Our village of Fulford includes the hamlets of Stallington, Saverley Green and Cross Gate. It lies in the Hilderstone Quarter of the Stone Parish and is about five miles to the N.E. of Stone. Its neighbouring villages are Hilderstone, Rough Close, Cresswell and Blythe Bridge. The nearest railway station is at Blythe Bridge, a distance of about two miles. There is also a railway station at Cresswell, about two miles east of the village.
Travelling facilities are not of the best, there being only two buses running through daily. The population of the village is approximately 600 - 700. Entering the village from the Rough Close direction we find ourselves at the sign post at the top of Fulford Dale. (See illustration 1). If you look carefully at this signpost you will notice that Cresswell if marked Creswell. Whether this is a spelling error or not, we do not know, but we are going to investigate someday. “The Dale”, as this part of the village is called, is very pretty and you will notice how the road winds about and is very narrow in places. The roads and lanes of Fulford are mostly narrow and seem to have a great many curves and bends in them. This fact has led us to wondering why this is so. Could it be that these roads followed the plots of land? Or could it be that each farmer in those old days had to fend for himself and if he wanted to get out to market, had to make his own road, which would naturally be as near to his own land as possible? Or perhaps was it because the people did not often go far beyond home, being perhaps “self- supporting”? Whatever the reason, we are finding to-day that these narrow twisting roads, although perhaps adding to the beauty of the place, are a handicap, especially in Winter, when after a heavy fall of snow, the roads get blocked at these many bends, cutting the village off from the outside world for a time. We have now take the lane to the left of the signpost and have arrived in Stallington Lane, a part of Fulford. Here we find an ancient Manor called Stallington Hall. For more than a century this Hall was the residence of Sir Hill Child’s ancestors. The family lives there no longer, as the present Sir Hill Child took an appointment in the King’s Household in 1924 and moved to London. He sold Stallington Hall to the City of Stoke-on-Trent, to be used as a Mental Hospital. Several blocks of buildings have been added to it in recent years, but the old Hall still stands intact.
The departure of the Hill Child family from the village severed a very old link for many of the older generation, who can tell of many acts of kindness during sickness among the villagers, such gifts of soup, coal, flannel and blankets etc. The good work of this family is mostly seen in the Church and School; the School of those days is now the Parish Hall and used for meetings etc.
The Stallington Hall of to day is doing a grand job. It houses and cares, for a great number of mentally defective patients, both children and adults, and judging from an Exhibition and Sale held there recently, we feel that his hospital is worthy of much praise. The staff and patients must have felt a great pride in showing what they could do. The goods put out for sale were a fine show and showed great skill and care in the making of them. Sir Hill and Lady Child must feel proud that their old home has been put to such a magnificent use. We wish the staff and patients “Good Luck”. Sir Hill and Lady Child still pay annual visits to the village and to the Church which still enjoys their patronage. Many of the Hill Child ancestors lie at rest in the churchyard.
Across the fields from Stallington Hall we see a large grey building which looms out of the lovely green of the fields, like an ugly blot. This factory was a necessity to the war-effort. Large numbers of aeroplanes were manufactured there, and many thousands of people were employed during the war. The German Air Force had several attempts to find it but failed. Only one stick of bombs fell anywhere near it and they fell into fields and did no damage at all. Thus our village escaped the ravages of war, for which we are truly thankful. Our sympathy goes out to those villages which were not so fortunate.
4. FULFORD DALE
We leave Stallington now and proceed towards the village, continuing along Fulford Dale. On our way we shall pass a disused quarry were in the past white stone was quarried. This white stone appears to have been used in the building of many of the old houses, which stand on a natural rock foundation. The walls of these old houses are built with large blocks of stone, and if you observe these walls you will notice many incisions in them. The old villagers will tell you a good story about these incisions and how they came to be there. They will tell you that in past, the fighting men of Fulford used to sharpen their weapons on these walls, finding the hard surface of the stone a very good and handy sharpener, when needed in a hurry. There are many of these incisions on the rocks and stone walls round the village and the height at which these marks are found, the height of a man sitting on horse-back, may lend colour to the story. In some parts of the village rocky surfaces show themselves. One in particular which stands up about fifteen feet from the ground has a stone house built on it. The house is named “The Rocks”. In the garden of this house is a small square of lane, surrounded by a wall of rock. A post stood in the middle, to which straying cattle were fastened, until such time as the owner of the lost animal came to claim it, on payment of one shilling. This miniature Police Station for lost cattle was known as “The Pinfold”.
There is no Police Station at Fulford. The nearest is at Blythe Bridge. We are glad to observe that the village of Fulford (our village) must have a very good record, hence the absence of a resident Policeman. May we always keep our good name with as much pride as the people of bygone days did and never need to require a resident Policeman ever.
Continuing from the Pinfold we come to the village Post Office, which is the General Stores as well, in the centre of a row of six cottages. Here we have a Public Telephone Kiosk. This part of the village is known as “Long Lane End” (see illustration 3) and this lane which once was known as “Summer Street Lane” is reputed to have been used by Dick Turpin on his famous ride from London to York. At this “Long Lane End” we find the “Smithy” and the children always linger on their way from School if the Blacksmith is working. It is a great treat for them to find the Blacksmith’s shop open, which is not too often these days, now that the tractor is doing the work which used to be done by horses.
3. LONG LANE END