Beckingham cum Saundby Parish Council

Serving the people of Beckingham cum Saundby

Parish Clerk: Ed Knox
24 Allison Avenue, Retford
Nottingham DN22 7JS

Tel: 01777711579

Brief History of Laneham

A brief History is detailed below, for further reading please visit


"A Dictionary of English Place-Names" (A D Mills, Oxford University Press, 1991) has the name Beckingham being from the Old English Becca+inga+ham, or "homestead of the family or followers of Bassa" and is of Anglo Saxon origin.

Beckingham was part of Roger de Busli's domain after the Conquest and became a typical medieval village. The land was farmed in strips in some variation of the Three Field System. There were two manors, one held by the Duke of Newcastle and one by the Archbishop of York.

The whole pattern was altered in 1776/79 when the enclosures took place. The main owners of land then were the Meynell family, Thomas Waterhouse, who had inherited the Hall family's land, the Prebend of Beckingham and the Chapter of Southwell, and the Vicar. The Meynell estate was then bought by William and Robert Cross of Gringley and William Flint of Beckingham; Thomas Waterhouse's land was divided when his daughter Elizabeth Hawksmore Massingberd died, and much of the Church land has been sold off. So for the past 300 years, Beckingham has not been dominated by any very large landowners.

The Ramper Toll Road and Gainsborough Bridge opened in 1790, and in the nineteenth century engineering firms became established in Gainsborough and this gave the farm labourer an alternative form of employment. There was also a chemical works at West Stockwith, work on the railway and in 1887, Joseph Spencer Compton Watson established his shipyard on the Trent Bank.

Since 1958, the Shipyard and Railway Station have closed; The Crown Inn and Hare and Hounds have closed and most of the farmsteads are no longer part of farms; but oil has been found; even so we cannot buy petrol here. Numerous houses have been built since 1958 and the Village Shop/Post Office thrives today. The working population has increased enormously over the last few years, mainly due to people commuting to nearby towns (Gainsborough, Lincoln, Retford, Scunthorpe, Doncaster etc). Only the Church and farming have had continuity through the centuries.


Origin - Saun+by (+by - farmstead of) Danish origin, possibly when the Danes travelled inland up the River Idle and settled in the area.

Saundby is a small hamlet adjoining Beckingham with a population of approximately 100.

It lies on the Beckingham to Retford A631 road and was once accessed via a Toll Bar situated at the top of Ramper Road.

The land in Saundby originally belonged to Lord and Lady Middleton but they sold the farms and land c1921. The only industry than the smallholdings/farmsteads was the cheese factory that once existed on the main Beckingham to Retford Road and a Mink Farm which was run from Saundby Park Farm in the 1960s and 70s and was owned by a Mr Emmerson.

The church of St Martin of Tours, built around the 16th Century, is now a closed church and only open for special occasions or by appointment eg the day of the Nottinghamshire Historic Church Trust Sponsored Cycle Ride held in early September. The remainder of the village is taken up with residential houses and smallholdings/farms.

Further Reading

Local resident Adrian Gray has recently written a book on local history "People and Places of Bassetlaw, North Nottinghamshire"

Inclosure Award

The public general Inclosure acts normally specified where awards were to be deposited or enrolled, either by one of the courts of record or with the local clerk of the peace. The General Enclosure Acts appointed permanent enclosure commissioners who were authorised to issue Enclosure Awards without submitting them to Parliament for approval.

Inclosure awards are legal documents recording the ownership and distribution of land. They may detail land owned by churches, schools and charities, as well as roads, rights of way, drainage, land boundaries, different types of land tenure.

Prior to the Inclosures, and was categorized as "common" or "waste" or not in use "Common" land was under the control of the lord of the manor, but a number of rights on the land (such as pasture) were variously held by certain nearby properties, or (occasionally) held in gross by all manorial tenants. "Waste" was land without value as a farm strip – often very narrow areas (typically less than a yard wide) in awkward locations (like cliff edges, or inconveniently shaped manorial borders), but also bare rock, and so forth; "waste" was not officially used by anyone, and thus was often cultivated by landless peasants.

The remainder of the land was organised into a large number of narrow strips, with each tenant possessing a number of disparate strips throughout the manor, as would the manorial lord.

The Beckingham Inclosure Award is an amazing snapshot of history, featuring beautifully drawn map. It shows how the land of the parish was divided to the various owners in the 1770's. There are two original copies of the document, one is deposited at the Nottinghamshire County Archives, the other version was entrusted to the Parish Council in 1894, which is held by the Local History Group at the Willow Works.

The Vestry

Vestries: Prior to 1894 the Vestry generally held property on behalf of other persons for a parish but had no legal personality. Parish property and land + local charity land before the passing of the 1894 act was held by the vestry as trustees. The most important of these trustees were the Churchwardens, the Overseers and the Guardians. There were also other public employees such as the Surveyor of Highways, Roads and Drains and the Pinder.

The passing of the 1894 Act resulted in the creation of parish councils, consisting of a Chairman, Councillors and Overseers (who were now part of the Parish Council as Overseers of the Precept), this Act transferred all the properties of the parish from the Vestry to the Parish Council. For example, in Beckingham this meant the legal ownership by the Council of the land which had been administered in the parish by the Surveyor of Highways, Roads & Drains.

Prior to the creation of Parish Council's in 1894 the Vestry held the power to appoint trustees (the Churchwardens and Overseers) to a non-ecclesiastical charity. This power transferred to Parish Councils in 1894 under the Passing of the Local Government Act 1894.