ARCHITECTURE
Droveway - local history
Our original office was located in Sutton Coldfield and is on the line of the old droveway for sheep and cattle between North Wales and Smithfield Market in London.
 
Droveway
Droveway Architecture Local History
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

               
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Compass
ancient droveway map

It was the spring of 1760 and Dai the drover was travelling from Wales to Smithfield market in London along the old Chester Road. Dai and his partner William and their 100 sheep had just stopped for refreshment at The Rising Sun in Brownhills.

They headed wearily along the Chester Road towards the Turnpike Toll Gate at The Welsh Harp. Here he would be forced to pay the standard fee of fivepence for a score of sheep and another threepence expenses for his horse and cart. 

Then Dai suddenly had an idea. He decided to take a short cut. Shouting to William, he drove the sheep off the road and up the hill behind the castle. He headed over Barr Common. Once over the common and out of sight of the Toll House, they could rejoin the Turnpike Road at The Parson and Clerk Inn. 

The bypass was a bit different to the normal route, and was a smaller track, but it was faster and a lot cheaper than paying the standard fees.

Dai’s idea soon caught on. The other drovers knew a good thing when they saw it, and it wasn’t long before lots of them followed the same idea. By 1823 the informal route over Barr Common had become the normal droveway for the sheep.

Some years later, Dai and William were sitting on the hillside of Barr Common, looking down on the Chester Road, where they used to pay lots of money:

“You know, … I like it up here” said Dai. “When I give up this droving I think I might start a business, right here on Barr Common.”

“What makes you think you would be successful?” asked William.

“Well…..” said Dai, “I could operate on the same principles…..
Don’t use the conventional route, but find a way which is faster and cheaper …
just like we do now …. I think the punters might go for that!”

“And what would you call this Company of yours?” asked William.

“Droveway?” suggested Dai.

“No!” said William, “You’d be wasting your time! That’d never catch on!”

And with that, off they went ….. into The Rising Sun.

 
toll house on Chester Road, Brownhills
Modern day Rising Sun pub