Treasured Maps

Since I seem to be having a tad of a catch-up today, I thought I’d share some interesting bits I’d noticed from the old maps I shared with readers last week. In idle moments I’ve been perusing them quite closely, and I’ve noticed some intriguing things.

From 1948 Sheet SK00

Here, at what is now Castlefort, on the Walsall Wood – Aldridge border, the ancient hill fort looks far more intact than today. What interests me in particular are the two areas designated ‘Castle Gate’ (where Holly Lane joins Castlehill Road) and ‘Woodcote’. Reader [Howmuch] remembers reading that the lane here was once a tollway or gated road. Wasn’t one of the late 80’s housing developments here initially called Castle Gate, or am I imagining things? Notice also that in the North East of the map, the edge of the name ‘Upper Stonnall’ is partially visible. When marketing the new houses I mentioned, the marketeers, to much local derision, claimed their development to be in ‘Upper Stonnall’, a term that had fallen out of use years previously.

From 1948 sheet SK10

The road system has changed hugely around the Roman settlement at Wall, or Letocetum, to give the hamlet it’s older name. The old A5 Watling Street, prior to the dual carriageway upgrade and realignment, was the road that came through Wall village itself past the Trooper pub. If you scan to the very western edge of 1948 sheet SK00, following the path of the old A5, note that the map records ‘Roman Coins Found’ which I’ve never seen on a map before. If you’re interested, that’s the field on the corner of Ashcroft Lane crossroads, bound by the village and the new A5.

From 1951 sheet SK00

Here, at Anglesey Bridge (sometimes now apparently incorrectly called ‘Middleton Bridge’ – advice welcomed, please) there was an old quarry just over the Lichfield Road. This later became Sandfields caravan park, whose former origins can be observed by the hollow it sits in when viewed from the canal. On the southern side of the road, where Grasmere Garden Centre stands today, a short tramway existed to carry sand and spoil to the basin at the former canal junction, presumably for barge loading. It’s shown on both 1948 and 1951 maps, and I’d be interested if anyone remembers it existing, and if so, what powered it? It’s recorded also on 1902 maps of the area, but due to the curious way these maps were assembled it’s perfectly possible that it had long since gone by the time they were published.

If you spot anything of interest, please share it here. Cheers.

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11 Responses to Treasured Maps

  1. I have seen very early maps of the area. The road from Chester Road, Stonnall that ascends Castle Hill actually terminated at the castle gate, which is on the south side of the fort and which is still used as the entrance to a private residence. After that point, the road was represented by a footpath.

    As a resident of Stonnall for many years I remember distinctly that the eastern part of Castle Hill including the hill fort was considered to be part of Stonnall. The area to the west of the fort was considered to be Walsall Wood.

    Similarly, local people did not consider themselves to be in Aldridge until they had reached the top of Lazy Hill. Anywhere to the east of that point was considered to be Stonnall.

    I think there is much work still to be done in interpreting the landscape around Stonnall. The location of the hill fort and water resources had a considerable effect on the subsequent developmment of the surrounding area, including its road system and the designation of high-status property as such. I hope to present a new paper on this subject in the near future.

  2. Hi Julian

    Fantastic contribution – as I’d expect from you. Since you’re clearly far too modest, can I just take the opportunity to point out Julian’s fantastic piece of research, “The Lost Lake of Stonnall’:

    It’s a great piece of investigation that proves you don’t have to be lost in the world of academia to create wonderful research in a readable, engaging form. When I plugged the paper last year it caused quite a stir among the readers.

    I look forward to your future work, and will gladly publicise it here.



  3. Pedro says:

    Well said Bob.

    It is great to see the evidence so clearly set out. In itself it is an interesting read for anyone, even if not from the local area.

    A case for the Time Team.

    Regards Pedro

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  7. Graeme Fisher says:

    There’s a suggestion that Castle Hill road was once known as Wright’s lane, and merely used to access the local farmland.

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  10. Bowk says:

    Hiya Bob indeed Holly Lane was gated once upon a time it was also called Love lane so I was told.The boundary between stonnall and Walsall Wood ran along the edge row at the bottom of the gardens where there where fields belonging to Mr Foster(still around bless him used to run us kids of the field when we were playing football a young Andrew Roper would remember this),but thats another story. And also there was a sign roughly were the last new house is in Castle Road saying Upper Stonnall.The said fields have now been built on.One field still remains and as been left for nature to reclaim.Now my grandfather who was born and bred in Holly Lane (born in the cottage and is still standing,the cottage that is) and he told me that a public footpath ran along the fort wood how right he was I dont know but stories told to me some 30 years ago now.There are folks around that may be able to shed more light on The Fort wood,the Fox Covey,Holly Lane,Ive seen a picture of a young David Evans when it was still a common from Salters Road up to Holly Lane.So folks please do put your past memories of this local area,who remembers digging for bullets for tat over the Fox Covey holes everywhere,the pump house up the sandhills,Goodyears plane landing in the field that nature is now reclaiming such memories.

  11. David Evans says:

    Hello Bowk
    thanks for your bostin comments. I remember Lovers’ Lane, the unmade track as it was, and the common before the Castlefort estate was built. Did you or your Dad take part in the kite flying up on the common?. I wonder if you also spent happy summer school holiday hours lying on the common and gazing up and listening to the skylarks in the sky. Did your dad ever mention the tank tracks ?
    all the best..see you at the next home match if you can get, kid.

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