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A History Walk around Upper Broughton. Catherine Jones has designed and written this walk which starts at the Church and follows a circular route round the village.

Starting at St Luke’s Church, notice how the land drops away to the south and east but climbs to the west. The church was not built on the top of the hill as at Nether Broughton and in many other villages, but was sited by the source of water which allowed the village to thrive. The village pump has always been crucial to the villagers, but a spring known as Woundheal, in the fields lower down the hill, and on land which until recently belonged to the church, may well have been a religious site before the church was built. It might infact have been one reason for its siting.

Walking up Church Lane, bridleway, until the late 19th century you would have been walking through the churchyard itself-a footpath with stiles at either end, this may be the reason for the gravestones to face west, towards the path, rather than the usual east. You are also walking through the middle of the early manorial compound; this included what is now Yew Tree House as well as the church and churchyard. The southern end of Long Cottage, which comes up to the churchyard, was recently rebuilt but was originally the school room in which, during the 1850s and 60s several ladies successively ran a Dame School.

In the early 19th century the row of cottages at right angles to the lane were joined by a second row along the lane. The existing three cottages were previously divided into six and were inhabited by, among others, the brickmakers and their Master-Robert Hopkins. The brickyards were along Hickling Lane, the earlier one is on the left where the change in level caused by the working face of clay can still be seen under the left-hand hedge. The later brickyard was opposite and several ponds remain again showing where the clay was dug out.

As Church Lane bends there is a group of Scots pines planted on the verge. These are a replacement for a similar group which grew on the brow of the hill seen just through the field gate on the right. They were a landmark of unknown age but known as ‘The Drovers’ Trees ’

Turning right onto Colonel’s Lane, Sulney Fields (painted pink), is shown on the 1817 map as a fairly small farm with buildings but its position, and the wide view of the Belvoir escarpment led to it changing hands several time and gradually becoming a gentleman’s residence. In the early 19th century it became the residence of Samuel Wright Esq, one of the Nottingham banking family. He was a military man and, as his plaque on the South wall of the church says had been ‘formerly Lieut. Colonel Commandant of the Bunny Volunteers’. The name ‘Colonel’s Lane’ no doubt commemorates him.

Walking back to the Main Road, Mill House, on the right, reflects the ownership of the mill, rather than the home of the miller. The mill itself was on a mound which can still just be seen beside the Main Road hedge and not far from the corner of Hickling Lane. The last miller recorded was William Barnes in 1871, the mill was sold in 1884 and presumably dismantled.

Continuing down the Main Road you are following the northern boundary of the early manorial holding. Yew Tree House has been much altered but is reported to have early medieval work in the cellars which must belong to the original manor house, built for the de Suligny family who held the manor in the 12th century. Carefully cross the Main Road on to Top Green alongside the triangle now known as Daffodil Green but previously called Bleaching Hill, the grassy slope used for drying and bleaching sheets. Facing the Green is a long building, for many years the village shop and Post Office. In the early 20th century the Heafford family expanded the business and established small branches in surrounding villages. The shop closed in the 1990s.

The land rising up on your right comprised the orchard and garden of Broughton House, it’s buildings and yards are on your left, west of Well Lane. This was always a sizeable farm and responded to the new ideas of farming in the late 18th century with a circular and sunken cobbled yard for gathering the cows and a raised walkway to give clean access to the dairy and kitchens. This still exists behind the street façade.

The green path up the hill opposite, now rather overgrown, was originally the way up to ‘The Common Hill’, and is noted in the Enclosure Award of 1762 when the Common, which had provided grazing for cottagers and others without land of their own, was enclosed and included as part of the lands awarded to existing land-holders, thus removing a means of livelihood from some of the poorer villagers.

Hill View, on the right, was the village blacksmith, the forge in the large building on the left. The right-hand side of Greenhill Cottage, then a pair of houses, built in the 19thcentury, was, in the early 20thcentury, the home of Ellis Marson, his wife and five children. Mr Marson was disabled but made a living from mending and selling parts for bicycles from a shed in his garden. He also charged accumulators for early radios and in his spare time delivered newspapers all over the village. The left-hand house was the home of a village hero; Mr Bernard Hayes came here from New Zealand in the 1930s and stayed. In the 1950s he took responsibility for organising and providing for the youth of the village. He not only ran the Youth and Social Club, including starting the tennis club, but also mowed Cross Green, installed the first swings, seesaw and sand pit, and put up the posts and chains to keep children safe. He then took responsibility for the upkeep of all this as long as he was able. Before the coming of Mr Hayes Greenhill Cottage had housed a Grocer and Draper.

In dry weather it is possible to make out a curving path up the Green, this is a shadow of an earlier main route north towards Nottingham which came along Bottom Green and cut across the Green to run along Top Green giving an easier slope for heavy waggons.

Stone Cross Cottage was formerly known as Barrack Yard, a name which might refer to a boarding house for unmarried farm workers.

The Cross, which stands on Cross Green, is probably a relic of a village market, though no charter has been found, but there are other clues in the layout of the roads. It was common to widen the ends of the roads leading to a market to help funnel the animals towards it. The end of Top Green, by the Main Road, has this shape and, before the building of Hill Farm, Bottom Green could have served the same purpose. The market was perhaps set up by the Clifton family who acquired the manor in 1278. Several of the houses facing the Green have a history of trade; as well as the blacksmith and the grocer and draper, the Old Post Office is self-explanatory, but in the early 20th century the Robinsons lived next door at Southfields and made a living by cutting and dying branches of broom for the florist’s trade, older people remembered the seepage of dye made from blackberries or beetroot, running from what is now the garage, across the path.

At the same time Bramley Cottage was the home of Mrs Goodson and her daughter who ran a small shop and were well-remembered for selling ice -cream from a cart.

Turning on to Station Road, The Lodge is another gentleman’s residence made out of a small farm house. In the 1950s the Victor Smiths lived here and they donated the land opposite their house and paid for the laying of one tennis court. They were keen to prevent the land they looked out over being used for Council Houses. The second tennis court was paid for by a village subscription and the ‘Upper Broughton Youth and Social Club’ was born.

Tall Pines was built in part of the former grounds of The Lodge.

Greystone Cottage was once a barn belonging to Hillside Farm, the long wooden beam which spanned the wide opening can still be seen on the front. The farm itself is remembered for its last farming resident; Peggy Barnett, who kept hens and also peacocks which lived in the field next to the tennis courts and were a local attraction.

Orchard Lea was built in the 1890s, probably in response to the coming of the railway and the village station which allowed Nottingham businessmen and professionals to live in the countryside and commute to work. In 1901 it was the residence of Edward Trevor, Medical Practitioner, born in Dublin.

The Croft appears on the earliest known map of Broughton, drawn by R Brett in 1833. The map also gives the name of the occupier; G Hebb. Francis Hebb, born 1713, is recorded in the burial register as ‘buried in his own orchard, he is believed to have lived at The Croft.

The New House was built in the 1960s at a time when the village was concerned about the lack of children and young people in the community. The new family was welcomed and became the first of many new arrivals.

In the 1970s it was followed by Sulney Close which was built on the former orchard of the Cross family, after much discussion about where to locate the council houses and old people’s bungalows. Several elderly villagers moved in at once, and some local families.

Whitehouse Farm for many years belonged to the Cross family. In the 1911 census it is the home of Miss Kate Cross, aged 25, Cheese maker on her own account, and her sister Mabel, aged 21 who worked with her. Their parents, brothers and sister lived and farmed down the road at Holme Farm. Later their elder sister Harriet joined them and the three lived at White House Farm together for the rest of their lives.

If you walk further up Station Road, and go carefully round the dip and bend which was always known as ‘Lukey Barnes’ ‘oller’ (he had an allotment in what is now trees and scrub behind the right-hand hedge), you come to the Old Station House.

The station opened in 1880, allowing easy travel to Nottingham for commuters and also transport for churns of milk to delivery depots. The building beside the road was the original Booking Hall and is still largely unchanged. The railway offered employment to several village men, as porters, signalmen and platelayers, though the Station Master was brought in from another station.

Turning back towards the village the first houses on the right were built on former allotments but the original Pond Farm, now Tudor Cottage, was among the oldest houses in the village. It had a timber frame infilled with wattle and daub, the main local building material. In front of the farm, beside the road, was a large pond where farm carts and waggons as well as farm horses, could be washed down.

Meadow Farm and the cottages behind it were developed from the extensive buildings of Village Farm beyond.

Village Farm is a ‘Leicestershire farmhouse’, that is one built of 2 ½ storeys with the top floor made to house live-in labourers. Employing labour on this basis was done on an annual basis, often at a ‘mop fair’, the labourers usually being young unmarried men whose employment included food and keep. It also allowed the farmer some control over what could sometimes be a rather unruly section of village society.

Holme Farm was built rather later than Pond Farm and in a more economical way. Though it was much added to later, the original walls seem to have been of clay and straw.  This was the original home of the Cross family, who have been represented in the village since the thirteenth century, and still are today. In later centuries the large farm yard was well-provided with buildings, including barns and cow hovels. It even included a built-in dog kennel. It’s eastern range was later transformed into The Acorns.

The old butcher’s shop, including buildings, a well and a cottage has recently been converted into a single dwelling- Pie Crust Cottage.

This had been the last remaining butcher’s shop in the village, at least 2 others had previously been run from other buildings.  On the 1880 map the building seems to have been a row of cottages, the shop fronting the road has not yet been added, but by 1911 Fred Bailey was operating his butchery business from here. His son Sidney later started making and selling the Pork Pies that made them famous.

The front of Dexter’s Close Cottage is of 18th century date, the house has been much changed over the years but until recently still included an internal cob wall. Under the grass of the paddock behind the house lie archaeological remains of what appears to be a substantial stone-built house. This paddock is at a higher level than the surrounding fields and the remains may relate to the medieval stone wall that until recently ran along the hedge behind the tennis pavilion; possibly a boundary wall. This may represent a new Manor House built by the Clifton family in the 13th century

Gills’Close and Riggside were built in the early 1930s by Mr Fred Bailey to house the families of his elder son Sidney and his daughter Mary. Sidney decided against becoming a master butcher and made a living producing eggs which he sold in Tollerton and parts of Nottingham. His younger brother Jack ran the butchery business. Mary married a Congregational Minister, a job which provided a house, so Gill’s Close was rented out. These were believed to be the first houses in the village built with a bathroom, though the water still had to be pumped up from a well in the garden and heated in a boiler. The norm was a tin bath in front of the fire.

Beyond the tennis courts the timber-framed Willow Cottage has been altered several times; 19th century images show no upper windows and in the 1950s a separate ‘cottage’ was made from rooms at the back. The earliest parts date from at least the 17th century, and are of a wooden ‘box frame’ construction.  It was a high-status dwelling and is probably the fore-runner of today’s Willow Farm. On the map of 1833 the name ‘W Brett at the Cross’ is written next to Willow Cottage, he is one of 3 members of the family all called William and all farmers at that time. The other two were ‘Brett at the Corner’ (at Corner House Farm) and ‘Brett at the Stockwell’ (at what is now Yew Tree House)

Willow Farm is of interest because of the lead water butt which stands outside. It is decorated with signs of the zodiac and is dated 1777. There are many stories about it but the only one with any proof is that it was stolen one night in the 1990s, and reported by a neighbour who saw it being taken away. It was found by the police in a shed in Sutton in Ashfield, with other metal objects about to be melted down! Fortunately it was restored.

Pear Tree Cottage, on the left, has been developed from a farm building which was built, probably without permission, on the original Cross Green which once extended as far as the hedge of The Saddlery.

Bottom Green Farm, with its extensive milking parlour, now ‘The Barn’, was once also a small boarding school. In 1891 Thomas Sharpe ran his business as a Grazier and Cattle Dealer while his daughter Mary, aged 45, styled herself a School Mistress;’ and had two living-in pupils; Georgina Jalland, aged 12 from Radcliffe on Trent and Gertrude Moss aged 14 from Nottingham.

The original Saddlery was indeed used as such by one man; John Wilson, from Lincolnshire who carried on his trade of repairing, and producing harnesses for working and riding horses from 1841 when he was 30. He continued his trade and, at the age of 60 took on an apprentice, William Miller. Mr Wilson was also a Wesleyan Preacher and a Trustee of the Wesleyan Chapel at Nether Broughton. Despite this he was buried in Upper Broughton Churchyard at the age of 80.  The present house includes a re-building, and slight re-siting of the original workshop.

The two semi-detached cottages on the left have a date plaque of 1753 but this relates to the addition of a solid upper storey, rather than the original loft under the thatch reached by a ladder. The bricks are some of the earliest made in the village brick yard, down Hickling Lane.

Well Lane once had a pump, outside an old cottage half-way up, but the name may have come from the hollow ring of feet running down the top section. The farm yard of Broughton House once extended to Bottom Green, with a wooden double gate where Sulney Cottage now stands.

Ivy House, on the right, is another ancient building with a cruck frame supporting the end wall. In the mid-20th century it was home to Mr Jack Marson, his wife Kathleen and their only son John. Between them they ran a remarkable village store from a large metal shed behind the house. Its main stock was fruit and vegetables of all types but they also had tinned and packeted goods, firewood, coal, sand and cement. Mrs Marson also sold ice-cream. Father and son had a delivery lorry, beautifully displaying the fruit and veg, which had rounds in many local villages including Willoughby where they usually arrived about 10.00pm but still did a good trade.

Down the field road beyond Cherry Trees lies Corner House Farm, which probably got its name from being in the corner of the ‘ring of the town’. This is the boundary between village houses with their gardens, and the village fields.

South View looks Edwardian at the front, with its veranda but at the back the brickwork is of the 16th or 17th century and the high gable suggests an original thatched roof.

Hill Farm was for a while The Greyhound Inn, on its closure in 1904 a ‘funeral card’ was printed bemoaning the loss of ‘the landlord, skittles, and the beer’.

The small green to the west is common land and before the building of the farm the line of the present frontages to neighbouring houses shows where the edge of the road to Willoughby ran. Before the coming of the turnpike in 1758 this was the main road through the village, the lane in front of the Golden Fleece being too steep for carriages.

The Village Hall was built in 1899 on the site of a row of small cottages. The land was bought by the vicar at the time, but the building was funded by villagers paying for bricks. When they came to putting on the roof the money ran out and the church had to step in. This led to many years’ dispute as to ownership and the name of the building; was it the Church Hall or the Parish Room?

Rose Cottage was one of several cottages owned by the Dowson family and rented to villagers, it also had a piece of garden, and a chemical toilet, on the other side of the Main Road! It was given to the village by the Dowsons in the 1960s and became an additional meeting room.

The Cranny was the home of a well-loved villager; Mrs Annie Ecob, known by all as Aunty Annie. She had no children of her own but invited many village children to her tiny house, where they put an old door on the bed and played card games. Sometimes she entertained them in the Village Hall, lighting the fire and teaching them dances and round games. She also loved the hunt and pushed many babies up Muxloe Hill in their prams to watch the hounds.

Where the bus shelter now stands there was, until about 1960, a single storey house built of cob. It had a thatched roof, covered with zinc, and inside had a loft extending over the back section and reached by a ladder. It also had a lovely cottage garden.

Cross the main road with care, to Chapel Lane. The small green at the top of the lane was the site of the Village Pound for stray animals.  The Beech tree, now dead but still standing, was planted in 1937 to commemorate the Coronation of George VI.

The Chapel was started by a group of Baptists from East Leake Chapel, it opened in 1795. The founders came from several villages in the East Leake direction and included cordwainers, a breeches-maker, a servant and 3 framework knitters. Unusually for a chapel, it has a burial ground with some interesting monuments, and also the Monument for All which was installed recently. It was designed and sculpted by John Nicholls, an ex-resident. The Chapel closed in 1995 but the burial ground is open to the public.

Turn right onto the Main Road and Sunny Cottage and Church View are opposite, but more easily viewed from this side of the road, they were developed early this century from a range of cottages and outhouses. The building work revealed features and materials of many ages including some 16th century work. On the 1817 map a second parallel house is shown in front, and in 19th century census returns the area appears to have housed workshops and small businesses, including a butcher and a grocer.

The Tap and Run was originally The Golden Fleece and is on another early village site though the building has been much altered. The village carrier service ran from here to Nottingham.

Church Farm was another 2 ½ storey farmhouse. It was once the home of Mr Frederick Poole, who had been a member of the South Notts Hussars and who answered the call for troops at the time of the Crimean War. He not only went to fight but also took his horse, properly equipped. After their service both of them returned to Broughton. The horse is said to be buried on the farm.

The Rectory stands behind high gates and cannot be seen from the road. The original medieval house was replaced in the 19th century to a design by Samuel Teulon, he also drew up a Victorian Gothic plan for the church itself but this was never accomplished.

St Luke’s church has its own guide, though one of its finest details can be seen from outside. The eastern wall of the porch contains a re-used carving, possibly a calvary, dating from 1100s, it includes a small figure holding his hands up in prayer, it is thought to represent St. Oswald, to whom the church was formerly dedicated.

There are also several ‘Belvoir Angel’ gravestones in the churchyard.

Catherine Jones

Upper Broughton History Group

2020

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