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White's Directory of Nottinghamshire, 1853

Lenton, New Lenton and Hyson Green

Lenton Parish takes its name from its situation upon the Len or Leen, and lies in the vale of that river, near its confluence with the Trent, on the west side of the park and meadows of Nottingham, betwixt them and the parishes of Beeston, Wollaton and Radford, except its detached member called Bestwood Park, which is distant 5 miles north from any other part of the parish. Lenton contains 2,610 acres of rich sandy land, rated at the county rate to £6,957. Gregory Gregory Esq. of Harlaxton Hall is the principal owner and lord of the manor, but Jno. Wright Esq., Lord Middleton and Henry Smith Esq. have estates here. 112 acres of the beautiful park belonging to Lord Middleton is in this parish, within which stands the handsome park gate on the Derby Road. Lenton has, however, felt the manufacturing impulse of its neighbouring town, Nottingham, having increased its population five times over during the last fifty years; for we find that in 1801 it amounted to only 893 souls, which in 1851 had swelled to 5,590 living in 1,069 houses, which includes the new villages of New Lenton and Hyson Green, which latter is principally in Radford Parish, being situated on the common land, 154 acres, which was enclosed in 1796, and divided betwixt the two parishes, though that portion alloted to Lenton is completely surrounded by the land and buildings of Radford.

Lenton is a large, handsome village, 1½ miles west of Nottingham, consisting principally of beautiful villas with gardens and shrubberies, and neat cottages. Two annual fairs, granted by Henry I and Charles II, are held here on the Wednesday in Whit-week, and on November 11th, for horses, horned cattle and hogs.

It was anciently noted for its richly endowed priory of Cluniac monks, which was founded by Wm. Peveril, the illegitimate son of William the Conqueror, and was subject to the great foreign abbey of Clugny in France, till it was enfranchised by Richard II. At its dissolution in the reign of Henry VIII, its yearly revenue was valued at £329 15s 10d. The last prior, Nicholas Heath, was attainted for denying the King's supremacy, and its possessions were subsequently granted to various persons. The manor was sold for £2,503 in the 6th of Charles I, to William Gregory of Nottingham, whose son afterwards gave £1,400 for the fee farm, which had been granted by the crown to the Duke of Richmond. Thornton, in 1677, says "there was only one square steeple left of the monastery, which not long since fell down, and the stones of it were employed to make a causeway through the town." The late Colonel Stretton's father erected the house which bears the name of Lenton Priory, and is now occupied by Mr John Place. This mansion is in the ancient monastic style. Several stone coffins and a curious Saxon font were found when digging the foundation, together with several bases of the pillars of the conventual church, and a curious brass plate of the crucifixion, supposed to have been left there by Cardinal Wolsey, on his way to Leicester Abbey, where he closed his ambitious life.

In and near the village are several other handsome and spacious mansions, viz: Lenton Hall, Lenton Abbey, Lenton Firs, Lenton Fields, Lenton Grove, and High Field House, all beautifully situated, commanding fine views of the vale of the Trent. The ancient parish church, supposed to have been built on the site of the ancient hospital, after the destruction of the priory, before the foundation of which Lenton belonged to the parish of Arnold, is now a roofless ruin, except the chancel, which is used as a vestry room. It has been planted with ivy, which gives it a pleasing appearance. A new church, between Old and New Lenton, has been erected, dedicated to the Holy Trinity. The living is a vicarage, valued in the King's books at £9 2s 5d, now £132. The crown patron, and the Rev. George Brown M.A., incumbent. The first stone of this church was laid June 11th 1841 by Francis Wright Esq., who had given the land for the site, and for the vicarage house, and it was consecrated by the Bishop of Lincoln, October 6th 1842. It is a handsome building 41 yeards in length by 19 in breadth, and the nave is filled with neat open seats, with a handsome pinnacled tower containing a clock and one bell, and has a gallery at the west end which will seat 314. Th the body there are 616 seats, of which 166 are free. The font has been removed from the old church, and was dug out of the Priory gardens, and given by the late colonel Stretton to that church. It was built by public subscription and a grant from the Incorporated Society for Building and Enlarging Churches. The churchyard is enclosed by a neat iron palisading. Also in connection with the same was erected at a cost of £4,000 a large and handsome National School for both sexes, which is now about to be enlarged to accommodate 350 children. A new Infant School was also erected in 1851 by the Misses Wright, and in 1844 a large vicarage house in the Elizabethan style was erected adjoining the church.

At the enclosure in 1768, an allotment of 73 acres, and in 1786 15a 3r 28p of land was awarded to the lay impropriator, with 7a 3r 17p for his manor. Also the vicar in 1768 had 22a 1r 5p, and in 1796 1a 2r 14p awarded him in lieu of tithe, with 1a 2r 31p of ancient glebe, and received Queen Anne's bounty, expended in 17 acres of land at Belchford, in Lincolnshire.

New Lenton is a populous village a quarter of a mile north east of Old Lenton, containing upwards of 2,400 inhabitants. The ground (16 acres) on which the principal part of the village is built, was purchased by John Wright Esq. for £1,600, and sold by him in 1825 for building purposes, for the sum of £16,000. Here are several factories, machine makers, and extensive bleach and starch works. The tea and pleasure gardens at the Grove tavern is a beautiful place, often visited by parties from Nottingham, and the spacious bowling green and tea gardens at the White Hart, is also much frequented. The General Baptists and Wesleyans have each a chapel in the village.

Hyson Green contains about 740 inhabitants belonging to this parish, a great portion of whom are employed at the lace machines and stocking frame. The new church, the Kilhamites and Independent chapels are in this parish. The rest are in Radford parish.

Sherwood Rise is situated near the race course, and consists of twenty-six handsome villas, all erected since 1836.

Bestwood Park forms a detached portion of this parish, and occupies several wild and broken ridges of the forest, on the west side of the Mansfield Road, 5 miles north of Nottingham. It comprises upwards of 3,400 acres, and was once a royal demesne well stocked with deer, but it is now the property of the Duke of St Albans. It contains about 20 houses, occupied by farmers.

[Transcribed by Clive Henly]