history of Bentley Heath is documented by Edna G Handley in her
1992 book 'Bentley Heath and Widney Manor', available from Knowle
Library, (Ref 942.497).
Heath, in common with nearby Copt Heath, was an area of heathland,
standing on higher ground above the surrounding Forest of Arden.
It was an area where wildlife grazed on wild grasses amongst smaller
trees and gorse.
the Forest was relatively impenetrable, and the heathland fairly
open it is no surprise that Bentley Heath provided an early through
route, as early as the 12th century, from the Great House at Longdon
on Copt Heath to that at Beaudesert near Henley. This route is
now followed by Browns Lane and Four Ashes Road.
the 1600s, the Holbech Family were appointed Lords of Widney Manor
and their house, Bentley Hall, which stood on this route at the
present entrance to the Riding School, became the Manor House.
the end of the seventeenth century there was a farm where Dorridge
Methodist Church stands today and a blacksmith's cottage near
the present junction of Browns Lane and Four Ashes Road. Farm
labourers and others had established cottages on the Heath.
the early 1800s a Windmill was built on the Heath, just off the
present Mill Lane. In the mid 1800s the railway cut through Bentley
Heath and split the Widney Manor estate into two. In 1870 the
Old School was built on the Heath, pictured above at a time when
it was used for offices, before recent redevelopment. And by this
time the major roads were established. What is now known as Bentley
Heath was a triangle of land surrounded by 'The Henley Road' now
Four Ashes Road, 'Rotton Row Road' now Widney Road and 'Bentley
Heath Road 'now Mill Lane.
triangle of land was developed for housing between the 1930s and
1950s. Instrumental in this was land owner Mr Frank Slater, after
whom Slater Road is named. With these developments Bentley Heath
as we know it today emerged.