Memory Lane (from past "Rollestonians")

Village Lighting

Before World War II public street lighting, which covered only a small part of the centre of the village, was from gas lamps using the supply purchased by the District Council from Rolleston Hall after the 1924.Sale. Between 1939 and 1945 no street lighting was allowed and after the war the gas lamps were gradually refurbished and brought back into use. However, complaints were received about the unreliability of the service, some lamps being off for several days at a time. On investigation it was discovered that when Burton Corporation took over the supply it was to be continued on pre-war conditions. One of these conditions being no street lighting during the week of the full moon!

Incidentally, up to the 1960s only the centre of the village had any street lighting and they had to pay an additional local rate to the parish for that service.

Ralph Lea (Rollestonian Spring 1992)

The Armada Bell

There are eight bells in St Mary’s Church all of which will have a story to tell. However, the large tenor bell is of especial interest being known as the Armada Bell, cast in 1586, two years before the Armada. It would would have been in place to warn villagers of the impending invasion and also rung again for the deliverance from the Armada.

It is a large bell - about 1294lbs of solid bell metal. Its beautiful deep mellow tone can be heard when the clock strikes the hour. Over the years it must have been used as a toll bell for the dead, to call people to prayer and of course as an alarm bell. Around it is a Latin inscription:-

"Cohortes ut tuba sic sonitu domino conduco" which can be translated as "Like a clarion call I muster the forces of the Lord". This seems to be in keeping with its use throughout the ages.

Clem Wood (Rollestonian Summer 1988)

Golf Courses

Many residents will be surprised to know that the development of the Craythorne golf course is not the first in the village. Frank Wedd of Meadow View, inherited and for many years farmed the land between Rolleston Lane and Cornmill Lane. Frank’s father diversified in 1930 by creating the 9 hole Rolleston and Tutbury Golf Course with members coming from as far away as Birmingham. The golf course was sacrificed for the second World War "Dig for Victory" effort and for a while , an alternative course was improvised off Fiddler’s Lane.

The Butcher's

Mr & Mrs Richards, the grandparents of Joy Mackechnie, of Brookside, met when he was a boy at the butcher’s and she was a maid next door at Brooklyn, Chapel Lane. They moved away, but eventually returned to buy the house and business. Joy’s parents lived in Burton, but her visits to her grandparents lengthened and eventually Brooklyn became her home with her grandfather. She remembers the yard containing livestock bought in the market in Burton and actually enjoyed helping out in the slaughterhouse. At that time Brooklyn had oil stoves for cooking, candles and gas for lighting and water came from a pump in the yard. Electricity came in 1926 and the water pump was removed in 1944 when water quality deteriorated, possibly due to geological changes resulting from the Fauld explosion.


May Tebbett of Station Road arrived in 1941 from Billesley with a baby son, 50 or 60 other children and 3 teachers. they had started out with no idea of their destination and finally arrived from Stretton by bus. May was billetted in Beacon Road with the job of looking after the administrative and welfare needs of the children. The children were not integrated but took over the Commemoration Hall for their school. May remembers cycling to the cinema in Tutbury, opposite the glassworks, dances and occasional film shows in the Commemoration Hall. Later in the war American servicemen arrived in Hilton and many Rollestonians were introduced to coloured people for the first time. After the war May moved back to Birmingham but 2 years later she returned to remarry and settle.

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© This site was created by Richard Bush

Last updated: 5 April 2000