Books Should Be Free is now
Loyal Books
Free Public Domain Audiobooks & eBook Downloads
Search by: Title, Author or Keyword

Showell's Dictionary of Birmingham A History and Guide, Arranged Alphabetically   By:

Book cover

First Page:

[Transcriber's note: There are small sections where the print is missing from the original. Missing words have been marked []. Minor obvious typographical errors have been corrected. Fractions: example four and a half = 4 1/2. Bold text is denoted by ~]


Dictionary of Birmingham.


Arranged Alphabetically,

Containing Thousands of Dates and References to Matters of Interest connected with the Past and Present History of the Town its Public Buildings, Chapels, Churches and Clubs its Friendly Societies and Benevolent Associations, Philanthropic and Philosophical Institutions its Colleges and Schools, Parks, Gardens, Theatres, and Places of Amusement its Men of Worth and Noteworthy Men, Manufactures and Trades, Population, Rates, Statistics of progress, &c., &c.

Compiled by THOS. T. HARMAN, Author of "The Local Book of Dates," "Notes and Records," &c.,




Printed by J.G. Hammond & Co., 136 38 Edmund Street; and Published by CORNISH BROTHERS, NEW STREET.


~Dictionary of Birmingham.~


~Birmingham to the Seventh Century.~ We have no record or traces whatever of there being inhabitants in this neighbourhood, though there can be little doubt that in the time of the invasion of the Romans some British strongholds were within a few miles of the place, sundry remains having been found to show that many battles had been fought near here. If residents there were prior to King Edward the Confessor's reign, they would probably be of Gurth's tribe, and their huts even Hutton, antiquarian and historian as he was, failed to find traces of. How the name of this our dwelling place came about, nobody knows. Not less than twelve dozen ways have been found to spell it; a score of different derivations "discovered" for it; and guesses innumerable given as to its origin, but we still wait for the information required.

~Birmingham in the Conqueror's Days.~ The Manor was held, in 1066, by Alwyne, son of Wigod the Dane, who married the sister of the Saxon Leofric, Earl of Mercia. According to "Domesday Book," in 1086, it was tenanted by Richard, who, held, under William Fitz Ansculf, and included four hides of land and half a mile of wood, worth 20s.; there were 150 acres in cultivation, with but nine residents, five villeins, and four bordarers. In 1181 there were 18 freeholders ( libere tenentes ) in Birmingham cultivating 667 acres, and 35 tenants in demesne , holding 158 acres, the whole value being £13 8s. 2d.

~Birmingham in the Feudal Period.~ The number of armed men furnished by this town for Edward III.'s wars were four, as compared with six from Warwick, and forty from Coventry.

~Birmingham in the Time of the Edwards and Harrys.~ The Manor passed from the Bermingham family in 1537, through the knavish trickery of Lord L'Isle, to whom it was granted in 1545. The fraud, however, was not of much service to the noble rascal, as he was beheaded for treason in 1553. In 1555 the Manor was given by Queen Mary to Thomas Marrow, of Berkswell.

~Birmingham in 1538.~ Leland, who visited here about this date, says in his "Itinerary" "There be many smithies in the towne that use to make knives and all manner of cutlery tooles, and many lorimers that make bittes, and a great many naylors, so that a great part of the towne is maintained by smithes, who have their iron and seacole out of Staffordshire." He describes the town as consisting of one street, about a quarter of a mile long, "a pretty street or ever I enterd," and "this street, as I remember, is called Dirtey."

~Birmingham in 1586.~ Camden in his "Britannica," published this year, speaks of "Bremicham, swarming with inhabitants, and echoing with the noise of anvils, for the most part of them are smiths... Continue reading book >>

eBook Downloads
ePUB eBook
• iBooks for iPhone and iPad
• Nook
• Sony Reader
Kindle eBook
• Mobi file format for Kindle
Read eBook
• Load eBook in browser
Text File eBook
• Computers
• Windows
• Mac

Review this book

Popular Genres
More Genres
Paid Books