top of page

Hunter's Farm

Welcome to the Hunter's Farm Waypoint on Wilford's Heritage Trail.

Below you will find information, audio recordings and photographs in addition to that on the physical Heritage Trail information panel. 
Heritage Map Icon LINK 2.png

Hunters Farmhouse, on the outside bend of Main Road, was built in 1724 for the Hunter family who farmed the surrounding fields. The timber-framed farmhouse, hidden by the rendering, is typical of the multiple farmhouses that used to be spread across Wilford. Wilford was famous for its leafy fields, thatched roofs and whitewashed cottages. Many of the picturesque cottages and farmhouses which bordered Main Street (now, Road) through Wilford have long disappeared but, at this waypoint, several of the historic buildings that were definitive of Wilford still remain.


As lamented by Robert Mellers in his 1914 articles on historic Wilford, many of the treasured cottages in Wilford were in unsanitary conditions; built on poor foundations directly alongside the busy thoroughfare, by "unskilled labourers of a past generation" and comprising of "single brick walls, rooms 7 ft. high, windows half the proper size, common brick floors, very damp, without a proper sink or drain, and with wretched outside accommodation". 

In Mellers' words, "when there are wholesome conditions, joined with age, we will treasure the object, but when beauty of form covers an evil, let it go without a sigh". We can celebrate the buildings that have lasted the test of time but not dwell upon those that have been lost to time.

Points of Interest

Points of Interest

Wilford Social and Bowls Club:

Further north, still pictured on our Heritage Trail Map, stood the former Social and Bowls Club which was formed by Mr Duffin in 1933. The premises were fashioned from a farmhouse with stables at the rear. Cottages and outhouses which had previously occupied much of the site had been pulled down in 1914 due to their poor condition. The club’s first committee meeting was on 13th February 1933. The club’s activities were dominoes, table skittles and billiards, with a flower show each Sunday at dinner time. The tennis courts at the rear were also used by the Social Club. Players were required to wear shirts and tennis jackets when on Club premises. The annual subscription for gentlemen was set at two shillings, and for ladies at one shilling.  A bowling green was laid in 1937, with the bowling club soon formed. With World War II looming, it was decided at the sixth Annual General Meeting of the Club in February 1939 that all persons in uniform and on military service should be admitted as honorary members, and that all members serving in HM Forces should be given a postal order for five shillings. A Comforts Fund for Christmas gifts to soldiers and a Christmas Day dinner were to be arranged. Local football legend, Albert Iremonger, was champion of the Bowls Club in 1944, and subsequently elected Captain in 1945. A new pavilion was founded in 1978, and to celebrate the club’s Golden Jubilee, a new bowling green was opened in 1988. In November 1975 an inaugural meeting of a formal ladies section was held with Mrs C E Wood being elected Captain and Mrs M Henson Secretary/Treasurer.

The Dame School:

The bungalow at 36 Main Road, built in 1828 by Henry Smith, Esq., third son of Samuel Smith, was once a dame school established for and maintained by the Smiths’ banking family who lived in Wilford House. Dame Schools were early infant schools run by local women with often little to no formal qualifications. They charged low rates, often only 3d a week, and taught rudimentary skills such as reading and writing. They often served more as a child-care service in working communities. One such woman, Mrs. Ann Beecroft, taught the infants in a house at the corner of the crossroads prior to the erection of the newer premises in 1828. The school continued to educate the Smith family, as well as providing education to other local children, but following the departure of the Smith Family, became a private dwelling. The subsequent occupants of Wilford House, the Formans (of the Nottingham Evening Post), were equally philanthropic to the local community. Mrs Forman made special allowance on certain evenings for the men of the village to use a large room in the rear of Wilford house with games provided. She also established a book exchange for local children.

Jeremiah Brandreth:

Known as ‘the Nottingham Captain’, Brandreth was born in Wilford in 1790 and was a highly infamous local rebel as part of the ‘Luddite’ protests against the government and industry. On the 9th of June, 1817, he led a band of 300 local workers armed with a few pistols and pikes, marching on Nottingham, followed by London, in order to proclaim a republic and “end poverty forever”. Brandreth had expected many others to join him as his march progressed, but this did not happen and a troop of cavalry easily stopped the group at Kimberley. The men were called the ‘Pentrich Plotter’ after the Derbyshire village they had plotted in, and thirty five of the men were charged with high treason. Eleven of the meant were transported for life to Australia, with the three lead conspirators given the final sentence in the country to be hung, drawn and quartered. However, the sentence was later commuted by the Prince Regent (later to become King George IV). Instead, on the 7th of November 1817, Brandreth and his two confederates were hanged until dead, and beheaded. They were the last people to be beheaded with an axe in Britain. The board used for the beheading can be found in Derby Museum and is said to always be damp with the blood of the traitors. During the trial and subsequent execution, Brandreth's family were removed to his birthplace, Wilford, where they were cared for by John Hazard, Overseer of the Township of Wilford. The board that was used to hold the bodies during the beheadings is kept in Derby Museum. The Brandreth Family have continued to live in Wilford up until the 1960s, at least. Notable ancestors have included Benjamin Brandreth, a 19th-century pioneer in mass merchandising and advertising in the sale of patent medicine as well as Gyles Brandreth, a treasured broadcaster, writer and former politician.

Neolithic and Bronze-Age Locals:

A Neolithic stone axe (from at least 4,500 BC) has been found at the former site of Wilford Allotments, off Main Road, now the location of Bader Road estate. Further bronze age items (from at least before 1,200 BC) have been found around the area as was a common occurrence along the Trent floodplain. These would have been intentionally deposited, possibly as part of ceremonies, into marshes and brooks in the area. Specifically, a cast copper alloy (bronze) palstave (axe head) was discovered at the site of Wilford Cottage on Wilford Lane.  Dredging in 1938 uncovered a number of piles driven into the river bed along with a human skull and some bronze spearheads. A local archaeologist identified the site as a 3,000 years-old pile settlement. As work to uncover the piles progressed, several hundred more piles were discovered along with additional artifacts including two dug-out canoes. The piles were driven in groups with each group likely having once supported a platform for huts and other buildings. A village of platform houses would have existed to weather the regular flooding of the river and make use of the nutrient-rich agricultural land. Roman and medieval pottery make clear that Wilford has been continued to be a key strategic crossing point of the River Trent for several millennia. The vast number of wooden piles found surrounding the upper ford (roughly the current location of Clifton Bridge) indicates the presence of a pre-medieval and, potentially, a pre-Roman settlement and fortification directly alongside the ford. Neolithic and Bronze Age findings in the local area reflect the historic geographic importance of Wilford.



Oral History

Oral History

Heritage-Lottery-Grant-Awarded (1).jpg



Without National Lottery Heritage funding, our Heritage Project would not have gone ahead – and without the players there would be no funding – so we would all like to say a massive THANK YOU to everyone who supports us in this way!

bottom of page