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Saturday May 18th 2024

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Martley Archives

Old Fields of the Noak

In 1937, at The Auction Mart, Pierpoint St, Worcester, the freehold to The Noak Estate, Martley, was put up for sale. Described as 540 acres with ‘A Stately and Dignified Residence’ plus 3 farms (The Tee, Pudford and Hillend), smallholdings, cottages, coppices, and woodlands. The auction papers fully detail the estate and all of its facilities. These papers are not reproduced here but a copy is obtainable on request to the Webmaster.

The map below was traced by Ms Pam Spokes, and shows the parcels of land concerned in the sale. Each is listed on the particulars with its use and area. These days it is probably true to say that our main fascination lies in the derivation of the field names themselves, telling, as they do, something of the history of the area.

One example of this is ‘The Nubbins’. What does this mean? Today, most of us think the name refers to the old sandstone quarry, cliffs and all, still very visible on the rise behind Martley. It is understood that Martley Church was built from this rock. However, if you examine the map, it shows that The Nubbins are fields at the very end of the cliff, where it is small and insignificant.

Research into the word (Merriam-Webster) shows that it derives from Low German (knubbe), alteration of English dialect ‘knub’, and meaning 1 : something (as an ear of Indian corn) that is small for its kind, stunted, undeveloped, or imperfect or 2 : a small usually projecting part or bit

Hence the name, The Nubbins, describes very well the lowest and least productive part of the cliff, spoken of (one can imagine) in dismissive terms by the quarrymen of the time.