Article and images sent through Mr J Brealey from Rev. Charles Maiden vicar at All Saints Church.
The foundation stone of the proposed Parish Church for Hucknall Huthwaite was laid last Saturday by the Duchess of Portland. The ceremony marked the first step towards the realisation of a scheme to provide adequate church accommodation, with separate endowments, for Hucknall Huthwaite, which is an extra-parochial district of Sutton-in-Ashfield. The existing church accommodation at Sutton is insufficient, but at Hucknall, which has a population of 4,076, there is no church at all. A sum of £4,078 is estimated to be required to complete the projected church in accordance with the plans of the architect, and towards this £2,578 has been raised or promised, whilst a splendid site had been generously given by the Heathcote-Unwin family. Under their present rules the Ecclesiastical Commissioners will grant an endowment up to £150 per annum, on condition that the church accommodates at least 500 persons. In order that the nave, chancel and aisle might be built so as to afford the accommodation required by this condition, £887, had still to be obtained, and the balance which remained to be raised to complete the church, with tower, &c., was £1,500 (inclusive of the £887 referred to), but this deficit was reduced to a level £1,000 by a generous donation of £500, made by the Duke of Portland at the conclusion of the stone-laying ceremony. The church will be of fine proportions, and dignified in its architectural character when complete, and will be dedicated to All Saints´. The material employed in the masonry is the colliery rock quarried in the neighbourhood, with Mansfield stone dressings. The architect is Mr. C. Ford Whitcombe, of London, and the building is being undertaken by Mr. A. B. Clarke of Nottingham.
The occasion was observed as a public holiday at Hucknall Huthwaite. In the principal streets through which the Duke and Duchess of Portland had to pass to reach the site of the proposed church triumphal arches and other decorations had been arranged, and flags were displayed at most of the houses. The Duke and Duchess drove over from Welbeck in a motor car, and were met in Sutton Market-place by two brass bands, who headed the procession which escorted their Graces to the church site. There was a very large attendance at the ceremony, including the following clergy: Revs. J B Hyde (vicar of Sutton-on-Ashfield), F N Beswick (priest in charge of Hucknall Mission), E F Leach (Manchester), W H Williams (Stanton Hill), P Eykyn (Sutton), A W Bell (Nottingham), W Maples (Mansfield), S C Farmstone (Blackwell), H J Stamper (Skegby), C E Leighton (Sutton), A G Henley (Mansfield), C A E Rowland, - Tomlinson (Mansfield), and T Lawson (Kirkby).
There were also present Messrs. W Simpson and W Lee (Hucknall church wardens), Messrs. C B Beecroft and L Briggs, (Sutton churchwardens), Messrs J W Hick, C H Turner, M Allsop, A Taylor, S Watson, B Chapman (Hucknall) Miss Beswick (Hucknall), Miss Withers (Mansfield), Mr. & Mrs. H Smith (Mansfield), Mr. F Cook (Mansfield Woodhouses), representing the Unwin-Heathcote family, the givers of the site: Mrs. Kennington (Hull), Miss Hodgkinson (Kirby Hardwick), Mrs. Beecroft, Mrs. J B Smith, Mrs. & Miss A H Bonser, Mr. & Mrs. G G Bonser, Mrs. C H Kitchen, Mrs. Radford, Mr. & Mrs. Armstrong, Mr. & Mrs. Bosworth, Mrs. Eykyn, Mrs. H Miller. Mrs. H North, Mr. & Mrs. A Jarvis, Mr. C Swires, Mr. J Briggs junior, Miss Daubeny, Miss Briggs, Misses Charlton, Salter, Morley, Straw (Sutton), Mr. G F Beswick (Manchester), Mr. W Richardson (Mansfield Woodhouse), Mr. & Mrs. Dodsley (Skegby Hall), Mrs. Williams (Stanton Hill), Miss Marshall (Derby), Mr. C Ford Whitcombe (architect), Mr. A B Clarke (builder), Mr. W Pinkett (foreman), Mr. & Mrs. F J Turner (Mansfield Woodhouse).
The service which was conducted by the Rev.J. B. Hyde, was commenced with the singing of the "Old Hundredth", and consisted of the brief office appointed by the Church of England for such occasions. The Stone having been got ready by the masons, the officiating clergyman said: "In the faith of Jesus Christ, we place this stone in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen." An inscribed silver trowel and ebony mallet were then presented to the Duchess of Portland, who, having "well and truly" laid the stone, said: "I hope that this church of which we have just laid the foundation will be a blessing to the inhabitants of Hucknall Huthwaite." The stone bore the following inscription: - "To the glory of God and the memory of All Saints´, this foundation stone was laid by her Grace the Duchess of Portland on November 22nd, 1902. Laus Deo."
The Duke of Portland said that it had given the greatest pleasure to his wife to lay the foundation stone of the church, which it was proposed to build upon that site, and he was very glad to be present himself at the ceremony, because they knew full well how much such a building was required at Hucknall Huthwaite and how extremely anxious the inhabitants were to see the completion of the good work. The pleasure felt by the Duchess and himself in taking part in the inauguration of the building of the church and in assisting so excellent a work was enhanced by the knowledge that they were helping those who had done their best to help themselves, for they were informed that the people of Hucknall had given both cash and unpaid labour with great generosity. Whilst the district, and especially the Church in Hucknall, owed a great deal to Mr. Hyde, the vicar, to Mr. Warrington, the late curate, and to Mr. Beswick, the present curate-in-charge, they must not forget Mr. Simeon Watson, who had made most generous efforts to further the scheme. Although a Nonconformist, Mr. Watson had bestowed much valuable time, and had done much to meet the cost of the proposed church, which he knew was for the welfare of the working people in that district. He felt that he was only voicing the feelings of that assemblage when he said how much they were indebted to Mr. Watson, and how thankful they were to him for his generosity and broadminded views so practically brought to bear in the work they were met together to inaugurate. In closing, he asked that he might be allowed to raise his subscription to 500, and he hoped that the amount required for the completion of the church would soon be raised.
The Duke´s generous offer was received with loud cheers.
Mr S Watson proposed a hearty vote of thanks to the Duke and Duchess of Portland. It was the first time that they had been given the pleasure of seeing her Grace at Hucknall Huthwaite, but they remembered with gratitude the generous help given by the Duke to their Church schools, which, he was glad to say, had been of very great value to the parish, and were already becoming outgrown. By their kindness that day their Graces had added another item to their long list of thoughtful benefactions to the people in whose midst they lived. The Duke and Duchess were about to embark upon a visit to distant part of the British Empire, and everyone in that gathering would unite in wishing their Graces God-speed upon their journey and safe return. Mr W Simpson seconded the vote of thanks, which was carried by acclamation, and acknowledged by the Duke.
Subsequently to the ceremony an adjournment was made to the Church schools, where several hundred people sat down to tea. The Duke and Duchess of Portland went round the various tables, exchanging greetings with those present. They were heartily cheered as they drove back to Welbeck, and were accompanied by the two local brass bands and a large crowd of pedestrians upon the first stage of their return journey.
Written 17 May 03 Revised 24 Mar 09 © by Gary Elliott