Rufford Abbey, was the subject of Pete Smith’s talk to the Edwinstowe Historical Society which met in February. The meeting was well attended with 3 new members and 16 visitors joining the regular members. 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.
Mr Smith highlighted the additions and alterations carried out internally and externally over the years, by well-known architects Anthony Salvin, John Hallam, and John Birch. Photographs showed the overcrowded rooms which were popular during the Victorian and Edwardian periods. These were busy times, too, because the bathhouse was converted into an orangery, the corn mill was converted into a saw mill, the brick-built stables were altered and re-roofed and the coach house, brew house, and water tower were built. Bess of Hardwick was a visitor and so was Edward V11 who liked to stay at Rufford when attending Doncaster races.
Sam Glasswell’s talk on Wed. 18th March will be “Pilgrim Links – Mayflower Celebrations”. This year marks 400 years since the Mayflower set sail from England. Then on Wed. 15th April we welcome Bob Massey whose talk is about Skegness, often known as “Nottingham by the Sea”.