LOW HILL HOUSE AND ITS OWNERS
About 1760, a fine small mansion in the classical style was built at Low Hill. It stood on the high land near the top of the present Goodyear Avenue, and faced towards the east. The approach was from Bushbury Lane along a winding drive which is now Wingfoot Avenue.
It seems likely that the builder was Willis Kempson of Bilston, who owned land at Low Hill in the 1750s. He married Bridget, youngest daughter of Walter Gough of Oldfallings. Their son, Gough Willis Kempson, was baptised at Bilston on November 25th 1751. He was educated at Christ Church Oxford, (B.A.1773, M.A.1779) and ordained by the Bishop of Oxford on December 18th 1774. Although he was nominated to the curacy of Sedgley there is no record of him serving there.
Stebbing Shaw says that the house was sold to George Pountney in the 1790s, but then corrects this in the errata to Richard Savage Pountney, son of George. On leaving Low Hill, Gough Willis Kempson lived at Graiseley House, Penn until his death on October 18th 1825 aged 75. He had served as Justice of the Peace for many years. His eldest son Thomas died in 1819 aged 19; his second son the Reverend Willis Henry Kempson died in 1836 aged 26, and his third son Edward, a barrister, died in 1843 at Ryde, Isle of Wight.
George Pountney was a member of a Wolverhampton family. His first wife, Elizabeth Barnbrook, who he had married on April 3rd 1766, died on July 25th 1802, and on October 28th 1807 he married Drusilla Falkner. George died on March 28th 1829. Richard Savage Pountney died on December 8th 1838, aged 69, and the property passed to John Pountney, probably a brother of Richard. John's death on June 29th 1850 was commemorated by a stained glass window in the chancel of Bushbury Church.
The next owner of the house was Joseph Norton who, with his brother James, was in the corn trade. They owned the old steam mill in Wolverhampton. Joseph's eldest daughter Clara Anne married the Reverend W.A.Newman D.D. at Bushbury Church on July 20th 1858. He was a former Dean of Cape Town. Joseph died on September 24th 1863 and was succeeded by his only son Captain Joseph Norton of the 15th Hussars. He was born on November 22nd 1839 and died on December 21st 1907. He is buried with his parents and wife in a family grave on the south side of the churchyard.
About 1870 Low Hill House was bought by a man who in fifty years developed a small builders business into a company of civil engineers of national importance. Henry Lovatt, born in Wolverhampton on January 19th 1831, was educated at the Grammar School and Doctor Newman's school at the Deanery. In 1858 he bought the builders and contractors business of John Ellis in Darlington Street. Between 1864 and 1878 his company was engaged in works for the Government, railways, reservoirs, churches and banks. Contracts included the widening of the Great Western lines out of Paddington and work for the Great Northern, Great Eastern, Midland, London and South Western, Great Central, and London Brighton and South Coast railways. He made improvements to the Limehouse Dock and later built the large new dock of the Manchester Ship Canal. In the west end of London they built the Carlton Hotel, His Majesty's Theatre in the Haymarket, the Central Technical Institute at South Kensington, the new Gaiety Theatre in the Strand, the King's Theatre Hammersmith, and also the New Theatre Royal at Birmingham. Industrial premises included, locally, the Electric Construction Company at Gorsebrook and Siemens Brothers at Stafford, followed by the Electric Generator Station at Greenwich and the new barracks on Salisbury Plain. In Paris they built the new American Church and, at Portsmouth, a jetty and the new Naval Barracks. At the time of his death in May 1913 the company was engaged in erecting a new barracks in Cairo.
In 1857 he married Emma, youngest daughter of Thomas Willson of Farmcote, Claverley, and there were three sons and four daughters of the marriage. Henry Lovatt took an active part in the life of the parish and on his Low Hill farm was a successful breeder of the new Shorthorn cattle and Shropshire sheep.