History Walk of 2014

The walk started at the Parish Rooms (NG12 4EB).

Methodist Church opposite was built in 1964.  As well as being a place of worship it will be familiar to many residents as the polling station for local and national government        elections.

Air Hostess Pub, also built around the late 1960s, is quite unusual in having a piste for playing petanque. There was once a large carved sign depicting an air hostess outside the pub but when refurbishment took place in 2011 the original sign was removed and replaced by a conventional hanging sign depicting a painting of an air hostess.

Memorial Bench – The Olympics and Paralympics in 2012 inspired the children at Tollerton Primary School to design a special Olympic bench, featuring their favourite sports. They worked with artist Hilary Cartmel to create the designs that were then cast in stainless steel to form the centre of the bench. This project, including the refurbishment of the shop frontage, was funded by Nottinghamshire County Council’s Local Improvement Scheme.

The walk then went down Burnside Grove, past Tollerton Primary School and Tollerton Playgroup. There are several interesting things to note as you pass down Burnside Grove.

Burnside Grove – The Burnsides were the last family to own Tollerton Hall so presumably this is why the road was given this name.  The majority of houses on Burnside Grove were built in the 1950s. Prior to this there would have been open fields all around and the stretch of Burnside Grove between Bentinck Avenue and Tollerton Lane did not exist at all until then. Bentinck Avenue, off Burnside Grove, was once a farm track to Russells Farm.

Diamond Jubilee Bench and Bin – both of these are located on the grass verge outside the school. They were created to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012. Pupils from the school contributed to the design of the bench with its ornate crowns as part of their Diamond Jubilee celebrations. They also helped to design the nearby bin which featured every child’s face cast in bronze.

Hoe Hill, Clipston on the Wolds – clearly visible at the end of Burnside Grove as you look across the fields. Located on the western edge of Clipston-on-the-Wolds its distinctive feature being the horseshoe shaped wood.  Hoe Hill is the highest point in the immediate area being 86m above sea level.

At the bottom of Burnside Grove the walk continued on to Tollerton Lane taking in: 

Affordable Housing – a group of 5 bungalows and houses built in response to Tollerton residents’ identified lack of affordable housing in the village back in 2005. The homes, developed by the Trent Valley Partnership, were created for people with local connections to the village. All of the homes were built with lots of additional features to make them carbon neutral, including improved insulation, rain wate recycling, recovery ventilation, solar panels for water heating, photo voltaic panels to assist with providing hot water heating and ‘A’ rated condensing boilers as back up for when the sun does not shine!

 Just beyond the affordable housing on the right there is a Public Footpath sign. Cross the road here and take this footpath. As you enter the field you will see on your left:

Hall Farm:  The original farm was the building to the extreme left built in circa 1700 (original part was probably a single story building but has been added to over the centuries) and bought by the Brown family in the 1920s later to become owned by the Blackburn family. The farm buildings were sold for development in around 2007 and the farm house in 2010. The buildings next to it were once a cattle shed and pig sty now converted into one house and a barn converted to another. The house on the right replaces what was the farm cottage.

Further down the footpath you can see Plumtree Church towards the right and part of Plumtree Village. The path then bends to the right and then left over the small wooden bridge that crosses the Polser Brook.

Polser Brook meanders through Tollerton’s fields. It is also visible from Cotgrave Lane where it travels under this road. The brook feeds the lake at Tollerton Hall and is culverted  under the Grantham Canal towards the end of Tollerton Lane.

After crossing the Polser Brook this took you onto private property – the ‘normal’ public footpath which would take you straight across the field towards Cotgrave Road)

The walk took you behind the Hall:

Tollerton Hall is a Grade II listed building and was the residence of the Lord of the Manor. It dates back to 1792 but was rebuilt in about 1820 with the addition of gothic towers, turrets, pinnacles and battlements though some of these features were later removed. The main families who have owned the Hall are the Barrys, Pendocks, Neales, Broadhursts and Burnsides. One of its most colourful owners was Pendock Barry whose eccentric behaviour is well documented. After the death of Alice Burnside the estate was sold in 1928 to a           consortium which included Sir Albert Ball, father of the flying ace, and ceased to be a private house. The Hall was totally refurbished and became a residential country club. The aim of its investors was to make it the centre of social life in the Midlands but this venture was short lived.

In 1930 the Hall became the Headquarters for the Paton Congregational Institute, a theological training college for Congregational Ministers. During WW2 the Hall and estate were requisitioned by the government and used for training for the D-Day landings by the British Army, the RAF and the American paratroopers. Whilst the troops camped out in the grounds, the officers resided at the Hall itself. After the landings, it was used as a prisoner of war camp where German and Italian prisoners were guarded by the Polish Army. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Nottingham purchased the Hall in 1946 to be used as a minor seminary and was known as St Hugh’s College. Upon the closure of the college in 1968 it was acquired by Bland Bankart Financial Services (now part of the Oval Group) and has remained a commercial headquarters to this day.

The walk took you near the Airport:

Nottingham Airport with its hangers, runways and light aircraft on your right. This is a now a private flying club and has a long history. The airfield at Tollerton was officially opened on 19 June 1930 by Sir Sefton Branckner, who was the Minister of Aviation at this time. Truman Aviation took over the site in 1963 on a 75 year lease.  The restaurant on this site, now called the Spice Barn (previously Miah’s) was once the airfield’s clubhouse called the ‘Tollerton Flying Club’ and was a very popular venue used by residents in the 1960s and 70s when there was a regular Saturday night disco. Grand Metropolitan then took it over and ran it as a restaurant called ‘The Inn at Tollerton’. Sadly this building was destroyed by fire in 1982. The airfield was originally a civilian all grass field in the 1930s but during WW2 was a site for training pilots and buildings here were used as a base for overhauling and repairing Lancaster, Hampden, Dakota and Halifax planes.

As you come towards the village from the Airport you approach:.

North End Cottages. These were originally built for farm workers as ‘two up, two down’ cottages. Above the arch the inscription, which is no longer readable, said “These houses together with the schoolroom were built for the accommodation and comfort of the labouring classes of Tollerton by Pendock Barry Barry Esq M.A.”.  The schoolroom was once located here as well as accommodation for the school teacher to the south of the arch. Prior to the building of this schoolroom attended lessons at the church.

The first allotments in the village are opposite North End Cottages on your right. Originally created for the tenants of the cottages, the land was given by Albert Ball in 1927 who owned the Hall at that time. There are only 3 working allotments here and a field that was once used as a small holding but presently not being utilised. The road here was initially very narrow and was widened in 1966. Allotments have made a resurgence in recent years and the Parish Council opened further allotments down the bottom of Tollerton Lane due to popular demand.

Chestnut Farm –  This was once one of 6 farms in ‘old’ Tollerton, all clustered in or off the old village apart from Russells Farm located off Burnside Grove. This farm was owned by the Gadd family from the early 1950s. Nottingham City Council gave Chestnut Farm to the family as compensation when they were evicted from Clifton pastures to enable the large council estate to be built there.

On the opposite corner is the old Lodge Gates with its gamekeeper’s cottage (North Lodge Coach House). The architecture here is similar to that of the Hall. Inside the gate to the left is a self-made Anderson shelter which was built in the second world war by the owners at the time.

The Pinfold also sits near this junction and inside provides information about the village. Tollerton’s pinfold has been situated on both sides of Tollerton Lane near to Cotgrave Lane.

Originally it was close to where the Millennium sign now stands and the village stocks were also situated here. The last recorded use of these stocks was in 1845 when drunks were tied here to sober up. The original pinfold was demolished in 1804 (at the time of the Enclosure Act) to create the Cotgrave Lane junction and was then rebuilt across the road, but this was knocked down in 1966 when Tollerton Lane was widened. Potter’s History of Tollerton  (1929) states that … ‘when the second pinfold was built the old squire who bore the cost gave the workmen such liberal potions that a drunken orgy at the smithy marked the completion of the new building’. Tollerton’s Millennium sign was erected by the parish council in celebration of the 2000 Millennium. It captures well aspects of our village’s heritage – farming, the church, the hall and the airport.

The grassy bank on the west side of Tollerton Lane, opposite the pinfold and running down to the North End Cottages, was named Pinfold Bank to remind parishioners of the village’s pinfold.

Little Lane to your right is a track that leads up to Homestead Farm. It is suggested that there was once a mill built on land near Little Lane but its exact location is not known. Alas it was burnt down when the miller carelessly discarded a match on lighting his pipe.

Opposite Little Lane used to be the Forge, now private dwellings called Tollgate Lodge and The Smithy. You can still see the archway (that has been since been filled in) where the horses were taken through to be shoed.

The large house on the left, now called Bassingfield House, was previously Bassingfield Farm; a pig farm once farmed by the Plowright family.  It was once described as a Capital Farm. A prior resident of this property was a Miss Shipstone of the brewery family but long before this it may also have been the location of the local inn or pub or brewery (or all three) and was supposed to have had a brick building to the rear where the brewing took place. Where the tennis court is now there used to be a row of workers’ cottages.

On the right (No 165 Tollerton Lane) was where the old post office used to be. It was listed as such on the sale documents of Tollerton Hall Estate in 1928 and was run by Agnes              Chambers. There was a telephone on a board just inside the front door that villagers could use when Mrs Chambers lived here.

Manor Cattery on the right was opened as such in 1988. When the former residents were building an extension and knocking bricks out a load of grain appeared suggesting that there was once a grain store here. The same residents also found a well behind the original cottage and soil toilets, the contents of which were collected every week.

Manor Farm was located just beyond the cattery and on the land around the current barn conversions there were standings for milking cows and stables for cart horses. It was once described as ‘suitable for a gentleman farmer’. The larger house parallel to the pavement was once owned by the Farnsworth family who owned ‘Pork Farms’. Fred Farnsworth also owned Glebe Farm.

Approaching the church, you will see the old Telephone Box which is now the Tollerton Historic Group’s ‘hub’ and hosts different displays and information about the history of the village.

On your right is the stone War Memorial erected to remember the servicemen of Tollerton who fought and perished in the Great War as well as those who died during WW2. Here too is remembered Guardsman Michael Roland of the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards who was deployed with the UK contingent of NATO forces in Afghanistan and died in 2012 at the age of 22 years whilst on patrol in Helmand province.

To the right is a newer memorial unveiled on 1 June 2013 in remembrance of the men in the United States 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment who, as part of the United States Airborne Division, were camped in the ground of Tollerton Hall when preparing for combat in WW2.  Just beyond the War Memorial are two properties one of which was once occupied by members of the Hopewell family who owned Hopewell’s Furniture Store in Nottingham. In 1959 Bernard Hopewell was the organist at St Peter’s Church, Tollerton and paid for a major overhaul of the church’s organ.

The Church entrance is next on your left and you can see the original vicarage on your right where lots of work is currently being undertaken by the family now living here to restore it. Before you get to the church itself, walk along the path and then to the left on to the grass where it is signed towards the brick wall for a view of the Hall. A better view can be seen a little further around the church on the mound and (if you’re tall or standing on tip toes) you can see the front entrance and the lake. The Hall is now occupied by the Oval Group and is not accessible to the public. To the right of the grass mound you can see a door and the remains of a passage way that the owners of the Hall used to access the church but only one side is still standing. This side door to the church would have led the Hall’s residents straight upstairs so that the gentry did not have to mix with the common man!

In the Churchyard you will notice lots of old gravestone leaning against the boundary walls (they were moved so that the land could be reused), many are in excellent shape given their age and some date back to the early 1750s.