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  • George Farnham's unpublished MS of notes about Wymeswold medieval history (akin to a 1920s update of Nichols)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

Older news from the WHO

Walton church

The medieval cross shaft in Walton churchward.

Louise Jackson has kindly put together a short history of St Mary's Church, Walton on the Wolds.

When buses ran to useful places – using electricity

Back in the 1920s when bus companies had the bright idea of running services to places passengers wanted to go to (sadly it never seems to have caught on… ) this spendid Trent Motor Traction Company vehicle took people from Wymeswold to Ruddington and then Nottingham.

What might amaze people most is that the words underneath the radiator proclaim this to have 'Petrol-Electric' transmission. Such configurations were quite common in the early days of motorised buses as it meant drivers accustomed to horse-drawn vehicles did not have to become proficient at using notoriously-difficult early gearboxes.

The petrol-electric system used an internal combustion engine connected to an electrical generator which provided the power for an electric motor which drove the rear wheels through reduction gears. Unlike modern hybrid electric vehicles there was no battery. Even the petrol engine needed a starting handle, which can be seen in the photograph.

The manufacturer of the transmission and chassis was Tilling-Stevens of Maidstone, although the bodywork was most likely made elsewhere, perhaps at 'The Brush' in Loughborough.

Photograph from John Bennett of the Bus Archive via Richard Ellison.

King George V Silver Jubilee

Sadly this photograph missed a significant anniversary of it's own – on the 6th May 2020 it was 85 years since Far Street in Wymeswold looked like this:

Photograph scanned for the WHO by the late John Chesterton; photographer unknown.

Note the petrol pump almost hidden behind the lady cyclist in the foreground.

The enigma of Prestwold's bells

Joan Shaw has kindly prepared a short account of the eight bells of St Andrew's, Prestwold.

However Richard Bimson, one of the bell ringing team at Prestwold, passed on more recent information. Seems some of the bells are lighter than they were – even though there is no record of them being retuned. See the update added to the document above.

Plague in Loughborough 1539–1640

The streets of Loughborough during the reign of Elizabeth 1 (1558–1603) based on a map in Anne Richmond's Elizabethan Loughborough (published 1992), which used evidence compiled by Wallace Humphrey.

During a lockdown clearout I came across a print-out of what must have been one the first articles about Leicestershire local history to appear on the internet – the print out is dated May 1996. As it is a detailed account of the plague in Loughborough 1539–1640 it seemed rather topical. Ian Jessiman's article is no longer online so I have prepared a summary:

Plague in Loughborough 1539–1640

Yes, I know Loughborough isn't within the Wolds and I've no plans to go 'off piste' again any time soon!

Romans in Wymeswold

Part way through lockdown Richard and Lorraine Ellison decided to rebuild part of their rockery. And immediately revealed a rather large piece of grey pot.

Combined investigations confirmed that this was 'only' the side and part of the rim and there were no 'contents' other than soil. The shape of the rim, colour and texture of the ceramic all said 'Roman' loud and clear. Vessels of this size would be used for storing and cooking food.


To check that there was nothing else of interest the 'dig' went a little wider and deeper. Which revealed red soil to one side, in sharp contrast to the greyer soil associated with the pot. And the boundary was vertical. Digging down further the red soil turned towards the horizontal.

The black arrows indicate the boundary between the red soil (left) and the greyer ditch fill (right).

The greyer soil is almost certainly ditch fill while the red soil is the local glacial till (it used to be called 'boulder clay') into which the ditch was cut. Probably the ditch was Roman too. Which suggests some sort of settlement on this knoll at the east end of Brook Street. Further investigations are being discussed.

This is only the second known find of Roman pottery in Wymeswold village itself. During the construction of the second phase of Orchard Way in June 1990 a three-day excavation recovered a large number of smaller sherds of Roman pottery and an almost-complete late Iron Age pot. In the fields around Wymeswold more Roman sherds were collected in the late 1980s, including a substantial cluster just to the north of Wymeswold Meadow.

Digging Roman ditches the proper way. Leicestershire Museums Service staff at Orchard Way, June 1990.

Richard reported his find to the Portable Antiquities Scheme officer for Leicestershire and Rutland, who promptly uploaded their listing.

Thanks to Richard and Lorraine for sharing this find.

Keep your eyes out!

If you come across 'boring grey pot' in your garden too it could well be Roman. If it's boring, brown and easily broken then it may be Iron Age or Anglo-Saxon. Around here the more distinctive types of medieval pots have green glaze on a creamy yellow body ('Stamford ware') or a rather purple shade of glaze on a dark red body ('Midland Purple'). Please let the WHO know if you come across any. Most other pot with glaze on is from the last couple of hundred years so usually of less interest.

The Fox from the air

The recent post (see below) about Wymeswold's pubs resulted in the current owners of the former Fox emailing an aerial photograph, thought to have been taken in 1968.

click on photo for a higher-resolution version

The WHO are aware of two other aerial photographs taken at the same time – one of the former antique shop on Far Street and one of the Smith's pig farm (later developed as Cross Hill Close).

Can you help?

Can anyone confirm which year these aerial photos were taken?

If you have any more of these aerial photos then please let the WHO know as we would like to digitise as many as possible.

Burton's publican

This photograph shows William Tuckwood and his family. It was taken outside the Greyhound around 1892, shortly after the death of his first wife Mary (née Wootton). His son John William stands behind him, and he is surrounded by his daughters. Beside him, from the left on the front row, we have Alice Maud Mary (born 1883), Eliza (1874), and Annie (1879), and standing at the back are Elizabeth (1869) and Mary Jane (Ginnie) (1871).

The Tuckwoods were a Willoughby family. Willliam's father moved to the Greyhound in the 1860s, having previously run a public house in Lowdham. William took over after he died in 1877. He and his wife Mary were already living in Burton, he was working as an agricultural labourer but doubtless helped his parents at the Greyhound as well.

The second photograph shows John William Tuckwood during his service with the Leicestershire Yeomanry. The story within the family is that John William was so fond of his horse, which he kept until it reached old age, that when it eventually died he buried it in a grave which he and friends dug at the back of the Greyhound. We wonder if it was John William's horse that gave rise to the tale we have heard about a civil war soldier and his horse being found in Burton Hall park?

Contributed by Joan Shaw

Early seventeenth century constable's accounts

Ever wanted to know how much your fellow villagers are worth? And how much more – or less – they pay in local 'taxes' than you?

Well, all is revealed. At least for 1608 and 1611. At a time when registers of births, marriages and deaths can be scarce then the Parish Constables' Accounts provide a list of parishoners' names (at least for those who owned land or livestock) and their comparative wealth.

Peter Leadbetter has kindly transcribed two of these accounts for Wymeswold (for 1608 and 1611) and provided a short introduction to the constable's role in early sevententh century rural England.

If any of your ancestors are in the lists please let me know.

Appointing the 1885 village constable in Walton

Parish Constables continued to be elected through the nineteenth century. Joan Shaw passed on a notice issued for a parish meeting to appoint the village constable to be held in Walton on 26 February 1885 . One of the signatories is Phil Thorpe's ancestor George Loseby (whose photograph appears on page 64 of Discovering The Wolds).

Thanks to both Phil and Joan.

Burton's most notorious resident?

An article by Joan Shaw's originally published in 1998 is now online:
John Wildman of Burton.

Could this seventeenth century resident of Burton have been the infamous 'Leader of the Levellers', Sir John Wildman?

Although given the official office of Postmaster-General in 1689, and not knighted until 1692, in 1654 [Sir] John had been arrested for plotting the overthrow of Lord Protector Cromwell by means of a combined rising of Royalists and Levellers. He seemed to spend most of his life organising 'intrigues' against Cromwell and the monarchs. 'He preferred money-making to fighting and became one of the greatest speculators in the forfeited lands of Royalists, clergy and Papists. His purchases of land, either for himself or for others, were scattered over at least twenty counties.'

There is no proof that the John Wildman who held land in Burton at this time is the same person. But there is an absence of any other people of that name who might have held the land. And plenty of reasons to suspect that the yet-to-be-knighted Sir John could have held the land.

Read both articles and decide for yourself!

Alice Armstrong, District Nurse and Midwife

While exloring the updated Loughborough history and heritage web site (more information below) Patricia Baker discovered an article about Alice Armstrong, a District Nurse and Midwife who travelled round this part of Leicestershire on her son's motorbike.

Born in Malta 1941, her maiden name was Eggleston and there is mention of her at Clay Street, Wymeswold, and at Hoton. She later lived on Beacon Road, Loughborough.

Wymeswold pubs

Thanks to everyone who let me know a copy of T.R. Potter's rhyme about the nine pubs formerly in Wymeswold is now in the pharmacy. Of course… where else?
    The White Horse shall chase the Bull,
    And make the Three Crowns fly,
    Turn the Shoulder of Mutton upside down,
    And make the Fox cry.
    My White Horse shall smash the Gate,
    And make the Windmill spin,
    Knock the Hammer and Pincers down,
    And make the Red Lion grin.
The Bull became Collington's butchers (and, presumably, was once a combined butchers and pub) and faced the White Horse. The Shoulder of Mutton was a few doors west of the Bull and now known as Lindum House. The Fox was on the south side of Brook Street, almost opposite the Windmill.

Once upon a time the Fox…

But where were the Gate and the Red Lion? Hint: Probably not the Rose and Crown (which presumably opened after Potter wrote his ditty) which is shown on some of Philip Brown's photographs two doors to the west of the Three Crowns.

Some online resources for history and archaeology

You may all be finding plenty to occupy you while staying at home, but if you'd like to explore some archaeological or historical sources online, you might like to dip into a few of these links compiled by Cynthia Brown and Matthew Morris for LAHS Newsletter May 2020.

Earliest Wymeswoldians

Nick Hando, a WHO member, has resumed fieldwalking around Wymeswold. And discovered several prehistoric flint tools. Most of these are from the Neolithic to the Iron Age – such as the superb example of a scraper shown on the left.

But on the right is something else. It's not a 'tool' but instead the core from which small 'bladelets' were struck. It's the Stone Age counterpart to a box cutter with snap-off blades – just 'break off' a new piece of flint when the old one gets blunt or breaks. Flint cores are usually Mesolithic in date, making them about 11,550–6,500 years old.

Thes finds indicate that for millennia people were camping in the same area (probably a clearing in the woodland) on a hill ridge looking down on the River Mantle – which may have been more like a shallow lake at the time (perhaps enhanced by beaver dam-making activities). An excellent base camp for hunting and fishing. So long as the bears, wolves, aurochs (massive cattle, now extinct) and wild boars which would have lived in the woodland kept away. 'Normal' was different back then…


Many thanks to Nick for permission to share.

Loughborough History and Heritage Network

Some of you may recall the ambitious Loughborough History and Heritage Network, a collaborative project between Loughborough University and Charnwood Museum. The website went 'dormant' for a while but has now been taken over by Alison Mott who is revitalising and adding new articles and links. Among them is The Tale of the Plague at Cotes by Joan Shaw.

Also details of a book published early 2019 about Robert Bakewell the pioneering eighteenth century agriculturalist based at Dishley to the west of Loughborough.

Rev Henry Alford

Phil Denniff recently came across a digitised biography of Rev Henry Alford complied by his wife, Fanny Alford, after his death Life, Journals and Letters of Henry Alford, D.D.: Late Dean of Canterbury edited by His Widow . It is, to put it mildly, 'compleatist'. If anyone fancies writing a summary of no more than a couple of thousand words then please email bobtrubs@indigogroup.co.uk – don't just do it without letting me know else there might be several people working on this, unbeknown to each other.

Alford's own writings included editing an equally comprehensive collection of John Donne's sermons, The Works of John Donne, which appeared in six volumes during 1839. Digitised versions are available online – Phil has prepared this list to help.


Left: Henry Alford   Right: John Donne.

Skipwiths of Prestwould, Virginia

Those will good memories may recall Philip White's article about Whatever happened to the Skipwiths of Prestwold and Cotes? in The Wolds Historian No.2 (pages 11–15).

One of the descendents, Beverly Craige "Bev" Skipwith, was caretaker for the Prestwould Plantation in Mecklenburg County, Virginia (named after the family home in England). He was the youngest son of Austin L. Skipwith mentioned at the end of the TWH article.

Bev died in 2015 and a link to his obituary was kindly sent to the WHO by Steve Riggan, whose 10x great grandmother was Diana Skipwith Dale.

Bev Skipwith at the Clarksville Sesquesentenial celebration in the late 1960s, where he won the contest for best beard.

2000 Years of the Wolds

Nearly twenty years have elapsed since the WHO publication 2000 Years of the Wolds appeared in print. Since then many of the articles have resurfaced as pages on this web site. However Spring 2020 seemed a good time to make the original available again. I have made no attempt to update any information (except references to the WHO website) as this booklet is already part of the history of the Wolds villages. However, where possible, black-and-white photographs in the printed booklet have been replaced by the colour originals.

Even if you own a copy of 2000 Years of the Wolds then do download the PDF to 'renew acquaintance' and see many of the illustrations in colour.

Download 2000 Years of the Wolds as a free 10M byte PDF.

In case you are wondering, sadly older WHO publications cannot easily be converted to PDF.

Sir Julien Kahn at Stanford Hall and a View from the Co-operative College by David Lazell

One of Heart of Albion's earliest booklets, first published in 1993, is now available as a free PDF.

When this booklet was first published in 1993 Stanford Hall was still in use as the International Co-operative College. And Sir Julien Kahn's impressive 'makeover' had been merely fifty years before. Now, after a £300 million transformation Stanford Hall has become the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre.

The idyllic grounds of Stanford Hall look out over the Soar valley near Loughborough (although the Hall is just over the Nottinghamshire county border between Rempstone and East Leake). Bought by the furnishing trade magnate and philanthropist, Sir Julien Cahn, before the War and transformed into a showplace home, the Hall subsequently became the home of the Co-operative College. The contrast between these two owners makes the history of this building full of interest.

David Lazell describes both these eras, drawing upon his own experiences as a student at the College in the 1950s, combined with accounts from various members of staff who helped establish the standards for work and pleasure which went hand-in-hand. He describes Sir Julien's elaborate taste in interior decoration, his fondness for staging conjuring tricks, the names of the long-gone sealions – although their pool still survives – and above all his devotion to cricket. The early years of the Co-operative College, in its transition from Manchester to Stanford Hall, are brought to life with personal reminiscences and previously-unpublished photographs from the collections of the College and the author. They portray a vivid picture of an era of education that, to a great extent, has already been lost.

Download Sir Julien Kahn at Stanford Hall and a View from the Co-operative College for FREE (25 megabyte PDF)

Several of David Lazell's other booklets have also been republished as PDFs, including Spectacular at Stanford Hall, a precursor to Sir Julien Kahn at Stanford Hall and a View from the Co-operative College which contains some 'tales' not in the later publication.

Download Spectacular at Stanford Hall for FREE (3 megabyte PDF)

Download Sound of the Shawm – Recollections of East Leake and other kindly places nearby for FREE (6 megabyte PDF)
N.B. 'Other kindly places' include Wymeswold. (The link to the 1986 film about Charlie Firth is here www.macearchive.org/films/central-news-east-11081986-mini-museum.)

Download The Fairy Gift and other ways to find Lost Laughter – Faith in Fairies and other discoveries of green spirituality for FREE (7 megabyte PDF)

Download Rose Fyleman: Nottingham's ambassador from Fairyland
A salute to her verse and stories about fairies and remarkable circumstances
for FREE (4 megabyte PDF)

Wymeswold Washdyke Community Orchard

Richard Ellison has compiled a short history of the development of the Washdyke field into a village amenity. No less than 63 committee meetings, mostly between between 2007 and 2015, involved a wide-range of villagers and funding organisations.

This is available as a free PDF: www.hoap.co.uk/who/washdyke.pdf

Planting day in autumn 2008 – it was very wet!

The minutes of AGMs, copies of questionnaires, spreadsheets about the trees, and a copy of a tree certificate will soon be added to the WHO archive.

F.W. Burbidge (1847–1905)

F.W. Burbidge was once a well-known English horticultural writer, botanical artist and plant explorer. He was born in Wymeswold. As 'T. Burbidge'…

See Charles Nelson's article in Huntia: 'F. W. Burbidge: What were his forenames?' (Sadly FWB's date of birth is wrong in the title, though clearly stated as 1847 in the text.)

Burbidge also climbed mountains in his quest for plants – but should not to be confused with Charles Packe (1826–96) who also combined mountaineering and botany as his passions. Scroll down this page to 'Packe of the Pyrennes'. Plausibly Charles Packe was a childhood influence on Burbidge.

Ivor Brown (1927–2005)

Ivor Brown after winning the 1963 AH Trophy.

Speaking of childhood influences, Jim Tibbetts of Stourbridge emailed recently 'Ivor Brown was my boyhood hero at my local Cradley Heath speedway track, having seen him win the first speedway race that I ever saw, way back in August 1963.'

Jim says 'Ivor was a fabulous and fearless rider who was rarely beaten at the Dudley Wood Stadium and was very unfortunate to receive spinal injuries in June 1965 at the prestigious Wimbledon Internationale, when he was finally recognised for his talent and mixing-it with the world's top riders and averaging a very respectable 10 points per match – outscoring a lot of the league's best riders.'

According to Ivor's Wikipedia page his track nickname was 'Hovis, the Brown Bomber'. (Clearly a blend of Ivor's day job and the fighting name of the boxer Joe Lewis.)

Jim has scanned about 50 photographs of Ivor from speedway magazines of the relevant era and I have put together a preliminary PDF.

Do any WHO members have any memories of Ivor in his racing days? Any relevant photos or 'memorabilia' which could be scanned or photographed? Apparently his winnings paid for the first two lorries which formed the start of his haulage business. Does anyone have any photos or information about this side of Ivor and Sandra's life?

If you know anyone who might have more information then please pass on the link to this page or let me have their contact details. Either email bobtrubs@indigogroup.co.uk or phone Bob Trubshaw on 01949 850631.

Wymeswold people with Wikipedia entries

My surprise at finding Wikipedia pages for Ivor Brown and F.W. Burbidge piqued my interest. Seems there are more people with Wymeswold connections listed on Wikipedia:
  • Unsurprisingly Henry Alford (7 October 1810 – 12 January 1871) is listed as an English churchman, theologian, textual critic, scholar, poet, hymnodist, and writer. His eighteen-year tenure of the vicarage of Wymeswold commenced in 1835.
  • John Joseph Briggs (6 March 1819 – 23 March 1876), naturalist and topographer went to the boarding school of Thomas Rossell Potter (see below) from 1828.
  • John Barret (1631–1713) was an English Presbyterian cleric and a religious writer prominent in the controversies of his time. He was ordained at Wymeswold, Leicestershire by the Wirksworth classis ['church board'] in 1652.
  • Thomas Green (circa 1738 – 2 June 1788) was a pioneering geologist born in Wymeswold and educated at the precursor to Loughborough Grammar School. He was appointed Woodwardian Professor of Geology at Cambridge in 1778.
  • Hugh Moises (9 April 1722 – 5 July 1806 Newcstle) was a noted English schoolmaster. He was the son of Edward Moises who was vicar of Wymeswold at the time.
  • Thomas Rossell Potter (7 January 1799 –19 April 1873) is remembered for his publications about the history and geology of Leicestershire. When he was fifteen his parents moved to Wymeswold, where he resided until his death.
  • John Shaw (15 August 1957 – 25 November 2013) was a radio broadcaster, specialising in music and sports commentating. He was compared to the broadcaster John Peel in his musical eclecticism and breadth of knowledge.
  • William Arnold Sime CMG MBE QC died 5 May 1983 in Wymeswold. He was a South African-born English barrister and judge who also played first-class cricket.
  • Edwin James Wood (born 25 November 1868 in Wymeswold) was an English cricketer, mostly playing as a wicket-keeper for Leicestershire.
      'Wood's only first-class appearance came during the 1907 season, against Surrey. He was described in a local Leicester newspaper as "a Melton player". From the tailend, he scored a single run in the first innings in which he batted and a duck in the second innings; he took two catches and made one stumping, though he also dropped Ernie Hayes in Surrey's first innings when Hayes had made 18, and he went on to make 157, the biggest innings of the match.'
In addition seveal people who were stationed at RAF Wymeswold also have Wikipedia pages.

Greek copper alloy coin of Ptolemy VI found near Wymeswold

How many Egyptian coins have you spotted while walking footpaths around Wymeswold? How many Egyptian coins minted about 2,180 years ago with two eagles representing Ptolemy VI and his brother? If you've not found one then you're not looking hard enough! One turned up fairly recently (and it was while walking, not by a metal detectorist) and details, with a photo, have been entered on the Portable Antiquities Scheme database: finds.org.uk/database/artefacts/record/id/960604

Thanks to the finder, a mutual friend and Wendy Scott at the Portable Antiquities Scheme for all their assistance.

The big question is why did a Ptolemic Egyptian coin get lost near Wymeswold? No clear answers. But Wendy says she's seen several others from Leicestershire, though none close to the Wolds.

Walton on the Wolds records

Thanks to Louise and Bob Jackson and Joan Shaw the minutes of Walton on the Wolds Parish Vestry meetings from March 1873 to November 1894 and the minutes of Parish Meetings between December 1894 and March 1983 have been summarised.

These and other historic documents held by Walton on the Wolds Parish Clerk have recently been deposited with the Record Office for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland (accession number DE9796). Click here for summaries of all the documents deposited.

The first Link

Anyone living in the villages of Burton on the Wolds, Cotes, Hoton, Prestwold and Wymeswold will be familiar with the parish magazine, The Christian Link. But when did this start? All is revealed in this PDF of the first issue. But I doubt if we will ever know if the Sparrows of the Spirit ever returned to 'roost' at the Rectory...

Many thanks to Joan Shaw for digitising the copy discovered she while 'tidying up' in Loughborough Library's Local Studies Collection.

nell smith book covers

Memories of a Country Girlhood

Just a reminder that the WHO has stocks of all four books written by Ellen 'Nell' Smith and illustrated by Susan Jalland. These were published in the early 1980s and describe life in Wymeswold during the seventy years from around the First World War until nearly fifty years ago.

Sets of all four books cost £10 per set (the first two volumes are editions printed in 2005; the third and fourth volumes are the original 1980s editions) plus p&p.

Email Bob Trubshaw bobtrubs@indigogroup.co.uk or telephone 01949 850631.

Packe of the Pyrennes

In an article published in the 1960 edition of The Alpine Journal Robin Fedden tell us that:

'Charles Packe (1826–96) was geologist, botanist, cartographer and scholar (climbing with Horace in his pocket). He was also the squire of Stretton Hall, the Leicestershire gentleman who found the Pyrenees more exciting than the hunting field. Much of this was concealed by a brusque manner, for though a modest man he was perhaps not an easy one. He began his systematic exploration of the chain in 1859. When his companion was killed on the Pic de Sauvegarde in the same year, while no doubt perturbed, he was clearly not deflected. Noting Jurassic limestone, greensand, names of rare flowers, barometric pressures, and making in uncharted country expedition on expedition, he accumulated knowledge. It found expression in the first guide-book to the Pyrenees and the first map of the Maladetta area.'

Charles Packe was the eldest son of Edmund Packe who lived at Prestwold Hall.

In a different article in the 1987 edition of the same journal Kev Reynolds draws attention to Charles Packe's own contribution to The Alpine Journal, back in August 1884. By that date has also been Secretary of the Alpine Club. Reynolds notes Packe's obvious disdain the attitudes of his fellow members:

'The travellers who during the summer months throng Cauterets, Luchon, and even Gavarnie are of a very different class from those whom we meet at Chamonix and Zermatt. Even members of the Alpine Club in the Pyrenees seem to have turned Sybarites; they have left behind them love for climbing, and are content with the usual routine courses at the tail of a guide.'

Reynolds informs his readers that 'By the time he wrote this, Packe had been a noted mountain connoisseur for more than 30 years and an influence at one time or another on various leading figures from the world of mountaineering.'

Charles Packe's interests were not simply concerned with exploring the terrain as he also a botantist and 'collected curious specimens of alpaca paramante (papaver alpinum).'

Thanks to Hellen Jarvis for spotted these articles on the www.alpinejournal.org.uk website.

PDF of the complete article in The Alpine Journal 1960.

PDF of the complete article in The Alpine Journal 1987.

Brown's pharmaceutical day book

Chris and John Brown own a handwritten journal prepared by the Brown family of Church Street in Wymeswold – perhaps better known for running the Post Office and for Philip Brown's photographs. The journal gives details of over two hundred prescriptions prepared over a seventeen-year period between 1869 and 1886, as well as a number of formulations used in the grocery business.

Chris kindly digitised the pages for the WHO and Philip Denniff has spent much of this last winter trying to decipher the abbreviated Latin.

The scans, verbatim transcription and Phil's interpretation are now online, along with an introduction which sheds light on why the journal was kept and how different members of the Brown family helped looked after the well-being of local residents in Wymeswold during part of the nineteenth century. Download the PDF for free.

So far as we are aware this is the first time a pharmaceutical 'day book' of this period has been fully transcribed, interpreted and made available online.

Big thanks to Phil for a considerable amount of time and effort he contributed to this project, and to Chris for preparing the scans and assisting Phil with the Brown's family history.

Vicars of Wymeswold

The list of Wymeswold vicars on display inside St Mary's church has also been transcribed. Download the PDF for free.

List of all WHO talks

Have you ever wondered how many talks have been organised by the WHO since it started? It's getting on for 250! This PDF reveals the titles and speakers of every one.

Three videos about Wymeswold and the Leicestershire Wolds

Back in 2007, as part of the the celebrations for the WHO's twentieth anniversary, Bob Trubshaw gave three talks. These have just been revised and adapted as three videos:

These are part of an ever-growing series of videos about local history and related topics which can be found on Bob Trubshaw's YouTube Channel.

Discovering the Wolds

The Wolds Historical Organisation is thirty years old in 2017. To commemorate this anniversary the members have compiled a book about various aspects of the history of the Wolds villages, from the Anglo-Saxon era onwards. The title is Discovering the Wolds.

There are twenty-six articles covering a wide variety of topics. Among the longer contibutions are:
Anglo-Saxon boundary shrines of the Leicestershire Wolds, John Noon of Burton Hall, the Inn at Prestwold, the Burton Parish Constable 1810Ė1836, sale of a Wymeswold Farm in 1839, the Loseby family, the early years of the Wymeswold Bowling Club, the Lymeswold cheese myth and a look back at thirty years of the WHO.

245 x 175 mm, 100 + iv pages, 28 colour photos, 79 b&w photos; 9 line drawings, 2 maps, paperback.

Email bobtrubs@indigogroup.co.uk or telephone Bob Trubshaw on 01949 850631 for information on how to obtain.

Phil Thorpe's article on the Lowesby family is available as a free PDF. Additional information on earlier and later members of the family is also available as a free PDF.

A Child in Paradise? Wymeswold 1939–1958

by Jim Macklay

Wymeswold 1939 –1958 The streets were dirty and poorly lit at night. There were very few Ďmod consí. Hardly any of the houses had central heating. In the forties there was no mains water and no television before about 1948. We had a telephone, most didnít. Some people had cars, most didnít. There were few washing machines, hardly any fridges, no dishwashers and certainly no mobile phones! But was it Paradise? In this book Jim Mackley, a Wymeswold boy, remembers what the village was like from the dark years of the war to the golden years of the late fifties. His friend, Stan Sheppard, also recalls his memories of Wymeswold over the same period.

The book is illustrated by photos and newspaper cuttings covering a longer period. Most of the inhabitants of the village in the forties and fifties are listed in an Appendix.

£4.99 plus postage. Only available from Amazon: A Child in Paradise?

Transcript of Lily Brown's First World War diary

Those of you who have read Discovering the Wolds may well have been intrigued by the selection of entries from a diary kept by Lily Brown between 1916 and 1918. Thanks to Patricia Baker the whole diary has now been transcribed and can be read here: Lily Brown's diary

Polish families

Helen Burnside (née Mills) recently sent an email in which she recalls 'a significant part of my childhood':

    I started school at St Mary's Primary school in Loughborough in 1953. Shortly after I started, we were told that a number of new children would be coming and they didn't speak like us (a concept that was totally unknown to us). This was the beginning of the Polish children coming from the [Burton on the Wolds] camp to our school. They had a dedicated bus and the children were all dressed identically. I remember being envious because the girls had lisle stockings and leather boots with a zip. I insisted that my mother change the style of my plaited hair so that it was similar to the girls. I was never aware of any problems and everyone rapidly integrated. The Polish children maintained their language and culture at their 'Saturday school'.

In a subsequent email Helen recalls that in about 1956

    I had a Polish friend who was rehoused near my family [in Woodfield Road, Rothley] from the Burton camp. The father had a job but my friend and I accompanied the mother to find a cleaning job.We waited behind a hedge whilst she was interviewed, despite minimal English, at one of the large private houses near Rothley station. A great attraction for me was their welcoming me and sharing their sausage and cabbage, and especially their television. I used to watch Dr Kildare & various other programmes on Friday and Saturday evenings. I also remember that the father had got numbers tattooed on his wrist. It was several years later before I understood the significance that he had spent time in a concentration camp.
Thanks to Helen fortaking the trouble to share her memories – please email bobtrubs@indigogroup.co.uk if you also have recollections of the Wolds area.

See Joan and Peter Shaw's article on The Polish Camp at Burton on the Wolds for more information about where Helen's friends lived.

Historic England county building stone atlases

As part of the Strategic Stone Survey, Historic England commissioned the British Geological Survey to prepare a set of atlases covering the building stones of the English counties.

These are available as free PDFs, along with spreadsheets containing more details of

  • known building stones used within the county
  • representative examples of stone buildings and villages constructed from those stones
  • known building stone quarries
To access these files go to www.bgs.ac.uk/mineralsuk/buildingStones/StrategicStoneStudy/EH_atlases.html

The direct link for the Leicestershire PDF is www.bgs.ac.uk/downloads/start.cfm?id=2512

The information for each county is quite detailed and offers a whole new way of approaching the history of each area. Houses and churches little more than ten miles apart may be constructed from quite different building stones – these atlases remind me of the I Spy books intended to keep me amused on childhood car journeys!

Thanks to Nicholas Jenkins for drawing attention to these atlases.

Dalby Wolds

If the name 'Dalby Wolds' means nothing to you it's because this is the name given to a proposed 'garden village' of 2,700 houses. (Since when did villages have nearly 3,000 houses, with space for further expansion?). This new town would replace Six Hills golf course and agricultural land in the triangle of land bounded by the Fosse Way, the A6006, and the road from Barrow on Soar and Six Hills going north-east to the A6006 and on to Eastwell (also a Roman road).

As part of the development proposal there has been an assessment of the archaeology, including a geophysical survey. Relevant reports are online at pa.melton.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=documents&keyVal=OYP37WKOL4K00.

The survey notes there are cropmarks 'potentially representing below-ground remains of two undated enclosures' (and the best guess would be Iron Age or early Romano-British) and two rectangular earthwork enclosures, potentially of medieval origin. A Roman milestone was discovered close to Six Hills, while Roman pottery and tile have been identified in two locations near the boundaries of the proposed development. More predicatably, the 'geofiz' also provided lots of evidence for ploughed-out ridge and furrow.

Not a lot of archaeological evidence given the size of the area evaluated, but this is consistent with the seemingly sparse settlement elsewhere on the Wolds – despite the close proximity to the Roman small town at Vernemetum (where the Willougby to Old Dalby road crosses the Fosse Way) and the use of Six Hills as a meeting place (or 'moot site') in the later Anglo-Saxon era.

Thanks to Hellen Jarvis for drawing attention to these reports.

William Fox property deed

Katheryn Timmons, who heads up the Barrow on Soar local history group, kindly allowed me to photograph an original indenture, or 'conveyancing deed', dated 5th April 1780 which assigns land in Wymeswold parish near Burton 'great field' (this is before Enclosure) to William Fox. The original deed has been donated to the Record Office; a transcript will be added to this website in due course.

Another video

Those with long memories may recall the discovery of a human skull back in 2003, prior to the building of Manor Court in Wymeswold. There was an article about this in the second Wolds Historianthe article is online.

At the time of the skull's reburial there was no guidance about the most appropriate ceremony for non-Christian human remains. But a year or so later a group of people came together to form an organisation called 'Honouring the Ancient Dead' or HAD. More details about HAD here. At the request of the HAD committee the Chair of the WHO, Bob Trubshaw, was videoed recalling the events. This video is now online. Thanks to Jonathan Allen for shooting and editing the video and Sarah Levitt for making it all happen.

Three Crowns: as it was

Local history must keep up with the times. Isobel Parr took some video of the Three Crowns in May 2016, before the 'revamp'. It's on YouTube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=62QKPU3RFWM

WHO Archive catalogued and online – plus a 'virtual museum'

Over the last thirty years the WHO has built up a collection of research notes, old photographs, a few artefacts and such like. Collectively it has been named the 'WHO Archive'. Until now few people knew what was in this archive and even fewer knew where to find it! However now there is a PDF which can be downloaded and searched (use CTRL+F if there's no obvious search button on your PDF viewer).

Please note that the archive is stored in six different locations, few of which are easily accessible. So requests to provide more details or to view anything 'first hand' will take time and effort.

Anyone who can add extra information please email bobtrubs@indigogroup.co.uk

Download the WHO archive catalogue

A member has suggested that the photographs of artefacts would make a suitable web page. So here it is: the WHO's 'virtual museum'.

St Mary's Wymeswold Church Council Minute Book
and Wymeswold school log books

The Church Council Minute Book for St Mary's, Wymeswold, covering 1932 to 1955 forms part of the archive, although it is in a rather fragile condition. This has now been digitised. There are too many files to make this available online but they can be copied to a memory stick or such like if anyone wants to read through. Note that the handwriting is often rather 'cramped'. If anyone is willing to read through and index the main topics this will be most helpful. From a quick skim through it seems there's plenty of information on the church restoration of the 1950s.

The school log books for Wymeswold school covering the period from 1875 to 1982 are now in the Record Office for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. But before they were handed over they too were digitised. Again they can be copied to a memory stick or similar if anyone thinks they have relatives at the school during this period. These log books were helpful to Ivor Perry when researching Bringing Them Home as they revealed both the good and bad sides of the village 'lads'.

If you would like to have copies of any or all of these then email Bob Trubshaw. Note: please supply your own memory stick or SD card! The church minute book is under 1 gigabyte and all four school log books are just over 2 gigabytes.

Philip Brown's photographs

Prints of Philip Brown's historic photographs of Wymeswold and the surrounding area, taken between the 1890s and 1920s, are available again. Contact Chris Brown cbrown.chris86@gmail.com for details.

The Brown's shop, and former Post Office, in Church Street, Wymeswold.

Betty's demob party

Carolyn Dee emailed to say her partner, Leo Carter, served at RAF Wymeswold with No 9 Squadron from 5th June to November 1945. She sent a scan of a photograph, with Wymeswold written on and ' Betty's demob party, Wymeswold about November 1945' . She assumes Betty is in the middle. The other photograph with people sitting in the garden may also be Wymeswold or Burton on the Wolds. but Leo didn't add any information. Were they taken at the The Greyhound Pub?

Carolyn wonders if anyone recognises anyone else in the photographs. If so please email Bob Trubshaw.

RAF personnel in garden

Similarly, Gordon McKenzie emailed. 'I used to be a telephone engineer who serviced the Wymeswold area from 1975 to 1977, I loved the place but had to move on. Anyway, I was in the ATC in the late 60s to '71 and I used to make mosaics for various RAF Squadrons. Here is a picture of myself standing next to the CO with our ATC Squadron (1F) presenting the mosaic to 1 Squadron RAF . The details are:

Wymeswold 18–20 May 1970
This picture was taken on the peri-track adjacent to the Wymeswold Road. The Mosaic presentation was from No. 1 Sqn ATC to No 1 Sqn RAF 18–20 May 1970. The pilot is Bryan Baker and the Commanding Officer, Group Captain [actually Wing Commander at the time; see Steven Baker's note below] Ken Hayr to the right of the mosaic was killed in an air accident at Biggin Hill in June 2001.'

ATC Squadron (1F)

Again Gordon wonders if anyone recognises anyone else in the photographs. If so please email Bob Trubshaw. Click on the image for a higher resolution version of this image, if that helps to recognise faces.


Gary Burnett emailed October 2016 to say:

    During a web search I found your site and was blown away to find a photograph of an event at which I was present – the visit of 1(F) Squadron ATC to our illustrious and heroic name bearers 1 Squadron RAF at RAF Wymeswold.

    Our Flight Lieutenant was rightly tight-lipped about the whole trip, and gave nothing away to us ordinary ranks beforehand. On the coach we made guesses and surmised that we were off to a Bloodhound missile site. We drove off the road through a wood and came into a little clearing, and there sat the Harrier. I think the modern phrase is gobsmacked. Most of the squadron were inner-city kids from Leicester; not easily impressed, but gobsmacked we all were.

    The pilot Squadron Leader Bryan Barr put on a flying display, just for us – just for us – of its vertical and short take-off and landing capabilities. I can honestly say that it was one of the best nights of my life.

    I can recall the photo hanging on the squadron hut in Leicester. I'm the young man kneeling below the Commanding Officer. Sadly I'm terrible at names these days following a surgical trauma, but the chap immediately below the RAF roundel on the engine nacelle was Flt Sgt Jim Leadbetter. He joined the RAF and eventually became a test pilot himself at the Empire Test Pilot School (EPTS) at Boscombe Down.

    The other special thing about the photograph is that the aircraft in the photo was XV744, one of two RAF Harriers that competed in the Daily Mail Transatlantic Air Race in 1969, flying from central New York and landing behind St Pancras station. It was later upgraded to GR3 status and had a distinguished service career, and is now permanently sited in Tangmere Aviation Museum in Kent.

    Happy days indeed!

Steven Baker emailed April 2018 and corrected the spelling of Bryan Barr's name. Barr went on to become Wing Commander and was Commanding Officer of 233 Harrier Conversion Unit at Wittering, then Commanding Officer of 4 Sqn at Wildenrath (on Harriers) and later flew Harriers again as Air Commander in Belize. Steven also says the Commanding Officer, Ken Hayr, was a Wing Commander at the time of the photograph; he became a Group Captain later.

Inside Sister's Well

Sandy Haddington sent photographs taken inside Sister's Well, on the edge of Wymeswold Airfield. One of them showed an intriguing inscription. Details in this article.

Sister's Well inscription

lots more older news from the WHO

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

older news from the WHO (circa 2023)