History of Winthorpe

Before the Norman Conquest, Wymun, a Norseman, sailed up the Trent, and founded a ‘thorpe’ or settlement, at the junction of three roads, those from Gainsborough, Lincoln and Leicester. During the reign of Henry II, in 116O, Robert, Bishop of Lincoln, who held the patronage of Wimthorp, was in financial difficulties and obtained help from Aaron, the Jew of Lincoln. He pledged the possessions of the See. When Aaron died in 1186 the crown seized his assets, so Winthorpe became crown property and remained so until 1215, when King John returned it to the Bishop. At the dissolution of the monastries, in 153O, the village again became the property of the crown, but was given by Charles II to the Borough of Newark in acknowledgement of the town’s service to his father.

By the end of the sixteenth century the village had a flourishing farming community, whose lands extended from the ‘Old School Lane’ to the site of British Malsters in Northgate, and from Coddington Lane, across the present airfield to the Trent. The airfield was pasture, as were the cowgates in Northgate and the marsh¬land extending from the stream in Holme Lane to the river. The arable land extended from the ‘Old School Lane’ to the cowgates, a really extensive acreage, and the mill, which stood on the site of the present Southfield Estate must have been working full time.  Skelton, Horner, Hoole and Brewer were wealthy yeomen farmers, some of whose descendants lived in the village for over two hundred years. Thomas Brewer, the founder of Brewer’s Charity in 1616, mentioned eighty village people in his will and left every child in Winthorpe a ‘ewe and a lamb.’

During the Civil War there was an actual fort in Winthorpe and Col. Henry Gray’s forces were stationed in the area. The church was damaged; there was a gun emplacement in the churchyard and a mass burial of soldiers, yet the farming community seemed little affected.

In the mid-eighteenth century, Dr. Robert Taylor, son of the innkeeper, educated at Newark Magnus School, began to acquire land in Winthorpe and the building of the Hall began. Unfortunately he died with only the ground floor built and Roger Pocklington, the banker, who later built the Grove for his son, Roger, completed the structure. Naturally he wanted his estate in one block so he exchanged properties with village owners, as well as purchasing land from Newark Corporation, the money he paid being used for the building of Newark Town Hall.

By the end of the nineteenth century, the village consisted mainly of three large estates; the three owners employed the Hall, the Grange and Winthorpe House and almost all the villagers. The present century has witnessed the break-up of these estates into the village as we see it today. The ancient footpaths over the fields to Holme, Langford and Coddington have disappeared, the mill is no longer a landmark, the sheep wash is never used, the giant elms, which lined the road sides right through the village are gone, the meadow saffron, cowslips and orchids have disappeared with the ploughing of the old pastures, the violets from the hedgerows are a thing of the past but the old inn in the centre of the village remains and the well built houses of the yeoman farmers still stand to remind us of past history.

Miss K.E.Euston.
Extract from Focal Point.