Monday, 29 September 2014

Pump it up

White Pump Cottage, Oulton

In Oulton village, the person restoring this cottage came up with an interesting solution to the problem of what to do with an old but historic item lying around the property.      As the cottage is known locally anyway as White Pump Cottage, s/he just stuck the old pump up on the front wall of the cottage.
A very neat solution I think.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Mysterious megalith for virgins

'Webb Stone' in Bradley

The mysterious 'Webb Stone' in Bradley may (or may not) have come from a local, ancient stone-circle, now dispersed. There are certainly other similar stones (all glacial boulders) to be seen elsewhere in this village.
There are legends associated with it, mostly to do with virgins and livestock (aren't they all??), and it is said to spin round occasionally, though no one has lived to report a sighting of such.

Rather incongruously, it sits forlornly by the side of the road, with no apparent purpose.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Castle... at Blithfield

Blithfield Hall

Blithfield Hall
is often described as one of the "oldest castles in England" though it's clearly been restored and built upon many times.  The turreted towers do contribute to the castle description.

It is one of the stops on the Abbots Bromley Horn Dance, when the dancers travel from site to site during the course of one day.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Dunghill of the past

'Dunghill Plantation', near Newborough

The land we live on has been inhabited for centuries -- yes, not a very profound statement, but we human beings live in the present, and "the past is a different country" as someone said, so it's sometimes an odd shock to think that the land was not always as we see it, even if we should know that already.

This seemingly pristine copse near Newborough is actually known on the map as 'Dunghill Plantation'. Clearly it must have had a past totally different to its present...

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Tombstone quip

Epitaph on the Littleton tomb at Penkridge Church

I'm not sure whether the writer of the epitaph on this tomb at Penkridge Church is being rather learnedly-clever or writing with tongue-in-cheek. 
Maybe the point is that each of the relatives could interpret it as they wanted...?    Or maybe I'm reading too much into a few simple lines?

Here's the modern version:   
Reader!  It was thought enough, upon the tomb of that great captain, the enemy of Rome, to write  no more but 'Here Lies Hannibal'. 
Let this [the two lines, below] suffice thee then, instead of all [that might be written]:   Here Lie Two Knights, Father & Son / Sir Edward and Sir Edward Littleton.


Now, is the writer being sarcastic with his comparison of regional land-owners to a major figure of history like Hannibal?  Or respectful?  Or, very subtly, both?!

Friday, 19 September 2014

Buried for eight centuries

The medieval seal of Stone Priory

The medieval seal of the ancient priory in Stone turned up a few years ago - buried in a field in Surrey.  A metal detectorist had found it.
So the local people of the town raised thousands of pounds to buy it, even though the priory is long gone.
You can see the seal on permanent display in the parish church.

See:  BBC news story

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Clayhanger - book and cottage


Clayhanger Cottage sign

Anyone from Staffordshire will immediately react to the word Clayhanger - it being the name of the first of Arnold Bennett's trilogy of novels of family life in the Potteries.
Why this cottage (just outside Cheadle) adopted the name, I don't know.  Maybe the owner is a Bennett fan.

They're great books of course.  Read the workhouse section by clicking here.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Truck knot

Stafford Knot on truck

As people may know, I collect sightings of the ‘Stafford Knot’- it being the symbol of Staffordshire.
This is a nice example, from a shotblasting-company whose owner clearly is proud of his/her Staffordshire roots.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Codsall tomb of bright colours

Sir Walter Wrottesley tomb, Codsall

This astonishing monument at St Nicholas Church in Codsall dates back to the seventeenth century when nearly all such grand tombs were decorated in such bright colours.  The fashion for unpainted stone came later.
Sir Walter Wrottesley is the grand lord's name.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Sunny bratch

Bratch Locks

The Bratch Locks are quite a feature in Wombourne.  Not only interesting to canal enthusiasts, they often make for the starting point of various walks.
You can see why.  The toll-house tower, which you see in this photo - is a nicely fantastical talking-point.