You might be wondering - understandably! - why we have included Selly Manor in this tour when the building looks so at home off Bournville Green, a mile away from where we are standing on Rookery Road.
Selly Manor, formerly known as the Rookery, is first recorded as the Smythes Tenement, and was leased out to a local farmer by William Jennette, lord of the manor in 1476. In 1561, tenant John Setterford earned enough money to buy the house for his family who remained there until 1699. Unreliable landlords in Selly Oak are not a new student-related phenomena! After the Setterfords left the Rookery, subsequent landlords let the building fall into disrepair.
The building was put up for auction in 1907 and rescued by Bournville’s chocolatier celebrity, George Cadbury, who hoped to prevent its destruction. Between 1909 and 1916, the building was pain-stakingly removed from Rookery Road and transferred to its current spot just off Bournville Green. The process cost £6000 - the equivalent of approximately £500,000 today!
The Manor now sits as a flourishing museum in Bournville, and a reminder of the lengths that Cadbury went to, to preserve the past for the education of his community. Rumours still circulate about historical guests at the manor in its prime: allegedly, Richard III slept there on his way to the Battle of Bosworth and it’s said that the manor later welcomed Oliver Cromwell, and also Robert Catesby, an instigator of the gunpowder plot, as guests.