Monday, March 26, 2012

Berwood Bridge

Berwood Bridge, one of the Listed Buildings in Erdington, is one of the last remaining traces of the Berwood sub-manor of Erdington.

Berwood Hall, which once stood where the modern day Farnborough Road is now, dates from the 13th century. The land originally, it is recorded, was given by Hugh de Arderne1 to the Abbey of St Mary of the Meadows in Leicester for use of a monastic grange. A moated hall is recorded in the 13th century but by the 17th century it had fallen in disrepair. A chapel on the manor (built by the canons in return for the gifts of land to sing masses for the souls of Hugh's descendants) fell into disuse by the early 15th century. The manor remained the possession of the abbey until the dissolution of the monastries and the manor was sold to Thomas Arden in 1540.

It remained owned by the Ardens until a later descendant (Dorothy) married into the Bagot family of Staffordshire2. The Reverend Walter Bagot was lord of the manor in 1783, his son was also later lord of the manor at nearby Pype Hayes Hall. The Bagot Arms pub still bears their name.

Much of the land was sold in the 1880s by the Bagots to the Birmingham Tame & Rae Drainage Board (a sewage farm is listed as being here in the late 1800s before it was moved to its current location in Minworth) but by then the manor probably no longer existed in any real sense.
December 1945 view of Berwood Bridge (via Google Earth), the bridge can be seen just left of the centre of the image. 

A farmhouse built on the site of the former manor house served as the officers' mess at Castle Bromwich Aerodrome during the First World War3 though by the Second World War the farmhouse and much of the rest of the Berwood estate had been swallowed up by the airfield. Following the war the Castle Vale estate was built on the site of the old airfield.

A few names survive here and then on new buildings and roads but it is likely the only surviving remnant of the old manor is Berwood Bridge which was built at the end of the 18th century or early 19th to allow Berwood Lane to cross the then-new Birmingham & Fazeley Canal.
Going through Berwood Bridge
1) L. F. Salzman (editor). "Parishes: Curdworth." A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 4: Hemlingford Hundred (1947): 60-67. British History Online. Web. 26 March 2012. <>
2) William Fowler. "A history of Erdington: an address to the members of the Erdington Institute... delivered April 27th, 1885 (London:British Library)"
3) William Dargue. "A History of Birmingham Places & Placenames . . . from A to Y" Berwood, Berwood Common <>

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