History Monthly: Stone street names – Part 3
This month Philip Leason, the chairman of Stone Historical Society, continue to look at the origins street names in Stone, predominantly those named after people
GRANVILLE TERRACE/GRANVILLE SQUARE are named after the Victorian statesman Granville George Leveson-Gower, the 2nd Earl Granville (1815-1891). The Earl’s original title was “Viscount Granville of Stone Park in the county of Stafford” but he received the title of “Baron Leveson of Stone Park” in 1833.
His political career spanned over 50 years – he was thrice Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Leader of the Liberal Party in the House of Lords for almost 30 years and was joint Leader of the Liberal Party between 1875 and 1880.
THE AVENUE was formerly known as Gower Street, after the surname of Earl Granville – Leveson-Gower. The correct pronunciation of Gower is “Goor” and it is reported that because of the incorrect way in which it was often said (much to annoyance of the family) that the name was changed. The name was later used again in the name of GOWER ROAD.
A contemporary of Earl Granville was James Kitson. 1st Baron Airedale (1835-1911) (AIRDALE ROAD/AIRDALE SPINNEY). With his elder brother he developed an iron foundry into a large company. He was a prominent Liberal and was elected an MP in 1892 continuing until 1907 and supported education, Irish home rule and old age pensions. He was created a Baronet in 1886 and raised to the peerage in 1907.
Perhaps the most famous person who was born in Stone is John Jervis, Earl of St. Vincent (JERVIS ROAD, ST. VINCENT ROAD). He was born at Meaford Hall on 20th January, 1735 and had a very distinguished naval career (I will not go in to great detail here of him as a full account of his life will feature in a later edition “History Monthly”). His greatest achievement was his defeat of the Spanish Fleet off the Cape of St. Vincent on 14th February, 1797 for which he received his Earldom. It is interesting to note that two of the people under his command at the battle were Nelson and Collingwood. To commemorate the bi-centenary of the battle in 1997 the square in Stafford Street was named ST. VINCENT SQUARE.
Out of interest I thought you may be interested to know that there are three international links to Earl St. Vincent. Firstly when the explorer Matthew Flinders sailed into a large bay off the coast of South Australia on 30th March 1802 he declared that I name this bay The Gulf of St, Vincent in honour of John Jervis, Earl of St. Vincent.
In the 1820’s a group of settlers started a small township in Ontario Canada which they originally called “Zero” as it was the most northerly and consequently though t to be the coldest. The name was then changed to St. Vincent in honour of Earl St. Vincent and another township was named Meaford after the name of his house. In fact the town of Meaford used the Earl’s coat of arms as their crest. In 2001, the Town of Meaford, St. Vincent and Sydenham Township were amalgamated to form one municipality entity. There then followed a debate as to what to call the new authority and eventually the name that was chosen was Meaford. I wonder how many readers realised there was another Meaford in the world and that it owes the origin of it’s name to a Stone man.
There is a tradition in the Royal Navy to name ships or shore establishments after naval heroes. HMS St. Vincent was a shore establishment at Gosport and in the late 1960’s they established a link with Stone. Stone Urban District decided to confer the Freedom of Stone on the establishment. Before this could be done two things happened in 1974 – Stone became part of Stafford Borough and St. Vincent became to HMS Collingwood, so when the Freedom was granted it was of Stafford Borough to HMS Collingwood (COLLINGWOOD COURT). This naval establishment periodically exercises this right by parading through the town. The last did so in 2012 (for details see photographs on “A Little Bit of Stone” by clicking HERE.
Another local hero, but perhaps less well known and who was a contemporary of the Earl was Thomas Oldfield (OLDFIELD DRIVE). He was born in Stone in 1756. He fought at the attack of Tenerife, (past best remembered as it was where Nelson lost his arm). He in fact gained the esteem of not only Nelson but also Napoleon who admired his courtesy and gallantry. However his career was somewhat short as he was mortally wounded and died aged 43 (more of Oldfield in a future History Monthly).
Earl St. Vincent had a close relationship with his sister Mary and who he continually wrote to from where ever he was in the world. She went on to marry William Henry Ricketts, a sugar plantation owner in Jamaica. Whilst in France Mary and her daughter also called Mary met the Honourable William Carnegie, a sailor, who was the second son of the 6th Earl of Northesk. In February 1778 William’s eldest brother Lord Rosehill (the title given to the Earl of Northesk’s eldest son) died. Later that year William and Mary married. William’s father died in 1792 and William and Mary became the 7th Earl and Countess of Northesk.
Neither Earl St. Vincent and his brother William had children and their property was left to Mary’s son Edward and to her. Prior to the Married Women’s Property Act of 1870 women were not allowed to inherit property but instead in passed direct to their husband. (Mary died in 1835 and her husband in 1831). So it was the Earl of Northesk that inherited property in Stone. It was a descendant of the Earl that eventually sold off the land in Stone in 1880. When house were eventually built on the land the street was named NORTHESK STREET.
It is interesting to note that one of the houses in Northesk Street is named Rosehill, the previous title of the Earl.
Thomas Bakewell (BAKEWELL DRIVE), although a poet he is best remembered for his work on the subject of insanity. He established his own asylum just outside Tittensor by the name of Springvale (the last remaining part of which is one of the lodges to the premises and now known as The Wrens Nest). By treating his patients with humanity he attained astonishing cures. He was married three times and had 24 children by his various wives! He died in 1835 and was buried in St. Michael and St. Wulfad’s church yard.
Another poet was Richard Barnfield (BARNFIELD CLOSE) who was born at Norbury and baptised there on 13th June 1574. Two of his poems were for many years thought to have been written by Shakespeare and were included in his complete works. In 1599 he came to live at Darlason and was buried in the old Priory Church of St. Mary and St. Wulfad on 6th March, 1627.
Moving on now to the names of some streets that have a religious connotation.
In 1842 Father Dominic Barberi came to Stone to take charge of the catholic mission at Aston and to serve the growing catholic community of Stone. He celebrated the first mass in the town since the Reformation on the first Sunday after Advent in 1842. It is in his honour that DOMINIC STREET and DOMINIC COURT.
Following the death of Father Dominic, Mother Margaret Hallahan (MARGARET STREET and HALLAHAN CLOSE) came to Stone and established a convent. Later a new church – The Immaculate Conception and St. Dominic was built to serve the growing congregation and at the dedication of the nave John Henry Newman (NEWMAN CLOSE) came over from Ireland to preach the sermon. Newman often visited Stone and to show his gratitude presented the sisters with the gift of a pair of processional lamps which are still in use today.
Another man associated with the Catholic Church was Francis Thomas (THOMAS AVENUE) who was born in Stone in 1930 and attended St. Dominic’s School and church. He went on to become the ninth Bishop of Northampton and died on 25th December, 1988. On his Coat of Arms was incorporated a pair of sandals, linking the shoe industries of Stone and Northampton and recording that fact that his father had been a cobbler.
One of the ways which St. Michael’s Church had been paid for when it was rebuilt in 1758 was by the sale of the pews which gave the owners the exclusive rights to use them. As the town developed there was insufficient seating for the growing population. In 1836 it was decided to build a new church at the north end of the town. One of the supporters of the scheme was the Rev. Charles Simeon (1759-1836) (SIMEON WAY). Simeon was the Minister of Holy Trinity, Cambridge and was an Evangelical and stressed the importance of the congregational contribution to worship. In 1814 he established the Simeon Trust which acquired the patronage of the living of churches to further his Evangelical views. So it was that the trust purchased the patronage of the new church in Stone. The foundation stone of the new church (Christ Church) was laid on 28th June, 1838, the Coronation Day of Queen Victoria. (It is interesting to note that the stone bears the correct title of “Queen Victoria the 1st” a title that is not often seen).
Moving on to the naming of CHRIST CHURCH WAY. Stafford Borough Council is the authority responsible for naming of all roads and streets within the Borough, and as there was a tremendous interest in the name for such an important development the Council invited members of the public to submit ideas for consideration. Christ Church Middles School also looked at the name as a project and various pupils put forward names including Falcon Inn Road, Stone Age Road, and Water Way Avenue. However the most popular name among the children was Christ Church Way, suggested by 12 year old Philip Clark.
The Head Teacher wrote to both the Town and Borough Council and various pupils wrote to Borough Councillors asking them for their support.
The name was discussed at the Development Services Committee on 25th January, 1995 when all the names submitted were considered. The Committee felt that as the bypass was a thing for the future and that the name of Christ Church Way had been nominated by school children, the future generation, the Committee supported the suggestion.
Returning now to theme of religion and John Wesley (WESLEY DRIVE) records in his journal for 20th March, 1738 that he “stayed at an inn overnight in Stone and met with friends” although there is no record of him every preaching here.
One of the early Methodist ministers was the Rev. Alex Hoskings who was based in Longton and lived in Fenton (HOSKINS CLOSE) who was responsible for Stone in the early 1860’s and he did much to help the people living on the canal boats. For example in his diary for 28th December, 1860 he writes: “Frost and snow everywhere, 40 boats icebound in the canal. In some, families of which are of 7-9 persons. They obtain a bare living in the fair weather but are without provisions or the means of getting any. They are literally starving. By the help of a friend I was able to distribute bread.”
During the 2nd World War the Ministry of Supply built houses at Walton for the workers at the Royal Ordnance Factory at Swynnerton. Work started in April 1941 and by August 1942 a group of building firms had built 220 houses, 220 flats and 40 staff houses. It is not surprising that one of the roads on the estate was named after the Prime Minster Winston Churchill (CHURCHILL ROAD.)
While on the subject of the 2nd World War and as part of its war efforts the town adopted H.M.S. Saxifrage (SAXIFRAGE DRIVE) during “Warships Week” in 1942. On the 13th May, 1943 plaques were exchanged to formalise the adoption and these are now on display in the Council Chamber in Stone. Following the war the ship was handed to the Norwegian government and renamed “Polar Front” and used as a weather ship. When the ship was decommissioned after 27 years the Captain presented the ships bell to Stone and again it is now in the Council Chamber.
I hope that you have enjoyed another selection of the origins of Street names in Stone. Next month we shall look a more associated with former residents.
Chairman of Stone Historical Society
The Stone Historical and Civic Society meets on the third Wednesday of each month from September to June in St Michael’s Hall, Lichfield Street, at 7.30pm. For further information contact Philip by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org