A Brief History of
In Medieval times the land around what we
know as Cheswick Green was owned by the Archer Family of Umberslade. A
survey taken around the year 1500 contains the following reference...
'Thomas Gower for 2 mease with two motts and a
feylde with a crofte oaulde Colvarfeyldus sumtyme wes called Broughtons
Cheswyke that lies bytwyne Cheswyke
and Warings Chessewyke and a grounde of Warings caulda Buxstons. And
Thomas Waryng for a meysse and three croftus lyyng togedur in length
bytweyn Cheswyke Greyn and a
feld cauld Waryngs Cheswyke and in breydth bytwene the mottus of Gowers
in Cheswyke called the Cheswyke Mottus and a ground of Gowers called
The area known as Crewenhale seems to
be derived from "Craueshala" and dates from 1190 as mentioned by William
Dugdale in his "Antiquities of Warwickshire" . Creynolds Lane being an
adaptation of Crewehale.
Move your mouse over the
left hand map to see the changes between the early 1900's and the
1950's. The picture on the right shows Cheswick Green as it is today.
A prominent feature on the map is the moated fortification
thought to date from the Saxon period. Very little now remains
In 1953 T. L. Jones of the Ministry of Public Building and Works
had excavated on the site which consisted of an irregular area
of around an acre.
It was surrounded by a bank and water-filled moat. Jones
trenched the area immediately within the SW entrance sectioned,
the eastern bank in two places, attempted to section the moat
and, revealed a small rough area of stone rubble (interpreted as
a floor) in the north-eastern angle of the embankment. Gullies
and what may have been the traces of timber structures existing
before the construction of the embankment were found. Jones
concluded that the defences were put up in the fourteenth
century or later but offered no credible theories, as to their
The last survey was undertaken on behalf of Greaves the builders
in 1973 prior to its destruction during the second phase of
construction of Cheswick Green.
Summary of Work
The Pleasure Gardens
In 1904, some of the land was acquired by Mr Phillip Baker, a Birmingham
lawyer, who developed it as
Mount Cottage Farm Pleasure Gardens featuring donkey rides, tennis
courts and rooms offering refreshments. There was even a ballroom. There
was an entrance
along a lane
that ran alongside the cottage that is now 174 Creynolds Lane, and passing Mount
Cottage Farm where the school playing field is now.
This lane is still
visible (photo) from the footpath running from alongside 53
Boscobel Road. Before the bungalow at 194 Cheswick Way
was demolished there stood in its back garden a
Monument Column (photograph)
and a number of stone tablets that was part of the VC Memorial
Garden**. The large house opposite
known as The Rowels is 193 Creynolds Lane. Note the row of trees running
from the Sand Pit to the Mount. These are the fine trees between The
Pines and Saxonwood Road at the Junction with Cheswick Way. The formal
Gardens and Ballroom stood where Boscobel Road, Longleat Drive and
Osbourne Croft now stand. Its interesting to see that the layout of the
fields remain mostly unchanged in the past 100 years and how the
hedgerows then form the layout of our roads today. Unfortunately the
advent of the First World War finally brought to end The Mount's time as
a pleasure resort.
The Mount Estate
After the first World War the land was divided into plots of various
sizes between 1/4 and 1 acre. These were sold for £70 mainly to ex-service men
wanting to use their gratuities to buy a small piece of land of their
own. Many of these people came to use the land to build week-end
bungalows where they could enjoy the country, after a week in
Birmingham. Others built more substantial dwellings and set up small
holdings, and many of these latter remain to this day, happy to spend
their declining years in surroundings of green fields and trees.
There is an excellent account life on the Mount Estate during the
1930's. See 'Growing up on
The Mount' by Bill Gilbert
Using the map above you can see how the The Pleasure Gardens disappeared and Mount Cottage Farm
a 'Plastic Works' that made objects in
Bakelite and early form of
plastic. There was a Dog Racetrack just off Creynolds Lane between the
entrance to Elliot's Hall (TSB College) and No 157. Behind that and not
visible on the map was
Racecourse on land that is now Shirley Golf Club.
The Mount and its water filled moat are still intact. New roads have
appeared to service the estate. Pleasaunce Walk being where Cheswick
Way is to the point where it joined Appian Way - now the junction with
Saxonwood Road. You will notice a lane called Coppice Walk leading to
Mount Drive that is now the footpath between Cheswick way by the bus
stop to Saxonwood Road that still has the old Laurel bushes along part
length. Brooklands Walk runs where present day Foxland
Close is. The names Coppice Walk and Appian Way made it to the new
development of Cheswick Green but in different locations.
Second World War, many people bombed out of their permanent
homes went to live in their week-end bungalows, and due to the
post-war housing shortage remained there when hostilities
ceased. Many of these people wished to replace their week-end
bungalows by more permanent structures, but were unable to get
permission to do this from the local authority then controlling
the area. This has resulted in a considerable number of
substandard dwellings, although there are a few well-built
houses. Several attempts have been made to form a residents
association which would try to co-ordinate individual attempts
to keep the MOUNT tidy, and the unadopted roads in repair.
This cine film from 1969 shows
properties on the Mount Estate just before demolition.
Mail. 11th January 1969 The Greaves' Organisation has bought each plot from its owners
separately. Mrs. Bliss, a former secretary of the local
residents association, says the minimum paid was £8000 an acre,
plus compensation according to the money householders had spent
on their property.
"Many of the people are buying new houses here when they are
said Mrs. Bliss. "And others will be leaving the area
"Like that old boy with the three acres. He and his wife are in
there eighties. And they'd lived in an ex-Army hut for years.
Then they picked up at least £21,000 and bought themselves a
"Most of us though, didn't have that much land so we're not
coming into fortunes".
"The Mount's bulldozing will be sad for most of us, but you
can't say it will be the passing of a beauty spot."
Cheswick Green - Village of the 70's At the end of the sixties the land was purchased by Greaves Builders.
Mount Estate properties were bulldozed and a new village built.
From the onset the concept
was the creation of a traditional English village but with modern amenities.
Cheswick Green was planned as a total community, complete with its own
village green, shops, pub, assembly hall, playing fields, school and open
spaces. House designs ranged from three bedroom terrace houses (modern
equivalent of the traditional cottage) to large four bedroom detached
houses with full central heating and two car garage, set on large plots.
So great was the demand that all the homes offered in Phase 1 were sold
out in only 2 days and more had to be released for sale. The video to the right was filmed around Heron
Close and the marquee seems to have been where the new doctors
surgery now stands. There are still some of the old mount estate
houses visible in the background.
Residents Association On 19th August 1970 a meeting was
held at St Patrick's School in Earlswood to discuss the
establishment of a Residents Association for the new village of
Cheswick Green. Some Eighty people from the new houses attended and a committee was formed to draw up
the rules and objectives and generally get things moving.
Their main aim was to develop the community spirit and as part
of that to organise the construction of a Community Hall to be
sited opposite the shops and village green. The first
Association Cheese & Wine Party was held in October 1970 at
Salter Street School and over 100 residents attended.
The film to the left shows a light hearted communal football
match between men and women that was part of the first ever
Cheswick Green Fete. At this time there was no pub or village
hall and of course no new doctors surgery but the shops are
Save The Mount
During 1972 Greaves applied for planning permission to build
more houses on
three sites to extend the size of the village. As part of the
new development the ancient Mount itself was to be flattened and
houses built upon its ‘grave’. Greaves had
used the existence of the ‘Saxon Settlement’ in its sales
literature and had named
roads to perpetuate the historic atmosphere, but were now
telling everyone that it was
just a useless feature that had served its purpose and should be
This started a hectic few months during in which residents
fought and lost a valiant ‘SAVE THE MOUNT CAMPAIGN’.
followed coverage on
both local and national television, press and radio – 750
signatures on a petition – letters to Government Ministers,
barricades were built and human chains defied the diggers. The
residents managed to achieve a stay of execution for a month
whilst Warwick University Archaeology Department conducted a
hurried archaeological survey. of the site, which predictably
‘proved’ that there was nothing of interest worth saving. The
fight was lost, 60% of the Mount was flattened and houses were
built and Huntsmans Point came into being.
The Saxon Pub
The Saxon was
built after many of the houses constructed during the
first phase of Cheswick Green in 1974. This was the year that
Cheswick Green Primary School was built and Cheswick Green and
Hockley Heath came back under the control of Solihull, having
been under Stratford council for a period of time.
There was a great deal of discussion within the community as to
the name of the new Pub about to be built adjacent to the shops;
bets were laid. Suggestions were, The Mount Inn, The Red Lion,
The Pink Panther and from those who believed that the building
work would last forever in the village, The Bull Dozer and the
leading contender, The White Elephant! The Public House
eventually opened to a thirsty village at noon on Wednesday 1st
May 1974. The Mayor of Solihull, Councillor Gibbons successfully pulled
the first pint and he declared:
We all know what American Prohibition did no good whatsoever -
The pub was named, predictably perhaps, The Saxon and was run by
Pete Watson and his wife Doreen, who had moved from The Bulldog
in Leamington Spa. They were to remain in the Village for two
years, leaving in April 1976.
From Cheswick Green the first forty years by