Packwood before Ash - The Fetherstons
The Fetherston family owned land at Packwood from the fifteenth through to the middle of the nineteenth century.
In about 1570, William Fetherston built a new ‘great mancient howse’ which was later handed over to his son John in 1599. The house John inherited was tall, detached and nearly square in plan, with triple gables and a great brick cow barn to the north with further farm buildings to the east.
The Fetherstons were yeomen farmers and each subsequent generation expanded the estate through industry. John Fetherston II, was a lawyer who increased the family’s wealth and built the stables and outhouses with their complex brickwork, cupolas and many sundials. At the time of his son’s death in 1714 the Fetherston family commanded an estate of around 690 acres.
Through the 18th Century the succession passed through the female line to the Leigh family and then to the Dilkes. The last of the line died in comparative poverty and Packwood was eventually sold to George Oakes Arton, a Birmingham solicitor. When George died in 1901 the principal interest of the property was not the half-timbered mansion of the Fetherstons, but the celebrated and, by then, mystical antiquity of the gardens.