Glossary G-M

G

 

geology and geography: See The Geography of Birmingham and The Geology of Birmingham.

 

 

Geological Table  

 

 

Aeon

Era

Period

Epoch

Began BP

Ice Ages

Evolution of Life

Location of England and Birmingham

BP = years before present

Precambrian Time - extreme geological activity

Hadean Aeon

4600 million years BP

 

No life

Uncertain

Archaean Aeon

3900 million

 

First life: algae /bacteria

Birmingham in the Southern Hemisphere and probably on land.

Barnt Green volcanic rocks laid down as volcanic ash.

Proterozoic Aeon

3500 million

At least four ice ages and interglacials

Soft-bodied invertebrates, including jellyfish

Phanerozoic Aeon

Palaeozoic Era

Cambrian Period

 

540 million BP

 

Age of Trilobites

First fish

Birmingham at the South Pole beneath the sea.

Volcanic activity.

Lickey quartzite laid down on the sea bed.

Ordovician Period

 

505 million

Ordovician Ice Age

  440 - 430 million years before present

First freshwater animals, corals

Birmingham at the Antarctic Circle beneath shallow seas.

Tropical limestone Wenlock reef laid down at Dudley.

Silurian Period

Early/ Late

438 million

 

First land plants, insects

Birmingham on a level with modern South America beneath tropical shallow seas.

Devonian Period

Early/ Middle/ Late

408 million

Permo-Carboniferous

Ice Age 330 - 350 million years before present

First amphibians

Age of Fishes

Birmingham in a hot dry desert on a level with modern South America.

Carboniferous Period

Upper/ Lower

360 million

First reptiles, winged insects, first forests

Birmingham in a tropical swampy river delta on the Equator. South Staffordshire coal deposits laid down.

Permian Period

Early/ Late

286 million

 

More reptiles

Birmingham in hot dry desert conditions now north of Equator.

Clent breccia, compacted gravel laid down by flash floods.

Aeon

Era

Period

Epoch

Began

Ice Ages

Life

Birmingham

Mesozoic Era

Triassic Period

Early/ Middle/ Late

245 million BP

 

First dinosaurs/ flying reptiles

Age of Reptiles

Birmingham on a river delta in hot dry conditions east of the present Caribbean.

Mercia mudstone (clay) and Keuper red sandstone laid down.

Jurassic Period

Early/ Middle/ Late

208 million

 

First birds

Birmingham in the present mid-Atlantic.

Beneath the sea in a climate much warmer than present.

Cretaceous Period

Early/ Late

Lower/Upper

144 million

 

Age of Dinosaurs Early mammals, flowering plants

Globally high sea levels.

Birmingham beneath a shallow sea; moving towards present position.

Central Europe now land.

Cenozoic Era

Tertiary Period

Palaogene Epoch

 

Neogene

Palaeocene Epoch

66.4 million

 

Larger mammals

 

All of Europe now on land,

Britain joined to the continent and situated west of present Spain.

Warm climate.

Eocene

Early/ Late

56 million

 

Grasslands develop

Oligocene

34 million

 

Grazing mammals

Miocene

24 million

 

Apes & whales

Pliocene Early/ Late

5 million

 

Earliest hominids

Quaternary Period

 

Pleistocene Epoch

1.65 million BP

The (Great) Ice Age: at least four glacials and interglacials

Humans

Ice completely covered Midlands on more than one occasion, otherwise frozen tundra. Glaciers moved huge quantities of material southwards – glacial drifts of sand and gravel laid down.

Human stage: Palaeolithic/ Old Stone Age 500 000 – 10 000 years ago.

Holocene

10 000 years ago

Holocene interglacial

The present epoch

Mesolithic/ Middle Stone Age c10 000- 7000 years ago.

Neolithic/ New Stone Age c7000-4000 years ago.

Aeon

Era

Period

Epoch

Began

Ice Ages

Life

Birmingham

 

 

geology and geography: See The Geography of Birmingham and The Geology of Birmingham.


glebe
The word derives from Latin, glaeba, meaning soil, earth or land. In the later Middle Ages it took on the specialist meaning of land owned by and farmed or rented out by the parish priest; this may have consisted of strips in the open fields or, after enclosure, may have been consolidated as a farm.

Glebe Farm is so-named because it was once the property of the priest of Yardley.


gore
A medieval term for a triangular piece of ploughland, perhaps because of its shape, an unusable corner of a field; it may derive from an Old English word meaning a 'spearhead'.


gospel oak
A place on the parish boundary (usually co-terminous with the manor) where the Bible was read during the Rogationtide perambulation of the parish bounds. The tradition of beating the bounds of the parish continued from medieval to modern times in some parishes. In some cases children were actually beaten with sticks at certain significant points on the boundary or thrown into streams or ponds in order to impress upon them the limits of their parish. A cross may have been carved on a significant (oak) tree.
A placename often derived from the tree as at Gospel Oak on the Yardley border in Gospel Lane south of Leysdown Road, where a tree believed to be the Gospel Oak was felled c1846.


gothic architecture
In churches gothic architecture is typified by pointed arches. It derives from the Middle Ages. Early English gothic replaced the round-arched Norman or romanesque style from the late 12th century, through the more elaborate decorated gothic of the 14th century to the very elaborate and less pointed perpendicular style of Tudor times. St Edburgha, Yardley Parish Church is a good example of a medieval church in decorated gothic style.
By the 18th century gothic was replaced by architecture based on classical models. However, it was revived in the mid-19th century, partly as a result of the High Church movement. St Agnes Moseley is a church in revived early decorated gothic style.
The gothic revival also had an impact on domestic architecture where asymmetry, gables and pointed windows replaced the symmetrical neo-classical design of Georgian buildings. Many 19th-century public and commercial buildings in the city centre have strong gothic influences.
The Victoria Law Courts are a fine example of late Victorian gothic. School boards were set up after the 1870 Education Act, and the new school buildings were designed to high standards usually in gothic style. Built in 1879 the appearance of Nechells Primary School in Eliot Street has an ecclesiastical feel to it.


grange
An outlying farming estate belonging to a monastery (sometimes to a lord) and run by lay rather than by religious brothers. As with the terms abbey and priory, the word has been much used from the late 18th century in house names to evoke a historical romanticism, even when there is no connection with the Church.
Redhall Road in Quinton is the site of Redhall Grange which belonged to Halesowen Abbey.


gravestones
Brasses, effigies and monuments commemorating the burial places of the wealthy were placed inside churches from the Middle Ages; from the 16th century stone tablets laid into the floor became fashionable. By the 17th century the yeoman class began to have gravestones outside the church; the earliest of which are likely to be on the south side near the church entrance. However, most people well into the 20th century were laid in unmarked graves.
During the 20th century many ordinary people were laid in graves with headstones. From the third quarter of the 20th century increasing land prices meant that cremations became increasing popular; the burial or scattering of ashes may be marked by a small stone tablet. Increasing problems of maintenance of burial grounds and churchyards has often meant the removal of upright stones or their being laid flat to allow easier mowing of surrounding grass.
Park Street public gardens were made by the town council from the closed burial grounds of St Martin's-in-the-Bull Ring after Witton Cemetery opened 1863; here the stones have been laid flat or moved back to the wall to make an area of lawn.


green
Village greens were often focal points in nucleated villages. They may well have been used for grazing, but their purpose was also social and recreational. Some greens disappeared through illegal encroachment or enclosure. Kings Norton Green dates back to the medieval village. Castle Bromwich Green was created from a gift of land by Lord Bradford in 1895. However, many villages in Birmingham were not nucleated but rather a number of separate small farms spread over a wide area.
What we now know as the village centres of places such as the Bull Ring, Erdington, and Moseley, for instance, are more likely medieval than Anglo-Saxon. In these cases the term green usually denotes an area of common grazing land, probably medieval. This would be poorer land not good enough for growing crops but sufficient for the local peasants to graze their livestock.
The land often, sometimes as a result of enclosure, came into the hands of an individual or family as in Acocks Green, Birches Green, Flint Green. 'Green' may also have had the meaning of a site outside the main settlement settled by landless squatters on common grazing land. Although originally a term used to describe an agricultural feature, the word came to be used to describe a settlement at that place.


green lane
A rural unmetalled parish road wide enough to have a strip of grass along each side; green lanes were often used primarily for moving livestock. Other unmetalled roads often took the name of the exposed surface eg clay lane, gravelly hill, sandy lane, stony lane, watery lane. See also Glossary A-F clay lane.


guild or gild
In the Middle Ages a religious or craft association, usually urban, which acted as a mutual society for its members. Guilds would help their members in sickness and poverty; they sometimes made themselves responsible for the repair of parish highways and bridges, as did the Guild of the Holy Cross associated with St Martin's-in-the-Bull Ring. Processions and feasts were held on religious occasions and the guilds often paid for chantry chapels and priests to pray for the souls of departed members.
Kings Norton Old Grammar School may have originated as a guild hall whose members supported the chantry of the Virgin Mary at Kings Norton Church.


guinea gardens
18th-century Birmingham was surrounded by working-class allotments which were found all around the outskirts of the town and traditionally cost one guinea (£1. 1 shilling = £1.05) to rent. Many are clearly seen on Westley's 1731 map. By 1878 these gardens had all but disappeared underneath the expanding town.
Westbourne Road Leisure Gardens in Edgbaston are the remains of the last surviving example.

 



H

 

hammer mill See below iron making.


hawthorn
This is the tree of the May, the may tree, as in 'Ne'er cast a clout till may is out.' (Clout is an archaic term for an item of clothing.) The flowering of the tree was associated with May Day and the coming of summer; its scented flowering branches were hung around doors and windows and cowsheds for protection during the Middle Ages.
The seasonal link was somewhat lost when the calendar was brought forward by 13 days in 1732. In the mid-20th century hawthorn blossomed on average around the 13th May. At the beginning of the 21st century it is blossoming rather earlier. During the Middle Ages hawthorn was a plant of wastes and open woodland and was attributed with magical powers because of red berries, red being a symbol of potency.
Old English gehaeg means 'fenced/ hedged land'. Medievals hays or enclosed fields were often surrounded by a substantial ditch perhaps as wide as two metres and over a metre in depth with a corresponding bank of similar dimensions. It is likely that the bank would have been topped with a fence while a live hedge developed. The hedge would have been planted in winter usually with hawthorn whips and the enclosures used for keeping livestock, probably cattle. The name of the tree literally means 'hedge thorn'.
During the movement, especially during the 18th century, to enclose the open fields, the tree continued its association with hedges, being dense and impenetrable when grown and easy to grow from cuttings.


heath
Heaths are areas of less fertile soil and can be found, for instance, along the Birmingham sandstone ridge from Bromsgrove to Lichfield, and on areas of glacial drift. Heath is a common placename element and may be medieval or later. Across the country there are perhaps three dozen placenames of the type Heathfield or Headley, and very many more which have heath as the second element: eg. locally Balsall Heath, Druids Heath, Kings Heath, Walkers Heath. There may have been thin birch and hazel woodland here, or it may have been land cleared by earlier peoples which had reverted to light cover of gorse, broom and heather.
Heathland would have been fairly easy to clear and plough, although it is not especially fertile and does not retain water well. However, from the Middle Ages most heathland was valuable as common land and used for grazing. 18th-century agricultural writers saw this land as waste and, as a result of parliamentary enclosure, most was turned over to arable farming and 'improved'.

Heathland appears to be a natural habitat, but is usually the result of forest clearance for agriculture from around 5000 years ago. Farmers over hundreds of years burned heathland that had become overgrown with old heather, gorse and broom in order to maintain open grazing areas for their livestock. Some heathlands now are burned in blocks by conservation organisations on a five-year cycle and grazed especially during the winter months by sheep and cattle. Heathers actually seem to benefit from burning and will regenerate vigorously the following spring. Much heathland, left without human intervention, will revert to woodland.

Much of Sutton Park is maintained as heath.


hedges
Fields created as a result of parliamentary enclosure from the 18th century were usually demarcated usually by hawthorn hedges. Hawthorn, known as quickset, could be planted as cuttings and expected to grow into an impenetrable hedge relatively quickly. Hedged fields predate parliamentary enclosure, however. Closes were hedged from Anglo-Saxon times, as were deer parks from Norman times.
A rough rule-of-thumb for dating a hedge is to count the number of species present in a 100 foot (c30m) stretch reckoning that a new species will establish itself naturally every 100 years. Small amounts of hedgerow (rarely 100 feet in length) survive in urban Birmingham as well as trees that have been left when the hedge was taken up.
Old hedges can be seen by the River Cole in the Dingle west of Colebrook Road at Billesley.
Evidence of deer park boundaries can be seen in Sutton Park.


hide
A medieval unit of land measurement whose size was variable depending on the quality of the land, but considered to be the amount of land able to support a family and dependants. The hide was used as a unit of tax assessment and rent. A hide is now reckoned at c50 hectares. The Charter of (Little) Aston and (Great) Barr describes the limits of 5 hides of land granted by King ?Eadred to his minister, Wulfhelm 957 AD.
A virgate or yardland was a quarter of a hide.


High Church
The Oxford Movement from the second quarter of the 19th century was pioneered by such as John Henry Newman to restore medieval ritual to the Church of England. The high-church movement went hand in hand with the revival in gothic architecture.
St Alban's Church Highgate was built in a High Church style and internally is fitted out accordingly. It maintains its Anglo-Catholic credentials to the present day.


Highland and Lowland Zones
A concept used by geographical historians roughly dividing Britain into two zones, the Highland Zone north of a line from Middlesborough to Exeter, and the Lowland Zone south of it. From prehistoric times the Lowland Zone has been more populous, more intensively farmed, more technologically advanced and more prosperous than the Highland. The concept is important in understanding the development of Birmingham which lies just into the Highland Zone but in a borderland position.


hoarstone
A large stone used as a boundary marker: the placename Warstone derives from Anglo-Saxon har stan = boundary stone, where the manors of Aston, Birmingham and Handsworth met.


holloway
Roads descending slopes that have been worn away by centuries of traffic. Constant use wears away the plant layer binding the surface which is then eroded by rain and may become a stream in winter. Holloways may be very old: one such is referred to in Cofton Lease written in 849 where the perambulation follows land thaes Holan Weges, 'along the holloway', probably Groveley Lane.
Most holloways in Birmingham survive in name only, as at Holloway Head in the city centre. Important local roads from Alcester, Pershore, Stratford and Warwick came into Digbeth via a notorious holloway from Camp Hill along Bordesley High Street of which a little can be imagined near Warner Street.
A clearly defined Holloway, originally part of Yardley Green Road, can been seen in the old Yardley Field in parkland to the rear of Blakesley Hall School, and another at Scribers Lane Hall Green.
Where any of these roads (from Birmingham) lead up an eminence, they were worn by the long practice of ages into deep holloways, some of them twelve or fourteen yards below the surface of the banks, with which they were once even, and so narrow as to admit only one passenger. . . .One of these subterranean passages, in part filled up, will convey its name to posterity in that of a street, called Holloway-head, 'till lately the way to Bromsgrove and to Bewdley, but not now the chief road to either. Dale-end, once a deep road, has the same derivation.
Another at Summer-hill, in the Dudley road, altered in 1753. A remarkable one is also between the Salutation and the Turnpike, in the Wolverhampton road. A fifth at the top of Walmer-lane, changed into its present form in 1764. Another between Gosta-green and Aston-brook, reduced in 1752.

All the way from Dale-end to Duddeston, of which Coleshill-street now makes a part, was sunk five or six feet, though nearly upon a flat, 'till filled up in 1756 by act of Parliament: but the most singular is that between Deritend and Camp-hill, in the way to Stratford, which is, even now, many yards below the banks; yet the seniors of the last age took a pleasure in telling us, they could remember when it would have buried a wagon load of hay beneath its present surface.
William Hutton 1783 An History of Birmingham


hundreds
Hundreds originated in the 10th century as administrative land units in Anglo-Saxon lands outside the Danelaw. They were nominally areas of land represented at regular meetings by 100 householders; alternatively they may have been areas of land consisting of 100 hides. Regular meetings known as moots were held with representatives attending from the manors which composed the hundred. The moot acted as a local dispenser of justice. Hundreds were often named after their original meeting place; this was usually away from a settlement at a river crossing or crossroads. The name of the hundred usually derives from the original meeting place. Hundred meetings had administrative, judicial and even military functions.
Hemlingford Hundred, later known as Coleshill Hundred, included Birmingham and met at Hemling Ford, a crossing of the River Tame just below the town of Kingsbury. Hundred boundaries were usually defined by rivers. Hundreds in the Birmingham area tended to be large as they were sparsely populated.
About 920 King Edgar created the system of shires by combining groups of hundreds. Offlow Hundred was the south-east part of Staffordshire and included Handsworth, Harborne & Smethwick and Perry Barr.
With minor territorial adjustments and decreasing power over the years the system of hundreds lasted until the beginning of the 20th century; the system of shires lasted until local government reorganisation 1974.
See also local government below.


William Hutton
William Hutton 1723-1815, the son of a wool-comber, was born in Derby 30 September 1723. After two years schooling he went to work at the age of seven in a silk mill. His mother died when he was 10; at the age of 15 he left his alcoholic father to work with his uncle as a stocking-maker in Nottingham. Hutton was a keen reader and in 1746 began collecting books, after three years opening a bookshop in Southwell.
By 1751 he had moved into a larger shop in Birmingham, a town beginning to expand, and within ten years he was the most the important bookseller in town. He built Red Hill House at Bennetts Hill, Washwood Heath as his country residence in 1769, a spot which he had often passed en route to his home town of Derby. Hutton, a Quaker, was a victim of 1791 Birmingham Riots; his house and shop were both burned down. William Hutton is renowned for having written the first History of Birmingham in 1782 (several editions).
After his death in 1815 his daughter, Catherine published The Life of William Hutton. Hutton is commemorated by a Birmingham Civic Society blue plaque on the site of his High Street shop near the junction of New Street.

 



I

 

icehouse
Icehouses were domed hollow brick structures built largely underground and covered with a mound of earth; winter ice was packed tightly with straw and would last until the summer and occasionally longer. Ice was used for cooling drinks, preserving food and making iced desserts. First built by the Romans in this country icehouses were also found in some medieval monasteries. Influenced by French cuisine James I had an icehouse built in Greenwich Park in London 1619. After the Restoration of the Monarchy 1660 icehouses became an essential status symbol for any family of means. To be able to serve iced desserts at the height of summer was a real coup.
A good example of an icehouse survives in the private Moseley Park.


intercommoning
Access to common waste, pasture or woodland was shared by people of more than one parish or manor eg. for grazing pigs or collecting firewood. Highters Heath Cross at the junction of Maypole Lane, Prince of Wales Lane and Shirley High Street marked the meeting point of Yardley, Kings Norton and Solihull parishes in an area of intercommoning woodland in the Middle Ages.


iron making
From the 16th century watermills were used to power bellows to increase the heat in a blast furnace to smelt iron ore using charcoal; the earliest known was on the Holbrook at Perry Barr 1591.
A bloomery or hammer mill used water to power tilt hammers which removed the slag and reduced the bulky blooms or pigs of cast iron into iron bars. The process removed the slag content from the iron making for a purer product. In 1538 an bloomery forge is recorded at Perry and in 1548 a hammer mill at Handsworth.
The finery forge was a development from this, the purpose of which was to hammer the iron into wrought iron, a more malleable form of the metal. Holford fulling mill was converted into a finery forge 1591.
The iron bars were cut into rods at slitting mills and sold on to cutlers and nailmakers. Nechells Park Mill on the River Rea operated from at least 1532 was a corn grinding mill, was rebuilt as a blade mill 1672 and converted into a slitting mill in the 18th century. From the 17th century watermills were increasingly used for sharpening blades, drawing wire, grinding gun barrels and other iron trades.

 


J

K 


 


L

 

labour service
From Norman times through the Middle Ages most people were obliged to work on the demesne land of the lord of the manor for various lengths of time and at certain times of the year. As people moved to Birmingham for the market trade, some tenants grew rich enough to pay cash for the lord to employ labour rather than use their own labour.
In 1226 amongst individuals paying cash instead of hay-making were merchants, weavers, a tailor and a smith. The system was badly hit by the Black Death in the mid-14th century and had largely been replaced by cash rents by the 16th century.


leasowe
A leasowe or leasow was pasture for grazing animals. A number of street names in later 20th-century housing developments were chosen to preserve old fieldnames.


John Leland
John Leland c1506-1552 a chaplain to Henry VIII, was appointed as the King's librarian and was given the title of Royal Antiquary, the ever holder of the title. In 1533 the King commissioned Leland 'to peruse and diligently to serche al the Libraries of Monasteries and Collegies of this noble Reaulme'.
At a crucial time of religious change during which saw the dissolution of the monasteries, Leland travelled through England and Wales 'booth by the Se Costes and the midle Partes, sparing nother Labor nor Costes, by the space of these vi. Yeres paste, that there is almoste nother Cape, nor Bay, Haven, Creeke or Peere, River or Confluence of Rivers, Breches, Washis, Lakes, Meres, Fenny Waters, Montaynes, Valleis, Mores, Hethes, Forestes, Chases, Wooddes, Cities, Burges, Castelles, principale Manor Placis, Monasteries and colleges, but I have seene them, and notid yn so doing a hole Worlde of Things very memorable.' His 'book' was never published and Leland sadly died insane in 1552. However, his notes have been published in a number of editions and have proved invaluable as a tool of historical research.


-ley
This placename element is common across the Birmingham area and is usually translated as 'clearing', the implication being that incoming Anglo-Saxon settlers in the 7th century found a dense forest in which they chopped down trees to make clearings for their fields and farms. Certainly the eastern claylands in Birmingham were part of the Forest of Arden where there was substantial tree cover into the Middle Ages.
However, in the early days of the Anglo-Saxon adventus, forest was not continuous tree cover. There would have been natural clearings dependent on the underlying soil or caused by fire, and there would certainly have been clearings made by earlier settlers; the Celts had been in Britain for over a thousand years before the Anglo-Saxons arrived.
Early Anglian settlements such as, from north to south, Sutton, Erdington, Witton, Aston, Birmingham and Edgbaston were set up along the Birmingham sandstone ridge, which was quick-draining and had light tree cover. However, the early Saxon settlements tended to be in the clay lands east of the ridge. they were usually founded on patches of glacial drift and surrounded by areas of denser tree cover. The placenames of Tenchley, Lea, Moseley, Tyseley, and Yardley thus contain the -ley element.


leat
An artificial channel taking water from the river to the watermill or vice versa. The millrace or headrace is the narrow channel funnelling water to the wheel itself; the tailrace is where the water discharges from the wheel back to the river.
At Babbs Mill on the River Cole at Kingshurst a large lake feeds via a leat to the site of the mill; the 18th-century mill house still survives.


Listed buildings
Statutorily Listed buildings are safeguarded by law under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 which provides specific protection for buildings and areas of special architectural or historic interest. Listed buildings cannot be demolished or altered without permission from the planning authorities who set restrictions as to their appropriate maintenance to preserve their historical credentials.The main criteria which the applied in deciding which buildings to include in the statutory lists include

- architectural interest: all buildings of importance to the nation for their architectural design, decoration and craftsmanship; also important examples of particular building types and techniques and plan forms;
- historic interest: buildings illustrating important aspects of the nation's social, economic, cultural or military history;
- close historical associations with nationally important people or events;
- group value, where buildings comprise an important architectural or historic unity or a fine example of planning.

They are recorded on the Cumulative List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historical Interest and fall into three categories:

Grade I buildings are of exceptional architectural or historical interest in a national context. There are only some two dozen such in Birmingham: eg. Aston Hall, the College of Arts & Crafts in Margaret Street, the Town Hall, Yardley Church.
Grade II* buildings are important buildings of more than special architectural or historical interest. There are about 80 of these in Birmingham: eg. Bells Farm in Druids Heath, the Old Crown in Digbeth, Sheldon Hall.
Grade II buildings are of special interest. There are over 1600 Grade II buildings of enormous variety: the one-up-one-down High Heath Cottage is the smallest surviving Vesey house in Sutton and the 28 arches of Vauxhall Viaduct across the River Rea to Curzon Street Station on the Grand Junction railway to Liverpool.

Although all the buildings within an area may not be statutorily Listed, the area may have a group integrity and be defined as a Conservation Area. Old Yardley Conservation Area includes all or some properties in Church Road, Church Terrace, Queens Road, School Lane; Yardley Church is Grade I, the Old Grammar School Grade II*, and a number of other buildings Grade II Listed; however, not all buildings in the Conservation Area are listed buildings.
There is also a Local List of buildings, the Index to the Local List of Buildings, Structures and Features of Architectural, Archaeological or Historic Interest:

Grade A locally listed buildings are buildings of national quality but not yet listed: eg. Cromwell School in Nechells opened 1889. If threatened the local authority would apply for listed status.
Grade B are buildings important in the local historical or architectural context: eg. the Angel is a rare example of a surviving Birmingham Georgian coaching inn in a little altered state.
Grade C are buildings of local historical interest: eg. the brick-built canal aqueduct over the River Rea to the rear of Fazeley Street.

Scheduled Ancient Monuments
The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 provides for nationally important archaeological sites to be statutorily protected as Scheduled Ancient Monuments. There are some 35 000 scheduled sites in Britain from prehistoric standing stones and burial mounds to Roman forts and medieval villages and more recent structures such as collieries and World War 2 pill-boxes.
There are 12 in Birmingham, including Perry Packhorse Bridge, Kings Norton Guillotine Lock and the Icknield Street Roman Road in Sutton Park. Nothing may done to alter these without the authority of the Secretary of State.


local government
Although there have been many changes to the system of local government since Anglo-Saxon times, it is surprising how many boundaries in use at that time are still in use today. Almost nothing is known of the organisation of local government before the Anglo-Saxon period. The Iron Age Celts or Ancient Britons lived in tribal areas, the people of each area speaking the same dialect, following the same customs and subject to the same laws under common rule. The exact boundaries of the tribal areas are unknown: indeed they may never have been precisely defined. The limits of these areas were later altered to some extent by the Romans under occupation.
The Birmingham area seems to have fallen between three tribal areas: east of Birmingham the Corieltauvi had their capital at Leicester; west of Birmingham were the Cornovii who had their capital on the Wrekin; south of Birmingham were the Dobunii with their capital at Cirencester. Roman towns were later built to replace the Celtic capitals; Leicester and Cirencester roughly on the same sites; Wroxeter became a major Roman centre and replaced the Wrekin. It may be that the River Cole at Coleshill marked the boundary between the Corieltauvi and the Cornovii. This is supported by the existence of a small Romano-British temple which has been excavated at Grimstock Hill; such temples were often built in the no-man's land between tribal boundaries.
Birmingham was also on the borderland of the territory of the Angles and the Saxons. Anglian people came west along the Rivers Trent and Tame as early as 500 AD founding the kingdom of Mercia within a hundred years. By the 7th century Mercia stretched south of the River Humber and west of the River Trent to the west Midlands with its royal capital at Tamworth. The extent of Mercia expanded under King Penda, and by the 8th century Offa ruled everything south of the Humber between Wales and East Anglia. His coins proclaim him Rex Anglorum Latin, for 'King of the English'. Anglians had settled first along the Birmingham sandstone ridge which runs from Bromsgrove to Lichfield and on pebble lands to the west. Land here may have been cleared by earlier people, and, although it is not especially fertile and does not retain water well, arable would have been relatively easy to clear and plough.
From north to south, Anglian settlements here were Sutton, Erdington, Witton, Aston, Nechells, Birmingham and Edgbaston, Harborne and Weoley where local lords set up their manor houses.
The Saxons came from the south. The Celts of (modern) Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire held out longest against the onslaught, but.the old Roman towns of Bath, Gloucester and Cirencester fell after the British were defeated in 577 at the hands of the West Saxons under Ceawlin at the Battle of Dyrham near Marshfield, Gloucestershire. This subsequently allowed a West Saxon people known as the Hwicce (pronounced Whichee) to move northwards up the valleys of the Severn and Avon and to establish the Hwiccan kingdom with its capital at Worcester. The Hwiccans were conquered by the Mercians c628 probably by Penda and the kingdom administered as a separate unit under the aegis of Mercia.
The best farmland is south of the Birmingham area: there were many Saxon villages beyond Bromsgrove and Evesham in the valleys of the River Severn and River Avon where the land is very good for cereals and other crops. Covering much of the clay lands of the south and east of the Birmingham area was the Forest of Arden which stretched down towards Stratford-upon-Avon. The extent of clearance and agricultural use by the Celts at the end of the Roman period is not known. However, the earliest Hwiccan Saxons would have farmed first on sites where glacial gravel drifts on top of the sticky clay made clearing and ploughing easier.
Early Saxon settlements on clay lands are on patches of drift: Greet, Kings Norton, Lea, Moseley, Northfield, Selly, Tenchley, Tyseley, and Yardley, for example. These sites became the centres of manorial control.
Slowly expansion was made into the more difficult clay lands to create new settlements under the aegis of the lord of the manor. The extent to which Anglo-Saxon land units reflected earlier Celtic ones is simply not known. However, the Saxon Kingdom of the Hwicce which included Worcestershire is thought to have replaced the tribal area of the Dobunii. The northernmost part of the Hwiccan Kingdom is represented in Birmingham by the ancient Worcestershire parishes of Kings Norton, Northfield and Yardley. Much of the boundary may therefore have been the River Rea, Spark Brook and the River Cole.
Mercia fell to the Danes in 873. From the 790s AD small Viking armies had begun to make annual raids on Britain. After 870 the Viking Great Army was resident in England and during the summer months moved around the country at will. By the 870s England was divided roughly along Watling Street, north and east of which was the Danelaw, south and west of which was English Mercia and Wessex.
After the death of King Alfred the Great in 899 the reconquest of the Danelaw was begun by his son, King Edward the Elder and daughter, Aethelflaeda. She was the wife of Earl Ethelred of Mercia and known as Lady of the Mercians. Fortified boroughs in Anglo-Saxon lands were set up and as Danish towns were conquered these were fortified as outposts. Aethelflaeda made fortresses at Stafford, Tamworth and Warwick like that of King Alfred's at Worcester; after her death 918 Edward consolidated the territorial units called shires around their fortress town to maintain them and to receive their protection. The Birmingham area was equidistant from these fortified boroughs and so on the boundaries of three shires, Warwickshire, Worcestershire and Staffordshire.
The shire system had originally been created by combining older units known as hundreds; these were nominally areas of land represented at regular meetings by 100 householders. Their boundaries were usually defined by rivers. Birmingham hundreds tended to be large as they were sparsely populated.
Coleshill Hundred later known as Hemlingford Hundred was the northern part of Warwickshire and included Aston, Birmingham, Bordesley, Castle Bromwich, Nechells, Saltley and Sutton.
Came Hundred, later known as Halfshire Hundred, was the northern part of Worcestershire and included Kings Norton, Moseley and Northfield.
Pershore Hundred
in Worcestershire included the detached manor of Yardley which belonged to Beoley Abbey.
Offlow Hundred was the south-east part of Staffordshire and included Handsworth, Harborne, Perry Barr and Smethwick.
With minor adjustments over the years this system lasted until the beginning of the 20th century. The system of shires lasted until 1974 local government reorganisation.
By the 18th century a muddle of administration comprising manorial courts, parish vestries and medieval corporations was failing to cater for the needs of many developing towns. It was therefore made possible to enact a bill in parliament to enable local property-owners to vote for a Board of Street Commissioners or Improvement Commissioners initially with limited powers to oversee the maintenance of local streets. In 1769 'A Bill for laying Open and widening certain ways and Passages within the Town of Birmingham; and for Cleansing and Lighting the Streets, Lanes, Ways and Passages there; and for removing and preventing Nuisances and Obstructions therein' was passed which set up what was effectively the predecessor of the Town Council.
The Birmingham Board Board comprised some 76 residents, unpaid volunteers from among those who owned property with a rateable value of more than £15. This was not a democratcy, but an oligarchy, a self-perpetuating elite - new commissioners were chosen by the exisiting commissioners. Their initial responsibilities were concerned with road maintainance: repair, drainage, cleaning and street lighting. From 1806 the Board operated from the Public Office, now the site of Moor Street Station which also included magistrates' courts and a prison.
By 1789 the Board was appointing local night watchmen, by 1830 daytime watchmen, in effect an early police force. The Board had the right to remove obstructions from roads and pavements such as cellar entrances, porches and even whole buildings, powers which they used effectively as part of a major improvement to the town after their purchase in 1824 of the manorial market rights and the reorganisation of the retail and wholesale markets. The Board was also responsible for the building of the Town Hall in 1834 and the Market Hall the following year. Under the Municipal Corporations Act of 1835 the first town councils were elected. Birmingham became an incorporated borough three yerars later with initially the new elected corporation working alongside the Street Commissioners. The Birmingham Improvement Act of 1851 gave to the Corporation the rights and responsibilities of the Street Commissioners who henceforth were no more.
However, the organisation of local government was never straightforward. Aston, for example, was subdivided by the early Middle Ages into sub-manors, which included Castle Bromwich, Nechells and Saltley documented in the 12th century, and Bordesley, Duddeston and Little Bromwich which are recorded in the 12th century. Castle Bromwich is listed as a manor in the Domesday Book. The ecclesiastical parish of Aston remained intact until the end of the 19th century when chapels-of-ease within it were granted their own parishes. The civil and ecclesiatical parishes of Aston were coterminous from Elizabethan times. Overseers of the Poor and Surveyors of Highways were among the jobs given to unpaid and untrained yeoman farmers who were answerable to the local Justices of the Peace. Justice continued to be administered through the manorial courts leet until the 19th century.
However, in the urbanising districts of Deritend and Bordesley and in Duddeston & Nechells, Street Commissioners were established in 1791 and 1829 respectively. In 1869 the Aston Manor Board of Health was set up with a subsidiary body, the Aston Rural Sanitary Authority which covered the Civil Parish outside Birmingham. In 1838 Deritend and Bordesley with Duddeston & Nechells had become part of the borough of Birmingham; with Saltley and Little Bromwich joining in 1891. The Board of Health increasingly took on other responsibilities becoming the Aston Local Board which then Aston Urban District Council in 1890. In 1894 the district was divided into four civil parishes: Aston Manor Urban District which included Lozells and is largely the area known as Aston today; Erdington Urban District including Witton, Aston-in-Birmingham which took in Deritend, Bordesley, Duddeston, Nechells and Saltley; and Castle Bromwich and Water Orton Rural District. However, Aston-in-Birmingham still remained with Aston Civil Parish for the purposes of Poor Law administration until 1905 when the Guardians of the Poor in Birmingham, Aston, Kings Norton and Northfield worked together as a single Poor Law Union. In 1912, when all came within the City, they combined as a single authority.
The Street Commissioners of Bordesley and Deritend, Duddeston & Nechells continued in office until 1852 when their role was taken on by Birmingham Borough Council. Saltley Local Board District and Little Bromwich Hamlet joined the City in 1891. Aston Manor was granted borough status in 1903 and, with Erdington, became part of the City only eight years later. The western part of Castle Bromwich joined the City in 1931. The eastern part remained a rural district in Warwickshire until 1974 when local government reorganisation took Castle Bromwich into Solihull Metropolitan District and Water Orton in North Warwickshire. The development of local government in most Birmingham manors is not as complicated as in Aston but it was never simple.
Birmingham's Charter of Incorporation as a municipal borough in Warwickshire was signed by Queen Victoria 31 October 1838 with elections taking place 26 December for 16 aldermen and 48 councillors in 13 wards to make up the first Town Council. William Scholefield was Birmingham's first Mayor. Under the Municipal Corporations Act of 1835 some aspects of the town's governance remained with the County.
On 14 January 1889 city status was conferred. The office of Lord Mayor was conferred 1896 and Sir James Smith was appointed the City's first Lord Mayor 3 June 1896. Also in 1889 Birmingham became a county borough able to govern its own affairs with no involvement of the county.
After local referendums the districts of Balsall Heath, Harborne, Saltley and Little Bromwich joined the City 9 November 1891. Quinton became part of Birmingham at the same time, and by the Greater Birmingham Scheme 1911 the Borough of Aston Manor, the Urban Districts of Handsworth and Erdington, part of the Urban District of Kings Norton & Northfield and the Rural District of Yardley also became part of the City. Part of the Urban District of Perry Barr was added 1 April 1928 and parts of the Parishes of Solihull, Castle Bromwich, Minworth and Sheldon 1 April 1931.
By 1972 39 wards were each represented by an alderman and 3 councillors, 156 in total. With the re-organisation of local government 1974 the City of Birmingham combined with the Borough of Sutton Coldfield to form Birmingham Metropolitan District Council, known as Birmingham City Council from 1 July 1986, with 42 wards (reduced to 39 in 1982) with 3 councillors each. Part of Bromsgrove District known as Frankley and Kitwell became part of the City 1 April 1995.
See immediately below: lord of the manor, manor.


lord of the manor
The feudal system dating from William I (and probably earlier) recognised the king as the owner of all land; tenants-in-chief held land directly from the king and paid for it in service, cash or kind. Tenants-in-chief often owned many manors as did the king himself, most of which were sub-let to lords of the manor. Most people rented land from the lord of the manor and paid in service, cash or kind. The term is often abbreviated to 'lord', but lords of the manor were not members of the peerage. The title was not hereditary but was, and still can be, bought and sold, bequeathed or even shared. Lords of the manor ranged from the king, to the nobility, to local wealthy landowners. Some had a single manor and were resident, others were absentee. Some owned many manors across the country leaving the administration in the hands of a steward or bailiff; especially as a result of descent through a female line, some owned only a part of a manor known as a moiety.
In 1086 William FitzAnsculf of Dudley Castle as tenant-in-chief or overlord owned 100 manors in 10 counties including all the Warwickshire manors of modern Birmingham, with the exceptions of Berwood and Sheldon. William had inherited these overlordships from his father, Ansculf de Picquiny, a companion of William the Conqueror at Hastings in 1066. In the Domesday Book William is recorded as holding Aston, Birmingham, Edgbaston, Erdington, Handsworth, Little Barr, Perry and Witton. His estates were inherited by members of the Paynel family: in turn, Fulk, Ralph and Gervase, but on the death of the latter in 1194, issue predeceased, he was succeeded by his sister Hawise, the widow of John de Somery. The overlordship of the manors was then held by successive Somerys until the death of another John de Somery in 1322 when the estates were divided between his sisters.
The barony of Dudley and the manors of Birmingham, Little Barr and Perry then passed to Margaret, the wife of John de Sutton. Aston (by then sub-divided into Aston, Bordesley, Castle Bromwich, Duddeston & Nechells, Park Hall, Saltley and Water Orton) with Edgbaston and Handsworth were inherited by Joan, the widow of Thomas Botetourt.
The overlordships of Little Barr and Perry then disappear from the records, but the de Suttons maintained the overlordship of Birmingham. Joan Botetourt was succeeded in 1338 by her son John Botetourt, who was succeeded in 1386 by Joyce, daughter of John's son John. After the death of Joyce in 1407 the overlordship was divided and parts were inherited heirs or sold. Most then were acquired by purchase after 1419 by Joan Beauchamp who was the last person known to be overlord of Aston, Edgbaston and Handsworth. The descent of many overlordships was lost around this time due to manors being split between daughters if the male line failed, and certainly aggravated by the devastating effect on the population of the Black Death in 1348.
The descent of the tenants, the lords of the manor is equally complicated. In 1086 Harborne was held of Bishop of Chester by Robert as lord of the manor. It is not known what relationship, if any there was between the latter and Henry FitzGerold who in 1166 held Harborne and Smethwick, manors which descended together until 1710. There followed a lengthy legal dispute between his son, Warin and Thomas de Erdington over claims to the estate. However, Warin's daughter, Margaret was known to be lord until sometime before 1227 when she granted the manor to Halesowen Abbey. In 1538 with Henry VIII's dissolution of the monasteries the manor was granted with that of Halesowen to Sir John Dudley, later the Duke of Northumberland. He was attainted in 1553 and the manor was granted to his nephew Edward, Lord Dudley whose son sold it to Sir Charles Cornwallis of Harborne in 1604. His grandson, also Charles, sold it in 1661 to Thomas Foley who sold it c1710 to George Birch. His grandson, also George, sold the manor after 1786 to Thomas Green, a wealthy nail-master and local Justice of the Peace. His nephew, Thomas Green Simcox passed the manor to his son the Revd T G Simcox, lord in 1871 and resident in the manor house. In 1908 the Marquess of Anglesey was lord of the manor.
See Middleton for another example of complicated descent.
And the ownership of manors was equally varied. Kings Norton was a royal manor from Domesday until 1804 with the monarch holding rights both as overlord and tenant. Other manors came in and out of royal control. Some manors, as Harborne above, were owned by the Church. Yardley manor was owned by Pershore Abbey from as early as 972. From the 18th century manors were bought by wealthy industrialists for the prestige they brought.
Most lordships are now extinct, their estates and properties having been sold off and the manorial rights sub-divided to a degree where their ownership is no longer traceable. Birmingham Council itself took on the remaining rights of the lord of the manor in the 19th-century. However, some lordships survive: Lord Bradford of Weston Park continues as lord of the manor of Castle Bromwich, though it is doubtful whether he has any land or rights remaining other than the advowson of the benefice, ie. his entitlement to present a new rector to the parish.
For more on manors, see immediately below.

 



M

 

manor
In the feudal system of the Middle Ages, a manor was an administrative unit of land held from the king or from a tenant-in-chief under the king (overlord) by an individual known as the lord of the manor. In feudal times the lord had full legal jurisdiction over the manor and exercised this through the manorial court or court baron.
Before 1066 most Birmingham manors belonged to the Anglo-Saxon Earl Edwin of Mercia and had Anglo-Saxons as lords of the manor. However, after the Battle of Hastings King William I rewarded his followers with manorial estates of the defeated Anglo-Saxons. His Norman lords became tenants-in-chief with manors spread out across the country, a deliberate ploy to prevent them developing power in regional blocs. Earl Edwin held onto his estates not having been present at Hastings, but in 1068 unsuccessfully revolted against William who then confiscated his holdings. acquired Some thirty of Edwin's former estates were acquired by Ansculf de Picquiny centred on his castle at Dudley. By the Domesday 1086 these manors had been inherited by his son, William FitzAnsculf who then owned altogether over 100 manors in ten different counties of England.
After 1066 most Birmingham manors also had Norman lords of the manor, many later adopting as their surname the name of their manor.
Many of these manors represented parcels of land held from the Anglo-Saxon period and some may have been older still: Yardley may represent a Celtic land unit. Most were contiguous with parishes, Northfield, for example. However, this was not always the case. The parish of Birmingham extended down as far as the River Rea, but the manor of Birmingham extended across the river and included St John's church, a chapel in Aston parish.
Manors were not hereditary; they could be bought and sold. The overlordship and the tenancy of manors was often sub-divided, especially after the death of a previous lord without male issue. Separate portions or moieties might be shared within the family or sold outside the family; the moieties might subsequently be reunited in whole or part.
The large manor of Aston was divided into a number of sub-manors including Bordesley, Castle Bromwich, Duddeston & Nechells, Park Hall, Saltley and Water Orton, each with its own (sub-)manor house. By the middle of the 16th century Perry had been split into two moieties, the one passing through the Wyrley/ Birch family, the other in 1671 being sold by the Crown to Henry Gough. In 1844 both moieties were reunited by his great-great-nephew, the Honourable Frederick Gough, 4th Baron Calthorpe bringing the manor once more under a single lord.
The details of properties and manorial rights were often the subject of lengthy legal disputes. By the 20th century most manorial properties and rights in Birmingham had been dissipated or lost and the ownership of the manors is no longer known. Some still survive however: Lord Anstruther-Gough-Calthorpe is lord of the manor of Edgbaston. However, after the last recorded lord of the manor c1850 the Corporation of Birmingham took to itself the remaining manorial rights. It is not usually possible to trace the complete decent of a manor. The link between the Domesday owner and subsequent owners is often broken, and there are often gaps in the records, especially in the Middle Ages.
An essential pillar of the feudal system, manors operated as the system of local government through the Middle Ages and survived into the modern period. Manorial courts met at least monthly to administer such matters as the succession of land tenure, the payment of dues when tenants died or married and also dealt with minor offences. The latter may have been dealt with at a separate court leet which also protected the rights of tenants against purveyors of underweight bread or weak beer. These functions declined during the Tudor period, but in some towns vestiges of the system continued and are now maintained for quaintness' sake, locally at Alcester, Bromsgrove, Henley in Arden and at Warwick.
In the later Middle Ages the term, 'manor', was used more loosely and used to mean an estate.
See also next entry below, manor house, lord of the manor above and Glossary A-F Domesday manors.


manor house
The house lived in by the lord of manor (see above). In the early Anglo-Saxon period the lord would most likely have lived in the village in a great hall, at the centre of his working farm. Norman manor houses tended to be set apart, the demesne lands being worked from a separate home farm. As the Middle Ages progressed and manors were sub-divided or new manor bought, many lords, especially those in possession of more than one manor, did not live in the manor and often never visited it, the manor being maintained on his behalf by a bailiff. Manor houses varied greatly in size from imposing buildings such as Aston Hall to large farmsteads, many medieval halls in Birmingham being moated. Many lords had more than one manor and were absentee, the manor house being let, as was Castle Bromwich Hall from 1770.
As fashions changed and fortunes waxed or waned, manor houses were reshaped or rebuilt. Saltley's first known manor hall lay within a moated site down by the River Rea on what may have been the site of the original Anglo-Saxon settlement. Now dubbed Saltley Old Hall, it was probably built in the 13th century and would have been a large timber-framed hall of some prestige as the family was granted a licence for an oratory and chapel in 1360.
This was abandoned before 1348 and a new Saltley Hall, also moated and certainly timber-framed, was built further up the hill. In the 17th century yet another new manor house was built outside the moat; this may have been built of brick and in a neo-classical style. By 1760 the house, though still owned by the lord of the manor, this former manor house was let as a farmhouse. It survived the first decade of the 20th century but was then demolished to make way for streets of working-class housing.


marl
Marl is clay which has a content of calcium carbonate and was used to improve the fertility of arable land, especially in areas of sandy glacial drift. Marl pits often flooded as clay is impervious to water.


meadow See Glossary T-Z water meadows.


measures, imperial with approximate metric equivalents:

Length
12 inches in = 1 foot
1 inch is roughly 2½ cm
3 feet = 1 yard
1 metre = roughly 39 inches


220 yards = 1 furlong
8 furlongs = 1 mile
1760 yards = 1 mile - over 1½ kilometres


Area
1 acre = 4840 square yards
220 yards x 22 yards ie. 1 furlong 22 yards wide
100m x 100m = 1 hectare ha
1 hectare = roughly 2½ acres


Weight

16 ounces oz = 1 pound lb - roughly ½ kg
14 lb = 1 stone st - roughly 6½ kg
28 lb = 1 quarter qr
4 qr = 1 hundredweight cwt
20 cwt = 1 ton
little different from a metric tonne


Capacity
8 pints = 1 gallon - roughly 5 litres

 


mesolithic The Middle Stone Age, c10 000 - 3500 BC


minster
The word has the same origin as 'monastery' and was a church of the early Christian Anglo-Saxon period, a centre of missionary activity during conversion to Christianity. It then became an important church within a very large diocese often with subsidiary local parishes or chapels over which it had jurisdiction. A minster often acted as a proxy cathedral. It is thought that Aston church may have been one such.


moated sites
Although not uncommon throughout England, moated buildings were especially common in the west midlands where there was undeveloped forest for freeholders of enterprise and means to set up home and farm. The 12th and 13th centuries saw a great expansion in population, and many areas previously not in cultivation were brought under the plough.
Moated farmhouses were typically substantial timber-framed buildings in waste or in woodland areas. 12th-century examples are rare, mid-13th to mid-14th-century are more typical, especially from 1250 until the Black Death in 1348. Circular moats tend to be earlier; square and rectangular ones are generally later; double moats are also later and much more rare.
Moats were often dug on only three sides of the building, so they were obviously not dug entirely for protection, though some buildings may have had a castle-like appearance. Digging a moat took much time and work; so, although a moat offered some protection against attack, was a safe place to keep livestock away from predators, and had practical use as a fishpond (especially important in winter when no other fresh meat was available), it was in reality a demonstration of independence, wealth and status. The size and importance of buildings on moated sites varied enormously: some were small farms less than 10 hectares, some were at the centre of large farming estates, others became important manor houses. Some are found two or three quite close together suggesting family connections.
The original house building was no different from that on an unmoated site, timber-framed infilled with wattle-and-daub possibly on stone footings. Where the house has not been rebuilt over the centuries it will have rotted away leaving little or no visible trace, though there could be archaeological remains. Farming was continuous on many sites until the 19th or 20th century.
No buildings survive in their medieval form although rebuilt or remodelled houses still exist on or near some moated sites. The moats themselves have usually silted up and become overgrown, sometimes used as rubbish dumps or deliberately filled. Many were built over with houses in the 20th century.
Evidence of such sites derives from 19th-century maps which show the moat or associated fieldname. However, it is possible still to make out traces of some moats now dry, and a few can clearly be seen. Kents Moat off Sheldon Heath Road is now dry and tree-lined and has 20th-century housing on the platform in the middle; however the size and shape of a medieval moated site can clearly be seen. A moat surrounds New Hall, now a hotel, on Walmley Road Sutton Coldfield. The house dates from c1200 and is believed to be the oldest continuously inhabited completely moated house in England.


moor/ more
Low-lying land along Birmingham's meandering rivers was often subject to winter flooding. Often impassable in spring and autumn, it made for lush grazing for livestock in summer. The term is often found used for the names of riverside fields which are usually long but not very wide. The Birmingham surgeon, William Sands Cox lived on an estate known as Longmores near the River Rea by Balsall Heath Road.
However, the word is also used in the modern sense with an implication that the land is uncultivated waste of no economic value. Radley Moor, north-east of Sutton Coldfield seems to fall into this category.


motte and bailey
A medieval castle was built with two distinct parts: the motte was a hill with a fortified building on top; the bailey was the lower courtyard surrounded by a palisade. There may have been a moat or ditch around the whole site.
The only motte and bailey castle in the Birmingham area was at Castle Bromwich where now only the motte and a small part of the bailey survive impossibly inaccessible between the M6 motorway and the Chelmsley Collector Road, the A452.

 

 

William Dargue 08.04.09