Rushpool Farm

Rushpool Farm 1991
P Marples
Site of Rushpool Farm January 2010
P Marples
View from Old Mill Lane 9th Novemebr 1991, Rushpool Farm can be seen in the valley on the left hand side of the photo
P Marples

By Pauline Marples

For nigh on 160 years anyone travelling down Old Mill Lane towards Mansfield Woodhouse would have seen the buildings of Rushpool Farm nestled among the fields on the right.

Edward Clark

From 1853 Edward Clark was known to have farmed there. In 1861 when the census was taken he was living there with his elderly mother and three servants, and he was still farming at Rushpool in 1871.

Martha Vanes

Ten years later the farm had a new tenant, 55 year old widow Martha Vanes who is recorded on the census returns as the farmer. Martha was living at Rushpool with her son William, daughters Hannah, Emily and Lucy, and her sister Ann Clayton. She also employed three men to help on the farm.

Over the next few years, the tenancy of the farm changed a number of times, with George Bennett (1885 & 1888), Frederick William Ibbotson (1891) and John Wilson (1894) all known to have resided there. By 1904, the Watkinson family had moved in to farm Rushpool.


Living at the farm on the night the 1911 census was taken were :- Walter Watkinson (farmer), Samuel Watkinson (farmer), Mary Riley (house keeper), Lawrence  Hetter  (servant boy), Percy Woodville Phillips a boarder whose occupation is given as mining student.

Farm description

In 1913 when the land tax was taken, Rushpool Farm was described as being built of stone and slate, it had six bedrooms, three rooms, kitchen, two dairy’s, a wash house, cellars, flagged yard with a building for coal, an earth closet and ash shed. The building around the farm were listed as a stable, barn, granary, crew yard, pig sty’s etc.

1947 The Farm is sold

The Watkinson family were still named as the tenants in 1947 when Rushpool Farm was sold by the Welbeck Estates Company. The sale catalogue describes the house as now having three sitting rooms, kitchen and back kitchen, cellar, five bedrooms and a bathroom.


The next known owner was Joan Blythe who purchased the farm in her name in 1956. Joan was at that time married to John Blythe, they had two children Jacqueline & Christine. The farm had 100acres and was managed by Bert ?, he also managed the Blythes other farm of 1,600 acres. John Blythe at one time had a haulage business which was taken over by Roy Bowring.

Joan and John’s marriage broke up and they were divorced in 1960. Joan kept her ownership of Rushpool Farm but allowed John and his second wife Sheila to live there, they had a daughter Karen.


In 1989 tragedy struck the  family when John and his daughter Karen were shifting metal irrigation pipes, an overhead cable was touched and they were killed. (source oral history). Sheila died the same year.

New Owner

Joan Blythe sold the farm to Roy Bowring in the 1990’s. He eventually sold it as building land.

New development

In the mid 1990’s the farm fields became the site of much development. A new road was cut through from Old Mill Lane to New Mill Lane and the building of Asda superstore took place.

In 1998 the Rushpool farm buildings became a storage area for contractor equipment. The buildings become increasingly derelict until finally the last owners, Hallam Land Management demolished the buildings.

Today [2010] a clump of trees are all that remain of the large farm which was once owned by the Duke of Portland, and tenanted by many people. The building that was once a landmark to the people of Mansfield Woodhouse and Forest Town is now just another example of our local heritage that has gone forever.

Source of Information:- Census, Land Tax, Sales Catalogue, oral history with special acknowledgement to Joan Wragg

Comments about this page

  • Walter Watkinson, upon moving from the Farm, went to live with Tom Watkinson, his nephew, at Mansfield Woodhouse until his demise.
    John (Jack) Blyth married Sheila, who was the daughter of Woodhouse butcher, Billy Place. Roy Bowring bought the Farm land with the condition that if it ever became building land, he got a percentage. I remember Jack and Karen’s deaths, a sad affair that Sheila never got over.

    By Stuart James Shead (02/12/2022)
  • I was aged 14 at the time of the tragedy of John and Karen’s death, I worked for John and Sheila at Rushpool Farm, also working with Robert and Karen, it was just like yesterday the dreaded memory I still have, and still to this day I remember this family like I was part of it!
    This was my weekend job and John was strict and firm but fair, Sheila was so kind along with Karen, and always made me feel welcome. The work days were long and hard from sunrise until about 7 or 8 at night, I always remember an old bloke called Jack who helped out with beet harvesting.
    What lovely memories, I will always treasure forever in my mind and heart. Really miss them all !!!.

    By Mark Smith (08/11/2022)
  • I remember seeing Bowring trucks parked up in the area, more or less as mentioned above, I believe the vehicles then were red in colour and they were smallish, four wheeled tippers or similar. This must be back in the ’60’s I think. What strikes me is that ‘Bowring Transport’ is still operational today as far as I’m aware and I wonder if the ‘old’ Bowring name is connected in any way to that of the ‘new’. Thanks!

    By Steeve Cee (07/01/2020)
  • I used to go to the farm with my uncle when I was a boy during Walt Watkinson’s tenure. I knew him as uncle Walt but I don’t think that there was any family relationship. I used to go there ‘helping’ to cut kale and particularly was fascinated by watching Walt milk his cows. He always used to hum to them as he milked. My dad often related stories of how Walt used to take his grain to be milled in Mansfield and invariably would call for a few drinks at a local pub. Fortunately the horse knew his way home and used to transport Walt (he would be somewhat inebriated in the back of the wagon) back home. Dad said that the horse, whose name I forget, used to trot at a lick through the gates of the farm and that over the years the hub of the wagon axle had worn a groove in the gatepost. PS The farm was on the left travelling into Mansfield Woodhouse towards For Ways not the right as mentioned in the opening sentence of the article by the way. The flood dykes were on the right. Nice to see the article, comments and photographs

    By Trevor (09/04/2013)
  • Interesting to note that in the middle of this area, (amongst the building going on), the old single iron gate with stone gate post(s) nestling in the trees is left in the middle. One wonders if these will be left to form part of what will be the new development, the trees at the very least.This is visible from the road for those with decent eyesight.

    By John. (05/04/2013)
  • This page has been updated on 16/11/2011 after new information has come to light regarding the ownership of the farm from 1956 to the 1990’s.

    By Pauline Marples (16/12/2011)
  • Was saddened to hear about the death of Karen and her father. I remember hearing about it in the local paper at the time. As a schoolboy I used to sit with Karen at school and on a couple of occasions we went to each others house for tea. A sad loss at such a young age.

    By Nigel Kirk (14/12/2011)
  • It is a massive shame nothing is left of Rushpool Farm, as a little girl I kept my horses stabled at the farm with John Sheila and Karen before the accident on 23.05.89 this was just a month before my 10 birthday, I am now 30 years of age and remember that day like yesterday. If you need any information regarding Rushpool please don’t hesitate to contact me. At some point Jon and Sheila did actually own the farm but John lost this in a card game to Roy Bowring.

    By Lisa Harbor-Smith (21/04/2010)

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