William Dargue A History of BIRMINGHAM Places & Placenames from A to Y
B75 - Grid reference SP132949
Newe halle: first record 1340
Well worth a visit - New Hall.
Continuously filled by internal springs, a moat with sides of twelve metres in length surrounds New Hall. This, the oldest inhabited moated house in England, dates back to c1200. Its name indicates that there must have been an even earlier house here.
The manor of Sutton was granted by King Henry II to Roger de Newburgh, Earl of Warwick in 1126; New Hall was built at some time after this date. The stone south wing and part of the west survive from this original building which may have been built in an L shape. In 1341 Thomas Beauchamp, a later Earl of Warwick, let the house to Sir John Lizours when the name of New Hall is found recorded for the first time.
The estate of New Hall was described as a manor in 1435 held by Sir Richard Stanhope of the Earl of Warwick. Although he had a son, James, the manor seems to have passed to his sister, Katherine Basset who was controlling the estate in 1442. By 1487 after the Wars of the Roses the manor was again in the hands of the Crown. Thomas Gibbons bought the hall and estate and in 1525 was living here and preparing to make alterations and extensions to the house.
Henry Sacheverall bought the manor in 1610 and continued to further extend and improve the house. The banqueting hall was added at this time as part of the north wing which was also built in stone. The ceiling of the hall is divided into panels joined with decorations of faces, foliage and fruit, and a Sacheverell coat-of-arms. The frieze is decorated with goats of the Sacheverell crest and fantastic monsters. The walls are panelled. The entrance hall is in the west range and is also lined with 17th-century oak panels. The staircase to the first floor is older with bulky banisters and carved balustrades. Painted carved figures top the newel posts: griffins, a crowned lion holding the Sacheverell arms and a Sacheverell goat.. The upper staircase is more recent but the newels bear older carved figures: the bear and ragged staff of Warwick, the lion and the unicorn.
The ancient south side demonstrates the changes that have been made to the building over the years. Here is a large square projection. Its base was in built in brick during the 16th century and was part of a chimney-stack. However, the two upper storeys are late-17th-century and were built when a fire-place was made on the opposite wall and this chimney was converted into a bay.
In 1796 the bay was widened and another storey was added above to form an embattled tower topped with a square turret in late 18th-century gothick style. Some of the stones are carved: shields with monograms CS and CC and the date 1796, the Sacheverell arms, and their Latin motto, EN BON FOY, 'In good faith'.
When Henry Sacheverall died in 1620, New Hall passed to his son Valens/ Valence who in turn it passed to his son George. His chaplain the infamous Jacobite Dr Henry Sacheverall (no relation) who moved here to stay with his patron after being tried for sedition in 1709. He was later held here under house arrest. Valence's eldest son, George died without issue in 1715 and the estate was bequeathed to his great nephew, Charles Chadwick who took the name Sacheverall. On his death in 1779 New Hall passed to his sister Dorothy. She died a spinster in 1784 bequeathing the manor to Charles Chadwick, the son of her half-brother John.
The house remained a Chadwick possession until 1897. John de Heley Chadwick in his turn altered and extended the hall in 1870 by enlarging the north wing and building up the central tower. His son, Hugo Mavesyn Chadwick, who succeeded him in 1829 left the estate in 1854 to his son John de Heley Mavesyn Chadwick. The 1861 Census lists the residents of the hall: John Chadwick, aged 26 and described as a landed proprietor of Bath and his wife Clara aged 20 who had been born in Accra in the East Indies. They had a one-year-old son and daughter who had been born the previous month. Staying at the house as visitors were John Chadwick's cousin, Clara South from Surrey and his brother-in-law, Frederick Goad (Clara's brother?), an ensign of the 72nd Highlanders who had also been born in the East Indies at Simla. Also living in were a number of servants: a butler, valet and a footman, a housekeeper, cook, kitchen maid, 3 housemaids and 2 nurses presumably looking after Clara. When John Chadwick died in 1897 New Hall fell into the possession of his mortgagees.
From 1885 to 1905 the hall was being used as a school known as New Hall College for up to 70 boys intending to pursue 'professional or commercial careers.' It was advertised as follows:
Delicate and backward boys receive special attention. There is every accommodation for Boarders. The bedrooms are large, lofty, well-lighted and thoroughly ventilated. The Diet is thoroughly wholesome and unlimited milk and butter is procured from the private dairy. 20 Acres of land give opportunities for football, cricket, tennis and abundant facilities for fishing are afforded by the moat and ponds.
The school also offered activities in the carpenter's shop, the gymnasium and chemistry lab as well as military drill and singing.
Bought as a residence by Walter Wilkinson of New Hall Mill. New Hall itself was last privately tenanted from 1923 by Alfred Owen. The estate was then owned by a number of wealthy local businessmen until it became a country house hotel in 1988. By then the hall had been Grade I Listed. It was extended with the addition of fifty bedrooms designed in a sympathetic style in 1992 and private housing was built on the former agricultural land around the hall in the last years of the 20th century.
Well worth a visit - New Hall Mill
On Plantsbrook New Hall Mill was probably built in the 16th century as a two-wheeled corn mill. Both the mill and millhouse survive, the latter with some timber-framing, and are Grade II* Listed. Milling was carried out by diesel power from the 1960s because of failing water supply; and the last miller, Ben Davis died in 1991. The mill machinery and waterwheel were restored to working order from 1970 at the instigation of Sir Alfred Owen, owner of New Hall estate; further work was carried out by the present owners until 1996 when the mill was first opened to the public; it may now be visited on occasions as advertised.
New Hall Valley Country Park was created in 2005 and covers some 80 hectares of designated green-belt land in the Plantsbrook valley. It forms part of Birmingham's policy of developing green corridors throughout the city primarily along river valleys.
This country park links Sutton Park in the north with Plantsbrook Local Nature Reserve to the south. It is set out on former farmland, largely meadows, and includes areas of wetland important to nature conservation. Indeed parts of the park are designated as Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation. Buzzards, kestrels and sparrowhawks, herons, kingfishers, water voles and brook trout may be seen as well as a wide variety of plants, especially wetland species.
Coopers Wood at the north end of the park is designated Ancient Woodland, 'ancient' being defined as having been under continuous wooded cover since at least the year 1600. Prior to this date it was unusual to plant woods, so woodland known before that date is almost certain to have developed naturally at a very early time in the past.
However, in recent years there has also been extensive housing development in this area east of Sutton. New Hall Estate was built north of New Hall during the 1970s on a steeply inclining site overlooking the Plantsbrook valley. It is set out on the west side of Reddicap Hill and includes the site of New Hall Farm at New Hall Farm Close and Home Wood which is also designated as Ancient Woodland and preserved. To the south of New Hall, New Hall Manor Estate was built around the year 2000 on land which was formerly part of New Hall Farm.
Click on the images in the Gallery below to enlarge them.
William Dargue 07.04.2009/ 14.12.2020
For 19th-century Ordnance Survey maps of Birmingham go to British History Online.
Map below reproduced from Andrew Rowbottom’s website of Old Ordnance Survey maps Popular Edition, Birmingham 1921. Click the map to link to that website.