Stebbing Shaw writing at the end of the eighteenth century says of Fordhouses:-

"This place hath its name from the houses erected upon the roadway leading from Wolverhampton towards Stafford, near the ford of Wybaston brook, and hath ever been a member of the lordship of Bushbury; and so continues to this day .... It is now the property of the ingenious poet and physician Dr. Darwin."

This was Erasmus Darwin (1731 - 1802), the grandfather of Charles Darwin, the author of "The Origin of Species".

Fordhouses was however, part of the manor of Elston which had belonged to Lincoln College Oxford since the sixteenth century, so Shaw's statement about Dr. Darwin seems doubtful. In the parish Land Tax returns we find that Dr.Darwin paid a tax of £2-10s per annum for the years 1781-1807. His tenant was William Buxton who in 1783/4 paid rent and tax on a public house and brewhouse. When he died in August 1814 he was described in the 'Staffordshire Advertiser' as Mr. William Buxton of the 'Three Tuns' public house, Bushbury. It would appear therefore that William Buxton farmed the 'Three Tuns' land for Dr.Darwin. In his 'Account Book' at Nottingham Record Office the Doctor notes that in 1772 he paid Mr.Mansfield £3050 for his 'Bushberry Farm' and that Mr.Mansfield gave him £4-l0s back on account of the 'waste-land near the turnpike.'


In the last quarter of the eighteenth century this man was a prominent investor in several enterprises, together with a David Clutterbuck, possibly a brother. Lewis married Sarah, youngest daughter of the ironmaster Benjamin Molineux at St. Peter's Wolverhampton on January 7th 1773. They lived at the Fordhouse from the early years of the new century. It seems possible that Lewis was the son of Thomas and Elizabeth Clutterbuck, baptised at Avening, Glos on September 12th 1746. A James Clutterbuck of Minchinhampton Glos. married Mary Ann Molineux at St. Peter's on January 30th 1800. In the chancel of Bushbury church is a tablet reading "Lewis Clutterbuck of Fordhouse who died October 3rd 1824, also Sarah his wife who died October 30th 1814 in the 66th year of her age". Their grave can be seen towards the northeast corner of the churchyard.


Author of A Topographical History of Staffordshire, including its Agriculture, Mines and Manufactures, 1817 was born at Fordhouses in 1749. He was baptised at Tettenhall on January 14th 1758 and was a pupil at Wolverhampton Grammar School about 1760. He farmed at Pendeford and later at Edgbaston. He died on September 18th 1823 and was buried at Tettenhall.

The Horderns
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Bushbury people
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