OLD THATCHED HOUSE. Now replaced by Sand Rock House; a similar House was on site of the present Tower House; and two Barns are replaced by Crown House—now forming St. Michael's Place. Two old Thatched Barns occupied site of Darrel House and The Gables, near the Church. Such was West Retford Street in 1848.
OLD THATCHED HOUSE. Now replaced by Sand Rock House; a similar House was on site of the present Tower House; and two Barns are replaced by Crown House—now forming St. Michael's Place. Two old Thatched Barns occupied site of Darrel House and The Gables, near the Church. Such was West Retford Street in 1848.

These houses are built on the site of an orchard, in which was an old pear tree, under which the Rev. John Wesley preached, and inside the central archway of the terrace an inscribed stone records :

"In orchard on this site, on evening of June 24, 1786, a sermon was preached by the Rev. John Wesley, priest, and founder of the order of Methodist Lay Preachers, from text—' I saw the dead, small and great, stand  before God.'"

The River Idle, which runs at the end of this orchard, once teemed with trout, even now to be caught there, and in the old " Rhyme of Barnaby, the Drunken," occurs the following doggered verse:

Thence to Retford—Fish I fed on, And to th' adage I had read on, With carouses I did trim me, That my fish might swim within me As they had done, being living, And in th' river—nimbly diving.

Barnaby had evidently put up at the "Newcastle Arms" Inn, the grounds of which, then and now, border the river, and on which bank a "Band of Hope" of anglers may often now be seen fishing.

If you stand in the middle of West Retford Bridge, And look up the river, you'll see there's a ridge In the bed of the Idle, diverting the flow Of the water, quite slanting (you'll see if you go). That ridge, or obstruction, attention still claims A submerged " Isle of Dogs " formed of canine remains. And anglers resort to the banks for the fishes Which thrive there so well, that when served up on dishes Their flavour's so pungent, and gamey, and fine, That Sheffielders throng there to angle and dine; And all doctors who've dwelt on both sides of the bridge

Vaunt the wondrous ozone which exhales from that ridge— A concensus (among doctors) so rare and emphatic, That perhaps it were truer to term it Dog-matic.

From a Legend of Retford Town.

The following fish were caught in River Idle, by the Hospital land at Bolham:—1871, a Sturgeon, 84 lbs.; 1876, a Sturgeon, 145 lbs., 8 ft. long; 1877, a Salmon, 8½ lbs.; 1880, a Salmon, 14 lbs.

Within the last seven years, all the houses, and the Hospital also, have been connected with the deep drainage, and all drains renewed, at a cost of over a thousand pounds. Land tax and tithe on the estates (including the farms of Whinleys, Clarborough, and at Upton and Askham, which were purchased with monies received for the land taken by the Railway Companies, when made) has been redeemed with one exception; another thousand pounds spent on bringing up-to-date the Newcastle Arms Hotel and adjacent houses, all the larger houses provided with bath rooms; four Cook's cottages and two Pond cottages on the North Road have been purchased, put into good condition, and added to the Estate; water services have been laid on generally; W.C's have replaced archaic insanitary con­veniences, and the general property of the Charity put into a thoroughly satisfactory and up-to-date condition. The rent roll raised, from the decline to £1,453 in 1893,to £1,700 in 1907, and sinking funds established in the hands of the Charity Commissioners, now accumulating, which in due course will be paid back to the present Bailyffe's successor, and will amount to over £5,000, and will then add over £200 per annum to the rent roll: the result of the far-seeing policy instituted by the late Bailyffe, Mr. Worth, since continued, and rendered possible, by the co-operation and absolute confidence reposed by successive Master Governors, in the good intentions and integrity of the successive Bailyffes of the Institution.

In 1786, the Rent Audit and dinner to the tenants was held at the principal Retford inn, "The Cock," which was adjacent to the present Omnibus Yard in Bridgegate. Old bills in the Hospital chest are of interest, as evidencing the customs and habits of the period in the "good old time" when George the Third was King, viz.:

"Hospital Rent Day. To Ann Marr, of The Cock."
Michaelmas, 1786. £ s.   d.
Dinners, 25 at two shillings each 2 10   0
Ale and Porter 10   0
Wine, 9 bottles 1 2 6
Brandy, 9 bottles 2 5 0
Rum, 10 bottles 2    10    0
Lemons for the Punch 0 9 0
Tobacco 0 3 0
  £10  9    6

O happy tenants, twenty-five, with 28 bottles of spirits and wine to wash down the dinner and  the thirty shillings worth of ale and porter.

"They ate, as only people eat, when other people pay."

And well described by their co-temporary the Poet Cowper.

"The dinner comes—and down they sit,
Were e'er such hungry folk,
There's little talking—and no wit,
It is no time to joke.

One wipes his nose upon his sleeve,
One spits upon the floor,
Yet not to give offence or grieve,
Holds up the cloth before.

One tells of mildew—and of frost,
And one of storms of hail,
And one of pigs which he has lost
With maggots in the tail.

The punch goes round, and they are dull
And lumpish still as ever,
Like barrels—with their bellies full,
They only weigh the heavier."

When the Great North Road was completed through Retford a year or so later, the grand new hotel, the "White Hart," was finished at the corner of the Square, and Mistress Marr migrated there, and the old "Cock" was pulled down for improvements. Another old bill for the Trinity Feast for the Brothers, cooked at the "Cock " and sent up smoking hot, is as follows:—

Mr. Spittalhouse, Bailyffe,
Dr. to James Marr, April, 1786.

  £ s d.
24 lbs. of beef and cooking at 3½d. ... 0 7 0
11lbs. of veal and ditto at 3d. 0 2 9
Rum 3/-, Gin and Brandy 6/- 0 9 0
Wine for the Sacremente 2 10 0
  £3 8 9

The Bailyfife's experience in 1908, is that while the cost of meat has trebled, that there is a serious deterioration in the absorbing and "carrying" capacity of tenants, since the glorious days when George the Third was King.

Mr. William Barker, Bailyffe, 1824-1853, was the last of a very old yeoman family in Notts., owning farms at Mattersey Hill and Mattersey Thorpe, near Retford. In a deed, in chest, of A.D. 1642, the name of William Barker occurs as a trustee, and in 1783 was born John Barker, a cousin of the Bailyffe, who hunted and spent his substance, and was a Brother in this Institution up to age of 76,when he smoked in bed, and was found by the writer baked black and suffocated, the mattress having smouldered many hours.

Near them lived their friends and neighbours, the Waddingtons; one, the Rev. Joshua, M.A., was Vicar of Harworth and Walkeringham, Notts., 1763, died 1780; another, the Rev. George, M.A., Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, tutor, on land and sea, to Prince William (King William IV.), Prebendary of Ferring, in Diocese of Chichester, was Vicar of Tuxford, Notts., afterwards Dean of Durham, and author of Waddington's "History of the Church" in 1833.

About A.D. 1778, a young James Barker, of Mattersey, and a young Waddington, of Harworth, went to Manchester to learn engineering and cotton manufacture respectively, who both, later, started business in Rouen, the Cottonopolis of France, where Barker founded in 1792 an engineering works and foundry; and Waddington a cotton mill at St. Remy-sur-eure, Normandy, with Bureau in Rouen. At the outbreak of the revolution in 1796 they were obliged to (quit France or) become naturalized French subjects, and were absolutely cut off from intercourse with England until the peace of 1814.

About 1855, the writer accompanied the elderly daughter of Mr. Bailyffe Barker (who was 81, his sister 80, and his mother 101 at date) on a visit to the Barkers, of Rouen. The Waddingtons' mills having then greatly increased and being, later, directed by Richard Waddington, grandson of the founder, who was Depute (M.P.) for Rouen, and is now "Senateur" in the French Upper Chamber; while his elder brother, William Henry, a savant, was also a Depute; and the Barkers' engineering works and foundry in the Quartier St. Sever, Rouen, employing several hundred hands, was controlled by the founder's daughter, Mme. Rowcliffe Barker and her husband (whose only son died young, leaving one son, now proprietor of a Chateau and Estate in Bas-Normandie, and the last of the family).

My friends, their daughters, visited by me up to 1902, married manufacturers; one, whose firm at Bolbeck employed several thousand cotton operatives. Mr. William Henry Waddington, the Depute, was educated at Cambridge, and often spent vacations at Tuxford Vicarage, hunting with the Rufford hounds. He distinguished himself greatly in politics, became Minister of Foreign Affairs, and of Instruc­tion, Senateur, and was chosen as French Ambassador to the English Court; he died before 1900. Frances Waddington (Baroness Bunsen) was grand-daughter of the Vicar of Harworth; her father, Benjamin, succeeded to an estate through his mother, and he married Miss Port, of Ham, Co. Derby, the " Little Portia " (in memoirs), who, motherless at age of seven, was adopted by her great aunt, Mrs. Delane (Mary Granville), the intimate friend of Queen Charlotte and King George III., whose aunt, Anne Granville, was Maid of Honour to Queen Mary II., and herself to Queen Anne. She was cousin to Catherine Hyde, afterwards Duchess of Queensberry, and her grandfather, Bernard Granville, carried to King Charles II., at Breda, the news of the restoration of the Monarchy, and was made Groom of the Bedchamber. Their ancestor was the hero, Sir Richard Granville, who fought the Spaniards in the " Revenge," as immortalized in Tennyson's poem.

In 1817, when wintering in Rome with her family, Frances Waddington made the acquaintance of Charles (Carl) Bunsen, a rising self-made scholar, attache to the Prussian Embassy, who, on the steps of the altar of martyrs in the Coliseum, made her an offer of marriage, which was accepted. Bunsen's career is historical: as Chevalier Bunsen he made his mark as a European savant and diplomatist; he succeeded his chief, Niebuhr the historian, at the Prussian Embassy, Rome, and for 21 years was Charge d' Affaires, and Minister at the Papal Court, where twelve children were born to them; chosen in 1841 by the King of Prussia as Ambassador to England, the Chevalier Bunsen was created Privy Counsellor, and at the German Embassy, Frances Waddington presided over a brilliant circle of European savants and celebrities, while her cousin Wm. H. Waddington was French Ambassador in London—a remarkable instance of the romantic fortune of the two families, Barker and Waddington, so closely connected with Trinity Hospital, and the neighbourhood of Retford: Chevalier Bunsen was created a German Baron in 1858, and died at Bonn in i860; and the Baroness, Frances Waddington, at Carlsrhue, in 1876, aged 85.

About 1260, Walter de Waddington was Lord of the Manor of Waddington by Lincoln. In the Papal archives is recorded a Waddington, holding office in Roman Church, tempo King Henry III. (1216-1272).

Bunsen is "Yeoman" (three ears of wheat on Escutcheon). He was the valued "Intime" of Prince Albert, and his wife, in her letters, mentions as friends, Neibuhr, Thorwaldsen, Humbolt, Overbeds, Merle d' Aubigny, Madam-de-Stael, Agassiz, Lepsius, Hallam, Keble, Dr. Arnold of Rugby, Mr. Gally-Knight of Firbeck (near Retford), Mr. Egerton Harcourt Vernon, Mr. Moncton Milnes (after, Lord Houghton), "our old friend and favourite" Mr. Christopher Wordsworth (after, Bishop of Lincoln), Mr. Ruskin "a young man of promise" from Oxford, and many others. Of the grandsons, Sir Maurice de Bunsen is now (1908) British Ambassador in Madrid, and Chevalier Ernest-de-Bunsen is at Berlin.