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A Hucknall History

Religious Influences

All Saints Parish Church

Incorporating a chapel in the first Hucknall Huthwaite National Church school house enabled the Sutton parish vicar Rev Bellairs to begin conducting separate Sunday services in this secondary hamlet. Additionally funding an 1873 Huthwaite curate still seemed a slow reaction considering many parishioners were already favouring established Methodist chapels for christian worship.

Tales suggesting church foundations had begun replacing past Hucknall Huthwaite windmill atop Mill Lane were maintained after L Lindley retold 1907 understanding. Such prominent height would indeed have befitted any ancient parish Catholic church when bell towered steeples typically afforded a distantly sighted landmark beckoning christian flock. Nevertheless, that tail was disproved by church members, noting withdrawn deposit due conveyance difficulties had actually sought land later best suiting the Welfare Park.

Credit was given Rev J B Hyde, the Vicar of Sutton-in-Ashfield in 1896 for successfully adopting plans providing a separate parish church to locally serve a rapidly growing mining village. HO0065 Generous donation by the Unwin-Heathcote family of a suitably sized part their larger allotment atop Common Road was at least central to ongoing residential expansion. Architect Mr C F Whitcombe of London could then be tasked drawing up these acceptable planned proposals.


Builder Mr. A B Clarke had to ensure underground stonework was built off up a very deep solid base before groundwork invited the Duchess of Portland to honour ceremonial laying of a top foundation stone for this sacred edifice. Jointly accompanied by the Duke turned proud occasion into a Hucknall Huthwaite public holiday. Detailed reportage shows interest identifying all local dignitaries.

Mansfield Reporter and Sutton Times 28 November 1902
Laying Parish Church Foundation Stone

The foundation stone of the proposed Parish Church for Hucknall Huthwaite was laid last Saturday by the Duchess of Portland.   The ceremony marked the first step towards the realisation of a scheme to provide adequate church accommodation, with separate endowments, for Hucknall Huthwaite, which is an extra-parochial district of Sutton-in-Ashfield.   The existing church accommodation at Sutton is insufficient, but at Hucknall, which has a population of 4,076, there is no church at all.   A sum of £4,078 is estimated to be required to complete the projected church in accordance with the plans of the architect, and towards this £2,578 has been raised or promised, whilst a splendid site had been generously given by the Heathcote-Unwin family.   Under their present rules the Ecclesiastical Commissioners will grant an endowment up to £150 per annum, on condition that the church accommodates at least 500 persons.   In order that the nave, chancel and aisle might be built so as to afford the accommodation required by this condition, £887, had still to be obtained, and the balance which remained to be raised to complete the church, with tower, &c., was £1,500 (inclusive of the £887 referred to), but this deficit was reduced to a level £1,000 by a generous donation of £500, made by the Duke of Portland at the conclusion of the stone-laying ceremony.   The church will be of fine proportions, and dignified in its architectural character when complete, and will be dedicated to All Saints´.   The material employed in the masonry is the colliery rock quarried in the neighbourhood, with Mansfield stone dressings.   The architect is Mr. C. Ford Whitcombe, of London, and the building is being undertaken by Mr. A. B. Clarke of Nottingham.

The occasion was observed as a public holiday at Hucknall Huthwaite.   In the principal streets through which the Duke and Duchess of Portland had to pass to reach the site of the proposed church triumphal arches and other decorations had been arranged, and flags were displayed at most of the houses.   The Duke and Duchess drove over from Welbeck in a motor car, and were met in Sutton Market-place by two brass bands, who headed the procession which escorted their Graces to the church site.   There was a very large attendance at the ceremony, including the following clergy: Revs. J B Hyde (vicar of Sutton-on-Ashfield), F N Beswick (priest in charge of Hucknall Mission), E F Leach (Manchester), W H Williams (Stanton Hill), P Eykyn (Sutton), A W Bell (Nottingham), W Maples (Mansfield), S C Farmstone (Blackwell), H J Stamper (Skegby), C E Leighton (Sutton), A G Henley (Mansfield), C A E Rowland, - Tomlinson (Mansfield), and T Lawson (Kirkby).

There were also present Messrs. W Simpson and W Lee (Hucknall church wardens), Messrs. C B Beecroft and L Briggs, (Sutton churchwardens), Messrs J W Hick, C H Turner, M Allsop, A Taylor, S Watson, B Chapman (Hucknall) Miss Beswick (Hucknall), Miss Withers (Mansfield), Mr. & Mrs. H Smith (Mansfield), Mr. F Cook (Mansfield Woodhouses), representing the Unwin-Heathcote family, the givers of the site: Mrs. Kennington (Hull), Miss Hodgkinson (Kirby Hardwick), Mrs. Beecroft, Mrs. J B Smith, Mrs. & Miss A H Bonser, Mr. & Mrs. G G Bonser, Mrs. C H Kitchen, Mrs. Radford, Mr. & Mrs. Armstrong, Mr. & Mrs. Bosworth, Mrs. Eykyn, Mrs. H Miller. Mrs. H North, Mr. & Mrs. A Jarvis, Mr. C Swires, Mr. J Briggs junior, Miss Daubeny, Miss Briggs, Misses Charlton, Salter, Morley, Straw (Sutton), Mr. G F Beswick (Manchester), Mr. W Richardson (Mansfield Woodhouse), Mr. & Mrs. Dodsley (Skegby Hall), Mrs. Williams (Stanton Hill), Miss Marshall (Derby), Mr. C Ford Whitcombe (architect), Mr. A B Clarke (builder), Mr. W Pinkett (foreman), Mr. & Mrs. F J Turner (Mansfield Woodhouse).

The service which was conducted by the Rev.J. B. Hyde, was commenced with the singing of the "Old Hundredth", and consisted of the brief office appointed by the Church of England for such occasions.   The Stone having been got ready by the masons, the officiating clergyman said: "In the faith of Jesus Christ, we place this stone in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.   Amen."   An inscribed silver trowel and ebony mallet were then presented to the Duchess of Portland, who, having "well and truly" laid the stone, said: "I hope that this church of which we have just laid the foundation will be a blessing to the inhabitants of Hucknall Huthwaite."

The stone bore the following inscription: "To the glory of God and the memory of All Saints´, this foundation stone was laid by her Grace the Duchess of Portland on November 22 1902   Laus Deo."

Foundation Stone Inscription

The Duke of Portland said that it had given the greatest pleasure to his wife to lay the foundation stone of the church, which it was proposed to build upon that site, and he was very glad to be present himself at the ceremony, because they knew full well how much such a building was required at Hucknall Huthwaite and how extremely anxious the inhabitants were to see the completion of the good work.   The pleasure felt by the Duchess and himself in taking part in the inauguration of the building of the church and in assisting so excellent a work was enhanced by the knowledge that they were helping those who had done their best to help themselves, for they were informed that the people of Hucknall had given both cash and unpaid labour with great generosity.   Whilst the district, and especially the Church in Hucknall, owed a great deal to Mr. Hyde, the vicar, to Mr. Warrington, the late curate, and to Mr. Beswick, the present curate-in-charge, they must not forget Mr. Simeon Watson, who had made most generous efforts to further the scheme.   Although a Nonconformist, Mr. Watson had bestowed much valuable time, and had done much to meet the cost of the proposed church, which he knew was for the welfare of the working people in that district.   He felt that he was only voicing the feelings of that assemblage when he said how much they were indebted to Mr. Watson, and how thankful they were to him for his generosity and broadminded views so practically brought to bear in the work they were met together to inaugurate.   In closing, he asked that he might be allowed to raise his subscription to £500, and he hoped that the amount required for the completion of the church would soon be raised.   The Duke´s generous offer was received with loud cheers.

Mr S Watson proposed a hearty vote of thanks to the Duke and Duchess of Portland.   It was the first time that they had been given the pleasure of seeing her Grace at Hucknall Huthwaite, but they remembered with gratitude the generous help given by the Duke to their Church schools, which, he was glad to say, had been of very great value to the parish, and were already becoming outgrown.   By their kindness that day their Graces had added another item to their long list of thoughtful benefactions to the people in whose midst they lived.   The Duke and Duchess were about to embark upon a visit to distant part of the British Empire, and everyone in that gathering would unite in wishing their Graces God-speed upon their journey and safe return.   Mr W Simpson seconded the vote of thanks, which was carried by acclamation, and acknowledged by the Duke.

Subsequently to the ceremony an adjournment was made to the Church schools, where several hundred people sat down to tea.   The Duke and Duchess of Portland went round the various tables, exchanging greetings with those present.   They were heartily cheered as they drove back to Welbeck, and were accompanied by the two local brass bands and a large crowd of pedestrians upon the first stage of their return journey.


Dedication of the erected church in memory All Saints was conducted 12th December 1903 by Dr Ridding, Lord Bishop of the Church of England Southwell Diocese.   Hucknall Huthwaite became designated a separate ecclesiastical parish April 1905. Sacred services could start from 4th November when consecrated by Dr Were. That Bishop of Derby LH214 also instituted the first Huthwaite vicar.

Priest Francis Newbold Beswick had been resident some 6 years prior, taking over appointed charge this Hucknall Mission in titled role curate-in-charge. The vicar oversaw Hucknall Huthwaite growth of a mining township becoming a district chapelry April 1906, plus 1907 Huthwaite village renaming.

Unlike most early Norman structures, Edwardian or Old English styling doesn't raise much architectural interests, or display any elaborate Gothic carvings typically afforded much larger places of worship. One obvious visual oddity is the disproportionately short bell tower that never did manage to reach sketched designed full height use.

Decorative Mansfield stone dressing may enhance full bare rock construction. But its that dense stone material coming freely dug and hauled out of Deep Hard underground levels by New Hucknall Colliery miners which made this church unique, and claim a pride of place reminding of those workers efforts.

The colliery company were among major influential names assisting building costs. That eventually amounted to £3,097 due extra depths of foundation work. After their £250 donation they'd later annually gift £25 towards upkeep. Combined cost of church with all furnishings to seat 500 totalled £4,572 11s.1d.


Juxtaposed 2003 view compares a remarkably familiar exterior prior May centenary celebration. A fully enclosing stone wall later separated churchyard grounds from a better surfaced Common Road pavement. HO0175 Clearest difference is removal of the single bell. Wooden mounting was said to be unsafe after around eighty years, although apparently not worth renovation costs. The 4.5cwt bell kept inside reads Barwell Founder Birmingham. I speak for God plus very clear personalised identification November 1st AD 1903 All Saints.


Raising funds for an organ began in 1906. Purchase plus a 1910 installation costing £450 from Messrs Compton and Co. was thus fully paid when opened by Mr. R.W. Liddle, organist of Southwell Minster.   Mr Alban Wilders of Blackwell was appointed first Huthwaite organist and choirmaster.


A troubled vicars health breakdown apparently offered reason behind 1918 transferal of Priest Beswick to an easier Lincoln parish. Church wardens continued assisting subsequent vicars sharing dual church interests with Huthwaite school houses.   Reverend Middleton became the second Huthwaite vicar until his 1924 resignation. Rev Currey next took charge, but again only short term until March 1925. That dates Reverend Walter Llewellyn Boulton taking over charge, to become first one homed in a new Huthwaite vicarage. His remembrance similar follows other church serving individuals by replacing most plain windows with stained glass designs.March 1913 April 1913

North porch main entrance doors first added a little colour repeating basic geometric stylising, with a plaque dating March 1913 dedication to the life of William Simpson. TO THE GLORY OF GOD
BORN 1853 - DIED 1912

Introducing thematic portrayal of named saints dates 3rd April 1913 dedication of two roadside windows in west tower wall. Given by Frances Dodsley they depict St Ursula and St Nicholas.

Triple rear windows in east end costing £150 were dedicated 31st August 1913, as a parental remembrance to their young son John Henry Watson. Influential pit manager Simeon Watson had confessed to nonconformist beliefs when actively participating in ceremonial laying of foundations for this Church of England place of worship. His generosity extended beyond personally donating to all Huthwaite chapels, but after the honour of laying one of the tower stones, these windows confirm his proselytised beliefs favoured All Saints parish church.

Aug 1913

Fuller worded sentiment acknowledges reason for their trio of windows. These depict St Mary Virgin, Christ Crucifixion and St John Evangelist.

These Three Windows were Given to God,
by Simeon Watson Esq., J.P. of this Parish
and Mary Ann Watson his wife,
in Affectionate Remembrance
Of their Son John Henry Watson
Born 1871 and who died 1891.
In Hope of the Resurrection Eternal life
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

It becomes apparent Mr Simeon Watson far exceeded just raising his personal subscription to £500. Likely responsible for supplying stone for construction must further recognise donations to provide a pulpit, lectern and choir stalls. Even his 1935 will finally bequeathed £200 to specifically add peal of five tower bells. His only proviso was to name the tenor bell Beswick in remembrance the first Huthwaite vicar.

Investment of those funds plus saving plans to fully raise the designed tower height in National Savings Certificates became mysteriously lost. Very clearly, none of that costly work ever managed to materialise.

Bible Class 1914-1918

To the Glory of God and in memory of the leader and members of the Young Mens' Bible Class who gave their lives in the Great War, 1914-1918.
John Walter Lee, Charles Taylor, George Stubbins, John Walter Hill, Walter Wilson, Bernard Bailey, Tom Newman, J. P. Morley, Ernest Laitt, John William Taylor [Leader]

Unveiling first nave window placed central in south wall was performed 12th June 1921 by Mrs Taylor. Her son John William led the Young Mens Bible Class before that remembers loss of other named members killed in the Great War. It depicts St George being crowned by Christ. The church furthermore listed full Roll of Honour given all known Huthwaite casualties identified upon the cemetery war memorial.


Additional windows included adjacent memory of the first Huthwaite vicar Francis Newbold Beswick. Presenting those among other post war changes can extend the church history following construction of a Huthwaite vicarage plus an additional church hall.


26 Oct 02     by Gary Elliott       Updated 31 Jan 22