Farming was the way of life in Yardley into the early 20th century. The centuries-old trade of tile-making was first carried out by famers and also lasted into modern times. Yardley was ideally situated on a bed of ‘particularly good red clay’. The first written record of tile-making is in a document of 1402 and refers to a William Tyler. The tile- and brick-making industry blossomed over the years and, at one time, Yardley had at least 17 kilns.
Text about The William Tyler.
The text reads: These premises are named after the first recorded tile-maker in Yardley. The town sat on a bed of particularly good quality red clay and William Tyler was mentioned as early as 1402 as using this rich local resource. The tile and brick making industry blossomed over the years and at one time Yardley had at least 17 kilns. The locations of where these buildings once stood is indicated on the large mural surrounding the reproduction bottle chimney.
This building was originally constructed in 1955 on the site of what were once the gardens to a property known as The Shrubbery. The earliest known occupant of The Shrubbery was Martin Billing, who advised himself in 1858 as a ‘letter-press, lithographic, copper-plate printer and manufacturing stationer’. He is known to have lived and worked at the house until at least 1885.
There are many more artworks populating the walls of this venue which endeavour to highlight some of the people and places that have added to the history of Yardley.
An illustration of tile-making.
Prints and text about Catherine of Aragon.
The text reads: Catherine of Aragon was the youngest child of Ferdinand and Isabella, the rulers of Spain. At the age of three she was bequeathed to the one year old Prince Arthur, son of Henry VII, and heir to the throne of England.
The union was highly anticipated, and in Yardley, St Edburgha’s Parish Church installed a tribute above the doorway on the north aisle in celebration of the forthcoming marriage. The carving, which is still there today, features the family’s heraldic badges, the Tudor Rose and the Pomegranate of Granada.
Catherine and Arthur (pictured) were married on 14 November 1501 in old St Paul’s Cathedral, London. Following the wedding, the young teenage couple moved to Ludlow Castle on the Welsh border, but less than six months later, Arthur died, still only fourteen years old.
Eager to maintain the strong bond between England and Spain, Henry VII arranged for Catherine to marry Arthur’s younger brother, the future Henry VIII. However, by the time they were old enough to marry, relations between the two countries had soured, and it wasn’t until Henry VII died in 1509 that Henry VIII took Catherine as his bride.
In February 1516, Catherine gave birth to a daughter named Mary, but could not provide Henry with the male heir that he craved. Henry had also become infatuated with Anne Boleyn, and sought an annulment of the marriage by the Pope.
The Pope refused, and so Henry rejected the authority of Rome in England, and instead was granted his wishes by the Archbishop of Canterbury. As part of the divorce settlement Catherine was given the property of Yardley.
A painting, on tiles, of Catherine of Aragon.
External photograph of the building – main entrance.
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