Florence Howiss, nee Powell

My grandmother Florence Howiss nee Powell was the daughter of farmer Sam Powell of Debdale Hall Farm. She was born in 1877, I think at Westfield Lodge Farm on Westfield Lane, roughly where the new Catholic school now is. She was educated at the Thompson and Brunts School just off Toothill Lane, I think the building might still be there. She used to tell me quite a lot about the Mansfield of her youth.


One particular incident she related to that she  witnessed was  sometime around the turn of the 19th and 20th century, there could have been local or national unrest, there were mounted soldiers in the Market Place and quite a few groups of men standing around talking. When one of the soldiers rode over to a group of four or five men to speak to them one of the men took flight up the alleyway that ran between the first and second shops on Church Street up a long flight of stone steps, turned left and came out half way up Leeming Street, (I can remember this alleyway in the late 1960s). The soldier rode up the steps after him, whether or not  he was caught grandmother didn’t know. I’d like to know why the soldiers were there at that time, please leave a comment if you know.


Another incident she told me of was a murder at a house in Commercial Street quite near the police station. This is documented in a book I think is titled Murders In Nottinghanshire. A man working in the butchery trade was living with a woman and her children in Commercial Street, and he murdered them, I can’t recall the motive. At that time my great grandfather had a milk round, my grandmother being young helped him on his round in the early morning and they delivered to several houses in Commercial Street. They arrived on the morning of the murder to find police everywhere.They were allowed to deliver to the houses that had the same access as the house where the murder was commited. My grandmother saw what a lot of the public didn’t.  Does anyone know any more about this nasty bit of Mansfield’s history?



Comments about this page

  • I’m researching my own family tree and found the paper article about this. The paper called it ‘The Mansfield Tradegy’ August 1908. The other child Angela talks about was called William Peck and he was 3 1/2 years old. The Pecks are my distant relation.

    By Terri Vaughan (03/06/2021)
  • My great grandfather was Insp Hopkinson who dealt with the murder at Star Terrace – a very gruesome story.

    By Gill Tapping (30/12/2013)
  • It was indeed a gruesome murder Gill. I have read the story and at the time of the murder some of my ancestors were the neighbours that lived next door to the house on Star Terrace where the murder took place.

    By Angela Roche (30/12/2013)
  • I don’t recognise any of the Powells that Alan Curtis mentions but the ones John Powell mentions I am probably related to them. My great grandfather was Samuel Powell born 1849 at Mansfield, he was a farmer, he died in the 1918 Flu epidemic. He married Caroline Salmon from Cuckney, she was two years his senior.

    By Peter Bowler. (12/05/2013)
  • My wife’s mother was a Powell before she married, her father was George Powell, there was also Powells living on Bradder Street during the war. Mrs Powell had a son Roy.

    By alcurtis (03/05/2013)
  • Thank you for posting the information, which I find interesting, if gruesome. I am researching the Mansfield Powells, going back in time, and have tracked grandmother’s Powells back 5 generations (my personal interest is in Bothamsall Powells, not found a link).

    By John Powell (30/04/2013)
  • Thanks for the info Angela. That would make my grandmother just 18yrs. old at the time . Not a very nice sight for a young woman.

    By Peter Bowler. (22/01/2013)
  • I remember the story of Star Terrace (Commercial street) for two reasons, the first being I had relatives who lived a couple of doors away during the 1960’s, and I was told the story of an horrific murder which took place. Being quite young at the time I had no idea of when this murder took place or any of the circumstances surrounding the murder. Until 40 years on and I was reading about the story in the book mentioned here. I also found out, by doing family research, that not only did my relatives live there in the 1960’s, but when the murder took place on 10th August 1895, the next door neighbours were also related to me! That was John Bingley. The murderer was Henry Wright, also known as ‘Nenty’. He worked as a foundry labourer and lodged at the house on Star Terrace. His landlady was a widow named Mary Elizabeth Reynolds. She had three sons of her own and a stepson all living in the same house. On the night of 10th August, Nenty had been out drinking and later was banging on the Police Station door, only dressed in his underpants and covered in blood unable to speak to the Officer because his throat had been cut. When the Police arrived at the house on Star Terrace they discovered the butchered bodies of Mary Reynolds, her two sons and another child. Henry Wright was sent to the gallows at Bagthorpe on 24th December 1985 The grave of Mary Reynolds and her children can be found in the cemetery on Nottingham Road.

    By Angela Roche (15/01/2013)

Add a comment about this page

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *