Birmingham was probably named by William Brinton,
one of the earliest settlers, who came from the neighborhood of the town of
that name in England, and as was common with the early settlers, selected for
his wilderness home the name that would recall to his memory the early
associations of his life. It was surveyed about the year 1684 for various
persons, in right of purchases made in England, and was organized as a
municipal district in 1686 by appointment of John Bennett as Constable.
Upon the division of the county
in 1789, the greater part of the original township fell into Delaware Co.
Each division thereafter bore the name of Birmingham Township in its respective
county. Until the year 1856 the Street Road was the northern boundary of
the township of Chester County. In that year it was enlarged by the addition to
if of a portion of the southern end of East Bradford twp.
The Battle of Brandywine was
fought in this township. The site of the field of operations at Chadds Ford
is in Delaware County and at Birmingham Meeting House in Chester County.
The name of the township was
originally pronounced Brummagem, and it is so given on Holme's map of the
early settlements of Pennsylvania. This pronunciation was brought by the
early settlers from England, and is generally supposed to be a corruption of
Birmingham. That, however, is a mistake. The name Brummegem is
derived from Brunwycheham, the ancient name of Birmingham, and was used in
common with Birmingham, which signifies the home of the descendants of Beorm,
a Saxon chief. Birmingham, in England, was formerly the great emporium
for plated ware and imitation jewelry, and hence the word Brummegem came to
signify anything trashy or common.