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A Walk Through The Village
Hard copies of this walk are freely available from St Mary's Church, the two village public houses and at Rugeley Public Library.
Although Colton now appears to be a fairly insignificant village it has a long history with a lot of interest to offer.
In 1240 King Henry III granted the villagers the right to hold a Friday weekly market. The annual village wake would have been held on September 19th (Modern Calendar), where the population could have enjoyed a circus or funfair.
St. Mary's Church.
The tower is probably the oldest part of the building in the late Norman style. Other parts being of the Early English style of architecture of the 13th. Century.
Standing with your back to the church and facing north to the left was the site of The Original Rectory. When the house was built the land was damp and low lying being near to running water and on the west side of the church. It was not conducive to the good health of its occupants.
Standing on the bridge with your back to the church looking to the left you can see the ruins of the first Bellamour Hall' built by Herbert Aston about 1635. Herbert was the second son and therefore did not inherit his father's lands but was given a small estate in Colton.
Friends of the impoverished Herbert, loaned or gave money to build the house known originally as Bellamore, later changed to 'Bellamour', French for 'good love' because of the affection his friends had shown him and to honour his wife.
Looking round to the right you can see Bellamour Lodge. This house was built in the Victorian style by James Oldham Oldham in 1851 for his unmarried daughter Ellen to live in. About 20 years later it was enlarged on the eastern side and the veranda erected.
St. Mary's School.
Walking up the road away from the church The School is on the left hand side. Although children have been educated in Colton since at least 1764, Mr Horsfall donated the land and built the present school in 1862. When it opened pupils had to pay for their education, labourers children 2d per week for the first child and 1d for other children in the family.
Further along Bellamour Way is Colton House. The Queen Anne style is of the early 18th. Century. William Pigott, a gentleman of good family who kept harriers lived there in the 1770's. In 1795 a West Indian sugar planter and merchant John Heyliger Burt was there. He died when his ship disappeared on a voyage back from St Croix where his estates were.
Moving along and looking to the left is Elm Cottage. This was built at the same time as the school in order to house the Headmaster. It was built looking down towards the school so that the Head could keep an eye on what was happening.
Next door to Elm Cottage was The Forge, built by Mr Horsfall for the Bellamour Estate and probably on the site of a much earlier one. For many years it was also
where coffins were made for the villagers. It became a private house in the 1980's.
Mr Coxe a solicitor built Williscroft Place in 1858 as a speculative venture on farm land used by the Williscroft family.
The Greyhound was built about the same time as Williscroft Place and became an Inn after 1883 on the demolition of the Bell Inn just opposite. Through the 19th and early 20th Century there was a butcher's shop standing on what is now the front right hand part of the Greyhound car park.
Across the road are the present day Alms Houses. Originally the Three Wheels Inn renamed The Bell Inn used to stand on this site. This building belonged to the Webb Trust; the rent obtained went towards financing the school. Recorded in the school log book in the 1870's is how the Publican, William Brazenell, was keeping a noisy house where fights were taking place. He almost lost his licence. Eight almshouses were erected in 1884 by Mrs. Harland in memory of her sister Miss Oldham of Bellamour Lodge. These were completely refurbished in 2003 and changed to four to bring them up to modern day standards.
The Clerks House.
Next door is The Clerks House. The Clerk's Trust is the oldest charity in Colton; the house was built for the Clerk to the Parish Church. The present house was built in 1845 on the site of an earlier one. You can see the date written in brick into the sidewall.
School House Cottage.
Further along is School House Cottage. This was originally one building and housed Colton's first free school for boys and girls. The building was owned by the Webb trust, a trust established by a local farming family. The 1841 to the 1861 Census records the Head as Mr. Lenton he was helped in the school by his wife and daughter as schoolmistresses and one other master. The house was their living quarters as well as the school.
The War Memorial.
Next to School House Cottage is the War Memorial, originally the site of the village pound where any stray animals caught wondering around the village would be held until their owners collected them. Now it is a memorial to those residents of Colton who lost their lives fighting in the 1st. and 2"d. World Wars. William
Yates for instance, lived at Bank House, Colton and was fatally wounded at the Battle of Ypres aged 17 years and 8 months.
Martlin Lane (Martlin Cottages).
Martlin Lane runs up from the war memorial. The Rector of Colton Rev. Parker and his sisters built these cottages in 1904 because they did not think that there was enough good accommodation at a reasonable rent in Colton for 'decent working
families'. Number 1 at the far end was also at one time the village Post Office this was run by Mrs Deakin and before her Mrs Tooth.
Little Hay Manor.
Little Hay Manor The house on this site today is a 19th century building but the occupation of this site is ancient. It is believed to be the smallest of the three manors recorded in the Domesday Survey of Colton which means that it was occupied in Saxon times. From the 14th to the 20th. centuries it was owned by the Bagot family of Blithfield. The chimney still standing in the garden is all that remains of the house that stood here in Elizabethan times.
Webb's cottages. It is thought that when John Webb left money in his will in 1811 to "educate 20 poor girls of Colton", their schoolroom was in these cottages. In 1862 it was amalgamated with the boys school to form the Colton United School.