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Sandstone Gate Housing Estate

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The Sandstone Gate Housing Estate

(Suggested names for roads and public footpaths)

The latest development by Duchy Homes Limited off Chester Road, known by its marketing name as Sandstone Gate, consists of a through road that will eventually link up with the proposed development of 30 dwellings on the Windmill field just off the Tilston Road at the top of Beeches Bank.

This development like other in the village offers an opportunity to preserve aspects of Malpas local history which may not be common knowledge to some existing local residents, or to incoming residents who move into properties on the new estate.

Suggestions are based on the evidence of field names as they were recorded in the c.1841 Tithe Award for Malpas township.
The original award, comprising the Tithe Map and the accompanying Tithe Apportionment, is preserved at Cheshire Archives and Local Studies (Cheshire Record Office) in Duke Street, Chester.

However, Cheshire was a pioneer among English counties in putting all of its Tithe Awards on-line and these can be viewed by searching Cheshire Tithe Maps Online.

All of these suggestions are marked on the accompanying sketch plan, based on the developer's own site plan, which can be viewed on-line (Cheshire West & Chester Council : Planning).

Main Road through the site.
Immediately after leaving the Chester Road, the proposed main access road crosses the sites of four small fields (or 'crofts') which are marked A, B, C and D.
Their names respectively, according to the Tithe Award, were 'Waterpit Croft', 'Part of Water Pit Croft', 'Water Field Croft' and 'Withins Croft'.

The photograph of recent flooding on the site of Waterpit Croft (incorporated into the Parish Council's own Consultation Paper) shows that the area is still susceptible to inundation.

The 'withins' of Withins Croft is potential evidence that withins (withies) or willows (also known as 'osiers') which flourish in damp conditions may have been cultivated on this site, possibly for use in wattle-and-daub construction of buildings (up to the 17th century), or for other purposes such as hurdle and basket making.

These are the reasons for suggesting that the road might be named on the lines of Waterpit/Waterfield/Withins Way.

The preference is for 'Withins Way', since it preserves the old dialect word for withies.
Out of interest, there is a short length of cobbled public footpath in Bunbury which is called 'Within Street'.

The two Cul-de-sacs and the footpath
Windy Mill Close?
In Malpas the street now called 'High Street' was known as 'Windmill Street' until the 1870s.
This referred to the 'post' windmills erected to the north and south of the town.

One windmill, to the south of Malpas, stood in the large field on the corner of Old Hall Street and Mastiff Lane.
At the north end of the High Street, off Tilston Road, is the field where part of the housing development known as 'Brockbank' was built in 2011.

In a lease by Lord Cholmondeley to Thomas Brereton of Edge, dated 1659, it is described as 'That part of the Milne field "where said all milnes were lately erected by him and Lord Cholmondeley and called the wyndy Milne Banke'.

The cul-de-sac closest to Tilston Road in the Sandstone Gate development would lie roughly across the plot named in the Tithe Award as 'Windmill Field'.
The post mills had disappeared by the early 19th century, often because the central post (usually the trunk of an oak tree) had decayed, or collapsed due to high winds or other natural causes.

It seems maybe a good idea to name the re-aligned public right-of-way across the site as 'Windmill Walk'.
The preference for the cul-de-sac would be 'Windy Mill Close', reflecting the name in the 1659 document.

Cockpenny Court?
As in many communities across the country, the barbaric 'sport' of cockfighting was widespread until it was officially banned in this country by the Cruelty to Animals Act 1835, although it is known that it did continue illegally in many places, including the Malpas area, well into the 20th century.

The second cul-de-sac on the Sandstone Gate lies across, or adjacent to fields identified in the Tithe Award as 'Cockfight Field', 'Cock Fight' and 'Cockpit Croft'.
According to the rules of the ancient Malpas Grammar School (1528-1903), each scholar had to pay annually to the schoolmaster one old penny, known as the 'cock-penny', as a contribution to the costs of the cock fight.

New residents might not be happy with the term 'cockfight' in their address, although they might find 'cockpit' rather more acceptable, as a historical relic.

However, we also have a suggestion that we incorporate 'cockpenny', as a reminder of the former Malpas Grammar School and as a less 'violent' sounding word than either 'cockfight' or 'cockpit'. Maybe 'Cockpenny Court'?

sandston gate estate suggested names

Article produced and published by Chris Whitehurst 5th June 2024 using research by David Hayns

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