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It was in the early Edwardian era that Pleasley Parish contained about 90 houses. The earliest recalled Lord of the Manor of Pleasley in the early thirteenth century was Robert De Willoughby who in the late thirteenth century sold the Manor of Pleasley to Thomas Bek, younger brother of John, Lord Bek of Eresby (Lincs) who was Bishop of St Davids until his death in 1293,    in 1285 Thomas had a grant of a weekly market and a three-day annual fair at Pleasley and a free warren in his demesne lands (estates), as well as a licence to fortify and crenellate (furnish with battlements)  his house there, and permission to divert the road running past his tenement (house) at Pleasley Hill. After his death, Pleasley passed to his brother Anthony Bek born 1240 he was a soldier, courtier, lawyer, statesman, King of the Isle of Man and a close friend of Edward the lst, He was Bishop of Durham in 1283 He had half a Knights fee there in 1302, he was also Patriot of Jerusalem in 1295. He died in 1311, when the Manor was found to be held of Robert De Rearsby by the service of 2d. yearly.” Our local primary school is named after Anthony Bek.  There may be others before this; previous records have not been available.

Lord of the Manor did not necessarily mean a Lord living in a Manor building, Manor was an estate very often bestowed upon a nobleman who had befriended the King,

Stoney Houghton described as a small village and township, The Duke of Devonshire being the Lord of the Manor and owner of 415 Acres. in 1827 a Sunday School was erected by William Crookes, (that’s were Crookes Ave derives its name) at a cost of £60. It was a plain stone building, and was also used as a place of worship by the Primitive Methodists, the North-East part of the Township is in Upper Langwith Parish.

The 1086 Doomsday Survey does not mention Pleasley or the small settlement of Shirebrook, these along with (New Houghton) came under the Manor of GLAPWELL (New Houghton was recorded as Holtune). Later when Pleasley broke away to form a Manor of its own, Shirebrook became part of the Manor of Pleasley, and afterwards within the Pleasley Parish.  

Pleasley derives its name from the Old English and probably means Pleasa’s Clearing, and no doubt belonged to the family of Sevio de Pleasley who died in 1203, recorded in historical documents it was Plesele.

In 1284 the Lord of the Manor of Pleasley was Thomas Bec, Bishop of St David’s, lord treasurer to King Edward 1st..  Pleasley in the 7th century was part of the Kingdom of   Mercia and was part of the Royal Hunting Forest of Sherwood. The King’s Forest Officers had a regular checkpoint at Moorhaigh Bridge on the River Meden, which stood on the Great Road of Bolsover to Mansfield.


Also In 1285, Pleasley received a Royal Charter for a weekly market and two Annual Fairs in May and October. Fat and Lean cattle were sold at the front of the Church, Pleasley Market Cross was an ancient stone dating from the 13th century the cross with a flight of five steps were where sheep were sold and Horses on Teversal Road (Now Newboundmill Lane). Much later at the Market Cross stood a cottage housing the public weighbridge.

The following is an excerpt from Kelly’s Directory

Kelly's Directory of the Counties of Derby, Notts, Leicester,  pub. London (May, 1891) - pp.285-286

PLEASLEY is a township, parish and pleasant village, including Pleasley Hill, in the parish of St. John, Mansfield, on the road from Mansfield to Chesterfield, with a station on the Teversall branch of the Midland railway, 3 miles north-west from Mansfield, 9 south-east from Chesterfield, in the Chesterfield division of the county, hundred of Scarsdale, Chesterfield petty sessional division, Mansfield union and county court district, rural deanery of Alfreton, archdeaconry of Derby and diocese of Southwell. The church of St. Michael is a building of stone, in the Early English, Decorated and Perpendicular styles, consisting of chancel, nave, south porch and an embattled western tower containing 3 bells : the chancel arch is Norman, highly ornamented, and the tower Perpendicular : there are 250 sittings. The register dates from the year 1553. The living is a rectory, average tithe rent-charge £650, and other emoluments about £150, gross yearly value £800, with residence and 3 acres of glebe, in the gift of Mrs. McCreagh Thornhill, and held since 1884 by the Rev. John Blomefield M.A. of Trinity College, Cambridge. Services are held on Sunday evenings in the new school at New Houghton. The United Free Methodists hold services on Sunday in the British schoolroom at Pleasley Vale. The Rev. Francis Gisborne, formerly rector of Staveley, in 1818 left £6 13s. to this parish, which is expended in clothing for the poor. Pleasley Vale, a romantic spot extending from a mile and a quarter to a mile and a half north-east of the village, is the site of the extensive cotton, silk and merino spinning mills of William Hollins and Co. Limited, giving employment to 400 or 500 hands : the river Meden or Mayden winds for a mile through the valley, and previous to reaching the first mill spreads itself into a wide sheet; both water and steam power are employed. On the north-east side of the lower mills are precipitous rocks, or ravines of limestone. A market formerly held here on Mondays has for many years been discontinued : the pedestal of the market cross still remains on the brow of the hill in the village. Two fairs are held for cattle, horses and sheep, on May 6th and October 29th. The mansion of Wm. Hollins esq. J.P. stands on a slight eminence commanding a view of the river and was considerably enlarged in 1861. The Right Hon. Sir Harry Verney bart. P.C. of Claydon, Bucks, was lord of the manor and principal landowner through marriage. The soil is limestone and clay; subsoil, rock and clay. The chief crops are wheat, oats, and barley. The acreage, comprising Shirebrook (which will be found under a separate head) and the hamlet of STONEY HOUGHTON, and the colliery villages of Upper Pleasley and New Houghton, is 3,293, of which 224 are woodland ; rateable value, £9,719; the population of the parish in 1881 was 1,152.
Parish Clerk, Henry Rogers.

POST & M. O. O., S. B. & Annuity & Insurance Office, Pleasley Hill, Notts.-Thomas Dutton, receiver. Letters are received through Mansfield at 7.30 a.m. ; dispatched at 5 & 7.30 p.m. ; saturdays, 5 p.m. only. The telegraph office is at the railway station

WALL LETTER Box, Stoney Houghton, cleared at 4.25 p.m. week days only

Church of England (mixed& infants'), erected in 1875, for 120 boys & girls &; 100 infants; average attendance, 130 ; infants, 100 ; Charles Leigh, master
New Houghton, erected 1884, for 100 children; average attendance, 5O; Miss Millin, mistress
Sunday School is held in all the schools
British, Pleasley Vale, erected by Messrs. W. Hollins & Co. Limited, for 200 children; average attendance, 100 ; Miss Mary Lucy Flint, mistress

Railway Station. William Henry Pugh, station master
CARRIER.-John Cooper, to Black Horse, Mansfield, thurs. & sat
Blomefield Rev. John M.A Rectory
Hollins William J.P. Pleasley vale
Munro James Mitchell M.B

Booth John, farmer, Stoney Houghton            

Cooper John. Omnibus proprietor
Crooks Samuel, farmer       Dean Elizabeth (Mrs.), farmer
Dodsley Robt. farmer,  Stoney Houghtn           

Downs Samuel, farmer, The Lodge
Featherstone Samuel, blacksmith              

Heath Thomas, farmer, Stoney Houghtn
Hollins William & Co. (Nottm.), Lim. cotton silk & merino spinners (Claude Hollins esq. sec. ; H. E. Hollins esq. managing director ; Herbert Porter esq. assistant manager ; David Brooks, cashier; Thomas Snaith, engineer), Pleasley works
Holmes John Machin, farmer   Hopkinson Joseph, farmer
Humphrey William, farmer & butcher                 

Kirk Ann (Mrs.), shopkeeper
Lawrence Benj. farmer, Stoney Houghtn       

Munro James Mitchell M.B., C.M. surgn
Pleasley Colliery (Stanton Iron Co. proprietors; J. C. B. Hendy, certificated manager)
Pleasley Co-operative Society (James Edward Wilkinson, manager)
Renshaw Benjamin, farmer, Batley          

Sandy Wm. farm bailiff to J.Paget esq. J.P
Smith Frederick, Nag's Head P.H              

Tatham Joseph, farmer, The Park
Wass James. farmer, Stoney Houghton
Wass John, Devonshire Arms P.H. Stoney Houghton

This is copied verbatim

The London to York road passed through the village and was allegedly used by Dick Turpin, the Highwayman. Although this is purely a legend, the truth is as follows. Dick Turpin is probably the most famous highwayman of all. Mention the name to most people, and they will tell you he was a daring and dashing highwayman who famously rode from London to York on his faithful mare, Black Bess, in less than, 24 hours. However, the popular Turpin legend contains not a grain of truth. In reality, Turpin’s fictitious great ride was made by 17th century highwayman John ‘Swift Nick’ NEVISON, who early one morning in 1676 robbed a homeward-bound sailor on the road outside Gads Hill, Kent. Deciding he needed to establish an alibi, Nevison set off on a ride that took him more than 190 miles in about 15 hours.

Turpin was hanged at York Racecourse, in truth Turpin never exhibited any of the swaggering nonchalance, heroism, or derring-do usually attributed to him. His criminal ventures had been squalid, to say the least.

Business people and dignitaries at that time were Robert Armson, bookkeeper, William Cooke baker, John Holehouse, parish clerk, William Hollins Esq., Rev Courtney Smith, incumbent, Sarah Northage Schoolmistress Mr. Richards Schoolmaster, John and Samuel Fox Corn Millers, Farmers were Thomas Belfield, James Flint, Sarah Dean, James Fox, John Fox, The Nags Head and The Post Office were both run by Thomas Belfield Letters arrived at 8-45am and were dispatched at 5pm,

The village PINFOLD was near the Church, (Compound for Horses) and the Stocks were near the Old Market Cross, The flourmill near Meden Square was part of the estate owned by FREDERICK Verney son of Sir Harry Verney through his inheritance from Parthenope Verney (Nightingale).

Pleasley was a considerable Parish in 1851 consisting of Pleasley, Shirebrook and Stoney Houghton and had 126 Houses, 654 inhabitants, 314 Males and 340 Females. Before Sir Harry Verney was credited to be Lord of the Manor. William E Nightingale was Lord of the Manor and principle owner, He owned the land on where Pleasley Colliery sunk the first shaft at first it was called the Nightingale pit the mineral works were owned by W E Nightingale. The River Meden, On the banks of the river used to stand open-air swimming baths, this river separates Pleasley from Pleasley Hill which is in the District of Mansfield. The Church dedicated to St Michael, dates from 1160 and the registers from 1553.  It is a rectory, ( the word rectory has two meaning rectory where the Rector lives and also means a Living, in this case it was a living) valued in the Kings books, £11.4s.7, in the patronage of William Pole Thornhill Esq., And the incumbency of the Rev. Courtney Smith, The Church is an ancient structure, of great length, and very narrow, with a tower late 14th century in which are three bells, a chasm was made in the tower by a shock earthquake on Sunday 17th March 1816 and was felt over a great part of Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire.

Sir Harry Verney born 1801 Died1894 He was an active reformer

and was 2nd Baronet for Buckinghamshire and was married

to a Miss Eliza Hope daughter of Admiral Sir George Hope, one

of Nelsons captains at the battle of Trafalgar, they lived at

Claydon House Middle Claydon in Buckinghamshire.

On the death of his cousin Mrs. Verney of Claydon House,

Bucks. he assumed the surname of Verney in place of Calvert

by Royal licence in 1827 when he succeeded to the Verney


In 1832 he was elected M.P. for Buckingham and retained a

seat in the House of Commons for the next 52 years first under

William lV them under Queen Victoria,

He inherited Claydon from Sir Harry the 1st Baronet when he died

in 1826 Claydon House (now part of the National Trust) consisted

of a brewhouse as home-made beer was essential, a carpenter’s

shop with a skilled succession of Webbs to repair old carving and

devise new, the dairy for rich butter and cream, a forge for repairs,

a bakehouse, a laundry, an ice house and a slaughterhouse, with a woodyard behind, not to mention horses and carriages, and over these vital needs a spinner and a weaver, a bevy of grooms and gardeners, with low wages plus extras there was no nonsense about overtime and holidays, and workmen walked to their work and children walked to school. Lady Verney (Eliza

 Hope) died in 1857.

Although the name of Florence Nightingale is always thought to be the

significant connection with Pleasley it her little known sister Parthenope

that Pleasley is indebted to through leaving her estate to Frederick.

The Pleasley Public Library and Parish Room, later to be known as the

Verney Institute, was designed by the partnership for Frederick William

Verney MP and Lord of the Manor, for the use of the people of Pleasley.

Frederick was the son of Sir Harry, The Verney Institute was conveyed

to the Parish Council in 1906.  It is considered to represent one of the final

commissions from when Parker and Unwin were based in Derbyshire.

100 years later in the year 2006 this historical building was refurbished

financed mainly by the HLF Heritage Lottery Fund and HERS Heritage

Economic Regeneration Scheme through Bolsover District Council.

Despite local belief neither Sir Harry or his son Frederick were domicile in

Pleasley. There was no Manor House in Pleasley even though Sir Harry was

Lord of the Manor, the Manor being an area of land

He inherited this position through his second wife that being Parthenope

Francis (Nee) Nightingale the eldest daughter of the previous Lord of the

Manor William Shore Nightingale, his youngest daughter was Florence

Nightingale, there is no record of the Nightingales living in Pleasley.

At this point I will add that when the new development was built on Terrace Lane the two new Avenues required naming and the agent was told the story of the two miss Nightingales and the names put forward was Florence Ave and Parthenope Close after William Nightingales daughters

Instead of Parthenope the ancient name for Naples where she was born he mistakenly named Parthenope, Parthenon the ancient Temple on the acropolis in Athens near where she was born, that it is how this Close name arose. The Parthenon was where the Elgin Marbles were once kept.

It was recorded that Sir Harry proposed to Florence and was refused, he then wrote to her and addressed it simply to Miss Nightingale, Parthenope being the eldest daughter opened it believing it to be for her and promptly accepted.

The first time we hear of any member of the Nightingale family was in 1700s when Thomas Nightingale described as a servant worked for John Marshall farmer of Lindway Lane, he worked very hard and made money in the only way available to humble folk in those days by Lead Mining, He was also befriended by John Spateman of Wessington, It was from Spateman he bought and inherited land and property in Lea including Lea Hall and the Lea Lead Smelting Works.

By the end of the century the Nightingales owned nearly all the land from Lea, to Cromford,  Holloway on towards Wakebridge.

His son Peter was also a very hard working man he was a Yeoman not to be confused with a Yeoman of the Guard a Yeoman in 1734 was a man holding and cultivating a landed estate, a person qualified to possess free land of an annual value of 40 shillings and to serve on juries, he could vote for the Knight of the shire. By the time his son Peter the second 1736-1803, came into his inheritance in 1763 the Nightingales were a very wealthy family owning lead and mineral rights all round Derbyshire in addition to the smelting works, Peter the second established himself as one of the foremost figures in the Industrial Revolution in this county, He was High Sheriff of Derbyshire in 1770, In addition to his lead interests he founded Lea Mills, the Hat Factory and the Canal Spur to Lea Bridge, he owned Lea Mills that he leased to John Smedley. He owned Cromford Manor and in 1789 he sold Cromford Manor to Richard Arkwright for £30,000. In 1794-6 he built Wood End, near Cromford, and moved there from Lea Hall. He died in 1803 an immensely rich man. He lived life to the full indulging in most things, he was known as Mad Peter Nightingale.

Peter Nightingale never married and his estate was left to his sister Mary Evans grandson William Edward Shore the son of Mary (nee Evans) and William Shore of Tapton who was a Sheffield Banker, The young William Edward Shore was only seven years old, the fortune was held in trust until he was 21 years old in 1815. He then adopted the name to Nightingale to get his inheritance, and was known as Shore-Nightingale he married Frances Smith wealthy daughter of a Unitarian family and Liberal politician, he was educated at Cambridge University, he was a wealthy lover of the arts who nevertheless took an interest in his estates, As a benevolent landowner, in times of low farm prices he very often excused his farming tenants the rent. In 1921 the Nightingale family returned to England from Italy and settled in their Derbyshire property which had a lead smelting works in the grounds which William Edward Nightingale managed, A new home Lea Hurst was built to his own design this started in 1820/1 and not completed until 1825, it was built primarily as a summer residence, The Nightingales to avoid spending the cold Derbyshire winters in Lea Hurst moved to Embley Park, Wellow, Hampshire, William Edward and Frances Nightingale were a wealthy couple and travelled extensively abroad they toured Europe for two years on their honeymoon.  During their travels 1819 their first daughter, Parthenope, was born in Naples, Parthenope is the Greek name for the ancient city, one year later on the 12th May 1820 while at Villa Colombaia, near the Port Romana, Florence, Italy their second daughter was born they called her Florence, On returning to England the Nightingales divided their time between their two homes Lea Hurst in Derbyshire in the summer and Embley in Hampshire for the winter. Lea Hurst is now a retirement home and Embley is a school.

Their Cambridge University educated father taught both Florence and Parthenope at home, Florence was very close to her father, who, without a son, treated her as his friend and companion, he taught her Greek, Latin, French, German, Italian, History, Philosophy and Mathematics.   

Very early in her life Florence felt dissatisfied with the empty social life that her Sister and Mother so enjoyed and it was at Holloway Nr Matlock that her commitment to nursing grew. In 1837 Florence stated that God had called her to his service but she wasn’t sure what that service would be. The family then traveled once again to Europe  where Florence met Mary Clarke in Paris. When the family returned to England in 1839 Florence and her cousins were presented to Queen Victoria at her birthday party.

Florence meets Richard Monkton Milnes in 1842. In 1843 while the family was at Lea Hurst for the summer she spent much of her time visiting the poor and sick in the cottages of Holloway. She desperately wanted to devote herself to charitable work in hospitals like the Catholic Nuns, she refused a proposal of marriage from her Cousin Henry Nicholson, her parents were horrified when she wanted to train in the nearby Salisbury Hospital as this was not a respectable job for a well brought up young Lady. So she began to train herself about hospitals from the Government Blue Books.

In 1847 Richard Monkton proposed marriage to her but she was on the verge of a nervous breakdown and went to Rome with friends. 1848 she attended the opening of Sidney Herbert’s Charmouth convalescent home and at last her knowledge was recognized. One year later she finally refused Richard Monkton’s proposal of marriage and accompanied her friends the Bracebridges on a trip down the Nile in Egypt.  When the family returned as usual to Embley, Florence begged to remain but her Mother would not hear of it. Later, she was allowed to nurse her dying Grandmother and her old nurse, Mrs. Gale. She continued to help local residents. In 1852 she nursed her Great-Aunt at Cromford Bridge House and it was suggested by her Mother that that house would make a suitable home for the Sisters of Charity. In this way she hoped to satisfy what she saw as Florence’s unladylike obsession with nursing in a genteel and unobtrusive manner but Florence declined.

She became Superintendent of the Hospital for Invalid Gentlewomen in London. In 1855 at the invitation of Sir Sidney Herbert who was now the Secretary of State for War she took a party of thirty eight nurses to the Crimean War, serving at the hospital Scutari Barracks, near Constantinople in Turkey, and also visiting Balaclava. She was surprised at the lack of facilities and despair of the Doctors but decided to try and lift their spirits, She became a heroine to the troops and songs and poems were written about her. She herself became ill with Crimean Fever in 1855. The war over in 1856 Florence returned home to Lea Hurst in Derbyshire. She was invited by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert to talk to them about her experiences in the War, the Government decided to form a Royal Commission to At the age of 30 she took up residence in London and the greater part of her life thereafter was spent away from Lea Hurst, it was while in London she became acquainted with Sir Harry Verney in her social life and in 1858 the year after his wife had died he proposed to Florence, who refused him in favor to pursue her career of nursing, following her earlier calling of caring for the sick locally she visited hospitals in London and abroad. Returning from a tour of Egypt she visited the Kaiserswerth Institute for deaconesses and nurses and trained here as a nurse in 1851. Her Father gave her an allowance of £500 to continue her studies, In 1853 she look into the disasters of the War, women were not allowed to attend such a commission she was asked to send in a report.

Florence was now living in London where she publishes a book called “Notes on Nursing”

The Nightingale Training School for nurses was opened at St Thomas’s infirmary ran by Mrs Sarah Wardroper,

She became the first woman to be elected a Fellow of the Statistical Society for using statistics and Graphs in Nursing.

She was asked for advice on nursing by the Union forces in the American Civil War.

She publishes her “Observations” about sanitation conditions in India, and worked on segregating men, women and insane patients of the poor in our hospitals, segregation of sexes in wards gave privacy and dignity to patients and now the present Government in the 21st Century have taken that away and resorted to mixed wards again and one wonders with the MRSA bug if the wards are really cleaner than they were in her time.

In 1865 Florence took up permanent residence in 35 South Street in Mayfair (now 10) which remained her home for the rest of her life. She publishes “Notes on Lying in Hospitals”  It was her ideas that influenced Henri Dunant  to be founder of the Red Cross,

Queen Victoria awarded her the Royal Red Cross.

Sir Harry Verney having been earlier declined by Florence in marriage, proposed and married her sister Parthenope in 1858, this is why upon the death of William Nightingale Lord of the Manor of Pleasley Sir Harry Verney became Lord of the Manor of Pleasley through marriage. Parthenope had really inherited the Manor of Pleasley she was legally  joint owner along with Florence but  was Lady of the Manor through being the eldest daughter of William Shore Nightingale,  

Although later she spent little time at Lea Hurst, Florence never forgot Derbyshire. In Holloway she set up a reading room and another in nearby Whatstandwell. She provided books for Lea School as well as the services of a Doctor for the village poor. From her Fathers death in 1874 Florence nursed her Mother at Lea Hurst until her death in 1880.

Sir Harry Verney was a frequent visitor to his sister-in-law Florence and he was adamant in getting support for many of her ventures, it was said he was more of a member of parliament for her than his constituency. Parthenope became seriously ill, and Sir Harry now 82 could not cope, so Florence went to Claydon house to help, she became very fond of Sir Harry’s children especially FREDERICK William Verney 1846-1913, who had been ordained a deacon was an Anglican Clergyman a Diplomat and MP 1906 he did social work in London, also MARGARET, many letters were to pass between them, Frederick Verney married Maude Sarah Williams. It was to Maude Verney that Miss Nightingale confided the circumstances of her religious conversion fifty years after it happened, she was called to service in 1837.

Miss Nightingale was a copious letter writer she wrote many letters to her cousin, Henry Bonham Carter who was secretary of the Nightingale Fund Council, which for decades provided a handy paper trail on nursing issues and hospital reform work.  She also wrote many letters to Frederick and Maude Verney and their children, he and dearest Maude shared her faith and politics which was a strong support for the Liberals, she really did not like the conservatives although she had to work with them, she gave money to the Liberal Party, wrote letters to support the Liberal candidates and even thought GOD was a Liberal! She was a supporter of votes for women.

Miss Nightingale now was to enjoy her old age, receiving many visitors but only by appointment. She loved the company of her younger nieces and nephews. Miss Nightingale ran a very tight household with five maids, her own personal maid and an old soldier who was known as Miss Nightingales Messenger. The duties performed in the house and kitchen at every hour through the day were marked on a chart. She would check on her menu every day and comment on the meals the day before.

Her sister Parthenope(Lady Verney) became seriously ill  and Sir Harry could not cope, so in 1885 she went to Claydon House to help and nurse Parthenope until her death, it was two years later the British Nursing Association was founded.

Parthenope died on May 12th 1890 which was Florence’s 70th birthday, Miss Nightingale felt that during their late years together a reconciliation had been complete as during their lifetime it was rumored they had many disagreements and were not always on the best of terms.

Miss  Nightingale and Sir Harry grew closer, and they would write everyday. He was nearly ninety, and she spent a lot of time at Claydon.

In February 1894 Sir Harry died and as many of her friends and relatives died so she remained in London, she never returned to Lea Hurst, Embley was sold in 1896. After 1896 she never left South Street, and Florence spent thereafter the whole of her remaining life in her bedroom.

But it was only her body which had failed, her mind and spirit remained as vigorous as ever, she was consulted by the War Office where she still had much influence. Lord Landsdowne secretary of State for War consulted her regarding rations, equipments and medical stores for troops in Africa, about conditions at the barracks at Aldershot and the reorganization of internal War Office, also in 1896 she intervened successfully on behalf of troops in Hong Kong. The garrison had just experienced an outbreak of bubonic plague and the regimental doctor appealed to her could she help? She prepared a report which was sent to the Colonial Secretary, and the troops were moved and new barracks built, this remarkable woman worked just as hard for the troops from her bed as she did on the front line. In 1898 she received the Aga Khan, she wrote he was a man you good never teach about sanitation. After 1884 her sight began to trouble her  seriously. In 1888 she said her eyes were so bad she could hardly read by candlelight, in 1889 she became too blind to read small print in newspapers, she did however contribute an article to Chambers Encyclopedia in 1990 written for her by her friend Douglas Galton

In 1902 she could no longer read or write and employed a secretary/housekeeper. Queen Victoria was now dead and in 1907 she receives the Order of Merit from King Edward the 7th this was the first time it had been given to a woman. In February 1910 she could no longer speak and died on the 13th August aged 90 years. She was buried alongside her parents at East Wellow. All that was inscribed on the headstone was F.N. and nothing else. This was not sufficient for such a great lady of world wide fame.

Before the death of Sir Harry and his wife Parthenope, Lady Parthenope Verney gave FREDERICK Verney her share of the Nightingales estate this included Pleasley, making Frederick Lord of the Manor,  Following in Florence’s benevolent footsteps whereby she had built a reading room in Holloway and Whatstandwell, FREDERICK and his wife Maude built a reading room in Pleasley on Newboundmill Lane this is known as the VERNEY INSTITUTE built in 1906, when FREDERICK  died in 1914 his wife Maude donated the magnificent clock we now hear chiming the hours. Although the bell is not the original which was stolen in 1997, Pleasley Parish Council have recently acquired a painting allegedly painted by Maude of the Verney Institute.

On 29th August 1874 22 years before the Verney reading rooms were built. Sir Harry and Lady Parthenope Verney granted a piece of land at Pleasley to the Reverend Ravenscroft Stewart Clerk and Rector of Pleasley in the County of Derby and Joseph Paget Esq of Stuffynwood Hall in the County of Nottingham, and Thomas Belfield of Pleasley aforesaid Farmer, Church Wardens of the Parish of Pleasley and their successors.

This said parcel of land was to build a School for the Children of Pleasley. (This is now known as the Old School House Numbers 8 and 10 Leas Ave converted to dwelling accommodations). Via Old School Lane.     

This is far from the full life of Florence Nightingale it is excerpts taken from various sources included is  correspondence from the present Sir Edmund Verney to the Chairman of Pleasley Parish who has written this brief outline merely to emphasis the Nightingale and Verney  connections with Pleasley where she was a landowner along with her sister, and later Frederick Verney. Neither is it a full history of Pleasley or our Church.  


The following adaptation has been collated by Councillor J H Wright Chairman of Pleasley Parish Council from various magazines, books, the archives and the internet, and from interviews with people for the benefit of  whoever may be interested in the history of the Verney Institute, Pleasley.