Bernard Mastin

 

Bernard Mastin has lived in the village from 1948. In later years he ran the village post office with his wife Mary. He is now retired.

 

(insert picture of Bernard and Mary Mastin from 1989)

 

Bernard Mastin was born in Halloughton, Leicester but moved to Barnby when he was very young. His father was the stud groom at Barnby Manor and he lived there until he joined the RAF. He met his wife Mary in Harrogate where she was the manageress of the NAAFI. Mary came from Durham.

 

They moved to Coddington in 1948 into one of the little cottages, now gone, between the Plough pub and Chapel Lane. Bernard left the RAF and went into partnership with his brother who was in the building trade.  In 1951 they bought a large plot of land opposite what is now the Inn on the Green and which was a large orchard stretching from the corner of The Green halfway along the north section of Main Street. The land was bought from a Mrs Adams (nee Miss Ingram) and had once belonged to or was part of a former pub called The Globe.  Mrs Adams used to bake and sell Pork Pies. She married Mr Blackburn, who was older that she was.

Bernard's father John lived in the house that was once this pub. Bernard remembers that the house still had all the settles that were used whilst the house was a pub. Under the kitchen sink they found a well. Apparently, the pub staff used to pour away the dregs of beer into the corner of what is now Bernard's garden and to this day, hops grow every year in that spot.

The Inn on the Green was at that time still the Hollingworth's farmhouse. The farmhouse was sold and Fred Hollingsworth gave up dairy farming after his son Michael tragically died in his twenties. Fred Hollingworth's children didn't go to the village school and consequently didn't mix much with the village children. Fred's brother, James (Jim) Hollingworth was one of the family who was the jost friendly; he used to like playing dominoes at the Red Lion. Jim or his brother Henry went on to farm at Quarry Farm, Hawton. The Hollingworth's used to graze their prize bulls in the field where the bungalows behind Morgan's Close now stand. They used to take them on a lead down Drove Lane to the Showground. One bull was hit by lightning.

Squadron Leader Allen bought the farmhouse and turned it into a private club which he called the Dice House. Bernard was the Chairman of the Club Committee overseeing the conversion of the farmhouse to a club for the Parish Council. There was a large amount of after-hours drinking - The police were frequently called out to late night drinkers at 3.00 or 4.00 in the morning. The policeman would put them in the back of the police car when they would go in one door and straight out of the other side, round the back of the club, climb in through the windows and start again.

Bernard was Chairman of the Parish Council. He used to lay the wreath at the church armistice service every November. Every year they would also hold a Christmas party for the children of the village and Bernard would dress up as Father Christmas in red robes and beard and give out gifts. He was also Chairman of the Village Hall. When the new addition to the village hall was built in 1950 Bernard did all the foundations and brickwork and Don Walster did the woodwork. (Don Walster was in the SAS during the war.)

In 1970 Bernard was one of the founder members of the newly formed Coddington Football Club and became Chairman and Team Manager. (There had been an earlier football club in the village but we don?t have any information about it) He was also trustee until he retired in 2000 after 30 years service to the club. The Committee begged some land in Balderton Lane from Frank Daybell for a pitch which they used for some years before moving to Charity land in Stapleford Lane. The players themselves raised the start-up money, initially by holding a social at the Station Pub in Newark, now closed and hereafter holding regular raffles, bingo's etc. The Plough Pub was very good to them and helpful in fund-raising, every year holding a Harvest Auction. People brought in fruit and vegetables and the pub patrons would bid for them. This all helped to raise the necessary £600 annual running costs. Around this time The Dice House Club offered the Parish Council the Maltings for recreational use by one of the village teams. However, the roof was caving in and it was in such bad condition that they couldn't afford to repair and maintain it. Coddington also had a good cricket team which played on the same piece of land as the football team - Bernard was wicket keeper. Bernard has "wicket keeper's fingers" , he had also played cricket in the RAF. The cricket team sadly folded some years ago but the football team lives on.

 

In 1975, Bernard's bungalow The Orchards became the village Post Office and general store; his wife Mary was the postmistress. They gave it up in 1989 when Mary was in very poor health. During their tenure at the post office there was an armed robbery. A young man carrying a gun took a small amount of money, the takings from one till. Bernard hit him on the head with the tin they used to collect the football pools money in and chased him out of the shop. He got away on a motorbike but Bernard took down the licence number and the young man was caught the next day. The police congratulated Bernard and commended him for his bravery. Bernard said he was stupid when they told him that the man was armed.

 

Bernard found an old newspaper cutting about Coddington: On August 14th 1989, Coddington village received a full page feature under "Newark Area News" in the Nottingham Evening Post. The heading was "Residents vow to stay green". There were 6 large photos of village life. These included a picture of Bernard and Mary Mastin standing next to the old postbox at the gate to their bungalow. The article was largely about environmental concerns in the village and especially about the work of Graham June Page and the conservation area on Balderton Lane. It also mentions village concerns about the delay in building of the Newark By-Pass, because of large increases in traffic on the ?A17 ? Sleaford to Nottingham Rd.

There were quotations in the article from the Page family, Derek Kirton, Bernard Allen, the Mastins, the Woodlands at the Riding Stables and Melvyn Revill. Bernard said that despite the problems,

"It is a thriving village". There have been a lot of changes, with new houses being built to improve the size and shape of the area. There is a good village spirit with an active village hall and two football teams of which we are very proud. Last year was a marvellous year for us because for the first time in our history we won the Newark Alliance Premier Division Trophy, the most coveted trophy in local football. We also finished runners-up in the Divisional Cup.

The other pictures in the article were of:

  • the village church
  • children playing in front of a house and caravan at Coddington Camp
  • Deborah and Felicity Woodland at the equestrian centre
  • Walter Chapman and Melvyn Revill inside the Plough
  • Graham and June Page in their conservation area.

 

 

Melvyn Revill summed up: "We have a decent football team and there's always a lot going on at the village hall with bingo, cabaret and old time dancing. People are very friendly and will talk to you, and strangers are always welcome."  (Melvyn was a warrener with the Forestry Commission in Stapleford Wood.)

On the back of the Coddington page is a large article about Newark's 8th Town Marathon, including a listing of the names and times of all those who completed the course.