Cottage in Chilwell
Stone built cottage in Chilwell.

The name appears to come from "a cold well," or "the pool containing a spring,"—the flowing well. ("Place Names of Notts.") In Domesday book it is called Cidwelle, Chidewelle, Cillewelle, and Cilwellis. There are in Chilwell a number of springs or places where people go down four or five steps to where pure cold water flows.

Geology. In both the parishes there are the usual deposits of alluvium from the Trent, with gravel, etc. The thickness of the river deposit, according to borings made in Chilwell parish, is 16 feet, Both the Trent and the Erewash have contributed to bring down a loamy clay. To the north the keuper marls form a ridge, which is well exposed in the Chilwell brickyard, and at the Toton sidings. In the brickyard named a fault is revealed bringing marl into juxtaposition with some flaggy keuper sandstones of unusual thickness. (Geological Mem. p. 42). Chilwell village stands chiefly on the Bunter sandstone, with keuper marl on the north, and a bed of blue clay on the south, thus the water is held in a trough, from which it flows cool. This would account for the settlement here, and the original manor house would probably be near to the principal spring. There is a stream flowing from the Stapleford hills, and a spring near to Bramcote Hall. "At their outcrop in the Erewash valley the coal measures attain a thickness of over 2,500 feet." (Geol. Mem. p. 8).

Some land in Chilwell at the time of the Conquest was given to Ralf, the son of Hubert, and was subject to Barton. In one part there were seven sochmen, or ordinary tenants, and half a church, that is, either the right was attached of joint or alternate presentation of the priest; or, as Professor Stenton suggests, it may be that half the church profits belonged to, or were appropriated by, the estate. In another part called Cillewelle and Estre Cilleuelle, there was 3 carucates and 3 bovates (?405 acres) of land assessed. On this there were two sochmen, or free  tenants, 5 villeins or  subject tenants, and thirteen  bordars, cottagers  or  serfs. And attached to the estate there was 70 acres of meadow, and half a church, 4 acres of underwood, and 4 acres of willow plantation (Vic. History). There was also a manor in Estrecillewelle, with about 75 acres, belonging to Dunnine, which was given to Ernuin, one of the King's servants, who were called Thegns, and to whom land in various parts of the county, and also at Lincoln, was given. There was on this manor one villein tenant, and 12 acres of meadow; the value of the manor had been reduced from 5s. 4d. to 3s. 4d., showing a very small value, but to compare with present values we must multiply thirty times, and probably much more.

There is a singular resemblance to the name of Chilwell in the record of an Inquiry that took place in 1303, when the Friars Minors, whose house was between Greyfriars gate and Broad Marsh, in Nottingham, wanted to take a stream of water from a fountain in Achilwelle to their house by means of an underground conduit, by them there to be made, and to hold that stream so brought to the Warden and his successors for ever. An Inquisition was held at Lenton Priory, and the jury agreed that it would not be to the damage of the king, or of others, but rather an alms. (Inq-192). Where was Achilwelle ? Mr. Stapleton suggests near the Castle Rock. (p. 150).

The value of the land in Chilwell is shown in 1284, when Robert de Strelleye held of Henry de Grey, 10 oxgangs (? 240 acres) worth by the year £6 13s. 4d. or less than 7d. per acre. (Inq. 20).

In 1291 Geoffrey le Fouler, of Addingburgh, Robert Blike, of Toueton, and Adam Gerveys, acted as jurymen; as did Robert le Cysillur, of Hadinburg, and John Gervase, of Chillewell, in 1271, when in the latter case "Wiliam Brun, of Clifton, committed a theft for which he was hung." (Inq. 131).

The prior of Sempringham in 1330 claimed to have free warren in his demesne lands at Bramcote, Trowell, and Chilwell—that is, he claimed to have the right to keep and kill ground game. (Th. 186).

Sir Robert Sheffield, knight, held enormous properties in Addyngborough, Chilwell, Bramcott, and elsewhere, and in 1522 he entered into a very improper covenant by deed with Sir John Huse, afterwards Lord Huse, that Edmund, son of the former, should marry Mary, daughter of the latter, at such time, after Mary became twelve years of age, as her father desired, if she and he would consent, "and the law of Holy Churche will it suffer or license," etc. If Edmund died before the marriage then the next son was to marry Mary, if they consented. If Mary died, "as God forbid," Dorothy was to be substituted, and so on from son to son, and daughter to daughter. At that time Mary was three years of age, and Dorothy two. Death stepped in and prevented the completion of the compact, for when Sir Robert died Edmund was only ten, Maria thirteen, and Dorothea twelve, etc. The king thereupon assumed the guardianship of the heir, being a minor.

Borough Records. There are several items in the Borough Records affecting Chilwell men, which may be set down. Paulinus, son of Nicholas de Chillewelle, had, before 1284, a right in a rent of 11/-, one cock, and two hens, issuing from a tenement in Lorimers' Street (the English name of which was Bridlesmith Gate) which rent the father, and Sir Nicholas the Chaplain, brother of Paulinus, had granted to Michael de Orfevre. (B.R. 365).

Sir Richard de Chilwell was, in 1400, perpetual Vicar of the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in Nottingham, and some land was granted to him, and to John de Wysow, Chaplain (B.R. 31). In 1411 Sir Richard (or as we should now say, the Reverend Richard) was described as the parson of the Church of the Blessed Peter of Nottingham (B.R. 83).

John Babyngton, esquire, son and heir of William Babyngton, late of Chilwell, esquire, in 1477, sold a croft in Nottingham, and "it abuts upon the common highway leading from the Swynebarre to Gosegate." (B.R. 418).

Sir William Babington. Sir William Babington was son of Sir  John Babington, of East Bridgeford, He devoted himself to the study of the law, and in 1414 was made King's Attorney; in 1419 Chief Baron of the Exchequer, and in 1423 Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, which office he retained thirteen years. He having married Margery, daughter of Sir Peter Martell, of Chilwell manor, became possessed of the Chilwell estate, and resided at the old manor house, which a MS. in the British Museum (Harl. Coll. 362,53) is said to describe as " an ancient house builded by Sir William Babynton, sometimes chiefe husier of the Common Pleas, and before was the house of one Martell, an ancient gentleman, whose heire the sad Babynton, married and lately the Lord Sheffield possessed it, as heire to Babynton, who sould it, and now one Christopher Pymm, Gent, has it" It stood in the garden on the southern side, of the main road, but was many years ago pulled down. He founded a chantry at Thurgarton, as did his son at Flawforth. " In private life he was much esteemed, for he was a man of godly life, and conversation." He died in 1455, at the ripe old age of ninety-nine years, and was buried at Lenton priory.

William Babyington's chantry, of the date of 1458-9, was not merely an endowment for the celebration of masses at the altar of Flawford Church for the souls of his father, mother, all the family, and many others whose names are specified, but was also for chaplains to celebrate in the chapel of Chilwell Manor, and was endowed with lands in Chilwell, Bramcote, Beeston, etc. "The chantry was founded in fulfilment of the intention of Hugh Mar tell, of Chilwell, who had license on 18 May 1345 to found a chantry of five chaplains in the chapel." It is not unlikely that these chaplains were expected to give instruction to boys, sons of free tenants. An enquiry of 1548 as to charities revealed that things had gone wrong, for the report as to "Dyuerse chaunteryes att Rodyngton, beynge founded by the auncestors of Edmunde Sheffield, Esquyer," showed that Henrye Scotte, clerke, warden there, had done 110 service there for 2 years past, '' Neuertheles the said Warden beinge sworne doth depose vppon his othe that he dothe seruice att Chillwell for his said wagis." (See A. Hamilton Thompson's paper. Thoroton Trans. 1912, p.131). Alas ! the church at Flawford, and its village near Ruddington, the chapel at Chilwell, the endowments, the chaplains, and the prayers are all gone, but the souls continue in the keeping of One who loves with an everlasting love.

In the Castle Museum are three alabaster marble statues which for many years were in the possession of the late Mr. Edmund Percy, of Beeston, and were given to the Museum by his daughters. They were found under where the altar is believed to have stood in Flawford Church, which was pulled down in 1773. One of the figures is believed to represent Robert Martell, Bishop of Dunblane. From about 1300 to 1500 "image-making seems to have been a somewhat important trade in Nottingham," and the images show great artistic skill.

Sir Francis Willoughbie, of Wollaton Hall, had, on March 11th, 1587, "boone plowes soing barley and peaz at Chilwell," on which £4 15s. 0d. was spent.

There was one hogshead of beer 4/-, howssold 48c, 4s.—8/s. The boon work of tenants was the labour rendered by them gratis, at which the lord found food and drink for them according to custom.

Chilwell Hall in 1900. The house was demolished in the 1930s and modern housing now occupies the site.
Chilwell Hall in 1900. The house was demolished in the 1930s and modern housing now occupies the site.

The Hall. Chilwell Hall is probably on the site of an  ancient mansion, the thick stone walls of which may still be traced. A date stone inscribed "T C 1652 " shows when considerable alterations were made; this Thos. Charlton was a very prominent magistrate; and again the hall was partly rebuilt in 1803. The estate is said to have been purchased by Mr. Thomas Charlton, of Sandiacre, in 1572, and in 1620 Chilwell became the home of the family, and has so continued ever since. The Charltons descended from John de Charlton, who was M.P. for the city of London in 1318. At the battle of Bosworth Sir Richard Charlton was slain, and his lands confiscated. Sir Thomas Charlton was Speaker of the House of Commons in 1453, and Edward Charlton was a commissioner for the Parliament for raising troops, and one was High Sheriff in 1667. In the hall is an old iron chest, which apparently was formed so as to be buried in case of danger. It is of cylindrical shape, with intricate locksmith's work, in which were found a number of curious old bibles and deeds, and an interesting letter from Major General Ireton, at Colchester in 1648, addressed " to my honored ffriend Mr. Thomas Charleton, at his ffathers house in Chilwell, near Nottingham." In that letter are some very pleasant references to the General's mother at " Addenborow." It is framed and hangs in the hall. (See Jacks " Great Houses of Notts." pp. 30—35). Wm. Charlton, Esq., was High Sheriff in 1824, as was T. B. Charlton, Esq., in 1879. In 1831 the disorderly rabble who destroyed Nottingham Castle, and Beeston Silk Mill, threatened to fire Chilwell Hall, but finding that at that time the body of Mr. Charlton lay dead in the house, they were dissuaded from carrying out their evil purpose. The damage done to the Castle cost the Ratepayers of Chilwell £752, and Toton £499.

In 1842 Mr, T. B. Charlton and Mr. John Walter, Senr., were candidates at the Nottingham election. Mrs. Charlton was Mr. Walter's daughter. The Walter Fountain in Nottingham is a monument of the connection with the city by parliamentary representation of the Walters (father and son) from 1841 to 1859.

There is in the dining room at the hall a good specimen of dark oak panelling. It originally belonged to the Rectory Hall, at Sandiacre, which was pulled down in 1864.

There are in the Park many fine elms, and a cedar well worthy of notice. One hundred years ago a great horse chestnut near to the hall was described "whose branches sweep to the ground in graceful curves, and tower up aloft to a proud elevation," and it was then said to be the largest tree of the kind in the county. This tree still survives, but the huge old branches have had to be cut off in order to save the tree.

In the gardens of Chilwell hall there is fixed a broken window column, a holy water stoup, and a font. Mr. Gill is of opinion that the former may be dated about 1240, and the latter as Elizabethan.

There are several old houses worth inspection. The house called the Manor house, occupied by Mr. E. Walton, has on the stable the date of 1677, but the house may be older. Stapleford manor house was built in 1659. One of the oldest brick houses in the district is Thrumpton hall, the older part of which was built in 1608, and enlarged in 1630. Where did the bricks come from? The art of brickmaking had been lost. Has Chilwell had a brickyard two hundred and fifty years ? It is suggested that the stone for the old hall gardens came from a quarry on Toton hill farm.

There does not appear to have been any Inclosure Act for the parish in the eighteenth century. May we assume that in the fifteenth or sixteenth century the moors and open lands were enclosed? That could be done with practically one owner, but now there are more than two hundred freeholders who pay tithes. What is called Park Road and Grove Avenue was seventeen acres of land divided by James Orange into small holdings.

The Club. The old club room was a monument of the thrift of the people.   In 1771 the men established a friendly society, now called "The Old Sick Club," which is still doing a useful work, and has about one hundred members. There was no room in the parish, except at the public house, where the men could meet for the administration of their social business, and it is never well for drinking to be mixed up with business, but it must be remembered that in those days there were no teetotalers, and it is even suggested that the clubmen wanted better beer than they obtained at the public house; anyhow, they resolved in 1812 to build a club-room of their own, and they made provision for brewing their own beer at the annual feast, for they had not learnt the lesson that water is better and cheaper than beer. The premises have been sold to the Charlton estate. In the early part of the great war this club-room was occupied by Belgian Eefugees, for whose maintenance a weekly house-to-house collection, amounting to about 50/- was made. There is another Friendly Society holding its meetings in the United Methodist Schoolroom, having about sixty members, and owning property in the village.

Churches. The disadvantage in wet weather of having to walk to Attenborough, to attend the church service caused the patron of the living, F. C. Smith, Esq., to build in 1901, a Mission Church at Chilwell.

Methodism was introduced into Chilwell in 1795-6 by two Stapleford men, Messrs. Allin and Harrison, who walked over week by week, and in 1798 a chapel was built. Mr. R. Lowe has a copy of the Sunday School Anniversary Service on 3rd October, 1813, when the Rev. Mr. Shaw of Ilkeston preached, and "Tasks (were) repeated, and a piece spoken by a Girl." The chapel stood on the south side of the main road, opposite to the Hall gates. In 1857 the squire gave a site where the chapel now stands, and paid for the cost of removal and rebuilding. In 1878 the building was enlarged.

The Standard Hill Academy was in its day a noted high-class proprietary school, conducted by Messrs. Goodacre & Cokayne, the former being a scientist of note, astronomy being his forte. About 1858-9 they built a Boarding School at Chilwell, with Masters' houses on each side, and removed their school from Nottingham. It was not, however, a financial success, and the Baptists in 1861 removed their College for the training of young ministers to the Chilwell premises, Dr. Underwood being principal, and the use was continued until 1883, when they removed to Forest Road, Nottingham. The Baptists many years ago had a Mission in the village, the services of which were held in the old club-room.