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Works by Local Historians
1677 Dr Robert Thoroton
1790 John Throsby - Notts
1838 Dr S T Hall - Sutton
1871 Ref Midland Gazette
1873 Rev Charles Bellairs
1907 Luther Lindley S-in-A
1907 L Lindley - Huthwaite
1948 GG Bonser - Sutton
1978 W Clay-Dove - Sutton
1989 #1 William Clay-Dove
1989 #2 William Clay-Dove
1999 Councillor David Ayres
Photos by Ernald H. Lakin

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Local Historians

William Clay-Dove 1919-1990

Times PastBorn in Sutton where his family settled over four hundred years before. Williams main interests may have been among genealogy, while he was a Nottinghamshire society member and part time lecturer in local history. Bill Clay-Dove released several works, including a set of books pictorially covering our district localities 'in Times Past'. But our town always held more interest, only relating our anciently tied secondary village.

The Huthwaite community did therefore warmly welcome this contribution. Published February 1989 in two parts by the Chad newspaper. (noted now a year before he died)

Huthwaite and its History 1989

Part 1 Dated 9th February 1989

The history of Huthwaite or Hucknall under Huthwaite is bound up in that of Sutton-in-Ashfield. Its peculiar name is derived from several sources. Huck-inga-hall is probably the stone residence of the descendants of Huc. Huth or How is from a Norse word for a hill, and Thwaite was a clearing in the forest.

Beginning with the time of Edward III it appears as Hothwayte, Hockenal Houtweit, Howthwaite, and seems to have finally settled into Hucknall Huthwaite early in the 16th century. Hucknall (Anglo-saxon), may according to some authorities mean ‘a place on sloping ground’ which easily applies to Huthwaite, and Thwaite (Norse), means ‘a clearing in the woods.’

Probably after a time when a foresters or shepherds hut was erected in the clearing it was a very simple transition to ‘Hut Thwaite.’ Whiteborough lying north of Huthwaite, derives its name from ‘hwit – white, and burh – a fort or Beor, a hill, all of Anglo-Saxon origin. ‘Bearw’ meaning a high place, from which ‘barrow’ a mound over graves is derived.

In a document known as the Testa de Neville in the reign of Edward II (1284-1327) it is stated that Sutton-in-Ashfield and Hucknall were a whole villa (town) being of the ancient demesne of the crown, except the fourth part which Jorden de Sutton of the same held of the king.

This overlordship of the king did however, overshadow the family of Sutton which was resident. They stayed here until the end of the 14th century, moved to Lincoln, where they became members of parliament, Merchants of the Staple and were very influential and arrived here in the mid=12th century when the king appointed them as his underlords to look after interest in this area.

The fact that Sutton was Sutton-in-Ashfield and their surname was Sutton was purely coincidental, Sutton of course being Sutton at the time of the Domesday Book in 1086. This family originated from Sutton-on-Trent, and one of them, Oliver de Sutton became a Regent Master at Oxford University and later Bishop of Lincoln, dying in 1290.

In 1316 there is a note that William de Hothweyt drew blood from Roger, son of William Leuwys of Normanton and had to be distrained. In 1296 John of Hustwayt appears before Walter de Langton as executor of the will of Roger de Insula.

Important Family

The Insulas were an important family at Kirkby, while Langton’s manor is still known by that name. We know it as Langton Hall. In the Patent Rolls of 1341 Alice Freeman had a house and 15 acres of land in Hokenale, and at the ‘Assizes’ at Nottingham in 1355, John, son of Hugh Cole, recovered possession of the house, 120 acres of land, and 20/- in Hothewayte Hokenale.

Robert Strutt, of Hughwayte is mentioned in a deed of 1394. One does not quite know how to explain the ‘Hucknall-under-Huthwaite’ bit – possible the hamlet was in two portions on different levels – and one can see quite easily how that would be and each bore a separate name until they eventually merged.

In the early years of the 16th century Huthwaite was part of the estate of Cuthbert Langton, of Langton Hall, Kirkby, and by the marriage of his daughter with Christopher Fitzrandolph, it passed through that family to the Davenports.

During the 16th and 17th centuries, the Langford family had considerable holdings both in Sutton and Huthwaite. In Sutton they lived in a stone-built Tudor house, formerly situated on what we now know as Devonshire Square, but which was then the ‘Top Green’ – the ‘Bottom Green’ being Portland Square. Into fairly recent times older residents referred to these sites by the names ‘Top’ and ‘Bottom’ Greens.

In 1572, Thomas Langford sued a man named Deane of Hucknall for debt, and Deane replied that he ‘worked for Langford at haytime and harvest and brought coal from Blackwell Pit.’ This is another interesting note as showing the early date of the working of coal in this neighbourhood.

A later Thomas Langford died in 1654, obviously a comfortably-off farmer – and mentions Cold Close, Carrdale Close, and Flaxcroft Close, and leaves a Close call Cuttdoles ‘within Crossfield in Hucknall containing 1.5 acres and 1 Perch or Pole to the only proper use of the Overseers of the Poor in Sutton-in-Ashfield and Hucknall Huthwaite aforesaid, that they shall yearly and for ever distribute and pay the rents of the said last mentioned to the most needful and poor people that after my decease shall be living in Sutton and Huthwaite upon the Friday next before Easter.’

Yet another Thomas Langford, of Hucknall Huthwaite, died in 1658 – probably cousin of the previous one. He is described as ‘Gentleman’ and names his son-in-law James Mason who had married his daughter Anne. He also left a legacy of ten pence a year to the poor people of Sutton and Huthwaite. This Anne was quite an interesting character concerned with early education in Sutton and Huthwaite. She and her husband James lived in Huthwaite and her Will was proved in January 1669.

I quote:- “I give and bequeath my Close called Horsley Bank Close, to William Machin, William Daye, and Francis Clarke, in trust to be left by them and their heirs for ever for learning of the poorest men’s children of Sutton and Hucknall to pay for their learning till they can read the Bible and then to put other of the poorest men’s children in their room till they can also read the Bible,”   “I give also to Mr Lemuel Tuke, of Sutton 40/-. In also give to Mr Haynes (the parson) 20 shillings for my funeral sermon and also a book entitled ‘The Soules Preparation to Christ’ and to the Poor of Sutton £3.” The witnesses were Anthony Langford, of Sutton and Dorothy Waulston.

This was virtually the founding of St. Mary’s School. First of all the children were taught to read, using the chancel of the church as a schoolroom, and later the old tithe barn, which stood on the site of the now demolished Vicarage, was used as numbers increased.

During the 18th century a thatched building was erected, and in 1845 the stone building which Suttonians knew as the National School, and is now the Lammas Independent School. It is well known that St Mary’s School moved to its present site in 1981.

Cromwellian Surgeon

The will of Francis Langford, again of Huthwaite, was proved in 1670, he also being described as ‘Gentleman.’ He left a wife, Anne, and daughters Elizabeth and Mary. An inventory of his goods was made on 10th November, 1670 by John Page, William Machin, John Kyte and George Harrison.

Anthony Langford, another member of this prolific family died in 1672 at the age of 79 and his gravestone may still be seen in the churchyard. He was a surgeon in Cromwell’s army and mentioned on the inventory of his goods is “In the Parlour a case of Instruments.”

ITEMS £ s. d.
Purse and apparel 10 0 0
The fire irons 5 0
Pewter and Brass 3 4 0
Five chairs 1 0 8
A long table and 2 forms 7 0
A little table and buffit 2 0
A cupboard 9 0
Two cupboards and one chair 10 0
2 chests 6 0
2 bedsteds 10 0
A feather bed, holster and
pillow 2 blankets and one bed hilling 1 10 0
A sett of curtains 5 0
The Linen 2 0 0
Three Barrels, milk vessels and shelves 8 0
A table, one wash tub, 3 kitts and a form 8 0
The coles 8 0
Meal bags 12 0
A Kimnel one form and old iron 8 6
A Bruing vessel 3 forks and 2 boards 3 6
One bedsted 9 0
A feather bed, bolster pillow and 2 blankets 10 0
One form 1 0
A chest and a coffer 9 0
A bedstead and a bacon flitch 13 6
A sett of curtains 2 0
3 cows and 8 sheep 10 13 0
A Hay stack and manure 5 15 0
Bonds, Bills and other debts (owing) 350 0 0
Hustlements in ye house 2 0

The last of these Langfords seems to finish with John Langford of Huthwaite, whose will was published in 1718. Described as ‘Blacksmith’ he left quite a considerable sum for those days - £391 4s. 8d. He was undoubtedly a very successful blacksmith!   The inventory attached to his will is intriguing inasmuch that it gives a clear idea of the type of household and the assessed value of items mentioned.

“A true Inventory of the Goods and Chattels of John Langford, late of Hucknall under Huthwaite, Blacksmith, died March ye 15th, in ye year of Our Lord 1718 viewed and appraised by us whose names are hereunto subscribed.“

Thomas Potter, John Chartwin, John Wright.

By ‘hustlements’ is meant various odds and ends of small value, and a ‘kimnel’ was a barrel or a tub.

Coal was worked in the district at a very early date, for in the parish registers of Teversal there is an entry relating to the burial of Christopher Hardy in 1619 which tells us that he was slayn in a coal pit road.’

I understand that the Hucknall pits were working in the time of Charles I and were situated just over the Blackwell border, known sometimes as the ‘brecks.’ These pits were the property of the Sampson family, one branch of whom moved to Sutton and were business men in the town.

There is a reference of 1658 that ‘Several pieces of land in Hucknall Brecks in Hucknall under Huthwaite within the Forest of Sherwood and Sundry Coal Delfs upon Fulwood Moor were purchased by William Sampson and Hugh Piers.’

There was no main road through the village and due to the passage of coals etc., the pathways at times became impassable – and in fact received the uncomplimentary title of ‘Dirty Hucknall,’ a title which stuck for many years. Towards the end of the 18th century a small number of pits were worked, the Mellors family opening some of them. Also in the 18th century was a pottery turning out coarse earthenware but what its output was or how many hands it employed is not known. This was on Fulwood Lane, the site now having disappeared.

Some of the surnames of families in Huthwaite during the 17th and 18th centuries were Machin, Strutt, Eldorgill, Brandreth, Langford, Deane, Kyte, Daye, Farnsworth, Everard, Wilson, Holmes, Holywell, Booth, Boot, Osbourne, Stendall, all of whom occur in the parish registers.


Huthwaite was not a separate ecclesiastical parish, so the folk had to go to Sutton to be christened, married and buried. The north aisle of St Mary’s Parish Church being known as the Hucknall-Huthwaite Aisle, and from 1826 had its own churchwarden, Benjamin Burton being nominated. He was followed by Richard Ward, then George Turner, Benjamin Burton again in 1831 and he served until 1862. During that time his colleagues were Messrs Mellors, W Lowe, B Lowe, G Allsop and Thomas Robinson, who served from 1852 until 1892.

In 1867 a National School was built by the Rev. Charles Bellairs, Vicar of Sutton, on land presented by the Dowager Countess of Carnarvon who at the same time, gave £450 towards the cost of building. Services were held twice each Sunday, the first curate being the Rev J Read and by Charles Beastall Beecroft, a well known Sutton businessman and lay preacher.

In 1873 a sum of money was raised through the generosity of the Dowager Countess of Carnarvon, the Hon C L Lyttleton, Lord Robartes, Mr W H Gladstone MP, the Rev C H Prance and others for the purpose of providing a Curate of Huthwaite.

The parish were served by a series of curates and in 1896 the Rev J B Hyde, Vicar of Sutton, initiated a building scheme, and on Saturday 22nd November 1902 the foundation stone of All Saints Church was laid by the Duchess of Portland, the dedication taking place on 4th November, 1905 by Dr Ridding, the Bishop of Southwell, and Dr Were, Bishop of Derby.

Unique church

In 1906 Huthwaite was made a district chapelry and the patronage of the living fell to the Vicar of Sutton, who offered it to the Rev F N Beswick. In 1907 Hucknall Huthwaite had its name changes to Huthwaite only, and in the same year the holding of the annual feast was altered from the middle of July to the first week in September.

The land was given by the Unwin-Heathcote family and plans prepared by Mr J Ford Whitcombe of London. The church is unique in that it was built of rock out of a coal pit. The material was given by the directors of New Hucknall Colliery Company and obtained from the Deep Hard workings. It is a well-proportioned building still beautifully maintained and cared for under the leadership of the present incumbent, the Rev Peter Hill. I believe it may be said that the interior is far more attractive than the exterior view might suggest.

The choir stall, pulpit and lectern were given by Simeon Watson, of the New Hucknall Colliery Company, and a processional cross by the Rev W H Warrington, who had previously served at the church. In 1910, at the cost of £450 an organ was installed by Compton and Company and Mr Alban Wilders, of Blackwell, was appointed organist and choirmaster, after being opened by Mr R W Liddle, organist of Southwell Minster.

24 Jan 12     by Gary Elliott       Updated 24 Jan 12