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History of Broadacre

The land at Broadacre was originally part of Packwood parish which in 1086 belonged to Coventry Priory. 'Parishes: Packwood', A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 5, Kington Hundred, (London, 1949), pp. 129-132. British History Online In 1279 the Prior of Coventry held Packwood and Wasperton under the charter of Edward the Confessor and had at Packwood two carucates (a medieval unit of land area approximating the land a plough team of eight oxen could till in a single annual season) in demesne (a demesne or domain was all the land retained and managed by a lord of the manor, under the feudal system for his own use, occupation, or support) with 6 freehold and two bond tenants. In 1410 the the Prior had a manor surrounded by pools a great wood called the Park and three groves called Lustely Groves. In 1535 the manor was by now assigned to the Steward of the Priory and the Bailiff  Thomas Huchyn received a fee of 26s. 8d.. After the Dissolution the manor was sold to William Seldon in 1544. He must have disposed of it shortly afterwards to Robert Burdett of Bramcote who died seised of the manor in January 1549. His grandson Robert sold it about 1606 to Thomas Spencer of Claverdon  from whom it passed to his great-nephew, Sir William Spencer of Yarnton, whose son Sir Thomas still held it in 1661. It then seems to have been divided between four daughters. In 1715 Edward Warren and Margaret Rachel Spencer, Cholmeley Turner and Jane (Marwood) George Mordaunt and Elizabeth and John Dormer made a conveyance of the whole manor to Mr Russell of Warwick  formerly a menial servant to the Spencers of Claverdon who left it to his two daughters. These two daughters Jane Russell and Lucy wife of Thomas Pulleine were ladies of the manor in 1727, and they sold it to Horace Mann from whom it descended to Earl Cornwallis and so to his great-grandson Philip Wykeham-Martin, the family of Leeds Castle in Kent. In the Warwickshire Review Order of 1932 our land south of the stream remained in Packwood but north of the stream became part of Solihull

First Edition of the One Inch OS map (1831) of part of Packwood parish showing Marlpit Hill Farm (but not named),

the marl pit in the field and the source of the Cuttle stream.

1830 Map Packwood.jpg

Broadacre is one of the higher points locally at 425 feet above sea level. The highest is were the old windmill was in Windmill lane at 590 feet.

1841 Part Tithe map Broadacre (2).jpg

1841 Tithe map of Packwood showing the old field names.

Marlpit Hill Farm is no 45 between Deal Meadow and Great Lislelow. 

1878 May 30th  Philip Wykeham-Martin Esq. of Leeds Castle, Kent dies, and Cornwallis Wykeham-Martin inherits the Packwood estates.

20210225 OS County Map 1887-1_2500 .jpg

1887 OS County map. Woodford and Broadacre have not yet been built.

The marl pit has been dug in Deal meadow and a pond has formed.

The Gullet in Packwood Gullet means narrow lane.

Marlpit Hill Farm 1887.png

1887 map enlarged, from a leaflet picked up at the Railway Tavern 100th anniversary of the Watsons as landlords in 2015.

1899 Mar 25th Arthur Burdett of Foremark, Knowle, redeems the land tax of 3s & 6d per annum for £5 5s plus 36p duty on the front fields and marl pits of the Packwood estate, which were being farmed by Edward Tallis and James Tallis.


1899 Dec 30th   Henry Aylesbury Walker Aylesbury of the Shails settlements sells to Arthur Burdett, roadside fields and marl pits, 6 acres 23 perches for £522. Where Broadacre is to be built behind the farm house is marked as garden. To the side is marked orchard.

1900 Oct 26th  Arthur W. Burdett sells to John Elwell, of Hillcote Knowle the same roadside fields and marl pits for £450. Not sure why it was so much less.

20210225 OS County Map 1905_1to2500.jpg

1905, This was just before they started to build Broadacre as a gentleman's house and lodge.

Woodford then called Maes-y-Garnedd at the bottom of the drive has already been built as well as the Railway Cottages.


1907 Jul 2nd  Conveyance of Marlpit Hill Farm and Maes-y-Garnedd and surrounding land to John Elwell for £2581 5s. He was an iron merchant at Sherborne Street in Birmingham. He was living at Hill Cote in Dorridge.

1907-08 Sunnydale a gentleman’s house with lodge is built by John Elwell in the garden of Marlpit Hill Farm.

1910 June 3rd John Elwell dies aged 75

1911 Census lists as living at Sunnydale, Kate Wilson Elwell his widow as head and Alfred Cuthbert her father, with a cook and a servant.

1916 Kate Wilson Oliver now re-married sells the estate to Eleanor M. Vaughan who is married to Arthur Vaughan for £3,000. They had been living at Dorridge Croft in the 1911 census with a cook and housemaid. He was an edge tool manufacturer in Birmingham. He re-names it Broadacre.

Maes y Garnedd has been re-built as Woodford and is now owned by Mr G. W. Joyce.

20210225 OS County Map 1918-25_1to2500.j

1918-25 OS Map. A dutch barn has been built.


1923 Sep 28th  Conveyance Eleanor Margaret Vaughan to Sir Richard James Curtis for £5,500.  The bottom lawn is marked as a tennis lawn.

Woodford is now owned by J Preston Hytch Esq.

1942 Sep 30th   Conveyance Lady Edith Lizzie Curtis to John Woolman for £7,250

1951 Lease of a field, from John Woolman to Shirley Cricket Club for 14 years from 1951 at £25 per annum.  The club is now called Dorridge CC and is one of the top local clubs.

1973 Oct 9th  John Woolman dies, the estate passes to John Frederick (Jack) Woolman who moves to Broadacre from Olton Road, Shirley, with his wife Enid Woolman and his elder son John Goffe Woolman.  The nursery business moves to the field by the cricket club and builds 5 large greenhouses which attract occasional cricket balls!


1990 The chrysanthemum business moves first to Evesham and then King’s Lynn.  It then becomes part of Mr Fothergill’s.  The nursery is now at Spalding and the offices at Newmarket.


2001 Sep 17th  Jack Woolman dies aged 82.

2004 February Broadacre Meadows are designated a Local Wildlife Site Ref. SP17S5 Grid Ref. SP162741 part under Solihull MBC and part under Warwick DC


2009 Aug 18th  Charlye the youngest son & Cecile his wife retire from teaching in Kuala Lumpur and return to live at Broadacre.  They set up a market produce business selling through Country Markets.


2011 Planning consent is granted to replace the greenhouses which have been standing empty for 10 years and are in poor condition, with 6 houses, now called Broadacre Gardens.


2013 Sep 2nd  Enid Woolman dies at home aged 93.

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