Joseph Paget

1826 -1896

Joseph was the son of Charles Paget, born at Loughborough in 1826. He was 2nd eldest of 6 children, Mary the eldest, Lucy and Ann. A younger brother & sister, Charles and Caroline, died in infancy. His mother, Eliza, died in 1834 when Charles was just 7 years old. He lived at Ruddington Grange until Stuffynwood Hall was built for him in 1857, Joseph was reported to have held a ’raising the roof’ party there on April 25th of that year. The following year, on the 2nd June 1858, at Saint Alkmund church in Derby, the Dean of Derby conducted the marriage service of his daughter, Helen Elizabeth Abney, aged 20 of Measham Hall, to Joseph Paget, aged 32.
After the death of his father in 1873, Joseph inherited the share in the William Hollins Company, however, the very low incidence of recorded company events that name him, suggests that his involvement was minimal. Joseph was otherwise engaged with the 200 acre Stuffynwood Estate and like his father, was involved in public office as JP and in 1892, High Sheriff of Derbyshire. Joseph also inherited his father’s estate at Ruddington Grange, which he sold later to Sir Thomas Birkin, a Nottingham lace manufacturer. Records show that Joseph and his wife were benefactors to charitable organisations, particularly involving the education of child labour, which his father had campaigned for in parliament. In 1862 they had a child, born at Stuffynwood, christened Elsie Maud Abney-Paget. Foreign travel also featured regularly in their lives, usually as ambassadors for their faith. Religion was very important in their lives, infact, recorded events suggest that they lived a very pious existence.


Bibles at 10 paces!

In 1876 Joseph built a chapel dedicated to St Chad for the increasing population of mill workers in Pleasley Vale. He built it in a lofty position, overlooking the Vale, on the Derbyshire side of the river so that visitors from Mansfield Woodhouse could see it directly opposite as they approached on the Northfield road. (now a private road running alongside the modern St Chad's opposite the bridge) It was built of timber, painted white, modest in size but elegant and of handsome design built by Cox & sons of the Strand London. The church was lit by gas light, which had been installed to the Estate and throughout the Vale in 1875. It is recorded that Mr Linney of Mansfield donated a powerful harmonium of excellent tone. Visitors to the church were able to gain access by a footpath from Littlewood in the east and Pleasley hamlet in the west both converging on the lodge and the carriage-drive from the south, from Mansfield Woodhouse. Visitors to the chapel were allowed to walk up the carriage-drive to a path that allowed an easy climb up to the church. The formal opening was on the 10th November 1876, conducted by the Bishop of Lichfield in the presence of a large congregation of local clergy, including the newly appointed Vicar of Shirebook, Dr Quilter of Oxford, who was to conduct an evening and morning service every Sunday.

In 1880, plans were being made for the wedding of Elsie, now aged 18, to Hubert Hodson, Registrar of the Diocese of Litchfield, aged 32. The Pagets were planning to hold the service at St Chads to be conducted by the Rev. Abney, Joseph's father in Law. To their dismay, however, open dissatisfaction to this event was aired by the Rev.Dr. Quilter. In response to this, Joseph instructed that after the wedding, the church was to be taken down and rebuilt the other side of the river, out of Derbyshire and the Diocese of Lichfield and into the Diocese of the Bishop of Lincoln, Nottinghamshire, where the Rev Webb of St Edmunds, Mansfield Woodhouse had expressed more liberal views. During this transition period, chapel services were conducted in Joseph's large photographic room at the Hall. The church was rebuilt just over the river boundary, across the bridge, alongside the Northfield road from Mansfield Woodhouse, however, Joseph decided to make it more 'churchly' than before by building around the timbers with brick & stone, adding a bell tower and replacing the harmonium with a pipe organ built by Lloyd & Co of Nottingham. The interior woodwork remained the same as before, a highly polished contrast of pitchpine and mahogany. The first service at the relocated St Chads was held on the 14th October 1881. It was a low key event attended by a few local clergy including the new Vicar of the church, Rev.Kirby, who, according to records I have found, was salaried by Joseph Paget. He also built and provided living accomodation for him behind the church.

Before St Chads was dismantled and moved, Joseph and his wife Helen, witnessed their daughter's wedding at St Chads, in its original position on April 29th 1880. The service was conducted by the Rev. Abney, the bride's grandfather. Records show that in 1881 the Rev.Dr. Quilter of the Holy Trinity, Shirebrook was replaced by the Rev Lloyd Ware MA of Caius College Cambridge who also occupied the vicarage, which was owned by Joseph Paget, however, records show that Paget gifted the annual 212 rent back to the church, although to be fair, I cant find a date that this arrangement commenced so dont read too much into it!

St Chads 2006, built by Joseph Paget in 1881 for the population of Pleasley Vale. Its original position was directly opposite, built in 1876, overlooking Little Matlock. The original church was wooden and is actually inside the rebuilt brick & stone construction

1881 - The Census

In the spring of 1881 a grand-daughter was born to the Pagets, christened Elsie Vernon Hodson. The 1881 census of Stuffynwood was conducted when Elsie was just 2 days old, however, the census shows that Joseph was a few hundred miles away at his elder sister, Mary Swaine's home in Guildford, Surrey. Back at Stuffywood Hall, the census reveals a busy household of servants on duty, including 4 house maids, 2 ladies maids, butler, 2 footmen, housekeeper, cook, kitchen & scullery maids. Also on the estate, at Littlewood dairy farm, lived William Sandy, farm bailiff and his family, from Ruddington, where the Paget family home was based before it was sold after Charles' death in 1873. It is likely that his skills were retained at Stuffynwood. At the Lodge, lived the Tongue family, the head of the family, Samuel, was the coachman and his eldest son George, the groom. In 1 Nutshell cottage lived 3 more Stuffynwood Estate staff including the Clerk of the Works and Henry Hurt, who was actor John Hurt's grandfather. In 2 Nutshell cottage lived the farmer and his family. The Stuffynwood cottages at the north entrance where occupied by the Gamekeeper, William Topley, another Ruddington retainee. Nextdoor, lived the gardener and his wife, the laundress. Talking of which, ghostly figures and terrifying screams have been eminating from the derelict laundry recently, which may be the laundry maid's disgruntled spirit on busy washdays or is it the barn owl?

1888 - Holy Land

Extracts from the memoirs of Edward Randolph Welles, Bishop of Milwaukee.

Landing at Liverpool on the morning of the 21st of June, the Bishop of Milwaukee, with his sons and great friend, the Bishop of Indiana, went directly to Stuffynwood, Derbyshire, Mid-England. This was the home of Mr. and Mrs. Paget, who had cordially invited "the Bishop to make their home his headquarters, during his sojourn in England." It had been the Bishop's intention to travel considerably in England, should his health permit.
At the opening sessions of the Lambeth Conference, the Bishop was present for four days, but found his attendance greatly fatiguing.
On invitation, he attended a banquet given by the Lord Mayor to the Bishops. During the remainder of his stay, at that time, in London, he was the guest of the Archbishop of Canterbury, at Lambeth Palace. The final service of the Conference, was in S. Paul's Cathedral, London. At the conclusion of the function, the Bishop was greatly exhausted, and returned immediately to Stuffynwood, where, during the residue of his stay in England, all that loving hands and hearts could do, was done to give him pleasure, joy and peace.
From Stuffynwood, he went, for brief visits, at Baslow with Dr. and Mrs. Branson, uncle and aunt of the late Rev. E. R. Ward, visiting Chatsworth and Haddon Hall; and at the house of Dr. Kirby Kittoe and family (formerly of this Diocese), he spent a week, in Oxford. He enjoyed meeting the Rev. Dr. Bright, the Rev. Dr. Paget, Father Benson, and others. He saw considerable of the University life, entering his younger son as an undergraduate at this time.
From Stuffynwood, he also went up frequently to London, to consult physicians of eminence in regard to his health. With the exception of these visits, and a short attendance at the final sessions of the Conference, he passed the time of his sojourn in England at Stuffynwood. Many incidents, during his stay, brought vividly back to himself, and the friends around, the thought of the Patriarchal days. For many yearn, a Bishop had not been seen at Stuffynwood and the surrounding country, but the traditions of the olden time lingered among the people, and many, both at Stuffynwood, and in his journeyings, came to him for the Apostolic blessing, and departed, rejoicing that they had been thus privileged.
On Sunday, September 16th, at the request of the Bishop of Southwell, Confirmation was administered by Bishop Welles in the Church of the Holy Trinity, Shirebrook, to 36 Candidates. The Bishop was habited in the ancient vestments of cope and mitre, and the service was deeply impressive in its character.
It was his last ministration in this office of the Church, and one which will long be remembered by those present, because of the venerable and apostolic appearance of the Bishop, as well as the earnestness of his address to the Candidates before and after the Sacrament of Confirmation.
The last official act of the Bishop's life, was a Celebration of the Holy Eucharist at S. Chad's Chapel, on the estate at Stuffynwood, on the eve of S. Michael and All Angels, September 28th.
To those receiving, the thought that he was ready "to depart on the morrow, and that they should see his face no more," gave to this service an unusual solemnity. The household had learned to love him during his sojourn among them; and his final words of Benediction, came as an unction from on high to their waiting hearts. One of them writes: "Since news has come that the pure, gentle, kind Bishop has entered into rest, Stuffynwood has been a house of mourning."

1896 - The End of the Paget Era

Joseph Paget died at the age of 70. He was buried at Shirebrook's Holy Trinity on 24th October 1896, the same year that Shirebrook Colliery was sunk at the northern perimeter of the estate. Records show that Joseph's executors sold the share in the Pleasley Mills business back to the William Hollins Company and the local news paper in 1898 reports that the Hall was now leased to Charles Paxton Markham the brother of Arthur Markham who lived there until 1907. The new colliery brought rapid change to Shirebrook village and to the Stuffynwood Estate. The 1901 census shows that William Hollins' employees were occupying the house at the time (probably a security measure in MP, Arthur Markhams's absence) and that more properties had sprung up at the Shirebrook end of the Stuffynwood Estate. However, these properties were huts, hastily errected to house the huge influx of colliery workers. Shirebrook's New Model village was not providing houses fast enough for the rising population, eventually the river became contaminated by sewerage, leading to a typhoid epidemic and hundreds of deaths, mainly children. , After leasing the Hall to colliery owner, Arthur Basil Markham, who was elected liberal MP for Mansield on October 12th 1900, Joseph Paget's widow, Helen Paget, moved to Brighton with her lady companion. Helen lived there until her death in 1913.