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By Philip or Reginald or Rachel or Eleanor Riley (Approximately 1930)

Provided by Margaret Guest to David Randall Radford 2001



IN 1750 the village did not exceed 30 houses and following the Enclosure Act of 1768, a map of the Lordship of Normanton C. 1769 from a map of 1728 by John Grundy, shows many closes and pingles with several new names as proprietors. These included Robert Goodale, John Wilson, Lord Huntingdon, Samuel Crompton and Repton School (writes Peter H.Thompson).

The largest tenanted farm was The Cottons Farm, which extended from the old Barracks to Sinfin Moor, in area about 380 acres. It was farmed until about 1894 by the Radford family whose name appears in the Normanton registers in the mid- 1 700s.




My great-great-great-grandfather John Radford, born 1759, was a yeoman farmer in Normanton until his death on 8 May 1833, aged 74. His house and homestead were on Village Street, with a parcel of land called the Rickyard adjoining, a cowhouse, stable and garden. In 1788, he married Mary Gibson, daughter of John Gibson and Mary (nee Harrison) of Mickleover at Derby St Peter's. In his will he left various parcels of land, closes, livestock, personal goods, 'my house and homestead in Normanton in which I now reside', to his youngest son Richard, with legacies to other sons and daughters. Various closes are named and can be identified on old maps, e.g. the Two Far Marsh Closes and the Marsh Close adjoining or near to Sadler's Flatt, the Two Near Marsh Closes and Far Slade Marsh Close. It is interesting to note the number of closes, following the Enclosure Act. It seems that the 'House and Homestead' existed on Village Street on the site of the later Old Hall Farm which belonged to the Edge family with whom members of the Radford family inter-married. The Old Hall Farmhouse still stands on Village Street today.

Richard Radford, John's youngest son, who inherited the farm, married Hannah Land of Normanton at Derby St Peter's on 24 January 1825 and later moved to Walnut House, Stenson. According to the 1861 census he was farming 270 acres, employing three men and one boy. Richard, who died on 29 September 1871 and Hannah are buried in Normanton Churchyard. Their epitaph reads: 'There the wicked cease from troubling and there the weary get rest. Job 3:17'

Other children of John and Mary Radford include: Mary, wife of John Wilson; Joseph, a publican of Turnditch; William, a butcher of the Normanton Road; Dorothy, the wife of William Johnson, publican of Hopping Hill and Ann, my great-great-grandmother who married George Pemberton, builder. Surprisingly, one of his oldest sons, Robert, born 1796, who farmed the Cottons Farm, was not mentioned in his father's will. John, who died in 1833, is also buried in Normanton Churchyard. His epitaph reads:'John Radford - Who departed this life May 8 1833, aged 74 years.'In Christ he died - what can words express 'To make the sorrow of the mourners less 'The God he served is now his joy 'And songs of praise his Powers employ.'

Meanwhile, Robert was farming 160 acres of The Cottons Farm according to the 1851 census. He had married Ann Stevenson, daughter of Thomas Stevenson of Snareston in 1822. The 1851 census lists five children, the eldest being Robert junior born 1823 and a servant, Jane Brownsword - a well-known Normanton name. The 1861 census shows that Robert had increased his land to 270 acres and upon his death at the Cottons House in 1872, his youngest son, Edwin, inherited the Cottons Farm, now increased to 285 acres and employing six men and two boys plus a dairymaid and two servants.

This branch of the Radfords farmed the Cottons Farm until 1893-94, when Edwin purchased the Haynford Lodge Estate in Norfolk and the whole farm, livestock etc., was transported by rail, 'lock stock and barrel'. Edwin, born 1840, had married Georgina Edge and it is believed that the move to Norfolk was partly for health reasons and partly because of the impending expansion of Derby into its surrounding countryside.

A transcript taken from a copy of 'The Journal' in the Norwich Mercury dated Saturday, 11 August 1928 reads as follows: 'Late Mr. E.Radford Death of Haynford's public benefactor.

The death occurred at Haynford Lodge on Thursday (2 August 1928) of Mr. Edwin Radford, an octogenarian farmer, and landowner, well known and highly respected in this part of the county. He was born at Normanton, near Derby, in 1840. In 1875 he married Miss Georgina Edge, who, having pre-deceased him, he married in 1903, Mrs. C.Cousins, of Terrington. Mr. Radford farmed extensively in Derbyshire and later at Frettenham and Haynford, and became a well-known figure at Norwich Corn Hall and Cattle Market. Mr. Radford's activities were not limited to his business as an horticolgisculturist. For a number of years he was a member o(St Faith's Rural District Council. Always showing a keen interest in church and parochial matters, for over 30 years he held office as Church Warden at Haynford as well as at Normanton (Derbyshire), while as School Manager at Haynford he interested himself in the educational side of village life. As recently as last year he gave Haynford their playing field as well as additional land on which to build a Parish Hall. His death is a great loss to the Parish. Mr. Radford leaves four sons, all noted farmers.'

In 1895, Cottons Farm was being farmed by Frederick Johnson, according to Kelly's Directory of 1895, which also lists the principal landowners of Normanton as John Shaw Esq of Norman ton House, Mr. Goodale, Messrs Robert, Richard and Edwin Radford, Messrs Reginald and Raymond Roumieu and Lt.- Cdl George Newdigate. A brief summary stated that 'the soil is loam; subsoil clay and marl, mostly pasture; corn is grown to a very small extent. The area is 1,180 acres; rateable value 10,178'.

In 1891 the population of Normanton was 1,186 and of those 248 resided at the Barracks. By the Derby Corporation Act 1890, that part of Normanton included in the municipal borough was created a separate parish designated New Normanton and is given with the Borough of Derby.

In 1921, Cottons Farm was purchased by Derby Borough Council from Arthur Jessop, a wool merchant from York, and the golf-course was laid out in 1924. A further portion of land was allocated to build the houses in Thackeray Street in 1931-32 and another small piece to build Moorside Crescent in 1977.

In 1922, the engineering company International Combustion Ltd acquired 55 acres of land {ronting Sinfin Lane (formerly Cotton Lane) and the old firm W. & J.Richardson (established 1624), tanners, curriers and belting manufacturers, established their Eaglc Leather Works on the site of the Old Brickworks. Here was a very deep pond, formed by excavating the clay for bricks for the Norman ton Barracks, which was well stocked with perch around which fishermen would spend many happy hours. Water from the pond was pumped to a storage tank inside their works and many a perch was taken from this tank. It was said that a horse and cart toppled into this 'bottomless' pond, never to be seen again!

Cottons is an ancient name. The 1605 map of the Manor of Normanton shows many areas thus designated e'~ Middle Cotton, Far Cotton, Rough Cotton etc., and the old road (Cotton Lane) ran from Osmas ton Road along the present Cotton Lane, Elton Road, Osmaston Park Road and down Sinfin Lane, all formerly Cotton Lane. The site of Cottons Farm is an ancient settlement. Notice the reference in The Domesday Rook, England's Heritage, Then and Now edited by Thomas Hinde: 'Cottons; Codetune: Kings Land, Henry de Ferrers. Cottons Farm.' The present Cottons Farm probably dates from the late l700s and the variety of brick bonds suggest additions at different periods. It was the largest farm extending from the former Normanton Barracks to Sinfin Moor, in area about 380 acres.

Robert Radford, who died at the Cottons House in 1872, had other lands, which are mentioned in his, will proved at Derby on 15th February 1873. These included 'two closes of land called the Hall on Hell Meadows, situated in the Parish of Littleover, two closes of land called The Long House and Top Heanor situated partly in the Township of Norman-ton and partly in the Parish of Littleover, a close of land called Sunny Hill situated in the Parish of Little6ver, a close of land called The Top Marsh situated in the Township of Normanton'.

In addition, he left his messuage, cottages, lands, and hereditaments situate in the Parish of Alvaston in the County of Derby, to his son Joseph Radford, and it is interesting to note that there is a Radford Street in Alvaston.

Robert's eldest son, also Robert, who spent his early life at Cottons Farm, married Ann Buck Newton in 1850. She was a member of another old Derbyshire family and reputed to be a descendant of Sir Isaac Newton. A brief summary of this Robert is found in his obituary in the Derby Mercury, 27 March 1908 under the heading 'The Late Mr. Robert Radford -A Derbyshire Yeoman' which reads as follows: 'At Normanton-by-Derby on Monday, the funeral took place of Mr. Robert Radford who for many years was one of the most prominent farmers in the district of Derby. A descendant of a well-known yeoman family, the deceased spent his early life at the Cottons Farm, Normanton-by-Derby and when 27 years of age he married Ann Buck Newton, a member of another old family. In 1850 he became the tenant of the largest farm on the Aston Estate, under Squire Holden and during the many years he remained there he was one of the leading men in the village, fifling all the important parish offices. He was also churchwarden and rendered invaluable service in many other ways. In farming, he displayed great ability and he was the winner of many prizes, including a cup given in an open county competition for the best managed farm. The adjudicators at the time stated that they had never seen a farm so excellently stocked or better managed.

'Mr. Radford resided at Aston for 29 years and when he retired into private life he went into residence at Normanton-by-Derby, where he purchased an estate (Park Hill) and continued to farm some 40 acres of land.



'Mr. Radford sat on the Board of Guardians for the Shardlow Union, was a member of the Old Norman-ton School Board, and was one of the original members of the Parish Council. His advice was largely sought-after and never refused. He was one of the best judges of stock and for many years was a regular attendant at Derby Market. A man of kind heart and genial temperament, his purse was ever accessible for charitable and philanthropic objects.

'The Vicar, the Rev. J.Glass, assisted by the Rector of Aston, the Rev J.S.Holden, impressively read the burial service. The coffin was of polished English oak with brass appointments and shield engraved 'Robert Radford. Died March 19 1908 aged 84 years'.

'The mourners were: Mr. T.Turner, Mrs. Turner, Mr. and Mrs. Riley, Mr. and Mrs. Dudeney, Mr. R.Radford, Mrs. Burton, Mr. R.Jerram, Mrs. Tabberer, Mr. C.Kirk and Mr. R.Woo&

'There were also present: Alderman W.Hart, Dr Reid and Mr. W. Powell. The selected pall bearers were: Mr. Robert Turner, Mr. O.Vickers, Mr. P.Riley, Mr. A.Burton, Mr. T.Turner and Mr. W.Riley. The funeral arrangements were in the hands of Thomas Lloyd and Co Limited, Derby'.

Ann Buck Radford died at Park Hill in 1882, aged 62, and after Robert's death in 1908 the house was subsequently owned by the Grimes family - well-known drapers in Derby - of whom Commander R.C.D.Grimes was Conservative candidate for Derby South in the 1950s.

Park Hill was purchased by Messrs International Combustion Ltd in 1949 from the Grimes family for 3,000 and part of it used initially as a drawing office. In 1953, planning permission was obtained for use as a social club and a conference/concert hall was built on. A bowling green was laid out in front of the house. This is the present role of Park Hill.

There is a stained glass window in St Giles' Church, Normanton-by-Derby, inscribed: 'To the glory of the Lord and in loving memory of Ann Buck, wife of Robert Radford, Park Hill, Normanton, born 24 February 1820.' A plaque alongside says, 'This window was placed in the church to the glory of God and in memory of Ann Buck Radford who died 12 May 1882, aged 62 years, by her children.'

A plaque over the reredos says: 'This reredos was erected to the glory of God and in memory of Robert Radford, who died 19 March 1908, aged 84 years, by his children.'

In addition there are several Radford graves with memorial inscriptions in Normanton Churchyard Robert's brother John, born 1829, of Mount Villa, Village Street, Normanton, was also a farmer and in his will, proved in 1908, he left to his son John (born 1865) 'a clear legacy of 300 with all my furniture, linen, china, books, pictures, wearing apparel, ornaments, wine and other liquors, horses, carriages and all other effects in and about my house and all live and dead farming stock, implements, stores and ancilliary effects, house, gardens etc'.

His son John, who described himself as a 'gentleman', also of Mount Villa, died in 1914 leaving his estate to his wife Edith Sarah Radford.

Old Normanton still retains a little of its rural atmosphere, its church and churchyard, Normanton House and several other great houses, although with modified uses. There are still far reaching views across the Trent Valley to Breedon and beyond from various vantage points, notably Park Hill. Finally, there continues to be a link with the past in Cottons Farm which is still being farmed today, although on a much smaller scale.


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