William Dargue A History of BIRMINGHAM Places & Placenames from A to Y
B23 - Grid reference SP117920
This location in Erdington is to be found on the first Ordnance Survey map of 1834. The green is near the junction of Holly Lane with Grange Road. In 1834 Erdington was a tiny rural village; there appear to have been just two houses at Harbourtree Green.
Placenames with the element 'h/arbour' are not uncommon. The word sometimes derives from Middle English herber and originally related to grass or greenery laid out in a garden. By misassociation with the Latin arbor meaning 'tree', it came to mean a shady retreat artificially created with trees, a 'bower' and later a shady walk. By the 16th century, the term was being used specifically with reference to fruit trees set out in an orchard or trained as espaliers. The age and origin of the name here is unknown. However, the word 'harbour' may equally derive from late Old English herebeorg which means a 'shelter'.
William Dargue 21.03.2009/ 02.08.2010
For 19th-century Ordnance Survey maps of Birmingham go to British History Online.