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The Stonnall Mysteries
What other visitors have said
Graeme Fisher
Hi Julian

Excellent paper!

Some thoughts on it - firstly the tree on Grove hill. Apart from bearing the carved name of some local scoundrel (me) I seem to remember that whilst up there, I noticed that the trunk extends upwards and is broken off, suggesting a much taller tree - and therefore older.

The cottages in the triangle opposite Castle Hill road may have gone but there were a couple of courses of bricks still visible in the 1960s. Perhaps time team could drop by?

The old Chester Road was in remarkably good shape in the 60s and 70s - we dug up all the weeds on a section of it to ride our bikes along, and it was undamaged, save for the edge where years of ploughing had weakened it. The road ran through the garden of No. 1 Lazy Hill road and under its double garage - in fact my dad attempted to teach my mum to drive once on this very road.

Graeme Fisher
Another thought on Grove Hill is that there was another old tree on the end of the hedgeline below the hill. It was old and dying back in the 1960s, but would have had a trunk twenty feet high and 18" thick.

There was a substantial hedge along the ridge, ending at this tree, then nothing until the public footpath. There were the remains of a timber stile at the side of the path, suggesting that the hedge met up with that running along the side of the path from Church Road

Hi Graeme.

Many thanks for your kind words and suggestions.

The broken trunk could be the direct result of the strange incident in which, according to Rev Sanders' account, a number of trees were torn down. If that is so, then the tree would be older than 300 years.

I have amended the article accordingly.

Hi Julian,

May I say how much I have enjoyed your articles on Stonnall. I have a personal connection with a number of the locations you write about. Please keep writing as your research is fascinating and much appreciated.

David Smith
Hi Julian,

It was great to read your paper on Stonnall.

Your ref to Thornes Hall puts more light on a building that seems to be short on detail.

Also I understand that the oak copse on left when you go out of the village along Cartersfield lane is the last surviving example of coppiced oak used in the Walsall leather trade.

Hi Julian

Looking forward to your next work of wonder.

Hi Bob

There are at least three more articles on the way. Watch this space.

Clive Roberts
Hello Julian, with reference to Fighting Cocks Farm. I wonder if it was a public house at one time, did it get its name from cock fighting, which would have been a source of entertainment in those days! A drink and a bit of gambling before you set off on your travels. Just a thought.

That sounds about right Clive. In fact, in the 16th century two men from Stonnall were convicted of selling alcohol without a licence. It is tempting to think that these men were from the Fighting Cocks, although there is no evidence to support that possibility. If true, it would explain why the premises did not persist as a public house.

David Titley
A fascinating read Julian! Couple of comments

1. the picture of a cottage in Stonnall c1813 has a big hill behind it and would seem to me to be drawn from just in front of the Welsh Harp, as was, looking up towards Castle hill to where castle hill road and the old chaester Rd part company.

2. Always wondered about the strange landslip on the side of Grove hill. If indeed the 1718 wood collapse was not a wind then it might have been an earthquake resulting in the loss of both lake and trees leaving the landslip behind. I like to think someone is buried on Grove hill standing as it does in relation to Castle HIll and Hobb's Hole Lane and its tumulus. Knave's castle I do not know. However we are dealing with uncharted history...

If thornes was the site of the Butts then perhaps the name my father used - the Pit Hills - is a corrupted from of butt?

Thank you for your kind words David.

Other people have suggested, as you do, that the artist was located outside the Welsh Harp. I have been there deliberately to test the hypothesis and, in my opinion, it just doesn't work. All the angles are wrong. A position on Chester Road as shown in the modern photograph works in every detail, except for the hill in the background - which I would suggest is just a bit of artistic licence.

Pit Hill took its name from the subsidence that was once visible there. I haven't been up there for years, so I haven't got a clue as to whether that feature still exists.