Thursday, 25 June 2015


A few minutes drive from Scarrington and we arrived at Hawksworth.  The road sign was disappointingly plain but that was forgiven because of the beautiful verge filled with wild flowers, bees and butterflies.  Wonderful! It is a trend championed by Sarah Raven to encourage more wild life friendly planting by councils.  Definitely to be applauded.

Hawksworth was mentioned twice in the Domesday Book (where it is called Hocheword).  It was listed under the lands belonging to Gilbert of Ghent (land for three ploughs; twenty freemen and a smallholder) and Walter Aincourt (two freemen and one smallholder who have two oxen and a plough with a two acre meadow).  The name suggests the village began as a farm (worth means 'farm') but in 1916 a Neolithic axe head was found at Glebe Farm suggesting the site has a very long history.

The village is made up of large detached houses; beautifully converted barns; rose covered cottages; a Norman church and the Progress Works of W B Stubbs.

We parked outside the Progress Works.  On a weekday we wouldn't stand a chance as employees' cars fill the laybys.

W B Stubbs Works, Hawksworth

The name on the building may be W B Stubbs but the business was actually started by Thomas Wade, a blacksmith and maker of agricultural implements.  This was his workshop and forge.

William Blount was Thomas's son.  William was born out of wedlock to Sarah Stubbs of Bingham in 1834.  Thomas married Sarah in 1835 and started the company a year later.  The family prospered ... by the 1851 census they were employing two household servants. (See Leicestershire Antills and Connected Families here). By 1871 the company was employing three men and two apprentices.  Three years later Thomas died and William inherited the business.

Memorial for Thom. & Sarah Wade
Thomas and Sarah Wade are buried in the local church yard.   Close to their memorial is the grave of Hannah, wife of W B Stubbs.  She died in 1858 at the young age of 25.  There is no cause of death mentioned.  William Blount married Sarah Hill in 1862 and she gave him two sons, William and George.

William is mentioned in the My Oxton website as being called upon to fix a threshing machine.  Even after the combine harvester was introduced the inefficiency of agricultural machinery has brought a lot of work to the Stubbs family! 

In 1969 they could have experienced a major set back but for the loyalty of their workers.  One Friday night the business premises caught fire.  It took 40 fire fighters to bring it under control.  The staff volunteered to work all weekend without pay to ensure production could continue on Monday morning.  Now that is impressive.

Today the firm is highly regarded for equestrian equipment.

W B Stubbs Works, Hawksworth

Great window but can someone PLEASE let BAZ out!

We walked down the road to the Grade II listed Norman church. It is dedicated to St Mary and All Saints.  There is a large tympanum (an arch over a door) built into the South wall ... it was originally over the West door but was moved during restoration. 
Tympanum, Hawksworth Church
In the centre next to the large cross are two figures thought to be the two thieves crucified with Jesus.  The very weathered inscription translates to read "Walter and his wife Cecilina caused this church to be made in honour of Our Lord and St Mary and of all God's saints likewise."  The Walter mentioned is thought not to be the same Walter as mentioned in the Doomsday Book as the church was built later.  Perhaps his son or even his grandson. 
The newly formed Thoroton Society visited Hawksworth church in 1897 and were concerned over the erosion.  They suggested that, as it was no longer in its original place, it should be moved inside to protect it. Well, 118 years later it is almost illegible and still unprotected. 
The shaft of a large stone Saxon cross is kept inside the church.  Standing at six feet tall, it is highly decorated with carvings of knots and plaits. The stone is thought to have marked the place for outdoor preaching before the church was actually built.
St Mary & All Saints, Hawksworth
Three grotesque gargoyles decorate the side wall staring out over the cemetery.  They look quite ferocious but I rather like them.

On the other hand some of the other carvings could be described as unsettling! 

One stood out as being very attractive.  There was no record of who she was:

Next to the church is a magnificent white house - Hawksworth Place, a Grade II listed building.  It used to be the Rectory.  In the days when second sons of wealthy gentlemen often chose to become vicars they certainly knew how to look after the clergy!

Hawksworth Place

Round the corner from the church you pass Top Farm ... another Grade II listed building.

Top Farm

I was rather taken with the weather vane.  Looking round we began to notice more of them.

There are wonderful views of the country side from over Top Farm paddocks.

View from Top Farm

Further down the road ....

Street view, Hawksworth

... stands the Old School House.  The National School was built in 1844 .... now it is an attractive house.

Old School House, Hawksworth

Then there is the Old Post Office ....

Old Post Office, Hawksworth

....that too is a home....

Wesleyan Chapel, Hawksworth

Here is the Wesleyan Chapel .... yep it's also a house.

They all added interest to this lovely old village as we continued down the road to Hawksworth Manor.

Hawksworth Manor
Built in the 17th century it too is a Grade II listed building.  I was particularly enamoured by the window casings ... they were installed mid 19th century when the house was extended and improved. 

We couldn't see the Pigeon Cote from the road but apparently it is at the side of the house, dates back to 1665 and is also Grade II listed.

Two more houses caught my attention:

One because it was empty and the windows were fake, just painted onto the wall:

The second because it was just lovely to look at:

As we walked back to the car we passed the telephone box.  I could say, "No longer in use" but that wouldn't be quite true.

What a good idea. 

We spoke to a local who moved to the village about four years ago.  He loves it because of its great community spirit.  I think I appreciate it for its attitude toward environmental issues.


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