Of all of the buildings open to the public during the 2014 Lichfield Heritage Weekend, Cruck House is perhaps the one that best fits this year’s theme of ‘Hidden Histories’. I understand that this timber framed building, dating back to the fifteenth century, was restored in the 1970s, after it was discovered during the redevelopment of Stowe Street. Now surrounded by a modern housing estate, Cruck House is used by a variety of community groups, including Friends 2 Friends (F2F), an organisation which supports adults with learning difficulties. The F2F have a history group, and one of their projects has been to research the building’s past.
Cruck House, Stowe Street, Lichfield
Cruck House is open again tomorrow between 11am and 3pm, so go along and have a cup of tea, and find out what F2F have discovered so far. They’re doing a great job, but this is somewhere that doesn’t give up its secrets easily and, with five hundred years worth of history to explore here, they are always looking for any help with their research. If you know anything about the hidden history of Cruck House, please get in touch!
Discussing the history of Cruck House with the Friends to Friends group
Some of the original timber beams in Cruck House
For more information on the Friends2Friends group, contact Alison on 07800 576 645 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
A quick trip to the shop turned into a two hour walk, a good proportion of which was spend in the Stowe area of Lichfield. I found the plaque marking the approximate site of the old gate or barr into the city and then I remembered that the Cruck House was nearby.
Site of Stowe Gate, end of George Lane/Lombard St
Stowe Gate plaque
I wanted to get over to Stowe Pool, to see if there were any water lilies this year and crossed over using the bridge, something I hadn’t ever done in 8 years of living in Lichfield!
View from the bridge
The rooftops of Stowe
There were water lilies in the pool although possibly not as many as there were the same time last year. Whether this is because the sun has gone awol this year, I don’t know. I didn’t spot any nests amongst them either. This might be as they’ve chosen to move onto the specially built wildfowl islands built in the centre of the pool instead!
Back to the ward banners in the Guildhall and I think that Stowe’s is the one showing St Chad’s cross, relating to the fact that St Chad’s Church and St Chad’s well are found inside this ward.
Although the Stowe St gate is long gone, I do get a sense of being outside the city here. It’s a wonderful place to explore and enjoy. One of the definitions I’ve seen for the placename Stowe is ‘meeting place’, and from my lookout point up on the bridge I saw children playing, people out for a walk and couples sat talking. If you ever get the chance to join them, you should.