Newberry Close – Street Story

Cropwell Bishop Streets: — Newberry Close

Newberry Close

Whenever I see the street name, Newberry Close, I imagine a small, sunny, Close with mountain ash trees clothed in red berries. I had always assumed this was what the people who named the street had in mind too. How wrong I was.

Look at a map of the village and you will see that, more or less, Newberry Close is at the centre of Cropwell Bishop. All the other streets around it were named at the same time and they are named after people or places.

When you think about it, it stands to reason that, in all likelihood, Newberry Close was also named after someone. But if you don’t think about it – then it was named after trees with berries.

2020 street map of Cropwell Bishop
2020 street map of Cropwell Bishop

Where does the name Newberry come from?

Many of the street names can, with a bit of research, be quite easily associated with at least a family if not a person.

They were people who lived in Cropwell Bishop – often for many generations. They worked here, they owned land or ran businesses here: they had history and it was written down – somewhere.

All, it seemed, except Mr/Mrs/Miss Newberry.

Ask the Parish Councillors who made the decision, you are probably thinking. I thought the same, but none are living in this village – or, in all probability, 'in this world'. The decision was made nearly 50 years ago.

Ask other people who might know – but none did.

Parish Councillors would very likely have referred to the names of past landowners in Cropwell Bishop.

Did the councillors get the names from a map?

I have a digital copy of an 1804 map that shows the landowners in Cropwell Bishop at that time. I have often looked at it in recent months but not, it seems, closely enough.

Here is the map:

1804 Map
1804 Landowners Map

You may not be able to read the names but you can see the outlines of many fields in the parish. All but the smallest contain the name of the person who owned or farmed it.

Many names are associated with street names but the name of Newberry is not there. But 3 fields do contain the name ‘Newbray’ – I have coloured them in.

Here is the biggest of the 3:

Field owned by M. Newbray
Field owned by M. Newbray

But ‘Newbray’ is not ‘Newberry’: more research was needed.

Online searches did reveal a man named Martin Newbray who lived near Granby 300 years ago but he appeared to have no link with Cropwell Bishop.

Other searches listed a Martin Newberry being married at Tythby at this time but the listing was not backed up with evidence.

After a great deal of searching, ultimately on a 17-year-old CD of Church records, the original listing of the marriage at Tythby was found.

Martin Newbray marriage record
Record of Martin Newbray's marriage to Alice Fillingham in 1763

It proved the man's surname in the online listing had been copied in error: it was not 'Newberry' but 'Newbray'. This fitted in with our 1804 map if not our street name.

Martin Newbray may never have lived in Cropwell Bishop, but he did travel to Tythby to marry Alice Fillingham, a girl from Cropwell Butler.

Family Tree
Newbray Family Tree

The name of Fillingham crops up in our village history.

In the Parish School Room on Church Street there hangs an original wooden plaque that is 240 years old and once hung in the church. It reads:

“William Fillingham of Cropwell Butler who died the 16th day of February 1779 hath paid to Mr John Parr, Mr John Marriott, Mr Joseph Marriott of Cropwell Butler, and Mr Martin Newbray in Sutton in the Parish of Granby; Fifty Pounds in trust to place at interest, or to intrust the same in the purchase of Lands, and to pay the Interest and Produce on the First day of January, Yearly for Ever; in Money or the Value in Bread to such of the Poor Inhabitants belonging to Cropwell Bishop, only as they and their Executors or the Church wardens and Overseers shall think fit”.

Fillingham Plaque
1779 Wooden Plaque mentions M. Newbray

This plaque proves a link between the Fillingham family to M. Newbray on the map.

In Tythby church there are two, almost identical, plaques to the one pictured above, but for the Poor of Cropwell Butler instead. One is in the name of William Fillingham and the other is on behalf of his daughter, Mary, who died 2 years before William.

William's wife had already died so, as he approached his 80th year, with his unmarried daughter dead, maybe he saw this as a useful way of distributing his wealth.

This leaves one question unanswered: was Alice Fillingham the daughter of William Fillingham? I think they must have been related and, in all likelihood, Alice was his daughter.

Census records did not begin until the 1800s but gravestones go back much further.

William Fillingham has closer links to Cropwell Bishop than even the plaque suggests: he and his wife were buried here: so was his daughter.

Fillingham Family Tree
Fillingham Family Tree

So, we have identified the M. Newbray on the 1804 map as Martin Newbray who married Alice Fillingham from Cropwell Butler.

Although he doesn't appear to have been a 'big name' in Cropwell Bishop, his association with the Fillingham family, who did support 'the poor' here, does raise his status. High enough to be remembered by a street name?

But we don't have a 'Newbray' Close, we have a 'Newberry' Close!

Did the Parish Councillors in 1970 make a mistake with the spelling or did they choose to use a different spelling?

Could such a thing have happened: we know it could.

The Street Story for Mercia Avenue revealed a similar happening. Mercia Avenue was named after another landowner on the 1804 map, E. Mercier (sounds the same, but different spelling).

Maybe the Councillors wanted to simplify/update the spelling of names.

To sum up, we can confidently say that Newberry Close is named after Martin Newbray who was born in 1734 and died in 1809 at the age of 75.

He lived his whole life in the tiny village of Sutton which is near Granby.

He owned three small fields in Cropwell Bishop as the result of a gift to the 'Poor of Cropwell Bishop' by William Fillingham. William was from Cropwell Butler but lived his final years in Cropwell Bishop.

You could argue that Fillingham Close might have been a more fitting name for Newberry Close but then you wouldn't have visualised ‘trees with berries’ as you walked down it!

Tony Jarrow

Note: Thanks to Anne Terzza, Pam Barlow, Rachel Mitchell (Rev), John Spence and Hilary Jarrow for their help with this article.

Newberry Close in 1999
Newberry Close in 1999

Martin Newbray
Headstone of Martin Newbray, 1809, in Granby
illiam Fillingham
Headstone of William Fillingham, 1779, in Cropwell Bishop

This is Newberry Close today (August 2020).

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