Who Lived on The Green in 1901?
In the footsteps of the ennumerator.
On Sunday March 31st 1901 the census enumerator, Daniel Richmond Daybell, ‘clerk to the Parish Council, assistant overseer, farmer and pedigree large white pig breeder,’ proceeded from “Gas house cottage, Bede House, Houses on The Green, to Lovett’s house” in order to collect the information about households which was required by law for the census.
In 1901 this information included the usual age, sex, marital status, place of birth, and occupation. In addition the ‘number of rooms occupied if less than five’, ’employer, worker, or own account’, and ‘if working at home’ were required.
Some disabilities were also to be recorded:
1. Deaf and dumb
4. Imbecile or feeble minded.
Following in the footsteps of the enumerator, even on the 1901 census, is by no means straightforward. Although numbers appear on the census for Bottesford from 1881, these can refer to rooms occupied by households and do not necessarily coincide with houses as they appear on the maps. The enumerator does not always indicate // that one house is occupied by two households, but sometimes it can be inferred where two ‘heads’ of household are listed for one property.
House numbers altered as old houses were converted or demolished and new houses were built. Street names vary from one census to the next. Farmhouses and yards were usually named after their owners, a new name being adopted when the property changed hands.
The population seems to have been as mobile then as now, with families coming into or leaving the village as employment dictated. Less than half the population was Bottesford born. Of 1,224 people on the 1901 census 677 (55%) were born elsewhere. Most people lived in rented property and might move from one rented dwelling to another as their circumstances changed.
However, the section of the census for The Green coincides with one of the few parts of the village which has not greatly changed. Using the 1884 O.S. map it is possible to identify most of the houses and their inhabitants .
Mr. Daybell seems to have regarded The Green as beginning with the two cottages next to the church near the Rectory Lane ford. He ends this section of the census at the ford near the Methodist Chapel. This use of the name ‘The Green’ for what is now officially designated ‘Devon Lane’ still survives locally and presumably refers to what was once the village green. Older residents of the village recall that the area on which The Square was built in 1948 was once used as a drying green.
In the Footsteps of the Enumerator -1901
The first call the enumerator made was to the cottage, dated 1723, now known as Providence Cottage, which stands next to the Church on Rectory Lane, overlooking the ford. Number 1 The Green was occupied by Sophia Aukland, born in Bury St Edmonds, widow of William Aukland, once landlord of the Six Bells. She probably moved to The Green when her husband died in 1893. She was 80 years old and deaf, but was cared for by her 26 year old companion and niece Sophia A. Lee, who had lived with her Aunt since at least 1881.
Attached to Providence Cottage, but of later date, stands Riverside Cottage, 2 The Green in 1901.
It was lived in by John Barker, aged 60, born in Leeds, ‘domestic gardener’, formerly a groom and coachman and a farm bailiff. It seems likely that John Barker had lived in the same house since at least 1871, when he appeared on the census as living ‘near the church’. His wife was a Bottesford woman, 79 year old Sarah Barker, the daughter of Richard Harper, Parish Sexton. She was over 40 when she married John Barker; on the 1861 census she is listed as unmarried and living with her parents on Queen Street. In spite of being 19 years older than her husband she survived him. John died in 1902, but Sarah lived to be 95 and did not die until1915.
Daniel Richmond Daybell then crossed the road from numbers 1 & 2 The Green to the ‘Alms House’, known locally as the Bede House or Rutland Hospital, founded in 1591 by Elizabeth, Countess of Rutland, to accommodate ‘six poor persons’. During the following centuries numbers rose and then fell. In 1861 the Hospital housed 9 people and a matron.
By 1901 there were only two surviving inmates, 90 year old farm labourer Thomas Parks, born in Sleaford and William Cook, an 85 year old farmer from Waltham. They had both lived in the Hospital for at least 10 years.
Eighty-one-year-old widow Hannah Bend, born in Harlaxton, was in charge there. She had been matron and housekeeper in 1881. By 1901 she was listed as ‘caretaker’.
4 Danby House is next to the Rutland Hospital. In the 1901 census it is listed as Number 4 The Green but it is named on the 1881 census when it was occupied by Mark Sansom Stafford, formerly butler to George Pitt-Rivers, Baron Rivers. As a butler Mr. Stafford had been in charge of a considerable household of 24 indoor servants. Although he was born in Long Bennington, the choice of Bottesford for his retirement suggests that he may have been related to the local Stafford and Sansom families. Mark Stafford appears on the 1871 census for The Green and died aged 71 in 1895, leaving his widow Emma Stafford, a 77 year old Londoner living with her older sister Mary A Cummings, 87. They had one servant, Bottesford born Lizzie Handley, 24.
Number 5 The Green , now Ivy House, the next house on the census, is another substantial nineteenth century property. It does not appear on the census until 1881, suggesting it was built during the 1870s. In 1901 it was occupied by a wine and spirit merchant from Sowerby Bridge, Yorkshire, Charles F. Ratcliffe. He was 67 and his wife SaraRatcliffe, who came from Redmile, was 64. Their two sons, Charles W., 38, ‘commercial clerk’ and Fred B., 36, Corn Dealer, and their 33 year old daughter, Katherine, were all still single and living with their parents. Mary F. Bockin, 25, born Bottesford, ‘General Servant Domestic’ was the last member of the household.
Next Daniel Daybell would have come to the five cottages shown on the 1884 map.
Number 6The Green , now number 10, FordCottage, next to Ivy House, was a four-room cottage occupied by Thomas Rawdin and his family. 53 year old Bottesford-born Thomas was a canal labourer, married to a woman from Woolsthorpe, 51 year old Sarah Rawdin. Three of their children were still at home: 15 year old Harry, a coal merchant’s clerk,13 year old Rose and 11 year old Cecil. No employment is given for either of the two younger children, but since they are not listed as ‘scholars’ they have presumably left school.
Thomas and Sarah’s oldest son, Thomas, was known as ‘The Hero of Nitral’s Nek‘ for his bravery in 1900, during the Boer War, for which he was awareded the Distinguished Conduct Medal.At the time of the census he was probably still overseas. On his return he got work as a labourer with G.N.R. Sadly he was killed on the railway in 1906.
The canal had long been superseded by the railway, which was an important employer in Bottesford at the time. The Green was home to several families of railway workers.
Number 7 The Green is now number 12. A Sedgebrook man, Samuel Baker, lived next door to the Rawdins in another 4 room cottage. He was a 40 year old foreman platelayer on the railway, married to Hannah Baker, 42, from Tuxford. They had a nine year old daughter, Francis, born in Bottesford. Samuel’s widowed mother, 77 year old Mary Baker, born Barrowby, lived with them.
Number 8 The Green The only occupant of this cottage was Mary Fisher, a spinster ‘living on her own means,’ born in Bottesford around 1841. She was a dressmaker and had lived on The Green since at least 1871. She may be the Mary Fisher, aged 12, daughter of journeyman shoemaker George Fisher, who appears on the 1851 census for The Green.
Number 9 The Green was lived in by another railway man, signalman Henry Spencer from Derby.His wife, 42 year old Fanny Spencer, came from Grantham. Railway workers often moved around, but the Spencer family had been in Bottesford for at least three years, since their little daughter, Dorothy Ann, was born there. The census records this as a 4 roomed cottage. The pictures below show Dorothy, born 1897, at about the time of the census, and her mother Francis, born Francis Cooper in 1855, probably at the time of her marriage to Henry Spencer in 1895. (We are grateful to Sheila Marriott of Barkestone-le-Vale for these photographs for the and additional information. Dorothy’s grandmother was Ann Wilford of the William IV Public House in Barkestone.)
Number 10 The Green was the home of another spinster, 71 year old Frances Palgrave, from Fulbeck, also described as ‘living on her own means.’ In the 1920s the houses on Devon Lane were occupied by so many single women that it became known as ‘spinsters’ row’.
Today the remaining cottages on Devon Lane have been altered to make two larger dwellings. Numbers 8, 9 and 10 have been combined to form number 14. Numbers 11, 12/13 and 14 are now number 18. In 1901 the remaining cottage, households 15/16 on the 1901 census, still stood in front of the Primitive Methodist chapel, in what is now the chapel yard.
Number 11 The Green , was a strangely shaped building, also listed as having 4 rooms. It was lived in by another platelayer, William Branstone, 45, with his wife Fanny Branstone, 35. They had four children, 11 year old Frank Philcox, 7 year old William, 5 year old Florence and 3 year old Annie. All the family were born in Bottesford.
Number 12 The Green was a three-room cottage occupied by widower Thomas Rawdin, 79, born Farndon, a retired labourer.
At this point it becomes less clear which people occupied the remaining cottages. In 1891, when his wife Elizabeth was still alive, Thomas Rawdin lived next-door-but- one to Frances Palgrave, who seems to have occupied the house at the end of the first row of 5 cottages (no.10)since 1881. To the west his neighbours were Thomas and Francis Norris.(no.14) If we assume that these people still occupied the same cottages in 1901, then Thomas Rawdin shared his 3 room cottage with another household.
Number 13 The Green . (Part of no. 12?) The Head of this household is given as 43 year old single mother Eliza Wilson, the school cleaner. Her 19 year old son Arthur was employed as a stockman. Both were born in Bottesford.
Number 14 The Green . Another Bottesford-born man, cottager Thomas Norris, 68, lived in number 14 with his wife Francis Norris, 67, born Redmile.
Number 15 The Green , was a cottage, now demolished, in front of the Methodist Chapel. It was also occupied by members of the Norris family. 66 year old William Norris, a retired butcher, was ‘living on his own means’ with Annie Norris, his 60 year old wife, born Balderstone. William and Annie Norris share their house with another ‘household’.
Number 16 The Green The ‘Head’ of this household is given as widow Elizabeth Duffin, cottager, aged 43.
Number 17 The Green Primitive Methodist Chapel
Number 18 The Green , half of an eighteenth century farmhouse, now called ‘The Green’. was also occupied by a member of the Norris family, 63 year old Charles Norris. Charles’ wife, Ellen Norris, 52, was born in Nottingham. Charles was ‘living on his own means’, but he and Ellen had two ‘boarders’, 10 year old Irene Hodgson, from London and a baby, Kathleen Norman, born in Bottesford just three months before.
On the 1861 Census Thomas Norris, a 70 year old master shoemaker born in Foston, lived ‘On The Green’ with his family, including his son Thomas, 28 yr old master shoemaker. Next to them lived Judith Norris, 74 yr old ‘proprietor of houses’. Deeds for The Green farmhouse and for Ford Cottage show that the Norris family owned properties on The Green, which supports the identification of number 18 as The Green farmhouse.
Number 19 The Green , the other half of The Green farmhouse, was ‘inhabited’, but unoccupied on the night of the census.
In the picture on the right it can be seen that the house is in three distinct sections, the furthest being a modern extension. The house continued to be divided into two seperate properties until the second half of the C20th.
Number 20 The Green (OS 462 now Oxholm) the last house on the census for The Green, was occupied by single farmer Thomas Lovitt, 29, and his unmarried sister, ElizabethLovitt, 27, from Normanton.
The 1920 Duke’s Sale catalogue describes this building as a ‘farmhouse’, with cowshed, stables and barn. The house and buildings appear to date from the second half of the C19th.. On the 1881 census it was known as ‘Devon Cottage’ and occupied by farmer George Dixon. Today the farm buildings have been converted into a house, The Barns.
At this point in 1901 Daniel Richmond Daybell either retraced his steps, or followed the foot path from the chapel to the brickworks, past the allotments. The next house on the census is ‘Gas Works Cottage, possibly on the site of the Day Nursery.
Of the other older houses on Devon Lane today, ‘The Barns’ was originally the stables and barns of number 20, Oxholm. Local residents remember that before the conversion of these buildings an archway led from the house to the stables.
In the early 19th century the barn was used as a theatre for performances by travelling players, suggesting that there was a substantial older building on this site, considerably predating the present house.
‘Brook Cottage’, although C19th in date, does not appear on the census as a dwelling. The 1884 map suggests it was part of the out-buildings attached to the bakery on Chapel Street.
The remaining houses on Devon Lane/The Green are modern.
With thanks to Ann Daly, Sue Dunsmore, Ann Fazackerly, Peter Topps and Margaret Waudby for their help.