In 1416 the Head Forester of the Earl of Warwick’s Chase of Sutton Coldfield reported to the Court Leet at Sutton that some men had let their pigs loose in the lord’s park without permission, to the destruction of the vegetation there. These men were fined, some of them a shilling, but Hugh Parker and John Verney only a penny. Hugh was presumably the park keeper, and John Verney is named as the Chaplain, probably of the Chapel of St. Blaise at the Manor House - both of them in the service of the Earl.

Verney was appointed Receiver General to the Earl of Warwick in 1430, effectively chief executive, managing the Earl’s hundreds of manors. The salary for this post was only £10 per annum, but there were other rewards: in Sutton alone the post of Chaplain was worth 33 shillings annually, with no duties, and he was the tenant of a property called Wyndley Quech at the favourable rent of 4d a year. These items are given in the Bailiff’s Account of 1433, where Verney is named as the tenant of New Shipton.

New Shipton was a farm of 160 acres near Walmley, and having that amount of land gave Verney the status of a gentleman - it was worth more to him than the £4.60 annual rent he paid. The 1433 document records that the farm was “demised to John Verney clerk to the end of his life by the court rolls this being the 13th year … and John Verney is to maintain all the buildings of the said messuage (i.e.the farm buildings) and the fences of the said fields in all necessary things at his own expense except that the lord will supply structural timber for building repairs.” Verney took advantage of this clause to rebuild the great barn at New Shipton, where the timbers forming the crucks which support the building have been dated to 1425.

In 1416 Verney played an active part in the life of Sutton, where he was known as the Chaplain, kept pigs, and bought a stray horse, which had remained unclaimed for a year, for two shillings. But he had other fish to fry - by 1428 he was a prebendary of Lichfield, becoming Dean of Lichfield four years later - he owed these valuable preferments to his patron Richard Beauchamp Earl of Warwick. He was also Archdeacon of Worcester, and by the time of his death in 1457 he had left Sutton far behind. His name appears in a later Bailiff’s Account, for 1480 - the bailiff had discovered some outstanding debts for unpaid rent.

Part of one of the crucks at New Shipton barn, built for John Verney in 1425, photographed in 2000
New Shipton barn was converted to office use in 2005, retaining the massive oak crucks