As indicated in a previous chapter, the morals of Hucknall were as good as in most villages, so far as can be gleaned from the records.

When famine stalked the land the pangs of hunger prompted men to fierce and violent deeds, as they do to-day, but considering the necessitous body of people living here from 1750 to 1850, it is to their credit that, excepting the Luddite disturbances, the cases of serious crime appear to have been few.

Crime in the period just named seems to us nowadays to have been more heavily punished than it deserved, John Howard's good work serving little to mitigate brutal sentences for trivial transgressions. Thus in 1753, with a good telescope, a person on Sandy Lane Hill might have discerned on Gallows Hill at Nottingham the bodies of two men swinging for having quarrelled with an Arnold man and cutting off his little fingers.

In 1758 a man was hung for robbing a pedlar at Newark, and again in 1800 two men were strung up for forgery, on a new gallows at the top of Mansfield Road, Nottingham, because somebody on the night before had chopped down the old gallows. A boy of 14 years was hung in 1802 for picking pockets.

In 1784 Thomas Blackner was condemned to death for burglary at Hucknall, but was reprieved ere the hanging day arrived.

The Parish Overseer's book for 1808 tells an interesting story of the time. Coal was 10d. per cwt., and was brought in panniers on asses' backs from Willey Lane Pit.

Tramps had to bring "passes," signed by magistrates or clergymen, before they were relieved.

In 1809 Ann Smalley had a gift of £2 1s. 0d. to enable her to buy an ass.

In 1810 thatchpegs and cords were given to Mary Brecknock to enable her to get her cottage thatched.

The scrutineers who examined the book in 1810 all bear well-known Hucknall names. They were: George Hardstaff, William Daws (Byron's Steward), William Ball, Francis King, Thomas Millott, William Rhodes, William and Thomas Truman, Robert Widdowson (who at various stages of his life was butcher, baker, miller, malster, lime-burner, and landlord of the Half Moon Inn).

In 1810, and for many years, a penny per head was paid for sparrows, and fourpence per head for hedgehogs killed. John Taylor succeeded William Starr as Overseer and Parish Constable in this year, and he paid "expenses of Job Totton's wedding, £50s. 6d." (perhaps to relieve the rates of some poor woman). Paid for a post letter from Sheffield, 8d.

In 1812 the scrutineers were William Starr, Thomas Porter, George Haslam, John Coupe, and William Mellows (corn miller).

The 1811 census was taken by George Green (Parish Clerk) and Thomas Truman, "with a boy."

Mr. Francis Widdowson, as Parish Constable, had to attend the trial of Ben Hancock, the Luddite.

George Pinder, the Parish Mole-catcher, was paid £5 per annum for the destruction of moles.

In 1811 began the Luddite disturbances, so-called from a lad named Ludlam, in Leicestershire, who, on being asked by his father to square his needles, forthwith took a hammer and beat them into a heap.

On March 11th, 1811, a meeting of hundreds of framework-knitters was held in Nottingham Market, to protest against the wage reductions, irregularities in frame-rents, the truck system, middle-men, need of price lists, and other grievances. When night set in the men marched to Arnold and smashed 53 frames. Similar disturbances, but not on so large a scale, occurred in the year 1774.

On November 4th, 1811, the Luddites assailed Mr. Hollings-worth's house at Bulwell, wherein were 8 persons armed with muskets. A Luddite named Westley, of Arnold, was shot dead at Hollingsworth's door, his dying words being: "Proceed, my brave fellows; I die with a willing heart." In the same week 1,000 men met at the 7th milestone, on Mansfield-road, about 300 of these carrying muskets or pistols and others carrying pikes and various sorts of weapons. They marched to Sutton and broke up 54 frames. Three Arnold men, and one from Hucknall were caught by Dragoons, and sent by post chaise to the County Gaol, escorted by the Holme troop of Volunteer Cavalry.

Hucknall was naturally one of the centres of Luddite turbulence, and the Overseer's Book bears testimony to the stirring times our forefathers must have passed through.

On February 13th, 1812, the Overseer began to pay for coals, candles, and rent, for the "picket house," as it was called. This watch-house was where the special constables or watchmen, who protected the stocking-frames, gathered. What arms they then carried doth not appear, except staves, which cost 17s. 6d. for being painted. On April 12th, however, Joseph Beardall "went to receive firearms," and in June Mr. Sculthorpe (Notts. Magistrates' Clerk) was paid £510s. Od. for firearms.

In 1812 and 1813 the following were paid for watching:—Ben Walker (2s. per night), William Mellors, Matthew Otter, Oliver Buck, William Kirk, William Woollatt, George Spray, Joseph Beardall, Hy. Daws, John Wain, William Ball, John Price, John Starr, Joseph Allen.

Mr. Taylor, who lived at the Lord Byron Inn (now tenanted by Mr. Hy. Bamkin) received rent for his "picket house," and he supplied staves to the new constables for 16s. 6d. Bills for expenses incurred by the watchmen were paid to John Price, John Howitt, and Samuel Butler.

In October the Overseer was constantly visiting Mansfield about the local Militia, and John Mellows was paid 2s. 6d. for "crying the Militia twice," probably when two Luddite attacks were anticipated. The Overseer had also in 1812 to pay 15 men £1 3s. 0d. "to serve in the Local Militia." The writer has heard that Mr. Hankin drilled the Militia at Hucknall.

Ben Hancock, of Hucknall, aged 21, was sentenced to 14 years' transportation for breaking frames at Sutton.

On January 18th, 1812, the Luddites went to Linby and destroyed nine lace-warp machines belonging to Mr. Shipley; the cost of this damage was £200. Mr. Shipley had, with a number of neighbours, been guarding the house till midnight, when the neighbours went home, but no sooner had they gone than 14 Luddites, who had been lying in ambush, burst in and smashed the machines.

Following is the copy of a bill which was circulated in Hucknall and Papplewick at that time: —

"£100 Reward.—Threatening Letter. Whereas a parcel directed to 'Mr. Gaxon, Hucknall,' was found near the dweling-house of the Rev. Luke Jackson, at Hucknal Torkard, containing a letter, which Mr. Jackson delivered to his neighbour, Mr. J. Robinson, Papplewick, yesterday, and of which the following is a copy:—

"Mr. Robinson,—If you do not turn Mr. Savel away your mill will be burnt down with fire for getting my men tane.

" General Lud."

"If you persecute any of my men Nedi shall visit you. Gentlemen, persecute any of my men if you durst. There many of you gentlemen to hie by your heds.

"General Lud.

"I've guns and powder an ball." "Papplewick, 14th March, 1812."

In the spring of 1812 nine frames were smashed at Hucknall.

George Green, aged 21, a native of Hucknall, was working at Arnold in 1812, and joined the Luddites. He was caught and sentenced to seven years' penal servitude. In 1845 the Rev. G. Atkinson, curate of Arnold, received a letter from Hobart Town, Australia, respecting the death of George Green, the ex-convict, who had left property value £300 a year. His elder brother succeeded to his estate.

In 1812 the Home Secretary moved for leave to bring in Bills for punishing Luddites, and making Luddism punishable by hanging, and these were introduced into the House of Lords. Lord Byron (the poet), when in his 24th year, strongly opposed the measure in his maiden speech, in which occurs this sentence: "The perseverance of these miserable men in their proceedings tends to prove that nothing but absolute want could have driven a large and once honest and industrious body of people into the commission of excesses so hazardous to themselves, their families, and the community."

It is interesting to note that Mr. Thomas Bramley, grandfather to Mr. Isaac Rhodes, supplied Lord Byron with some information for this speech. They met casually on the Quarry Banks Road.

The poor of Hucknall were relieved at Mr. Luke Rhodes' house, called the parish pay-room, which stood on the site now occupied by the London City and Midland Bank. The Overseer's Book indicates that very poor boys were apprenticed to framework-knitting, at a cost to the parish of about 21s. each. Thomas Truman was Overseer and Constable in 1813, and Hy. Daws in 1814.

It is worthy of remark that there is no record of a murder having been committed in the parish for centuries past. About 50 years ago a Scotchman who lived in Allen Street tried to hang a little boy, but happily failed in his purpose.

A gang of men, in the forties, made Hucknall their centre of depredations. They were arrested and transported to the Tasmanian penal settlement. After their conviction their hidden hoard of bacon and hams were found under the heavy stone slab of a table tomb, north-west of the Tower, in the Churchyard.

In 1837 the black cloth which draped the pulpit in the Parish Church at Lord Byron's funeral was stolen. Henry Daws, Churchwarden, offered £10 reward for information respecting its whereabouts. It was found in the loft over Rd. Jackson's shoeing forge, but the culprit was never caught.

In those hungry times poaching was often resorted to and even sheep-stealing. On one occasion a sheep was killed near Shepherd's Lane, and tracks were traced by the constables through fields and over hedges to a cottage in Wood Lane, where, instead of mutton, the law officers found venison in the cooking-pot. The man was taken to prison, tried, and acquitted, because the evidence showed that he had caught a stray Annesley Park fawn on Linby Wighay. Before his release his goods were seized for debt, and as these were being conveyed to the barn of Thomas Moore (parish constable) the late Joseph Saxton beheld his own iron pot hanging on the cart-tail as it passed the Red Lion Inn, which he promptly reclaimed. These iron pots were then to be found in every cottage. and were used for cooking porridge, dumplings, and, indeed, almost everything the poor could get to cook in those days.

For many years servants used to come to the annual Hiring at Martinmas. The writer saw the last hiring in 1869. The servants and their prospective employers stood on The Green, between the Half Moon Yard and South Street corner.


Zachariah Green.Zachariah Green.

This good man, whose name is a household word in the county, was born on May 5th, 1817, in a cottage nearly opposite where the Chequers Inn now stands. He was the son of Richard Green, a man of intelligent parts, who in his earlier life served his King and country in the Grenadier Guards. He took part in the battle of Bergen-op-Zoom, on March 8th, 1814, when General Graham was defeated. After the battle he fell ill with the ague, and was sent to the hospital at Antwerp. There were so many British soldiers invalided that the army medical staff was overworked, and they induced Richard, when he had recovered from his illness, to act as hospital orderly. He was a handy, observant, and intelligent man, and grew in favour with and was trusted by the doctors.

This incident had an abiding influence on his life, for he put to good use the knowledge he acquired at Antwerp. He was given the choice by the army authorities to go to Waterloo and receive a pension, or retire with a bonus of £100. He chose the latter course, came home, and dwelt at the old cottage off High Street till the year 1829, when he removed with his wife and family to the well-known cottage in Beardall Street. Here he worked in the stocking-frame, and attended to the bodily ailments of his neighbours, his son Zachariah frequently helping him in his work, from the year 1833 until he died in November, 1843.

The "Nottingham Review" thus sympathetically referred to his death:—''On Monday, at Hucknall Torkard, after a short but severe affliction, Mr. Richard Green died, aged 63 years. By his decease his family have lost a loving and affectionate parent, the neighbourhood a kind neighbour, and the village at large a warm, humane, and zealous friend. He had for a number of years been a member of the Provident Society at Hucknall, consequently his surviving family will be entitled to £8for his funeral. Buried in the churchyard, November 23rd, 1843."

The youthful Zachariah was like the boys of the period, early set to work in the frame, and he picked up the rudiments of education under the tuition of Mr. John Woollatt, the parish clerk, at the Church Sunday School. Never had man a more attentive pupil, and Zachariah's ardent love of reading improved his knowledge of medicine and surgery. He was a diligent observer of nature, he loved his little garden and the flora of the field as much as his books. He was eminently painstaking, diffident, yet full of character, as many patients knew. He possessed an inflexible will, and adhered to his fixed rules of life and work as rigidly as any disciple of the Benedictine Order, yet the term of "Good Samaritan "was never more fitly applied to mortal man than to him.

As years fleeted onward the plain, neat, and scrupulously clean little cottage in Beardall's Lane was the best known dwelling in Hucknall, rich and poor resorting thither to seek his counsel and the benefit of his healing processes. One line will demonstrate tha trust reposed in his skill—no less than six successive Mayors of Nottingham went to him to be healed, and the names of some of his patients, which he confided to the writer of these lines, would amaze many.

In 1850 he married Mary, daughter of Samuel and Rosa Mellows, who lived in a roadside cottage, on a site which then overlooked the Old Mill dam, and now enclosed in the Old Vicarage garden. She was a helpful partner, of a most amiable disposition, and a pattern wife and mother.

He attended the Baptist Chapel for some years, where he played the bass fiddle. In 1853 he became secretary to the newly-formed Baptist Women's Club, and was appointed treasurer to the Windmill Friendly Society.

In the year 1865 public gratitude to Mr. Green found expression in the presentation of an illuminated framed address, which contains the following inscription:—"At a public meeting, held in the National Schoolroom, Hucknall Torkard, on July 25th, 1865, a purse containing 45 guineas was presented to Mr. Zachariah Green, by the inhabitants of the village and its vicinity, in recognition of the quiet, unobtrusive, and valuable services rendered by him to the suffering portion of the community.—Chairman, W. N. Ball, Esq.; Treasurer, J. E. Ellis, Esq.; Committee, James Widdowson, Wm. Granger, jun., J. Cartledge, Thomas Hardy, Charles Palmer, George Bettison, Peter Howis, John Pickup, John Piggin, Robert Widdowson, John Widdowson, Thomas Widdowson, Joseph Howitt; F. J. Phelps, Secretary."

Mr. Green continued his work with increasing efficiency for the next 32 years, and a fine trait in his character was displayed when he declined the offer of Mr. Thomas Hardy to enlarge and improve his cottage by public subscription. Other friends repeated the offer, which Mr. Green persistently declined. He felt the death of his wife most keenly, and, like Carlyle, confessed "the light of his life had clean gone out."

In his declining years his oldest son, Mr. Samuel Green, who had benefited by a course of training, proved an invaluable helper to him, and finally took the full management of the work.

On January 22nd, 1897, Zachariah fell asleep, in his 80th year, beloved by all who knew him, and a few days later he was buried in the Parish Churchyard.

The event was still fresh in the public mind when Mr. Thomas Hardy inaugurated a movement for perpetuating in solid stone the memory of this good man. A committee was formed, and subscriptions poured in until above £400 was raised, and the handsome memorial fountain in the Market Place erected. This is an artistic structure in granite, and on one face carries a medallion portrait (a good likeness), with the following apt inscription: —

Erected by Public Subscription in Memory of


A Native of this Town, who was gifted in the art of healing,
and spent his life in alleviating the suffering of his

Born, May 5, 1817;  Died, January 22, 1897.

Tennyson's words may be fitly applied to this useful life of one of Hucknall's most gifted sons:—

"Life's race well run,
Life's work well done,
Life's crown well won,
Then comes rest."