Woodville was once known as Wooden Box, a fairly isolated place on the old
turnpike road connecting
Burton-on-Trent and Ashby-de-la-Zouch. Indeed, the so-called 'wooden box'
was a toll booth for those travelling along the highway.
During the height of the coaching period, those who looked out of the window of
their carriages would have seen open fields tended by farmers and agricultural
labourers - until, that is, a farmer named James Onions discovered that what lay
underground was more lucrative than anything produced on the top soil. It is
acknowledged that, around 1790, he established the first pottery in the locale
in order to exploit the rich clay deposits in the ground.
In the early 19th century the works of James Onions followed the relatively
recent innovation of ironstone china. The enterprise was successful and more
pottery factories followed, many of which concentrated on the sanitary
earthenware trade. Pigot's trade directory of 1835 listed a number of ironstone
china and course earthenware manufacturers including William and Thomas Brunt,
John Eardley, Hall & Davenport, Harrison and Cash, George Simpson Read and
Joseph Thompson. Some of these men were also running public houses in what was
still known as Wooden Box.
The growth of industry resulted in Wooden Box evolving into a large hamlet, then
a small village, increasing to become a widespread parish. For those seeking
family historical connections, in the 1840's Wooden Box was still divided by the
highway with one side being in the parish of Ashby, and the houses on the
opposite side being in the parish of
Where there's clay there's coal. Consequently, Wooden Box also saw the sinking
of mines in the locality. Many supporting industries sprang up in Wooden Box
which was developing into a focal point of local industrial enterprise. The five
ways became a busy road junction with finished goods being taken by waggons in
It was in the mid-1840's that the name of the settlement was changed to
Woodville. The construction of a new church acted as the catalyst for local
dignitaries to resolve that the growing settlement was worthy of a more
'euphonious' appellation. The population at this time had risen to 700.
A committee met to discuss the erection of a new church on Saint Stephen’s day
in 1843 so the question of the dedication was quickly sorted. The foundation
stone of the Norman-style building was laid by Earl Howe on November 7th, 1845.
The first vicar was the Rev. J. B. Sweet, a man instrumental in raising
the funds for the church.
The local Wesleyans boasted a fine edifice at Woodville until it was demolished
due to a dwindling congregation. The locale's first chapel was erected in 1816
but replaced in 1862. With the growth of Woodville in the latter part of Queen
Victoria's reign, a larger building was erected. The foundation stone of this
building was laid in July 1893. The handsome structure of red brick and
terracotta, was designed by Mr. Greenwood, of Woodville, and afforded
accommodation for over 800 people. The estimated cost of the building was
projected at £2,975 and the contractor was Mr. Ernest Clarke, of Melton Mowbray.
In Slater's Directory of Derbyshire published in 1850 it was stated that a
"branch railway from the tunnel near Gresley, is now in the course of being laid
down." The history of the railway in Woodville can be traced back to the
Leicester and Swannington Railway which opened in 1832. The Midland Railway took
over the line in 1845 and six years later opened the Burton and
Ashby-de-la-Zouch branch line to Swadlincote and Wooden Box. In 1883-4 the
Midland Railway built an extension to the Swadlincote branch to Woodville, which
required the excavation of the Woodville tunnel to form the Swadlincote Loop.
Woodville once had two significant brewery concerns, the largest being
Bucknall and Company, bought out by
Thomas Salt and Co. Ltd. of
Burton-on-Trent in 1913, and ultimately closed in 1927 when acquired by
Bass, Ratcliff and Gretton.
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"On Friday the 7th November. the usually dull and somewhat uninviting hamlet of
Wooden Box. presented a scene of activity, cheerfulness and interest, well
beffting the occasion which called them forth - that of laying the corner stone
of a New Church in a district, whose inhabitants, to the number of 600,
[principally Potters and Colliers], have until now, been virtually deprived of
the privileges of public worship, in consequence of their great distance from
their respective parish Churches. Notices of this undertaking have, from time to
time, appeared in our columns, and it has given us unfeigned pleasure to know,
that the master Potters of the Hamlet have been amongst its most zealous
supporters. By half-past 10 o'clock, many the Clergy and chief Laity of the
neighbourhood, with their Ladies, and a large number of the most respectable
yeomen and tradesmen had arrived at the Nelson Inn and New Inn, for the purpose
of forming a procession to accompany the Earl Howe to the site. His Lordship,
with his customary punctuality, arrived a few minutes before the appointed hour,
bringing with him his distinguished Bride, with her Mother Lady Gore, and the
Hon. Captain Curzon, R.N. Several hundred school children, from the parent
parishes of Ashby and Hartshorne, accompanied by their teachers, headed by an
excellent Band, and the Royal Adelaide and other Lodges of Odd Fellows, who were
desirous of doing honour to their noble brother, almost immediately led the way
to the Site, and were followed by the Ashby Choir two and two; the Ladies
[headed by Lady Howe, and Lady Gore], two and two; the Architect, Contractors,
and others connected with the Building, two and two, hearing the silver trowel
and other instruments of the ceremonial.] The layer of the Stone, the Earl Howe,
the Hon. Capt. Curzon, and the Rev. Marmaduke Vavasour, Vicar of Ashby - the
Clergy, Gentry, and Inhabitants in a long line, which more than reached from the
New Inn, to the foundation of the Church. The arrangements here were admirable,
protection being provided for the visitors from the cold winds, and the children
and others having all an opportunity afforded them of seeing the interesting
ceremony. The utmost order satisfaction and stillness prevailed throughout. A
hymn having been sung, and the brass plate with an appropriate inscription laid
upon the cavity of the under stone, in which were deposited several coins of the
present reign, His Lordship spread the mortar in a way which fully convinced us
that this was not the first time he had exercised his Masonic skill on similar
occasions, and declared the large block which was then lowered upon it, to be
laid in the most sacred faith of Jesus Christ, and in the name of God the
Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. The several forms were then gone
through, and his Lordship took occasion to express the great gratification he
himself experienced in the progress of this work, both as a neighbour, and more
especially as a guardian to the young Marquis of Hastings, to whom almost the
whole district belongs. Prayers were then offered supplicating a divine blessing
on the work, and an excellent address, which we deeply regret our inability to
furnish, was given by the respected Vicar of Ashby. Mr. Johnson, [manager of the
Ashby Bank] then approached Lord Howe, with those members of the committee who
reside in the Hamlet, and presented to his Lordship, as a grateful offering from
those gentlemen and their friends, the elegant silver Trowel, which had been
provided for the purpose. In the course of his observations, Mr. Johnson alluded
to the origin of the name "Wooden Box," which up to this day has marked the
Hamlet, viz - a single Wooden Toll House, which about thirty years ago, was the
only habitation where long lines of Cottages now form the street. This name, he
said, had now become inappropriate, and this day being the commencement of a new
era to the place, the inhabitants having come to the determination of changing
it, for the more euphonious title of "Woodville," which accordingly was the name
inscribed upon the trowel then presented, and by which in future the Hamlet
would be known. His Lordship feelingly acknowledged the admirable remarks which
had fallen from the Rev. Vicar and Mr. Johnson, and cordially thanking the
committee for their kindness, expressed his fervent hope, that the work in which
it was only his duty with all others to take the liveliest interest, might be
prospered of God, and be a source of blessings to this and future generations.
The Doxology was then sung. [the Ashby Choir leading in a very effective
manner,] and the Benediction having been pronounced by the Vicar, the ceremony
was concluded. Fifty-seven pounds were collected at the Gate on quitting the
Site - we wish we could say that no more is wanted to complete the, but
unhappily, the funds are still deficient some £700. We may add that the Church,
of which a beautiful drawing was presented by the Architect, Mr. H. Stevens, of
Derby, to Lord Howe, will contain 350 sittings, and will present somewhat of the
solid appearance peculiar to the Norman style. The stone which is of the very
best quality, and remarkably handsome, is obtained near the spot. The children
and workmen were duly regaled after ceremony, and the Odd Fellows, and many of
the visitors dined at the various inns .but all seemed mindful of the sacred
character of the occasion, and the proceedings of the day were throughout
satisfactory and pleasing."
Church of St. Stephen's at Woodville"
Leicester Journal : November 21st 1845 Page 7.
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Prince of Wales
Rising Sun Inn
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"At the Derby Borough Police Court this morning, before Mr. W. G. Norman, Mr.
Frost, and Ald. Grundv, the youth Ernest Braybrook, of Station Road,
Burton-on-Trent, was again brought charged with assaulting Elsie Dazeley, a
dressmaker's apprentice, 16 years of age, who lives in Spring Street, whilst in
St. Mary's Gate,
Derby, on Monday evening. The prisoner, it will be remembered, had committed
an unprovoked assault upon the girl, whom he had never seen before, hitting her
with a heavy stick and thumping her with his fists. When he was arrested he said
did not know how he came
Derby, nor why; nor did he know he had assaulted the girl. He had been
remanded for medical examination. Dr. C. A. Greaves, the medical officer at the
prison, now reported that he had examined the lad Braybrook, but could find no
reason to doubt his sanity. He had stated with perfect candour that he
remembered nothing from leaving home till he found himself in custody. He
complained of no illness, except that he was subject to headaches; Dr. Greaves
added that he was inclined to believe that this was one of those curious cases
which occur occasionally of temporary mental obscuration in cases of great
excitement. He appeared to have been worried by a love affair. The Chief
Constable said he had made inquiries
Woodville, and found it was true that he had quarrelled with his girl, who
worked with him, and she had declined to have anything more to do with him. He
had evidently been much affected, and had come to
Derby, where he assaulted the first girl he met. and an entire stranger.
Then he had a shoemaker's knife in his pocket which he did not use in his
business, and the inference was that he bought it. The prisoner said it was true
that he bought it at
Woodville, and that he wanted it to cut his food with at work. The prisoner
added that he did not know why he did it, and that he still suffered from a
headache. The Bench retired for some time, and eventually they fined him 20s.
and costs, or one month's imprisonment with hard labour."
Woodville Love Affair"
Derby Daily Telegraph : January 21st 1909
"A drama which was almost a tragedy was enacted in a well at
Woodville last night. Alfred Street , Station Road, Cyril Worledge, and
another boy were playing with two railway sleepers placed over a well, 100 feet
deep, at Heath's Pottery, when Street fell in. Worledge at once ran across the
field to Street's home, and Alec Street , a butcher's assistant, and a
neighbour, Mr. J. Evans, obtained a ladder and clothes line and went to the
rescue. First they lowered a cycle lamp. Then Alec Street was tied to the ladder
and the ladder was lowered into the well. Halfway down the well the ladder
rested on iron girders at about the level of the water. Alfred Street was found
clinging to the girders in a very distressed condition. Alec Street untied
himself from the ladder, then tied his brother to it. When the boy had been
drawn to the top, were Mr. W. G. Love was waiting to give assistance, the ladder
was lowered again for Alec Street. Alfred Street was sent to the Burton
Infirmary, where he is receiving treatment for injuries to his ribs, legs, and
head. He is stated to be going on satisfactorily."
Saved in Woodville Well Drama"
Derby Daily Telegraph
February 14th 1934
St.Stephen's Parish Page
"At each Inn on the road I a welcome could find; At the Fleece I'd my skin full
of ale; The Two Jolly Brewers were just to my mind; At the Dolphin I drink like
a wheale. Tom Tun at the Hogshead sold pretty good stuff; They'd capital flip at
the Boar; And when at the Angel I'd tippled enough, I went to the Devil for
Mail Coach Guard
1874 Wright's Directory
Adcock Charles : Woodville Co.'s Brick Yard
Adcock, Henry : Hearne House
Ball, William & Son, Woodville Brewery
Ball, Wm. Lawrence, Ball and Son
Barnett, James : Joyce, Ward, & Co.
Beech, Mrs. Susan : School
Betteridge, Thomas : Earthenware Manufacturer
Betterton Henry Inman : Joyce, Ward, & Co.
Brown, Charles : Gardener and Greengrocer
Brunt, Bucknall, Ratcliff, and Betterton: Brewers
Cash, Wm. & Son : Ironstone and Caneware
Cash, Thomas : Cash & Son
Cotterill Wm. Derbyshire Ironstone, Caneware
Dooley, Thomas :Smith, D., & Co.
Drakefield, John : Station Master
Eardley, James : Music Seller
Ensor, Henry : Gentleman, The Shrubbery
Farmer, John : Painter and Plumber
Foster, Joseph : Blacksmith
Godfrey, John : Bricklayer and Builder
Heape, Robert : Crate Maker
Jebbs, Thomas : Crate Maker
Johnson, John & Co, Bricklayers and Builders
Joyce, Ward, & Co, Brick Manufacturers
Joyce, John Hall : J. Ward & Co.
Jones, Joseph : Draper and Herbalist
Kirby, Thomas : Master of National School
Knowles, Henry : Tugby & Kn.
Knowles, John & Co. Ltd. Fire Brick, Crucible and
Terracotta Manufacturers, Mount Pleasant Works
Mansfield, Thomas : Crate Maker
Morley, Mrs. Hannah : Brick and Pipe Manufacturer
Muggleston, James : Wheelwright
Nadin, Thomas : Earthenware Manufacturer and
Victualler : Joiners' Arms
Newbold, John : Newsagent and Herbalist
Robinson, William : Hairdresser
Rowley, Joseph Benson : Derbyshire Ironstone
Sharpe, John : Superintendent Police Station
Slater, John, Bricklayer and Builder
Smith, George : Derbyshire Caneware
Thompson Bros. Glazed Pipe, Earthenware and
Thompson, Mrs. Ellen
Thompson, Mrs. Jane
Thompson, Richard. : Thompson Bros.
Thompson Willoughby, of Thompson Bros.
Toft, William : Hosier and Haberdasher
Tugby, [Hosea] & Knowles, Terracotta and
Earthenware Manufacturers, Albion Works
Villiers, William Taylor : T. and J. Villiers
Ward, John : Joyce, Ward, & Co.
Wilmhurst, Rev. Alfred Thomas M.A. Vicar
Wright, John Rope Maker
"On Monday, in the City of London Court,
before Mr. Macrae Moir, deputy judge, the case of Causton and Sons v. Thompson
was heard. The plaintiffs, Sir Joseph Causton and Sons, the well-known
stationers and printers, of Eastcheap, in the City, sought to recover from the
defendant, Mr. T. W. Thompson, of the Wooden Box Brewery, Woodville, near
Burton-on-Trent, and also the proprietor a tavern in
Birmingham, the sum of £16. 8s.
for designing and drawing in four colours iron tablets of the dimensions of 14½
in. by 8¼ in. as show cards. Mr. W. Price, the plaintiffs' traveller, said that he
was on his journeys in the Midland Counties in December, 1876, and received the
order from the junior partner of the firm, who suggested that he should like a
deer and stag and two fawns as the trade mark. He was, however, reminded by Mr.
Price that a brewer in the neighbourhood of
Birmingham had already assumed these
emblems. Several designs were thereupon recommended, amongst others a wooden box
as being most appropriate for a brewery which was already known by that name. The
defendant objected that a wooden box was rather vulgar, and several other
designs were then spoken of, but it happened that each of them was already in
use by rival brewers in the neighbourhood of
that in consequence the registrar of trade marks would not accept them.
Eventually a design of a stag was designed and lithographed. The proofs were
submitted to the defendant, who approved of them. Defendant's connection with
the brewery subsequently ceased, but within the last few months he repurchased
his interest in the concern, and the present proceedings were taken. Mr.
Safford, barrister, for the defendant, contended that there was breach of
contract by plaintiffs, who undertook to have a certain trade mark suggested by
defendant duly registered, but they had failed to carry it out. His Honour was of
opinion that £8 8s. would compensate the plaintiffs, and accordingly gave a verdict
for that amount."
Against a Brewer"
Derby Daily Telegraph : September 9th 1880
"Thomas Deakin Shipton, a 62 year-old miner, of 139,
Moira Road, Woodville, accused at Swadlincote today of attempting to strangle
his wife with intent to murder her, was alleged by Mrs. Shipton to have knocked
her down and knelt with his hand on her throat, saying "I'll strangle you."
After retiring for three minutes the magistrates dismissed the charge and also
one of inflicting grievous bodily harm on his wife. Mrs. Shipton said that since
last July, her husband had been off work suffering from neurasthenia, and had
received medical treatment. On March 19th the doctor said her husband could take
up light work for a local builder on March 26th, but did not. On March 31st,
Mrs. Shipton said, she got up about 7.30am and asked her husband, who was still
in bed, whether he was going to work. He said, "No, I don't think I shall bother
this morning." He stayed in bed until just before nine o'clock and then went
downstairs and had breakfast. "I went up to the bedroom about 9.30 and brought
down a blanket from the bed and said something to him about a mess on the
blanket." At that time, she added, her husband was standing in the kitchen and
she was kneeling on the floor cleaning the blanket." He knocked me down and said
'I'll strangle you,' " said Mrs. Shipton. "He was kneeling on the floor, had
hold of my throat, pressing with his thumb. I called out and struggled to get
away." Mrs. Shipton added that she got away, went outside and called to her
neighbour. Asked by Mr. J. Kauntze. defending. Staley said he did not see any
marks on Mrs. Shipton's throat. "I don't think I looked," he said. "She did not
ask me to look any marks on her throat." Replying to further questions, he said
he had lived next door the Shipton's for about four years, and as far as he knew
they had always been happy. She said that the pressure on her throat was not
great and that her husband did not try to get hold of her again after she had
got away." We have lived happily all our married life," Mrs. Shipton said. In
replying to Superintendent Hutchinson, for the prosecution, Mrs. Shipton said
her husband had never before threatened her. After giving evidence, Mrs. Shipton
said, "I would like medical evidence to be given." The Magistrates' Clerk [Mr.
T. W. Timms] replied that such evidence probably would be given. Walter Staley,
kiln fireman, of 137, Moira Road, Woodville, said that about 9.30 a.m. on March
31st, he heard Mrs. Shipton shout "Walter." He went to the back door and saw her
standing outside. He did not see Shipton, but Mrs. Shipton was upset. Mrs. Edith
May Archer, of 11 Chapel Street, Woodville, said she saw Mrs. Shipton at the
house of Mrs. Shuttleworth, and she was distressed. Police-constable F. C Allen
saw Shipton on March 31st and told him that he had received a complaint that he
had tried to strangle his wife. "I cautioned him," Police-constable Allen said,
"and he replied 'I laid hold of her and was to strangle her. She had hid my
boots, and took my money. It's nerves.' " Police-constable Allen added
that when he saw Mrs. Shipton she had a red mark on her neck and three small
marks on the right side of her jaw. "They were semi-circular," Police-constable
Allen said, "and had apparently been caused by finger nails, skin was broken
very slightly and there was a little blood. There were also abrasions on the
left elbow. When he arrested Shipton and charged him with attempting to strangle
his wife, Shipton, said "That's right, I did attempt to do it." Mr. Kauntze then
submitted that the evidence brought by the prosecution was not enough to prove
attempted strangulation. "This man," he said, "had been suffering from
neurasthenia for some considerable time, and I can put in a medical report. On
this charge I say there has been no prima facie case made out." After retiring,
the chairman [Mr. F. T Emery] said: "There is no case for the accused to answer
on the evidence submitted. The case is dismissed." At the end of the case, Mrs.
Shipton broke down and wept. Her husband left the court with her."
Cleared of Attempt to Strangle Wife"
Derby Evening Telegraph : April 12th 1849