HISTORY OF RAVENSHEAD
A survey in 1972 by the Upper Juniors of Abbey Gates School led by Mr D George. Part of the project was a research on the history of Ravenshead. This was saved by Mr B Marshall of Ravenshead. We have pleasure in presenting it here.
Ravenshead in Early History
It is unlikely that there would have been much settlement around Ravenshead in early times. In the first place, the soil is very sandy and it would have been difficult to grow good crops. Secondly, there are no big rivers nearby - and rivers were the most important means of travel in the days when there were no roads.
Some remains of early man have, however, been found on the hill top at Blidworth - which overlooks Ravenshead.
If you go from Ravenshead to Blidworth you will pass a big stone in a field which is called the Druid Stone. The Druids were high priests of a race of people called the Celts who invaded Britain about 250 B.C.
The Druids used to hold ceremonies around such big stones. They may have done so locally especially as they would have found the mistletoe, which they thought was magic, in Sherwood Forest.
We are sure now though that the big stone was not a Druid's stone but was brought down from the North by the Ice Age many thousands of years ago.
When the Romans conquered Britain they divided the land up into provinces. Most of Nottinghamshire was in the province ruled by a General called Flavia Ceasariensis.
A Roman Villa was unearthed at Mansfield in 1787 and in 1849 a Roman jar was found in Mansfield with 500 silver coins in it. Some coins were also found near Harlow Wood and it is thought that the word Harlow comes from the old English word horde - hlaw which means 'treasure hill'.
It is likely that there was a Roman camp somewhere near Mansfield and traces of a tempory camp have been found behind Harlow Wood on the slopes of Rainworth Water.
In the days between the coming of the Romans and the Norman Invasion England was attacked many times by invaders from across the North Sea. As these sea-farers only raided up the main river valleys and settled on the best land there is little trace of them in the area around Ravenshead.
We do, however, know that the Danish word 'by' meant a farm or a village, and Linby and Kirkby may have been old Danish settlements.
It is thought that the name Kighill comes from the old Viking word 'kuggi' which meant a 'flat-bottomed boat.' This area could have been named after the shape of the shallow Longdale valley below Kighill.
England was divided into several kingdoms and the Ravenshead area would have been in the kingdom of Mercia. We know that the kings of Mercia came to Sherwood Forest to hunt because there are stories of them giving certain rights to 'the Forest Town of Mannesfield.'
At least one historian believes that the stream below Harlow known as Rainworth Water was the place where a chieftain's son called Regnhere was killed in 617 A.D. Rainworth may get its name from Regnhere's Wath which means Regnhere's ford.
The real history of Ravenshead begins when the Normans conquer England. 'Shire Wood' or Sherwood Forest became one of the favourite hunting grounds of the Norman kings. The county was divided into 13 Wapentakes and Ravenshead would have been in Broxton Wapentake.
The first building in Ravenshead was probably where the Hutt Hotel now stands. Before the Abbey was built the King set up seven royal huts in the seven royal forests. They were homes for the men of arms who patrolled the King's forests.
In 1154, just a few years before the Abbey was built, King Henry II lost his way in the forest somewhere near where Ravenshead now stands. A miller from Mansfield, called Blount, came across King Henry and, not knowing who he was, accused him of trying to poach the Royal game. Henry didn't say he was the King and the two men became friendly. The miller invited Henry back to his mill and gave him a pie made from poached deer. On the following St. George's Day Blount was summoned to the court at Nottingham and King Henry made him a Knight with a salary of £300 a year, on condition that he didn't steal any more of the king's deer.
Behind Harlow Wood there is, a stone that was taken from the Moot Hall in Mansfield market place in 1753. It was put on the spot where the Forest court used to be held three times a year. This court enforced the laws of the forest, such as: a man may carry a bow and arrow on the main highway but he couldn't take them into the forest in case he poached the king's game.
No one is sure exactly when the Abbey was founded, but most people think that it was a year or two after 1170.
In 1170 Henry II had his best friend, Thomas a Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury, murdered in Canterbury Cathedral. Henry is supposed to have been so sorry for this terrible deed that he did all he could to make up for it. One of the things he did was to give to Canons of the Order of St. Augustine, or the Black Canons as they were known, a Priory and land at Newstead. The ruined wall of the Priory Church can still be seen at the Abbey.
It is in the Charter that granted the land to the Black Canons that we first come across the name Ravenshead. Henry II gave to the Canons the town and Church of Papilwyke and "the wastes of Kygell and _Ravenshede,"
"Ravenshede begins at the aforesaid way which lies from Papilwyke to Blytheworthe, along the hollow road eastward which is called Thefestyghe: and this leads to the King's highway which is called Nottinghamgate. By this must one travel, leaving Samsonwode on the left as far as the brow of the hill of Arnale, so passing through Longedale to the hedge of Beskwode; and so one must go along the said hedge to, Waterfall and even to Leene bound across the King's highway which lies between Papilwyke and Nottingham, and so from Leene bounde by the ditch to onyngeshedeforth and along the water of the Leene to Papilwyke."
The boundary of Ravenshede
"In which are contained these divers places called by these names; to wit beginning at the aforesaid which lies from, Papilwyke to Blytheworthe, in. the same place there is a waste place called Shytermerpole.
There is another, place great and waste called Calveclyffe. Also another place great and waste called Papilwyke Bromes with Horsemerpole and Bromehagge. Also another place called Lowse Grefe with Stankerhill towards Beskwode. Also another place called Wellsprynges hard by the corner of Haydde, which lies with Papilwykemone and a place called Conynggeshede. All these are contained in the aforesaid bound called Ravenshede."
The boundaries of Kighill are also mentioned. Most of the places within the boundaries of Ravenshede and Kighill are found on an old map dated 1613 that can be seen in the Plantagenet room in Newstead Abbey.
What we know is that the names Kighill and Ravenshead existed before 1170 and the local countryside was waste heathland amidst the surrounding forest. The area would also have been crossed by several paths leading through the forest between small villages such as Papplewick and Blidworth. There would also have been a wider track coming north from Nottingham which was a Norman town.
The land of Ravenshead was the highest in the neighbourhood and it may have acquired its name from the fact that from the distance it looked like 'a raven's head.'
In the Middle Ages Newstead Priory would have been a stopping place for pilgrims and Crusaders. By this time the building where the Hutt now stands had become a guest house for visitors to the Priory.
The Pilgrim Oak or Gospel Oak
This stands opposite the Hutt in front of the Abbey Gates was the -place where pilgrims would stop and read the gospels before going down to the Priory. It is also thought that people would come and celebrate certain festivals around the tree.
There is a story that one Knight on his way to the Crusades was riding near the Abbey when he fell off his horse and was killed. A cross was erected to mark his grave and in 1720 a cottage known as Knights Cross Cottage was built on the spot.
(In 1349 the Black Death came to Newstead and the Prior died from this terrible plague.)
One of the jobs of the monks at the Priory would have been to help to feed the poor. Records of 1514 show that £4 a year was distributed among the poor. Each week 14 loaves and seven flagons of ale were set aside for the poor. Also, each day flesh and fish enough for one man had to be given away. All these were given away at the Priory gates.
Robin Hood lived about the year 1250 and must have travelled over local land many times in his adventures with the Merrie Men and the Sheriff of Nottingham.
At Fountain Dale which lies between Ricketts Lane and Harlow Wood, Robin is supposed to have first met Friar Tuck. Friar Tuck had a small cell where he could pray and meditate in peace on a small island at Fountain Dale. Friar Tuck probably came from Newstead Priory, but there was possibly a small Abbey where Fountain Dale stands today. The story is that Robin heard that Friar Tuck was a brilliant archer who could beat the best of his men. When Robin found him at Fountain Dale he demanded that the friar should carry him across the moat. Half way across Friar Tuck dropped Robin in the water and a fierce fight followed. When Robin was nearly beaten he blew on his horn and his men appeared from the woods. Friar Tuck then whistled three times and a great pack of dogs came and fought the Merrie Men. It was only when Little John had nearly killed Friar Tuck that he called the dogs off. Friar Tuck had put up such a fine fight that -Robin asked him to join his outlaws and the two became the best of friends.
There is also a place called Robin Hood's Well at Fountain Dale. Will Scarlett is supposed to be buried at Blidworth. The names of local public houses such as The Little John and The Jolly Friar remind us of Robin Hood's connections with the area. Incidentally, Sir Walter Scott is supposed to have written parts of Ivanhoe at Fountain Dale.
At Haywood Oaks near Blidworth Bottoms are some oak trees that are supposed to have surrounded an old manor house, where King John once stayed. Old records show that just before John became King in 1199 Nottingham castle was to be repaired by the money raised from the land known as Lindhurst near Blidworth. There is a Lindhurst Farm today near Harlow Wood.
No one is sure about the origin of the hoard of gold coins that was found a few years ago (1966) when workmen were building on Cambourne Gardens. One theory is that they were hidden by the monks at Newstead Priory when King Henry VIII closed down all the monasteries and tried to steal all the valuable things in the buildings. The monks also threw a valuable brass eagle into a pond at the Priory, (it was recovered in the eighteenth century and can now be seen at Southwell Minster.) The monks are also supposed to have thrown heavy chests into the pond. Just over one hundred years ago a man trying to find these chests fell into the mud at the bottom of the pond and suffocated.
Another theory about the coins found at Cambourne Gardens dates back .to the Wars of the Roses. At about the year 1480 a bloody battle was fought at East Stoke near Newark. 7,000 men are supposed to have been killed in two hours. The paymaster of the losing side fled, hoping to find safety at Newstead Priory. He buried the coins nearby, hoping to collect them later, but was probably caught and killed by the enemy.
Another theory claims that the hoard, valued at £250,000 was buried after the Battle of Hexham in 1464.
In 1537 Henry VIII closed down the Priory at Newstead, partly because he had quarrelled with the Church, but also to make more money for himself. He sold the Priory in 1540 to Sir John Byron for £800 and it was converted into a private house.
Newstead Abbey (or Newstead Priory as it should be called) was passed down through ten different members of the Byron family until 1817 when the poet Lord Byron died.
Edward I, Edward II, James I and Charles II all stayed at the Abbey, mainly when on hunting expeditions in Sherwood Forest.
During the civil war in England, the Byron's supported Charles I and seven of the family fought on the Royalist side at the Battle of Edgehill. When the Roundheads were eventually victorious, the owner of Newstead, Sir John Byron, was sent into exile and died in Paris. After the civil war, Sir John's brother, Richard, had to buy back the Abbey for the family, but it was in a very dilapidated state. (In 1644 the Abbey had been plundered by a small band of Roundheads sent from Nottingham.)
Although the Abbey was improved, it fell into an even worse condition under the 'Wicked' Lord Byron. He stabled his horses in the best rooms, knocked down a part of the buildings and cut down most of the trees to pay his debts. He was going to cut down the Pilgrim Oak but some men from Mansfield paid him to spare the tree.
It was thought that the 'Wicked' Lord' used to worship the devil, because he brought back two statues from Italy. (These can be seen on the Abbey lawns today.) He did many eccentric and dangerous things. He is supposed to have shot his coachman for not driving fast enough, and he killed his cousin in a duel in London. He threw his wife in the lake, and he always ate his food with two loaded pistols on the table.
He had a miniature gunboat and other boats on the lake and built two fortifications on either side of the top lake. He made his servants take part in mock naval battles. An old prophecy had said that the Byron's would no longer own Newstead when a boat covered with heather crossed Sherwood Forest. The people on Byron's estate disliked him so much that their piled up the gunboat with gorse and heather as it was being pulled through the Abbey grounds.
Lord Byron completely blocked up the River Leen which ran through the lakes. This meant that the cotton mills at Linby and Papplewick had no water power to turn the wheels and work the machinery. Because of this these mills became, in 1785, the very first cotton mills in the country to install the steam engine. Poor children were brought from London and from local villages to do forced labour in the mills. The terrible conditions killed most of them and 163 graves of young child cotton-workers can be found in Linby churchyard.
There was an old mill on the top lake and the 'Wicked' Lord is supposed to have evicted the miller, for no good reason. The miller burst the dam holding back the lake and Lord Byron had to pay many, thousands of pounds damages to the people living below the lakes.
The 'Wicked' Lord was a very spiteful man and spoiled the Abbey and its lands mainly because he did not want his son, with whom he had quarrelled, to inherit anything worthwhile. His son and his grandson, however, died before him and the Abbey passed to the last Lord Byron - the famous poet. He did not live at the Abbey for any great length of time during the nineteen years it belonged to him, but many of his belongings can be seen at the Abbey today. (It was his servant, Joe Murray, who invented the circular saw.)
In 1817 the Abbey was sold to a Colonel Wildman for £94,000 and he spent a lot of money restoring the building. In 1860 it was bought by William Webb. He had been a big, game hunter in Africa and had been helped by the explorer David Livingstone during an illness. Livingstone later stayed at Newstead Abbey and wrote a book there. The Abbey continued in the Webb family until 1931 when it was presented to the City of Nottingham.
Nottingham - Mansfield Road
From maps dated 1615 and 1774 that can be seen at Newstead Abbey, it is clear that the main Nottingham to Mansfield road used to run through what is now called Ravenshead.
Much of the local history of the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries centres on this stretch of road. Until 1785 the main road did not follow the present route but from Nottingham vent through Papplewick and the Abbey grounds and rejoined the present road just beyond Larch Farm. Today's road follows what was then a much smaller road.
The road was just a sandy track and was very rough because the surface was ploughed up constantly by the heavy coaches and wagons drawn by teams of horses or oxen. In the seventeenth century it was called 'The Packman's Way'. Travellers on foot dare not travel alone and would wait at the Hutt, which became a coaching inn, for several travellers to gather together before carrying on through Thieves Wood which was a favourite haunt of robbers.
In 1772 there was a bitterly cold winter. On February 11th of that year two men were taking a team of horses to Mansfield and near the Hutt they found a soldier lying at the side of the road in a state of exhaustion.
The two men unharnessed one of the horses, put the soldier on it and sent him on to Mansfield where he arrived safely. Unfortunately the two men, Thomas Rhodes and John Curtis, had unharnessed the lead horse and the other five horses would not move without their leader. The two men tried to struggle to the Hutt but were overcome by exhaustion and the bitter weather. They were found frozen to the ground the next morning. One of them left a widow and eight children.
On January 28th, 1814, the Leeds mail left Nottingham at 6.00 p.m., drawn by six horses. By 9.30 p.m. it had gone only eight miles from the city and was just past the Seven Mile house. The wheels were covered in snow and the horses too tired to go any farther. The passengers on the outside of the coach were just going to get inside to sleep for the night when they saw a body lying at the roadside. They managed to carry it into the coach where it suddenly came to life. It was a man called Allison and he told his rescuers that he was 70 years old and had walked from Mansfield to Nottingham that day and was walking back again when he was caught in the snowstorm. The last he remembered was crawling on his hands and knees to reach the signpost (probably where the road branches off to Papplewick after the Seven Mile House). Allison and the travellers spent the night at a nearby farm (probably Papplewick Forest) while the coach returned to Nottingham.
There were several paths crossing the main Nottingham to Mansfield roads, and most of these followed the existing routes, for instance Main Road that leads to Blidworth, Ricketts Lane and Longdale Lane. There was also a path from the Abbey that linked the church at the Abbey with Southwell Minster. This path probably followed the present Church Drive.
In the eighteenth century (1764) the Nottingham - Mansfield road became a turnpike. The road was gated at either end, probably at Arnold and Mansfield, and a toll was charged to pass along the road. The road was kept in repair by a trust of men who collected the tolls. An example of the toll was one half-penny for every sheep driven through the gate. With coaches on the road a flock of sheep would be a nuisance and would be driven along a path at the side of the main road. This is how Sheepwalk Lane was named although, more probably, the name dates from early in this century when local farmers employed a man to drive the sheep to a small stream near Harlow Wood.
The narrow wheels to cause most damage to the roads and local laws said that any vehicle with wheels narrower than nine inches could not use the toll. If the wheels were wider than sixteen inches the vehicle could pass with an unlimited number of horses or oxen.
An important event each day was the passing of the Mail Coach from Nottingham to Leeds. The coach would leave Nottingham at 6.00 a.m. and had its first change of horses at the Swann Inn, Mansfield.
A sad story concerning the Nottingham - Mansfield road is that concerning March lst. 1797. A postman named John Baguley had to walk from Nottingham all the way to Mansfield in a blinding snowstorm. By the time he reached Mansfield, he was exhausted and stopped to ask for help at the Leather Bottel public house, which stood at the corner of the main road and Forest Lane. The Landlord did not bother even to open the door and from an upstairs window, told the postman to be on his way. The postman struggled on but collapsed near what is now the Mansfield F.C. Ground. Here, where the river crossed the road, he was found dead the following morning. As a result of this tragedy the Leather Bottel was closed and became an ordinary house which has since been pulled down.
The road carried many a criminal to trial and, often, execution.
In 1767 a young half-wit called Robin Down, who used to travel around the local countryside playing a flute and begging, came to Mansfield. Some small boys began to tease him and one, a deaf mute, annoyed him so much that Down stabbed him to death with a knife. He was taken to Nottingham to be tried and the judge, trying to prove that Robin Down was not insane, offered him two coins, one of silver and the other of gold. Down took the gold coin which shone the brightest. The judge then claimed that the lad knew the value of money and was therefore sane. He was hanged in Nottingham and his dissected body was hung in chains on the hill opposite where now stands Mansfield Technical College. The place is now known as Robin Down hill.
In March, 1786, a 27 year old man was hanged in Nottingham for stealing a black horse from Mansfield. In 1812 Benjamin Renshaw of Mansfield was hanged in Nottingham for setting fire to a haystack.
On July 20th, 1805, a deserter from the army was being taken to Mansfield for trial. Near Harlow Wood he ran off into the trees and tried to escape but the Corporal escorting him shot him dead.
Bessie Shepherd Stone
Just below Portland' Training, College can be seen a stone at the side of the road marking the spot where a young Papplewick girl was murdered on July 7th 1817. Elizabeth (Bessie) Shepherd left her mother's home in Papplewick about mid-day to try to find a job in Mansfield. Being successful in this she returned home about six-o-clock wearing a pair of new shoes and carrying a yellow umbrella. Early next morning her body was found in a ditch and a large hedge-stake, covered with blood, nearby.
The murderer was quite easily identified as Charles Rotherham, a scissors-grinder of Sheffield. He had been drinking in the Hutt soon after the murder and had spent the night at the Three Crowns Inn, Redhill, where he had tried to sell the girl's shoes and umbrella which he had stolen. He was caught leaning over a bridge near Loughborough. The girl's mother said later that she had passed Rotherham whilst out looking for, her daughter. Rotherham was hanged on Gallows Hill (where the Mansfield Road/Forest Road cemetery is) in Nottingham on July 28th, 1817. The full details of the Bessie Shepherd murder can be found on a penny broadsheet in Mansfield Museum.
Another great crime connected with the Nottingham - Mansfield road occurred much earlier. In fact in the year 1212. King John was meeting with his Barons under the Parliament Oak at Clipstone, which is the other side of Mansfield, when he heard that 28 young Welsh hostages had been captured and imprisoned in Nottingham Castle. The Welsh had revolted against English rule in Wales and the young, children of the most important Welsh families had been taken captive. To avenge this revolt, King John rode to Nottingham, ordered the 28 hostages to be hung from the ramparts of the Castle, and then rode back through Mansfield to enjoy the festivities at Clipstone.
(Beggars would have been quite common on the road, especially in the seventeenth century. Early Parish Church registers in Mansfield show that anyone caught begging was to be publicly whipped in the Market Square and sent back to the town of their
Further historical interest
There are other points of local historical interest apart from those connected with Newstead Abbey and the Nottingham to Mansfield road.
Queen's Bower: This is close to Blidworth Bottoms. Tradition has it that Queen Elizabeth slept here when, on a journey through the forest, fog made further progress impossible. Today there is a reservoir on the site.
Memorial to George III on Papplewick Forest Farm: This monument was probably built in 1789 to celebrate the King's recovery from mental illness. There were widespread celebrations throughout the country at the time. e.g. in Mansfield there was bonfires, illuminations and sheep roastings. The monument was pulled down to make way for the Nottingham Corporation Water Department reservoir that was built in 1879.
A good line of boundary stones dated 1757, showing the division between Newstead and Papplewick parishes: the first of these stones is set in the wall of Papplewick pumping station and the second about a mile further up a tree lined track off Longdale Lane. There is also a Blidworth/Newstead stone on Longdale Lane itself, and others can be found on the bridle path to Fishpool.
The Ravenshead of 100 years ago was centred on the part known as Fishpool. Fishpoole field appears on a seventeenth century map and there must have been a pool there containing fish.
In the garden wall of a house on Chapel Lane there is a stone plaque with the inscription "Ebenezer School and Chapel 1864" on it. This chapel, which was the smallest in Nottinghamshire holding only 12 people, was pulled down recently and demolition work was held up for some months by the presence of the one burial grave at the chapel. Arrangements were made for the remains to be interred at Blidworth Parish Church. The plaque from the chapel has been placed on the wall of the house that now stands on the site.
Also on Chapel Lane there is a stone set into the garden front in memory of J. Slaney. It would appear as the tales suggest that a certain J. Slaney was returning home from the Little John Inn on the night of 24th January 1893, when he fell off his horse and subsequently died.
The 'Little John' is older than the chapel, so there must have been a village at Fishpool a hundred years ago. The village comprised the old houses at the bottom of Chapel Lane, on Main Road near the 'Little John' and on Robin Hood Terrace behind the 'Little John. '
The farms around Fishpool are very old and apart from those at Fishpool there were long established farms at Longdale Farm on Longdale Lane and the Hutt Farm. Blidworth Dale Farm can be found on a map dated 1825 as can Larch Farm. Most of these farms were part of the Newstead Abbey Estate.
Two buildings connected with the water supply were constructed towards the end of the nineteenth century. Papplewick Reservoir (behind Papplewick Forest Farm on the main Mansfield - Nottingham road) was built in 1879 and had a capacity of 1½ million gallons. It was taken out of service in 1910 owing to damage caused by mining subsidence. A new reservoir with a capacity of 2 million gallons was constructed in 1956
The Papplewick Pumping Station at the bottom, of Longdale Lane was built in 1884 to pump out drinking water from the Bunter sandstone. The station has now been electrified but the actual pump house is run by a charitable trust who hold regular "Steaming" days where the James Watt steam engine can be seen in full working order.
From local residents we -know that at the turn of the century an old saw mill was working near the junction of Gorse Hill and Longdale Lane. There was also a wind pump on Church Drive, owned by a Swinton, who no doubt gave her name to Swinton Rise.
Farming has always been the main occupation around Ravenshead until the advent of shops and school. The small derelict cottage near the meeting of Longdale Lane and Chapel Lane was owned by people who sold heather. Mrs. Annabel who lived on Church Drive still did this in 1972.
The only other industry of Ravenshead was the sand quarries. Those on Longdale Lane were opened in 1919 for building sand for Nottingham and Hucknall. They then provided all the sand for a local asphalt plant for 4-6 years. In the early years the sand was extracted by pick and shovel or by making holes by bouncing a long iron bar and then washing out the sand. Later the quarries were blasted by powder and gelignite and the best sand was found at a depth of 30 - 40 feet. The quarries were busy during the war, providing sand for sandbags and building sand for air-raid shelters and aerodromes. They were also busy after the war when sand was used in rebuilding the bombed houses of Sheffield, Coventry, Nottingham and Leicester. After the war machines took the place of men in the quarries and output rose from 6 tons per man per day to 100 tons per man per day. The quarries were closed in November 1969 and Mr. Cox, the owner, who lived in Quarry House on Longdale Lane, estimates that altogether some 1½ million tons of sand was extracted.
Perhaps the biggest change in the scenery around Ravenshead occurred about 1920. Most of the land had been rough waste land but the wooded areas had consisted of the old hardwoods of Sherwood Forest (oak, chestnut, ash). The drop in the water level due to pumping for drinking supply made it increasingly difficult for these trees to grow. As a result, the Forestry Commission began to plant forests of softwoods (pines) which need less water and which are valuable as pit props and telegraph poles.
The same period also saw one of Ravenshead's biggest fires when woods at the side of Sheepwalk Lane, from Larch Farm to the Hutt, burned for a whole week. In the seventeenth century the woods around Kighill had also burned for a week and the sky became so black that people as far away as Newark thought the world was ending.
The line of trees seen on the left hand 'horizon as one goes down Longdale Lane was planted just after the turn of the century as a break for a track know as Engine Road. Along this track a big threshing machine was pulled from Blidworth Dale Farm to the next farm.
In 'the 1920's and 1930's there was a depression in England and was little work to be found. The people of Ravenshead, especially the women could be seen in the farmer's fields collecting stones to clear the ground. A man would come around and, if the pile of stones was 'big enough' he would give the collector a few pennies.
The rents of the farms as low as three shillings an acre but local farmers could not afford to pay this to the landowners and the farms went derelict.
During the 1930's and 1940's Ravenshead was troubled by a plague of rabbits that ate the crops and destroyed the trees. Poison gas pumped into the burrows did not solve the problem but myxomatosis did. Ravenshead was quite an important place during the war as there was an emergency aerodrome on Longdale Lane that would have been brought into operation if Britain had been invaded. Spitfires were assembled at airfield and sent to Russia for the -Russian Air Force. Some old airfield trucks can be found in the woods off Longdale Lane just past Longdale Farm.
After the war more people came to live in Ravenshead and, some of the earliest houses were on Nottingham Road, Longdale Lane, Sheepwalk Lane and Vernon Crescent. We can tell these are the older parts of Ravenshead by looking at the style of lampposts and fire, hydrants and by the dates on telegraph poles. The church was built in 1948
The population explosion in Ravenshead began in the 1960's when the builders bought up all the land in the triangle between Longdale Chapel Lane and Main Road and built private houses on it.