Yardley Conservation Society
Established 1969

Conservation Area

"A Walk Round Old Yardley Village"

prepared by Stephen Price
City Museum and Art Gallery
November 1979
Updated May 2010 by Robert Jones

   The village is a remarkable survival, and retains more of its rural atmosphere than any other village now incorporated within Birmingham. recognising this fact the area, which has been designated a Conservation Area since 16th July 1969, was upgraded to Outstanding category in 1976, the only one so far in the city. The Parish Church, St Edburgha's, was the focus of the ancient parish of Yardley, which covers 7,590 acres, and until 1911 part of Worcestershire. The settlement probably originates in the late Saxon period, on the lighter soils of the northern part of the parish, although the first relable indication as a nucleated settlement around the church is  provided by 13th century deeds. Until the early 19th century the village consisted of a series of small farmhouses, or cottages with barns and other agricultural buildings, around farmyards with enclosed  crofts behind, and scattered land in open fields in the area, now occupied by Yardley Fields Road.
     From about 1800 many village buildings were rebuilt and only Church Farm survives.
Taking the Route from Blakesley hall, walk  down Blakesley Road to the juction of Stoney Lane, known as Stonystret in the 14th century, turn left at the junction of Church Road, on the right was once "The Talbot Inn"a 19th century building. Here the Trustees of the Charity Estates met  to distribute dole money.
     On the left beyond the footpath sign posted Abbess Grove is number 423-425, which has a complex building history over 260 years. It began in 1710 as a cottage built for a local wheelwright, Thomas Roades. To this were added rear wings, and in the 1850's a butcher's shop and slaughter house, with the iron barred window. Then lying back from the road is the shop front, which was  by the Harrison family until 1957.
Opposite is the former Trust School of the early 16th Century. This building has been identified with "the church howse" being built in 1512 becoming a school house. The school closed in 1908. Beyond the timber framed block, 422 and 424, early 19th century addition built for the school master.
In front of the low wall to the churchyard  were situated the wooden "Stocks and Whipping Post", removed in the 19th century.
The Churchyard was cleared of all gravestones, between 1959-60, except of the schoolmaster, James Chell.
    The Church itself has many  treasurers, and is well worth a tour around. The 15th century south porch shows incised marks in the base of the tower, which is said to have been produced by local sharpening their arrows.
     On the left is 431, descibed a newly built in 1796, the the side is a coach house. 431 was a general store until the 1960's.
Then Cottage institute 1882. It began as a meeting hall to encourage gardening and industrial work for villagers. The Instutues occupies the orginal site of the ring of bells.
     Adjoining 435 a symmetrical brick cottage built in 1826 by the Yardley Charty Estate Trustees for local Blacksmith, John Leake.
437-443 built soon after 1894 on the site of six early 19th century cottages, in turn built on the site of a small farmhouse. Beyond the opening to Church Terrace 445-447, which began life in the late 18th century as a malthouse, but was converted to cottages in the 1850's
Then 451 Church Farm , other wise Tile House Farm. The site was given to the Charity Trust in 1463 by local tilemaker Robert Robyns. The Trust's accounts show how the present farmbuildings were built in the early 19th century, starting in the 1820's with the cowhouse, whose gable fronts the street, beyond is the barn of 1848 and wagon hovel of 1853. Then the farmhouse itself, rebuilt in 1837, and to its right the stable with a loft over built with a pair of upper crucks, and finally the "Smithy"
   The vicarage beyond was rebuilt in 1960, since demolished , here today you will see "Yardley Grange Nursing Home", Opened in 2003 by Baroness Morris, former MP for Yardley, and run by Yardley Great Trust.  On the corner of School Lane is the former Sunday School, opened in 1832. Beyond are the Trust's Almshouses which stood beside the Trust School on the Southern  edge of the churchyard until 1904.
Walking back through the Park, there is a copse of trees. The trees mark the island of a former medieval moated side, known as Rents Moat, and thought to have been inhabited by the Allestree family in the Middle Ages. Following the path will lead back to Church Road.

Canon Cochrane photographs are Copyright of St Edburgha's Church,
and are reproduced by kind permission of Rev'd. Dr.Justus Omoyajowo

Yardley Village about 1925 - photograph Canon Cochrane

Yardley Old Church - photograph Canon Cochrane

Veiw from the Church Tower of Black Smith and Vicarage
photograph Canon Cochrane

Old Yardley Park - photograph Canon Cochrane

Autumn in Old Yardley Park

photographs below Robert Jones

a view of St Edburgha's Church

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the Copse                                         

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                                                                   Signs of the Ridge and Furrow can still be seen

The Village

  original ring of
the Original Ring of Bells Pub

slaughter house  butchers shop

Where the old Nursing Home stood Kendrick Homes have built, "Spire View",
an archaeologiacal dig was carried out before the construction got underway
 There were signs of an ancient river bed and pottery, but nothing else.
To see the photographs of the Officical Opening click on this link - Spire View

There are 2 Properties within the Conservation Area that are owned by Yardley Great Trust
- Yardley Gardens ( the Almshouses) and Yardley Grange Nursing Home -

"A personal view of Yardley Great Trust"
Conrad James
Trustee and Liaison Trustee
Saturday, 5th July, 2008

Yardley Great Trust is a combination of several ancient parochial charities and goes back to the Charter of John de Yerdeleye dated Monday, 18th May, 1355.  He assigned all his lands and all his buildings in the township of Yardley, with all their belongings, to William de Whatcroft of Yerdeleye. King’s Index to Birmingham Charities records, on Page 459,  that in 1347 John de Yerdeleye was the Bailiff for the monks of Maxstoke Priory.

The Trust is administered by 14 local Trustees, including 5 Vicars, who all give their services voluntarily.  However, the really hard work of the Trust is carried out by the staff at Old Brookside, headed by the Chief Executive. We have a Finance Manager, a Clerk to the Trustees, a Housing Manager and 2 Admin. Assistants.  They are all very much appreciated, and things would, very quickly, grind to a halt without them.

The boundary of The Ancient Parish of Yardley, the area of benefit, stretches from Yardley Wood in the south, to Lea Village in the north, is seven and a half miles long and eleven and a half square miles in area, or one-fifth of this great City of Birmingham.

We own the following buildings, in a South to North direction. 1. Cottrell’s Close, in Yardley Wood, which was built in 1985 containing 10 flats. Two of the flats were a refurbished old cottage. 2. Foliot Fields, in Stoney Lane, was built in 1987, 30 flats with a Community Lounge, and the resident Scheme Manager’s home. 3 Yardley Grange Nursing Home, in Church Road, and built in 2002. This has 45 bedrooms and built to exceed modern-day care standards. Located in the Old Yardley Conservation Area, No 5, on the site of the old Vicarage. Officially opened by The Rt. Hon. Estelle Morris, M.P. for Yardley, (now Lady Morris), on Friday morning, 3rd May, 2002. 4 Yardley Gardens, opposite the Nursing Home, was built in 1903 and this required a special Act of Parliament to be passed to enable us to use our surplus funds to build it. There are 8 bungalows and 2 flats, with a Community Lounge.  It celebrated its Centenary on Wednesday afternoon, 2nd July, 2003, with a party for the residents, and their invited guests, which included the Trust’s staff and Trustees.

5 Old Brookside, in Yardley Fields Road, built 1981, and opened by Her Majesty The Queen. 66 flats, with a Community Lounge and the resident Scheme Manager’s home. Two former flats are now occupied by the Trust’s Administration staff. 6 Greswold Gardens, in Middle Leaford, was built in 1986 and consists of 30 flats with a Community Lounge, and the resident Scheme Manager’s home.  7 Greswold House, a Care Home next door, built in 1986. 27 long-stay bedrooms, built on three floors, each with its own kitchen and Community Lounge. Two short-stay bedrooms for Respite Care.

We employ a Peripatetic Scheme Manager for Cottrell’s Close and Yardley Gardens, and she contacts every resident each day of the week.

The Trust also owns Springfield allotments, and also administers the Job Marston Charity.

Trustees are not paid for their services, but we can, if we so wish, claim for any out-of-pocket expenses in carrying out Trust business.

The aim of the Trust is to administer charitable funds for the benefit of the whole community in accordance with Christian principles, for the relief of the poor and needy in The Ancient Parish of Yardley.

The Trust now has three distinct areas of operation. 1 Giving grants to relieve poverty and/or benefit the community.  2 Managing a range of housing for elderly people. 3 The provision of personal and domestic care for Trust residents, and other elderly people in their own home. The service is chargeable.

The Board of Trustees meets monthly, except in August, to decide on the distribution of grants and determine policy and strategy. More routine performance monitoring is undertaken through two committees: the Finance and General Purposes Committee: and the Care and Housing Committee, both of which meet quarterly.  Another committee, the Disciplinary and Grievance Appeals Committee, meets as and when necessary.

From time to time, working groups may be set up to consider a particular issue in more detail.

The Scheme Managers of all sites, together with the Care Manager of Greswold House, and Home Care Manager, also based at Greswold House, in turn, attend and report to the quarterly meetings of the Care and Housing Committee, but the Care Manager of Yardley Grange Nursing Home attends and reports to Yardley Grange Care Services, a Company Limited by Guarantee, Registered in England. It meets quarterly, and its Directors are drawn from the existing Board of Trustees, and one Director is a local man, not connected with the Trust.

Liaison Trustees are appointed by the Board of Trustees for every site, and we are seen just as a link between each Scheme and the Board.

To further improve the consultation structure with our residents, a Residents’ Association has been formed at Old Brookside, and a Residents’ Forum has also been established with representatives from all sites attending meetings as and when they are called. Trustees are encouraged to attend these meetings.

Volunteering residents attend the quarterly Care and Housing Committee Meetings, and all our residents are invited to attend the Trust’s Annual General Meeting, held in the Community Lounge at Old Brookside. There is an Annual Garden Party at our Greswold Gardens/Greswold House site in Middle Leaford.

The Trust is committed to the Race Equality Code of Practice for Housing Associations and is registered with The Housing Corporation as a Social Landlord. It is a Member of The Housing Ombudsman Scheme and a Member of The Almshouse Association. It is a Registered Charity, Number 216082. We are also positive about disabled people.

Finally, present day Trustees consider it a privilege to maintain John de Yerdeleye’s vision of help to those in need in this Ancient Parish. We celebrated the 650th Anniversary of his Charter on Friday afternoon, 1st July, 2005, at our Annual Garden Party at our Greswold Gardens/ Greswold House site, when prayers were said by one of our local Vicars, who is an Ex-Officio Trustee.

Yardley Lawn Tennis Club

Yardley Park   Yardley Park
Yardley Old Park with Tennis Courts in the 1920-30, known then as Yardley Recreation Ground

Yardley Lawn Tennis Club was founded in 1884, as you can see from the Photographs above
tennis has had an important place in Yardley.  The Club today has  4 hard courts
with the entrance in Queens Road, you can contact- James Keatley, Head Coach  07970 533  649

Freestyle Event
Tennis Freestyle Event - Hana Handlikova, Mel South and
Emily Webley-Smith join the children

Hana Handikova
          & Ashcon Rezazadeh
Hana Handlikova and Ashcon Rezazadeh play tennis
with the Children

Tennis in Birmingham - "urban tennis"

Geoff Newton & Mervyn Stone

Geoff Newton, Executive Director Tennis Foundation Officially Opens
the re-furbished courts, accompanied by
Mervyn Stone, Chairman Warwickshire LTA

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John Hemming MP

John Hemming MP

John Hemming




Local Children

Children play on the newly refurbish courts

more photographs - www.robertcjones.co.uk

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