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History unearthed at Rufford

More of Rufford Abbey Country Park’s colourful history was revealed on Friday (5 July) as an antitank shell was discovered during remedial works around the scheduled ancient monument.

Turf was being removed as part of work to reduce soil compaction when the shell was discovered.

Examination by the Royal Logistics Corps bomb disposal team identified it as a non-explosive tip of an anti-tank shell and removed it from the site.

Councillor John Cottee, Communities and Place Committee Chairman at Nottinghamshire County Council said: “Rufford Abbey has a fascinating history and has witnessed so many different periods of English history from medieval and Elizabethan times, through the war years to today’s country park which attracts well over 350,000 visitors each year. It’s exciting when we come across finds of this type as they continue to bring the park’s remarkable past to life.”

During the First World War Rufford made rough-cut wooden coffins for the dead. On the eve of World War II, Rufford Abbey was sold, and passed through the hands of various owners. The estate, house and contents were eventually taken over by the Army in 1939 during the Second World War and the Leicestershire Yeomanry, 6th Cavalry Brigade were stationed there, arriving as horse-mounted troops, and leaving as motorised artillery. About 20 army huts were constructed and these later housed Italian prisoners of war. Stripped of its fine interiors, furnishings and land, by the late 1950s it languished. Wartime damage, coal mining subsidence and neglect left the Abbey and its grounds in a sorry state.  

In 1957 Nottinghamshire County Council bought the house and the remains of its gardens, later opening them as a country park.


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