We are lucky that the Trust's documents gives us the names of the people, since 1793, who were either committee members of the Trust, were grazing livestock on the Green, or were receiving annual donations from the Trust. This tells us who was living in Beacon Street and with a bit of digging around through historical records, allows us to get to know some of these people: what they were doing and where they lived. From this, we can start to build up a fascinating picture of the social history of Beacon Street. As with most things, this is very much an ongoing project; to date there are over 200 names to investigate! Below is a list of a few of these people.
The Bonell family were heavily involved with the Pipe Green Trust from its inception to the mid 1830s, as they regularly grazed two head of cattle on the Green as well as attending the AGMs. Both Thomas's brother (Joseph) and son (also called Thomas) were members of the Trust. Thomas senior was a joiner and carpenter and his son followed in his footsteps. Upon his death in 1823 Thomas's will states that he "Bequeath all my household goods, furniture, stock in trade, books, monies securities to dear wife Sarah Bonell”, The estate was valued at £400 (£42,000 in today's money), which must have kept Sarah comfortable in her widowhood.
George Adams (or Addams) was a Lichfield wine merchant who lived at no 3 Beacon Street, which is now better known as the Angel Croft. He was one of the original members of the Trust and his signature is on the deed of 1793, establishing the Trust's formation. He moved to the newly built Maple Hayes Hall in around 1796 and from the Trust's accounts, we can see he paid 5s to the Trust to allow him to drive his carriage across the Green to his rather magnificent new home! Unfortunately he died in 1806 and so did not spend that much time enjoying his new abode.
Samuel Culwick was the chairman of the Pipe Green Trust, for most of the time between 1858 and 1880. He never grazed any animals on the Green, but he was most certainly an important person in the Trust's history. He was a member of the Vicars Choral (i.e a lay person who sang in the Cathedral choir) at Lichfield Cathedral and according to the Cathedral's records he was a “tenor vocalist; lay clerk at Lichfield cathedral, a zealous worker in the cause of music, and an oratorio singer of repute in the midlands”. He supplemented his income by giving music lessons and in 1851 he was living at 86 Beacon Street, but had moved to Victoria Cottage in Stafford Road by 1881. He was also a churchwarden of St Chads and his gravestone can be seen near to the entrance of the church.
One of his sons, James Cooksy Culwick, inherited his father's musical ability and whilst he started off as a chorister and assistant organist in Lichfield cathedral, in 1866, he moved to Dublin and became a renowned organist. In 1898 he formed the famous Culwick Choral Society, which is still going strong today!.
George Fernyhough was a member of the Pipe Green Trust in the second half of the 19th century and regularly grazed a horse on the Green. He was a market gardener, who lived at the bottom of Lyncroft Hill. In 1888, he was recorded as renting 20 acres of land in and around Stafford Road, at a cost of £100 (equivalent to £11,000 in today's money). You can certainly grow a lot of vegetables and fruit on that amount of land! There is a lovely description of George in a retrospective 1938 Lichfield Mercury article, by the Rev. A Jackson.
“His (George Ferneyhough) carts regularly journeyed weekly – loaded with greens, potatoes and almost every kind of vegetable – during the early hours of the morning to the Black Country towns, in all kinds of weather, with nothing more than candle lamps to light them.”
A fascinating image of George's nephew Ted Ferneyhough, with his cart loaded with cauliflowers, can be found in Cuthbert Brown's More memories – a companion book to “Born in a Cathedral City”.
William Gallimore was a very well known figure in Lichfield and lived to the ripe old age of 88. He was a farmer who lived, along with his two brothers, at Pinfold Farm (now known as The Cottages - see image), on the junction of Beacon St and Pinfold Lane.
He was a member of the Pipe Green Trust for 60 years (that must be a record!) and was Chairman for some of the time. In the 1930s, very few Beacon Street residents wanted to own or graze cattle and so Gallimore rented the Green from the Trust to farm. In 1938, 6 youths were charged with damaging 2 of Gallimore's hayricks on the Green! There is a fitting obituary to George in the Lichfield Mercury (11th August, 1949) of which a small extract states: “Deceased was a well known market gardener and farmer and had farmed in the Beacon Street district for upwards of seventy years. Before the war he was a big cattle and pig rearer and was a prominent prize winner at many of the Midland Shows.”
More about the Gallimores can be found in Cuthbert Brown"s excellent book “Born in a Cathedral City”
Trevor Jones was born in Flintshire in 1753, and was living in Lichfield by the 1790s. He was one of the few physicians in Lichfield at that time and took over Erasmus Darwin's medical practice, when Darwin retired. The two men kept in communication, especially regarding the health and condition of some of the patients. Whilst Trevor Jones was a member of the Pipe Green Trust, he was not a committee member. Instead he grazed one or two horses each year on the Green, until his death in 1832.
Trevor Jones married Favoretta Burnes (of the Aldershawe estate) and they had two children: Lucy Favoretta Jones (1793 - 1857) and Trevor Owen Jones (1790 - 1871). Lucy went on to marry the politician Panton Corbett. His son Trevor became a Reverend and ended up doing pretty well for himself, as he inherited his Aunt's Aldershawe estate, as well as many properties owned by the Floyers of Longdon. He then changed his name to Rev Trevor Owen Burnes Floyer to reflect his change in fortune (as you do!).
Jospeh was the victualler of the Wheel Inn, which was where the Pipe Green Trust quite often used to hold their AGMs. (The Trust always used to hold their AGMs in one of the many pubs on Beacon Street). The Wheel Inn was in existence by 1811 and was located near to the junction of Beacon St and what is now known as Wheel Lane, (although it was called Grange Lane in 1811). This part of Lichfield in the early 1800s consisted of a few cottages and was called New Town. Jospeh annually grazed a head of cattle on the Green until 1818 (two years before his death) and according to the accounts did some manual work on the Green, e.g. repairing the bridge and chaining the gate. His wife, Ann Mosedale carried on running the Inn for a few years after Jospeh's death.