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Credit: Andrew Clayton

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Pages are regularly updated and are regularly under construction and expansion. You may wonder why certain images are in here but, as I missed so much as a teenager, I am attempting to make up for it now, once taken, online, and hopefully stored for the future. I also take photo's for people who have moved away, usually abroad.

Copyright. I get many images from individuals who tell me that this is a photo I have of X, Y or Z. You can use it on the site if its appropriate? I do not know who took it, when it was taken, or if it was originally for a book or whatever. I have just bought a copy of a book, the author is dead, the photographer is long dead, the publisher and printer  no longer exist, I had no luck in finding any 'estate' of the author and the book is published by an organisation that no longer exists, and yet the copyright is allegedly still valid. The book is dated 1860. This is my own site, I do it for fun, there is no money to be made and is there for the world to see and use. The copyright laws are far too complex and very very hard to adhere to. If a person owns a photograph of something in WW2, do I have to search for an unknown photographer because he took it in 1943? Hardly likely, but according to copyright laws I am supposed to. If we all adhered to these laws nothing would be written, nothing would be published and this would be the emptiest internet in the universe.  See credits.

Sutton is first recorded in the Domesday Book in 1086. It is a name commonly found across the country and comes from the Old English suth tun meaning 'south farm'. Where it was south of is unsure, perhaps the ecclesiastical centre of Lichfield, maybe Tamworth which was the capital of the Anglian kingdom of Mercia, or possibly it was named as being in the south of the Chase. At the time of the Conquest, Sutton belonged to Edwin, Earl of Mercia. He was the grandson of Godiva. Edwin struggled to the last for English freedom and was put to death in 1071. Godiva's husband, Leofric, would often stay in Sutton on his way to his home in Beverley Regis from Coventry. During the time of Shakespeare Sutton Coldfield was 'clean, well paved with quaint half timbered homes surrounding the church', being prosperous.

The Arms of Sutton Coldfield are based on the Arms of the towns greatest benefactor, John Harman, otherwise known as Vesey. Born in Sutton in the fifteenth century, he attained high office during the reign of King Henry VIII, being consecrated Bishop of Exeter in 1519. From the Arms of Vesey, the town Arms have taken the cross on a silver field with a stags head in the centre, and four birds, one on each arm of the cross. The stag surmounting the helmet holds two gold crossed keys and a sword, which are taken from the Arms of the Bishopric of Exeter. The mitre on the shield is a further allusion to Vesey as Bishop. The gold greyhound and red dragon supporters were used on the Arms of the early Tudor kings and commemorate the fact that Henry VIII granted a charter of incorporation for Sutton Coldfield to be a Royal Town in 1528 and placing the Chase and Manor in the hands of a local body for the benefit of the inhabitants in perpetuity.

The town has a historical connection to the British Royal Family, resulting in it receiving the title of Royal Town when it was a municipal borough in its own right and part of Warwickshire. When the Local Government Act 1972 came into force in 1974, Sutton Coldfield became part of Birmingham and the wider West Midlands county. The earliest known signs of human presence in Sutton Coldfield have been discovered on the boundaries of the town. Archaeological surveys undertaken in preparation for the construction of the M6 Toll road revealed evidence of Bronze Age burnt mounds near Langley Mill Farm, at Langley Brook. Additionally, evidence for a Bronze Age burial mound was discovered, one of only two in Birmingham with the other being located in Kingstanding. Excavations also uncovered the presence of an Iron Age settlement, dating to around 400 to 100BC.

John Harman, the eldest son of William and Joan Harman, was born in about 1462 in a property on the estate of Moor Hall in Sutton Coldfield. It is likely he was brought up in the household of distant relations of his mother, the Veseys, whose name he adopted as his own.  He studied at Oxford and in 1489, having taken holy orders, was appointed chaplain to the household of Henry the Sevenths' Queen, Elizabeth of York, a post he held when the future King Henry the Eighth was born to the Queen in 1491. Vesey rose to distinction as a result of natural ability, hard work, ambition and a pleasing manner. He was, in his 40's, well entrenched in the ecclesiastical hierarchy.

In 1509, Henry the Eighth became King and Vesey was one of a handful of men to whom the inexperienced and wilful King came to rely upon. In 1519, Vesey was appointed Bishop of Exeter, and the following year, he was one of six bishops to accompany King Henry the Eighth to an important meeting with Francis the First in France.

Vesey returned to Sutton Coldfield in 1524 to attend his mothers funeral and found his home town was in a sorry state. Under the patronage of the Earls of Warwick, Sutton had once been a busy and prosperous market town but when Richard Neville Earl of Warwick died in 1471, his lands, including the manor of Sutton, were forfeited to the crown. By 1524, the market place was deserted and the Manor House had been demolished.  Vesey did not like what he saw.

In 1528 Vesey obtained from the King a charter of incorporation for Sutton which entrusted the government of the town to a warden and 24 local inhabitants known together as the Warden and Society of the Royal Town of Sutton Coldfield. He rebuilt the market place so that the fairs and markets could flourish again, built a town hall and founded the Grammar School which still bears his name.  He died at Moor Hall in Sutton on October 23rd 1554 and he is remembered by a monument in Holy Trinity Church.

The association of Vesey with Henry the Eighth was also instrumental in giving to Sutton Coldfield the Tudor Rose as its emblem. Henry the Eighths father, Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond, and grandson of Owen Tudor, a Welsh knight, had become the first sovereign of the House of Tudor.

Not caring greatly for the complicated heraldic devices of mediaeval times, he took for his own emblem a simple rose, whose petals of both red and white, symbolised the reconciliation which took place between the Houses of York and Lancaster at the end of the Wars of the Roses.

While hunting one day in Sutton Park, Henry VIII, accompanied by Bishop Vesey was subjected to a sudden and quite unexpected charge by a wild boar. Before the animal could harm the King, however, it fell dead with an arrow through its heart.  The cry went out for the kings unknown saviour to be brought forward so that royal gratitude could be shown in some tangible way.  Much to the Kings surprise, the unseen marksman was found to be a young and beautiful woman and when Henry was told that her family had been dispossessed of their property, he ordered that restitution should be made to them.  Furthermore, to the young woman herself, he presented the Tudor Rose, his family emblem, which he said should henceforth also be the emblem of Sutton Coldfield, the girls native town.

In 1790, Royal Sutton Coldfield was mentioned in a Warwickshire book as a small hamlet with 14 taverns!! Much has changed in Sutton Coldfield, mainly since the forced boundary changes of 1974 which saw a proud and independent Sutton Coldfield sadly merged with the metropolis of Birmingham. The arrival of the railway enabled businessmen to live further afield and they moved out of Birmingham to Sutton Coldfield, the rail also brought the folk, the day tripper, from town to the Royal Park. Another book describes Birmingham as 'not' a nice place to live due to the industry, dirt and 'poverty.' More

A recent historical note was the doubt that Sutton Coldfield still had its Royal Prefix. After much work by the MP, Andrew Mitchell, he found that we did indeed have the prefix and its for perpetuity. He made a statement to the House to that effect. There had been a rumour that a Victorian clerk had forgotten to renew it, completely false I might add. From that date the Royal signs were renovated and the word Royal was added to the local newspaper before it was bought out by the Reach media organisation.

History of Sutton Coldfield up to 1860 - Here 

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