Thoroton Society First  Annual  Meeting 1897

Car Colston

THE First Summer Excursion of the Thoroton Society commenced upon Tuesday, 27th July, 1897. The members journeying from Nottingham, Newark, and other places met at Bingham, on that day, at 10 a.m., and were taken in brakes to Car Colston. There were present the Rev. A. J. L. Dobbin, B.A. (Chairman of the Excursion Committee), the Rev. T. W. Swann, M.A. (Orston), the Rev. J. H. Heath, M.A., and Mrs. Heath (Flintham), Mrs. Staunton, and Mr. Staunton, junr. (of Staunton), Mrs. Milward (East Bridgford), Mr. Henry Hall (Nottingham), the Rev. E. P. Weatherell, M.A. (East Bridgford), Mr. W. B. and Mrs. Thorpe (Lenton House), Mr. John Thorpe and Miss Thorpe, Mr. E. M. Kidd (Nottingham), Professor Frank Granger, D.Litt. (University College), Mr. James Ward (Nottingham), Mr. J. P. Briscoe, F.R.H.S., Mr. John T. Godfrey, Mr. W. Stevenson (of Hull), the Rev. R. Jowett Burton (Barley Abbey), Mr. W. R. Gleave (West Bridgford), Mr. Joseph Burton, Mr. T. K. Gordon, Mr. Hugh Browne and Miss Browne, Mr. and Mrs. William Foster (Nottingham), Mr. Montagu Hall (Whatton), Mrs. Standish and Miss Alexander (Scarrington), Mr. S. Page, Mr. Percy J. Cropper (Nottingham), Mr. G. G. Napier, M.A., Mr. Robert Mellors, Mr. F. R. Pickerill, Mr. J. Smith (West Bridgford), Mr. W. Gleave, A.R.I.B.A., Mr. and Mrs. C. Hawley Torr, Miss Squires (Nottingham), Mrs. and the Misses Phelps (Scarrington), Mr. Henry Ashwell, J.P., and Mrs. Ashwell (Nottingham), Mr. T. M. Blagg (Newark), Mr. Cornelius Brown, F.R.S.L., Rev. John Standish, B.A. (Scarrington), and Mr. W. P. W. Phillimore, M.A., B.C.L. (London), Hon. Secretaries, and others.

At Car Colston Church the members were received by the Vicar, the Rev. A. E. Auchinleck. The Church of St. Mary has a nave of four bays, early English, a decorated chancel of great beauty, of the same character as that at Woodborough, and containing a fine East window of exceptional size, and sedilia for three decorated with pinnacle work; a square embattled tower, with shaftless arch and unusual stone roof, the lower portion being early English, the rest perpendicular in style; clerestory on south side, early English or perhaps Norman font. The lock on the south doorway bears the date and initials 1674, W.B., T.W. There is a seventeenth century brass to Gregory Henson, placed now at the west end of the north aisle. The Henson tablet is above a bluish tombstone marked G.H., under an oblong indentation into which the brass above was clearly originally fitted.

The vaulted stone roof, and the florid windows of the chancel suggest continental influence of the flamboyant type, a rare feature in English Churches.

Great interest was taken in the stone coffin of Dr. Thoroton himself, which stands at the west end of the north aisle in what is at present a curtained vestry. Cut in the floor of the coffin, and not to be seen without lifting the lid, is the following inscription :—

HOC POSUIT
ROB: THOROTON
IN MED. DOCT.
Ao CHRISTI 1672
AETATIS SVAE 49
UT POST MORTE
CORPUS EIVS
INTEMERATVM
QUIESCERET

Upon the lid is the following :—

ROB. THOROTON
MED. DOCTOR
VIR ANNAE BOUN
[Shield]
PATER
ANNAE UX. PHIL.
SHERRARD. ARM. ET
ELIZABETHAE UX.
JOH'IS TURNER.
[Shield]
SEPULT' FUIT
ANNO DNI 1678
21 DIE NOV.

This was six years before his death, and by his will, dated October 30th, 1678, Dr. Thoroton desired to be buried in the stone coffin at Car Colston, which he had prepared for that purpose. His last wish was duly fulfilled, but there is a slight discrepancy as to date. The Church register says 23rd November, 1678, the coffin itself November 21st. For upwards of 160 years Dr. Thoroton's body rested unviolated in its oaken and stone chests, but in 1845, while the chancel was undergoing repair, the stone coffin was discovered not far from the surface of the ground, and opened. In 1863 it was again taken up and placed in the Church. Of its first disturbance we have a record given by Andrew Esdaile, in his book on "Bingham" and neighbourhood, published in 1851. He states on page 33 "he [Dr. Thoroton] lays (sic) at the bottom in a strong stone coffin; the step in the chancel door is over it, his skull and teeth, and a little earth remain; it was brought to light by repairing the chancel, in 1845." We also have the following verbatim testimony of an eye-witness, Louisa Locking, of Screveton :—

"I was not a big girl, but perfectly remember we were in school, but all came out when chains were put round the stone coffin to raise it. All present—children and all—took hold of the chains to pull, in order to raise it. It was pulled up like a dirty stone box. When we came out of school at dinner time we went to look. Old Mr. Marriott's father, Mr. Martin, and some others, including Schoolmaster Mr. Leaf, then raised the lid with an iron bar. I saw Martin take out the skull and saw the teeth. Marriott picked up a bone and some hair. I saw rotten wood and fragments of clothing, which fell to dust, and stood further off when the skull appeared. The skull was put into a shop near. It got to Mr. Girardot's ears next day. He ordered the skull to be returned and the rest of the remains buried. Young Thomas Dable also saw it. Mr. Leaf, Schoolmaster, is now dead. My father, William Locking, perfectly recollects this circumstance, and my coming home saying that I was frightened at the skull with its teeth."

At this meeting of the Society, in the Church, a letter was read from Mr. George Beaumont, of East Bridgford, protesting against the continued desecration, and expressing the opinion that the coffin should be reinterred.*

A description of the Thoroton coffin, of the inscription near the chancel door, and of other points of interest, was given by Mr. John T. Godfrey, for a full account of which we refer our readers to the author's reprint, entitled—"Robert Thoroton, Physician and Antiquary."

The accompanying views [on the following page] of Car Colston Church are from photographs respectively taken before and after the restoration of the Church in 1882.

* On the 27th of June, 1874, the writer visited this Church and made the following note of what was then told him on the spot:—"At the west end of the north aisle is Dr. Thoroton's coffin: it was found about 20 or 30 years ago, just outside the chancel. There were some large bones found in it, which were placed in a smaller stone coffin, found at the same time by the side of Dr. Thoroton's, and supposed to be his wife's. It measures 7 feet 3 inches. At the time of its discovery it was 'washed out.'"—W.P.W.P.