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Hamstead is a loosely defined area spreading from its historical origin near the crossing of the River Tame, towards the Newton Road along Hamstead Road and towards Scott Arms on the Old Walsall Road. It is bounded by the River Tame and theTame Valley canal.

The name Hamstead has been used in the distant past to relate to two different areas. Across the river Tame from the current Hamstead is the Hamstead Hall area. Hamstead Mill was also in this area. This came under the historic area of Handsworth.

Historically the key feature was the Hamstead Colliery which changed the area from being rural into a mining community. Nowadays the mine is just a memory and has been built over with houses in Walcot Drive and Amberley Green. The original pit baths became a social club linked with the West Bromwich Albion, later the  Kings night club and more recently was built on with housing.

Nationally there are only two Hamstead's (without the 'p'), the other being on the Isle of Wight. There is also a place called Hamstead Marshall in West Berkshire.

Hamstead Hall

There was a park pertaining to the manor from the 13th century, when it was first mentioned, until its destruction in the 18th century. It was held of the lord of the manor by William Wyrley in 1538. Joan Botetourt was granted free warren in her demesne lands in Handsworth in 1334 and this right together with a free fishery in the Tame, first mentioned in 1291, descended with the manor until 1794 at least.

The manor of HAMSTEAD centred in, if it did not solely consist of, the house called Wyrley's or Hamstead Hall. In 1538 William Wyrley held, as freehold of the manor of Handsworth, his chief mansion of Wyrley's with the lands belonging to it, the properties called Holford and Milwards, the mills of Hamstead and Holford (or Hurstford), a fishery in the Tame and other lands, mostly by nominal rents. He also held the park for £5 a year. It is not known when the Wyrleys first acquired Hamstead, which appears to have originally been the manor-house of Handsworth manor.

Members of the family had held land in Handsworth, Perry, and Hamstead from the 13th century at least. William of Wyrley was vicar and possibly rector in the 13th century; William son of Robert of Wyrley laid claim to the manor of Perry, with at least temporary success, in 1279, and John son of Robert of Wyrley and Robert son of Guy of Wyrley held land in Perry in the early 14th century.

No Wyrleys were named in the subsidy roll of 1327 but in 1332 Robert of Wyrley, assessed at 6s. 4½d., follows Joan Botetourt at the head of the list for Handsworth, and John of Wyrley in Perry and Little Barr paid 5s. 4½d. There is much evidence of the family's tenure of unidentified lands in Handsworth from the 14th century, and the first clear evidence of the family's possession of its later estates is the grant of Holford mill with a fishery in the Tame which Roger of Wyrley received from John Botetourt in 1358. John Wyrley was Maurice Berkeley's bailiff in Handsworth in the 15th century.

Hamstead Hall, together with considerable property in Handsworth, remained in the Wyrley family, along with half the manor of Perry (from 1546) and the manor of Handsworth (from 1679), and passed to their descendants the Birches in the 18th century. Hamstead Hall stood near Hamstead mill on the Tame until the late 18th century, when the old one was pulled down and a new one built about ¼ mile further west. It ceased to be the residence of the lords of the manor in the early 19th century when the Birch family moved to Norfolk and the estate was sold to the Earl of Dartmouth, who lived at Sandwell Park just across the boundary of West Bromwich. The house was a long rectangular two storied structure with the entrance under a pedimented gable at one end; it was pulled down c. 1935 to make way for new housing but a part of the old gardens along the river bank survived as woodland in 1959.

A medieval estate known as HAMSTEAD, quite distinct from the manor of the same name mentioned above as a subsidiary manor of Handsworth manor, was a subsidiary manor of Perry. In 1213 Hugh of Perry granted ¾ virgate of land in Hamstead to Henry of Hamstead to hold of him and his heirs. In 1250 Thomas of Hamstead accused William of Perry of waste in the woods of Hamstead which William held as his guardian. Richard of Perry held Perry and Hamstead as one fee of William de Birmingham in 1284, and Thomas of Hamstead held Hamstead of Richard as ¼ fee. In 1293 Thomas disclaimed all right to hold pleas of the Crown and to have free warren, gallows and waif in his manor of Hamstead.  In 1356 land at Perry and Hamstead was held of Philip of Perry, and Hamstead was granted with Perry to the Marquess of Dorset in 1397 and 1399. In 1407 Margaret, Countess of Warwick, held Hamstead with Perry and Little Barr.

From: 'Manors', A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 7: The City of Birmingham (1964), pp. 58-72. URL:

Hamstead Mill

While Hamstead Mill is 'just over the border' as far as B43 is concerned it is one of a number of mills that used to sit along the border of our area.

This mill was the manorial grist mill. The Domesday book entry which is believed to cover this area states:

William, the son of Ansculf, holds of the King and Walter of him, five hides in Hunesworde. Land of five ploughs; now in the demesne; two ploughs; eight villeins have one plough and a half. There is a mill of eight shillings, and twenty acres of meadow.

1950's map showing Mill Dam1890 map showing Hamstead Mill

Hamstead Shops

Hamstead Village is a local shopping center along Old Walsall Road.

The original heart of the village, a row of victorian shops still exists and has been joined over the years by various other blocks of shops.

Larger storesĀ  have now appeared with a Lidl supermarket and plans submitted for a new Sainsburys just outside the village on the old GKN factory site.

Hamstead Wharf

Hamstead Wharf contained a number of coal yards and had a siding from the main railway line.

There were a number of coal merchants who used the yard:

  • Pearsall
  • Wright Bros
  • Great Barr Coal


Copyright 2020 Great Barr Past and Present, Anthony Lewis