Sutton Parish Developments

Learned parish leaders did begin documenting their entrusted affairs. One example of ruling importance is dated 20th April 1675 recording when Churchwardens present the following: Isaac Roobotham, nailer, and Joseph Key of Durty Hucknall, for not coming to their parish church to hear divine service or sermon for three months last past, and not receiving the holy communion. Second churchwarden, William Rushton, originally stated to be 'egrotat' (meaning sick), but he has subsequently signed the presentment bill.

Amidst religious duties performed through the Sutton-in-Ashfield parish church of St Mary's, they created some schools of learning claiming to aid poorest children.   Examples of earliest provisions for educating Huthwaite residents dates from 1669, found in the Will of Ann Mason. A married daughter of an influential Langford family, she left past addressing of Fennybank Close in the aforenamed Hucknall-under-Huthwaite with Trustees appointed for teaching the poorest children in Bible reading.   With similar motive dated 1724, Elizabeth Boot was recorded also giving her lands addressing Pot House Close in Fulwood.

Throughout those years a gradual increase in population had become very noticeable within these ancient divisional borders.   Upon reaching year 1800 and through changing names given for Hucknall Huthwaite, this secondary hamlet had reached a population of around 500 residents. Such a significant proportional growth was not only demanding individual recognition, but would also fast outgrow attempts at rearranging the existing church to accomodate larger congregations.   Allocating a northern section of St Marys called the Hucknall Huthwaite Aisle introduced our first Curate in 1826.   By 1840 however, the framework knitting industry encouraged a Huthwaite population nearer 1,000, doubling the figure within just 40 years.

Divine services were eventually brought into Huthwaite by construction of our first National School, seen here upon Blackwell Road.   Land with £450 towards costs was National School presented by the Dowager Countess of Carnarvon who greatly supported the idea of providing better education.   Building was completed 1867 under Rev Charles Bellairs, and that current vicar of Sutton began conducting Sunday afternoon services.   Licenced evening service was given by Mr C B Beecroft, Sutton's Lay Reader. Further aid was gained in 1873 when the Countess again, plus other eminent people including Hon C L Lyttleton, Lord Robarts, MP W H Gladstone and Rev C H Prance, helped raise more funds to support a Hucknall Huthwaite Curate.

The opening of our New Hucknall Colliery was predicted to eventually invite new employment for up to 1500 workers   Whilst this number actually represented more than our entire village population count, that coal pit brought the most significant growth here into Hucknall-under-Huthwaite. By year 1900, village parishioner numbers had exploded into 4000. A number larger than the whole ancient parish a century before, and all still reliant upon one Sutton Parish Vestry who respectfully performed full baptism, marriage and burial ceremonies defined by leading roles through the Church of England.

The Anglican church once held powers of local government, including legal responsibility for supporting its poorest parishioners. Where congregations thus largely comprised of business and land owning voters, increasing numbers of labourers recognised ruling members could afford keeping strict divisional beliefs asserting elitist higher classed status. One good reason why alternative methodist faiths so widely gained popularity through early industrialisation, respectfully preaching religion relating poorer hard working class. Nearer the 20th century and generally following a rapid rise in poorer population numbers, most antiquated authoritative and administrative powers of parish guardianship, including local workhouses were transferred under the future control of newly elected Boards of Town and District Councils.

There comes dated evidence that farming Quakers had for centuries tried quietly living amongst this village. However, our first nonconformist chapels openly erected in 19th century Hucknall Huthwaite represented various Methodist factions. Subtlely branched from the firstly introduced Wesleyan faith, each gained unique popularity among this expanding mining community. Facing what seems combined competition our Sutton clergy appears slow before finally lending our flourishing 20th century township individual parish stature.


Written 01 Aug 04 Revised 11 Mar 15 © by Gary Elliott