A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 4, Hemlingford Hundred. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1947.
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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 square pilasters.
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 clothing.
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.