The Old Vicarage History
The village of Elkesley lies on the east side of Clumber Park and on both sides of the River Poulter. The village today consists of about 2016 acres of land the greater part of which is said to have formed a wild tract of forest until the latter part of the 18th century when enclosure took place.
The village of Elkesley is as convenient as it is attractive, with direct access to the A1 motorway.
The Old Vicarage was built at the foot of an exposure of 500 million year old sandstone and occupies what must be one the most idyllic private and sheltered positions in this locality. Approached by its own coach road or by way of Park Lane, it is to be found set within 5 acres of wooded grounds divided by the shallow River Poulter which gently meanders between its banks.
The Old Vicarage is situated in former monastic land most of which belonged to Welbeck Abbey. Even today the Abbeys secrets are still being revealed, its subterranean passages having been used to store the Nations art treasures during the Second World War.
Situated in the vicinity of the Old Vicarage there was once a water mill belonging to Blythe Priory It's remnants can be seen in the river bed. Elkesley is mentioned in the Doomsday Book in 1080. The Duke of Newcastle provided a rich variety of trees to the Old Vicarage including False Acacia, Sycamore, Lime, varieties of Ash, Popular, Glean, Tulip Tree, Oak, to name but a few. A number of these trees were not at their best in the life time of the planter, but which are now mature and there to be appreciated not only by guests, but by future generations. As one might expect with a property possessing such a wealth of attractive trees, they are subject to a Preservation Order. The contrasts of green, that turn to gold in autumn, together with the River Poulter, make the Old Vicarage an unusual venue that lends itself to photographic opportunities.
Described in a nineteenth century trade directory as a commodious house on the south side of the village, overlooking the Woollen, the writer may have got the name of the river wrong but he certainly got his description right. The Old Vicarage is a seventeenth century house that is both spacious and homely. The property then belonging to the Newcastle Estate, it did not become a vicarage until 1838, when the 4th Duke of Newcastle, Henry Pelham-Clinton, used it to entice a certain Revd Cornelius Thompson to Elkesley for which he was patron. Reverend Cornelius Thompson married Sophia Rosa Monckton, daughter of Edward Henry Cradock Monckton and Caroline Rosa Woodcock, on 24 January 1872. He died in 1884.
In August 1838, the Duke of Newcastle visited in person, accompanied by his family "to see Elkesley parsonage which Mr Thompson is about to alter and make fit residence for a clergyman." The Duke concluding that the residence might be and will be a beautiful thing in good hands’. As can be seen today, he did not over state his observation, as the Old Vicarage is a fine building that has been much improved over the years and which today offers excellent facilities. Incidentally the Elkesley environment proved to be good for Cornelius, during his ten-year incumbency he and his wife had eight children. One of the clergy succeeding him remained at the vicarage for 45 years. Acquired by the Diocese of Southwell sometime about 1905, the house subsequently passed like a rich prize into private hands in 1980.