Henry Hurst of Walmley was descended from a long line of Hursts, many of them named Henry, and was succeeded after his death in 1670 by his son, another Henry Hurst. Henry was a well-off yeoman farmer who inherited his farm and land intact from his ancestors, and his son would pass it on in turn to his heir, another Henry Hurst. The farm was probably what is now Hurst Green Farm at the end of Walmley Ash Lane - this lane was the street of the hamlet of Walmley in 1670. The second Henry Hurst died in 1689, and must have been proud of the long continuity of the Hurst dynasty, as he desired his heir to keep some furniture “to stand and be as heirlooms in and to my said dwelling house in Walmley for ever.”
At a nearby farm was Abraham Hargreave, a yeoman who died in 1667. It was a smaller farm than Henry Hurst’s, but he was a wealthier man, and unlike Hurst he was a newcomer. He had purchased a farm in 1666 from Henry Lane for £262/10/-, having already added to his lands by buying three meadows and two fields from his Walmley neighbours Edward Scott, Abraham Jordan and Robert Lea. Hargreave and Hurst, both wealthy yeomen, were unable to write.
While Abraham Hargreave was consolidating his farm, another farm in Sutton was being broken up. There are thirteen fields mentioned in the 1666 will of widow Dorothy Mather. The fields are all in Maney, and presumably were once a single farm, but in 1666 they were rented out to a number of farmers - Magdalen King, Raphael Veasey, William Rotheram, John Alport, Samuel Sealey and Thomas Rotheram. The will divides the property between her daughters Rebecca Wasse and Christian Higgins, son-in law Samuel Heeley, and grandsons Amos and Daniel Taylor, so that the land was then not only divided between five farms but also between five owners. Dorothy Mather, who lived in a house in High Street, was able to sign her own name.
Unable to sign his name was a gentleman, Mr. John Hulkes, who died in 1679. He owned two houses, one where he lived with his widow friend Mary Hall, recently purchased from John Cowper, and another at Four Oaks sold to him by William Bayliss. He leaves his own property, in Moor and Ashfurlong Quarter, to “Mary Hall widow with whom I now sojourn” and the Four Oaks house to his married daughter Mary Lea, but if Mary Hall remarries then Mary Lea is to have the house and give up the Four Oaks house to his other married daughter, her sister Hannah Priest