GUEST COLUMN: Can you help solve the mystery of Ink Pot Cottage?

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Can you solve the mystery of Ink Pot Cottage, which vanished decades ago from Rufford Abbey’s estate in Nottinghamshire?

Managers at the country park, which is owned by Nottinghamshire County Council, are appealing for information to trace the exact location of the property.

It was near land close to what is Inkersall Farm today – but was part of Rufford’s estate many years ago.

The appeal follows contact from John Freeman, from Warrington, whose family, going back four generations, have been involved with Rufford’s estate as it has evolved through the years.

John’s dad Harold worked as a gardener at Rufford Abbey, and the family (John and parents Harold and Una) lived in Rhododendron Lodge from when John was born in 1954 until he reached his 20s in the 1974.

Rhododendron Lodge was built in the 1860s, a small Victorian lodge house located on what is now the A614 road, but is facing into the drive which now leads to Manor Farm. Harold worked for a time for head gardener John Doe at Rufford Abbey – very strict, but quite the gentleman.

John’s paternal grandfather William (Bill), born in 1894, was a gamekeeper at Rufford and had lived at Ink Pot Cottage – a cramped, eight-sided building in a field near Inkersall Farm, which is also located off the A614 road, on what was then also the Rufford estate.

It is also understood that John’s paternal grandfather William, himself who also worked on the Rufford estate, also lived at Ink Pot Cottage. Ink Pot Cottage was surrounded by fields, and was eventually razed to the ground a few decades ago, and the land it was built on is now with a private landowner.

We are always very pleased when people get back in touch with us to share their treasured memories of their family history at Rufford Abbey.

John Freeman’s account is fascinating with four generations of his family having strong links to the estate and it helps us all to learn more about the exciting past of the country park that so many people enjoy visiting today.

If you can help with the appeal for information about the Ink Pot Cottage, please contact Linda Hardy, visitor services manager, at Nottinghamshire County Council, via linda.hardy@nottscc.gov.uk or call 01623 821333.