Teddesley Hay

A History of the County of Stafford: Volume 5, East Cuttlestone Hundred. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1959.

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'Teddesley Hay', in A History of the County of Stafford: Volume 5, East Cuttlestone Hundred, (London, 1959) pp. 182-184. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/staffs/vol5/pp182-184 [accessed 20 April 2024]

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TEDDESLEY HAY, formerly a division of the forest of Cannock, is a civil parish lying five miles south of Stafford. Although part of the parish of Penkridge for the purpose of tithe by 1252, (fn. 1) Teddesley Hay was described as extra-parochial in 1817. (fn. 2) In 1300 the Hay was bounded by the River Penk on the west (fn. 3) where the present parish boundary is formed by the river and the road from Penkridge to Acton Trussell. The northern boundary in 1300 was formed by the 'Springewall' Brook as far as 'Springewall'. (fn. 4) It was probably the same as the present boundary which runs along Wellington Belt through Springslade Pool and down the Springslade. (fn. 5) The eastern boundary in 1300 followed 'the high road as far as the ditch of Saint Chadde'. (fn. 6) This probably corresponds to the present eastern boundary which runs along the Brocton-Cannock road between Springslade Lodge and Broadhurst Green and then along St. Chad's Ditch to St. Chad's Gate. The present parish boundary there turns due west, but in 1300 the eastern boundary of the Hay continued south along a road called 'Fethersti' to 'the Sholle' (Shoal Hill), (fn. 7) thus including Huntington (in Cannock parish) within Cannock Forest. The boundary of Gailey Hay (fn. 8) probably began at Shoal Hill.

Only three persons in Teddesley Hay were assessed for the Hearth Tax of 1666. (fn. 9) The population was 59 in 1811 (fn. 10) and 136 in 1951. (fn. 11) The area is 2,625 acres. (fn. 12)

Much of the parish is occupied by Teddesley Park, formerly the seat of Lord Hatherton (see below). There is a small square entrenchment in the Park known as King Dick's Encampment, and a short iron sword or dagger, thought to be Roman, was found in the fosse in 1780. (fn. 13)

The parish is crossed by the main road from Stafford to Cannock. The western boundary of Teddesley Park is formed by the Staffordshire and Worcestershire canal which was keenly promoted by Sir Edward Littleton (d. 1812), the builder of Teddesley Hall. (fn. 14) It is crossed by three bridges within the parish. Shutthill Bridge and Parkgate Bridge, (fn. 15) each with an adjacent lock, are the original 18th-century bridges. New Bridge dates from c. 1825, probably as part of a new drive approach to Teddesley Hall. (fn. 16) It is of stone, now partly replaced by brick, and has a balustraded parapet terminating in octagonal piers.

Sir Edward Littleton, who seems to have undertaken extensive inclosing in Teddesley Hay after his succession in 1558, (fn. 17) was accused by Lord Stafford in 1561 of committing spoils there (fn. 18) and by the Earl of Oxford in 1569 of making inclosures which interfered with the pasture rights in the Hay of the earl's tenants in Acton Trussell and Bednall and with their common way through it for driving their cattle to 'Cannock Wood and Cannock Heath'. (fn. 19) A park in Teddesley Hay, mentioned in 1589, (fn. 20) and 'le coppy' there were held of the king by Sir Edward's son at his death in 1610, (fn. 21) and in 1675 the inhabitants of Penkridge and Bednall tried to have both park and coppice thrown open. (fn. 22) Common land in Teddesley Hay was inclosed in 1827 under the Act of 1814. (fn. 23)

The superiority of the cattle strain at Teddesley Park was noted in 1794 when the several hundred acres kept in hand by Sir Edward Littleton were mainly turf with little or no grain. (fn. 24) Sir Edward and his tenants had also been improving the breed of grey-faced hornless sheep, native to Cannock Chase, by crossing with Ross rams. (fn. 25) The 1st Lord Hatherton (d. 1863), who succeeded Sir Edward in 1812, (fn. 26) undertook an extensive development of his lands here. (fn. 27) By 1850, despite the gravelly nature of the soil and the neglected state of the land before he began his draining and irrigation, he was farming 1,700 acres with great success, producing good crops of wheat and barley and supporting 200 head of cattle, including a herd of Herefords, and 2,000 head of Southdown sheep. (fn. 28) There were 700 acres in regular cultivation, mainly on four-course rotation, and the rest was parkland, irrigated meadow, and some less developed high ground adjoining Cannock Chase. (fn. 29) Lord Hatherton also gave much encouragement to the tenant farmers of the district (fn. 30) and by 1860 had established a free agricultural college at Teddesley Hay, where 30 boys were educated spending most of the day on his farm and the rest in 'educational pursuits'. (fn. 31)

The broad-leaved woodland of Teddesley Hay was felled during the Second World War, but subsequently Lord Hatherton leased 641 acres, mainly to the east of the main road, to the Forestry Commission as an extension of the Cannock Chase State Forest. (fn. 32) Work was begun in 1950, the land being replanted with broad-leaved trees, mostly oak and beech. (fn. 33)

Thomas Lord Paget had iron works in Teddesley Hay by 1576, (fn. 34) the site of which may be indicated by the Springslade Pool on the northern boundary of the parish to the west of the main road. There was boring for coal in Teddesley Hay in 1686 and 1753, (fn. 35) and the National Coal Board had made a successful boring by 1951 at Springslade Pool. (fn. 36) There is now (1956) a gravel quarry on the site of the former Pottal Pool in the south of the parish.

The Hay

Teddesley Hay formed a division of the royal forest of Cannock possibly by 1100 (fn. 37) and certainly from 1236 (fn. 38) until 1550. (fn. 39) In 1236 the custody was in the hands of Robert de Brok, lord of Pillaton (in Penkridge), who farmed his office for 2 marks a year and held the vill of Huntington by this service of keeping the Hay. (fn. 40) The custody followed the same descent as Huntington and Pillaton (fn. 41) until at least 1558, (fn. 42) after which date the office seems to have been discontinued. (fn. 43) The Hay was valued at £8 in 1293. (fn. 44) Leland, c. 1535, mentions 'a praty Chace by Pencriche of the Kinges where Littleton of Pillenhaul is foster by inheritance'. (fn. 45)

The Hay was granted by the Crown to John Dudley, Earl of Warwick, and his heirs in 1550, (fn. 46) and a grant of it was made in 1554 for life to his widow (fn. 47) who died the following year. (fn. 48) It subsequently passed into the Littleton family, Sir Edward holding it of the king at his death in 1610. (fn. 49) Teddesley Hay descended in the family with Pillaton, (fn. 50) becoming the family seat in place of Pillaton soon after 1742 (fn. 51) and being described as a manor in 1817 (fn. 52) and 1827. (fn. 53) Such manorial rights as existed in 1940 were held by the 4th Lord Hatherton. (fn. 54) Some land was sold in 1947, (fn. 55) and a further 2,976 acres, along with the Hall, was sold in 1953. (fn. 56)

A moated site, now obliterated, lay about 200 yds. north-west of the Hall in 1754, (fn. 57) indicating the existence of a medieval house. In 1650 'Tedgley Lodge', probably this house or its successor, was occupied by Fisher Littleton, a kinsman of Sir Edward, (fn. 58) and in 1666 it was taxable for seven hearths. (fn. 59) The large 18th-century mansion known as Teddesley Hall was built by Sir Edward Littleton, the 4th baronet, who succeeded in 1742. (fn. 60) By 1754 he was already in occupation, but it is probable that the stable and service wings of the house were not yet completed. (fn. 61) The cost of building is said to have been largely defrayed by hoards of coins, found in 1742 and 1749 behind panelling at Pillaton Hall; these realized over £15,000. (fn. 62) The house remained the seat of the Littleton family but was no longer used as a residence after the death of the 3rd Lord Hatherton in 1930. (fn. 63) During the Second World War it was requisitioned and occupied by troops and prisoners. It then stood empty until its sale by the 5th Lord Hatherton in 1953. In 1954 the main house was demolished, (fn. 64) the stable and service wings being retained by the new owner for storage purposes.

In its original form (fn. 65) Teddesley Hall, built of red brick with stone dressings, consisted of a central house linked by curved screen walls to two flanking courtyard blocks, one containing stables, the other kitchens and service quarters. The house itself was a tall square building, having three stories and a basement. On all four sides there were seven windows to each of the upper floors, and the south-west or garden front had a projecting splayed bay as its central feature. On the ground floor a pedimented doorway with rusticated pilasters was approached by a double flight of steps. Internally the central room was octagonal and was enriched with contemporary plasterwork. One of its arched niches contained an 18th-century organ. The flanking screen walls had a treatment of stone pilasters and oval piercings. The service blocks are of two stories, and each has a square central courtyard. The entrance court to the house lay between them. The plainness and height of the house, accentuated by falling ground to the south-west, gave it a stark appearance, and even in 1789 it was described as 'rather deficient in the usual graces of architecture'. (fn. 66) The name of the architect originally employed c. 1750 is doubtful, but it is known that Charles Cope Trubshaw (1715–72) of Haywood (Pirehill hundred) worked at Teddesley. (fn. 67) Between 1757 and 1759 William Baker (1705–71) of Audlem (Ches.) received sums from Sir Edward Littleton for drawing plans and 'in part for building his house at the Coppice' (fn. 68) (see below). It is probable that at this date Teddesley Hall had been standing for some years, and Baker's accounts may refer to the service wings only or to the farmhouse about a mile away at Teddesley Coppice. In 1814 schemes were submitted by Joseph Potter of Lichfield, (fn. 69) probably working in conjunction with Jeffrey Wyatt, (fn. 70) for adding a grandiose range on the garden side, but these were never executed. In 1899 a billiard room was designed by Henry T. Hare, (fn. 71) and additions to the entrance front, including a first-floor Ionic colonnade, were probably of the same date.

A small farmhouse south of Parkgate Bridge and called Park Gate House c. 1841 (fn. 72) was formerly known as Little Moor. (fn. 73) It is partly timber-framed and probably dates from the early 17th century. The Home Farm (fn. 74) and Teddesley Coppice are 18thcentury houses, the latter described in 1860 as 'a neat unassuming mansion' (fn. 75) 'Dairy House' at the Home Farm is an early-19th-century red-brick group consisting of two octagonal lodges with Gothic windows, connected by a low curved range of outbuildings. Many of the other buildings on the estate, including extensive agricultural buildings at the Home Farm, date from the time of the 1st Lord Hatherton (d. 1863). Keeper's Lodge at the southern boundary of the park is a mid-19th-century Italianate cottage of yellow brick with a low-pitched roof. A lodge at Teddesley Hall was designed by Francis Goodwin in 1835, (fn. 76) and other buildings on the estate may also have been his work. Many farms and cottages date from the later 19th century.


  • 1. Close R. 1251–3, 128.
  • 2. W. Pitt, Topog. Hist. of Staffs. (1817), 257.
  • 3. S.H.C. v (1), 177.
  • 4. Ibid.
  • 5. The boundary ran along a field called Springwall Piece c. 1841: Tithe Maps and Appt., Penkridge (copy in W.S.L.).
  • 6. S.H.C. v (1), 177.
  • 7. Ibid.
  • 8. See p. 104.
  • 9. S.H.C. 1927, 71.
  • 10. V.C.H. Staffs. i. 320.
  • 11. Census, 1951, Staffs.
  • 12. Ibid.
  • 13. V.C.H. Staffs. i. 193; S.R.O., D. 260/M/E. 357.
  • 14. Pitt, Staffs. 257 For a portrait of Sir Edward in 1756 see plate facing p. 132.
  • 15. See plate facing p. 179.
  • 16. It had not been built by 1812: Tithe Maps and Appt., Penkridge (copy in W.S.L.), the map being a copy of one of 1812. It is similar in style to Bull Bridge, Penkridge (see p. 105) and St. Thomas's Bridge, Baswich: see p. 2.
  • 17. W.S.L., C.B. Littleton Transcripts.
  • 18. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1547–80, 180.
  • 19. W.S.L., C.B. Littleton Transcripts.
  • 20. 'Hatherton Charters' (S.H.C. 1928), 164–5.
  • 21. C 142/320, no. 71.
  • 22. S.R.O., D. 260/M/box 4, bdle. g.
  • 23. Penkridge Inclosure Act, 54 Geo. III, c. 50 (priv. act); S.R.O., Q/RDc 22.
  • 24. W. Pitt, General View of Agric. of Staffs. (1794), 49.
  • 25. Ibid. 53.
  • 26. Complete Peerage, vi. 394–5.
  • 27. W.S.L., S. 1549, Staffs. Parishes, Newspaper Cuttings, ii, Penkridge.
  • 28. Ibid.
  • 29. Ibid.
  • 30. Ibid.; Staffs. Advertiser, 11 Oct. 1856.
  • 31. P.O. Dir. Staffs. (1860).
  • 32. Britain's Forests: Cannock Chase (Forestry Commission, 1950), 7, map.
  • 33. Ibid. 7.
  • 34. W.S.L., D. 1734, Account Bks. for Iron Works, 1576– 82; E 101/546/16.
  • 35. S.R.O., D. 260/M/E. 10.
  • 36. Ex inf. the National Coal Board, Cannock.
  • 37. S.H.C. 1928, 164.
  • 38. Bk. of Fees, 7.
  • 39. Cal. Pat. 1549–51, 365.
  • 40. Bk. of Fees, 7.
  • 41. See pp. 76, 119.
  • 42. C 142/124, no. 178. On the death of William de Engleton in 1398 the king granted the custody to William Walsale (Cal. Pat. 1396–9, 293), but by 1450 it had reverted to the hereditary claimant: C 139/137.
  • 43. The grant of the keepership to Lord Stafford in May 1558 (Cal. Pat. 1557–8, 254), was probably a grant of the reversion of the herbage and pannage: Cal. S.P. Dom. 1547–80, 165; Cal. Pat. 1560–3, 291–2; S.H.C. 1938, 81–82. The herbage and pannage passed to Sir Edward Littleton in 1567: S.H.C. xiii. 264.
  • 44. S.H.C. vi (1), 270.
  • 45. Leland, Itin. ed. Toulmin Smith, v (1910), 22.
  • 46. Cal. Pat. 1549–51, 365.
  • 47. Ibid. 1553–4, 129.
  • 48. Complete Peerage, ix. 726.
  • 49. S.H.C. xiii. 246; Cal. S.P. Dom. 1547–80, 180; S.H.C. 1939, 123; ibid. 1928, 164–5; C 142/320, no. 71.
  • 50. See p. 119.
  • 51. Burke, Peerage (1931), 1198.
  • 52. Pitt, Staffs. 257.
  • 53. S.R.O., Q/RDc 22.
  • 54. Kelly's Dir. Staffs. (1940).
  • 55. W.S.L., Sale Cat., B/2/10.
  • 56. Ex inf. Teddesley and Hatherton Estate Office, Penkridge (1955). The Hall was bought by Mr. E. Buxton of the Home Farm, Teddesley: Staffs. Chronicle, 5 Oct. 1954.
  • 57. S.R.O., D. 260/M/E. 353 (a, b), map 10. It is marked as 'site of old house'.
  • 58. Cal. Cttee. for Compounding, 2081.
  • 59. S.H.C. 1927, 71.
  • 60. Burke, Peerage (1931), 1198.
  • 61. S.R.O., D. 260/M/E. 353 (a, b), map 10, where the wings are shown in outline only.
  • 62. J. C. Tildesley, Penkridge (1886), 63; S.H.C. 1927, 34–36.
  • 63. Ex inf. Teddesley and Hatherton Estate Office.
  • 64. Staffs. Chronicle, 5 Oct. 1954.
  • 65. W.S.L., Staffs. Views, x, pp. 119–24; National Buildings Record Coll. Phot. 1953; S.R.O., D. 260/M/E. 368; see plate facing p. 179.
  • 66. Gent. Mag. 1789, lix. 1078.
  • 67. H. M. Colvin, Biog. Dict. of Eng. Architects, 624.
  • 68. S.H.C. 1950–1, 126.
  • 69. S.R.O., D. 260/M/E. 359–71.
  • 70. Ibid. E. 372. Wyatt made visits in 1814 and 1817, charging 2s. 6d. per mile for the journeys from London. His account totalled £232.
  • 71. S.R.O., D. 260/M/E. 373. Hare was architect of the County Buildings, Stafford.
  • 72. Tithe Maps and Appt., Penkridge (copy in W.S.L.), no. 1292.
  • 73. S.R.O., D. 260/M/E. 353 (a), Map 10.
  • 74. Tithe Maps and Appt., Penkridge (copy in W.S.L.).
  • 75. P.O. Dir. Staffs. (1860); it was then the residence of Capt. Moseley.
  • 76. Francis Goodwin, Rural Architecture, i, suppl. pls. 1–4.