Smethwick: Manor

A History of the County of Stafford: Volume 17, Offlow Hundred (Part). Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1976.

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A P Baggs. G C Baugh. C R J Currie. Johnson D A, 'Smethwick: Manor', A History of the County of Stafford: Volume 17, Offlow Hundred (Part), (London, 1976), pp. 98-99. British History Online [accessed 14 June 2024].

A P Baggs. G C Baugh. C R J Currie. Johnson D A. "Smethwick: Manor", in A History of the County of Stafford: Volume 17, Offlow Hundred (Part), (London, 1976) 98-99. British History Online, accessed June 14, 2024,

Baggs, A P. Baugh, G C. Currie, C R J. Johnson D A. "Smethwick: Manor", A History of the County of Stafford: Volume 17, Offlow Hundred (Part), (London, 1976). 98-99. British History Online. Web. 14 June 2024,


In 1086 SMETHWICK formed part of the episcopal manor of Lichfield. The overlordship remained with the bishops until 1546 and then passed to the Paget family. (fn. 1) In 1166 the bishop's tenant at Smethwick was Henry FitzGerold, who held it with Harborne as ½ knight's fee. (fn. 2) Thereafter it descended with Harborne until the early 18th century. (fn. 3) At some date before 1229 Henry's granddaughter Margaret de Breauté gave the manors of Harborne and Smethwick to Halesowen abbey (Worcs.), which held them until 1538. They were then granted to Sir John Dudley, later earl of Warwick and duke of Northumberland, were forfeited on his attainder in 1553, and were granted in 1554 to his relative Edward, Lord Dudley. (fn. 4) Edward's son Edward sold them in 1604 to Sir Charles Cornwallis, whose grandson, also Charles, sold them to Thomas Foley in 1661.

In 1709 Thomas Foley's son, Philip, of Prestwood in Kingswinford, sold the manors to George Birch of Harborne and Henry Hinckley of the Beakes, Smethwick. (fn. 5) In 1710 Birch and Hinckley divided the manors between them, Smethwick going to Hinckley. The Birmingham-Halesowen road was taken as the boundary, and all muniments transferred by Foley were to be kept in a box with two locks. (fn. 6) In 1718 Hinckley settled the manor on his son John at the time of John's marriage. (fn. 7) When John died in 1740 his property passed to his halfbrother Henry Hinckley. (fn. 8) Henry, a physician, held the manor until 1766 when he sold it to John Baddeley of Birmingham. (fn. 9) In 1771 Baddeley was living in Holloway Head, Birmingham, (fn. 10) but by 1781 he had moved to Albrighton (Salop.) where he remained for the rest of his life, making clocks, watches, and telescopes. (fn. 11)

Baddeley was still sole lord in 1771, (fn. 12) but by 1781 he held the manor jointly with his brother George, a clock- and watch-maker of Newport (Salop.); George died in 1785. (fn. 13) Apparently in 1786 George's share was acquired by Samuel Smallwood and John Sillitoe, (fn. 14) who were joint lords with John Baddeley in 1787. (fn. 15) In 1790 John Reynolds bought the share belonging to Smallwood and Sillitoe. (fn. 16) Reynolds was described as a plater of Birmingham in 1792, (fn. 17) but within the next few years he retired, having made a considerable fortune in what his predecessor in the business had considered to be 'a worn out trade'. By 1796 he was living in Smethwick, presumably at Shireland Hall which was his home by c. 1800. (fn. 18) John Baddeley died in 1804, (fn. 19) leaving his half of the manor to his illegitimate son, John Baddeley, and to his married daughters, Martha Webster and Anne Underhill. In 1808 Baddeley and his sisters sold their moiety of the manor to John Reynolds. (fn. 20)

Reynolds evidently held the manor until his death in 1820, when he was living at the Coppice. (fn. 21) After his death his son, another John Reynolds, lived at the Coppice, and in the 1820s and early 1830s he was the largest landowner in Smethwick. (fn. 22) By 1830, however, he had begun to sell parts of the estate, (fn. 23) and in 1842 no one called Reynolds owned any property in Smethwick. (fn. 24)


  • 1. V.C.H. Staffs. iv. 43, no. 86 (where n. 45 wrongly describes Smethwick as in Birmingham); V.C.H. Warws. vii. 72.
  • 2. S.H.C. i. 155.
  • 3. For the rest of this para. see V.C.H. Warws. vii. 72.
  • 4. The statement ibid. that Edw. was Northumberland's nephew is incorrect; in fact he was the son of a cousin: Complete Peerage, iv. 480-1.
  • 5. B.R.L. 391781, 391783; Hackwood, Smethwick, 46; Shaw, Staffs. ii. 235.
  • 6. B.R.L. 391781.
  • 7. B.R.L. 297359, 324388-9, 445760; Hackwood, Smethwick, 46.
  • 8. Shaw, Staffs. ii. 126.
  • 9. B.R.L. 500271; C.P. 25(2)/1410/7 Geo. III Mich. no. 510; J. and J. A. Venn, Alumni Cantabrigienses . . . to 1751, ii. 376; W. Munk, Roll of Royal Coll. of Physicians of London, ii (1878 edn.), 198.
  • 10. B.R.L. 445765.
  • 11. B.R.L. 445774, 500276-7; S.R.O., D. 742/Dartmouth Estates/II/13/917; Shaw, Staffs. ii. 125.
  • 12. B.R.L. 445764-5.
  • 13. B.R.L. 445774; S.R.O., D. 1141/4/4, ct. book 27 Dec. 1784; Shropshire Parish Registers (Shrops. Par. Reg. Soc.), iv (4), 61, 63; Newport par. reg. (transcript in Shrewsbury Pub. Libr.), 16 Sept. 1785.
  • 14. B.R.L. 500271.
  • 15. B.R.L. 445766; S.R.O., D. 1141/4/4, ct. book 18 June 1787.
  • 16. B.R.L. 500271; C.P. 25(2)/1413/30 Geo. III Trin. no. 529.
  • 17. B.R.L. 500276-7.
  • 18. Pye, Modern Birmingham, 130; S.R.O., D. 742/Dartmouth Estates/II/13/917; Shaw, Staffs. ii. 125.
  • 19. J. B. Blakeway, 'Hist. of Albrighton, near Shifnal', Trans. Shropshire Arch. and Nat. Hist. Soc. 2nd ser. xi. 136.
  • 20. S.R.O., D. 742/Dartmouth Estates/II/13/907; S.R.O., D. 1141/4/4, ct. book, loose sheet giving valuation [1808].
  • 21. D. 742/Dartmouth Estates/II/13 /917, describing him as lord of the manor in 1814; D. 1141/4/4, loose rent accounts, showing chief rent due to him in 1815; B.R.L. 500272; memorial tablet in the Old Church, describing him as of the Coppice and of Bridgeford, Staffs.; below p. 100.
  • 22. B.R.L. 500272; 'Smethwick and Round About', 14 Mar. 1952, 30 Jan., 17 July 1953; White, Dir. Staffs. (1834); Pigot, Nat. Com. Dir. (1835), 472.
  • 23. S.R.O., D. 613, bdle. 3, abstract of title of Messrs. Taylor and Allbutt, 1856; B.R.L. 500269-72, 500278, 500281-2.
  • 24. W.S.L., S. MS. 417/Harborne.