Impartial HandA link has been added to this website leading to Page 401 of The Gentleman's Magazine, v.32, 1762, where you will see an article entitled "The Natural History of Sutton Coldfield."

You may feel that this looks vaguely familiar! The reason being that it is an extract from a larger publication available in Sutton Coldfield Library entitled The History of Sutton-Coldfield by an impartial Hand, printed in the Year 1762 (Ref: SH 97SUT).

A copy of the latter is attached to this article and, as you look through it, you will see that it is, in fact, a collection of three essays about Sutton Coldfield.  The first is a letter sent to Mr Urban, the author of The Gentleman's Magazine.  This is signed "Incola", a popular pseudonym of those times, meaning a resident or inhabitant, and is a short history of the town.

The second, entitled "Continuation", calls into question some of the former's comments.  This is also a letter, in this case sent to the London Evening Post and believed to be written by the famous Birmingham historian, William Hutton, signed "W.H."  The third essay, "Addenda", signed with another pseudonym, "Agricola"  meaning a farmer, offers further interesting facts about the town.

However, a puzzle remains as to who had the collection printed. Various sources point to Thomas Bonell, an Attorney of Sutton Coldfield, who was also a prolific author of pamphlets at that time.

Closer inspection of The Gentleman's Magazine, v.32, 1762 for the months of October and November (P.472 and P.515) reveals further articles about Sutton Coldfield concerning Bishop Vesey's bishopric of Exeter.  These were not included in the impartial Hand publication, perhaps because there were some derogatory remarks as far as Sutton's illustrious benefactor was concerned!

By making use of the Internet these days one could well uncover other interesting facts that were never recorded in the past.

authorJanet Jordan

July 2020