Calverton, Nottinghamshire

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Calverton is located in Nottinghamshire
 Calverton shown within Nottinghamshire
Population 7,076 (2011 census[1]
District Gedling
Shire county Nottinghamshire
Region East Midlands
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district NG14
Dialling code 0115
Police Nottinghamshire
Fire Nottinghamshire
Ambulance East Midlands
EU Parliament East Midlands
UK Parliament Sherwood
List of places

Coordinates: 53°02′15″N 1°05′00″W / 53.0374°N 1.0834°W / 53.0374; -1.0834

Calverton is a Nottinghamshire parish, of some 3,300 acres (1,300 ha), about seven miles north-east of Nottingham, situated, like nearby Woodborough, and Lambley, on a small tributary of the Dover Beck. The 2011 census found 7,076 inhabitants in 2,987 households. About two miles to the north of the village is the site of the possible deserted settlement of Salterford.

The parish is bounded on the south-east by Woodborough, to the south-west by Arnold, Papplewick and Ravenshead, to the north by Blidworth, and to the north-east by Oxton and Epperstone.[2]

For most of its existence Calverton was one of the forest villages in that part of Sherwood known as Thorney Wood Chase, with an economy in which handicrafts, like the knitting of stockings, will have assumed a more than usual rural importance.[3] The parliamentary enclosure of 1780 brought agrarian progress to the village, but it was not until the opening of a colliery by the National Coal Board in 1952, that the village began to assume its present identity, with new housing estates and population growth. In 1957 Colonel Frank Seely School, the main secondary school serving the area, opened. The colliery closed in 1999 and while a small industrial estate provided some local employment, Calverton has taken on the character of a large commuter village.

In May 1974 the village was officially twinned with Longué-Jumelles, in the Loire valley of France .


The place appears as Calvretone in the Domesday survey of 1086 and as Kalvirton in the Rotuli Hundredorum of 1275. Scholars believe that the name means “the farm of the calves”, from OE calf (genitive plural “calfra” + tūn.[4] Calverton is one of a number of settlements in the area (with Oxton, Bulcote and Lambley), which contain animal place name elements; this has inevitably led to speculation that there was some undiscovered ancient functional connection between the places.

Salterford was Saltreford in 1086 and probably means “ford of the salters”, where salter refers to a salt–dealer or carrier, rather than a maker of the commodity.[5] Although the place was situated in the forest, the road to York, or King’s Highway (the precursor of the A614) passed close by, and this may well have been frequented by salt-carriers.[6] An alternative explanation that it is derived from a ford near to a saltery, or deer-leap, (Latin saltatorium) on the boundary of the royal hunting ground of Sherwood Forest, and had nothing to do with salt is, perhaps, less likely.[7] Some deer parks were established in the Anglo-Saxon era, but this would be a very early use of the word saltery.

Roman Calverton[edit]

There are traces of two Roman marching camps in a field north-east of the Oxton Road and Whinbush Lane crossroads (53°03′02.27″N 1°05′0.92″W / 53.0506306°N 1.0835889°W / 53.0506306; -1.0835889). A smaller one of four acres is set wholly within the defences of a larger, perhaps earlier, one of about twenty-six acres.[8] Marching camps traces are thought to be the remains of the entrenchments made by an army unit for an overnight stop, where there was the chance of an attack. The dimensions of the camp are dictated by the size of the army unit.

A lead figurine was found at ‘a hill-top site’ in Calverton. It is of a naked seated female personage with long hair, topped by a plain round head-dress. It may depict a fertility goddess, perhaps a local version of Venus.[9]

Three coin hoards are listed as having being found in Calverton. Nearly two hundred denarii, chiefly of Trajan and Hadrian (A.D. 98-138), were found in 1797 in a broken pot somewhere in the parish.[10] More recently, two very similar coin hoards were unearthed at sites less than three hundred yards apart. The first in June 1959, during work on the foundations of Manor Park Infants' School, Collyer Road, and the second during the building of a house in Crookdole Lane in about April 1960. No structural remains were detected with either hoard and the only associated archaeological material was the earthenware pot in which the first hoard was concealed.[11] While most Roman coin hoards are believed to have been buried for safe-keeping, with the intention of being eventually recovered, it is possible that hoards may instead sometimes represent communal votive offerings to the gods.

Domesday survey[edit]

The Domesday survey indicates that the Calverton of 1086 was held by three parties: the Archbishop of York had one part, as a berewick (or outlying estate) of his manor at Blidworth, with a church and priest, and the other two parts were held by Roger of Poitou and the thegn Aelfric of Colwick .[12] The church is one of only eighty-five mentioned amongst some four hundred places names listed in Nottinghamshire and it is perhaps possible that its existence, at that early time, was due to it being situated on land that was part of an archiepiscopal estate.[13]

Two freeman (sochemannus), thirteen villagers (villanus), two smallholders (bordarius) and a priest are mentioned and, assuming that these were the heads of eighteen households, the population of Calverton in 1086 was perhaps around seventy persons.[14]


The Protestation Returns of 1642 were intended to record a full list of all male inhabitants aged eighteen years and over in each parish, who took an oath to 'live and die for the true Protestant religion'. A population total can be easily calculated by allowing for the estimated proportion of the population under the age of eighteen years, perhaps 40% and doubling to allow for women.[15] Seventy-five names are listed in the Calverton parish returns, with the note ‘none refused’.[16] A population estimate for the village, immediately before the English Civil War, is therefore 250.

The Hearth Tax was introduced, after the Civil War, in 1662 to provide a regular source of income for the newly restored monarch, King Charles II. Sometimes referred to as ‘chimney money’, the tax was essentially a property tax on households (rather than houses) graded according to the number of their fireplaces. The 1664 Hearth tax returns show that Calverton had seventy-nine chargeable hearths in thirty-five households and seventeen not-chargeable hearths in seventeen households which had been exempted from the tax.[17] A multiplier, recommended by some authorities, is 4.3, which gives a population for Calverton at the end of the English Civil War, of 223 in the fifty-two households.[18]

Village surnames which span the Civil War period include Cooper, Wilkinson, Martin, Pepper, Mottram and Sturtivant.

By 1676 it was of urgent interest to discover the religious opinions of the people, since the Catholic James was likely to succeed his brother King Charles II. This anxiety led to the Compton Census, a national ecclesiastical survey named for Henry Compton, Bishop of London. Adults (i.e. people over the age of 16) of each parish were recorded as either communicants, popish recusants, or other dissenters. In Calverton 129 communicants were recorded, no recusants, but a remarkable fifty-two dissenters.[19] Demographic historians suggest that the proportion of the population over sixteen in settlements at the time was about 65%, so a simple calculation gives the total population as 278.[20] The population estimate is less interesting however than the high proportion of dissenters which may have been a result of the ejection from his living of Calverton's vicar, the Revd James Stephenson, at some time between 1654 and July 1656, by reason that he was 'destitute... aged and impotent'.[21] Ejections left a void in a parish, which may have facilitated the growth of groups of dissenters.

In 1743 a new Archbishop of York, Thomas Herring, was appointed.[22] Soon after taking up his post he wrote to all the clergy within the diocese, seeking information about the parishes they served.[23] Calverton’s curate, Maurice Pugh, replied to the archiepiscopal enquiry, and his answers give interesting incidental information about life in the village in the mid 18th century ……..:

  • I. We have about eighty Families in Our Parish we have but two Families Dissenters, one of them Presbyterian, one Quaker.
  • II. We have a licensd Meeting House in Our Parish for the Presbyterians, but it has not been made use of these 5 or 6 Years
  • III. We have a Charity School, but not endowed, to teach fourteen Children to read english at the Direction of Mr: Abel Smith, Trustee to the late Mr. Labray of this Town. the Children are instructed as the Canon requires.
  • IV. We have no Alms House, but have land given to the Poor, by Mrs. Jane Pepper late of this Parish and others the Rent of which is 2 : 7 : 0 per An. The Vicar and Parish Officers dispose of it jointly to the Poor, we know of no abuse in the management of it.
  • V. I reside upon My Vicarage of Calverton.
  • VI. I do the Duty Myself—
  • VII. I know of no such Persons. (Non-baptised churchgoers)
  • VIII. I read the publick Service once every Lords Day in My Church Morning & Evening alternately I am obliged to do Duty in the Church of Woodborough that is joined with Calverton, I presume the small allowance from the Church of Southwell has been the Reason that Service could not be performed according to Canon
  • IX. I catechise the Children and Servants during the time of Lent, and all the Summer from May to Michaelmass, and spend some time every Sunday Evening in instructing the Youth in the Principles of the Christian Religion during that time.
  • X. I administer the Sacrament four times in Year at least. I have about a hundred and fifty Communicants they all receive two or three Times in the Year, about three score last Easter.
  • XI. I give open and timely Warning of the Sacrament before it is administred, My Parishioners give Me Notice when any Young persons design to communicate, or new Servants, but the elderly People I have not called upon to do so but will for the future. I have had no Reason to refuse the Sacrament to any Person. Calverton May 21. 1744 MAURICE PUGH Vicar

If the family size was 4.75 in 1743, then the settlement had about 380 inhabitants at that time. Twenty years later, at the time of Archbishop Drummond’s 1764 visitation, Maurice Pugh reported that the number of families had risen to 'above 110', and so the number of villagers was perhaps 520. Throsby, however, writing in the 1790s said that ‘the village consist of 100 dwellings'.[24]

By the time of the first decennial census of 1801 the population had risen to 636 in 129 families.[25]


Until the opening of the colliery in 1952, the greatest social change in Calverton’s history had been arguably the parliamentary enclosure of 1778-80. By the time that an enclosure petition was presented to Parliament on 1 December 1778 by ‘several landowners and persons interested’, some 996 acres, or about 30% of the parish had already been enclosed.[26] Some of these acres would of course have been accounted for by the houses and gardens of the settlement itself and the rest had been enclosed piece-meal over centuries. The award, when it came in 1780, would reveal that there had been only 51 acres of the open fields left to enclose. This is about 1½% of the total area of the parish, so any notion that the primary objective of Calverton's enclosure was to rearrange the village arable from strips and furlongs in large communally farmed fields, into the landscape of today, must be resisted. The rest of the land enclosed was about 550 acres of warren and Sansom wood and 1728 acres of common and forest.

Calverton was one of forty or so townships within the ancient bounds of Sherwood Forest, and so was subject to forest law, which protected both the animals (primarily deer) and their habitat for the exclusive use of the king. It may be that because of this, agricultural improvement and commercial development in Calverton was different from other, more purely agricultural, settlements.[27] Specifically the village was situated in one of the two administrative districts or bailiwicks into which Sherwood Forest was divided, the southern part called Thorney Wood Chase, of which the Earl of Chesterfield was hereditary keeper .[28] The Chase was formerly well wooded and stocked with fallow deer, but growth of population and changes in agricultural practice were altering the character of the area.

Back in 1609 Richard Bankes’ map had shown the progress of enclosure in the parish.[29] Calverton, like most settlements on Bankes’ map, was found to be surrounded by a number of large communally farmed arable fields. These must have been in existence for many centuries, but by 1609 each of the large open fields had had some of its land changed into non-communable closes, some of which may have been used for pasture. In Calverton the map shows about twenty small closes converted out of a portion of a field, The Moores, to the north east of the village, between the present Carrington Lane and the Doverbeck. Nearby was a bigger New Close. Many other closes, large and small, had been created between Dark Lane and the southern parish boundary with Woodborough, in the large Hyll Feild. More closes line the western edge of the Hyll Feild along the course of the stream which now flows near George’s Lane. Other parts of the parish were less subject to the making of permanent closes, as they will have been more wooded and the practice of breck agriculture may have prevailed. These brecks were temporary enclosures made out of the forest waste land and sheep walks. Plots of land were fenced off and ploughed as arable for up to seven years, after which period the fences were taken down and the land reverted to open forest.[30] According to Dr. Thoroton's history of the county, the free-holders of Calverton in 1612 were Christopher Strelley, John Sturtivant, Robert Cooper, John Lees, Thomas Leeson, Ed. Benet, John Barber, John Lambrey, Humsr Youle, Euseby Marshall of Arnall, John Chaworth of Southwell, esquire and John Cressewell.[31]

A bill was presented in March 1779 by the Nottinghamshire MP Lord Edward Bentinck, who was the younger brother of the third Duke of Portland. It noted counter-petitions to some of its provisions by the Earl of Chesterfield and other smaller owners. The Earl of Chesterfield's objections concerns the alleged insufficient compensation allowed him as hereditary ranger of Thorney Wood Chase. The earl's claims were apparently met by the promoters, and the bill was amended accordingly.[32] The other counter-petitioners, led by villager William Huthwaite, described themselves as 'owners and proprietors of ancient houses having right of common'. They alleged that if the bill passed it would be prejudicial to their rights and properties and injurious to the public in general. They successfully secured the appointment of an additional, fifth, commissioner, a local man John Padley of Calverton, to represent their interests.[33]

An Act for dividing and inclosing the open fields, meadows, pastures, commons, forest and waste grounds in the parish of Calverton in the County of Nottingham was passed by Parliament in May 1779.[34] After a little over a year, on 7 July 1780, the commissioners were able to sign the award. One hundred and seventy plots of land were allotted to nearly ninety owners. Because about 2,334 acres of Calverton had been enclosed in such a short time, it seems very likely that much of the detail mentioned in the award had already been agreed by the principal owners, and the work of the commissioners will have been to satisfy the claims of those villagers who perhaps owned no land at all, but did have common rights around the parish. These rights would be replaced, at enclosure, by small allotments of land. John Roe (q.v.) for example received just 11 perches, or about 330 square yards.[35]

The principal landowners were now the Prebends of Oxton, Revd James Bingham as vicar, the Duke of Portland, Margaret Sherbrooke, Elizabeth Bainbrigge and Thomas Smith. There were many other smaller proprietors however, and because of this multiplicity of ownership, Calverton could not be described as a 'closed village’, where the property was in the hands of a few people who could control development and, for example, restrict people coming in who might become dependent on poor relief. Calverton's ‘open village’ status was to influence the course of the parish’s development in many ways, in the years to come.[36]

The initial stimulus or spark to parliamentary enclosure is not clear. As noted, it was not to reorganise the arable, but since the largest Calverton landowners were now the holders of the two Prebends of Oxton, it may well have been prompted by them, so that the annual payment of tithes to the prebendaries could be changed into, a once and for all allotment of land, and all tithes could be extinguished.[37]

Enclosure meant that the system whereby land owned by one person, but over which other people had certain traditional rights, such as to allow their livestock to graze upon it, to collect firewood, or to collect sand and gravel was ended forever. The landscape of the parish was also altered. Hedges were planted, drains dug, gates and stiles erected,footpaths and bridleways established in law and roads (sixty feet between the hedges) were laid out, so that today’s Calverton is recognisably as set down in the Award of July 1780.

The nineteenth-century[edit]

Table to show the population of the parish in the nineteenth century, from the decennial census:[38]
Year Population
1801 636
1811 904
1821 1064
1831 1196
1841 1339
1851 1427
1861 1372
1871 1319
1881 1246
1891 1199
1901 1159

The village seems to have escape the worst of the Luddite disturbances in 1811-17, but a spirit of radicalism did exist, as Calverton was one of eleven Nottinghamshire villages (which also included Woodborough, Oxton and Lambley) that presented petitions to parliament in 1817 demanding electoral reform. The petitioners wished (in a foreshadowing of later Chartist demands), for annual elections of representatives chosen by ’all men who have attained the age of twenty-one… seeing that all men pay Taxes, and all men have lives and liberties to protect’.[39] At the time only male owners of property worth at least forty shillings were allowed to vote. Limited electoral reform was not to come until 1832. (q.v.)

By the time the first county directory was published in 1832, Calverton had grown to a ‘considerable village’ of 1,196 persons, of whom 270 were engaged in manufacturing, of one sort or another, forty-seven in retail and handicrafts and only thirty-seven were primarily employed as agricultural labourers.[40] It was not therefore a traditional English agricultural village, but one in which cottage industries, such as the making of hosiery, dominated. William White’s directory claimed nearly three hundred stocking frames were in use at the time.[41]

Calverton’s principal resident was Lady Katherine Sherbrooke, the widow of Sir John Coape Sherbrooke(1764-1830) who had been Governor General of British North America and who had retired to live at Calverton Hall.[42] Other residents included five shoemakers, four hosiery manufacturers, four shopkeepers, three butchers as well as blacksmiths, frame-smiths and tailors. The 1832 directory lists two pubs, the Admiral Rodney and the White Lion, as well as three beerhouses, perhaps recently opened as a result of the Beerhouse Act 1830.[43] The Gleaner (sic) public house was not to make its first appearance, in a directory, until 1876.

Partly as a result of disillusionment with the 1832 Reform Act, radicalism raised its head again in the shape of the People's Charter of 1838, as textile workers saw real electoral reform, which the Charter proposed, as a means whereby their standard of living might be improved.[44] One of the Nottinghamshire organisers of Chartism was a Calverton man called George Harrison who, some sources claim, was a farmer and Primitive Methodist preacher.[45] It was Harrison who invited the leader of the Chartists, Feargus O’Connor to Calverton on Monday 25 July 1842. It may have been thought that a meeting of Chartists was less likely to be broken up by the authorities in the countryside, than in the town of Nottingham. The Chartists’ own newspaper The Northern Star described, in extravagant terms, the arrival of O’Connor by train from Derby, and his progress in a carriage procession along Mansfield Road, picking up delegations from suburbs and villages along the way till at last, around 2 p.m., Calverton was reached.[46] O’Connor made a long speech at 'Bonner Pool' to a crowd, which the newspaper estimated at five thousand, and then a tea-party was served in a marquee ‘in a beautiful pasture bounded by a splendid wood’. There followed an evening of singing, dancing and games, during which time a supposed government spy was pointed out and questioned. O’Connor spent the night in Calverton and the following morning, he set out for more speech-making in Mansfield.[47]

Four weeks later The Northern Star reported that, on Monday 22 and Tuesday 23 August 1842, there had been skirmishes with the village constable and a general withdrawal of labour by workers in Calverton, but the Battle of Mapperley Hills, on that Tuesday 23 August, perhaps saw the zenith of Chartism in Nottinghamshire, and the working class began to focus instead on opposition to the Corn Laws and the high price of bread.[48]

The General Enclosure Act of 1845 had required that provision should be made at enclosure for the landless, in the form of 'field gardens' or allotments, limited to a quarter of an acre, and this will have been prompted by the fear of civil unrest amongst the poor.[49] Calverton had already been enclosed, but there is evidence that in 1845 this ‘cottage garden system’ had just been introduced to the village, and that frame-workers were cultivating rented allotments.[50] In that year allotment tenants paid their first half–yearly rent to Calverton farmer Mr. William Ward, who provided them with a free supper, prepared by Samuel Fletcher at the White Lion.[51] Not only were the poor more likely to be happier having a stake in the land, but it was hoped that landowners would have to pay less in the form of the poor-rate, if landless workers in the village were able to grow their own food.[52]

In 1851, at the same time as the census (which had found 1,427 person in 302 houses), there was a census of ‘Accommodation and Attendance at Worship.’ This is often referred to as the ‘1851 Religious Census’ and it revealed both the popularity of religion and the variety of options, both established and nonconformist, for the prospective Calverton worshipper. Samuel Oliver, vicar of St Wilfrid's Parish Church (q.v.) claimed an average attendance of forty-seven in the morning, 132 in the afternoon and 133 at evening service. The Methodists appeared to be a state of some disarray at the time. There was a Primitive Methodist Chapel which had been erected about 1783 and was used by the Reformed Methodists in the morning (seventy worshippers), as well as by the Primitive Methodists both in the afternoon (90) and in the evening (150) There was also a Wesleyan Methodist Chapel erected in 1815 which could muster only twenty-five in the evening; Matthew Shepherd, the steward, explained that the low number attending was due to ‘the agitation in the connexion having caused a division here’. The New Methodists had built a place of worship in about 1820, but had sold it the Baptists in 1832 and the minister, Samuel Ward, for the Particular Baptist Chapel, claimed a congregation of 120.The relatively recently formed Latter-day Saints (or Mormons ) held services in a building that was ‘not used exclusively for worship’ and the elder, Thomas Lester, claimed an average of forty in the afternoon and fifty-seven in the evening.[53] There was no mention of Calverton's Roeite sect (q.v.), in the census, some thirty years after the death of its founder, John Roe, in 1823. The religious census of 1851 was never repeated, not because of doubts about its accuracy, but probably because it was felt to have shown the popularity of the dissenters.[54]

Although the 1832 Reform Act had extended the franchise, only sixty male land-, or lease-holders out of Calverton’s population of 1,427, were eligible to vote in the South Nottinghamshire by-election of 1851 and twenty of them were not even residents of the parish. Two Calverton voters lived as far away as Bishops Waltham in Hampshire. Of the sixty eligible, just forty-six actually did vote. While Calverton voters preferred Sydney Pierrepont (the future Earl Manvers) to the tenant farmers’ candidate William Barrow of Southwell by twenty-eight to eighteen, it was actually the latter who was narrowly elected for the constituency.[55]

Prior to 1800, education for the less well-off was generally restricted to the occasional charity school. Calverton was fortunate to benefit from a bequest of a Nottingham hosiery manufacturer, and village native called Jonathan Labray, who died a bachelor in 1718. His trustees arranged to pay the master of a day school and to allow him use of a house and four tons of coal per year. In 1835, sixty two males were taught; some paid for by the endowment, and some by weekly payments of one penny for reading and one penny for writing.[56] There was also another school where twenty-five girls were taught at the expense of their parents. An infant school was started in 1833 for forty-four males and thirty-seven females, supported by subscription and pennies per week. This school seems to have moved into a purpose-built structure at Burnor Pool in 1846 which became the National School in 1852.[57] Children not taught in these schools might have had some instruction in one of the three Sunday schools; one attached to St Wilfrid’s, one to the Methodists and the last to the Baptists.[58]

The population of Calverton had risen dramatically since the start of the century (see table), but the hosiery industry was beginning to show signs of decline because of changes in fashion, as men began to prefer trousers to knee breeches and stockings.[59] In the town of Nottingham, this decline was offset by the rise of lace manufacture, but in Calverton the effect was seen as a reduction, from mid-century, in the number of residents, as workers migrated to urban centres. In 1881 the census recorded, in a population of 1246, a total of 294 workers in clothes-making (everything from hosiery to hats, shawls and gloves), while ninety-six were engaged in agriculture.[60]

By the time of the death of Victoria in 1901, the population of the parish had declined slowly to 1,159.

Church of St.Wilfrid[edit]

St Wilfrids Church, Calverton - - 1758901.jpg

St Wilfrid’s church seems to date, for the most part, from the fourteenth century, when it may have been reconstructed with material from an older building.

The nave and tower were rebuilt in 1760-3 and over the west door is a commemorative stone ‘ Mr. Pugh, Vicar, Saml. Pugh, Ino.Barrett, Church Wardens, Wm.Barrett, mason’. In 1835 the chancel was reconstructed and in 1881 the whole church was restored.[61]

An organ chamber was built in 1888 and an annexe in 1962.

The nave has the somewhat unusual form of a wide parallelogram 42 feet 8 inches long and 37 feet 2 inches wide, of one span and with no traces of any arcades. The chancel arch is not in the centre of the east wall of the nave, but about five feet nearer to the north side. This has led to the suggestion that when the building was rebuilt in the 1760s, the south wall of the nave was moved further south to enlarge the building.[62]

On the west wall of the ringing chamber,at second storey level, is a sandstone carving, on its side, of a man apparently digging, while on the west wall of the clock chamber,at third storey level, is a collection of nine sandstone panels believed to represent the occupations of the seasons. Seven of these stones are voussoir-shaped, and may have formed part of a band of ornament nine inches wide on the architrave of an arch in the earlier pre-fourteenth century building. Similar depictions of country activities may be seen on the fonts at Burnham Deepdale in Norfolk, and Brookland in Kent.

Carved into the capital of the north jamb is a small, 3” by 4”, panel containing a three-quarter length depiction of a bearded bishop together with another figure. It is perhaps St Wilfrid himself, either with a newly baptised convert or, as the freeing of slaves was a distinguishing feature of the bishop's career, in the act of manumission.[63]

William Lee[edit]

Although contemporary documentary evidence is lacking, the parish traditionally claims William Lee, inventor of the stocking frame, as its own. The Nottinghamshire historian Robert Thoroton asserted in his 1677 history of the county that Lee was a native of Calverton,[64] while John Aubrey in his Brief Lives, written between 1669 and 1693, thought that he was born in Sussex[65] and Charles Deering in Nottinghamia Vetus et Nova, published in 1751, claimed that Lee was of Woodborough.[66] Calverton’s claim is probably the strongest, as the Lee surname appears in parish registers of the time and a William Lee ‘the elder’, whose death was recorded in 1607, bequeathed a gold ring to his eldest son, William, who may have been the inventor.[67] There is little evidence that William Lee was ever curate in the parish or even in Holy Orders. Aubrey appears to be first to describe him as a ‘poor curate’, while Thoroton only mentions a Cambridge M.A. degree, and even this is disputed.[68] The vicar of Calverton from 1571 to 1592 was a James Revell.[69]

The myths surrounding Lee, including the supposed reasons for the invention, a girl-friend or wife and an alleged refusal by Queen Elizabeth to grant a patent, seem to stem from a volume of 1831 called History of the Framework Knitters by a leading workers' leader of the time, Gravenor Henson (1785-1852).[70] Some of these myths were made visual in Alfred Elmore's familiar oil painting of 1847, The Origin of the Stocking Loom in the Nottingham Castle Museum.

There seems little doubt, however, that a William Lee did invent the stocking frame, since a partnership agreement between William Lee and George Brooke of 6 June 1600 exists in the archives of the Historical Manuscript Commission, and this agreement describes the invention.[71] Failing to find much enthusiasm in this country for his ingenuity, Lee went to Rouen and set up stocking frames there, and is believed to have died in France, in obscurity, in about 1615. By the end of the seventeenth century however, stocking frames, perhaps the most complex piece of machinery employed in the pre-industrial age, were in widespread use in England and elsewhere.

John Roe and the Roeite sect[edit]

The Roeites, or John Roe’s Society (or, sometimes disparagingly, ‘Deformed Quakers’), were a group of dissenting Protestants which flourished for a while in Calverton.[72] Perhaps prompted by some dissatisfaction with James Bingham, the vicar of the parish or with the general state of the Church of England in the late eighteenth century, and encouraged by the provisions of the recently passed Nonconformist Relief Act 1779, John Roe (1732–1823) founded the sect in about 1780.[73] Their meeting house was a converted barn, believed to have been close to the junction of Woods Lane and Dark Lane, where a large tree now stands. (53°02′10.432″N 1°05′13.132″W / 53.03623111°N 1.08698111°W / 53.03623111; -1.08698111).

Their presence in the village evidently caused a degree of bad feeling, because a Mr J. Morley, writing from Calverton to the Nottingham Journal in 1787, was moved to declare that ‘their religion in short, is a heap of inconsistencies promiscuously jumbled together, and their preaching an invariable compound of railing, absurdity, billingsgate and blackguardism…and I need not hesitate to aver that the wickedness, blasphemy and abomination delivered from Roe’s pulpit are without parallel’.[74] A peculiarity of the group was the custom of marrying its members after partners had been selected, by a jury of twelve drawing lots. This was 'in order to know precisely the will of Heaven concerning their matrimonial union'.[75] The idea was so extraordinary that even the German poet and philosopher Friedrich von Schiller, in far-away Stuttgart, was moved to write about it, and lamented in a 1781 article, Arme jugend van Calverton!, about the lack of sentimentality and passion in the arrangement. [76] The Roeites however contended that they had the right to marry, as well as to perform any religious duty, under the Act of Toleration 1689.[77]

On 1 May 1780 John Roe went through a marriage ceremony, in the meeting house, with Mabel Morris, of the parish of St Mary, Nottingham. Later Elizabeth Morris (sister to Mabel) was similarly joined with Thomas Bush. On 20 April 1785 the churchwardens of St Wilfrids accused Mabel Morris (using her maiden name, rather than ‘Mrs Roe’), before the Church Court at Southwell Minster, of having three illegitimate children and Elizabeth Morris (‘Mrs Bush’) of having one such child. The ostensible reason must have been that the illegitimate offspring would become a burden on the parish. The two mothers failed to appear at Southwell to answer the charges, and in February 1786 letters of excommunication against them were issued. On Sunday the 5 March the curate of Calverton, Ephraim Rogerson read out the order in church.[78] As the two women did not apply to have the excommunication lifted within forty days, the Archbishop of York asked the Crown to issue writs of excommunicato capiendo to the Civil Courts to imprison the women, and they were taken to the county gaol, without any prospect of ever being released.[79]

Although no child of the sect seems to have actually become chargeable to Calverton parish, ‘Mrs Roe’ and ‘Mrs Bush’ had effectively, been sentenced to life imprisonment in the Nottingham county gaol. The matter had got out of hand, and reports began to appear in the press which expressed disquiet about the affair and the way in which the animosity between the Dissenters and the Established Church was ‘disgraceful in this enlightened age’.[80] John Roe’s brother William wrote from Farnsfield to Lord George Gordon appealing for his help (Gordon had himself been excommunicated) and the M.P. John Courtenay who had written Conduct of the Dissenters in England (1790) raised the matter in Parliament, as a general feeling of unease about the issue began to become apparent.[81] In August 1790 Lord Kenyon, the Lord Chief Justice said that they could be released if they did penance, but the two sisters were not at all penitent.[82] Eventually, in 1798 after twelve years imprisonment, it appears that ‘Mrs Roe’ and ‘Mrs Bush’ were allowed to escape and return to Calverton, when part of the gaol was being rebuilt.[83]

John Roe, a small white haired man, continued to preach in the converted barn, and died at the age of 91 in 1823.[84] The Roeite sect did not long survive the death of its founder and there was no mention of it in the Religious Census of 1851.


The manorial history of Salterford is complicated and incomplete, and traces of any possible former settlement are not now evident, but its name is still represented, on larger scale maps, by Salterford Farm and by nearby Salterford Dam on the Dover Beck.(53°04′00.88″N 1°05′42.93″W / 53.0669111°N 1.0952583°W / 53.0669111; -1.0952583)

In the Domesday survey, it is recorded as belonging to Osbern son of Richard and being six bovates (perhaps 90 acres) of ‘waste’, which may have meant that it was uninhabited or uncultivated, or both.[85] It is referred to in the 1330 Assize rolls as Molendin de Salturford so that a watermill must have been built there by that time.[86]

In the early Tudor period it seems to have belonged to a family of landowners called Revell who sold the land, with a pond, to Thomas Hockynson (or Hutchinson) in 1551.[87] The 1589 perambulation of Sherwood Forest includes Salterford Dam as a landmark on the boundary of the royal hunting ground, so evidently the dam ( or body of water confined by an embankment [OED]), was already there as a source of water for a mill by the Dover Beck.[88] A correspondent of the Nottinghamshire Guardian writing in 1883 referred to a manor house at Salterford, said by Dr Thoroton to have been occupied by Sir Thomas Hutchinson (1587-1643) father of the roundhead Colonel John Hutchinson.[89] The site of this manor house was supposed to have been ploughed up in the making of flood meadows by the 5th Duke of Portland (1800-1879).[90] The Revd T. Woollen Smith (vicar of Calverton) in replying to this correspondent referred to a scribbled note, of 1760, in the parish register, probably written by Revd Maurice Pugh.[91] There were two burials in June 1614 of women who had been (wrote Pugh), …inhabitants of a house yt stood at Salterford Dam now a Rabit Warren 1760 it looks like some plague. There was a corn mill there and a manor house within a Mote near the Dam head the Mill below it some distance served wh Water by a cut from ye Dam.[92] Despite Pugh's assertion, the 1609 map of Sherwood Forest, while listing 'Mr Randall Barton' and 'Mr Hutchinson' as freeholders of both 'Saunterforde Manor' and 'Saunsham Woods', had showed no habitations or buildings of any kind.[93] In 1662 Colonel Hutchinson sold the manor of Salterford to William Willoughby of Hunsdon in Hertfordshire.[94] Five years later the manor (including ‘ground where a mill lately stood’) was sold to two London gentlemen and, soon after that, in 1676 Humphrey Jennens, the ironmaster of Erdington, was authorised by the Sherwood Forest Court to enclose nearby Sansom Wood.[95] In January 1709 Charles Jennens (son of Humphrey and father of the celebrated Charles Jennens) sold the land to John Holles, 1st Duke of Newcastle.[96] In July of that year Salterford was being rented to a warrener called John Bagulie of Blidworth.[97] By 1716 Salterford belonged to Lord Harley, 2nd Earl of Oxford, as it had evidently been bequeathed to his wife, who was the only child of the late Duke.[98] In 1721 Salterford was being leased at £20 p.a. to Samuel Wilkinson of Calverton as a rabbit warren, with permission also to make brecks (q.v. ) to take three crops.[99] It seems that Samuel Wilkinson was the son-in-law of the vicar, Revd Maurice Pugh and was receiving letters from him concerning the tithes for corn, sheep, and even rabbits, up to 1750.[100] The enclosure map of 1780 shows that the vicar had been awarded the area at the junction of Salterford Lane and the Old Rufford Road, 'in lieu of tithes', while 'Sansome Warren' covered the area where now there are woods and ponds.[101] The Revd T. Woollen Smith noted in 1883 that he had spoken to a man who, as a boy, ‘remembered… seeing remains of an old manor house when the present Salterford dam was being made'.[102]

Junction of Old Rufford Road (A614) and Salterford Lane (at right) - - 36816

Salterford may well have originated as a place where salters used a ford, at a low-lying point on the trackway through the forest, now known as the A614 or Old Rufford Road. It seems however to owe its continued existence to the construction of a mill, at an early time, a few hundred metres away, at the point where the Dover Beck enters Calverton parish. It appears to be the only place in the parish where there was sufficient water power to turn the wheel of a mill and it is therefore to be associated with other ancient mills on that river, such as those formerly at Oxton, Epperstone and Gonalston.[103] While there probably was a miller’s house, at Salterford, to accompany the water-mill, documentary evidence for a Manor House, or other habitations, is lacking.

Bus services[edit]

Trent Barton

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  1. ^ "Parish Headcounts: Calverton CP". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 2014-05-20. 
  2. ^ Calverton ecclesiastical parish map
  3. ^ J. Thirsk, (ed.), The Agrarian History of England and Wales, Vol.IV, 1500-1640 (Cambridge, 1967), p.97
  4. ^ J. Glover, A. Mawer & F. Stenton, Place-Names of Nottinghamshire (Cambridge, 1940), p.158 ;A.D. Mills, Oxford Dictionary of British Place Names (Oxford, 2003); H. Mutschmann, The Place-Names of Nottinghamshire: Their Origin and Development (Cambridge, 1913), p.29
  5. ^ J. Glover, A. Mawer & F. Stenton, ibid
  6. ^ Mutschmann, Ibid, p.116
  7. ^ M. C. Higham, ‘Take it with a pinch of Salt’ in Landscape History, vol 25 (2003), pp.59-65 ; E.P.Shirley, Some account of English deer parks: with notes on the management of deer (1867), p.14
  8. ^ D. N. Riley, ‘Temporary Camps at Calverton, Notts’, Britannia, vol.14 (1983), p.270
  9. ^ J.M.C.Toynbee, Art in Britain under the Romans (1964), p.356; M.Todd, The Coritani (1991), p.114
  10. ^ W. Page (ed.), The Victoria history of the county of Nottingham, vol 2 (1906), p.24
  11. ^ H B. Mattingly, ‘Two hoards of Roman coins from Calverton', Transactions of the Thoroton Society, 64 (1960), pp. 9-19
  12. ^ J. Morris (ed.), Domesday Book, vol. 28: Nottinghamshire (Chichester, 1977), pp.5,16,30;Corpus of Romanesque Sculpture in Britain and Ireland
  13. ^ "Anglo-Saxon Nottinghamshire". University of Leicester. p. 8. Retrieved 2012-04-09. 
  14. ^ N.Goose, & A Hinde, ‘Estimating local population sizes at fixed points in time. Part II: Specific sources’, Local Population Studies 78 (2007) pp.75-6
  15. ^ vide A. Whiteman, ‘The Protestation Returns of 1641–1642: part I, the general organisation’, Local Population Studies, 55 (1995), pp.14–27
  16. ^ W. F. Webster (ed.), Protestation Returns, 1641/2 — Notts/Derbys, (West Bridgford, 1980)
  17. ^ W F Webster ( ed.), Nottinghamshire hearth tax, 1664:1674, Thoroton Society Record Series, 37, (1988) p.97
  18. ^ T. Arkell, 'Multiplying factors for estimating population totals from the Hearth Tax', Local Population Studies, 28 (1982), pp.51-7
  19. ^ E. L. Guilford, (ed.), ‘Nottinghamshire in 1676’, Transactions of the Thoroton Society 28 (1924), p.110
  20. ^ T. Arkell, ‘A method for estimating population totals from the Compton Census returns’, in K. Schürer and T. Arkell (eds.), Surveying the people:the interpretation and use of document sources for the study of population in the later seventeenth century (Oxford,1992), pp. 97–116.
  21. ^ H.H. Copnall, Notes and Extracts from the Nottinghamshire County Records of the 17th Century (Nottingham, 1915), pp.119-20,144
  22. ^ Calverton was part of the Diocese of York until 1884 when the Diocese of Southwell was created.
  23. ^ S.L.Ollard & P.C.Walker(eds.), Archbishop Herring's visitation returns Vol. iv,1743, Yorkshire Archaeological Society, Record Series 72, (Wakefield, 1930), p.176
  24. ^ H. Fisher (ed.), Church life in Georgian Nottinghamshire: Archbishop Drummond’s parish visitation returns, 1764, Thoroton Society Record Series, vol 46 (Nottingham, 2012),p.25; R. Thoroton, revised by J. Throsby The antiquities of Nottinghamshire, (1790–96), vol. 3, p.43
  25. ^ 1801-02 (9) Abstract of the answers and returns made pursuant to an act, passed in the forty-first Year of His Majesty King George III. Intituled, "an act for taking an account of the population of Great Britain, and the increase or diminution thereof." Enumeration. Part I. England and Wales, p.277
  26. ^ W.E. Tate, Parliamentary Land Enclosures in the county of Nottingham during the 18th and 19th Centuries (1743-1868), Thoroton Society Record Series, 5 (1935),p.66
  27. ^ For the royal forests and forest law, see: G.J. Turner (ed.)Select pleas of the forest (Selden Soc. 13, 1899)
  28. ^ S.N. Mastoris, ‘A newly–Discovered Perambulation Map of Sherwood Forest in the Early Seventeenth Century’, Transactions of the Thoroton Society,102 (1998),p.81
  29. ^ S.N. Mastoris and S.M. Groves, (eds.), Sherwood Forest in 1609,Thoroton Society, Record Series, XL (Nottingham, 1997)
  30. ^ D. V.Fowkes, ‘The Breck System of Sherwood Forest', Transactions of the Thoroton Society, 81 (1977), pp.55-61
  31. ^ R. Thoroton, revised by J. Throsby The antiquities of Nottinghamshire, (1790–96), vol. 3, p.42
  32. ^ W. E. Tate, ‘Parliamentary Counter-Petitions during the Enclosures of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries’, English Historical Review, Vol. 59, No. 235 ( 1944), p.400
  33. ^ Ibid, p.402
  34. ^ 19 Geo. III, c.79
  35. ^ Notts Archives:EA18/1/1,EA18/2
  36. ^ For characteristics of 'open' and 'closed' villages see: D R Mills, Lord and Peasant in Nineteenth Century Britain (1980),p.117, table 6.1
  37. ^ TNA:IR 18/7356 Tithes extinguished
  38. ^ W .Page, (ed.), The Victoria history of the county of Nottingham, Vol. 2 (1910), p.316
  39. ^ Journals of the House of Commons, 27 February 1817,p.118
  40. ^ 1831. Abstract to the Answers and Returns to the Population, 11 Geo IV. c.30,p.487
  41. ^ W. White, History, gazetteer, and directory of Nottinghamshire, and the town and county of the town of Nottingham (Sheffield, 1832), pp.665-6
  42. ^ Demolished in 1961,the Hall stood on the site of Old Hall Close,NG14 6PU
  43. ^ In the Nottinghamshire Archives there are alehouse keeper’s bonds dated 1822, for both The White Lion and The Rodney (sic): C/QD/LV/3/6/40-1
  44. ^ J.V.Beckett, 'Radical Nottingham' in J.V.Beckett (ed.), A Centenary History of Nottingham (Stroud, 2006),p.301
  45. ^ M.R. Watts, The Dissenters: Volume II: The Expansion of Evangelical Nonconformity 1791-1859 (1995), p.515; But Harrison's name has yet to be found in a contemporary directory.
  46. ^ The Northern Star (Leeds), Saturday, 30 July 1842; Issue 246
  47. ^ ibid
  48. ^ The Northern Star (Leeds), Saturday, 27 August 1842; Issue 250; J.V.Beckett, p.303
  49. ^ 8 & 9 Vict. c.118,p.1398;
  50. ^ Farmer’s Magazine Vol 12, July-Dec 1845,p.397
  51. ^ F. White, Directory and Gazetteer of Nottinghamshire (Sheffield, 1853),p.483
  52. ^ Farmer’s Magazine, Ibid.
  53. ^ The National Archives(TNA), HO 129/488, Calverton
  54. ^ K. D. M. Snell, P.S. Ell, Rival Jerusalems: The Geography of Victorian Religion (Cambridge, 2000), pp.51,451
  55. ^ A full and impartial report of the proceedings connected with an election contest in South Nottinghamshire, February,1851 (Nottingham, 1851), p.31; Barrow got 1493 votes and Pierrepont 1482
  56. ^ J. Curtis, A topographical history of Nottinghamshire (Oxford, 1844), pp.48-9; Although Revd. Pugh had claimed in 1743 that the school was not endowed.(q.v.)
  57. ^ Parliamentary Papers, Accounts and papers relating to Education, Vol 42 (1835), p.715
  58. ^ Ibid;TNA: HO 129/488
  59. ^ J. V. Beckett, The East Midlands from AD 1000:Regional history of England (Harlow,1988), pp.284-6
  60. ^ 1881 Census of England and Wales,'Occupations of Males and Females in the Division and its Registration Counties' , sections: 7 Agriculture and 18 Dress
  61. ^ Rev. A. Du Boulay Hill, ‘The Summer Excursion, 1908: Calverton church’, Transactions of the Thoroton Society, 12 (1908), pp.31-6; J.C. Cox, County Churches: Nottinghamshire (1912), p.53;N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Nottinghamshire, 2nd edition revised by E. Williamson (1979), p.89.
  62. ^ T. O. Hoyle, A Guide to Calverton Parish Church (Calverton, 197-?), p.18
  63. ^ D. Hill, 'Some Ancient Carved Stones in Calverton Church, Notts' in Archaeological Journal , Vol 58 (1901), pp.459-63;Corpus of Romanesque Sculpture in Britain and Ireland
  64. ^ R. Thoroton, Ibid
  65. ^ J. Aubrey,ed. J. Walker, Letters written by eminent persons … and ‘Lives of eminent men’ , vol.2 (1813), p.32
  66. ^ C.Deering, Nottinghamia vetus et nova: or, An historical account of the ancient and present state of the town of Nottingham (Nottingham, 1751),p.99
  67. ^ M. Grass and A. Grass, Stockings for a queen: the life of William Lee, the Elizabethan inventor (1967), pp. 159–161; Nottinghamshire Archives, PR/SW/34/16, Will (16/04/1607) of William LEE of Calverton, yeoman
  68. ^ K. G. Ponting, 'William Lee - Inventor of the Knitting Frame', Bulletin du Liaison de Centre International d'Etude des Textils Anciens, vol 46 (1977), pp.69-79; N. Harte, ‘Wm Lee and the Invention of the Knitting Frame', in J.T. Millington, and S.D. Chapman (eds.), Four Centuries of Machine Knitting: Commemorating William Lee's Invention of the Stocking Frame in 1589 (Leicester, 1989), pp.14-20;J. Peile, Biographical Register of Christ's College, 1505-1905: And of the Earlier Foundation, God's House, 1448-1505, Volume 1 (Cambridge, 1910),p.154. Peile only finds a B.A. degree in 1582/3
  69. ^, James Revell
  70. ^ G. Henson, The Civil, Political and Mechanical History of the Framework Knitters in Europe, America &c(1831), pp.38-9,43,45-8
  71. ^ De Lisle and Dudley MS, no. 1234 (Foulis collection) and transcribed in: E. W. Pasold, ‘In search of William Lee’, Textile History, 6 (1975), pp.12-16; George Brooke may be the conspirator who was executed in 1603.
  72. ^ Tait's Edinburgh magazine, vol. 7 (1840) p.432
  73. ^, James Bingham
  74. ^ Nottingham Journal, Saturday, March 31, 1787
  75. ^ J.F. Sutton, The date-book of remarkable and memorable events connected with Nottingham and its neighbourhood, 1750-1850 (Oxford, 1852), p.178.
  76. ^ Nachrichten zum Nutzen und Vergnügen (Stuttgart, 31 July 1781), this was a twice-weekly newpaper edited by Schiller.
  77. ^ Diary or Woodfall’s Register (London) , Wednesday, April 10, 1793; Issue 1265
  78. ^ Ibid;, Ephraim Rogerson
  79. ^ Public Advertiser (London) , Tuesday, April 18, 1786; Issue 16195
  80. ^ Public Advertiser (London), Wednesday, May 28, 1788; Issue 16804
  81. ^ Diary or Woodfall's Register, Ibid
  82. ^ Public Advertiser (London), Tuesday, August 3, 1790; Issue 17495
  83. ^ K.G.T. Meaby, Nottinghamshire: Extracts from the county records of the eighteenth century (Nottingham, 1947), p.61,quoting from: J. Blackner, History of Nottingham (1815)
  84. ^ Tait's Edinburgh magazine, Ibid
  85. ^ J Morris, (ed.),Domesday Book: Nottinghamshire (Chichester, 1977), 27,3
  86. ^ J. E. B. Gover, A. Mawer and F. M. Stenton, The Place-Names of Nottinghamshire (Cambridge, 1940), p.158; A watermill rather than a windmill, as the former were more common at this time and in any case windmills were usually sited on higher ground to catch the wind.
  87. ^ National Archives: C 1/670/38, C 1/890/70-73; Notts Archives 157DD/2P/16/1
  88. ^ Notts Archives 157DD/P/2723
  89. ^ R. Thoroton, revised by J. Throsby The antiquities of Nottinghamshire, (1790–96), vol. 2, p.42; Thoroton mentions a manor, but not a house
  90. ^ The correspondent may have meant water meadows
  91. ^, Maurice Pugh
  92. ^ Nottinghamshire Guardian, 22 June 1883, p.2; 13 July 1883, p.2
  93. ^ S.N. Mastoris and S.M. Groves, (eds.), Sherwood Forest in 1609,Thoroton Society, Record Series, XL (Nottingham, 1997), p.143 and map 14
  94. ^ Notts Archives DD4P/22/81-2
  95. ^ Notts Archives DD/4P/22/84-5, DD/P/6/1/2/11
  96. ^ Notts Archives DD/4P/22/99-100
  97. ^ Notts Archives DD/2P/28/11
  98. ^ Notts Archives DD/P/6/4/2/2
  99. ^ Notts Archives DD/4P/76/19
  100. ^ Notts Archives DD/4P/76/1-5
  101. ^ Notts Archives EA18/1/1,EA18/2
  102. ^ Nottinghamshire Guardian , 22 June 1883, p.2; 13 July 1883, p.2
  103. ^ Notts Archives 157DD/P/2723

External links[edit]