News for Winter 2010

Thoroton Record Series - Book Launch

The latest book to be published by the Society in its Record Series was launched on Friday, 15 October, 2010 at Gedling Church.

The book is Village Government and Taxation in Later Stuart Nottinghamshire: the Gedling Town Book, 1665-1714, edited by Edward White. The book is reviewed elsewhere on this website.

At the launch Professor Martin Bennett of Nottingham Trent University gave an excellent introduction to the book and Edward White explained more about the research, writing and contents, introducing us to some of the people named in the records.

Our President, Dr. Rosalys Coupe presented the Rector of Gedling, Revd. Michael Taylor with a copy of the book and the event was nicely rounded off with excellent refreshments provided in the church.


The Coach House, Orston.

The Old Warehouse, Newark

The Thomas Cramner Centre, Aslockton.

'Hacyon', Farnsfield.

This award is made every two years and jointly sponsored by the Nottinghamshire building Preservation trust and the Campaign to Protect Rural England. It is made to acknowledge the best restoration or best new building, within a village setting. Buildings must have been completed within the previous three years and the judges look especially for smaller buildings and individual effort.

This year's judges struggled to select winning buildings due to the high quality of those put forward for consideration and, in addition to the winners two others were highly commended.

BEST RESTORATION: The Coach House, Orston. The alterations have been designed to make the most of this small corner site near the church, using traditional materials and methods. The extensions retained the Victorian coach house feel, which the judges liked very much, fully satisfying the Award conditions.

HIGHLY COMMENDED RESTORATION: The Old Warehouse, Coopers Yard, Newark. This is a long delayed resurrection of an unused building in a revitalized, former dockland, residential community. The work has been very well done and the original character has been preserved by the retention of existing openings, the use of sliding security doors and replica steel windows. New openinas on the aable end have an industrial feel.

BEST NEW BUILD: The Thomas Cranmer Centre, Aslockton. This is a major new building in the centre of the village, set back from the road and subordinate to the parish church of St. Thomas. High quality brickwork arches and stone dressings suggest its church connections, and the tall lead-clad roof dormers give a striking appeal and light to a future first floor. The judges though this a worthy winner in the new build category

HIGHLY COMMENDED NEW BUILD: 'Halcyon', Farnsfield. Highly commended for its appearance and the use of traditional and modern materials to provide a low impact bungalow in the rear garden of a 1950s property, the imaginative design meets the best infill practice. It is disappointing that the building is visible only from inside the site.

Report, the judge's remarks as shown in italic above, and the images were supplied by the Nottinghamshire Building Preservation Trust.

The society's record series explained

By Adrian Henstock

Several new members have expressed a wish to learn more about the books published as part of the Society's Record Series. These are totally separate publications to the Transactions and can be obtained with an optional additional subscription. While the Transactions contain articles about local history and archaeology the Record Series exists to publish editions of the texts of important local archives together with a scholarly introduction. Unlike the annual Transactions the Record Series volumes form an 'occasional' series, with books appearing at approximately every two years or so (45 volumes have been published over the past 107 years).

In the past publications have ranged from editions of mediaeval monastic charters, clergy lists and probate inventories to local tax returns, civil parish records, diaries and letters, and historical maps. A full list can be found on the Society's website ( by clicking on 'Publications' and then on 'Record Series'.

The current subscription to the Record Series for individuals (as opposed to institutions) is £15 pa, but members of the main Society can have a combined subscription for £34, (i.e. £24 + £10), thus saving £5.

Whilst the majority of older volumes are out of print they can be seen in many local libraries, but stocks remain of a few recent volumes in addition to the latest one published last month. These can be purchased at a reduced members' rate by post from Nottinghamshire Archives, Castle Meadow Road, Nottingham, NG2 1AG, ( or by pre-arranged personal visit (tel. 0115-9581634). The available books and prices are as follows (plus p&p):

A Nottinghamshire village in war and peace: the accounts of the constables of Upton, 1640 -1666. Ed. by Martyn Bennett. A vivid insight into the life of a village close to the besieged town of Newark during the Civil War. £9.95.

Sherwood Forest in 1609: a Crown survey by Richard Bankes. Ed. by Steph Mastoris and Sue Groves. A detailed written survey of land within the original Sherwood Forest, with maps of some 20 parishes in central and south-east Nottinghamshire. £14.95.

A Nottinghamshire Bibliography: Publications on Nottinghamshire History before 1998. Ed. by Michael Brook. An exhaustive list of over 8,700 books, pamphlets and articles arranged by place and subject. £10.

Village Government and Taxation in Later Stuart Nottinghamshire : The Gedling 'Town Book', 1664-1714. Ed. by Edward White. The unusually complete financial accounts of the constables, churchwardens and overseers of the poor of Gedling, providing insight into contemporary government of any village. £16.95.


Anyone who wishes to delve into Medieval history can now find the entire collection of more than 550 manuscripts at the Parker Library, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge at

Among the Parker's treasures is the earliest surviving version of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, the principle source of English history in the Dark Ages, and the Saint Augustine Gospels, which may have been brought from Rome by St. Augustine in 597 and is the oldest illustrated Latin Gospel Book in existence. The Bury Bible (c1135), one of the world's greatest illuminated manuscripts, is also now available, as is the thirteenth century chronicle by Matthew Paris, containing one of the oldest depictions of an elephant drawn from life and a depiction of Tartar atrocities.

The project to digitize over 200,000 pages was carried out in collaboration with Stanford University Library in the USA.

Art Quarterly and Review, p7, Summer 2010


By Kathryn Summerwill, Manuscripts and Special Collections, University of Nottingham


The wartime exploits of the former President of the Thoroton Society, Myles Thoroton Hildyard, MC, MBE (1914-2005), can now be explored in detail thanks to the release of the catalogue of his papers, which are deposited in the department of Manuscripts and Special Collections at the University of Nottingham.

Myles Hildyard joined the Nottinghamshire (Sherwood Rangers) Yeomanry on the outbreak of war in 1939. In 1941 the regiment was sent to Crete. After the fall of Maleme airfield Myles' unit surrendered to German troops and he was interned in a prisoner of war camp. Hildyard and a fellow officer, Michael Parish, escaped and spent the next three months hiding on the island, sheltered by Cretans before escaping in a boat to Turkey by way of Greek islands. Both subsequently received the Military Cross. This was not the end of his military adventures. He served in North Africa with the 8th Armoured Division, taking part in the Battle of El Alamein, and later worked as an intelligence officer. He accompanied the Normandy invasion, the reconquest of the Low Countries and the march into Germany as brigade intelligence officer.

The papers include his diaries and a series of letters home chronicling his experiences, It is bliss here: letters home 1939-1945 (London: Bloomsbury, 2005).

The original papers, which can be seen in the Manuscripts and Special Collections reading room at King's Meadow Campus, are much more extensive, contained in five boxes. They include interesting items collected by him on the field of battle, such as a postcard sent by an Italian soldier, and a document found in a German slit trench, reading 'Good by Tommy es grusst die Sturm+Kompagnie 11.8.44'.

The Thoroton Hillyard collection also contains 18th and 19th century title deeds and estate papers relating to the family's property at Screveton and Flintham, Nottinghamshire.

An overview of the contents of the collection, and biographical details of family members, are available online at

A printed catalogue of the material is available in the King's Meadow Campus reading room under reference THF. The online catalogue is accessible at

Ed: The book referred to written by Myles Hildyard is available from Amazon in either paperback or hard back versions.


A one-day conference will take place on 18 May 2011 at the School of History, University of Nottingham.

The conference is part of the John Player's Archive Knowledge Transfer Partnership and is a chance for academics and heritage professionals to meet and hear talks based around three main themes: tobacco collections in the heritage sector, tobacco advertising and consumer culture and public health and smoking habits.

The keynote talk will be given by Professor Virginia Berridge (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine) and after the conference there will be the opportunity to visit the John Player's Archive exhibition that will be running at the Museum of Nottingham Life from March until June 2011.

Abstracts are welcome around the three main themes and beyond and if anyone has an idea for a paper you are invited to contact the organizer before 30 November 2010. Similarly if anyone is interested in attending the conference the organizer would like to hear from you. Contact is:


Saturday morning seminars are once again a feature of Nottinghamshire Local History. The seminar programme is lead by Professor John Beckett and he is supported by a small Committee of mainly Thoroton Society members.

Held in the School of History, Lenton Grove on the University of Nottingham's main campus they commence at 10.00 a.m. and finish about 12.30 p.m. The dates for 2011 coincide with the dates of Thoroton Society lectures because many people like to attend both.

The cost of the seminar is £5.00 which includes tea/coffee and biscuits during the break.

8 January 2011 Mark Page: Corby to 1870: Agriculture, Industry, and Common Right in a Woodland Community
12 February 2011 Jenny Alexander: The Priories and the Rockeries: researching Felley and Thurgarton Priories in Nottinghamshire
12 March 2011 David Hey: Surnames, DNA and Family History


The Nottingham Civic Society Newsletter number 143 has been received.

The newsletters are always worth reading, well illustrated and containing interesting information about the City and its buildings, past, present and future.

This issue contains a review of the newly completed alterations to the Newton and Arkwright buildings of the Nottingham Trent University's city campus, and the Cross Keys building (formerly the Town Arms) at Trent Bridge. There are other interesting articles and features.

Do find a copy to read or, even better, support the Civic Society by becoming a member.

Who Do You Think You Are?

Did you catch the BBC One family history programme Who Do You Think You Are? in August when it featured Alexander Armstrong? If not you missed a lengthy interview with our Chairman, Professor John Beckett who was able to guide him through members of the Boughton family. John's appearance was reported in the Nottingham Evening Post of 20 August with a page long feature and photograph of John.


The Domesday Book can now be accessed online at following the completion of a digitization project led by Stephen Baxter of King's College, London. The project is part of a lengthy academic project to compile details of all the Anglo-Saxons for whom records survive. The project is named Prosopography of Anglo-Saxon England (PASE).

The database for the Domesday Book is easy to use, free although one has to put up with irritating adverts.

Spring meeting and AGM

The Society's AGM day bears a new name from 2011 to better reflect the day with its short AGM, talk and guided tour around the place where it is being held. Make a note - Saturday, 30 April 2011 at Flintham.


Canon Michael Austin's latest book is announced at a retail price of £14.95 from booksellers or Amazon. A Time of Unhappy Commotion - The Church of England and the People of South Nottinghamshire 1820-70.

The book is a study of the Church in South Nottinghamshire between the 1820s and 1850s through a wealth of previously unused sources, including the local press, books and pamphlets written by the clergy, and in particular a newly discovered record of a visitation of Southwell deanery made in 1855. It brings to light much detail on what the church was doing and not doing, what some of its clergy thought it should be doing, and how it related to other individuals and institutions.


Bromley House is resplendent in its alterations and decorations to the entrance hallway which is now bright and cheerful in its buttercup yellow and Cornish cream paintwork. Restored portraits and on the stairway and beyond, a new carpet in warm cherry and black together with subtle lighting provided the finishing touches.

New lockers are provided on the first floor for depositing of bags and visitors are requested to use them and also to remember to turn off mobile phones when entering the library.