Which Field Do You Live In? And Stirchley’s First Brewery?

This wonderful map, above, was designed by Andy Underscore using the 1838 tithe maps for Stirchley (used with permission – see Andy’s original article here).

Stirchley was at this time part of Worcestershire, and part of the parish of Kings Norton, and Kings Heath, Cotteridge and Moseley were also part of Kings Norton parish. Stirchley also bordered with Northfield parish, and the border meandered along the same route as the Bourn Brook and then the Rea after the Bourn flowed into it. The tithe map named all the fields, pastures and meadows, which Andy transcribed. Stirchley Library is situated in the northern half of Strutley Meadow, which was owned by Joseph Roston (also spelled Rostin and Ruston) in 1838. In 1822, when Joseph was named in his father’s will as occupying the land, it was described as having ‘two freehold messuages or dwellinghouses, cowhouse, gardens and a piece or parce[l] of meadow land containing about five acres’.[1]

The Brewery

As well as owning the meadow, Roston was a beerhouse keeper and a carpenter.[2] He ran the Black Horse Beerhouse, which was a retail brewery situated on the corner of Pershore Road and Bournville Lane (then Strutley Street and the road to Barnbrook Hall), near where the library and baths stand now (plan below). The brewery and beerhouse are thought to have opened in or after 1830, after the Beerhouse Act (1830) liberalised the brewing of beer to encourage competition and to lower prices in the hope to boost the drinking of beer over stronger liquors.

Section of sale plan for Stirchley, 1836. The northern direction is to the right. Held at Birmingham Archive, ref: 383134.

This is the early history of Stirchley Library’s meadow, much of which is still open land today as it forms Stirchley Park at the rear of the library. In which field or meadow does your house sit?


[1] Will of William Roston Yeoman of Kings Norton Worcestershire, written 28 August 1822 and proved 9 June 1827, National Archives, PROB 11/1727/118.

[2] “England and Wales Census, 1851”, , FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:SGCX-P8M : Fri Mar 08 17:14:37 UTC 2024), Entry for Joseph Roston and Sarah Roston, 1851.