(Norton) Cuckney parish extends eastward from Creswell Crags, in Derbyshire, to near Thoresby Park, and is bounded on the north by Welbeck, and on the south by Church Warsop. It is watered by the small River Poulter, and contains 1,757 inhabitants and 5,127 acres of good forest land, principally sand, but partly clay, black vegetable, and hazel loam soils, all enclosed, but partly in plantations and extensive pastures, and is divided into four townships - Cuckney, Holbeck, Langwith, and Norton (Cuckney). Cuckney parish participates in Dame Frances Pierrepont's charity, of which the chapter of Southwell are trustees.
Cuckney is a neat, well-built, pleasant village on the Poulter, 5 miles south by south-west of Worksop, and 6 miles north-west of Ollerton, containing 600 souls and 1,095 acres of land. Here are two large mills, for spinning cotton and grinding corn, with the ruins of a cotton mill which was burnt down in 1792, occasioned by the carelessness of a boy taking hot cinders from a grate in a wooden coal-skep and leaving it in one of the upper rooms. The fire was first discovered by the postman, who rode through the village at three o'clock in the morning. He gave an alarm, and every assistance was got as quick as possible, but by eight it was burnt to the ground. The present mill stopped working July 12th 1844, and the machinery has been all sold, and many poor families laft destitute. In 1846, the Duke of Portland converted part of the old mill into a National School for boys and girls, which will accommodate 200, average number 120. His Grace is also its principal supporter, George and Mrs M.H. Freeman the master and mistress. In 1840 an infant school was established by Miss Coldom, where upwards of 60 children attend.
The church, dedicated to St Michael (Ed's note: St. Mary) (valued in the King's books at £9 8s 6½d, now £193), is a large ancient structure, with a handsome tower and four bells. Earl Manvers is the patron, and the Rev. Taylor White B.A. the incumbent. The vicarage is a neat house near the church. Cuckney was held by Sweyn the Saxon, but after the Conquest was given in fee to Hugh Fitz-Baldrick and Joceus de Flemaugh, except two carucates, which Gamelbere, an old Saxon knight, was allowed to retain for the service of shoeing the King's palfrey, "as oft as he should lie at his manor of Mansfield." A great part of this parish was given by Sir Henry de Fawkenburg and others to the monks of Welbeck, which at the dissolution was sold to Sir George Pierpont, but Earl Bathurst was lord of the manor and principal owner in Cuckney and Langwith townships till 1844, when the estates were sold to the Duke of Portland, now the sole owner and improprietor in the parish. The vicarial tithe was commuted in 1840 for £219, and the large tithe is included in the rest of the farms. Here is a small Methodist chapel, and a reading society was established in 1839, which contains 350 volumes. The extensive farms of Mount Pleasant, ¾ mile south-east, Park House, 1 mile south-west, and Shireoak Hill, 1 mile west of the church, are in this township. The feast is on the second Sunday after New Michaelmas Day.
Holbeck or Howbeck township contains the five small hamlets of Holbeck, 4 miles south-west of Worksop, Bonbusk, 1 mile west, Woodhouse, ½ mile east, and Woodend, 1 mile south-east of Holbeck, with a few scattered farmsteads, one of which is Collingthwaite, where there is a corn-mill, one mile south-east of Holbeck. The township contains 263 inhabitants and 1,204 acres, the rental £1,253. It is the property of the Duke of Portland, who in 1810 received it in exchange for that part of the forest land called Bilhagh. At Woodhouse the Catholics had a chapel which, since 1841, is an episcopal place of worship, and the Duke of Portland pays £50 a year to the vicar of Cuckney, for performing service every Sunday evening, Good Friday, and Christmas Day. The feast is the last Sunday in October.
Langwith is a romantic village and township, on the verge of the county, near the source of the Poulter, where there is a mill for sawing stone, with some fine woody acclivities. It is 2 miles west of Cuckney, and 7 miles south-south-west of Worksop, containing 1,279 acres of land and 274 inhabitants. The village is called Nether Langwith and near it, in a delightful situation, is Langwith Hall, the seat of Captain Samuel William Welfitt Esq., and was formerly an occasional residence of Earl Bathurst. Cuckney Hay Wood near Langwith Mill, is in this township, and contains 135 acres, divided by rows of chestnut trees into four parts, having a large cedar tree in the centre. During the last 15 years, about 600 large oaks have been felled. The feast is on the first Sunday after Holy Cross.
Norton, sometimes called Norton Cuckney, is a pleasant village and township, lying in a delightful vale, near the confluence of the Poulter, with the extensive lake of Welbeck park, one mile north-east of Cuckney and 4½ miles south of Worksop. It contains 1,549 acres and 626 inhabitants. Milnthorpe is a small hamlet ¼ mile east of Norton. Hatfield, a farm containing about 90 acres, ¾ mile south-east of Norton, is the property of Edward Fox Esq. of Bolsover, a minor. Hatfield Grange, a large farm ½ mile south-east of Norton, is the property of the Duke of Portland, and in 1850 His Grace added 8 acres of flood ground, which has very much improved the farm. It is occupied by Mr William Skinner. These two farms are the only places in the county which bear the name of this great division.
Creswell Crags, about half a mile north of Holbeck, and three miles south-west of Worksop, are in Derbyshire, but so adjacent to Nottinghamshire as often to be considered a part of that county. Indeed, a few cottages in Holbeck adjoin them. Lying out of the way of good roads, and almost inaccessible for carriages, they are not often visited by tourists, though remarkably curious - consisting of lofty precipitous rocks, torn by some convulsions of nature into a thousand romantic shapes, and presenting a miniature representation of the more majestic scenery on the Derwent, near Matlock.
[Transcribed by Clive Henly]