Maps of Nottingham: Badder and Peat Map of 1745

by Joe Earp

This is a really interesting map of Nottingham. It is the Badder and Peat Map of 1745 which shows Nottingham as a garden town. Lots of orchards and gardens, and the town stops at what is now Parliament Street in the north, and the River Leen in the south. There is an incredible amount of detail in the map.

Little changed before the Enclosure Act of 1845, which relieved the pressure by permitting building on the common fields surrounding the old town. It can be noted that there is no road outlet from the town to the south, except for the London Road bridge over the River Leen.

Other streets show much more importance than today, for example North Street, (now Foreman Street), which was the main outlet to the Mansfield Road, compared with Boot Lane (now Milton Street).

The map doesn’t even show the modern busy roads of Albert Street, Carrington Street, King Street and Market Street.

Discarded names include:

Cow lane (Clumber Street),

Gridlesmith Gate (Pelham Street),

Bearward lane, (Mount Street)

Back Side (Parliament Street)

Timber Hill (South Parade)

Bar Gate (Chapel Bar)

Fink Hill Street (Maid Marian Way)

The map has all street names, and individual buildings and gardens, but some places are shown numbered on the map itself. A key to the various numbered places/features is shown below. This key is not shown on the map itself.

1 – Shoe booths

2 – Hen Cross

3 – Queen Street

4 – Peck Lane

5 – White Friars

6 – St. Peter’s Church

7 – Reservoir

8 – Collin’s Hospital

9 – Mrs Newdigate’s House

10 – Mrs Bennet’s house

11 – The home of the Hon. Rothwell Willoughby

12 – Johnson’s Court

13 – Byard lane

14 – Weekday Cross

15 – Charity School

16 – St. Mary’s Church

17 – The Long Stairs

18 – Castle

19 – Bog Hole

20 – St. Nicholas’s Church

21 – The Water Engine

22 – The Lead Works formerly Grey Friars

23 – Marsden’s Court

24 – Pennyfoot Row

25 – The summerhouse of Longford Collins

badderpeat_notting_1745

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Great Oaks of Sherwood

by Frank E Earp

A few weeks ago I received an e:mail from one of my many contacts urging me to vote for the Major Oak in a competition for ‘The European Tree of the Year’. The Major Oak with its associations to the Robin Hood story, is of course the most famous tree in Sherwood Forest, – and perhaps the most famous oak tree in Britain.

The European Tree of the Year: As the name suggests, the competition, which began in 2011, is an annual pan-European popularity contest for trees across the continent, – it has been described as the Eurovision for trees. Competing trees are judged for their cultural value to the local, national and even international community. From an initial start of only 5 participating countries, this year’s competition has seen entrants from 14 European states including England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.

Celebrity trees from across each of the competing countries are first nominated for the national heat of the competition. The resulting national finalist then go ‘head to head’ to be ‘crowned’ by public vote with the title of European Tree of the Year. All of the nominees for the title have their names and details added to ‘The European Trail of Trees, further enforcing their celebrity status.

Disappointingly, the Major Oak did not win the competition despite votes coming from fans as far away as the U.S.A. The Major Oak received 9,941 of the total of 185,000 votes cast and was soundly beaten into sixth place. The winner, an Estonian oak tree know as ‘The Football Tree’, received 59,836 votes just short of 32% of total votes cast. So, what makes this Estonian oak, – which by the way although a mature tree, is a mere sapling compared to Sherwood’s mighty giant, – so special and valued to the community? The fact is that the tree appears to have been judged more on its novelty status than any cultural heritage or history, for it stands in the middle of a football-pitch. Before 1951 the tree stood on the edge of a small sports ground in the town of Orissaare. When the facility was expanded, the tree which was protected, ended up in the middle of the stadium. Space dictated that it was necessary to layout a football pitch around the tree. The tree however takes an active part in games played on the pitch, with players from both sides allowed by local rules to use it has an extra player and deflect balls off of its’ trunk. Before its honoured role in the game of football, the oak was already a symbol of national resistance. Legend has it that Russian forces under Stalin tried to uproot the tree using two tractors but failed when the cables kept breaking. Locals proudly point out the marks left on the tree’s trunk from this attempted destruction.

Scotland’s entrant to this years competition was a 100 year old Scots pine which stands close to the waters edge at the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s, Loch of the Lowes reserve near Dunkeld, Perthshire. Known as Lady’s Tree, the pine’s claim to fame is that it has, for nearly a quarter of a century, been the chosen nesting site for the country’s most famous osprey, a bird known as Lady. Lady’s Tree came 9th in the competition with 4,193 votes.

The entrant for Wales, also a Scots pine twice the age of Lady’s Tree, came 10th with 1,548 votes. This solitary tree, appropriately referred to as the Lonely Tree was once a familiar landmark high on the top of a hill above the town of Llanfyllin, Powys. In April 2014 the tree blew over in high winds and to help promote their efforts to save the tree, the good folk of the town entered it into the competition.

Oak Trees in European culture: It is not surprising that in a competition in which trees are judged for their cultural value and importance, that we should find that three of the fourteen contestants are oak trees. What is a surprise is the fact that there were not more. The oak tree has held a place of high esteem in most European cultures for thousands of years. Across Europe it has always been associated with the chief deity of the many and various pantheons of pagan gods and goddesses, particularly those who’s attributes are represented by thunder and lightning, – Zeus, Jupiter and Thor. In Britain the Iron Age Druids, – who’s very name derives from the Latin for ‘oak knower’ – conducted their ceremonies in oak groves. Famously, the most sacred plant of the Druids is the mistletoe, particularly that which is found growing on an oak tree. In folklore, the legendary Merlin, who is probably based on an actual Druid, has strong associations with the oak.

The history of the birth of Christianity in both Britain and Continental Europe is littered with incidents of the cutting down of pagan sacred oak trees. In France, the Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne ordered the destruction of the pagan sacred oak groves. The Christianization of the Germanic peoples was said to have begun when, in 723 A.D., a Christian missionary named Winfrid cut-down an oak tree sacred to the god Thor.

Like the tree its self, the pagan veneration of the oak was so deep rooted that the early Christian Church found it hard to entirely extinguish. As with other pagan imagery, the oak leaf and acorn became incorporated into church architecture in the form of the ‘green man’ or more correctly the ‘foliate head’, as a symbol of the wild and lustful side of human nature.

Heart of Oak: There are far to many examples of the oak trees significance in British and European folklore and culture to give further space to in this article, but it is safe to say that the oak’s importance in these aspects can not be over emphasized. However, leaving all this aside, the oak has always been prized for its strength and beauty and for the value its’ timber. Of all the countries of the U.K. it is England that is perhaps most associated with oak trees, – and for good reason. One might say that it is a tree that both helped build and protect a nation. It was oak trees which were chosen as the preferred timber to provided the great roof beams of Anglo/Saxon halls, Norman castles, great houses, cathedrals and parish churches all over the land. The most famous role of the oak in history is however, that of providing the ‘wooden walls’ which once protected England and the rest of these isles from the threat of foreign invasion. The wooden walls are of course the great warships of the Royal Navy, like Nelson’s Flagship The Victory. Nowhere is the sentiment of the wooden walls better reflected than in the patriotic song and official march of the Royal Navy, ‘Heart of Oak’ The image of the ‘mighty oak’ has become one of England’s national symbols and the great oaks of Sherwood a proud symbol of Nottinghamshire.

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The Football Oak, in the middle of a Football Stadium in the town of Orissaare Estonia.

Hail, hallow’d oaks:

Hail, British-born, who, last of British race,

Hold your primeval rights by Nature’s charter.

‘Caractacus’ William Mason 1724 – 1797.

Major Hayman Rooke: It is impossible to write about the ‘Great Oaks of Sherwood’ without first mentioning one man, Hayman Rooke. Little is written about Rooke’s early life, however, it is known that he was born in London on the 23rd February 1723 and was christened one month later at the church of St. Martin’s-in-the-Field, Westminster. After following an unremarkable career in the Royal Artillery and having achieved the rank of major, he retired to Mansfield in Nottinghamshire around 1780. Rooke took-up residence at Woodhouse Place at what is now the corner of Leeming Lane South and Mansfield Road and seems to have settled very quickly into a life as a ‘Country Gentleman’ and Antiquarian (Archaeologist). Just how and when he acquired his passion for ‘antiquities’ is unknown, but Rooke had already contributed a number of articles to the journal ‘Archaeologia’ between 1776 and 1796 whilst still serving in the army. Although he took an active interest in ancient sites across the Country, Rooke is best known for his pioneering work in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire.

As well as his passion for archaeology, Rooke took a deep interest in both meteorology and natural history. A particularly favourite interest was the venerable old oak trees growing all around him in Sherwood Forest. In 1790 he published a book entitled ‘Description or Sketches of remarkable Oaks in Welbeck Park’ and nine years later a pamphlet with the descriptive title of ‘A sketch of the ancient and present state of Sherwood Forest’. Rooke, like most antiquarians of the day was an excellent artist and draughtsman and consequently both books are full of lavish illustrations of all the most notable trees including: The Porters, The Greendale Oak The Duke’s Walking-stick and The Seven Sisters.

Affectionately known locally as the Major, Hayman Rooke died at the age of 83 on the 18th September 1806 and was buried with much acclaim in the chancel, – a place of great honour, – of St. Edmund’s church Mansfield Woodhouse.

Oak with three names: According to legend, one of the Major’s (Hayman Rooke), favourite haunts was a “….beautiful wood or rather grove” known as Birchland, on the Duke of Portland’s Welbeck estate. The Major himself describes the wood as consisting of over 10,000 oaks intermixed with birch trees and covering an area of around 1,800 acres. Of all the oaks in Birchland, there was one special tree to which the Major was drawn. This was an ancient oak known as the Cockpit Tree from the fact that caged cockerels where kept insides its great hollow trunk prior to their participation in the once popular sport of ‘Cock-fighting’. It is said that the Major was often seen to take his morning brake beneath the trees’ spreading boughs. Here he would rest, eat his picnic lunch or write -up his notes. So frequent were his visits to the tree locals began to referrer to it as ‘The Major’s Oak’ and then, simply The Major Oak. Charming as this legend might be it is not entirely true. The fact is that although first referred to as The Cockpit Oak, the tree now known as The Major Oak was also called The Queen Oak or Queen’s Oak throughout the 19th century. Sorting fact from fiction a more likely sequence of events is that the tree’s official or actual name was the Queen or Queen’s Oak and in popular parlance was given the more local nick-name Cockpit Oak due to its associations with the sport of Cock-fighting. Perhaps the Major did take his ease beneath the boughs of this great tree, but the more likely reason for its current name is less prosaic. The fact that the tree was introduced and made popular to a wider audience in his book on the Welbeck Oaks. However, although he gives both an illustration and description of the tree in his work, he does not refer to it by any name. We can imagine then, that those readers of the book wishing see the tree for themselves would turn up in Birchland and amongst its 10,000 oaks and ask the locals “Which one is the Major’s Oak?” The tree is easier to find these days. Birchland is now a part of the Sherwood Forest Country Park and the modern visitor needs only to follow the signs from the Visitors Centre near Edwinstowe.

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Rooke’s engraving of The Queen Oak carries the caption ‘An ancient Oak in Birklands Wood’.

The Major Oak: The first written reference to the oak tree now known as The Major Oak, comes from the pen of the antiquarian Major Hayman Rooke, from whom the tree takes its’ name. There has been many thousands of words written about this tree since the Major’s day, but such is the value of his report that it is worth repeating here in full: On the north side of the great riding is a most curious antient oak, which, before the depredations made by time on its venerable trunk, might almost have vied with the celebrated Cowthorpe oak. for size. It measures, near the ground, 34′ 4” in circumference; at one yard, 27′ 4”; at two yards, 31′ 9”. The trunk, which is wonderfully distorted, plainly appears to have been much larger; and the parts from whence large pieces have fallen off are distinguishable; the inside is decayed and hollowed out by age, which, with the assistance of the axe, might be made wide enough to admit a carriage through it. I think no one can behold this majestic ruin without pronouncing it to be of very remote antiquity; and might venture to say, that it cannot be much less than a thousand years old”.

One thing is certain about this account, we can learn as much from its omissions as we can its inclusions. It will be noticed that Rooke begins by introducing the Major Oak as ‘a curious antient (ancient) oak’ and gives neither the tree’s vulgar name, the Cockpit Oak or its’ more likely name The Queen Oak. The accompanying illustration also simply has the title ‘An Ancient Oak in Birchland Wood’. With one other exception, all of the other trees in the book are referenced by name and their illustrations appropriately labelled. Did Rooke not know the trees’ name or was it purposefully omitted?

The Major Oak is so famous today that we might have expected it to have had first place in Rooke’s work and for the account to contain the most information. However, this is not the case. The honour of being the first tree mentioned in the book is given to a magnificently tall and straight oak appropriately known as ‘The Duke’s Walking Stick’. The greatest amount of text is given-over to a tree called the Greendale Oak which appears to have been the most famous tree on the Duke’s estate. Although clearly a reference to a venerable old oak, why did Rooke include a description of what seems at the time to be an obscure tree?

‘Description or Sketches of remarkable Oaks in Welbeck Park’, – first published in 1790, – was not intended to appeal to a mass audience. It is a survey of the trees on the Duke of Portland’s estate and was written and paid for by subscription. As the title page, dedications and list of subscribers, (sponsors including the Duke himself) indicate, the book was intended to be read by the aristocracy, gentry and other distinguished members of society. Bearing in mind the intended audience, Rooke seems to have included the Major Oak rather for its great age, size and unique appearance. All this is very cleverly done in his direct comparison in the text with the ‘Cowthorpe Oak’. Aside from the fact that the tree was in Rooke’s time, the most famous oak tree in Britain, why did Rooke make this comparison and where did Rooke learn of the Cowthorpe Oak? The answer to the first question will become apparent when we look at the Cowthorpe Oak in detail. As to the source of Rooke’s information, knowing Rooke’s passion for Sherwood Forest and its great oaks, there is but one possible answer, John Evelyn’s ‘Sylva’.

John Evelyn’s Sylva: Sylva, with the full title of ‘A Discourse of Forest-Trees and the Propagation of Timber in His Majesty’s Dominions’, was a book that Rooke and his patron, the Duke of Portland would have been familiar with. Rooke’s own books were inspired by, if not directly influenced by this prestigious record of the trees of Britain. Sylva comes from the Latin word for forest and in this case referrers to silviculture, – the general care and maintenance of trees and forests. The work was first presented to the Royal Society in 1662, by one of its founder members the diarist John Evelyn, as a ‘paper’. Two years later, in 1664, at the behest of several Commissioners of the Royal Navy, it was granted a Royal Charter and published as the first ever volume on silviculture in the English language. From this date until 1825 there follow successive editions, the last five being published under the editorship of Dr Alexander Hunter.

The Cowthorpe Oak: Cowthorpe is a small rural village in the Harrogate district of North Yorkshire around 14 miles from York. The village has but one claim to fame, it was once the home of the greatest and most famous oak tree in Britain. The tree, which was considered to be completely dead in1950, has been estimated to have been around 1,800 years old. Compare this to the estimated age of the Major Oak of between 800 and 1,000 years old. In 1776, writing in his first edition of ‘Evelyn’s Sylva’ Hunter says of the Cowthorpe Oak: “When compared to this, all other trees are but children of the forest”. Hunter’s full description of this truly gargantuan tree makes it nearly twice the size of the Major Oak: “The dimensions are almost incredible. Within three feet of the ground it measures sixteen yards [48′], and close by the ground twenty-six yards [78′]. Its height, in its present ruinous state (1776), is almost eighty-five feet, and its principal limb extends sixteen yards [48′] from the bole. Throughout the whole tree the foliage is extremely thin, so that the anatomy of the ancient branches may be distinctly seen in the height of summer”. The tree is believed to have been in full vigour around 1700 and to have occupied a site of close-on half an acre.

They say that a picture paints a thousand words and certainly this is true of the of the Victorian image of the Cowthorpe Oak reproduced here. Although not the earliest image of the tree, this engraving, first published in the ‘Graphic’ in 1872, shows not only the trees’ amazing size, but its popularity and the truly vast crowds of visitors it once attracted. By this date the tree had already been a popular attraction for over 100 years.

I believe that in making the comparison with the Cowthorpe Oak, Rooke was flattering his patron, – the Duke of Portland, – by drawing his attention to the oak on his estate. He was in fact saying something like; “Look at this my lord. You too have a great oak like the Cowthorpe tree on your land”. I further believe that by not mentioning the tree by name, Rooke cleverly infers that he is responsible for its discovery. Certainly, following the publication of Rooke’s account, the obscure Queen Oak starts it journey to becoming the popular attraction it is today. The fact that the tree is now known as the Major Oak gives full credit to Rooke for the trees popularity.

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Victorian image of the Cowthorpe Oak, in the village of Cowthorpe Yorkshire.

Two Trees: Who ever entered the Major Oak into this year’s European Tree of the Year competition may have been somewhat technically cheating. Latest scientific opinion tells us that The Major Oak is in fact two oak trees and not one. What is even more amazing is the fact that the two may even be of a different species of oak tree making The Major Oak a unique high-bread. I have it on good authority, – ‘Robin Hood’ himself, a.k.a. Dr Tony Rotherham, that acorns and leafs on one side of the tree are distinctly different from those on the other. It would seem that between 800 and 1,000 years ago, on the spot where The Major Oak now stands, two acorns germinated side by side. As the young saplings grew their branches were close enough to touch each other and by a natural process known as ‘inosculation’ they fussed together. Underground, the same process occurred with the roots of the young trees and by the time that the trunks had grow sufficient to bridged the gap between the pair, they too fussed together. The rest as they say is history but the product of this inosculation is with us today in the form of the mighty Major Oak.

The union of the branches of two or more trees through the process of inosculation is not uncommon, especially where trees of the same genus are growing in close proximity, such as orchards and woods. Even branches of isolated trees will sometimes fuse and become one where gravity or deformity of growth have forced them together. However for two trees of a different but related species to grow together is rare, but when it does happen it produces spectacular results.

The Oak and the Ash: One of these natural unions of two trees, sometimes known as ‘husband and wife trees’ or marriage trees, is described by Rooke in his account of what he referrers to ‘as a fine grove of large oaks’, on the west side of the lake in Welbeck Park. Here he says, are trees of between 12′ and 22′ in circumference: “One of these trees is worthy of notice, being a singular ‘lusus naturae’ [play on nature] which represents an ash growing out of the bottom of a large oak, to which it adheres to the height of about 6′; it there separates, and leaves a space of near three feet in height; here, as if unwilling to be disunited, it stretches out an arm, or little protuberance, to coalesce again with the fostering Oak. Circumference near the ground, taking in both trees, 36′ feet; at one yard, 18′ 9” circumference of the oak only at two yards, 15′ 4”; the ash at two yards, 6′ in circumference; height of the oak 92’”.

A Question of Age: Everyone knows that the easiest way of determine the age of any tree is to cut it down and to count the number of annual growth rings contained within the trunk. Thankfully there is a less destructive method available, simply measure the circumference of the tree at a point of around 5′ from ground level. Because of the special place oak trees have in the culture of the areas in which they grow and the fact that oaks have been deliberately cultivated for many hundreds of years, their growth patten has been widely studied. From these many observations a comparison table of the average diameter of trees of different ages growing in similar conditions has been developed.

Given the right conditions, acorns germinate very quickly. There then follows a rapid period of growth for the first 80 to 120 year where the tree puts on both hight and bulk. At around 80 years old the average oak is around 6′ 7” in circumference and by 120 years of age the tree will have reached a circumference of around 9′ 6”. At this age on, growth begins to slow down. By the time a tree has reached a circumference of just over 22′ it is estimated to be around 500 years old.

What then of the forest giants like the Major Oak? From 900 and 1,000 years old an oak tree will have reached a circumference of between 30′ 11” to 32′ 11”. Rooke gives two measurements for the circumference of the Major Oak; at the height of one yard 27′ 4”, which gives an age of around 800 years and at two yards 31′ 9” equalling an age of around 1,000 years. However, there are other factors to take into account when considering the age of the Major Oak. Rooke tells us that there was evidence in his day that the tree had once been much larger in girth. Could this add extra years to the trees age? If we except the idea that the Major Oak is the product of two saplings grown together as one, how does this effect the estimate of the overall age? I’ll leave it for the reader to ponder on and for the experts to decide.

Oldest Tree in Europe: Until its declared death in 1950, with its massive girth of over 48′ and estimated age of around 1,800 years, the Cowthorpe Oak in Yorkshire was reckoned to be the oldest oak tree in Europe. With this tree now gone, where does this leave the Major Oak in the ranking of Europe’s ancient trees? Disappointingly not in first place. That honour now belongs to a tree in the German village of Nöbdenitz. The tree, simply known by locals as ‘The Thousand Year Tree, is around 40′ in circumference. Like its fellow ancient oaks, its trunk is hollow throughout and is held together by iron bands. Badly damaged by a storm in 1819 the tree is now clinging onto life nourished by only one living root.

Oldest Tree in Britain: If the Major Oak is not the oldest oak in Europe, then the reader might ask ‘surely it is the oldest oak tree in Britain?’ However, the answer once again is no! According to the Guinness Book of Records that title belongs to the Bowthorpe Oak, a tree close to Bowthorpe Park Farm near the Lincolnshire village of Manthorpe. The tree was measured in 1804 and found to have a girth of 37′. Allowing for the additional 206 years of intervening growth, the tree can be estimated to be well over 1,000 years old.

Thor’s Oaks?: It can not be failed to be noticed that two of Britain’s greatest oak trees take their names from locations ending with ‘thorpe’. In such cases where thorpe occurs as a place name element, it indicates a Scandinavian (Viking) settlements dating from the 10th century. Both of these trees are are isolated specimens and are not associated with woods or oak groves. The Cowthorpe tree stands in a field close to the parish church, whilst the Bowthorpe tree is in a field close to a farm once the site of a manor house. The attendant manorial chapel was considered important enough to be acquired by Sempringham Priory in 1226. Knowing these fact and considering the great importance of the oak tree in Norse pagan mythology, could it be that these ancient trees are the direct descendants of trees once sacred to the god Thor?

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‘Britain’s Oldest Oak Tree’. Late 19th century image of the Bowthorpe Oak.

Hollow Oaks: Perhaps the most recognisable and distinguishing feature of all of the venerable old oak trees where ever they are found growing, is the fact that they are all hollow. This is a process the tree has no control over. Like humans infected by a virus in old age, these trees have succumbed to one of the tiniest of living organisms, a fungal infection. Fungal spores enter the tree through cracks and crevices in the bark and, through a process of rot and decay, the fungus begins to ‘eat the tree form the inside out’. There is no one specific fungus that can be blamed for this decay. Fungal diseases which cause this form of rot are collectively known as sap or heart rots. As well as rotting the core of the tree’s trunk the fungus eats away at its branches compromising its strength and stability. Outwardly, the tree may show no signs of infection until a fallen limb is found to be hollow. This fact is most spectacularly demonstrated when a great limb is ripped from a living tree during a storm. All of the ancient trees so far mentioned have been recorded to have suffered this occurrence.

Dying for success: According to the ‘Woodland Trust’, the recognisably hollow trees are in the third and final stage of life. With their rotund shape and their major branches gone, they take on the familiar squat appearance and great cracks in their outer bark seductively lead to their hollow interiors. Who can resist the lure of entering the heart of a hollow oak? Certainly not the many thousands of visitors to the Major Oak. Little did Major Hayman Rooke know that from the moment he brought the Queen Oak to the attention of the general public, he was condemning the tree to a slow death. In the early 1970’s none of the experts could explain the fact that the Major Oak’s health had taken a sudden and dramatic turn for the worst and the tree was in fact dying. An urgent diagnosis of the cause was needed to save it. After a process of elimination it was found that the physical footfall of the thousands of visitors to the popular old oak had compacted the ground around the roots to such and extent that the tree was being starved of water (rainfall) and nutrients. A very quick and easy, practical solution was found to solve this deadly dilemma. In 1975 the Major Oak was fenced-off to the public and all access to the trees’ interior cavity forbidden. The ground around the tree was lightly ‘rotarvated’ and re-seeded with grass and all of its affected areas painted with a green anti-fungal paint. Astonishingly, the tree made an almost instant recovery, so much so that it has been found that the entrance hole to the interior has begun to close-up. When we look again at the Victorian print of the Cowthorpe Oak and the large crowd gathered around it, then I suggest that the trees’ demise in the 1950’s can be attributed, literally, to the footfall of its popularity.

Robin Hood’s Tree?: Over the years of their public popularity, all of the great oaks seemed to have competed for the number of people the interior space could hold and the often intriguing use that space could provide. Obviously, the larger the tree’s circumference the greater the potential hollow space within its trunk. The Major Oak has claimed to have once accommodated around 30 people whilst the Cowthorpe Oak upwards of 60. The hollow in the German oak tree has been turned into a chapel or prayer room dedicated to a local politicisation and diplomat Hans Wilhelm von Thummel who was buried beneath the roots of the tree in 1824. The Bowthorpe Oak’s hollow interior has played host to a table around which 13 guests have sat-around for tea.

It is however, the Major Oak which lays claim to the most famous use of its hollow trunk. The tree is infamously known as the hideout for Robin Hood and his outlaw band. Looking again at this popular story it can quite easily be proven as an exaggerated claim. If we except the trees age as being 1,000 years (+ or – 200 years) it gives us a date of around 1115 for the germination of the acorn. The most popular period for the setting of the Robin Hood legends is during the reign of King John 1199 – 1216. This means that the tree would have been around 84 years old at the beginning of John’s reign and 101 at the end of his reign. Squeezing the data a little by working on a later date for the Robin Hood legend and allowing for the tree to be a little older, we can come up with a figure of 300-400 years for the trees age at the time of Robin’s famous exploits in Sherwood Forest. Working on our previous calculations for judging the age of an oak from its girth, a tree of this age would have had a circumference of between 18′ and 20′. Even if the tree had been hollow at this age, there would not have been enough room inside to accommodate Robin and all his Merry Men. Perhaps it was just Robin and little John who hid inside the tree or more likely the whole story is a romantic invention, a Victorian myth. What ever the story’s origin, in the heart of every visitor, the Major Oak it will always be Robin’s secret hiding place.

The Greendale Oak: Rooke in his account of the tree later to be known as the Major Oak wrote the line; “….the inside is decayed and hollowed out by age, which, with the assistance of the axe, might be made wide enough to admit a carriage through it”. In giving this rather alarming statement Rooke was making no idle jest, but rather a veiled recommendation of actually taking an axe to the tree. Writing in 1790, Rooke was addressing his comments to William Bentinck, 2nd Duke of Portland. He was in fact making a reference to the fate another mighty oak had suffered at the hands of William’s father, Henry Bentinck, 1st Duke of Portland. This tree, – a classic hollow oak, – known as the Greendale Oak, is said to have been at least 700 years old, over 30′ in circumference and around 54′ in height. In 1724 Henry Bentinck acted on a bet made at a dinner party, that he could drive a ‘carriage and four’ through the tree. To achieve this feat he had his woodsmen take their axe to the tree and cut an arch 6′ 3” wide and 10′ 3” high through its trunk. In cutting this arch it was clear that the surviving trunk would have been unable to support the major branches of the tree, and were therefore all remove. The wood however did not go to waste. One of Henry’s neighbours, ‘The Countess of Oxford’, being very fond of oak furniture, “….had several cabinets made of the branches and ornamented with inlaid representations of the oak”. The Greendale Oak became a popular visitors attraction and the most famous tree on the Duke’s estate. However, the savage attack by the Duke had shortened the trees natural life-span and by Victoria’s reign the tree was all but dead. Such was its bulk, the remains of its rotting carcass did not finally disappear until the mid 20th century.

I hope that the reader has enjoyed this look at just a few of the great oaks of Sherwood as much as I have. There are many more named oak trees in Sherwood Forest, all with interesting stories and I will be writing more on these at a latter date.

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The Greendale Oak Evelyn’s Sylva, 1825.

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Nottingham at Waterloo

by Michael Kirkby wellington at waterloo

Day break, 18th June 1815 the combined allied force under the command of Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington is just waking up from a sodden night of continual rainfall on the ridge of Mont St Jean near the tiny Belgian hamlet of Waterloo. Across the landscape the French army under the command of the Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte is also forming up for what would eventually the ultimate clash between Britain and France ending a war that had been waging for almost 24 years.

Wellington’s forces were busy getting ready to repulse the huge French army that faced them. His infantry and cavalry began moving into position, the artillery began setting up their batteries and the Guards units that were holding the fortified farmhouses of Hougoumont, La Haye Saint and Papellotte in preparation to repel the massed French army facing them. Wellington’s strategy was simple, funnel Napoleon’s troops through the gaps between the farmsteads and cut them to pieces so that by the time they met the main British force holding the ridge they would be exhausted and their numbers severely depleted. Matthew Clay from Blidworth, Mansfield was one of the troops stationed with the Light Company of the 3rd Regiment of Foot Guards (Scots Fusiliers) at Hougomont. Two days before his regiment had encountered the French at Quatre Bras where they had beaten back the French offensive but had then been forced to retreat. Whist his regiment was positioned to the right of Wellington’s flank, Clay’s company was placed into the Chateau of Hougoumont to add strength to the Guards units already there. The main French attack, rather than just march past the Chateau, turned and attacked directly. For twelve hours Clay was confined within the chateaus walls as the garrison fought desperately to prevent the French from entering. The chateau almost fell in the first attack when a giant French sapper identified as Sous-lieutenant (Junior lieutenant) Legros, smashed open the gates with his axe and forced his way in leading a stream of Frenchmen. Col. MacDonnell and his men managed to close the gates behind them and the garrison set about hunting out all of the Frenchmen who had worked their way in killing them to the last man bar one drummer boy. Throughout the day the battle raged on around Hougoumont with French attacks being repulsed, but gradually the defenders began to run out of ammunition.

At 3:30 on the afternoon of the 18th Napoleon directed howitzer fire onto Hougoumont which set the thatch roofs on fire. With the buildings burning down around them a message arrived for MacDonnell direct from Wellington ordering the troops to not withdraw but to retreat into the gardens and continue to fight the enemy. Despite being surrounded and their defences burning down around them the Guards and Hougoumont held out for the battle. Matthew Clay and his defenders had been holed up for twelve hours of continual fighting but had survived the French onslaught.

Following Waterloo he returned home with the regiment and promoted Corporal in 1818 and sergeant in 1822. He later fought again in Spain during their Carlist Wars and upon leaving the army he joined the Bedfordshire Militia. Matthew died in Bedfordshire in 1873.

In the same Regiment as Clay though with the main body of the regiment on Wellington’s right was Samuel Whitehead (1777 – 1870), an Ilkeston born soldier who had been fighting the French since the Duke of York’s ill-conceived plan to invade Holland in 1799. Whitehead had joined the regiment a year before aged only 20/1. Whitehead’s first active service almost ended in disaster when he caught fever and almost died, but making a good recovery he would go on to see action in Egypt, Germany and Copenhagen. His regiment was sent out to the Iberian Peninsula in 1808 where Whitehead saw action in the following years at Talavera, Busaco and Fuentes d’Onoro. Sadly at the latter battle he was wounded by a French artillery shot and didn’t see any further action until 1814 by which time he was promoted corporal. He was 38 when the 3rd Foot Guards were posted out to the Low Countries and saw much action at Quatre Bras where in records he stated that they spent most of the battle in the corn fields without much food but a large quantity of brandy! At Waterloo he spent the majority of the battle assisting the surgeons behind the lines. Whitehead was to witness one of the most important turning points of the battle as at 7:00 pm Napoleon ordered his beloved Imperial Guard, whom he had kept in reserve all the day to attack Wellington’s right flank. Up to 6000 of Napoleon’s elite troops were now marching on Wellington’s shattered lines that for the whole day had been battered by Napoleon’s 18pdr guns. Much of the regiments had been ordered to lie down to not attract the French artillery fire but seeing the French columns approach Wellington stood in his stirrups and called out to General Maitland, commander of the Guards units, “Now Maitland! Now’s your time!” The Imperial Guard, completely oblivious to the presence of the British line were suddenly faced with British soldiers springing up from the ground to pour well trained volley fire into their ranks before they even had time to react. The Imperial Guard, who had made a name for themselves as fierce soldiers, halted, wavered, and began to fall back. This symbolised the beginning of the end for Napoleon, and soon his army began to melt away from the field.

Following Waterloo, Whitehead remained in the army until 1818 when he returned to Ilkeston and opened a druggist shop.

Samuel Whitehead’s brother, Thomas Whitehead, also enjoyed a military career serving under Wellington. Born in 1783 he joined the Royal Horse Artillery in 1805 where during a 30 year career he was promoted from gunner to bombardier, corporal, sergeant and staff sergeant. He fought in the entire Iberian Peninsula from 1809-1914 and was present at the fall of Paris. As an artillery gunner in the Royal Horse Artillery, Thomas’s service was invaluable to The Duke of Wellington. Whilst the army was commanded by Wellington, the artillery was commanded by the Board of Ordnance who often conflicted with Wellington over military affairs. The Board often left Wellington short of supplies, resources and men, so what artillery was given to Wellington he had to make most of. As Royal Horse Artillery, Thomas was part of a mobile artillery unit that would get quite close to the enemy, unlimber, fire and then limber up and race off to other parts of the battlefield where necessary. At Waterloo the Royal Horse Artillery were armed with howitzers and 6pdr guns, and were responsible for taking the sting out of the French advance so they were weakened by the time they reached the British lines. Wellington came to rely so much on his artillery that he made it a flogging offence for gunners to engage in artillery duels with French guns. Following Waterloo, Thomas enjoyed a long service until invalided out in 1835 with poor eyesight and rheumatism.

Whilst Wellington’s infantry played an integral part to his success that day, Waterloo, owing to landscape was one of the only battles where Wellington could make full use of his cavalry to charge the French positions and harass their artillery. Wellington’s cavalry was commanded by Henry Paget, Earl Uxbridge who was also his second in command. Uxbridge, responsible for directing the cavalry attacks on d’Erlon’s Corps needed to ensure that his cavalry did not overstretch themselves as they were prone to doing after a charge. Carrying Uxbridge’s messages around the battlefield was Thomas Wildman, a young officer of dragoons acting as aide-de-camp to Uxbridge. Wildman joined the7th Light Dragoons in 1808 as a Cornet and later that same year was promoted to Lieutenant. Wildman’s role at Waterloo put him in certain danger of being hit by enemy fire and would bring him into close contact with the French positions. Towards the latter stage of the battle Uxbridge was hit below the knee by French artillery shot. Wildman was one of the first to attend him and helped to staunch the flow before carrying him to a surgeons post. Wildman’s bloodstained glove can be seen on display at the National Army Museum in London. Following Waterloo Wildman bought Newstead Abbey from his childhood friend Lord Byron in 1818, two years earlier he bought a Majority in the 2nd West India Regiment and then the 9th Light Dragoons. He became a Captain in the Nottinghamshire Yeomanry in 1828 and after being promoted to Colonel in 1837 and lt. Col of the 5th Dragoon Guards in 1840.

Another commander in Wellington’s cavalry at Waterloo was Sir Arthur Benjamin Clifton (1771-1869), of the revered local aristocracy, who was Lt. Col. of the 1st Royal Dragoons.

The 1st Royals already had experience of fighting the French and had landed in Portugal in 1809 where mostly for the time in the Iberia they skirmished with French cavalry patrols on the Spanish – Portuguese border. They were used to cover the army’s retreat to Busaco and Torres Vedras in 1810 and 1811 and again used to harass the French rear guard as they pulled back into Spain. Following the winter retreat of 1811 they then followed Wellington’s army as it advanced into the heart of Spain and took part in the engagements at Fuentes d’Onoro, Vittoria and the Pyrenees. Though present at the battle of Toulouse the regiment did not see action and following Napoleon’s abdication they sailed home for England. When Napoleon escaped from Elba the regiment was despatched to Belgium in May 1815. Though they saw no action at Quatre Bras they helped cover the retreat of the allied army back to Waterloo. On June 18th the 1st Royal Dragoons took part in the charge against d’Erlon’s corps, where Captain Clark and Corporal Styles succeeded in capturing a French eagle of the French 105th Regiment. The 1st Royals lost 97 men and 97 wounded at Waterloo. Following the battle they returned to Dover in January 1816. Sir Arthur Clifton, leading his regiment in their many charges that day also reputedly took command of the brigade late in the afternoon of 18th June after their commander was wounded.

Wellington’s heavy cavalry was split into two brigades at Waterloo, Somerset’s 1st cavalry brigade to which Clifton’s 1st Royal Dragoons belonged and Ponsonby’s 2nd cavalry brigade which comprised of the Lifeguards. It was within the ranks of the Lifeguards that John Shaw and Richard Waplington both hailing from Cossall were stationed. Known as the ‘Cossall Giants’ for their height and strength they both perished on the field that day in hand to hand conflict with Napoleon’s cuirassiers, their French cavalry equivalents . Shaw took six of the enemy cavalry with him, using his helmet as a club when his sword snapped, and Waplington was cut down from the saddle surrounded by enemy cavalry as he clung onto an enemy standard. Both were buried near the British stronghold of La Haye Saint after the battle. Another Cossall man, again serving in the cavalry at Waterloo was Thomas Wheatley, a light dragoon whose regiment acted as scouts for the army, reconnoitring the enemy positions and harassing enemy movements . Wheatley survived the battle and returned to England later to serve in the local militia. He was later buried in Cossall Churchyard and today a monument stands to all three Cossall men over his resting place.

Whilst Nottinghamshire men were busy engaged with the Napoleon’s army in Belgium, across the waters the 45th Nottinghamshire Regiment was in the process of boarding their troop transports in an Irish harbour to take them to the Low Countries. They were par t of an army that had been requested by the Duke of Wellington to fight the French tyrant but sadly were not to make the battle in time.

The 45th had enjoyed a varied military life fighting under Wellington in the Peninsula Campaign of 1808 – 1815. Fighting in nearly all his Peninsula campaigns, the 45th were amongst the first wave of troops to land at Mondego Bay, Portugal in 1808 and took part in almost all of his battles earning his respect as well as their nickname ‘The Old Stubborns.’ The 45th was one of the few Regiments to never return home throughout the Peninsula Campaign and after 7 years of fighting returned home in 1814 battered and exhausted when Napoleon was first defeated.

The named individuals in this article are by no means an exhaustive list of Nottinghamshire men who fought at Waterloo. They do however go to show that Nottingham made an imprint in one of the most prestigious battles recorded in British military history. Whether they were infantry, cavalry or artillery, each individual had their own integral part to play in ensuring that the French Emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte, met his fate and ended a 24 year long war between Britain and France, securing a new Europe.

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Michael Kirkby will be delivering a series of talks and events this summer around Nottinghamshire locations to bring the story of Nottingham’s Waterloo heroes home.

For more information please visit his website at www.redcoatsandmuskets.webs.com or for further information on his research please email him directly at redmus10@hotmail.co.uk

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Nottingham Street Tales- Kaye’s Walk

by Joe Earp

Kaye’s Walk, runs along the north side of St. Mary’s Churchyard. Today it is perhaps one of the quieter pathways in the City. Also perhaps one of the least known footways. It was not until the early part of the 19th century that Kaye’s Walk was constructed. The churchyard to St Mary’s in the 19th century was a lot bigger than it is now and reached out to the opposite mansions. Kaye’s Walk in a way was created to ‘neatly’ enclose the churchyard on the north side. It also gave pedestrians a path and it was decided that the churchyard would be saved from being used as a short-cut.

The name for Kaye’s Walk is from the Rev. Sir Richard Kaye. He was Rector of Marylebone, Prebend of Southwell, Archdeacon of Nottingham and Prebend and Dean of Lincoln. He died in 1809 and was buried at Lincoln. In Captain Cook’s “Journal,” under the date, May 11th, 1778, occurs the following entry: “I bore up for the island—I left a bottle with a paper in it on which were inscribed the names of the ships and the date of our discovery, and along with it I enclosed two silver twopenny pieces of his Majesty’s coin of the date 1772. These, with many others, were furnished me by Rev. Dr. Kaye (now Dean of Lincoln), and as a mark of my esteem and regard for that gentleman, I named the island after him, ‘Kaye’s Island.'”

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Kaye’s Walk, Lace Market, Nottingham, c 1950- Photo Credit: Picture the Past.

Today Kaye’s Walk is mainly occupied by private businesses. But in the 19th century it was the homes of many of Nottingham’s rich and famous. In one of the houses lived a certain Mr William Trentham. He lived in a mansion at the corner of Kaye’s Walk and St. Mary’s Gate. He occupied the house around 1812. William Trentham was a hosier in the town. He was a partner in the firm of Trentham, Tierney & Morton. He was already a notorious and hated character among the framework-knitters of Nottingham.

The Luddite rebellions of the early 19th century, saw disgruntled framework knitters smash up their machines and protest over low pay, poor working conditions and a lack of voting rights. It all started in Nottingham on the 11th March 1811. A large crowd of framework knitters assembled in Nottingham Market Place and after a number of very angry speeches the crowd dispersed, moving up the Mansfield Road to Arnold. They entered the premises of hosiers who had “rendered themselves the most obnoxious to the workmen”. They then continued to destroy a total of sixty-three stocking frames. The Luddite movement would go on to become one of Great Britain’s biggest ever public protests in it’s long Island history.

At the height of the Luddite movement it was William Trentham in Nottingham who the Luddites would turn their protesting attention against. On the 27 April 1812, while returning to his home on Kaye’s Walk at about 9.45pm, he was opening his front door when he was shot. The Nottingham Date Book (published 1880) gives a full account of the incident:

“At about a quarter to ten o’clock at night, an attempt was made to murder Mr William Trentham, an extensive hosier in the town. The unfortunate gentlemen had been at a convivial party at Mr Timm’s, in Market Street, and was returning home to his residence, a very ancient mansion at the south-west corner of Kaye’s Walk. He had knocked at the door for admittance, and while inside the porch waiting for the door being opened, two men stepped up to him from among the tombstones (Mr Trentham’s house door facing the churchyard), and one of them instantly, without uttering a word, discharged at him the contents of a large horse-pistol. The ball entered his right breast, and passing obliquely, lodged near the shoulder. The assassins, who were described by the sufferer, as ‘very small men’, instantly fled in different directions. Mr Trentham was assisted into his house, and Mr Wright, surgeon, of Pelham Street, succeeded in extracting the ball and ultimately restoring his patient to his former strength, though from the nature of the wound life for several days hung as it were in the balance. The Mayor issued a printed notice the next morning, offering a reward of 100 guineas to anyone giving information that might lead to the apprehension of either or both of the assassins; and a further reward of 500 guineas upon conviction. The reward, large as it was, was never claimed. It is, understood however and may be regraded as a moral certainty, that the man who attempted the assassination was one of the Luddites who were hung at Leicester, in 1817, for taking part in the attack on Messrs Heathcoat and Boden’s factory at Loughborough. The only motive that can be supposed to have impelled the men to the horrible attempt was resentment of a reduction in wages”.

After William Trentham’s death in 1820 the house was taken by Mr. Daft Smith Churchill, who, amongst other things, was one of the original directors of the General Cemetery, and who lost his life in the wreck of the ship “Forfarshire,” off Fame Lighthouse in 1837, despite the gallant efforts of Grace Darling and her father to rescue the crew. His co-directors set up a great monument to him in the General Cemetery which can still be seen near the entrance from Derby Road. Upon his death the house came into the hands of his son, who had the house demolished.

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Unfortunately the Mansion on Kaye’s Walk which was once owned by William Trentham and Daft Smith Churchill no longer exists, after the latter’s son had it demolished. However Daft Smith Churchill’s Memorial can still be seen today in the Nottingham General Cemetery. Photo Credit: Joe Earp/ Nottingham Hidden History Team.

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1960, April, 12th: Looking Around at Wilford’s Old Buildings

Wilford, April 12th 1960:

On talking to George Garment the Strelley estate woodsman, we discussed where he was born and where he walked every morning. He describes Wilford as “a little village that seemed to just sit on the border of the city; on the river flood plain”. Here many poets used to come and write their poetry and verse. The Ferry Inn used to be a coffee house and before that a Farmstead. It sits facing the river near to where the ferry crossing was before the construction of the bridge. 

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The Old Cottages- Photo Credit: The Paul Nix Collection.

This village in its delightful settings sits on the bank of the River Trent. It  is about 1.5 miles to the south of Nottingham by the ferry route and about 3 miles by road.  At one time quite a few of the dwellings that belonged to some of the opulent families of Nottingham that had their trades in the center of the town.

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The Poets House- Photo Credit: The Paul Nix Collection.

The name Wilford possibly derives from Willas’s Ford, as there was both a ford and a ferry close by. The church tower is low, but the nave and the two side aisles are very spacious, the chancel has a altarpiece of a handsome proportion. The living is a rectory, valued in the King’s books at £18 7s 6d, and received at the enclosure, in 1766, an allotment of 227 acres in lieu of tithes.

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Farmstead- Photo Credit: The Paul Nix Collection.

Sir J. G. J. Clifton, Bart was lord of the manor and owner.  There was also Mr Henry Smith Esq, of Wilford House, the seat of Henry Smith Esq. They owned a large handsome brick mansion, with extensive pleasure grounds tastefully laid out.

The Free School was built in 1736. The village regularly suffered from flooding until experts from Holland built the “B” bank at the rivers edge. It is said by some that the name “B” bank was gained from the many bees that could be seen on the wild flowers that grew on the top of the bank.

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The Village Green- Photo Credit: The Paul Nix Collection.

Many people from Nottingham, in the summer months, would come to Wilford village, as a day out. Wilford had four tea rooms/gardens, where visitors could obtain pots of tea and light snacks. Some visitors would bring a ‘vacuum flask’ which the tea rooms would fill with boiling water. Many of the visitors would walk through Wilford to Clifton grove and the village. The more energetic walkers would continue on to Barton-in-Fabis (Barton in the Beans) where a ferry across the Trent to Beeston would return home.

 

Article originally published by Peter Woodward of My Broxtowe Hundred Journal Website. 

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Raymond Charles Booty: The ‘Flying’ Boot

by Frank E Earp

No one can have failed to have noticed the sudden rise in popularity of cycling in all its forms, as both a sport and leisure activity. It cannot be a coincidence that this ‘rise’ began shortly after Bradley Wiggins stunning win of the 2012 Tour De France. But, as they say, for cycling in Britain, ‘the best was yet to come!’

The 2012 Olympics and Paralympics, saw the greatest ever success for Team G.B. Who can forget Sir Christopher (Chris) Hoy’s dominance in the Velodrome? The names of the medal winners, both male and female have rightly passed into history and their golden legacy is to be treasured.

In all sports the success of current athletes can only be built upon the generations who have gone before! For cycling, there is one man’s name that should be written large across the page: Raymond (Ray) Charles Booty, a.k.a. ‘The Boot’. Sadly, Ray died on the 25th Aug. 2012.

Ray was born in Ipswich, Suffolk, the son of a Ministry of Transport vehicle examiner. The family moved to Peterborough and then, when Ray was 15, to Stapleford. On leaving school the following year, Ray joined Ericsson’s, the electronics firm, whose headquarters were in Beeston. He studied for his higher national diploma. A neighbour got him interested in riding a bike seriously, and it was in the colours of Beeston’s Ericsson Wheelers Cycling Club that he rode to his great time-trial victories.

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Ericsson Factory, Beeston, c 1905- Photo Credit: Picture the Past.

It is said that Ray achieved for road cycling what Sir Roger Bannister did for track-running, – as Bannister broke the 4 minute mile record, – Ray broke the 100 miles in 4 hours record.

Ray was a ‘road cyclist,’ who began competing in events for the Army Cycling Union during his time in the army and later for Ericsson’s Wheelers Club. Ray proved himself a ‘born’ road cyclist and endurance rider. He held ‘The Season Long, – Best All-Rounder,’ title three times between 1953 and 1957, given for average speeds of 50 m.p.h. over 100 miles.

In 1954 Ray won the Manx International Road Race and in 1958, a ‘Gold Medal’ in The British and Commonwealth Games, Road Race in Cardiff. However, Ray’s best achievements came in ‘time trials’ and endurance.

Between 1954 and 1958, Ray competed in the 12 Hours Championships, – distance covered in 12 hrs. Ray won the Championship every year and twice set the record, – 1956, = 265.66 miles and 1958, = 266 miles.

Ray competed in the 100 miles National Championship between 1954 -1959 and again was Champion for the whole period. He first set the record in 1955 with a time of 4hrs. 4mins. 30secs., braking this in 1956 with a time of 4hrs. 1min. 52secs.

On a blazing hot August Bank Holiday Monday, – 6th Aug. 1956, – Ray entered The Bath Road event. This was a time trial ‘out and back’ over a distance of 100 miles. The course was from Reading, – through Theale, Pangbourne, Wallingford, Shillingford and Abingdon, returning to Reading via the A4. He had already cycled from Nottingham the day-before to take part in the event. The ‘Boot’ completed the course in an amazing time of 3hrs. 58mins. 28secs., beating the future professional rider Stan Brittain by 12 mins.

With the Bath Road event, Ray had broken the elusive 4 hour barrier. Modern cycling athletes ride purpose built light-weight cycles, – Ray achieved his records ridding a Raleigh bicycle with an 84 inch fixed gear.

On the 3rd Sept. the same year ‘The Flying Boot’ had his chance to beat his 4 hour record. This time he was competing under Road Record Association Rules. This is a ‘straight-out’ 100 mile trial, which allows competitors to take advantage of tail winds and gradient drop. Ray had also changed his cycle for a machine with Sturmly Archer hub gears. Ray completed the course in a time of 3 hrs. 28 mins. 40 secs., – a record which was to stand for 34 years until it was beaten by Ian Cammish.

The next time you peddle down the road, think of the achievements of Raymond Charles Booty, the Flying Boot!

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Ray Booty- Photo Credit: : Cycling Weekly

Posted in Beeston, Nottinghamshire People, Nottinghamshire Suburbs | 2 Comments

1935, July, 12th: St Wilfred’s Church and a Walk Around the Parish

Wilford, July 26th 1935

Many poets and artists used to come to this village for its clean pastoral scenery, the lovely low cottages with brier, ivy and all sorts of climbing plants on the walls. One of these writers was DH Lawrence from the parish of Eastwood.

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Local Artist impression- Photo Credit: The Paul Nix Collection.

A romantic setting the lady taking her children a strole through the church yard of St Wilfred’s.

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The Ferryboat Inn- Photo Credit: The Paul Nix Collection.

The Original ferry was 400 years old, when the poet Sutton wrote about the new bridge which replaced the original ferry. He wrote, “an ‘upstart’ toll bridge opened in Wilford today ending 400 hundred years of ferry crossing across the Trent at Wilford”.

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Delivering milk around the village- Photo Credit: The Paul Nix Collection.

Wilford attracted many visitors and walkers before the growth of Nottingham began to whittle away at the picturesque village and its woodlands. One such visitor was the poet Henry Sutton who wrote a poem about the Wilford ferry.

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Fishing on the Trent at Wilford- Photo Credit: The Paul Nix Collection.

The above scene seems to be the same up and down the river bank at one time. This area was where there used to be the outflow from the old power station which was demolished in the 1980s.

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North Wilford Power Station, Colliery Road, Wilford, Nottingham, c 1940- Photo Credit: Picture the Past.

 

 

Article originally published by Peter Woodward of My Broxtowe Hundred Journal Website. 

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