Friday, 10 May 2019

Staying in the ‘Bottom House’
near the Moat House during
an overnight visit to Tamworth

Tamworth Castle … one the places I may visit while I am in Tamworth today (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2019)

Patrick Comerford

I was in Saint Editha’s Church, Tamworth, last night [9 May 2019] to speak about the Comberford family and the Moat House, the Tudor house on Lichfield Street that was once the townhouse of the Comberford family of Comberford Hall.

Afterwards, there was a reception in the Comberford Chapel in the north transept of Saint Editha’s Church, where there is mediaeval effigy of an early member of the Comberford family and an 18th century monument on the wall placed there in 1725 by a member of the Comerford family of Ireland in memory of the Comberfords of Comberford.

I am staying overnight in the Tamworth Arms at 71-72 Lichfield Street, almost directly across the street from the Moat House. I cannot count the number of times I have visited both Tamworth and Comberford, including the Moat House, Saint Editha’s Church and Comberford Hall and Comberford village, over the past half century.

But during those visits, I have always stayed in Lichfield, which is just 11 or 12 km north-west of Tamworth. Indeed, in local government organisation in this corner of south-east Staffordshire, Comberford, which is 4 km north of Tamworth, is in Lichfield District.

So, this is my first time in 50 years to actually stay in Tamworth.

The Tamworth Arms is known with affection locally as ‘The Bottom House’ (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2019)

The Tamworth Arms is known with affection locally as ‘The Bottom House’ because it is at ‘bottom end’ of the town, or on the western fringe of Tamworth, on the road out to Lichfield.

This is one of Tamworth’s old public houses, and it traces its history back to a time when it was a coaching inn in the 19th century. It is a traditional English pub with a popular restaurant and selection of real ales. It has a picturesque façade that is partly red-brick, with hanging baskets and a sunny beer terrace at the front. The front is wonderfully old-fashioned, with etched and stained glass and an ancient but still functioning post box built into the wall.

Across the street, there are inviting walks along the banks of the River Tame. This is just five minutes’ walk from the town centre and a stone’s throw from Tamworth Castle, Saint Editha’s Church where I was speaking last night, Guy’s Almshouse and the other historic sites in the centre of Tamworth.

Later today I hope to return to both Saint Editha’s Church, with its wonderful stained-glass windows, and to the Moat House, which has changed hands a number of times since I last visited Tamworth, but was closed yesterday afternoon. I may also visit Tamworth Castle, or – depending on the weather – perhaps visit Hopwas or one of the other pretty villages nearby in the beautiful Staffordshire countryside between Tamworth and Lichfield. Why, I might even get out to Comberford or to Lichfield later in the day.

The coat-of-arms of Tamworth above the Tamworth Arms on Lichfield Street (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2019)

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