In this section, there will be items on Arnolds and the local area's history and other items of interest.

Holiday Disaster

by Bob Massey

            On 6th August 1857 Ann Brewster a 19 year old farmer's daughter boarded a train at Burton Joyce for a day excursion to Grimsby.  She was excited, looking forward to a day out by the sea away from life on her fathers farm at Stoke Bardolph.

            Her father was George Brewster a farmer of some 186 acres who employed 5 labours to assist with the farm work. He and his wife Mary had 3 children. Ann was the middle child, with an older brother Samuel and a younger brother Edward. The family was fairly well off as they were able to employ 3 servants to carry out the work around the house as well as the 3 labours. Georges's brother John was a well-known solicitor with a large practice in Nottingham. Ann could therefore well afford this days treat. The train she caught that day  had left Nottingham at 6 o'clock that morning for the special excursion scheduled to pick up passengers at stations all along the Nottingham Lincoln line. It had stopped first at Carlton before picking up at Burton Joyce. After leaving Burton Joyce it stopped at Lowdham before proceeding to Collingham its next stop, arriving about 7 oclock..

            Just beyond Collingham station, the rails were in the process of undergoing repairs. The train on leaving this station began picking up speed and started to run away, now traveling too fast for the condition of the rails.. Before the driver could stop it several of the front carriages jumped the rails on the weak section. Fortunately, there were only a few  passengers on the train at the time with most being in the rear coaches; it being less than half full., Most of those on the train were isolated from each other as compartments in those days were not connected by a corridor. The noise and shaking of the train caused great fear and alarm amongst the occupants. Frightened that her carriage would also crash and be crushed Ann Brewster attempted to jump from the still-moving train. She was the only passenger to do so. On leaving the carriage her dress caught in the door pulling her back towards the train and striking her head on a telegraph pole at the side of the track. The train still moving encountered the now derail front coaches one of which caught the stunned Ann with one of its wheels. This passed over her, killing her instantly. The remaining part of the train including Anns carriage righted its self and came to a stop safely. None of the other passengers sustained more than bruises. In all there had been some 30 carriages in the train with only a couple suffering derailment The engine remained on the track.. The other passengers were then disembarked onto the rail embankment. Leaving the carriages and passengers in charge of the guard the driver took the engine onto Lincoln to report the accident and get assistance. On it return  Anns body was then conveyed to Collingham. An inquest into her death was quickly organised and held later that same afternoon. The jury under the direction of Mr Harrison the Deputy coroner examined the scene of the crash. After they had listened to the evidence they returned a verdict of accidental death on the poor Ann Brewster, the only victim of a holiday sadly gone badly wrong.

Jockey Jack

by Bob Massey

Sir Henry Harpur was a local politician and landowner in the 18th century. One of his passions was horses which he bred and raced at the local meetings. Amongst his staff was a very experienced and well-respected Groom whose nickname was  "Jockey Jack" his real name is unknown. He had a high reputation for his skill with horses and his riding and ability as a jockey. He often rode Sir Henry's horses in meetings and events at the Nottingham Race Course as well as many others around the country. The Nottingham Course was at the time situated on what is now the Forest Recreation Ground off Mansfield road, and just outside the city boundary..

On one occasion while riding on this course Jack was thrown from his horse. This was due to another rider crossing straight in front of him during the race. He luckily escaped being trampled by the other horses in the race and sustained only minor injuries in the fall. His horse, however, now having lost the weight of its jockey, carried on with the race.  Without Jack, it managed to outrun all the others to come in first.

Jack finally left sir Henry's employment, after many years of loyal and dedicated service, but he then fell on hard times. He was now getting old and was unable to work and earn his keep. He had not been able to save any money and there was no welfare state at the time to support him in his old age. As a result, he ended up in the local workhouse. Here he remained for the last 16 years of his life. Workhouses were segregated with the women, men, and children all being kept in different areas with no contact allowed between even family members.

When Jack died in 1798 a shocking discovery was made. Jack was not a man at all but was in fact a woman.

We do not know why she masqueraded as a man for all those years but it was possibly her love of horses and her desire to work with them that lead to this deception.. Working with horses was a male-only profession at the time. We will never know the answer but she risked discovery on a daily basis, especially so during her time in the workhouse. If the truth about her had been discovered she would have been imprisoned.!

In the 18th century, it was against the law for women to dress or act like men or even to wear trousers. The latter was a fineable offense with a prison sentence for the continued flaunting of this no trousers rule.. The crime of "Assuming men's attire " was seen at the time as a woman's attempt to replace men who were the only ones in charge and in authority at the time. Oh just in passing ladies you'll be pleased to hear that this law is no longer on the statute books, so trousers and jeans are now ok!.

Many jobs at the time were not open to women as they were considered homemakers. Their place in society, at the time, was seen as being to look after the men and the children. Most jobs around the 18th century home were very labour intensive and time-consuming, cooking, cleaning, laundry all took a long time to perform. It was not until the industrial revolution at the end of the century that this role for women started to change. This was in part due to their need to be employed in the mills and factories that now sprung up around the country.

Many professions were still bared to women; the army, and navy, the medical profession, the law, and all sporting activities except tennis or crochet. The more genteel past times were the only ones available.

There were many cases throughout the centuries however where women like " Jockey Jack" defied this law. There were those who disguised themselves as men so they could enter all these and many other professions. No male-dominated livelihood escaped, there were even highwaymen and pirates who turned out to be women but that is another story..

Dangers of Driving

by Bob Massey

With the number of vehicles on the roads increasing all the time it is not unusual to hear of accidents involving road users and pedestrians

A week before Christmas on the 16th December  Henry Tinsdale a 9 yr old boy was walking along Mapperley top when he was hit by a vehicle. The driver failed to stop and the boy was left lying in the road until help finely arrived... He was taken to the hospital where it was found that he had luckily only sustained a broken ankle.

A hit and run accident are not unheard of today, it would have made the papers without a doubt. The year that this happened however was 1876 and the vehicle in question was horse driven. There may not have been as much traffic on the roads as today. Horses however are not like cars they may respond to the driver but can be frightened, bolt or be unpredictable when subject to a loud noise, especially if being handled by an inexperienced rider. Elias Goodhead from Back streetArnold (High Street ) was thrown from his horse, which was frightened, while he was riding in Mapperley hills in March 1847.  Although he was not injured in the fall the horse them trod on Elias breaking his left leg.

On Saturday, July 26th 1839 Charles Wright was driving his gig towards Nottingham with his two children on board. The trace suddenly broke and it struck the horse alarming it and it dashed off at a furious pace. mr Wright was unable to stop it or even check its speed. This continued until the gig came in contact with the premises occupied by Deacon and Wade where it upset the gig spilling the family into the street. Luckily only their dignity was hurt and the horse likewise escaped without harm.

Streets at this time had no lighting and the transport had no lights. On the 14th December 1876 about 7pm mr Hall his daughter and a male friend were driving along Mapperley top. It was very dark and there was no light of any kind. When they reached a spot known as Mapperley pond, the horse went through a gap in the roadside hedge instead of on down the road. This resulted in the gig driving straight into the pond. No one sustained serious injuries but miss Hall was immersed in the water up to her neck. She was taken to a nearby cottage and given a change of clothes. Meanwhile, the horse, the cause of the trouble, was removed with difficulty from the pond. The carriage however was stuck fast and its removal had to wait until daylight.

Speeding at night can often cause trouble today. On 20th August 1886 two traps were travelling along Mapperley top in opposite directions. It was 10oclock at night and dark but both were traveling at speed. One was driven by Mr Lord and the other by Mr Kirk the market gardener who had his wife and sister with him. The two gigs on passing hit each other. Mr Lords gig overturned and he was thrown out but escaped with only bruises. The other gig of mr Kirk was also tipped over with the two male passengers escaping with only bruises. Kirks sister however was not so lucky as she receiving a broken arm. Both parties managed to right the gigs, the horses being unharmed, they all proceeded on their way. Accidents of these types were very common. Horses are animals, not vehicles. They can be unpredictable and need to be treated with care and respect on the highway by all road users. This is even more important with today's traffic than it was in the 1800s.

William de Corner

by Bob Massey

During my research for a history course on Mapperley more information came to light about one of the earliest founders of the town. That of William de Corner. William owned land west of the present-day Woodborough road an area called Cornerwong translated as Corners field. A wong was in the 14th century, a large tract of land that was not cultivated but used to graze animals..

William was one of the clerks to king Henry III appointed in 1269 as Papal Chaplin to the king.. As a churchman, he was very well educated and like most senior men at the court spoke perfect French. In 1271 William was nominated as Archbishop of Dublin and bitter struggle between himself and Fromund le Brun ensued with the Pope eventually having to intercede. He settled the matter by disqualifying both candidates in favour of John de Derlington.

From 1272 to 1273 William as Proctor and Royal Envoy was sent on diplomatic missions by the king to the French court. On his return, he was appointed Archdeacon of Northumberland and clerk to the Archbishop of Canterbury John Pecham. He was now serving the two most powerful men in England, both the king and the most senior church leader. .Mapperley at the time was within the forest of Sherwood and subject to the Kings Forest Law. Mapperley was then administered by the local Lord of the Forest, in this case, William de Corner, on behalf of the king. William owned the land but his actions regarding its use was greatly restricted by forest law and subject to considerable penalties if disobeyed.. His new position gave him the kings ear however and thus allowed him to gain certain rights within the forest, which would normally be restricted only to the king. Those being the right to cut and use timber and clear certain areas for agriculture. This then was the first time that Mapperley had to see the land being worked though be it on a small scale.

As a result of Williams work for the king in France, when the Bishop of Salisbury Henry of Braunstone died he was one of 3 candidates put forward to replace him. However, in spite of the king's patronage, the vote went against him and Laurence of Hagbourne was appointed. Just after the election, however, Laurence died and so  William was then appointed to the post. He became Bishop of Salisbury and was consecrated at Canterbury on March 16th 1289.

The following year now with his new standing and authority he was again sent on a further diplomatic mission to France this time by the new king Edward the first. During this trip, he became ill and complained of recent various illnesses and exhaustion. He returned to England but was off again on his travels to France in June the next year. During this trip, he became ill again, but this time he did not recover and it resulted in his death on 10th October 1291, while still in France.. His bones were shipped back to England and buried in Salisbury. His tomb, which still exists, is only 1.1m long and it is often referred to as the tomb of the boy bishop. William was however of average height for the time, about 5'4" but as only his loose bones were placed in the tomb it only needed a small monument. The space being limited within the church.

Latest comments

24.11 | 10:51

Hi Bob,

Could you give a talk to Edwalton Probus Club on the 28th March , We meet at Welbeck Hall, West Bridgeford and have lunch at about 12 noon

04.10 | 10:17

Sorry Bob you have been given the wrong email address in our previous request- please use my email address

04.10 | 09:43

We are looking for speakers for our 2023 calendar. Each meeting is the last Monday of the month - omitting May, August,September and December. We look forward to hearing from you.
Carol & Pat

10.08 | 10:43

Hi Bob I am looking for speakers for speakers for Darley Abbey Historical Group in 2023. We have available dates April 21st, June 16th, July 21st, October 20th and. November 17th.

Share this page