The Tailpiece map of Church End, reproduced in the last issue of LP, was taken from a drawing contained in the Studley Inclosure Award of 1819. In that same year, "A Plan of the Estates in Studley of the Miss Chambers's" (WRO ICR44911/6) was produced by William Fowler. This included a drawing of Church End, a sketch of which is reproduced here. Note the increased detail and the subtle changes in position of some of the elements. This example of conflict between two primary sources illustrates the caution that is required when research is reported by the Local Historian.
The Miss Chambers's referred to are Anna Maria, Elizabeth and Henrietta, described in the Award as Ladies of the Manor of St. John of Jerusalem. Daughters of Thomas Chambers of Gorcott Hall, they inherited their estate upon his death in 1799, and occupied Studley's Manor House on the road to Alcester. Known today as Mountbatten House, this was called New Hall in 1725, when it cannot have been many years old, for it is reputedly of late 17th C construction.
Shown still on the old OS Map of Studley, the road 'to Morton Baggot' is no more. Today it remains only as a public footpath to the E of Castle Road (AL145 on the definitive map) winding its way northward and eastward to Morton, and along its way passing Holyoake's castle of 1834,(alias the Rover Marketing Centre), and described by Pevsner as "far more impressive than the real castle ever was". The 'real castle', though, standing upon its moated site where now stands the Old Castle, must also have been impressive in its day.
Indeed, in 1819, the remaining stretch of moat to its S was still water-filled and its crossing would have seemed a formidable exercise. Generally, moated sites date from the 13th and 14th centuries and although security was a factor in their construction, they were essentially a matter of prestige - no self-respecting manorial lord would have been without one. Moats were usually not less than 15 feet wide, of rectangular shape and useful for the keeping of fish. The largely early 16th C timber-framed house which we see today, stands upon the site of its mediaeval predecessor, and could never have benefited from the defence which popular misconception has accorded to its moat.
A similar footpath (AL14O), an equal distance to the W of Castle Road, finds its way to Field Farm where it turns SE into Hardwick Lane. Also shown as a 'road' on the 1831 OS, this path completes the parallel trio of roads which once lad from ancient Studley towards Henley-in-Arden.
Church End's present remoteness, then, belies its place in Studley's history, and there is an abundance of clues available to the local history sleuth who has both the time and the enthusiasm for their pursual.
Spring 1997 Index