from his lands and tenements in Otherton, (fn. 513) and he was dead by 1338, leaving a widow Andrea; his son William was dead by 1350. (fn. 514) The lord of Rodbaston then granted to William's widow Joan the custody of William's son John, with that of John's sister Amice, if John should die under age. (fn. 515) William de Engleton and his wife Avice seem to have been holding Otherton by 1375 when Joan, the widow of William de Otherton, sued them for one-third of a messuage, a carucate, and 26s. rent in Otherton, with meadow, pasture, and wood there, as her dower. (fn. 516) William was certainly lord in 1378 (fn. 517) and died seised of what was described as the manor in 1397. (fn. 518) It passed to his daughter Joan, wife of John de Wynnesbury, (fn. 519) and the descent followed that of Pillaton (fn. 520) until at least 1851 when Lord Hatherton, who owned most of the land here c. 1841, was lord of the manor. (fn. 521)
Otherton was valued at £4 in 1529 (fn. 522) and £8 17s. 9d. in 1558. (fn. 523) By 1657 there were eight freeholders holding of the lord of the manor and eight tenants holding for years, for lives, or at the lord's pleasure. (fn. 524) A John Webb held 'an ancient messuage' in Otherton in 1657. (fn. 525) He was probably the John Webbe who was taxable on two hearths in 1666 (fn. 526) and was living here in 1680, (fn. 527) dying in 1682. (fn. 528) A Robert Stevenson was taxable on three hearths in the constablewick of Otherton and Rodbaston in 1666, (fn. 529) and in 1680 a John Stephenson was living in Otherton. (fn. 530)
The ruined building now known as Otherton Cottages (fn. 531) has an early-16th-century origin. The present Otherton farmhouse was not in existence in 1754 (fn. 532) and probably dates from c. 1800.
Richard Littleton held a fishery here in 1484. (fn. 533)
Land in 'Bedintun', granted in 993 by King Ethelred to Wulfric Spot (fn. 534) and by Wulfric to Burton Abbey by 1004, (fn. 535) was assessed in 1086 at ½ hide. (fn. 536) It was worth 13 s. before the Conquest and 7 s. 4 d. in 1086. (fn. 537) This ½ hide probably corresponds with the ½ hide in 'Bedintona' and 'Pilatehala' mentioned between 1100 and 1113. (fn. 538) In 1114 or 1115 'Bedintona' was waste while 'Pilatehala' was inhabited, (fn. 539) and nothing further is heard of 'Bedintona' after 1135 at the latest. (fn. 540) In 1185 the Pope confirmed Burton Abbey in its possession of PILLATON (fn. 541) which was still assessed at ½ hide in 1274. (fn. 542) The overlordship of Pillaton still belonged to the abbey in 1535, (fn. 543) but after the Dissolution it passed into the hands of the king who granted it in 1546 to Sir William Paget, (fn. 544) in whose family the overlordship remained until at least 1769. (fn. 545)
By 1113 a certain Edwin was holding the ½ hide in 'Bedintona' and Pillaton of Burton Abbey at a rent of 20s., (fn. 546) but by 1115 he was holding Pillaton for six hours' labour and Beddington for only 4s. as it was waste, although it would have rendered five hours' labour if inhabited. (fn. 547) Abbot Geoffrey granted 'Bedintona' and Pillaton to Edwin of 'Pilatehala' at some time between 1114 and 1135 to hold as his father had held them, for life, at a rent of 20s. (fn. 548) Edwin was to entertain the abbot when he went to those parts and give him fitting help when he asked for an aid from the land. (fn. 549) Abbot Richard granted Pillaton in fee farm to one William for 10s., service of his body, entertainment of the abbot and the monks when they came on the church's business, and a 'galga' for the making of meed. (fn. 550) William of Pillaton occurs between 1159 and 1175, (fn. 551) but by 1175 Abbot Bernard had granted Pillaton to one Alfred (fn. 552) who was probably the Alfred de Huntedon who held it before 1188 and was succeeded by his brother Brun. (fn. 553) Between 1182 and 1188 Abbot Richard granted the land to Henry de Broc at a rent of 16s., along with Brun's lands and forest office and Brun's daughter in marriage. (fn. 554) Henry de Broc was still living in 1205, (fn. 555) but by 1214 had been succeeded by Robert de Brok (fn. 556) who was alive in 1237. (fn. 557) Robert's son Robert (II) was holding Pillaton in 1255 (fn. 558) and was dead by 1264. (fn. 559) His kinsman Walter de Elmedon succeeded (fn. 560) and in 1293 conveyed some rights in a messuage, a carucate, 20 acres of wood, and 20s. rent in Pillaton to his brother Stephen de Elmedon, (fn. 561) who died in 1302 holding of Walter a messuage and 80 acres of land there, worth 1 mark a year. (fn. 562) Stephen's son and heir William subsequently appeared as lord of Pillaton and granted what was described as the manor of Pillaton to William son of William de Wrottesley. (fn. 563) Stephen's widow Juliana with Reynold de Charnes, her husband, unsuccessfully sued William son of William de Wrottesley in 1304 for ⅓ messuage, a carucate, 20 acres of wood, and 20s. rent in Pillaton as her dower. (fn. 564)
In 1310 William de Wrottesley conveyed to William de Elmedon and Rose his wife a messuage, a carucate, 10 acres of meadow, 40s. rent, and a mill in Pillaton, (fn. 565) and William de Elmedon settled the manor on his son William and this son's wife Joan in 1342. (fn. 566) This younger William died in 1349 holding the manor for 16s. and two appearances at the abbot's court each year. (fn. 567) William's coheirs were John de Kenilworth and William de Engleton, sons of his sisters Margaret and Joan and both minors, but the manor remained with his wife Joan, (fn. 568) who was still alive in 1378. (fn. 569) In 1382 John, by then named 'de Pilatenhale', died, and his share of the manor passed to his cousin William, (fn. 570) who died in 1397 holding the whole manor at a rent of 13s. 4d. and was succeeded by his daughter Joan, wife of John de Wynnesbury. (fn. 571) She died in 1450 and was followed by her son Hamlet Wynnesbury (fn. 572) whose son William succeeded in 1473. (fn. 573) William died in 1502 when the manor, held by a rent of 16s. was valued at 30s. (fn. 574) His heir was his daughter Alice, wife of Richard Littleton, (fn. 575) and when she died in 1529, the manor, still held by a rent of 16s. was valued at 100s. (fn. 576)
Alice was succeeded by her son Edward Littleton, (fn. 577) who, as Sir Edward, died at Pillaton in 1558 when the manor was still held for a rent of 16s. but was valued at £15 3s. 9d. (fn. 578) His son and heir, another Sir Edward, died in 1574 and was succeeded by his son Edward, (fn. 579) who was followed in 1610 by his son, also Edward. (fn. 580) This Edward's son, again Edward, was created a baronet in 1627 and succeeded his father in 1629. (fn. 581) His estates had been sequestered by September 1646, (fn. 582) but in 1650 his relative Fisher Littleton of Teddesley Lodge compounded for them. (fn. 583) They were released from sequestration in 1653, (fn. 584) and in 1654 Pillaton was in the hands of Sir Edward's son Edward. (fn. 585) The manor remained in the family until at least 1851, (fn. 586) although the seat was moved from Pillaton to Teddesley Park after the death in 1742 of Sir Edward the 3rd baronet. (fn. 587) Sir Edward, the 4th baronet, still a minor in 1749, (fn. 588) was succeeded in 1812 by his great-nephew Edward John Walhouse of Hatherton (in St. Peter's, Wolverhampton), who took the name of Littleton and was created Baron Hatherton in 1835. (fn. 589) He owned nearly all the land here c. 1841, (fn. 590) and the estate was still held in 1955 by the present Lord Hatherton. (fn. 591)
An incomplete series of records of the courts leet and baron for the manor of Pillaton survives from 1353 to 1749. (fn. 592)
The remaining buildings at Pillaton Hall, dating from the 16th century, are surrounded by a large moat, partly rectangular and partly oval, (fn. 593) which has been drained since c. 1860. (fn. 594) The existence and size of the moat are proof that an important house on the same site preceded the present one. The remains consist of a gatehouse range with the restored chapel of St. Modwena at its eastern end. This range, which is approached by a bridge over the moat, represents the north side of what was originally a square courtyard plan. Only a single free-standing chimney and fragments of walling survive from the other ranges. The rebuilding of the house by the Littletons was probably begun during the earlier 16th century: internally a newel stair and a framed partition appear to be of this date, while some of the external features are more typical of the late 16th century. The gatehouse range is of two stories, the central block rising to three stories and having four angle turrets to its upper half. The turrets have diaper ornament and below them are projecting buttresses of V section. The gatehouse arches are of stone with four-centred heads. The upper part of the block was rebuilt in 1706, (fn. 595) the stone cornice and tall windows being of this date. Most of the other windows in the range are of 16th-century design and have been restored. An isolated chimney-stack, which stands near the west end of the gatehouse block, originally formed part of the west range and evidently belonged to the kitchen. It has a very wide fireplace with baking ovens, and above the moulded lintel two relieving arches and the weathering of the former roof are visible. The remains of clustered stacks terminate the chimney. The base of what was probably the fireplace of the great hall survives on the south side of the courtyard and, near the north end of the former east range, part of another chimney projects from the external wall. In its complete form the house contained 25 hearths. (fn. 596) East of the moat is a garden wall of 16th- or early17th-century brickwork and north of the house an early-18th-century barn survives.
By 1754 Pillaton was still intact and was occupied by a Lady Littleton. (fn. 597) A visitor in 1786, however, reported that only a farmer lived there, that the chapel was ruinous and that demolition was imminent. At this period the great hall still contained stained-glass windows portraying biblical subjects, the signs of the Zodiac, and scenes representing the seasons of the year. There was also a large fireplace and much carved panelling. (fn. 598) In a kitchen window, thought formerly to have been in the chapel, was a representation of St. Modwena, flanked by smaller kneeling figures. (fn. 599) Thirteen years later three sides of the courtyard had been demolished, but eight tall chimneys were left standing. (fn. 600) Several of these had disappeared by 1841 when John Buckler made extensive drawings of the remains. (fn. 601) Between 1884 and 1888 Lord Hatherton restored the gatehouse range and largely rebuilt the chapel. (fn. 602) The latter is still used regularly for services, (fn. 603) and the house is occupied by a caretaker.
PRESTON is mentioned c. 1215. (fn. 604) Half a virgate there was held at some time before 1261 by a woman called Avice for a rent of 2s. paid to Nicholas Pinel. (fn. 605) Avice later granted the land to Richard and John, Canons of Penkridge, who were to maintain her in possession for life. (fn. 606) Richard and John subsequently granted the land to William Adleinere for 40s. (fn. 607) It appears that by 1261 tithe from the land belonged to the prebend of Penkridge. (fn. 608) By 1548 land at Preston worth 12d. and in the tenure of Thomas Preston belonged to one of the two resident canons of Penkridge, while one of the three closes of land shared among the vicars choral, the resident canons, and the sacristan of the college was Preston Close. (fn. 609) Land in Preston seems to have been in the hands of Edward Littleton by 1585 (fn. 610) and the hamlet of Preston was stated to be within Penkridge manor in 1598. (fn. 611) Edward Littleton's land here passed at his death in 1610 to his son Edward, (fn. 612) who was holding what was described as the manor or farm of Preston at his death in 1629. (fn. 613) The manor descended in the Littleton family with Pillaton (fn. 614) until at least 1837 (fn. 615) and was described in 1851 as a liberty belonging to Lord Hatherton. (fn. 616) Two farms, Preston Vale and Preston Hill, which occur in 1820 (fn. 617) and 1832, (fn. 618) were held of Lord Hatherton c. 1841 by William Brune and A. F. Lewis respectively. (fn. 619) Both were sold by the 3rd Lord Hatherton in 1919 to their respective tenants (fn. 620) and in 1955 still existed as farms, Preston Vale being occupied by Mr. L. T. J. Griffin. (fn. 621) Preston Vale is a red-brick farmhouse, the west front of which dates from the late 17th century. Among the farm buildings is a former steam-mill, now operated by electricity. Preston Hill is shown as a project on a map of 1754 (fn. 622) and the site is not ancient.
Before the Conquest Alli, a free man, was holding 3 hides in RODBASTON (Redbaldestone) which by 1086 were part of the lands of Richard the Forester. (fn. 623) The land seems to have descended with Great Wyrley in Cannock, (fn. 624) passing by 1195 to Hugh de Loges. (fn. 625) In this year Hugh had a house here, (fn. 626) and his 1 carucate of land in Rodbaston, held by a serjeanty in Cannock Forest (presumably the chief forestership), was assessed at 10s. a year in 1198. (fn. 627) Rodbaston was described as a manor in 1199. (fn. 628) The manor then followed the same descent as Great Wyrley until 1290, (fn. 629) and in 1255 was held as 1½ curucate, quit of suit at county and hundred courts, by the service of keeping Cannock Forest. (fn. 630)
Richard de Loges's son Richard was holding the manor jointly with his wife Elizabeth in 1290, (fn. 631) and on his death in 1300 the annual value of the manor was given as 12d. from the capital messuage and garden, 26s. 8d. from 80 acres of arable in demesne, 4s. from 4 acres of meadow, 40d. from a water-mill, and 20s. 6d. from rents. (fn. 632) The manor remained with Richard's widow Elizabeth who, with her second husband John de Saundrestede, in 1322 granted the reversion after their deaths to John de Weston of Weston under Lizard. (fn. 633) Elizabeth died in 1337 (fn. 634) and her husband in 1353 when he was described as John de Saundrestede of Rodbaston. (fn. 635) Nothing further is heard of a Weston claim, and although John de Loges, grandson of Elizabeth, quitclaimed his rights in the manor to Ralph de Stafford in 1344 (fn. 636) and Sir Robert de Haughton was described as lord of Rodbaston in 1350, (fn. 637) the manor passed to Eleanor, daughter of John de Loges, (fn. 638) presumably on the death of John de Saundrestede. Eleanor, with her husband John de Peyto, had granted it by 1372 to John de Beverley and his wife Amice. (fn. 639)
The manor then followed the descent of Penkridge (fn. 640) until 1518, when Sir Robert Willoughby, 2nd Lord Willoughby de Broke (d. 1521), having made a settlement of it in 1516, (fn. 641) mortgaged it with Penkridge to Sir Edward Greville. (fn. 642) When Robert died in 1521 his heirs were the three daughters of his son Edward, who had predeceased him. (fn. 643) One of these, Elizabeth, became the ward of Sir Edward Greville in 1522 and subsequently married his second son Fulke. (fn. 644) Following an Act of Parliament of 1535 or 1536, Rodbaston, with Robert's other Staffordshire manors, was divided between his two surviving granddaughters, Elizabeth, wife of Fulke Greville, and Blanche, wife of Francis Dautrey. (fn. 645) In 1542, after the death of Blanche, the whole manor was conveyed to Elizabeth and Fulke by Sir Anthony Willoughby, (fn. 646) presumably the brother of Robert, 2nd Lord Willoughby de Broke, (fn. 647) and probably trustee. Elizabeth survived her husband and died in 1563, with her son Sir Fulke succeeding her. (fn. 648) He was followed in 1606 by his son Sir Fulke, the poet, created Baron Brooke of Beauchamp's Court in 1621. (fn. 649) At his death in 1628 the manor passed to his sister Margaret, wife of Sir Richard Verney, who then became in her own right de jure Baroness Willoughby de Broke. (fn. 650) She was succeeded in 1631 by her son Sir Greville Verney, (fn. 651) and the manor then descended with the barony of Willoughby de Broke (in abeyance from 1521 to 1694) (fn. 652) until at least 1851. (fn. 653) Lord Willoughby de Broke owned 307 acres c. 1841 (fn. 654) in Rodbaston which were leased to James Turner who was still the tenant in 1851. (fn. 655)
Members of the family of Eginton occur as tenants in either Rodbaston or Otherton in 1380, (fn. 656) and Sampson Eginton held the lease of the site of the manor, called the Mott Place, at his death c. 1556. (fn. 657) John Eginton, father and son, were mentioned in 1567 (fn. 658) and a John was holding land here in 1589 (fn. 659) and 1614. (fn. 660) In 1619 a John Eginton succeeded his father John in a messuage here (fn. 661) and is probably the John who occurs with his wife Sarah and son John in 1630. (fn. 662) John Eginton was taxable on eight hearths in the constablewick of Otherton and Rodbaston in 1666, (fn. 663) and 'Mr. Eginton' was holding inclosures in Rodbaston in 1673 (fn. 664) and 1674. (fn. 665) Mr. John Eginton was living in the one 'good house' in Rodbaston in 1680. (fn. 666) Land here was leased in 1720 by the lord of the manor to John Eginton 'the younger' of Rodbaston, for the lives of his wife Lucy and sons John and Theophilus, (fn. 667) and John Eginton 'the younger' was holding land here of the lord of the manor in 1724. (fn. 668) A John Eginton 'of Robaston' died in 1729 at Shenstone (Offlow hundred) where he had lately gone to live. (fn. 669) A Jeremiah Eginton was dealing by fine in 1768 with what was described as the manor of Rodbaston. (fn. 670)
The site of the early capital messuage, represented by a mound surrounded by a large rectangular moat (fn. 671) lies over a mile south of Penkridge and about 500 yds. east of the Wolverhampton road. By 1690 the manor-house, presumably the Eginton house, was the only house in Rodbaston and was situated 500 yds. to the south-east of this, on or near the site of the present Stables Farm. (fn. 672) It seems to have had a private chapel, (fn. 673) but this and the house have now disappeared.
In 1834 William Holland owned what was then called Rodbaston Hall, together with land that c. 1841 amounted to over 180 acres. (fn. 674) Dr. Charles Holland was owner by 1851, (fn. 675) but in 1852 the Hall was sold to Thomas Shaw Hellier. (fn. 676) The Hall, grounds, and farm were sold in 1871 to Henry Ward, whose widow Jane remained there until her death about 1915, the Hall and some 583 acres being offered for sale in November of that year. (fn. 677) In 1919 the Staffordshire County Council bought Rodbaston Hall, the Hall farm, and the Grange and in 1921 opened the Staffordshire Farm Institute there. (fn. 678)
Rodbaston Hall lies about 500 yds. south of Stables Farm. Although a house was in existence there by at least 1841, (fn. 679) the present mansion may date from some years later. The Hall was described in 1860 as 'a neat modern mansion, seated on a pleasant eminence and commanding views of the surrounding country', and containing 'a choice selection of paintings, the productions of eminent artists'. (fn. 680) It now stands in a well-timbered garden and is a tall square brick house with a classical porch. Later additions include those of 1955 for the Farm Institute. The existing farm buildings lie mainly to the west.
Stables Farm and the adjoining cottages date from the mid-19th century and have picturesque Tudor features.
The lord of the manor held view of frankpledge for Rodbaston in at least 1554, 1556, and 1559, (fn. 681) and records of the court baron survive for at least 1547, 1554 or 1555, 1556, (fn. 682) 1607, and 1608. (fn. 683)
Before the Conquest Ordmer, a free man, held one hide in WATER EATON (Etone), which by 1086 was parcel of the lands of Robert de Stafford and was then assessed at 8s. (fn. 684) The overlordship descended in the Stafford barony until at least 1460. (fn. 685)
Hervey was holding the hide in Water Eaton of Robert de Stafford in 1086. (fn. 686) Hervey de Stretton held ½ knight's fee in Water Eaton in 1166, (fn. 687) and his grandson Richard de Stretton held ½ fee there in 1243. (fn. 688) In 1263 the lordship was said to be held jointly by Richard and the Dean of Wolverhampton, (fn. 689) and Richard's son Richard was described in 1285 as lord of ⅓ fee here, said to be held directly of the king. (fn. 690) Thomas Champion, lord of Stretton, was also lord of Water Eaton in 1345, (fn. 691) and in 1428 Robert Congreve, lord of Stretton, held ¼ fee here, apparently of the king. (fn. 692) This intermediate lordship seems to have remained with the lords of Stretton until at least 1633 (fn. 693) and possibly until 1725. (fn. 694)
In 1166 Adam of 'Ectone' was holding ½ knight's fee of Hervey de Stretton, (fn. 695) and an Adam de Etona occurs at some time between 1176 and 1184. (fn. 696) Adam de Beysin of Water Eaton, presumably his son, occurs in 1228 (fn. 697) and was holding Water Eaton of Richard de Stretton as ¼ fee in 1243. (fn. 698) He died in 1243 or 1244 leaving a minor son Robert, as his heir. (fn. 699) The manor then followed the same descent as Longnor in Bradley until at least 1300, (fn. 700) being valued at 5s. in 1263. (fn. 701) In 1305, however, Walter de Beysin was complaining that for at least 40 years past, since the death of his great-grandfather Adam, land there had been annexed, during successive minorities, to the king's hay of Gailey, (fn. 702) and at his death in 1310 Walter was holding in Water Eaton only 40s. rent. (fn. 703) His son and heir Thomas, (fn. 704) who in 1315 petitioned Parliament for an inquiry into the lands in Water Eaton absorbed into Gailey, (fn. 705) was described as lord in 1316 (fn. 706) but apparently held nothing there at his death in 1318. (fn. 707) He was succeeded by his brother Walter (fn. 708) who at his death in 1345 was holding rent worth 40s. and two mills in Water Eaton but no demesne land, woods, pastures, or meadows there. (fn. 709) When Walter's son and heir (fn. 710) John died in 1360, he held 60s. rent in Water Eaton jointly with his wife Anne, (fn. 711) who held 2 carucates of land, 12 acres of meadow, and 5 marks' rent in the manor as her dower until her death in 1402. (fn. 712)
The manor continued to descend with Longnor in Bradley from 1360 (fn. 713) until at least 1538 when it was in the hands of Thomas Aston and his wife Bridget. (fn. 714) It was still held by Bridget in 1552, (fn. 715) but by 1560 she had been succeeded by her son John (fn. 716) who was still living in 1572 (fn. 717) but by 1595 seems to have been followed by Thomas Aston. (fn. 718) Sir Thomas Aston made a settlement of the manor in 1604. (fn. 719) By 1674 the manor had been divided into seven parts, four of which were held by Humphrey Giffard and his wife Dorothy, daughter of Thomas Fletcher of Water Eaton, (fn. 720) and two by John Stubbs, husband of Humphrey's daughter and coheir Jane. (fn. 721) Humphrey was living here in 1680. (fn. 722) A Richard Aston was dealing by fine with one-seventh of the manor in 1755, (fn. 723) and in 1781 Jonas Slaney and Mary conveyed a quarter of two-sevenths to Benjamin Crutchley and Henry Whateley. (fn. 724) In 1782 Martha Stubbs, presumably a descendant of John Stubbs of Water Eaton and Jane, conveyed another quarter of two-sevenths to Benjamin Crutchley, (fn. 725) while James Rann and Elizabeth conveyed a similar portion to Joshua Ledsam and John Moore, also in 1782. (fn. 726) James Rann, Martha Stubbs, spinster, and Thomas Devey Wightwick were described as lords of the manor in 1784. (fn. 727) Benjamin Crutchley and Jane conveyed a half of one-seventh of the manor and Calf Heath in 1788 to Edward Monckton, (fn. 728) and in the same year Thomas Devey Wightwick and Lucy conveyed to Joshua Ledsam a quarter of five-sevenths of the manor. (fn. 729) In 1790 Margaret and Mary Aston were dealing by fine with what was called the manor, (fn. 730) but the Hon. Edward Monckton was described as lord of the manor from 1786 to 1793. (fn. 731) Joseph Brearley also was named as lord between 1791 and 1793. (fn. 732) In 1820 William Brierley, or Brearley, and his wife Mary, with Louisa, Mary, Jane, and Emma Brierley, suffered a recovery of five-sevenths of the manor. (fn. 733) In 1821 William Aston and Mary conveyed to Edward Monckton such rights as they had in the manor. (fn. 734) William Brierley of Edgbaston (Warws.) was described as lord of the manor in 1834 and with Edward Monckton of Somerford owned most of the land. (fn. 735) Brierley was dead by 1838, and his land in Water Eaton was then bought by Edward Monckton. (fn. 736)
In 1552 Bridget Aston leased the lordship of the manor for 21 years to Thomas Litler who leased 2 messuages here to Sir Edward Littleton. (fn. 737) On Sir Edward's death in 1558 his son and executor Edward refused to pay the 2 heriots then claimed by John Aston as son and heir of Bridget. (fn. 738)
To the west of the group of buildings at Water Eaton are traces of a moat. The farmhouse and Vernon Cottage date from the earlier 18th century, but a timbered barn of four bays is probably of the 17th century.
WHISTON, granted by Wulfric Spot to Burton Abbey by 1004, (fn. 739) was assessed at one hide in 1086 (fn. 740) and 1114 or 1115 (fn. 741) and was valued in 1086 at 4s. (fn. 742) At some time not later than 1143 King Stephen confirmed the Abbot of Burton's rights in Whiston. (fn. 743) The overlordship remained with Burton Abbey until the Dissolution (fn. 744) when it passed to the king, who in 1546 sold it to Sir William Paget. (fn. 745) It then descended in the Paget family until at least 1769. (fn. 746)
In 1086 a certain Nauuen was holding the hide in Whiston of the abbey. (fn. 747) At some time between 1100 and 1113, as 'Navenus', he was paying a rent of 10s. for it (fn. 748) and again in 1114 or 1115 as 'Nablus'. (fn. 749) Alexander de Bickford and his wife Hawise were suing Henry de Bardmerscote (or Bermundeston) and his wife Ismannia in 1251 for land in Whiston, (fn. 750) and in 1255 Alexander and Hawise surrendered all claim to 3½ virgates and 30 acres here to Robert de Whiston. (fn. 751) In this year Robert was paying the Abbot of Burton 10s. rent for Whiston and Bickford, which were jointly assessed at 1½ hide, not geldable, and contributed 18d. to the sheriff's aid, 18d. to the view of frankpledge, and 6d. to the hundred. (fn. 752) A Robert de Whiston occurs in 1285 (fn. 753) and was still alive in 1291. (fn. 754) He was dead by 1293 (fn. 755) and his heir seems to have been another Robert, who occurs in 1300. (fn. 756) In 1313 a Robert de Whiston settled the reversion of the manor of Whiston after his death on John de Whiston the younger, (fn. 757) probably his son, (fn. 758) but was still lord in 1316. (fn. 759) John seems to have succeeded in 1323 or 1324 (fn. 760) but was dead by 1333 when his widow Rose and her second husband Adam de Shareshill sued John's young son John for land in Whiston as Rose's dower. (fn. 761) This they recovered in 1334 against John (fn. 762) but not against William le Franklin of Whiston, Alice his wife and John his son, who claimed to be occupying the land by grant of John de Whiston the elder. (fn. 763) The younger John de Whiston served as a knight at Crecy in 1346 and Calais in 1347, (fn. 764) and in 1358 his messuage and lands in Whiston were valued at 10s. a year. (fn. 765) Sir John was dead by July 1359, (fn. 766) leaving a son and heir Nicholas who was dead by 1362. (fn. 767) Sir John's widow Elizabeth, a daughter of Sir John de Weston of Weston under Lizard, married, as her second husband, Adam de Peshale. (fn. 768) Nicholas's heir was Agnes, sister of Sir John de Whiston and wife of Edmund Giffard of Chillington in Brewood, (fn. 769) and from 1366 until at least 1376 Edmund and Adam de Peshale were disputing possession of the manor, the Abbot of Burton intervening as overlord. (fn. 770) It appears that Edmund and Agnes conceded a life interest in the manor to Adam, (fn. 771) who c. 1376 demised it for a term of years to a Walter Pryde, clerk. (fn. 772) On Edmund Giffard's death in 1377 (fn. 773) his son John Giffard disseised Walter Pryde (fn. 774) and was still disputing Adam's claim to the manor in 1379. (fn. 775) Whiston does not appear among the lands held by Sir Adam de Peshale at his death in 1419. (fn. 776) Robert Giffard, grandson of John, (fn. 777) made a settlement of the manor in 1472, (fn. 778) from which date it descended with Chillington in Brewood (fn. 779) until at least 1861, the estate being sold at some time between then and 1877 by W. P. Giffard. (fn. 780)
The annual value of the manor in 1370 was £7 16s. 8d. comprising £4 13s. 4d. from the demesne lands, 6s. 8d. from the three fish ponds, 30s. from assised rents, and 30s. from a water-mill. (fn. 781) The manor was valued with Bickford at £10 in 1557 (fn. 782) and at £10 4s. 4d. in 1560 and 1633. (fn. 783) The bounds of the manor were given at a survey made in 1725. (fn. 784)
Whiston Hall was held c. 1644 by Richard Adams and William Bayley, tenants apparently of Peter, John, and Francis Giffard. (fn. 785) In 1666 a John Dudley was answering for the tax on 5 hearths there. (fn. 786) The Hall was owned by Thomas William Giffard c. 1841 and occupied along with 259 acres by John Draycott. (fn. 787) Whiston Hall is square in plan and of three distinct periods. A timber-framed wing of two stories with a large central stack forms the north side and dates from the late 16th century. Attic rooms, divided by queen-post trusses, are part of the original structure. There is a contemporary window, now blocked, in the north wall. To the south is a late-17th-century brick range with a central doorway on the west front and some original lead-glazed windows of the mullioned and transomed type. This range has a contemporary chimney and a staircase with turned balusters. Completing the square plan to the east is a 19th-century addition.
Lands in Penkridge called 'le Heyhouse' were part of the possessions of Penkridge College at the time of the Dissolution in 1547 and had been assigned for the support of the two resident canons, being leased to Edward Harte at a rent of 2s. (fn. 788) By 1585 the messuage called the Hay House with lands in Penkridge, Levedale, and Dunston had passed to Roger Fowke of Brewood as son and heir of William Fowke and in that year was sold by him to Edward Littleton for £280. (fn. 789) Edward was holding it at his death in 1610 when it was described as the farm of 'Heyhouse juxta Longridge'. (fn. 790) It descended in the Littleton family with Pillaton (fn. 791) until its sale in 1919 to Mrs. E. Basset. (fn. 792) It was described as a house and farm in 1680 (fn. 793) and c. 1841 was in the tenure of John Critchley the younger. (fn. 794) The tall redbrick farmhouse was reconstructed early in the 19th century, but the stone plinth indicates that an earlier house of approximately the same size stood on the site. In 1956 a rectangular moat extending round three sides of the house was filled in. A small cottage about 200 yds. farther east is partly timber-framed.
In 1086 nine clerks held a hide in Penkridge of the king. (fn. 795) The subsequent descent of this land is obscure, unless it may be assumed to have formed the endowment of the prebend of Penkridge in Penkridge College. (fn. 796)
This prebend was held by Roger 'the archdeacon' (probably Roger Archdeacon of Shropshire c. 1121– 80) and was in the king's hands from at least 1183 until 1189. (fn. 797) It is probably to be identified with the prebend of La More, held at some time during the 12th century by William, son of Edwin a priest of Wolverhampton, and at William's instance subsequently conferred by the Dean and Chapter of Penkridge on his son Hugh. (fn. 798) Elias de Bristol, Dean of Penkridge from 1199 to c. 1226, appointed as next prebendary Robert de Caverswall, (fn. 799) who in 1227 sued Adam son of Maud for 5½ acres and a messuage in Penkridge as appurtenant to his prebend but was found to have alienated them to Maud's mother to be held as a lay fee at a rent of 6d. (fn. 800) In 1291 the prebend of Penkridge was valued at £4, (fn. 801) and it was still so named in 1365 when Robert de Sulgrave, a pluralist, was holding it. (fn. 802) In 1535, the prebend was valued at £9 6s. 8d., having a manse with lands worth 20s., assised rents of 13s. 4d. a year, great and small tithes averaging £5 10s., Easter offerings averaging 30s. and oblations averaging 20s. (fn. 803) Synodals of 6s. 8d. were due to the Dean of Penkridge every third year. (fn. 804) The prebend was leased to Sir Edward Littleton for 21 years in 1547, (fn. 805) and in 1548 he paid the royal bailiff of the dissolved college £9 6s. 8d. rent for it. (fn. 806) The prebend then presumably descended with the rest of the collegiate property, (fn. 807) and in 1585 it was granted to Edward, grandson of Sir Edward Littleton (fn. 808) and holder of a 21-year lease of the prebend since 1577 or 1578. (fn. 809) The prebend then descended in the Littleton family with Pillaton (fn. 810) until at least 1709. (fn. 811) The estate in Penkridge sold by the 5th Lord Hatherton in 1953 (fn. 812) may have included former prebendal land.
The prebend of Longridge in Penkridge college was valued at £2 in 1291. (fn. 813) In 1535 the prebend consisted of tithe of grain worth 16s. and was the only prebend in the church of Penkridge that did not owe synodals to the dean. (fn. 814) It seems to have been leased about this time to a William Cresswell. (fn. 815) From 1540 the lease was granted by terms of three years to Edward Avery (fn. 816) who in 1548 was paying a rent of £2 4s. 3d. to the royal bailiff of the dissolved college. (fn. 817) The prebend then presumably descended with the rest of the collegiate property, (fn. 818) and in 1585 it passed to Edward Littleton (fn. 819) to whom the Crown had already granted a 21-year lease in 1577 or 1578. (fn. 820) The prebend remained in the Littleton family (fn. 821) until at least 1709, (fn. 822) and part of the estate in Longridge owned by the 1st Lord Hatherton c. 1841 (fn. 823) and sold by his grandson in 1919 (fn. 824) may have been former prebendal land.
Wolgarston (Tuhgarestone) was assessed in 1086 at one hide (fn. 825) and remained a distinct member of Penkridge manor until at least 1372. (fn. 826) It seems to have been completely merged into the manor by at least 1523 when Beatrice Hussey was holding lands and tenements, described as in Penkridge and Wolgarston, of the lord of Penkridge. (fn. 827) Her son and heir William Hussey of Coleshill (Warws.) made a settlement in 1531 of such lands and tenements in Penkridge and Wolgarston as he held of the manor of Penkridge, (fn. 828) and on his death in 1532 he held, besides Hussey's Hall, two estates in Penkridge. (fn. 829) One of these, described as in Wolgarston, consisted of a messuage, land, and a water-mill with a pond and a croft, all worth 40s. and in the tenure or occupation of Edward Littleton; the other, described as in Penkridge and Wolgarston and valued at 30s., consisted of 2 messuages, a water-mill, five cottages, and land. (fn. 830) William's heirs were his four daughters, Alice, of age and then wife of Robert Boteler, and Anna, Dorothy, and Winifred Hussey, all under age. (fn. 831) In 1544 the three younger daughters, with their respective husbands, conveyed to Edward Littleton their three portions of two messuages, five cottages, half a water-mill and land in Penkridge, Wolgarston, and elsewhere in the parish. (fn. 832) At the same time they conveyed to him the reversion of their three parts of the one messuage, with its appurtenances, which their mother Beatrice was holding for her life. (fn. 833) When Edward Littleton died in 1558 his estates included twelve messuages, six cottages, a water-mill, land, wood, and heath in Penkridge and Wolgarston, held of the manor of Penkridge and valued at £11 2s. 3d. (fn. 834) When his grandson Sir Edward died in 1610 he was holding a messuage and a water-mill in Wolgarston. (fn. 835) By c, 1841 the main farm buildings, with the land attached, were occupied by William Taylor as tenant of Lord Hatherton who owned all the land in Wolgarston. (fn. 836) The 'stock and grain farm known as Wolgarston', some 325 acres in extent, was sold to the tenant by the 5th Lord Hatherton in 1947. (fn. 837) The farmhouse is a tall square brick building, partly cement rendered, dating from the late 18th or early 19th century.
Three virgates of land in Penkridge were claimed in 1199 by William de Mora as heir of his father Robert. (fn. 838) Henry, son of a John de la More, occurs in 1381 (fn. 839) and by 1405 had been succeeded by a son John. (fn. 840) This John's widow Anne died in 1435 holding a messuage in Penkridge of the king and was succeeded by her son Thomas More. (fn. 841) Thomas died in 1480 leaving two daughters, Eleanor, wife of Thomas Forster, and Beatrice, wife of William Hussey, (fn. 842) and in 1486 or 1487 Thomas's last surviving trustee conveyed a messuage in Penkridge and lands in Wolverhampton and Chillington (in Brewood) to Thomas Forster and Eleanor and a messuage and lands in Penkridge to William Hussey and Beatrice. (fn. 843) The descent of the share of Thomas Forster and Eleanor is obscure, but in 1522 Beatrice, by then a widow, died in possession of a messuage in Penkridge called Hussey's Hall which was held of the king and worth 30s. a year. (fn. 844) Her son William died in 1532, leaving four daughters, (fn. 845) the three youngest of whom apparently granted their shares of Hussey's Hall to Edward Littleton of Pillaton in 1544. (fn. 846) When Edward died in 1558 he was holding this messuage with the lands and appurtenances, valued at 20s., of the queen by service of 1/100 knight's fee. (fn. 847) The messuage then descended with Pillaton until at least 1610. (fn. 848)
Land at Bitham, formerly held by Thomas Lynell, was being claimed with land at Lyne Hill by his son William at some time between 1551 and 1553. (fn. 849) In 1583 a Richard Mylles made a settlement of land there (fn. 850) which he was holding when he died at some time between 1591 and 1607. (fn. 851) 'Bythom' was described as a hamlet within the manor of Penkridge in 1598, (fn. 852) and in 1680 there was said to be a farmhouse at Bitham occupied by a Mr. Thorley, a freeholder. (fn. 853) Bitham then lay to the south-east of the town of Penkridge, a little to the north of Otherton, (fn. 854) and c. 1841 the name survived in three fields, called Near, Mid, and Far Bitham. (fn. 855)