Latest from The sticks


  • Over crowded
    25 August 2019
    The first batch of seeds I sowed this year either germinated quickly, became straggly and many died or did not germinate at all.  On the second attempt I sowed far more than I...


Gardening diary

  • Raspberry time
    17 September 2019
    Spent the last few days digging out old bean plants and harvesting the last of the potatoes and carrots - plus of course the routine of picking tomatoes which are still coming at...

Heather on Marshes Hill

The local common where we walk our dog is known as 'Marshes Hill'. My grandmother used to claim it belonged to our family once upon a time, before it was lost to another family through death and a second marriage. For years I could find no evidence of any such connection despite easily tracing my Marsh family ancestors to the local area. Earlier this year I finally found probate documents showing that in the early nineteenth century one of my Marsh great-grandfathers occupied property - Burnfields Farm - on what is now known as Marshes Hill and also a newspaper report indicating he received an allotment of land under the Enclosures Act 1814.

Maybe there is something in my grandmother's claims after all. When I have time I will make an appointment at the Staffordshire Archives Library and look up the maps relating to the enclosures, but I'm not sure I'll ever know if his name and the name of the hill are connected or a mere coincidence.

My walk over the hill takes me past the farm where 5x great grandfather William Marsh lived until his death in 1829. Through his will he left all his property, including land, in equal shares to his children, most of whom were minors, so the farm may have been held in trust or sold. By the time of the first census in 1841 there is a family of a different name living there and I have not (yet?) been able to establish if there is a connection.

Yate's map of 1775 shows there are houses on the site of both the Sticks and gg-father Marsh's farm. Maybe some of both original buildings survive today although after extension and modernisation it is difficult to tell. When I look out over over the fields, woodlands and moorlands from the top of the hill, across the roof of the farm where he lived, I wonder how much has changed since he might have stood in the same spot taking in the view 200 years ago.

The 1775 map identifies Marshes Hill as Brown Edge and what is now the village of Brown Edge is noticable by its absence, but apart from the obvious development of the village at the southern end of the hill, little else seems to have changed. The same farms are still there, few new farms have appeared.

What's changed?

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Showcase Features

Maps for local walks

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Selection of our walking routes on the edge of the Staffordshire Moorlands. All accessible from convenient public car parks 

Then and now


Tracing the  history of the house from early 1800s to the present day using historical documents and idenitying people who lived here before us


William Deakin restored

15 years of family history research available in our webtrees database (over 800 surnames and nearly 5000 individuals) plus a collection of birth, marriage and death certificates.  

Popular series



Transcription of travel diaries made during the last 36 years starting with India and Nepal 1981 and including USA 1983, Syria 1993, South America 2000 and South Africa 2014 together with photographs. This is a work in progress as the diaries are transcribed, so check for updates.

Route to the Soul

Route to the Soul2

Began as a romantic mixture of emotion and practical tips from two young students discovering themselves and life as they recounted their adventures away from home. The Student and her boyfriend shared their passion for each other, travel and their pursuit of a healthy lifestyle. Now the blog is maintained by the Student who studies and works part time on-line while she and her boyfriend continue their travels to explore the world. Her blog focuses on wellbeing and politics affecting the state of the planet & the lives of its inhabitants.

Seeds & Weeds

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We weren't gardeners, we don't even listen to Gardeners' Question Time very often, but we have a large garden with plenty of potential and since I retired at the end of 2017 we have become amateur gardners. We favour the wild, natural look and like the birds, butterflies, frogs and other small animals but we want it to be looked after and we have recently revived and extended our vegetable patch. This section is dedicated to reluctant gardeners in constant fight against the weeds - solidarity among the nettled and scratched - the caterpillars, slugs, snails and multitudes of insects.

Rooted to the Spot

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Magazine style section with articles about life at the Sticks on a theme inspired by Brexit