History of Hagley By Miss D. I. Fletcher

This history of Hagley has been abridged and copied here from a publication published by the Community Association in 1964, click here to see the original text.

Despite the creeping tide of brick, which is rapidly depriving Hagley of its claim to the description of “village”, the charm of its setting has so far escaped irreparable damage. The typically English vista of gently undulating hills and valleys would still be recognisable by Shenstone, Thomson, Pope and others who sang the charms of “Hagley’s fam’d retreat”. It is for these 18th century associations that Hagley is best known, but its story begins much farther back.

Hageleia is mentioned in Domesday Book and was held by a King’s thane, who held his land directly from the Anglo-Saxon ruler. After the Norman Conquest these thanes were succeeded by the King’s Barons and the domain included Wassell and Harborough, the latter being for several centuries the home of the Penns.

Gazing out over the pleasant landscape from the top of Wychbury Hill, little imagination is required to picture the hill as the site of a Roman camp. The nature of the locality and the discovery of various coins, funeral urns, and human bones in the surrounding fields support the view that such a camp existed, and tradition has it that a battle took place, probably at Harborough, between the Roman legions on Wychbury Hill and the Britons on Clent Hill.

A Roman road passed through part of Hagley Common and a court-roll of the manor of Clent in the time of Elizabeth I mentions a road called the Portway on the lord’s waste, which must have been Clent Heath. The name “Portway” was that usually given to a Roman military highway.

Part of the manor of Hagley was formerly included in the Forest of Kinver, being annexed to it by Henry II or his immediate successor, Richard I. Magna Carta shows that these seizures should have been corrected, but this was not done until 1301, as is shown in a perambulation roll of Edward I.

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