Mousehall Farm was in existence until the 1960s but its history can be traced back hundreds of years, recorded as early as 1665 in "The Story of Pensnett Chase" by D. R. Guttery when Mousehall was a Ranger's Lodge on the edge of Pensnett Chase. Described as "a heathy, furzy, briary wilderness with coppices and woods", the banks of the Stour (a border of the Chase) still retain remnants of how it must have been. Mousehall was probably one of the first houses to be built on the Chase. The posts of rangers were likely to have been "bestowed as a reward for favours done to or anticipated by the patron." very likely to have been royalty!
In 1665 the ranger was John Carey, he wrote the name of his house as 'Mousall'. The Carey Family lived there until the end of the 18th century. John's grandson, Edward, came into possession when the Civil War was smouldering. The area was plundered by both Royalists and Roundheads.
It was Dud Dudley, illegtimate son of Lord Dudley who was instumental in changing the Chase from a "landlord's playground into one of the words best and busiest workshops". And how it changed --- "chimneys leaped up and shafts pierced down, higher; deeper. The mounds of ash and slag and industrial waste sprawled like monsters of the primeval mud, crept slowly and swallowed the green. Houses sprang up, houses collapsed as the overburden sank crumbling into forgotten workings. And over it all by day a pall of smoke hovered in whirling wreaths or fled from the south west winds roaring up from Bewdley Hole; by night the sky glowed with crimson cloud reflecting the flames of furnace and forge kilns below.
And so the industrial revolution changed the land and it's people for ever. Coal, iron and steel and clay became invaluable commodities. The Clay mined from Amblecote Bank was dark blue clay special to this part of the Stour Valley which baked into a pale gold. There was also clay which baked almost white, used for making pipes.
In 1786 the land was allotted new owners and Mousehall became part of Quarry Bank. From being the site of royal visitors and seeing the changes wrought in the landscape Mousehall became a farm, the last owner being Winifred Hannah Plant Deeley, one of seven daughters of Richard Deeley, born 1832 at Lye, and Hannah Plant, born 1849 at Round Oak. None of the daughters ever married. Stan Yardley inherited the farm - he had managed it for her in later years. In 1968 the farm and land were compulsorily purchased by the council to make way for the new Thorns School. The site of the Rugby pitch is where the house stood. So, should you chance to walk down Mousehall Farm Road; reflect on the history that has helped shape Quarry Bank!
photo courtesy of John James
Mousehall Farm - early 1960's
Mousehall Farm - mid 1960's
There was extensive open cast mining in the area during the mid to late 1960's, the farm house was demolished shortly after this photograph was taken.
© M.P.L.H.G. 2011