4.  The medieval fields and forests

The open field system of communal farming was practised in the area. Tettenhall had three great fields. Three more lay in the Compton area around Finchfield Hill. Aldersely also had three fields but one was shared with Barnhurst. 

Although the fields are now enclosed, this late 19th century postcard of Henwood Road, captures the essentially agriculture nature of the area.

Corn was ground in several water mills, at Compton and Wightwick along the Smestow and at Pendeford on the Penk. Later, of course, windmills came in to use. One can still be seen on each side of the Smestow at Wightwick.  

This view of Henwood Road shows, on the right, what was left at the time of one of the mill ponds along the Smestow.
The windmill, now converted into a house, on Windmill Lane at the top of the hill on the Wolverhampton side of the Smestow.  There is another, very similar, tower at the top of the ridge on the Tettenhall side of the Smestow.

Outside the area of the common fields lay the forests. Tettenhall lay at the meeting point of three forests, Cannock, Kinver and Brewood. This limited Tettenhall's expansion and, as long as forest laws were enforced, the local people only nibbled away at the forest.  

More House in Haywood Drive (which used to be known as Gorsty Hayes Cottage) is thought to be a forester's lodge or hunting lodge.  It dates from the early 17th century or possibly somewhat earlier.

After the King and the church, the dominant landowners became the Wrottesleys, who settled there in the middle of the l2th century and stayed there until 1963, the estate passing through a succession of 28 hands. In 1066 the land which became the core of their estate had been given to Robert, Earl of Stafford, who, in 1188, gave it to the Monks of Evesham. In 1258 it came in to the hands of Simon de Caughton, a relative of the abbot. Simon then took his name from the estate. Up to Tudor times many Wrottesleys played an important role in national affairs, usually in a military way. Thereafter they tended to confine their interests to the estates and locality. (The "buttons" at the foot of these pages are made from Wrottesley arms, as is the logo at the top left of each page).

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