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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  • George Farnham's unpublished MS of notes about Wymeswold medieval history (akin to a 1920s update of Nichols)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 Wolds Historical Organisation

The Wolds Historical Organisation (WHO) was founded in 1987 to promote interest in the local history of the villages on the western side of the Leicestershire Wolds, specifically Wymeswold, Burton on the Wolds, Hoton, Prestwold and Cotes.
    More details about the location of the Wolds here.
    More details about the history of the WHO here.
In the 1980s there were other groups researching the history of Walton and Willoughby but sadly they folded so in recent years the WHO 'adopted' these villages too.

Over the decades WHO members have written a substantial number of articles and transcribed most of the relevant records, such as census returns. There are well over a hundred such 'pages' on this web site, all accessible via links on the left-hand side of this screen. A significant number of more substantial contributions are available as free PDFs. The 'search this site' feature (at the top of the left hand column) helps find specific information.

WHO talks

The principal activities of the WHO are talks on the third Tuesday of February, March, April, May, June, September, October and November. The December talk is usually on the second Tuesday to avoid 'clashing' with pre-Christmas preparations. In July there is a trip to a local place of interest. The annual meal followed by a short AGM takes place on the third Tuesday in January. There may be an informal social on the third Tuesday in August.

Meetings take place in the Jubilee Room of Wymeswold Memorial Hall, Clay Street, Wymeswold, LE12 6TY and start promptly at 7.45 p.m..

Non-members most welcome but will be asked to contribute £3.00. There is a lift to the Jubilee Room if visitors have difficulty with stairs.

For further information about WHO activities please telephone Bob Trubshaw on 01949 850631 or email bobtrubs@indigogroup.co.uk

Programme for 2024

16th January  Annual dinner and AGM
20th FebruaryRichard Ellison Mapping Wymeswold
19th MarchDennis Marchant 'A River Through Time' the River Lin, compiled by Ernest Miller
16th April
Jack Shaw 'Death on the Line' Deaths and mysteries at Quorn Station
21st MayJames Wright Nottinghamshire Castles
18th JuneMick Clowes The Melton & Oakham Navigation
16th July Guided tour of Snibston Colliery, Coalville (starts 19.30)
17th September
Anne Featherstone The History of Pantomime
15th OctoberMathew Morris Archaeology of Leicester after Richard III
19th NovemberAlan Godber 'Don't Jump' – the railway collision at Loughborough Central
10th December
Note this is the second not the third Tuesday in the month
Sam Dobson Malcolm Sargent – on to worldwide fame

WHO committee members

Chair: Philip Thorpe
Vice Chair: Bob Trubshaw
Hon Secretary: David Keene
Hon Treasurer: Debbie Bilham

committee members:
Phil Deniff, Richard Ellison, Nick Hando

To contact the WHO committee please email bobtrubs@indigogroup.co.uk or phone Bob Trubshaw on 01949 850631.

WHO updates

If you're not already on the WHO's email update list and would like to receive news of what's happening then please email bobtrubs@indigogroup.co.uk with the message 'Add to WHO update list'. Your email address will not be revealed to anyone else or used for any other purpose.


Wymeswold's Youth Hostel in 1946

Joan Shaw

    "During the weekend I made a visit with a friend to the new Youth Hostel at Wymeswold on the borders of Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire, and I was pleased to discover one of the nicest hostels in the district. The hostel is in a large grey house in the middle of the village, and the warden, Mr Stanley Brown, recently a keen Nottingham cyclist, knows how to look after the members."

    An anonymous Youth Hostel Association member quoted in a local paper in May 1938.

Peter Shaw stayed in the Wymeswold hostel for the eighth anniversary of its opening and took several photographs. Joan Shaw has written up a short account of this hostel's history: Wymeswold's Youth Hostel.

Does anyone have any more photos of when The Dower House on Brook Street was a YHA hostel? Or have any memories of staying there? If so, please email me: bobtrubs@indigogroup.co.uk

The real north Leicestershire railways that never were

Alex Hando

Bob Trubshaw's recent attempt to guesstimate how a railway through the Wolds might have been routed stimulated Alex Hando to write up what really didn't happen – and suggest reasons why the line was never built.

Alex has also summarised three other proposed railway lines in north Leicestershire that also remained on paper.

See The trains that never came

Locations of 'Belvoir angels' 'soul effigies'

Bob Trubshaw

A 'Belvoir Angel' in Wymeswold churchyard.

The Hickling Local History Group's web page about 'Belvoir Angels' (more correctly 'soul effigies') has informative discussions and many photographs. There are also several useful links, including:

If you want to discover why they were known as 'soul effigies' or spiritus before the term 'Belvoir angel' was invented in the 1970s then watch this video. And this video explains why slate from Charnwood quarries was used for gravestones over such a large area.

For examples of eighteenth century 'soul effigies' in Massachusetts and Connecticut visit the Farber Gravestone Collection.

The north Leicestershire railway that never was

Bob Trubshaw

Researching and writing about local history involves much thinking about what happened in the past. Taking a rather philosophical perspective then places are what they are now because they are, so to speak, the sum total of everything that has happened there in the past. From an even deeper philosophical viewpoint then places are also the sum total of something even more vast and imponderable – all the things that did not happen in the past.

Sometime in the late 1980s someone – I've long since forgotten who – briefly mentioned there were once plans to build a railway through Wymeswold. Of course this never happened. But most likely Wymeswold and Willoughby would have been different if it had been built. So I've written a 'counterfactual history' of the north Leicestershire railway that never was.

Wymeswold's 'Roman' burial

Archaeological excavations ahead of the construction of a new house off Brook Street, Wymeswold, resulted in the discovery of a human burial. The excavation team, York Archaeology, summarised it thus:

    Grave of an adolescent (aged 13–17 years) of unknown sex, appeared to be unfurnished, although the shallow depth of this feature suggests that it had been truncated and it is possible that such events led to the loss of previously extant grave goods. The lack of finds with the skeleton impact upon the ability to closely dater this grave, but based on stratigraphy and spatial proximity, a date during the Romano-British period can be suggested.

    Isolated burials (either as individuals or small groups) of Romano-British date are relatively frequently found in and around rural settlements within the East Midlands and Britain in general, or in association with settlement and field system boundaries.

Some of you may recall that late Iron Age and early Roman ditches were excavated in the late 1980s during the construction of Orchard Way. Although not confirmed, the best guess is that the settlement itself was where Wymeswold Hall is now situated. Quite plausibly this teenager had been living in that settlement.

This discovery means that several burials discovered in the 1950s at Barn Farm, off Rempstone Road, need to be reconsidered. Following assumptions current at the time they were thought to be Anglo-Saxon. But they too might be Roman as numerous metal detector finds to the north imply another settlement site.

Thanks to Neil Tyers for sharing York Archaeology's excavation report and to Richard Ellison and Paul Howitt for liason between the WHO and Neil.

Wymeswold family history

Mark Kirk has been researching his mother's side of his family. Closest relations are Sheppards but he is also related to Woottons, Hallams, James, Mills, Egglestons and others. He has put his research online as a web site: sites.google.com/view/sheppard-family/home

If you have any information you think would help Mark then I'll forward emails. Just email bobtrubs@indigogroup.co.uk.

Wimeswold Gaslight & Coke Company

The 'date stone' in the wall of 93 Brook Street implies that there was a gas works here in 1881.
But it had long since come and gone by then…

Joan Shaw recently reminded me that things ain't always what they seem. Wymeswold had its own gaslight and coke company on Brook Street, which was set up in 1850 and ceased operations about 1870. But the 'date stone' on the building suggests otherwise. More details in this PDF.

Old postcards of Wymeswold

David Keene recently acquired these two old postcards of Wymeswold. So far I have not be able to date them. However the photographs appear not to have been taken by Philip Brown so are perhaps from the 1930s when Philip was less active.

The one with the church in the distance shows the shop which later became the antiques shop before the installation of a petrol pump on the far side. The thatched cottage opposite Wysall Lane was remembered by older inhabitants as the 'sweetie shop'. However from the type of sign outside it was also a newsagents. Note that back then there was a pavement outside, unlike recent decades.

Wymeswold Manor Court 1724/5

Click on image for complete version.

Joan Shaw is steadily unearthing items she and Peter copied many years ago. This is a transcript of the Manor Court in Wymeswold for either 1724 or 1725. Bear in mind Wymeswold was not enclosed until 1759 so the fields are the medieval 'great' fields. The fines were incurrred for a variety of infringements – from having too many sheep, pigs that were unringed, and cattle which were not well looked after. Or just for being an 'eavesdropper'!

I suspect 'beze' is a corruption of 'bezt' (i.e. 'beast' – cattle raised for meat).

Rempstone Steam Fair

A few months ago the WHO were given a programme for the 1983 Rempstone Steam Fair, along with several dozen photographs presumably taken the same year.

This prompted David Morley, of of the current committee members for the Rempstone Steam and Country Show, to send in scans of the programme for the very first such event in 1956 and a short history of those pioneering days.

From 1956 to date Rempstone Steam and Country Show has the distinction of being the oldest continuous steam rally in the Midlands, if not the country and continues from strength to strength. It has always been associated with the Beeby family of Rempstone and Mike Beeby continued the tradition, being the club’s Honorary President until his death on 21st December 2020 . Mike recalled the early days of the event:

    "For several years before the rally was officially started small steam events were organized by the Beebys in collaboration with other enthusiasts in order to raise money for local charities. This developed into the first official rally on the 21st and 22nd July 1956. A committee was formed consisting of a President, John Ford, Chairman: H. Challand, Organising Secretary: J.T. Beeby, Treasurer: J. Wood and supporting officials T. Bloore, C. Brisco, L. Burton, D.nCreasey, R.P.nSharp, R. Neal, T. Glover, F. Coles and T. Brooks. The event consisted of 27 full size engines entered, with Peter Van Houten's home-built steam van, nine veteran cars dating from 1899 to 1923 and 21 vintage motor cycles dating from 1903 to 1928". (Several of the families are still represented in the present cohort of volunteers.)

    "The first event was not easy to organise. There were a number of hurdles to overcome, for example: Entertainment Tax, Lord's Day Observance Society and various other obstructions. The RNIB Appeals Officer was a great help on these matters. For the first few years we were unable to have ring activity on the Sunday, it was static exhibition only. Fortunately we were able to charge admission.

    "The event moved venues regularly in the early years. From 1956 to 1962 the rally was held on Rempstone farm. When grandfather died the farming practices changed, which then did not lend to having the field available. The event then moved to Lings farm, belonging to Les Burton, next to Stanford Hall, and sometimes across the road to John Jenks' farm, depending on the crop rotation. On one memorable occasion the fields finished being cut on the Friday afternoon prior to the start of the show!

    "The location moved to Turn Post Farm in 1981 and has remained there ever since. One of the most memorable events at the show took place in 1994 when Paul and Angie Appleton held their wedding blessing in the show ring followed by their reception celebrations in a Belgian Picture Palace brought to the show for the purpose. For two years we were blessed by having the only portable pub in Britain – ‘The Black Bull’ – a solid structure which rocked to the sounds of local bands in the evenings, a tradition which continues today."

The show has continued to grow in size and stature being 'the place to be' for exhibitors, the site extends to more than 85 acres with 35 acres of exhibits including over 80 full size steam engines, some who attended that first show. There will also be Miniature Steam, Vintage and Classic Cars, Motorcycles and Commercials, Tractors, Barn engines, Models and Crafts. There's plenty for children to do; vintage funfair, wildlife, face painting, Punch and Judy and lots more. If you need retail therapy there is a large market and to recover from that you can settle down to a pint of real ale in the beer garden to accompany a well deserved lunch from the food fayre.

The show began in 1956 as a fund raiser for good causes and we are proud that the tradition has continued seamlessly ever since with more than £18,000 donated annually to local and national good causes in recent years, profits being divided between four or five charities each year.

Loughborough Workhouse 1837

Click on image for complete version.

Joan Shaw found another cutting from a local paper. This summarises a meeting of the Loughborough Board of Guardians in 1837. It sheds some light on how the Poor Law of 1835 was bringing changes to the area, although it would be another year before the Union Workhouse in Loughborough was opened.

Wymeswold Workhouse

This advert, dated 18th November 1808, starts:

    A Workhouse Master is wanted for the Parish of Wimeswould, in the County of Leicester, who may be accomodated with the keep for two cows.
Which implies that in 1808 Wymeswold had its own workhouse? But where was it?

Workhouses in the Wolds villages become redundant when a Union Workhouse was erected in Loughborough in 1838. This 'Union' included two dozen parishes in the Loughborough area. See this article for details of the Loughborough Workhouse.

Workhouses were despised places and perhaps at some time after 1838 the Wymeswold one was demolished.

Thanks to Joan Shaw for sending a scan of the advertisment.

Old Wymeswoldians

This email was received early in February 2024:~

    I look at the Wolds website from time to time and noticed that you had a list of Wymeswoldians to whom Wikipedia devotes an article

    First, I should say that Bill Sime not only played first-class cricket, he captained Notts for three years. I must say that he scored only one century and his bowling average was close to 50 runs per wicket. More important, he played for Wymeswold in a team which included Harry "Snooky" Jalland (Ivor's uncle), Arnold Eggleston, Norman Rimmer (his brother Jim, who packed a terrific punch at boxing, emigrated to Canada where he became a park ranger out west), Bill Wootton (my mother's brother, who was a superb tennis player along with Madge Peel) and won some championship against a Loughborough team.

    Arnold, Bill + ?? Smith (Florrie Tyler's husband) and my brother Sidney were stalwarts of a men's badminton team that also won at least one championship against a Leicester team. The latter was not used to the low roof of the memorial hall!

    Modesty does not forbid me from mentioning that I, too, have a Wiki article. The link is: David W. Smith.

David's Wiki page is written in French but Chrome should automatically offer Google Translate. No idea about other web browsers.

If you've not already guessed David Smith is one of the childen of Ellen 'Nell' Smith and indeed was key to Nell's four books about Wymeswold appearing in the 1980s.

Vernemetum in the seventh century

In a recent video uploaded to YouTube I explore Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire in the mid-seventh century. Specifically what might have been happening at the place the Romans called Ver Nemeton – indicating a Great or Especially Sacred Grove dating back to at least the Iron Age. This gave its name to the Roman small town of Vernemetum, located at the side of the Fosse Way near Willoughby on the Wolds. But the grove would have been much bigger, perhaps as big as all eight parishes which form a ring around Six Hills.

Until the death of Penda, the king of Mercia, in 655 Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire were still 'pagan'. So presumably the Ver Nemeton was still important. But what did the Anglo-Saxons called it? And does this shed light on two obscure 'lost' field names in Wymeswold parish: alhfleetford and alhfleetthorn? Was the River Mantle the eahl fleot – 'the stream assoicated with a sacred place'? Was the nemeton subsequently known by the obscure Old English word eahl? And was Penda its eahl mund – literally 'shrine protector' but meaning 'shrine guardian', so precursors to 'church wardens'? The descendants of such eahl munds alive today have the surname 'Almond'.

And there is the unanswerable question as to whether Wymeswold – originally Wigmund's Wald (note: 'g' is pronounced 'y' on Old English) – was named after someone called Wigmund. Or was originally the wig mund wald'. In other words, either the area of woodland protected by wigs or land for the benefit of the wig mund – the 'shrine guardian'. As an adjacent parish is called Prestwold – the priest's wood, i.e. land for the benefit of the priest (presumably based at a lost early church at Verementon) then continuity from pre- to post-conversion 'shrine guardians' seems plausible.

For the wider background to such speculations watch Penda – the last guardian of the Great Sacred Grove. It is linked at the hip to another recent video about Nottinghamshire's earliest churches.

Help needed

John Bairstow sent a scan of this postcard. He thinks it was taken somewhere near Wymeswold.
Can anyone suggest where it is (or was)? If so please email bobtrubs@indigogroup.co.uk.

When Wymeswold's Lord of the Manor was up for sale

Jackie James has kindly allowed the WHO to digitise two scrapbooks – and many photographs – of life in Wymeswold in the 1980s and 1990s. Among the many 'goodies' are these two newspaper cuttings from 1994. Click on the images to reveal bigger versions.

Back in 1997 Alec Moretti wrote this article.

1990s Wymeswold pantomimes

During the 1990s four pantomimes were performed in Wymeswold:

  • Cinderella (1993)
  • The Seven Dwarves and Snow White (1994)
  • Treasure Island (1995?)
  • Jack and the Beanstalk (1997)

Chris Kirk's VHS tapes of three of these pantomimes have been digitised by Timeless Moments Ltd and uploaded to YouTube. Click on the images above to watch them. (Note that because of copyright problems associated with the music used it is not possible to find these videos using YouTube's 'search' function. The only way to find them is to click on the links above.)

Thanks to Nick Shaw, Jackie James and John Harrison for enabling Cinderella to be digitised. Thanks to Jackie for loaning programmes.

After a break Aladdin in Wymeswold was staged during January 2006 and Robin Hood and the Babes of Wymeswold in January 2008. Nick Hando kindly provided scans of the programmes for both of these and Nick Shaw (who produced them) has sent various computer files relating to the publicity.

If anyone has DVDs of Aladdin and/or Robin Hood (we know they were recorded but so far I've not been able to get my hands on either) then please email bobtrubs@indigogroup.co.uk. Original items will of course be returned.

Rempstone Steam Fair 1983

Philip Thorpe donated to the WHO a copy of the programme for the 1983 Rempstone Steam Fair and 39 colour prints of the traction engines, model traction engines and other classic vehicles taking part. They were given to him some years ago; sadly he can't recall who that was. The programme and all the photographs have been scanned and are available on request.

A Sentinel steam lorry advertising a 'Solid Fuel Avisory Service'.
In 1983 this vehicle was owned by J. Crawley of Turvey, Bedford.

Beeby Brother's advertisement includes 'laser level controlled machines' to install field drainage. And that was back in 1983. So presumably quite 'ground breaking' [groan] for the time.

Deeds for 27 Brook Street, Wymeswold

Anthony Lacey, the current owner of 27 Brook Street, Wymeswold – in recent years known as Lamb Cottage – kindly allowed the WHO to digitise the various legal documents (mostly deeds and mortgages) associated with property from 1876 until 1980. I have prepared a summary. If anyone is interested in any of the families named in this summary then please email me and I will send copies of relevant documents by email.

The Nottinghamshire Bibliography Online

The aim of the Nottinghamshire Bibliography Online project is to provide a single web-based means of access to all bibliographical sources for the history of the city of Nottingham and county of Nottinghamshire, including published books, journal articles, unpublished theses/dissertations and 'grey' literature such as archaeological reports and local authority conservation appraisals.

Search the Nottinghamshire Bibliography Online

Swithland slate cheese presses

Some of you may recall that in the 2003 WHO publication 2000 Years of the Wolds there was a short article about the distinctive bases of Swithland slate cheese presses, with photographs by Peter Shaw of four in Burton on the Wolds. See page 39 of the PDF edition of 2000 Years of the Wolds which is online here:- 2000yotw.pdf

So when I visited Old Dalby church recently I was intrigued to see the memorial in the photograph above. Seemingly an early eighteenth century gravestone was 'repurposed' to use as the base of a cheese press. Then, when the cheese press was no longer needed, it was returned to the graveyard.

I've looked at a great many Swithland slate grave markers in recent years. But this is the only one which I've seen which had a double life as a cheese press. Quite probably other slate gravestones were made into cheesepresses – but, unlike this one at Old Dalby – never came back to the churchyard.

By the way I 'know' this memorial is early eighteenth century even though I can't see the date of death because the inscription starts 'Here lies interred... '. Such wording (more typically 'Here lies the body of... ') was used at that time. A few decades later and inscriptions changed to 'In sacred memory of... ' and then to 'In memory of... '.

And, while we're on the subject of cheese presses, this broken example was on the edge of a field near Narrow Lane, Wymeswold, in June 2008. But I never saw it again…

Wymeswold pubs

Another mini project off my 'job list'. Just where were all the pubs mentioned in the doggerel 'poem' included in S.P. Potter's 1915 book? See Wymeswold pubs.

Index to S.P. Potter's A History of Wymeswold

I've finally got around to a 'chore' that's been on my to do list for some time.
Preparing an index for Sidney Pell Potter's A History of Wymeswold.

This work, published in 1915, contains a wealth of personal names spanning the late eleventh century to the late nineteenth century. I've also indexed some of the main topics.

If you need scans of specific pages then please email bobtrubs@indigogroup.co.uk.

The lost mill pond on the Mantle

Bob Trubshaw

Anyone who has walked from Narrow Lane into the most westerly of the Wymeswold Meadow fields will have crossed the River Mantle. The water has cut deep into the boulder clay (now re-branded by geologists as 'glacial till') and continues to erode the clay, leaving steep sides. From the perspective of a hundred years this erosion is happening fast. What we see today must have shaped up in the last few centuries. So – why isn't the erosion much more stable? What was there before?

Read The lost mill pond on the Mantle to find out more.

The cricketing Packes

Joan Shaw has written a short account of local cricket teams during the nineteenth century. Seems Prestwold Hall, Burton Hall and Southfields Park all had cricket pitches. See The cricketing Packes.

Those interested in the history of local cricket can also read the chapter about Sir Julian Cahn's interest in the game. He lived at Stanford Hall in the 1930s and 40s. After his death in 1944 his love of cricket led to his ashes being scattered on the cricket ground at the Hall. See David Lazell's history of Stanford Hall www.hoap.co.uk/stanford_hall.pdf

Burton Hall

This photograph of Burton Hall was kindly sent to the WHO by James Matthews. It was taken by his father, S.H. 'Charles' Matthews, who was a keen photographer and local historian. The view is now obscured by the bungalows in Hall Drive.

Thirty Years of Pound-Watching

top: 1991 bottom: 2023

Wymeswold's pound (or pinfold) still survives. Over the decades I've photographed it and also several other such pounds in nearby parishes.

See Wymeswold's pinfold's nearest 'rivals' for more details.

Esther 'Tess' Frechnollio (née Woolley) and Charles

Back in 2011 a lady who signed her name only as 'Helen' and living in Middlesex sent the WHO a photograph. She wrote that it was of 'granddad Woolleys' daughter Esther (known as Tess)' and the baby was 'uncle Charles'. She then added that Esther was Harry Frechnollio's first wife.

The 1901 Census has William Woolley and his wife, Elizabeth Anne, living in Far Street along with their children Lois (age 8), 'M---? Hames' (a son age 7), 'Ester' (presumably Esther; age 6), William (age 5) and Elizabeth Ann (age 1). William senior was born in Thrumpton, Nottinghamshire and his wife in Long Whatton.

Come the 1911 Census and we discover that the Woolleys are farmers and graziers.

Presumably the photograph of Tess and Charles was taken in the early 1920s.

update from Hellen Jarvis

    There is an Esther Woolley in the Wymeswold marriage registers and also a William Woolley. Perhaps Charles is from her marriage to Samuel Hames and then she married again – the surname Frechnollio is an odd one. The way it was written it was almost as if the lady who wrote to you expected people to know who it was – a stage name, or someone well known.
Can anyone else add to this? If so please email bobtrubs@indigogroup.co.uk.

Primrose products labels and Bartram's bread pencil

Apparently about 18 months ago one of the speakers at a WHO meeting generously donated some unused labels for some of the Primrose range of products produced by the Brown family in Church Street. And also a promotional pencil for Bartram's bread. These have all been added to the WHO archive and the WHO's 'virtual museum'. Many thanks to Peter Blanchard for donating to the WHO.

Several people have informed me that Bartram's bakery was in Church Street.

Sgt John (Jack) Harrison DCM (1910–1970)

Jack Harrison enlisted in the 11th Hussars Regiment in 1930 and saw active service in Palestine before being involved in several battles during the Second World War. During one of these offensives he earned a DCM. He was demobbed in 1945 and returned to Wymeswold.

His grandson, Danny, prepared a detailed account of Jack's life and prepared it as a 32 page document. Sadly the original files have been lost. However I've scanned a print out and compiled these scans as a free PDF. Apologies that it does not look anything like as good as Danny's print out.

Replicas of Jack's medals are in St Mary's church, underneath the war memorial in the south aisle.

Grateful thanks to Danny and John Harrison for enabling this addition to the WHO website.

Wymeswold Enclosure Commissioners

Ever wondered exactly who was 'commissioned' to Enclose Wymeswold in the 1750s? No, me neither. But Alec Moretti, former Chair of the WHO, was curious. And published an article in a 1997 issue of the Leicestershire Historian. You can read it here.

Thanks to Joan Shaw for bringing this article to my attention and for providing scans.

Broughton Lodge Anglo-Saxon cemetery excavations

In August 2022 the WHO were given thirty black and white photographs of the 1964–8 archaeological excavations at Broughton Lodge. They were seemingly taken by Rex Satterthwaite.

The photographs show excavated human skeletons prior to being lifted, cobbled surfaces (presumably parts of the Roman Fosse Way), several excavators at work, and various visitors, some presumably members of the Satterthwaite family.

Several images are 'general views' of the area being excavated. In the background several buildings can be discerned, including a café and the sign for a petrol station (see above). These were demolished to make room for the widened road. The site of the excavation became the western approach road to the bridge over the A46. The yard of Broughton Lodge Farm became the kart race track and a motel was built to the south.

More photographs here.

Martha Ada Clarke (1861–1933)

This large (355 x 280 mm) hand-coloured photograph was taken in early July 1884 and depicts Martha Ada Clarke when age 23. She was born in 1861 and baptised on 2nd March 1862 at Wymeswold. Her parents were William Clarke (1829–1891) and Sarah Ann Rebecca Harrison (?1834–1909). Martha married Peter Brooks (?1859–1907) on 17 August 1895 in Loughborough and she died on died 8 July 1933, age 71, in Loughborough. But we know no more! Can anyone provide more information about her family?

Martha did not marry until the age of 34, quite late in life by the expectations of her time. Her father had died about four years before, seemingly at the age of 62. Had Martha stayed at home to look after her father if he suffered from some debilitating illness which her mother could not cope with alone? Did Martha and her parents remain in Wymeswold until at least her father's death?

Martha's husband died young, when about 48 years old. Had he been married before? Did he have children, meaning Martha became a stepmother? Was he already not in the best of health when he married Martha? All we can deduce with confidence is that Peter and Martha were married for twelve years before she was widowed.

Thanks to Martha's distant relative for donating this portrait to the WHO.

The evidence for an Anglo-Saxon horse cult

The sixth century Anglo-Saxon cemetery at Broughton Lodge, right on the border of Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire includes five horses buried among the 120-or-so humans. Does this suggest there may have been some sort of ‘horse cult’ in early Anglo-Saxon England? Or is something English people still don’t usually do even more convincing evidence of such a cult?

Bob Trubshaw explores the evidence in a YouTube video.

RAF Wymeswold post-WWII

RAF Wymeswold cover

A detailed history of activities at Wymeswold airfield in the 1950s and 1960s has been prepared by Richard Knight, who grew up at the western end of the runways.

Most of the information is about the activities of the RAF and Fields Aircraft Services, although there is also lots of previously-unseen photographs taken in the winter of 1944 and during the build up to D-Day, and photographs taken during public open days.

In total there is almost 70,000 words and about 440 photographs. This is available as a free PDF: www.hoap.co.uk/who/raf_wymeswold.pdf    Note the file size is 38 Mbytes so may take a while to download on slow connections.

There are also four videos about RAF Wymeswold by Richard Knight:





Plus another video by Cerrighedd: youtube.com/watch?v=FTlMQkKvPkI


lots of older news from the WHO

lots of older news from the WHO

older news from the WHO (before mid-2020)

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

older news from the WHO (circa 2023)


WHO booklets

All booklets are out of print. However two of these booklets are now available as free PDFs – just click on the links above.

WHO books

  • Bringing Them Home: The story of the lost sons of Wymeswold (2014)
  • Discovering the Wolds (2017)
  • People and Places of the Wolds (2020)
  • RAF Wymeswold: Post-war flying 1948 to 1970 (2021)

Copies of these books (except Bringing Them Home) are available. Please email bobtrubs@indigogroup.co.uk for further details.

For the benefit of those family historians and other researchers who do not yet own copies of the first three books, here is a list of key names and selected topics. RAF Wymeswold is also available as a free-to-download PDF which can be searched using Ctrl+F.

other WHO publications available as free PDFs

The Wolds Historian

In addition, between 1991 and 2002 an annual WHO Newsletter recorded details of the organisation's activities and research by members. All articles relating to Wymeswold from the WHO Newsletter are included in thisWeb site (see articles about Wymeswold's history).

In 2004 the WHO Newsletter was replaced by The Wolds Historian which appeared annually until 2008. All issues of The Wolds Historian can be downloaded as free PDFs.

The Especially Sacred Grove

Although not published by the WHO, also available as a free PDF is The Especially Sacred Grove, Bob Trubshaw's extended look at Six Hills and Vernemetum.

Things to do [2020]

While the WHO's monthly meetings are in hiatus there is plenty to do!

This web site has over 100 web articles going back to 1990 and about 20 PDFs – including all four issues of The Wolds Historian. Simply scrolling down through this page will reveal more recent additions. Use the navigation column on the left of every page or the Google-powered search box to seek out something specific.

If you want to initiate some research then there's transcripts of the registers of who has been 'hatched, matched and dispatched' in Wymeswold. Or search through the WHO archive catalogue. Most of these files are in Word DOC format so use the 'find' function from within your word processing software.

If you need prompting for some ideas for projects then jump to here. We're still seeking recollections of Ivor Brown in his speedway days and shortly after.

Thanks to good 'sleuthing' by Phil Denniff several books written by Henry Alford, Wymeswold's most famous vicar, have been tracked down as available for free online. As has a biography written by his widow. Anyone want to write a short article summarising his life and achievements? Most of Alford's published writings concerned the metaphysical poet, John Donne (1572–1631).

Did you know that there was once an Especially Sacred Grove somewhere along the Fosse Way to the east of Wymeswold? More details here.

And if all that reading is too much then there are YouTube videos about the Wolds and Leicestershire more generally.

WHO projects [2019]

Joan Shaw has picked up preliminary information on some local interest topics. Do any WHO members want to delve a bit deeper? Just the sort of amusement you might be looking for as the evenings draw in! You do not have to be a member of the WHO, or even live in the area, to help.

  1. The Sporting Magazine for August 1834 contains fragments from the life of James Ella of Wymeswold. No idea if The Sporting Magazine is available on line anywhere, there certainly isn't a copy in Loughborough Library. Anyone fancy tracking down a copy? Sorted!
  2. In 1834 Joseph Perry took over the Three Crowns, John Tyers was probably the previous licensee. Can we find out more about these landlords and/or others at the Three Crowns?
  3. Wymeswold was one of the places that refused to pay church rates. This rate was intended to be paid by all residents, whether C or E or Nonconformist. It seems some Wymeswold residents felt that the congregation of St Mary's should pay for its upkeep. Is any more information available?
  4. Indexing the main topics in St Mary's Wymeswold Church Council Minute Book (already digitised).
  5. Indexing the names and main topics in the Wymeswold school log books (already digitised).
  6. The WHO has a photocopy of a printed broadside with the headline 'Horrid murder'. The dreadful deed took place somewhere in Wymeswold and the names of the alleged perpetrators are given, though not the name of the victim – a child. But we don't know which year this was published. Internet search engines shed no light. If you fancy a spot of 'sleuthing' through relevant parish registers and court records then please get in touch with Bob Trubshaw. This would make a good project for someone new to doing local history research – Joan Shaw will happily provide advice.
  7. Contact the Women's Institute office in Leicester to establish what records they hold for the disbanded Wymeswold WI. As a follow up a short history of the branch's activities could be prepared. Ideally the person doing this would be a former member of this WI branch; if not Bob can put you in contact with one of the long-standing committee members.
And, last but not least, can you think of anything else which the WHO has yet to research? Especially if it relates to villages in the Wolds other than Wymeswold!

For further information – without making any commitment! – please email bobtrubs@indigogroup.co.uk

lots of older news from the WHO

older news from the WHO (before mid-2020)

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

older news from the WHO (circa 2023)