Guest post: Brandwood End in 1838

Many thanks to Andy for allowing us to repost this. Be sure to check out Andys blog at www.andyunderscore.com

Before becoming part of the city of Birmingham in 1911 Brandwood End used to be part of Kings Norton Parish in the county of Worcestershire. Kings Norton Parish was divided into different Yields for tax reasons and Brandwood End was mostly in the Moseley Yield along with Moseley, Balsall Heath and Kings Heath.

Defining the boundaries of the Brandwood End map were a little tricky as the settlement has historically been considered as part of Kings Heath. For the purposes of the map the southern boundary has been defined as following Broad Lane and Tunnel Lane, including a small section of land within the Moundsley Yield up to Lifford Reservoir. The western boundary follows firstly the River Rea and then the (then) recently-constructed Birmingham and Gloucester Railway. The northern boundary was trickier, but in the end I decided to look at the land ownership to exclude areas owned by Trustees of the late William Anderton, whose land stretched north of Bleak Lane (now Vicarage Road) all the way to the railway and included parts of Kings Heath. The eastern boundary is formed by the Turnpike Road (now Alcester Road South).

The area at this time was overwhelmingly rural, with the land use consisting of meadows, pastures and arable land. To the west the land drained towards the River Rea via two tributaries including Brandwood Brook and, further north, Dawberry Fields Brook. Lifford Reservoir, constructed in 1815, is the largest waterbody in this area. To the west Brandwood End drains towards the River Cole via its tributaries Haunch Brook and Chinn Brook.

On the 1838 map Brandwood End is shown as a series of scattered farms with a small rural settlement based around the southern end of Brandwood Road consisting of a couple of unnamed farms and associated houses. One of these farms, which was owned by Joseph Ward Allen, but rented out to Thomas Hollington, is later marked as ‘The Grange’ on an 1880’s map of the area.

The other farm in this location was owned by William Vernon Smith who also owned several scattered parcels of farmland, rented out to various tenants.

Other major farms included Brandwood House, just south of Dawberry Fields Road, which was then owned and occupied by Roger William Gem Jnr. As well as the house itself there was associated offices, lawn and garden. Next to the house was a farm, also owned by Roger William Gem Jnr. but rented out to Henry Bridgens. Brandwood House itself was thought to date from at least 1638.

To the north east of the house on Brandwood Road, Roger William Gem Jnr. also owned 5 houses which were occupied by various tenants.

At the end of Dawberry Fields Road was Dawberry Fields Farm, owned by Thomas Vyse but rented to Edward Smith. This farm extended westwards to the River Rea, based around the valley of the Dawberry Fields Brook. Part of this land now forms part of the current day Dawberry Fields Park.

Brandwood Sports Ground

South of this area, and just off Tunnel Lane was Red House Farm which was owned by James Boyce, who also owned the eastern half of Lifford Reservoir. This land was rented to Joseph Cash. Some of these fields forms part of the modern day Brandwood Sports Ground.

East of Brandwood Road and up to the junction with Woodthorpe Road lay a farm owned by George Heming, including a farmhouse with associated orchard, yard and gardens. The farm was tenanted by George Abbot.

Brandwood End Pool

South of Woodthorpe Road there were two further farms, the first of these (moving eastwards) was Southern Farm – owned by John Cotterill and tenanted by William Kendall. Surrounding this farm was a much larger farm owned by George Crooker Fox and tenanted by Thomas Mason. This farm extended up to the Turnpike Road (now Alcester Road South). Part of this farmland became the modern day Brandwood End Cemetery where some of the old field boundaries still survive. The pool which lay in Middle Leasow still exists today.

At the junction of Woodthorpe Road and the Turnpike Road was the Kings Arms Inn, which was then owned by Moss Todd. This is the present day location of The Crown pub.

The farmland to the north of Woodthorpe Road had been open common land up until 1799 and formed part of the King’s Heath. The field pattern here shows the characteristically straight field boundaries of the more recent enclosures.

For more information on the history of Brandwood/Brandwood End see William Dargue’s excellent website at https://billdargue.jimdo.com/placenames-gazetteer-a-to-y/places-b/brandwood/