Gathering Moss

Walking around the edge of Beacon Park, I noticed a pile of moss covered stones in the undergrowth that I’d never seen before.  To me, they look like part of an old building, possibly pillars? It’s a long shot I know, but does anyone recognise them or have any idea as to where these pillars (if that’s what they are!) may have come from?

Whilst on the subject of ‘parts of old buildings found in unexpected places’, I have to mention my old favourite Fisherwick Hall. Back in January, I wrote an article for the Lichfield Gazette which mentioned that the hall had been demolished, but that parts of it had been reused elsewhere. After lying around for some years covered in moss, the pillars from Fisherwick went to the George Hotel in Walsall – you can read the great post written about the hotel by Stuart Williams of Walsall Local History Centre here. However,  I had no idea what had happened to the pillars, following the demolition of the hotel in the 1930s. Therefore, I was delighted when Paul (the editor of the Lichfield Gazette) told me that someone had contacted him, saying that some years ago he had seen them lying on a patch of ground near to the cricket ground in the Highgate area of Walsall. The gentleman described them as lying in pieces and covered with moss and lichen. Sounds familiar! Coincidentally, the site the gentleman described is a stone’s throw from where some of my relatives live, and so the next time I visited I went to take a look, but I had no luck in finding them. So near, yet so far….

Back to our Beacon Park stones, and someone from the Beacon Street Area Residents’ Association has very kindly said that he will ask the people in the know i.e. the Parks team and the Civic Society if they can shed any light on the matter. In the meantime, he’s left me pondering the fact that parts of the old bandstand and cycle track are also apparently also still around in the park somewhere…

Beacon Park bandstand c.1905
Source: Wikimedia Commons

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11 thoughts on “Gathering Moss

  1. Hi Kate, Wonderful find, I see you are already getting someone to ask the Parks team which was i was going to do for you, so I will leave it in BASRA capable hands. What does occur to me and I might be totally wrong.. But when I did the look at the Fransican Friary I note a lot of the demolition material was re-used in Beacon park. Maybe just maybe these are old pillars from the fransican friary , which would make sense why the are there maybe? Shot in the dark I know, but could be?

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    • Cheers Gareth! They must have been there all these years & I only just spotted them due to some recent clearance work that’s been carried out. I never thought of the Friary but you might be on to something there. We know stone from there was supposed to have been used in the toilets at the other end of the park, so we know materials did stay & get reused here…who knows?! I’m so intrigued by where it came from & how it got there. I did look at one of your lovely maps of the park but no clues there – it’s fun trying to work it out though! I did wonder about Beacon Place but I can’t see why they would have kept bits of it. I suppose it could be from elsewhere in Lichfield & just stored here. I’m rambling aloud now… Hmmmm… 🙂

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    • Cheers Simon. I love doing everything I do on this blog, but it’s the finding bits of stone sticking out of hedges & traces of old buildings type things that I love most of all I think!

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  2. From the photos looks like the far side of the park, so a bit far off from the gardens where the bandstand was, or the Friary…though I supposed could have been moved for a feature…are they near water?? The only other thought was Beacon House?

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    • Thanks David. It is the other side of the park – quite close to the crossing over the western bypass, so it’s not near water. I wondered about Beacon Place, and there was the now demolished lodge to the house a little further down the path towards Sandford St plus some farm buildings nearby I think (going by Gareth’s maps). To me it looks like something that’s been taken down and left here rather than something that was purposefully put there as a feature, which is why I think it could be part of a building from anywhere in Lichfield that’s been stored here for some reason (a la the Fisherwick pillars). The reason I agree with Gareth & think there is a possibility that it could come from the Friary is that we know that material was saved from that building when it was taken down. However, in all honesty, I really don’t know!

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  3. Kate,because Lichfield has a large number of buildings of stone construction
    the re-use of that stone has been on going for many hundreds of years ,The
    finding of bricks many miles from where they were made can be resolved
    but stone can be used over and over again and more difficult to find the
    source of it’s first use unless it has distinct markings.

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    • Thanks Pat…I know you’re probably right, but I was just hoping that someone might remember the circumstances of how it got there or something! You know what I’m like 😉

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  4. Intriguing, I hope you can get an inkling as to what they were used for.

    As an aside, I noticed these pillars in Graisley, Wolverhampton and they seemed far grander than the whereabouts suggested. Of course the tops were missing the Ironwork gates had been probably stolen some years ago.

    It turned out that the impressive iron gates and the stone surround were originally the gates to the Convent Lodge at Tong Castle, Shropshire. The gates were removed and rebuilt as the main entrance to the Villiers works in Marston Road. They were designed by Capability Brown and are, would you believe, a badly looked after Grade II Listed structure!

    Click to enlarge…

    http://www.panoramio.com/photo/65701157?tag=English%20Buildings%20Listed

    Regards Peter

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    • Thanks Peter. They are a great find – I love how many surprises there are to be found out there if you keep your eyes open & how even bits of buildings can have many lives! Until recently I never really thought about parts of buildings being sold or moved elsewhere, but it seems it’s actually quite common. I have no real leads on the pillars at Beacon Park. I can’t help think they must have been kept for a reason though, so I hope something does turn up! Cheers, Kate

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  5. Pingback: Pillars of the Community | Lichfield Lore

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