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Stonnall History Group


Outside Elm Cottage, 1940s

his 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.

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.

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.

Comments on this item
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....

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.

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.

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.

Lost Chapel Update 10/4/2013

Investigations of the chapel site continued on April 10 with an extension to the trench at its western end (nearest Church Lane). We discovered a metal disc and on cleaning it up, we concluded that it is a church token. These were used as a form of currency in the Middle Ages. The object is shown in the photo alongside a modern 5 pence coin. The token has a central raised cross and roughly triangular patterns in its quadrants. It appears to be made out of lead or possibly pewter. Tokens such as these would be issued by a minister in exchange for goods and services. They could be redeemed as payment for church services such as baptisms, marriages, funerals, etc.

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