Local history enthusiast Paula Ball tells us all about Greisbrook Hall
As part of our local history group articles, we focus on a different area of local history. In this article, local history enthusiast (expert!) Paula Ball, tells us more about the fascinating history of Greisbrook Hall.
Greisbrook or Grazebrook Hall, an early 12th century, moated, manor house was the residence of Robert Greisbrook who died in 1728. In his will he left 30 shillings to the then schoolmaster for the schooling of four poor children. Robert Greisbrook born in 1674 was the last of his family to occupy Greysbrook Hall in Shenstone since 1204. Oak House and the Methodist Church stand on land once part of the Greysbrook Hall Estate as the old Hall was situated on land at the rear of Oddfellows Hall
The original village school stood on the Island where the Cenotaph is today and was named after Robert Greysbrooke. The present school in Barnes Road also bears his name.
Gresbrok Hall stood on the outskirts of the present village in a square plot of ground containing 2 acres, 2 rods and 15 perches bounded by Jacklyn Strete (now called Lynn Lane) on the front, and a public road on one side: on the other side was an occupation lane, which followed the margin of the moat. At one end of the moat an extension was shewn turning along Jacklyn Strete, but it had been filled up here and on the other two sides; originally it enclosed more than three acres of land. The Hall stood some way back from the Jacklyn Strete and all that remained in 1852 was nothing more than a characteristic but very dilapidated half-timber cottage which could hardly be earlier than the fifteenth century. On clearing it away however, in that year, some of the original building was exposed, a few steps down into the cellar at the back, in the red sandstone. (The sandstone was from the quarry in Shenstone parish and with which the ancient church was built.)
A good sized triangular space was formed by the meeting of these roads, running from where the main gateway and bridge over the moat must have stood. Six cottages have since been built on the edge of the grounds, near the public roads but their long gardens behind extend over a part of the original site. The old cottage was still known until 1852 as Gresbroke Hall.
Source: Miscellanea Genealogica et Heraldica published in 1896.
There were 16 generations of the Greisbrook family who inhabited the Hall. The first was Bartholomew de Gresebroke, a younger son of the Yorkshire family who left his paternal estates and settled in Shenstone. Between the years 1204 and 1214 he acquired from Robert de Grendon, an old manor house of the De Bray family which had been built around the mid-1190s and he renamed it Gresbrok Hall. The De Brays had held the manor of Shenstone since before 1127. There is strong evidence that Bartholomew and his descendants were knights, suggested by his unusual tenure of the property.
There followed, Adam who was succeeded by his brother Robert who died in 1305. Moving to the fourth generation, Robert born 1270 was referred to as Miles or Militibus (a knight or a soldier) when he appeared as a witness to a charter on 12th February 1345. He married Margery de Bolbec and they had two sons, William and John.
William de Gresbroke inherited the Hall and estates and bought Swetewallemoor. (The only reference I can find about this moor is in the 1836 Shenstone Tithe Award where it lists Sweethills Moor near Quebb Meadow, Stonnall.)
He had two sons, John his heir and William born 1310, who had letters of protection for a year, going to set out for foreign parts on 15th November 1340. Crusading continued into the 14th Century and as he was most probably a knight, that could have been a reason for him going abroad.
The 7th to the 11th generations were all called John. The last John was considered “an able man with horses, harness and bowe”. He died in 1546 and was buried in St John’s graveyard, Shenstone.
Their son Robert inherited the estate. There followed several Roberts and a Rowland until we reach the 16th generation. This Robert Greisbrook born about 1674 in Shenstone took over the estate in 1705. He died on 20th July 1728 without issue and his estates were bequeathed to his nephew Thomas Cramp son of his sister Sarah.
It was this Robert Greisbrook who bequeathed money to the Shenstone Village Schools and through the name of the school, he and his family are remembered to this day.
At this point “Gresbrok Hall and the ancestral estates in Shenston passed away from the male line, after an unbroken possession of 519 years”.
Thomas Cramp sold Gresbrok Hall and the Shenstone Estates and went to live in Herefordshire.
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