East Cottage, 31 Long Acre East


The various sale and mortgage deeds in the papers for 31 Long Acre East recall a number of well known Bingham family names we have met in other research. East Cottage is on a small part of what was a five acre enclosure (probably of pasture) called Parr’s Close. This was owned for the early part of the nineteenth century by a family of cottagers and graziers called Chettle. In 1837 it was split into various plots and sold. The plot which became East Cottage was sold to George Shepherd. The Swanwick farming family bought the plot to the west, which was eventually sold to a bricklayer who built Oak Villa in 1910.

East Cottage was built in 1880 by or on behalf of John Bales (or more probably Bates) a police constable. However the date stone for 1880, on the east gable wall, carries the letters JW. Bates sold the cottage in 1881 and it was let to various tenants over the next few years including William Goodacre, a landscape artist who had spent three years in America teaching, painting and exhibiting. He had returned to Britain in 1826 and was proprietor of a boarding school in Nottingham until retiring in 1881 to East Cottage. His widow ran a school at the cottage for a couple of years around 1885.

It was purchased in 1887 by a wealthy lace designer who was living here in 1891 in retirement (aged 59) with his unmarried daughters and eventually left his various properties, investments and insurances to his extended family under complex trust arrangements. One of his granddaughters was a masseuse in London in the 1930s!

The later ownership of the house has been more straightforward.

Review of Deed Documents, Trade Directory and Census Information

East Cottage and Oak Villa, next door, are built on parts of a piece of land known then as Parr’s Close.

Chettle’s son, known as William Chettle Senior, a farmer of Bingham, had inherited the close at some point and on 2nd January 1837 (the first deed document available) sold part of the close to George Shepherd, yeoman of Bingham. The price was £126 and the piece was described as:

All that piece or parcel of land lying and being in Bingham containing by recent admeasurement two roods and two perches (about half an acre) bounded on the south by the town street called Long Acre, on the east by a lane called Coggles Lane and on the north and west by other parts of the said close lately purchased by William Johnson and William Sills respectively of the said William Chettle

The agreement of 1837 prevented any (future) wife of George Shepherd claiming dower out of the premises thus ensuring the property would pass to any heirs of George Shepherd, by whichever wife he might have in the future! This was not an uncommon device in other documents we have seen – presumably designed to stop a widow taking the late husband’s property into a new alliance and cutting out any children.

A George Shepherd is recorded in directories of 1853 and again 1864 as a cottager in Moor Lane. He is in the 1841 census (but as Sheppards) as a 35 year old cottager on the west side of Moor Lane. However he had a wife, Elizabeth and five children one of whom was aged 9 which would mean this George was married at the time of the sale in 1837! A slight complication to the story but the censuses of 1841 and 1851 contain no other George Shepherds! It is probably a legal catch-all phrase to include present or future wives.

On the same date, 2nd January 1837, George Shepherd borrowed £130 from William Pacey, Farmer of Bingham and and John Pacey, farmer of Barnstone, using the property as security. Interest was 4.5% pa. William Pacey occupied the farmhouse now known as Beauvale House, at that time part of the Earl of Chesterfield’s Shelford Estate – see Cromwell House. The land is described as previously occupied by Chettle (so he had used it as part of his farming activities) but now by Shepherd.

On the reverse of the mortgage document a receipt for the money was witnessed by John Horsepoole and William Sills. Sills had bought the plot next door (now no. 29). John Horsepool is listed in 1832 as a farmer of Long Acre; he also had a butcher’s in the Market Place. James Horsepool had a butcher’s shop and lived at No 19 Church Street around the same time. His son John Horsepool lived at 19 Church Street in the 1840s and may be the same John who witnessed the receipt. Unfortunately, as John inherited 19 Church Street from his father and passed it onto his widow, we have no signature from those deeds to compare.

The mortgage asset passed through various Paceys until William’s grandson John Pacey died, at which point all his assets were sold and the loan called in by his executors. They sold the property for £233 on 12 July 1880 to John Bales of Bingham, police constable. The mortgage was still outstanding so the principal (£130) was repaid and George Shepherd, described as cottager of Bingham, received the balance (£103). He signed with his mark.

The property was now described as

Two roods and two perches, Long Acre to south, Coggles Lane to East and hereditaments late of William Johnson and William Sills but now of (no names entered)
And also that messuage or dwelling house with the outbuildings belonging thereto recently erected by said John Bales upon the said piece of land or upon some part thereof.

Thus John Bales may have leased the land to build a house before completing the purchase of the land – a not uncommon practice. There would probably have been either by an agreement to lease in the future (see 9 Newgate Street) or a full blown lease (see 12 Church Steet) but neither is now present in the bundle of deeds. This is the first mention of a house in connection with the property. The east gable wall of East Cottage carries a builder’s stone dated 1880 with the initials JW.

Two possibilities arise to explain the initials JW where one would have expected JB as the owner. A John Wall is recorded in the 1879 directory as a cottager of Long Acre and the building of the house has in the past been attributed to him. But he was already a cottager in Long Acre in 1871, well before the date of the house. Why would he have needed to move house? A more plausible explanation might be that the initials are of a speculative builder who put his own initials up, possibly before finding a purchaser. If so it could have been John Wood, described in the 1881 census as a 49 year old builder employing one man and living in East Street. Bales would not, in this case, have leased the land prior to building and the deed may not quite mean what it says.

The next day, 13 July 1880, Bales took out a mortgage with Miss Helen (Ellen in the deeds corrected to Helen) Huckerby, spinster of Bingham, who lent him £300 @4.5% with the usual repossession arrangements. In the 1881 census Ellen Huckerby was aged 65, described as an annuitant (so she had money) and was a lodger with the baker Frederick Hemstock of Market Place (possibly 11a which has an old bakery in the cellar). She and her sister Elizabeth had run a grocery shop in the Market Place. Their brother was William Huckerby the younger who owned Cromwell House and was a lawyer, superintendent registrar and secretary of the Gas Company. She loaned Bales a further £35 on 29 July 1880.

Bales stayed less than a year before selling the property on 24 June 1881 to Henry Edward Hunt, gentleman (he was a solicitor) of Nottingham for £460, out of which Hunt retained the amounts owing (£300, together with £6-13-10d interest thereon from 30/1/1881) to pay off the mortgage. Bales got the residue of £124-6-2. It would seem Bales was falling behind in his repayments.

There is no record of John Bales in the census of 1881 but we have traced a policeman called Bates in that census; either Bates or Bales may be a mispelling. He lived in Market Street:

John Bates 30 Occ: Police Constable
Amy M. Bates Wife 25

Hunt must have bought the house as an investment property as it is ‘now (i.e. before the sale) in the occupation of William Goodacre’. In the 1881 census William Goodacre is listed as a retired Landscape Artist, aged 77, living in Long Acre. If Goodacre was already the occupant, it would explain why Bates was living in Market Street at the time of the census, a few months earlier than the sale date.

Hunt was fairly slow repaying the mortgage, which on 23 March 1882 Hellen Huckerby transferred the mortgage to Arthur Williams, of Nottingham, gentleman. The documents were endorsed 6 October 1882 by Williams to say he had received £45-3-2 from Hunt on account. A further payment of £250-0-0 was received on 19 January 1883 and the mortgage finally paid off on 28 December 1880.

These documents identify William Marson (?) and (no forename) Swanwick as owners of properties to the North and West respectively.

Six years later, on 31 January 1887 Henry Hunt sold the property for £350 to Charles Harvey Bolton, lace designer, of Radcliffe on Trent. The property was described as being previously in the occupation of Bales, thereafter William Goodacre then Elizabeth Goodacre and late of Samuel Hall.

The property description in the 1887 documents is unchanged, including the area of two roods and two perches, and the present Cogley lane is still referred to as Coggles Lane. The owner of the land to the west is now identified as Samuel Swanwick.

On 7 February 1891 Bolton took out a Mortgage with the Nottingham Permanent Benefit Building Society (incorporated under Building Societies Act 1874) for £100. He is recorded as living here in the 1891 census as a 59 year old retiree living on his own means with his two unmarried daughters. He repaid the mortgage on 15 November 1893. The mortgage document notes that Bolton now occupied the cottage.

Bolton died on 4 March 1898 in residence at East Cottage. He left the house to his three unmarried daughter(s) for as long as they remained unmarried, which they all did. Had they all married the rents were to go to his married daughter Kate Emma Sims, so she never received any! He also made various arrangements to come into effect after her death for the other daughters (two of whom survived her) and for the surviving children of his son Charles Alfred. These latter became Helen Maud Tildsley and Annie Christine Dufty.

Helen Maud Tildesley was ‘otherwise and professionally known as Helen Maud Bolton of 25 Litchfield Street London WC6, masseuse’, which conjures up all sorts of visions!

In 1908 East Cottage was tenanted by a Miss A Yates, described in the directory as a market gardener.

The sisters borrowed £350 at 6.5% interest from Frederick George Ainsworth Wyatt, 8 Villa Road, Nottingham, professor of music. In 1936 the property was assigned to W R Greenland. At this time East Cottage was in the occupation of a Mrs Wright. Bolton’s grandchildren Helen Maud died in 1939 and Annie Christina in 1940. The trustees of the Bolton estate conveyed (sold) the property to Greenland in May 1940. He died in 1941 and in 1942 his widow sold East Cottage for £500 to Mrs Joan Murden, wife of John Francis Murden of The Cottage, Clifton, Company Director

In 1942 the documents note that the northerly portion was occupied formerly by William Johnson but now by an unnamed entity. The land on the westerly side (next door number 29) formerly owned by Joseph Swanwick was now occupied by C H Thompson whose father had built Number 29 in 1910. At some point the northern plot came into the ownership of the Shelford Estate, now owned by the Crown Estate – vide the crown tied-houses built here now. This may have happened in 1942 or possibly 1880 (lack of names of adjacent occupiers). The Earl of Carnarvon may have added to his existing holding to the west of Parr’s Close.

Later, Mrs Murden sold to John Hopkinson but there are no papers recording the date of this. His father and then he owned a butcher’s shop in the Market Place, now part of the Handicentre and he used to rent Crow Close to run his own cattle, much as past generations of butchers such as John Horsepool had done in the 1850s. Hopkinson sold to the Summers in 1993 and they sold to the present owners in 2003.

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