In Deed


The folded deed. Image courtesy David Evans.

Some time ago, when Brownhills local Councillor Barbara Cassidy very generously donated some excellent images for publication on the blog, there was an extra item David Evans was allowed to handle and photograph, which is a rather astonishing and wonderful artefact. The item in question is a Deed or Inclosure document, pertaining to land just off Hednesford Road in Brownhills.

The Deed was drawn up by the Inclosure Commissioners for England and Wales on the 15th October, 1868, for Mr. Charles Thacker.

Keen readers will note that the Thacker family have been mentioned in relation to that area of Brownhills – up on the West – before.

Untitled 9

Ordnance Survey 1:10,000 scale 1884 plan of the area in question, the specific general sale area highlighted in red. Bare in mind this is 15 or so years after the deed was drawn up and much has changed. However, I’m convinced the road ‘Leading to the New Colliery Plant belonging to the Conduit Colliery Company’ is now Albutts Road. Some treats buried in the map too, including the Rifle Range and Magazine. Click for a larger version. Image from the National Library of Scotland Archive (NLS).

What happened to the photos of the deed next is remarkable. The patient, generous spirited and eagle-eyed Andy Dennis offered to transcribe the document from David’s photos – no mean feat, and no small task. This Andy did, and not only that, he added to the history known by finding the relevant sale notice in newspaper archives.

This whole project is a demonstration of collaborative local history at it’s best, and at the outset, I’d like to express my deepest gratitude to Barbara, for her generosity and time; Andy Dennis for his patience and excellent work; and David Evans for organising it all and doing the running, emailing and photography.

I’m hoping that as folk read this, let it sink in and digest, we may be able to add even more to the knowledge.

I will include the transcription first. The text is heavy, legalese and demanding to read. Skip down if it’s heavy going, there are notes and further material below it – you can refer back as required.


The full deed, painstakingly transcribed by top history whizz Andy Dennis. Image by David Evans. Please click for a larger version.

In the matter of the Inclosure of that part of Cannock Chase which is situate in the manor of Norton Canes in the Parish of Norton Canes in the County of Stafford

We the undersigned Inclosure Commissioners for England and Wales by virtue of The Acts for the Inclosure Exchange and Improvement of Land and in consideration of the sum of twenty one pounds paid into our hands by Charles Thacker of the Manor and Parish of Norton Canes aforesaid Miner being the purchase money of the heriditaments hereinafter described do by these presents do convey unto the said Charles Thacker his heirs and assigns ALL that piece of land containing two roods and three perches or thereabouts situate in the Parish and Manor of Norton Canes in the said County of Stafford being part of Cannock Chase and constituting Lot 10 in a certain printed particular and plan at an Auction held at the “Fleur de Lys” Inn Norton Canes on the sixth day of April one thousand eighteen hundred and sixty eight fronting on the North East to the New Road over Norton Common leading from Brownhills to Hednesford and being bounded on the south east by part of the said Chase being Lot 9 in the Particular and plan sold to Frederick [?] Thacker on the south by land of William Hanbury Esquire and on the North west by other part of the said Chase being Lot 11 in the said Particular and plan sold to Thomas Thacker and others Together with all rights members and appurtenances to the said piece of land belonging or appertaining To hold the same unto the said Charles Thacker his heirs and assigns To such uses as the said Charles Thacker by any deed or deeds shall from time to time appoint and in default of and until such appointment and so far as any such appointment shall not extend To the use of the said Charles Thacker and his assigns during his life without impeachment of of waste And after the determination of that state by any means in his lifetime To the use of Richard Hickin of the Parish and Manor of Norton Canes aforesaid Miner his executors and administrators during the life of the said Charles Thacker In Trust for the said Charles Thacker and his assigns And after the determination of his estate so limited to the said Richard Hicken his executors and administrators as aforesaid to the use of the said Charles Thacker his heirs and assigns for ever Subject ??? ?? hereinafter mentioned that is to say the mines minerals stone fossils and other substrata except surface sand and gravel under the land hereby conveyed are reserved unto William Hanbury Esquire his heirs and assigns and the devices in trust and heirs and assigns of Finneas Fowke Hussey deceased as Lord of the Manor of Norton Canes with full liberty and authority for them their heirs and assigns or by their agents and servants from time to time and at any time to enter into and upon the said land hereby conveyed or any part thereof and to make and sink such pits shafts and levels and to make and construct such buildings engines machines canals basins railways waggonways and roads and afterwards to remove all or any or such of them as can practicably be removed or the materials of all or any of them and to deposit any spoil and to exercise all such other easements in and over the said land or any part thereof as they may deem necessary and convenient for the searching or sawing working converting depositing and carrying away the mines minerals stone fossils and other substrata hereby reserved And also all other rights powers and liberties (being sinecure [?] to those before stated) for working the said mines given or reserved to them by a certain Indenture dated the twentieth day of March One thousand eight hundred and fifty eight and made between the said William Hanbury of the first part Phineas Fowke Hussey of the second part Sophia Hussey of the third part Richard Green and James Lewis [?] of the fourth part and Richard Jesson of the fifth part or by virtue of an Act of Parliament the 22nd and 23rd Victoria Chapter 43 Section 3 they the said Willaim Hanbury and Phineas Fowke Hussey their heirs or assigns paying to the said Charles Thacker his heirs and assigns in respect of any of the land hereby conveyed shall be so entered upon used or occupied for all or any of the purposes aforesaid at and after the rate of Two pounds per acre per annum and so in proportion for any quantity less than an acre during the use and occupation of the said land and no longer and also paying for any damage or injury which may be done to any then growing crops by so entering upon such lands But the said William Hanbury and the devices heirs and assigns of the said Phineas Fowke Hussey deceased are not to be liable for any damage or injury which may happen to any houses buildings or erections of any description which may hereinafter be erected on the said land or any part thereof for any damage or injury which may be caused by the opening falling in or subsidence of the surface thereof or otherwise howsoever through or in relation to the searching for working getting or carrying away the said mines minerals stone fossils and other substrata hereby reserved or any of them. And the said Charles Thacker is to make within six months from the date hereof the fences for inclosing the land hereby conveyed situated on the north east and north west sides thereof and for ever hereafter to keep the same in good order and repair. In witness we the said Inclosure Commissioners have hereunto set our hands and affixed our seals and the said Charles Thacker hath hereunto ste his hand and seal this fifteenth day of October One thousand eight hundred and sixty eight /./


Andy says:

On its own this does not reveal much except that the Lords of the Manor, Hanbury and Hussey, retained all underground mineral rights and absolved themselves of any liability for damage caused by subsidence from their mining activities, though they agreed to compensate for damage to crops. Charles Thacker had paid £21 for the privilege of having this contract drawn up and would receive £2 per acre per year in perpetuity in respect of mining beneath his land.

The auction particulars (below) reveal that the 2 roods and 3 perches[1] (approximately 0.52 acres or 0.21 hectares) of Lot 10 were for building land. The neighbouring plots were for building (9) and just ‘land’ (11).

Conveyance 1868

From the Birmingham Journal, Saturday, April 4th, 1868 p1,col1 Via Click for a larger version.

In the 1871 census a Charles Thacker lived next to the Pear Tree Cottage (William Hartson, Publican). Next to him was an unoccupied house ‘recently built’, then Thomas Hicken, Miner (not the son of Richard Hicken, Miner, whose address was ‘Wilkin’ and who also had a son William), then Thomas Thacker, Grocer.

Still, this looks like the people mentioned in relation to Lots 9, 10 and 11. The auction particulars refer to Conduit Colliery Works, but this was surely not the place we understand as Conduit Colliery at Betty’s Lane, see details about Lot 19, which places the works next or close to the reservoir.

[1] 1 acre = 4 roods and 160 perches; 1 rood = 40 perches.

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14 Responses to In Deed

  1. Pedro says:

    I always have difficulty in visualising an acre, so taking Andy’s figure that Charles Thacker’s plot is around 0.21ha…

    Bescot football pitch is 110 X 73 yards, being 0.67ha in new money. Therefore the plot would be about a third the size of the Bescot pitch!

  2. Pedro says:

    If it is of any interest there is, in the CCMHS publication William Harrison Co Ltd., a location plan of collieries on Wyrley and Brownhills Commons, although it is not dated. On this there are marked Conduit Collieries, numbers 1 to 4.

    Conduit No 2 corresponds to the pit marked Coppice Colliery on the map above.

  3. Clive says:

    Very intresting read. Big thank you to all involved in putting this article together.

  4. David Evans says:

    Hi Bob
    a super presentation. Many thanks. Andy is a hero! That map is intriguing!
    kind regards

  5. Andy Dennis says:

    What do we know about the rifle range? As it is on the 1884 mapping it was obviously not built specifically for WWI.

  6. Pedro says:

    October 1861, first meeting of the County Rifle Association was commenced, at the Shooting ground, Brownhills.

    August 1863, third annual meeting, with large attendance.

    Sept 1885, annual supper for the E Company of the Volunteers took place at the Hussey Arms Hotel.

    Nov 1890, also Hussey Arms prizes to E Company of the 2nd V.B. South Staffs Reg took place on the Brownhills Rifle Range.

    …An outdoor rifle range for Brownhills was opened in May 1908. Much support had been give for an outdoor rifle range, not least by Mr WE Harrison, a gentleman renowned for his patriotism and love of sport. He kindly consented to open the range, hoping that members of the rifle club would turn out to be good shots.

    He remembered that his father (that would be Capt, WB Harrison) used to tell him that there were four men in Brownhills who it was hard to beat with a rifle. But it was the young men of England that they wanted to get hold of and teach to shoot. They wanted them to learn to shoot, and they wanted them to join the Territorial Army. (Applause)

  7. David Evans says:

    Hi Bob…,
    ah. dear, beloved, Mr WE Harrison ( did he become a Colonel ?) I never did manage to find his WW1 army records,overseas deployment, or any record for medals for valour, war injuries etc,, despite extensive search ….In later years I think it was President Kennedy who famously said..”ask not what your country can do for you……….”
    kind regards

  8. Pedro says:

    Hi David,

    Best look back to the article…Well, that was unfortunate…

    The military titles came from the TA

    “When war broke out he went with the Division to Luton, but suffered in health, and was transfered to Deganwy, to command the Royal Engineers Training Battalion of the New Army. From Deganwy he was transfered to Plymouth to command a special brigade of the Royal Engineers. He was twice mentioned in despatches, and for his war services was awarded the OBE…”

  9. Pedro says:

    Also on the colliery location map in the CCMHS publication it marks Wilkin Wide Pits just above Highfield House and where the Magazine is marked, with Park Lane Pits just to its right.

    This area has also been shown on the Blog in the article Western Front, with an overlay, and can be seen here…

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  12. Ray Fowke says:

    An excellent presentation on this subject. As a distant relative of the Fowke family line involved in Brownhills and Little Wyrley, I am interested to know if there are any theories as to how Phineas Fowke Hussey and William Hanbury are related? Try as I might with data and material available online I cannot seem to make a connection! Or have I missed something which is staring me in the face? Best Wishes,
    Ray Fowke (New Zealand)

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