Edmund Bunney was born in 1749 in Freby, Leicestershire, the grandson of Edmund Cradock. He married Anne Hurlock, a widow and sole heiress to a branch of the Hartopp family.

Under the terms of the interitance by the wills of his uncle Joseph Cradock and of his wife’s grandfather Sir John Hartopp, he changed his name to Edmund Cradock-Hartopp in 1777.

He acquired FOUR OAKS HALL and estate in 1792. He was created a Baronet in 1796 and was MP for Exmouth in 1798 and for Leicestershire 1798-1806. His first son, George Harry William, born at Merevale Hall, in 1785, changed his name to Fleetwood-Hartopp in commemoration of his descent from Charles Fleetwood, Lord Deputy of Ireland under Oliver Cromwell. He was appointed Warden of Sutton Coldfield in November 1823 but died in1824 whilst in office. His father completed his year of office but died in 1837.

His second son Sir Edmund succeeded him in 1937 but died in 1849, when his third son became the third Baronet. Sir William was born in Sutton and was WARDEN of the town in 1835. He died in 1864 and shortly afterwards the family sold up in Sutton.

In 1881 Sir John Cradock-Hartopp, born in Sutton in 1830, son of William Edmund, and then the fourth Baronet was living in style in Kingswood, Surrey with his family and twelve servants.

The family connection with Sutton was recognised when Hartopp Road was created in about 1892 during the residential development of the Four Oaks estate. Of the many important houses built in the period 1892-1920 a large number remain including four having Grade II listed status.



The story of Rev James Henry Hastings illustrates the extent of the influence of the Rector of the Parish and the control of the governance of the town effected by him in the 18th century.

James Hastings was born in 1755 the son of a wealthy wine merchant of Chipping Norton and Hanover Square. He was educated at Wadham College, Oxford and was ordained in 1779. In 1781 he married Elizabeth Paget, sister of an even wealthier banker, Thomas Paget of Chipping Norton and Bole Hall Estate, Tamworth.

The newly married James achieved appointment as assistant curate of Sutton Coldfield; no doubt with the help of his well connected brother on law.

The 29 year old assistant curate , a two year resident in the town and third in line in the Parish church, was in 1784 appointed to the most important office in the town, that of WARDEN; a position which he held for two years, no doubt carrying ou his duties to the Rector's satisfaction

He left Sutton to be curate at Wichford, Shipston on Stour, and in 1791 when his brother in law acquired the ADVOWSON of Bitterley, Shropshire he was appointed Rector there. In 1795 the acquisition in a similar manner of the advowson of Martley, Worcester led to his appointment in 1795 to one of, if not the wealthiest Rectory in England ( then said to be worth £1600 a year).

He lived the life of a country gentleman, employing as his mentor in Sutton had taught him, curates and assistants to run the Parish.This lifestyle was brought to an abrupt end in 1806 when he was severely disabled by a riding accident.

He lived the rest of his long life as an imbecile. He died aged 100 in 1856. The Rectorship passed to others members of the Hastings family in whose possession it remained until 1958.

James had 15 children, the first four being born in Sutton. None of his eight daughters married. His seven sons included two Admirals, two Knights, a Rector, a lawyer and the medical practitioner who founded the British Medical Council




Sir Thomas Heneage (d1530) was private secretary to Cardinal Wolsey, who was a friend of Bishop Vesey of Sutton Coldfield, and Chancellor to King Henry VIII from 1515 to his fall in 1529. Sutton Coldfield was a Crown estate before and until the Charter of 1528 and it seems highly likely therefore that the George Heneage who was Rector of the Parish 1516-1521 was a kinsman of Sir Thomas.

The grandaughter of Sir Thomas’ brother Robert, Elizabeth Heneage, married Sir Moyle Finch in 1578. Their son Sir Heneage Finch was Speaker of the House of Commons and the first in a line of six successive people of that name, two of whom, the 4th and 5th Earls of Aylesford were later HIGH STEWARDS of Sutton Coldfield.

Also see FINCH




In the 14th century the township of Sutton Coldfield comprised a cluster of tenements and cottages around the Parish Church of Holy Trinity, and a number of outlying settlements such as Hill, Little Sutton, Four Oaks, Maney and the Wyld and Walmley and Beyond the Woods .

 As the population grew the centre expanded along High Street, Coleshill Street and Mill Street. The precise history of many of the old buildings in High Street is obscure but several probably began life as stone cottages built by Bishop Vesey in the 16th century. At that time the principal industry was agriculture and each dwellinghad its croft or field to the rear.

New buildings erected during the 17th century included William Wilson’s MOAT HOUSE and for many years thereafter High Street was the chosen residence for many of the wealthiest inhabitants.

In the 18th century new properties included the great Georgian mansions ‘ANCHORAGE’ and ‘Rookery’ (both long since demolished and replaced by Police and Fire headquarters) and the new Free Grammar School buildings, and many older buidings were remodelled or rebuilt with impressive Georgian facades.

By the beginning of the 19th century however the long decline of High Street had begun; in 1807 the road was TURNPIKEd and became the main route fromBirmingham to Burton and Derby and the North East (A38) and the wealthy residents began to move away from the centre. High Street became a bustling commercial centre inhabited by shopkeepers and traders.

But the rapid growth of the town after the arrival of the railways created a need for improved facilities, and when the new retail area was developed on the DAM, later named PARADE, the fate of the High Street was sealed. Remote from the retail centre, a long period of decline has continued to the present day, as the local authorities have failed to find a solution to the growing decay and heavy traffic grinding along the narrow thoroughfare.

The High Street was designated a Conservation area in 1973 long after the demolition of many old buildings for the creation of the new Midland Railway line in 1879 and the extension of the main line to Lichfield in 1884. Fortunately many important buildings including over twenty Grade II listed properties survive.

These listed buildings include:-

No.1 High Street, possibly 15th century in origin, once the home of the ADDENBROOKE family and later of Dr Sir Alfred Evans, boasts an impressive seven bay Georgian frontage in red brick.

No.2 is a Georgian house which later served as a school, a lodging house, the YMCA and now offices.

No.3 is VESEY HOUSE ( see section V)

No.9 also a Georgian house, once the home of CB Adderley and in the 19th century the Hatters shop and home of the Brockas family

No.11 also Georgian and one time shop and home of Wilkins Butchers.

No.19 is the ‘Three Tuns’ . This reputedly the oldest hostelry in the town is said by some to have hosted King Charles I and Highwayman Dick Turpin ( but not on the same occasion)

No.20. Ivy House was built as a family residence in about 1675 and was later home to Smiths Druggists and briefly Lloyds Bank. It has recently been incorporated into an adjoining development of residential apartments but the façade has been retained.

No.25 ROYAL HOTEL (see section R)

No.36 CULLS HOUSE (see section C)

No.38 is thought to be the 17th century home of Samuel Wilkinson, High Sheriff of Warwickshire in 1697. It has a blind window so as to reduce the number of windows taxable under the Window Taxes Act 1798 to the minimum level: which suggests that the façade dates from about that time.

No.46 ‘Sadler House’ dates from the mid 18th century but with a three bay frontage of about 1800. It also has a blind window. It was once the office of Richard Sadler. Solicitor and is still occupied by a successor legal firm.





Prior to the first Royal Charter of 1528, Sir Walter Devereux, Lord Ferrers of Chartley, held the office of High Steward of the town under the Crown.

He also held office as Bailiff of the Manor, Keeper of the Rolls and Keeper of Coldfield Walk. The salaries for these three posts were to be paid to him and his son Henry under a grant of 1525 for life at the rate of £16 a year.

The WARDEN AND SOCIETY ( the town’s Council) did not exercise their authority under the Charter to appoint the High Steward until 1547.

High Stewards were to be appointed for life , and at least in the 16th century were expected to have a knowledge of English law although they were entitled to appoint deputies to assist in the High Steward’s duty to hold Courts.

In practice the Deputy Stewards who were lawyers, carried out the duties and the role of the High Steward became symbolic and hid duties largely ceremonial.

The High Stewards were all persons of standing and mostly were members of aristocratic families of Warwickshire and Staffordshire:-

1547. John Throckmorton

1582. Henry GOODERE

1595. Richard Repington

1612. Robert DEVEREAUX ( later Earl of Essex)

1646. Richard Newdigate

1679. Thomas Thynne ( later Viscount Weymouth)

1714. Four Willoughbys, all Lords Middleton, in succession

1781. Thomas Thynne (later Marquis of Bath)

1796. Heneage FINCH (later Earl of Aylesford)

1812. (Another) Lord Middleton

1835. Heneage FINCH (later 5th Earl of Aylesford)

1859. William Henry Leigh, Lord Leigh of Stoneleigh

1905. Sir Benjamin STONE

1925. Sir Francis Newdigate-Newdegate

1936. Sir Henry Ramsay Cameron Farfax-Lucy

1944. Vacant

1951. Rupert William Dudley Leigh, Lord Leigh of Stonleigh


In 1974 the Corporation of Sutton Coldfield was merged with that of the City of Birmingham and the office of High Steward became extinct




There is clearly a close connecton between the Holbeche family of Sutton and the old legal and landed family of Fillongley and Farnborough, Warwickshire, but the precise details of the descent are not known.

Emmanuel College, Cambridge was established in 1584, and its endowment included significant property holdings in Sutton. Thomas Holbeche, third son of William Holbeche of Birchley Hall, near Fillongley, was a fellow of the college and its Master from 1675 until his death in 1680. Whether the Holbeche/ Suttonconnection proceeded the Emmanuel/Sutton involvement or vice versa is not clear.

The first refence linking Holbeche directly with Sutton appears to relate to Martin Holbeche, a lawyer who was appointed Deputy Steward (equivalent to Towm Clerk) of Sutton Coldfield in 1683.

Amillian Holbeche (this unusual name occurs several times in the Fillongley family) born about 1750, married Mary Vincent, and brought upa family in Lichfield. Their son Thomas born 1772, married Sarah, became a solicitor and settled in Sutton. He was WARDEN of the town in 1797 and 8. He was appointed Deputy Steward before 1835. He had thirteen children and lived in a large house in Coleshill Street opposite Holy Trinity Church. He died aged 76 in 1848.

His first son Vincent born 1806, married Emma ADDENBROOKE, of Kingswinford about 1846. Having qualified as a lawyer he took his place in the family firm. Emma’s brother Henry joined the Addenbrooke legal firm to create the partnership Holbech and Addenbrooke and together they jointly acted as Deputy Stewards.

Before his marriage Vincent lived at 22 or 24 High Street, later at PARK HOUSE, and then in the family home at Coleshill Street. He had seven children.

His first son Thomas Vincent Holbeche born 1846 carried on the family legal tradition but had no children. He lived at Maney and later built a new house in 1897 in Wentworth Road when the FOUR OAKS HALL estate was developed for housing. He was appointed the first Town Clerk of the newly formed Municipal Corporation in 1886. He died in 1904.

His brothers included Edward Addenbrooke Holbeche born 1847 who emigrated to New Zealand ( as did several Addenbrooke cousins) and was killed in action in World War I, Arthur Holbeche who became a medical practitioner in Malvern, Worcs, Amillian ( known as Will) who was a land agent and surveyor, and Richard.

Richard Holbeche had a successful Army career and as a Lieutenant Colonel retired to the old family in Sutton. Possibly prompted by the death of his mother in 1891 and the imminent move out of the old home, he wrote, in 1892, anevocative account of the days of his youth in the town. Covering the years 1855 to 1865 the Holbeche Diary provides a fascinating and detailed record of the people and life in the town in those days.

A Mary Holbeche (Holbeach) is believed to have married Edward Leigh, the third Lord Leigh, and this connection may account for the later appointment of the fourth Lord Leigh as HIGH STEWARD in 1859.




Joseph Oughton, a Birmingham ‘barrel forger’, was granted a lease of lane at Stonebed Moors, Sutton Coldfield in 1754 for the purpose of damming theEbrook there, creating a pool and building a water mill. (Oughtons Mill)

He was probably the occupier of a large house built in 1732 which later became known as Holland House. He was WARDEN of Sutton in 1767.

A large 12 acre area was flooded to create ponds and ozier beds ( willow reed used for basket making). The area became known as Holland.

‘Gentlemans Magazine’ of 1762 refers to a mill for boring musket barrels and the ‘HOLBECHE Diary’ , referring to Holland in about 1855, recalls ‘ three pools and a mill dam and a mill in which bayonets and gun barrels were found’

John Oughton married Mary Vaughton in 1810. The 1841 census records them resident at Holland House but in 1851 the census lists Mary as a widow.

Oughton Mill had ceased to operate by 1889 and by 1892 the gardens of the house had been extended into what had been the area covered by pools. Holland House was demolished in 1936 to make way for the building of Riland Bedford School (renamed Plantsbrook School in 1986)