In the sixteenth century there were several families named Bull living in Sutton. Nicholas Bull had a large farm in Bulls Lane, once called Bulls Farm but now Fairview Farm, and Josiah Bull owned land next to Sutton Park. A much poorer family came to live near the top of Rectory Road, where they made their squatter’s hut on some common land and took in an acre of land - probably the widow Grace Bull mentioned in the sixteenth century court rolls lived there. Behind this plot was a large triangular area of common extending nearly to Reddicap Heath and bounded by Hollyfield Road - this part of the commons became known as Bulls Field.

A plan of 1811 shows this cottage and plot of land, rented from the Warden and Society by John Jackson; it was separated from the next property down Rectory Road by a driveway giving access to Bulls Field from the road. The track (which is still there) led past the cottage and along the boundary of land belonging to Mr. Marriatt - he owned a farmhouse built c.1760 as a hunting lodge called the New or Red House fronting on to the common land of Bulls Field. A wealthy farmer, William Smith, enlarged the lodge into a substantial country house and renamed it Hollyfield House.

Sutton Coldfield’s commons were enclosed in 1825, and Bulls Field became private property attached to the Red House. The acre of land next to Rectory Road where John Jackson lived was sold by the Warden and Society to Smith, the cottage was demolished and the land added to the park of Hollyfield House, which had been extended with pleasure grounds set out on the former Bulls Field. There was a carriage entrance from the newly-laid-out Hollyfield Road, and the old track from Rectory Road remained as a footpath.

William Smith died in 1838, but his mother Marian Smith continued to live at Hollyfield; she died in March 1850. On June 24th a new tenant moved in, Henry Addenbrooke, a rising young solicitor. Addenbrooke came to Sutton in 1846 at the age of 24 to join the firm of his sister’s husband, Vincent Holbeche. Sarah Holbeche wrote in her diary that her bother-in-law took Hollyfield House, and on August 7th “Henry Addenbrooke married Miss Brisco and became one of us - Holbeche and Addenbrooke”.

The owner of Hollyfield House was John Smith, William’s son, who lived at his seat in Oxfordshire - he also owned Wylde Green Farm. Smith sold Hollyfield House to Addenbrooke in 1863. He lived there in style with his wife, six children and five servants. The Addenbrookes moved out to a new house in Lichfield Road, Hollyfield House was acquired by the Rector and added to Rectory Park. Ownership of the Rectory and Hollyfield passed to the Church Commissioners, but both proved to be a liability - the Rectory was demolished and Hollyfield was sold to Sutton Corporation in 1939 for £16,250. In the Second World War the fire service had a store there and the house was occupied by the Home Office Pensions Department; the house was demolished in 1949.

Detail of the 1824 Corn Rent map of Sutton held in Sutton Reference Library. Bulls Field is the pink area numbered 480,481.482 and 483; Hollyfield House is plot 966; XIX is Rectory Road and XX is Hollyfield Road. Part of E127 is the squatter’s holding carved out of the common in the sixteenth century by Bull, after whom the common was named. The Boot Inn is on plot 967.