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Pre 1793

Very little is known about Pipe Green, prior to the establishment of the trust in 1793. When and how the inhabitants of Beacon Street acquired ownership of the land is still a bit of a mystery. A reference of 1819 says

"Pipe Green is said to have been left to the poor widows of Bacon Street, as pasture for their geese." (1)

However frustratingly, there is no mention of who this person was or when the land was left! The 1791 document owned by the Trust gives a small clue as it states:

"a piece of land called Pipe Green ...... which for time immemorial hath been esteeemed and enjoyed as the property of the inhabitants of Bacon Street" (2)

Site of moated manor, Abnalls lane, Lichfield
So what is "time immemorial"? It is likely that the area covered by Pipe Green originated from early enclosures, some of which were most likely medieval (3). In addition it is known that a half-timbered moated medieval house, dating to 1294, existed on the land adjacent to Pipe Green. This site is believed to have been the manorial seat of Thomas de Abbenhall and is now a Scheduled Ancient Monument. Despite being covered in nettles and not particularly obvious from ground level, the moat can clearly be seen from Google maps, as shown on the photo opposite. It is quite difficult to imagine what the manor would have looked like, but we are lucky that images exist of Handsacre Hall, which is a moated medieval manor of a similar age (and just down the road in Handsacre). Unfortunately, Handsacre Hall was demolished in the 1970s, but an excellant article on this local site is written by Lichfield Lore.

There are also some more interesting ariel photographs of the site, taken in the 1970's which show a possible track or channel leading to the moat. More of this can be found towards the end of yet another fascinating article by Lichfield Lore
 

From all of this evidence, it is possible that Pipe Green might have formed part of Thomas de Abbenhall's estate and may well have been cleared of woodland and used for farmland and or grazing in the 13th century. Often the lord of the manor would allow tenants to graze their livestock (geese, cattle, sheep) on a certain area of his estate and maybe this is the origins of Pipe Green? A visit to the record office is needed to find out more!

(1) From A short account of the City and Close of Lichfield. Thomas Lomax, William Jewling (1819) pg 138.

(2) From the 1791 agreement between Pipe Green residents and John Hartwell.

(3) Appendix 3 of Lichfield Historic and Environment Character Zone Assessement