Historic Mansfield Woodhouse

Some interesting local sights

By Ralph Lloyd-Jones

The historic centre of Mansfield Woodhouse contains a superb concentration of vernacular architecture, every building 'having a story to tell'. Some, but by no means all, are shown in these photographs (mostly taken in early 2011). Because quarrying was a local industry, even quite ordinary houses were well-made out of stone and have survived down the centuries. The most important secular building is the Wolf Hunt House, so named because it was the home of the King's officially-appointed wolf hunter for Sherwood Forest. As wolves have been extinct in the area since the 15th Century, parts of the much altered house must predate that time; this is extremely early and rare in non-religious architecture in England.

Most of the buildings facing onto the High Street originally had long yards (some of which are visible to this day) that would have been used to corral livestock on market days. Many wide gateways and entrances to these yards can still be spotted. Several large 16th/17th Century houses (such as Clerkson's, Burnaby, the Manor House, etc.) are said to have been built for their convenient proximity to the Dukeries. Many have survived, now converted to other uses. It is good to note that some fine buildings, such as the Adult Education Centre and Christadelphian chapel, have retained their original purpose after at least a century of use.

The 1684 monument to Sir John and Lady Digby in St Edmund's church is described by Nikolaus Pevsner, the architectural historian, as 'atrociously provincial'. It seems unlikely that Mr Pevsner could himself have done as good a job at carving. That tomb is, in truth, significant as a memorial to a real Cavalier from the English Civil War, one of the few local gentlemen who went to fight for King Charles when he first set up his banner in Nottingham in August 1642. Sir John's statue has long since lost its sword, but Lady Digby retains what is said to be 'a pat of butter with which to grease the palm of St Peter' (to get into heaven). 

As mentioned, here are just a few of the interesting and historic sights which can be spotted on any short walk round the centre of Mansfield Woodhouse.

Photo:Dial House

Dial House

Station Street

Photo:The Dial

The Dial

Possibly an hour out due to daylight saving, but still working

Photo:The New Inn

The New Inn

Station Street

Photo:Old stamp machines on the Post Office

Old stamp machines on the Post Office

1d, a halfpenny...

Photo:House in yard behind Post Office

House in yard behind Post Office

Photo:1930s Tinplate advertisement filling window on that house

1930s Tinplate advertisement filling window on that house

Avon Tyres began in 1885 and are still going strong



Station Street

Photo:Framework knitters' house, said to be the oldest in the country

Framework knitters' house, said to be the oldest in the country

Note long windows, top left

Photo:Old windows

Old windows

Late 17th/early 18th Century windows in Station Street

Photo:Portland Hotel and Parliament Oak Inn

Portland Hotel and Parliament Oak Inn

Now a bookies and a pharmacy

Photo:Clerkson's Hall (1631)

Clerkson's Hall (1631)

Now divided into flats and offices

Photo:The Wolf Hunt House

The Wolf Hunt House

Oldest secular building

Photo:Back of Wolf Hunt House

Back of Wolf Hunt House

15th/16th Century doorway/small window

Photo:Ancient window on side of the Wolf Hunt House

Ancient window on side of the Wolf Hunt House

The white upstairs window is 16th Century or earlier

Photo:Village lockup

Village lockup

High Street

Photo:Old Blacksmith's

Old Blacksmith's

This was the smithy within living memory

Photo:Smithy bellows

Smithy bellows

The blacksmith's bellows can still be seen under the rubbish

Photo:Winstanley's House, 16th/early 17th Century

Winstanley's House, 16th/early 17th Century

High Street

Photo:18th Century house

18th Century house

Albert Street

Photo:Parmenter's Yard

Parmenter's Yard

Albert Street

Photo:Entrance to Parmenter's Yard

Entrance to Parmenter's Yard

Photo:Houses in Parmenter's Yard

Houses in Parmenter's Yard

Photo:Christadelphian Chapel

Christadelphian Chapel

Park Road

Photo:Adult Education Centre

Adult Education Centre

Park Road

Photo:Adult Education Centre window and Edwardian sign

Adult Education Centre window and Edwardian sign

Photo:Village cross stump

Village cross stump

Church Street

Photo:Burnaby House

Burnaby House

Now Saville House School, Church Street

Photo:St Edmund's Church

St Edmund's Church

Photo:Sir John and Lady Digby

Sir John and Lady Digby

St Edmund's Church

Photo:Great War memorial

Great War memorial

France, Belgium, Gallipoli, Italy are the four Fronts comemorated

Photo:"Woodhouse Castle"

"Woodhouse Castle"

The Manor House, also divided into flats

This page was added by Ralph Lloyd-Jones on 17/02/2011.
Comments about this page

Does anybody have information about the history of the village lock-up in High Street as in picture above? It does look as though it may now be in private ownership.

By Roy Pledger
On 29/09/2011

The horizontal sliding sash windows shown in the picture of Mossops hairdressesrs in this article are (I think) generally konown as 'Yorkshire-style sash windows'

By Edna Welthorpe
On 03/03/2014

Re. Clerksons Hall - As a young boy in Woodhouse during the Second World War I remember that the Duke's (Duke of Portland) Steward lived here. I remember visiting and being given an apple by the old man whose name was something like 'Guyler' or 'Gowler'. The Duke of Portland would have needed a Steward as I was always given to believe that most of the stone houses and other buildings and farms in the area were originally built and owned by him. The Hall was converted to Coal Board Offices in the early 1950's.

Re. the building described as a Blacksmith's. This was down the Yard besides Billy Place's Butchers Shop towards the lower end of the High Street. The Blacksmith's Name was Watkinson. I remember harvesting, as a teenager, with his son on the Blacksmith's Brother's Farm down New Mill Lane (The Flood Dykes) . We worked with Horses cutting corn with a Reaper and Binder putting it up into Stooks and later collecting with Horse and Wagon before stacking it in the Farmyard.  Rushpool Farm it was called, another Ducal property I believe, now demolished but its remains can be seen close by the Asda Store car park.

Of interest may be the fact that there was another Blacksmiths at the bottom of the High Street on Albert Square. This was Ted Stokeley's and the 101 106 Mansfield District Traction Buses used to wait here after turning round but before returning to Mansfield (two and a half pennies workmens' return when I first started work!). The Sandersons Tripe Curing place was next door at the end of Lee Lane with further on the field (Savages) where the Fair took place, always for the first weekend in July (Woodhouse Feast)

By John White
On 30/08/2016

Hi John White, Are you in your 79th year and went to Yorke St School in 1948? If so we were in the same class, Mrs Simpson's class 1a. My cousin Roy who was also in the class lived in the yard near the Blacksmiths forge. Do you get the Woodhouse Warbler? If not you can access it on line and send articles of your memories to the newsletter. I volunteer in the Heritage Link, Library helping people with Family Research etc. as part of the Old Woodhouse Society.

By Tom Shead
On 14/09/2016

Hi Tom Shead!

A voice from the past though I didn't know you personally! Yes I was in Mrs Simpson's Class at Yorke Street secondary Modern, Mick Clarke whose Dad kept the Greyhound Inn at the bottom of the High St was too. It was a great School under its Headmaster Sammy Goddard - I remember well on the last day before the holidays, after Assembly, he would lift his Rostrum desk lid and pull out what looked very like a real hand grenade. He would then warn us that if we went out in the woods and found anything like it that we should leave it well alone. Woods around Warsop and Edwinstowe still had Nissen Huts full of stored ordnance at that time as you no doubt recall. 

I also well remember the Yorke Street School Poem which the whole assembly had to know and regularly recite! Viteae lampada by Sir henry Newbolt. 'There's a breathlass hush in the Close tonight,ten to make and the last man's in...............his captains hand on his shoulder smote, Play up, Play up and play the game!  No doubt other former pupils will recall it.

I have contributed to the Woodhouse Warbler a couple of times and often think of doing more. I can still recall some of the stories my Grandfather, Bill Pogmore of Portland Street used to tell like how his Mother used to send him to the Brewery up the High Street for a ha'porth of yeast for her breadmaking.

By John White
On 18/10/2016

i also went to Yorke St school but in the early 50s I enjoyed my years there.  My grandparents also lived in Woodhouse on of the houses with double bay windows also built of the same stone. Their names were Derbyshire & my father  & his brothers were all coal miners,if anyone can give me any history of the family I would appreciate it .  Joan Gutzmann 

By Joan Gutzmann
On 03/04/2017

I was also student at Yorke St. Sec. Mod. between 1968-71. Little did I realise that school was on its last legs at the time. Lived in a pit house on Sherwood St. Fond Memories of the old school. Not much opportunity upon leaving school, Landers bread or the Pit. We left for Canada.

By Paul Anderson
On 20/06/2018

I lived in Parmenters yard in the house with for sale sign in picture with my mum, left around 1959 to live on Collier avenue, some happy memories in that house

By Elaine england
On 25/06/2018

I remember well most of the old shops on the High Street, Bett's, where one could purchase so many things with ease. Not so now. The old Army stores, which fuelled many an adventurous trip down Pleasley Vale or Park Hall. I went to York Street school, which back then had so much in common with Tom Brown's schooldays, those dark passage and parquet floors, desks with lift up lids, and the old drama room upstairs which everyone claimed was haunted by a caretaker who had either hung or gassed himself. Never any proof though. The chippy on he middle of Sherwood St, PH fish bar I think it was called. I can taste those chips now after all these years. I remember being taken for shoes to the old Stone house on Albert street just before the Daisy Chain shop, which was a shoe shop back then. Bike parts from Stubb's and Fletchers, and telling the time from Angus Brown's shop clock on Station Street at midday. The bright array of lights in Colin Ashley's on a dark winters day coming past on the bus. The Parliament Oak pub, nicest pint in Woodhouse, enjoyed with my late father on the cross stump over the road. Playing in the garden of rest and calling into Woodhouse library from school to do my homework. Woodhouse carnival on the Lord's ground and the Legion Easter bonnet parade holiday Monday. Folks being in full time work, old people on their gates eager to chat, some lovely old people back then. I would not have been brought up anywhere else if I had a choice. Old Woodhus will do for me.

By John
On 19/09/2018

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