Edgbaston (St. Bartholomew)

EDGBASTON (St. Bartholomew), a parish, in the union of King's-Norton, Birmingham division of the hundred of Hemlingford, N. division of the county of Warwick, 1½ mile (S. W.) from Birmingham; containing 6609 inhabitants. This parish, which forms an extensive suburb of Birmingham, and is included within the limits of the borough, is situated on the roads to Hales-Owen, and to Bromsgrove; it is bounded on the east by the river Rea, and on the south by the Bourne brook, which separate it from the county of Worcester, and comprises 2424a. 3r. 13p., whereof more than 2000 acres are the property of Lord Calthorpe. The land is of great value, and nearly one-third of it is let upon building leases, in which are inserted clauses prohibiting the erection of manufactories of any kind. Of the few ancient mansions that existed previously to the erection of the modern town, the principal now remaining are, Edgbaston Hall, which was garrisoned for the parliament in the reign of Charles I., and, being burnt down in 1668, was rebuilt by Sir Richard Gough, Knt., in 1717; and a private residence which, from a very lofty octagonal tower of brick attached to it, obtained the appellation of the Monument. This tower is seven stories high; it was built about 1758 by John Parrott, Esq., as an observatory, and is not unfrequently designated Parrott's Folly. The surface is varied; and the scenery, which is generally of pleasing character, is in some parts strikingly picturesque. A considerable portion of the reservoir of the Birmingham canal, an extensive sheet of water covering 80 acres, excavated to the depth of 40 feet, is within the parish, presenting, from the rich foliage on its banks, all the beauty of an inland lake; and the Birmingham and Worcester canal, whose gradually sloping banks rise in some parts to a considerable height above the level of the water, intersects the parish. The town or village, which is very extensive, consists of several spacious streets of handsome houses of brick, coated with Roman cement, and displaying much variety of architectural style; of numerous pleasant villas, tastefully ornamented; and many detached mansions situated in grounds embellished with shrubberies and plantations, the country residences of the merchants and manufacturers of Birmingham. A small part of the parish is lighted with gas, and the inhabitants are amply supplied with water. The botanical gardens here contain a great number of the choicest plants, and are a favourite resort of the inhabitants.

The Living is a vicarage not in charge, in the gift of Lord Calthorpe, with a net income of £542: the vicarial tithes were commuted for corn-rents in 1821; the great tithes are held on lease from the Dean and Chapter of Lichfield, by his lordship. The church, an ancient structure which had been much mutilated in its details, was repaired, and enlarged by the addition of a gallery at the west end, in 1810; and further alterations have just been made with a due regard to the preservation of its original character. The chapel dedicated to St. George was erected in 1838, by Lord Calthorpe, at an expense of £6000, including a bequest of £500 by Mr. Wheely, of Edgbaston, and is a handsome structure in the early English style, without either tower or spire. It consists of a nave and north and south aisles, each having a separate roof, and contains 1000 sittings, of which 200 are free; an organ was erected at a cost of £400, and a good eastern window of stained glass inserted at a cost of £200, both by the congregation. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the patronage of Lord Calthorpe, who has endowed it with £1000 three per cent. consols.; the remainder of the income is derived from seat-rents. A proprietary school was established in 1837, for Birmingham and Edgbaston, by a body of shareholders, desirous of securing for their sons a sound classical, mathematical, and commercial education, combined with instruction in the modern languages. A spacious building has been erected in the Elizabethan style, at a cost, including the purchase of freehold land, of about £10,000; and attached are two houses, in which the second and commercial masters receive boarders, pupils of the establishment. The instruction is under the direction of the Rev. J. Illingworth, M.A., who is principal, three other masters, and two assistant masters; and the progress of the scholars is tested by an annual examination, conducted by gentlemen from the universities. In connexion with the parish church are, a Sunday school for 50 boys, and a day school for 60 girls, both supported by subscription.—See Birmingham.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, 7th edition, published in 1848.