Book reviews, Winter 2021

Some Nottinghamshire Surnames by Cliff Hughes

Published privately. Copies available from Cliff at Price £6 plus £1.50 p&p

This is a fascinating little book that comes from the author’s long interest in the history and geography of surnames and is actually a compilation of a series of short articles originally written for the journal of the Nottinghamshire Family History Society. The book includes twenty-five surnames and the locations in which they are found in Nottinghamshire. Some of the names, such as MENSING (found in Cotgrave), WISHER (Cropwells Butler and Bishop) and DONCASTER (Bingham), are unusual. Many of the surnames are confined to quite small areas, often just a couple of villages which are adjacent to each other. MENSING sounds a bit ‘foreign’ and indeed the first British bearer of the name was William Mensing, a tailor, who originated from Hanover. William married a Cotgrave girl and after she died he remarried and had two sons.

The author is obviously a cricket fan, as he includes the history of Richard DAFT, a prominent Nottinghamshire cricketer. Richard came from humble beginnings in a family of framework knitters and in his early adult life he boarded with the Parr family of Radcliffe on Trent.

George Parr, eleven years older than Richard, was already a well-known cricket player and probably gave Richard much encouragement in his cricket-playing. In 1871 Richard succeeded George as captain of Nottinghamshire, and was occasionally captain of the national team. Even though the number of surnames is limited to twenty-five, the book is well worth buying for the intimate details given of local villages, such as Lambley, Woodborough, Eakring and Farndon.The book is beautifully produced by our old friends Adlards of Ruddington, who print the Thoroton Newsletter, and I can recommend it as a worthwhile purchase. I found only one spelling error, that of Willies spelled as Wiliies, and that unfortunately is on the list of contents. There are no Wilsons included in the book, but then we are ten a penny.

John Wilson

Whose Memorial: The Restoration of the Lady Chapel, Worksop Priory by Robert Ilett

(Robert may be contacted via email or phone 01777869051).

Dating from the 13th century, the Lady Chapel was constructed as part of Worksop Priory at the behest of Lady Maud de Furnival. However, as Illet explains, following the Reformation, the Priory and Lady Chapel were allowed to fall into disrepair. The buildings were despoiled, as well as the lead and timbers being looted and sold. Although the Priory was restored in the middle of the 19th century, the Lady Chapel remained in a ruinous state, with much of the original masonry gone. Ilett’s work centres on the rebuilding of the Lady Chapel. As he outlines, the idea of building a memorial to the Great War (as opposed to a memorial to those killed in it) was first mooted in December 1917. Much of Illett’s pamphlet focuses on the subsequent difficulties in securing funding for the restoration of the Chapel, as well as those who were responsible for carrying out the work.This illuminating 14 page pamphlet would be of particular interest to those wishing to know more about the various ways in which tributes were paid to those who fell in World War One, and the types of memorials that were erected in their memory. It would also particularly appeal to those interested in the history of Worksop Priory.

A copy of the work may be sought from Robert Illet in exchange for a suggested £5 donation to the Royal British Legion.

Hannah Nicholson