Elford Revisited

The estate that Mr Paget handed over to Birmingham City Council in July 1936 was made up of over 600 acres, including the Hall & associated gardens, Home Farm inc. the Park, Cottages, Woodland and part of the River Tame. You can see Elford Hall circa 1790 to the left of the Chruch in the above picture and there are more recent photographs of the Hall on Staffordshire Pasttrack

According to the 1936 Estate Agent’s report, the Hall obtained water from various wells, although water was pumped to the ground floor of the house via a petrol engine (South Staffordshire Water Co was in the process of laying pipes in the village at the time and the agent recommends that the Hall be connected). Sewage was collected in cesspits. Lighting in the Hall’s 16 bedrooms and other rooms was still from oil lamps and candles, although a public electricity supply had recently arrived in the village.

One thing I’m interested in is the relationship Elford Hall & its owners had with the rest of the village. What effect did the unexpected decision to hand over the estate to a public body have on the villagers?  Perhaps a small hint of the role played by the Pagets can be seen in the meeting notes of the Elford Hall Committee held at Birmingham Council House on 17th Februrary 1937. It says:

“A communication was submitted from the Chairman of the Elford Village Hall Committee asking for a contribution from the council towards the coronation celebrations in Elford Village. The Chairman undertook to communicate with Mr Paget as to his action on the occasion of the silver jubilee. Decision deferred.”

Another thing I’ve been wondering about is what would have happened had Mr Paget kept Elford Hall? The England’s Lost Country Houses site lists over 50 demolished country houses in Staffordshire alone. Most disappeared after the First World War. Although of course eventually demolished in 1964,  Elford Hall is one of the longest surviving on the list. Would retention by the Paget family have ensured its survival or hastened its demise?

I’m off to one of Staffordshire’s surviving country houses on Tuesday. Shugborough Hall – offered to the National Trust in lieu of death duties on the death of the 4th Earl of Lichfield in 1960 and managed by Staffordshire County Council.

Elford, Fisherwick, Beacon Place, Drayton Manor or Shugborough – I’m finding the world of country houses and the families that dominated our area fascinating. The social and political changes that led if not to their complete demise, to a change in their use. And of course discovering the remaining fragments of those disappeared estates.

Actually, I am now regretting not watching Downton Abbey as research….

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9 thoughts on “Elford Revisited

  1. There is a lost village at Elford dating back to 10th or 11th century Kate. I think
    the Hall was built close to it,The family shields in the church go back long before
    the Hall.

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  2. Hi, I am researching my family history, and have found the following reference:

    Elford Hall Collection, Catalogue Ref. MS 3878 – The Jennens Papers File – “Plan of stable and outbuildings proposed to be built at Elford Lowe, Tamworth. 23 May 1863. Charles Clarson” and similar plan in pencil. MS 3878/Misc Plans 6 a-b.

    Charles Clarson 1815-1900, builder of Tamworth, Staffs, was my 1st cousin 5 times removed.

    Are there any images of the stables at Elford Hall that you could share, please?
    Jean

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  3. Hi Jean. Elford Lowe is a farm with an ancient burial mound, about a mile from the village. The stables for Elford Hall are still there and are converted into a house.

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      • yes Kate it`s still there with a huge oak tree on top! The story goes that after a lightening strike the oak was split and inside the trunk was found a sword, `some bones` and other `ancient items`. you can see the burial mound & tree on the left as you come up the hill out of Elford, inbetween the road and the farm sheds.

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      • What a fantastic legend, I’d never heard that! I love how people think – a burial mound just isn’ t exciting enough we need it to be struck by lightning! Is it accessible (sorry I’m being lazy rather than looking at map!)

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  4. yes Kate, it`s only 20ft from the road but it`s a bit dangerous to try and stop there so pull into the farm yard and ask. The info on the story comes from William White’s History, Gazetteer, and Directory of Staffordshire, 1851 Trades Directories. he says “..Elford Lowe is distinguished by a large oak tree, and in it, were found, about 60 years ago, several human skeletons, a piece of bayonet, a wooden bowl or noggin, and some other warlike utensils..” , Dr Robert Plot excavated it around 1620-ish too.
    Here`s a link to a more recent report archaeology..
    http://www.lichfielddc.gov.uk/downloads/Archaeological_Evaluation.pdf

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