Periodically, I’ve expressed my intrigue at the history of Chesterfield Lodge, at the tiny hamlet between Wall and Shenstone. Chesterfield is a small place, but has some remarkable architecture demonstrated in its houses and farms.
What has always interested me about Chesterfield Lodge is that on early Ordnance Survey maps, it is marked as a workhouse. The house as it is today is large, looks quite old and is surrounded by large grounds; conceivably, the current building could have fulfilled that purpose.
Last Sunday, I passed the house in the early evening, and took a photo of it which I featured on my 365daysofbiking journal. I said this about it:
January 19th – On the way back, I passed Chesterfield Lodge on Raikes Lane. It always looks so peaceful and welcoming at night, but on Victorian maps, this was marked as a workhouse. Whether it was this actual building or a predecessor, I never quite worked out. I’m still hoping Kate Cardigan of Lichfield Lore might weave some of her investigative magic here and find out the truth one day.
It’s an absolutely gorgeous house, that’s for sure.
Well, soon after I received an email from reader and friend of the blog Roy Aston, who sheds light on the whole thing:
Ref your comments on Chesterfield Lodge, (365days0f biking Jan 19th).
Shenstone Workhouse was just outside Chesterfield, hidden well away from any settlement. There was an adjoining field which is labelled the Poor’s Garden on the 1818 map. It was closed when Shenstone joined St Michael’s Union in Lichfield in the 1830s and was subsequently demolished.
There is a relatively modern house on the site and no visible trace of the workhouse.
There appear to be no surviving records so we don’t know what it looked like or how many of the poor could be accommodated there.
Sic transit gloria mundii.
Thanks to Roy for that. Fleeting indeed.
I have a feeling that Kate Cardigan of Lichfield Lore told me this some time ago, and I forgot, or at least, she reached a dead end trying to find the records. I therefore owe the good lady an apology.
Thanks to Roy and all the other folk who’ve looked into this and mentioned it over the years.
It remains mysterious and a fascinating history – and of course, a beautiful house.