That there Young David Evans has been busy again investigating the physical geography of the land between Walsall Wood and Aldridge, at Kings Hayes and The Vigo. David has previously done some excellent work on the landscape and history of Walsall Wood, and this article continues that trend.
Both David and I have had a feeling for a long time now that the seeds of Walsall Wood as a village lie in this spot, and that there is much history to be discovered here. Kings Hayes Farm is very old, and I think there was very probably some kind of supporting settlement.
Here, David explores the history relating to an old cottage which, I must confess, I’d never noticed before. Thanks to him, and of course to his host, Simon Taylor, for bringing to light yet another bit of otherwise lost history.
As usual, comments and email welcome: either at the foot of this post or to BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers.
The Vigo , Sunnyside, and its oldest house
I was intrigued to notice a derelict old house at Sunnyside when I was taking photos of the nearby stream some while ago, for the article ‘Going with the Flow‘, June 16th. This 1884 map shows the site of the derelict farmhouse, in field no 734.
A recent blog comment by local historian Clive Roberts (In ‘The word on the Streets‘, July 21st), where nail-making in Walsall Wood was mentioned as being recorded well before 1736, and the name Creswell being one nail-maker at that time, set me thinking.
We know that the part of Walsall Wood known as the Vigo dates back further than 1800, sourced and referenced in the article Where you go, Vigo too, but how far back can we trace a settlement there, what was the activity of the settlement, and does anything remain of the original dwellings?
Lets see what we can find:
Vigo shows as the settlement in this 1884 map. It is the building in field 734 that is of interest. This place is now a busy industrial site, opposite the Fire Station and Kings Hayes Farm. In this map a track leads to this building from the top left, and there is a field 732 that lies between the building and the road by Kings Hayes Road.
This is part of the 1750 tithe map for the same area. Kings Hayes farm had yet to be built but lies to the right of the field with the name Thos Creswell, with its cottage in the field. In fact there are three dwellings occupied by Creswells here, with a dwelling occupied by Mr Wilcox to the left. We notice the line of Castle Road leading to the right, with Thomas Allen’s dwelling there. Was this a farm ?
The Jo Yates parcel of land, with Mr Wilcox as one neighbour, and Thomas Creswell as the other neighbour… It is quite possible that this building may the derelict house, which then became known as Sunnyside Farm in later years, and which is half-hidden in the modern busy yard that surrounds it.
I would like to thank Mr Simon Taylor, owner of the property, for allowing me to take and publish these photos, I understand from him that the buildings there were originally two identical cottages adjoining each other, and that in the 1970s one of the two buildings was modernised, as we can see, and the other was left uninhabited.
David Evans, August 2013