Church Hill

Church Hill is the steep cobbled approach to the church from Mill Street.

It now has the Sons of Rest building on the right as one walks (or drives!) uphill and the Vesey Gardens on the left.  At the top it opens out onto a cobbled  ‘piazza’ with the church on the left and the Trinity Centre on the right, and the car park at the rear just above Trinity Hill.

It has changed in look considerably over the centuries.

Roger Lea, writing in the local paper in 2010, commented:

“If you stand on the Vesey Memorial looking across Vesey Gardens to High Street, you see a wide triangle of space enclosed by Mill Street and Coleshill Street. If you were standing here 800 years ago, you would be looking at the Earl of Warwick’s newly-laid-out town of Sutton with its large triangular market-place in front of you.”

By 1700 the whole area now occupied by the Vesey Gardens was built up, an initial four large houses on Church Hill being converted during the nineteenth century to six then eight separate dwellings.

Until 1939 when the Vesey Gardens were landscaped there were residential dwellings and two public houses.

The Corporation decided, following the successful town pageant of 1928 and play about Vesey performed at the Jubilee of 1935 that a lasting memorial was needed to Bishop Vesey.  There was also feeling in the town that the church was not adequately visible from the Mill Street / High Street perspective.

The Corporation, under John Willmott, realising the church would not be in a position to finance the project, secured the necessary funds to buy out the two pubs and to arrange demolition of the houses which by then were fairly dilapidated.    

Ref:  Margaret Kendall, ‘From Church Hill to Vesey Gardens’, Sutton Coldfield Local History Research Group, 1989

Church Hill, 1906: from 'Church Hill to Vesey Gardens' Kendall