Elton on the Hill

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Elton on the Hill
Saint Michael's and All Angels Church, Elton-On-The-Hill. - geograph.org.uk - 84780.jpg
Elton Church
Grid reference: SK767388
Location: 52°56’28"N, 0°51’36"W
Post town: Nottingham
Postcode: NG13
Dialling code: 01949
Local Government
Council: Rushcliffe

Elton on the Hill is a small Nottinghamshire village and parish in the Vale of Belvoir, close to the border with Leicestershire.

Situation and facilities

Manor Arms Elton

Elton lies about 14 miles east of Nottingham. The village straddles the A52 trunk road, from which Station Road runs north towards Orston and Sutton Lane runs south, Sutton-cum-Granby being the nearest hamlet in that direction. Elton has a population of about 75.[1] The parish has an area of 1,037 acres.[2] It lies at an altitude of 70–120 feet above sea level.

The village contains a pub/restaurant (the Manor Arms and Little India).[3] There is bed-and-breakfast accommodation at The Grange, an early 19th-century farmhouse with parts dating back to 1725.[4] It is owned and run by the ex-Scotland FA footballer Don Masson and his wife.[5] Elton Camp, near the station, has been used by the Girl Guides for over 80 years.[6] There is commercially owned coarse fishing on a 28-acre site off Redmile Lane, which also has a five-berth caravan site.[7] The fish ponds are fed by Moor Dyke, the only watercourse to flow through Elton. The Vale of Belvoir Inn and Hotel (originally a private house called Whatton Vale, later a guest house called The Haven) is a hotel on the border between Elton and Whatton in the Vale, at the junction of the A52 with Redmile Lane.[8]

The nearest station to the village is Elton and Orston, but this offers a negligible service of one train in each direction on Monday to Saturday, including Bank holidays. The station building (1855, architect Thomas Chambers Hine) was demolished in the 1970s.[9] There are regular train services to Nottingham, Grantham and Skegness from Aslockton (2½ miles distant). Elton has a bus service that runs between and beyond Bingham and Bottesford.

There has never been a school in Elton, although a handful of pupils were taught privately at a house near the station in the 1960s. Children usually attend the primary school in Orston and secondary schools in Bingham, Bottesford or Nottingham.


The fabric of the small Anglican church of St Michael and All Angels is partly mediæval but the building was heavily restored with stucco rendering in 1857, when the tower was rebuilt.[10] It belongs to the Wiverton group of parishes.

The church and several tombstones in the churchyard are Grade-II listed. They include, just to the south of the chancel, a table tomb to Margaret Launder, wife of A. Collin Launder, who died on 22 December 1780.[11] The Latin epitaph translates as, "Were it right for me to indulge in private grief, as a husband I should be justified in weeping for you, who have been taken away. Yet spare your tears, nor let anxiety distract you. No one who has lived well dies wretchedly. The honour commonly accorded to you is less than your deserts. So, my wife, you have gone where goodness will be regarded as real honour. O one dear to me, farewell; yet I hope the time will come when I shall be with you again, if by any means I shall be worthy."[12] About ten yards away under the trees is a group of late 18th-century slate gravestones, including one to Thomas Mann – no relation to the German novelist.[13] Two smaller slate gravestones, also listed, are dated 1703 and 1720.[14] One of these is an example of a "Belvoir angel", a type of stone in Swithland slate typical of the Vale of Belvoir.[15] The earliest monument to a lord of the manor is to Langford Collin (1700 – 2 August 1766), who also owned estates at Beeston and Chilwell.[16] There is a modern gravestone just to the west of the church recording the death of one Harry Potter.

There used to be a large, plain, early 19th-century parapeted manor house,[17] with extensive grounds, but this was demolished in 1933 by its last owner, W. Noël Parr, a Nottingham solicitor who lived in the Old Rectory until 1957. All that remain are the 18th-century gateway into Sutton Lane, with the lodge (19th century, extended in the 1950s, once the sub-post office), the red brick walls of the kitchen gardens with a fort-like Grade-II-listed gazebo, thought to date from the late 18th or early 19th century,[18] and a grey brick brew house, now converted into a home and enlarged. On the main road towards Bottesford is a small ashlar, Grade II listed gamekeeper's lodge in Tudor style, built in 1842, but now enlarged.[19] The extensive Old Rectory in Station Road dates from the early 19th century and has some historicist features.[20]


Until recent years, "Elton-on-the-Hill" (hyphenated) was the name of the ecclesiastical parish and "Elton" the name of the coterminous civil parish. However, Capper's A Topographical Dictionary of the United Kingdom... (London, 1825) lists "Elton-super-montem, a parish in Bingham hund[red]. Notts."[21] The name in Saxon times was "Aylton", but the village was referred to as "Olleton" in the deed by which Roger de Bussi, Busli or Builli and his wife Muriel transferred the manor and its advowson to "God and the Church of St Mary of Blyth and the monks there serving God."[22] The name appeared as "Elleton" in an Inquisition (survey) taken in 1283.[23] Buildings belonging to Elton Manor and to the Rectory were whitewashed with black paintwork in the early 20th century, as are a couple to this day. So for a time Elton was nicknamed the "Magpie Village".[24]

Earlier history

Elton ("Ayletone") in the 1086 Domesday Book already had 14 households (11 villeins and 3 free) and a church. The lord in 1066 had been Earl Morcar, whose lands lay mainly in Lincolnshire and Yorkshire. The lord at the time of Domesday was Ralph of Neufmarché and the tenant-in-chief Roger of Bully,[25] who is mentioned in connection with 381 other places, as lord or tenant-in-chief, mainly in Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire. They include Bingham and East Bridgford and other nearby villages.[26]

The feudal dues paid in the Middle Ages to Blyth, in money and kind, were high, and the village appears not to have grown. Then came a not untypical succession of sales leading to increased rents and fines. Having belonged from Domesday to the Dissolution to the Priory of Blyth, "it then came into the possession of someone by the name of York, who sold it to Sir John Lion, Citizen and Alderman of London, who left it to his nephew, who sold it to a man named More, whose stepson in [the Nottinghamshire historian] Thoroton's time 'obtained the utmost profit the Lordship was any way able to yield him by the means of the extremest rack rents now paid'."[27] The farmland of Elton and of most surrounding villages was still cultivated by the open-field system in 1790. Some of the fields today are ridged, but it is hard to say for sure whether the ridges follow the lines of mediæval strips, or whether they formed part of a later system for draining the land. Even before the enclosures, the village and church were described as small, and an account of the tithes paid records that apart from the rectory and the "Manor, or Hall-Farm" there were only eight farms and twelve cottages, "so that it seems there is not much above Half so many Farmers as in old Time."[28]

Rev. William Selby, inducted in 1686, was an unsatisfactory rector. Bingham court records of 25 October 1709 report that "John Trinbury, in justification of his assault upon the Rector of Elton complained that at the funeral of Ellen Ragsdale 3 or 4 years earlier, the said Rector was so drunk that he could not say the usual prayers for the dead but fell asleep at the reading desk and had to be disturbed by the Parish Clerk, and then he went to the grave with the corpse and bid them put her in saying 'God help thee poor Nell' without any other prayers or ceremony and afterwards was led home by the Clerk. On the following day the Rector answered in a similar sworn statement that he was abused by the said John Trinbury in a very scandalous manner being called a knave, a rascal and a 'paultry scrub' and having his clothes pulled off his back by the said John and his wife and daughter." The Rector had already been charged in December 1708 for blasphemy for having given utterance to the following question: "Was God Almighty a drone? If not what was he doing before he made the Earth?"[29]

Turning to a later, more condensed account of Elton's history,[30] "In the Saxon times it was called Ayleton, and was afterwards of the fee of Roger de Busli, who gave it to the Priory of Blyth. At the dissolution of the monasteries it was granted to the family of York, from whom it passed to the Lions, Mores,[31] Collins and Launders,[32] and is now possessed by William Fletcher Norton Norton Esq., who resides in the manor house, a large and handsome mansion. William Fletcher Norton Norton Esq. is patron of the rectory, which is valued in the King's books at £8 0s 5d, now £286, and is enjoyed by the Rev. Robert Weatherell. The church, dedicated to St Michael, is a small humble edifice, which Thoresby describes as being 'dove house topped'. The parish was enclosed in 1808, when land was allotted in lieu of all tithes.[33] The feast is on Sunday after old Michaelmas Day [10 or 11 October]....

"In 1780, the parish clerk found, whilst digging a grave in the churchyard, upwards of 200 silver pennies, of the reign of Henry II and, on taking them to Mrs Collin, then lady of the manor,[34] his honesty was rewarded with a present of £10. In 1784, a blacksmith in Elton purchased a rusty piece of iron, about 2 feet long and 1½ inches in diameter, apparently solid, and which had been used as a pestal [sic] upwards of 60 years. Having some doubts about its solidity, he put it into his fire, when it exploded with great force, and a musket ball from within it grazed his side, and lodged in some coals behind him. This surprising accident led to further examination and enquiry, when it was discovered to have been a gun barrel, dug up in the year 1723, but so completely filled with earth and rust that no cavity had ever till then been noticed."

The village had 81 inhabitants in 1848,[35] and 91 in 1851.[36]

Apples and peers

According to Notes and Queries (4 February 1870, Vol. 41), William Fletcher Norton Norton of Elton Manor acknowledged himself to be the illegitimate son of "a former Lord Grantley," presumably the second (1742–1822). He married, first, Ursula Launder, daughter and co-heiress of Cornelius Launder of Elton Manor, in 1807,[37] and secondly Sarah Lushington, previously Mrs William Carmac, in 1847. Other sources say that Ursula and her sister Frances were cousins of Cornelius Launder (c. 1720–1806), the previous lord of the manor,[38] who had founded in about 1800 a charity for the benefit of clergy with livings near Nottingham.[39]

Among many business interests, Norton was a director of the Nottingham Canal Company, which owned the Grantham Canal, and chairman of the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Fire & Life Assurance Company and of the Ambergate, Nottingham, Boston and Eastern Junction Railway, which opened the Nottingham–Grantham line through Elton in 1850.[40] His gardens gained renown when the Baron Ward cooking apple "was raised, from Dumelow's Seedling, in 1850, by Mr Samuel Bradley, at Elton Manor, Nottingham, and first exhibited at the British Pomological Society, May 5th, 1859."[41] The variety is still commercially available.[42] While at Elton, Bradley was also responsible for two strawberry varieties: Sir Joseph Paxton (1862) and Dr. Hogg (1866).[43] Norton died in 1865, leaving the estate to a nephew. Bradley died at Halam, Nottinghamshire in 1891.[44]

In Black's Guide to Nottinghamshire, 1876,[45] it is noted, "The Hall, a spacious modern mansion, is now the occasional seat of Count De Pully, who inherited the estate from the late William Fletcher Norton Norton, Esq. The villagers have a tradition, that during the civil wars of the seventeenth century a battle was fought in the fields near Elton, and in confirmation of this report, several weapons and human remains have been found. In 1780, a large number of silver coins, principally of the reign of Henry II., were discovered in the churchyard."

De Pully, according to The Nobilities of Europe, 1910, by Melville H. Ruvigny,[46] was "William Enguerrand DE PULLY, of Elton, co. Notts, b. 1823, eldest son of the Count de Pully of Bélâbre, France, by Mary, sister of William Fletcher Norton of Elton, [who] suc[ceeded] his uncle in that estate 1866, and was naturalized in the United Kingdom as 'Enguerrand, Compte de Pully,' 14 May 1867. He sold Elton in 19-- to Lord Grantley."

According to a list of large estates sold by auction in 1900–1901, Elton Manor estate covered 1,075 acres and fetched £27,000.[47] The purchaser would have been Grantley, who as lord of the manor presented the living of Elton to Rev. E. Nelson in 1907. Grantley never lived at Elton Manor and failed to recognise it as his own when he saw it from the train.[48] He had almost certainly sold it again before the Great War, probably before 1913, when he bought the estate of Red Rice, Hampshire. The next owner was Walter Black (born 1850, the son of Thomas Black of Beeston, Nottinghamshire and his wife Anne, née Cooper, and possibly connected with the Nottingham printing firm) and his wife Eunice, née Stubley,[49] who presented the living to C. R. Storr in 1917. Their successor at the manor was Lt. Col. Sir Henry Dennis Readett-Bayley (1878–1940), whose parents had lived at Langar Hall and left him a mining fortune.[50] He was knighted in 1918 for his war work of providing ambulances, through the million-pound Dennis Bayley Fund for the Transport of the Wounded.[51] Readett-Bayley was the lord of the manor, probably from 1921,[52] who appointed Rev. W. H. Jenkins in 1927, but he soon sold on to W. N. Parr. (See above under Buildings.) Parr in 1941 presented the living to Rev. Gerald Marson, who arrived from the mining parish of Greasley.[53] Marson had visited the Holy Land and often described Biblical places graphically in his sermons.[54] He, his wife and his predecessor are all buried on the east side of the churchyard.

Guide campsite

Elton Girl Guide camp stands on 11 acres of ground donated to the Girls Guides in 1930. It lies just across the railway, closer to Orston than to Elton. The facility includes five equipped camping areas and a holiday house, set amid grass and woodland.[55]


  1. The 2011 census returns gave a combined population of 485 for the parishes of Granby and Elton.
  2. "Parish Councils: names and addresses". Rushcliffe Borough Council. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. https://web.archive.org/web/20070927110124/http://www.rushcliffe.gov.uk/doc.asp?cat=8883. Retrieved 26 June 2008. 
  3. Retrieved 28 September 2010.
  4. Photograph: Retrieved 28 September 2010.
  5. Retrieved 28 December 2010.
  6. Notts Guides: Retrieved 28 September 2010.
  7. Fishery: Retrieved 28 September 2010.
  8. A picture of the hotel: Retrieved 26 November 2010.
  9. Picture of the station buildings in 1967: [1] The signal box in 1963: [2] Retrieved 19 February 2011.
  10. Nikolaus Pevsner: Nottinghamshire. Buildings of England series (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1951). Depicted here [3]. Retrieved 28 September 2010.
  11. English Heritage: Retrieved 21 October 2010.
  12. A Short Guide to the Parish Churches of the Bingham Rural Deanery, ed. J. Pickworth-Hutchinson. (Bingham: Deanery Chapter, 1963).
  13. English Heritage: Retrieved 21 October 2010.
  14. English Heritage: Retrieved 21 October 2010.
  15. Nottingham Post Retrieved 1 July 2016.
  16. University of Nottingham mss catalogue. Retrieved 27 November 2010. On Collin's Nottingham background see a 1909 article in Transactions of the Thoroton Society: Retrieved 29 December 2010.
  17. Picture of Elton Manor: Retrieved 9 November 2010.
  18. English Heritage: Retrieved 21 October 2010.
  19. English Heritage: Retrieved 21 October 2010.
  20. The Shell Guide to Nottinghamshire (London, 1984). Entry under "Elton".
  21. Retrieved 28 September 2010.
  22. Thoroton's History of Nottingham, Vol. 1, 1790: Retrieved 13 October 2010.
  23. Thoroton's History...
  24. Local verbal communications.
  25. Elton's Domesday entry: Retrieved 19 May 2012.
  26. Roger of Bully in Domesday: Retrieved 19 May 2012.
  27. J. D. Chambers: Nottinghamshire in the Eighteenth Century, 2nd e. (London: Frank Cass & Co. Ltd, 1966 [1932]), p. 8, quoting Thoroton's History...
  28. Thoroton's History...
  29. Bingham history site: Retrieved 15 November 2010.
  30. White's Directory of Nottinghamshire, 1853: [4]. Retrieved 27 August 2010.
  31. The estate of Elton was sold in 1699 to cover legacies in the will of Gabriel More of Grantham, including one of £200 to a cousin, Francis Jephson of Elton. Retrieved 27 November 2010.
  32. Marriage entry in Elton church register: "Cornelius Launder, p. St. Peter, Nottingham, & Mary Collin. 8 September 1767" Retrieved 11 December 2010.
  33. This was carried out by the private statute Elton (Nottinghamshire) Inclosure 1807 (47 Geo. 3. Sess.2).c. 2P.
  34. Probably Sarah Collin, whose legacies were paid out by her executrix, Mrs. Launder, in 1782. Retrieved 27 November 2010.
  35. Samuel Lewis, ed.: A Topographical Dictionary of England (1848). Retrieved 13 October 2010.
  36. PO directory of Notts and Derbys Retrieved 15 October 2010.
  37. The Monthly Magazine, 1 August 1807, p. 86.
  38. University of Nottingham mss catalogue...,
  39. A Short Guide to the Parish Churches of the Bingham Rural Deanery.
  40. Retrieved 14 October 2010.
  41. Robert Hogg: The Fruit Manual.... 2nd ed. (London: 1862). Retrieved 14 October 2010. It is unclear why the apple was so named, but the 11th Baron Ward at the time was William Ward, who was funding the restoration of Worcester Cathedral.
  42. Commercial fruit tree catalogue. Retrieved 14 October 2010.
  43. Shown to the Fruit and Vegetable Committee of the Royal Horticultural Society on 5 June and 3 July 1865: Retrieved 28 December 2010.
  44. Gardeners' Chronicle, 1891:2, 256. Quoted in Retrieved 9 November 2010.
  45. [5]. Retrieved 27 August 2010.
  46. [6]. Retrieved 27 August 2010.
  47. Retrieved 9 November 2010.
  48. Told by his son, in Lord Grantley: Silver Spoon: being extracts from the random reminiscences of Lord Grantley (London: Hutchinson, 1954), p. 17; the fifth lord listed it among three country residences in Who's Who 1909: Retrieved 28 December 2010.
  49. Edward Walford: The County Families of the United Kingdom; or, Royal Manual..., Volume ed. 59, (London, 1919), The Blacks seem to have lived previously at Aslockton. Retrieved 28 December 2010.
  50. Readett-Bayley's generosity to another community, Hunmanby in Yorkshire, including a picture of him in uniform: Retrieved 9 November 2010.
  51. Retrieved 9 November 2010.
  52. See an article on the Bottesford Living History site: Retrieved 12 December 2010.
  53. Retrieved 9 November 2010.
  54. Local verbal communications.
  55. Notts Girlguiding Retrieved 3 July 2016.

Outside links

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about Elton on the Hill)