Hucknall presented a far different aspect in A.D. 1769 compared with what it does to-day.
The visitor from Bulwell would only pass five houses on entering the parish before he arrived at Mr. John Allcock's cottage at the end of Taylor's Buildings. These five houses included Jenny Burton's cottage and a row of four on a site near where Victoria Cottage stands.
If he had turned up what is now called Beardall's Lane he would have observed to his left Mr. Joseph Haslam's house situated on its long narrow croft and garden stretching on the Lane side for 150 yards up to the end of the present Quarry Street. At the top end of the lane, on the site of Mr. Samuel Green's and the adjoining houses stood a cottage or two and some malt-rooms. A block of about four cottages at the Watnall Road end of Derbyshire Lane, tenanted by the Darbyshires for many years, were the only houses in that lane in 1769.
By the side of the old footpath called Belle Aisle were the row of cottages recently purchased by Mrs. Barlow.
When the Trumans came along Watnall Road to church, from their home at Bulwell Wood Hall, they had to pass through a wood and over the moor until they gained the Watnall Road in the little valley west of No. 1 Colliery ,and the first houses they would pass on Watnall Road were the Darbyshire's property just mentioned.
Most of the 200 houses in the parish were of one storey, and thatched.
The Village Green had been encroached upon north and south until the approach to the church gate was only about 60 feet wide.
A wood covered 25 acres south-west of Mrs. Starr's Dobb Park Farm, and this was bounded east and west by lakes, each an acre in extent, fed by the Wy Burn stream.
A wood, 10 acres in extent, occupied the land north-west of Shortwood Farm buildings.
The only outlying farm buildings were at Shortwood, the two Whyburn Farms (nowadays tenanted by Messrs. Henry Rhodes and William Brackner), and two others situate on the summit and at the foot of the Misk Hill. The other farm-houses were situated in the main streets.
A number of fields quite near the centre of the village were unenclosed, and nearly all that tract of land stretching from and including the Common Gardens to the Misk, and bounded by Annesley and Linby parishes up to Annesley Road was unfenced, and was distributed under the Enclosure Act.
Another large area of unenclosed land lay in the Nether Field —in earlier times called the East Field—which was approached by way of Wigwam Lane. This land was bounded by Linby and Papplewick, the River Leen marking the separation by half a mile of its course.
Another big patch lay on either side of the Colliery railway line, which runs from No. 1 Colliery to the Bulwell Road, near Forge Mills.
The enactment is described as '"an Act for Dividing and Inclosing all the Open Fields, Meadows, Pastures, and all other Open, Commonable, and Waste Lands within the Parish of Hucknall Torkard, in the County of Nottingham." It was passed in the year 1769, and the work of the Commissioners was completed in 1771. The Commissioners' names were:—
Tristram Exley, of Trowell, Clerk;
William Wyatt, of Seamy Park, Staffs., Gentleman; and
Thomas Oldknow, of Nottingham, Gentleman.
No doubt the enclosure was acceptable to the parish freeholders, who were as follow: —
William, Lord Byron;
Rev. Thomas Nixon, Vicar;
Geo. Hodgkinson, of Felley Mill;
The preamble of the Act recites: —"Whereas the Lands of the several Proprietors in the said Fields lie intermixed and dispersed, and in their present situation are incapable of any considerable improvement, and it would be greatly advantageous to the several persons interested in the said lands if the same were divided and inclosed, May it therefore please Your Majesty, &c."
The open Fields and Commonable Lands in the parish measured 1,032 acres, and the following list (from which roods and perches are omitted for simplicity's sake) shows to whom the land was allotted.
244 to Lord Byron in lieu of Great Tithes.
71 to the Vicar in lieu of Small Tithes (A).
17 to the Vicar for Glebe Lands, Common Right, and various scattered enclosures he relinquished.
441 to Lord Byron.
25 to the Poor (Common Gardens).
14 to Wm. Chaworth, the elder.
2 to Wm. Chaworth, the younger (successor to Charles Chaworth)
82 to Rosamond Rolleston.
61 to John Curtis.
46 to John Newton
3 to Geo. Hodgkinson.
6 to George Sargent.
10 to Samuel Wood.
2 to James Weightman.
120 sold by auction to pay expenses.
112 of the acres in the foregoing table comprised intermixed lands which freeholders gave up for the Commissioners to re-allot.
The two sales at the Nag's Head in Wood Lane, in 1769, resulted as follows: —
|10 acres||£154.||F. Needham and Isaac Burton.|
|60 „||1004||Robert Barber.|
|20 „||388||James Woolley.|
|10 „||200||George Hodgkinson.|
|20 „||419||John Newton.|
Being at the rate of £18 0s. lOd. per acre. The £2,165 was spent in hedging, ditching, and roadmaking, and also in defraying the cost of the Commission.
The names of Joseph Haslam, of Beardall's Lane, and J. Clarke, of Lambert Hill, appear on the 1769 map as owners of lands in those two localities, but no grant appears to have been made to them.
In the Award document the following land tenants' names appear, chiefly as occupants of Lord Byron's Land:—Wm. Allcock (probably tenant on Misk Hill), Hy. Hankin (Wigwam), Elizabeth Palmer (Whyburn), Wm. Ball (Nabbs), Robert Caunt, Wm. Severn, Wm. Daws, Benjamin Walker, George Frost, Wm. Rhodes, Robert Widdowson, Samuel Kenion, and George Hopewell.
Since the enclosure the land has been much sub-divided. The Rolleston properly was sold early in the 19th century. S. Wood owned what is nov the Half Moon Yard property. G. Hodgkinson owned Red Lion Yard. John Newton owned the site of the present Albert and Woollaton Streets and Chequers Yard.
The names of lands or places often shed light on a parish history. This is the case at Hucknall.
Butler's Hill and Butler's Meadow commemorate the Butler family, whose representatives still dwell in the parish.
Jenny Burton's Hill was so named because of its proximity to the venerable old lady's cottage. Its earlier name was Broom Hill.
Smith's Wong (wong—a field) lies near the Common Gardens. Ball's Holme and Truman's Holme were also named after the tenants who occupied them in the 18th century. Hankin's Holme lay beside the brook, near the north end of Allen Street.
Cales Croft (near Wood Lane), Daws' Croft, and Piggin's Croft are named after families well-known to present day parishioners, but the origin of Ladycroft (south of West Street), and the Sir Croft (near the Leen) are not apparent to the writer.
The parish cannot boast of much park land, but up to about the year 1800 Bulwell Wood Hall stood within its own park. Dobb Park was so called in the year 1769 map of the parish, probably taking its name from the family of Dobb.
Caddow Park (now occupied by allotment gardens, and crossed by Mr. Thos. Widdowson's path to Farley Lane) possibly took its name from the park-like enclosure frequented by caw daws.
There was a fair amount of woodland in the parish up to the end of the 18th century. A small wood stretched from Jenny Burton's Hill to near her cottage; it was on Byron Charity land, and the timber was cut down early in the 13th century and sold for the benefit of the Charity. Very extensive woods lay north and south of Bulwell Wood Hall in 1769, and in addition to the Short Wood (near the farm of that name) there was the Dobb Park Wood and a smaller wood at the rear of Mr. Brackner's farm-house.
The Fullers Water Mill (near G.N.R. Station site) gave names to Tenter Field (now Millott's Yard), Tenter Hill (now partly occupied by Duke Street), and the Tenter Close adjacent.
Torkard Hill (in recent times called Palmer's Hill) was cut away to form a site for the Great Central Station premises. Lambert Hill was so called in the 17th century.
The name pingle was applied to a small piece of enclosed land. Haslam's Trough Pingle stretched from the present Great Central Station to Torkard Buildings, sometimes called the "Old Buildings." The "trough" which gave the pingle its name was at the end of the Buildings, where up to the year 1879 the people who dwelt in that neighbourhood obtained their water from a little streamlet.
"Beggars' Well Pingles" lay near the Wighay entrance to Hucknall. The name suggests that this enclosure was frequented by beggars. The land in the vicinity was very marshy from water issuing from the Bacon Springs.
The oldest thoroughfares in the parish are probably the High Street, South Street, and West Street. Years ago it was customary to call High Street the Town Street, which latter was perhaps the older name. Annesley Road was called North Road up to the year 1869.
Wood Lane was called an ancient road in the 17th century, and was the way to Felley and Beauvale Priories, through the dense woodlands in the neighbourhood of the Misk. It is obvious the Darbyshire and Beardall families gave names to those well-known thoroughfares. Shaw Lane connected High Street with Watnall Road, which latter it joined at the "Top of the Crofts." The Shaw family dwelt for many years at Box Tree Farm, and the road was so called before the year 1684.
A baker's shop gave name to Baker Lane.
There was a "Dark Lane" from the present Portland Road to the Water Mill: this lane was stopped when Station Lane was made. Its course is partly covered by the present-day Bolsover Street.
Sandy-lane signifies the source of its name. Farley Lane marked the bridle path to the Far Leys. Muckingfield Lane was the way to the Muckingfield; it was re-named Washdyke Lane a few years ago, from the Sheepwash which existed in the valley where the brook crosses the lane. "Brecknock's Sitch " most likely meant the "Sith," or way, to fields tenanted by the Brecknocks, who have lived in the parish at least 300 years.
The Moss Leys indicates damp, mossy fields.
The Storth Meadow (Storth—great) lies near Torkard Hill, and is now covered with allotment gardens.
The Connery was formerly a Coneyry, or rabbit warren. Harte Hurst was the deer wood. The Lammas was waste or commonable land after Lammas Day.
The name Wighay is derived from wig—a dwelling, and hay— a walk or boundary. The Wighay from Annesley Park to Linby Station Lane formed part of the boundary of Sherwood Forest.
The Butts at Broomhill may have been the place where the archers practised in accordance with the law of Edward IV., which ordered that every Englishman should have a bow of his own height, and that butts for the practice of archery should be set up in every village; every man was obliged to shoot on every feast day or be fined one halfpenny. The name "butts" was also applied to fields abutting on meadows or roads.
"Gilbert's Folly" was the property in Gilbert-street, which belonged to an old man of that name, who, tradition says, handed his property to another Hucknallite on the condition that the latter should pay him an annuity. Gilbert died very soon afterwards, and the villagers commemorated the transaction by describing the property as Gilbert's Folly.
The Village Green was much encroached upon by builders, and in 1769 was simply an approach to the church. The village stocks, to accommodate two prisoners, stood on the site now occupied by the Free Library.
A windmill gave the name to Mill Yard, at the north end of Baker Street. Another windmill stood, about 100 years ago, at the top of Duke Street.
Northfield, Southfield, and Netherfield were so named in Saxon or early Norman times. Their locale has been described in an earlier chapter.
Mill Hill was the name of the land at the rear of the Station Hotel. The building which gave the name was the Water Mill demolished about 30 years ago.
Down by the Leen was a little enclosure, in 1769 called the "Crown Piece," but the origin of this name is lost.
The Nabbs meant a piece of rising ground.
Hell-hole Wood, near Watnall boundary, was often called Eel-hole Wood.
"Easewell Close"has given the name "Eastwell" to a street that stretches across that old enclosure.
"Blake Hall" is the singular name given to a field adjoining the Bulwell boundary, near the Farleys. The only suggestive origin of the name is the fact that the Newstead Priory bailiff overlooking their property at Hucknall in A.D. 1543 was named Black or Blake," but no traces of the "Hall" can be found.
The Towel Roller Row, on Annesley Road, derived its name from a man who lived there and made those useful articles.
Tooth Hall, at Hazel Grove, was so named because a dentist once occupied the place.
"The Dam" was the name applied to the low-lying land beneath the northern wall of the churchyard. There must have been between 2 and 3 acres of water there, fed by the Town Brook, to turn the Water Wheel of the corn mill which stood on the site of Trinity Methodist Church in Baker Street.
A Mr. Hankin, who spent some years in America, became a Byron tenant in the 18th century, and called his dwelling the Wigwam. The lands he tenanted were called Wigwam Fields in 1769, and the approach to his house was called Wigwam Lane.
The "Misk" is a curious word, and the only suggestion as to its origin is the name of a projecting Derbyshire rock—"Mis Tor" —which is thought to have been derived from "Misor"—the moon. The Misk is a spur from a ridge of hills, which has borne the name more than 500 years.
The river Leen derives its name from lyn—a stream.
"Whyburn" derives its name from Wy—water; and burn— a stream.
Besides those already quoted, personal or family names have been given as follow:—King Edward, Queen, Victoria, Albert, Duke, Portland, Yorke, Titchfield, Byron, Cavendish, Curtis, Betts, Hankin, Allen, Montagu, and Truman streets.
(A) The Small Tithes had yielded the Vicar £34 15s. 0d. per annum.