Thurlby Close – Street Story

Cropwell Bishop Streets: — Thurlby Close

Street Sign

Cropwell Bishop has 14 streets with only half a dozen or so houses. Being cul-de-sacs, few people are likely to venture down them apart from its residents.

In fact, I doubt more than a handful of people in the village (or world!) have visited them all – not counting post-men/ladies, Jane and Jo (who deliver Cropwell Bishop News) and Amazon delivery drivers.

Thurlby Close is one such street. On the bend, where Church Street becomes Cropwell Butler Road, you don’t notice it. Avoiding cars and buses coming around the corner will be more than enough for your attention.

Its five houses were built in 1971 by the builder, Jacques, of Bingham. The bungalow at the entrance to Thurlby Close, was built more recently, around 2005.

The land on which the bungalow on Thurlby Close was built (2002)
The land on which the bungalow on Thurlby Close was built (2002)

As we know, it is Parish councillors who initiate the process of naming a village road and they have a habit of naming them after people of Cropwell Bishop. Surely, Thurlby Close is no exception.

I am aware of a Thurlby family that once lived in the village but, after first researching their history, I confess that I then started looking for hills, woodlands, ponds, and so on, that might also have been named Thurlby, and so been the source of the street name. Such was the apparently underwhelming history of the Thurlby family.

Was I missing something.

Michael Thurlby was born in Cropwell Butler in 1850. In 1872, when he was 22, he married 26 year-old Ann Plowright who was also born there.

Ann had been brought up from birth by her uncle and aunt in Cropwell Butler, George and Ann Bosworth. The child was no stranger to the couple: she was their niece. She was the child of Ann Bosworth’s younger sister, Alice Plowright.

We don’t know much about Alice, but we do know that she had 3 children and is listed as unmarried in the 1861 Census. All her children retained her surname, Plowright.
See the family tree.

Thurlby Family Tree
Thurlby Family Tree

George had been a schoolmaster and he and Ann married late in life: he was 54 and she was 40 so, maybe, they welcomed the opportunity to raise a child. It could be that the arrangement suited the adults: baby Ann would no doubt form her opinion in later years.

George died at 78 and a few years afterwards, in 1871, we find his (adopted) daughter, Ann Plowright, still living in the house at Cropwell Butler with her adopted mother, Ann Bosworth (aged 68), but also with her birth mother, Alice Plowright (aged 66).

Ann and Alice were, you will recall, sisters. This does suggest that everyone was on good terms with each other.

It was the next year, that young Ann left them to marry Michael Thurlby.

Michael had a variety of jobs in his working life. When he was newly married, the couple lived in Cropwell Butler at the Post Office where he was the sub-postmaster. He was also a baker and ran a grocery shop.

Two young apprentice bakers were living with the family too. No doubt their presence helped pay the rent.

Three bakers in one house – imagine the talk at meal times: How much yeast? An oven temperature that high! Why not this shape of cob? ... and so on.

Within a few years, Michael was also operating a Carriers Cart service to Nottingham on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

When he was 30 years old, he and Ann moved to Cropwell Bishop and 3 years later, in 1883, Ann gave birth to baby Hannah.

They were living at a house on Church Street – referred to as ‘The Cottage’ in a Census but now, simply, 61 Church Street. It is on the inside of the sharp left-hand bend as you go towards Cropwell Butler.

Number 61, the house known as 'The Cottage when Michael Thurlby lived there
House Number 61 – the house known as 'The Cottage when Michael Thurlby lived there

In 1909 a ‘Valuation List’ was compiled for Cropwell Bishop and records Michael Thurlby as having a ‘house and land’ – it also noted that he was a ‘Carrier and small Market Gardener’.

Comparing a 1930 map and a recent aerial photograph of Thurlby Close, it would be reasonable to assume that the land he owned (and used for his Market Gardening) was his back garden.

Location of the Thurlby's house and land
Location of the Thurlby's house and land (assumed), on Church Street. (1930 map)

Michael and Kate Thurlby
The same location today (2018 approx)

We do know that when the land for Thurlby Close was purchased by the builder in 1970, it was sold by the owners of number 61, Michael Thurlby's old house. So, I think it is safe to assume that Michael Thurlby once owned that land too.

This, I suppose, justifies naming the street after Michael Thurlby. I can find no other valid reason for naming the street after him.

Baby Hannah was to be Michael and Ann’s only child. She was a Cropwell Bishop girl but life was going to become very difficult for her – and Michael.

In 1894 when Hannah was 11 years old, her mother died: she was just 49. We have no knowledge of the cause.

In those days, if a man lost his wife, he would lose no time finding a replacement: being a single parent was a frightening prospect, both economically and socially.

Michael did what almost any other man would have done – or did he?

Within a year of the death of his wife, Michael Thurlby (then 45) married a 19 year-old girl. She came from Thrumpton but he had known her a long time: she was his niece, Kate Plowright. See the family tree.

Michael and Kate Thurlby
Michael and Kate Thurlby

When Kate became his new wife, she was only 7 years older than 12 year-old Hannah, Michael’s daughter. How difficult it was for everyone, we don’t know, but we do know that after the marriage Kate’s younger brother also joined the family.

He lived with them and worked for Michael as ‘carter and general worker’. He was 18 years old and his name was Samuel Plowright. Remember the name!

In those days, a person operating as a carrier or carter, would transport people or goods in a horse driven cart. A 4-wheel cart was capable of carrying up to 12 people (sitting very close together).

Carrier Cart
A Carriers Cart on Fern Road. One like this would transport up to 12 people (sitting very close together!)

We know that when Hannah was 18, she worked as a ‘telegraph clerk’ but in 1908, when she was 25, she was ready to get married and leave home.

She didn’t have to look far to find a suitable man. She chose one who had been living in the same house as her since her mother died: Samuel Plowright, now 31 years old.

You will need to refer to the family tree to appreciate this extraordinary match. Samuel was her step-mother’s brother. Hannah and Samuel’s grandmothers were sisters.

The newly-weds moved 10 miles away to a farm at Barton in Fabis, which is next to Thrumpton, the village where Samuel grew up.

There, Hannah gave birth to 3 boys. The first, John, lived to be 78, but the second, Samuel, died when just 4.

Her third boy, Ronald was born in May 1918 and lived to be 84. However, he was born at great cost: Hannah, died just days after giving birth: she was just 35.

Michael Thurlby died in 1925 at the age of 75. He had lived through the death of his wife, his daughter and a grandson.

Now, all that remains of the Thurlby name in Cropwell Bishop is a street, Thurlby Close.

Tony Jarrow

Note: Thanks to Anne Terzza, Pam Barlow, Hilary Jarrow and Lol Simpson for their help with this article.

Thurlby Close in September 2020...

Thurlby Close
Thurlby Close
Thurlby Close
Thurlby Close
Thurlby Close
Thurlby Close