The work of discovering the story of historic Stoulton began at the turn of the millennium when a group of enthusiastic, but amateur, historians decided to investigate how Stoulton had changed during the 20th century. We called ourselves the Time Travellers
We have looked at a number of old maps and concluded that the original footprint of the parish lies across the present road system. Ancient roads and tracks, now reduced to footpaths, connected the major settlements within the parish. The village of Stoulton even had a “bypass” as the road to London skirted the village on the lower land to the west of the village..
We have seen that the first mention of Stoulton was in the 9th century and that the hamlet of Low Hill was thought to have been the ancient meeting place of the Hundred - the Saxon local government unit.
Today the road that runs over Low Hill is called the A44. In Saxon times it was a busy Salt Way. Trains of Packhorses carried salt from Droitwich to distant manors and market places. They came back laden with wood, fuel for the salt pans.
We have wondered where to find the windmill at Windmill Hill. Then we asked we asked Barrie, a local farmer, who still remembers where and when he first encountered the windmill tump.... he was driving a tractor!
We can see that the Haw, the stream that runs through the parish down to Hawbridge, played an important part in the operation of the watermill beyond the parish boundary in Caldwell. But what was the function of the embankment or causeway across the Haw, upstream from the present day B4084? Is it ancient or modern?
Whilst the population of the parish has greatly increased, from 300 to just under 500 during the 20th century, not many of the family names seen during the 19th century have survived to the present day. Which is the oldest established family still farming in the parish? Might it be the Procters? We noted their name in the 1840s. No doubt someone will tell us.
At the start of the 20th century all appears to have been idyllic. The lord was in his manor, the parson in his living - Revd . Kingsford had been here for over 40 years - and the school mistress was in her school which was well attended and receiving good reports, even when they were inspected and appraised! The letters came to the local post office from Worcester for delivery at 5.20 am. The parish had its own station with its own station master and a coal siding.
But was it really so good? Candles and oil lamps to read by, mains electricity would be another 50 years, as would mains water. Wells for water and cesspits for waste - the local medical officer criticising the school at one time because the pits were too near each other and the rain water was not being collected. There were frequent outbreaks of measles, whooping cough and scarlet fever reported by the head teacher, necessitating the closure of the school. There was even juvenile crime. The local “bobby” had to deal with lads scrumping fruit but no doubt a clip round the ear was preferred to a visit to the magistrates.