Upper Penn began life as a small farming community, centred around Vicarage Road and St. Bart's Church, with fields covering around 1,300 acres, stretching southwards towards Gospel End, eastwards towards Wolverhampton Road East, westwards towards Merry Hill and northwards towards Goldthorn Hill. As time progressed and Penn Road was improved by the turnpike trust, set up in 1761, cottages, shops and public houses also appeared there.

The 1843 tithe map of Penn provides us with a unique snapshot of life in the old farming community, which would soon change beyond recognition. At the time there were around 700 inhabitants in Upper Penn and very few buildings. Most people worked on the land, or in service to the few wealthy families who lived in the large houses.

It would have been a largely self-sufficient community in which people supplied neighbours with fruit and vegetables etc. and looked after reach other's interests. There were just a few local shops on Penn Road, Woodlands Cottages and at the bottom of Church Hill, along with public houses on Penn Road and at the top of Church Hill. The local school, Penn School, run by Edward Perry, was in Springhill Lane.

A map of the area covered in this article, based on the 1843 tithe map.

A rare view looking across the fields at Upper Penn from The Beeches. In the centre is Pinfold Meadow with Orton Furlong, and Cow Pasture behind. Just visible in the background is Quicksand Piece and the plantation. Pinfold Lane is behind the tree on the far right.
1. Penn Road and Manor Road
2. Pinfold Lane
3. Warstones Road
4. Church Hill
5. Vicarage Road
6. Mount Road

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