I think that nails it…


Chesterfield Lodge – a beautiful house, as featured on my 365daysofbiking journal last Sunday.

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:

Hello Bob,

Ref your comments on Chesterfield Lodge, (365days0f biking Jan 19th).

On website sahs.uk.net, ‘A Landscape Survey of the Parish of Shenstone’ there appears the following:

The Workhouse

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.


Early Victorian Ordnance Survey map showing the Workhouse at Chesterfield. Click for a larger version.

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14 Responses to I think that nails it…

  1. ianrobo says:

    Lovely house, better hope IDS does not see it, he may find the old use for it.

  2. Andy Dennis says:

    Raikes Lane. After the founder of the Sunday Schools movement?

  3. Pedro says:

    Robert Plot, Natural history of Staffordshire, 1686…

    (After discussing Wall, and Roman finds and the Roman Road)

    “On the other side the way in a ground belonging to Chesterfield, they are also antiquities found in digging, amongst them which they lately met with the pedestal of an antique broken pillar very well wrought, which lay just on the brink of the way, and now remains at the widow Smiths in Chesterfield, where I took a draught of it in order to be engraven.”

  4. Pedro says:

    March 1947…Maid’s Timely Discovery

    An early morning discovery by a maid that wooden beams in the vicinity of the fireplace in an upstairs room were on fire, undoubtedly prevented very serious consequences at the home of Mr Scott-Jones, of Chesterfield Lodge…

  5. Pedro says:

    August 1885

    Chesterfield Lodge up for Auction, as F Swindell Esq. is leaving the neighbourhood.

    (description of building and furniture given)

    • Pedro says:

      June 1910

      A freehold hunting box,stabling, three cottages, and pasture land known as Chesterfield Lodge, containing 11 acres, was sold for £1,205 to Mr G Barnes.

  6. David Evans says:

    Hi Bob
    Faikes Lane..good question. My first thought was an agricultural implement..as this lane is by the fields known as the flats at one time.Other nearby lanes seems to reflect farming activities there and tress there, so another possibility that raikes was old name for a crop..Barracks lane…barracks being old name for barley( Gerald Reece, book source )..
    Thanks for the interesting question, Andy

  7. David Evans says:

    Hi Bob
    Bless iPad
    Raikes, that is!!

  8. David Oakley. says:

    Dipping into Google, it seems that Raikes was the Old English word for ‘hraca’, meaning ‘throat.
    Topographically, this could mean a ‘pass or narrow valley, and could be bestowed on a person living nearby. Andy’s suggestion of Robert Raikes, founder of Sunday Schools, held my interest, as I possess the 100th anniversary medallion minted in 1880, and the 150th anniversary medallion made in 1930. These were made and distributed in their thousands, reflecting the popularity of Sunday Schools, all those years ago.

  9. Pedro says:

    Raikes Lane predates 1887 as it is shown on the OS Map for that year.

  10. Pedro says:

    White’s Directory 1834

    Chesterfield…a hamlet on the Watling Street, 3 miles fro Lichfield, formed the southern part of the Roman station. Here is situated the parish workhouse.

  11. Pedro says:

    A Survey Of Staffs, 1820, Erdeswick…

    …Tame having washed the banks of Drayton, for the space almost of a mile, receiveth on the west side a brook, called Black Brook, which taketh its beginning about Hammerwich, whereof I have spoken, as much as I know before, and from thence passeth by Chesterfield; whereof I read nought, except that about Richit; and, it descending to his sister, the lady marchioness of Hertford, and to sir Robert Shirley, his nephew, by his other sister, the lady Dorothy, it came solely by partition to the marchioness, whose lord, in her right, enjoyed it in 1660. Degge.

    The marchioness devised it to her grand-daughter, lady Mary Finch, (daughter of Heneage, earl of Winchlesea,) the wife of sir Thomas Thynne, of Longleat, co. Wilts, bart. From this family, afterwards ennobled by the titles of viscount and earl of Weymouth, and marquess of Bath, it was purchased, in 1790, by Sir Robert Peel, bart, who is, 1820, the present proprietor.

    The curious old house, in which the powerful and accomplished earls of Leicester and Essex often resided, has given way to a modern structure, but a view of it is preserved in Plot,

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