Information Requested


We occasionally receive emails asking for information about Hints or Canwell and we would like to hear from you if you have any information which may help. Please email any questions or answers to :

Michael Tate
Febuary 2024
I'm a direct descendent of the Weetman family of Hints and found your website extremely informative, useful and interesting. I noticed you suggested contacting this email address to find out about the possibility of obtaining a copy of Sylvia Dibbs' book on the Weetman family. If you have any further information, I would be exceedingly grateful.
  Editor : Sylvia's details for passed to Michael.
Jason Groombridge
January 2024
We received an enquiry from Jason about Manley Hall, which it transpires was in Weeford and outside our Parish, and also about the whereabouts of the forge in Hints. Jason asked if we know anything about the very old stone wall which has oak trees moulding round it which meets up to the black brook between the ford and hints. Perhaps there was a wooden bridge once? It is close to where the footpath used to be which is now closed off.
  Editor : this enquiry still needs research

Peter Mackenzie
August 2023 (Canada)

Peter discovered photographs of the interior of Hints Hall and explained the relationship between his ancestors and the Chadwick family.
  Editor ; our website is sadly lacking in the history of Hints Hall lacks though Val and Eddie Shaw spent 4 years researching this. When time permits I will upload Peter's photographs and research.
Nick Griffin 22/12/21

I have links for Hints on both by paternal grandfathers side (Griffin) and Maternal grandmother side (Fisher). There are a number of births, marriages and burials at St Bartholomews. I have a particular interest in one previous resident and family member, albeit a somewhat grisly one! Elizabeth Griffin (b.1823) committed infanticide in 1861 by throwing her new born son into the river in Shrewsbury. This was her second child out of wedlock and she was sentenced to be hanged. Appeals to the Home Secretary led to the sentence being commuted and I know of a number of petitions and pleas for mercy starting with the jury itself through to residents of Shrewsbury and, led by my ancestor and her brother William Griffin, residents of Hints and the surrounding area.

The sentence was commuted and she was sentenced to Life imprisonment. In the 1871 she is at Knaphill prison in woking (line 16) and you also see with her Constance Kent an infamous child killer (line 23). She did not serve life and by 1881 she is back in Hints living with her brother and indeed marries John Mason in 1882. Clearly she was accepted back into the village despite her history and I wonder if this is an early example of society understanding post natal depression. We will probably never know. 

I am writing up her life as best I can, with some obvious poetic licence to make it more readable, but wonder if there was any information held within your records of Elizabeth? I feel sure it would have been big news in the village as I have lots of National Press coverage of the case, but I am very interested in the views locally.

  Editor If anyone has any information about Elizabeth Griffin or her family please email us and we will pass it on to Nick.
Martin Holdcroft

My family originate from Hints although the name was spelt Ocroft, Howcroft or Howcraft in your registers the correct spelling should be Holdcroft. My family story starts in 1767 when Mary Dorkins married John Ocroft. Mary came from Warwickshire but as yet I do not know how or why John came to Hints. He was listed as a Labourer. They received poor law payments from circa 1790 to 1811. Their house one of several cottages that once stood on the corner of School Lane and Watling Street. I would be interested to know if anyone has a photo of the cottages prior to demolition.
Around 1810 Richard Holdcroft was apprenticed to a blacksmith named Samuel Goodwin who seems to have been known to Hints as he married there in 1807. In fact, he may have been a blacksmith at Hints or his father. The other thing of interest is during the time the Holdcroft's were paid poor law they were living in a cottage owned by Mr Floyer so probably worked on his estate. Unfortunately, no estate records for this time have come to light as yet. Not sure if this is of interest but other families may have links to my family tree as Hints at this time was a very close-knit community. John and Mary Dorkins are my six times great grandparents.

  Editor I have uploaded this snippet of history in the hope that another relative or researcher may come across it when browsing the web, and be able to enlighten Martin and ourselves more.
Les Armstrong

For several decades I have been working on some historical research that ironically has encompassed hints village in its meanderings. I would be grateful for your permission to use various items of content from your parish website, this may be presented to the British museum,whom I am already exchanging correspondence with. Obviously due credit to yourselves will be acknowledged.
Whilst writing I also need to research the hints water system,particularly the maximum possible daily abstraction rates, or to put it  in a different context, I would like to establish how many gallons daily was produced by the fresh water springs that supplied it. I understand it to be around 500,000 gallons daily, but I need to validate this figure. The consumption rate at the time that it was in use would have been substantially less than this, but I need to prove that it was capable of supplying 100,000 gallons of fresh water per day. Whilst I am not prepared to disclose the nature of my study at this stage, I am confident that if accepted it will prove highly beneficial to Hints village.

  Editor Les lived at both the Terrace and Escot on Watling street for many years and has a strong affection for the village and its residents. I replied saying I have no information on the water system although I've been to the site of the old reservoir at the top of the hill behind the village, also brick remains in School Lane which I believe to be related. A past Parish Council Chairman once pointed out to me
where a pump was located before some bungalows were built on the site.
I have ccd a resident who has taken a keen interest on the history of the village in case she has any information and will update this page when I have any more information.

I thought you might like to know that I have had permission to metal detect the field that borders Hints forge. I made some amazing discoveries. Right next to the forge I found a cannon ball which I was not expecting at all. In the middle of the field there is a bank that runs all the way through. On the steepest part of the bank I found a 3000 year old bronze age axe head in beautiful condition. A very rare once on a lifetime find. I also have permissions across the Bangley Valley and I can tell you that the Romans did farm it as I found a small Roman coin. I have had around 12 hammered medieval coins from the areas of Hints, Canwell and Bangley. I also have found a Roman brooch and coin from around the year 164 ad from a hill in Little Hay very close to Canwell. I hope this has been to some for you. Regards Jack 

Tom Fryars

Hi, I am looking for information relating to an entry listed on the attached document which mentions a Hill Climb at Hints Hill. The climb took place on the 20th July 1912 organised by the Sutton Coldfield & Mid Warwickshire Auto Club. Is there any more information about this event?

  Editor The information below was kindly provided by Jerry Sturman from the HSA (Hillclimb and Sprint Association). Jerry is a committee member and author of a number of Motor sports titles himself.
  Jerry Sturman

Hints Hill was indeed a hillclimb. I can do no better than to quote wholesale from Julian Hunt's invaluable book 'Motorsport Explorer'.
HINTS HILL (Hillclimb)  First used July 1912  Last used May 1914
The hill was described by The Autocar in 1912 as 'a fairly easy gradient without a bend yet somewhat deceptive, needing more power than might be supposed to climb at any speed'. The timed section was a half-mile (804.7m). The poor state of Coalport Hill (Shropshire) led to the Sutton Coldfield and Mid-Warwickshire AC to search for another hill and they found what they required at Hints Hill near Tamworth. The inhabitants of this quiet rural area welcomed the excitement of the event in July 1912 and there was more hustle and bustle in the area than had been seen for many a day. The police controlled the traffic on what must have been an important and busy road. Christopher Bird, driving a 3-litre Sunbeam built for the Coupe de l'Auto race at Dieppe in June, set BTD in 40.8sec for the half-mile, but he did not notice the finishing tape and continued at full speed until he saw a horse and trap on the road ahead and braked hard, the car sliding from side to side but staying on the road. The club returned to Hints hill on 9 May 1914 when C.Ashton was first in the cyclecar class in an 8hp Morgan three-wheeler, ahead of H.Thompson in an 8hp Buckingham. 
It might be worth mentioning that all speed hillclimbs were held on public roads in those days, but that all came to an end in 1925. People were already getting a bit twitchy about traffic disruption and disturbance to residents and when Francis Giveen, driving the ex.Raymond Mays Bugatti Cordon Bleu, left the road and hit a spectator (who admittedly had remained in a prohibited area after repeated requests to move), breaking his leg. Following the incident the RAC, the ACU (Auto Cycle Union) and the RSAC (Royal Scottish Automobile Club) imposed an immediate ban on all speed contests on the open highway in Britain (but not the Isle of Man, Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic). With very few exceptions the ban has been upheld to this day.
I hope this helps with your historical research on Staffordshirel. 'Motorsport Explorer' has details of several other speed event venues in Staffordshire, including Curborough sprint course near Lichfield, which is still very much in use and one of the most popular speed venues in the country - indeed the HSA run an annual event there in October. The book was published in 2012 by Haynes, who no longer produce motorsport titles, at £35. However the original hardback copy is currently available from Amazon for £4.99 - a considerable saving!
All the best,

  Tom Fryars

Thank you for the reference. The book mentioned I was unaware of, to date my bible has been SPRINT by TR Nicholson, who does not cover all the climbs in detail. Attached is an image of the Crossley 15 hp which won the 1912 event 'on formula' at Shelsley Walsh in 1912.
The Coupe de l'auto Sunbeam was a racing car, two of which were beaten at Beacon Hill by the standard production Crossley 20 hp car currently in my ownership, image attached.

John Martin
South Warwickshire England.

After many years, I have traced my family history and in particular my father's father's father's (et caetera) ascending line, all MARTINS. They were all iron / steel workers and I assume that Edward senior worked at Hints Forge, which I understand closed in the 1760's. And many of the family you see on the link below moved away from Hints at that time or after.

Amazingly I have, in locating my ancestors back to Hints, and in "googling", located the following page on a Colorado University web-page, showing my family forebears. The page is evidently posted by another descendant of Edward Martin and his daughter Mary. I am descended from Edward's son, also called Edward who is shown on this link. I think all the entries on the webpage are based on the Hints parish records. Here is the link:

Sadly, Edward senior's wife (who had all these Children in Hints) is not named in the Parish records. I just wondered if you know if there is any grave in the Churchyard for any of these listed on that page to see if it is worth me to come to visit.

  Editor The Hints Forge is an interesting facet of the history of our village and when I get a moment intend to walk along the brook and try to find the site. Regarding your family history, as you have probably found from the burial records on our web site, they confirm that Sarah was buried on 1st October 1769, and Ann Martin was buried 14th August 1831 aged 70.

John Martin

My wife and I took a walk through the Hints' church graveyard last autumn. It is a very pleasant and well kept churchyard but I could find no relevant graves for "Martin", neither Sarah's grave  from 1769 or Ann's from 1831.

It is possible that the Sarah Martin buried there was not in fact the daughter but rather the mother of the family and of the children which she had in Hints, as in 1769 she would have been around 50 or over 50. I have a later record indicating the mother's name as Sarah even though the mother's name is not recorded in the Hints parish records for the Childrens' births, only the father's name is shown. So as far as I can find out, in summary, and I think I have exhausted all sources now: 

- The family/ couple (Edward Martin and Sarah) came to Hints in the late 1730's from an unknown place. He worked at the Hints forge probably until it closed in the 1760's and he left Hints in any case before his death, I guess, because he is not on the Hint's burial register. They had several children in Hints between 1741 and 1754, (see link below in email trail).

- My next direct ancestor Edward (junior) was christened at Hints Church on Boxing Day 1748, and the next thing I can find is that when he marries in the 1770's he is a forgeman in Rotherham, Yorks.

 - So I guess also that Edward senior came to Hints from another forge, maybe close or maybe not too close. The history of these forges at that time was that they opened and closed after several decades and the forgeman would move. They did not use coal which was more sustainable, until about 1765-1780 so until that time as production increased they would tend to use up all the wood from the surrounding countryside and then they became uneconomic and closed when the price of iron, which tended to be cyclical (as now), fell.

Anyway thanks for your help. If you find any other info on the Hints forge or my family, do please let me know. Thank you

  Ian Roberts
Scarborough, Ontario, Canada 18/9/17

John Martin asked about the Martin family of Hints, in particular Edward Martin who had children christened there in the 1740s and 1750s. Could you please provide me with John's email address. I would like to contact him to share family info. I am also descended from this Martin family through Edward's daughter Mary b. 1750 who married Richard Lees and then Mary and Richard's son Moses Lees b. 1785, who is my 5th great-grandfather.
Thank you very much
Ian Roberts

Editor: I have put Ian in touch with John and will update this page should any new information come to light.

Mark Lorenzo

I´m putting together a couple of posts on my blog Tamworth Timehikes on underground sites or stories of interest within walking distance of Tamworth, and I came across this on Chadwick house which I quote here  "It is believed that a tunnel was constructed between the church and Chadwick House." I would be grateful if anyone could confirm this story or if there´s any more information out there. Please send info or stories to mark.

  Editor The owners of Chadwick House were advised when they purchased the house that a tunnel runs from the church to Chadwick house, but does not know where it is as it is not visible from the brickwork. They were also told that a tunnel runs from Hints to Canwell, which may appear should the rail line be constructed.
  Editor : Update 19/07/11 Mark and I visited the Church last Saturday to view the cellar which housed the old boiler. The cellar is small with a vaulted brick ceiling, and the walls are sandstone blocks which seem older than the building above ground. There was no evidence of a tunnel such as a doorway having been bricked up.
James Jacobs
I would be grateful to know whether Sylvia's book on John Weetman is available to buy from high street booksellers & hope Sylvia would be able to help with my enquiries.
  Editor James' email is in full on the "William Weightman" page linked from "Hints History".
Anthony Poulton-Smith, Tamworth

I would welcome the opportunity to appeal for ghost stories via your website.
Following on from my previous published works, I have been commissioned to produce a book on the ghostly tales of Staffordshire. With ghost books it is important to get the right mix of the traditional tale, the updated story, and the brand new in order to satisfy as many readers as possible. I have plenty of the traditional, but would be grateful for any information, leads, or pointers to personal experiences you could offer. Of course if you desire anonymity that would be guaranteed.
Any information or stories can be sent to

John Wassell

I am studying the local history of Harpenden and researching the local freehold and copyhold propertiesof one William Bursey, a London Coachmaker who died in 1686, whose daughters was married to Samuel Floyer a son of Richard Floyer of Hints.

  Editor For more details refer to Hints History, The Floyer family. If you have any information about the Bursey family please email John Wassell

Alex Canwell

I was just wondering if you could shed any light on how the Canwell estate got its name? 
Thank you, Alex

  Editor This site is worth checking

Edward Ebden,

I am a descendant from the Flyer's (later Floyer) of Uttoxeter who purchased the manor of Hints in c 1601. Is there is a connection between the Floyers Hayes (Devonshire) Floyers and the Hints (Staffordshire) Floyers?

I am intrigued by the name Hints; I see that there is or was claim that it is British and from being close to Watling Street. Is there any truth in this? Just out of interest (my wife Jan,our son Louis aged 5 and I) live at Castell Ffrwyn or Ffrwent (depends on which OS map you use) which means juncture of a bridle way in old Welsh I believe, the stem word wynt may be close to Hint(s). Just a thought!

  Editor See Edward's complete email on the Hints History page via "The Floyer Family" link.
20/07/09 See Lee Oates email below regarding the Marlows of Hints.

Maureen Casson, Churchwarden

St.Bartholomew's Church are urgently trying to trace the relatives of PHYLLIS MELITIA FRENCH age 49 died 2nd December, 1956 and WILLIAM SALT age 70 died 27th November, 1955 and ROSE ANN SALT age 87 died 13th September, 1970 and daughter Mabel and granddaughter Ann. If anyone can help with our research please contact

Andrew Gliddon Johnson (USA)
Andrew's family came from the Forest of Dean but a tree-felling accident brought his Greatgrandfather Thomas Johnson to Hints to work as a gardener on the Hints Hall estate, and Thomas was buried in St Bartholomew's churchyard. Andrew's Grandfather Sydney Johnson was born in Hints and also became a gardener on the estate, and he spent his spare time by the brook and pool. Andrew has not been able to visit Hints and would like to hear from anyone with information which may fill in gaps in his knowledge of his family history and of Hints.

Bob Wright

l wondered if anyone knows when the bakery on Rock Hill was opened and also, is there any record of a child around 12yrs, or small person ever going missing in the area. I realise that this is an unusual request but I am intrigued by a conversation I had many years ago with someone who is no longer with us.

The Sale Particulars for Hints Hall Estate in 1949 described "The Old Post Office" as including a "Bakehouse". The 1901 Census listed the occupier as Mr John Langley who was a 47 year old widower who was a self-employed Sub-Postman and Baker.

  Keith Collins The bakery building and its equipment was intact when we took over in 1962, although it obviously had not been operating for some years (all the equipment was sold on by Willy Bates before we moved in - he left cartons of treacle which had solidified and lots of paper cake cases) I think that Clive Bates who lived in Reservoir cottage with Flossie was the last baker - I understand that their son lives locally.

David Swinscoe

I am researching the Bassetts of Blore and Hints, so if anyone has any information I would be very pleased to hear from you.

  Editor There is a copy of David's unfinished draft here.

Brian Haynes

James and Alice Marlow, who are named on the gravestone of their infant daughters at St.Bartholomew's Church, were my great great grandparents. James Marlow was gamekeeper to the Earl of Tamworth, and the 1871 census shows the family living at "Gamekeepers Cottage", Hints. Your local postman is not aware of a Gamekeepers Cottage currently at Hints. The above may be of interest to you, and equally I would appreciate any information on the Marlows which you may hold.

There was a keeper's cottage listed in the 1949 sale schedule for Hints Hall and Estate. This is now known as "Woodview Cottage".

Lee Oates
Queensland, Australia 20/07/09

I have only tonight noticed a previous email from Brian Haynes dated 20 August 2008 regarding the MARLOWs of Hints. He mentioned James and Alice (nee Flavel(l) ) MARLOW who are also my great great grandparents.  I believe James was the son of Joseph MARLOW and Hannah? from Chilvers Coton and Hopwas.

James was also the Under Gamekeeper, his brother Joseph the Gamekeeper on the 1861 census in Hints.  Brian mentioned about James and Alice's infant daughters' gravestones at St Bartholomew's which I was unaware of.  I am descended from their daughter Minnie Drusilla MARLOW born 1867 in Hints.

I would very much like to compare notes with Brian if possible, and I would also appreciate any pointers on where to find further information on the MARLOWs from Hints. Thank you.

  Editor Lee and Brian are in contact so I will update the website if any new information results.

Rob Morris

Good morning, I was scanning your website and came across two messages referring to the Marlow family, one from Queensland Australia and the other from Stafford UK . I am connected to the Marlow  family with direct lineage to Joseph and Hanna Marlow. Do you have any contact details for Brian Haynes and Lee Oates  who have left messages on your site asking for possible relatives as I believe they could be distant relatives of mine.
Many, many thanks

  Derek Morris
If it's not to late, could you add myself to your contacts regarding Marlow inquiries from Hints . (1850-1899). Lee Oates inquiring from Queensland Australia would be a very distant relation.