Projects in West Midlands Region
- Locating the lost histories of the west midlands in the late 17th century through the Restoration Hearth Tax and other historical sources. The Hearth Tax provides evidence of who lived in every property, its taxable wealth and location. Volunteers will be provided with core hearth tax data which will be used as a basis from which to explore the early modern history of the area and the lives of the local people..
- Shared Learning Project between South Solihull U3A and Dorridge U3A investigating the history of Middlefield Hospital 1866-1914. Formerly Midland Counties Asylum, Knowle. A booklet has now been published.
- People of Warwickshire - Warwick is most famously known to be the seat for one of England’s greatest castles. Warwick castle had been given back to the crown due to the death of the last Dudley in 1590, who did not produce a legitimate male heir. King James I granted the castle to Sir Fulke Greville in 1604, who was from minor gentry family in south-west Warwickshire. He had successfully been a treasurer of the Navy, Chancellor of the Exchequer and Commissioner of the Treasury. Greville unfortunately had to spend £20,000 to restore and adorn the castle, after it fell into a state of disrepair. Before his death in 1628, he was made Baron Brooke in 1621 and his cousin Robert Greville, inherited the castle and estate and served in the Civil War as an English Roundhead General, until his death in 1643.
- The 1670 Michaelmas hearth tax return is the most complete surviving list as it was the first to be directly collected after the experiment of using tax farmers had collapsed and was administered from the Hearth Tax office in London. It had been subject to two archival studies. During the 1930’s and the 1940’s John Styles created a card index, held in Warwick Record Office, and in 2010 Tom Arkell published the return with an introduction and critical apparatus of people.
- The 1694 Great Fire destroyed many of the mainly medieval vernacular buildings in the centre of Warwick: timber-framed. These properties were characterised by wattle and daub walls, jettied upper stories, gables and thatched roofs. The materials for these were largely obtained locally due to high transport costs. Timber came from nearby in the river valleys, with more substantial timbers from the oaks of the Forest of Arden nearby, though these were becoming depleted by the demand for fuel by developing industry in Birmingham. The clay, lime and laths for the walls all came from nearby, as did thatching grass. All were highly flammable materials.
- This research started with the expectation of unearthing great secrets about the small Warwickshire village of Budbrooke, which, dates back to the time of the Domesday book. In 1086 Ralph de Limesi held Budebroc and the church of St Michaels which still stands today. The Victoria County History says that before that the parish was held by Earl Eadwine of Mercia. The village is to west the Warwick and century the manor passed through various hands, until the early seventeenth when it was granted to Sir Robert Dormer, whose family who still own much of the land today, in the manor known as Grove Park. The county of Warwickshire was divided into 4 hundreds, Budbrooke was in the hundred of Barlichway.