Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Dukeries cigarette / trading cards.

Starting in 1880s America, trading cards, given free inside a variety of products, were a very successful promotional device. Indeed, so successful when included in packets of cigarettes that they became known as Cigarette Cards. These cards with a Dukeries link, are from a large series depicting stately homes across the UK. Cigarette cards were discontinued during World War 2 to save paper, and never fully recovered their popularity after that.

Below: The back of the Thoresby Park card.

Above card: Not named on the card, this is Worksop Manor.

For more information about these individual places click on the links: Clumber, Rufford, Thoresby, Welbeck, Worksop.

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Monday, November 02, 2015

Thoresby Hall and Charles Dickens.

In 1999, Thoresby Hall was chosen as a suitable location for a BBC production of Charles Dickens' "Great Expectations". In that excellent version of the classic novel Thoresby Hall became Satis House. Miss Havisham's room was the former Ante Room (also known as the Small bar), whilst her famous deserted wedding banquet was set up in the Blue Drawing Room (also known as the A La Carte Restaurant). Much use was made of the echoing corridors, and the library doors are also clearly visible on the above compilation of clips. Below: Stills from the film.

To understand how Thoresby Hall had fallen into such a poor state of repair by 1999 see THIS LINK.

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Sunday, October 25, 2015

Thoresby Hall 1950s / 1960s souvenir brochure.

Thoresby Hall opened its doors to the public in 1957. If you were a visitor in the late 1950s / early 1960s, this would have been the souvenir brochure you could purchase for two shillings and sixpence (12.5p). The cover features a water colour painting by Lady Manvers of the Hall itself, whilst the black and white photographs inside depict different rooms. I think it is the first such brochure the Hall produced, so have chosen a few which might be of historical interest.

Above: View from Thoresby Hall first floor showing the one time direct route to The Kennels where the Duke's hounds were kept in decades past, and visible here on the horizon.

 Above: The Library. Below: The Small Drawing Room. Guests of the hotel can still access these today and make comparisons.

 Above: The South Terrace Garden.
Above: The Library and The Great Hall.

You can read about the model steam railway which operated at Thoresby Hall in the 1950s / 60s on THIS LINK, and more information and pictures of Thoresby Hall interior on THIS LINK.

For information about how and when Thoresby Hall became closed to the public see THIS LINK.

Also, see how the BBC used Thoresby Hall as Miss Havisham's "Satis House" when filming Dickens' "Great Expectations" on THIS LINK.

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Monday, September 07, 2015

Lady Rozelle Raynes 1925 - 2015.

Lady Frederica Rozelle Ridgway Pierrepont would have been 15 years old when, in 1940, her father became the 6th Earl Manvers (succeeding his cousin) and took up residence in Thoresby Hall. She was the youngest of three children but the only one to survive to adulthood.

Soon after the family moved into the Hall it was requisitioned by the military, bringing her into close contact with the armed forces. As a small child she had been fascinated by the sea, and the Second World War presented an opportunity to join the WRNS as a tugboat stoker. (Much preferable in her eyes to a finishing school in Switzerland). She would recall those times as being a “peak of happiness”, and burst into tears upon being demobbed when the war was over.

But her sailing days had really only just begun, and subsequent adventures on her 25ft yacht the Martha McGilda provided ample material to fill a series of self-penned books. In 1953 she married Major Alexander Beattie of the Coldstream Guards. Whilst her mother continued to reside at Thoresby Hall, Lady Rozelle inherited the place in 1955 when her father died. Thoresby Hall was opened up to the public in 1957 (see THIS LINK), and first husband Major Beattie was much involved in it becoming a popular attraction during a decade when visits to stately homes became a favourite national pastime (see first Thoresby Hall souvenir brochure on THIS LINK). However, the marriage ended in 1961.

In 1965 Lady Rozelle married Dr Richard Raynes. In the mid-1970s, with the support of husband Dr Raynes, she embarked on a scheme to help rehabilitate East End boys in care. This involved taking them out on the Thames in the Martha McGilda, half a day every fortnight, and teaching them to sail and navigate. These “Tuesday Boys” became the subject of a subsequent book, and in 1980 she established the Martha McGilda charitable trust so as this successful scheme of support for such boys might continue.

After Thoresby Hall was sold to the National Coal Board in 1984 (see THIS LINK), the estate would be managed mostly by agents, but Lady Rozelle still became lifelong friends with many of the people living and working there, in particular, the Courtyard Gallery where her mother’s paintings enjoy a constant presence (see THIS LINK). In the 1980s she and her husband had a house built on the estate, and moved there in 2010 after suffering a fall and could no longer manage to reside in London. Lady Rozelle died June 22nd 2015, a year after her husband. They left no descendants.

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Sunday, June 21, 2015

Thoresby Estate Hayride, June 2015, naming the historic sites along the way.

The Thoresby Estate Hayride does not always take exactly the same route every year. This video shows the route taken on June 2015, and names the places of historic interest along the way: Home Farm, Perlethorpe Village Hall, Radleys Lane, The Kennels, Whitemoor Farm, Whitemoor House, Whitewater, Whitewater Lane, Druids Grove, Buck Gates, White Lodge (a.k.a. Proteus Lodge, once home to Lady Sybil Pierrepont), Henry's Grove, Charles Wood, the original carriageway the Dukes took from the first Thoresby Hall to Ollerton and Newark beyond, Chestnut Avenue (a favourite place of the late Lady Manvers), Nelson's Grove, Icehouse Wood, Three Gables, The Woodyard, and Perlethorpe Church.

NOTE: I make no apology for the camera shake. Such is the character of a fun Hayride, and I wanted to preserve that.

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Friday, May 22, 2015

Perlethorpe Environmental Education Centre / former Perlethorpe Primary School.

The above photographs were taken on 21st May, 2015. It appears to be renovations to the roof only, and I do hope this fine old building isn't affected by the subsidence which has caused some problems recently with Perlethorpe Church on the opposite side of the road.

You can read more about the history of Perlethorpe school / Perlethorpe Environmental Education Centre, on the following links:

 Perlethorpe School
Perlethorpe School teachers
 Perlethorpe School c.1953 / 54
 Perlethorpe School (Environmental Education Centre).

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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 c.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 a possible extension of the former.

 Dr George Aldrich lived here 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.

Above: Early 20th century postcard showing "Breakheart Hill" and "Entrance to Cockglode, Ollerton".

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).

 During the post-war years of 1946 / 1949, when a declining Cockglode House had been divided into eight flats, my father and mother rented rooms therein. They were told Lady Maude once lived at the property, which at that time would have been exciting news indeed. 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 consisted of 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 Miss Freeman who came over from an office on Fourth Avenue, Edwinstowe. (That office was sited where currently stands P G Lock the Butchers, and incorporates the date 1933 in its brickwork). Cockglode resident Mavis Craig took over the rent collection chores in return for free rent. The pictures below show her eldest daughter in the garden at Cockglode c.1949.

As the 1940s came to an end, and Thoresby Colliery drew ever closer, Cocklglode’s better days were far behind it. The above photographs reveal little, but it is said the rhododendrons which persist in the woods to this day originate from Cockglode's 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 "Cockglode and Rotary Woods", 2013.

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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 Busli, 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, but 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. Also 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. For nearby Rufford see THIS LINK.

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Sunday, February 02, 2014

Perlethorpe floods, Thoresby Estate, January 2014.

This Dukeries blog always concentrates on the historical aspect of the subject. However, because what happened in Perlethorpe Village, Thoresby Estate, 2014 , was in itself a historic moment with possible 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, entering Thoresby Lake, the current was flowing freely and continued to do so as it passed Thoresby Hall at 7 Ton Bridge. The problem was 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. See THIS LINK). Whatever the cause, the solution is likely to call for significant changes to that part of the village if the water remains. Would that mean the sad loss of the current bridge? 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.

 Above: Some yards north of the River Meden, the floods of 2014 made more noticeable the route across the fields a previous canal from the Mill to the Kennels might have taken.

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