The heritage of Lichfield and around Netherstowe
“From Lady Leasowe and down to a brook called Pones Brook over that brook into another lane called Stepping-Stones-Lane. Along that lane taking in the land of Richard Pyott called Pones Fields, then you are into a lane towards Curborough that takes you towards Lichfield.”
The History and Antiquities of the Church and City of Lichfield by Rev Thomas Harwood 1 January 1806
Less than half a mile north of Netherstowe House is the settlement of Curborough which today is a working farm and an Antique and Craft Centre. Curborough derives it’s name from the old English words meaning ‘mill steam’ possibly referring to Curborough Brook. Curborough Mill was recorded from as early as 1298.
Curborough is a small hamlet and was a member of the Bishop’s barony of Lichfield as appears in the Domsday Book. It was afterwards held of the Manor of London and in Edward VI reign (1547-1553) owed fruit and service to the court. Furthermore, a former settlement called Little Curborough lay about Curborough House in the Middle Ages and was later depopulated. A Great Curborough lay about Curborough Hall Farm. By 1327 the township was also known as Curborough Somerville.
(Ref Steibing Shaw).
St Chad’s Church of Lichfield founded by St Chad A 669
There has been a church on this site for a great number of years. Chad came to Lichfield in 669 to be it’s first Bishop. He lived in a secluded place where a stream divided a valley to form a small island. Here he baptised his converts and close by he built a church, which he dedicated to St Mary. He died in 672.
During the 12th century a Norman church was built, it consisted of the nave, side aisles and the chancel. At this time there was no tower. Along came the rebuilding in the 13th century. The roof was demolished and replaced and the pointed Gothic arches replaced the Norman windows.
Small changes were done in the 14th and 15th century but in The Civil War 1643 during the first siege, the Parliamentarian troops occupied the church. The Roundheads used St Chad’s as a storeroom for their scaling ladders and other fighting equipment.
Close to the site of the church was a well where St Chad used to prey and baptise his convert. In the 18th century a small stone building enclosed it. In 1949 this was demolished and removed and a more modern well was erected.
By the 19th century many churches and buildings were very much neglected. St Chad’s only had one service a week on a Sunday evening and communion was only three times a year. In 1840 the north aisle, which was in a very bad state, was rebuilt in a Victorian Gothic style. The old two-decked pulpit was removed and a separate pulpit, lectern and reading desk were provided in 1897.
There are four bells of St Chad’s, three of them date back from the 17th century. The forth may date back to 1033, although 1255 and 1555 are also recorded as likely dates.
Acknowledgements to Howard Clayton “St Chad’s Church” 1972
Eastern Avenue was first planned after the second world war in attempt to encourage industrial concerns to build factory premises into the area. In 1948 negotiations were being made to purchase land, but the first stage to be taken for was Netherstowe House otherwise Pones Mill. This house had been restored and partly rebuilt in the Elizabethan style to make a very beautiful mansion standing in its own grounds in a beautiful wooded and garden setting with its former Mill Pool through which ran the Pones Brook still taking the surplus waters of Lichfield to the River Trent.
Ref: Alan Bull Lichfield Folders
Dimbles Hill referred to as Overlady Hill. This area fully developed around 1936 -1970. 1946 the Pre - Fabricated houses were put up to help with the post war housing shortage and finally in 1972 - 3 they built on the once sacred Christian Field itself now called Elmhurst Green.
The Dimbles at the Stychbrook end is now a housing estate, this was once a beautiful wild tree filled wood with lots of wild flowers growing there. Watery Lane is very close, north of Curborough Road, this lane was very popular with the children. You could walk down this lane with streams running by to Blue Bell wood, and the wooden bridge where children used to run through the smoke of the old trains. This would take you to the Fradley aerodrome and the village.
Very near to 'Netherstowe House, a small spot of ground within the precincts of the City is called Christian Field and it is said to have been the place upon where Amphibalus taught the British Christians, who being discovered by the Romans in the exercise of their religion were driven to place where Lichfield now stands. Here the Romans murdered them in great numbers and left them unburied to be devoured by the birds and beasts. Hence the name Lichfield is supposed to signify a field of dead bodies.
Ref: Thomas Harwood book
Johnson’s Birthplace and Museum
Samuel Johnson was born here September 1709. Lichfield Corporation bought this building for £250 Alderman John Gilbert generously came forward with the amount and made a free gift of the house to his native City. Now preserved as a Museum and Memorial of Lichfield’s greatest son Statue erected August 1808