Last updated on 4 May 2020
Visit to Chestnut Farm undertaken by Barbara Storrie and Liz Fradd
on Thursday 21st November 2019
A survey taken by the WI in 1975 stated that Chestnut Farm was built in 1872. In Susannah Davies’ will, it stated that she wanted a new farmhouse to be built for the Wild family. The Wild family lived in Tollerton from at least 1807 when Henry’s father, John, was born and were the first tenants of the farm.
There is a suggestion in Potter’s book of Tollerton that the farm site may have been where North Manor House stood which was surrounded by a moat. This Manor was demolished in 1830. We know the property was sold as part of the Tollerton Estate c1929 by Albert Ball, owner of Tollerton Hall.
Henry Wild (born in Tollerton in 1855) and Louisa Lizzie Wild (photos below) lived at Chestnut Farm until around 1924. Henry died in 1930 and Louisa in 1939 but by 1930 they were living at Highfield Road, West Bridgford.
The Kirk family, who came from Edwalton, became tenants in 1927. A brief article in a newspaper refers to Cecil Kirk of Edwalton moving to Tollerton dated 1927. It is possible there were other tenants from 1924 to 1927 but no evidence has been found.
John Gadd took over the farm from his father, Sampson in 1969. John lived in the house for 52 years. He married Rosemary in 1977 and she lived there from then until they sold to the Kean Group in 2003. Sampson Edward Gadd purchased Chestnut Farm from the Tollerton Estate in 1951. The tenant farmer at the time was Mrs C W. Kirk who took over as tenant after the death of her husband C.W. Kirk in 1951. The current owners purchased the house from ‘Kean Group’ who had bought the house and yard from Gadds in 2003. The farm land was not sold and is still owned and worked by one of John and Rosemary’s daughters. John died in 2008.
Exterior – The Flemish brickwork (a style of brick bonding) is a feature of this handsome three storey house and basement. The property was once surrounded by metal railings (see featured picture), but other than this, little has altered externally of its gables and brickwork clogging (repointed in 2020), since it was built in 1872. A WI survey undertaken in 1975 confirms this date. It has a gable roof of thin blue slate (re-roofed in 2002) below which is a string line. The property stands on a slight land rise on the corner of Tollerton Lane and Cotgrave Lane at the north end of the village.
The following pictures of the outside and inside of the house were taken on the day of our visit.
The farm had a number of out buildings, for example a granary and pig houses which have now been converted into a house forming part of the development in Chestnut Mews. One of the most interesting out-buildings that still exists, is the coach house, now used as a garage. To the rear of the coach house is a small room which would have been the living quarters for the coachman. This would also have housed the hot water stove. The only obvious sign of comfort is the remaining fireplace.
The Hot Water Stove had a fire at the bottom and a bowl at top . Water would be placed in the top bowl heated by the fire underneath and laundry would be done here. This was in the room off the garage where it was said the coachman lived.
in the top bowl heated by the fire underneath and laundry would be done here. This was in the room off the garage where it was said the coachman lived.
Picture by courtesy of Rosemary Gadd taken before renovations.
It is thought there was a well in what is now the main drive but this has been covered over for some years.
What was probably stables has been converted into a pool room and storage space. There was originally an earth closet in here.
Outside one of two back doors is a boot scrape embedded into the wall of the house. One of the exits from the house was probably for staff to use as it is at the end of a short corridor where it is thought the servant’s quarters would have been located.
Inside – Over the years there has been extensive restoration. It is thought little of the original features remain, although the only major work the Gadd family undertook was in the dairy which they made into two rooms, one now the dining room and the small store room with bars at the window (see below. Another small room off the hall was incorporated into the sitting room.
The cellar has many similar features to Tollerton Hall and other houses nearby. Shelving remains, which was probably used for the storage of wines and produce. If any old glass still exists in the windows they will have the name ‘Kirk’ scratched into them.
Although not confirmed by evidence there was supposedly a passage from the cellar to the Hall.
In the top attic were large hooks from which hams would have been hung. There were always grease marks on the floor.
There are stone steps down into the current dining room which has a tiled floor. It is thought this was the dairy. Under the table is an area which has now been covered with tiles which was probably the main drain from the dairy when it was in use.
Rosemary Gadd still has the oven door as a feature in the kitchen where she lives now. Picture by courtesy of Rosemary Gadd taken before renovations.