The Seven Stiles
The pub which stands on the border of the Noctorum / Ford today is named after the stiles which
existed in that area many years ago. Before the on set of modern housing the open fields of Prenton,
through to the Noctorum and down to the Ford were also closed off by stiles, culminating at the old Ford
bridge which crossed the river Fender at the bottom of ford hill. The stiles were hand built structures
which provided passage through the fences and boundary's via steps, ladders, or narrow gaps. Stiles
are often built in rural areas or along footpaths to allow access to an adjacent field or area separated
by a fence, wall or hedge. Unlike a gate, there is no chance of forgetting to close it, and it is quite
probable that the early stiles were use to keep live stock in their correct places.
In the United Kingdom many stiles were built under legal compulsion. For that reason a wide variety of
designs exist. Recent changes in UK government policy towards farming has encouraged landowners in
upland areas to make their land more available to the public, and this has seen an increase in the
number of stiles and an improvement in their overall condition. However, on popular paths, stiles are
increasingly replaced by gates or kissing gates - or, where the field is arable, the stile can be removed
altogether, as there are no longer any animals to control.
The stiles were replaced in the 60's and 70's and the open pastures were purchased and developed to
build modern housing estates such as the Holmlands, the Noctorum and of course Beechwood. I have
no photographs of these stiles or the open lands prior to the development. If anybody has
photographs of these i would be very interested to hear from you.