Local Historians

Indexing referenced historical publications offers opportunity to present a little background knowledge in a tribute to those influential authors. A Sutton-in-Ashfield birthplace obviously presented greater interest from when that town was influentially guided by, and long centered around ancient parish church affairs. Closely tied within its boundaries, Huthwaite continued sharing much of the modern advancements they witnessed through rapid 19th century changes, until finally deserving separate coverage sketching out its own history.

Dr Robert Thoroton 1623-1678

A book titled "The Antiquities of Nottinghamshire" published in year 1677, established that author to be this counties pioneering historian. His research founded base for all others to build on.Dr Robert Thoroton

Dr Robert Thoroton was born on the 4th October 1623. The eldest of six children, to be raised as a country gentleman from 1622 marriage of Robert Thoroton senior to Anne Chambers in Nottingham. Robert was the first family member to achieve a university education. From 16 years of age he worked his time through Cambridge to graduate with a B.A. in 1622/3. They furthermore granted a university license to practice medicine as a recognised titled doctor after taking his 1646 M.A..

Aged 22, Mr Robert Thoroton wed Anne Boun, October 1645. The couple had three children namely, Anne, Mary and finally Elizabeth born 1654. Mary unfortunately drowned aged three. Whether or not it was that sad incident, or if personal illness forewarned his own unaccountable death at premature age of just 55 cannot be answered, when I simply looked for some reason to account for apparently triggering a later change regarding the doctors outlook.

Preface to his book explains how despite a doctorate, his attentions turned away from the living to focus on those from the past. Others encouraged his research be further widened, aimed at preserving a record. His notes and sketches largely dating from 1622 delved into the influential history behind old parish churches. Travel restricted distance covered, to see artwork first hand fronting preserved notable family names. In discovering far more ancient records, his inspiring work provided a foundation for all later historians. And to honour surname thereafter, offered 1897 established title for The Thoroton Society of Nottinghamshire.


John Throsby 1739–1803

John ThrosbyReferences concerning the life of John Throsby offer varying years of birth between 1737 to 1740. John is in fact recorded as only child of Martha Mason and Nicholas Throwsby, born on 29th December 1739 and christened on 13th January 1740 at St. Martin's, Leicester. Centered around that church bonding each family member, his father held some influential council positions, lastly as Leicester Town Mayor.

His scholarly son meanwhile, wed Miss Ann M. Godfrey in year 1761. They had five children, although not all reached mature age. John worked as parish clerk at the same Saint Martin's church. This alone must have offered access to a wealth of documents to fuel his personal interest researching their local history. Throsby published his first book titled The Memoirs of the Town and County of Leicester in 1777. But he was noted in Nottinghamshire for republishing all Thoroton's work in 1790. Entitled "Thoroton's History of Nottinghamshire", three volumes included some updated findings and his county perambulations where appreciated elsewhere. Barely unchanged is the original 1677 account of SUTTON in ASHFEILD, and HUCKNALL HUTHWAYT. Nonetheless, Throsby's main contribution for our local history is simply republishing earlier works, so extending their lifespan through wider readership.


Dr Spencer Timothy Hall 1812–1885

Descended from a Quaker family of some considerable wealth, they held a residence in Nottingham Dr Hall plus large farming lands in Sutton, Samuel Hall inherited a genius mind, but not for business dealings. CottageThis humbled Quaker cobbler wed a Derbyshire widow of maiden name Eleanor Spencer. Through impoverished need, they settled in this Sutton cottage, shown 1880 on Brook Street, where son Spencer Timothy is born 16th December 1812.

Dr HallFrom a truant childhood, the life of Spencer Timothy deserves better coverage than able to offer here. By far the most famous personality among this list, he reached national fame through mesmerism, also authoritatively publishing his interests in homeopathy. Granted 1852 honorary degrees of MA and Phd then justified doctors title. Corresponding and mixing with famous names begins at time working in the city, from which he gained detailed 1853 mention in a book titled Old and New Nottingham. Head Stone Printer, author and poet, Spencer published widely discriminate articles after claiming renown title as The Sherwood Forester.

Mr Spencer Timothy Hall offered his home town an 1838 "Historical Sketch of Sutton". Only a small booklet and of great rarity when referenced by a succeeding Mr Lindley. Luther further acknowledged the late Dr. T S Hall, who's interests addressed various relocations before retiring to a penniless death in Blackpool on 26th April 1885. The towns first postmaster Charles Plumbe provided the headstone in Layton Cemetery.


Luther Lindley 1867-1912

Foremost a printer with an office based in Parliament Street, Sutton-in-Ashfield. lindley Established in that upper storey was this towns first public library, founded 1857 by Mr H Columbine. It also offered an 1870's schoolroom mastered by a one armed Thomas Dove. If these influenced a young Luther is unclear. But in reference to earlier works of aforementioned historians, Mr L Lindley reproduced and updated their works by further acknowledging several contributors, most ably and notably assisted by G G Bonser of Kirkstede, Sutton, plus former Sutton Vicar Rev. F Brodhurst.

Published September 1907 under an undisputable bold claim of "Never before published in as comprehensive a form", came a fully titled "History of Sutton-in-Ashfield or Past Links With the Present". A good index helps sort a jumble of subjects covering vast array of topics. In a time seeing rapid advancements, is an enlightening background to most modern day services and facilities. And separate mention is given to both Fulwood and a recently renamed Huthwaite.

Little else is known about the life of Luther Lindley, except to find death reported by The London Gazette. Notice concerning his estate is offered 30th March 1912 by his Executive Solicitor J. H. Westyr-Evans of 17 Quay Street, Cardiff. After finding his book republished 1983, its since fully reproduced on the Nottingham History website, which all helps make an excellent source of reference far beyond just ancient parish ties.


George Gershom Bonser 1851-1947

Ranked as our most eminent Suttonian, and described in later years as Sutton's Grand Old Man. To simply state George Gershom Bonser was influentially involved George Gershom Bonser with affairs of parish church, local education, government, libraries, as well as contributing historic interest in the Nottinghamshire Free Press doesn't really do him full justice.

A known son of William Bonser, George Gershom was born March 30th 1851 at Sutton-in-Ashfield. Apart from a few younger years spent in Sheffield and London and later serving on Brighton Corporation, George practically lived the whole of his full active years in his native town. Married to a Miss Dorothy Ann Mary Sims, their only son named Geoffrey Alwyn Gershom was killed in WWI.

Educational interests titled George as Chairman of the School Managers, plus member of the National School Board of Governors. As a chief transcriber on Phillimores Nottinghamshire Marriage Register, he became an enthusiastic active supporter of the early public library movement. A member of an old Local Board he was elected Council Chairman 1894, to be then voted in 1895 as the first Chairman of the new Urban District Council. As a convinced Churchman, he held for years title of Vicar's Warden at St Mary's, offering Parish Magazine material under signature of 'Old Churchman'. Recognising full distinguished services further appointed 1910 a Justice of the Peace.

Furthermore, George contributed articles holding historic interest in the Nottinghamshire Free Press, and is probably responsible for researching their regular column covering Bygone Happenings. Touring local sights, and accompanying the Duke of Devonshire on official openings, all in all asserted Mr GG Bonser as the leading historian during his long lifetime. His death on 18th February 1947, left behind a compilation of hand written notes covering the various activities he'd been directly involved with. Family and friends fulfilled his wish by releasing in 1948 a book giving his updated account concerning A History of Sutton-in-Ashfield.


William Clay Dove c1919-1990

More fondly known as Bill, William Dove was born in Sutton-in-Ashfield. Claiming hosiery worker by trade, The London Gazette gave named 1939 address Denia, Bulwere Road, Kirkby-in-Ashfield when he legally adopted full name William Clay Dove, furthermore to be commonly hyphenated. Times Past

Despite knowledge of being able to trace his family branch back over four hundred years, there's little reference found for detailing his own personal life. The Minster School at Southwell recorded 2010 presentation of The Clay Dove Prize, recalling he and wife had both long been members of the Thoroton Society. Their award honoured the school attended by their son Mark between 1963-70. He went on to university reading history, a subject he'd teach at The Kings School, Peterborough.

Privately tracing his own family genealogy could have been primary intent behind Bill Clay-Dove becoming a Nottinghamshire society member. Its difficult dating or asserting if that broadened his interests to build upon references given from prior historians. That certainly added weight to his own research which went beyond old parish matters, to include background behind better related modern advancements truly moulding current lives. Comprehensively spanning far broader topics made him a leading part-time lecturer in local history.

Researching his home town obviously took historic presidence. After 1978 publication pictorially covering Sutton-in-Ashfield, the title "In Times Past" is later echoed through a series of paperback books likewise for the areas of Skegby and Kirkby. Village residents in Huthwaite had to be content sharing just slight mention reading about their ancient parish ties. Until William Clay-Dove answered their call. A fully updated history from Hucknall origins was published 1889 by Ashfield Chad, finally presented in the year prior his death.


Personally acknowledging some other lesser known names, ought recognise their previously undervalued contributions filling out our Huthwaite history, even though they didn't gain or even seek any wider acclaim.

William Rhodes proves a prominent Sutton resident giving name to a past Rhodes' Yard. Lindley merited mention, describing educational abilities worthy of instructing youth whilst in business as a surveyor, plus a recorder of local events. His personal journal only recently came to light. Notes spanning years 1830-1881.

Miss Shirley Edwards Simply informed that an essay formed part of further educational studies. Typed sheets dated 1967 presented personal ideas behind a long Hucknall Huthwaite history. Her research into modern advancements updated local knowledge, and long presented main reference source in our library.

Mr W Bostock identifies first reporter for a Notts Free Press Sutton office. After fifty years service, his own 1935 recollections help illuminate village life from before age of gas lit streets. During which time, we may also thank his home connection, providing first hand press coverage detailing significant Huthwaite events.

Ernald H Lakin photographically recorded most of the 20th century scenes since holding historic interest. Addressed at 25 King Street, Huthwaite, he was often commissioned for family albums, although mainly relying on job of postman to fund a lifelong interest in photographic artwork. Among the pages of "The Chemist and Druggist" magazine dated 23rd November 1957, he's recognised as their competition winner, claiming top grand prize when Miss Patricia Dare handed over a £1,000 cheque.


Written 01 May 12 Revised 06 Mar 15 © by Gary Elliott