Time for Action!

The following is an appeal from Collingham and District Local History Society [CDLHS] in support of the preservation of the Roman villa site and remains which lie just across the A46, opposite the Station/Potter Hill Road junction at Villa Farm, Folly Lane, Norton Disney. Lincoln Proteins has resubmitted an application to build a large industrial-scale animal waste by-products facility in the midst of this historical environment. We ask you to submit an objection to the resubmission to Lincolnshire County Council by 23rd April 2021.

What are we talking about?

You may already know something of the Roman villa site on Folly Lane and the recent discoveries which reveal that this was an active industrial area in the Iron Age. Along with the Norton Disney History and Archaeology Group [NDHAG] and their lead Richard Parker (who has done most of the work on this) CDLHS will be objecting to the loss of the unique heritage aspects of this site and we encourage you to do the sam

The more objections received the greater the likelihood of stopping this unfortunate development.

For more information on the application go to
and enter PL/0012/21 in the ‘Application Number’ box. On the page that opens click on the blue PL/0012/21 which will open the page from which you can view the current
documents. If you go through the same process but enter PL/0036/18 you will see the previous application and objections. However, Lincoln Proteins would not have re-applied with so few changes unless they were confident of success. So, your pen and your words matter!

The villa site and its surrounds.

The villa site was discovered and excavated in the 1930s, the cost of which was borne largely by local subscription and support from Nottinghamshire’s Thoroton Society, The Duke of Portland and Newark Corporation. A number of the finds are in the care of the National Civil War Centre and the Newark Museum.

The villa stood in a prominent position above the Fosse Way looking towards the Roman towns of Brough and Newark with views across the Trent and Witham valleys. This prominent positioning is viewed as a sign of status. It is thought that the villa was the centre of an agricultural estate. The name Potter Hill comes from the large amount of pottery waste found thereabouts. This is probably the result of local production of low-grade pottery that was used for storage and to carry manure to be spread on the land. Placing a ruler on a map along North Scaffold Lane shows an almost perfect alignment between the villa, the lane, and the river crossing at Cromwell Lock. Therefore, the villa was placed in a dominant position in relation to this crossing point as well as the Fosse, both of which probably had pre-Roman origins.

Iron Age finds and the orientation of the villa led to suggestions that it belonged to a Romanised Celtic Briton and was built on an established site. Recent work by Richard Parker and NDHAG has revealed that a large area around this site was used for pre-Roman iron smelting which supports this theory. Furthermore, despite limited access, surveys suggest that there are further remains to be found in the area.

One result of Richard Parker’s work has been that designation by Historic England has been extended from just the excavated area to the whole of the field in which the villa was found. However, a comprehensive survey of the wider landscape has not yet been possible. The villa is situated between Hill Holt Wood and the proposed industrial site.

The Proposal

The proposal involves building on some 11.4 hectares (28 acres) for this industrial site, which will operate on a 24 hour basis and include a 10m x 30 m x 10m high building with chimney, two boiler houses, two 20m x 15m filtration beds each with an 8m high domed roof. There will also be a water treatment plant, two employee welfare buildings, stores and administration buildings, plus two large water lagoons with controlled discharge into local water courses and a clean water lagoon. There will also be temporary parking and a petrol station for 40 lorries to facilitate continuous 24-hour operation. At least 75 lorry arrivals and 75 departures per day were envisaged in the 2020 application. The plant will be floodlit

Some of the grounds for objection

You may wish to object as a group, such as a household, but individual applications carry more weight. Do not just copy the objections of others word for word but write your objections in your own words and present them in your own way. You may object on grounds of odour, traffic flows, visual amenity etc, but these objections will carry little weight as they will apply wherever the plant is built. We need to object on grounds which highlight that this location is unique.

Historical and archaeological context is important and should be emphasised in your objection. The proposed development will significantly destroy the context of the villa, for example, its position over the route to Lincoln from Newark and the Trent, and also its dominance over the Iron Age tribal and Roman villa lands.

The villa is an integral part of an Iron Age and a subsequent Roman landscape that we are only just beginning to discover and unravel. This includes Iron Age finds within the proposed site and in the area immediately surrounding the villa site, also the Iron Age Hill Fort at Brills Farm, examples of which are rare in Lincolnshire. The proposed development will also stand between the villa and Brough (Crococalana) which exhibits significant and continuous Iron Age, Roman, and Saxon occupation and activity.

The presence of Iron Age remains such as at Gallows Nook Common and Brills Farm were well known. It is believed that the villa site dates back to The Iron Age, but recent work has shown that there is much more to be seen and to be found here. Consequently English Heritage has extended its designation of the area to include the whole of the field surrounding the villa. Also, a possible Iron Age settlement has been found that would be destroyed should the application be approved. Who knows what more would be destroyed by this development, which is only 10 metres away from the designated Scheduled Monument. The development lies in a direct line between the villa and the Roman road of North Scaffold Lane and the Cromwell crossing on the Trent.

This greenfield site is unique in the region, whereas local brownfield sites that could potentially accommodate this facility exist that were not listed in the 2020 application as having been considered.

The proposed development would significantly undermine and detract from the iconic, Bomber Gateway Sculpture which has attracted interest and financial support locally and regionally. When completed this sculpture will be larger than the The Angel of the North and in the present landscape will prove to be (or not if this development goes ahead) a significant tourist and image asset to the City and County of Lincolnshire. The floodlit proposed development will significantly detract from this and will prevent any potential development of this landscape as a heritage and tourist asset spanning the Iron Age to the Second World War.

Objections are also being submitted on nature conservation grounds.

How to object

Write to or email Marc Willis. Planning Services. Lincolnshire County Council. Lancaster House. 36 Orchard Street. Lincoln. LN1 1XX.

Quote reference PL/0012/21 & Villa Farm, Folly Lane. Norton Disney.

Do not forget to include your name and address on all objections.

The more individual objections based on the unique character of this locality the better. The deadline is 23rd April 2021.

Tell the County Council what you think!

For Further Information
CDLHS Facebook Channel

There are two articles on the Villa in Irregular 5 (November 2020). The Irregular is the journal of CDLHS and is on sale at Society events and at Gascoignes (the Post Office) in Collingham or from the Society for £5

Visit the following web pages


Contact CDLHS or Richard Parker of NDHAG through the contact page on our website.

Write to CDLHS at Collingham Archives. 11, Swinderby Road. Collingham. Newark. NG23 7PH

Jenny Sissons (Page) 1946 -2021

An Obituary for our Friend and Colleague who died on 8th March 2021

Jenny was born in Papplewick in November 1946 and attended the County High School in Arnold. In 1967 she married Michael Page and moved to Grimsby where Michael was a serving Police Officer. After the break-up of her marriage in 1997 she returned to Nottingham and settled in Brinsley where she met the love of her life, Susan, at an action group meeting in 1997. Jenny worked for The Inland Revenue for 23 years and travelled extensively for her work before retiring early due to ill health. 

Jenny was very active in her local community. As Chair of Brinsley village action group she led campaigns against building on greenbelt land and worked to protect heritage, wildlife, flora and fauna. She was also a parish councillor for Brinsley and in 2019 she stood as an Independent candidate in the Broxtowe borough local elections. In later years as a member of a writing group she became a published author for her memoirs and poetry, and she was very active in the LGBT movement. She came out in 2014.

Jenny was a former student of the University of Nottingham where she gained a Masters degree in Local and Regional History. She taught family history to community groups and gave local history talks.  She was an expert on Grimsby fishermen and the village of Papplewick, and she also undertook research into Nottinghamshire’s mediaeval monastic sites for which she received a grant from The Thoroton Society’s Geoffrey Bond scheme.  

Jenny had a deep-rooted love of local history and was a founder member and committee member of The Friends of Nottinghamshire Archives, as well as being a long-standing member, active supporter and trustee of Nottinghamshire Local History Association [NLHA].

She was concerned that we should all try to create opportunities for young people to get involved in local history through clubs, societies and education. Jenny liaised with The Samworth Academy in Mansfield to organise various events, one of which was an NLHA Local History Day School where she gave a talk on family history and other colleagues presented sessions on apprenticeships, oral history and archaeology. Her organisation and enthusiasm were key to a day that was a great success. Jenny was also a wonderful supporter of the NLHA Youth Heritage Conferences.

Colleagues recall meeting Jenny in 2005 at a landscape archaeology training week at Laxton Castle where she took pity on poor frozen students and allowed them to warm up in her campervan where she provided endless hot drinks. She was so enthusiastic about being on the course and helped to keep up everyone’s spirits despite the long days and foul weather. She had a superb sense of humour and was always such a kind soul. Latterly ill health had made it difficult for Jenny to pursue her interest in history, but local history was always close to her heart.

Jenny was a larger-than-life character who was passionate about promoting local history.  She was very supportive of local groups and people where she encouraged them to achieve better things.  She was a great problem solver, very forthright and open, and very caring to her friends and family.  She was a walking encyclopaedia and knowledgeable about everything in life. Jenny had a great sense of humour, was passionate, determined, analytical, generous and demonstrative. She will be greatly missed.

Access to the Digitised Historical Censuses 1861-1911

Richard Rodger, FRHS, FAcSS Professor Emeritus, University of Edinburgh

Name’ and ‘Address’ are critical to tracking people, to linkages with property and legal documents, to understanding household structures, and to spatial analysis in times past, as now. For historians, nominal data linkage is impaired when access to Census data is restricted and this in turn weakens the utility of archival sources more generally where names and addresses are common elements. Social and economic history, family and cultural history, genealogy and local history are undermined as a result. The central theme here is that under present arrangements Scottish historians and the Scottish public are denied access a crucial publicly-funded historical source, and that a ‘pay-as-you go’ approach is inappropriate for access to archival materials. No other European country applies such a policy. Examples based on Edinburgh data illustrate how access to the Census can enhance historical analysis and enrich the productivity of other archival sources linked through names and addresses.

I believe local history societies deserve better access to the historical census ie those of 1861-1911, and of course 1921 in due course. There is a digitised resource, funded by The National Archives out of taxation, that has been limited in its utility by the paywall which is operated by Ancestry and others.

I have written an article explaining why this arrangement impairs local historical studies, and why it should be amended. The location of the data I have used to illustrate this argument has little to do with your area, but the principle is the same: making the public pay twice to see public records is no longer acceptable.

Here is the link to the paper.

Civil War Petitions

Civil War Petitions supports the project ‘Conflict, Welfare and Memory during and after the English Civil Wars, 1642–1710’ funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. The project began in June 2017 and will run until June 2021.

A Message from Ruth Imeson – NLHA Acting Chair

Dear NLHA member, I hope this email finds you well.

It has been three months since the 2020 NLHA AGM and Mayflower themed day school
were postponed. A lot has happened in the world since then; a lot has happened in
Nottinghamshire. You will be aware that, after over a decade of exceptional work, John Parker made the decision to step down as Chair of the NLHA. I’m sure you will all join with me in extending our thanks to John for his dedication.

At a committee meeting held on 9th July I accepted the committee’s nomination as Acting Chair, pending election by members at the forthcoming virtual AGM. Bob Massey agreed to be nominated as Acting Secretary, with the unsung hero David Anderson continuing as Treasurer.

Following on from Covid-19, lockdown and the rapid increase in online talks and events the committee is proposing that we undertake a review of the aims and work of NLHA. This will ensure that we are delivering the activity and support that you, our members, need and expect.

For those of you who don’t know me I have worked in heritage for over twenty years,
currently working as the “County Archivist” managing Nottinghamshire Archives with
oversight over heritage throughout Inspire’s county library network, plus the modern
records service. I’m also in the 1st year of a part-time PhD at the University of Nottingham researching early modern sermons.

I look forward to sharing more information as soon as I can. Take care of yourself and your loved ones. Stay safe.

Ruth Imeson
NLHA Acting Chair

The Mills Archive

The Mills Archive is a permanent repository for the documentary and photographic records of traditional and contemporary mills and milling, as well as similar structures dependent on traditional power sources. It makes that material freely available for public inspection and use in research and learning. The Mills Archive is one of the world’s great mill collections. It has rescued over 3 million documents and images that might otherwise have ended up in a landfill site. It is an Aladdin’s cave filled with memories and free to users. The collections show the rich and diverse crafts, buildings, machinery, equipment and people involved with mills in the UK and around the world.

Can You Help?

Sugar production is one of a number of industries that exploited slavery and we feel that the experiences and contribution of all people who have been involved in milling, need to be preserved and shared. The same is true of other marginalised groups in many industries. All voices from the past should be heard, if we are to ensure the historical record is complete and properly documented. This is a big issue for heritage generally and for the narratives that society decides to tell.

Here at the Mills Archive Trust, we have a responsibility to address any gaps in our coverage. To date, much of our material focuses on the technology rather than the story of the people involved and we are seeking to address that with your help.
We are looking at any gaps in our information and seeking any opportunities to attract, gather and share a wide range of accounts and perspectives on the history of milling. These narratives are brought to life through the stories of the people involved.
We therefore encourage you to get in touch.

Do you – or someone you know – have information, memories, research, or publications that would contribute to our efforts to document the multi-faceted history of milling?

Do you have suggestions of any organisations we could get in touch with? Areas include the roles and experiences of a range of people – locally and globally – such as slaves, women, children involved in child labour, and the working classes.

Thank you in advance for any assistance or insight you can provide. With your help, we will be able to ensure that the history of milling – with its many stories and lived experiences – will be preserved for current and future generations to learn from and understand. We appreciate your support and contributions.
Kind regards”.

Liz Bartram
The Mills Archive Trust

Nathanael Hodge
The Mills Archive Trust

If you would like to hear from us on your specific interests in mills and milling, register to get email updates here

Nottingham Industrial Museum

Nottingham Industrial Museum, the hidden treasure in the courtyards of Wollaton Hall and Deer Park have not let the Covid 19 Emergency get them down as their dedicated team of Volunteers continue to roll out the accolades.

Earlier in 2020, when travel was still possible, a team from the World History Project travelled to the UK to collect material for a series of videos that form part of the curriculum in approximately 8000 schools this year, mostly in the US but also many other parts of the world.

The films covered a range of large topics – Britain and the First World War, Origins of the Industrial Revolution, the Macartney Expedition to the Qianlong Emperor to name a few. 

To the delight of the Researchers, Presenters and Production Team some of the most significant and affecting of the videos features the story of the life of ‘Nailers’ in Victorian times.  The story adapted and portrayed by NIM volunteer Avi Benn (aka Mrs Mary Ann Bird in her Victorian Kitchen exhibit) has been quoted by Researcher, Professor Trevor Getz from University of San Francisco State as ‘giving an extraordinarily well-designed, pedagogically intentional, and compelling history’.

This was further acknowledged as the Museum were named as Finalists in both the ‘Volunteer of the Year’ and ‘Small Charity – Big Impact’ categories of the East Midlands Charity Awards, on the same day!  A fitting response to their hard work and dedication.

Dr Getz said ‘We will forever remain grateful to the Volunteers at Nottingham Industrial Museum for providing us with such incredible resources and contributions of knowledge for our World History Project.  The dedication and professionalism of the NIM Volunteers shone through and it was indeed a humbling experience to share in their work’.

Toni Thorncraft-Smith, NIM Operations and Fundraising Lead said ‘As our Museum strive to share at all levels and with all people NIM remain both grateful and thankful to The World History Project for this incredible opportunity, for all that they have contributed to the future life of NIM and for helping History come even more alive, creating memories that we will take with us in all walks of our lives.  We look forward to sharing the films when the Museum is able to reopen Post Covid 19.’

Meanwhile, previews of the films can be viewed at and Nottingham Industrial Museum will re-open to the Public 11-4 on weekends, Spring and Summer Bank Holidays, with midweek Group and School Visits welcome, post Covid 19.  

Want to join us?  Volunteering enquiries are always welcome.

Snippets from History vol 7 by Bob Massey

The Story of the Higginbottoms of Arnold

A family of education and architecture, this is the story of the Higginbottom family of
Arnold and their influence set in the context of  the times they inhabited. During the later half of the 19th century and early part of the 20th one half of the family were very influential in education locally and nationally; the other half were architects designing a lot of churches, schools, libraries, shops, public and private buildings including war memorials all over the country.

The book is due for release in June and costs £5.95p.

It will be available from and NG Magazines Arnold , 5 Leaves
Bookshop Nottingham, Floralands Mapperley, The Bookcase Lowdham and MSR
News Arnold.

Heirs and Spares: Succeeding George IV

Richard A Gaunt

George IV spent most of his adult life waiting to be King. So accustomed have we become to this fact, and to the various machinations associated with his part in the Regency Crisis of 1788-89 (memorably immortalised in Alan Bennett’s The Madness of King George), that we have forgotten how vulnerable George’s own legacy was, once he succeeded to the throne in January 1820.

In Georgian Delights, the prominence of this issue was reflected in devoting the whole of the central exhibition case to the succession to the throne. Informally known as the ‘Heirs and Spares’ case, the content sought to chart the circumstances through which three putative heirs to the throne came into their inheritance and, in two cases, lost it.

The threat of a Catholic claimant to the throne had largely been extinguished with the repulse of the Jacobite Rising of 1745. Though there were still living descendants of the House of Stuart, at the time of George’s accession, the ruling Hanoverian dynasty had established itself in political fact and popular acclaim as the ‘legitimate’ ruling family of the United Kingdom. This had been reinforced in 1814, during the Regency, when the country commemorated the centenary of the accession of the House of Hanover. It is not surprising that, after being crowned as King, George spent much of the period 1821-22 progressing through his kingdoms – notably, Scotland, Ireland, and Hanover – as a public display of royalty.

George’s own colourful love life may have resulted in some illegitimate heirs to the throne (though none has been definitively proven), but the only one with a secure claim to succeed him, Princess Charlotte, had already died by the time that her father became King. Charlotte had been the only good outcome of the disastrous marriage between George and Caroline of Brunswick. Charlotte had grown up to be a charitable, intelligent, but stubborn daughter, who held out against her father’s initial opposition to secure her choice of husband. Life at Claremont in Surrey, where she lived with Leopold of Saxe-Coburg, appears to have been idyllic. However, it was shot through with tragedy – the couple underwent multiple miscarriages even before the final tragedy of Charlotte’s death in childbirth. This event, in November 1817, led to widespread national mourning. It coincided with the execution of three men for leading the Pentrich Rebellion of 1817. The poet Shelley, reviving an image of Thomas Paine, complained ‘We pity the plumage but forget the dying bird’. In his view, the country had forgotten the suffering of ordinary people in its headlong rush to mourn a privileged young Princess. Nevertheless, the spate of commemorative ware, prints, and verse, produced in the aftermath of Charlotte’s death, testifies to the lost possibilities of a ‘Charlottean’ age.

Over the course of the next decade, George’s inheritance passed to his next two younger brothers: Frederick, Duke of York, and William, Duke of Clarence. Both had followed the conventional path of younger sons of the monarch, York by serving in the army (he rose to be commander in chief of the army) and Clarence by serving in the navy. Both took mistresses: Clarence conducted a long-term (and loving) relationship with the actress Dorothea Jordan, but the Duke of York consorted with a woman who nearly destroyed his reputation. Mary Anne Clarke was found to be involved in trading commissions in the army. York resigned over the scandal, in 1809, but was later re-instated as commander in chief, when Clarke’s friend, Gwillym Wardle, was discovered to be the principal actor behind the scenes. York recovered his reputation sufficiently to become the leading opponent of Catholic Emancipation in the 1820s. For Ultra-Tories worried at the threat of Catholics becoming MPs, York was the trump card in their opposition to the measure. However, York died in 1827, shortly before the final political crisis which resulted in Catholic Emancipation in 1829, and the succession passed to Clarence.

Clarence had already abandoned Mrs Jordan in less than honourable circumstances; she died in 1816. Following Princess Charlotte’s death, the government offered financial inducements to George’s brothers to contract marriages which would produce legitimate heirs. Clarence found a congenial wife in Princess Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen in 1818. The couple had children together but none of them survived childhood. Clarence was, in some respects, more liberal than both his older brothers. He succeeded to the throne in 1830. Although he was widely known as the ‘Sailor King’, his naval career had not been especially conspicuous, although he had avoided the fate of the ‘Grand Old Duke of York’ by being memorialised in a satirical nursery rhyme. Ruling as King William IV, Clarence went on to preside over a period of political and social reform which presented a sharp contrast with the reign of George IV. Lacking a legitimate heir of his own, the throne passed to his niece, Princess Victoria, when he died in 1837. The future of the monarchy, which had seemed so vulnerable in 1820, now looked far more secure.

Georgian Delights: Life during the reign of George IV (1820–1830)

An exhibition at The Weston Gallery, Lakeside Arts at The University of Nottingham, timed to coincide with the bicentenary of George’s accession, examines his life and reign, highlighting the contrasts between the King and his subjects, through The University of Nottingham’s Manuscripts and Special Collections.

The exhibition has been jointly curated by Dr Richard Gaunt, Associate Professor in History (School of Humanities) and Manuscripts and Special Collections at The University of Nottingham.

Post-lockdown, the Georgian Delights exhibition will re-open for a short period before closing (it had to close 10 days earlier than advertised due to lockdown).

For interviews with Lady Antonia Fraser, Professor Jeanice Brooks, and Dr Nigel Aston please see the video here:

There is also a gallery object-discussion of ‘The Cradle Hymn’ with Jeanice Brooks. Many thanks to Joe Bell for producing these.

Also, please look at the two excellent videos which Paul Bradshaw has produced for his ‘Viral History’ channel, available here:

These are an overview of the exhibition (including Private View) and a piece on Cato Street.