Astwood is situated to the north-east of the parish of Dodderhill, and its name means literally the “east wood” (of Wychbold), which was part of the Forest of Feckenham in the Middle Ages. The whole of this area was once densely wooded as the names of Elmbridge, Woodgate and Rashwood signify, with these settlements starting as small hamlets made within the clearings. The name “Astwood” does not appear in Domesday Book which was compiled in 1086, and the earliest recorded use of the name is in a survey carried out c1190.
From early in the 13th century Astwood was held under the lords of Wychbold by the Arderne family, with Thomas Arderne being named in numerous documents dating from 1211 to 1308 (presumably not the same Thomas throughout!). Under the Arderne family, who also held lands in Elmbridge, the lands of Astwood were split in two: one part being known as Astwood Robert (now Astwood Manor Farm), probably named after Robert de Astwood who lived there in the 13th century, and the other part as Astwood Savage and Astwood Meynill (now Sagebury).
Astwood Savage/Meynill manor was named after the Savage family and their direct descendants, the Meynills, who held land during the 12th to 14th centuries. The original centre of the manor was sited around Sagebury. Over the following years this large estate was split up again and again to form smaller farms as the “waste” was cleared and the land could be brought into cultivation. The clearing operations appear to have commenced somewhere around where Shaw Lane is today and worked progressively northwards, enabling the estate to be split roughly in half with the creation of “Obden” or Hobden.
The clearing on the south side of Shaw Lane most probably began in the late 15th century or early 16th century, culminating with the construction of Astwood Court Farm c1600.
From Tudor times through to the early 19th century, Astwood “yield” (a unit for taxation purposes) stretched from Dodderhill Common and the boundary with Hanbury parish, through the Astwood of today, and continued in a north-westerly direction to include the farms of Sagebury, Hobden and Moors, with a probable border being the old Roman road (A38 today).
Read more about the buildings mentioned in Astwood
Astwood Court Farm
Astwood Manor Farm
Hobden Hall or Obden Farm