Yesterday’s great post from David Evans made me hanker for a bit more physical geography. We haven’t done much lately and I thought it would be nice to do some old maps and the landscape they contain stuff for a lazy Sunday.
This piece was written by local history rapscallion Peter ‘Pedro’ Cutler at the end of last year, and I thought now would be an opportune moment dredge the mapping archive to illuminate the history. I know Lichfield District Council Geo-whizz Gareth Thomas will like this, too.
Peter writes great material, and I think this is a beautiful example of taking a historical document, conducting research and finding the mapping record as it applies to the modern landscape. I thank Peter for his keen eye and sharp mind.
In the post about Chasetown, Buntwood and surrounds, mid 1800’s…
The enclosure map kindly supplied by Gareth Thomas caused a good deal of interest, not least to myself, due to the puzzle of Cathedral Pit. At the top of the map I had noticed Coney Lodge and commented…
Looking in White’s Directory of 1834 there is a mention of The Marquis of Anglesey being The Lord of Burntwood… ‘On the Chase there is an extensive rabbit-warren, with a neat house called Coney Lodge (top middle of map)…James Derry was warren-keeper.’
Recently, by chance, I came across a mention of a dispute in the Staffs Advertiser of 1830 that concerns the Marquis.
Due on the demise of the Marquis of Anglesey v Bailey
There was an ejectment to recover possession of a messuage and a small corn mill, called Coney Mill, and a small farm, situate in several parishes of St. Michael, Lichfield, Longdon and Cannock, in this county. It appeared that the house and mill were situated on the well known and extensive tract of waste land, belonging to the Noble Marquis, called Cannock Chase, and held by the defendant and his family as tenants to his Lordship and his ancestors for upwards of a century: during which period the successive tenants had enclosed, and laid to the premises several acres of adjoining waste land. The defendant being significantly in arrear with his rent, was served with a notice to quit at Lady Day last, and he now set up a claim to these encroachment or enclosures of waste land. The learned judge, however, was of the opinion that such a claim could not be supported, and accordingly directed the Jury to return a verdict for the plaintiff, which they immediately did.
It is almost certain that the Coney Mill, close to the Coney Lodge and shown on the enclosure map, is the one mentioned above. Checking this out I thought it may be of interest to some of the readers of the Blog.
Looking at the present day OS Map I see that there is still a Coney Lodge Farm, and if you check the 1888 OS map and the enclosure map, you can see Coney Lodge and Coney Mill, which according to British History Online is situated on a mill stream taken off Redmoor Brook.
Taking the old field markings the position of the old Coney Mill and Lodge can be seen on Google Earth, and the footbridge across the Brook still exists. In December 1910 the Lichfield Mercury reports that the Longdon Parish Council considered the question of the dangerous footpath which leads from Gentleshaw Common by Coney Mill Brook, where the water running down the slope had made a crevice upwards of twenty yards long and nearly a yard deep, thus making it impassible for miners on their way to Rawnsley Colliery and others. At the last meeting a deputation had been appointed to inspect the path and report. It informed the Council that they found it in very bad condition, and a bridge was required over the watercourse.
Later in September of 1911 it was reported that the bridge had been completed; but it explained that some additional railings were needed at each entrance. A large number of miners went that way to their work from Boney Hay to Rawnsley and the Cannock Wood Pits at all hours, and in the darkness the railings were needed to prevent them falling a distance of several feet into the Brook.
There is still a footpath across the footbridge that can be seen on GE, and also one that passes the site of the Lodge. The Lodge may still exist, and I wonder if anything remains of the Mill. According to British History Online the Lodge and Mill existed by the 17C, and Wiki says the last mention of the Mill was 1895.
I remembered that we had passed close to the area in 2002 while on the Heart of England Way, which runs down the side of the Common along Common Side. I wish we had paid more attention to the route as a slight detour across the Common would have provided a much more interesting walk through a SSSI, an area of globally rare lowland heath!
All the best Pedro