The name Aslockton stems from the Danish and Saxon Hasiachstone then through Aslacton before its current appellation. It lies just north of the Nottingham to Grantham railway line and the River Smite which separates the village from Whatton-in-the-Vale.
Aslockton is a bit of a one-trick pony. Whichever road you take to the village you will be informed that Aslockton is the birthplace of Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury between 1533 and 1553. He was born here in 1489 and spent the first fourteen years of his life in Aslockton before attending Jesus College in Cambridge. Although not a great deal of factual information exists about these first fourteen years of his life it does not dampen the enthusiasm of the village or stop speculation as to what he did here. It seems that the best that anyone can come up with is that he went to the church in Whatton-in-the-Vale ( where there is an engraved portrait of his father on his grave – see earlier posting on this blog) and he spent a lot of time sitting on a lump of grass whiling away his time. This is now known as Cranmer’s Mound.
As you walk around the village there are numerous reminders just in case it slips your mind that Cranmer was born here. The village school is named after him: The Archbishop Cranmer C of E Primary School as well as the Cranmer pre-school. His coat of arms can be found on road signs and streets have any number of references to the man such as, an apparently recent addition called St. Thomas Drive which must have stretched the imagination of those responsible for the naming of roads.
On Main Street there is Cranmer’s Cottage – it says so on the gate. Although the entry on Wikipedia states that his parents’ cottage still exists on Abbey Lane!
Further Arthur Mee in the King’s England volume on Nottinghamshire says that: ‘The Cranmers lived in the old Manor House which has now disappeared but was probably in a field where the path called Cranmer’s Walk (surprisingly) sets off to Orston. Near this path, just beyond the modern church, is a moated mound which may be part of an ancient earthwork and is now known as Cranmer’s Mound.’
The Cranmer Local History Group’s website states that the manor passed to Edmund Cranmer of Sutterton, Lincs. upon his marriage to Isabella de Aslacton . Edmund was Thomas’s grandfather and the manor was passed down to Edmund’s son, Thomas, the father of Thomas (still with this?) then on to John, his eldest son and Thomas’s older brother before being passed on to yet more Thomases. It would seem that Cranmer’s Cottage on Main Street wasn’t. However, there is a section of exposed brickwork with some graffiti/writing that can be discerned over the garden wall.
|Exposed brickwork on Cranmer's Cottage|
Until May 2007 there was a pub called The Greyhound Inn on Main Street. For a time in the 1960s it was run by my great uncle. It was first recorded in White’s directory in 1832 and its name comes from the heraldic coat of arms of the Barons Clinton and Pelham Clinton (Dukes of Newcastle) who were major landowners in Notts. It was once run by the mercurial, magical and truly gifted Nottingham Forest left-winger John Robertson. ‘Robbo’ played in 243 consecutive games for Forest between December 1976 and December 1980. He was an integral part of the ‘Cloughie’ teams that, for a few memorable years, dominated European football. Indeed it was Robbo who floated over the cross for Trevor Francis to head home the goal against Malmo in 1979 which brought the European Cup to Nottingham. Not to be outdone Robertson scored the only goal of the game in the 1980 European Cup final against Hamburg. Brian Clough once said of him, ‘Give him a ball and a yard of grass and he was an artist, the Picasso of our game.’ There was a time when you could go for a beer in the Greyound in Aslockton and reminisce with John Robertson then nip into the Wheatsheaf in Bingham and have a conversation with Ian Storey-Moore, the pub’s landlord and Nottingham Forest’s other brilliant left-winger.
Storey-Moore made 236 appearances for Forest between 1962 and 1972 scoring 105 goals, including a memorable hat-trick against Everton in the FA cup quarter final in 1967. There is a video of this game on Youtube and it’s well worth a watch just for the nostalgia. Storey-Moore made a single appearance for England which is more than Robbo managed. But then he was Scottish.
The Greyhound Inn has been consigned to the bin of pubs past and the Wheatsheaf has been closed and on the market for many months. Terrible shame! Houses are being erected on the site of the Greyhound but the shell of the pub still remains and the sign that promised ‘good stabling’ is till clearly visible.
|Good Stabling at the Greyhound Inn|
Further along Main Street we come across the aptly named Thomas Cranmer Centre, which is attached to the church…the surprisingly named St Thomas’s. This church was built in 1890-92 in memory of a former vicar of Whatton, Thomas K Hall, who drowned in 1890 in a shipwreck. More details of this can be found on our blog post on Whatton-in-the-Vale. The entry in Pevsner re this church is succinct: ‘Utterly insensitive to the county or the scenery.’ That’s clear then.
|Memorial stone to T K Hall|
|St. Thomas's Church|
|The Village Hall/Thomas Cranmer Centre|
|Just in case you forget where you are...|
Just along Main Street from the church there is an interpretation board with a potted history of Thomas Cranmer, a map of the ‘Cranmer Trail’ and a timeline of Cranmer’s life.
|Read about him...here!|
In case you have not had enough of all things Archbishopy you can have a pint in the only pub left in the village – The Cranmer Arms!
|The Cranmer Arms|
Inside you can view a painting of the man himself. An interesting story connected to this pub tells the tale of a Mrs Nix, the landlady, who after attending to business one day in June 1891, went upstairs shortly before 10PM then returned to inform her husband that she had taken poison. Mr Nix at once administered emetics and hastened to Bingham for medical assistance but his wife died before he returned. The Nottingham Evening Post lead with ‘Supposed suicide at Aslockton.’
|Whatton-in-the-Vale church beyond Aslockton|
Aslockton is served by the railway from Nottingham in the west and Grantham in the east. The station was designed by T.C.Hine in 1857 and is, mercifully, free from all things Cranmer.
|Aslockton Railway Station.|