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Rempstone Parish Council

Village History

REMPSTONE (Extracts from the booklet "Rempstone 2000, A pictorial history." by Peter Twombley).

Almost a thousand years ago our village name was recorded in a number of different ways, Rampestune, Repestone, Rempleston and many others, and much conjecture has been put forward as to its true origins by scholarly historians.

The Oxford dictionary of place names considers the name derives from Hrempis tun. In old english Tun refers simply to a dwelling place. The Remps or Hrempis part is translated to mean 'the place of the wrinkled one', perhaps referring to a character or possibly the contour of our village. The truth is somewhat shrouded in the mists of time on this matter.


Dwellings in the village 

Some of the 17th century dwellings are the Manor House. Top Farm, The Cottage and The Thatch.

The Cottage is a mid 17th century timber framed buildings of Cruck construction with red brick infill which has been rendered externally. It has a typical thatched roof which may have been popular with many of the early village properties, but sadly have disappeared due to neglect and change.

Two cottages which once stood on the main road are an example of the small thatched cottage type which were once more prevalent. Thankfully we still have a fine example of this early 17th century building style in The Thatch which stands prominently on the Main Street. The early photographs show it was a typical red brick building with thatch roof with internal timber frame tie beams and rafters.

In this tradition of building the village once boasted a very fine timber barn at The Grange which dated form 1604. It was a unique timber structure, consisting of four bays and walls were of cobblestone and plaster supported between timber frame. Unfortunately the barn was dismantled in the 1950's prior to the passion for conservation, and county listing of property. It had been fortunate not to have been consumed in a fire that raged in the village in 1638.

Like many villages in the past, Rempstone had an old manor house which stood near the present Rempstone Hall, but like St Peter's in the Rushes has long ago disappeared. The present Manor House, situated in the heart of the village reveals evidence of the existence of a fortified farmstead in the grounds, and apparently many of the stones were used as base supports for cottages in the village. The remains of the old wall of this farmstead stands defiantly along the side of the main street opposite the Manor.

The Manor House is a late 17th Century construction of red brick and ashlar corner stones (quoins) and stands on a rubble and ashlar plinth. Over the past twenty years many changes have taken place, in and around the Manor and new additions have been sympathetically applied. The building and many others were once part of the Rempstone Estate which was sold by the direction of Sir Charles Welby in 1918 - a document which makes interesting reading.

The house stands on the site of an earlier building whose medieval fish ponds are still visible.

A former owner of the Manor House, a Me Dickens was one of the last brick makers in the village. Nearly every Parish in the East Midlands had some land suitable for brickmaking. Rempstone brickworks (earliest known recorded date 1730) were situated in the field below Sutcliffe Hill on the main road, but there is no longer any evidence of the railway, kilns or even the clay pit. Much of the local brick was used in the construction of houses along the main street and at times initials and dates were cut into the clay brick before firing. Such an example can be found at Sutcliffe Barn.

Opposite the Manor House the only public house stands in the heart of the village. The White Lion which dates back to the 13th Century, and was surely a stopping point for many a coach and four in earlier times. On the main road stands the old Ship Inn, originally a farm and then a public house, which was for many years derelict, but in recent years has gone through many developments.

The village possesses a number of large Georgian farmhouses which are generally very will maintained. Top Farm, a lofty brick building dating back to 1650 had been carefully restored over the years. It is characterised by a fine brick string course continuous with arched pediments over the windows - a pseudo classical touch of the county builder. This is now a Grade II listed property. It has been held that this was the first brick house to be built in Nottinghamshire.

A little more modern and very much in character with Top Farm is Elms Farm, this was built in the early part of the 18th Century and stands at the entrance to a new estate of executive homes. The farm has a fine character in red brick with slate roof and two gable end red brick chimneys stacks.

Like all architecture over a period of time, changes in fashion and design effect the visual presentation of buildings. Hrempis Farm is a Grade 2 listed early eighteenth Century structure in red brick originally called Ivy Villa Farmhouse. This is a tall farm building with elegant proportioned windows and interesting red and blue brick banding above ground and first floor windows. Later 18th Century additions have been made to the rear.

Grange Farm possesses some of the oldest building work dating from the 17th Century hidden away at the rear and the building was added to in the 18th Century and heightened in the 19th. The front now presents a rendered and white washed brick, as opposed to the rear where irregular courses of rough stone and brick corners and gavel combine. It was at this farm that an aisled barn stood, said to have been the last barn of its type in Nottinghamshire.

The most distinguished of Nottinghamshire Historians, Doctor Thoroton writing in 1790 described Rempstone as a unique village of 45 dwellings, standing upon the Great North Road between Loughborough and Nottingham. He states "It had two good hunting seats", one being a house which has long since vanished from the Welfare Field, behind Fox Yard. Looking at Fox Yard which is dated 1741 in a roundel and probably once house a clock, these buildings were in reality the Gatehouse to a former great house, the last part of which was demolished in 1935. All that remains of this building today is the enclosure wall which presents its own history to the discerning eye.

The other seat Thoroton refers to is the house at the rear of the present church known as Clifton Lodge, a late 18th Century, two and a half story brick building which has now been rendered. Like many of the older buildings in Rempstone this house was set on a plinth. This house keeps its own unique independence behind mature trees, opposite the new residential development. These modern homes incorporate architectural features which echo past styles of building, canopies for example, and is an aesthetic addition to a village site which once house a chicken farm and old corrugated barn.

Mention must be made to the Rectory which has served the community for many years as home for a succession of churchmen and their families and latterly as a private house. The Rectory covers many periods from the early 1600's and has housed many an interesting visitor in its time, including Florence Nightingale and a young Oliver Cromwell. Most of what we see today, in architectural terms is late 18th Century with early and later 19th Century additions. It is a brick and timber structure with white rendered elevations under a tiled roof and the garden front is a beautifully proportioned arrangement of a bowed bay on two stories with sash windows, balanced by a projecting timber framed gable on the opposite end.

Although it is a closely knit village there are individual properties which stand independently, such a one is Rempstone Hall. This property had been home to a number of distinguished personages and is presently a Benedictine Convent. Very recently the building has undergone some alterations and the white wash has been removed to several the red brick underneath. The original building is from the late 18th Century but additions have been made in the 19th Century such as the second storey to the projecting wings. The loggia with its pairs of Ionic Columns in five bays gives the building a noble grandeur and emphasises the horizontal.


Other features

Interestingly, mains water was not installed in the village until 1948 so until that time houses in the village relied on hand pumps connected to a well. 'Robinscroft' still has the pump in situ although much modernised, compared to the one which stood behind what was the village post office.

The village had two community pumps, both now demolished, one stood up Wysall Lane and the other at the bottom of School Lane against the wall of the Old Forge.


All Saints Church, Rempstone

The site of the old Parish church of All Saint's, also called St Peter in the Rushes, is in the fields three quarters of a mile N.W. of the present church and makes a pleasant walk over a clearly defined line from the corner of the church car park. St Peter's was built near an existing Manor house and a settlement grew up around it. The area was, as the name implies, marshy and the people who lived there gradually discarded it and moved to more solid terrain this side of the established route from Nottingham to Loughborough, which had been turnpiked in 1737.

The Act was necessary to allow money to be raided to repair the road, to be recouped by Tolls, taken at Cotes Bridge and Trent Bridge. The old houses fell or were pulled down and by the middle of the 18th century St. Peter's stood isolated. It was a stone built church with a chancel, nave, and side aisles and it possessed a tower with three bells.

In the 1730's it was kept in good repair and the inside was regularly whitewashed. However by the 1770's it had deteriorated into a ruinous state and a new site was granted for the establishment of the present church. The tower of the new church bears the date 1771 on an inside stone, about half way up the spiral staircase, perhaps marking the point the masons had reached by this date. The church however was not consecrated until October 1773 by the then Archbishop of York, who came by coach and six from Nottingham.

The remains of the old church have long since disappeared. But much of the stone was reused in the new building and other fragments appear in houses such as Hrempis Farm and Grange Farm, the latter housing some of the original 18th century oak panelling with carved detail. The original bowl of the font from St Peter's is still being used in the present church. All that remain at St Peter's are some slate gravestones with fine copperplate lettering and two railed tombs with detailed inscriptions.

The area of our landscape still holds many snippets of Rempstone heritage. Swithland slate from the old churchyard is to be seen affixed to the front of the present Church  and is to the memory of  George Goodman (died 1695) and his wife (1749). This was originally found in the grounds of Silver Birches on Main Street covering a water cistern.