Set in Stone

If you’ve been following the progress of our little extension at Burton Towers on our Facebook page, you’ll understand the relevance of the title and content of this month’s editors’ letter…


Old commemorative brick bearing the name of Mary’s Great Uncle Fred who was the senior partner in The lbstock Brick and Pipe Company over 100 years ago

In the early years of the 20th century a new Wesleyan chapel was built at the top of Wash Lane in Ravenstone. As still happens today donors could have a brick bearing their name built into the walls. Eight brothers and sisters of the Hewes family—which is Mary’s maiden name— each purchased a brick for the Wash Lane Chapel wall.

The Chapel was knocked down in later years as the Wesleyans merged with the Methodists and houses were built over the site. One of Mary’s Great-Aunts rescued the bricks bearing the Hewes name from the demolished chapel and with them she built a little feature in her garden with a sun dial on top. When she died, Mary’s Dad took the bricks and re-built the sundial with them in his own garden at Hugglescote, near Ravenstone. When he died, a decade ago now, Mary and I retrieved the bricks and I built them into our dry stone garden wall and waterfall.

On Wednesday morning this week (deadline week!) a delivery of building materials arrived for our extension. Part of the delivery was a large pallet of bricks wrapped in polythene with the maker’s name on the label. Yes, you’ve guessed it—they were from lbstock Brick – the same make of bricks as the rest of our house and indeed most of our estate. Mary, seeing the name on the label, remembered her Great Uncle Fred and his siblings and that Fred had once been the senior partner of lbstock Brick and Pipe. Never being one to look serendipity in the mouth, I fished out the bricks from our garden feature, asked our builder if he could build them into our new extension and, hey presto! a day or two later there they all are in their new home…

Steve & Mary Johns

Categories: Editor's Letter.