Stonnall History Group
Looking closely at the brickwork of Church Cottage/the former house of the schoolmaster of the National School, we note that the colouration of the bricks is uneven, indicating that they were recycled from a demolition. An early 19th century edition of Kelly's Directory informs us that the fabric of Thornes Hall was refashioned into a free school (as well as accommodation for the homeless of the village). Behold the bricks of Thornes Hall.
A letter from Buckingham Palace.
A couple of historical figures: on the right, Iris Hewitt, who is the last known domestic at the Old Vicarage (1960s); third from right, Dot Smith, who was the Village Institute caretaker in the 1960s.
This is Annie Hopley, born 16/11/1894 at New Street, Shelfield, the daughter of William and Susannah Hopley. She married John Clark on 26/12/1916 at Stonnall and died on 3/2/1941, also at Stonnall.
This photo shows an extension to the trench to the north. This has revealed what appears to be an impression (picture centre) of another large stone which, presumably, was removed when the building was dismantled. There are at least two more such impressions in the trench.
Trowelling down to the subsoil has revealed a burned layer and many fragments of charcoal. Several nails have been recovered, indicating a building that was partially made of wood, possibly with a wooden frame. It may be that the wooden parts of the building were burned after it was dismantled.
Stonnall Church, Nov 1945.
L - R: Nellie (Helen) Blakemore, Florence Hopley, David Blakemore, Hilda Clarke, Jack Hopley, Elsie Hopley, David Blakemore, Daisy Blakemore, George Hopley, Emily (Pem) Hopley, Edna Jewell. The little girl is Mary White.
Pem Hopley was, of course, the licensee at the Royal Oak. This photo was shared by Pauline Blakemore.
This photo shows the state of the central part of the trench as it existed on Sunday afternoon.
The dig was resumed briefly today when the trench was extended to the north by about 40cm so as to expose the area around the sandstone blocks. There appears to have been a third block at some stage because somebody had dug a recess in the ground to accommodate it. There will be another update tomorrow.
The above photo shows the western end of the new trench with, on the right, one of the mysterious large sandstone blocks that were quite obviously dug into the subsoil by whoever laid them.
The trench features a very large number of brick and lime mortar fragments, ranging in size from a few millimetres, to several centimetres, to half-bricks, one of which can be seen in the photo. There is also a large number of charcoal fragments scattered throughout.
Items recovered from the trench include several nails, some clay pipe fragments, a partially burned piece of wood and some ceramic fragments.
The dig will resume on Thursday and continue on Saturday, weather permitting.