John Snape, born in 1737, son of a schoolmaster on the Moxhull estate in Wishaw, was employed as a young man by Andrew Hacket III at Moxhull Hall, where he learnt to be a surveyor. He made beautifully produced surveys for local landowners in 1761, and two years later a larger work, “The Land of Andrew Hacket Esq. in the Parish of Sutton Coldfield, an Accurate Survey”. Andrew Hacket Esq. of Moxhull had extensive property, the Sutton holdings being only a small part of the total; the plans accompanying the survey include the earliest accurate large-scale map of Sutton town centre..

The survey shows that Hacket had twelve separate properties in Sutton in 1763, ranging from the 6½ acre Skitts Fields off Little Sutton Lane (Between the railway and Dower Road) to the 54-acre Park Leasows (between the Park and Lichfield Road), and from three cottages in High Street (where Railway Road is now) to a town house in Coleshill Street. John Swift was the tenant of 61 acres of low-lying meadow land to the south of Coleshill Road - in an article about Sutton in the Gentleman’s Magazine of 1763 the writer states “The rent of our best meadow land scarcely exceeds one guinea per acre; the arable land is let at 14 or 15 shillings” per annum.

Opposite Rectory Park, on the corner of Bedford Road, was Smith’s Croft, with a house, a tiny cottage and eight acres of land, rented by Thomas Aulton who had recently closed down the brickworks on the site. Forty years later the Hackets sold this property for £650 to Charles Cooper, when it contained several houses “standing near to each other but not adjoining” - there were five houses there in 1824.

Snape listed nine of the properties as being part of the Sutton Estate, and three as part of the Moxhull Estate. The Moxhull Estate included the town house in Coleshill Street together with some fields at the back; this house was tenanted by Thomas Woodhouse in 1763. A document of 1782 lists the trustees of Bishop Vesey’s Grammar School including two Andrew Hackets - Andrew Hacket the Elder of Sutton Coldfield (Andrew Hacket IV), and Andrew Hacket the Younger of Moxhull (Andrew Hacket V). So Andrew Hacket IV was living in Sutton in 1782, probably in the Coleshill Street House.

Part of the plan accompanying Snape’s 1763 Survey of Hacket Lands, accurately redrawn by John Hill. Some of the Hacket properties (Ready Croft and Garden, Ormes and Deeplows and Mill Meadow, Burnt Green, Far Croft, Croft and Blabs Meadow) lay in the centre of Sutton, so Snape provided us with the earliest large-scale plan of the town centre. The Moxhull town house fronting on the Coleshill Street, is in the plot labelled “croft”.