Cropwell Bishop Streets: — Mercia Avenue

Mercia Avenue

Have you ever wondered how the name of your street was chosen: No? Well, I have to agree that there are more pressing concerns in life but, never the less, I’m going to let you into the secrets of street naming.

Last year Stackyard Close was opened and before that there was Kerrs Close, Shelton Gardens and Barlows Close. In the coming years dozens of new streets will have to be named, so what the process?

Our Parish Council is central to street naming. No doubt you have attended recent monthly meetings online using Zoom and recognise your councillors, and you have watched them discuss matters and reach decisions: No? Not to worry, you are not alone.

CBPC Meeting
CBPC Meeting online - 7th July 2020

Back to street naming. The Parish Council put forward their suggestion for a street name to Rushcliffe Borough Council who, almost invariably, approve it but they may make modifications to ensure consistency within the Borough.

For example, they asked for “The Stackyard” to be named “Stackyard Close” and they would have alerted us if there was a similar name in the vicinity. Also, I believe, apostrophes are not allowed in names.

But how does the Parish Council choose a name? Well often they don’t; Cropwell Village residents do. They put forward their suggestions for consideration.

However, before you think of putting forward the name of your dog, favourite holiday resort or much-loved food, be aware that the Councillors will certainly exercise their own judgement.

Names like, Tinkerbell Way, Benidorm Close and Spaghetti Avenue are not likely to stand the test of time or be popular with some owners. Imagine selling your house and trying to attract viewers to 8 Spaghetti Avenue!

Spaghetti Avenue
Would you like this street name?

Let’s consider the history of street naming in Cropwell Bishop – there are patterns to be found.

Look at a map of Cropwell Bishop streets and one thing we discover is that many are named after people, although many of us do not recognise the names. Also, these people are all dead – another apparent restriction on street name choice.

The oldest streets follow a different pattern. Roads leading out of the Village were never chosen, they just evolved naturally; Nottingham Road, Cropwell Butler Road, Kinoulton Road and Colston Road all lead to a place (there is one outgoing road that does not). Some roads within the Village follow the same pattern, Mill Lane for example.

Let’s look at the streets at the southern end of Hoe View Road and also a map from 1804. These streets were named in the 1970s: can you see where the Parish Councillors got their inspiration from?

Street map
Present-day street map
1804 map
1804 map

Marshall Road is on land that John Marshall Senior owned in 1804, Brownhill Close is (approximately) on land that George Brownhill owned, and Mercia Avenue is on land owned by …

Oh, there isn’t a landowner named ‘Mercia’ but there is one called ‘E. Mercier’. So Mercia Avenue was named after E. Mercier.

The councillors who named these roads are no longer here, but I think it is safe to assume that there was a good reason for the change - or maybe somebody made a mistake; we shall never know.

All the other landowners on the map were local people but Mercier was different. E. Mercier was a woman and an extremely wealthy one but she never lived in Cropwell Bishop.

She was born as Everilda Wordsworth in 1739 to rich parents in Hemsworth, Yorkshire. By the time she was 5 years old, she had 3 sisters and a brother but then her father suddenly died when he was just 35 years old.

Her mother quickly remarried and had 3 more children with Thomas Sunderland but then in August 1749 she and her husband died just 2 days apart. She was 38 and he was 32. Everilda was only 10 years old and had already lost 3 parents.

By the time she was 30, she was married to William Stainforth in Yorkshire. Records show they were a wealthy couple but they had no children. In 1784, when Everilda was 45, William died.

In 1790 she married wealthy Frenchman, Francois Mercier, and they lived in Southwell. In 1803 Francois died.

Everilda held in trust substantial land, Leasehold and Freehold in Cropwell Bishop which, after her death, would go to other members of the family.

Everilda eventually went to live in Soissons, France where she inherited her late husband’s real and personal estate and she died there in 1815 at the age of 76.

It is ironic to think that a woman as rich as Everilda Mercier is remembered in name by one of the smallest streets in Cropwell Bishop – and even then, her name is spelt wrongly.

Her wealth may have bought her comforts, but she seems to have experienced more than her fair share of sorrow.

Tony Jarrow

Particular thanks to Anne Terzza and Pam Barlow for their help with this article.

Here is Mercia Avenue today. I wonder if current residents would prefer the more accurate, French sounding name, Mercier Avenue.

Mercia Avenue
Turning into Mercia Avenue
Mercia Avenue
On the way up Mercia Avenue
Mercia Avenue
Top end of Mercia Avenue
Mercia Avenue
Looking back down Mercia Avenue
Mercia Avenue
View from the top of Mercia Avenue
Mercia Avenue
Clear view of Hoe Hill

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).

Newberry Close
Newberry Close
Newberry Close
Newberry Close
Newberry Close
Newberry Close
Newberry Close
Newberry Close

Cropwell Bishop Streets: — Parkin Close

Parkin Close

Parkin Close was a named after William Parkin; no argument, no discussion. To paraphrase the chants from football terraces, “there is only one William Parkin”.

William didn’t inherit lots of land or money from his parents, nor did he make loads of money by farming hundreds of acres. He didn’t own a big house; he didn’t have a grand title and he wasn’t the leader of an army or a hunt. And yet, William Parkin had a bigger, positive effect on the lives of more people in Cropwell Bishop than anyone else in its history.

William Parkin was the School Master at the village School on Fern Road from 1878. This was not a time when a School’s leader sat in an office doing endless paperwork punctuated by morning assembly and the odd cover lesson. He was very much the hands-on teacher. He would have had one or two assistant teachers but, never-the-less, he would have known every child and probably every other member of his or her family.

The catchment area was “walking distance” for a child of 5 and upwards. That would have included Owthorpe, Colston Bassett, Cropwell Butler together with the Bishop kids. They would have been taught at the School until they were 10 years old (11 from 1893) and then have left. Not to go to the “big School” in a nearby town, but to go to work – or to go to war.

As we grow older, we look back and recognise that of all the people we cross paths with in life, only a small number leave a lasting impression. We are inspired by those who show us how to think, teach us practical skills or open a window on places and people way beyond family and local life.

Then there are people who inspire us by their actions, the way they live their life and the things they achieve. I think William Parkin inspired the people of Cropwell Bishop a century ago in all these ways.

Parkin Close was named before the fashion of naming streets after people was the habit of Parish councillors. It was built in 1968 – about 14 years after the building of the northern end of Hoe View Road – and the homes were built for a different purpose.

Parkin Close
Parkin Close in early 1970s

The late 1960s and early 1970s heralded a great expansion in Cropwell Bishop’s population. This growth was worrying for some of the resident population who were apprehensive about the changes ahead.

Providing access roads to the new homes necessitated the demolition of a number of old cottages and houses in the village. At the same time, there were other old houses that were in need of replacement.

The homes on Parkin Close, together with other homes on Hoe View Road near its entrance, were built by Bingham Rural District Council in 1968 to house those village families in need of a new home. Most are now privately owned and one is still being lived in by the same family that moved in from new.

So, what of the man who gave his name to the street? William Parkin was born in Attercliffe, Yorkshire in 1855. He became School Master at Cropwell Bishop Elementary School (the building we now call ‘The Old School’) on Fern Road in 1878 when he was 23 years old. He remained in the village up to his death in 1944 when he was 89.

Parkin Close
The School (1920s)

During his 67 years in Cropwell Bishop, his influence on villagers was immense. No other person has had such a massive, beneficial effect on the lives of the people of Cropwell Bishop. He was so much more than a dedicated teacher: he became the leader of life in the village.

Before his arrival, Cropwell Bishop had the National School (the small building we now call the Parish School Room) on Church Street. That was built in 1850 when education was not compulsory. School attendance was poor.

Even after 1870, when education became compulsory, attendance declined. It didn’t help that the vicar ‘kept an eye on the curriculum’ which particularly annoyed Methodists who had a strong following in the village. Eventually, in 1875, because so few children were turning up, the School closed.

In 1877, a tender from local builder David Salvin, for a School and School House for £774 was accepted by the Board of Education.

In 1878 the School was completed and the post of ‘Master’ was advertised. The School Board, which comprised of Cropwell Bishop men, chose 23-year-old William Parkin and he began teaching in September 1878. He was an ardent Methodist.

We know that in 1881, when he was 26, he was still boarding at one of the cottages at The Turn (the junction of Nottingham Road and Church Street). Maybe the School House was still being built.

Living nearby was the large Wright family and the eldest daughter, 19-year-old Elizabeth, was a school teacher. She probably taught alongside William: she certainly made an impression on him.

Parkin Close
William (behind bat) after a cricket match on the field where the Health Centre now stands (1880s)

A few years later, the whole of the Wright family emigrated to New Zealand. However, it wasn't long before Elizabeth returned and in 1889 she and William were married at St Giles Church and moved into their home - the School House.

Parkin Close
School and School House in the 1920s

In 1882, William’s older brother George who was also a qualified teacher, moved to Cropwell Bishop and taught alongside William at the School. He boarded with William and Elizabeth at the School House and worked at the School for at least 10 years. In 1901 he was no longer boarding at the house and no longer appears in School photos.

Elizabeth taught needlework to the older girls on Tuesday and Friday afternoons and continued doing so for the next 35 years. William and Elizabeth had no children.

Parkin Close
School Photo 1893. William Parkin with George standing

To quote Aubrey Harper, author of Chronicles of Cropwell Bishop, who knew the Parkins, “William’s advice was sought on the making of wills, on how to deal with official letters and on all domestic issues. He took a very active part in the life of the village and was greatly respected.”

He was a keen supporter of the Cropwell Cricket Club and secretary of both the Angling Club and Cropwell Sick Club.

Parkin Close
Cropwell Bishop Cricket Team (1910).
William Parkin holding the bat.

He filled many positions in the village including; Chapel Steward, Superintendent of the Sunday School, Local Preacher, occasional organist and Parish Overseer.

Parkin Close
William Parkin sat here, in the School , in the 1910s

When the very first Parish Council was elected in 1894, he received the most votes. Brother George became Clerk. Later, William also became a Bingham Rural Councillor.

Parkin Close
William Parkin with a class in 1900s
Parkin Close
Class photo in 1910 - merged with same wall today

When he retired from teaching in 1920, he had been Head Teacher at the School since its beginning 42 years earlier. And yet, a project for which he is most remembered by many, did not begin until 4 years later.

Parkin Close
William and Elizabeth Parkin (1910s)

Both William and Elizabeth had devoted themselves to the people of the village. Maybe, because they had no children of their own, they looked upon the village children as their extended family. Imagine their feelings during the 4 long years of the World War from 1914 to 1918 when children they had taught were enduring horrific experiences, injuries and even death on the other side of the English Channel. Eleven Cropwell Bishop men died in that War.

Following the War, villagers were determined to establish a lasting memorial for those who had died. The biggest idea was for a village Memorial Hall. Encouraged by the moral and financial support of Mr J. N. Derbyshire, owner of the Gotham Company that mined gypsum in the village, a building committee was formed in 1924 – and William Parkin was its secretary.

The Hall would cost £1220 and over half was raised by the people of Cropwell Bishop. Villagers also helped keep costs down by doing a lot of the hard work themselves. Men, wives and children devoted their spare evenings to getting the job done.

The final go-ahead to build the Hall came in 1928 and by the summer of 1929 it was finished. On the 3rd August 1929, Mrs J.N. Derbyshire officially opened the Hall alongside William and Elizabeth Parkin.

Parkin Close
Awaiting the official opening of the Memorial Hall
by Mrs J. N. Derbyshire (3rd August 1929)

However, 3 years later there was an even bigger event in the history of the Memorial Hall and the village: Royalty paid a visit.

On the 29th June 1932, the Prince of Wales (later Edward VIII) visited Cropwell Bishop as part of his ‘Social Services Tour’ of the country. Fittingly, it was William Parkin who welcomed him and accompanied him on his whistle-stop tour of the Memorial Hall. He flew into Tollerton airfield and arrived at the Hall at 2.20pm.

Parkin Close
William and Elizabeth await the arrival of Prince Edward on the steps of the Memorial Hall (29th June 1932)
Parkin Close
Edward, Prince of Wales, is greeted by William Parkin and Alderman Derbyshire (29th June 1932)
Parkin Close
The past merged with the present: Prince Edward and William leaving the Memorial Hall.
Parkin Close
Prince Edward inspects Ex-Service Men
Parkin Close
The people of Cropwell Bishop meet the Prince

He was there for only 15 minutes but photographs suggest that villagers saw the occasion as being equivalent to a wedding, and dressed accordingly. I imagine they also spent that evening as they might after a wedding: good business for the pubs!

Since his retirement, William and Elizabeth had occupied a house on Church Street - number 59 which, at that time, was called ‘The Croft’. Behind it was, ‘The Croft Bungalow’, where his brother George lived.

Parkin Close
Two children stand outside The Croft on Church Street

William died in 1944 at the age of 87 and Elizabeth in 1949 at the age of 89. A humble man with big ideas and the resolve to see them fulfilled for the good of ordinary people. If he were living in Cropwell Bishop today, would he be respected and admired as much as he was a century ago? I think so, don’t you?

Tony Jarrow

Particular thanks to Anne Terzza, Pam Barlow, Jane Jones and Alan Wilson for their help with this article.

Parkin Close
William, Elizabeth and George Parkin are all buried in Cropwell Bishop Churchyard.

This is how Parkin Close looks today (August 2020), 165 years after the birth of William Parkin.

Parkin Close
Top of Parkin Close today (2020)
Parkin Close
On the right going down
Parkin Close
Further down on the right
Parkin Close
Right-hand corner
Parkin Close
Near the bottom on the right
Parkin Close
Bottom of Parkin Close
Parkin Close
At the bottom on the left
Parkin Close
Bungalows near the bottom
Parkin Close
Bungalows on the left
Parkin Close
Left-hand corner
Parkin Close
Top of left-hand corner
Parkin Close
Top of Parkin Close on the left

Cropwell Bishop Streets: — Richards Close

Richards Close

Designing the layout of houses and roads for a new housing development must be a dream job. To look upon open land and imagine the route of roads that are both safe and offer glimpses of beautiful views. To have pedestrian twitchells that provide safe but exciting short-cuts to play areas, parks and allotments.

The reality for most builders is very different.

A parcel of land squeezed between existing buildings, a right of way through it and narrow openings and slopes that make it difficult to even get the builders on site.

The builder certainly needs imagination, but not to plot sweeping roads, rather to make homes fit in the most efficient way that leaves house-buyers happy and the builder with enough profit to build another day.

That brings us to Richards Close.

Until 40 years ago, the space it occupies opposite Barratt Close on Nottingham Road was a small, sloping field occupied by the occasional wandering sheep.

Richards Close
Wandering sheep.
On the right is the end of Jubilee Drive Houses (1960s)

On the left was the Methodist Chapel and its Sunday School, and on the right were joined-up houses known as Jubilee Drive Houses. These homes were built in 1935, the Silver Jubilee year of King George V and Queen Mary. The field was known as Jubilee Field.

Richards Close
Jubilee Field – the site of Richards Close.
Jubilee Drive Houses on the right – Sunday School Room on the left. (1960s)
Richards Close
Jubilee Drive Houses on the right (1960s)

The field was owned by Harold Barlow (young Harold, the Butcher) and he sold it to Hamilton Knight, the Cropwell Bishop building company. The slope up from Nottingham Road and the Public Footpath across it would provide a challenge for the architect.

Richards Close
1960s map showing a public footpath through the gap between the Chapel (right) and Jubilee Drive (left)

Richards Close is the smallest street in Cropwell Bishop: it has just 4 homes. Given the size of the plot, this is no surprise.

Richards Close
How local Buzzards and Swifts view Richards Close

When the Parish Council had the task of giving it a name, they decided it would be appropriate to recognise the impact that the Richards family had had on Cropwell Bishop. It chairman at that time, David Barlow, contacted Edward Matthews to ask for his permission to use the name. He happily agreed.

So, which member is the Close named after, or does it refer to the family name?

Let’s start in the early 1800s with James Richards.

He was born in Granby in 1801 to father Anthony Richards and mother Elizabeth and was the first of their four children. To follow were; Anthony (1803), Mary (1805) and brother Gibson (1809).

In 1826, when 25, James married Elizabeth Parker at Granby Church. Elizabeth was 11 years older than James and had already been married: she also had four young children. Her maiden name was Porter and she was born in 1790 at Tythby.

She had married Thomas Parker of Cropwell Butler in 1814. They had their first child, Vincent, in 1820 and the following year they had both Alice and Thomas – maybe they were twins, we don’t know.

The fourth child, Mary was born in 1825 (or 1826, records conflict). Oddly, in less than a year of giving birth to Mary, she was marrying James Richards.

I cannot discover the reason for this sudden change in Elizabeth’s circumstances but it could be explained by Thomas Parker, suddenly dying.

Shortly after James and Elizabeth married, they moved to Cropwell Bishop where James became Innkeeper at the Wheatsheaf on Nottingham Road and Elizabeth gave birth to their child Eliza in 1828. A second child, Emma, would follow in 1835.

Richards Close
Richards Family Tree for selected members

James and Elizabeth had a long and stable marriage together and two children went on to establish important families of their own in Cropwell Bishop: Vincent (the eldest child from Elizabeth’s her first marriage) and Eliza (the eldest child from her second marriage).

Richards Close
Vincent Parker

Vincent Parker became a farmer and he eventually owned 119 acres in Cropwell Bishop. He also followed the path of his step-father and became a Publican at the Canal House Pub next to the Canal Bridge on Nottingham Road.

He was also involved with the mining of Gypsum in Cropwell Bishop and went on to own 10 houses just a 100m from his home: they became known as Parkers Row.

Richards Close
Parkers Row (also known as Top Row) 1950s

Meanwhile, Eliza Richards had a son in 1854 but the father remains a mystery. She named the boy, Robert Smith Richards.

Within two years, in 1857, she married farmer Matthew Cooper of Screveton and they had three children of their own; Mary, Elizabeth and Joseph.

Matthew appears to have been the “business brains” of the family and over the next 40 years built up his farm by acquiring land as it became available. It is interesting to note that in 1885 he advertised himself as a brickmaker as well as a farmer.

The family lived at 49 Nottingham Road in the early years and when Matthew was 60 they moved to The Yews (100m down the road). They were there until his death in 1898 when he was 68. He had given his step-son, Robert Smith, increasingly more responsibility for the running of the farm and it was he who took the business forward for the next generation.

Richards Close
49 Nottingham Road in 1968 (back of house)

Robert Smith married Emma Jane Lewin, from Cotgrave, in 1880 and they moved to Barton-in-Fabis where he farmed 115 acres. Their first two children, Matthew and Robert were born there.

After 3 years the family moved to Owthorpe Village where he farmed for the next 17 years. Robert Smith and Emma had 8 more children while living there. (Note to modern parents: they had 3 servants!)

Owthorpe children could easily walk the road to Cropwell Bishop School. Here is a School Class Photo showing the two eldest boys, Matthew and Robert, in 1893.

Richards Close
Cropwell Bishop School Photo 1893. Matthew Richards (aged 13) is top left, and right of him is his brother, Robert Richards (aged 12). Head Teacher William Parkin is seated right. The full class photo is shown in the Parkin Close article.
Richards Close
Cropwell Bishop School Photo 1898 approx. Florence (Florrie) Richards is on the 2nd row down from the back. At left end is a teacher; Florence is next to her.

Once again, it was the oldest child who took forward the family farming business. I suppose that was the normal pattern in those days.

As a schoolboy, Matthew had been close to his grandparents, Matthew and Eliza Cooper. For a time, he even lived with them.

Surrounded by a growing number of brothers and sisters at home, finding a quite corner to do his homework each evening must have been a challenge (OK, I don’t suppose they had homework in those days).

Anyway, his grandparents lived at The Yews in Cropwell Bishop so he could avoid the morning, lunchtime, and afternoon walks to and from Owthorpe (school dinners didn’t exist, I am sure).

When Matthew Cooper died in 1898 (his wife, Eliza, had died 2 years earlier), Robert Smith, and his ever-growing family, moved into The Yews on Nottingham Road. He was still there in 1902 when Emma gave birth to their 11th child, Charlie. He was their final child: time for a rest Emma!

Richards Close
Robert Smith Richards and Emma Jane Richards (1920s)

Matthew Cooper had left the bulk of his estate to stepson Robert Smith but he also left part to his grandson, Matthew Richards. This included 49 Nottingham Road, a farmhouse. The will stipulated that until Matthew reached the age of 26, the house must be held by his father.

In 1908 he reached the age of 26 and he married Annie Hilson (of Bottesford). I can’t confirm if they did indeed move into number 49, but I do know that in 1911 they were living at The Yews (just across the road from where Richards Close is today).

This was where his father and family had been living but in 1911 they were all living at Sutton, a tiny hamlet near Granby. Robert Smith always had been one for regularly moving house.

Matthew and Annie already had a daughter, Grace, and before the year was out, they had a second, Edith. A son, Edward, joined them in 1916.

Richards Close
Matthew Richards and family: Edith, Annie and Matthew with Edward and Grace kneeling (1926)
Richards Close
The Yews on Nottingham Road (1926)

In his later years, Edward recalled his growing up in Cropwell Bishop. Shortly after the above photograph was taken, he was awarded an Art Scholarship to attend Trent Bridge Central School for Boys in Nottingham from 1928 to 1931. Every day he cycled there from Cropwell Bishop. But when he was 14, he had to leave school to work full-time on his father’s farm.

Richards Close
The Yews Today (2020)

In 1930 Robert Smith Richards died: he was 75. His wife, Emma had died the year before. In his will he requested that all his assets be sold and divided equally between his children except for two who were already provided for.

It was just after this that Mathew decided he wanted to buy a farm of his own. In 1932 he moved his family to Rempstone and stayed there for the rest of his life. He still owned land in Cropwell Bishop and let it out to local farmers.

Here is a photo of him and his family at his 90th birthday in 1970. He died at the age of 93.

Richards Close
Matthew Richards' 90th Birthday with children, grand children and great-grand children. His son Edward is immediate left of him, daughter Grace is 4th from right-hand side, and daughter Edith is 2nd from left-hand side. (1970)

Matthew’s son Edward must have inherited his father’s long-life genes because he too lived to the age of 93. He died in 2009.

His son, Anthony provided details, insights and photographs for the writing of this article.

The colourful history of the Richards family in Cropwell Bishop is enough to fill Richards Close. With just 4 houses you could allocate a key character to each one of the houses.

But there is no need for that. Now we can all look upon Richards Close differently: a place linked to a large energetic family spanning two centuries.

Do you think the Postman, Amazon man, and other delivery people ever wonder at the history of its name? No, I don’t think so either.

But now, should they ever ask, you can enlighten them.

Tony Jarrow

Particular thanks to Anthony Richards for insights and photographs. Also, thanks to Anne Terzza, Pam Barlow, Tony Carter, John Bradley, John Greenwood and Lesley Shuttlewood for their help with this article.

Richards Graves
Richards Graves
Richards Graves
Richards Graves

This is Richards Close now (August 2020).

Richards Close
Up the slope
Richards Close
At the top
Richards Close
The view ahead
Richards Close
Alongside the Public Footpath
Richards Close
View of top corner from the Chapel
Richards Close
Close up

Cropwell Bishop Streets: — Salvin Close

Salvin Close

Some people boast that generations of their family can be traced back centuries.

The ability to trace family roots a long way back is quite rare. Ancestors would have had to record their activities on paper but most families did not possess paper and pens – and probably couldn’t read or write anyway.

Most of us have a fascinating family history but we don’t know it because it was never written down.

Being able to trace ancestors is much easier if you follow the male line. Men don’t lose their surname on being married.

Wealth and power can be inherited and having a shared surname helps to prove your claim.

This story is about the Salvin family that lived in Cropwell Bishop.

Salvin Close is named after David Leavis Salvin. He lived in Cropwell Bishop at the end of the 1800s and early 1900s. However, he was not the only Salvin to live in Cropwell Bishop and the story of how the Salvin family came to the village is an interesting one: so is the virtual disappearance of its name.

The Salvin family has a long history – it was written down. That means they were a rich.

We can go back a long way – to 1066.

Joceous le Flamangh came over with William the Conqueror and was rewarded with “one third of a knight’s fee” in Cuckney in north Nottinghamshire. What he had done to deserve this payment and who got the other two thirds is not recorded.

In those days, north Notts would not have been regarded as a lush part of a conquered country. It didn’t even need to be fought for: it became vacant when the previous Saxon owner died without heirs.

So Joceous was no leading-light in William’s government, but he was here and he owned land. Once established he made his influence felt locally.

His sons married into the aristocracy and a grandson became Sheriff of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire (before Robin Hood’s arrival). His second grandson was named as ‘Ralph of Sylvan’ and became heir to the ‘Manor of Woodhouse’.

Within three generations, the family had marriage links with the Earl of Derby and ownership of property that would eventually become Welbeck Abbey.

The family name mutated into Salvin and extended its links in north Nottinghamshire and even into Yorkshire to an area that exists today as the village of Thorpe Salvin. By the 15th Century, family members had even become part of the aristocracy of County Durham.

The Salvin family had established itself but not become a high-profile one – and this would prove a distinct advantage. Their relative anonymity during some turbulent times, enabled them to keep their heads at a time when many fellow Roman Catholics were losing theirs to the executioner.

By the early 1700s, the Salvins had settled as far south as Gedling and Stoke Bardolph. In 1729 in Stoke Bardolph, Thomas Salvin was born. He married a local girl, Elizabeth Palethorpe at Gedling Church in 1750. They were both 21 at the time.

In later years Thomas would be known as ‘The Farmer of Stoke Bardolph’. A grand title but if you have ever visited Stoke Bardolph (or much more likely, ‘passed through’) the you will be forgiven for wondering if there is enough land for more than one farm.

The young love of Tom and Lizzie brought forth children, the first arriving the following year. They had four children, all boys. Their third son, Joseph, was 28 when he married 23 year old Hannah Sheffield in 1795.

 Salvin Family Tree
Salvin Family Tree

Hannah was born in Castle Donnington but the wedding was at Gedling Church. We know nothing of her parents and can only presume that they moved with her to Gedling or she was working away from home. We don’t know but it doesn’t matter.

Joe and Hannah were in love – and they had 7 children. There were 5 boys and 2 girls.

There was heartache though: Hannah died when 1 year old, Elizabeth when 5 years old and Samuel when 17.

Their 3rd son, Thomas Salvin, is the one of interest to us. He was born in Stoke Bardolph and married Frances Mabbott of Cropwell Bishop in 1816.

Even today, Stoke Bardolph to Cropwell Bishop would be quite a long bicycle ride to discover your true love – and in 1816 there wasn’t a bridge at Gunthorpe, nor were there any bicycles (they were not invented until the following year). However, there was a ferry over the River Trent at Stoke Bardolph.

Once on the other side of the Trent, a brisk walk and you are soon in Shelford. After climbing the hill out of Shelford, it would have been a straight road to Cropwell Butler and then on to Cropwell Bishop.

You could follow the same route today, with a detour over the new A46, but you will need a towel for your swim across the Trent.

Stoke Bardolph to Cropwell Bishop
The route from Stoke Bardolph to Cropwell Bishop in 1816

I am not suggesting that Tom and Frances met at a local sing-song in the Wheatsheaf, just that the two villages and its occupants were not so far apart as it first seems.

Tom was 18 years old and Frances was 20 when they married in April 1st 1816 and Cropwell Bishop was where they would live their life.

Their home was a house at The Turn, that is the area in front of St Giles Church where carts could turn around. We can't identify the actual building from historical records.

Three months later, on the 21st July 1816 their first child, Hannah, was born. (Maybe they did meet at a sing-song of sorts at the Wheatsheaf)

Sadly, Hannah died when just 2 years old in 1818, the same year their second girl, Elizabeth, was born.

A third girl was born to them 2 years later and they decided to name her Hannah too. Sadly, this second Hannah also had a short life: she died when just 27 years old.

There was then a 10-year gap before their next child, this time a boy, David Salvin. They had no more children afterwards and in 1840, at the age of 42, Thomas Salvin died.

Frances worked as a housekeeper so she could support 10 year old David.

When David was 23, he married and Frances lived with him and his family until her death at the age of 94.

David started his working life as a bricklayer’s apprentice and became a very proficient builder in Cropwell Bishop. The Old School on Fern Road is an example of his work; so is the ‘cart shed’ at the entrance to Stackyard Close (on the right).

David married Sarah Maul in 1853. Sarah was born and bred in Orston but, on marrying David, moved to Cropwell Bishop.

They had 8 children. The first was William and the last was David Leavis. In between were 6 girls.

Their youngest, David Leavis Salvin, was an ambitious and hard-working man from an early age.

By the time he was 20, in 1891, he had left his home in Cropwell Bishop and was lodging with his sister, Elizabeth, and her husband Thomas Clarke and their family at 191 Sherwood Street in Nottingham. Thomas was “provisions merchant manager”.

191 Sherwood Street
191 Sherwood Street in 2020

Just 3 years later, in 1894, David Leavis was advertising himself as a grocer at 312 Ilkeston Road. He continued with this shop for at least 10 years.

312 Ikeston Road
312 Ikeston Road was once on right hand side where the new homes are today

Five years after this, in 1899, he also listed himself as, “beer retailer and shopkeeper”, at 191A Sherwood Street. Look at the photograph of 191 Sherwood Street. It is easy to imagine the ground floor windows as shop fronts, number 191 for groceries and 191A for beer.

This shop appears to have been a short-lived venture because he did not advertise it again.

Life was not all work for David Leavis. In 1902 he married Edith Maud Beavan. In 1904 their daughter, Gladys May Salvin was born: she was to be their only child.

It was at this time that he was advertising his second grocery shop on Ilkeston Road, number 284. Maybe he was in the process of moving to a bigger shop because after this time he no longer advertised the ‘312 shop’ but continued to trade from the ‘284 shop’ until at least 1925.

By that time, he had been a grocer for over 30 years.

David Leavis was an entrepreneur and his business ventures had proved profitable. He was looking to invest his capital beyond his Nottingham shops – into the Cropwell Bishop area of his childhood.

He bought a farm on the north side of Cropwell Butler and also land around Cropwell Bishop. By 1912 he was already referred to in directories as “a principal land owner and farmer” in Cropwell Bishop.

In 1911, he and his family were living at 31 Albert Grove, Nottingham, but maybe he felt that now was the time to look for something better.

31 Albert Road
31 Albert Road (2020)

He bought the Manor on Fern Road in Cropwell Bishop and not long after he and his family were living there.

The Manor
The Manor on Fern Road

In spite of all his energy, David Leavis Salvin did not enjoy a long life. He died in 1936 at the age of 64.

In the five generations of Salvins we have looked at, the swing from being a family with mainly male children to one of females is interesting. For anyone keen to maintain the family name, it was worrying.

David Leavis and Edith Maud failed to have a son, it meant that the Salvin surname had come to an end in this branch of its family tree.

The Men's Institute
The Men's Institute, 1932. David Leavis Salvin (front row, 3rd from left) and Arthur Barlow (front row, 2nd from right)

In times past, the end in line of a family name would have been a great disappointment to some fathers, usually the ones with great wealth to pass on. I don’t think this is the case so much nowadays.

Science has revealed the existence of DNA. We understand how parts of our DNA are passed on to the next generation. Precise parts of it can be identified and they can be screened for: they can even be replaced!

We can identify parents or find long-lost relatives by spitting some saliva into a test tube and posting it for DNA analysis. Within weeks we are sent names of others who have similar DNA.

With all this knowledge, the importance of family names on pieces of paper seems trivial.

Edith Maud Salvin at 90. With great-grandaughter, Jane, at opening of Village Fete in 1965
Edith Maud Salvin at 90. With great-grandaughter, Jane, at opening of Village Fete in 1965

As for David Leavis Salvin and Edith, the most important thing was that their child, Gladys, was healthy. A very healthy one it would seem. She certainly inherited her mother’s long-life genes.

Edith Maud lived to be 97 and died in 1972. Her daughter, Gladys May died in 2000 at the age of 96.

Gladys May Salvin married Arthur William Barlow in 1928.

wedding day
Arthur Barlow and Gladys May Salvin on their wedding day in 1928
David Leavis Salvin
On the right of Gladys is her father, David Leavis Salvin. 1928
wedding report
Newspaper report of the wedding. 1928

Glady and Arthur had 3 children; David Barlow, John Barlow and Edith Barlow. So, the name of Salvin had disappeared? Not quite.

When you want to keep an earlier surname alive you can either create a double-barrelled surname (e.g. Barlow-Salvin) or keep it as an extra forename. The full names of two of Gladys and Arthur's children were: Thomas David Salvin Barlow and Edith May Salvin Barlow.

So, as you can see, the Salvin family has history in Cropwell Bishop: that is why we have a street named after it.

Tony Jarrow

Note: Thanks to Anne Terzza, Pam Barlow, Malcolm Dabell and Jane Jones for their help with this article.

Salvin Graves
Salvin Graves
Salvin Graves
Salvin Graves
Salvin Graves
Salvin Graves

This is Salvin Close now (August 2020).

Salvin Close
Salvin Close
Salvin Close
Salvin Close
Salvin Close
Salvin Close
Salvin Close
Salvin Close
Salvin Close
Salvin Close
Salvin Close
Salvin Close

Cropwell Bishop Streets: — Squires Close

Squires Close

Squires Close; named after the lord-of-the-manor or a local knight of old? I used to think so - but I was wrong.

The houses in Squires Close were built in the mid 1970s, not long after the completion of the Wimpey housing estate which included, “just over the fence”, Hall Drive.

At the bottom of Hall Drive, the gap between house numbers 30 and 32 is about 2m wider than normal. When Wimpey built the houses in 1974 there was every intention of having a public footpath between these houses and onwards to Church Street. For a time, people did indeed use this route as a short-cut to the Coop which was on Church Street at that time.

Squires Close

However, planners overlooked the fact that the route was through land not owned by them but by Cropwell Bishop builder, Dennis Smith - and he had every intention of building houses on it. That was the end of the footpath idea but the beginning of Squires Close.

The area was quite small; not surprising really because it was effectively the back garden of a house on Church Street. It was only big enough for 5 detached houses - just two other streets in the village have a smaller number.

Here is a photo of the house from Church Street taken in the 1930s.

Squires Close
Squires House 1930s

That is almost a hundred years ago and, not surprisingly, it has been much modernised since then but, even so, its unusual shape makes it easy to recognise: here is what 47 Church Street looks like today.

Squires Close
47 Church Street: 2020

So, how did Squires Close get its name?

Well, we do know that 47 Church Street was for a long time owned by a family named Squires: it was even referred to as Squires House.

But surely, that is not enough to justify naming a street after the owner: not everyone gets a street named after them when houses are built in their old back garden – there must be more to it than that.

The Squires family have 12 graves in St Giles Churchyard, ranging from 1839 to 1925. We do know that for over a century, family members involved themselves in a wide range of activities in Cropwell Bishop.

It all began in about 1800 when James Squires, an agricultural labourer in Flintham, married Cropwell girl Mary Mabbot. Although they decided to live in Flintham, two of their sons, John and George (no record of a Paul or Ringo!), went on to also marry Cropwell girls (what was it about our village girls?) and decided to make their homes in Cropwell Bishop.

The older one, John, married Sarah Allcock at St Giles Church in 1832 and they went on to have 8 children, but 4 died in infancy. John was a stone mason and bricklayer, and was also an active Methodist Preacher locally. The family lived at 47 Church Street – the house referred to above which, over the years, became known as Squires House.

So, we know that John Squires lived with his family at Squires House and we know that 140 years later, Squires Close was built in the back garden – so presumably, the Close was named after John Squires.

Hold on, it’s not that simple: lots of other Squires characters appeared during those 140 years, might not one of them be the one commemorated?

One of John and Sarah’s sons, Samuel, grew up to be a farmer and owner of 120 acres: he sounds promising. However, he did not live in Squires House, but down the road in the cottages known then, as Salvins Row. Also, by the time he was 40, he was farming with his wife and 4 children at Frisby-on-the-Wreake near Melton Mowbray. So, not the person you would name a Cropwell Bishop street after.

Meanwhile, George (the younger son of James and Mary), had married Sarah Thraves and they lived at Mill Hill Cottages on Fern Road (Fern Road was called Mill Hill in those days). George was also a bricklayer and, later on, a ‘letter cutter’, probably of gravestones. George and Sarah had at least 10 children (no television in those days).

Their son, George, started as a Baker & Grocer and lived with his wife, Miriam, at the Co-operative Store in the village. Within a few years though, he became a Builder and Bricklayer and they lived with their 7 children at Mill Hill, maybe at his late father's house.

Here are photographs of George and Miriam in 1910.

Squires Close
George Squires: Baker then Builder. 1910
Squires Close
Miriam Squires 1910

Another son of George and Sarah, Stephen, lived with his wife and 6 children on Fern Road (then called Mill Hill). Like his father, he was a gravestone mason: his name, “Squires”, is engraved on the base of many local gravestones – including some in St Giles Churchyard.

Now, the question is, which of the many members of the Squires family is Squires Close named after? To be honest, I have no idea!

Here are some pictures of family members: any thoughts?

Squires Close
Squires women in front of house: 1930s
Squires Close
Squires family in boat: 1910
Squires Close
Three Squires men front of house: 1920s

I think the best answer is that Squires Close was named to celebrate all members of the Squires family. Some will have lived in Squires House and have worked and played on the land now occupied by Squires Close so, linking them all to the street, would have been a great decision.

Tony Jarrow

The extended Squires family were involved in many aspects of Cropwell Bishop life and one descendent still is. Malcolm Dabell lives in the village and was the provider of much family history for this article. A thank you to him.

Thanks also to Anne Terzza and Pam Barlow for their help.

I suspect that most people in the village have never walked down Squires Close, tucked away as it is off Church Street. Here is your chance to see what you are missing ....

Squires Close
Squires Close
Squires Close
Squires Close
Squires Close
Squires Close
Squires Close

Cropwell Bishop Streets: — Stackyard Close

Stackyard Close

Stackyard Close is the newest housing development in Cropwell Bishop but because it is located in the centre of the village, its site has a long history.

All but one of the homes are brand new buildings but the one alongside Church Street is inside the shell of a large, old building.

This was built as a cartshed for the Shelton family in 1890. George Shelton was a Farmer and Plaster Merchant in 1832. The family became substantial Cropwell farmers and were still in the plastering trade in the 1890s.

The cartshed was built by a Cropwell bricklayer, David Salvin, and is considered an example of some of the finest early brickwork in the village.

Back in 2015, the site of Stackyard Close was, essentially, a storage space. As you can see from the photographs below, it had a large empty yard where cars, lorries and buses had ample room to turn around and park. Buildings of various ages and construction held machinery, containers and vehicles: there were also 7 garages for cars.

But there were times when it was people that filled the yard. In the mid 20th century, methodist evangelists Silverwood and Whitehouse sometimes visited the village and set up a marquee in the stackyard.

The black corrugated building was at least 70 years old. The black and white photograph below was taken in 1949 from the top of the church tower and the building is in the centre surrounded by grass.

For much of the 20th century, the yard was mainly used to store grain and house lorries owned by Cropwell Bishop's own independent Grain Merchant, H. Simpson and Sons Ltd. Consequently, it was known by local people as Simpsons Yard.

The company had its offices on Church Street and you will learn more about the Simpson family in the Church Street article later this year.

Tony Jarrow

Stackyard Close
The Cabin Store & Post Office in 2006: demolished in February 2018
Stackyard Close
Benny Snowden's hairdressing shop which was demolished in the 1960 and replaced by The Cabin
Stackyard Close
Looking towards the church. 2015
Stackyard Close
These building are still there. 2015
Stackyard Close
Some of the garages. 2015
Stackyard Close
The black, corrugated iron building was there in 1949
Stackyard Close
A spacious yard where lorries and buses could turn around and park. 2015
Stackyard Close
View from the church tower. 1949 (provided by Jane Jones)
Stackyard Close
View from the church tower. 2020
Stackyard Close
Stackyard Close. 2020
Stackyard Close
Top of Stackyard Close. 2020

The information for these articles comes from my own notes and photographs, the research notes of Anne Terzza, the memory of Pam Barlow and hours of searching the internet.

In spite of this effort, there will certainly be other individuals who are able to provide further information, photographs, comments and corrections that would enhance these articles: I would greatly value such contributions.

If you feel that you might be able to provide any useful information, either before or after a street article is published, please contact me (click "Contacts" for phone & email details).