Langley Hall, which stood in Ox Leys Road, was pulled down in the 1820s; at one time it was the richest and most splendid house in Sutton. In the Middle Ages it belonged to the powerful De Bereford family of Wishaw, passing by inheritance to Gilbert Hore and then to his cousin Edith Hore. The mature Edith Hore took a fancy to a young Oxford student, Rowland Pudsey, whom she married, and so the Pudseys had Langley Hall for over 100 years until 1678.
The Pudseys were well established in local society, one of the gentlemen marrying a descendent of Bishop Vesey’s brother and another was married to a descendant of Vesey’s sister, while the ladies married into the best County families. Edward Pudsey’s note-book refers to attending a first performance of a play by his distant cousin William Shakespeare in London.
George Pudsey of Langley Hall supported the Parliament in the English Civil War, though he was not a soldier like his cousin, who was a captain in Cromwell’s New Model Army. In 1660 George welcomed the Restoration of King Charles II; George and his son Henry were the first Capital Burgesses of Sutton Coldfield under a new Charter granted by the king in 1661. Henry Pudsey, who was thirty years old in 1661, married Jane Thornhaigh, from a prominent East Midlands family.
Henry Pudsey inherited Langley Hall on his father’s death in 1674, but he only survived his father by four years. The stable block at Langley Hall (now converted into luxury apartments) was built at this time by William Wilson, a stonemason and architect of lowly birth. Wilson was also engaged in making the monument to Henry and Jane Pudsey which can still be seen in Sutton Parish Church.
Jane Pudsey was the sole executrix of Henry’s will, but three overseers of the will were also named - his brother Thornhagh (Jane’s brother), his uncle Wood (probably William Wood of Peddimore), and “Father Skeventon” (the Skeffingtons were neighbours of the Thornhaghs - perhaps this Skeffington/Skeventon was a Roman Catholic Priest?).
The will specified that Henry’s daughters were to inherit all the property (the eldest was then ten years old), but would not inherit if they married against the wishes of their mother and “Father Skeventon”. In the event it was his widow Jane Pudsey who made the unsuitable marriage - to the humble architect William Wilson.