|River Soar from Plough Inn carpark|
In 1634 Thomas Skipwith of Cotes (brother to Henry Skipwith who we wrote about in the Stanford on Soar post where he met with King Charles I in 1645) obtained a grant from the King allowing him to improve the navigation on the Soar for barges and boats. By 1794 river traffic had increased and the Leicester Canal opened with a 40 mile section of the Soar being used by industrial barges. Throughout the early 1800s this river was a busy transportation link as it connected to the River Trent giving access to a wide region for trade. Industries sprang up along the canal bank: malthouses, brewing yards and hosiery factories and the coal fields made full use of the route. Pollution of the river became a problem and the waters were frequently a vivid pink colour from the Leicester textile works. Thankfully those days are passed and the poor fish can swim around in a healthier environment.
Here is a 1890 painting of a river barge passing the village on the Soar.
|Normanton on Soar by J Orrock 1890|
|River Soar from the Church|
This wonderful old building in the photograph above dates back to 1454 and, unsurprisingly, is the oldest house in the village. It is a Cruck house (meaning it was built with curved timbers in the roof). It used to be the Old Post Office but it is now the only lived in cruck house in Nottinghamshire.
St James' Church (pictured below) is older still ...it is a 13th century Grade I listed building. In the graveyard we found a number of slate headstones and a row of four War Graves which commemorate the young crew of a Wellington bomber that crashed near the village on 19th April 1944 having taken off on a training flight from Wymeswold just half an hour earlier.
|Church of St James|
You can read about the church here .... but I just want to quote one section from the link as it amused me. Apparently inside the church is a large memorial dedicated to Anne Ragdale. She was obviously highly regarded as the memorial outlines her virtues in extremely glowing terms ... to the extent that it really annoyed the historian John Throsby who wrote:
"And a large tablet to the memory of a late rector's wife, who died in 1768. She might deserve a good character; but the flattering inscription, intending to display her virtues, &c. is the most fulsome stuff I ever beheld: When all the goodness and perfections of the CREATOR are ascribed to his creature's, how offensive must it be to him who gave us being?... should we suffer in our protestant churches, disgraceful inscriptions of mortals, whose characters are given, as it should seem, to vie with that of the ALMIGHTY?--- Within and without, this church bears evident marks of antiquity." ["Thoroton's History of Nottinghamshire" by J Throsby 1790].
|Normanton Village Hall|
The village hall is a modern building where tea and refreshment can be purchased from a small, well stocked Community Shop presided over by two friendly ladies. I left with a cake and a second hand novel. I was very happy with my visit to Normanton and have every intention of returning on a warmer, sunnier day!
Normanton on Soar: map here.
|A beautiful weather vane|