A part of Walmley’s History – Jan Brettle (June 2003)

As many of us in Walmley have been reading about and perhaps contributing to “The Walmley Action Plan” it may prove interesting to take a look at the listed buildings mentioned and the historic reasons why they gained this status.

Fox Hollies Road is now divided in two parts by the Walmley By-pass, and although there has been mention of re naming the top half Fox Hollies Lane, the street sign still states Fox Hollies Road. Approaching the open countryside, at the junction with Signal Hayes Road is a small red ornate postal box dating from the Victorian era which stands at the bottom of the driveway to a Grade II listed red brick house named  “Fox Hollies”.

Passing a little further down the road we can see the delightful front gable of the 17th century Grade II listed Langley Heath Farmhouse, lost in time and surrounded by beautiful gardens and country. Standing adjacent to the farmhouse are the locally listed Langley Heath farm barns. The last remaining traditional farmyard in Walmley, fully enclosed and accessible by one gate, they are standing empty and left to decay

Situated on the lower half of Fox Hollies Road is the “Old School House”  the original building of Walmley School, prior to it moving to Walmley Road and now Walmley Ash Road. Although not listed, it does hold historical importance to Walmley’s history.

Looking down the Wylde Green Road and into the area of the planned “New Hall Country Park” the striking Grade II listed 15th century timber framed house, “Wincelle” can be seen. It was taken down and removed from Wigginshill in 1910 (Wincelle in Domesday Book) by Walter Wilkinson, who lived at New Hall from 1903. It was rebuilt in this position on the edge of the New Hall estate. Elmhurst was built on the site of Wincelle at Wigginshill.

New Hall Mill is an 18th century Grade II* listed working water mill, owned by the New Hall Mill Preservation Trust assisted by The Friends of New Hall Mill. Their open days are highly recommended where you can see the mill in operation, and even take away a bag of freshly milled flour. The stable and cow house have been converted to provide  a shop, information area and tea room. For those with internet access the New Hall Mill website can be viewed at www.newhallmill.org.uk and for those wishing to visit, the remaining open days this year are 13th July, 10th August and 14th September from 10am to 4pm.

Approaching the bend on the Wylde Green Road, this Grade II listed sandstone house can be viewed from the road. One of the 51 Vesey Cottages built in the 16th century, this was once the Ford keepers cottage.

Walmley is an ecclesiastical parish formed in 1846, the Grade II listed Church of St John erected in blue brick with stone facings from designs by D. R. Hill, architect and built in the Norman style. The stained east windows are a memorial to the Webster Family, in addition to other memorial windows including W. W. Bagot of Pype Hayes. The Church was made into a Church Centre when the new adjacent Church was erected

Standing opposite the Church was Walmley House, unfortunately demolished in 1969 to provide land for housing, the 100 year old house having belonged to the Horsfall family.

The Grade II listed Walmley Almshouses situated on the corner of Walmley Road with Fox Hollies Road are now known as Lingard House after its benefactress Frances Lingard. The back two cottages were built in 1828 and the two at the front in 1863. The names of J. Riland M.A. and Ann Webb can be seen on the front building which is now used as Offices for Sutton Municipal Charities.

With access from both Wylde Green Road and Walmley Road, New Shipton Farm is listed as Grade II. The 1948 sale catalogue states the  farmhouse is “substantially built in brickwork with part rough cast elevations and tiled roof”.

The Barn at New Shipton listed as grade II* is one of only seven cruck framed medieval buildings in Birmingham. All five pairs of cruck trusses survive in this abandoned and derelict building. All made of oak, each pair seems to have been formed from a single tree. A cruck Barn is that in which a pair of curved oak timbers form a bowed A frame and this supports the roof independently of the walls. The felling dates for two of the trees has been given as summer 1424 and spring 1425 respectively.

The Walmley Action Plan does make a specific note that “favourable consideration will be given to schemes which preserve and bring back into appropriate new uses the New Shipton Farm complex and the fifteenth century Cruck Barn”.

Warren House Farmhouse situated on Walmley Road and listed Grade II is actually a sandstone Vesey Cottage, although many alterations have taken place over the years. One (grade II) listed barn at Warren House Farm had to be demolished as a result of neglect.

New Hall, Grade I listed as the oldest inhabited moated house in England. The first Hall was built on the site around 1200, and then later rebuilt. It has had many owners and uses, notably in 1885 New Hall became a Boys Boarding School accommodating 60 to 70 pupils, until 1903 when it was sold to Walter Wilkinson. It became the home of Alfred Owen in 1923, co-founder of Rubery Owen, and in 1985 it was purchased by Thistle Hotels who restored it back to it’s former glory.

Listed buildings in association with the New Hall estate are the Gate Piers (Grade II), the Chapel at New Hall (Grade II), Coach House and Stables (Grade II) the Gardeners Cottage (Grade II) and East Drive gate piers (Grade II).

On Reddicap Hill stands a mid 16th century single storey sandstone house probably built by Vesey. Records suggest it is pre-1740 but so far unconfirmed. It is locally listed and now used as a Chapel of Rest by the Co-operative Society.

The Shrubbery also locally listed, situated on Walmley Ash Road and consisting of two separate buildings until the 1970’s is now utilised as a private school founded 1930 by Miss Rankin.

 

Finally, on the local list is Penns Hall located on Penns Lane, Walmley. A Victorian House which included a water mill  unfortunately demolished 1859.

The Mill at Penn’s was rented in the 18th century by Joseph Webster, who made a large Mill pond to increase the power of the steam for milling. This is an area still admired today for it’s beauty. Webster’s son, another Joseph Webster went into partnership with James Horsfall and on moving to Hay Mills production at the mill ceased. In common with New Hall, Penns Hall is now a luxury Hotel.

These are the listed buildings included in the “Walmley Action Plan”. I hope this has given you some background information for when you next see these historic buildings.