I still don’t think anyone is quite sure how this area of Lichfield is actually spelled. It’s not suprising, I’ve come across at least five different versions over the last five years! I remember there was an issue with signposts some years ago too. I’m going with Leomansley for consistency as this seems to be the current spelling that most would recognise.
Accoring to a transaction on pre-conquest Lichfield from the Staffordshire Archaeological & Historical Society, the name Leomansley contains elements indicating there may have been a Welsh settlement here around the 6th century.
In ‘Lichfield: The cathedral close’, A History of the County of Stafford: Volume 14: Lichfield (1990), pp. 57-67, it tells us that
“in the 13th century the cathedral was described as being between Lemansyche and Way Clife. Gaia Lane may have been called Lemansyche as Shaw Lane, the extension of Gaia Lane on the west side of Beacon Street, is in the direction of Leamonsley”.
Edit 2/2/2012 : The origins of placenames is a fascinating but tricky subject. I did read a few days ago that ‘sike’ or ’sitch’ could be a regional names for a small streams (especially one flowing through flat or marshy ground). Apparently the word was used especially when describing boundaries. It comes from the OE ‘sic’ and in the Midlands became ‘sich’ by the 1500s (2).
So could I be right in thinking that the Lemansyche referred to might be Leomansley Brook, which runs across Beacon Park? This would be in keeping with the boundary idea and also with the stream over marshy ground. As this excerpt from wikipedia says ‘The land on which Beacon Park now stands was originally low lying, poorly drained pasture alongside the Leamonsley Brook. The Museum Gardens and Recreation Grounds were the site of Bishops Fish Pool or Upper Pool. The pool was created when a causeway was built on Beacon Street in the 14th century separating it from Minster Pool. The area around Bishops Fish Pool in all directions was waterlogged marshland, this area south of Bird Street became known as the moggs from the 15th century and later Swan moggs’.
Is this feasible? As I said, a tricky subject, even for experts, and especially for dabblers like me!
We are told by the County History that that the hamlet* of Leamonsley grew up around the fulling mill on Leamonsley brook in the early 1790s. In 1841 census there were 13 households, including that of the tenant of the mill; with the number rising to 27 households in 1851.
* a term often used to describe a village without a church
In 1806, the Rev Thomas Harwood referred to “four closes of land, pasture and meadow, lying next together near the said city (Lichfield), called Lemondsley for which the rent of 10s per annum is now paid”.
In the book “Trade Tokens” by J.R.S.Whiting, and on www.windmillworld.com, there is a reference to a twopenny token of Lemmonsly Worsted Mill, Lichfield (John Henrickson). Henrickson is a “calico, cotton and shirting manufacturer” . The token shows a mill with trees at sides, and river. On the reverse is the arms of Lichfield between oak branches, and text “One pound note for 120 tokens”. A picture can be seen on Flickr following this link.
There is no date on the token but John Henrickson let and ran the mill from around 1810 until he went bankrupt in 1815.
Leomansley Mill, now that sounds like an interesting place………..
‘Lichfield: The 19th century’, A History of the County of Stafford: Volume 14: Lichfield (1990), pp. 24-32. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=42338 .