Parish Council History

The First Parish Council 1894/96

The pressure for the establishment of elected councils in parishes and rural districts culminated in the Local Government Act of 1894, which was passed after much opposition in the Lords. This allowed the creation of Parish Councils and rural and urban District Councils. Barton-under-Needwood’s first Parish Councillors were elected by show of hands at a meeting in the Central Hall in November 1894. The book for the Declaration of Acceptance of office for Parish Councillors was first signed on the 31st December 1894; this indicates that the newly formed parish council would then start work on the 1st January 1895.

The names of the nine gentlemen who formed the first Parish Council for Barton-under-Needwood are as follows: -



A farmer at Fatholme Farm, he was 39 years old and unmarried. We know he did marry later because his son, Francis John Hardy also became a parish councillor in 1938, serving until 1957, he died in 1960 which was only ten years after the death of his father, who lived to the grand age of 95. Francis senior was born in Lancashire, his wife was named Mary-Anne, and as well as a son they also had two daughters. Francis Hardy was the longest-serving parish councillor, Kelly’s Directory for 1880 lists him as beer retailer, shopkeeper and rope maker at the rope works, which had been established in 1850, at Barton Turns,.



He was the vicar of Barton’s St James’ Church from 1880 until 1916. He was born in Crosbie, Lancashire. In 1894 he was 49 years old, he lived at the vicarage with his wife Constance, two children aged 8 and 12, his mother and four servants. The 1894 vicarage is the 19th century Grade II listed building behind the War Memorial. He was quite elderly (71) when he collapsed in the pulpit one Sunday, and was carried home and he died shortly afterwards.



He was a farmer who lived at Woodside Farm. He later purchased Fullbrook House and farm from the Arden’s and moved there from Woodside Farm. He lived at Fullbrook House until 1929.



A farmer of Short Lane, aged 41; he was born in Barton, the only one of the nine that we are sure was a native of Barton. At one time James Coxon was Inn-keeper at the Shoulder of Mutton public house. His wife was named Elizabeth. He died in 1901.



A surgeon and general practitioner aged 50 years, and a widower who lived at Crossways House, now known as the Gower House. Dr. Palmer, who was the village doctor, still had four children at home and six servants. In 1897/98 he was Chairman of the parish council. Dr. Palmer did not stand in 1900, but in 1901 was vice-chairman. His son Dr Ambrose Henry Palmer was killed in Cairo in the Great War, his three surviving daughters presented his scrapbook to the Parish Council in 1981. Another son of Dr Clement’s, Mr. Clement Charlton Palmer, born 1872, became organist of Canterbury Cathedral.



A gentleman of independent means, aged 53, born in Yorkshire; who lived at Barton House on Station Road with his wife Louisa. They had three children living with them, four servants and Mr. White’s sister-in-law. Mr. White, a Justice of the Peace, was the chairman in 1896/97, and again in 1898/99. He did not stand in 1900. The Whites entertained King Edward VII at their home for dinner during his stay at Rangemore Hall while visiting Lord and Lady Burton in 1902.



An assistant registrar at the county court in Burton, he ran a private day school at Radhurst Grange in Barton. The cost was sixpence a week. Presumably he took over from Mr. Holdsworth when he retired.



A blacksmith, 35 years old and married with a son. Mr. Dove was chairman in 1900 when none of the other original council stood. He was not re-elected in 1901, though he was a well-liked character. He was elected again in 1907 and served until 1922. Children used to watch him at work, and sometimes operate the bellows for him.



He was a farmer from Newbold Manor Farm. He was not at home on the day of the 1891 census; perhaps he was at market. Mr. Hoult was married. He did not stand in 1900, but was re-elected in 1901. His son Albert James Hoult purchased Fullbrook House, the former home of Edwin Riley, in 1933. The house then passed to William John Hoult, the grandson of John Abel Hoult, who also served on the Parish Council from 1952 to 1976

The first Council served until 21 April 1896. There were then yearly elections until 1901 when the term of office changed to a 3-year term. In 1979 it changed to the present 4-year term of office.

In 1899 Mr. Thomas Strong, a Barton Parish Councillor and one of oldest servants of the Midland Railway Company with over 40 years service, was struck by the engine of a L&NW train and killed instantly.

Some families followed the tradition of being Parish Councillors: the Hardy's, J.A. Hoult and grandson W.J. Hoult, Thomas Dixon and his daughter-in-law Mrs. D. Dixon, the Lowe's, George and Edward, and two members of the Fowler-Butler family. Two vicars have been members, Rev. Fairclough and Rev. Moss, and three doctors, Dr. Palmer, Dr. T. Dixon and Dr. Taylor. Miss Gilmour and Mrs. M.A. Ingle were the first female members of the Parish Council elected in 1946.

At least four of the village streets are named after Parish Councillors. Palmer Close was named after Dr. Clement Palmer and Hardy Close after Francis Hardy. Potter’s Way, which leads to the Holland Sports Club, was named after Mr. Philip H. Potter who was Headmaster of Thomas Russell School and first Chairman of Holland Sports Club. Gilmour Lane was named after Miss Elsie May Gilmour, she was one of the first female members and served for thirty years; she also served on the Tutbury Rural District Council and was awarded the M.B.E. in 1974.

The Centenary of the Parish Council was celebrated in 1995 by a number of events, one of them was a Victorian Street Market held in Main Street. The Centenary Committee also published a book on the history of Barton-under-Needwood "Under the Needwood Tree", to commemorate the centenary. The Centenary Committee gave the Parish Council a Chairman’s Badge of Office at a Dinner Dance held on New Year’s Eve 1994, one hundred years after the signing of the book for the Declaration of Acceptance of office for Parish Councillors.

The Village Hall is the seat of local government where the Parish Council holds its meetings and has an office. The Village Hall was built, in 1988, on the site of the old Central Hall where the first Parish Councillors had been elected in 1894.


Barton-under-Needwood Parish Council 
Coat of Arms

Barton-under-Needwood Parish Council adopted the coat of arms in 1990 after holding a competition among the residents to design one. The design is based on the winning entry by Colin Shingles, formerly a pupil at the John Taylor High School; quadrants have been transposed to make it heraldically correct and balanced. The coat of arms has not been registered with the College of Arms, but is used as a letterhead on the Parish Council stationery and not for commercial profit. The Centenary Committee, made up of Parish Council and Civic Society members, had the design made into a Chairman's Badge of Office. The Civic Society donated £150 towards the purchase price of £433, the remainder came from fundraising. The Badge of Office was presented to the Parish Council Chairman, Arthur Kennedy, at the Centenary Dance on 31 December 1994 by the Chairman of the Centenary Committee, Jeff Pattison.

Three Gules (red) Tudor roses on Or (gold) background - symbolising the meeting between Henry VII and the Taylor triplets. One, John Taylor, built St. James' Church and was Master of the Rolls to Henry VIII.

An Argent (silver) Key on Azure (blue) background - symbolising William Key who died in 1651, one of the many benefactors of the poor of Barton, whose charity is still in existence.




An Oak Tree, Vert (green) leafs and Sable (black) trunk on Azure (blue) background - symbolising the Forest of Needwood under which Barton lies in the vale of Trent, and gives the affix to its name.

Three Or (gold) Wheat sheaves on Vert (green) background - symbolising the agricultural industry of Barton and the derivation of its name, Anglo-Saxon for grain field.


 Page last updated 30 July 2001