Saturday, May 13, 2006

thoresby park lake

Above: Postcard "Evening on Thoresby Lake" dated 1909.

It seems likely that a small lake has always existed where Thoresby Lake is situated today. There is speculation that a Roman fort may have been situated here, and certainly there are small natural underground springs which add to the flow of the River Meden as it comes from Budby. We can be sure from the place names THOResby and PerleTHORpe that Vikings settlements were attracted by such a reliable source of fresh water. But at some point, probably before the 16th century the River Meden was dammed to form a bigger lake.

However, the size and spectacle of what we know today as Thoresby Lake was the result of the ambitions of Evelyn Pierrepont, 2nd Duke of Kingston upon Hull, who in 1751 (at a cost of £497) extended this lake alongside which the original Thoresby Hall had been built. Evelyn's landscaping and extensions also involved the formation of Kingston Island at its western end. His greatest enthusiasm was for the boats he kept on Thoresby Lake, clearly visible in the Tillemans painting dated 1725, and during the 1760's the Duke would allow public access every Sunday to watch his boats manoeuvre around the lake. (One print depicts the Duke's boat as having 15 cannons). William Castle (a.k.a. Budby Castle) was built in 1789, and named after William Scott, the "Captain of the Mary" who had died in 1756. This is where the crew and Captain of the boats were then stationed.
The passion for boats continued with successive generations. In 1832 Charles Herbert Pierrepont, 2nd Earl Manvers, had a fully rigged ship built near Gainsborough and brought to Thoresby by carriage. During the 1930's pleasure rides on the Lake were still being organised for children from the Esate, and two rustic boat houses were situated on either side. The one on the northern side housed the "Reed Cutter", named as such because it was designed to cut the weeds growing below the surface. The lake also provided a plentiful supply of pike and eels, as well as ice in the winter which was gathered and placed in an ice house, and on top of which the Earl's game would be placed.
For video of Thoresby Lake click here.
Above: The plain, practical look of the repaired weir at the east end of the lake (2006). It gives no indication of earlier splendours as seen below.
UPDATE: Visitors to Warners Hotel should note this view / path to the lake is no longer open to guests.

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2 Comments:

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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