On Tuesday 13th September 2005, 7.30pm at Christ Church the Quinton, the licensing took place of the Reverend Christopher Turner. The duty was performed by the Right Reverend Dr John Sentamu, Bishop of Birmingham and the Installation was performed by the Venerable Hayward Osborne, Archdeacon of Birmingham. Many people attended the service and to further the extend the historical significance of the occasion I have reproduced passages from a booklet “Welcome to Quinton” dated 1952.
In addition to the various passages of text, I have included the adverts that appeared in the booklet and trust that they will evoke memories of Quinton 50 years ago.
This booklet is sent out with the good wishes of the Clergy and congregation of Quinton Parish Church. In England, Church and people have always been closely linked together. It was so when our Church was built in the Village of Quinton in 1841. It expressed the Christian foundation of our national life. Today in this vast suburb when life is more complex, the future less certain, there is the need that Church and people should again draw closer together. Church and people have much to learn of each other if the true spiritual foundation of life is to be restored, and the vision of a life of joy and peace for all mankind is to become a reality. This book, therefore, is not only a welcome, but a challenge, both to you who receive it, and to the Church which sends it.
Many people have been attracted to Quinton as a place in which to live, because of its pleasant situation. Occupying a small plateau over 700 feet above sea-level, it has a distinct personality of its own that belongs neither to Birmingham nor to the Black Country. The springs that issue on its flanks drain on the one hand to the Stour, flowing at the foot of the steep descent known as Mucklow Hill, and on the other eastwards to the Bourne Brook, Rea and Tame. Moreover, the county boundaries reveal that in the past Quinton lay in a border zone between Shropshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire, just as today the line of the Hagley Road separates the southern part of Quinton, which falls into the City of Birmingham from the northern part lying in Worcestershire.
The origins of Quinton are lost in obscurity. Until 1841, when the ecclesiastical parish of Quinton was made, the settlement formed part of the township of Ridgacre, which was then included in the large parish of Halesowen. Ridgacre, whose name is preserved in Ridgacre Lane and Ridgacre Farm, is mentioned as early as 1271, and subsequently appears on several early maps, but of Quinton there is no mention until about the seventeenth century. On the earliest Ordnance Survey map the settlement appears as The Quinton, a name, which still continues in use among the older members of our community. The very origin of the name is obscure, although most authorities suggest that it may be derived from the popular Elizabethan game quintain. For this game a tilting post was used with a revolving arm, on one end of which was a bag of sand, which swung round and struck the tilter who did not get away quickly enough.
Of one thing we can be certain, Quinton was at first only a small' cluster of farmsteads-certainly nothing more than a hamlet. It perhaps sprang up as an upland farming community dependent on the old valley settlement of Halesowen. The small angular fragments, known as Clent Breccia, which form the bed-rock on the hill crest, gave a dry settlement site, but water was readily available from springs and wells.
Today, one may see pumps in some of the gardens of old cottages around the Green, and several covered wells exist in College Road. The surface soils contained a good deal of Boulder Clay left by the Ice Age, and were suitable for mixed farming. Traces of old farmsteads can still be seen in and around Quinton, as, for example, at the junction of Hagley Road West and modern Kingsway. Similarly, Four Dwellings School takes its name from a cluster of old farm buildings.
An important road, later to be turnpiked, ran from Birmingham to Halesowen and beyond, passing through Quinton. 'This major east-west road was intersected at Quinton by a north-south lane, to which farm tracks converged on either hand .
Around this small focus of routes, cottages gradually increased in numbers, and by 1840 we may picture Quinton as a flourishing little hamlet with a pond, a. toll bar, a chapel, at least one brewhouse, several small farmsteads, and sundry timber and brick cottages occupied by nailers and wood turners. By 1841 the community had progressed so far that it merited a parish church of its own, and the present Christ Church was built in that year. Soon after 1875, two new streets, High Street and Bissell Street, were carved out of former fields, and the present houses and shops sprang up. With continued increase of population the need for a school had already become urgent, and in 1871 a national school adjoining the church was constructed and still remains in use to-day, Quinton now had a nucleus for its social life around the church and school, and in recent years the latter's function has been extended to include a branch of the City of Birmingham library. A post office is also mentioned as in existence in 1871, and apparently was there some years before.
To-day Quinton acts as a dormitory suburb for Birmingham, and since 1930 its former fields, and many of its old lanes, have been taken over for housing estates and modern roads. But traces of the original rural character can still be discerned around the Green, and the older generation still speaks with pride of the days when The Quinton was a mere hamlet well beyond the sprawl of Birmingham.
©HARRY THORPE, M.A., M.Litt., F.R.G.S.
|The Reverend W. R. Skilton||1841-1857|
|The Reverend C. H. Oldfield|
(Perpetual Curate till 1861 then Rector)
|The Reverend A. L. Manley||1885-1892|
|The Reverend J. Jones||1892-1910|
|The Reverend C. R. Martyn||1910-1912|
|The Reverend W. A. Rowlands||1912-1923|
|The Reverend A. E. Palmer||1923-1945|
|The Reverend F. E. Compton||1945-1960|
© QLHS - Bernard Taylor 2006
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