Monday, 8 February 2021

One of Lichfield’s charming
Tudor-style houses on
Beacon Street is for sale

Ardmore Cottage (left) and Nether Beacon House (right) on Beacon Street … Ardmore Cottage is on the market (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

During my visits to Lichfield, I regularly enjoy the stroll along Beacon Street between the Hedgehog and Lichfield Cathedral and the heart of the city. In the light of early morning and in the late evening, with the birdsong in the trees and the lights of the winter sun, there is a semi-rural feeling in the air, enhanced by the rustic look of many of the houses along Beacon Street.

Beacon Street is a truly charming area, with some timber-framed houses and cottages dating back to the 18th century or earlier. Later houses, influenced by the Arts and Crafts Movement, and Tudor-style pubs like the Feathers and the Fountain, add to the character of the area and give it an ambience that is a mixture of both rural setting and late Victorian suburb.

Some years ago, during December snows, when a Facebook friend posted photographs from this area, I told him if I was to live in any street in Lichfield, I would probably want to buy a house on Beacon Street.

One of these charming, timber-framed, Tudor-style houses, Ardmore Cottage, a four-bedroom house, is currently on the market through Knight Frank of Birmingham, who are inviting offers in excess of £495,000.

Ardmore Cottage, Nether Beacon House and Ardmore House once formed one house, but they were later divided into three separate houses, and they have Grade II listing.

Ardmore Cottage in the Knight Frank brochure

Ardmore Cottage is a pretty, black and white cottage dating from the late 17th century or early 18th century, with a late 18th century addition and later alterations. It is timber-framed with brick infill and brick, tile roofs and brick stacks, and has an abundance of character and charm.

Ardmore Cottage and Nether Beacon House are a pair, built on a double-depth plan with a later range to the rear. Outside, from the Beacon Street frontage, there are two storeys, a symmetrical three-window range, and a 19th century single-storey wing at the end of each house.

There is a hipped roof with three gables, and the timber-frame was applied in the late 19th century to the partly plastered stone plinth.

The entrances to the two houses at the centre have porches recessed behind Tudor arches and Art Nouveau iron gates. The half-glazed doors have leaded glazing and side lights. Inside, the houses retain their beams, fireplaces and original features.

The three-light projecting windows have cornices, but the two central first-floor windows are narrow windows, and the windows on wings date from the 20th century. The left return has and an exposed square framing, three flat-roofed dormers and a tall stack.

Behind, this pair of houses has a three-storey, four-window range, with coped gables, end stacks, and a modillioned brick cornice. The windows have sills, and there are rubbed brick flat arches over the 12-pane sashes, with nine-pane sashes on the second floor.

The right return at Nether Beacon has 20th additions and entrance on the ground floor. The left return has a small, two-storey rear wing with an end stack and return, a 4:12:4-pane, tripartite sash window and is taller than the adjoining front range due to slope of ground.

Ardmore Cottage is entered through a timber-framed storm porch, and the hallway leads to the principal reception rooms, with a staircase rising to the first-floor landing.

The drawing room has a feature fireplace and a large bay window, and an intriguing trap door that leads down to the cellar. The dining room has quarry tiled floor and wooden beams and the kitchen also has feature brick and beams on the walls. There is an ornamental, courtyard-style terrace garden a parking area.

The principal bedroom is en-suite, and there are two further double bedrooms and a family bathroom on the first floor. The fourth bedroom is at the top of the house on the second floor.

Did the stairs in Ardmore Cottage originally come from Fisherwick Hall? (Photograph: Knight Frank brochure)

I sometimes wonder how Ardmore House and Ardmore Cottage in Lichfield came to have such distinctively Irish names. Some years ago, in her blog Lichfield Lore, the Lichfield historian Kate Gomez recalls how it is said that a staircase from Fisherwick Hall, the former home of the Marquesses of Donegall, was taken to a house on Beacon Street known as Ardmore.

I wonder whether these are the stairs in Ardmore Cottage, or whether they are stairs in Ardmore House on Nether Beacon, recently on the market through Downes and Daughters of Lichfield, with an asking price of £675,000.

The paired Nether Beacon House was once a house for boarders from the Friary School in the 1920s, and it has a curious sign at the front door: ‘Beware of the Cats.’ Each time I see it, it reminds me of how Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), the Lichfield lexicographer, and his cat, Hodge, who is remembered in a whimsical passage in James Boswell’s Life of Samuel Johnson (1799).

Boswell recalls that when he observed that Hodge was a fine cat, Johnson said, ‘Why yes, Sir, but I have had cats whom I liked better than this.’ And then, as if perceiving Hodge to be out of countenance, added, ‘but he is a very fine cat, a very fine cat indeed.’

Johnson was known to go out of his way to buy oysters to feed Hodge, even to the point of annoying his servants by pampering his pets. After Hodge’s death, the poet Percival Stockdale wrote ‘An Elegy on the Death of Dr Johnson’s Favourite Cat’:

Who, by his master when caressed
Warmly his gratitude expressed;
And never failed his thanks to purr
Whene’er he stroked his sable fur.


A bronze statue to Hodge by the sculptor Jon Bickley stands facing Dr Johnson’s house in Gough Square, off Fleet Street, London. It was unveiled in 1997 and shows Hodge sitting on top of Johnson’s Dictionary, alongside some empty oyster shells. The monument is inscribed with the words ‘a very fine cat indeed.’

Ardmore Cottage is on sale through Knight Frank Birmingham, 1 Colmore Row, Birmingham B3 2BJ

Ardmore Cottage (left) and Nether Beacon House (right) on Beacon Street … how did Ardmore Cottage get its Irish-sounding name? (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Visiting churches, cathedrals
and chapels in Co Wexford

Saint Iberius Church on North Main Street in the heart of Wexford (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

I have been visiting churches in Wexford town and throughout Co Wexford all my life. But when I began this blog over 13 years ago (10 November 2007), my blog postings were without order and organisation, and so my blog postings on Wexford churches have appeared randomly over the years.

My first blog posting on a Wexford church was a reposting of a magazine feature on Saint Edan’s Cathedral, Wexford, in December 2009. In time, thy multiplied as I went on a number of ‘road trips’ researching Pugin’s churches in Ireland, particularly in Co Wexford.

But as blog postings roll over, year after year, it becomes increasingly difficult to roll over these posts, and to find them.

Some of my recent posts on Wexford churches have had so many ‘hits’, I thought this guide to my postings on churches and cathedrals in Wexford would be helpful.

I have similar guides to cathedrals and churches in Limerick, and to synagogues I have visited around the world.

This guide includes links to the two cathedrals, to a number of churches I have visited in recent years (though not all of them), some private, family-owned chapels, even the one and only synagogue in Co Wexford.

Each church name has a built-in hyperlink that enables readers to click and move to that posting.

I plan to update this guide as I visit more churches, and as I find more photographs in my files.

An additional feature of this guide is the way Pugin churches are marked with a capital P in bold typeface.

Saint Aidan’s Cathedral, Enniscorthy, Pugin’s ‘Irish Gem’ overlooking the River Slaney in Co Wexford (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Cathedrals:

1, Saint Edan’s Cathedral, Ferns (Church of Ireland) (15 December 2009)

2, Saint Aidan’s Cathedral, Enniscorthy (Roman Catholic) P (24 January 2016)

Mediaeval, pre-Reformation churches:

3, Selskar Abbey, Wexford (24 October 2020)

4, Saint John’s Church, Lower John Street, Wexford (19 January 2019)

5, Saint Patrick’s Church, Saint Patrick’s Square, Wexford (4 February 2021)

6, Tintern Abbey (8 March 2011)

7, Hook Church or Saint Dubhán’s Church, Churchtown (30 March 2019)

Church of Ireland:

8, Saint Iberius Church, North Main Street, Wexford (19 January 2019)

9, Saint Mogue’s Church, Fethard-on-Sea (8 March 2011)

10, Saint Anne’s Church, Killanne (26 November 2015)

11, Saint Munna’s Church, Taghmon (24 November 2015)

12 Saint Mary’s Church, Bunclody (22 November 2015)

13, Saint Catherine’s Church, South Street, New Ross, now known as Trinity Chambers (25 March 2019)

Roman Catholic:

14, The Pugin Chapel, Saint Peter’s College, Wexford P (11 September 2010)

15, The Church of the Assumption, Bride Street, Wexford (4 October 2014) and the O’Keefe window (3 February 2021)

16, The Franciscan Friary Church, School Street, Wexford (1 November 2016)

17, Church of Saint Mary and Saint Michael, New Ross (19 March 2019)

18, Saint Michael’s Church, New Ross, now Saint Michael’s Theatre (20 March 2019)

19, Saint Michael’s Church, Gorey P (11 September 2010)

20, The Church of the Assumption, Bree P (23 October 2010)

21, Saint Alphonsus’s Church, Barntown P (23 October 2010)

22, Saint Mary’s Church, Tagoat P (23 October 2010)

23, Saint James’s Church, Ramsgrange P (5 March 2011)

24, All Saints’ Church, Templetown (27 March 2019)

Family chapels:

25, The Cliffe Chapel, Bellvue P (6 March 2011)

26, The Power Chapel, Edermine P (6 March 2011)

Methodist:

27, Methodist Church, Marsh Lane, New Ross, now a scout hall (25 March 2019)

28, The Methodist Church, Rowe Street, Wexford (9 February 2021).

Presbyterian:

29, The Presbyterian Church, Anne Street, Wexford (17 February 2014)

Society of Friends (Quakers):

30, Former Friends’ Meeting House, High Street, Wexford (5 February 2021)

Other religious traditions:

31, Beth El synagogue, Rainsford Lodge, Bunclody (8 September 2020)

Inside Bride Street Church … one of the Twin Churches in Wexford designed by Richard Pierce and an architectural gem influenced by Pugin’s Gothic Revival style (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Last updated: 8 February 2021; 9 February 2021