News for Autumn 2005



There are few members who are able to remember the Society before Myles's presidency, and even fewer whose memories include his joining in 1933. His interest in archaeology, particularly in Minoan civilization, began when he was at Eton: little did he know then that Crete would play such an important part in his life. Local History had begun to cast its spell on him in 1928, when his father inherited Flintham, which became the family home. Myles's father, Judge Hildyard K.C., was not interested in ancestry or Victoriana, or the Thorotons - as far as he was concerned, the family were Hildyards. An ancestor, Colonel Thomas Thoroton, had changed his name to Hildyard on marrying an heiress in 1815, and Myles was later to write: 'If I had had children I would have changed my name again'. He was fascinated by the Thorotons, whose connection with Flintham had lasted over 200 years, and with the near neighbourhood for even longer. In particular, he valued his descent from a brother of Dr Robert Thoroton, in whose honour the Society is named. Having completed his training as a barrister, Myles joined the Sherwood Rangers when war broke out, and was soon bound for France, then Palestine, and in 1941 for Crete. Soon the island was overwhelmed by the German airborne invasion and orders came to evacuate. After several frustrated attempts to leave by sea Myles and his unit found themselves imprisoned. He and a fellow officer managed to escape to the hills, and for two months were sheltered by friendly Cretans, some of whom regularly visited Flintham after the War. Myles and his colleague were able eventually to reach Turkey, on the way being entrusted with a steel box of'secret papers' which they handed to the military attache in Ankara. It was this Cretan episode which earned Myles his M.C. After the war he returned to Flintham and took up farming and estate management. His father died in 1956, and Myles inherited the house and estate. That year he became Honorary Secretary of the Society, and he was elected President in 1961.

In Brief

CONGRATULATIONS to our Chairman, Professor John Beckett, who has been seconded to the University of London, and who from September this year will become Director of the Victoria County History. Fortunately, John intends to remain in Nottingham, and to continue as Chairman of the Thoroton Society. We wish him every success for the future.

You should have received with the last mailing a request for dates marking significant local events, births, deaths etc. So far Thoroton members have been a little slow in coming forward! If you know of any such anniversary, especially those of a particularly local nature, please let the Honorary Secretary know, and we will be able to plan ahead in order to reflect the event in our programme. Write to Barbara Cast, Honorary Secretary of the Thoroton Society, at The Little Dower House, Station Road, Bleasby, Notts, NG14 7FX, (or contact her at

Over the next forty years Myles improved and enhanced the estate, and brought the neglected house to its present glory, in particular restoring the wonderful library and its unique conservatory. Thoroton Society members have had several opportunities to visit the house and grounds, most memorably in 1997, the Centenary Year, when 146 members joined Myles on the south lawn. Myles had always taken a great interest in the gardens and in the park. It was appropriate therefore that the Society should mark his forty years as President with the gift of a tree: a liquidamba styraciflua was planted on 17 November 2001, which should soon be coming into its autumn splendour.
Neville Hoskins

Change of venue for Thoroton lectures

The Society's Officers were recently made aware only by the appearance of planning applications, that we will almost certainly lose the use of the YMCA Hall for our lectures. Subsequent frantic telephone calls have led to a possible solution. It is most probable that from 2006 the Saturday lectures will be held in the new Mechanics' Hall, which is situated at the foot of North Sherwood Street. Exact details have yet to be finalized, but there could possibly be changes to the year's programme. In addition, it might not be possible to hold lectures regularly on the second Saturday of the month. It is important that members look out for notices in the Newsletters.
Neville Hoskins


A day seminar on Food will be held at Bromley House on Saturday 26 November, from 10am to 4pm. Speakers will address subjects such as 16th- and 18th-century food, the history of school dinners, and rationing between 1939-54. This should prove to be a very entertaining and interesting day, with buffet lunch and, hopefully, some samples of the period foods. The cost will be between £10-£15. For further information and/or to book, contact Carol Allison, tel. 0115 947 3134.