William Dargue  A History of BIRMINGHAM Places & Placenames from A to Y

Headley, Headley Heath

B38 - Grid reference SP061768

Haethleah: first record 849, Headley Heath 1581

Haethleah was recorded as early as 849 and translates from Old English as 'heath clearing'. The clearing would have been a tiny settlement, possibly a single farmhouse, probably on a small area of glacial drift amidst the claylands of eastern Birmingham. The clay would have supported extensive oak forests while the sandy gravelly drift soil would have been heathland. The underlying sandy soil of heathland usually made for poor farmland and was naturally covered with long tough grass, small bushes and few small trees. Until advances in farming technology in the 18th century heath was known as and considered as waste, and was used only as poor quality grazing for livestock.

Both the house and barn of Headley Heath Farm on Headley Heath Lane were originally timber-framed buildings though largely rebuilt in brick. The buildings were demolished c1966. This was a moated site though the moat has been filled in. Headley Farm Barn on Middle Lane is a three-bay timber-framed building with brick nogging which probably dates from the early 17th century. It is now a private house.


From the Middle Ages Headley was one of the tax yields of Kings Norton parish, Lee, Moseley, Moundsley and Rednal being the others.


William Dargue 23.03.2009/ 01.08.2010


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For 19th-century Ordnance Survey maps of Birmingham go to British History Online.

See http://www.british-history.ac.uk/mapsheet.aspx?compid=55144&sheetid=9256&ox=4340&oy=2772&zm=2&czm=2&x=505&y=122


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.