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Forthcoming Article - The Story of Thornes

This is an extract from the Church of England Tithe Map of about 1830. It is orientated so as to display as much detail as possible in a 600 pixel width graphic: left is south and right is north in this case.

To the left, we see the church before it was extended to the east and when it was set in its original-sized churchyard

Next to that, there were three properies: nearest the road, the house and room of the National School. Behind that, there was a sand pit still operating as it had done since before the school premises were built. Behind that, there was an area described as a plantation. The cherry trees at the edge of the present-day churchyard at the boundary of the former plantation might give us an idea of what was being grown there in the early 1830s.

Further down the road and on the same side, we see the house and barns of Thornes Hall Farm. The house was noticeably smaller in those days than it is now. We note that the sandstone barn, presently at the roadside, did not exist in the early 1830s. We note also that there is a dotted line representing a footroad passing through the yard of the farm, as it still does.

On the opposite side of the road and immediately to the left of the properies where there are shaded-in buildings, we see the dotted line of the footroad that still exists at the present time. To the right of that, there are two conjoined buildings, one a stables and the other a cottage. The house Greenfields currently occupies this location, but there is evidence that the grounds of the cottage and stables were used as an orchard for many years after the buildings were demolished.

It is quite possible that the stables and cottage, along with Thornes Hall Farm once comprised a singlw property with Thornes Hall, in the next enclosure to the right. This was once the largest mansion in Stonnall. More Hearth Tax was due from it than any other house in the village.

Next to the Thornes Hall plot, there were two empty enclosures, the first of which would be the site of the Old Vicarage in 1834 and the second would be the site of Ormside House in about 1900.

Between the Ormside plot and the next, which was the mediæval Pear Tree Cottage (sometimes known as Rose Cottage), we see a broken line that is coloured in with mauve crayon. The dotted line denotes a now-lost footroad between Thornes and Main Street. The crayon mark denotes the boundary between Upper and Lower Stonnall. Thus, most of Thornes was considered to be in Lower Stonnall. Note how the mauve mark extends down Thornes Hall Lane (now Church Road).

The last property marked is Thornes Farm, which was owned by the Brown family and which continued in their possession until the late 1950s. Most of the other enclosures in Thornes belonged to the Lord of the Manor, William Leigh of Little Aston Hall. However, the Browns had a longstanding association with Thornes over a span of many centuries. All this will be discussed in a forthcoming article The Story of Thornes.
Likes: 3

Outside Elm Cottage, 1940s

This is Mr and Mrs Woods outside Elm Cottage, Main Street, Stonnall, pictured around 1945. Note the Grove Hill tree in the background. This may well be the oldest known photo of this iconic feature. You can't get a more Stonnall photo than this.

The house has changed hands recently after having been in the family since 1918 - very nearly 100 years.
Likes: 5

Iron Age Stonnall

Marcus Ward-Davies has painted this impression of a part of Stonnall as it appeared in the Iron Age. The scene depicted is that of what would become the triangular field that is bounded by Church Lane to the left, Church Road to the right and, in the distance, the eastern end of Main Street. The observer would be standing roughly where the pinfold now is. We look forward to some more similar reconstructions.
Likes: 2

Horseradish - Too Hot to Handle

Many people have remarked upon the prevalence of horseradish plants at Harry Hastilow's chicken farm. The chickens wouldn't touch them, of course, because they were presumably too spicy for their tastes. I remember Harry explaining that the roots were far too troublesome to get out. A lot of digging was involved and if a root was broken in the process, it would simply grow back, making the whole effort a complete waste of time.

The question remains: why were there so many horseradish plants and how did they get there in the first place? I think the answer can be deduced from the use of the land a few generations before Harry's time there.

Before the school was built in 1874 and long before the time of the chicken farm, the two pieces of land comprised a single arable field called the Croft. For a time in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the Mountfort family of Ivy House Farm owned it. Is it possible that they or even their predecessors grew crops of horseradish in that field? That could easily explain how the plant became established and how it then persisted until late in the 20th century. They might even persist to the present day. It would be interesting to know whether they still grow as weeds in any of the back gardens in that part of the eastern end of Main Street.
Likes: 3
Gordon Mycock
I remember this plot being ploughed up during the war. Every piece of land was cultivated at this time.

New Article - Stonnall in the Old Days

(Pictured: George and Gladys Ramsell, about 1957.)
Alan Ramsell was born at Fighting Cocks Farm, Cartersfield Lane, Stonnall on August 5, 1935. Pamela Ramsell (née Lee) was born at the Wooden House (the Bungalow), Druid Heath, Stonnall on October 1, 1940. They have lived in the village ever since. Read more....
Likes: 11

Lost Chapel Update

This sandstone block was found on the surface of the ground, hidden by overgrowth, on the western side of the field, near the fence dividing the area from the pinfold. Further evidence of the use of these blocks was also found in the newly expanded trench. Clearly, they were used as footings for a relatively high-status building, which could not have been, as some quarters have suggested, a hovel. Sandstone blocks were expensive, mainly because they needed to be cut at a quarry and then carted in. No-one would have gone to that expense to support a hovel.
Likes: 4

The Old Swan Licensees in the 1950/60s

Meet Thomas and Phylis Perry, the licensees of the Old Swan Inn, Stonnall in the 1950s and 60s. This photo was shared by their daughter Josephine.
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Lost Chapel Update 12/4/2013

The western end of the trench was extended further on April 12. A considerable amount of brick rubble was recovered with a few ceramic sherds and several metal objects. The bricks are clearly of great antiquity. The consensus of opinion amongst those present is that, clearly, a brick building had once stood at this location. Thanks to Graham Black, Tony Horton and Gordon Mycock for their hard work in this latest stage of the investigation. Above left, the trench extension - and above right, some of the brick rubble.
Likes: 6

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Articles
The Lost Lake of Stonnall
The Stonnall Mysteries
The Mystery of the Hill Fort
The Lost Chapel of St Peter
The Lost Lanes of Stonnall
Memories of Old Stonnall
Stonnall in the Old Days
The Stonnall Tree
Micky the Vicarage Cat
My Time in Stonnall
Rev James Downes
St Peter's Church
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Burntwood Family History
The Borough Blog
Tamworth Time Hikes
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