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Laura Cuch

UCL

The Big Houses

Aston Lodge

Joseph Greaves of Ingleby and Foremark purchased land in Aston on Trent in the late 1730’s and commissioned the building of the Lodge, probably by William and Francis Smith, who had recently worked on Aston on Trent Hall, owned by Robert Holden. The original design of the Lodge was a five by three bay, two and a half story house similar to that of Aston on Trent Hall.

Joseph died in 1749 and the house was inherited by the eldest of his three sons. The son, also called Joseph, lived at the Lodge with his wife Ann, sister of Sir Brook Boothby of Ashbourne. When he died he left the house and contents to Ann who by 1791 was living in Staffordshire. On her death in 1819 her body was returned to Aston on Trent to be placed in the family tomb.

Aston Lodge was then purchased by the Rev. Charles Holden, Vicar of Aston on Trent for £4,500. It was described as ‘a capital messuage’ with dove house, coach house, stables and barn and sat in nearly 68 acres. That same year, 1791, he inherited Aston on Trent Hall and sold the Lodge to Mr Pack, who a year later sold off a large part of the estate to Thomas Sutton of Shardlow. Mr Pack retained the house and around twenty acres. Nine years later a Mrs Darwin was the owner who was still there in 1815.

In 1820 George Redmond Hulbert owned and occupied the property. He had joined Nelson’s navy and was earning large sums of money working as a Naval Prize Agent in the West Indies. Hulbert made significant alterations to the Lodge. The garden front acquired a wide full length bow to the right of the entrance. A triangular pediment was added above the front and garden entrance. A ball room was built to the left of the garden front and a service wing was built to the right of the bow. This was almost as large as the original house.

On Hulbert’s death in1825 his widow eventually sold the Lodge to James Sutton the canal entrepreneur. He too made extensive alterations. The ballroom range was raised to full height at the front to match the service wing. The garden front entrance was altered to look very much like the garden entrance of Aston on Trent Hall and Sutton then leased the house to a variety of tenants.

William Drury Holden (a distant relative of the Holden’s of Aston on Trent Hall) was the first recorded resident. He married Cally, youngest daughter of the 2nd Lord Scarsdale of Kedleston Hall in 1827 and they lived at Aston Lodge “a comfortable family mansion” for nearly 10 years. Constantia Walker was the next known tenant, moving into Aston Lodge around the time of her husband’s death; his family owned the Samuel Walker Iron Company in Rotherham, Yorkshire. It is not known when Constantia left but by 1864 Mr and Mrs Miller were in residence. The school log records that Mrs Miller would visit the ‘lowest class in arithmetic to help with the teaching of subtraction.’ Lady Emily Elizabeth Palmer and her daughter had moved into the Lodge by 1870. She was the widow of Sir George Joseph Palmer, Baronet of Wanlip Hall and High Sheriff of Leicester.

The next twenty years saw a number of tenants at Aston Lodge. William Earl Welby Esq. J.P. lived at the Lodge from 1872. In 1880 Charles Hope and his wife Leanora were in residence. A well known collector of antiques, Charles Eyre Bradshaw Bowles moved his wife Elizabeth and their three children to Aston Lodge from Gloucestershire.

Around the turn of the century Charles Augustus Peters was a tenant. He was born in Germany but became a naturalised British subject. He lived at the Lodge with his wife Rachel. His occupation was a ‘foreign merchant manufacturer.’ He died in 1904.

Reginald Sam Boden purchased Aston Lodge from the Sutton family in 1908. He was the son of lace manufacturer Henry Boden and Mary Shuttleworth of Aston on Trent Hall. Reginald Boden made alterations to the Lodge around 1910. A new stable block was built and also a water tower. The water tower supplied the house and the extensive grounds. These buildings are now private apartments.

The garden was re landscaped with terracing, fish ponds and fountains. To the front of the house alterations were made to the ground floor and extra windows and a second bow were installed. Imposing gates, originally made by Robert Bakewell, one of the greatest 18th Century ironsmiths, were placed at the front entrance of the Lodge.

Some local residents can still remember one of Reginald’s daughters marrying at Aston on Trent church. A red carpet was laid from the door of Aston Lodge to the entrance to All Saints Church and Elizabeth, known as Betty, was attended by a page boy and nine bridesmaids. The youngest were dressed as shepherdesses wearing Boden lace bonnets and carrying shepherd’s crooks. One bonnet still exists today. There were also a group of flower girls in attendance chosen from the village. The wedding guests included several Lords and Ladies, a large number of military and an Admiral of the Fleet.

Around 1925 the house lay empty for a short period before becoming the Vale of Belvoir Nursing Home. In 1928 Alfred Loomes purchased the house and dismantled it in 1932/1933 with fixtures and fittings being auctioned off. The gates were sold to Long Eaton Borough Council for £33 and can still be seen today at the entrance to West Park, Long Eaton.

Frank Worrall ran a market garden business from the land after the house was demolished. He was trading from 1935 until at least 1941. Part of the land and the stables was used by Dennis Young as a horse racing establishment during this time.

The houses of Lodge Estate were built around the time of the Second World War and stand where Aston Lodge once stood. People can still recall playing on the impressive fountain on the playing fields; the last remaining feature of the landscaped garden. As a result of the demolition sale in 1933 many features of the original house and garden still reside in local properties today.

A comprehensive account of this history can be found in the Group's publication 'The History & Heritage of Aston on Trent on the Sale Items Page’.

Aston Hall

Built in 1735 for Robert Holden, this substantial country house is of two and a half storeys and five by three bays. It is thought to be the work of Francis Smith of Warwick. Built of brick with stone dressings from neighbouring Weston Cliff, the house has a central bay breaking forward with a Venetian window above a porch with Ionic columns, the latter being a later addition. Further additions were made in 1828 and a few years later, possibly around the early 1840’s, the building was painted a “stone” colour. In 1898 the Holden’s sold the Aston on Trent Estate, along with the Hall, to Colonel William Dickson Winterbottom. Shortly after this change of ownership a major extension was built to the west front of the Hall. This comprised a two storey wing with attics, the ground floor being a Billiard Room which is sometimes referred to as the Ballroom, with bachelor rooms above. Access to the first floor rooms is by a staircase of eighteenth century origins which was obtained from an outside source. In the early part of the twentieth century the grounds and gardens were re-modelled.

The Winterbottom family remained at the Hall for twenty-six years and during the First World War they gave over part of the Hall to serve as an auxiliary hospital for the recuperation of wounded officers. Following the death of Colonel Winterbottom in April 1924 the Hall, together with entire Aston on Trent Estate, was sold at auction in November of that year. The Hall and its grounds were purchased by Nottingham Corporation and in April 1926 it was opened as a Colony for the Mentally Deficient. Over the ensuing years the Hall was used less for patient occupation and was eventually used for administrative and staff accommodation purposes as more suitable patient accommodation was developed in the Hall grounds.

During the 1980’s and 90’s Aston on Trent Hall hospital gradually went through a shut-down process with the Hall itself being sold of to private developers in 1995. The Hall was subsequently converted into private apartment dwellings. Despite its various roles over the last eighty years Aston on Trent Hall has been treated kindly and sympathetically during its terms as two types of hospital and finally as private apartment dwellings. Both externally and internally it has remained largely true to its original design and hopefully will remain so protected by its Grade II listing as a building of special architectural and historic interest.

Aston Rectories

The present Rectory was built in 1970 on a site that was formerly occupied by at least three earlier Rectories going back to the sixteenth century.

The benefice of Aston on Trent was regarded as a good living. Evidence gathered so far indicates that Rectors during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries enjoyed the comforts of a substantial well appointed house and a style of life that was expected and accepted of an incumbent who was generally financially supported by land holdings and farming, together with the backing of the wealth and influence of his family.

An examination of the Probate Inventory of Robert Porter, Rector of Aston on Trent between the years 1588 and 1617, reveals a house of at least twelve rooms with outhouses and stables. John Porter, who succeeded Robert and held office until his death in 1636, also provided a Probate Inventory which substantiated the property holdings of his predecessor.

During the English Civil War of 1642 to 1651 the Rectory and the benefice became a “battleground” between Richard Clarke, who took office in 1636 and was a Royalist sympathiser, and Thomas Palmer, a clergyman of Parliamentarian leanings. In 1644 Richard Clarke removed himself and his family from Aston on Trent Rectory after suffering continued harassment from nearby Parliamentarians. He was considered to have abandoned his post and his living was sequestered to Thomas Palmer. For several years the dispute between these two clergymen rumbled on, with Richard Clarke’s formidable wife Beatrice playing a major role in preventing Thomas Palmer taking full control of the Aston on Trent benefice. Eventually Richard Clarke was restored to the benefice under the terms of the Restoration Settlement.  

The Holden family came into possession of the Aston on Trent estate in 1648 and with this acquisition came the advowson (patronage of the benefice). Edward Holden succeeded Richard Clarke in 1681 and from that time until 1916 a member of the Holden family held the office of Rector of Aston.

Edward Holden was succeeded by Thomas Holden in 1702 and an inventory taken after the death of the latter in 1726 indicates clearly a house of similar proportions to that occupied by his predecessors, but also gives a more detailed picture suggesting the existence of a working farm as part of the Rectory estate.

Coincidental with the death of Thomas Holden in 1726 we learn of the building of a new Rectory. The evidence so far obtained regarding this building is an artistic impression, dated 1839, of the west of the parish church, this view showing a substantial Georgian-like dwelling to the north of the church. There is also a large scale map, drawn sometime between 1796 and 1830, which also shows a large rectangular building clearly marked as the Rectory.

It is not yet known how long the Georgian Rectory survived, but during the reign of Queen Victoria a replacement Rectory was built on the same site. From the examination of photographs of the Victorian Rectory there is a suggestion that the Georgian building may have been extended by adding wings to the north and south sides. Whether or not this is a reasonable assumption, the house in question was of substantial proportions, befitting a clergyman who was a member of the Holden family who towards the end of the Victorian era owned approximately two thirds of the parish of Aston on Trent.

The life style of the Victorian Rectors can be imagined by a glance at the 1881 Census Return which shows that the Reverend James Shuttleworth Holden was employing seven household servants in addition to other employees engaged in looking after his horses, stables, carriages and gardens.

During the twentieth century the Rectory gradually became more accessible to the people of Aston on Trent and was made available for village events and meetings of various village organisations. Its commodious facilities were put to good use during the Second World War as accommodation for members of the Woman’s Land Army and the grounds were occupied by Aston’s Home Guard Platoon for drill and weapons training. Its cellars were used as an air raid shelter for villagers.

In 1969 it was considered that the Rectory was no longer fit for purpose. Its general condition had deteriorated beyond cost effective repair and the decision was made to demolish and make way for the building of the Rectory we see today.

No. 16 The Green, Yeoman House

This Grade II listed building is thought to have started life as a single storey medieval timber framed house. At the end of the seventeenth century it was rebuilt in brick and modifications made, notably the addition of a first floor. This rebuilding is attributed to Christopher Wright, a yeoman with considerable land holdings around Aston on Trent. On the street front of the building situated at high level is a date stone inscribed with the date 1690 and a “W” over “CM”.Over the years the house has undergone a number of alterations but in 1969 it was in danger of being demolished to make way for housing development. Fortunately, and partially through strong opposition from the village and the Society for the Preservation of Ancient Buildings, the County Planning Committee decided that its loss would seriously detract from the character of the village and permission to demolish was refused.In the mid 1970’s the building was sympathetically converted into office accommodation on the ground floor with living facilities above. To this day it is used for commercial purposes and remains one of Aston on Trent’s notable historic and architectural features.

This Grade II listed building is thought to have started life as a single storey medieval timber framed house. At the end of the seventeenth century it was rebuilt in brick and modifications made, notably the addition of a first floor. This rebuilding is attributed to Christopher Wright, a yeoman with considerable land holdings around Aston on Trent. On the street front of the building situated at high level is a date stone inscribed with the date 1690 and a “W” over “CM”.

Over the years the house has undergone a number of alterations but in 1969 it was in danger of being demolished to make way for housing development. Fortunately, and partially through strong opposition from the village and the Society for the Preservation of Ancient Buildings, the County Planning Committee decided that its loss would seriously detract from the character of the village and permission to demolish was refused.

In the mid 1970’s the building was sympathetically converted into office accommodation on the ground floor with living facilities above. To this day it is used for commercial purposes and remains one of Aston on Trent’s notable historic and architectural features.