Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Rufford Abbey.

Although frequently grouped along with Worksop, Welbeck, Clumber and Thoresby, Rufford was never actually a ducal seat. It gets classed as a Dukeries property because of its geographic location and family links.

Before the Norman Conquest, Rufford was the property of the Saxon Lord, Ulf. William the Conqueror gave the land over to Gilbert de Gand. His successor (also a Gilbert), founded a Cistercian abbey there in 1148. The English Pope, Adrian IV gave the blessing for the abbey in 1156, after which the villagers of surrounding Grimston, Cratley, Inkersall, and Rufford itself were evacuated to make way for the expanding abbey grounds.

In 1538 the abbey was dissolved after two agents for of the Crown, sent specifically for the purpose, brought dubious charges against Thomas Doncaster the seventh abbott. The only part of the abbey which remains today (2014) is the crypt, which later became the servants’ quarters, and the adjoining cellars.
 After the dissolution the remains of the abbey, its grounds and three water mills, soon passed to George Talbot, 4th Earl of Shrewsbury in an exchange with the Crown for castles and properties in Ireland. When George’s grandson the 6th Earl of Shrewsbury married Bess of Hardwick the link between Rufford and the emerging “Dukeries” was forever sealed.
Starting in 1560 the old monastic buildings were gradually converted into a house. In 1626 Mary Talbot, daughter of the 6th Earl, inherited the estate which then passed to her husband upon her marriage to George Saville in 1590. The Savile family and their descendants would make it their home. Notable additions to the building were to be a new north wing in 1679, with reception rooms and a long gallery, and a large stable block. The property continued to be a family home to the Savile’s until 1938 when the third Baron Savile inherited the estate as a 12 year old minor and his trustees divided the property into lots for auction.

During Word War 2, in November 1941, the 144th Regiment RAC was formed at Rufford Abbey with the intention of converting the 8th East Lancashires infantry unit into an armoured tank division. Lt-Col S.T. James was the commanding officer. I can also verify, due to the fact my father was one such soldier stationed there, that they received a visit from a not too healthy looking King George 6th, apparently reduced to wearing a degree of make-up in order to compensate for his sickly appearance.

You can read more about The Dukeries on these links: Welbeck, Thoresby, Worksop, and Clumber, and more about Bess of Hardwick and her role in the formation of the Dukeries on THIS LINK. And more about World War 2 and the Dukeries on THIS LINK.


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Friday, July 04, 2014

Cockglode, Ollerton, Thoresby Estate.

How Cockglode, Ollerton, became a part of Thoresby Estate, the Dukeries:

Cockglode Wood was an ancient woodland which became a part of the Royal Hunting Forest of Sherwood. The Ranger’s Lodge for the officer responsible for monitoring Birkland and Bilhaugh woods probably stood here. In 1818 Cockglode became the property of the 4th Duke of Portland in an exchange of properties with the Crown. The Duke gave the Crown a wealthy residential area to the west of London, including the responsibility of St. Mary-le-bone church, and was given Cockglode in return. However, not long after that the Duke exchanged Cockglode with the 2nd Earl Manvers for properties at Cuckney and Holbeck Woodhouse, closer to his own ducal seat at Welbeck. In that way Cockglode became part of Thoresby Estate.

Cockglode Hall / Cockglode House.

In 1776 The Duke of Portland granted lease of the premises at Cockglode to George Aldrich MD. As the Duke didn’t actually own the site at that point one assumes he was acting on behalf of the Crown and responsible for managing it. (?) George Aldrich is credited as having the “elegant house” built in 1774 (?), and landscaping the surrounding woodland visible to the house which stood on a rise. Note: I am aware those dates do seem to conflict, albeit taken from two old, respected published sources. I offer them in good faith for the speculation of future researchers.
Above: Cockglode Hall and Cockglode House. The latter looks like an extension of the former.

 Dr George Aldrich lived there until 1797. It then became the residence of Sir Robert Shore Milnes, who died in 1837. The next tenant was the Hon. Savile Henry Lumley, a son of Richard, 4th Earl of Scarborough. Colonel Lumley died in 1846, and was buried at Edwinstowe. His widow remained tenant of Cockglode until her death in 1869.

The house then passed to Cecil George Savile Foljambe Esq., M.P. for North Nottinghamshire at the time. Foljambe pursued a successful political career, eventually becoming Earl of Liverpool, and lived at Cockglode for twenty eight years until 1897. That is the point at which information about the house becomes scarce. However, as my father and mother actually rented a flat therein during the post-war years 1946 / 49, I can offer a few more details.

Lady Maude Hoare.

In 1878 Lord Beauchamp married Lady Emily Pierrepont, daughter of the 3rd Earl Manvers and Georgiana Jane E. Fanny de Franquetot, at Perlethorpe Church, Thoresby. They had four children. Amongst them, Lady Maud Lygon (1882 – 1962). This makes Maud the granddaughter of the 3rd Earl Manvers, and she later became Lady Maud Hoare through marriage. Residents of Cockglode House in the 1940s were always told Lady Maude had once lived there, she being something of a celebrity by that time. There is 1926 Pathe News footage of Lady Maude christening a flight of five bi-plane airliners, and 1937 footage of her launching the Arc Royal at Birkenhead. As the wife of Sir Samuel Hoare, British Air Minister, she made a 12,000-mile round trip flight inaugurating the London-Cairo-Delhi air service. The first woman ever to fly so many miles, she was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE).

So the thought Lady Maude once lived at that property was exciting news. I have not been able to corroborate this information, but the proven Perlethorpe / Pierrepont / Manvers connection gives it credibility.

 Cockglode’s final days, and the planting of Rotary Wood.

During the 1940s Cockglode House was divided into eight flats, two each side of a central front door, the other four accessed by the stone staircase. Each flat typically comprised two bedrooms, a sitting room, a kitchen, and pantry. The bathroom was shared. The rent was collected by a Miss Freeman who came over from an office on Fourth Avenue, Edwinstowe. (The building, currently owned by P G Lock the Butchers, incorporates the date 1933 in its brickwork). Resident Mavis Craig took over the collection chores in return for free rent.
As the 1940s came to an end, and Thoresby Colliery drew ever closer, Cocklglode’s better days were far behind it. I offer the above photographs, taken in the grounds (1948), for historical purposes only. They reveal little, but it is said the rhododendrons which persist in the woods to this day originate from these gardens. The spoils from Thoresby Colliery have long since covered the ruins of Cockglode House. However, in 1998, trees were planted across the restored tip of Thoresby Colliery in celebration of the Millennium. This was carried out by a group of local Rotary Clubs, hence the new name of Rotary Wood.


Above: Entrance to and view from Rotary Woods, formerly Cockglode.

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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Worksop, the Dukeries.

Following the Norman Conquest the land of Saxon Lord Elsi, son of Cauchin, was given to Roger de Builli, friend of William the Conqueror. He was succeeded by William de Lovetot who in 1103 granted the money for the building of an Augustinian Priory. The Lovetot family line would end with female heiress Matilda. Richard 1st selected her husband as Gerald de Furnival. That family line also ended with the female heiress Joan, who married Sir Thomas Neville, making him Lord Furnival. But again, in the absence of a son, the title passed via marriage to Sir John Talbot. At the time of Henry 6th Talbot was the most famous commander in England, fighting against Joan of Arc, and becoming 1st Earl of Shrewsbury in 1442.

The 4th Earl of Shrewsbury, George, and more especially his son Francis, the 5th Earl, befitted much by supporting Henry 8th in his dissolution of the monasteries. In 1537, when Shrewsbury’s Irish estates were passed to the crown, Henry 8th granted him the site of Rufford and other lands made vacant by the dissolution too numerous to list here. In November 1539, the King's Commissioner brought the order for closure of the Worksop Priory to the Gatehouse. More than two thousand acres of land and properties were taken by the crown and several buildings ordered to be pulled down. A significant portion of these lands, including Worksop Priory and the site of Rufford, went to the Earl of Shrewsbury on condition that persons inheriting the title Lord of the Manor of Worksop would provide a fine glove for each King or Queen at their Coronation. This tradition continued into the 1950s. The people of Worksop were permitted to keep the nave of the original building and use it as the parish church, whereupon the gatehouse became the vicarage.


Above: Worksop Priory gatehouse and the ruins of the original Priory.

How the marriage of 6th Earl of Shrewsbury to Bess of Hardwick in 1567 would result in the formation of The Dukeries is explained on THIS POST.

George Talbot, 6th Earl of Shrewsbury, was entrusted with the custody of Mary Queen of Scots. She was moved around between various locations (though apparently not allowed to walk even escorted in Sherwood Forest), and in 1583 she was brought to Worksop Manor. There would be several plots to put Mary on the throne. For example, Thomas Howard 4th Earl of Norfolk even proposed to her, the result being a trial Shrewsbury presided over and subsequent to which Howard was hung drawn and quartered. Although the relationship between Mary and her custodians had been mostly amicable, the demands on Shrewsbury’s finances began to take a toll. An unpopular marriage between Bess’s daughter and the Earl of Lennox at Rufford, which potentially changed the succession to the throne, caused further upset with both Queen Elizabeth 1st and Mary herself.

Whilst Bess’s independent wealth meant she could move freely between her other properties at Chatsworth and Hardwick, continuing to expand her estates, George’s supervision of Mary meant he could not. So, as Bess closed her doors to him, George, as if in defiance of his financial state, built a grand new house at Worksop. Designed by Robert Smythson, constructed 1580 – 85, this is where Mary Queen of Scots was visited by the Earl of Rutland, the catholic brother of Shrewsbury’s first wife, resulting in Shrewsbury being relieved of his custodial duties. Three years later, as conspiracies to free Mary continued, a tearful Shrewsbury was required to preside over her execution from a nearby seat on the scaffold.

Above: Worksop Manor designed by Robert Smythson.

At the end of the 17th century Worksop manor moved by marriage to the Duke of Norfolk. During the 18th Century both the 8th and 9th Dukes made grand extensions to the 16th century manor house. The only rooms left undisturbed were Mary Queen of Scots one time chambers. However, in 1761 everything burned down. Almost immediately the 9th Duke commissioned James Paine to design a new building, with input from the Duchess. Only the north wing was ever completed. Work was stopped in 1767 when the Duke and Duchess never seemed to recover from the death of a nephew.

Above: Worksop Manor as designed by James Paine. Never completed.

Neither the 10th nor 11th Dukes cared to live at Worksop. The 12th Duke of Norfolk gave the manor to his son the Earl of Surrey, by which time it showed signs of neglect. So in 1838 he sold it on to the Duke of Newcastle from Clumber. The latter owner literally attempted to blow it up, after selling various fixtures and lead to builders and many trees to the railway companies. He never regained his losses. Years later those parts of the building which had survived were developed into a new mansion to become the residence of Lord Foley. A large part of the estate was sold at auction in 1890 to Sir John Robinson, a Nottingham businessman. He felled and sold many of the estate’s ancient trees. During the 20th century the estate has been Worksop Manor Stud Farm, breeding thoroughbred horses.


Above: Worksop Manor House 19th century engraving.

 You can read more about the first Thoresby Hall, the Dukeries, on THIS LINK, and more about Bess of Hardwick's role in the formation of the Dukeries on THIS LINK. There is now an extensive update on Welbeck, the Dukeries, on THIS LINK and Clumber Park, the Dukeries, on THIS LINK.

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Saturday, March 15, 2014

The birth of the Dukeries and Bess of Hardwick.


 Above: Detail from Chapman's 1774 map of Nottinghamshire showing the layout of the Dukeries estates.

The Dukeries is the name given in the 19th Century to an area in the north of Nottinghamshire covering approximately fifty square miles, and which contained no less than four ducal seats in close proximity: Clumber House, seat of the Dukes of Newcastle, Thoresby Hall, seat of the Dukes of Kingston, (subsequently the Earls Manvers), Welbeck Abbey, seat of the Dukes of Portland, and Worksop Manor, seat of the Dukes of Norfolk. From the mid-16th to the mid-20th century these estates were owned by some of the most prominent, influential families in England.  A fifth large country house, Rufford Abbey, was not a ducal seat but was closely associated with the above.

The reason this unusually large number of ducal families resided so close and in apparent harmony is due to a shared heritage. It started when Elizabeth Hardwick (Bess of Hardwick) married Sir William Cavendish. Being a court official during Henry 8th’s dissolution of the monasteries, William Cavendish was able to pick and choose the best areas of land and buildings for himself. It was probably Bess who persuaded William to then sell his properties in the south and purchase the Chatsworth estates in Derbyshire (her home county). Bess’ passion for building and forming estates had begun.

Their first child, Frances Cavendish, would marry Sir Henry Pierrepont, MP. Their son, Robert Pierrepont, would become the 1st Earl of Kingston-Upon-Hull, and purchase Thoresby from William Lodge, an Alderman of London. It would be Robert’s second son, William, who became the 4th Earl of Kingston and merged the lands he owned in Perlethorpe and Thoresby to form Thoresby Park.

Bess and William’s 5th child, Charles Cavendish, married Baroness Catherine Ogle. Their family home became Welbeck Abbey, eventually the ducal seat of the Duke of Portland, and their son, William Cavendish, would become 1st Duke of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, the title associated with the ducal seat of Clumber House.

Lastly, Bess and William’s 7th child, Mary Cavendish, became the wife of Gilbert Talbot, 7th Earl of Shrewsbury, giving birth to Alethea (a.k.a. Althea). Alethea Talbot would marry Thomas Howard, 1st Earl of Norfolk, the title associated with the ducal seat of Worksop Manor.

By the time of her fourth and final marriage to George Talbot, 6th Earl of Shrewsbury, Bess was already one of the richest and most influential women in England. Talbot was one of the premier aristocrats of the realm, and Lord of the Manor of Worksop. He had seven children by his first marriage, two of whom would marry two of Bess’s in a double ceremony: Mary Cavendish, aged 12, married
Shrewsbury's eldest son Gilbert, aged 16, while Henry Cavendish, aged 18, married Shrewsbury's daughter Lady Grace Talbot, aged 8.

So it was that Elizabeth Hardwick’s (Bess of Hardwick’s) descendants inherited, purchased or gained by marriage Worksop Manor, Welbeck Abbey, Rufford Abbey, Clumber and Thoresby, lands which because of their interlinking relationships and close proximity would become known as the Dukeries.

For more information about the beginnings of Thoresby Estate, and Sir Robert Pierrepont 1st Earl of Kingston upon Hull, click on THIS LINK. You can read more about Worksop, the Dukeries, on THIS LINK, and an extensively update post about Welbeck, the Dukeries, on THIS LINK, and Clumber Park the Dukeries, on THIS LINK.

I shall post an individual article on Rufford at a future date.

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Sunday, February 02, 2014

Perlethorpe floods, Thoresby Estate, January 2014.

This Dukeries blog has always concentrated on the historical aspect of the subject. However, because what is happening right now in Perlethorpe Village, Thoresby Estate, is in itself a historic moment with far reaching consequences, I thought a post about contemporary issues would be in order.

In late September, 2013, it was already apparent that the River Meden's water level at Perlethorpe bridge had risen significantly. Not only that, but it appeared to be in a state of stagnation rather than flowing. (See this video). By January, 2014, the condition had worsened dramatically, as these photographs show. Where the river runs through Budby, before entering Thoresby Lake, the current is flowing quite freely and continues to do so as it passes Thoresby Hall at 7 Ton Bridge. The problem is clearly in the Perlethorpe region.

I had assumed perhaps wrongly that a lack of dredging in previous years had accounted for the problem, especially as the UK has seen a significant change in rainfall patterns. But I am informed that subsidence caused by old coal mines beneath Thoresby Estate may have compounded the issue. (The same kind of subsidence which affected the Hall so badly in past decades). Whatever the cause, the solution is likely to call for significant changes to that part of the village if the water remains. Will the road have to be raised? Would that mean the sad loss of the current bridge? Is that road even necessary to anyone apart for the farm workers, as other routes are certainly available. Time will tell. But Perlethorpe might never look quite the same again.

Above: The view looking towards the village from the roadside near the old post office.

 You can read more about Perlethorpe Village on THIS LINK and THIS LINK.

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Monday, November 18, 2013

The Kennels, Thoresby Estate.

Most people are totally unaware that the original building of The Kennels, on Thoresby Estate, is much older than the current Thoresby Hall. Or that it was directly linked to the Hall via “a long straight canal”. (H. Repton). The Kennels were built c.1738, about half a mile east of the first Thoresby Hall which was situated very close to the lake. (See THIS LINK). The name of the building is self explanatory, this being the site where the Duke's hunting dogs were kept. Just how much of the building standing there today is part of the original would be hard to assess. We do know that architect John Carr renovated The Kennels in 1790, c.20 years after the second Thoresby Hall was completed. During the 22 years between the fire of 1745 which destroyed the first Thoresby Hall, and the building of a second (THIS LINK), Evelyn Pierrepont, 2nd Duke of Kingston, certainly had long periods of residence on Thoresby Estate monitoring the progress of the new building, and of course the extensions to his beloved Lake. So it is more than likely The Kennels were the place he lived for at least part of that time.

The precise route of the canal which linked the Kennels with Thoresby Hall, and exactly how much it redefined the natural course of the River Meden, cannot be exactly determined. A painting by Knyff (1705) (see THIS LINK) places as much attention on a very geometric canal as it does the Hall in its intention to convey the wealth and landscaping tastes of the Duke. In 1791 the notable landscape gardener Humphrey Repton suggested changes to this “600 yard straight canal leading to a corn mill” which would both reduce a tendency towards stagnation near the Hall and allow the water to find its own more natural course as it approached the Kennels, thus freeing space there for a glade or lawn.
Above: The route of the canal in 1774 as compared to the River Meden today. The Kennels can also be seen on THIS LINK, in a video made on the "permitted walk" through Thoresby Estate. In 2014 the property was put out for rent. See THIS LINK.

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Thoresby & Perlethorpe during World War 2

Above: Records state that a brick building near the dam, used by gardeners and park keepers working in the Pleasure Grounds, became a place for gas mask training during WW2. I have a strong suspicion this is it. Hence an obvious reluctance to demolish it and disturb the poisonous chemicals involved.

During World War 2 the Midlands became a training ground for tank crews. The MoD thought (wrongly), that the terrain resembled that of France. During this time both Thoresby Hall and The Kennels were taken over by the military. However, this article is not about the military aspect of those years but rather the activities of the people of Perlethorpe and Thoresby.

The Perlethorpe and Budby War Effort:
The women of both villages organized several contributions towards the war effort. From November 1939 to February 1940 they knitted assorted garments for the Notts Services Comforts Fund. Everything from pants to blankets. Both villages also donated eggs to Mansfield hospital, whilst a waste paper salvage scheme in Perlethorpe involved boys making weekly collections for a stockpile to be sold in Nottingham. Similarly a dump was established for tins and bones, waste materials helpful in the production of munitions. Mrs Dawson ran Perlethorpe Post Office at this time and she organized a successful National Savings Scheme for both villages to help fund the fight for victory, whilst other women instigated a Perlethorpe Spitfire Fund. 1941 saw a further fund raiser: Warship Week.

Perlethorpe School during the war:
During 1940 the school only closed for one week in August. This was on account of all the evacuees on the estate who naturally needed monitoring as much as educating during what must have been a stressful time. Thoresby started taking in evacuees from the South as early as June 1940. It also received evacuees from Sheffield before the end of that year. One activity the school children are known to have been involved in was the posting of tobacco to sailors via the Overseas League, for which they received postcards of thanks. Of much less fun must have been the regular practise sessions wearing gas masks for fifteen minutes at a time. In early 1941 parents received a letter advising their children be inoculated against diphtheria, but I was surprised to discover a County Survey health report from March that found the children to be sub normal regarding their nutrition levels. And this in a countryside where fresh meat and vegetables were plentiful? The school raised further donations to the war effort by Carol Singing, which was duly sent to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, resulting in a mention on BBC radio news in December 1941. The year after that their carols raised money for Red Cross Prisoners of War, whilst the girls made and sold soft toys to support the Wings for Victory fund. In January 1942 temperatures inside the school dipped below freezing, and a subsequent outbreak of mumps and whooping cough in February and May was perhaps not surprising. In the Summer of 1942 funds were raised by children collecting nettles for the medicinal properties. The following year they collected Foxgloves for the same reason. 1943 was an important year in the history of the school as it saw the start of a school canteen system, providing a hot dinner for the significant number who stayed during the lunch break.

(See more about Perlethorpe School on THIS LINK).

Was Thoresby Estate bombed during the war?
During late August 1940 Thoresby, Budby and nearby Walesby were bombed on four occasions. Light, probably speculative attacks. Air raid warden W A Mendham noted in his diary that a rabbit was killed on the 19th August in the north of Budby. But the following week the Woodyard actually caught fire from an incendiary bomb. In May 1944 a Wellington bomber from Gamston, intended to be taking part in a supply drop on France, suffered engine failure over Thoresby and collided with the tree tops. It crashed North West of the Kennels (before the junction with Netherfield Lane.) Five of the six man crew were killed.

After the War:
During the 1950s, long after the tanks had all left the Park, the children of Thoresby Estate were left with one very tangible reminder of their presence. The infamous Tank Dip! Constructed in the north of the estate, the other side of Netherfield lane, and slowly filled by a tap from Piper Well underground reservoir, this stagnant installation which had once tested the waterproofing on the tanks became the school swimming pool. I remember hanging on to a pole the width of the pool, together with the rest of the class, and being dragged down the its length. I'm unsure whether we were meant to be learning to swim or simply dredging the green scum from the surface. (Note: Contrary to some opinions, the Tank Dip is now filled in and planted over.)

Above: Children Ian & Christine Craig dangle their feet in Thoresby Estate's tank dip / swimming pool. Father & grandfather sat behind. c. 1954.

Credit where it's due: The years described in the above post are before my time on the estate. My research comes from several lectures, conversations & sources. But the "Thoresby Park" research notes compiled by C. A. Bollans, especially as they relate to Perlethorpe School, were of particular and valid help and I credit them as such.

 Above and below: Troops stationed on Thoresby Estate in the First World War, 1917. I'm unsure as to exact location but suspect it is the fields opposite the church.

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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Thoresby Estate walks. The "permitted walk" part 2.

Thoresby Estate's permitted walk, late September 2013. Thoresby is steeped in history, but much of its well tended estate has been off limits for decades. Happily one can now access many scenic areas of interest. For part 1 of this Thoresby Walks video see THIS LINK.

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Thoresby Estate woods, plantations, groves & avenues.


 In 1706 the 5th Earl of Kingston applied for permission to make a “ride” through Bilhaugh Wood. Permission was necessary because, although the 4th Earl had gained the right to create a Park by enclosure from Sherwood Forest, the 5th Earl’s plans travelled beyond that boundary. The route so created would facilitate a quicker journey direct from the original Thoresby Hall (1683), to Ollerton town and Newark beyond. Permission was granted.

Clearly visible on Google maps (though long since abandoned and off limits today) the “ride” led from the original Thoresby Hall by the east of the lake, over the original site of the Green Bridge, through the Pleasure Gardens, behind where one day would be built the Woodyard complex, before taking an absolutely straight line for one mile south, stopping at the lodge which would later become Buck Gates. Emerging from those gates the route continued in another straight line southeast for one mile to reach the town of Ollerton. The last part of this route became Beech Avenue, a very popular and scenic site in its heyday, whilst the part nearest the Hall, a few yards up the road from the Woodyard complex, became known as Chestnut Avenue.

Chestnut Avenue suffered like every other landscaped area of Thoresby as trends in forestry changed. However, there is a story that the Estate Manager Mr Holder was dismissed in the early 1950's when Lady Manvers discovered he had started felling trees there. Holder was replaced by Mr Tapper, who's foresight started a vigorous planting scheme in Thoresby. Apparently Chestnut Avenue was restored in 2000 by clearing it of the silver birches which had taken root along its length over the decades.

Above: Two photographs from 1964 taken in Chestnut Avenue. The lower shows the view from atop one of those chestnut trees looking towards the woods which concealed proteus camp and the A614.
Above: Green Drive is less easy to pinpoint. This postcard places it near to Buck Gates, and at the end of Chestnut Avenue there were indeed several such woodland paths converging at the lodge.

See also these links for Beech Avenue, Buck Gates, and Thoresby Lodges.

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Thoresby Park / Thoresby Estate various photographs part 2.

Above: Oil painting (1959) depicting a fox hunt gathering in front of Thoresby Hall. The artist, Guy Marson, was a friend of Lady Manvers at the time and I believe he either stayed in the Hall or perhaps one of the flats around the courtyard. 10" x 8" prints were made from this work and during the early sixties they could often be found framed and hung on the walls of many an estate worker's home. The original would hang inside the Social Club at Perlethorpe Village Hall.


The Carpenter's Grave, Perlethorpe Churchyard.

It is well reported that successive Pierrepont / Manvers families held their estate workers in high esteem. In the 1960s, joiners like Gran Gilliver could as readily find themselves repairing or making new parts for Victorian and Queen Anne furniture items in Thoresby Hall as they could making new window frames or doors for the estate’s places of residence. Of some prominence in Perlethorpe Church graveyard is a remarkable headstone for one such joiner, Alfred Middleton. Buried there after his death in January 1935, the tools of his trade are carved into the base of a rustic cross.

You can read more about perlethorpe churchyard on THIS LINK, and THIS LINK.

The Tank Roads of World War 2.

The wooded areas close to Thoresby Hall retain the concrete roads which were put down at the start of World War 2 when Thoresby became a training ground for soldiers bound for France.

You can read more about Thoresby at War on THIS LINK.

A new Beech Avenue?

 Above: Persons staying at Thoresby Estate's  Sherwood Hideaway have access to several walk ways through the woodlands. The planting along this one seems destined to become a replica of the original Beech Avenue which lies parallel, very heavily overgrown, a few yards to the west, although still visible on aerial photographs. (More about Beech Avenue on THIS LINK).

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Monday, September 23, 2013

Perlethorpe Village Hall and Social Club.

In the mid 1950s the possibility of building a Village Hall in Perlethorpe began to be discussed by a Committee largely led by Lady Rozelle Manvers, recently become Lady Rozelle Beattie following her marriage to Major Alexander Beattie. It was agreed that the Ministry of Education would provide a third of the building costs assessed to be c.£4,500. The villagers themselves were also required to make a contribution for the equipment involved and this was raised via a range of typical fund raising events such as dances, prize draws, and even a clay pigeon shoot.

No sooner was the Village Hall completed than it became the temporary site for local school children to continue their classes whilst a similarly modern extension was built on to the original Perlethorpe C of E Primary School a few yards up the road. The Village Hall was a big success with the locals. I remember dancing in childhood Twist competitions and even on one occasion miming to the theme from the TV series “Rawhide”.

In 1962 a Social Club was added by the side of the hall. This was efficiently run by Jerry Mountjoy whose family had moved from London and lived in Perlethorpe Village on Jacksons Hill. At the time of writing (2013) both Perlethorpe Village hall and its Social Club, are still a thriving business today.

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Monday, June 03, 2013

Thoresby Estate. The "permitted walk, part 1."

Thoresby Estate's permitted walk, late May 2013. Thoresby is steeped in history, but much of its well tended estate has been off limits for decades. Happily one can now access many scenic areas of interest.Of especial interest here is the Mill beside the River Meden. This was still in operation at the start of the 1920s to grind oats and corn for cattle feed.

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Sunday, September 04, 2011

Places close to Thoresby with a Robin Hood connection.

Persons visiting Thoresby, staying at Thoresby Hotel, or residing in the area, might like to know of locations nearby which are historically linked to the legend of Robin Hood. If so, my "Robin Hood Was Here" blog contains many videos, pictures, and information, which will be of interest. Most of these locations are within an hours drive of Thoresby. See this link: http://robin-hood-was-here.blogspot.com/

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Thoresby Estate workers c.1962

Seated on the steps leading from the Blue Dining Room into the gardens at Thoresby Hall, these seven workers were mostly based in the Woodyard on Thoresby Estate. Back row left to right: Ted Williamson (son of Jack, and one of the operators in the saw mill), Les Dennison, Charlie Leepins, Bob Dickinson. Bottom row left to right: William (Bill) Craig (foreman at the Woodyard and also known as Jock), Bill Nunn (plumber), Alf Dennison.

Any errors in these names / details can be reported via leaving a comment.
Above: A team of workers no doubt sent down from The Woodyard to clear the snow in front of the gates at Perlethorpe Church. The only person I can recognise with any certainty is Jack Kenyon on the left, who lived in the Almshouses. I believe the picture was taken c.1960. (Credit goes to David Reddish for making this photo available).

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Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Perlethorpe School c.1953 / 54

Top L - R: Mrs Storer, Carol Mendan, Pauline Johnstone, John Singleton, Richard Gill, Pamela Cooper, Stuart Johnstone, Denise ?, Mrs Bruce.

Middle: Bry?, Hazel Wood, Ronnie Pashley, Janet ?, Josephine Jackson, Christopher Deveraux, David Reddish, Philip?.

Bottom L - R: Unknown boy, Joanne Wignall, Unknown girl, Kenneth?, Ian Wigley, Virginia Crowden, Christine Craig, Cynthia Wilk, Madelaine Crowden.

Perlethorpe School children, with their two teachers, c.1953 / 54. Mrs Storer was in charge of the juniors prior to the arrival of Mrs Ward. Mrs Bruce was the Headmistress, and in charge of the seniors as they approached the all important 11-plus. (Her pass rate was very high).

Apologies to anyone whose name may be misspelt. Mistakes can always be corrected upon request. For more about Perlethorpe School, now Perlethorpe Environmental Centre, visit THIS LINK, THIS LINK, and THIS LINK.

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Friday, October 02, 2009

Thoresby Park / Thoresby Estate various photographs.

Above: Nelson's Pyramid. Charles Pierrepont, like his father before him, served in the Navy and saw active service against the French in 1798. Not surprisingly then, the Pierrepont family were ardent admirers of Lord Nelson. The south side of Thoresby Lake in particular features many tributes to the famous admiral, such as Nelson’s Grove, incorporating Nelson’s Lodge (used for many years by the game keepers), and Nelson’s Pyramid. It is approximately 12ft high (c.3.5 meters). It was built in 1799 by Charles Herbert, specifically to commemorate Nelson’s victory at the Battle of the Nile, and on each inner side of the entrance way were listed both the French and English ships involved, together with details about guns and casualties. I have not visited Nelson’s Pyramid myself, but am told that soldiers billeted in that region during the first and / or second World Wars added their own names to the walls. (My thanks to Stephen Richard Aizlewood for the use of his photograph).
Above: Proteus Camp. There are several post cards depicting troops billeted in Thoresby Park during both World War 1 and 2, especially in tents across the road from Perlethorpe Church. Also, there are Lady Manvers’ splendid paintings which record such times. In 1942 a more permanent military presence, Proteus Camp, was established in the woods near Ollerton roundabout. This photograph shows Proteus Camp as it was in 1965. At its peak Proteus Camp contained 1,000 personnel. In later years the camp became known as the Dukeries Training Centre before becoming “surplus to requirements” and closing down in 2004. In 2008 plans were developed to use the site for new cabins as holiday homes.
Above: The Roundhouse, also known as “Summer Boxes”, stands amongst the trees a little further up the hill from Thoresby Hall itself. In the days when horses were the most common source of power throughout Thoresby Estate, for transporting timber, or working on the farm, this is where they would be kept during the Summer months. During Winter they would be moved into the stables in the courtyard opposite. These days the Roundhouse is used to sell plants to visitors. Below: Today, a feeding trough in the corner of Thoresby Gallery indicates its former use as just such a stable.

Above: William Gordon Craig (centre), father of William Craig the Woodyard’s foreman of the time, was the head gardener at Thoresby Hall during the second half of the 1950s. I don’t know the names of the two men seated each side of him. (Possibly Charlie or Edgar Leapins on the left?) When William Gordon returned to the land he was homesick for he was replaced by Mr MacSkimming, another lowland Scot, who would be replaced in turn by Mr Nettleship (1963 / 64).

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Gargoyles on Perlethorpe Church, Thoresby.

This is just a selection of the splendid gargoyles to be found placed around Perlethorpe Church, Thoresby Estate. (Church of St John the Evangelist). There are many others, and it seems no two are the same. Surely as splendid a collection as can be found anywhere.
For more about Perlethorpe Church see THIS LINK, and THIS LINK.

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