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Woodborough’s Heritage

Woodborough, a Sherwood Forest Village, recorded in Domesday


Above left: Mr Mansfield Parkyns (wearing a white bowler hat) with friends and family on the lawns of Woodborough Hall in 1872. Above right: Mr Parkyns seated in the Hall conservatory in 1890.



Several structural alterations were made in the 1960’s during General Glover's time. The front door at the side of the Hall facing onto Bank Hill was blocked up to create a dining room, moving the entrance to the front facing the lawn. 

The Hall then remained empty for some time until sold to Mr Oxby in 1984 for £144,000. The East wing was demolished and the West wing was in very poor condition. Mr Oxby lived in the main rooms of the ground and first floors and converted the second floor into flats. In 1986 the outbuildings and coach house were also converted into separate flats.

In 1988 Woodborough Hall was purchased by Mr Dennis Wright and Mr Gerald Poxton who refurbished the main part of the Hall, restored the West wing and rebuilt the East wing to bring the house back to life in its role at that time as a residential Nursing Home, which it ceased to be by February 2004. For later occupants follow this [LINK]


The main entrance and the fireplace in the hallway, below beautiful wooden furnishings



Hall and part of the formal gardens in 1915, an aerial view of the hall and formal gardens 1929.


When Elizabeth died in 1798 the Manor House passed to another name, Story. The Rev’d Philip Story was a cousin, second son of her aunt, Ann Lacock who married John Story. During the Story's occupation, the old gable and tiled roof was removed and another storey added, with a new slate roof. These alterations may have been to a design by the noted Nottingham architect T C Hine. It appears that the Story's mostly lived elsewhere and the Hall was let to Captain Fenwick, Mr Worth and Colonel Hancock. After being empty for seven years it was sold in 1842, with 53 acres of land to John Ingall Werg and this was only the second sale of land since the Norman Conquest.

The Mansfield Parkyns era: According to the Rev’d Walter Buckland's History of Woodborough (1897), John Ingall Werg 'invested unwisely', and had to sell up. He sold the Hall in 1852 for £4,500 to Mr Mansfield Parkyns, who also purchased Hall Farm in 1875. At this time, the remaining land of the Story estate was sold, the upper farms being bought by Colonel Charles Seely.


Mansfield Parkyns was the second son of the 5th Baronet, Sir Thomas Parkyns, and as a noted explorer who had spent many years in Abyssinia and Egypt is perhaps one of Woodborough's most famous inhabitants. He went to Africa after being sent down from Oxford University, with the idea of walking across Africa from east to west, from Abyssinia to the Gulf of Guinea. When he finally returned to this country he brought with him his faithful Negro servant who always slept outside the bedroom door to guard his master. Mansfield Parkyns settled happily in Woodborough and had eight daughters. Amongst his talents was woodcarving and examples of his work can be seen in the balustrade to the oak staircase in the Hall, and in the choir stalls of St Swithun’s Church. In 1862, as Lt Col Parkyns, he captained the Royal Sherwood Foresters and as Commanding Officer to the 1st Administration Battalion, Notts Rifle Volunteers which developed into the local Territorial Army regiment. It is quite probable that during Mansfield Parkyns ownership of the Hall the staircase stained glass window was installed since the shields of arms relate to the Parkyns family.The window is three lights wide by two lights high (a full description of each light is given at the end of this document). He died in 1894 of an illness contracted during his foreign travels.


The Hall was sold in 1895 to Charles Hose Hill who also purchased Hall Farm and land. In 1917 Mr Hill set up a proper water system for the Hall introducing piped water from a reservoir in Stanley Wood, which sits on a hill above the Hall. This also supplied Wood Barn Farm on Lingwood Lane and Bank Hill Farm on Bank Hill.


In 1923 the Hall changed hands again, to Mr Hubert Dowson. Both Charles Hill and Hubert Dowson are remembered in the village for the annual Christmas parties for children. The Guide Company would parade on Christmas morning and march to the Hall, where Lady Dowson would present each Guide with a tangerine wrapped in silver paper. It is known that the Hall and grounds were again placed on the market via an auction, which was to be held on the 6th October 1937.



Top left south facing elevation with front entrance. Top right inside the entrance hallway.

Bottom left the the sitting room. Bottom right the drawing room. All photographed at the time of army occupation in 1966.


The Military period: Just before the Second World War the Hall was purchased by the Government to become the official residence for the AOC, No 12 Fighter Group at Hucknall, Nottinghamshire. Occupants of the Hall included the famous names of Trafford Leigh Mallory and Air Vice-Marshall R L M Atcherley and family who left late 1953 for Washington and Air Vice-Marshall W J Crisham CB & CBE and Mrs Crisham succeeded them.

Air Vice-Marshall and Mrs Frazer left in 1958 to take up a post at the Air Ministry, Uxbridge. “They have both been such a help to us all and no village activity has escaped their interest. We shall specially miss them at St Swithun’s. We have always known that they were out of the village if they were not at Church twice on Sunday. I have known the Air Vice-Marshall to be at 9.30 Communion, fly off to one of his units, and be back in Woodborough for Evensong. It is not the usual practice in Woodborough for a parishioner to apologise to the Vicar because he will be away at the next Sunday; without any fuss or ostentation by their regular attendants at the “means of Grace,” they have set an example to us all”.  

After the Frazers left the Hall was passed in 1959 from the Air Ministry to the Army. It was the official residence of the General Officer Commanding, the 49th (West Riding and North Midlands) Division/District. The first G.O.C. to take up residence was Major-General Sir Richard E Goodwin, he is in charge of all troops in the area whether Regulars or Territorials. Occupants in succession were Major-General Sir Richard Goodwin, Major-General T H Birkbeck, Major-General P F Glover, Major-General C M Man and Major-General R Gordon-Finlayson. The occupier in 1966 was Major-General C M Man. In 1969 Major-General D A H Toler held the title GOC for the East Midlands Division, followed in 1973 by Brigadier C M A Mayes for Eastern District (Nottingham). By 1976 a Brigadier & Mrs Tugwell arrived, and taking their place a short while later, Brigadier & Mrs Stileman and in 1979 Brigadier R A Plummer. During the Army occupation, bands such as the South Notts Hussars playing in the Hall grounds often enlivened Woodborough Feast celebrations in July. It is not known if the above named military personnel represent a full list of occupancy of the Hall during the period 1939 to 1979.

Left:  the south facing doorway that leads into the entrance lobby.












Right: the magnificent conservatory which was attached to the east side of the Hall. It can also be seen in the 1929 aerial photo above right.

Acknowledgement:

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Woodborough Hall - from 1852


In 1852, as a Lieutenant Colonel, Mansfield Parkyns, captained the Royal Sherwood Foresters and was Commanding Officer to the first Admin Battalion Notts Rifle Volunteers which developed into the Territorial Army Regiment. He died in 1894 of an illness contracted during his foreign travels and the Hall was sold in 1895 to Mr Charles Hose Hill who also purchased the Hall Farm and land. In 1917 Charles Hill set up a proper water system for the Hall introducing piped water for Wood Farm, Bank Farm and Hall Farm.


In 1923 the Hall changed hands again, to Mr Hubert Dowson. Both Charles Hill and Hubert Dowson are remembered in the village for the annual Christmas parties for children. The Guide Company would parade on Christmas morning and march to the Hall where Lady Dowson would present each Guide with a tangerine wrapped in silver paper. Just before the start of the Second World War (1939) the Hall was purchased by the Government to become the official residence for the A.O.C. No. 12 Fighter Group at Hucknall (Nottinghamshire). Occupants of the Hall included famous names of Trafford Leigh Mallory, Atcherley and Chrisham, who were successive Group Commanders. In 1959 the tenancy passed to the Army to become home for the General Officer Commanding, 49th (West Riding and North Midlands) Infantry Division.


Occupants in succession were Lt. General Sir Richard Goodwin, Major General T.H. Birkbeck, Major General P.F. Glover, Major General C.M. Mann and Major General R. Gordon-Finlayson. In 1969 Major General D.A.H. Toler held the title G.O.C. for the East Midlands Division, followed in 1973 by Brigadier C.M.A. Mayes. In 1975 Brigadier M.A.J. Tugwell, 1976 Brigadier D.M. Stileman and in 1979 Brigadier R. Plummer was the next resident. Several structural alterations were made during General Glover’s time. The front door at the side of the Hall facing towards Bank Hill was blocked up to create a dining room, moving the entrance to the front south facing lawn. During the Army occupation, Woodborough Feast was often enlivened by bands such as the South Notts Hussars playing in the Hall grounds.


The Hall remained empty for a time until sold in 1984 to Mr Oxby for conversion into flats. In 1986 the outbuildings and Coach House were also converted into separate flats. In 1988 Woodborough Hall was purchased by Mr Denis Wright who converted it into a residential nursing home.




Below - South and east facing gardens

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Above left: Woodborough Hall coach house with the stables converted to garages.

Above right: Right the garden with a Morris & Jones orangery, both photographs dated 1991.


Below The Hall and the 1991 extension which replaced the old conservatory,