Tour of Kings Norton & Northfield: The Grigg Family at Rowheath Farm

William Grigg outside Rowheath Farm, early 1900s.
With thanks to a descendant of the Grigg family.
Another post about Rowheath Farm noted that the family farming the land from the early 1800s to 1918 were the Grigg family. The photograph above pictures the farmhouse with William Grigg outside, the last known tenant who kept it as a working farm.

Some of the farm buildings, date unknown.
With thanks to a descendant of the Grigg family.

The first Grigg tenants were Samuel and Jemima Grigg, who moved to Rowheath (sometimes Row Heath) Farm, then in the parish of Northfield, by 1841 when they appear together on the first census already in their 60s. It is likely, though, that they had been working the farm for some years before this. The previous known tenant was Robert Cotterell whose tenancy ended in 1813,** but Samuel and Jemima, who were previously living in Dudley, moved to Northfield in 1819 where they baptised their youngest daughter Jemima.*3* This may be when the family moved to Rowheath Farm.

Samuel had been born in Halesowen and Jemima in Hanley, and they had seven known children, the youngest son being another Samuel. Samuel senior passed away in 1857 and Samuel Junior took over the farm. He had married Martha Moss in 1850 and lived with his new bride in Stirchley, working as a farmer, before taking over from his father.*4* Samuel and Martha had six known children, Mary Louisa, Martha (who died young), William, John (who also died young), and Lucy. 

In 1861 Samuel junior's niece, Mary Ann Grigg (daughter of his brother Joseph), married Henry Chinn from a family of Kings Heath farmers. Henry and Mary Ann moved to Northfield, firstly in a cottage and then running a farm which was confusingly also called Rowheath or Row Heath Farm too. That these were two different farms is asserted in that the Grigg farm was 141 acres and the Chinn farm 16 acres when the two families were listed on the 1871 census.*5* The Chinn's Rowheath Farm was in Cotteridge and closer to the railway station, probably not far from Rowheath Road. Henry Chinn went bankrupt in 1867 and his brother William later took over.

Birmingham Journal, 14 December 1867.

With regards to the Rowheath Farm which was later converted to Rowheath Pavilion, Martha passed away in 1898 and Samuel in 1904, and after this his two youngest children William and Lucy, both unmarried, took on the farm. Below is a blank memo from William Grigg and a greetings postcard depicting images of Kings Norton produced by Lucy Grigg (provided, with thanks, by an ancestor of the Grigg's).

William Grigg retired from farming in 1918 with descendants of the family stating that it was no longer making money possibly due to the war.*6* William was 64 and his sister, Lucy, about three years younger.

The whole area was rural at this time, and some of the changes which cleared the way for the suburban village we have to day are seen in the removal of 78 oak trees.

Aris's Birmingham Gazette, 16 April 1860.

**  Worcester Journal, 18 October 1810.
*3* Jemima Grigg was baptised on 11 January 1820 at Northfield Parish Church to Samuel and Jemima, father a farmer.
*4* Samuel Grigg junior and Martha was recorded on the 1851 census in Stirchley.
*5* 1871 census on
*6* William Grigg advertised the farm stock and surplus farmhouse furniture for sale, stating that he was 'retiring from farming' in: Birmingham Daily Post, 1 March 1918.
- Probate of Samuel Grigg, 1857, held at Worcester Hive.
- Samuel Grigg senior on WikiTree.