Saturday, 23 January 2021

Wall House near Lichfield,
part of a mediaeval manor,
is on the market for £4.25m

Wall House in Wall, near Lichfield … on the site of the mediaeval manor house and on the market for £4.25 million

Patrick Comerford

Wall House, an interesting house on the southern outskirts of Lichfield, has come on the market with an asking price of £4.25 million.

Wall is close the village of Shenstone and south of the cathedral city of Lichfield. It is known for the Roman settlement, Letocetum, and the ancient Roman Baths on a site owned and run by the National Trust.

Wall House on Green Lane probably stands on the site of the mediaeval manor house, although the present village of Wall dates mainly from the mid-17th century and the Civil War period.

The Manor of Wall was formed between 1135 and 1166 out of the bishop’s manor of Lichfield, later Longdon. It may have been created by Bishop Walter Durdent, Bishop of Lichfield (1149-1159), in the early 1150s for Rabel Durdent. He was probably a member of the bishop’s family, and he held Wall in 1166.

The Manor of Wall later passed through the Swinfen and Vernon families. When Sir George Vernon died in 1565, Wall passed to his daughter Margaret, who was twice married, first to Sir Thomas Stanley of Winwick (1532-1576), MP for Lancashire, and in 1584 to William Mather. When Margaret died in 1596, Mather acquired Wall from his stepson Sir Edward Stanley, and Mather’s son by a second marriage, Ambrose Mather, inherited Wall.

After Ambrose Mather died in 1625, John Popham and his wife Mary acquired a life interest in Wall in 1627 from Ambrose Mather’s widow Elizabeth. Popham had a house and 125 acres at Wall by 1634. He sold the manor in 1638 to Thomas Dutton of Chesterfield and Francis Erpe of Lynn, near Shenstone, and to Robert Wood, a London cook. They divided the Manor, with Dutton taking a half share that included the principal house, then called Mather’s Farm, and Erpe and Wood each taking quarter shares.

Erpe’s widow Lettice sold her husband’s share to Thomas Dutton in 1648, and the sale was confirmed in 1650. Wood’s son, William Wood, a London barrister, divided his share in 1652, selling half to John Marshall, a London cook, and half to Thomas Dutton. Marshall then sold his portion to Dutton in 1658.

Dutton had reassembled the manor, but he divided it once again. He gave a quarter share to William Quinton, who married his daughter Alice in 1658, and when he died in 1689, he left a quarter share to his grandson Thomas Porter. Dutton’s son, Edward Dutton, inherited what remained, except for the manorial fishpool and rabbit warren, which went to William Quinton.

Edward Dutton’s share was centred on the later Manor Farm. He was succeeded by his son Thomas Dutton in 1704. Thomas was succeeded in 1755 by his brother William, a London draper, whose son Thomas, a London sugar cooper, sold Manor Farm and his share of the manor in 1769 to Ann, widow of Richard Burnes of Aldershawe. She gave them to her son, John Burnes Floyer in 1777.

Manor Farm then descended with Aldershawe until 1925, when it was sold to the tenant, Walter Ryman, who was succeeded in 1949 by his son, WJ Ryman.

The share of the manor given to William Quinton centred on what was later known as Wall House, now on the market. When Quinton died in 1699, it passed to his son John Quinton, who was succeeded in 1714 by his brother Thomas Quinton.

Thomas Quinton died in 1736 and his estate was divided between his daughters Alice, then unmarried, and Anne, the wife of William Jackson, a Lichfield silversmith.

However, Thomas Quinton had mortgaged the estate, and when he defaulted it came to Robert Porter, a Lichfield lawyer. Porter had already in 1703 acquired the share bequeathed in 1689 to his brother Thomas Porter. Robert Porter was succeeded in 1744 by his son, Sheldon Porter, and in 1754 Alice Quinton, then wife of James Garlick, a Lichfield surgeon, confirmed Sheldon Porter’s right to her share of the manor.

When Sheldon Porter died in 1765, his heirs were his sisters Sarah, the widow of Edward Jackson of Wall Hall, and Penelope, a spinster. Penelope died in 1782, and her heir was a distant cousin Zachary Hill, a schoolmaster. His son Robert Hill, once a Birmingham shoemaker, held the manor in 1808. When Robert Hill died in 1812, the manor comprised Wall House, with 30 acres in Wall and 12 acres in Shenstone and Moat Bank House with 94 acres in Wall, was sold in two parts in 1813.

John Mott (1787-1869) … inherited Wall House in 1836 and was Mayor of Lichfield in 1850

Wall House and the manorial rights with it were bought in 1813 by William Mott, a Lichfield lawyer and deputy registrar of the Diocese of Lichfield. He built the house at No 19 The Close, Lichfield, to serve as the Diocesan Registry, and moved to No 20 The Close.

William Mott died in 1836 and was succeeded at Wall House by his son John Mott (1787-1869), who rebuilt No 20 on the Cathedral Close in Lichfield. He was Sheriff of Lichfield in 1836, and was Mayor of Lichfield in 1850.

John Mott’s wife, Henrietta Oakeley (1787-1869), was a sister of Canon Frederick Oakeley, the Lichfield hymnwriter associated with the carol, ‘O come, all ye faithful.’

The Church of Saint John the Baptist in Wall was built on site donated by John Mott (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

John Mott of Wall House gave land for building a new church in Wall in 1843. Mott also gave an endowment of £700, augmented by funds that included £500 left by Robert Hill, the previous owner of Wall House. Further money for the endowment was raised by subscription.

A new parish was formed in 1845 out of Saint Michael’s Parish in Lichfield for Wall and the part of Pipehill outside the city of Lichfield.

The Church of Saint John the Baptist in Wall is built of sandstone and was probably designed by George Gilbert Scott. It has a short chancel, an aisleless nave, a west tower with a spire, and stained-glass windows by Charles Eamer Kempe (1837-1907), the Victorian stained-glass designer and manufacturer.

The patronage of the living was vested in the incumbent of Saint Michael’s, Lichfield, and became a vicarage in 1868. A peal of tubular bells was installed in the church spire in 1892, and a clock was placed there in 1920 as a war memorial. A graveyard was included in Mott’s grant of land for the church and was extended in 1910 and in 1926.

As for John and Henrietta Mott, they were the parents of the sisters Emily Mott (1822-1886) and Georgiana Mott (1823-1908). As children, they had lived in the Cathedral Close, and later in life they lived at Pool House, or No 30 Dam Street, Lichfield.

Pool House, a good example of Lichfield’s Georgian architecture, is at the north-east end of Dam Street, close to the entrance to the Cathedral Close, and looks out across Minster Pool, and it is. The Mott sisters were probably the last members of the once politically important Mott family to live in this part of Lichfield.

John Mott died in 1869, and his son and heir was William Arthur Mott (1815-1887), who married his first cousin, Louisa Ann Kynaston, in 1837. She was a daughter of Roger Kynaston (1776-1847) and Georgina Oakley; her elder sister Letitia (1774-1842) married William Selwyn and was the mother of both William Selwyn (1806-1875), Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity at Oxford (1855-1875), and George Selwyn (1809-1878), first Bishop of New Zealand (1841-1868), Bishop of Lichfield (1865-1878) and who gave his name to Selwyn College in Cambridge and Selwyn House in the Cathedral Close, Lichfield.

William Arthur Mott’s son and heir, the Revd William Kynaston Mott (1840-1889), was baptised in Lichfield Cathedral. He presented the papers and sermons of his ancestor, the Nonjuror, the Revd Thomas Brett (1667-1744), to the library at Lambeth Palace in 1888. He died at Wall House in 1889 and was succeeded by his nephew, Roger John Kynaston Mott (1877-1956).

Roger Mott sold Wall House with five acres in 1919 to Captain Robert Hilton, who sold the house and land in 1920 to Colonel (later Brig-Gen) Claude Westmacott of Knowle Lodge, Lichfield. General Westmacott died in 1948, and the estate was sold to Christina Bather of Lichfield. When she died in 1984, Wall House was bought by Michael Bolland and his wife Janet.

Nearby, Wall Hall was built by the late 17th century to replace a house to the south in Castle Croft on Watling Street, owned by the Jackson family of Chesterfield in Shenstone by the late 16th century.

Wall House is a Grade II listed Georgian country house … the present house was built by Sheldon Porter in 1761

The present Wall House is a Grade II listed Georgian country house set in a conservation area within the village of Wall, south of Lichfield. The eight-bedroom house has an internal floor area of about 8,077 sq ft. It stands in over four acres of grounds, including formal gardens, and has views across the Staffordshire countryside.

The main house is built on a double-pile plan and was presumably built by Sheldon Porter. There is a rainwater head dated 1761 on the south side. It was built on the site of an earlier 16th century house and incorporates part of the structure and possibly some of the panelling from the earlier 17th-century house.

Both main elevations were originally of three bays in brick with moulded cornices. In the early 19th century, the interior was extensively refitted and new kitchens were built on the west.

The formal gardens at Wall House are made up of a series of garden ‘rooms’ with stone and gravel paths linking the gardens. The walled garden terrace features a stone terrace including a chess board in the centre, stone balustrading, ravelled pathways, Capability Brown-inspired planted borders, specimen trees and a central fountain feature.

All viewings of Wall House are strictly by prior appointment with Sophie Bullock of Aston Knowles, Chartered Surveyor and Estate Agents, of Sutton Coldfield.

Henrietta Mott, wife of John Mott (1787-1869), Mayor of Lichfield, who inherited Wall House from his father

See also: ‘Townships: Wall with Pipehill’, in A History of the County of Stafford: Volume 14, Lichfield, ed MW Greenslade (London, 1990), pp 283-294. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/staffs/vol14/pp283-294 [accessed 23 January 2021].

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