We were fortunate enough to be staying in the village of All Stretton in Shropshire for a few days when the All Stretton History Group and the villagers staged a most enjoyable 1891 History Day. Villagers dressed in period costumes and tea was offered in a beautiful garden.
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Carpenters and others demonstrated old time skills while Maypole dancing by the village children and Morris dancing by adults vied with tea and treats as favourite pastimes in the sunshine.
Many buildings in the village are of stone with the stone originating from the Buxton Quarry in Batch Valley nearby. The quarry is a regionally important geological site as it exposes the boundary between ancient sedimentary rocks and younger rocks.
As we roamed around the village, posted signs told us about the history of the village buildings:
The Grove: Though demolished in 1969, on this site in 1891 a building, run by the McLintock family, was a lunatic asylum for 32 ladies and had 13 live-in staff. It was originally a school (1839) but changed its purpose in 1852. Still standing is part of the boundary wall while the property is now occupied by eight houses built in the 1970s.
1603 Batch Valley: In the 16th century a hemp yard stood here and had two cottages and outbuildings. The two cottages were merged into one in the late 19th century when there were 15 people from two families crowded together here. Edward Morris grew up here and still lived here when married and a father in 1891. He was a boot and shoemaker. By 1901 his wife Beatrice was a grocer and shopkeeper.
Buxton House: Mary Ainsworth, a 72 year old widow of a butcher, lived at this address in 1891. Her daughter and other family members joined her. The house had belonged to various families, including the Whartons and the Baldwins, before this time.
The Manor House: supposedly built in the 16th century by the Wilkes family but not named until the 1920s. It was never a manor house though. It was a trampsí lodging house and also a maltings during the 19th century.
The White Horse: Once an inn, but thought to be part of the maltings group of buildings, it was run in 1891 by Joseph Tudor who was a butcher. His wife ran the inn in the 20th century after his death.
The Yew Tree: This building dates from the 17th or 18th century and was built for a pub which it still is.
The Hall: In 1891 a retired customs official, George Haverkam, and his sister lived here, it being the family home since the late 1840s. In the early 20th century it became the Stretton Hall Hotel.
Roseleigh: Possibly dating from the mid 16th century, the steep angle of the roof may be due to it being thatched at one time. The Lewis family lived in the building from at least 1841. Both the father and son were blacksmiths.
Essex Lodge, Farm Lane: The date of this building is not determined but it may contain parts of an original one thought to date from the 1700s. Hints of wattle and daub construction are seen on the north side. In the 19th century the Edwards family, complete with 11 children, lived here and ran it as the New Inn. As the children grew to adulthood they started other trades here including those of a wheelwright, dressmaker, and delivery service. By 1891 it became a private residence.
Cloverley, Farm Lane: a more modern cottage built in the mid 1800s, the Smith family lived here.
Old Hall Farm: This farmhouse was constructed in two separate phases, one in 1564 and the other in 1630. The farm was owned in the 17th century by Samuel Adderton, elected mayor of Shrewsbury and High Sheriff of Montgomeryshire. His descendants rented the house to tenants. Eventually the property was purchased by a London silversmith for his brother, a local man who was a glazier.
The White Hart: The cottage dates from at least 1731 and had a second storey added around 1759. It served as an alehouse when the railway was built in the mid 19th century.
Laburnum Cottage: A tree feller and his family lived here before 1891 when Thomas Paget, a stone mason, was in occupancy. It was converted from two cottages into one.
Minton Villa: This building dates from 1739-41. It was named in the 1860s by its owner, Martha Minton. By 1891 a farmer and his family and a group of lodgers were in residence. It served as a village post office at one time, and there is a Victorian post box set in the wall.
In addition to the interesting historical village, there are beautiful countryside views, and nearby there are interesting places to roam around by car or on foot. The Long Mynd is one of these.
All Stretton is located on the B5477 just west of the A49 and north of Church Stretton.
Information on signs courtesy of All Stretton History Group.
To stay at All Stretton:
Tel. 0 1694 723 427
Photos and text © by Barbara Ballard