Beeston Then and Now
Published in 1916, Beeston Then and Now was one of a series of booklets about Nottingham
and its suburbs, written by Robert Mellors a Nottinghamshire antiquarian who, was an Alderman and
Chairman of the Nottinghamshire County Council Education Committee in its early days.
From what person or object does Beeston derive its name? There
are other Beestons in various parts of the country. One is near to Leeds, at
which a well-known coal is obtained. Other Beestons are near to Swaffham, and to
Sandy. In Domesday book (1086), our Beeston appears as Bestune, and in after
centuries as Beston, Biston, Beyston, Beiston, etc., but Beeston Castle, ten
miles from Chester, was Buistane in Domesday book, and was Bovis in Roman times.
In the "Place-Names of Notts." it is suggested that the name may come from an old
personal name, Bë, or Bës, or from Bedestun, "the farm of Bede," or from a river
in the northern part of Saxony, the Biese, which name the Anglo-Saxons may have
brought with them. Curiously the Rev. T. J. Oldrini, in his little history of
Beeston, called "Gleanings," makes the name to be derived from Bea, or Bees, who
he says was "a female saint who flourished about the middle of the sixteenth
century," (p. 8), which is evidently a misprint for "seventh century," when a
nunnery was in 656 founded by St. Begga, afterwards called St. Bees, at a village
with that name in Cumberland, and she is said to have seen the soul of St. Hilda
being carried into heaven by angels (Bell, p. 91), St. Hilda having died in A.D.
680. The district we call Beeston would doubtless be occupied by the Britons, and
probably settled by the Angles coming up the Trent, before the year named, but by
what name it was then called, or from what the present name is derived, must be
left in a state of uncertainty. On the seal of the Urban District Council is a
bee-hive, surmounted by a crown, apparently suggesting the town of loyal
Beeston was in the Wapentake or Hundred of Broxtowe, which
extended from the Trent to beyond Mansfield Woodhouse, and from the Erewash to
Blidworth and Arnold. For the administration of its local affairs it had its
"Moot" or governing body meetings. at which representatives of Beeston attended
at Broxtowe, and these were responsible to the Shire-moot.
It had in the early times the great advantage of the Trent
waterway on its south, and on its north the important road from Nottingham to
Derby, and persons who like to give the reins to fancy may indulge in the
contemplation of the notables that have passed that way.
Geology : It is desirable the young people of the
locality should know something of the dirt under their feet. Fortunately there is
a record, for the owner of the Chilwell estate, the late T. B. Charlton, Esq.,
being desirous of ascertaining if coal existed and could be obtained from under
the estate, had a boring made, which although it was deemed to be unprofitable
from a commercial standpoint gives us a knowledge of the geological formations.
According to the report of the British Association, 1890, p. 366, a boring was
made in a field about a quarter of a mile south-west of Beeston Station, which
gave the following result: "Alluvium l3½ feet, Red Marl and White Sandstone 167
feet, Pebble Beds 250 feet, Soft Sandstone 38 feet, Coal Measures 876½ feet. In
the Plant MS. it is stated that four seams of coals, from 5 in. to 17 in. thick,
were passed through (See Concealed Coalfields, Notts., Gibson, p. 53). Now let us
stand still and mentally gaze on the mighty upheavals, the enormous changes, and
the vast ages that have passed as revealed in the rocks below our feet. The
places where these seams of coal are in the layers of rocks called the coal
measures, through which nearly 900 feet was bored, were, each of them, once upon
a time, the surface of the earth where vegetation grew. Those hundreds of feet of
sand tell of mighty floods through vast periods carrying the minute particles,
and depositing them here for the service of man. That alluvium tells of the
passage of the Trent, or some previous large river scooped out, and then deposits
of earth, sand, gravel, and other materials carried by great floods from distant
places. The course of the Trent must have been at a much higher level than now,
for gravels in Beeston are widely distributed twenty to thirty feet above the
present river level, and the gravel pits show ten feet, or more, of stratified
gravel and sand.
Mr. James Shipman compiled "Notes on the Alluvial and Drift
Deposits of the Trent Valley near Nottingham," and he, referring to the
escarpments of the Trent Valley, says, "The first, and perhaps the most
interesting of these, is at Beeston." He shows that the gravel deposited in the
northwest of the main road is of a different age to that on the south side, the
first being "a rusty colour, coarse, and mixed with red sand," and the other of a
grey, or lighter colour. The village is built on an old terrace worn out of the
Bunter Pebble Beds, and the Upper Keuper Marle, which are brought side by side by
a considerable "fault,' consisting mainly of quartzite pebbles, with many flints
(Geo. Mem, 57); but Mr. Shipman says there are also pebbles and boulders of coal
Measure, Sandstone, Chert, Keuper Sandstone, etc., and that the gravels are
wonderfully contorted, done possibly before the close of the glacial
A Flint : Mr. W. T. Norris's workmen when making an
excavation about twelve feet deep in the old gravel terrace to the south of Broad
gate, and to the west of Tottle brook, found in the gravel a stone nearly 8 in.
diameter, and weighing 1 lb. I sent that stone to Professor Swinnerton, and asked
him to give me its history, and here it is : -
"The stone is a remarkably round flint. Its life's history may
be summed up briefly as follows : Stage 1, a sponge, living during the
chalk-forming period. It lived In the bottom of the sea, and made for itself a
beautiful skeleton of silica (much like glass). It died, and its skeleton was
turned under the chalk deposit . Stage II, water percolating through the chalk
dissolved particles of the skeletons of other sponges and deposited the silica
thus obtained around the large sponge skeleton, thus making a round flint. Stage
III, the chalk became land-layer by layer was dissolved away, until this flint
was left with many others on the ground. Stage IV, glacial period came, and ice
sheet scratched these loose flints off the ground, and brought them to the
neighbourhood of Nottingham. Stage V, the ice melted, and the waters swelled all
the rivers, including those which flowed into the Trent, into a considerable
size; these waters rolled the flint along to Beeston, and left it buried in a lot
of gravel. Stage VI, It was dug out by your friend, brought to you, sent to me,
and with your permission will be put in the College teaching collection, where it
will often be shown to students."
Beeston gravels had for generations a reputation for road
materials, and garden paths. Professor Blake mentions the fragments of a
perforated axe head, including its cutting end, which was found at Beeston,
probably more nearly related to the age of Bronze than to the Stone age (V. His.
There is clay on the north-western side of the parish, where
there was a brick-yard, which was closed in 1837, after Mr. Alfred Fellows had
built "Beeston Fields" house on the site.
Highfield : Before leaving the geology of the district
it is desirable to give the results of a boring for coal on the Highfield estate,
close by the railway, and south-east of the house, showing very different
formations to those given. There was 21 feet 1 in. of Alluvium, 234 feet of red
Sandstone, 2 feet of Sandstone and Clay, and then the Coal Measures of Bind, with
Ironstone, etc. The boring went to a depth of 616 feet, and passed through five
seams of coal, the deep hard being 6 feet 2 in. thick (Concealed C. F., p.
Romans : In "The History of the Parish and Priory of
Lenton," p. 15, Mr. Godfrey mentions a tradition "that a fierce battle was fought
between the Britons and the Romans in the valley to the south-west of Old Lenton,
and that the former were victorious, although they suffered severe losses." The
Tottle brook runs through the lake of Highfield House, and is the boundary of the
City and County, and in 1830, when the lake was enlarged, a British bronze sword
of the Roman period was found near to the remains of a human skeleton. This sword
is now in the Castle Museum and Art Gallery.
Normans : In Bestune, at the Conquest, Alfag, Alwine,
and UIchel, the Saxons had three manors consisting of three carucates (? 360
acres) of land assessed, which was taken from them, and given to William Peverel,
the lord of Nottingham Castle, who had in his demesne, or chief manor estate, two
plough teams, there being seventeen bond tenants, called villeins, who where
unable to leave the estate without the lord's consent, and yet each cultivating,
say, fifteen acres of arable land, and one ordinary tenant, called a sochman, who
together had nine plough teams. There was twenty-four acres of meadow, and the
annual value of the estate was 30/-, equal to £45 now. The population may have
been seventy or eighty persons.
When later on the Peverel family fell into disgrace the estate
was forfeited to the King, who gave it to a branch of the family of Bello-Campo,
who are frequently called by their Norman-French name of Beauchamp, which would
in English be equal to Fairfield.
A Church : We have no means of judging when a church
was first built in Beeston, but if we assume that the Angles came about AD. 600,
they were before the year 700 converted to Christianity, and would probably build
a church however rude and poor in materials and design, and it may be when the
Danes came, and established their authority so strongly at Nottingham, and Derby,
a church at Beeston was destroyed, and rebuilt afterwards, for Beeston being
situated between the waterway of the Trent, and the highway connecting the two
towns where the Danish government was established, would be profoundly affected
by Danish law. The fact that Domesday book does not mention a church at Beeston
is not proof that there was not one. Whene the Normans came they brought with
them a knowledge of architecture far superior to that which had previously
prevailed here, and probably a more stable and ornate building would be erected
as the centuries proceeded; it may be one building would succeed another. We
have, however, no definite information until we find a vicar appointed by Lenton
There was a grant of land in Bramcote about AD. 1200, made to
Silvester, son of Robert, the chaplain of Bestona.
The Priest and Churchwardens of Beeston went at Whitsuntide to
Southwell to join in the solemn procession according to the Pope's Bull of 1171
and took as Pentecostal offerings 1s. 8d., so says Mr. Oldrini, but Dickinson
says 1s 6d. Stapleford took 1s. 5d, Wollaton 1s. 3d. The amounts would roughly
mark their relative rateable values. The present value of the sums named would be
about twenty-five times greater.
Priory : The Priory of Lenton, which was founded by Wm.
Peverel, 1103-8, in honour of the Holy Trinity, and for the love of divine
worship, and for the common remedy of the souls of various peoples, acquired the
right to present the priest at Beeston, and the Priory arms are still to be seen
at the apex of the nave roof at the east end, - the arms being an angel holding a
shield with a cross-calvary elevated upon three steps. In 1330, the rectory
having been appropriated by the Priory, the church became a chapel subject to the
mother church at Lenton. The parishioners and the poor vicar objected, but
letters were produced from Popes Alexander III, and Lucius III, approving of the
appropriation, which letters had doubtless been obtained by influence. The rector
of Arnold, and a Lincolnshire rector were appointed commissioners to try a
dispute as to the repair of the chancel by the parishioners, and as to the
payment of 22/- yearly by the vicar of Beeston to the Priory, which was a pension
confirmed in 1230. Thoroton does not inform us of the result, but it looks as if
the Priory claimed the Rectory, and tried to evade its duty to repair the
chancel, and also tried to make the poor vicar pay, although the value of the
vicarage - that is the income - was only eight marks (£5 6s. 8d.), equal to say
£106 13s. 4d. now.
Torre's MS. gives a list of the vicars from 1327, when Wm. de
Willesthorp was appointed, to 1662, when Hy. Watkinson was appointed by the Earl
of Devon, and of cantorists 1356 - 1539.
A Chantry : William de Beston seems to have been a
remarkable man. He was vicar of Beeston from 1339 to 1349, the latter being the
year of that scourge of God, called the Black Death, when it may be one-third or
more of the inhabitants of Beeston were swept away by that plague, as was the
case in other places. He, in 1355, is described as parson of Cotgrave, and is
also called William de Beckeforde, having been instituted Rector of Cotgrave in
1352. He held divers lands in Beston of Roger de Bellocampo. In 1355 he founded a
Chantry in the church of Beston, where prayers were to be offered for his own
soul, and the souls of John, his father, of Felice, his mother; of Alice de
Langeton, and of his brothers and sisters. He endowed the Chantry by giving three
messuages and three bovats (?45 acres) of land in Beston, which Matilda Rotour
lately held, and other property which was Hugh Manisterson's, and land held by
Margaret Hereward, and by John de Strelleyes in Lenton, part of which was a
meadow identified by Mr. Godfrey as below the lake on the Highfield Estate. All
this was confirmed by the Archbishop of York in 1356. He appointed John de
Beston, probably his brother, the first chaplain, subsequent ones to be appointed
by the prior of Lenton. it is not unlikely that a part of the chaplains duty was
to instruct the boys of the free tenants. He also gave a missal, books,
vestments, a chalice, oxen, horses, etc.
"All his gold and his goods hath he given
To holy church for the love of heaven,
And hath founded a chantry with stipend and stole,
That prieste and bedesman may pray for his soul."
(See Godfrey's "Lenton," p. 151).
The prayers for the souls of the faithful departed were
probably continued for nearly two hundred years, and then in 1545, there being
war with France, and the treasury being empty, the king and his parliament by an
act confiscated the endowments of two-thousand Chantries, leaving to God the
souls he had loved, and would continue to love, with, or without thc prayers.
Local commissioners were appointed to enquire into the Chantries, and Sir John
Markeham, Knyhte, Wm. Cowper, Nicholas Powtrell, esquyers, and John Wyseman,
gentleman, who were the commyssioners gave the following description : "The
Chaunterie of saynt Kateryns in Biston, founded by oon William Biston for a
preste to praye for his souIe, his frendis soullis and all Crystian soullis, and
to mayntayn godis seruice in the churche there, as the incumbent saithe by mouthe
withoute anye wrytynge shewed" (Thoroton S. trans. 1914 p. 83). Traces of
this chantry, with piscina, were - says Mr. Oldrini - discovered in the south
aisle of the old church by Sir Gilbert Scott before its destruction in 1844, but
none of the remnants were preserved.
In the translation of the records as given by Mr. A. Hamilton
Thompson, in the same paper at page 116, "The Chauntery of Saint Katerins in
Beiston ys worthe in landis tenementis and other possessions by yere * * Cs.
viijd., whereof in rentis resolute xjs. vjd., and so remayneth unto Alyzander
Constable, chauntery preiste there, of thage of xl yeres vnlerned and hauing none
other promocion, iiijli ixs. Ijd., [£4 9s. 2d.] ; goodes and ornamentis remayning
vnto the kingis Mjesties vse,'' * *iijs. ixd.
Penance : The public penances which prevailed in Roman
Catholic times for offences committed were continued in later days, and the
discipline of the Church to wrong doers was severe. The last person who did open
penance in the Church, wrapped in a sheet, and possibly bare footed, is said to
have been one Mary (or "Moll") Read, and that so late as the year 1782. The
occasion was the birth of her illegitimate child Elizabeth, who afterwards,
curious to relate, became the wife of one of our Nottinghamshire clergy.
The Church expenses were in the olden time paid by a Church
Rate, which in 1823-4 was 1½d. in the £; the Poor Rate at 10d. in the £ then
amounted to £150 17s. 10¼d., and the Church Rate at 1½d. to £18 l6s. 0d. There
were then 283 resident ratepayers, and fourteen outside ones (W. Walker). The
Church Rate was signed "John Hurt, minister," who afterwards assumed the name of
The Old Church : The old Church is supposed to have
been rebuilt in the reign of Henry VIII. It consisted of a nave, a small tower
nearly in the middle of the south side, having a clock, a porch westward of the
tower, and a short aisle on the east of it. Mr. Geo. Fellows has a water colour
drawing of the building made by Mrs. W. Enfield. The whole was of Perpendicular
date, but the demolition of the building in 1842-3 had proceeded far before
proper notes were taken to ascertain the period of its erection. The tower was
then found shattered and dangerous, the north wall was very much out of the
perpendicular, arid part of it had been rebuilt with red bricks. The whole
building was in so dilapidated a condition that the chancel was the only part
which it was found possible to retain. The stone bowl of the ancient font was
found to have been stored away for a long lapse of time somewhere under the
altar. The Church provided accommodation for 270 persons, only thirty-five
sittings out of that number being free and unappropriated. For a description of
the new church see page 19.
Vicarage : In a Terrier of the Globe lands made in
1784, among many other items not here copied, it is mentioned that belonging to
the globe were "eight cow pastures lying in the head cow pasture", "eighty sheep
gates", the tythe of wool and lamb, of hemp and flax, of tofts and crofts, Easter
offerings, oblations, mortuaries, Lammas's dues for cows, calves, mares and
foals, a rate for servants wages, viz., ii farthing in the shilling in every
pound; the tithe of all the orchards, pigs, eggs, etc.
The Cross : The Cross was closely connected with the
church. The name only is retained, for the structure is gone. Its site joins the
Manor House, which was the centre of village authority in the olden time. Here,
where four cross roads met, there stood according to tradition, for there is no
historical evidence, a stone erection, with steps surmounted by a cross. it was
not only a meeting place, it may have been as tradition says a corn market, but
the object for its erection was as a stimulant to devotion, the cross being
typical of the greatest self-sacrifice known in history. "He (Christ) loved us
and gave Himself for us," was the lesson taught. In the olden times there would,
on occasions such as harvest festivals, be processions from the church, round the
cross and back. It is said that less than a hundred years ago vestiges of an old
stone cross, with shaft and steps were here, the last vestiges having been
removed about 1860. Such crosses, or calvarys, are common in Belgium and Poland
now, and in the war we repeatedly read of a calvary standing at cross roads, and
untouched by bullets or shells which were hailed past.
The Manor : The ownership of the Manor, and of the land
or property in the parish generally is not of interest to the reader, and a few
items only will be given. Our Norman Kings claimed to be entitled to a special
tax, called scrutage. when the king's daughter married. When therefore Henry II.
would give his daughter in marriage, the sheriffe of Notts., William Fitz-Ralf,
in 1169, demanded and received from the men of Beston ten marks (£6 13s. 4d.) and
equal to over £165 now. it seems an excessive sum, and the men of Arnold paid
only half the amount.
A little later than the foregoing John do Bellocampo held the
manor of Beston from the king, in chief, and paid 40/- for a knight's fee. That
is he held sufficient land to place him under the obligation as a knight to go to
the wars when the king required, and sometimes the king preferred money to
Of all the kings none equalled John in his exactions and
extortions. One of the first illegal acts when be became king was to order an
assessment called scrutage for his coronation, and Hugh de Belcap - so called -
had to pay £8 for his estate Ernebi (Arnold), and £14 in Beston, but another
account says the men of Beston paid the £14. These illegal scrutages followed ten
times in John's reign at double previous amounts (McKechire, p. 74). About l216
Miles and Richard BelloCampo paid two marks, 26/8, for one knight's fee.
An item may be given here, although it does not concern the
manor. Will. de Beston in 1206 paid the sheriff ten marks that he "might be
permitted to return to religion". This does not mean penitence for wrong doing,
but probably he had been a member of a monastic order, and left it, and desiring
to return was penalized, not by the prior, but by King John, who wanted money,
and would have it, and did not care how he obtained it.
Rich. de Bello-Campo and his brother Hugh, died without issue,
and left their sisters heirs, one of whom, Sara, married Adam de Hockewold, who
by right of his wife and the prior of Wymondley, and others, held this town (See
Thor., p. 20, vol. 1).
Edward I., in 1283, desirous of making provision for his
mother, assigned to her a large number of knights' fees, that is the monetary
payments that were annually and customarily paid by the knights in respect of the
ownership of land held under grant from the king, and in his grant the king
assigned the fees "to our most dear mother, Eleanor, Queen of England". Among the
knights' fees was that of Ralph de Bello Campo, in Beston. We must admire the
king's action in making provision for his mother, although we may not admire her
character. She was not the Queen Eleanor who died at Harby, in Notts., in 1290,
who was wife of Edward, but his mother, who died the year afterwards.
In 1316 Roger de Bello Campo, as lord of the parish, paid 40/-
for a knight's fee on the occasion of making the king's son a knight. The term a
knight's fee was determined by rent or valuation, rather than by acreage * * and
£20 worth of annual value, which, until the reign of Edward 1, was the
qualification for knighthood. (Stubbs, 268).
The Manor of Beeston had been given to the Priory of
Wymondley, in Hertfordshire, and when the monasteries were suppressed this manor
was, in 1537, granted to James Need-ham, he paying 69s. 4d. a year rent for it.
He sold it to Wm. Bolles, but it again came to the Crown, and Queen Elizabeth,
1601, passed it to Benjamin Harris and Robert Morgan. it eventually came to Lord
Sheffield, who divided it up, and sold it to diverse freeholders.
A Bondman : A very singular case is recorded as having
taken place in Bestun about the year 1240, by the sale of a bondman, without
being accompanied by the sale of the estate. John, the son of Robert, living at
the Corner in Bestun (query, would that be against the Cross ?) and therefore
probably called Robert à Corner, was a bondman, and the lords of the manor at
Beeston were at that time named de Bello Campo. Sybil de Bello Campo, late the
wife of Henry Puterel, of Thurmunstun, that is Thrumpton. was the owner of John,
and she sold him, and all his chattels and sequels, which included his children,
if he had any, in perpetuity, to Henry de Matloc, the consideration being half a
marc, or 6s. 8d. The grant has a green seal with the figure of a woman in a long
cloak, bearing a hawk on her right wrist, and is in the papers at Wollaton Hall
(MSS. pp. 62 and 63). About ten years afterwards, Henry, son of Henry Puterel, of
Thurmunton, gave a release to Roger, son of Ralph de Beston, of John, son of
Robert the Beston, and all his sequels and chattels. "For this demission and
release Roger has paid him 28/- beforehand. Henry and his heirs shall warrant
John, with all his offspring and chattels, to Roger as a free man, and quit of
all bondage service." There are some queries in the case which cannot be
answered; Sybil's grant may have required Henry's consent. Henry de Matloc may be
the same as the second Henry de Puterel, etc. John may have been a boy in the
first transaction, and a man in the second. If not, the first sum named, equal to
about £6 13s. 4d. now, realized about £28 in the second sale, which was either it
large profit, or shows the value John set on his freedom. My friend, Mr. Samuel
Corner, has taken much trouble to find a similar case. Paul Vinogradoff in
Villeinage in England says, "such translations were uncommon,'' p. 151, and
Thorold Rogers, in "History of Agriculture and Prices," vol. 1, p. 71, says that
he had not found "a solitary instance of the actual sale." Sales of estates
with the bondmen and their families with them were not uncommon, and there is the
record of one of the same estate, for John de Beauchamp and Richard de Beauchamp,
in 1241, gave two bovats (? 30 acres) of land in Beston, which Jordan. son of
Yvo, held - that is was tenant of - together with the said Jordan, and all his
sequela, to the Priory of Lenton, - that is not only the land, but the man who
worked it, and his offspring and chattels were given to the Priory, for Jordan
was a bondman.
Borough Records : The "de Beston's" are frequently mentioned
in the Borough Records about AD. 1300 to 1400, in connection with property matters, and
sometimes otherwise. Gilbert de Beeston had, in 1300, a building in the Saturday Market
assigned to the Prior of Lenton (65). To the transfer of a coal mine at Cossall, in 1348,
John de Beeston and Robert de Beeston, Robert de Chilwell, then clerk, and others were
witnesses (145). In 1354-5 Mary de Waterwood stole two hawks which belonged to Stephen
Romylowe, constable of the castle, and was led to gaol, and John de Beeston, who was a
barker, that is a tanner, became surety for her. In 1375 William de Beeston was bailiff
(afterwards called sheriffs) and witnessed the lease of a tavern under a tenement opposite
the chapel in the Daily Market (that is Weekday Cross) 189. Roger de Beeston was in 1379
sole decennary (a kind of constable) in Barkergate, Belward. (203). There are many other
In 1438 the sons of Richard Beeston made a grant of lands, etc., in
Nottingham, Radford and Lenton, to three persons named, and the grant included eight
shillings of silver of annual rent, to be received from the Chantry in Beeston
The bridge over the Leen at the foot of Hollow Stone was, in the
olden time, a very long bridge of many arches, and all the wapentakes, or divisions of
the County, were under obligation to keep it in repair, and naturally they begrudged the
cost. In the Borough Records is a paper dated in 1482, whereby it appears the sheriff is
to have the bodies of the officers of the wapentakes before the king, but he appears to
have distrained on their goods for the repair of the bridge. Among the names are "Henry
Walker of Maunsfeld and John Bampton of Beston, men of the wapentake of Brokestowe''
The Nottingham Town Council was determined not to have outsiders
settle in Nottingham lest they should become chargeable to the rates. In 1613 "John
Turner came from Beeston, taken into ye Holowston by Maister Shaw, is to go to Saint
John's." B R. The old Hospital had become a place of shelter, but where was the food to
come from ?
Candidates for a public office were required as a condition for
qualification to pub1ic1y receive the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper. The Minister
and Churchwardens of St. Mary's Church, Nottingham, in 1744, gave a certificate that
John Henson, lately promoted to the Vicarage of Beeston, did receive the Sacrament of
the Lord's Supper according to the Usage of the Church of England, in the public Church
of St. Mary immediately after Divine Service, etc. - B.R. 188.
There is in the Wollaton Hall MS. p. 437, an entry by the steward,
which shows the careful way in which he kept his accounts in 1573 : "To a poore man
of Beesson for presenting my Mrs. with ij woodcocks vjd."
County Records : A woman was in 1638 ordered by the court to
be whipped on her naked body at Beeston, by the constable there "until blood shall show
three several times." The offence was a shocking case of incest. (C.R. 41).
There was a case of whipping for a different kind of offence. On
Easter Sunday, 1627, John Weston, a "taylor," after receiving the Sacrament, was in an
alehouse, and drinking till he was drunk. He was sent to the House of Correction to be
whipped. (C.R.., 44).
The Plague : The plague raged in Beeston near the end of
Queen Elizabeth's reign, and according to the parish register, "Between I 7th May,
1593, and 22nd March, 1594, are recorded the names of nearly 140 persons who died at
the visitation of the plague." Whether this sad result was at all owing to unhealthy
conditions, to poverty, or to filth, we cannot say. It was a highly infectious disease,
resembling severe fevers, accompanied by shivering, rise of temperature, aches, sickness,
weakness, delirium, bleeding, swellings, etc., with dark patches on the skin. There was
then unfortunately little knowledge of the value of good sanitation nursing and nourishment.
The site of thc grave, called "the Plague Hole," the Rev. T. .J Oldrini says was at the
east end of the churchyard. At Bingham the bodies were buried in a field apart Rating
contributions had to be paid, and infected houses cleansed and sweetened.
Civil War : the awful conflict in which the nation was unhappily
divided, and brother fought against brother, we have, so far as Beeston is concerned, no
information. Mr. Thomas Charlton, of Chilwell Hall, appears to have then been one of the
principal men in the district, and it looks as if he was favourable to the Parliament, for
he was the magistrate before whom marriages were, during the Commonwealth, made, they being
then treated as civil contracts only. In the Parish Registers there are very few entries
of any description during the civil wars, and none of them are marriages. Mr. Charlton
died in 1658, one month before the death of Oliver Cromwell. In 1653 Thomas Beighten,
clerk, was elected Parisli Register. The Rev. Walter Kymersley, who is said to have been
a scholarly man, had been probably ejected from being vicar in 1643, having held that
office thirty-nine years. The church service according to the Book of Common Prayer was
then abolished, and another form provided. The Commissioners in 1650 reported that Beeston
Impropriate Rectory - that is church property in the hands of a layman - was of the annual
value of £50, and the vicarage income was only £30. The minister was William Westby,
reported to be a "godly, honest, painfull minister, and well affected," that is toward
the Parliament. At the restoration of Charles II the minister was ejected, and the Rev.
Hy. Watkinson, "a man of consistent and excellent life," became vicar of Beeston and
Upon the celebrated ''Indulgence" of Charles II. being proclaimed, in
1672, allowing places of worship to be established, and suspending the laws against
Nonconformists, somebody in Beeston embraced the opportunity, and a license was applied
for and obtained for a Presbyterian service, but we have no information as to how long
it continued to be used.
Strey Family : The Streys (formerly locally pronounced Strawe)
were for centuries people of local importance. They were lay impropriators, possessed the
tithes of hay, were lords of the manor, and lived in the manor house, now belonging to
the Venn family. Near by was Dovecote lane, the dovecote being usually attached to the
manor, and helpful to the lord's kitchen table. Nicholas Strey was, according to the
Rev. T. J. Oldrini, "the first of that name of a long line of petty squires. It would
appear that one of the manors must again have become escheated (forfeited) for it passed
into Nicholas Strey's hands by royal grant." John Strey of Beeston, gent., was, in 1687,
treasurer for the south part of the county, being probably a J P. There is a very amusing
notification with regard to Nicholas Strey among the Wollaton Hall MSS., p. 178. It must
be premised that the herald's College, or College of Arms, is the Government office
regulating coats of arms, titles, pedigrees, etc., the head officers being called "Kings
of Arms," and the chief officer north of the Trent is called '"Norroy (North King) of
Arms." Richard St. George held the office in 1614, and he issued "a disclamation," and
ordered all chief constables to see that it was effectually disclained in open market,
"and to be sett upon the poast to be read by all men, as you will answer the contrary at
your peril," and then he proclaims that he had found the persons whose names are
underwritten, "presumptuously, without good ground or authority, to have usurped the
name and title of gentlemen, contrary to all right, and the most ancient custome of this
land," and he admonished them upon "further payne and perill" to use the name and tytle
"no more from henceforth," and "good and loving subjecttes" must shun and avoid the
lyke, and forbeare to use * * the addicion of Esquyer or Gentlemen." Thirty-nine names
and addresses follow, among them being Nicholas Strey, of Beeston, and Henry Pinnere
of Chilwell. How angry the Norroy King would be if coming back he found it his duty
to "reprove, comptroll and make infamous by proclamacion," not forty save one, but
hundreds who having a clean shirt on once a week "usurp the tytle of honour or dignity
as esquyre, or gentleman !" Three-hundred years has made a difference !
There was a Richard Strey who was a lawyer in Nottingham. but lived
in the manor house, to which there was an old rookery attached. It is said that the
tithe corn used to he stacked in the small field below this house. A tablet in the church
says he died in 1797, at 86 years of age. He left his lands, etc., in remainder, to his
nephew the Rev. Peter Broughton. An old custom of the Strey family was, on Good Friday,
to give buns to all poor boys who came to the house. Old Wm. Barker, who lived at the
Ryelands Canal Lock, used to tell how that he went with other boys, but was told that
he was not a poor boy and could have buns at home. There was in the old church a large
square pew in the chancel, called the Manor house pew. There is in the south eastern
wall in Church Street some old walling stone, which was part of the manor house
French War : When Napoleon, in 1803, determined to invade
England, and assembled 100,000 men at Boulogne, with a fleet of flat bottomed boats to
convey them across the channel, England declared war against France, and preparations
were made all over the country to resist the threatened invasion. The "Loyal Wollaton,
Lenton, and Beeston Volunteer Infantry," under the command of Lord Middleton, consisted
of 148 enrolled volunteers. Subscriptions were made for uniforms, etc., and offers of
all kinds of help in regard to horses, conveyances, provisions and the like were received.
Nearly everybody of adult age was being trained in the use of arms, or sworn in as
special constables, and for several years there were marches, exercises, parades,
reviews, etc., but after Trafalgar, 1805, there was less danger.
The Stocks : Two obsolete institutions must be named together,
the one for the correction of stray cattle, and the other for men who went astray. The
parish Pinfold stood where the public offices now stand, only they projected forward into
what is now the roadway. The pinder was elected annually at the Easter vestry to apprehend
horses, cows, sheep, etc., which had strayed in the fields or lanes, and they could not
be claimed back without payment of the pinder's fees. The Stocks for the punishment of
wrong-doers stood on a knoll called the Round hill, on the south side of the east end of
the Pinfold. In 1376 the Commons prayed Edward III. that Stocks should be fixed in every
village, and these continued to be used until about 1840. Drunkards, foul-mouthed abusers,
and persons guilty of petty crimes, were securely cared for at little cost and trouble for
a number of hours under the control of the parish constable. He was a local officer often
selected by the Easter Vestry meeting, but appointed by the justices for the apprehension
of offenders, and there were also petty constables, who were required to act when called
upon, and who held in their houses a staff tooled and painted, and having on a crown as a
symbol of their authority.
Inclosure : In 46, George III., an act was passed for inclosing
lands in the parish of Beeston, and in 1809 the Commissioners stated in their award that
the lands to be inclosed amounted to 822 acres, to be made tithe free, and the ancient
inclosed lands and homesteads liable to tithe was 687a. 2r. 29p. They then proceeded to
fix the width of the roads, and considering that they had the advantage of hundreds of
other acts previously passed, it is to be regretted that they adopted such narrow widths.
The Nottingham and Derby turnpike road was fixed at fifty feet, when sixty feet would
have been better, but Sawley turnpike road, forty feet, was worse still. Wollaton road,
then called Cowgate, was thirty feet, etc. The directions as to bridle and footways,
drains and water courses, and the scouring of ditches followed. The lands allotted were:
to the- Surveyor of Highways, 1½ acres; the Lord of the Manor, 1r. 20p.; the Vicar for
his glebe, 8a. 1r. 23p.; for his tithe, 66a 3r. of the annual value of £110; to Henry
Cavendish, Esq. , for his right to the tithe of corn and grain, 97a. 1r. 5p.; to the
Rev. P. S. Broughton, for his right to the tithe of hay, 54a 3r 33p.; to the Poor of
Beeston. 1a. 3r. 2p., which added to the new Hassock Close of 5r. 2. 32p., became 7a.
1r. 34p. (The old Hassock Close of 6a. 2r. 9p. was then exchanged). The rest of the land
was allotted to forty-eight owners in Beeston, according to their several rights of common.
It is greatly to be regretted that no provision was made for education, or other parochial
benefits, and especially that the purchasers is or owners of the tithe on corn and hay,
which had been given to God for the church and the poor, and then sold to outsiders,
should have been compensated by such large allotments. The Inclosure however not only
altered the appearance of part of the parish from a moor growing poor grass, to cultivated
fields with hedges, and thereby increasing the food supply for man and beast, but it
relieved farmers from the annoyance of having to hand over the tenth of their product-
Some lands on or near to Bramcote Moor, but in Beeston parish, were
inclosed in 1847, by provisional order of the Inclosure Commissioners.
Some old names of roads may he remembered. Of roads - penclose,
gleadwong, and combs close; of lanes - gravel pit, toadlands, flats, musko sike, fletter,
hassock; of places - the roundhill, the robinets grass field and pond, indicating the site
of an old habitation.
Castle and Mill : Political feeling ran high in 183l upon the
subject of the Reform of Parliamentary Representation, for while large towns like Leeds
and Sheffield had no representation, except as parts of the huge West Riding, decayed
boroughs, having a handful of voters, had two Members of Parliament. When therefore the
Reform Bill was rejected the "lambs" in Nottingham, on Oct. 10th, 1831, set fire to and
burnt the Castle, and the day following having raided certain public houses for food and
drink without payment, they marched off to Beeston to set fire to the large silk mill
belonging to Mr. William Lowe, their reason for this course being that Mr. Lowe was an
ardent Tory, who by his opposition to the- Reform Bill had rendered himself unpopular to
the mob. By three o'clock the mill was destroyed, and 200 to 250 work-people thrown out
of employment. The machinery in the mill was of a first-class character, the materials
of which it was composed consisting largely of mahogany and brass, instead of common wood
and iron, and there being a large quantity of silk on the premises, the damage assessed
by the jury at the following March assizes was : for the building, machinery and engine,
£6,650 ; for silk in the mill, £1,140; total, £7,790. The damage is usually stated to
have been £12,000, which was probably the claim, but costs must be added. Of course all
this had to be paid for, £21,000 being awarded for the Castle, and the costs in addition,
so that the total rate for the Castle damage is said to have been £23,830 3s., of which
Beeston had to pay £856 12s. 1d. Lenton paid £1,891 18s. 9d. (White, p. 72). Mr. Godfrey,
in his "History of Lenton," says that parish paid as compensation for damage done during
the riots in the neighbourhood £2,238, so a proportionate figure must be added to Beeston's
share. Before quitting Beeston the mob visited the public houses and demanded a free supply
of food and drink, which the landlords were obliged to give. Several gentlemen's houses
were visited, and in one case ransacked. The gates where the Beeston Lodge in Wollaton Park
now stands were attacked and forced, but the Wollaton yeomanry captured or dispersed the
rioters. At a special assize four men, named Beck, Hearson, Armstrong and Shelton were
arraigned for setting fire to Beeston Mill, found guilty, and condemned to death.
Shelton's sentence was afterwards commuted to transportation for life, but the others were
executed in front of the County Hall, those being the first executions there, previous
ones having been on Gallows Hill, where the County Cemetery now is. None of the men were
Beeston men. Those persons who take a pleasure in inspecting a "Chamber of Horrors" may
read eight pages descriptive of the execution, in an appendix to "Walks Round Nottingham",
pp.82-90. The Mill was rebuilt by Mr. Lowe, and in 1841 was bequeathed by him to Mr. F. B.
Gill, who afterwards took into partnership Mr. John Watson, and subsequently it was carried
on by Messrs. John Watson & Son. It ceased work as a silk milk in 1902, and was partly
Old Houses : The houses in Saxon times would cluster about the
church, and some would stand in a line parallel with the Pasture dyke, extending from the
West-end, by the Cross, to the "City." The "City" in the early part of the last century
had some small low cottages built of stud and mud, and covered with thatch. Ceilings were
in the olden time low, the windows small, the ventilation bad, especially in the bedrooms,
which were principally in the roof, the windows being near to the chamber floor, and the
provision as to pantry, sink, drains, pavement and sanitary conveniences very defective.
The water in the wells became polluted, and so diseases were frequent. Consumption and
small pox claimed their heavy toll, and the more so before vaccination was adopted. There
were on the eastern side of the church yard some alms-houses, called the Poor Row, because
the approved tenants lived rent free, but the dwellings became very dilapidated, and when
the church was rebuilt they were taken down, and yew trees were planted in their place.
Old people tell of two arms-houses formerly standing in Brown Lane. The old Vicarage was
one of the most ancient houses, being hundreds of years old. It was built of stud and mud,
and the barn and outbuildings of wood, all being covered with thatch, but from time to
time the house had been so patched that in 1809 it was described as built with brick and
mortar. It was demolished in 1860. Does the "Hall Croft" indicate that there was once a
hall distinct from the Manor House in which Mrs. Venn resides. Mr. Walker noted that in
1784 it was called Mr. Skeys (? Streys) Hall Croft, and that a hundred years ago there was
a hall orchard and a fish pond. The house, now the residence of Dr. Rothera (formerly
associated with the Hurst family before they built the house more westwardly) is a good
age, and the ancient yews probably older still. The house in the West End, occupied by
Miss Horner as a school, is, judging by a brick taken out of a very thick wall, and by
the huge beams, a very old house, and formerly belonged to a cheese farm.
The house now belonging to Mr.Widdowson was formerly occupied by the
Rev. J. Wolley, and was considerably altered by Mr. Frank Wilkinson, who died in 1897.
There are no old timber-framed houses; evidently the timber in the
district had been exhausted, and Basford stone was too far to fetch. The lost art of
making bricks came in about 1600. Thrumpton Hall is dated 1608 and 1630. That charming
specimen of a manor house at Bramcote, was probably built by Henry Hanley who left a
bequest to the poor of Beeston. He died in 1650. Bricks in Beeston would probably come
from the now disused yard. at Chilwell. Every house built about 1589 must have four acres
of land occupied with it.
Aged People : Probably the oldest Beestonian was Sarah Pact,
who was born at Beeston, 1st April, 1721, and died in Woolley's Hospital, 22nd Oct.,
1821, so being over 100 years of age Her husband, John Peet, was modeller and silver
founder to Abijah Mellor, jeweler and silversmith, in whose time 300 workmen were
employed in that trade (Stretton, 190). Among the tombs in the churchyard, of old people,
may be noted John Watson 86, Richard Strey 86, John Pare (the parish clerk for more than
forty years, 1873, 84; Mary Attenborough 82 (the Attenboroughs occupied Frog Hall, in
"the city "), Sarah Brown 98, Samuel Johns 97.
Parish Church : It has been thought bettor to give the ancient
history of the Parish Church in its proper place, it being by far the most ancient
institution in the parish, and founded possibly before the parish boundaries were defined,
and when we are seated in the restful interior of the modern building it is pleasant to
reflect that on this spot the worship of the people, and their prayers, have ascended to
God for probably considerably over a thousand years, and in the church yard lies the dust
of it may be two score of generations who have played their part in the activities of the
parish, and are no more seen.
The old church, dedicated to St. John the Baptist, was, with the
exception of little more than the chancel, pulled down and rebuilt in the later
Perpendicular style, and adapted to the architecture of the chancel in 1843-4, from
designs by Messrs. Scott & Moffatt, Mr. Scott afterwards becoming Sir Gilbert Scott.
The Revd. John. F. T. Wolley, M.A., was then vicar. The building consists of chancel,
clerestoried nave, with north and south aisles, north vestries, south porch and west
tower having a hexagonal turret and eight bells. A 13th century font, and a 14th century
sedilia and piscina were preserved, as was the old Poor's box on a pedestal with three
clasps. The inscription on it is "1684, W.A. E.B. C.W," the latter letters standing for
churchwardens, and the others their initials. The Church is very spacious, having 550
more seats than were in the former building, and there is a declaration that the whole
of the seats are free and unappropriated for ever. The organ was placed in a gallery at
the west end. The cost of building was over £3,600.
The Church was consecrated by the Bishop of Lincoln on September 5th,
1844, and on the following Sunday a thoughtful and eloquent sermon was Preached by the
Revd. Henry Alford, MA., then Vicar of Wymeswold, and afterwards Dean of Canterbury and
author of a Revised New Testament, the subject being "The Restoration of Churches the
bounden duty of Christian people." This sermon was printed at the request of the
parishioners, and Mr. Robert Lowe has a copy.
"The old bells," says Mr. Phillimore in the Reliquary of 1872, p. 88,
"were 3 in number. The treble was recast in 1844." The first bell had inscribed in Latin
"In the beginning was the Word." The second bell bore a legend round the lower part as
follows: "God save His Church, 1640." "At the end of the inscription was a cross of
Calvary." The tenor, or fourth bell had Richard Mellour's mark, and the rose, and a Latin
inscription which may be rendered, "0 Christ, King of the heavens, may this sound be
pleasing to Thee." The Holy Communion was not then observed as now at eight o'clock, yet
the bell was rung, and Mr. Phillimore refers to an abandoned custom of the ringing of the
"pancake bell" by the oldest apprentice in the parish. A new peal of six bells was recast
in 1870. Each bell is inscribed with the name of a saint. The two treble bells were placed
in 1877 in memory of Mr. John Watson, the cost of the entire peal being £700. In the belfry
are the Royal Arms of George III. R. quartering France. The room is furnished, and has a
table inscribed as the gift of Mr. Price.
Memorial Windows are numerous, dedicated to Rev. J. Wolley, Messrs.
John Fellows, John Watson, Dr. Jas. Butler, James Nixon, and others. There is a tablet
to Mr. Alfred T. Fellows and his wife, who pre-deceased him. A pathetic tablet is to Lt.
Gervase Thorpe Spendlove, killed in action near Ypres. The appropriate motto is "Greater
love hath no man than this,"
The lectern, additional stalls, the reredos, etc., were given by Mr.
C. F. Fellows, who also gave £300 towards an enlarged organ. The silver-gilt communion
plate is inscribed to Miss Watson. Two curious old bibles of black letter type, which
were found in the tower chamber are now in a glass case in the church. They have been
retained because of their errors in spelling, being of the early issues of the Authorized
Version, 1611. The particulars of them were given by Mr. Geo. Fellows, in the Transactions
of the Thoroton Society, 1902.
The church yard is a pattern of neatness, and is extensively adorned
with trees, shrubs, roses, and other flowers. The vicarage house was built in 1860, at
a cost of £1,500. A Church Sunday School was built in 1891 at a cost of £1,800, raised
by subscriptions. Mr. S. Watson presented a house for a caretaker, and the land for the
school. There is a Church Institute, a Church of England Men's Society, a Valley Church
Mission Room, etc. Beeston is the head of a Rural Deanery. The Rev. W. P. C. Sheane, M.A.,
has been Vicar since 1913. Captain H. Dennis Bayley is the Lay Rector, and the Duke of
Devonshire is the Patron.
The Glebe : It will not be of general interest to go into
details of the Glebe, but it may be named that a portion of its lands north west of
the Church were in 1878 bought from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners by a Land Society,
and cut up into small portions, and several other societies followed, forming the St
John's Grove Estate, public houses being prohibited, and houses limited to £25 value,
and that 32a. 3r. 23p. of ancient Glebe was in 1914 purchased by the Urban District
Parish Registers : The Parish Registers commence in 1558,
the year of Queen Elizabeth's Accession, but are defective. The marriages before 1678
have been transcribed by Mr. T. M. Blagg, and from that date to 1812 by Mr. George
Fellows, and published by Phillimore & Co. No. 3 book is marked : - "The Register booke
for Beeston Bought in this yeare of our Lord 1678, when the Act of Parliament came for
the Buryeinig in Woolen only.'' The act was intended to lessen the importation of linen,
but it failed, although the penalty for a breach was £5.
Co-Workers : Baptists. - At the beginning of the last century
there were several residents in Beeston who were members of the Stoney Street Baptist Church,
in Nottingham. In 1803 Thomas Rogers removed from Nottingham to Beeston, opened a day school,
and conducted religious services in his school room. In 1804 a church was formed, with 21
members, and Mr. Rogers was chosen as pastor. A chapel was built in 1806, which was enlarged
in 1836. There were in 1817, 106 communicant members, but the record number was in 1841, being
then 156. About that time forty-five members separated, and joined a small Particular Baptist
Chapel in Wollaton Road; they, however, after a few years returned. John Clifford, who
afterwards became the celebrated minister in London, was baptised here in 1851, when the Rev.
R. Pike was minister, and be soon became an active worker and local preacher. He preached his
trial sermon in the school room adjoining the chapel. He was recommended to the Baptist College
in 1854 ; his mother is buried in the chapel yard. In 186l the Baptist College having been
removed to Chilwell. its Principal, the Revd. Dr. Underwood became minister here, and the
students of the college attended here until 1883, when the Institution was removed to
Nottingham. The burial Ground in the chapel yard was closed in 1888, and shortly afterwards
it was thought desirable to build a new chapel, but loving attachment to the old building and
its associations proved too strong for many adherents. It may be noted that Samuel Brooks, one
of the first missionaries to Fiji was a scholar in this school, and the Rev Henry Cross, now
pastor of a Baptist Church in America, went forth from this church.
Wesleyan Methodists. - Mr. and Mrs. Henry Kirkland, both of whom were
born at Wollaton, removed in 1819 from Radford to Beeston, and he being a Wesleyan local
preacher, its well as a Lace Manufacturer, they opened a room on their premises in which
preaching services were held. A society was formed, and in 1821 a small chapel was purchased.
A larger one was built in 1825, which was further enlarged in 1839. A school room was afterwards
added, in which a day school was carried on for many years. In 1902 a new church was built on
the Chilwell Road; the style is Gothic, and the spire rises to 110 feet, the accommodation being
for 750 persons, amid the cost £9,000. Mr. Wm. Roberts presented the organ; Mr. Geo. Hawley was
the energetic secretary of the building scheme. Mr. John Walker is an honoured name connected
with work in past years. There is a Brotherhood, and a Club for Munition Workers.
About 1886 it was decided to start a mission effort, for which purpose a room
in Messrs. Humbers’ factory was used, and a Sunday School opened. In 1887 a School Chapel was
built on Queen’s Road, costing £700, and in 1900 a Chapel was built, with accommodation for
430 persons, at a cost of £2000.
United Methodists. - (i) The Methodist New Connection had a society in
Beeston in 1798, and they preached in the streets. They had regular services in a barn from
1804. In 1805 they built a small chapel which is still standing, and known as the "Old Infant
School." Mr. R. Lowe has a copy of the Sunday School Anniversary Hymn Paper of 22nd Aug., 1813,
when the Rev. Thos. Rogers (see page 41) preached. Another Anniversary was conducted by the Rev.
H. Oakes, on which hymn sheet is the note, "The Boys will repeat their tasks, and girls their
catechism." In 1821 the money owing on mortgage was called in, and not being forthcoming the
building was sold to the Wesleyans. In I 828 the members tried again, and in 1834 a room was
taken, which was superseded by a chapel in 1836, costing £600, and the stone of which was laid
by Mr. James Hudston, who was an active local preacher for over fifty years, and whose son, Mr.
Saml. Hudston, now over eighty-six, remembers the occasion. (ii) The Wes1eyan Reformers were
those persons who in 1849 withdrew from the parent body, and for a time met in the upper room
at the "Commercial Inn." In 1853 a chapel was built in Willoughby Street. It is noteworthy that
the Misses Lowe have been connected with the chapel ever since it was rebuilt. The foregoing two
bodies, with a third one, united in 1903-7, and formed the United Methodist Church.
Primitive Methodists. - Some of the members connected with Canaan Street
Chapel, Nottingham, held mission services in Beeston, and afterwards purchased the Particular
Baptists little chapel on Wollaton Road, which would seat about seventy-five people, but had also
a vestry, and a graveyard. The work prospered for a time, and then declined to seven members,
whose united household effects, it was said, would not realize more than about £10, and yet they
had a mortgage on the chapel of £120. On a Saturday night in 1879, or thereabouts they met to
consider what could possibly be done, the Rev. W. Howell being in the chair, Jabez Wright (who
in 1916 is seventy-six) suggested starting a Ragged Sunday School, and the seven members went out
to scour for the poorest children, forty-five of whom, and fifteen adults, attended the next day.
Soon the chapel became packed, and had to have two preachers holding services at the same time,
one in the chapel and the other in the vestry, in 1882 the present chapel was built on the site
of the old one, and covering the graveyard.
Gospel Mission - in the religious revival spirit following the services
of Messrs. Moody and Sankey, many churches had revival meetings, and about 1885 Messrs. Richard
Peel, W. and J. Paling, and others, joined in open-air missions of the streets and lanes of
Beeston, and then they fitted up an old frame-smith's shop belonging to Mr. Rogers, as a centre
for effort, which being successful, the Board Schools were used for special occasions. Some old
malt rooms were in 1888 purchased from Mr. Foster for £230, and were converted from malt to
Christian service, and here great blessing followed. In 1912 a new hall was built, which, with
the land and cottages bought for a site, cost £1,700.
Union Church - There were connected with the Baptist chapel in Nether
Street a number of Congregationalists, and these, together with those members who desired to have
a more beautiful and convenient building in which to worship, decided to remove, and they erected
the commodious structure in Dovecote Lane. Under the advice of the Rev. Dr. Paton they formed
themselves into a Union Church, the leading men being Messrs. B. B. Venn, C. E. Pearson, W.
Neville, J. Jackson, and others. This church was opened in 1899 by the Rev. Dr. Clifford, the
cost being £2,500, with the accommodation for 400 persons.
Sunday Schools : According to the 106th Annual Report of the Nottingham
Sunday School Union, there were in 1915, in association with that body, eight Schools in Beeston,
having 150 teachers and 1,072 scholars. Several of the schools have training classes for the
teachers, the newer methods of instruction requiring a weekly class, and where grading has been
attempted the training class is usually adopted. At the end of 1915 seventy-five teachers and
scholars had joined the forces.
Roman Catholic. - In 1898 the Rev. Canon Douglas started a mission,
and eventually built a small church dedicated to St. Peter.
The Men's Sunday Guild meet in the Church Street School Rooms.
The Great War has taught us many valuable lessons, and among them is that
in the awful realities through which we nationally as well as locally have passed, and are
still passing, the differences of party and sect sink into utter insignificance, and the great
fundamentals of reverence and worship, justice and mercy, truth and benevolence are the great
objects for which we must strive.
The religious bodies in Beeston are many, and the opinions of their adherants
vary as do their features, for God has so arranged their minds and bodies that no two are alike,
but all the men, women and children in Beeston whose hearts God has touched with His own love,
and whose eyes have been opened to eternal realities, have only one Captain, one chart, amid one
destination. Their colours are outside decorations, and the awful events of the war have shown
as never before that there is only one source of comfort for bleeding hearts and desolate homes;
one power that can make the warrior brave to bear all time trials of a terrible campaign; to face
death on the battle field, or lingering suffering in the hospital. As our hearts go out in
sympathy to the six hundred or more homes in Beeston from which a loved one has departed to the
seat of war, we realize the mighty power of a sense of duty, of patriotism, of self-surrender
and self-sacrifice causing them to exclaim " I must go." "Greater love hath no man than this."
And it is a wondrous comfort to know that whether the man starving and suffering on the battle
field, or women and children sympathizing, waiting, hoping and praying in the Beeston homes,
there is the same personal God, knowing, loving and helping ; the same Great High Priest, touched
with the feeling of our infirmities; the same power and grace aiding at both ends, forming an
universal and eternal bond of union. It is the business of the Christian men and women in Beeston
to bear witness to this great and helpful power for the benefit of those who know it not, and to
let them know that this treasure has not to be fetched from the ends of the earth, or bought at
a great cost or earned by a wearisome pilgrimage, but is the Water of Life laid on to every house
in the parish, and available without cost on turning on the tap of repentance and faith and hope.
This divine gift has during time war developed an amount of sympathy larger than ever before, for
each recipient has been stretching his or her arms of helpfulness like the arms of God, and the
bonds of sects, parties, and even nationalities have burst, not by destroying differences, or
organizations, but by the exercise of sympathy in working agreement, of individual, mutual and
Schools : For many years there were in Beeston the usual Dames' Schools
for children whose parents were able to pay the fees. One of the oldest recorded school-masters
was Charles Marshall, a superior teacher, whose handwriting the Rev T. J. Oldrini says, was
"really superb, not to be surpassed by copper plate itself." He taught the three R's very
successfully, and obtained the respect and love of his numerous pupils. He used the ferule
pretty freely, has was customary in those days, and probably for the good of the boys. He took
an active interest in the parish, and was invaluable as churchwarden. He served with credit as
a volunteer in Lord Middleton's corps. Mr. W. Roberts has an "Inventory and Valuation" of every
tenement in Beeston, giving the names of the owner, occupier, description, value, etc., in the
handwriting of Mr. Marshall, and made in 1807. He died in 1824, aged 69. In 1831 there was a
School for the education of sixty poor girls, supported by Miss Evans, of Lenton Grove. In the
Directory of 1831, Louisa Broadhurst appears as a schoolmistress, William Marshall as
schoolmaster, and the Rev. R. Abbott as conducting a Baptist school, he being their minister,
The National School was built by the Rev. John Wolley in 1834, the centre
part being for the residence of the master, and the scholars were in the wings of the building.
It was subsequently enlarged by the addition of an infants' classroom. Mr. John Pierrepont was
head teacher in 1869, and for ten years. It continued its work until 1883, the premises being
afterwards used for parochial meetings, men's institute, band of hope, etc.
There were in 1844 two boarding and day schools. The Misses Barker had a
ladies' boarding and day school in the early eighties. Miss Barker was a very useful village
and church worker; she opened a mission room at the Ryelands.
The Wesleyans had a day school for boys, girls and infants in Chapel Street,
the head teacher being Mr. Mortimer, who continued until the Nether Street Council Schools were
opened, he being then transferred to that school. The Education Department had required an
outlay on the old school buildings if continued; they were closed, and have since been used as
a mission hall by the Salvation Army, and as a masonic hall. The school fees were commonly 3d.
or 4d. per week.
Mr. Gill, when he had the silk mill, had a schoolroom for girls who were
taught on alternate days, and the other working in the mill. This school was maintained for
some years by Mr. John Watson, and afterwards by Mr. Sam. Watson, and was well conducted until
the death of Miss Cowell, the teacher, who rendered very good service in the parish.
A School Board was formed in 1880, and that body in 1882 built the Church
Street Schools on land costing 10/6 per square yard, with accommodation for 350 children, the
cost being £5,241. These Schools have been enlarged by class rooms and cloak rooms for a total
accommodation of 951 children. The Nether Street Schools were built on 1a. 2r. 29p. of land,
purchased in 1896, for £1,212, the cost of the erection being £13,212, including a school
special subjects centre, and caretaker's house, with provision for 1002 children. They were
opened in 1898.
The amount owing on loans contracted for building the schools stood, on
March 31st, 1916, at £15,570, which is being repaid by about £500 per year, in addition to
about £521 for interest.
In 1903 the operations of the School Board ceased, being transferred to
the County Council, whose education committee and the minor authority appointed nine managers,
by whom the schools have been since controlled.
At West End House Miss Homer has a private school for boys and girls.
There is a stream of young people wisely taking advantage of the educational
facilities in Nottingham, in the advanced schools and University College.
It is very pleasing to thoughtful minds to notice the gradual improvement
and adaptation of methods of instruction, for infants are now in the best schools taught
learning by doing, and the classes more advanced are taught not merely for the development of
the brain but for the all-round training of the whole being : the eye and powers of observation,
the hand with its skill, the heart and its sympathies, the memory and its cultivation, the body
with its healthy food and exercise, the conscience and its responsibility to God, the passions
and their control, the duties of citizenship, and the claims of the country to service and
sacrifice, the comfort of the home promoted by thrift, helpfulness and cleanliness, a knowledge
of domestic duties and sanitation, so that the entire being may be the better fitted in after
life to discharge all the duties of men and women. This is the only true and enduring education,
and its results will be attained not by an increased course of studies, for that is as to the
great mass of the children overburdened already, but by a higher tone and aim. with more thought
development, greater persistency, and home lessons for the higher standards; with greater
statutory powers for chastisement in order to secure life discipline, with continuation classes
having compulsory powers for attendance, and this not only for the boys, but every girl must be
required to learn as to household management and duties, cooking, sewing, washing and nursing.
The next generation will be all the better for it.
Nature study and observation are for children among the best parts of
education and recreation, and it may well be pointed out to them, not only the beautiful
scenery by the Trent, but how charmingly undulating the ground is on the northern side of
Beeston parish, which characteristic extends to Lenton on the East, to Wollaton on the North,
and to Chilwell arid Bramcote on the West Here there are several springs, forming brooks, two
such being in the field south of Beeston House, and the Tottle Brook flowing from the uplands,
regarded in the olden times as having beneficent medical qualities. in the hedgerows there are
an unusual number of trees, some of them, particularly the elms, being of fine dimensions, and
the favourite haunts of rooks, even near to houses. The owners of country seats have added to
the pleasure of beautiful scenery by the planting of varied specimens that seem to have a delight
to grow with favoured soils, air, and water. In the grounds of Beeston Fields is an exceptionally
fine tulip tree, and a camelia is growing in the open to a height of over 18 feet, which, so far
north as Notts., is probably a record.
From trees to birds is not far to travel. Probably the most numerous of the
larger-sized of small birds are the thrushes, who value the protection of the trees and shrubs
the parish affords, but the chaffinches, blackbirds, starlings (and by the Trent herons and often
sea-gulls), and in addition the rarer migratory birds, such as nightingales, etc., are well
represented. Sparrows are, of course, everywhere. Some of the owners of shrubberies take a
pleasure in providing nesting boxes. Mrs. Harold Bowden (who, by-the-bye, is the daughter of
that well known naturalist, Josh. Whitaker, Esq., of Rainworth), has boxes for little owls near
to the house, and for barn owls. It may be noted that Beeston is well situate for observations
as to the migration of birds. For instance, large flocks of wild geese may be observed passing
northward in spring and southward in autumn; and while dealing with Natural History it is surely
proper that bees should associate in a Bees-town, and the more so as the Urban District Council
has adopted a bee-hive as a part of the inscription on its seal. It is, therefore, not surprising
to find, as reported by Mr. George Hayes, the well-known lecturer on Bee-Keeping, that - "in 1905
there were approximately 100 colonies of bees in Beeston." who, having the range of the Trent
valley, with its domestic orchards and gardens and large nurseries, providing for fruit-growing
and afforestation, the conditions are such that a stock of bees under up-to-date management will
yield a good surplus to the bee-keeper, so that one stock in recent years gave in one season 105
lbs. of honey. Unfortunately, an incurable disease has made havoc among bees throughout the
kingdom, reducing the number kept locally by one-half but as bees are indispensable to the fruit
crop, it is hoped the disease may soon disappear. Mr. Hayes is the author of "Nectar-producing
Flowers, and their pollen", a book for Bee-keepers.
Lads' Club : The Beeston Lads' Club and 17th Nottingham Company of the Boys' Brigade, was formed
in 1909, and in 1913 a building was erected at a cost of over £3,000, and considerable additions were
made in 1915, at a cost of £1000. In the first effort the boys made a weekly house-to-house collection,
resulting in £363 being obtained, the other principal donors being: Mr. Hetley Pearson £1,018, Mrs. H.
J. Pearson £560, Mr. Louis F. Pearson £200. The premises now comprise large rooms for the use of officers,
and for old boys, games, gymnasium, drill, and two baths. Upstairs, rooms for a class, non-commissioned
officers, and the band. The rooms are furnished with billiard table, provision for games, and a library.
There is near to the railway, about three-quarters-of-a-mile from the club, a recreation field, with a
pavilion. Beeston may well be proud in having the best provision for a Boys' Brigade, not only in the
county but in the country. There were before the war 200 members. There are in 1916 over 250. One hundred
and twenty-six old or present members have joined the forces. The objects are defined as "The advancement
of Christ's Kingdom among Boys, and the promotion of habits of obedience, reverence, discipline, self-respect,
and all that tends towards a true Christian manliness."
It requires only a little exercise of the mind to foresee that if this institution is loyally supported by
the parents of the boys it will have an important bearing on their future welfare. The Educational Evening
Classes, at present intended to form a stepping-stone to the County Evening Classes, are developing thought,
steadiness, good conduct. There are many non-commissioned officers, and promotion is dependent on character
and the proper discharge of allotted duties. In a few years these lads will be scattered over the British Empire,
and will be fitted to fill places of responsibility. Legislation will probably come giving control for a limited
number of hours in each week from the time the boys leave the day school until they are sixteen years of age, or
beyond, for the development of their handicraft and business capacities, for National training, for teaching and
practising the duties of citizenship, and otherwise. Here is an institution ready to hand.
Scouts : The Scouts organization is another effort to interest and benefit boys and girls in Beeston.
The Scout has to promise to do his duty to God and the King, to help other people at all times, and to obey the
Scout Law. That law requires honour, loyalty, helpfulness, friendliness, chivalry, kindness, obedience, cheerfulness,
thrift and cleanliness; all of which must become a part of our day school system. Our teachers will readily adopt
it if sanctioned, and once established it will lighten their labours by making scholars co-workers. At present
officers are wanted.
Recreation Grounds : The Recreation Grounds for the public were purchased by the Urban District Council
in 1908, and were afterwards fenced, planted, etc, at a total cost of £2,500, towards which Mr. H. J. Pearson gave
a donation of £1,000; Mr. Louis Pearson gave the Band Stand and Children's Shed, and Mr. Douglas Pearson the
Library : The desire to have good books available is evidenced by the fact that in 1837 a village library
was established by shares, and by contributions of fourpence per month. It had 600 volumes, and in 1853, 800 volumes
and was conducted by a committee of twelve gentlemen. This continued for some years, when Robert Porter, who was
first a barber, and afterwards a bookseller and toy dealer, had a library for lending out books. He was a peculiar
man, holding what were regarded as extreme and strange opinions, but he was a very useful man, taking great interest
in public affairs, promoting allotment gardens, very out-spoken, ever ready to help, even to the making of a man's
will - a kind of village factotum. Beeston has not, like its fellow Urban districts in the County - as Stapleford,
Arnold, Carlton, and other places adopted the Free Libraries Act; but as Leyden found it to its advantage to have a
University in preference to a remission of taxation, so Beeston might find a carefully-selected and wisely-administered
library worth more than the penny rate.
Orphanage : The Orphanage was founded in 1875 by Miss Bayley in accordance with a wish expressed in the
will of her father, Mr. Thomas Bayley, and with the active co-operation of several friends, among whom may be named
Mr. Alfred Bradley, who was treasurer many years until his death in 1914; Lady Turney who built one of the cottages,
and the late Mrs. Henry Russell to whose memory was erected by her aunt, Miss Dobson, a recreation room for the use
of the children. The aim of the promoters was to make a "Home", not an "Institution", which was
then a newer idea than it is to-day. There are usually about twenty-five girls and twenty boys under its care.
Almshouses : Four in number were built by public subscription to commemorate the Jubilee of Queen Victoria's
reign, l897. The Trustees are Messrs. Jackson, Roberts, Pratt, Robinson, Rothera, Kirkland, and Mrs.Tutin.
Patriotism : The part that Beeston played when Napoleon disturbed Europe has been referred to. Of the men
who fell in the Crimean War - 1854-5 - there is a record on an obelisk in the churchyard. In the Square is a Memorial
to the soldiers who fell in the South African War (1899-1902), with a symbolical figure of Hope. The cost of this
memorial, £200, was raised by public subscription. All these struggles, however, were insignificant in comparison
with the mighty effort that is being put forth in the Great War, when everything we hold dear - life, liberty, home,
religion - all that makes life worth living is endangered, when the grandest Empire the World ever saw, which makes
for liberty, truth, and righteousness, with many peoples amid small nations, is in the balance, and brave Beeston
lads, with men of every rank and clime throughout the Empire, have rushed to the rescue, made the great surrender,
and risked their all, in order that those dear to them, the welfare of the country, and the good of the world, may
The Voluntary Aid Detachment Hospital, on the premises of ''The Cedars" (kindly lent by Mrs.Poyser), has been
managed by the Beeston Branch of the British Red Cross, with Mrs.Spendlove as Commandant. It accommodates 26 wounded
soldiers, and has been full since it was opened in 1915. Towards the fitting-up, and comforts, as well as towards
comforts for the troops and mine-sweepers, parcels for prisoners, help to the stricken nationalities, etc., funds
have been subscribed, and meetings of ladies have continually been held in the Station Road Schools and the Wesleyan
Schools, and the children in the Day Schools have done their part. The girls have done nobly.
In addition to the 600 men who have gone to the front, and whose names are on the "Roll of Honour" in
the church porch, there are many who have attested and continued at their work, not yet being called up.
Over 100 Special Constables have allotted duties, and over 150 members are enrolled in the Beeston and Chilwell
Company of the Notts. Volunteer Regiment for home defence.
There is a War Savings Committee for aiding investment in Government Securities.
That same patriotic spirit, so nobly developed in both sexes, may have further demands made upon it. Our individual
rights having been secured by hundreds of years of effort, we must now turn not only to individual duties and
discharge them, but we must further submit with a good heart and patient spirit to what our rulers deem to be the
requirements of the State in a thorough organization with regard to our labour, food, alcoholic drinks, tobacco,
amusements, sports, with a view to meeting the necessities of all classes, and the rigorous suppression of luxuries,
extravagance and waste. We shall show our patriotism by submitting to a present restraint for a future good.
There are in Beeston scores, it may be hundreds, of persons, who are patriotic has the most energetic, but who by
reason of sickness, age, infirmity, or family duties, cannot do as they would. To them the pathetic words of Milton,
allusion to his blindness, may be applied :
Bear His mild yoke, they serve Him best.
Is Kingly; thousands at His bidding speed,
And post o'er land and ocean without rest :
They also serve who only stand and wait."
When the war is over the same noble patriotic spirit which has produced so much self-sacrifice amid benevolence,
continued, but applied to the young instead of to the war, will give wondrous sources of refreshment of spirit to
the workers, and will help to make Beeston a paradise.
Institutions and Societies : Beeston has its Urban District Council, its Overseers of the Poor, its
Representatives on the Notts. County Council, and on the Basford Board of Guardians. It is part of the Rushchiffe
Parliamentary Division, and for nearly all other purposes has its head in Nottingham, which is four miles to the
east. It has a Fire Brigade, Branch Banks, a Newspaper, Cinemas, amid Societies for all kinds of objects, some of
which in connection with religion and social welfare are mentioned elsewhere. There is a British Women's Temperance
Union.(Would that they could persuade all soldiers wives to abstain) There are, or were, eight Bands of Hope
teaching the children that water is best, and warning as to the evils of juvenile smoking.
The Sick Benefit Societies, which have done a good work in the past, are now largely affected by the Government
Insurance Scheme, but the best of them continue their mutually helpful work.
There are Nursing and Benevolent Societies, the St. John's Ambulance Brigade, the Freemasons' at the
Masonic Hall, the usual Political Parties, Trade Unions, Co-operative Societies, Men's and Women's Adult
The Land Societies did a good work in opening out estates on which houses were built in gardens, thereby promoting
health, quietness and beauty.
There are cricket, football, bowling and angling societies, and bird fanciers. Lawn tennis has its grounds, and
musical and social bodies are represented.
Cricketers desire it to be named that William Scottorn obtained his first century on Beeston Cricket Ground, and
lived a number of years in Beeston.
The War Institutions operating in the parish as elsewhere at the moment of writing look more important than all
the others, but they are national.
Population : The population was in 1801, 948; 1851, 3,016; 1891, 6,948; 1901, 8,960; 1911, 11,341.
According to the Annual Report of Dr. F. Rothera, the Medical Officer of Health for the District, the birth rate
was, in 1915, 22.6, the average of ten years being 25.8; the number of births 257, of whom 12 were illegitimate;
the death rate was 12.3, ten years average 10.0; number of deaths 122; infantile mortality 73 per thousand births,
ten years average 99.2. The birthrate was considerably below the average, possibly owing to the war, but it is to
be hoped that it may not continue.
The area in acres, land and water, 1601; rain-fall in 1915 31.76, average 30 years 26.58; temperature 47.9;
rateable value £43,416; general district rate 4/2 in the £; poor rate 3/4.
The District Nurse under the direction of the Nursing Society is doing an excellent work.
Public Houses : An act of 300 years ago declared that "the ancient true and principal use of Innes,
Alehouses and Victuallinge Houses was for the Receipte, Reliefe and Lodginge of wayfaring people travillinge from
place to place * * and not meant for entertainment and harbouring of lewde and idle people to spende and consume
theire money and their tyme in lewde and drunken manner", etc. Therefore the two Victuallers who in 1675 had
licenses, had previously to give sureties against unlawful games and for good order and compliance. Since then many
limitations have been imposed and improvements made, but the Beer-house Act of 1830 was a great evil in Beeston,
for in 1832 there were three inns and taverns, and ten beerhouses - one drinking house for every 194 people. The
work people were then very poor, and could not afford to send their children to school. How could they afford to
find money for drink? In 1844 there was an improvement, there being then eight inns and two beerhouses. In 1916
there were thirteen fully licensed public houses, two beerhouses, five beer-off shops, and two wine and sweet
licenses; two political clubs at which liquors are sold to the members, and a brewery.
Under the war conditions the public houses are open on weekdays only from 12 noon to 2.30 p.m. and from 6.30 to
9.30 p.m; and on Sundays from 12.30 to 2.30 p.m. and 6 to 9 p. m., and this limitation has been attended with
advantage the public good. There continues however, considering the terrible war in which we are engaged, and its
costs and consequences, far too much money spent in alcoholic liquors.
There are nine Policemen in Beeston, and one at Chilwell.
Water : The parish was included in the Act of the Nottingham Water Works Company of 1874, but it was 1876
before an effective supply was obtained.
Gas : Before the introduction of gas generally in the parish there was a limited supply from the Mill to
separate houses, necessarily at a high rate. The Church was first lighted with gas in 1857. The Public Lighting Act
was adopted at a Vestry Meeting on November 13th, 1862. The opposition to lamps in the streets was strong, and the
effigy of an active promoter of it was carried on an ass round the village amid hanged on a lamp-post, and but for
police interference would have been burned. In 1861 gas was supplied from Nottingham, and for street lamps in 1872.
Roads : The roads were according to a report of 1846 quoted by Messrs. Price in one of their almanacs,
in an intolerable state of repair, sewerage was a disgrace, the causeways were unpaved and unkerbed; channels were
also unpaved and this notwithstanding that there were even then twice over more genteel families residing in Beeston
than in any other parish of the like extent in the locality. All this was, however, changed after a Local Board of
Health was adopted and formed in 187l-2, and sewering, lighting. watering, kerbing, cleaning, and other sanitary
requirements were attended to, the death rate being reduced from 24 per 1000 to 16, and accomplished at a charge of
2/6 in the pound in rates,. The value of this may be better realised when it is stated that with the present population,
were the old rate of mortality maintained, 159 people per year would die will live, or in still other form, three
people per week would be killed by bad sanitation.
There, was in 1915 a very serious interference with the roads in Beeston parish owing to the construction of the
National Shell Filling Factory, and large sums were subsequently paid by the Government for re-instatement.
The Urban District Council in 1894 superseded the Local Board. They have just constructed, at a cost of £30,000,
up-to-date sewerage works and a destructor, Mr. W. H. Radford being the engineer.
It was stated in 1906 that there were in the parish 17 miles of footpaths, 15 miles of which Mr. W. Walker (who
was local Surveyor) said were after 1881 coated by a system of tarring that he invented, with a great economy to the
Cemetery : In 1882 the Vicar reported that the churchyard was full, and the Local Board purchased from the
Trustees of the late Thomas Bayley four acres on Wollaton Road, at £500 an acre. Mr. Herbert Walker's estimate of the
cost of works being £4,480.
Post Office : The postal service with its great development in regard to the collection, transmission and
delivery of letters, telegrams, telephones, money and postal orders, savings bank, government insurance, war savings
certificates, payments to soldiers wives, etc., would take more space for description than there is room for here.
Suffice it to say that it has become a great agency for good.
Transit : The Nottingham and Derby Road, called in 1301 Derbigate, was turnpiked in 1758-9, and dis-turnpiked
in 1870. A branch of the Nottingham and Ashby Turnpike Road, usually called the Sawley branch, went through Beeston.
In 1831 an advertisement of the four-horse coach from Nottingham to Birmingham stated that the coach calls at
Beeston daily at 8.30 a.m., and in the opposite direction at 3.30 p.m. The Canal from the Trent, via Nottingham
and Lenton, to Langley Mill, was completed in 1802. A branch canal from Lenton chain to Beeston Cut was made by
the Trent Navigation Company under an Act passed in 1794, and it involved the necessity for the weir at the Ryelands
to hold up the water to supply the canal through to Trent Bridge. The Midland Railway from Nottingham to Derby was
opened with great demonstrations of rejoicing on May 30th 1839. The crowds of people that assembled on Sundays at
Beeston Station to go to Nottingham was then so great as quite to upset the ordinary provision. A little cabin sufficed
for the stationmaster's residence, and for the traffic, but a larger disused station-house was in 1857 removed from
Southwell to Beeston. A note of progress is recorded in the almanac for 1882, when there were thirty-five trains
daily to Nottingham and thirty six back, third-class season tickets being 15/- per quarter, with 450 quarterly
ticket-holders, and 170,000 ordinary passengers in the year from Beeston. There are in 1916 above 100 trains per
day, besides minerals and goods, and trains not stopping. A report in the Express of Dec. 15th, 1905 says "There
are over 1,000 season ticket holders."
Motor Buses now run to and from Nottingham nine or ten times a day each way.
Industries : The old industry of the parish was, of course, agriculture, so in the parish registers
men are often described as husbandmen, and from the nature of the soil, its running brooks, and big river, the dairy
produce would probably prevail, while its proximity to the county town, and its good roads would encourage town
requirements to be grown.
The hosiery industry appeared early in the 18th century, so in the parish register men are frequently described as
F.W.K. (framework-knitter), and the trade developed so rapidly that there were in 1845 two hundred and sixty-three
hosiery frames in the parish. So deposed Mr. Wm. Felkin before the Commissioner appointed to enquire into the condition
of the framework-knitters. The workers had doubtless suffered as in all the other villages in the time of the Luddite
outrages in 1811-12 and following years, when the frame-breaking riots were prevailing, but I have not seen that the
evil was encouraged or practised in Beeston. Probably "Watch and Ward" would be kept; blunderbuses and swords for
the constables may have been obtained, and soldiers may have been billeted, but the horrors of war, and the disruption
of trade were endured.
From the mass of evidence taken in 1845 we will listen to the deposition of Samuel Goodwin Horsley, of Beeston,
who gave evidence on behalf of his fellow-workmen. His was the wrought cotton hose branch. He said there were about
250 frames in Beeston. He worked full women's size at l0s. 9d. a dozen. The workers were badly off indeed. A local
master worked to a large Nottingham firm, and took his work in once a month, or five weeks, and the hands that work
to him had to live out of their money, with the exception of a few odd hose, all that time, and consequently were
living under great privation. He had been "trucked" seventeen weeks (that is paid by provisions instead
of money for wages), and all that time received but threepence, and was obliged to beg. He was paid in bread, soap,
sugar, candles, and a bit of bacon when he could catch it. Sometimes had to go on Sundays without a bit of animal
food. Frequently sold bread at a penny a loaf less than it cost him. There was one field of seven acres let in about
twenty garden allotments, for which £6 an acre was charged, or 15/- for 600 yards. He complained of the infringements
with regard to the widths and lengths of the hose, etc. We thus see the wretched condition of the men, and little help
came from the enquiry, except that the law against "truck" was more vigilantly enforced, and many years
afterwards frame riots were very properly abolished, but the industry was a dying one, steam, improved machinery, and
the factory system were coining in, and now the old hand-frames are regarded is curiosities of a past generation.
Silk Doubling was introduced probably early in the last century, when the Mill was built, but it gradually became a
very poor trade for both manufacturers and workpeople. The machinery became old-fashioned, and the low wages paid in
Italy, where the silk was largely produced, and the miserable wages for which people worked at Macclesfield and
Spittlefields, pulled down wages at Beeston, although the best work was done here. Mr. R. Lowe states that in 1862
the men earned 13/6 per week, and the women 7/- or 8/-, working from 6 to 6, with 1½ hours off (see page 17).
The silk industry almost entirely departed from our county.
The Lace Trade may have been introduced to Beeston in the early part of the last century. Blackner tells us that
from 1807-10 the average earnings of the workmen were about 20/- per week. Frame rents were increased from 1/9 to
2/6 per week thereupon many persons bought frames, amid this led to a reduction in prices. The establishment of
payment by the "rack" was a great benefit. When the great boom in the lace trade occurred in 1824, by
reason of the expiration of Mr. Heathcoat's patent, and everybody in the trade thought to get rich in little
time, it is probable there were many men in Beeston who obtained frames, and worked them in the upper rooms of their
houses. In 1833 there were in Beeston upwards of 100 bobbin net lace machines, which were described in 1850 as lace
machines, there being then 150 of them Gradually these were got into small factories, steam power superseded the
hand-machines, and wider machines the narrow ones, and other considerable developments occurred, much of which was
about 1840, when Robert and William Felkin had small factories for hosiery and plain net manufacture. William Limb
and Matthew Salt were in the fancy lace trade. William Cox was in fancy silk laces. Thomas Pollard started in fancy
lace, a business developed by his son John, and John bought the factory of William Elliott, who about 1816 put the
first Manchester Jacquard to work the Leavers machine, and now the Pollard plant is the largest in the district.
William Kirkland in 1844 had travers warp machines, and developed the business Henry Kirkland had established in 1819.
About 1871 Frank Wilkinson commenced in the fancy warp and Shetland fall trade, afterwards going into the lace
curtain trade and developing it considerably, building the Anglo-Scotian Mills on the site of Felkin's old factory.
A disastrous fire occurred on April 29th, 1886, affecting several hundreds of hands, as well as involving heavy loss.
There was another fire on April 29th, 1892, but the premises were re-built, and are let by Mr. A. J. Pollard to
Machine building was carried on by Messrs. Humphrey, Botham and Wyer in 1850, but they afterwards removed to
Radford. Messrs. Wm. Wragg and Wm. Pilgrim had a machine-building business in 1874.
Cycles : It was a great advantage to Beeston when the Humber Company decided to establish works at Beeston.
Thomas Humber was a mechanic, who in 1868, in a blacksmith's shop in Nottingham, used, with the aid of his wife, to
turn out what were known as "Velocipedes", at the rate of about one per week. These were made after the
design of one described in the "English Mechanic" as having come from France, but Humber improved on the
original machine, and eventually improved on the "Spider" wheel bicycle. The concern developed into a
Limited Liability Company in 1887, and works were built and fully occupied, so that when the Company determined to
concentrate their works at Coventry they were employing in Beeston between 1,400 and 1,500 hands. The cessation of
the works involved a removal of about 3,000 of the population, and about 600 houses became empty. The factory was
purchased by Mr. A. W. Black, M.P., and became a lace factory.
There were Cycle works built by Messrs. Humber & Goddard, south-west of the Railway Station, but these works were
afterwards purchased and vastly enlarged by a Company partly Swedish - The British L. M. Ericsson Manufacturing Co.
Ld., for the manufacture of telephonic apparatus, in which above a thousand hands have been employed.
Horticultural Buildings are largely constructed here by Messrs. Foster & Pearson Ld., who developed a business
started about the middle of the last century. The Beeston Foundry Co. Ltd. have made the Beeston Boiler known
throughout Britain and foreign parts. Lace, Hosiery and Art Printing furnish a variety of occupations, and the
Railway Co. at their creosoting works and their extensive shunting sidings employ many men.
Horticulture has of late years been considerably developed in the parish. To cottage gardens, ornamental grounds,
and planted orchards there has been added the growth of roses and other flowers on a large scale, and with considerable
success. Several nursery grounds are established here, one or two of 60-70 acres in extent, where practically every
known variety of tree, shrub or plant can be acquired. These Nurseries are generally open for visitors to view, and
during the spring and summer months are well worth a visit.
All the industries in Beeston have been profoundly affected by the war - by the departure of men to the front,
by requirements, as to war work, by the erection of great Government works in the neighbourhood, by the substitution
of female labour, and otherwise, so that when business returns to its normal condition there will require much mutual
forbearance and concession.
MEN AND WOMEN
We do well to recognise departed worth, and to honour the memories of the good and useful men and women who have
sought to benefit there fellows in the development of industries, the public health, good local administration,
education, philanthropy, religion, or otherwise, In every schoolroom or vestry their portraits should be framed,
with a statement of what they have done.
Charities : The donors of the charities to the poor of Beeston must have a first place, for their good
works were done before the law recognised parochial obligations as now. Twelve donors are mentioned in an old Charity
Commissioners' report, apparently copied from a board in the old church, dated 1724. Two of them would not have
their right hand know what their left hand did. It sufficed that God knew. Henry Hanley, John Kirkby, Hannah Garton,
Thomas Hallam, Ann Lacey, William Mackerill, Dorothy Strey, Elizabeth and Mary Charlton, all made donations, and in
1727 Hassock Close was purchased with the monies left. New trustees were appointed in 1877. The Hassock Close of 5a.
2r. 32p. is let by the trustees to the Urban District Council for £15 a year. The other lands were sold and the
proceeds, £475 1s 2d, invested by the Charity Commissioners in Consols, producing £14 9s. 0d per annum. The income,
£35 a year, includes Hanley's rent charge £1, and the whole is distributed yearly by the trustees among the poor.
GEORGE SIMMONS ought to he mentioned, for in 1622 he left to the Churchwardens and Overseers a legacy of
£5, for the benefit of "those that live in the greatest miserie and necessitie, beseeching them that the(y) will
have reasonable care in distributing the same to the poorest sorte, etc."
JOHN BALL MASON, whose tomb is in the churchyard, was Sheriff of Nottingham in the year when the General
Hospital was founded, and the Mayor and Sheriff, instead of the usual Michaelmas feast, gave £180 towards building the
Hospital - a good example of diverting luxury to works of mercy.
The REV. THOMAS ROGERS may be regarded as the founder of the Baptist cause in Beeston, he having in 1803
removed from Nottingham, started a boarding school, and fitted up the school room so that it could be used also for
religious services, and he ministered here and at Chilwell until 1814, when he removed to Fleet in Lincolnshire, and
there continued - as is recorded on a tablet in the chapel there - "with great acceptance and usefulness"
until his death in 1839. His portrait (he being the eldest of seventeen children, and that of his father, who was the
eldest of twenty-four children) may be seen, with particulars of the family, in the "History of Friar Lane Baptist
Church", p. 213. The Rogers family, still in Nottingham, claim to be descended from the Rev. John Rogers,
Prebendary of St. Paul's, who as a martyr was burnt at Smithfield in 1555.
HENRY KIRKLAND, lace manufacturer, and his wife, were pillars in the Methodist cause in Beeston. He filled
every office that the system of his church government had to offer. He is described as a man of great benevolence and
active influence, often visiting the homes of the people, highly respected by his work people, and respect ripening
into veneration. His wife was a mother of Israel, having two large classes of members which she conducted. She was
very hospitable, and one testimony of her was that she for many years lived next door to heaven. She died in 1851, and
he in 1853. A tablet in the vestibule of the Wesleyan church says "They were under God's blessing the founders
of the Wesleyan Methodist Society in Beeston, and after spending their lives in the service of their Redeemer, entered
into the rest which remaineth to the people of God."
WILLIAM MALTBY removed from Gotham to Beeston in 1805, and there being then in Beeston no Wesleyan Methodist
cause he invited the preachers and formed a class. He was very zealous as a tract distributor and sick visitor, in
which work he excelled. When the total abstinence movement was introduced, about 1838, he adopted the habit, and so
continued throughout life. He removed to Long Eaton after 33 years' work in Beeston, and died in 1858, in his 83rd
JOHN WATSON was manager of the bank of I. & I. C. Wright & Co., and became partner with Mr. F. B. Gill in the
Silk Mill business, and afterwards sole proprietor. The west window of the church was placed there as a memorial of
him. A brass tablet tells that he was many years a liberal benefactor of the church and parish, and in recognition of
his worth the two bells of the church were added by the inhabitants in 1887. He died in 1876, aged 80. his daughter,
Miss Watson, was a very useful and active worker and visitor, and was very kind and generous.
The Rev. JOHN F. T. WOLLEY was Vicar for many years, and lived in the old hall. He was son of Francis Hurt,
Esq., and in 1822 married Mary, daughter of Adam Wolley, Esq., of Matlock, whose surname and arms he afterwards assumed.
He rebuilt the parish church, and obtained - some say gave - the bulk of the money to pay for it. He also built the
National Schools. He had five sons and two daughters, and passed through much trouble, but was greatly esteemed. He
died in 1877, aged 81. Mrs. Wolley laid the first stone of the new church, but died before it was opened. Her influence
and services were instrumental in promoting good works, and she was very kind to the poor. There is a brass plate to
her memory, and a window to Mr. Wolley, subscribed for by parishioners and old friends.
THOMAS ADAMS, lace manufacturer, resided some years at the Towers, before his removal to Lenton Firs. The
warehouse in Stoney Street is the finest in the city. He was a man of unassuming manners, earnest piety, and unbounded
benevolence in the support of schools and churches, end took unusual interest in the welfare of his workpeople. There
is a window in St. Mary's, Nottingham, to his memory. See Old Nottingham Suburbs, page 22. He died in 1878.
EDMUND PRATT was a lace manufacturer, and lived in the house where Dr. Rothera now has. He was an active
church-worker and donor; was church-warden, and for several years superintendent of the Church Sunday School. He died
at Ruddington, where and while he was churchwarden in conjunction with Mr. Philo Mills, 1905, aged 77.
ROBERT FOSTER introduced the building of horticultural houses, and was for some years active on the Local
Board of Health, of which, in 1876, he was chairman. He died in 1899.
"BENDIGO" was too prominent not to be noticed. WILLIAM THOMPSON was one of triplets born
in 1811, and the youngest of a family of twenty-one, and his father, who was a skilled mechanic, died when "Bendigo"
was about fifteen. He was a wild youth, whom his father had frequently to go after, and when the other boys saw the father
coming they would say "Bendy, go, your father is coming," and thus was repeated so often that, instead of Bendy,
being his nickname, it became "Bendigo." He was skilled in all kinds of sport, and is said to have, at
Trent Bridge, thrown with his left hand, half a brick seventy yards. He was particularly fond of fishing. He became
a boxer of note, and when twenty-one commenced his career as a prize-fighter. In 1835 he defeated Ben Caunt, after
which he went to keep a public-house at Sheffield, where he fought and beat Langan, and at Liverpool he defeated "Deaf
Burke", and was deemed "the Champion of England". A second time Ben Caunt, and afterwards Torn Paddock,
were overcome. In his thirty-ninth year he retired from prizefighting, for he had formed the habit of drinking excessively, and
gradually he went down, down, down, until he had been twenty-eight times in jail for being drunk and disorderly, or
on other like charge, and thus as a Nottingham Lamb he continued for twenty years. Hearing that Richard Weaver, the
"Converted CoIlier", was holding meetings in the Mechanics Hall, Bendigo went, saw his folly, and what was
better, saw a ray of hope. Weaver, learning who he was, invited him on to the platform "and, thank God, I did.
I gave my heart to God, and have been a changed man ever since. I have fought and sinned for the devil for nearly
sixty two years, but now I am determined, by the grace of God, to serve Him the rest part of my days, and to win a
crown in heaven." From this tine forth he continued under the care of Richard Weaver and Jemmy Dupe, the street
preacher and pork butcher. It was a hard struggle to uproot old habits and associations, but he overcame. It was
thought desirable he should live in Beeston, to be out of the way of his old associates. At Liverpool. Sheffield,
and other large towns, thousands of persons congregated to hear Bendigo give his testimony. He could not make a
speech. but he could tell what he had felt and seen. At Wolverhampton the Rev. C. H. Spurgeon was preaching, and was
told there was a counter attraction, "for the tag-rag and bobtail were gone to hear Bendigo." The great
preacher paused in the midst of a powerful discourse, and alluding to the gratifying results attending Bendigo's
Mission, dramatically exclaimed to a spell-bound audience, "Go it, rag ! go it, tag.!! go it, bobtail !!!"
Jemmy Dupe could have netted £1,000 if he would have taken Bendigo touring through America, but Jemmy wisely said
"No". In 1880, descending from his bedroom, he fell, broke his ribs, and died shortly afterwards. There
was a great procession from Beeston to St .Mary's Cemetery, where according to his request, he was buried in
his mother's grave, and a life-sized recumbent lion, carved in stone, rests above, bearing the inscription -
"In life always brave, fighting like a lion;
In death like a lamb, tranquil in Zion."
In the State of Victoria, Australia, is a county and city which the Government named Sandhurst, after a governor,
but the people insisted on and succeeded in calling it Bendigo, after the Beeston hero. It was a creek and a county
of some fifty miles by forty. The county town has a population of 40,000, with fine churches, banks, and public buildings.
See "Lions of Lambkinville", by Mr. C. Bonnell.
WILLIAM VICKERS had lace machines in a small factory in Beeston, and lived where the Constitutional Club
now is. In 1835 he was elected to the Nottingham Town Council, was Mayor in 1843, when Queen Victoria passed through
Nottingham and opened Queen's Road. He was chairman of the Board of Guardians when York Street Workhouse was
built, was on the Committee for forming time Arboretum, was chairman or the Charitable Trustees when the High School was
removed, was on the Committee for building Trent Bridge, was superintendent of George Street Boys' Sunday School, an
active Magistrate. He died in 1882. Captain Vickers, V.C., is great-grandson of the above.
The REV. T. J. OLDRINI, M.A., was Vicar of Beeston from 1854 to 1885 when he died, aged 60. During that
time the present vicarage was built, Day Schools were enlarged, the organ chamber was added to the chancel, and the
organ and choir brought down front a gallery at the end, a peal of eight bells in the place of three was fixed in
the belfry, and at the tine of his death he was collecting funds to build another church in the parish which was
growing so fast. In 1873 he did a very useful work in publishing what he had long been collecting, local information
as to the parish. "Gleanings, or something about Beeston in the Olden Times", and he thereby preserved
reminiscences of persons and places that would otherwise have been lost. During the next twelve years he had learned
much more about the history of the parish, and therefore he announced for issue "The history of Beeston, Old
and New", but death prevented the issue. He was an active broad-minded man. His daily work was visiting his
parishioners, not only church people, but the whole of them he called on once a year, and the sick he visited regardless
of denomination, and having a kind and affable manner he was much beloved. During his later years there appeared a
closer walk with God, a deeper earnestness in preaching, a spiritual growth, a ripening that was not only pleasing
but helpful to the people. The funeral was a remarkable demonstration of the affection with which he was regarded,
for in the presence of 3,000 people the body was laid to rest. There was a great procession, not only of the family
but of clergy, office bearers, girls' school, etc., including deputations from every Nonconformist denomination,
the girls' school, etc. The last sermon he prepared he could not preach; it was preached by his curate, the Rev.
F. S. P. Pyemont, on the Sunday after the funeral, and the text was prophetic : "We know that we have passed
from death unto life."
FRANCIS BUTCHER GILL lived in the house west of the church a number of years, and owned and carried on the
Silk Mill between the proprietorship of Mr. Lowe and Mr. Watson. He was Sheriff in 1838, but was a man of quiet and
retiring disposition, and very useful as a philanthropist. In 1870 he founded a charity with £34,793, vested in twelve
trustees, the income to be devoted to pensions of £30 each per annum to unmarried widows and fatherless maiden daughters
of clergymen, or of professional persons, or others who have occupied a like position in society. Members of the
Church of England are usually preferred. There are sixty-nine pensioners, and the changes are about four per year.
Mr. F. Wadsworth, Weekday Cross, is clerk to the trustees. Mr. Gill also left £30 a year payable to the Vicar of Christ
Church, New Radford, in aid of a Scripture Reader, etc. He died in 1884, aged 76.
The Rev. JOHN HUDSTON was an example of how a young man may, even under disadvantageous circumstances,
educate and elevate himself, for when he was born. In 1812, the facilities for education in Beeston were small. His
father. James Hudston (who died in 1866, aged 87), was for sixty years a local preacher of the Methodist New Connexion,
and may be described its a puritan in taste and demeanour. There is a stained-glass window to the memory of his wife
and himself in the City Temple, London, and his son John, becoming a local preacher (he preached at Attenborough when
eighteen), was in 1833 admitted to the ministry, in which he continued fifty-eight years. he was in 1853 elected
President of the Conference, a Guardian Representative in 1867, editor of the Connexional magazine and book steward
in 1874, and for some years he edited "The Methodist Quarterly". Because of his interest in young men of
piety and promise he was appointed Theological secretary, which office he held for the long period of thirty-two years,
discharging the duties with fidelity and fatherly kindness. In the History of the Denomination it is stated "His
pulpit ministrations and administrative powers were highly appreciated. His preaching was expository, but not coldly
intellectual. He knew how to speak it a word in season to him that is weary". He paid special attention to the
aged poor, and in encouraging the young. He intended to return to Beeston, and so bought the house on the east side
of Mr. Roberts', where he had been brought up, but he died at Liverpool (where his ministry had been particularly
successful) in 1888, aged 76.
WM. FK. WALLETT, commonly called the Queens Jester, resided at Beeston many years. An epitome of the episodes
in the career of that genial showman may be seen in No. 3 of the "Lions of Lambkinville" series by Cedric Bonnell,
reprinted from the Nottm. Daily Express, March 1st, 1904. He published through Bemrose & Son an autobiography, the
introduction to which is dated from Spring Villa, Beeston, Notts , All Fools' Day, 1st April,1870, showing many ups
and downs. He was rich in Shakesperian "wise-saws and modern instances". In his best days he was not a clown,
or a buffoon, but a high moral teacher, and was worthy of the name of Queen's Jester. Some years of retirement
followed, and he sank under a cloud through yielding to the appetite for drink. He died at Beeston in 1892, aged 85, and
was buried in the Nottingham General Cemetery. The following alliterative acrostic may amuse the children to recite.
It was written by Albert Smith, the author of "Christopher Tadpole",
W allett, wonder-working wit, with thy wealth of waggery,
F resly flung from fun-fraught founts, from thy face fate's a frowning flee
W ith thy wedded wit and wisdom woe's-wan wrinkles wane away,
A t thine apt and arch allusions-antidotes to care's array -
L aughter-loving lieges listen, loudly lauding laughter's lord;
L ong, long live then, lightly lifting melancholy's load abhorr'd.
E ver eloquent, enchanting, ever Ennui's enemy,
T hrilling, thralling thronging thousands with gay trick and travesty,
T hroned in triumph, motley mentor, Minerva, Momus meet in thee.
EDWARD J. LOWE was a son Alfred J. Lowe, Esq., J.P., of Highfield house, where in 1825 he was born, and
where in 1840 lie began his daily scientific observations, being then 15 years of age. In 1846 he published "A
Treatise on Atmospheric Phenomena". In 1852 he published his book, "The Climate of Notts.", and in
1853 "The Conchology of Nottingham". A chapter in "Rambles round Nottingham" gives illustrations
of the shells collected and noted by him, with other information. He had the house called Broadgate House specially
built for an observatory, the roof being adapted for instruments to rest and work, and here the famous Lawson astronomical
instruments were, in 1855, brought and fixed. His meteorological observations formed the basis of the records of the
weather published daily in The Times newspaper. He, jointly with Mr. Scofferon, in 1860, wrote "Practical
Meteorology", being one of the "Circle of the Sciences" series. He was one of the founders of the
Royal Meteorological Society; he invented the powder tests for ozone; he was the leading authority on British Ferns.
He wrote "The Natural History of British Ferns", "New and Rare Ferns", 1861-2; "British
Grasses" was published in 1858. He was, says Notts. Worthies, the first to point out the convergence of meteors
to a point in the heavens. His last book was "Natural Phenomena and Chronology of the Seasons", 1870. In
1882 he went to reside near Chepstow. He was a Fellow of the Royal, the Royal Astronomical. the Linnean, the Zoological,
the Geological, Royal Horticultural, and the Royal Meteorological Societies. He was a J.P. and D.L. of Notts. and
Monmouth. He died in 1900.
Colonel A. E. Lawson Lowe, F.S.A., was son of the above, and was born in the house opposite to the Beeston Silk
Mill, now the Conservative Club. He was a diligent and accomplished scholar, and an able antiquarian. He was the
author of "Historical Records of the Royal Sherwood Foresters", and commenced - but was not able to
proceed with - "The History of Broxtowe Hundred". His early death in 1888 was lamented.
Mr. Hugh L. P. Lowe, of Blagden House, Stoke Bishop, a son of Mr. E. J. Lowe (who has kindly supplied the photo)
has the tooth of a mammoth elephant which was dredged out of the Trent at Beeston, and the Ancient British Sword
found in the lake of Highfield House (the lake being partly in Beeston parish) was given by Mr. Lowe to the Nottingham
It may be mentioned here that another member of the Lowe family, Mr. Sydney Lowe, lived in the house which is now
the "Commercial Inn".
HENRY J. PEARSON commenced business life with Robert Foster, and lived in Broadgate. He afterwards with the
co-operation of his youngest brother, Lewis Pearson, formed the Beeston Foundry Co. Ltd., whose operations he largely
extended. He was an ardent student of bird life, possessed one of the finest collections of Arctic birds and eggs, and
wrote books thereon, one being "Beyond Petsora Eastwards", & another "Three Summers among the Birds
in Russian Lapland". He was a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, the British Ornithological Society, the
Royal Horticultural Society, etc. He took an active part in the Nottingham Convalescent Homes, the Hospital for Women,
in Castle Gate, etc. He gave £1,000 towards the Beeston Recreation Ground. He died in 1913 in Egypt, and the body was
the following year interred in Attenborough Churchyard. There is a memorial window in Bramcote Church, with representations
of Moses, the Lawgiver, and Christ the Good Shepherd. He was a man of refined tastes, combined with great business
energy and force of character, and he largely increased employment in the parish.
THE FELLOWS FAMILY has long been prominent, and although it is now a departed name in Beeston, yet it is
perpetuated in the Church adornment by Mr. C. T. Fellows, and memorials of other members of the family. Mr. Samuel
Fellows was Sheriff, Alderman and Coroner of Nottingham, and was Mayor (1755). Mr. John Fellows held the same offices
(except the Coronership) being Mayor 1775 and 1782. His son John held the same offices, being Mayor in 1790. He
founded the Bank in 1808, and a copper token was found in perfect condition in 1915, when the "Star Inn" was
demolished, Nottingham Castle being inscribed on one side, and "one penny token, 1812", and on the obverse
"Payable by J. M. Fellows, Pound Note for 240". It belongs to Mr. J. J. Bywater. Mr. Alfred T. Fellows was
Sheriff 1817, as was James in 1824. John, who died in 1878, was J.P., and in the South Notts. Yeomanry. Of Susannah
Fellows, who died in 1845, it is testified that "her piety and benevolence endeared her to all who knew her,
and those who knew her best admired her most". Mr. Alfred T. Fellows built "Beeston Fields", having
the bricks burnt on the spot, and Mr. Geo. Fellows, J.P., before he sold "Beeston Fields" (Now the property
of Mr. Harold Bowden) was Hon Major in the South Notts. Yeomanry, of which regiment he in 1895 published a history.
Another book by him is Arms, Armour and Alabaster round Nottingham.
STEPHEN ARMITAGE died at Broadgate House, Beeston, in Feb.1915, aged 50, after only five days illness. He
had largely developed the Cafe business in Nottingham and elsewhere, and although this was done as a matter of business,
yet it also largely promoted the public convenience, and to some extent lessened the use of public houses. He was an
active and capable business man, and was greatly respected by his employees, and indeed loved by them, for he was always
ready to aid them in sickness, or other trouble. His leisure time was largely spent in works of charity and philanthropy
in connection with the Women's Hospital, the Children's Hospital, the Eye Infirmary, the District Nursing
Association, the Private Nursing Association, the Midland Orphanage for Girls, at Lenton, etc. On these bodies he
brought his business capacity, knowledge and experience to bear in regard to their expenditure departments, to secure
economy and efficiency.
The Rev. A. C. BECKTON, M.A., was vicar of Beeston in 1901, and for five years, during which between £2,000
and £3,000 was raised for building Sunday Schools for the Church. His ministry was with great acceptance and power
for good, for he was a man of wide sympathy, splendid organizing power, and considerable force as a preacher. By his
genial manner he commanded the respect of all classes, but by a mysterious Providence a stroke deprived him of his speech,
which he has not negated. His portrait is inserted as a token of sympathetic regard.
The Rev. JOHN CLIFFORD (whose titles may he given as a mark of his studies and scholarship) B.A., B.Sc., MA., L.L.B.,
elected Fellow of the Geographical Society, D.D., Lit. D., etc., was born at Sawley in 1836, from which place his
widowed mother removed to Beeston in his early life, and where at the age of 11 he worked in a lace factory as
"jacker-off" - that is removing the unused thread from the bobbins - and for a year he worked in Mr.
Pearson's gardens. During this time he prepared himself for the entrance examination to the Baptist College in
1855, for from a boy he had by private study from Cassells' Popular Educator and solid works of literature
continued his education, and when in 1858 he became a minister in London, he in addition entered the London University
as a student, and carried forward his studies along with his ministerial work, thereby obtaining knowledge in order
that he might impart it to others, for he has been a great lover of young people. His tenacity of purpose under
disadvantages is an object lesson to struggling young men. For 57 years he was minister of one of the principal
Baptist Churches in London, having 1,000 communicant members, and he has obtained an almost world-wide reputation as
an eloquent preacher, hard working minister, social reformer and non-conformist leader.
WILLIAM ROBERTS was a draper and grocer, but he retired in 1873, and has since devoted a large portion of his
time to public affairs. He was many years Overseer of the Poor, a member of the School Board, and the Local Board,
and in 1884 was appointed a Guardian of the Poor, which office, with the exception of a short interval, he has kept
ever since, and although in his 91st year he attends to the duties of the office, and has been warmly commended by
the Board for his long and faithful service. He was one the promoters of the development of the St. John's Grove Estate,
and in this was joined by Dr. Butler, Mr. Joseph Orchard, and others. The negotiations for the purchase of the Cemetery;
its lay-out and building; were entrusted to him and Mr. B. Collington. He was entrusted by Miss Cullen with a cheque
for £5,000 in order to build and endow the Cullen Memorial Homes at Sherwood, which he carried out, and has since
largely administered. He presented the organ for the Wesleyan Church on Chilwell Road, at a cost with other items of
JOHN PIERREPONT was for ten years the Head Teacher of the National School, but in 1878 be went to Holy Trinity
Upper Boys' School, at Nottingham, which was one of the first of the Elementary Schools to take what was then called
Higher Grade instruction, including several sciences, French, German, etc, and had a chemical laboratory, there being
at time 320 boys in average attendance. He has been President of several societies connected with his profession.
After thirty-five years service at Nottingham returned to Beeston, where he is enjoying a well earned rest, but is
still a governor of the Nottingham Secondary Schools, and during the war is the acting correspondent of the Notts.
Education Committee for the Beeston Council Schools, a member of the Southwell Diocesan Conference, and chairman of
the Benevolent and Orphan Funds of the local branch of the N.U.T. at Nottingham, a position which he has held for
many years. With his long experience and deep conviction he is more and more convinced that religion must be the basis
of all education.