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The Lost Lake of Stonnall
What other visitors have said
This is a well researched article which is based on sound reasoning. Having seen this area myself I can agree with the findings of the writer.

Hello, enjoyed reading the lost lake of stonnal.this maybe of use to you!. kelly`s directory 1896, thomas petcher, miller (steam), stonnall mill. if its the same mill, it was using steam not the flow of the brook by 1896. cheers..clive

Julian (replying to Clive)
Now that is interesting. It means that what I had interpreted as a 'millpond' is in fact a water reservoir. This ties in neatly with the size of the reservoir. It is quite big but it wouldn't have provided a good head of water for very long in order to drive a water wheel, but it would have been a nice size reservoir for a steam engine. I'll amend the article accordingly. Thanks a lot Clive!

Paula Bryars
I find your interpretation extremely interesting. It would help greatly in confirming your theory if you were able to take soil samples: analysis of these would provide pollen and insect samples so that changes in vegetation would provide conclusive evidence of landscape changes.

I would suggest that settlement in the area as a whole dates from the early Mesolithic: lithic scatters at Bourne Pool from this period indicate this. A smaller amount of later lithic material from the same site suggests continuous occupation through the Neolithic and the Bronze Age and I would suggest a possible line of continuous settlement roughly along the present Chester Road. Bronze Age artefacts (now lost, but there is a not entirely satisfactory report in Vol. 9 of the Transactions of the Lichfield and South Staffordshire Archaeological & Historical Society) were found at Gainsborough Hill Farm in 1824 and the Iron Age hill fort (more likely functioning as a conspicuous meeting and trading place than as an aggressive/defensive fort) continues the tradition of settlement in this area.

Julian (replying to Paula Bryars)
Thank you very much for your comment and your very interesting suggestions and information.

I take your point about continuous settlement in the area since the early Mesolithic period. I now refer to this in the article.

Soil analysis would be a great way of proceeding from this point. I wonder whether one of the local universities might be prepared to investigate.

As to the hill fort, I agree that it most probably functioned, amongst other things, as a trading and social centre and I have given this more prominence in the article. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that somebody went to a great deal of trouble and expense in fortifying it, even if, as it seems, the result of that project was somewhat eccentric in comparison with other British Iron Age hill forts. There must be an explanation for this and I hope to present a theory about it in the near future.

Graeme Fisher
One of the sources can be traced through the fields to the east of Main Street, following the low level of the land, although there is no watercourse as such. By using a satellite map you can see the line running under the Chester Road and on towards Gorse Farm.There is a culvert under the Chester Road dated (I think) 1926, when the road was moved. There is also some evidence of a culvert under the old road, and the field here was constantly waterlogged at this point.

Julian (replying to Graeme Fisher)
Thank you very much for your comments. With regard to Chester Road, you are quite right about drainage under the new causeway. There are at least two concrete conduits that allow water to pass under the road. These conduits were clearly visible and accessible from the eastern side of Old Chester Road. I remember that one of the pipes was half full of a mix of sand and pebbles, which indicates just how much water had been flowing through.

Thank you for producing such an interesting and informative paper Julian. As an inhabitant of Mill Lane, I can tell you that we often experience flooding, and I wonder if this could relate to the lost lake or the brooks which used to feed the mill pond?

Also, has any excavation work been carried out to search for remains of the Mill?

Thank you, Sara

Julian (replying to Sara)
Thank you very much for your comments.

I think that in very bad weather it is possible that the lake tries, as it were, to recreate itself. Having said that, it would take an absolute and prolonged deluge for that to happen fully and it is likely the most we would ever see is a few temporary pools. It seems from what you say that this is your experience sometimes.

I have been to the area once or twice during rainstorms to observe things. One thing I noticed was a big puddle across Mill Lane between Millie Cottage and Lynn Lane, precisely where the brook would have crossed the road in the old days.

As far as I know, the site of the mill has never been investigated. What's more, it seems as though there has been a general lack of archaeological work in the area. This is surprising since there is so much of interest, including the mill, Grove Hill, the hill fort and Thornes Hall.

You might be interested to know that I am working on another paper called The Stonnall Mysteries which goes into some of these topics and a few more besides. I hope to post it to my blog in the next week or so.

Pam Booth