Annesley, Felley, Hucknall Torkard, Papplewick and Blidworth

A large part of Annesley Hall dates from the late 17th century, but 18th and 19th century work is prominent. An arcade post of a medieval aisled hall was found in the hall wall during restoration work in the mid-1980s. (A. Nicholson, 1985).

Looking across from Newstead is the thriving village of Annesley, with its Hall embowered in trees.

‘Hills of Annesley, bleak and barren.’

For so Lord Byron apostrophized the locality when he bade farewell to Mary Chaworth, the love of his heart. In the days of the Plantagenets the estate was held by the De Annesleys, and through marriage it subsequently passed into the hands of Lord Chaworth, a peer of Ireland. By another marriage, that of beautiful Mary Chaworth to’ Mr. John Musters, it came to be the property of the latter gentleman, who took the historic name of Chaworth. A Sir John Musters was knighted in 1663, and among the possessions of the family were also the Colwick estate and Wiverton Hall, both of which have been described in previous pages.

Annesley Hall is beautifully situated, with broad acres, richly timbered, stretching far and wide around it. It is elegantly furnished, and contains many trophies calling to memory the great men who have made it their home. Portraits of the Byrons, the Chaworths, and the Musters adorn the walls, and the whole demesne bears abundant testimony to the admirable taste which, in addition to its natural beauties, has made Annesley Hall one of the most delightful mansions in the county.

At Felley, a village hard by, once stood an Augustinian priory, dedicated to the Virgin Mary; but little of it now remains.

St Mary Magdalen church, Hucknall
St Mary Magdalen church, Hucknall, was considerably enlarged in the late 19th century. The lower stage of the tower are late Norman.

In the same vicinity is Hucknall Torkard, a populous parish, about three miles from Newstead. The remains of Lord Byron were interred in the family vault at Hucknall, in 1824, and notwithstanding the uninviting appearance of the village, with its grimy mining operations, incessantly pouring out volumes of smoke and dust, many visitors make pilgrimages to the last resting-place of one of the most brilliant of England’s poets.

Papplewick Hall has somewhat of a political history. The Right Hon. Frederick Montagu, some time a Lord of the Treasury, built it in 1787; but for thirty years it has been the residence of Mr. H. F. Walter, J.P., to whose family the nation is indebted for the establishment and development of that powerful and unrivalled organ of public opinion—the Times newspaper. For eighteen years Nottingham was represented in Parliament by a Walter— first by Mr. John Walter, and afterwards by his son—and the political history of the borough is inseparably bound up with the stirring contests in which they were honourably engaged.

Another pleasantly-situated village is Blidworth, on the confines of Sherwood Forest, a delightful sylvan locality, with lovely woodland scenery in every direction. All its historical reminiscences have been carefully and lovingly collected by the Vicar, the Rev. R. H. Whitworth, whose valuable contributions to county history (often anonymous) are always welcome.