Woodborough’s Heritage

Woodborough, a Sherwood Forest Village, recorded in Domesday

Elizabeth Bainbridge 1716-1797 (A Woodborough Worthy)

The mistress of Woodborough Hall

Elizabeth Bainbridge was born on April, 8th.1716 of Mary Bainbridge (née Lacock in 1693) and William Bainbridge whose children all died in their infancy, except Elizabeth who never married.

Philip Lacock in his Will of 1710 divided his estates between his two daughters, Mary and Anne, but lived until about 1721 and unfortunately his daughter Anne pre-deceased him so he added a codicil to his Will leaving Anne's portion to her six children.

There are a number of glowing reports of the generosity and kindness of Elizabeth Bainbridge. To quote Throsby, the editor of Robert Thoroton's History of Nottinghamshire, 1797 - "The lady lives in an old hall house, built in plain style. She is the most extraordinary character for benevolence that I have ever heard of: it will be an agreeable task for her biographer to enumerate her extensive charities when the world shall be deprived by her death, by those beneficent acts which are now the theme and praise of every social and good mind....".

Woodborough Hall was originally built around 1660 for Philip Lacock. In Miss Bainbridge's time the Hall would only have had a ground and first floor.

It was remodelled for Mr Mansfield Parkyns in the 1850's by the famous local architect T C Hine, and given its present Victorian appearance by adding an extra floor and a pitched slate roof.

This photo of Woodborough Hall, still with its splendid conservatory, dates from 1925.

Her character is confirmed by later tradition, which says that she gave £1000 to the formation of Nottingham General Hospital. It is possible that she gave the Poor-Houses and Gardens and the Foxwood Gardens and a field on the Moor, but the Enclosure Award would imply that this property was awarded to the Overseers of the Poor as having been purchased by them out of the rates for the employment and housing of paupers under the old Poor Law. She left each of her servants a legacy of £30.

"Miss Bainbridge's Frumenty Feast at the sheep-shearing is spoken of to this day. Fromety was a mixture of flour, milk, currants and raisins. The people were invited to bring wooden spoons and four ate from each bowl, while the old lady watched with delight from one of the windows.

She lived a plain life, was known by her old red cloak, and delighted to make people happy. A pair of her shoes made of rough, white kid with high heels and pointed toes, fastened in front with a silver buckle, are now in the possession of Miss Lucy Orme".

An interesting story dated July,10th.1783, which probably has some truth in it, states Mrs [Mistress] Bainbridge of Woodborough had two horses killed by lightening: the man took them under the hedge to avoid the rain with the gears on. The first and third were killed, the middle horse knocked down, there were only three; the servants went on the other side of the hedge and received no injury.

Following her death she left an immense property to the Rev'd Philip Story, legacies to Mrs Story in Castlegate, Nottingham, Mrs Penleaze, Master Maddock, Miss Penleaze and many more.

Buckland says "the good lady never had a biographer, nor does any monument mark the place where she rests. Her burial is not entered in the Parish Register which at the time was very ill-written". She may well have been buried at Lockington, a village to the north-east of Castle Donington where there is a group of Story graves but many of them have deteriorated so badly that the inscriptions are illegible. Other more recent ones read as follows:

John Bainbridge Story Junior of Lockington Hall.

Born June 28th 1834, died October 16th 1871 (aged 37).

John Bainbridge Story, eldest child of Robert Lacock and Charlotte M. Story.

Born July 28th 1875, died January 24th 1898 (aged 22).

Robert Lacock Story. Fifth son of John Bainbridge Story

of Lockington Hall and for 24 years Vicar of this Parish - dates illegible.

It is interesting to see that two of the names above died at a relatively early age. Also that the names Bainbridge and Lacock were still being used in the Story family 100 years after Elizabeth's death October, 15th. 1797 and about 150 years after the last Woodborough Lacock had died.


by Peter Saunders to the Woodborough Local History Group


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