I had an email from Pat telling me there was a lump on the side of the A51, near to the junction with Abnalls Lane.  I assumed that it was an old tree stump, but Pat thinks it might be something more than that, and recalls seeing some stone there last year.

I went and had a closer look. Pat said in his comment on the Cross City post, the lump is covered in vegetation, but there is likely to be something solid underneath, as the grass is cut around it. I took a few photos and then the self -conciousness of being stood on a busy A-road taking photos of a grassy lump got the better of me and I headed back up Abnalls Lane.

So, does anyone else know anything about this, or do we just have to wait until the grass dies away in the Autumn to get a better look?!

In the meantime, it’s worth taking a trip up Abnalls Lane. In parts, it’s thought to be a holloway, and at times you’re surrounded by hedgerows, tree roots and sandstone, with carved names and dripping water.  It takes you past the site of one of Lichfield’s Scheduled Ancient Monuments – a moated site on the edge of Pipe Green and over the border into Burntwood.  It also passes nearby the site of Erasmus Darwin’s botanical garden, although unfortunately the site is not open to the public.

Spires of Lichfield from moated site at Abnalls Lane on the Lichfield/Burntwood Boundary

Interestingly, a section on Burntwood in the History of the County of  Stafford says that,

The road, now Abnalls Lane, was known as Pipe Lane at least between 1464 and 1683.  The point where it goes over the boundary was described in 1597 as ‘the place where the broken cross in Pipe Lane stood’; a ditch at Broken Cross was mentioned in 1467.

Is this one of the crosses already counted in Cross City, or a different one? 

Also, on the subject of research into stone things, at the end of Abnalls Lane, there are some interesting names – The Roche and Hobstonehill (according to the History of the County of Stafford, the placename ‘Hobbestone’ was mentioned in 1392).   

I think I need to spend my summer holidays at Lichfield Record Office.


‘Townships: Burntwood’, A History of the County of Stafford: Volume 14: Lichfield (1990), pp. 195-205. URL:  Date accessed: 27 July 2012.


9 thoughts on “Stumped

    • Thanks. Cross in Hand is thought to be too, and as I mentioned somewhere, it was the main route to Stafford once upon a time! I love walking up them both, feels like being in another time. Until a car whizzes around one of the bends that is! There is supposed to be a way of dating them from the hedgerows but I’ve never quite got around to doing this yet!


  1. Hi Kate,I think the way hedgerows are dated is by the number of species of
    plants /shrubs/trees/the size of trunks on Beech/Hawthorn trees ect.
    The hedges in Abnalls lane and Cross in Hand lane are well worth a slow walk by,
    I carry a yellow safety vest in the car I think it was less than two pounds to buy
    a good investment you might say.


  2. Well David, Pat’s sent me an email because he thinks someone already has! Looks like it is a tree stump but it was worth a look.


  3. This is not a tree tump it is a sawn block of seasoned oak laid on it’s side ,
    This why I thought it was stone as it is silvery-grey ,The soil covering
    is very soft and loamy like you find in a growbag ,There is a lot of mole
    activity nearby ,This may have caused movement under the mound
    as some of the covering as fallen away ,What is the purpose of the block
    of wood is this protecting something else ?,I would not like to disturb
    or expose whatever is in this mound it needs to be recorded and uncovered
    with care.


    • In the near future all may become clear about this mound ,Looking
      at maps of the area before the road changes a building was was at
      this spot that may not have all been removed I will go and take another
      look if it is just blocks of wood we could have a barbcue if it is the remains
      of a house you may get your chance of a Archaeological dig Kate .


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