Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Third Leg of King’s Map of 1682

Time to scramble back into our thick socks and hiking boots, pick up our wizened old staff (that’d be the Wyre Archaeology committee) and hoist our rucksacks over our shoulders once again, because we’re back on King’s highway, from seventeenth century Poulton to what’ll probably be eighteenth century Pilling by the time we reach it.
We’ve left Poulton far behind us now, of course, crossed the River Wyre by Mains Hall and tramped around the back of Hambleton due to the fact that ‘ye Wyre Floweth’ over the road (or possibly we've wandered around the front of Hambleton following the same road we'd follow nowadays...we're still in debate about that).

There’s not much to mention about this particular stretch of our journey, other than that we’re heading northwards to Stalmine. (Stalmine’s off the bottom of the map, incidentally. King drew the whole lot upside down for reasons best left to himself and his unusual outlook.)
En route we pass some interesting ‘banks’ and ‘shrubs’ -- King thought them interesting enough to include, at any rate; perhaps he held an account at one of them -- then a turn off back to Hambleton, another to Staynall, a third ‘to ye moss’ and a fourth, in the same direction, heading also to ‘ye moss’ only this time via ‘Racliff’ (which was King’s way of spelling Rawcliffe; he was a cartographer, nobody said he had to be good at spelling).
All of which preamble brings us to the village of Stalmine itself, and a good job too, because we could do with a cigarette and a butty after that.

By the look of things, Stalmine hasn’t changed much since King’s time. Most of the original houses are still there.
Here’s one of them below. I’m not quite certain which one it is, probably the one just above the square village green on the map. Whatever the case, it was there in King’s day, and it’s still there now (sans thatch and original occupants perhaps).

Off to the right of the map, as far as we can work out, runs Occupation Lane.
That’s still there as well, as can be seen in the following photograph, although nowadays it’s little more than, for the most part, a sunken track between the trees (possibly indicating that it’s an even more ancient hollow way than King realised), dwindling and dawdling as it meanders into a public footpath across the patchwork fields, before running out of steam altogether when it reaches the stile at Highgate Lane (that other Kings’ Highway from ancient times).

There’s a chamfered stump guards the entrance to Occupation Lane at the village end; a lonely stone now acting as residence to miniature mosses and curling ivy. It might once have been a gatepost, but it seems far more likely (to antiquarians such as me anyhow) to have been the indicator that a keeill (one of those early Christian/Pagan chapels constructed from upturned boats) was in the region.
After all, wherever there’s a Keeill, there’s generally a lane that attaches it to a Roman road (in this case the aforementioned Highgate Lane, which we know was Roman because we excavated it last year) and its obligatory keeill cross.
So, where’s the keeill you ask? Well, some keeills rotted along with the old religions centuries ago, whilst other (perhaps with a bit more foresight) transformed themselves into fully-fledged Christian places of worship.
Let’s continue our ramble down Smithy Lane (to the left of the green on King’s map), briefly noting the old road to Stalmine Grange (another of last year’s digs) at the lower right hand corner, and the various old cottages leading up to the Seven Stars pub.
There’s Town End Cottage, look, with its enormous black flying buttresses. I can’t help wondering what they’re for, other than to prevent the cottage from collapsing beneath its own weight, of course.

At the top of Smithy Lane we pass my sister’s old house. She now lives on Lewis, an island off the northwest coast of Scotland. Apparently the hurly-burly of Stalmine was too much for her.
Across the road lies the Seven Stars pub, so it’s time for another whistle stop, and a pint or two to whet it.
There’s some writing on King’s map at the Seven Stars, but its difficult to make out. Rich Simpson perhaps? King might have been drunk when he wrote it. Whatever it reads, next door to the pub stands Stalmine Chapel, a sketch of which has been provided for us by King himself.
In the grounds of Stalmine Chapel (still there to this day) stands the preaching cross shown below.

It’s been converted into a sundial now, but back in the days before it was retired (1690 according to date carved on its rear) it was hefted into a much older, square stone base.
That’s the base of a keeill cross, that is, suggesting that Stalmine Chapel, way back in its infancy, was our missing keeill after all.

Did it originally house our lonely stump at Occupation Lane? We couldn’t tell you that off hand. Not t
hat it matters, because we’ve run out of space and we’ve run out of map for the time being, so we’ll just have to continue our rambles on another occasion.


Jayne said...

Occupation Lane looks gorgeous!
I bet when those trees are in blossom (do they have blossom?) it looks like something out of Anne of Green Gables.

WV =wishning
Something one does when one sees collapsing piles of castle going for a song on Escape To The Country.

Brian Hughes said...

Jayne,"(do they have blossom?)"

I'm not sure...I don't know what sort of trees they are. They do have more leaves on them in summer, I know that. Probably a few squirrels as well.

WV="ploncr": In reality, the only sort of people who can afford to buy ruined castles, worse luck.

JahTeh said...

Never mind the pretty houses and old stones, what was the pub like?
You have to do these posts with all the pertinent details not just the bits you like.

Brian Hughes said...


The pub's excellent, like most Over Wyre pubs, the only drawback nowadays being the smoking ban, which is why they're all going bankrupt.

John said...

I agree, let's see pics of the inside of the pub as well.

And after a few drinks, I'd like to see you try to fit that old stump into that stone base, just to see if it all goes together.

To be honest, it looks like they could hav etried harder with the sundial. It looks just slapped on there, where the original Keeill Cross restored would look quite lovely.

Still, nice walking with you.

JOHN :0)

wv = sitaina What a North Englishman would say to someone pacing in their kitchen, as in "Sitaina areddy".

Brian Hughes said...


Nae lad, jus' sithabod, nae thar's Lankytwang.

Ozfemme said...

I'm puzzled about the buttresses.

wv = crest.

I have no idea why.

Brian Hughes said...


You and me both. It's an old building, so it's probably bulging a bit (like we all do when we get older) and needs a bit of reassurance. Possibly. I'll have to look into it at some point.

chris2553 said...

I was in the Seven Stars last night. They serve a fine pint of Theakston's bitter and there are a few terrific old photographs of the village. The cottage, by the way, is one of the two at the top of Occupation Lane. The plaque over the door shows that it was built in 1684.

WV=pringn. The state of mind reached after devouring two tubes of Pringles

Brian Hughes said...


Bugger! So I was wrong? That cottage was built two years after King had drawn up his map. How awkward is that? Presumably there are the remains of an earlier building underneath it then, if King's map is accurate...