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Field and place names give a valuable insight into Cradley's past. Using the information provided in the 1782 and 1785 surveys, together with the Richard Brettell's Estates Map (circa 1800) and the Tithe Map of 1843, Margaret Bradley and Barry Blunt have produced tables which identify Cradley field names, their derivation and their location in present day terms.

Cradley Links wishes to record our sincere thanks to Margaret Bradley and Barry Blunt for their generous permission to reproduce these excerpts from their book, "The History of Cradley: A Survey of Cradley and the Enclosure Book".

Field names

Classified Index of Cradley Field Names

1. Open Field System

Field NameLocationDerivation
Cradley Upper /Over (Woe) FieldOldnall Road, Foxcote Lane, Parish BoundaryPart of the medieval open field system.
Woe (or Woo) derives from the Old English 'woh' = crooked
Cradley Lower/Nether (Woe) FieldFoxcote Lane,Two Gates, Lutley GutterEarliest reference to Nether Woefield is in an indenture between the Earl of Ormond and Thomas Parkes of Cradley, dated 1510.
Colman FieldTwo Gates, Drews Holloway, Colman HillPart of the medieval open field system.
BurfieldColley Lane,Slade RoadPart of the medieval open field system.
Burr = Flower head with hooks and prickles.
Or OE = store house or cottage
Hitherbrook FurlongIn Nether Woe FieldFurlong = the length of furrow that the plough took before the oxen had to stop, theoretically a square of 10 acres. From the 9th century this was standardised at 220 yards. The term was also applied to a rectangular block of parallel strips within an open field, each block identified by name.
The Great FurlongIn Colman Field 
Long FurlongIn Over Woe Field 
Farbrook FurlongIn Nether Woe Field 
Big FurlongHighfield Estate, Furlong Lane 
Little FurlongIn Colman Field 
Match FurlongIn Nether Woe Field 
Lutlee Gutter FurlongIn Nether Woe Field 
Shutlands (Strutlands)Talbot Street,Furlong LaneBlocks of strips within the open field.
Upper/Lower Doles
Crooked Doles
Homer Hill
In Nether Woe Field
Common meadow and hay land allocated to the tenants of open fields. OE dal = shared
NinelandsSlade Road,Homer HillNine strips of land within the open field.
The Butts
In Nether Woe FieldHeadlands of the open field system which often formed winding routes between fields. As these fields were held in common, they were gradually established as rights of way.

2. Boundaries

Field NameLocationDerivation
The MeresBoth sides of Foxcote LaneOE maere = boundary land
Skirts/Smock SkirtsIn Over Woe FieldSmock = Land on which the rendering of tithe wood was replaced by the payment of money
Far PieceNear the boundary at The Hayes 
Far InhedgeIn Over Woe Field 

3. Size of Field

Field NameLocationDerivation
Dogtree Acre FurlongIn Nether Woe FieldAcre was originally used to signify a piece of land cleared for ploughing or grazing of no fixed size. Later it became defined as a strip of an open field sufficiently large to be ploughed by a yoke of oxen in a day.
Big InhedgeIn Over Woe Field 
PingleNumerous placesME pingel = a small piece of land
PleckNumerous placesME plek = a small plot of land.

4. Order

Middle MeadowMogul Lane 
Over SlingHighfieldLand beyond the Sling
First, Middle and Far Smithy CroftLyde Green, Maypole HillLand near a forge (in this case Cradley Forge)

5. Shape

Field NameLocationDerivation
Round Innage (or Inhedge)OldnallInnage = land taken in and enclosed
Long Innage2 Fields bear this name, one in Over Woefield, the other between Park Road and Homer Hill 
Broad InnageIn Over Woefield 
Long MeadowNetherend 
SlingNumerous placesME sling = small narrow strip of land
Three cornered closeBarrack Lane/Park Road 
RoundaboutPark Lane ChurchA piece of land surrounded by roads

6. Soil

Field NameLocationDerivation
The RoughNear Cradley Forge 
Stone Piece/Stoney CloseBetween Maypole Hill and Mogul Lane,next to the StourStony soil
Dirty PieceToys Lane/Windmill HillMuddy land
Copy MarlingBetween Park Lane & boundaryCoppice where marl was spread or dug
Marl Pit Bank
Marl Pit Inhedge
Marl Pit Hill
The area bounded by Toys Lane,Windmill Hill and Two Gates Lane.Practise of spreading marl and manure on fields was of prehistoric origin. Marl was a mixture of clay and lime used by Romans to improve fertility of acidic soil. Marl pits were dug by Saxons and then continued from Mediaeval period
ParadiseTwo GatesFertile, profitable soil.

7. Natural Features

Field NameLocationDerivation
Slade PieceColley Lane school field/Slade RoadDell, hollow, basin on side of hill, side valley
OE slaed = valley
Hilly LeasowHomer HillPasture, enclosed land on a hill, difficult to plough.
The HillHomer Hill 
Hollow MeadowHomer Hill 
Bank LeysHomer HillME banke = Slope or embankment
The MoorsOldnallOE mor = uncultivated land. Not just upland, but fen and marsh.
Hays DingleAt parish boundary in the vicinity of James Scott RoadME dingle = A deep hollow.
OE gehaeg = Hedges
The Folly2 areas bear this name. First on either side of Oldnall Road near the junction with Foxcote Lane,the second is between Maypole Hill and Mogul Lane,known as Folly MoorShelter for travellers in inhospitable landscapes on ancient route system.
French feuille = foliage
DeanfordAt bottom of Mogul Lane near the StourCrossing place over a river, in a valley.
The origin of this name - deonflinc ford is first found in the Anglo Saxon charter of 952 that set the boundary between Cradley and Oldswinford.
Hollow CloseOldnall 
Bath FieldBelle Vale/Colman HillOE baeo = Pond
Lyde Llio = place on a concave slope. Lyde Green slopes steeply from Homer Hill to River Stour.
Upper/Lower Hanging Inhedge
Hanging Close
Top of Talbot Street/Spring Street
Homer Hill/Park Lane
Hanging = Land on a steep slope
Siden meadowButcher's Lane/River StourLand at the side of a stream

8. Roads

Field NameLocationDerivation
Holloway Piece (Leasowe)Drews Holloway southA sunken track, usually on sloping ground, worn into soft rock by constant passage of cattle and traffic such as wagons and pack horses.
Causeway InnageJunction of Foxcote Lane and Oldnall RoadA raised road in wet ground. A path of timber, stones or earth. Date from Neolithic to present day. Many were constructed in middle ages by the monasteries.
Church HighwayHighfield/Furlong LaneThe 1782 survey and the 1800 map both contain this field name, but the Tithe Map refers to the field as Walk Leasowe. As there was no church in Cradley at this time, it is assumed that this was the route from Cradley Town to Halesowen Church.
Highway Hill CroftHomer Hill 
Road CloseHomer Hill 

9. Flora

Field NameLocationDerivation
Broomy HayesBeecher Road EastLand where broom grew. Hayes = enclosed by hedges
Gorsy (Gosty) HillBeecher Road EastLand where gorse grew
Silver Innage
Silver Acre
Homer Hill/Slade RoadLatin Silva = wood
Stockhold/StockallPark LaneLand with tree stumps left standing in it.
OE stocc
Osier BedAlongside the Stour near Cradley ForgeOsier willows (salix vinilalis) were grown besides streams and marshes. Its thin stems were used for basket-making.
Pineapple PieceHighfieldLand where pine trees grew?

10. Crops

Field NameLocationDerivation
Wheat CroftOldnall 
Wheat FieldPark Lane 
The RickyardOakley Memorial GardensField where ricks/stacks of hay were built.
Rick CloseColman Hill 
Rick InnageHomer Hill 
Flaxen WellTalbot Street/Spring StreetFlax was widely cultivated from medieval times and declined considerably just before the beginning of the C19 th It was cultivated for the seeds and fibres of its stems that were made into thread and woven into linen fabric. It was often grown on small parcels of ground known as plecks.
The LinnardsCradley TownLand on which flax was grown. OE lin.

11. Domestic/Farm Animals

Field NameLocationDerivation
Bullocks InnageLutley Gutter near Water Stile 
Bull AcreDrews Holloway/Dencil Close 
Calves Close2 Field bear this name. One near to Oldnall Farm, the other in the area of Drews Holloway/Dencil Close 
Ox LeasowHomer Hill 
Fold PieceLyde Green/Hillcrest Avenue 
The PaddockButchers Lane/The StourGrazing ground
Paddock LeasowOldnall 
Lamb PleckNear Maypole Hill 
Pinfold MeadowBridge Street/Mill StreetLand where stray animals were impounded
Horse PastureTanhouse Lane 

12. Cradley Park

Field NameLocationDerivation
Lower & Upper Park Cradley Park was created around 1275 by Roger de Somery, Lord of the Manor. It would have been enclosed by ditches and a wooden palisade and used to breed deer, which would later be released on to Pensnett Chase for hunting. By the 18th century it had become dense woodland.
Park Piece
Park Close
Park Meadow

13. Buildings

Field NameLocationDerivation
Mill FieldsShelton LaneShelton Mill was by the river at bottom of Shelton Lane
Mill CroftHomer HillSome maps show a windmill on Homer Hill
Mill MeadowBoundary at Overend/RowleyThis is the site of Cradley Mill, first mentioned in 1179. It appears on later maps as Hedgers Mill
Windmill CloseTwo Gates LaneTwo Windmills were situated in what is now Two Gates Lane. Both erected C1770 by Thomas Millward of Wollescote Hall
Chapel MeadowChapel House LaneAccording to tradition dating back before 1754, an ancient chapel stood in this vicinity.
Chapel Yard CloseChapel House Lane 
Barn PiecePark Lane 
Barn CloseVarious places 
Shop CloseOldnallOE sceoppa = shed
Alms House CloseJunction of Furlong Lane/Butchers LaneTrustees for the Poor of Cradley erected four almshouses in 1711
Wainhouse CloseChapel House Lane/Colley Gate 
House MeadowNetherend 
Home CloseHomer Hill 
Stable CroftColman Hill/Banners Lane 

14. Industrial

Field NameLocationDerivation
Brick KilnTwo sites, on either side of Windmill Hill at the junction with Furlong Lane & Toys LaneWhere brick making took place (see note 1)
Coppice (Copy)Numerous(see note 2)
Coalpit FieldBetween Mogul Lane & boundaryDue to the presence of coal on or near the surface.

15. Identity of Owner/Tenant

Field NameLocationDerivation
Cox's InnageClent View Road 
Grove's FieldIn Over Woefield 
Amphlett's InnageClent View Road 
Paston's InnageColman Hill/Highfield 
Hunt's InnageIn Over Woefield 
Downing's InnageHigh Park Road 
Read's MeadowChapel House Lane 
Mason's CloseNear Mason's Close! 
Darby's HillMaypole Hill 
Smart's MeadowLyde Green/River Stour 
Tibbott's CloseNear Middletree Road 
Burley's CloseCradley Town 
Jones's CloseCradley Town 
Butler 's CloseCradley Town 
Bridgewater 's PieceBanners Lane 
Wilkin's CroftBanners Lane 
Bloomer's InhedgeBanners Lane 
Pearsall's PieceLutley Gutter 
Dicks's InhedgeIn Nether Woefield 
Stevens' PieceIn Nether Woefield 
Welchman's AcreIn Nether Woefield 
Ridding's CloseColley GateRidding (OE ryding) = cleared land
Pitt's CloseToys Lane 
Skelding's CloseToys Lane 
Dalton 's CloseColley Gate 
Millar's CloseIn Colman Field 
Banner's PieceBanners Lane 
Forest MeadowNear Cradley Park 
Coalbourne ClosePark Road/Barracks Lane 

16. Miscellaneous

Field NameLocationDerivation
CockshuttsHomer HillOE coccscyte = a woodland clearing where birds were trapped in a net as they flew through the glade
Paled InhedgeMaple Tree Lane/Colley LaneLand enclosed by a paled fence.
Broody CroftPark Lane/Homer HillPossibly a site of a disaster or a place where animals were slaughtered. Tithe Map name = Bloody Croft
Dansel GapDencil Close 
Long ComptonIn Over Woefield 
New InnageOldnall Road 
The WardensJames Scott Road/Bassett RoadOE wordign =Enclosed land.
Foxen DeanFoxcote LaneThe origin of this name - Foxcotum (Fox Cottages) is first found in the Anglo Saxon charter of 952 that set the boundary between Cradley and Oldswinford.
Fatherless PieceIn Nether WoefieldNote that the land had this name before any buildings were erected on it.
York MeadowBetween Park Lane and the parish boundary 
Green CloseOldnall Road 
Oldnall Gate CloseOldnall Road at parish boundaryOldnall Gate is a marker in the extent of Oldswinford parish 1733


Brick-making (Note 1)

After clay was excavated from the ground it was 'puddled' to remove unwanted material and provide an even consistency. It was then moulded into its required form using a wooden mould and dried to reduce shrinkage. Final burning took place in a clamp in which bricks were stacked together with faggots of brushwood as fuel. This method gave unevenness in size and colour until it was replaced by burning in kilns in which bricks were stacked to allow the passage of hot air between them. Firing took about 48 hours.

Few buildings were built in Britain with brick before the 17th C., despite the advantages of baking bricks on site or using local kilns, as opposed to quarrying, dressing and transporting stone.

Coppice (Note 2)

The term is now used to describe any small area of woodland, but coppicing was a technical term applied to tree cultivation. Deciduous tree species produce a mass of shoots when cut. They grow into straight stems, increasing annually in height and thickness and can be harvested at regular intervals. The ancient craft of coppicing dates from the Neolithic period. It was a major industry, supplying fuel and building materials, besoms, hurdles, handles and hay-rakes, wattles, laths, thatching spars, cogwheels and spindles. Trees were coppiced by rotation.

© Copyright 2002 Margaret Bradley and Barry Blunt.

Reproduced with permission.

 Creative Commons – Attribution - Non Commercial - No Derivatives 4.0 International Public License.