For hundreds of years and until quite recently, The Parish of Tanworth was much bigger and a different shape. It was a poor Parish and Earlswood was just an area within the parish with the odd house dotted around. The Parish and County boundaries were very different to today’s boundaries.
The south side of the present Village of Tanworth was in the parish of Wootton and the church was on the edge of the Parish boundary. To the north and east the Parish stretched beyond the Stratford road, which was called the Birmingham to Stratford Turnpike.
The Roads we know as Tanworth Lane, Blackford Road, The Common, Malthouse Lane and Springbrook Lane did not exist until the Inclosure Award in 1857.
The area which we know as Earlswood is in the part of Warwickshire known as the Arden. The Arden was a large forest with small clearings in the northern part of the county.
The Earls of Warwick were the Lords of the Manor until 1471. The manor then passed to the Duke of Clarence (brother of Edward 4th & Richard 3rd). The Duke of Clarence is said to have drowned in a water butt.
There is little early written history on Earlswood but in 1485 King Richard 3rd gave William Catesby a grant of 100 oak trees to be taken from the Kings old park at Tanworth and Earlswood in the county of Warwickshire.
After the turmoil of the English Civil War, the manor of Umberslade, which The Parish of Tanworth was part of, was then given to the Throckmorton family. The Throckmortons’ were forced to sell Umberslade to pay fines levied on them for being Catholics.
Umberslade was purchased by the Archer family who made Umberslade their base. Andrew Archer built the present Umberslade Hall in 1695 on the site of an earlier hall. The 7th Lord Archer, the 2nd Baron of Umberslade, died in 1778. He had four daughters but no sons so the eldest daughter Sara inherited this part of the estate. Sara was married to the Earl of Plymouth, whose home was at Hewell Grange, near Bromsgrove. By the 1800s the trees had mostly gone and the land was poor grazing with long established common grazing rights. Most parts of the parish of Tanworth were already enclosed, but some areas were still un-enclosed common land. Warren common, Windmill common, and Shirley Heath Common made up the largest parts. Warren Common and Windmill Common in Earlswood consisted of two shallow valleys which joined together. Each valley has a stream running along it; these streams formed the head water for the River Blythe. There was a windmill on the south east side from which Windmill common got its name. Warren common got its name from Warren Farm (which still exists just off Malthouse Lane). Warren Farm supplied rabbits for the Lord’s dinner table.
The roads we know as The Common, Malthouse Lane and Springbrook Lane did not exist until 1857.
In the late 1700s Earlswood was a poor agricultural area with few houses. Most of the land was poor common grazing land, with long established grazing rights. Some small areas had been inclosed or fenced in. The Red Lion public House was the local watering hole, and the Reservoir Public House had not yet been built.
Written by Roy Willmott, Chairman of the Parish Council