Woodborough’s Heritage

Woodborough, a Sherwood Forest Village, recorded in Domesday

The Manor Farm & farm/stables from 1851 to 1996

The farm buildings are situated north of the Manor House and are separated from the House by the Woodborough Main Street, the whole structure is Grade II Listed.

Some of the oldest barns, cow sheds, stables and loose boxes were built using locally made bricks, possibly from the nearby clay pit and brickworks on Bank Hill, the largest barn has the date 1851 built into the west end gable, the roof structures are constructed mainly of oak timbers, finally being lathed over and tiled with red pantiles, the guttering and down pipes were cast iron.

Above left: Manor Farm buildings formerly racing stables in 1977.

Above right: Photograph dated 2000 after the stables had been converted to flats/apartments.

This was the traditional Midland style of building which included a large barn part of which has two storeys at one end with a loft above and a cart and implement store below, the remainder of the large barn was used for storing sheaves of grain which were threshed on the floor with flails usually on a windy day when the big barn doors were opened to allow the chaff to be blown away, the heavier grain remaining on the floor.

The cowshed had standings for two cows with again a loft above for hay and straw. As these buildings continued west to east they became single storey and turned at right angles to run south so forming a sheltered courtyard, these smaller buildings were divided into what is called 'loose boxes' with a small window at the rear, inside the boxes each had a concrete feed manger and a wooden hay rack above, the door at the front was divided horizontally, the bottom door being secure while the top door would be kept mainly open for ventilation, the loose boxes would have been used mainly for young stock and horses.

Another two storey barn was also built at right angles to the first barn which was mainly used as stabling for the working cart horses with a 'fothrum' (dialect word for feed room, more correctly 'fotheram' which means a hay loft over a stable), this feed room containing oats and chaff, feed bags, forks and shovels etc., a loft above would have stored more straw, hay and grain.

Entrance to the racing stables was through an archway in the middle of the buildings, an ornate weather vane (see above) depicting a racehorse was positioned at the highest point above the archway. In August 1983 the vane was removed and repaired by H C Doughty & Sons of Oxton, at which time the 'N' and the 'S' were reinstated and the horse, which was made of copper, was cleaned.

During the First World War, German prisoners of war were housed in the stable block and left drawings on the walls as a memento of their stay. It is thought there might have been at least thirty POW's, during the daytime they worked variously on the land, in the carpenters shop, and undertaking general painting and household duties.

From 1878 until 1930 no great change was made to the main farm buildings until a five bay Dutch Barn was built by the Foster family in the stackyard to the rear of the buildings, this had steel stanchions and a curved corrugated iron roof, this would have been used for stacking and storing sheaves of grain prior to threshing, the roof keeping the sheaves dry, the sides of the barns open for good ventilation, as farming practices changed the Dutch Barn was used for straw bales and sheep housing.

In 1955 John Taylor from Aspley Hall Farm near Nottingham purchased the Manor House and Farm, also at about this time farming practices were becoming more mechanized and grain was being harvested by a combine harvester instead of the binder. Plans were made to install a grain drier and silos for grain storage within the existing buildings. Most of this work was the brainchild of Charles Doughty agricultural engineers from Oxton, Nottinghamshire, and George Bramley and Sons from Wilford, Nottingham; this also included a hammer mill and mixer for livestock rations.

The grain drier had a diesel furnace with a capacity of drying 3 tons of grain per hour, extracting 4% moisture; the grain was then cooled and stored in silos made of wood. In 1966 a new replacement 'Alvan Blanch' grain drier was installed which had a larger capacity, also at this time additional silos were constructed within the old 1851 barn, this grain drier and storage system continued to operate successfully until the buildings were sold for development in 1987.

Above various scenes depicting a working farm in the 1980’s, the top four photographs show the

yard behind the former stables, the bottom one was taken in the stack yard by the ‘Dutch’ barn.

In 1858 further building work was carried out when a single storey building running north to south was constructed again in red brick, but being roofed this time in black flat tiles, the date of this building is confirmed by a date stone built into the south gable end.

When the racing stables were built in 1878 it is believed that some of the original farm buildings which extended into the main street were demolished to make way for this enormous new building which apart from palatial stables included a house for a head groom and his family, a 'tack' room for saddles and harness and storage for fodder and grain above. The stable floors and surrounding walkways were paved with 'sets' (black granite bricks).

The weather vein in 1982 in urgent need for refurbishment. Right, the repaired vein in 1983 before being reinstated on the roof of the central archway shown here insitu.

The above three drawings by German POW’s were discovered in 1955 in the loft space above the former stables. It is thought that the POW’s had created the scenes to remind them of home. They had been there for several decades, all have been photographed as a record.

Grain machinery in 1986, these photographs show the upper floor of the former stables.

The grain drier and cleaner and some conveyors were moved and fitted into new buildings at New Manor Farm on Lingwood Lane in Woodborough in time for the 1987 harvest, the roller mill and feed mixer were also moved into the new buildings later.

From April 1987 the old buildings were left empty for about three years, during this time they were vandalized and became derelict. They were acquired for development in 1990 when a planning application was made by the new owners to provide for a scheme of alterations and conversions to a variety of styles of accommodation. The first properties were available for sale in August 1991. The following photographs illustrate the transformation of the stables.

The above six photographs were taken between the late 1970’s and 1986 the latter year when the

farm moved to a new farm on Lingwood Lane. The Old Manor Farm was then advertised for sale.

1993 - The finished development and housing units ready for sale.

1990 - Closure and boarded up for sale.

1991 - The demolition of unwanted buildings & removal of tiles and bricks for reconstruction.

1992 - The site cleared reconstruction starts.

1992 - The rebuilding completed.



Above: The 1990 site plan for the development.  

Below: The next sequence of 9 photographs were taken in the year 2000 when the complex was established.

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