News for Winter 2014- Spring 2015

WW1 Christmas truce - football match

Father Michael O'Donoghue blessing the memorial.

On 26 December 2014 a Blessing service, conducted by Father Michael O'Donaghue, was held in the Sconce and Devon Park, Newark for a very unusual plaque.

The plaque commemorates Private William Setchfield whose hometown was Newark where his father and brother worked as shoemakers but also repaired leather footballs. Pte. Setchfield was sent a football as a Christmas present in 1914 whilst he was fighting with the Royal Worcestershire Regiment opposed to the German 134 Saxon Regiment.

Francis Towndrow has researched the famous Christmas football game played in No Mans' Land and has had access to soldiers' letters and diaries.

It is suggested that William Setchfield's football was the one used in the game between the Worcesters and the Saxons. Certainly William wrote home recording the fraternisation and Kurt Zehmisch of the Saxons recorded that the English soldiers had a football and that a game took place between the two forces.

Setchfield was recorded as a deserter but this is thought likely to have been a punishment for being involved in the game. He survived the war and received the 1914 Star. He married but no record of his death has apparently been found although he was alive in 1946 when he is recorded as sending a wreath to his brother's funeral.

The plaque was donated by stonemason Roger Brown and the project is the final part of a project by Newark Town Football Club for which an HLC grant was received.


Hucknall airfield will permanently close on 1 March 2015.

The airfield opened in 1916 as No. 12 (Training) Group, 27th Wing with No. 15 Training Depot of the RFC using Curtiss Jenny JN-4 aircraft.

In February 1918 No. 128 (Gold Coast) Squadron arrived using the DH9 aircraft. They were followed on 1 March 1918 by 130 Squadron also using the DH9 and on 18 March 1918 by 205 Squadon with DH4 and DH9S. These squadrons were absorbed into the RAF when it was formed on 1 April 1918.

On 18 August 1918 23rd Aero Squadron (Repair) USAAF arrived at Hucknall, but in 1919 the airfield was closed and sold to a local farmer, George Elkington.

When the Nottingham Aero Club was formed in 1926 it used part of the airfield but had to leave when the site was bought by the Air Ministry in 1927 and opened in 1928 as RAF Hucknall. During the 1930s an annual Empire Air Day of displays by the resident squadrons was held.

In December 1934 Rolls-Royce moved its testing establishment to Hucknall from Tollerton (see KDLHS's publication on the History of Tollerton Airfield), and operated there until 2007, although latterly only ground testing was undertaken after the RR flight testing moved to Filton, Bristol. Notable tests at Hucknall were on Sir Frank Whittle's jet engine in 1942 and the subsequent generations of R-R jet engines both military and civilian. In July 1953 VTOL tests were undertaken on what became colloquially known as the 'Flying Bedstead'. During the war R-R repaired and modified Hurricane fighter aircraft at Hucknall.

Returning to the RAF, in January 1941 No. 1 Flying Training School arrived at Hucknall using Tiger Moth, Fairey Battle and Airspeed Oxford aircraft; this school moved to RAF Newton in July 1941 as No. 16 Secondary Flying Training School. It was replaced at Hucknall on 16 July 1941 by 25 Elementary Flying Training School using Tiger Moths.

In May 1946 504 Squadron arrived with DH Mosquito NF30 night-fighters and it was re-equipped with Spitfire F22 day fighters in May 1948. This squadron re-located to RAF Wymeswold in March 1950.

In 1946 the Nottingham University Air Squadron used Hucknall flying Tiger Moths but it moved to Newton during 1947.

The Merlin Flying Club (R-R employees) has used the airfield since 1971 and up to the final closure operates the site as a weekend flying venue. The Club celebrates its time at Hucknall during February 1915 with free landings and on the last weekend is holding an event with a final firework display and hopes that guest pilots will attend.

Outline planning consent has been given to the site for housing although some of the airfield buildings are listed and there have been ideas to use the site as a museum on the lines of Duxford and Old Warden.

2015 Special Lecture

Lincoln Cathedral - West Front

  © Copyright David Wright and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Following the very successful and enjoyable special lecture given in 2013 by Michael Wood we are extremely excited and pleased to welcome JONATHAN FOYLE as our special lecturer in 2015.

The date for this event is 9 July at 7.30 pm and it will be held in the beautiful surroundings of Kelham Hall.

Booking flyers will be sent out shortly for this lecture which will be entitled LINCOLN CATHEDRAL: the BIOGRAPHY OF A GREAT BUILDING.

Jonathan is an architectural historian, a broadcaster and an advocate for heritage buildings and sites. He has fronted or been involved in several television series - you will have seen him on a number of Time Team programmes and also climbing some of our most iconic buildings in the series Climbing Great Buildings.

Until recently Jonathan was the Chief Executive of the World Monument Fund and in that capacity met with Newstead Abbey supporters a couple of years ago, giving a most interesting and encouraging talk on that occasion. We very much look forward to welcoming him back to Nottinghamshire.

Barbara Cast

Nottinghamshire Pillboxes

An enquiry has been received about military pillboxes in the county together with other military defence sites relating to WW2. If any member has knowledge of the siting of any such structures and/or associated gun emplacements it would be very greatly appreciated if contact with details of location could be made with the Editor of the Newsletter, Howard Fisher. Thank you in anticipation of the help of members in this regard.

Bestwood Lodge and the family of the 10th Duke of St. Albans (1864-1943)

Appeal for information

Bestwood Lodge, c.1905.Bestwood Lodge, c.1905.

I am writing a book about the family of William Beauclerk, 10th Duke of St. Albans (1840-1898), in part to explore why it fell apart so dramatically after his early death. I am particularly interested in the fate of his three sons, who grew up during the heyday of Bestwood Lodge in the 1870s and 1880s: Charles, 11th Duke of St. Albans (1870-1934); Osborne, 12th Duke (1874-1964); and Lord William Beauclerk (1883-1954). The 10th Duke had eight children in all, three by his first marriage and five by his second. Tragically, both the 11th Duke (known as 'Burford') and Lord William Beauclerk (known as 'Huddy') were committed to asylums for the best part of their lives: the former was at Ticehurst House in Sussex from 1898 to 1934, whilst the latter was an inmate of the Priory, Roehampton for over half a century, dying there on Xmas Day, 1954. Of the three sons only Osborne married, none had children.

While the 11th Duke lived, Bestwood was managed by a combination of his Committees of the Estate (the equivalent of receivers) and the trustees of the 10th Duke's will. It was leased out first to the lace manufacturer Sir Thomas Isaac Birkin and then from 1915 to 1940 to the Bowden family, owners of the Raleigh cycle company. Parts of the Bestwood estate were already being sold off to the Nottingham Corporation in the 1920s (some by compulsory purchase) and this continued throughout the 1930s until the entire estate was put on the market in June 1940. It was not until 1943, however, that the house itself and the heart of the estate finally left the Beauclerk family. The house and grounds were requisitioned for the war effort in 1940 and remained in the hands of the army until 1979, when the property was acquired by Gedling Borough Council.

If anyone has any information on the history of the estate, please do get in touch with me. Much about Bestwood is still shrouded in mystery and recovery of the full story could provide precious insights for the future. It would also be wonderful to hear from people who worked on the Bestwood estate or whose families did, as valuable memories can be handed down by word of mouth. And if anyone has any cuttings or photographs that relate to the family of the 10th Duke or the Bestwood estate, particularly from 1864 to 1943, and would be willing to share them, that would be hugely appreciated.

Any information or suggestions for further research - however trivial seeming - will be most gratefully received.

Please contact Charles Beauclerk at: or 020-3759-8434.


Forthcoming events and news items


A new database service opened at the end of December 2014 allowing a search to be made for any will made from 1858. 41 million wills are involved.

The service is accessed through the website and a name and year of death is required.

Once the appropriate record has been selected a copy of the will should take no longer than 10 days to be received but there is a fee of £10 per will to be paid.

However, this new service should prove very helpful to Family Historians as well as Local Historians researching a particular family or name.


The 800th anniversary of Magna Carta is in 2015.

The British Library, London, has a 6-month exhibition Magna Carta: Law, Liberty, Legacy starting on 13 March.

Lincoln has one of the two original documents and from 1 April the newly refurbished Castle (£22 million) has a new vault to contain Magna Carta.

Part of the refurbishment is to open the walls in their full length which will allow visitors to walk all round the walls with the associated views over the city and towards the cathedral.

The cost of a visit is to be £12 which includes the Magna Carta exhibit, the wall walk, prison and inner bailey of the castle.


The Winding Engine tours and Community cafe continue to be open on Saturdays through the Winter period. There is a programme of events through Winter which can be accessed via the web site, some will have passed by the time this newsletter reaches members but others might be of interest:

7 March - Dynamo Mini-Miners 10am to 1 pm. For children.

Ladies Hedge-Laying on 1st and 8th March from 10 am to 3 pm. Free but pre-booking is essential.

Sunday 29 March noon to 4 pm. Mines Rescue and Mansfield Fire Museum are at the Park from noon to 4 pm with mines rescue equipment and vintage fire engines.

For booking and more information contact Adele Williams at 0115-976-2422 or email The main web site is at


This event, which follows the format of the first such day held in 2014, will take place on 21 June 2015 at the University of Nottingham Museum, Lakeside.


In January 2015 it was announced that Highfields Park is to be restored after the confirmation of £4.5m of funding, including lottery money being granted.

The park was opened in 1923 but buildings have fallen into disrepair and the lake has silted up. The park has 121 acres and dates to when Sir Jesse Boot bought the site to house the university although the park area remained in the control of the City Council and was never part of the University estate.

Work will involve a new paddling pool, reducing vegetation, landscaping and building a new mini-golf course.

HLF will contribute £3.2m and the remainder coming from the City Council, park trust and local organisations.

The work is due for completion by the end of summer 2016.


A series of free talks and handling sessions that focus on curent archaeological work.

The talks allow professional archaeologists, related specialists and community groups to share their exciting work with us as it is happening and includes regional, national and international projects.

The talks are based at the University of Nottingham Museum, at Lakeside. 1 pm in the Djanogly Theatre and places should be pre-booked at the Box Office on 0115-846-7777.

15 April - Recent Finds of Late Medieval Amulets and Reliquaries through the Treasure Act.

Jane Robinson is Keeper of Art and Design at the National Museum of Scotland. The talk will share a number of recent finds with the audience and reflect on their significance.

13 May - Segelocum: Grains of History

Lorraine Horsley and Emily Gillott, Community Archaeologists, Nottinghamshire County Council.

The talk will present the results of previous excavations from the site of Segelocum which is often overlooked in studies of the small towns of Roman Britain. Segelocum was possibly the most important Roman town in Nottinghamshire.

Situated at the junction of the road from Lincoln to Doncaster and the River Trent, all that is now left is the hamlet of Littleborough to mark its location.

Following this talk there will be the opportunity to see some of the material from Segelocum in the University Museum, courtesy of Sam Glasswell, Curator of Bassetlaw Museum.


28 February - ROMAN POTTERY MAKING -11.15 am to 1.15 pm for adults 16+ and 2 to 3.30 pm children 7-15 years. In the Angear Visitor Centre. Limited to 15 people per class. Cost: Adults £15/£10. Children £4.

28 March - FLINT KNAPPING - Karl Lee from Primitive Technology UK shows how to make your own flint tool.

The Rehearsal Hall. Limited to 15 per class. 11am to 2 pm (adults 16+) and 2-4 pm (Families with children 10+)

Prices as above.


Limited to 20 people per session. Free and for all ages.

12.30 to 1.30 and 2.30 to 3.30 pm

Sam Glasswell and the re-enactment group A LITTLE BIT OF HISTORY will recreate burial practices and explore what these can tell us about the costume, religion, technology and society of the early Anglo-Saxons


Kieron Gillen and Professor Stephen Hodkinson (Department of Classics, Nottingham University) will discuss their collaboration in order to create a dramatic story that exposes the soft underbelly of the once-mighty Spartans and provides the long-neglected helots with a myth of their own.

12.30 to 1.30 pm in the Art Centre lecture Theatre. Free but, like all these events, booking is essential.

NOTE: There are scenes of graphic violence and so parental guidance advised at 12+.


2.15 to 4.14 pm Learning Studio.

Limited to 20 people 11+. Booking essential

Adults £8. Children under 16 and concessions £4.

Kieron Gillen and poetry-comics creator Chrissy Williams, assisted by historian Stephen Hodkinson, will introduce some stories and help you re-tell them yourself in comic-strip format. No experience of drawing skills is necessary: stick-figures and collage of existing images will be among the techniques covered.


18 April 11.30am to 1pm and 2 to 3.30 pm.

5 May, 1.30 to 3 pm.

Cost: £2 per person. Under 16 free. Limited to 8 per session. Meet in the Museum.


16 May and 13 June. 11 am to 3 pm

Age 14 +. Limited to 8 per session.

Cost: £2 per session. Under 16 free. Meet in the Museum.


25 July.

Free drop-in event.

11 am to 4 pm. The Museum and Angear Visitor Centre

The construction of the two new tram lines has created the opportunity for some of the largest archaeological interventions in Nottingham for years including the Bronze Age site at Clifton and the medieval priory at Lenton.

Find out about the work undertaken by Trent and Peak Archaeology including the opportunity to handle finds.

Craft activities including medieval tile making and Bronze Age coil pot making with the Nottinghamshire County Council Community Archaeologists.