Wednesday, 12 July 2017


The busy A60 and A6006 meet at Rempstone ... the place could be twinned with the M25! ...... but it is still quite an attractive place as it has a number of old listed buildings .... 15 in fact!

The Cottage dates to mid 17th century

It may be plagued by cars but it is blessed with steam engines. 

The second weekend in July is the date for The Great Rempstone Steam and Country Show. 

This annual steam rally has been running since 1956 making it the oldest one in the country: they have only missing 3 events in all that time due to an outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease and adverse weather conditions. It began life as a small event behind Beeby Farm where the Beeby Brothers had started a Contracted Ploughing and Cultivating business in 1907.  They owned 7 pairs of single cylinder engines each weighing 17 tonnes.  The fair now plays host to about 50 steam engines and 600 exhibits so it has moved to a larger location near Wymeswold.  Worth a visit.

Village Hall

Rempstone was the ancestral home of the Rempstone family who played an important part in English history.  Those of you who know Shakespeare will remember the tale of Henry Bolingbroke, son of John of Gaunt, who was born at Bolingbroke Castle in Lincolnshire. In 1398 he was somewhat critical of  his cousin King Richard II and was promptly exiled.  The following year John of Gaunt died and Richard decided to also confiscated Henry's inheritance.  Henry was a popular figure and an experienced soldier so he did not take Richard's actions lightly. Disregarding the exile Henry returned to England and set about reclaiming his lands and fortune.  Sir Thomas Rempstone (or Sir John Ramston as Shakespeare chose to rename him in Richard II)  was Henry's closest ally.  Rempstone had served as Knight for the Shire of Nottingham and as Sheriff of Nottingham before taking up Henry's cause.  Having captured King Richard Henry appointed Sir Thomas Rempstone as Constable of the Tower of London so he was incharge of the royal prisoner: he was also a witness when Richard abdicated in favour of Bolingbroke 

The new King Henry IV was very generous to his friend.  Rempstone became a Knight of the Garter, Steward of the King's household and a member of the Privy Council.  These positions gave him considerable wealth and extensive lands in Nottinghamshire including the Manor of Bingham but it didn't do much to improve his personality.   He died in rather an arrogant fashion in October 1406.  There had been exceptionally heavy rainfall that month.  The Thames ferryman taking Rempstone across the river refused to go under a bridge and set course for the safety of the nearest bank.  Rempstone drew his sword and threatened the poor ferryman forcing him to continue under the bridge.  They hit the bridge post, the boat capsized and Rempstone drowned. No blame was placed on the ferryman thankfully.

Fine example of an early 17th century thatched cottage

Rempstone's son was also called Thomas.  Like his father he recognised the benefits of staying close

to the King. In his case it was King Henry V (Shakespeare's Hal). The young Rempstone had his first taste of real warfare at Agincourt with Henry in 1415. He had a personal retinue of eight men-at-arms and 24 archers.  He would go on to be recognised as one of the leading military commanders of his
time.  He was present at the triumphal enrty into Paris in 1420.  Each success brought him greater wealth and following a very lucrative marriage he helds extensive lands in both England and France.  Every thing went well until 1428 when he was involved in an attempt to take Orleans ... unfortunately
Joan of Arc had other ideas.  The English troops were forced to retreat with the French in pursuit.  Rempstone was taken prison in 1429 and they demanded a ranson of about £5000 for his release.  Despite his wealth his family found it difficult to find the cash! He would not return to England until July 1436.

His brother William did make a serious attempt to gain his freedom in 1432 when he was organising part payment and a prisoner exchange.  Unfortunately the French prisoner they chose to exchange was already being used as hostage for a ransom due on the Duke of Orlean so the deal fell through.  After seven years as a hostage Rempstone returned to Nottingham almost bankrupt.  He settled for the quiet life of a country gentleman for just a couple of years before returning to campaigning in France ... and being captured a second time.  He died in 1458 and was buried in the chancel of Bingham Church.

All Saints'Church
Rempstone All Saint's Church dates back to 1771 but some of the building material was taken from a much older church that had fallen into disrepair.  The earlier church was a Saxon building named St Peter in the Rushes. It was situated about three quarters of a mile away from the present church ... some old grave stones mark the spot .... and had served three communities.  When the village was enclosed in 1768 it was decided to move the church closer to Rempstone.

We could not gain access to the inside of the building but we could glimpse some beautiful carved panels decorating the raised singing gallery through the windows.  It all looked very Victorian which is quite apt as one of the memorials inside is a richly engraved brass plate on the floor commemorating George Davys, Bishop of Peterborough, who was tutor to Queen Victoria.


The Old Rectory has obviously changed over the years ... In 1770 it was described as having "two parlours, hall and kitchen with four chambers above.  There was ... a small thatched barn, stables and a cow house."  This place has had a couple of interesting visitors in its time.  A young Oliver Cromwell slept under this roof as did Florence Nightingale.

White Lion pub

It was a nice surprise to find the pub was still in business.  The White Lion was recently purchased by four village residents to save it for the community.  There has been a pub on this site for many years ....just round the corner is a property called the Coach House with a large opening for the carriages to gain entry.  We missed opening time by 30 minutes on this visit but it looks good so we plan to return.  The new owners sell traditional ales and there was talk of a food menu so we will let you know what we think in due course ......

White Lion pub

Across the road from the pub but out of sight from the road stands the Grade II listed Rempstone Hall.  It was recently up for sale with a guide price of £2.5 million for the Hall and 22 acres of garden, woodlands and pastures.  It had been home to an order of nuns since 1978 (when they paid £110,000 for it) but they now have a new purpose built convent at Costock. 

During the 1800s the Hall was home to John Smith Wright (of the Smith banking family) and his wife Lady Sarah Caroline Sitwell.  Lady Sarah was described as a blue stocking and moved in artistic/literary circles .... Edith Sitwell probably learnt a lot from her.  Lady Sarah's first husband had been Sitwell Sitwell (yes, his humorous father named him twice!) who was hailed a hero by the people of Sheffield when a tiger escaped from a circus visiting the town.  Sitwell Sitwell took his pack of hounds into the streets and hunted the tiger down. *

Lord Byron was a guest at one of Lady Sarah's gatherings when he was enthralled by the sight of Anne Beatrix Wilmont walking across the room wearing a black sequinned dress.  One of his most famous poems was the result:

She walks in beauty like the night,
Of cloudless climes and starry skies,
And all that’s best of dark and bright,
Are in her aspect and her eyes. 

The GuestHouse of Rempstone
There used to be a second pub in the village ..... this was a coaching inn known as The Ship Inn.  Today it has been converted into a comfortable looking B and B Guesthouse with 14 rooms.

Lady Sarah Caroline Sitwell and her husband Sitwell Sitwell had a young daughter named Caroline.  Unfortunately the child died at the age of 10 months.  There is a memorial stone to her at Renishaw Hall, Derbyshire which reads "She sparkled, was exhaled, and went to Heaven."

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