Saturday, May 13, 2006

Buck Gates, Thoresby Park.

As can bee seen on the map on THIS LINK, the original Duke's carriages would ride from the Hall, down a straight landscaped route of trees, past the Woodyard, and along Chestnut Avenue, before arriving at a thatched lodge where the estate's gates opened towards Edwinstowe. Until c.1940 all the roads leading into Thoresby Estate were gated and kept locked so the lodge keeper could check who was entering the Estate. Records show that the keeper of this particular lodge, at least between 1832 and 1864, was Mrs Mary Budd, and that as late as the 1930's the thatched roof was still considered important enough to replace every seven years even though Perlethorpe roofs had long since been replaced by slate. But at that time there were not as yet any bucks on the gates.

The lodge became known as Buck Gates after the 4th Earl Manvers witnessed a fight between two bucks in this part of the forest during the breeding season. (I remember witnessing such a fight myself, where two bucks lock antlers and refuse to give way, sometimes for hours.) On this particular occasion the duel lasted the better part of a day, covering the distance to Thoresby Lake, whereupon the bucks fell into the water, too tired to get out, and drowned. The Earl commemorated that battle by installing two stone pillars each side of the lodge gates, a lead covered buck sculpture atop each.
Buck Gates was burnt out by fire in 1956. However, on this occasion the bucks survived, and enough of the lodge's overgrown shell was left standing to provide a temping playground for young schoolboys. Parents always warned us not to venture inside (and we never did), but the haunting atmosphere of the cottage, and the densening, now neglected surrounding undergrowth, captured our imaginations.

Today no evidence of Buck Gates exists apart from faded postcards. It was situated much further back in the woods than the current junction of the A614 and A616 would lead researchers to believe, in a forest area taken over by the military Dukeries Training Centre, formerly known as Proteus Camp.

Above: I confess to a childhood fixation with the lodge. To find out what happened to the Buck Gates two bucks? Click here.

Above: Buck Gates Lodge in its heyday. Thanks to Susie Martin, and the 1911 census, I can add that the Buck gates lodge was where her grandmother Daisy Wesley lived as a young girl in 1911. Daisy’s father was a gamekeeper, whilst her two brothers worked at a local coal mine, and she recalled running out to assist in the opening of the gates whenever Lady Manvers approached because the lady would give her some coins. Daisy would later go on to work in Perlethorpe Post Office before taking up a dressmaking apprenticeship in Leicester. (Thanks S Martin for that info).

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Blogger robin hood said...

Sherwood Forest, the Dukeries, Thoresby park, history.

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Blogger robin hood said...

Pierrepont, Manvers, Dukeries, Thoresby Hall, Thoresby Hotel, Thoresby Park, Perlethorpe, Perlethorpe Village, Ollerton, Budby, Sherwood Forest.

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Blogger susiejmartin said...

My nan used to ive at the lodge at Buck Gates, Her father, Isaac Wesley was an estate worker, a gamekeeper I think. Nan said she used to rush to open the gates for Lady Manvers as the Lady would give her some coins. Nan went on to work at Perlethorpe post office before going to Leicester to take up a dressmaking apprenticeship.
I am hoping to visit and stay at the 'Big House' this week
Susie Martin

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Blogger robin hood said...

Thankyou so much for that info. The lady I remember at the post office was Mrs Blanchard. (This would be c.1955 - 63). Sadly the post office closed down sometime in the late 70s/80s.

The lodge at Buck gates was "derelict" when I lived as a child at the Woodyard (3 Gables), c1958/64. I don't think there's anything at all left of it now. That entire region would seem to be unkempt forest.

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