John Ireland was paying the Warden and Society of Sutton Coldfield an annual rent of 6d. (2½p) for
his cottage and garden in Maney. This was in 1780, and the rent was due to the Warden and Society
because the cottage had been built on a piece of waste ground at the roadside at some time in the
past; strictly speaking, the 6d was a penalty for illegal squatting rather than a rent. But in 1781 the
Warden and Society increased the rent to 5s.2d. per annum (26p).
The increased rent was due because Ireland’s cottage had been transformed into the Horse and Jockey public house. The new pub was well sited, being the first hostelry in Sutton for travellers from the Black Country and for travellers from Birmingham, at a time when parking was not a problem.
The Name of the pub was perhaps intended to make it attractive to race-goers. Horse-races in Sutton Park attracted huge crowds in the nineteenth century, but there are no accounts of races in Sutton before 1800. Ireland was unlikely to name his pub the Horse and Jockey unless it was near a racecourse, so there were probably race meetings held from time to time on the nearby commons. This would explain why another pub in Maney, The Cock, changed its name to The Golden Cup. If the Golden Cup could not cope with the racing crowds, that would explain why it was worth-while for Ireland to convert his cottage to a pub.
When the commons were enclosed the race meetings moved to Sutton Park. The Horse and Jockey continued trading, and in 1851 it was a family business, run by the 75-year-old widow Davis and her two unmarried sons. Race-goers still called in at the pub on their way to more distant meetings - in 1861 Sarah Holbeche noted that it was Lichfield Races day, and observed the disreputable crowds passing her house in High Street. In 1901 the proprietor, F.J.Brookes, was advertising to more respectable travellers - those on their bicycles.