Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Flintham


Inholms Road Flintham
Standing in the middle of Flintham is like stepping back in time.  This could easily be a set from a Miss Marple's film. It's origins go back much further than that though.  Historians think it sprang up in Roman times as a spinal village for the Fosse Way, or the A46 as we call it.



Staithes Beck by Sally-Anne Elliott
The village shop closed in the 1980s: a Community Shop has sprang into existence since then. The incredibly friendly staff gave us a warm welcome ... even though we had absolutely no money to spend! They were amazing sources of information: telling us about the museum opening times and introducing us to the owner of the village dovecote.  We also met a local artist, Sally-Anne Elliott, whose prints and cards are sold in various locations around Nottingham ... including Flintham Community Shop! 



So, on to the village Dovecote.

Cottage Farm Dovecote   Grade II listed
This structure is in the back garden of Cottage Farm.  One of four surviving dovecotes in Flintham, this one was open to the elements until 2012 when it was renovated at a cost of £40,000 and designated a Scheduled Monument because of its national archaeological importance.

There are 81 nest holes in what remains of the structure but it probably had 350 when it was complete.  It was two stories high, had a thatched roof, one small door (to prevent the birds escaping)and some kind of ladder in the centre to aid egg/bird collection.   (See Thoroton photo). I can not imagine how smelly it must have been inside if all 350 holes were occupied!

Dovecotes tended to belong to wealthy people.  A pair of pigeons lay two eggs and seven weeks later the young birds (called squabs) are as large as their parents and ready to fly the nest.  This is when their meat is the most tender ... before the flight muscles have been used.  Squabs would be roasted or baked and were a real delicacy.

Another old structure that has been renovated is the pinfold which is situated just outside the village.

Pinfold .. Grade II listed
I am now noticing village pinfolds all over the place ... I'd never heard of them until a few weeks ago! (See Scarrington).

Thatched Cottage .. Grade II listed
A lovely early 18C building that still needs some work is the Thatched Cottage .... with the pantile roof!  See how steep the roof slopes and the way the walls end?  Signs it used to be thatched ... oh, and the name of course!

There are 38 listed buildings or structures in the village... the Norman church of St Augustine is one of them.


St Augustine Church ... Grade I listed
  It began life in Norman times but the photograph shows it has been altered a number of times.  Apparently it had become quite ruinous until the Thoroton Hildyards stepped in and renovated it in 1828.  It was locked when we visited so we couldn't see the C13 effigy of a Crusader inside.

In the churchyard we found more examples of headstones by Sparrow and Wood; we found the resting places of the Thorotons but one headstone drew our attention because of the inscription -
JOSEPH DIGBY CURTIS 
Artist
WHO DEPARTED THIS LIFE
February 3rd 1857
AGED 62 YEARS
They don't tend to put the person's occupation on the headstone   -   this person must have been AN ARTIST!  Sure enough Google revealed all ....  Joseph Digby Curtis painted this:
Two Pounder (1790) by J Digby Curtis
I recognised it from my school history books. At the end of the 18th century Robert Bakewell began a sheep breeding programme that resulted in the New Leicester ram - it doubled the meat yield. Digby Curtis had been commissioned to paint it ... fine job at exaggerating all the bits Bakewell wanted exaggerating!
Sadly next to Joseph Digby Curtis's headstone was the grave of his 12 year old only child.
Old Vicarage
Next to St Augustine's Church is the magnificent Flintham Hall.


Flintham Hall: Family Seat of  Thoroton Hildyards

 Flintham Hall is owned by the Thoroton Hildyard family.

Yes we have come across the Thorotons before.  Here's a quick run down in case you missed them!   They have been landowners in Notts since medieval times when they were associated with the village of Thoroton (obviously!); by 1677 when Dr Robert Thoroton published 'Antiquities of Nottinghamshire' six generations of Thorotons had lived in Car Colston; Robert's son, Thomas, bought Kirketon Hall in Screveton in 1685 but a couple of generations later they bought Flintham Hall (in 1789) and had the Screveton property demolished in 1824.  The family seat is still based at Flintham. (click here for a little more detail).



At the moment Sir Robert Hildyard and his wife Lucy live at the Hall.  Sir Robert is the nephew of the previous owner, Myles Thoroton Hildyard who died in 2005. Myles was awarded the Military Cross in 1942 after a daring escpae from a POW camp on Crete.  When the Germans invaded Crete Captain Hildyard and his troop were forced to surrender.  He and another officer, Capt Parish, decided to escape from their camp before they could be taken off the island.  They walked away from the camp carrying spades and wearing bright blue coats.  They were stopped by two Germans but persuaded them they were part of a working party. They pointed out their bright attire and asked who would possibly dream of escaping dressed like that? It worked!  Over the following days the islanders helped them and they eventually got a boat to Turkey.  The first his parents heard of his escape was when the bank manager informed them a cheque had been cashed in their son's name.  His mother fainted at the news.

After the war Myles Thoroton Hildyard began to renovate Flintham Hall and grounds. 


The Hall itself has a long history.  Flintham House was the family seat of the Husseys, Hackers, Woodhouses, Disneys and Fytches before it became the home of Colonel Thomas Thoroton. He had the present house built on the site in 1798.  Lewis Wyatt was employed to extend the Hall in 1820 but the main changes took place between 1853 - 1859 when T C Hine remodelled it and added the Italianate style plasterwork. T C Hine was an incredibly busy architect: he designed the Nottingham Railway Station (and the ones at Bingham, Aslockton, Radcliffe, and Elton & Orston), he remodelled the burnt out shell of Nottingham Castle (destroyed by rioters in 1831) to turn it into a museum and the first municipal art gallery in the UK outside of London, he then used some of the castle grounds for The Park Estate (including the great tunnel entrance!) and redeveloped Nottingham General Hospital. He designed loads of churches, vicarages, schools and a few houses like Flintham Hall!  What would Nottingham look like today if he had decided to live elsewhere?!


The conservatory was obviously modelled on the Crystal Palace (Great Exhibition building) of 1851. Apparently the Library fireplace - a particularly fine marble piece by McQuoid, with elaborate carved wooden surround - was purchased at the Exhibition and the Library redecorated around it.  You can see the interior of the Hall by watching 'Easy Virtue', a film starring Colin Firth and Kristin Scott Thomas but Leonard Jacks described the place after a visit in 1881 and it doesn't appear to have been greatly altered.  The main living room has a small spiral staircase leading up to a gallery where bookcases cover the walls allowing views of the living room below and the gardens outside.  A door takes you onto a balcony overlooking the plant filled conservatory with a fountain in the middle of the tiled floor.  This structure is lit by gas lamps in the shape of lilies made from bronze with glass shades.  Beautiful!  This is a Grade I listed building

The Fish Pond.
Apparently there was once a summer house on one of the islands on this lake.



It was a previous owner of the Hall who was good enough to provide for the education of the poor residents of Flintham.  In 1707 a member of the Hacker family left a parcel of land to the future owners of the Hall; the vicar and the church wardens.  Rent from this land paid the wages of a school teacher. Lessons took place in the church until £300 was raised for the school building which opened in 1779. The side of the building bears a stone carved with the Hacker Coat of Arms.  


The Robert Hacker Charity School was replaced by a newer school in 1874. The old building became the Reading Room, then it had various uses until the present day when it is the Flintham Museum
The 'new' school of 1874

Street view

Street view
The Boot and Shoe on Main Street is a welcoming village local. It used to be a coaching inn ... as you can see from the high opening into the carpark ... large enough to allow the coach through.


  This egalitarian name suggests it welcomed people of all classes ... the workers in boots or the gentry in shoes.  It was a popular drinking hole for the Syerston airbase pilots during the Second World War.  One of the most famous patrons being Wing Commander Guy Gibson VC who led the Dam Busters raid in 1943.


Map of Flintham: click here.


Cheers!

Pint @ Boot & Shoe

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