How Old is Stirchley?

The answer is that no-one really knows, but the earliest known mention of the area is on 1 May 1658. This was in an indenture written in ink on vellum and signed by three people, and with a red seal attached for each. In it, ‘Stretley Streete’ is noted.

The indenture was concerning a ‘garden, orchard and backside [yard at the back of the house] and one little close or meadow’ which was in the tenure of Katherine Compton, a spinster, but ownership of the land was changing (see below). This is definitely the right ‘area because ‘Stretley Streete’ was described as being in the parish of Kings Norton in Worcestershire, and on the road to Birmingham after ‘Breedon Crosse’. So, Stirchley is at least 366 years old (as of 2024), but probably much older. You can see maps of the Stirchley area at this time, in the mid-1600s, here.

An indenture is a contract between two or more parties. It named Katherine Compton of Kings Norton in Worcestershire, Daniell Greves and Thomas Mansell of Kings Norton, and Thomas Reynolds and Thomas Rickotte of Kings Norton. It described a ‘messuage’, which was a dwelling house with outbuildings and land as part of its uses. The house and land was described as being ‘between the lane or [roadway] leadinge from Breedon Crosse towards Birmingham the River or brooke called Stretley Brook, the land of the said Thomas Reynolds and the land of Humphrey Field, of late in the tenure of Katherine Compton […] to Daniell Greves and Thomas Mansell […] freehold’. As a legal document there is a substantial amount of legal text, and then it is signed by Thomas Reynolds and the marks of Katherine Compton and Thomas Rickotte.

It also mentioned the ‘River or brooke called Stretley Brook’, and although I’m not certain which brook in mentions, considering the Bourn Brook is seemingly called Barnbrook at this time (see notes), this may be an old name for this stretch of the Rea.

Section showing the “Stretley” part of Stretley Streete.
Section showing the “Streete” part of Stretley Streete.


The indenture is held at Birmingham Archive: reference MS 3144/16. Thanks to the archive staff to their help finding this document.

Thomas Reynolds was probably the same whose family were of Barnbrook End (near the current Bournbrook) in Kings Norton. Thomas’s father, another Thomas, left a will in 1623 which may also include reference to Stirchley (held at the Hive in Worcestershire).