Population: 1911, 631; 1921, 704; 1931, 1,155.
Water Orton was originally a hamlet of Aston, forming a narrow extension of that large parish projecting
eastwards between the River Tame on the north and
the parish of Coleshill on the south. It was constituted
an ecclesiastical parish in 1871 and a civil parish in
1894. (fn. 1)
The Birmingham to Derby branch of the L.M.S.
railway runs through the whole length of the parish
from west to east, with a station in the village.
The village is in two parts, the modern part south
of the railway and station, with the present parish
church (built in 1879), and the small ancient part north
of the station, where the former chapel stood, and close
to the bridge over the River Tame.
A bridge is mentioned in 1459 as being out of repair. (fn. 2) The existing bridge was built about 1520 by
Bishop Vesey and is mentioned on his tomb in Sutton
Coldfield Church. It is built of rough ashlar (fn. 3) and consists of six 15-ft. round arches and five 6-ft. piers with
cut-waters on both faces. There have been later repairs, especially to the points of the east cut-waters.
The graveyard where the old chapel stood is on the
north side of Old Church Lane, west-south-west of the
bridge. In it is the 15th-century churchyard cross with
a length of plain stem on a base which is square below
and octagonal above, with broach-stops. Each of the
cardinal faces in the upper half is treated with variably
traceried panels. The northern has a quatrefoil with
three small quatrefoils above it, the east and west sides
have octofoils about shields, also with the smaller
quatrefoils, and the southern has a set of six small
panels with quatrefoiled or cinquefoiled heads, the
middle bottom panel with a small shield. There are
three square steps up to it.
A farm-house nearly opposite the graveyard is a
T-shaped house, facing north, of which the west crosswing is probably of the mid-late 16th century and the
rest of the 17th century. The framing of the wing has
heavy curved braces below the cambered tie-beam of
the north gable and the wall-plates, but it has been
modernized inside. The main block is of square framing and has stop-chamfered ceiling-beams. The central
chimney-stack has reduced fire-places, but above the
roof are four conjoined diagonal shafts of thin bricks.
A house (fn. 4) farther east with the modern name of 'The
Chestnuts' may have been the old manor-house, but
there appears to be no certain evidence about this. It
is of 15th-century origin, with a hall of two bays and
two-storied solar and buttery wings. The upper floor
and the central chimney-stack were inserted in the hall
in the 16th or 17th century, but there have been many
alterations since then, including a cross gable to the east
half of the hall-block. In modern times it became two
tenements, but has recently been renovated as a single
domicile. The original middle roof-truss of the hall
survives, with curved braces below a collar-beam to
form a depressed arch. The inserted floor has heavy
chamfered beams. The framing of the wings includes
curved braces, but much of the early construction has
been lost. The central chimney-stack has wide fire-places, and above the roof a large rectangular shaft with
Orton Lodge, farther east, is an altered house, probably of the 17th century; it has a diagonal chimneyshaft: the walls are rough-casted.
On the north side of the road, west of the graveyard,
is a house of brick with a back extension of 17th-century timber-framing.
West of it, behind an inn, is a derelict 17th-century
timber-framed cottage known locally as the old manorhouse. (fn. 5) It has a great stone fire-place.
Farther west, at the corner of the road to the bridge,
is another timber-framed house of farm-house type.
In 1329 Richard de Clodeshale settled
30 acres of land, 10 acres of meadow, and
60s. rent in 'Overton by Coleshill' on himself for life, with remainder to Walter de Clodeshale
and his heirs. (fn. 6) Walter appears in 1332 as the largest
taxpayer in Water Orton, (fn. 7) and the manor of WATER
ORTON was in the hands of Ralph de Arden at his
death in 1452, through marriage with Elizabeth daughter and heir of Richard de Clodeshale. (fn. 8) It then descended in the family of Arden with Park Hall in Castle
Bromwich (q.v.), passing on the death of Robert Arden
in 1643 to his four sisters (fn. 9) and subsequently to the
Bridgemans with Park Hall.
A so-called manor of Water Orton was in the possession of Bartholomew Tate, of De la Pré in Harding-stone (Northants), (fn. 10) in 1552. (fn. 11) On the death of his
son Bartholomew in 1601 it was called TATE'S
MANOR and was held of the Arden manor, (fn. 12) passing
to his son Sir William Tate, who was dealing with it
in 1606, (fn. 13) after which no more is heard of it.
The inhabitants of Water Orton were parishioners
of Aston, but attended the chapel of Bromwich for
ordinary divine service until 1346. In that year they
built a chapel of their own, and on 2 August were
licensed by Bishop Roger Northburgh to have it served
by a priest, subject to the rights of the mother church
of Aston. (fn. 14)
Thomas Jenkins by will dated 19
Jan. 1871 bequeathed £300 upon trust
to apply the income in the purchase of
coal for poor cottagers in Water Orton. The charity
is now regulated by a Scheme of the Charity Commissioners dated 27 March 1908, under which six trustees
apply the income for the benefit of the poor of Water
Orton in the supply of clothes, &c., medical or other
aid in sickness, food or other articles in kind. The
endowment is now represented by a rent-charge of
£12 12s. paid by the Dudley Canal Company.
Frances Hargrave by will dated 11 June 1883 gave
to the vicar and churchwardens of St. Peter and St.
Paul, Water Orton, £100 to apply the income thereof
in gifts of bread or clothing to the old or poor people
in Water Orton; and Julia Hargrave by will dated
11 June 1883 gave £100 on similar trusts. The Charities are administered together and the total income,
amounting to £5 12s. 8d., is distributed to the poor in
Robert Lloyd's Charity. By Indentures of Lease and
Release dated 23 and 24 Feb. 1687 Robert Lloyd
granted and released to trustees all his messuages, cottages, lands, and hereditaments in Sutton Coldfield and
Curdworth upon trust to pay the rents and profits to
the minister, curate, or chaplain being an orthodox man
of the Church of England who should be placed, settled,
nominated, or appointed by the trustees to officiate in
the Chapel of Water Orton. The income of the charity,
amounting to £300 (approx.) per annum, derived from
land, freehold grounds, rents, and stock, is paid to the
Vicar of Water Orton as directed. Trustees of the
charity are appointed by order of the Charity Commissioners.