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REPORTS OF LECTURES FROM      The Thoroton Society 13th October 2001

David Knight Excavations of Prehistoric and Roman sites at Hoveringham Quarry

David Knight gave an excellent lecture, which had been postponed due to the theft of his slides; but, armed with a new set, he was able to tell an enthralled audience of the exciting and unexpected finds revealed during these excavations. A long record of land use was revealed, stretching back into prehistory and through into the Roman period - some high quality Roman pottery was amongst the finds. One of the most interesting discoveries was the evidence of fairly intensive animal management with complex drove ways and corrals. Hoveringham is the "settlement of the hump dwellers", describing the means by which inhabitants avoided all but the worst of the constant flooding of the Trent. These excavations showed that prehistoric settlers had adopted the practice of settling on the gravel islands or humps long before the name was coined. Even gravel extraction is not all bad, giving the chance to discover more about the county's unrecorded past. We look forward to David's next lecture on his work of assessing the archaeology along the route of the Fosse Way in advance of roadworks. Barbara Cast

The Elm Tree Hotel Hoveringham Ferry 

This was the address of a very popular waterside hotel owned by Trinity College Cambridge but run by the Baines family from about 1860 and possibly earlier. A visit to Hoveringham ferry was a holiday outing, a day  trip from Nottingham or Newark, perhaps by train and cart from Lowdham (one penny each way!) or a Sunday away day by family horse and cart from  Woodborough. The Hotel had visitors who stayed for 2 weeks, and those who  rowed from Nottingham for Tea. Hoveringham had travellers from New York, New Zealand, India, as well as France and Italy. Joseph Baines the second generation of Hoveringham innkeepers died aged 50 and was buried in the village cemetery in 1904.

Through a set of coincidences the visitor’s book for the hotel for the period 1894 -1904 has found its way back to Hoveringham. It is a black leather bound book and it is about half full of signatures and comments - August 1897 - “Aw god how it rained”. The book contains entries by eminent visitors from the theatre and entertainment world- Marie Lloyd and also the American military march composer, John Paul Sousa and his wife. Events are recorded such as, the first visit to Hoveringham of a motorcar and the day that “We won the cup” Forest 1898! Joseph Baines died in 1904 which probably explains the unused pages. Obviously it is of great interest to present residents and local historians

For anyone who would like to have their own copy of the entire book a CD has been produced in an easy to read format. This contains the whole 120 pages as well as the Sousa’s march “Hands across the sea,” the first few bars of which he himself wrote in the visitors book!


The Hoveringham Dredger August 17, 1949 Newark advertiser Mr George Seymour, a Newark dredgerman, was working with his crew on board their 70-year-old dredger on the Trent between Hoveringham and Caythorpe when they hauled up a 250lb bomb. The bomb was wedged in one of the dredging buckets. Mr Seymour rowed across the river to the Hoveringham bank to inform the police. An officer, warrant officer and several men from the bomb disposal squad, went aboard the dredger to examine the missile. As the nearest phone was at the Old Elm Tree Hotel, the officer went there to make his report. He met the landlord's son-in-law, Mr Charles Lawton, who had spent nine years in the RAF. Mr Lawton was a Flight Sergeant Fitter Armourer and was familiar with all types of British bombs. The bomb was declared harmless.