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Thursday, 11 February 2021

The Stoneleigh Estate Sale 1928



The entire area of Burton Green on the East side of Cromwell Lane and Red Lane used to be part of the Stoneleigh Estate. 

In 1928 that area was divided into lots and offered for sale at an auction open to the public. 

The sale included 7 working farms, 20 cottages, and 80 plots of land for building. 

The sale documentation claimed "a large portion of the frontage land is ripe for immediate development."

Some of the lots being offered for sale are shown in detail in the map at the left. 

Historical Background

In 1154 Henry II (1133-1189) granted land in the Forest of Arden, which would have included part of what would become Burton Green, to a group of Cistercian monks (a Catholic religious order) who built an abbey at Stoneleigh. 

Henry's descendant Henry VIII (1491-1547) appointed himself as head of the church and dissolved the monasteries (1536-1541). 

Stoneleigh Abbey and the Stoneleigh Estate were subsequently purchased (1561) on behalf of Sir Thomas Leigh who was a wealthy London trader.  Sir Thomas Leigh had been Lord Mayor of London (1558-1559). 

The area of the Stoneleigh Estate corresponded approximately with the boundaries of Stoneleigh and Ashow Parishes, marked with a bold black line on this map.

With some additional land purchases the Leigh family eventually became the largest land owner in Warwickshire. 

A house built on the site of the original monastery, Stoneleigh Abbey, was the home of the Leigh family from 1561 to 1993. 

The significance of the areas shaded red and shaded green (which includes Burton Green) is explained below.


Sale of the Estate

During the 1920s large areas of the Stoneleigh Estate were sold, possibly to meet punitive death duties. 

In 1920 properties owned by the Estate in various outlying areas elsewhere in Warwickshire were sold including farms at Cubbington, Weston, Hunningham, Long Itchington, Fillongley and Maxstoke.


Sale to Coventry Corporation 1926 - Plans for Westwood

In 1926 2,334 acres in the North of the main estate were sold to Coventry Corporation for £114,000. This included Allesley, Tile Hill and Westwood. This is the area shaded red on the map above.  

This is an extract from a report in the Midland Daily Telegraph (12 August 1926):

Westwood Heath A New Townlet - Between Westwood Heath and the Coventry-Birmingham railway line it is intended there should be raised one of a number of garden colonies around Coventry, possibly each with its own shopping and civic centre. It would be satellite to but more or less independent or autonomous of Coventry, but linked socially to the city and it neighbours. For such a purpose Westwood is admirably adapted: situated on high land, it is healthy and can be made easily accessible by road and rail besides having a naturally beautiful setting in which ts ultimate purpose of producing a garden colony can be attained.


Stoneleigh Estate Sale 1928 - Burton Green and Crackley

Most of the land in Burton Green which lies to the East of Cromwell Lane, plus a small strip on the West side of Cromwell Lane near the Peeping Tom, belonged to the Stoneleigh Estate. 

In 1928 all of that land, comprising 1,300 acres, partitioned into 133 lots, was put up for auction to members of the public. This is the area shaded green on the map above. 

Click to enlarge
The image at the right shows a page from the sale catalogue. You can click on the image to enlarge it to read all of the details.

The sale included:

  • 7 complete farms, including Bockenden Grange Farm, Cryfield House Farm, Lodge Farm, Hurst Farm and South Hurst Farm
  • The Hollies (the house on the right at the top of Red lane)
  • Westwood Cottages (near Westwood Church)
  • 5 woods - Black Waste Wood, Broadwells Wood, Crackley Wood, Rough Knowles Wood and Whitefield Coppice
  • 9 plots of building land in Cromwell Lane
  • numerous plots of building land in Red Lane
  • 5 plots of building land in Westwood Heath Road
  • plus numerous other properties.

Just below are the sale details for Lot 13 (the right hand cottage of The Hollies) which subsequently became Seaton's Field.


Lot 13 was sold for £530, which is typical. Potential building land was selling for about £100 per acre. 

We don't know who purchased Lot 13. In the 1939 survey, 10 years later, the property was occupied by Patrick Hession, with his wife and daughter Hilda, who were running a Post Office and sweet shop from the premises. 



Plots of building land in Cromwell Lane near Westwood corner were sold for £75 each. 

A row of building plots in Cromwell Lane backing onto Black Waste Wood (lots 5-9) were sold together with Black Waste Wood (34 acres) and Broadwells Wood (42 acres) for a total of £3,250. 

The Hollies (lot 12) was sold together with Bockendon Farm (177 acres) for a total £4,825.

Plots of building land along Red Lane were sold for between £75 and £115 each.


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