WHO logo

WHO home page

WHO pages only
All the Web

This year's programme of WHO lectures

older news from the WHO 1
(before mid-2020)

older news from the WHO 2
(mid-2020 to end 2022)

older news from the WHO 3
(circa 2023)

WHO archive catalogue

the WHO's 'virtual museum'

YouTube videos about Wolds history

Local history articles

Burton on the Wolds




Six Hills

Walton on the Wolds

Willoughby on the Wolds


Wymeswold Airfield

Walton on the Wolds records

early C17th Wymeswold constable's accounts

Wymeswold census returns 1841 to 1901

Wymeswold parish registers 1560 onwards

Wymeswold marriage registers 1560 to 1916

Wymeswold Village Design Statement 2002

WHO publications available as free PDFs

The Wolds Historian 2004–2008

2000 Years of the Wolds

A walk Around Wymeswold

Wymeswold fieldwalking report 1993

In addition the WHO has digitised versions of:

  • George Farnham's unpublished MS of notes about Wymeswold medieval history (akin to a 1920s update of Nichols)
  • Enclosure Award and later maps plus assorted terriers held in the archive of Trinity College Cambridge
  • Marshall Brown's pharmaceutical journal 1869
  • Wymeswold school log books 1875–1982
  • Wymeswold Parochial Charities minutes 1880–1930
  • photographs taken by Philip Brown between 1890s and 1930s
  • Sidney Pell Potter's A History of Wymeswold 1915
  • Lily Brown's diary 1916
  • Church Council Minute Book for St Mary's, Wymeswold 1932–1955
  • WI survey of Wymeswold gravestones (St Mary's; Baptist chapel; Methodist chapel; 'The Quakers') 1981–2
  • Rempstone Steam Fair programme 1983
Email bobtrubs@indigogroup.co.uk to discuss access to these (e.g. via memory stick or ZIP file).

This website does not gather or store any visitor information.

The ruins at Cotes

Joan and Peter Shaw

Above the Soar, close to Cotes Bridge, once stood a grand house; its ruined walls are extensive and hearth tax records tell us that it had 29 chimneys. Built around 1580, the house was the home of the Skipwiths. William Skipwith was knighted by James I on his accession to the English throne, and Charles I was entertained there in 1645. Beneath its portals, Royalist and Cromwellian armies fought for possession of the strategic Cotes Bridge. As a result of their support for the King, the family were ruined, and in 1653 the house became the property of Sir Christopher Packe, Lord Mayor of London, and staunch supporter of Cromwell. His grandson Clifton abandoned it following a fire in the early 18th century, and moved to Prestwold. The cause of the fire remains a mystery, but suspicion fell on a steward who had absconded with the rent money.

Close by stood the old chapel. Here for centuries the village people had worshipped their Lord, here they had laid their loved ones to rest. On the first of August in the sixth year of the reign of Edward VI (1552), Fraunces Cave, George Vyncent and Mykell Puresey, Commissioners to the King, made a survey of all its 'goodes, plate, juells, and ornaments'. Listed are 'a challice of sylver, tow belles and a smale belle, a hand-belle, tow candellstyckes, a cope of white fustyon, a vestment of the same, three alter clothes and a corporas, tow towelles, a surples'. Nothing remains of the chapel, but the platforms on which stood the cottages and workshops of its congregation can still be seen.

The surviving earthworks at Cotes.

The surviving earthworks at Cotes.
Based on R.F. Hartley,
The Medieval Earthworks of Central Leicestershire, (Leicestershire Museums, 1989) and reproduced by kind permission of Leicestershire Museums.

Theories regarding the demise of the medieval village are many and varied. It may have been swept away to make room for the new gardens and terraces; its community may not have survived enclosure of the open fields (which started in 1513 but was not completed until 1637); or they could have left their homes following the fire. T.R. Potter, in Rambles Around Loughborough (1868) says that depopulation was a result of the plague, and that the chaplin, Andrew Glen, risked his life to confine the outbreak by feeding and tending the sick himself, and that he alone dug the graves and buried the dead.

On a fine summer's day, all is now calm and tranquility, but passing the site during an eerie November fog, it is difficult to cast from one's mind the tales of ghosts and hauntings which surround it – though doubtless such stories owe their origins rather less to reincarnations of the past than to the attractions of the vast quantities of strong ale reputed to have been left behind in the cellars of the old house.

Originally published in the Wolds Reflections 1997.

Copyright the author

Next article

WHO home page