Harles Acres

It isn’t known where the name Harles originates; there is no record of it as a surname in the village and the name doesn’t appear on old maps. Dictionary definitions of the word harl/harle aren’t obviously of any help, either: “a fibre of flax or hemp/a barb or fibre of a feather/the action of harling – something dragged or scraped together/a small quantity, a scraping/a composition of lime and gravel or sand.” Searches generally default to ‘do you mean Charles?’ – perhaps this is part of the origins?

W0864a The Ruins & Harles Meadows (dates?)
W0864a Haymaking in Harles Meadows (undated)
W1066b Mr Henry Edson and Miss Daisy Wakelin
W1066b Mr Henry Edgson and Miss Daisy Wakelin on what was probably Mr Edgson’s 90th birthday.
W1079b Thomas Clement Rose (1914/18) - Harles Meadows
W1079b Thomas Clement Rose (1914/18) – Harles Meadows
W1094b The Ruins; Mr Henry Edson (date?)
W1094b The Ruins; Mr Henry Edgson enjoying his wireless (undated)
W0417a Cricket team 1863
W0417a Cricket team 1863 (said to play on Harles Meadows)
W1094a The Ruins; Mr & Mrs Henry Edson, Miss Daisy Wakelin (date?)
W1094a The Ruins; Mr & Mrs Henry Edgson, Miss Daisy Wakelin (undated)

Mr and Mrs Henry Edgson of The Ruins on Main Street farmed what was then known as Harles Meadows – latterly, they were joined by his wife’s niece, Miss Daisy Wakelin. The land was sold by Miss Wakelin in the 1960s and the houses which now form Harles Acres were built in 1966.

W0158 27 Daisy Wakelin photos
W0158 27 Daisy Wakelin photos
  • Census records from 1881 list Henry Edgson (age 41, born 1839) with his wife, Mary; he is a grazier of 18 acres of land and was born at Hickling Lodge, Notts.
    • Henry Edgson (resident of Wartnaby) marries Mary Hackett (daughter of Thomas Hackett) of Alrewas in Staffs on 22nd January 1866.
  • The couple are similarly listed in census records for 1871 (on Smithfield Lane), 1891, 1901 and 1911; they don’t appear to have had any children of their own.
  • Henry Edgson’s parents (William and Mary Edgson) are recorded in Hickling in the 1841 census and Henry Edgson is recorded as having been born in Hickling although he doesn’t appear on the 1841 census return – unless he has been mis-transcribed as Samuel Headson age 0.
  • Henry Edgson’s brother, James is recorded as being baptised in Long Clawson in 1838.
  • Henry Edgson is then listed with his parents and siblings in Wartnaby in the census of 1851 and in 1861 he is a wagoner in the Ward household in Wartnaby.
  • Daisy Mary Wakelin was born in Cannock, Staffordshire in May 1886, the eldest of 10 children; parents George Wakelin and Ellin/Elise/Elsie Mary (nee Branson) Wakelin (born Alrewas, Staffs). She is generally referred to as Henry Edgson’s niece but the exact family links require further searches. Daisy Wakelin is born in Staffordshire and her mother was born in Alrewas, Staffs which links to Henry’s wife – Mary (nee Hackett) Edgson’s family.
  • In the 1911 census, Daisy Wakelin is in the family household as a dairy maid on a farm (her father is a colliery surface manager); Pool Lane, Short Heath, Wolverhampton indicating that Daisy’s move to Hickling isn’t made until after 1911; as she is pictured with Mrs Edgson she appears to have moved before 1918.
  • Mary Edgson died, age 82, in 1918.
  • Henry Edgson died, age 92, in 1932. Probate records state: “Edgson William Henry of Hickling Nottinghamshire died 10th June 1932 probate 1st November to Daisy Wakelin spinster and Henry Walter Rogers law clerk. Effects £577.9s.10d.”
    • Grantham Journal, 18th June 1932: Death Friday William Henry Edgson 92 oldest inhabitant.  Native, born at Canal Farm, marriage went to Wartnaby short while then returned to Marsh’s Farm on Pastures now called Barlands Fields.  Was Guardian of Poor and Overseer.  Wife died 14 years ago.  Since then niece Daisy Wakelin kept his house.  Strong constitution but age brought infirmities and last nine weeks in bed.  Sister Nan.
  • Daisy M Wakelin is recorded at The Manor (probably The Ruins) in the 1939 Register (dob 17th May 1886) as a dairy farmer. She has a farm manager in the same household, Charles K Bailey (b.1915).
  • Daisy Wakelin died on the 17th May 1972 (leaving an estate of £19,000).
  • (However, these dates and locations require further checking: the Wadkin Archives record Henry’s wife as Lucy and they also record Daisy Wakelin living with them from her teenage years)

Photographs in the Wadkin Archive also report that the meadows were used as a village cricket pitch in the late 1800s.

Photographs from Miss Daisy Wakelin:

Harles Acres; developed in 1966.

Ideal Home magazine cover 1960 (DDimbleby, How We Built Britain)
Ideal Home magazine cover 1960 (DDimbleby, How We Built Britain)

(The Story of Where You Live; RD 2005): “In 1954 the government lifted post-war building restrictions on the development of private housing. This fuelled a boom in house building and a number of developers rose up to satisfy people’s growing desire for what Lawrie Barratt – who founded Barratt Homes in 1958 – dubbed ‘their own little castle’. Barratt along with other firms such as Wimpey and McLean, almost reinvented the house-building industry, putting together packages that included fully fitted kitchens and bathrooms, furniture packs and special purchase schemes … and helping to make home-ownership a reality for many in the 1950s and 1960s … the interiors made good use of space and offered a high degree of comfort. Most houses had gardens and garages.”

  • 1959: The M1 Britain’s first full-length motorway opens.
  • 1959: The ‘Mini’ hits the streets.
  • 1960: The first motorway services open at Newport Pagnall.
  • 1960s: MFI pioneers flat-pack furniture.
  • 1964: The Bull ring, the largest shopping centre outside America, opens in Birmingham.
  • 1964: Terence Conran opens a Habitat store on Fulham Rd. London.
  • 1967: First colour television broadcast, on BBC2 – tennis at Wimbledon.
  • 1969: Open University founded.
  • 1976: Two Concordes take off simultaneously from Paris and London on maiden commercial flights.
Harles Acres 1970s
Harles Acres 1970s

What is a Defecamat Unit?

There was a sewage unit at the far end of Harles Acres before the village went on to mains sewage in the 70s; Harles Acres was built in 1966 and the unit was discontinued c. 1975. It  is now fully filled in. The sewage unit was called a defecamat unit.

  • Defecamat was first trademarked in Australia in 1962 as a ‘sewage purification’ unit but is no longer in use.
  • Because Hickling wasn’t yet linked to the main sewer network, a separate system would have been needed to provide for the new houses.

This gallery is from the Wadkin Archives