Kings Norton

From Academic Kids

Kings Norton is an area of Birmingham, England . It derives its name from the fact that in Norman times Kings Norton was part of the Kings forest. Therefore Bromsgrove was the Kings town and Kings Norton the Kings North Town. Kings Norton is now divided into several parts with the ancient village Green still intact. However during the twentieth century the area grew as the City Council built Hawkesley, a housing estate opposite the Green. Kings Norton is home to the world famous glass manufacturers Triplex (now part of Pilkington). Modern Kings Norton lies on the A441 Pershore Road which runs between Birmingham and Redditch to the south. It also has a station on the Cross City Line.

Historically, it was part of Worcestershire, until added to Birmingham in 1911 by the Greater Birmingham Act.

St Nicolas church dates from the 13th century, and the spire dates from the 15th century. In addition, the green contains two later mediaeval building from the 15th century, the Old Grammar School, and the Saracen's Head. In the Summer of 2004, these two ancient buildings were the winners of the BBC's "Restoration" competition and were awarded over 3 million towards the cost of major refurbishment.

Kings Norton was the scene of a couple of minor episodes from the English Civil War. In the first of these, a force led by Prince Rupert of the Rhine, numbering some 300, was resting on Kings Norton Green. There, they were surprised by a smaller group led by Lord Willoughby of Parham. A skirmish took place, in which fifty of Prince Rupert's men were killed, and twenty were taken prisoner. The Parliamentarian force lost twenty men. This took place on the 17th October, 1642. In a later episode, Queen Henrietta Maria arrived in Kings Norton with an army of around 5,500 men that she had raised in Yorkshire. It is believed that she stayed the night in the Saracen's Head, while the army camped on land behind the church (giving rise to the modern street name "Camp Lane").

Since the 16th century a 'Mop Fair' has been held on the Green, on the first Monday of October. A Mop Fair was a hiring fair where people would go looking for employment, but although no longer used to help employment it is an important event each year with its stalls, fairground attractions and the traditional ox-roast.

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