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A walk down Portway Hill to toast a grand old building

By Black Country Bugle User  |  Posted: January 04, 2007

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The fact that there are so few ancient buildings left in the Black Country means we must cherish the handful that do remain, and the Bugle makes no apologies in toasting a building of medieval vintage that sits halfway up (or down) Portway Hill in Rowley Regis.

The celebrated edifice is the former Portway Farm, known in the latter stages of the 19th century as Cox's Farm. It's a private home that still bears the sprawling appearance of its tenure as a farmhouse, even though the animals have long gone from the adjoining land and the outbuildings have fallen silent to the sounds of a once busy farm yard environment. But its stature as one of the Black Country's most attractive old buildings remains stoically intact.

During a recent restoration of the building's fabric, it would have been easy to have done irreparable damage by changing aspects of its architecture, driving a wedge between what we see to day and the image our forefathers would have seen, removing a sight that has been pleasing to the eye for countless generations. But the conservationists have done a magnificent job, sympathetically replacing window frames, and removing the black and white veneer of Victorian extravagance to reveal a multitude of different coloured bricks, and an assembly of stones that were probably hewn from nearby quarries. The house is still an attractive feature on the side of the Rowley Hills near Turner's Hill, the highest point in the Black Country, and even though its back drop and much of its surroundings have been in constant flux over the years, its link with our past remains intact and priceless.

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