The Warley Hall estate probably came into existence after the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII in 1538. The Warley Hall estate is mentioned in documents during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. Various documents record events in the lives of the Warley family throughout the 16th and 17th centuries.

Samuel Galton II, born in 1753, followed his father into the family gun-making business and was also a Quaker. He married Lucy Barclay in 1777, and they moved to Barr Hall, Great Barr in 1782. They purchased the Warley Hall estate in 1792 and called in the celebrated landscape architect Humphry Repton in 1794, to create a setting worthy of his new house to be built in his country estate at Warley. Repton set out his ideas for Warley in one of his famous Red Books, so called because he bound them in red leather. In his Red Book he showed clients his ideas for improving the landscape, illustrated by his own watercolours, with flaps lifted to reveal a landscape ‘before’ and ‘after’ his improvements had been made. We are very fortunate that the Red Book for Warley survives in the local studies archive, in the library in Smethwick High Street.  We also have a copy of the Red Book which is available to be viewed at the Trust office.

Repton made good use of the lie of the land with its spectacular scenery and panoramic views, which he incorporated into his plan. He moved the oldreptonline of the old Harborne Road to bring Warley Tor, an existing summer house/prospect house into the park. The main carriage drive was designed to pass through the existing woods, then reveal the house across the sweeping lawns.

Repton recommended creating a small pool to attract wildfowl from the intermittent stream in the bottom of the wide valley, and proposed a sheltered winter garden, with scented shrubs and gravel walks close to the house to the south. He created contrived views that slowly unfolded for guests, as they toured round the park, so that they could enjoy glimpses of the house from a series of constantly changing perspectives. They might stop at the Doric temple set in a bay cut into the woods, or take tea at Warley Tor (tower), whilst admiring the view to the family’s first home at Great Barr.

Repton’s suggested design for the new house was not implemented, and it was eventually built in the fashionable gothic style, to a design by the architect Robert Lugar. Lugar also designed the three gate lodges, one on the turnpike at Beech Lane (now Hagley Road) and one at each entrance on Lightwoods Hill and what is now Abbey Road.  For more about Repton.  

Lugar also made recommendations for the enlargement of Warley Tor as the main residence, but these were apparently never carried out. The site of the Tor today is a grass-covered quarry beside the golf course.