Woodborough’s Heritage

Woodborough, a Sherwood Forest Village, recorded in Domesday

‘Yards’ in Woodborough


I have only researched the censuses from 1841-1901. Unfortunately the 1841 and 1851 censuses do not give addresses, just the names of roads, isolated farms and a very few important buildings. The names of some of the YARDS first appeared in the 1861 census. The first is BERTRAM’S YARD and if the route usually taken by the Hogg family, the enumerators who lived at the Cock and Falcon was followed Bertram’s Yard would be where number 15 [Main Street] is now, later known as North’s Yard or Swift’s Yard taking the names of the families who lived there. Neither of the latter two names appears on the censuses.

From the map of the Inclosure Award, there appears to have been a lot of residential building in the village between 1795 and 1841 when the YARDS appeared, although they are not identified until the 1861 census (see above). Could this new building have been connected to the expansion of the cottage framework knitting industry?

The two newer rows of cottages, New Row, formerly Angel Row and before that Dyson’s Row, and Thorpe’s Cottages were built about 1864; I have no knowledge of who Dyson was: Thorpe’s Cottages were probably built by Roby Thorpe of the Old Manor (Nether Hall) for his agricultural workers.

Thorpe’s Yard – The yard opposite the Nag’s Head on Main Street was known in the 1861 census as Donnelly’s Yard. The 1795 Inclosure map only shows one property on the land which belonged to Thomas Donnelly. In the 1861 census there were only four properties listed, but by 1871 the number had increased and was called Wood’s Yard, presumably Roby Thorpe’s cottages had been built between the censuses. It was still known as Wood’s Yard in 1881 but by 1891 had become Thorpe’s Yard. In the 1901 census it was not identified by the census enumerator.

The fact that Thorpe’s Yard was still known as Wood’s Yard until sometime between 1881 and 1891 suggests to me that the cottages may have been built by a speculator, perhaps the same person who built New Row, next to the Institute, on Roe Lane in the 1860’s. It is possible that Roby Thorpe purchased them from a previous owner, maybe as housing for his farm workers, between 1881 and 1891 when the name changed from Wood’s to Thorpe’s. The increase in the number of properties on the site certainly increased between 1861 and 1871.   

Southern’s Yard – This is where the Middup family now live (2014) and is where the village dyke leaves the Main Street in a south easterly direction to emerge again on Lowdham Lane. Several cottages on this site have been demolished, although the remains of some were there in the early 1930’s. The 1861 census records six families in occupation and this is repeated in the 1871 census. By 1881 there are two different Southern’s Yards, the original one called W. Southern’s Yard and the newer one appears to have ben or what was much later called the Co-op Yard. Both Southern’s Yards are again named in the 1891 and 1901 censuses.

Co-op Yard – This is adjacent to the original Co-operative store, later the Woodborough News & Post Office. As mentioned above the second Southern’s Yard was probably the Co-op Yard. It is not named in any of the censuses which may precede the building of the Co-op. Thornton’s Yard (1861) and Lee’s Yard may have been early names for this yard.

Wyld’s Yard/Post Office Yard – The entrance to this row of three cottages was between the old Post Office and the Bugle Horn beer house. It was named after Christopher Wyld who originally owned the Bugle Horn and the three cottages. It continued to be called Wyld’s Yard until the 1901 census when it was named as Leafe’s Yard, Joseph Leafe having taken over as licensee of the Bugle Horn in the intervening years.

Johnson’s Square – This group of houses at the western end of the Broad Close in 1861 was called by the enumerator Johnson’s Yard, but in 1871 and 1881 had become Johnson’s Square. Did ‘Square’ sound better than ‘Yard’ to the residents? It was not identified by name in the 1891 census but in 1901 was called ‘Richardson’s Square’, due perhaps to the number of Richardson families living there.

North’s Yard/Swift’s Yard – This yard is not named on any of the censuses researched. It was to the west of Hall Farm, where number 15 [Main Street] is now. From 1881 to at least 1901 it was mainly occupied by the North family who were coal dealers and village carriers. By the 1930’s/40’s one of the cottages was uninhabitable and probably used as a store as the Swift families living there were market gardeners.

Other interesting properties

The Square – Was a row of seven properties with the entrance on the south side of Field Lane. Although it was called The Square, the cottages may have had privies (toilets) across a yard allowing it to be called The Square. They were older properties but are not mentioned by name on any of the 1841-1901 censuses.

Roe Lane – The Enclosure map shows Sidney Terrace but only the name of the owner, Joseph Wyld. Presumably it had just been built as no occupants are named. It consisted of twelve properties, one near the middle was a frame shop and at that time there were no other properties on Roe Lane, which was then known as Roger Lane. Who was Roger? Each of the properties had a large window facing west with a communal yard and privies on the eastern side.

New Row – This row of properties called Dyson’s Row in the 1871 census was probably built about 1864, who was Dyson? It then became known as Angel Row, but not on the censuses and is now called New Row!

Pinchpenny Row/Church Walk – This row of twelve properties was called Pinchpenny originally on all the censuses up to 1901. By 1891 six were uninhabited with five still empty in 1901. Four ‘tub’ toilets for all the inhabitants were provided at the end of the properties.



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