Not strictly Pilgrim related, but the church at Babworth features some hidden mice carvings. Look carefully around the Pulpit and that was made by 'Mousey Thompson- the Craftsman of Kilburn.' He was a famous furniture maker from North Yorkshire who owned a small business where many apprentices and craftsmen produced his designs using traditional carpentry methods. All his furniture had his personal signature of a mouse being carved on it. There are believed to be 7 carved mice but you need to look carefully! Bassetlaw District Council presented Babworth Church with a specially commissioned Mayflower 400 collection plate from Mousey’s workshop to commemorate the Mayflower voyage.
Sights and Sites along the PILGRIM TRAIL
Ye Olde Bell coaching house at Barnby Moor, between Babworth and Scrooby, dates back to the 17 century, it once boasted stabling for 120 horses. It is reputedly haunted by a wraith like Lady Jane Grey, Queen of England for only 9 days in 1554, before Queen Mary had her executed, who glides along the corridors. If you drop in to the hotel for afternoon tea, be sure to visit the Gents toilets (even if you are female, the staff will accompany you in and make sure the coast is clear). There, carefully protected under a glass panel, is a section of the old London Road – it is not hard to imagine highway men and kings messengers travelling along this piece of history.
Take a stroll around the village to see some lovely buildings. The Pinfold on Church Lane was originally used by the village pinder to impound loose and stray animals, now villagers leave surplus home-grown vegetables and fruit for neighbours to pick up. Next to the church is the timber-framed Vicarage and Monk’s Mill at the foot of Mill Lane is a lovely place to stop and feed the ducks. At the top of Mill Lane, cross the Great North Road to Gibbet Lane. Gruesomely named as this was the place the Gibbet was built to hang murderers and thieves. In 1779 when William Yeadon, the keeper of Scrooby toll-bar, and his mother were murdered for plunder, by John Spencer, he was apprehended, tried and executed at Nottingham, and afterwards the body was besmeared with pitch and tar: hung in chains on the gibbet, where it remained for more than sixty years. It is said that families would travel to picnic next to the corpse; such was its popularity!
It is difficult to comprehend that the small market town found between Scrooby and Austerfield was a bustling inland port in the 12th century. Walk down Wharf Street towards the church which was built on higher ground above the docks themselves. It was from here that wool and other items were shipped out to the Humber and then overseas. Bawtry boasts some popular independent shops and restaurants and is well worth a visit.
Drakeholes, Wiseton and Clayworth
Just a one mile detour along the A631, the road one takes from Scrooby or Austerfield towards Gainsborough Old Hall allows one to see examples of idyllic rural villages. Drakeholes is on the towpath of the Chesterfield Canal and if time permits is the start of a picturesque walk, approximately 3 miles, taking in locks and tunnels toward Wiseton and Clayworth. This village has been described as a "superbly elegant estate village" set in a landscaped park which was once Wiseton Manor gardens. So picturesque and proud is Wiseton that prospective house-purchasers must agree next to hang their washing outside and spoil its beauty! The next village of Clayworth is well worth visiting, especially to view the Traquair Murals within the Church. They were completed in 1905 by renowned Scottish artist Phoebe Anna Traquair (1852 - 1936), who played a key role in the Arts and Crafts Movement. The murals are the largest work of art in the East of England and are one of only two murals in England by this artist, the remainder are in Scotland.