Nettlefold Family - Moor Pool History

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1870 onward

The Nettlefold Family

Somewhat confusingly there was another John Sutton Nettlefold. The first John Sutton Nettlefold married Martha Chamberlain, the eldest child of Joseph Chamberlain and Martha Statham Strutt, who married in 1792. (Later his grandson John Sutton Nettlefold was to marry another Chamberlain)

The first John Sutton Nettlefold seems to have had few relations. He had one brother, Sam, who died in 1847 at the age of 64 and two sisters—Anne who married in 1807 Henry Rooke who lived in the New Forest and, after gambling away his estate according to the custom of the times, took a very small house at Weybridge and Betsy who married in 1839 a rascally foreigner (Damiani) and lived at one time at Clifton.

Martha and John had 4 children - Martha Sanderson Nettlefold, Edward John Nettlefold, Joseph Henry Nettlefold and Frederick Nettlefold.

Edward John Nettlefold married Frances Wyman and they had 9 children - Edward Nettlefold, Frances Jane Nettlefold, Hugh Nettlefold, Constance Nettlefold, John Sutton Nettlefold, Bertha Nettlefold, Grace Nettlefold, Godfrey Nettlefold and Ruth Nettlefold.

John Sutton Nettlefold married Margaret Chamberlain in 1891.

Sometime after 1848 John and his wife Martha moved into a larger house, The Grove, Highgate, and remained there to their deaths in 186. It was from this house that Martha Sanderson Nettlefold was married to Charles Steer I in 1848. They had wonderful gatherings of the family at Christmas and May Wyman (née Steer) seems to have been with them frequently and never tired of talking of them. Suffice it to say that from these reports and from his travel diaries, John Sutton, who must have been a remarkably able and kindly man and whose memory was certainly revered by all his daughters. Edward J. Nettlefold moved into The Grove, Highgate, on the latter’s death. He had married Frances, one of two Wyman cousins who used to come to stay with his father and mother, and their first home was near Charles and Martha Steer. The marriage was a very happy one but it is known that she resented the time he spent in nursing Charles’ business for his two fatherless boys. After his death Frances moved her large family up to Birmingham, her eldest son having already gone into the Nettlefold business. She took Hallfield in Edgbaston, a large house where she lived in great state. Her stern expression and severe manner daunted the Steer children, but underneath them was the kindest of hearts.

Joseph Nettlefold married a pretty and very charming employee at the King’s Norton works. He lived in a large house “Highbury” at King’s Heath where he and Mary, the souls of hospitality, insisted on giving the wedding breakfast for Charles and Emily Steer. He was accustomed to drive to the works in his carriage and pair, but one snowy winter he astonished the neighbourhood by using a very magnificent sleigh for the purpose. To make sure that the works were guarded at nights the watchman had to fire a gun from the entrance at 10pm when Joseph stood at his front door to hear the report. Fearing that after his death his wife and three daughters might become victimised by fortune hunters, he left them only a modest sufficiency, and the bulk of his fortune to his brother Edward’s family to be distributed amongst twelve of them. In addition to the house at King’s Heath he had a property in Scotland, Alleyne, her visits to which were some of the very bright spots in May Wyman’s girlhood and early married life, and she treasured pictures of the house and a shooting party held there. It must have been a curious establishment and she had many funny stories about it. The only visitor who could really shoot seems to have been Henry Wyman, and they loved to get him there so that they could kill a few birds.

Frederick Nettlefold, the youngest of the three brothers, married Mary Warren, a little “Dresden china” lady. After the death of his father and eldest brother he managed the old original ironmongery business in Holborn with his nephews Oswald Nettlefold and Arnold Steer. Arnold began behind the counter tying up parcels, etc. In the next generation Oswald’s son, and daughter Nancy, carried on the business and moved into a large office in the Euston Road near the station. Frederick, he and Mary lived in a large house at Streatham where he had a very good collection of Cox’s paintings in his billiard room. He acquired a large interest in Courtaulds in its early days. When visiting at Putney, Elsa was taken by her two aunts to see him.


John Sutton Nettlefold lived with his wife Margaret and family at Winterbourne. They had 6 children, Evelyn Margaret Nettlefold, Annie (Nina) Nettlefold, John Kenrick Nettlefold, Beatrice Rosamund Nettlefold, Lois Nettlefold and Valerie Nettlefold.

Winterbourne House and Garden were designed in 1903 as the family home. Nettlefold commissioned local architect Joseph Lancaster Ball to design and build the house which was finished in 1904. The house was made of brick and tile and has an intentionally wavy roof line. Margaret Nettlefold designed the original garden herself.  The influence of designer Gertrude Jekyll can be seen in the colour themed border planting.

The Nettlefolds lived in the house with their children until Nettlefold's health meant he had to move away. In 1919, Margaret Nettlefold sold Winterbourne and moved away to be closer to her husband. The property was then bought by the Wheelock family who had 9 children. Wheelock was a local lawyer. The Wheelocks stayed at Winterbourne until 1925 when it was purchased by John Nicolson who was a successful businessman. Nicolson was a keen gardener and made several improvements to the garden at Winterbourne including expanding the rock garden and adding an alpine area. Nicolson remained at the house until his death in 1944 and Winterbourne was bequeathed to the University. The house and garden remain a part of the University of Birmingham.

The University of Birmingham has made varied use of the building since 1944 but in 2010 it was restored to its former glory as a family home (complete with William Morris design wallpapers). The garden had already undergone a period of restoration. The house and garden are now open as a visitor attraction and the garden is grade II listed.

The garden contains many plants from across the world. Highlights include an NCCPG collection of Anthemis, an orchid house, alpine garden, arid house, geographic beds and a Hazel (Corylus) tunnel. Other features of the garden include a restored wooden pergola, sunken rock garden, and a lean-to glasshouse that is notable for having been built on a slant. In 2011 a pleached lime walk was planted to reinstate one that was part of the original garden
Winterbourne House

The design of the house was intended to make the best use of available light; notable features are its large windows, white painted panelling and south facing rooms. The house contains furniture dating from the late Victorian period to the 1920s. Restored rooms include a drawing room, study, bedroom and nursery. The visitor tearoom is located where the original dining room would have been.

The house is well worth a visit. Click here to go to the website.

The following website also has numerous pictures of the rooms.

Margaret Nettlefold was the daughter of Arthur Chamberlain and Louisa Chamberlain (nee Kenrick). She was the eldes of 9 children.
Margaret was born in 1871and was amongst the first pupils to attend Edgbaston High School for Girls. After leaving high school, Margaret became a student at the Birmingham School of Art.

Margaret married John Sutton Nettlefold in 1891 at the Church of the Messiah, Old Street, Birmingham. Margaret designed the garden at Winterbourne house after its completion in 1904. She was the mother of Evelyn, Annie (Nina), John Kenrick, Beatrice, Lois and Valerie Nettlefold. Also mother of Lousia and Robert Nettlefold who died in childhood.

The following links give more information on the various families.

Evelyn Nettlefold
John Kenrick Nettlefold
The Nettlefold Family in 1904
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