History of the area
Whitwick in the doomsday book
Circa 1086 (The Doomsday Book) - The
land of Hugh de Grandmesnil
Hugh holds of Hugh half a carucate of land in Witewic. There is land for half a plough. There is 1 border [and] woodland 1 furlong long and half a furlong broad. It is worth 2s.
carucate: a plowland; as much land as one team can plow in a year and a day; by some said to be about 100 acres
furlong: a unit for measuring distance, equal to 1/8 mile (201 meters)
Circa 1612 - James 1st granted to Henry Hastings and Henry Culter the manor of Whitwick. This had been the property of the Duke of Suffolk before his attainment. In 1619, Henry Hastings became sheriff of Leicester, nine years later his wife Mabel died and was buried at St Marys in Leicester. Henry himself died the following year and he also was laid to rest at St Marys. Mabel had given her husband four sons. The eldest of these was also named Henry and was heir to his fathers estates.
Holly Hayes Wood
Hawley Hays was mentioned in a list of various woods and hills in Whitwick in 1609, although it is thought to have been enclosed from forest wastes about two hundred years earlier.
hays: an enclosure, hedge or
Holly Hayes is an ancient enclosed area of the Old Charnwood Forest and was enclosed before the Enclosure Act of Whitwick 1805.
As far as we are aware, no land leases survive for Whitwick for the whole period before 1803, when the wood is shown as an Ancient Enclosure on the map and was attached to the award for enclosing Commons and Open Fields in Whitwick, Thringstone and Peggs Green.
The following link to our photo gallery shows a plan of Charnwood Forest during 1754. Holly Hayes Wood is shown under Whitwick Enclosure. It also suggests that the area now known as Forest Rock Wood was previously called Houghton Hill.
There is also a link to a map of the area for 1842 showing Holly Hays Wood with dwellings in the wood. Forest Rock seems to be shown in the vicinity where Pelder Tor is marked (in later years referred to as Peldar Tor). On later maps, circa 1883, Forest Rock Wood seems to have been referred to as Spring Hill Wood. (This description is still shown on todays Ordinance Survey maps.)
Holly Hayes Wood is clearly shown on the maps of the early 1800s, but is not named. Only three rate lists for the 19th Century exist. The first for 1835, shows Holly Hayes Wood comprising of about four acres and being owned by Thomas Jesson. It is also shown as being owned by him on both the 1843 list and the final list of 1871.
Holly Hayes Wood was rented from Thomas Jesson by a one John Colledge around 1860. He was a surgeon at Leicester Hospital. He lived in the house later called Fish Pond House and he supposedly replanted this wood and established a tree nursery on adjoining land. He also built a cottage for his manager adjoining his own house.
During 1866, the road now called Leicester Road was known as Nursery Lane on the title deeds, and in 1877, James Henshaw is listed as a farmer living at Holly Ayes.
During 1893, the operation at Whitwick Quarry was commenced. It would appear that the first quarry was dug at the site of Forest Rock Wood, reference to this name can be found during 1923, where the quarry was previously called Forest Rock Quarry. Some time later, circa 1929, a second quarry appears to have been commenced in Peldar Tor, which is the site of the existing quarry and is officially referred to as Springhill Quarry, Peldar Tor, Whitwick, Leicestershire, England, UK.
tor: a rocky pinnacle; a peak of a bare or rocky mountain or hill
During 1889, Thomas Williamson was the farmer living at Holly Hays, and was still there in 1892, 1895, and 1899 with William Berrington living there in 1908.
In 1911, the Coalville Times informs us that game birds had been stolen from Holly Hayes Wood, which then belonged to the Whitwick Granite Company. Mr William Berrington still lived there at this time and was still living here up to 1928.
In 1920 the quarry advertised trees for sale from this wood. Also about this time, the quarry dammed the brook and created a pond. This was also to provide a supply of water for the quarry at the same time. A pumping station was also built nearby.
During the 1940s, the two cottages were occupied by the Danvers and Blog | Roberts family. The Electoral list for 1948 shows the Roberts family at Holly Hays Cottage, the Tomlinson Family at Fishpond Cottage and John Waley at Holly Hayes Farm.
In 1963, Mr Danvers still lived at Holly Hayes farm, but Fishpond cottage was then occupied by a Mr Lacy.
In 1977, it is believed that the large stone within a circle of trees on the edge of Holly Hayes Wood was placed there to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee.
Much of the above information was kindly been
provided to us by the Whitwick Historical Society