When I registered ownership of my house I received the deeds (which ceased to have any legal status), a bundle of documents setting out the history of land ownership, including leases, and I decided to find out something about the people named.
Some background has already been written by yours truly and published about old roads in the area by Brownhills Bob at:
Alternatively you can download this PDF file:
In brief, my house was 28 Howdles Lane. An ordinary three-bed semi, it was completed in 1960, when my parents acquired it. Eventually, it came into my ownership and I have recently sold it (June 2017). The history of the place, as for all other places, is much older.
Along the western edge of the land was a hedge and ditch boundary, the boundary between the parishes of Norton Canes, to the west, and Hammerwich. At the north west corner was a large fallen meer stone or boundary marker. (Think standing meerkat in a box). This was also the ancient manorial boundary. Beyond the hedge, mainly hawthorn with some elder, was a field where horses grazed. The field beyond the hedge was developed in about 1967, becoming Knaves Castle Avenue. The brook was culverted through the new development and the ditch filled in by owners subsequently. The boundary stone was broken up by the builders.
Marquis of Anglesey
The earliest owner mentioned in the deeds is The Most Honorable Henry William George Marquis of Anglesey who leased other property nearby to George Howdle for 99 years from 5 April 1877 at £30 per year, including land on the east side of the Lane.
HWG was the third Marquis (lived 1812 – 1880). He benefited from coal mining on and under his land, which began in 1849 when the Hammerwich pit was opened for the first Marquis (lived 1748-1854) beneath the dam at Chasewater. This was formally the Hammerwich Pit, but was also known as The Marquis, and later Cannock Chase Colliery No. 1. In 1852 a new pit was opened: Cannock Chase Number 2 pit, aka The Uxbridge (HWG was also Earl of Uxbridge) or The Fly to reflect the high speed of the winding gear. This new employment was undoubtedly the reason my Dennis ancestors came to the area.
In 1873, the Marquis, resident at Beaudesert, owned 14,344 acres, 0 roods, 11 poles, annual gross rent £88,719 10s.1
Imperial measurements: 1 rod (or rood), pole or perch = 5.5 yards, 1 square pole = 30.35 square yards, 40 square poles = 1 rood, and 4 roods = 1 acre. Therefore 160 square poles = 1 acre. One acre also = 1 furlong (220 yards) x 1 chain (22 yards), or 4,840 square yards.
Metric: 1 Hectare = 2.4711 acres. 1 square metre = 10.76 square feet.
The first pit of what would become the Cannock Chase Colliery Company was below the Chasewater Dam.
Birmingham Journal 30 November 1850, p5, col1.
NEAR BROWN HILLS STATION
THIS COLLIERY IS NOW OPEN, and a Branch of the Birmingham Canal is brought up to the Pits, and there are good roads to Lichfield and the Neighbourhood.
Boats will be loaded without delay with the best House Coals and Coals adapted for Trade and Manufacturing purposes, on the most reasonable terms.
For information, apply to Mr. F. Higgins, at the Hayes Colliery, Rugeley; or at the Hammerwich Colliery.
This indicates that the colliery was recently opened, at about the same time as the Anglesey Branch Canal. The blue plaque beside the canal indicates the mine was opened in 1849, which is consistent.
There is more about this mine, including a plan, and the reason for closure, on Brownhills Bob, but search as I might, I have been unable to locate it.
At the time of the 1851 census Henry William Marquis of Anglesea, 82, was living at 1 Old Burlington Street, Uxbridge House, Westminster. His occupation was Field Marshal and Master … [I can’t make out the rest], see below. He was born at Bloomsbury, London. Also present were Charlotte, Marchioness; son Lord Clarence Paget, Captain Royal Navy; a surgeon, housekeeper, ladies (sic) maid, 5 housemaids, still room maid, baker, scullery maid, 3 laundry maids, house steward, cook, groom of chambers, valet, under butler, porter, footman, usher of the hall, coal carrier, and [son’s] valet.
According to the Probate Calendar, the personal estate of the Earl of Uxbridge, as it says he was commonly known, was “under £60,000 in the United Kingdom”.
To be continued …
1Ancestry.com, England, Return of Owners of Land, 1873, Stafford, p2.