History of the Site of the Beaconfield Drive and Thorpe Oaks Estates
These two housing estates are built on land that once formed part of the Thorpe Coddington Estate. This estate was bought by James Thorpe around 1840, and developed largely by his son James, then later by his grandson, who was killed on the Somme in 1916. When James Thorpe bought the estate from the Fishers, it was called Beaconfield House.
This house and grounds, which appears on the 1835 Sanderson map (and the first OS map) as ‘Greenfield’, is not shown on Chapman’s map dated 1774. There must have been a farm or estate in the area, however, because a charitable bequest of £2 ‘out of Beaconfield’ was made by William Bell, who died in 1698. (This bequest became part of Coddington United Charities, which owned Charity Farm and still owns the Almshouses).
The site of the house and its grounds, and the adjacent field where the Harvey Avenue estate was built, are part of two large fields granted to Thomas and Elizabeth Heron in the 1760 Coddington Enclosure Act. The fact that the estate was labelled ‘Greenfield’ suggests that one of the large pre-enclosure fields called Greenfield lay in the area. (There is a picture of this map in the Gallery.)
The Colclough family lived in Beaconfield House in the 1780s - 1810, and two Colclough family memorials can be seen in the tower of Coddington Church. The next owners are thought to have been the Fishers, who lived there in the period 1810 – 1820, and then rented the house. In 1832, the occupant before James Thorpe was Thomas Spragging Godfrey, who moved to his newly built house Balderton New Hall.
After the 1918 Estate Sale
When the Thorpe Estate was sold in 1918, the field on which Coddington Camp was built (which lies north of Newark Road and south of Beaconfield farm) was sold as lot 12, to A Black for £1,100. It is described as an enclosure of sound feeding land of 29a 1r 26p being part of fields 199 and 200 known as Oatlands. To the east the adjacent Hall and grounds formed lot 11, which had a total area of 13a 0r 22p. To the north was lot 3 or Beaconfield Farm, 178a which sold for £3,900 to J&A Done. To the east beyond the Hall grounds was lot 13, a 41a enclosure of feeding land called the Park, which was later partly used for building the side roads off Newark Road and the houses along it between the Lodge and the fishpool (near the village sign).
Many of James Thorpe’s sons became soldiers, and James also reached the rank of Colonel in the Sherwood Rangers by 1881. The estate was sometimes used by him (and his sons John and Harold) for exercises or entertaining the local regiment. We have an early postcard which shows ‘The Bishop of Southwell & Colonel Denison at Coddington Camp’.
The Hall had been requisitioned in April 1917 by the army, and had been put up for sale on that basis. A soldier’s diary for Jan 16th 1918 states “I was drafted to Newark Notts. and posted to Number 11 Company Royal Engineers Training Dept., Coddington Hall”. The Hall failed to sell on auction day and in 1921 it was reported as ‘being demolished’ in a trade directory. However, it was bought later by Mr Margerrison and split into two units, one called The Nook. By 1936 Anglo-Iranian Oil had offices in Coddington Hall. During WWII Coddington Hall was incorporated into the newly built Winthorpe airbase, which straddled the Winthorpe/Coddington parish border.
For more information about Winthorpe Airbase visit these pages on the Winthorpe Village History website:
Coddington Hall became the focus for the Communal Site, and other sites – No 4 and the WAAF site – occupied the field where the RAF houses were later built in the mid 1950s. The RAF houses were taken over in the 1970s by Newark and Sherwood District Council. Almost all the buildings within the former grounds of the Hall were demolished in the 1960s and the site sold. This area was eventually redeveloped in the late 1990s. The old Harvey Avenue estate was demolished and redeveloped in the period 2001-6.