Tumbledown Stile at Charlecote Park, Hampton Lucy

Tumbledown Stile at Charlecote Park, Hampton Lucy.
Warwickshire County Record Office reference PH1035/A7554. Photographer Mr. A.T.Smith.

The response to this photograph might be amusement, if not outright laughter. Certainly the explanation for the naming of this stile is demonstrated clearly in this photograph.  Unlike a more typical stile with a rigidly fixed structure, the railings here are pivoted on a single post which acts as a fulcrum.  When a climber put their hand on the railing, the structure collapsed, but on removing their hand, the railings would return to their original position and look like an ordinary fence.


As the woman is looking back into the camera, her fall over the railings looks deliberately contrived for the purposes of the photographer.  Indeed, many such tumbles were contrived as during the opening decades of the nineteenth century, chara-bancs of trippers from Stratford-upon-Avon visited the stile and children from Hampton Lucy performed on the stile in exchange for pennies.

This photograph is dated 1914 as the dress of the woman tumbling over the stile confirms. The stile is opposite the entrance to Charlecote Park.

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