Yardley, from the Victoria County History of Worcestershire, volume three (extract from the section on Halfshire Hundred)



This was published in 1913, and a great deal has changed in Yardley since then. For example, only the Trust School, Blakesley Hall, Sarehole Mill and Hay Hall are still standing amongst the secular buildings mentioned. However what appears below has great value in its very detailed description of the early history of Yardley, and shows which treasures have been lost, notably Hall Green Hall.


The numbering of notes in this transcription has been changed to continuous, rather than starting again after 100, and two errors have been corrected (the river Tame instead of Avon, and St. Edburgha rather than St. Edburgh: she was female). The abbreviations in the notes have not been explained: please refer to the printed volumes for further information.



Gyrdeleahe (x cent.); Gerlei (xi cent.); Yerdel, Yerdelegh, Jerdel, Jerdelegh near Coleshull (xiii cent.); Erdeley (xv cent.); Yardell (xvii cent.).


The parish of Yardley, situated in the north-eastern corner of the county, became in 1911 part of the city of Birmingham under the Birmingham Extension Act.(l) The three chief roads are the main road from Birmingham to Coventry, which passes through Hay Mills in the north of the parish, and those from Birmingham to Warwick and from Birmingham to Stratford-on-Avon in the south of the parish. Yardley is watered by the River Cole, a tributary of the Tame.

The ground is lowest in the north on the banks of the river and rises gradually towards the south, being over 400 ft. above the ordnance datum in one part of the village and at Acock's Green, and reaching 500 ft. at Yardley Wood.

The area of the parish is 7,590 acres, which includes 60 acres of inland water, 1,595 acres of arable land, 4,163 of permanent grass and 12 of woods and plantations.(2) The commons, containing an area of 850 acres, were inclosed under an Act of 1833,(3) the award being dated 1847.(4)

The village of Yardley is now joined to Birmingham by a more or less continuous line of houses along the main road, though the original settlement near and around the church still retains a certain rural aspect. On the south side of the churchyard is the old schoolhouse, a fine half-timber building of the latter part of the 15th century. The plan is a narrow oblong, with an oversailing upper story, the moulded sill of which is supported by plain brackets springing from small octagonal shafts cut on the face of the main uprights of the ground story. The interior has been completely modernized. The upper story is open to the roof, which is supported by massive trusses with cambered tie-beams and collars. The principals are further strutted from both tie-beams and collars by curved struts. The chimney stacks have been rebuilt, and later brick buildings adjoin on the east side.

About a quarter of a mile south-west of the church, on the north side of the road named after it, is Blakesley Hall, a fine two-storied half-timber house of the 16th century, facing south. The plan is L-shaped, the centre being occupied by a hall with an entrance and porch at the south-east and a central newel-stair at the north-west angle. In the ground-floor room on the west side of the hall is a fireplace with moulded stone jambs and a four-centred head. The original kitchen was probably on the east side of the hall, but a new kitchen of brick appears to have been added on the north side of the house early in the 17th century. On the first floor the original partitions remain. This floor overhangs the ground floor, and the sills are supported by moulded brackets of unusually massive proportions. Over the outer doorway of the porch is the following inscription in Roman characters, the work, doubtless, of some early 17th-century owner: 'OMNIPOTENS DEVS P'TECTOR SIT DOM' HVI' .R.S.' An ornamental character is imparted to the half-timbering by the short diagonal struts  between the uprights, disposed herring-bone fashion.  The upper part of the large brick chimney stack on the west side of the house has been rebuilt. Photographs taken previously to the repairs and restorations effected a few years since show this to have been surmounted by four diagonal chimney shafts of brick.  The windows are all modern.

Near the church to the east is a moat surrounding the site of a house believed to have been once occupied by a family named Allstree.(5) Further to the east is another larger moat called Kent's Moat. There are also a moat at Glebe Farm in the north of the parish, a moated inclosure to the south of the village, and remains of moats at Broom Hall, Hyron Hall and near Highfield House in Hall Green.

At Hall Green, about 3 miles south of Yardley village, is Hall Green Hall, a two-storied half-timber house, some part of which appears to date from the 15th century. The house seems to have been added to and remodelled late in the 16th century and again in the early 18th century. At the end of the same century a fine staircase hall was added on the north side of the house. In the kitchen, which is in the centre of the house and was probably the original entrance hall, are a fine Elizabethan plaster ceiling and a large open fireplace. Many of the ceilings in the later parts of the house are good examples of the Adam style, and great ingenuity is shown in the planning of the staircase hall. The geometrical stairs have a central and two side flights, and in the rounded angles of the hall are doorways with doors following the curvature of the plan. All the joinery, though slight and attenuated to a degree, is fitted with marvellous precision. Many grates of the Adam period survive throughout the house. The farm-house adjoining on the south is of brick, and most probably dates from the 17th century. The stables at the rear of the house are of original mid-17th century date. Over the main block is a good brick gable, stepped and curved.

Foxhollies Hall, which stands about a quarter of a mile to the north of Hall Green Hall, on the opposite side of the road, has been entirely remodelled and modernized. The original house, which forms the nucleus of the present building, is said to be of narrow bricks, but the walls have been stuccoed over, and no original detail is visible. With the exception of one or two early brick farm-houses, little else of interest remains in the parish, which is being rapidly covered with rows of dwelling-houses mostly of a rental of about £20. The erstwhile outlying hamlets, such as Stechford and Acock's Green, may still be traced by the examples of older work which occur here and there amid the surrounding waste of Victorian and Edwardian architecture.

Among the ancient place-names are Flaxbot,(6) le Bromilone,(7) le Hulbroc,(8) Hendeslond, Waxhullone,(9) Collelesewe,(10) Yarpesham-mede, Blakeley, Bondefeld,(11) Esson, Bromwall, Glascote, Colmedowe, Capcroft, Holkyron,(12) Brigfeld (13) and Kinkeswold.



Yardley evidently formed part of the original endowment of Pershore Abbey. By King Edgar's charter (972) 5 hides at Yardley were restored to the monks.(14) In 1086 Yardley was a member of the manor of Beoley, and still belonged to the monks of Pershore.(15) The connexion of Yardley with Beoley existed until the beginning of the 14th century,(16) and the tradition of the abbot's overlordship lasted still later, for in 1407 the manor was said to be held of the Abbot of Pershore by service unknown.(17) Subsequently, however, the manor was held of the king in chief by knight service.(18)

Early in the 13th century Beoley (and probably Yardley) was held by Robert son of Nicholas of William de Beauchamp, who was holding it of the Abbot of Pershore.(19) Robert son of Nicholas was perhaps the Robert son of Ralph son of Nicholas who with Felicia his wife obtained a grant of free warren in Beoley and Yardley in 1244.(20) Felicia, in whose right they held both manors, was daughter of Ralph de Limesi,(21) son of Geoffrey son of Geoffrey son of Hawise, who was living and probably held the manors in the time of Henry II.(22) Geoffrey de Limesi had certainly held the manor of Beoley, for by an undated charter Amabel de Limesi ratified the grants of her ancestors Geoffrey and John de Limesi by which they gave land in Beoley to Alexander son of Thany.(22a) Felicia died without issue, and was succeeded by her uncle Alan.(23) Ralph son of Alan, having no children,(24) sold Beoley and Yardley after 1267-8 to William Beauchamp Earl of Warwick,(25) to whom William son of Margery, wife of Walter Comyn, sister of Ralph,(26) also released all the rights which he had in the manors.(27) The manor was  granted for life by the above-mentioned William  Earl of Warwick to Richard de Amundevill in 1296. On the death of Guy Earl of Warwick in 1315 it passed to his younger son John for life, with remainder to his eldest son Thomas. This John Beauchamp was at the naval victory off Sluys in 1340, and carried the Standard Royal at the battle of Cressy in 1346. He, with his brother Thomas Earl of Warwick, was one of the twenty-five original Knights of the Garter. In 1342 he obtained a grant of free warren in this manor. He died unmarried in 1360, when Yardley must have reverted to his brother Thomas Earl of Warwick.(27a) The Earls of Warwick continued to hold Yardley until 1487-8,(28) when, with their other possessions, it was given by Anne Countess of Warwick to Henry VII.(29)

In 1533 it was granted to Katherine of Aragon,(30) and was sold in 1553 to John Duke of Northumberland.(31) He was attainted and executed in the same year, but Yardley was evidently restored to his widow Joan, who exchanged it in 1553-4 with the queen for the manor of Claverdon, co. Warwick.(32) The queen then granted it to Edward Sutton Lord Dudley,(33) who died seised of it in 1586, leaving a son Edward.(34) In 1613 a writ was issued for inquiry as to who held the manor, which was supposed to be an escheat on account of defective title.(35) Lord  Dudley's claim was established in 1616,(36) but he seems to have previously sold the manor to Sir Roland Lacy,(37) who in 1619 settled it on his eldest son Sir John on his marriage with Mary eldest sister of Sir William Withipoll.(38) In 1629, shortly after Sir Roland's death,(39) John Lacy sold the manor to Thomas,(40) second son of Sir Richard Grevis of Moseley,(41) who in 1652 settled it on his brother Richard and Anne, afterwards his wife,(42) daughter of  Thomas Henshaw.(43) It then passed to Richard Grevis, son of Richard and Anne,(44) who died without issue in 1688,(45) being succeeded by his only surviving brother Benjamin Grevis.(46)

Charles Grevis, grandson of Benjamin, succeeded to the manor in 1759,(47) and sold it about 1768 to John Taylor, a manufacturer of Birmingham,(48) to whose great-grandson, Arthur James Taylor of Strensham Court,(49) it still belongs.

A fee-farm rent of £12 5s. 8d. was reserved when Yardley Manor was granted to Edward Lord Dudley, and was sold during the Commonwealth to Henry Sanders of Caldwell, co. Derby.(50)


(Gritt, xvi cent.) About 1254 William de Edricheston granted land which he had newly acquired in Yardley and Greet to the Prior and convent of Studley.(51) He evidently held this land of Yardley Manor, for Robert son of Nicholas and Felicia his wife confirmed the grant in 1254.(52) Greet still belonged to Studley Priory at the time of the Dissolution,(53) and was sold in 1545 to Clement Throckmorton and Sir Alexander Avenon, ironmonger, afterwards Lord Mayor of London.(54) The latter in 1570 settled it on his son Alexander and Marjorie his wife.(55) Sir Alexander died in 1580,(56) and in 1586 his son pledged his so-called manor to cover a debt which he owed to a certain Thomas Starkey,(57) and in the same year sold the reversion to James Banks,(58) who sold it in 1601 to Henry Greswolde.(59) The latter died about a year later,(60) and by his will proved in May 1602 left Greet to his eldest son George, then thirteen years old.(61) Dorothy, widow of Henry, continued to live at Greet, having purchased from Joan, widow of Thomas Starkey, her interest in the manor.(62) George Greswolde died in 1612, and was succeeded by his brother Humphrey.(63) He died in 1660, and was succeeded in turn by his two sons Humphrey, who died without issue in 1671, and Henry, who died in 1700, leaving four sons, Humphrey who died unmarried in 1712, Henry who left a daughter Anne, Marshal and John.(64)

After this date the descent is not clear; in 1776 Henry Greswolde Lewis, grandson of the above Marshal, held a third.(65) The other two thirds were held in 1784(66) by William Richard Wilson and Jane Anne Eleanor his wife, who appear to have given up their share to Henry Greswolde Lewis. He was succeeded in 1829 by his kinsman Edmund Meysey Wigley,(67) who assumed the name Greswolde and died unmarried in 1833. On his death Henry Wigley, who also assumed the name Greswolde, became tenant for life under the will of Henry Greswolde Lewis, and he and his son Edmund Greswolde, who was tenant in tail, barred the estate in tail and conveyed the estates to the use of Henry Greswolde for life, with remainder to Edmund Greswolde in fee simple. Edmund died in 1836, and on his decease his father succeeded to the estate in fee simple under the will of Edmund. In 1838 Henry settled a third of the estates on the marriage of his daughter Ann with Francis Edward Williams. Henry Greswolde died in 1849, and by his will he devised the remaining two thirds of the estates to his two daughters Mary and Elizabeth Greswolde in fee simple, and they succeeded thereto on his death. On the death of Elizabeth Greswolde in 1850 Francis Edward Williams succeeded to her third of the estate, and on his death in 1885 his son John Francis Greswolde Williams succeeded to two thirds. On the death of Mary Greswolde in 1859 Wigley Greswolde-Williams, eldest son of Francis Edward Williams, succeeded to her third, and on his death in 1875 his brother John Francis succeeded. He died in 1892 without issue, and by his will devised the estate to his nephew Francis Wigley Greswolde Greswolde-Williams, now of Bredenbury Court (Herefs.).(68)

Besides the manors of Yardley and Greet there are in the parish the several smaller estates of Broom Hall, Greethurst, Lea Hall, Hay Place, now Hay Hall, and Stechford, the last four of which were called manors in the 15th and 16th centuries.

BROOM HALL (formerly Bromehale) (68a) was held in the 15th century by a family of the same name. About 1420 John Bromehale died seised of it, having held it of Richard Earl of Warwick, and leaving it to his three daughters - Juliana wife of William Northfolk, Elizabeth wife of John Shyngeler, and Isabel wife of Thomas Smith - and to his grandson John Coliton or Collecton alias Bromehale, son of Joan, another daughter.(69) John Coliton was outlawed about 1422-3.(70) The place is mentioned again in 1633-4, when Robert Yate died seised of it, leaving a son Robert.(71) He held it of Ann Grevis as of the manor of Yardley.(72)

GREETHURST belonged from the 14th to the 16th century to the family of Holte, and was held of the manor of Yardley.(73) Walter Holte died in 1379, leaving it to his wife Margaret for life with remainder in tail-male to his sons John and Simon. John left a son Adelmare Holte, who died without issue and was succeeded by his uncle Simon Holte, from whom the estate passed to his son John and grandson and great-grandson, both called William.(74) The latter about 1517 sued Richard Greswolde for taking possession of his ‘dwelling house’ called Greethurst and a mill called Holte's Mill.(75) The plaintiff evidently recovered possession, for he died in 1517 seised of the capital messuage in Yardley called Holte's Place alias Greethurst.(76) He left a son Thomas,(77) but there is no further mention of the place until 1664, when it was in the hands of Richard Grevis, lord of Yardley.(78) It is mentioned again in 1678, when it belonged to Richard Grevis,(79) but after that date it seems to have become part of Yardley Manor, and the name has disappeared.

LEA HALL belonged to the Earls of Stafford in the 15th century,(80) while Hay Hall and Stechford (formerly Stitchford) were for a long time the property of the families of de la Hay and Este.(81) In 1811 Hay Hall belonged to a Dr. Gilby.(82)

A messuage and mill in Stechford which belonged to Giles de Erdington are mentioned as early as 1249-50,(83) and in 1409-10 a messuage and land there belonged to John Smith, who settled them on his son, also called John.(84)

In 1385 Thomas de Beauchamp Earl of Warwick conveyed to Roger Bradewell at a rent of 6s. 8d. the site of a mill in Yardley called Wodemill, on which Roger was to build a mill, the timber being supplied by the earl.(85) This is evidently the mill called 'Oldemylle' in 1479-80, when it still paid a rent of  6s. 8d. to the lord of Yardley.(86) In 1593 two water-mills were annexed to the manor, and in 1689 Benjamin Grevis, lord of the manor, had two water-mills and one windmill in Yardley and Moseley.(87) Another water-mill belonged to Edward Este in 1687.(88) There are many mills at Yardley on the River Cole. Titterford Mill, a corn-mill, is to the north of Yardley Wood, Sarehole Mill, another corn-mill, at Hall Green, Hay Mills (wire) and Washmill (corn) are in Hay Mills, and there is an old mill-pond to the north of Broom Hall.

Free fishing in Yardley was purchased from Robert Abney and Anne his wife by John Taylor in 1783.(89)


The church of ST. EDBURGHA consists of a chancel 38½ ft. by 17½ ft., with a north vestry and organ chamber, a nave 57½ ft. by 24½ ft., a north aisle 17 ft. wide, a south transept 17ft. by 16½ ft. and a west tower 14 ft. square. These measurements are all internal.

The 13th-century remains include the south doorway, the south wall of the chancel, which contains a lancet window, and a similar window in the north wall of the vestry, formerly in the chancel. They point to a simple church of that date, consisting probably of chancel and nave only. In the 14th century north and south transepts seem to have been added and the chancel lengthened eastwards, and in the 15th century the west tower was built and the north aisle added. In recent years the south transept and the east end of the chancel were rebuilt and the vestry added.

The east window of the chancel is of three lights, and at each angle of the east wall is a modern buttress. In the north wall are a modern arch into the organ chamber and a modern vestry door, while further east are the remains of a window with a semicircular head. On the south side of the chancel the 13th-century rubble walling remains, while to the east is the coursed rubble of the 14th century. In the earlier portion of the wall is a lancet opening, on each side of which is a 14th-century window of two lights with a quatrefoil in the head, and further east a modern window of two pointed lights. The lofty chancel arch is of the late 14th century.

The western portion of the north arcade of the nave is of the 15th century; the east bay, which is the original transept arch, is of the 14th century. In the south wall of the nave are two 15th-century windows, each of two lights with quatrefoiled tracery over, and between them is a simple 13th-century pointed doorway, which has been rebuilt. It leads into a fine 15th-century oak porch with tracery at the sides and a carved barge-board. Further east is a chamfered arch opening into the south transept.

The north wall of the aisle is divided by buttresses into four bays; the walling in the eastern bay has wider joints than the others and contains a debased window of three lights. The other windows are similar to those in the south of the nave, and between them is a square-headed doorway with enriched spandrels. The west window of the aisle is of three lights, with rectilinear tracery, under a four-centred head.

The tower is of four stages, with a deep plinth and embattled parapet, surmounted by a tall crocketed hexagonal spire. The buttresses are diagonal, and the doorway has a four-centred head with a crocketed hood. Above it is a large pointed window of four lights with rectilinear tracery. The upper stages are lighted on all sides by transomed windows of two lights under four-centred heads with crocketed labels, and the staircase, which is at the south-west angle, has small trefoiled lights with canopied heads. An inscription carved on the south wall-plate of the chancel roof states that it was 'ceiled at the cost and charge of Humphrey Griswould, gent., Will. Acock, sen., gent. and Will (Bissell?), 1637.' On the opposite side it is stated that in 1797 'this chancel and vault was repaired by Henry Greswolde Lewis Esq. of Malvern Hall in the county of Warwick.' The font and pulpit are modern.

In the sanctuary are three floor slabs - one to Marshal Greswolde, 1728, another to Humphrey Greswolde, 1744, with his shield, and a third with the same arms but no inscription. A large monument in the south of the chancel commemorates Henry Greswolde, rector of Solihull, Warwick, and precentor of Lichfield, who died in 1700, with kneeling effigies of himself and his wife. Over this is another to Humphrey Greswolde, lay rector of Yardley, who died in 1671. To the north of the east window is a tablet erected by John Dodd in 1690 to various members of his family, with the arms of Cloverley quartering Dodd and Warren.

At the west end of the nave is the top slab of a 15th-century alabaster monument, now placed on end, bearing incised figures of a man and woman, apparently a member of the Este family and his wife. A brass inscription in the south transept commemorates Edward Este, utter barrister of the Inner Temple, 1625, and near it is a small 17th-century tablet to another Edward Este.

On the north wall of the chancel is a brass inscription commemorating Isabel Wheeler of Yardley, widow, 1598, and over it her effigy on brass between those of her two husbands, William Astell and Simon Wheeler.

In the tower are some masons’ marks.

There is a peal of six bells: treble, 'The Bequest of Aylmer Folliott Esquire, 1638'; (2) 'H.I.S. Nazarenus (sic), Rex Judaeorum, Fili Dei, Miserere Mei, 1638'; (3) 'Humphrey Hobday, and Richard Bissell, Churchwardens 1638'; (4) 'All praise and glori bee to God forever, 1653,J.A.'; (5) 'William Bagly made mee, Richard Whitus, George Bissell Churchwardens 1691'; tenor, 'The gift of the parishioners in commemoration of the Coronation of King Edward the Seventh.'

The plate consists of two large silver flagons, each with the mark of 1650, and inscribed with a carefully composed Latin inscription to the effect that they were presented to the church of Yardley by Job Marston of Hall Green, a cup of 1728, inscribed 'Yardley Church,' a paten of 1727, similarly inscribed, a plated cup, and a modern glass flagon.

The registers previous to 1812 are as follows: (i) all entries 1539 to 1632; (ii) all 1633 to 1732; (iii) baptisms and burials 1733 to 1781, marriages 1733 to 1753; (iv) baptisms and burials 1782 to 1812; (v) marriages 1754 to 1785; (vi) marriages 1785 to 1812.

MARSTON CHAPEL, Hall Green, built in 1703 with money left for the purpose by Job Marston of Hall Green,(90) consists of a chancel, south organ chamber, and north and south transepts, added in the sixties of the last century, and an original nave and west tower. The materials are red brick with stone dressings. The chancel and transepts are designed in a style to harmonize with the original building, which is a pleasant example of the Queen Anne style. The nave is lighted by three semicircular-headed windows in each side wall, with moulded stone architraves, imposts and archivolts. The wall is crowned by a stone entablature and balustrade, supported by plain Doric pilasters of the same material elevated upon pedestals. Over each pilaster the entablature is broken forward, and there are stone quoins at the angles of the walls. The interior is perfectly plain, and there is a gallery at the west end. The west tower rises square to the level of the main entablature, which is continued round it, above which it is surmounted by an octagonal turret of brick, containing one bell, crowned by a cupola. The roofs are slated.


No mention occurs of the church advowson of Yardley until the 13th century, when there were numerous disputes about the advowson. In 1220 Giles de Erdington(91) claimed it against the Abbot of Alcester, the Prior of Newport and Ralph de Limesi.(92) It probably at first belonged with the manor to the family of Limesi, and according to the Abbot of Alcester was a chapel annexed to the church of Beoley, which had been granted to his monastery by Geoffrey de Limesi, grandfather of Ralph, whose grant was confirmed by John Bishop of Worcester (1151-7) and by Hubert Walter, Archbishop of Canterbury (ob. 1205). However, as the Prior of Newport did not appear, and as Ralph and the abbot allowed that Thomas de Erdington, father of Giles, had made the last two presentations, the case was decided in favour of Giles, who at the same time gave the advowson to the Prior of Newport.(93) In 1263 Giles again claimed the advowson against the Priors of Newport and Studley and against Ralph de Limesi and William Comyn, and the case was again decided in his favour.(94)

In 1274 Ralph de Limesi sued Henry de Erdington son of Giles for the advowson of Yardley,(95) but in the same year a fine was levied by which Ralph gave up his claim.(96) Just before this, Henry had given the advowson to the Abbot and convent of Halesowen, but they had afterwards restored it to him with the charter,(97) and he gave it in 1279 to the nuns of Catesby.(98)

Before the nuns were allowed to enjoy the advowson their right was disputed in 1279 by the Abbot of Halesowen,(99) and in 1303 by the Prior of Newport(100) and by Henry de Erdington son of the last-named Henry.(101) Judgement was given in favour of the nuns in each case, but by 1346 the advowson had passed, probably by purchase, from them to Thomas Beauchamp Earl of Warwick, who in that year gave it to the newly-founded priory of Maxstoke,(102) Giles de Erdington giving up all his claim in the same year.(103) This led to another dispute, the claimant being the Prior of Tickford, who said that his priory had held the church of Yardley in the time of Henry III, but the jurors found for the Prior of Maxstoke,(104) to whom the advowson belonged until the Dissolution. The church was appropriated to the prior and convent in 1346,(105) and confirmed to them by the pope at the request of William de Clinton Earl of Hereford in 1349.(106)

In 1538 the site of Maxstoke Priory with all its possessions was granted to Charles Brandon Duke of Suffolk,(107) who two years later sold the site with the rectory of Yardley to Robert Trappes, a goldsmith of London.(108) The Duke of Suffolk died in 1545, and the dukedom became extinct on the death of his last surviving son in 1551,(109) when the advowson appears to have reverted to the Crown, for it was granted in 1554-5 with the manor to Sir Edmund Dudley.(110) It is included in conveyances of the manor until 1678,(111) but the presentations do not seem to have been made by the lords of the manor. Queen Mary granted the advowson in 1558 to Richard Bishop of Worcester,(112) and in 1596 William Swindles of Yardley, husbandman (agricola), presented.(113) William Parker Lord Monteagle was patron in 1612,(114) and his son Henry held the advowson in the middle of the 17th century.(115) Robert Dodd presented in 1675 and Thomas Habington in 1687.(116) Though presentations were made by the king in 1726, 1729 and 1766,(117) the advowson probably passed, through the marriage of Mary daughter of Thomas Habington with William Compton, to the Compton family,(118) for Sir Walter Habington Compton, bart., great-great-grandson of Mary Habington, was dealing with it in 1770,(119) and on his death without issue in 1773 it passed to his sister Jane, wife of John Berkeley.(120) She and her husband conveyed it to Rowland Berkeley in 1775,(121) evidently in trust for her daughter Catherine Berkeley, who was dealing with the advowson in 1798-9,(122) and apparently sold it to Edmund Wigley, who presented in 1805 and 1807.(123) He probably left it to his son Edmund Meysey-Wigley, but the latter died childless in 1833, leaving three sisters and co-heirs, Anne Maria, who married John Michael Severne, Caroline Meysey Wigley, and Mary Charlotte, who married Charles Wicksted.(124) Caroline died unmarried, and the youngest sister appears to have given up her right to Mrs. Severne, who was the only patron in 1868.(125) The advowson was purchased from the Severnes about 1871 by the Rev. J. Dodd, who left it to his sons Cyril Dodd, K.C., and the Rev. Frederick Sutton Dodd, the present vicar, to whom it now belongs.(126)

The rectory passed from Robert Trappes to his son Nicholas, after whose death, which took place before 1565, it was divided between his two daughters, Mary wife of Giles Paulet, son of the Marquess of Winchester, and Alice wife of Henry Browne of Maxstoke.(127) Alice seems to have married secondly William Byrde,(128) and with him settled half the rectory on themselves and their heirs, with contingent remainders to Thomas, Mary and Anne Umpton. Alice's share of the rectory passed eventually to Francis Browne,(129) probably her son, while the other half passed to William Paulet son of Giles.(130) In 1622 Francis sold his share to William Bissell and his son William,(131) who with Anne Walrond, widow, Humphrey Coles and John Griffith conveyed three-fourths of the rectory to Humphrey Greswolde in 1660.(132) William Rogerson, Nicholas Grimshaw and Henry Greswolde were dealing with the other quarter of the rectory in 1680,(133) and the whole belonged to Henry Greswolde in 1833, when the tithes were commuted for £525.(134)

During the last century new ecclesiastical parishes were formed from Yardley - St. Cyprian’s Hay Mills, in 1878,(135) the advowson of which belongs to the Bishop of Birmingham. The church is built of red brick with stone dressings, and consists of chancel, nave, aisles, vestry, and tower with spire. Christ Church, Yardley Wood, was formed in 1849, and contains part of the ancient parish of King’s Norton.(136) Christ Church was built and endowed by the late Mrs. Sarah Taylor, and is a building of stone consisting of chancel, nave, transepts and western bell-turret. The living is in the gift of Mr. A. J. Taylor, now lord of Yardley Manor. Part of Yardley became ecclesiastically annexed to Moseley in 1879,(137) and part to Acock's Green in 1867.(138) In 1894 the parish of St. John the Evangelist, Sparkhill, was constituted, the patronage being vested in five trustees.(139) The church is built of red brick with stone and terra cotta dressings, in 13th-century style, and consists of chancel, nave, transepts, vestry, organ chamber, and tower with spire.

There is in Yardley a Baptist Mission chapel served from Graham Street, Birmingham; also a Congregational chapel.


The Yardley Charity Estates
The inhabitants of this parish have from time immemorial received the benefit of certain lands and hereditaments granted to trustees for their use by various donors, the earliest deeds extant being temp. Henry VI. The trusts were definitely extended by deeds of lease and release 1 and 2 January 1766 to the support of the Yardley Free School and of the school at Hall Green. The latter school, however, was closed in or about 1899. The educational branch was regulated by certain schemes made under the Endowed Schools Acts and by a scheme confirmed by an Act of Parliament, (140) and is now governed by a scheme made by the Board of Education 12 August 1903.(141)

The non-educational branch is administered under an order of the Charity Commissioners 6 August 1901 as a separate charity under the title of the Yardley Charity Estates Almshouses.

The endowments consist of the new almshouses for six almswomen and a residence for a nurse, situate in Church Road, a yearly sum of £380 out of the general income of the charity estates, and a sum of £2,860 consols with the official trustees, producing £71 10s. yearly, representing the redemption of certain yearly sums of that amount specified in the scheme or schemes above referred to.

The scheme provides for the payment of £100 a year to the nurse, for a weekly payment of from 6s. to 10s. a week to each almswoman, also for medical attendance and appliances and funeral expenses of the almswomen; also for the formation of a repair fund.

In 1671 Humphrey Greswolde, by his will, gave the yearly sum of £5 out of the rectory and great tithes of Yardley for providing four gowns for four poor aged men, one from each of the four quarters of the parish.

The charities of Job Marston were founded by will 24 May 1701, whereby a sum of £400 was directed to be laid out in lands, and the rents and profits to be applied as to one moiety for the vicar, subject to the distribution of £5 4s. yearly in bread to the poor attending church, and the other moiety in apprenticing or in the distribution of coats, etc., to poor attending church. The legacy was in 1728 laid out in the purchase of land, and the endowments now consist of a farm at Acock's Green, containing 40a. 2r. 34p. let at £95 a year, and 4,272 sq. yds. of building land, producing a yearly income of £23 7s. 8d., the legal estate in which was, by an order of the Charity Commissioners of 24 July 1900, vested in the official trustee of charity lands. The net income is duly applied.

Marston's Chapel. - The same testator, by his will, devised land at Hall Green for the erection of a chapel thereon, and, bequeathed £1,000 for that purpose, and further directed that £1,200 should be laid out in land, the rents and profits whereof should be applied for the repairs of the chapel and for the support of the minister. The intentions of the testator were carried into effect by an Act of 1702-3. The trust is regulated by a scheme of the Charity Commissioners 20 January 1903.

The trust estate now consists of the chapel, the parsonage-house at Hall Green, farm-house and land  at Earlswood let at £80 a year and £4,265 14s. 7d. India 3½ per cent. stock with the official trustees, producing £149 6s. yearly, arising from the sale in 1903 of 6 a. 2r. in Stoney Lane, Sparkbrook.

The trustees also receive £104 a year from the Governors of the grammar school, Handsworth, co. Staffs., being 4 per cent. interest on a sum of £2,600 advanced in 1906 on loan to that foundation, being part of the proceeds of sale in 1905 of 6 a. in Showell Green Lane, Sparkbrook.

John Cottrell’s Almshouses for two widows, founded by deed 1715, consist of two cottages used as almshouses and a rent-charge of £5 issuing out of lands in Yardley, now the property of Colonel Jervoise.

In 1721 Joseph Fox by his will charged land at Showell Green with 20s. for the poor in bread and with 20s. for the master of Hall Green School, and, if there were no schoolmaster, then for coals for poor widows.

In 1727 John Bissell by his will gave an annuity of £2 for the master of Hall Green School and an annuity of £1 for a coat for a poor man in Swanhurst Quarter. By an order of the Charity Commissioners 27 June 1899 trustees of this charity were appointed and the rent-charges vested in the official trustee of charity lands.

A sum of £21 4s. 11d. consols, producing 10s. 4d. yearly, is also held by the official trustees in respect of Joseph Bissell's charity.

In 1829 Henry Greswolde Lewis, by his will proved in the P.C.C. 9 November, bequeathed £1,500, the income to be applied in the distribution of clothing and bread among six poor men and women of Yardley, and of the parishes of Radford Semele and Solihull in the county of Warwick. The share of this parish is represented by £571 3s. 9d. consols with the official trustees, producing £14 5s. 4d. yearly.

In 1837 Joseph Richards by his will left a legacy for the benefit of the poor of Bromwell End and Swanhurst End, which is represented by £83 6s. 8d. consols with the official trustees, producing £2 1s. 8d. yearly.

The Church of England Sunday School. - By an inclosure award made pursuant to an Act of Parliament,(142) a piece of land containing 37 p. or thereabouts was awarded to trustees, and on it a building was erected for the purposes of a Sunday school in connexion with the Church of England. By a scheme of the Charity Commissioners 16 August 1907 the trustees were authorized to use the same as a parish hall or to let the same to the local education authority, any rent received in respect thereof to be applied for the benefit of deserving poor.

The Church of England school is endowed with a sum of £1,030 18s. 7d. consols by the will of John Francis Greswolde-Williams, dated 26 May 1891, proved at Worcester 12 August 1892. He also bequeathed a sum of £1,030 18s. 7d. consuls for the benefit of the poor.

The sums of stock are held by the official trustees, producing £25 15s. 4d. yearly. The benefaction to the poor is distributed on 23 October in each year in the form of orders on shops for flannel, clothing, coats, dresses or food, or any other articles or things for domestic use or comfort, or money for paying rent.

Christchurch Yardley Wood. - In 1876 John Guest, by will proved at Birmingham 14 August, left for charitable purposes in this district a legacy which is represented by £355 4s. consols producing £8 17s. 4d. yearly.


1 In 1857 Yardley was transferred to Warwickshire for the purposes of the several Acts relating to county and district constables, but on account of the inconvenience of this arrangement it was retransferred to Worcestershire in 1899 (Local and Personal Act, 62 & 63 Vict. cap. 226)
2 Statistics from Bd. Of Agric. (1905).
3 Priv. Act, 3 and 4 Will. IV, cap. 17.
4 Blue Bk. Incl. Awards, 192.
5 Birm. and Midl. Inst. Arch. Sect. Trans. 1880-1, p. 6.
6 Anct. D. (P.R.O.), C 3028.
7 Ibid. C 1346,1355.
8 Ibid. C1522
9 Ibid. C2761.
10 Feet of F. Div. Co. Hil. II Edw. IV, no. 81.
11 Mins. Accts. bdle. 645, no. 10461.
12 Ct. R. (Gen. Ser.), portf. 210, no. 104.
13 Star Chamb. Proc. Hen. VIII, bdle. 17, no. 50.
14 Dugdale, Mon. ii, 416; Birch, Cart. Sax. iii, 585; Cott. MS. Aug. ii, 6. This document, written in a hand about a century later than its nominal date, no doubt gives with accuracy the possessions claimed by Pershore towards the middle of the 11th century. It is not evidence for the 10th. Evidently, however, the boundaries were based on local knowledge; they include, for example, a reference to a River Colle (on Colle) which is no doubt the stream from which Coleshill in Warwickshire derives its name. (Note by Mr. F. M. Stenton.)
15 V.C.H. Worcs. i, 305.
16 Add. MS. 28024, fol. 114a; Chan. Inq. p.m. 9 Edw. II, no. 71, m. 82.
17 Chan. Inq. p.m, 8 Hen. IV, no. 68.
18 Ibid. 17 Hen. VI, no. 54; 24 Hen. VI, no. 43.
19 Testa de Nevill (Rec. Com.), 40. In a charter of about this date William de Beauchamp granted that the abbot and convent should levy and collect scutage and other services of him in Beoley and Yardley (Add. MS. 28024, fol. 150b).
20 Cal. Chart. R. 1226-57, p. 277; Add. MS. 28024, fol. 112b.
21 The custody of the daughter of Ralph de Limesi had been granted to Ralph son of Nicholas in 1228 (Excerpta. e Rot. Fin. [Rec. Com.], i, 177).
22 Wrottesley, Ped. from the Plea, R. 530. Geoffrey de Limesi was perhaps a younger son of the Domesday tenant Ralph de Limesi and his wife Hawise, who were benefactors of Hertford Monastery. The elder branch of the family appears to have held some rights of overlordship in Yardley, for John de Limesi presented to the church of Yardley as ‘capital lord of the fee' during the minority of Ralph de Limesi (Maitland, Bracton’s Note Bk. no. 1387). John de Limesi was great-grandson of the Ralph de Limesi of Domesday (Dugdale, Mon. iii, 300).
22a Add. MS. 28024, fol. 118 d.
23 Wrottesley, op. cit. 530, 538.
24 Ibid. 538.
25 Add. MS. 28024, fol. 114a.
26 Cal. Of Doc. Rel. to Scotland, i, 910.
27 Add.MS. 28024, fol. 111b, 112a.
27a Ibid. fol.. 115b, 85a; G.E.C. Complete Peerage, i, 276; Cal. Inq. p.m.. 1-9 Edw. II, 410; Chart. R. 16 Edw. III, m. 3, no. 13.
28 See Elmley Castle; Abbrev. Plac.(Rec. Com.), 197, 331b; Chart. R. 26 Edw.III, m. 10, no. 23; Feet of F. Div. Co. Mich. 35 Edw. III; Chan. Inq. p.m. 43 Edw.III, pt. i, no. 79; Close, 20 Ric. II, pt. ii, m. 9d.; Chan. Inq. p.m. 2 Hen. IV, no. 58; 8 Hen. IV, no. 68; 17 Hen. VI, no. 54; 24 Hen. VI, no. 43; Close, I Hen. IV, pt. i, m. 18 ; Feet of F. Div. Co. Mich. 6 Edw. IV; Chan. Inq. p.m. 18 Edw. IV, no. 47; Min.. Accts. bdle. 645, no. 10461; Cal. Pat. 1446-52, p. 38; 1476-85, p. 96; Pat. I Ric. III, pt. iii, m. 22. In 1397, after the forfeiture of Thomas Earl of Warwick, Yardley Manor was granted to Thomas Earl Marshal and Earl of Nottingham (Cal. Pat. 1396-9, p. 220). He was created Duke of Norfolk in the same year, but was banished in 1398 (G.E.C. Complete Peerage, vi, 104), when Yardley was granted to Thomas Duke of Surrey (Cal. Pat. 1396-9, p. 429).
29 Close, 3 Hen. VII, no. 11; Anct. D. (P.R.O.), A 11056.
30 Palmer's Indices (P.R.O.), cxxxii, fol. 187.
31 Pat. 7 Edw. VI, pt. viii, m. 25.
32 Ibid. I Mary, pt. v, m. 1.
33 Ibid. 1 & 2 Phil. and Mary, pt. ii; 2 & 3 Phil. and Mary, pt. ii, m. 29.
34 Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser.2), ccxxxiv, 74.
35 Exch. Spec. Com. Jas. I, no. 4774.
36 Ibid. 4777.
37 Feet of F. Worcs. East. 35 Eliz.; Hil.10 Jas I.
38 Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), cccclix, 29.
39 Ibid.
40 Feet of F. Worcs. Mich. 5 Chas. I.
41 Gen. vi, 304.
42 Feet of F. Worcs. Mich. 1652.
43 Gen. vi, 304
44 Ibid.; Feet of F. Worcs. Trin. 30 Chas. II; 35 Chas II. The latter is probably a settlement on his marriage. with Eleanor daughter of Sir John Winford.
45 Gen. vi, 306.
46 Ibid.; Recov. R. Trin. I Will. and Mary, rot. 34.
47 Gen. vi, 306.
48 Nash, Hist. of Worcs. ii, 477.
49 Burke, Landed Gentry (1906).
50 Close, 1651, pt. viii, no. 7.
51 Chart. R. I Edw. III, m. 2, no. 3; Feet of F. Worcs, case 258, file 7, no. 35.
52 Feet of F. Worcs, case 258, file 7, no. 35.
53 Dugdale, Mon. vi, 187; Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), iii, 87.
54 L. and P. Henry VIII, xx (I), g. 1335 (34).
55 Pat. 13 Eliz. pt. ii, m. 26.
56 Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), cxc, 40.
57 Ibid. cccli, 112.
58 Ibid.; Feet of F. Div. Co. Mich. 28 & 29 Eliz.
59 Feet of F. Worcs. Hil. 43 Eliz.
60 P.C.C. 35 Montague; Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), cccli, 112.
61 Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), cccli, 112.
62 Ibid.
63 Ibid.; Fine R. 14 Jas. I, pt. ii, no. 12; see also Feet of F. Worcs. Trin. 1650.
64 Burke, Landed Gentry, 1906, under Greswolde-Williams; an inscription on a monument in Yardley Church quoted by Nash, op. cit. ii, 476, and by Prattinton (Soc. Antiq.).
65 Recov. R. Trin. 16 Geo. III, rot. 151.
66 Feet of F. Div. Co. East. 24 Geo. III.
67 Burke, Landed Gentry (1906), under Greswolde-Williams
68 Information from Mr. A. Lord.
68a This is the ' bromhalas’ mentioned in the boundaries of Yardley (Birch, Cart. Sax. iii, 589).
69 Chan. Inq. p.m. 8 Hen. V. no. 100. The inquisition shows how the land was divided among the four co-heirs.
70 Chan. Inq. p.m. I Hen. VI, no. 61.
71 Ibid. (Ser. 2), ccccxcv, 53.
72 Ibid.
73 Exch. Inq. P.m. (Ser. 2), file 1178, no. 11.
74 Court of Req. bdle. 3, no. 137.
75 Ibid.
76 Exch. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), file 1178, no. 11.
77 Ibid.
78 Recov. R.D. Enr. East. 16 Chas. II, m. 14; Recov. R. East. 16 Chas. II, rot. 197.
79 Feet of F. Worcs. Trin. 30 Chas. II.
80 Ibid. Div. Co. East. 12 Hen. VI.
81 Ibid. Worcs. Trin. 15 Jas. I; Hil. 22 Jas. I; Prattinton Coll. (Soc. Antiq.), gives a pedigree of these two families.
82 Prattinton Coll. (Soc. Antiq.).
83 Feet of F. Div. Co. 34 Hen. III, no. 40.
84 Anct. D. (P.R.O.), C 1510, 3020.
85 Add. MS. 28024, fol. 111b.
86 Mins. Accts. bdle. 645, no. 10461. This mill appears to have been disused in 1485 (Mins. Accts. Hen. VII, no. 989).
87 Feet of F. Worcs. East. 35 Eliz.; Recov. R. Trin. I Will. and Mary, rot. 34.
88 Recov. R. Mich. 3 Jas. II, rot. 75.
89 Feet of F. Worcs. East. 23 Geo. III. The same right had been conveyed by Richard Eaves and John Baskerville and Sarah his wife to Joseph Tomkins in 1767 (ibid. Trin. 7 Geo. III).
90 Prattinton Coll. (Soc. Antiq.); P.C.C. 100 Hern.
91 How the Erdingtons got possession of the church does not appear. It is possible that they claimed through Hawise, who was probably lady of the manor in the time of Henry II (see above under manor).
92 Maitland, Bracton’s Note Bk. iii, 347-9; Cur. Reg. R. 75. m. 5.
93 Maitland, op. cit. iii, 349.
94 Assize R. 1191, m. 15. William Comyn acknowledged that he had given up his right to the Prior of Studley.
95 Wrottesley, Ped. From the Plea R. 529.
96 Feet of F. Worcs. 3 Edw. I, no.58.
97 De Banco R. 31, m. 76.
98 Ibid.; Dugdale, Mon. iv, 635.
99 De Banco R. 29, m. 13; 31, m. 76; Feet of F. Worcs. 8 Edw. I, no. 18.
100 De Banco R. 148, m. 39d.
101 Ibid. About 1279-1301 the prioress of Catesby petitioned for the restoration of the patronage of the church of Yardley, 'unjustly' held by Ralph de Hengham the rector (Add. Chart. 20433). Ralph had been presented by Giles de Erdington (De Banco R. 29. m. 13).
102 Cal. Pat. 1345-8, p. 135; Close, 20 Edw. III, pt. i, m. 4. The licence of the Abbot of Pershore as overlord of Yardley was obtained in 1346-7 (Habington, Surv. of Worcs. [Worcs. Hist. Soc.], i, 509).
103   Cal. Close, 1346-9. p. 88.
104   De Banco R. 34-9, m. 381; 354, m. 57; Cal. Close, 1346-9, p. 488.
105   Worcs. Epis. Reg. Wulstan de Bransford, i (3), fol. 105a.
106   Cal. Papal Pet. i, 192; Cal. Papal Letters, iii, 333.
107   L. and P. Hen. VIII, xiii (2). 1182 (18 m.n.w.).
108   Ibid. xv, 895; Harl. Chart. 47 A. 53.
109   G.E.C. Complete Peerage, vii, 310.
110   Pat. 1 & 2 Phil. and Mary, pt. ii.
111   Feet of F. Worcs. East. 35 Eliz.; Mich. 5 Chas. I; 20 Chas. II; Trin. 30 Chas. II.
112   Pat. 5 &. 6 Phil. and Mary, pt. ii, m.30.
113   Nash, op.cit. ii, 481.
114   Ibid.
115   Habington, op. cit. i, 511.
116   Inst. Bks. (P.R.O.).
117   Ibid. The University of Oxford presented in 1732.
118   G.E.C. Complete Baronetage, iv, 141.
119   Recov. R. Trin. 10 Geo. III, rot. 149.
120   G.E.C. Complete Baronetage, iv, 141.
121   Feet of Worcs. Trin. 15 Geo. III; Inst. Bks. (P.R.O.).
122   Recov. R. Hil. 39 Geo. III, rot. 275.
123   Inst. Bks. (P.R.O.).
124   Burke, Commoners ii, 676; Priv. Acts , 3 & 4 Will. IV, cap. 17.
125   Noake, op. cit. 358.
126   Information supplied by the Rev. F. Sutton Dodd.
127   Com. Pleas D. Enr. Mich. 7 & 8 Eliz. m. 15; Chan. Proc. (Ser. 2), bdle. 139, no. 26.
128   Feet of F. Div. Co. Mich. 22 & 23 Eliz.; Pat. 22 Eliz. pt. i, m. 39.
129   Notes of F. Div. Co. Mich. 12 Jas. I; Cal. S. P. Dom. 1619-23, p. 371.
130   Exch. Dep. Trin. 12 Jas. I, no. 1.
131   Feet of F. Worcs. East. 20 Jas. I.
132   Ibid. Trin. 12 Chas. II.
133   Ibid. Mich. 32 Chas. II.
134   Priv. Act, 3 & 4 Will. IV, cap. 17. For pedigree of the Greswoldes see Burke, Landed Gentry, 1906, under Greswolde-Williams.
135   Lond. Gaz. 1 Mar. 1878, p. 1578.
136   Census of England and Wales, 1901, Worc. 8.
137   Lond. Gaz. 30 May 1879, p. 3677.
138   Ibid. 1 Mar. 1867, p. 1442.
139   Parl. Papers (1897), lxvii (6), no. 302, p. 14.
140   Local and Personal Act, 2 Edw. VII, cap. 214.
141   See ‘Schools,’ V.C.H. Worcs. iv.
142   Priv. Act, 3 & 4 Will. IV, cap. 17.


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