Please note: Family pages are organised by surname; however, this does not mean that all those people featured are related to each other. Where possible we will try to be clear about any connections there may be.
HICKLING RESIDENTS WHO MADE A DIFFERENCE (a series)
DOROTHY MARY ELNOR – better known as Mrs Windey
Dorothy Mary Elnor was born on 24 June 1903 in Radcliffe on Trent, the daughter of Isaac and Jeanie M Elnor. When the 1911 Census was taken, Dorothy Mary was visiting a relative in Gamston. She is found in the household of John Wilson Elnor, a farmer and described as a visitor, aged 7yrs, a schoolgirl and born in Radcliffe on Trent.
Throughout her life she was known by her middle name, Mary. She thought a great deal of her parents and the family were very close. She described her father who was a farmer, born in Colwick, as having poor eyesight and in later years using an ear trumpet. Her mother was born in Radcliffe on Trent and in 1901, the family were living in Shelford, near to Radcliffe on Trent.
At some point the family moved to Stockwell Lane, behind the Chequers in Cropwell Bishop.
The Cropwell Bishop WI was formed in 1929 and Mary, although very young was one of its founder members. She also ran a drama group and was a girl guide leader. She was very involved in organising fetes, parades and concerts. Her family helped raise the money for Cropwell Bishop Memorial Hall.
Mary became a school mistress and in 1939 she is found living at ‘Hanworth’ Thraves Lane Cropwell Bishop with her widowed mother
During WWII, Mary gave up teaching and worked as an inspector on the Trent Buses. She also worked as a special constable during the war years.
At the age of 41yrs, Mary got married to Charles Frederick Windey. They were married on 14 November 1945 at Cropwell Bishop. Her friends from the Trent Bus Co came to the wedding in their uniforms. Mary liked silver items and antiques and so the Cropwell WI gave her a silver salt cellar as a wedding gift.
In 1945, Mary and her new husband moved to live in Elm House, Hickling. Mary was to have no children and devoted her life to community activities in Hickling.
The WI was an important part of her community involvement. Prior to the war, Hickling and Kinoulton had a combined WI but due to pressures on the women of Hickling to work on the farms and other war work, their WI was abandoned. Mrs Windey, as she was known, formed the new Hickling WI in 1947. In November 1947, WI records show she trained as a VCO and attended her first County Organisation subcommittee meeting in February 1948.She was appointed a VCO in July 1949 which was a position she held until her retirement in 1968, 19 years later. During these years her enthusiasm and dedication saw her serving on many Committees, including international ones and speaking at the WI Annual General Meeting in London. She was the WI County Vice Chairwoman from 1958 to 1961. She took great delight in going around the county of Nottinghamshire and meeting other WI members. Many remember her at the Newark Show in the WI tent in clean white overalls and a hat.
Many people living in Hickling today will have their own memories of Mrs Windey.
Mrs Windey died on 8th January 1990 aged 86yrs. She had recently been moved into a nursing home in Old Dalby under protest after a fall. She was cremated on 17 January 1990.
(by Carol Beadle 2022)
More about Mrs Windey:
(with thanks to Ann Terzza)
- Before she married, Mrs Windey was Mary Elnor from Cropwell Bishop; her family lived on Stockwell Lane (previously Thraves Lane).
- Mary Elnor was the one the school children all went to for their dressing up or pageant clothes for village parades.
- Newspaper clipping: Prince’s visit. In the caption to a photograph of a presentation to Tom Rawlings to mark his 50 years’ service as caretaker to Cropwell Bishop Memorial Hall it was stated that “the building was opened by the Prince of Wales in June, 1932.” This is incorrect. The Memorial Hall was opened in August 1929 by Mrs J Derbyshire from Rempstone Hall whose husband was the donor of the site. The Prince of Wales visited the hall in June 1932 as part of his “Social Services tour in the county.” But congratulations on an excellent photograph of Tom. Mary Windey. A Member of the first committee of the Memorial Hall. Elm House, Hickling.
And a Cropwell Bishop Play.
Philip Spratley (auth)
(P. Spratley (1977) pp. front cover,ii,18-26)
The full text (143 lines & 3 tunes) of a Ploughboys, Plough Monday play from cropwell Bishop, Notts. The characters are; Tom Foll/Bold Tom, Recruiting Sergeant, Ribboner Lady, Threshing Blade, hopper Joe/Sankey-Benny, Farmer’s Man, Dame Jane, Beelzebub/Beelzie, and Doctor,
The text and photo were provided by Mrs Mary Windey (nee Elnor), who had organised revivals of the play in 1937 (nottm University), and in 1942 (with the help of Harold Smith). An original performer, Harry Knight, took part in the 1937 revival. Tony Carter, who had taken part in the 1942 revival was involved in the retrieval of this text. The cover photo is of the 1937 revival. At least one of the songs was collected by Eric Swift. Philip Spratley also organised a revival by the Belvoir high School Company in Long Clawson Parish Church on 15th December 1975. A list of the performers is included.
A revival by the ‘Owd Hoss Mummers’ is wrongly assigned to 1970. It should be 1975. From the Owd Hoss Mummers’ contacts with Mrs Windey, we know that she copied the text for her revivals from Chaworth-Musters (1890), and certainly the two texts tally. This is not noted by Philip Spratley.
An incident is related (courtesy of Harold Smith) from the 1860s when the Ploughboys ploughed up the lawn of the Canal Inn, having been thrown out by the landlord.
These webpages also explore Plough Monday traditions (which follows Christmas) and mentions Mummers coming to Hickling:
- Master Mummers – Nottinghamshire List of Folk Plays & Related Customs – Compiled by Peter Millington & Idwal Jones
- Master Mummers – Nottinghamshire List of Folk Plays & Related Customs – Compiled by Peter Millington & Idwal Jones
WOLDS GROUP MEETING 22.9.92: JACKY TOPLIS, VOLUNTARY COUNTY ORGANISER (SOUTHWELL W.I.)
THE MARY WINDEY TROPHY
When I received the invitation from Rita Watts (Wolds Group Secretary) some time ago to come along tonight to talk about Mary Windey, I accepted with great pleasure, but not a littIe apprehension. It is true I had met Mary, but not until she was quite elderly – 76 in fact – and although she still had quite a twinkle in her eye, I don’t really remember her as the busy, somewhat formidable lady that she had undoubtedly been in her earlier years. I have had a lot of fun finding out what I could about her, I have spoken to many people who were around the County at the same time and I have had a great deal of help from one Cropwell Bishop member in particular, Mrs Hardy.
I feel I know this lady quite weII now but I am absolutely certain that there are many here tonight who will have known her better, so please forgive me if I have got facts wrong or if I have omitted something vital – I hope you will enlighten me later! I suppose some of you will remember her best as a fellow member, a friend, a colleague, a neighbour or as Group Secretary for Wolds Group.
It is clear to me that Mary Windey was a very special person – why else would I be here tonight to present the trophy named after her if that was not so? ‘Busy’, ‘enthusiastic’, ‘delightful, ‘awe-inspiring’, ‘a terrific organiser’, ‘kindly’ , ‘interested in people’ , are al1 phrases which have been used to describe her by those who knew her in her heyday and everyone has mentioned her smile. She always smiled, even in the most difficult situations or during fraught discussions. This alone must have been most disarming to anyone opposing her views! I’I1 let you into a secret – one person I spoke to, who shal1 remain nameless, was terrified of her at the same time as holding her in great esteem!
It is also very clear to me that to Mary, the W.I. was very special, and she devoted a great deal of time and effort to this organisation which she loved so much.
Born in 1904, Mary Elnor, as she was then, was the daughter of a Widmerpool farmer. She had a sister, Fruse – an unusual name, does anyone know the origin? (Incidentally, Mary was actually her second name, her first initial was ‘D’ Dorothy). Anyway, it seems that the whole Elnor family, the female part at least, was a busy and active one. I don’t know anything about her father except that he had poor sight (something that Mary also had) and in later years used an ear trumpet! The family lived in Cropwell Bishop, in Stockwell Lane, behind the Chequers Inn and they must have been pretty well known as they were always involved in organising something or other – there were Village Fetes, Easter concerts at Fern School, fancy dress parades (on one occasion her sister Fruse rode a horse dressed as Boadicea), and Mary herself ran a drama group and was a Girl Guide Leader. They raised money for the Cropwell Bishop Memorial Hall and Mary’s concern for other people was apparent even as a young woman because after the drama group get togethers she insisted on walking home with a girl who lived on the outskirts of the Village – up Fern Road. On one occasion, I’m not sure when, Mrs Elnor and the two girls, all wearing muffs, skated all the way from Cropwell Bishop to Hickling on the frozen canal – Mrs Elnor was an excellent skater by all accounts. They certainly lived a full life in Cropwell Bishop.
We know that Mary worked as a teacher – at Miss Harmer’s Private school in Beeston. That must have been a fair distance to travel in those days and Mary must have had to get up very early. But during the war, she gave up teaching and worked as an Inspector on the Trent Buses! It must have been at this time that she learnt the art of the ‘fixed smile’ no matter how rude or anxious her passengers were! When Mary got married in 1945’ aged 4I, her friends from the Trent Bus Co. came to the wedding in Cropwell Bishop in their uniforms. Mary had also worked as either a warden or a special constable during the war.
In 1945, newly married, She moved into Elm House in Hickling. Understandably, she was not to have a family of her own, and I don’t know anything about Mr Windey either. I do know, however, that Cropwell Bishop W.I. give the couple silver salt cellars as a wedding gift and as Mary loved both silver and antiques, she must have been delighted.
Cropwell Bishop W.I. was formed in 1929 when Mary was 25. I’m certain she was a founder member because two years later she was ‘mentioned in dispatches’ 0n page 18 of ‘A History of the W.I.s in Notts. – 1917 to 1987’ it reads: – ‘In 1931….450 members and friends (no men or children) went to London by train, and then by coach through the Capital ‘ Miss Elnor of Cropwell Bishop wrote the winning account of it, and it was published in the ‘Home and Country Notts. supplement”‘. In 1947, when Hickling W.I. was reformed – remember Mary moved to Hickling two years earlier – she was
founder secretary. I actually have the formation record which was filled in at the time. She was responsible for linking the two village Institutes by inviting Cropwell Bishop W.I. over to a garden meeting in Hickling once a year.
After her marriage, Mary was probably ‘just a housewife’ and had more time to devote to W.I. and to craftwork, at which she excelled, by all accounts. In November 1947, County records show that Mary was invited to train as a VCO, ‘as soon as possible’. She attended her first county Organisation subcommittee meeting in February 1948 and was appointed a VCO in July 1949 – a position she held until her retirement in February 1968, 19 years later. During these years, her enthusiasm for, and love of, the W.I. earned her a place on other County sub-committees (she certainly served on International and I would suspect others, too) and eventually she was elected to the Notts. Federation Executive committee. Between 1958 and 1961 she was County Vice Chairman, serving under no less than three Chairmen:- Mrs Wilson, Mrs Brooke and Mrs Mitchell. I have heard that at some time she actually spoke at the Annual General Meeting in London but I haven’t been able to discover why or when – can anyone throw any light on this? She took great delight in getting around the County to visit as many Institutes as possible and it is clear that she was a great inspiration to new members or those taking on a new role.
For example, when Jean Varnam first served on a County sub-committee she was, naturally, a little apprehensive. Mary Windey told her she would get used to it! She could never have known then that Jean would go on to become not only County Chairman, but National Chairman, in due course. I am sure Mary was delighted to see a Notts. member rise to such heights. Jean recalls Mrs Windey as being a typical rural W.I. member, very persuasive, as you have to be when there are only a few people to do a-Iot of jobs! And Jean describes very vividly how Mary would bustle around Newark Show in clean white overalls and her hat. Another member who remembers her well is Carol Drury from Kilvington – another County VCO. When Carol was appointed Chairman of the Organisation sub-committee, Mrs Windey told her she had the best job in the world.
Mary Windey passed away in January 1990, aged 86. She had moved into a nursing home at Old Dalby, under protest I am told, after a fall but she lives on in the hearts and minds of many W.I. members in this area and probably in this hall tonight. From what I have learnt about her, she epitomises the pioneering early W.I. member, who loved this great organisation to which we all belong, and worked tirelessly for it.
ADDITIONAL NOTES – INFORMATION GIVEN TO ME AT THE ABOVE MEETING
- Mary met her husband through the W.I. – at the end of the war some soldiers based at [REME camp] nearby were invited to a tea party in the village hall?
- Neither Mary or her husband were car drivers – she used to make all her W.I. visits by public transport and taxi. Mr Windey could often be seen waiting at the gate for her.
- She liked things done properly! If she was asked to do something, it was as good as done. She never needed a reminder.
- Her funeral took place in Cropwell Bishop, not Hickling where she last Iived.
JACKY TOPLIS, VOLUNTARY COUNTY ORGANISER (SOUTHWELL W.I.) 2
Parish & Civil Records:
- Census 1921: in his parents’ household (Charles Henry (born Horncastle Lincs age 34) and Annie Windey (born Beckingham, Notts, age 32)) in Walkerith, Lincolnshire. His father is a ‘rough fitter tea machines’ working for Marshall Sons Co Ltd. Agricultural Engineers. He is listed as born in Gainsborough in 1912.
- Census 1921: Bank House, Cropwell Bishop
- Isaac Elnor – Head – Male – 1871 – 49 – Colwick, Notts – Farmer (Retired)
- T M Elnor – Wife – Female – 1869 – 52 – Radcliffe on Trent – […] Keeping – Own Account
- D M Elnor – Daughter – Female – 1903 – 17 – Radcliffe on Trent – Teacher In Private Schl – Miss [H?] Private School [West End House School, Beeston]
- F E Elnor – Daughter – Female – 1915 – 6 – Radcliffe on Trent
- 1939 Register: Frederick is likely to have been on active service but his parents are still listed in Walkerith, Lincs. There are only the two of them in the household and Charles Henry is listed as ‘incapacitated/illness’.
- 1939 Register: Dorothy Mary Elnor (born 24/6/1903) is living on Thraves Lane, Cropwell Bishop – she is single, a schoolmistress and an air-raid warden. She is in a household with Jeannie M Elnor (born 26/4/1869, widowed) and Marjorie R Sketchley (born 3/4/1908, elementary school teacher).
- Marriage record: Charles Frederick Windey to Dorothy M Elnor – Q4 1945 Bingham District
- Death record: Charles Frederick Windey born 19/8/193, died Q4 (Dec) 1984.
- Probate record: Windey, Charles Frederick of Elm House Main St Hickling Notts died 27th November 1984 Administration Oxford 10th January Not exceeding £40,000
- Death record: Dorothy Mary Windey born 24/6/1903, died Q1 1990.
- Probate record: Windey, Dorothy Mary of Elm House Main St Hickling Notts died 8th January 1990 Probate Oxford 7th March Not exceeding £100,000.
From the Wadkin Archives:
Scrapbook of Hickling:
- (p4) During the early 1920’s the carol singers would meet on the bridge at midnight on Christmas Eve and then walk and sing along the length of the village. Sometimes they would be accompanied by Arthur Savage or Donnie Simpson playing the cornet. Usually a supper would be provided in the Chapel Sunday School. A collection would be taken after Boxing Day and the proceeds given to the Nottingham General Hospital. In 1934 the carol singers went round with a lorry driven by Mr J. Newton on which Mr. A. Shelton played a piano. At Christmas 1976, and for a few previous years, the carol singers met at the canal at 7.30 pm and proceeded through the village collecting for the National Children’s Home. Very welcome hot mince pies and coffee were served at the last house – Elm House, the home of Mr and Mrs F. Windey. The singing and supper were finished by 10.30 pm.
- (p40) The institute was re – formed in 1947 after the war with Mrs. Muriel Ashworth of the Manor House president. ltrs. Windey was the first Hon. Secretary and Mrs. Timms the first Hon. Treasurer. Presidents until the present time were as follows: – Mrs . Ashworth 1947 – 1952, Mrs . Windey 1952 – 1955, ltrs. V. S. Walker 1955 – 1958 , Miss. Mabel Salt 1958 – 1963, Mrs. Windey 1963 – 1967, Mrs. Morris 1967 – 1969, Mrs. J. Wadkin 1969 – 1973, Mrs. Vear 1973 – 1976, Mrs. Spackman 1976 – 1978, Mrs. Johnson 1978 – 1980, Mrs. Evans 1980. Mrs.Windey was at one time County Vice-Chairman and a V.C.O. for a number of years. Membership at one time exceeded 60. During the 34 years the Institute has been in existence a number of activities have taken place. There was at one time a choir and a drama group, classes have included: embroidery, flower arranging, art, rugmaking, dressmaking, crochet and cookery. W. I. Members have always been invited to take charge of the teas at the Royal British Legion Horticultural Show every other year when it is held in Hickling. The ACWW (Associated Country Women of the World) Pennies for Friendship has always been supported. Saxondale Hospital has its own Women’s Institute and birthday cards are sent to the members from Hickling W.I. and exchange visits have also taken place. Alternate years see an exhibition of arts, crafts and produce which are judged during the morning by outside independent judges and awarded points – gold stars 20, 19 points, silver stars 18, 17 points, red stars 16, 15 points. The standard of the exhibits is usually extremely high. In 1965 the National Federation of Women’s Institutes celebrated their Golden Jubilee and to commemorate this Hickling W.I. presented the village with an 8ft. teak seat set overlooking the canal basin. The gift was handed over to Mr W. Woolley, Chairman of the Parish Council, by the institute’s president ltrs. M. Windey. After the ceremony the institute staged an ‘ At Home ‘ session in the village school for those attending the presentation. To commemorate the W I’s Diamond Jubilee a Union Jack was presented to the Village Hall in May 1977 for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee.
- (p42) Hickling’s football team was known at ‘The Swifts’ the manager being a Mr. Holland who lived down Faulks Lane. The team played in Robinson’s field (opposite ‘Elm House’ now occupied by Mr and Mrs. F. Windey). Football meetings were held in a loft over Simpson’s butchers shop.