William Dargue A History of BIRMINGHAM Places & Placenames from A to Y
Fast Green, The Fast Pits
B25 - Grid reference SP122853
Ffaste Greene: first record 1620
Deriving from a medieval word, fast meant a 'stronghold'. Here it probably denoted a field enclosed by an embankment. Ffaste Greene, recorded in 1620 at junction of Holder Road, Deakins Road and Fast Pits Road, may have been a small common pasture. Fields called Little Fast and Greate Faste are recorded south and north respectively of Fast Pits Road. Fast Pits is recorded here in 1649 and is now recalled in a streetname.
The pits may have been flooded marlpits from which the fertile clay was dug to spread on sandier soil. And west of the Coventry Road between Holder Road and Deakins Road, Marle Pitte Grene, Marl Pit Green, was also recorded in 1620.
Some of the pits may have been holes left from extracting clay for tile-making, in which case there would have been kilns close by. There are known to have been at least ten kilns at work in the manor of Yardley during the Tudor period. On the third hand these may have been gravel pits; there are such glacial deposits here amongst the clay.
Fast Pits Farm stood on the east side of Wash Lane; Hobmoor Primary School now stands almost on the site of the farm buildings. Probably starting life as a medieval assart, the 19th-century farm buildings were demolished to make way for council housing in the 1920s. An assart was a house raised and land cleared with the permission of the manorial lord for a rent. Assarts were common in woodland areas such as the Forest of Arden and usually situated on waste, ie. uncleared land, heath or woodland for which the lord was currently receiving little if any revenue. Many farms in the Birmingham area were set up in this way, a large number of their successors surviving, as here, into the 19th and even 20th centuries.
The area was built up with municipal housing in the 1930s.
William Dargue 13.12.2008/ 02.08.2010
For 19th-century Ordnance Survey maps of Birmingham go to British History Online.
Map below reproduced from Andrew Rowbottom’s website of Old Ordnance Survey maps Popular Edition, Birmingham 1921. Click the map to link to that website.