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4 Long Acre

Summary

The present plot was part of a larger close extending to Tithby Road and southwards towards but not reaching The Banks. It was in private ownership, not the Chesterfield Estate, as is more usual for Bingham. A cottage is recorded as being in existence in 1663, but its whereabouts on the plot are not known. Remains on the 4 Long Acre site suggest it may be here and that there may be some remains of this in the present house.

The land was enclosed pasture. The smaller portion was detached and sold by William Horsepool to William Stokes, bricklayer, in 1822. Stokes built four cottages in the 1820s as a sort of yard (a common feature in Bingham) end-on to the 'Turnpike' to Nottingham. Sometime before 1851 a workshop was added, probably for a framework knitting machine. The 1851 census records a framework knitter living in one of three cottages in Stokes Yard, Long Acre. Stokes used the cottages as security for a variety of loans over the next 80 years until his death around 1910 (may not be the same William!). His executors sold to Dr Eaton who lived and had his surgery next door. J C Hart, wheelwright and blacksmith, bought the cottages and lived in one. Various people are recorded as living in the second cottage up to at least 1948. It was a single house by 1980 and it would be interesting to know exactly when the second cottage was incorporated.

Review of documents, directories and census information

The first item in the Abstract of Title relates to a cottage or tenement with common pasture for two beasts and ten sheep late in the tenure of John Marsh. From later records it is clear this relates to a larger extent of land than is occupied by the modern property. The full extent included the area next-door, number 2 Long Acre. The agreement for 1663 was between Bryan Basse, cordwainer (shoemaker) of Nottingham, Joseph Musson (possibly the occupier at the time or maybe as trustee, ironmonger of Bingham (Agnes Musson is mentioned in the list of Bingham families of 1586) and Brian Millington, husbandman (farmer) of Bingham.

The purpose of the agreement was to settle the cottage on his son, John Basse 'in consideration of his marriage speedily intended with Margaret Millington', daughter of Brian. Clearly a shotgun wedding with a need for accommodation! By 1725 Bryan Basse is described as a plumber in a release transferring ownership to John Basse.

7th August 1807 an indenture of testament was made between Anne Strong, John Strong and William Green possibly as a trustee. It is not clear from the papers how the Strongs became involved with the property (in fact Anne Basse had married John Strong). On 6th September 1821 the property transferred from John Strong to William Strong. These may have been ancestors of the butcher John Strong who occupied Kirkland House in the 1870s and indeed the John Strong who was postmaster in the early 1800s (directories 1822 – 1844 and Henry Strong after that). William Green (2nd part) and Joseph Andrew (4th part) may have been trustees (agents) to this agreement.

A year later, on 30/31st August 1822 the whole property, measuring 1 acre 1 rood and 15 perches, was sold by (John) William Strong to Richard Horsepool, gentleman of Bingham with William Horsepool, of Saxondale as 4th part, presumably acting as trustee. The land was bounded on the east by lands of the late Earl of Chesterfield (where the present Carnarvon House stands), on the north by the turnpike road from Nottingham to Bingham and on the South and west by the retained lands of Richard Horsepool. There is no mention of buildings. The description of the whole one acre plot records that the land to the south was formerly of Matthew Scrimshaw and then of Thomas Walker. He would have been a forebear of the Walkers who farmed land between Long Acre and The Banks and later became builders (Walkers Close). He may have been the same Thomas Walker who owned the mill and owned the land now occupied by Kirkland House and the rest of School Lane. He died in 1833 leaving three sons - William, Samuel and Thomas.

In September that year a mortgage agreement was made between Richard, William and James Horsepool. James Horsepool, a trustee to this agreement, was a butcher of Bingham and purchaser, rebuilder and occupier in 1811 of 19 Church Street. His and William's shop was in the Market Place.

On 26th October 1822, the Horsepools leased the whole plot for one year, to William Stokes and John Buttery for £300. A rent of one peppercorn was payable on the last day of the term of the lease. On the next day they also signed an indenture with William Stokes, described as a bricklayer, to sell him the present plot, amounting to 470 square yards. This is the process of lease and release, a method of transferring freeholds without registering the transaction.

On 6th April 1826 Stokes mortgaged the property (which included houses built by W Stokes) to W Hopkinson and John Buck possibly to raise cash maybe to finance the building works soon to come. John Buck is described in directories of the day as a gentleman of Union Street. On 6th April 1830 Stokes mortgaged a house and four cottages, 'built by W Stokes', to George Skinner, having repaid his original mortgage. This mortgage was repaid on 6th April 1830. Thus the houses seem to have been built between 1822 and 1826 or 1830, maybe including in the rear wall the remains of the older cottage of John Basse and his wife, Margaret Millington.

But in 1830 Stokes re-mortgaged to George Skinner, so he is still short of money perhaps. This was redeemed on 6th January 1843.

Some time ago the local history group connected the tithe award number (130) via the list of tenants to the census of 1841.
Tenants of the four cottages were:

House 1 John Leighton, aged 40, a ‘Collector of Rags’
  Rachel, aged 40, his wife
  Eliza, 20; Maria, 15; Ann, 9.
House 2 John Stone, aged 25, bricklayer
  Elizabeth, 25, his wife
  John, 5; Thomas, 2.
House 3 Elizabeth ?, 25, Lace Runners
  Elizabeth (daughter?) aged 8, Ann aged 3 and Thomas aged 1.
(no male is recorded, so either she was unmarried, a widow or he was away on census night!
House 4 William Porter, 30, gardener
  Rebecca, aged 35, his wife
  William, 3; a baby girl aged 3 months
   
   

Diana Horsepool aged 55 is recorded as living at tithe number 131, which is 2 Long Acre. This is consistent with the sale by Horsepool of the land in 1822.

The 1851 census records three families living in Stokes Yard, Long Acre, which is clearly three of the four cottages built by Stokes. The fourth one fronting the main road was presumably considered to be in Long Acre and it is difficult to establish who lived there because the census did not record house numbers. In 1851 the three families were:

William Wilson(aged 33), an agricultural labourer, with his wife and two children
William Cowdill(20) a master chimney sweep and his 19 year old wife
Jerimiah Scothern(53) framework knitter, his wife, two daughters (both lace workers) and a son still at school.

Additionally, although not noted as Stokes Yard, John Leighton is listed immediately before the Stokes Yard families. He is now 53, and has become a licensed hawker. His wife Rachel is still alive as are the daughters Hannah and Martha. Ann is not listed and has presumably moved away to work perhaps in service or may be died, but a son Samuel was born just after the last census - he is now ten! As they are not listed as being in Stokes Yard one can safely assume they occupied the front house which opens onto Long Acre.

We have recently identified that a south facing workshop with its own gabled roof was added onto the south east corner of the house. The joint in the brickwork can still be seen and the extent of a wide window to admit lots of light can be identified on the rear wall. Perhaps the mortgage of 1848 had been to finance the construction of the workshop. The census information rather suggests that this would have been for a framework knitting machine. If the daughters worked for the father then may be we have a small cottage business here!

Dinah Horsepool is recorded as being next in the sequence along the street.

On 31st March 1848 Stokes mortgaged for £300 the property described as the several messuages 'sometime since erected by Stokes' to Col Severus William Lynam Stretton former Colonel of Her Majesty's 64th Regiment of Foot. This lease (mortgage repayment) was redeemed in 1855 when it is recorded 'receipt received of Mr Stokes £300.7s in full for principal owed on Col Stretton's mortgage. Thus it is unlikely the Colonel lived in any of the houses.

The 1861 census shows Cowdill, the chimney sweep, and his wife still here and having produced five children in the intervening ten years! He also has two servants, who are apprentice chimney sweeps aged 11 and 8. Business must have been good. One wonders if perhaps they had moved into a larger part of the house to accommodate the numbers! He was still in business in Long Acre in 1889, by which time he would have been 58, and 1896 at age 65.

Jeremiah Scothern is also listed here in 1861 but now as a labourer and with only his wife at home. Another occupant may have been Mary Gilman, aged 26 a milliner and her sister Harriett an 18-year-old pupil teacher. West View, with malt offices, (number 2) is uninhabited - so Mrs Horsepool has either died or moved (she would be 75 by 1861).

On 17th December 1887 Stokes again mortgaged the property, this time to John James, for £770, by which time the former bricklayer (or by now is this his son?) was described as a farmer of Wyverton. John James the elder died in 1894 and left his property, including the mortgage, to his son John James.

In 1903 Stokes appointed his son James Henry Stokes (of Langar Grange Farm) and son-in-law William Charles Goulding as executors. One wonders if this can be the same William Stokes from 1822 - if so he must have been near 100 years old! In 1910 they discharged the mortgage. On 16th July 1910 they sold the property by auction for £360 to James William Eaton. At this point J W Mason occupied the house and there were two cottages to the rear. Eaton owned and occupied the large house next door, No 2 Long Acre. Eaton was a doctor with his surgery at number 2A and was also Medical Officer of Health for Bingham Rural District Council (Kelly's Directory 1900). He built the 'bridge' between the two properties, but its purpose is unclear, as it seems not to have provided access between them).

By this time there are two 'messuages or dwelling houses formerly used as four' so it looks as though some have been knocked together. Tenants (of Dr Eaton) were G A Attenborough (front) and T Sinart (rear).

In 1921, following Eaton's death his wife Elizabeth Mary, daughter Mary Elizabeth and son Foster (living in Australia) sold the property to John Cooper Hart for £450. In December 1927 Hart borrowed £350 from Mary Elizabeth Eaton and Leonard Johnson by way of a mortgage. In 1929 they transferred the mortgage to Harriet Dexter. She died in 1938 and the mortgage passed to W Rogers.

In 1939 there were two dwellings occupied by John Cooper Hart and Albert Daft respectively. By 1948 J C Hart lived in one and P Cowling the other. In the 1922 directory J C Hart and Sons were listed as Blacksmiths. Bingham library has a photograph from about 1950 showing John Cooper Hart's premises (the label says 'Blacksmiths and Wheelwrights') in Newgate Street. The directory for 1900 lists Reuben Hart (JC's father) as a wheelwright whose premises and cottage were at the corner of Long Acre East and Grantham road.

Hart gave the property by Deed of Gift to his son Reuben Hart (named for his grandfather?), described as butcher and farmer. Reuben died in July 1979 and his widow Minnie and daughter Beryl (formerly receptionist for Dr Croft who succeeded Dr Eaton at Number 2 and later at the new Health Centre) were granted Administration. The present owners purchased the property in 1980 from Mrs Hart, by which time there was one house and some derelict buildings.

Present features

The west garden wall is constructed of very old brick, possibly the remains of the cottage of 1663.

The front of the house is clearly younger than the rear wall, which includes recycled bricks possibly from the very first cottage. It is not easy to work out how much of the original four cottages are now built into the existing fabric. Probably at least two - the two that were recorded as inhabited after WW2. The rooms at the front have higher ceilings than the rear room, suggesting this latter is older perhaps. The deeds seem to suggest a period without the original cottage before Stokes built his four houses, although of course he could have incorporated previous remains of by then disused cottages. The other two may be the ruined buildings demolished by the present owners. Unfortunately there are no plans to help. The 1900 OS map certainly shows extensive buildings rearwards, but the scale too small for precise comparison with today.

Nearer the rear of the house are the well and a soft-water cistern.

A rear extension, probably not much later than the main house, has been identified as a workshop. It has thicker and more closely spaced than normal ceiling rafters to support machinery upstairs. The first floor window has been shortened from a wide 'framework knitter's type window, although there is no present indication of the trade that would have been carried on. The join in the brickwork can be clearly seen on the east wall, and the extension has its own roof.

The cellar is substantial, containing three brick vaulted rooms linked together with shafts to the surface at the rear and windows below ground level to Long Acre. The garden also contains the substantial remains of a WW2 communal air raid shelter, with a number of separate rooms for different families.

The front adjoins the street directly. A photograph from 1900 in Bingham library shows a narrow pavement outside number 4 and no handrails to the steps as there are today. There is a boot scraper by the front door at street level. The photograph shows a wider pavement and a garden wall outside the position of Carnarvon House but the breadth of view does not include the position of the house so one cannot tell if it is there yet! Carnarvon House was built in 1901.

The stone wheel defender near the carriageway between Nos 4 and 2 seems to be placed in an unusual position, against the corner of the front wall rather than the side wall. It would not have offered much protection from cartwheel hubs here! There is internal evidence to show the west front window was larger and local knowledge has it that this side of the house was a shop at one time.


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