Originally a Cistercian abbey, it was partly demolished in the 16th century after the dissolution of the monasteries, and converted to a minor country house estate. Mr Smith talked about the succession of owners beginning in the 16th century with George Talbot, 4th Earl of Shrewsbury, until the 20th century when the property passed to Sir George, the 3rd Baron Savile, who was only 12 years old, at which time the trustees took the decision to sell the estate. After changing hands several times, and being used for military purposes during the 2nd world war, it was purchased by the Notts. County Council and has now become a park open to the public, owned by Nottinghamshire County Council and managed by Parkwood Outdoors in co-operation with English Heritage.

Rufford estate workers

Gardeners in Rufford kitchen garden

Rufford Japanese Garden

Memories of Rufford  by Frank Eyre

Just a Swan

Silent goddess of lake and shore

Muted now in deaths cold hand

Once white dancer of the waves

No More to glide through water deep


Lumbering flyer of wandering wedges

No bird of prey could match your pace

Once stood proud on waters broad

Snow no challenge to your glow


Empty rivers, empty  streams

No haunting calls or beating wings

This deadly essence of potent waste

Lays low the enchanting godly grace


Rise now as if in courting ploy

Dance on, join others gone before

Lost to the greed of opportunity

Not to be seen or loved no more

by Frank Eyre

Straw Burning

What extra cost the corn today                          Bramble patch where he played as a lad

None that I’m aware of in any way                    All gone now sad, sad, how sad

Fifty four birds a thousand bees                       What, the barn nearly went, the house too

Moles, mice and such as these                          Good God that would never do

Count not on the tally as he speaks

-*-                                                                         -*-

The stately old oak along the way                        Gusting wind, soaring heat, scoring pain

It only gave shade anyway                                     No time to cry

Three hundred paces hawthorn                            It’s said the eyes may never see again

The low knotted yew                                               It matters not

Sheltered stock as the North wind blew             No loss is sight to one so blind

by Frank Eyre



The hands of man have touched this scene

This old meadow mixed brown, gold, patchy green

Passing this way once pure joy

Catching the eye was their ploy

Fresh to the mind on every hand

Now swept away as planned

Gone those buttercups once spreading here

Gone now those waves of floating gold

No more for wandering eyes to hold

Lost to turning page of time

Gone from sight

But not from mind

Rufford 1984 by Frank Eyre