Hockley Heath

Hockley Heath

Hockley Heath is a suburb and hamlet in Solihull that is mostly located in Arden. Nuthurst cum Hockley Heath is within the West Midlands conurbation, 12 miles (19 km) southeast of Birmingham, 5.5 miles (8.9 km) south of Solihull town centre, and 12.5 miles (20.1 km) north of Stratford-upon-Avon. 

Warwickshire and the District of Stratford-on-Avon are to the south of the village, with some parts of the village on either side of the boundary. Its population was 6,771 in 2001, and was 2,038 at the 2011 census.

History of Hockley Heath

In the Anglo-Saxon times, Nuthurst, along with Illshaw Heath, formed part of the larger Forest of Arden. From the anglo-saxon Hnuthyrste, which means Nut Wood, the area was known as Nuthurst.

The name was usually spelt Notehurst after the Norman Conquest but gradually reverted to its original spelling. It belonged to Hampton-in-Arden, and 1/5 of the knight’s fee in Nuthurst was held by Niel de Mowbray. The year 1230 refers to Roger de Mowbray, while 1242 refers to Roger de Mowbray. In 1297, Roger de Mowbray acquired the overlordship; in 1432, John Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk, assumed the overlordship.

Dedicated to St Peter, Nuthurst church dates as far back as 1216. It was a curate’s chapel located in Hampton in Arden. A painting from 1820 shows the church in ruins and the only thing that remains of the church now is the graveyard and a ruined mortuary chapel dating from the 1800s. The church likely fell out of use because of the construction of the church of St Thomas in Hockley Heath, which was closer to the main road of the hamlet.

Mowbrays then passed the estate to the Montforts, Hastings and ultimately the Trussells. The disposition in favour of Edward II was communicated to him by Sir William Trussell, of Nuthurst. William Trussell encountered the Despencer family, which held the manor of nearby Solihull among their other titles during Edward II’s reign.

It wasn’t until the 18th century that the hamlet was refocused around Umberslade and the manor had been inherited by the Archers of Umberslade Hall. Built for the Archer family in 1680, Umberslade lies between Nuthurst and Tanworth in Arden. Lord Archer built a 70-foot-high (21-meter) limestone block obelisk on the estate in 1749. The reason for this is unclear, possibly to celebrate his elevation to the peerage or just as a folly, as was the fashion during that period. Folkloristically speaking, it is a memorial to a beloved horse, which is buried beneath it.

In 1876, local industrialist and politician G. F. Muntz became a resident of Umberslade Hall and instigated the construction of Umberslade Baptist school in Nuthurst. In its place is the M40 – an autoroute that snakes through the former grounds of Umberslade Hall and the avenue of giant Sequoiadendron that once linked the two.

Walter Higgs lived at Nuthurst Grange in the settlement, a country house constructed in 1882. The hotel now serves as a luxury wedding venue.

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