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


B30 - Grid reference SP041797

Middeltune: first record c1200

Middleton is a common placename across the country. It has an Old English derivation from middel tun meaning 'middle farm', here between the village centres of Kings Norton and Northfield. The descent of this manor, in common with many, is exceedingly complicated and often unclear. Manors were held of an overlord and the ownership of the overlordship and of the manor itself was often bought and sold and subdivided and contested. Records are frequently missing and fathers and sons, uncles and brothers often share the same forename. The identity of remarried widows is often difficult to ascertain.


Descent of the manor
Middleton is not mentioned in 1086 in the Domesday Book, but by the last quarter of the 12th century it seems to have been a manor within the greater manor of Northfield and in the possession of the Paynel family. By the end of the 13th century it had passed from them into the hands of a family who took their surname from the manor. John de Middleton held the manor in 1291. It then passed through various Middletons, most of them named John, until in 1376, Richard Middleton and his wife, Margery were lords of the manor.

Richard and Margery had four daughters, all of whom married: Alice Kyngeley, Joyce Pepwall, Alice Merston and Margaret Mollesley. After Richard's death Margery was remarried to William Ockam, who made arrangements to sell the manor after her death c1435. The four daughters contested this and an agreement was made with Ockam to surrender all claims to the manor in exchange for a grant for life at a rent of 6 marks (13 shillings 4 d/ pence) per annum. When Ockam died c1443, the husbands of three of the daughters, John Merston, Gerard Kyngeley and John Mollesley did homage to the lord of Northfield and Weoley. What became of the Pepwalls is not known. John Merston was a London goldsmith. It appears that he and subsequently his son, William claimed the whole manor, and that the latter in 1457 sold it to Thomas Morgan. However, in 1471 Alice Kyngeley is known to have granted land to a John Russell in the manor. The Merstons actually held only parts of the manor of Middleton.

There are no further records until 1522, when the manor was held by Elizabeth Edwards of Stratford-upon-Avon. In that year she leased the manor house to Henry and Agnes Morgan; the latter may have been her daughter or step-daughter. About 1538 Elizabeth may have married Thomas Greville and the two were to hold the manor for their lives, with remainders to Henry and Agnes Morgan and to their sons Edward and William. The manor subsequently went to Edward Morgan and later to his son Edward. In 1598 a lease was made by the latter Edward Morgan by which Middleton passed to Henry Cookes of Tardebigge. The manor passed to his son, William who died in 1619, to his son, Edward who died in 1637 and to his son, another William who succeeded his uncle Thomas to the manor of Bentley Pauncefoot near Bromsgrove. The descents of the two manors are identical until about 1813. All manorial rights of Middleton seem now to be either lost or lapsed. 


Houses on Bunbury Road built shortly after the demolition of Middleton Hall, which would have stood to the rear here. Image from Google Streetview - click to go to Google Maps.
Houses on Bunbury Road built shortly after the demolition of Middleton Hall, which would have stood to the rear here. Image from Google Streetview - click to go to Google Maps.

The manor house was Middleton Hall which dated back to the 12th century. Probably standing within a moat, its location was near the junction of Middleton Hall Road with Northfield Road. The 1884 Ordnance Survey map shows  the manor house in use as a farmhouse. The hall had an associated windmill, also probably medieval in origin, which had been demolished before 1722. However, Windmill Hill is still shown on the 1840 Northfield Tithe Map around Hawthorne Road.

Middleton was urbanised as part of Cotteridge and by 1906 housing was beginning to build up along Northfield Road and Middleton Hall Road encouraged, no doubt, by its proximity to Kings Norton Station. It was around this time that the hall's farmland was sold off for housing and the farmhouse demolished.


Middleton is not an identifiable modern district, though the name is still found as a streetname.


William Dargue 06.04.2009/ 15.05.2013


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