THE BIRMINGHAM POST FRIDAY
JULY 3rd 1936
ELFORD HALL FOR THE CITY
AN ESTATE OF600 ACRE
NEW PLESURE GROUND FOR BIRMINGHAM
LAND FOR SMALL HOLDINGS
The Lord Mayor of Birmingham
has received from Mr F Howard Paget the most generous offer of a gift to the city of the Elford Hall Estate to be administered
as an open space for the benefit of the public under such regulations as the City Council may deem desirable for the preservation
of the amenities of the estate.
The report of the general purposes
committee to be presented to next Tuesdays meeting of the City Council states that the property, which is 19.1/2 miles from
the centre of the city, lies on the northern side near to Tamworth and comprises a mansion house in first class order and
600 acres of land.
There are twenty-one cottages
some of which are let to pensioners at nominal rents.
The property has never been
in the market and has an interesting history and an intimate association with famous English families.
Adjoining the hall is a beautiful
church with family chapel containing very fine tombs of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries in a first class state of preservation.
Amongst these tombs is that
of Sir John Stanley who fought at the Battle of Bosworth.
The chapel will remain the property
of Mr Paget and is not included in the gift to the city.
FUTURE OF THE ESTATE
The woods of some seventy acres,
park land of about sixty acres and other land in use with the mansion house of some thirty or forty acres together with the
mansion house itself and facilities for boating on several miles of the river tame are admirably suited for pleasure purposes,
youth organisations, camping, ect
The remainder of the land is
eminently suitable for the purpose of agricultural smallholdings and as it is within a few miles of Corporations Canwell Estate
can conveniently be administered by the staff of that estate.
The committee is advised that
there is a great demand for additional smallholdings and it is believed that thus administered considerable revenue will be
obtained from various sources for the maintenance of the estate.
The only conditions attaching
to the gift are that the estate should be preserved as an open space in perpetuity; that pensioners on the estate should not
be disturbed; and that the services of the head gardener should be continued.
If the mansion house should
at any time become incapable of any of any useful purpose to the city there would be no restriction against its demolition;
and notwithstanding that the gift is intended for the purpose of an open space the council would be permitted to erect additional
cottages and other buildings necessary for the purpose of the smallholdings.
Certain over-ripe timber is
being felled and Mr Paget has generously offered a further gift of £1000 for reforestation.
The committee is of the opinion
that this beautiful estate will provide a most valuable amenity to the city and its inhabitants and it very cordially recommends
that this generous offer should be readily and gratefully accepted and the warmest thanks of the city tendered to Mr Paget
for his public-spirited gift.
A LUCKY CHANCE
HOW THE GIFT CAME TO BIRMINGHAM
How the gift of this fine estate came to Birmingham
is an interesting story.
Mr Paget was desirous of preserving the estate for all time for the benefit of the public and confided his views on
the matter to a gentleman who was a member of the 3rd Volunteer Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment raised
during the war.
The lord mayor who was also a member of that battalion attended a reunion gathering of the battalion recently and there
Mr Pagets friend conferred with him about the estate.
Interviews between Mr Paget and the lord mayor followed with the result that Mr Paget offered the estate to the Birmingham
In effect therefore the acquisition by the city of this estate may be said to be due in its origin to an ordinary citizen
who sew an opportunity of serving his city.
The lord mayor interviewed last night by a reporter of The Birmingham Post said this is a remarkable and greatly-appreciated
gift and its value is enhanced by the delightful spirit in which Mr Paget has approached the matter.
One has only to look ahead to see the increasing value of such an area of land to the citizens of Birmingham its immediate
resources are great but with the growing tendency for larger numbers of the population in great citys to get out into the
open spaces one can visualise increasing use of such a vast area by the present and future generations.
The area is beautifully situated it is an estate set in sylvan surroundings with a river traversing it. it is one of
the oldest and most choice of the estates in that district.
Although it lies of the main road it is easily accessible it will eventually be available for all classes of the public
but not until the necessary legal formalities have been completed and the estate is duly vested in the Corporation even then
it will probably be necessary to institute a system of permits in order to preserve the amenities of the estate.
I am quite sure that the general public will co-operate to preserve the estate amenities and in particular will respect
the privacy of the present owner until such times as the estate is vested in the Corporation of which due notice will be given
in the press.
At present a very considerable portion of the estate is in use as farm lands and is of course not immediately available
with the breaking up of so many estates throughout the country it is particularly pleasing that an estate so historic is preserved
to the public in perpetuity through the liberality of Mr Paget.
The gift is made with the minimum of restrictions.
The private chapel in St Peters Church is a gem of its kind.
MANOR OF ELFORD
HISTORY OF BIRMINGHAMS NEW
The manor of Elford is first mentioned in the register or cartulary of the abbey Burton-upon-Trent where the name appears in the will of Wulfric Spot Earl of Mercia who founded the Abbey ad 1004.
He bequeathed the manor to his daughter and after her decease to the Abbey he had founded by the Abbey it was held
for a few years only as Earl Algar had obtained possession of it before the conquest and by him it was forfeited to the conqueror.
The next mention of the manor is in the doomsday book where it is described as being held by a King soon afterwards
it appears to have passed to Sir Roger de Maud from him to the Arden family and in their possession it continued till the
commencement of the fifteenth century.
Walkelin de Arden was the first of the family who held Elford in a record apparently taken about the close of the reign
of King Henrey111(about 1260)it is recorded thatWalkelin de Arden holds Elford of Sir Roger de Maud and has there free warren
and there are two geldable hides and he holds suit to the county and hundred and gives two shillings for frankpledge and four
shillings to the aid of the sheriff at wake time
This Walkelin de Arden was the son of John de Arden, Lord of Watford in Northamptonshire he appears to have been a
soldier like others of his race and to have served in the wars in Spain.
He married Agnes daughter and sole heiress of Phillip de Orriby descended from Hugh Cyvelioc fifth Earl of Chester.
He was succeeded by his son Sir Peter de Arden Lord of Aldford and Alvanley.
Sir John de Arden was the next owner of Elford
he married Margaret daughter of Griffin of Bromfield or Brome Court in the county
of Warwick and was succeeded by his son Sir John de Arden.
THE STANLEY FAMILY
Thomas Stanley son of Sir John Stanley,K.G and
Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland twice sheriff of Staffordshire married Matilda a daughter of Sir John de Arden and thus Elford
was conveyed to the house of Stanley.
Sir John was sheriff of Staffordshire in 1450, 1459, 1465 and 1469 John Stanley was the next Lord of the manor his
son John was killed by a tennis ball in his youth and in Elford church is the figure of a child whose right hand points to
the head and the left holds a ball indicating the cause of death , John Stanley died in November 1508 and the manor passed
to another family through lack of male heirs.
Richard Bowes the next Lord married the daughter and heiress Henry Keble of Humberstone Leicestershire he was succeeded
by his son John who married the daughter of Robert Burdett of Bramcote Warwickshire.
In the civil war he seems to have espoused the cause of the parliament and in his will dated April 18th
1644 he alludes the great damage doneto his estate byfrequent plunderings by the Kings forces and devised all lands, tenements
and woods to George Bowes his eldest son.
George Bowes married Mary Burdett daughter of Sir Thomas Burdett of foremarke he died in December 1656 leaving a son
and daughter and was succeeded by his son Richard who survived his father by only a few years the estate thus again devolved
on an heiress who conveyed it by marriage to the Hon Craven Howard only son and heir of the Hon William Howard fourth son
of Thomas Earl of Berkshire he died on June 7th 1700 and was succeeded by his son the Right Hon Henry Bowes Howard
fourth Earl of Berkshire who afterwards succeeded to the Earldom of Suffolk he died at Bath on March 21st 1757and
was succeeded to the Elford estate by his daughter-in-law the Lady Mary Andover second daughter of Heneage Earl of Aylesford widow of his younger son William Viscount Andover elected MP for Castle Rising
in 1737 and also in the succeeding parliament who died by a fall from his chaise July 19th 1756.
On lady Andovers death the estate was left to her daughter the Hon Frances Paget who married Richard Bagot fifth son
of Sir Walter Wagstaffe Bagot and brother to the first Lord Bagot.
Mr Bagot took the name of Howard and died in 1819 leaving issue the Hon Mary Howard who became Lady of the Manor from
her the estate passed to Howard Francis Paget her cousin who was born in April 1858 he died on March 18th 1935
and the Elford estate then became the possession of Francis Howard Paget who has now gives it to Birmingham.
Mr Paget is at present in residence at seven stones, south cliff, Broadstairs
a grandfather of the donor was the Rev Francis Edward Paget who was Rector of Elford from 1835 to 1882 he is described
on a memorial tablet erected by parishioners as a faithful minister of this parish but the epitaph which he himself wrote
is as followsF.E.P Rector of Elford.O Saviour of the World Who by Thy Cross and passion hast redeemed us have mercy upon me
a miserable sinner the vilest of the vile and lay not the blood of souls to my charge. Jesu Mercy.