Eleanor and Lady Byron
are two roads in the Copt Heath area named after ladies of history.
Both have connections to the local Manor Houses, that is those
of Knowle and Longdon. One is Queen Eleanors Drive, the other
is Lady Byron Lane.
Manor of Knowle was, according to Eva Wootton in her book The
History of Knowle (ISBN 0 907083 00 5), first recorded in about
1200, when it is recorded that the whole of 'Gnoll' was gifted
by William de Arden to his wife Amice. It then passed to descendants
in the de Arden family, who lived as Lords of the Manor in the
is believed to have stood on the same site as the present 'Manor
House' in Kenilworth Road. The current building is from the 16th
or 17th century, but two former Manor Houses are thought to have
stood on the site. Although it continued to be called the Manor
house, that role moved to Knowle Hall.
1285 the Manor of 'Knolle' was sold to King Edward I and Queen
Eleanor. When the Queen died in 1290, it appears that the King
gave away estates that reminded him of his beloved Queen, and
the Manor into the ownership of Westminster Abbey. Upon the dissolution
of the monasteries title reverted to the crown and thus it remained
until the reign of James I who gave the Manor to Lord Brooke.
was Lord Brooke who migrated the manorial seat to Knowle Hall,
which he had built further along the road to Temple Balsall. Although
subsequently rebuilt it remains on the same site today, off the
Kenilworth Road on the far side of the Grand Union Canal.
adjacent Manor of Longdon lay to the north of the Manor of Knowle.
According to Joy Woodall and Mollie Varley, in their book Solihull
Place Names (1979), the first record of Longdon was as Langedone,
meaning 'long hill' in 1086. The long hill in question was what
is now Solihull's Marsh Lane and Yew Tree Lane, leading from the
River Blythe up onto Elmdon Heath. However, the Manor's seat was
at its fringe on Copt Heath. This was the moated Longdon Hall
(pictured above), set where it stands today in the heart of the
the 1800s ownership of Longdon Hall and with it lands stretching
from Malvern Park to Copt Heath, passed to Ann Millbank Noel,
wife of Lord Byron, her family having owned the estate since the
1600s. Although Lord Byron died in 1824, she lived until 1860
and regularly visited her estate. However, as tenants were resident
in Longdon Hall, she frequently stayed at The Mermaid, built as
a coaching inn on the turnpike to Warwick and now known as The
Greswolde Arms Hotel.
much later, a country lane within that estate leading from the
Warwick Road to Tilehouse Green was developed with housing, it
was named Lady Byron Lane. Then, in the 1980s, a small but prestigious
new housing development was planned off Jacobean Lane. The new
road was named Queen Eleanors Drive.
ownership of Longdon Hall passed to the adjacent Golf Club, who
let it for a prolonged period, during which a lack of investment
took its toll. In 2011 it was sold to new owners, who are committed
to its restoration.