1873 – Rolleston Hall Celebrations

In 1873, just two years after the great fire that almost destroyed it, Rolleston Hall was the site of great festivities. Around one hundred and twenty guests celebrated the superbly restored hall at the occasion of the marriage of Sir Tonman Mosely’s son, Oswald.

The event was attended and reported by the Derby Mercury and below is a transaction from the detailed report that appeared in an article dated Wednesday, August 20th, 1873.

On Tuesday last the tenantry of Sir Tonman Mosley Bart., were invited to dine at his residence to commemorate the restoration and improvement of the hall; also the marriage of his eldest son, Oswald Mosley Esq. Our readers will undoubtedly remember the serious fire which occurred here almost two years ago. Its owner has now built a noble mansion on the site of the old one, Messrs. Giles and Brookhurst being the architects.

At half past two o’clock on the above day about one hundred and twenty sat down in a commodious marquee which had been beautifully decorated by Mr Buck, head gardener, to a splendid repast. Grace having been said by the Reverend Canon Ram, the dinner commenced in good earnest, under the presidency of their worthy landlord, who was supported on the right by his eldest son, Oswald Mosley Esq., Drs. Belcher and Wolfenden, Messrs Radford, Stretton, M Walker, S Walker, D. Walker, Hodgkinson and Strutt; and on the left by the Rev. Canon Ram and Messrs. Holbrook, Giles, Crump and Pakeman.

The vice chairs were respectively filled by Tonman and Ernald Mosley, Esqs. The bill of fare was a most sumptious one, and we need scarcely add that ample justice was done to it. During the dinner the company were enlivened by Mr Stagg’s efficient quadrille band, which played the following selections in a highly creditable style:

  • Overture ‘Zampa’
  • Valse ‘Blush Rose’
  • Piano Fantasia
  • Quadrille ‘Grand Duchess’
  • Valse ‘Christine’
  • Cornet Solo
  • Galop ‘Cliquot’
  • Viola Solo
  • Valse ‘Beautiful Spring’

On the cloth being drawn, Sir Tonman proposed the healths of the Queen (Victoria), Prince and Princess of Wales and the Royal Family, which was most enthusiastically received.

The next toast was given by the Reverend Canon Ram, who said;- “I hope you will be somewhat forbearing with me this evening, although I shall endeavour to make all hear. I am quite aware that a great strain upon the voice is requisite for such a numerous assemblage, and especially under a tent.

At the same time, the circumstances under which we are met today would make anyone strive to use every effort for the occasion. I do not for one moment expect I can do justice to the toast of the day, which is entrusted to me… Long life, prosperity and happiness to our host (Loud cheers) But permit me to add I am sure it gives us all very great pleasure to see Sir Tonman in his proper place, and that it is at the head of a large and opulent tenantry. Indeed such a sight as the present is a truly English one, for now can be seen at one view the real backbone of our country, viz., the agriculturists and landlords side by side”.

This was drunk most cordially, the band playing’Musical Honours’ and the ‘Fine Old English Gentleman’.

SIR TONMAN MOSLEY then rose and addressed the company as friends, neighbours and tenants, stating that he was much obliged to his friend the Reverend Canon Ram, for the kind manner in which he had proposed his health. He could scarcely find words to express his feelings. The Canon had spoken of him as a proud landlord, and indeed he was proud as anyone could be of such a respectable and honourable tenancy (Cheers) He trusted he would always be proud of his tenancy, but not proud of himself (Cheers) Such gatherings as the present were a source of great pleasure to him. Landlords and tenants to be successful must pull together. Although he wished to avoid politics he could not let the opportunity slip. There had just been an election, and he was proud to see on the present occasion voters of both sides, for he always wished his tenants to vote according to their consciences (Loud cheers)

He would be very sorry to use undue influence with anyone; and he might safely add that when he met a tenant, it never entered his head as to the political opinions of that tenant (Cheers) At the same time he would add that if a tenant were undecided in his political opinions he considered the landlord was the best tutor for him. He would never canvass, and he trusted that now the Ballot Act was passed the old system of canvassing would become a thing of the past. Again, he thought landlords should not endeavour to influence their neighbours’ tenantry in such matters (Cheers)

With respect to the Game Laws, he had faith to believe that tenants would always protect sufficient game for the sons of their landlord.

Landlords had brought the punishment on themselves by binding their tenants under such severe restrictions and having the produce greatly damaged by the game.(Cheers)

Lastly there was a cry for long leases. He was against treating land as a commercial commodity. In such cases the land would be given to the highest bidder under stringent leases, and do away with all the good feeling that had previously existed. He would conclude by proposing all their healths coupled with the name of Mr Holbrook, their esteemed steward (Cheers.) He asked for the latter gentleman to be excused standing as he was suffering from the effect of an accident.

MR HOLBROOK said that he was very pleased to hear Sir Tonman Mosley explain his views with respect to landlord and tenant so clearly. A good understanding put them on a firm footing for years to come(Cheers) He had the honour to propose the healths of Mr and Mrs Mosley, and congratulate them on the occasion of their marriage, and to take the opportunity of presenting him with the offerings of the tenantry of Rolleston, Needwood and Tutbury.

These had taken the form of a beautiful timepiece, silver tankard, and silver tea and coffee service. He concluded by asking the company to drink long live and happineass to Mr. and Mrs. Mosley.

This was immediately followed with musical honours.

OSWALD MOSLEY, Esq. was received with loud cheers. He thanked all of them for the presents they had so kindly given Mrs. Mosley and himself on the event of their marriage. He was sorry that his wife was unable, through illness, to be present that day. His father, however, had given him a cordial invitation to Rolleston Hall, which he should from time to time accept, especially in the hunting season (Cheers)

He was sorry that last year he was not so frequently in the field, but the fact was hunting did not agree with love-making (Cheers) He added that he was not an orator, but they would accept the best thanks of himself and wife for the kind manner in which their health had been proposed and received.(Loud cheers)

The next toast was given by the CHAIRMAN, who said, “Gentlemen, it falls upon my lot to propose the Bishop and Clergy, coupled with the Rev. Canon Ram, our worthy Rector. He was not going too far when he said, that the Canon had, by his assiduous work made himself many friends in Rolleston and neighbourhood (Cheers) He had learned from many sources of the efficacy of the rector’s service among the tenantry, who was in that position that he could serve them both spiritually and temporally. He had known him ever since he could remember, hence he claimed him as one of his oldest friends”.

The above toast was then drunk with cheers and musical honours.

The Rev. CANON RAM responded by stating that he was grateful to Sir Tonman for the kind manner in which he had proposed his health. He went on to say that the baronet had done him justice when he said that ‘best intentions were not wanting in his work’ (Cheers) He referred to his old associations with Rolleston, how that some years before Sir Tonman could remember, he spent many happy hours fishing in Rolleston brook with the late squire, the host’s brother. It was owing to the kindness of Sir Oswald that he now held the position of Rector of Rolleston. Such a position naturally brought pleasant and unpleasant remembrances. During the five years he had been amongst them as their pastor, he trusted he had served them faithfully, and he hoped all good feelings and blessings would continue to crown the hall, church, and yes, and every house in the parish, as proof of God’s mercies to them.(Hear hear). There were persons now- a -day who tried to separate classes, but he considered such meetings as the present one went far to put down their evil attempts, He must, however, conclude, but when once on his feet and among his friends, he was like the Irishman who was asked the secret of being such a good speaker, I put my heart to the tip of my tongue, and then I can’t help it. He must, however, say one word more, and that was something which was very pleasing to them, viz., to propose the health of Lady Mosley (Loud cheers). He knew it would be well received. The tenantry had only to look at her, and then listen, and they might rest assured that her influence with Sir Tonman was always used when required on their behalf. Indeed all of them would be very poor creatures without their wives, daughters and sisters. He then, amidst loud cheers, proposed ‘The health and happiness of the Lady Mosley, as wife and consort of Sir Tonman Mosley, Bart’. (Loud cheers)

After musical honours had been accorded, Sir Tonman rose, and in a short humorous address, thanked them on behalf of his lady, whom he had on this occasion deserted for the first time in her life; she had declined to thank his friends for their good wishes. He trusted she had not made up her mind to desert him altogether (Renewed cheers) he quite agreed with the Canon as to the value of wives, and he trusted that all his friends present who had not entered the matrimonial state would immediately fix their attention on a suitable lady, and get married at once. (Cheers)

Dr. BELCHER then rose, and in a pithy speech proposed ‘The health of Tonman and Ernald Mosley Esqrs,’ the younger sons of their worthy host. He trusted the tenancy would fill their glasses and do their duty by the toast. (cheers and musical honours)

TONMAN MOSLEY Esq., replied as follows; The Reverend Canon Ram has made a pointed remark in his speech which has given me a new and very humble opinion of myself. He said “All men without wives were poor creatures, and still more so if they had no sisters or daughters” Now I have no wife, no sister no daughter, therefore pray pity me, for I must be a very poor creature indeed (Laughter and cheers.)

Again I can assure you I tremble in my shoes, for my father in his speech says thast the sooner men get wives the better for them; and I of course conclude from that he must have someone in his eye for me! I humbly offer you my sincere thanks for myself and my younger brother, and I trust you have all been happy and will spend the remainder of the day in perfect enjoyment. In a short time I hope to be called to the bar, and I ask you after I have so done to get into as many lawsuits as you possibly can and put a corresponding number of guineas into my pocket (Cheers.) One more point;-My ambition may induce me in course of time to become a candidate for your votes as a member of parliament. In that case I have no doubt all of you will give me your support, and place me at the head of the poll. I feel most deeply the honour which has conferred upon me is being entrusted to a toast which ought never to be left out, and is always received with great eclat. My toast, gentlemen is one you will all respond to most heartily, viz.,”The Ladies”(Cheers.) Gentlemen, they are our better halves, but dear me I must beg your pardon, as I ought to have said your better halves. Still I beg to propose the health of your wives, your daughters and your sisters. At the same time I think you will agree with me that an able orator by late reputation, is the fittest person to answer for those whose absence is our loss and whose health we shall drink most heartily (Cheers.) I therefore call upon Mr. Samuel Walker, who is considered an orator in this neighbourhood, to respond.

MR S. WALKER immediately rose and said he wished to contradict Mr. Tonman Mosley upon one point in his speech, viz., that of being an orator; and he thought the compliment of returning thanks might have been placed in abler hands, as he was suffering from overwork, the result of canvassing in company with Messrs. Higgot and Hopkins, when they had had many strange questions put to them relating to the gun tax, tenants rights, school boards, ladies as voters &c. But he must revert to the toast viz., “The Ladies” He had tried housekeeping and bachelorship for five years, but could endure it no longer, so took unto himself his better half, and had no hesitation in stating that it was the best day’s work of his life. He now had his slippers placed for him every evening, and his bed warmed when required, and many things which a bachelor could not expect, and did not deserve. He hoped that Mr Tonman would soon follow his example and so become a useful member of society.

SIR TONMAN next proposed the healths of the master workmen who had been employed at the hall during it’s restoration, coupled with the name of MR GILES, who responded as follows- Gentlemen- this is indeed a very happy gathering through the generosity of Sir Tonman. He has spared no trouble or pains to secure a pleasant afternoon for us, and I can safely add that during the restoration of the hall, it has been his constant endeavour to make all who were employed on the works very comfortable. He (Mr Giles) had never undertaken a work that had given him so much pleasure, and it mainly arose from the frankness and generosity of their noble employer. He begged to offer the best thanks of his co-workers for the manner in which their healths had been proposed and received, and he trusted Sir Tonman and her Ladyship would live for many many years to enjoy it’s beauties, conveniences and pleasures (Loud cheers.)

Music and songs now became the order of the evening, among which we noticed ” The Old English Gentleman” by Messrs. M and S Walker ; Turn of the tide” by Mr. Pakeman; “John Barleycorn” by Mr. G Hanson: “Paddy’s courtship” or “The Whistling thief by Mr. Strutt; Men of Merry England”, by Mr. Hodgkinson; and “Nought else to do” by Mr.Greatorex. The latter was highly amusing and well executed, and caused great laughter.

The company broke up about half past seven o’clock after singing the National Anthem.

We need scarcely add that the afternoon was spent in a most enjoyable manner and nothing was wanting to add to their happiness that money would procure.

The oldest parishioner of Rolleston who was present said that he “had never seen such doings in all his life.” We trust such gatherings may become more frequent, and may we add annual ones. Sir Thomas kindly threw his grounds and gardens open, and was lustily cheered by his tenantry from the marquee to the mansion.

The following day, the workmen, numbering 165, were invited to dinner, which was equally sumptuous to that of the previous day The “Roast Beef of Old England” was punished by a class of men who well know how to do their duty with a knife and fork , accompanied with copious draughts of nut-brown ale , and fine selections of music which on such occasions improve the appetite and assists digestion. No comment is needed as to the justice they did to the good things.
After the cloth was drawn,

SIR TONMAN briefly proposed the healths of the Queen and Royal Family.

THE REVEREND CANON RAM, after a telling speech, proposed the healths of Sit Tonman Mosley, Bart., the Lady Mosley, and |Mr. And Mrs. Mosley, to which the worthy baronet responded, followed by Mr. Mosley and Mr. Tonman Mosley.

On the retirement of Sir Tonman Mosley from the chair, speeches and songs followed in rapid succession. A little momentary unpleasantness was occasioned at times by two or three amateurs endeavouring to give their fellow workmen a specimen of their musical prowess simultaneously . Of course this created much mirth, and the cases had to be referred to the chair, which was now ably filled by Tonman Mosley Esq.

MR BRATT made a speech which will not be easily forgotten by those who had the advantage of listening to his oratory.

The proceedings came to a close by the chairman expressing his best thanks to them for their excellent conduct during the afternoon, and trusted they had all thoroughly enjoyed themselves, leading them to believe this was only the first of similar entertainments. The marquee was momentarily filled with loud cheers and good wishes for their noble master.

On Thursday a large company of visitors were invited to an entertainment, and to witness the sports of the Rolleston, Tutbury and Anslow schools whom the liberality of Sir Tonman Mosley would not permit to be overlooked. The following were amongst the number; Sir Henry Every, The Masters Every, Rev. Rowland and Mrs Mosley and family, the Rev. Canon, Lady Jane and the Misses Ram, Mrs Stone, Mrs.Fox, Miss Isobel Mosley, Miss Penelope Mosley, the Misses Bott (3) Miss Wearg, , Mr/ and Mrs. Willoughby Wood,, Mr. and Mrs Wm. Bott, Mr and Mrs Rumboldt, Mr. and Mrs. N Curzon, and the Masters Ewart.

Also the annexed were among the number as resident at the Hall for the week; Mr. Mosley of Beaumaris, Anglesea, Miss Foster, Miss Halliwell, Miss Rigby, mr & Mrs Campbell, Mr. Lucas Broadhurst, Mr Lindesay Young, &etc.

The Rolleston and Anslow children arrived first, and were conducted through the gardens. At two o’clock the Tutbury children, under the control of the Rev. H. Clunn, Miss Bray and Mr. Parrick, started from their respective schools, the route being by High Street and Burton Street. The youths belonging to the Endowed School halted at the residence of Miss Mosley (Sir Tonman’s sister) and sang “The Red, White and Blue” and “Musical Honours” in a highly creditable style, under the able guidance of their respected master, Mr. Parrick. Many of the inhabitants turned out to listen to the songs and witness the procession of the children who were bent on an afternoon’s pleasure.

Miss Mosley very kindly thanked the master, teachers, and pupils for their courtesy. The girls, who waited in the Burton-street during this show, now proceeded in excellent order towards Rolleston, amidst cheers of the crowd. On approaching the Hall Gardens, it was understood by the excessive “Hurrahs” that it was a gala afternoon at Rolleston. Mr. Buck met them at the reservoir, and led them through most refreshing shady walks through in the garden, and finally to the front of the Hall, explaining, as they proceeded, the various orchard and hot-houses, with their uses. He earned and received many hearty thanks by his thorough and genuine kindness from both teachers and scholars. In about ten minutes they took their places on the croquet ground for singing. The company quickly congregated around the little band to hear the following songs which were executed in such excellent tune and time that praises were awarded in all directions:

  • God Bless The Prince of Wales
  • The Spider and The Fly
  • The Red, White and Blue
  • Work

Musical Honours followed with the words:

Sir Tonman is our faithful friend,
And that we all do know,
He always helps us cheerfully,
Which nobody can deny,
The Lady Mosley we do thank,
For all her kindnesses,
We wish them every happiness,
And so say all of us.

SIR TONMAN MOSLEY expressed his best thanks to Mr. Parrick and gave orders for the pupils to be conducted to the Park , in which the following games were prepared;- Cricket, Football, Bag racing, pole climbing, wheelbarrow races etc., Prizes were awarded by various gentlemen who witnessed the sports. Mr. Tonman Mosley superintended the cricketing, while Mr. Mosley undertook the racing and Mr. Ernald the football.

At five o’clock the bell rang for tea, to which they immediately responded. Mr. White, butler, was exceedingly kind throughout the evening, and most anxious to do everything possible for the enjoyment and comfort of the children. Many thanks are due to him for his attention. Grace having been sung, they set to work in earnest to clear the tables of the tempting eatable commodities, consisting of buns, ginger bread, plum cake, preserves, grapes, currants, gooseberries &c. Half an hour sufficed to see the end of this department.

After the Grace had been sung, Sir Tonman entered the marquee, accompanied by the Lady Mosley and The Rev. Canon Ram.

The Reverend Canon, in speaking to the children assembled asked them whom they had to thank for their tea. Their answer was “God.” The rev. gentleman said it was a very good answer, and he was glad to hear them award the praise to God. He then asked who they were next indebted to. Their answer was “Sir Tonman.” He gave them good advice, in which he cautioned them against bad company, and concluded by asking for three cheers for Sir Tonman and Lady Mosley, which was given in a thoroughly English style. Mr Tonman, in a short address, informed the children of the very great pleasure it afforded Lady Mosley and himself to meet them in such pleasing circumstances. He had invited them to tea and games to commemorate the restoration and improvements to his residence, Rolleston Hall. He had trusted that they would all be good children, not only for that afternoon, but for many future ones. He was glad to see such a goodly number present but was sorry to be obliged to hear that some were absent, not being allowed to come through irregular attendance at school. He went on to show that as a rule the parents were the cause of the irregularity, and it was greatly deplored that in these enlightened times they did not take a far greater interest in the future welfare of their children. A child now-a-days without education was no-where in the world. Again he was proud to refer to the fact that in each of the schools present instructions in the Holy Bible formed part of the daily routine. He remembered well the words of his father to the effect that school instruction was quite valueless without it was based on God’s word and he should use his influence to maintain those principles. “Shut out the Bible from the school and you will undermine it’s true utility.” He thanked the teachers for the excellent discipline which their children exhibited, and concluded by trusting that this meeting was only a fore runner of many similar ones. (Loud cheers.)

The children then sang several songs and dispersed to enjoy the several amusements prepared for them. At a later hour dancing commenced in good earnest, and was kept up till dusk. Mrs. Smythe, the Anslow schoolmistress,collected her little band the first, and they were well attended by the gentry, previous to their departure, with nuts and biscuits. Later on the Tutbury schools were arranged in front of Mr. Stagg’s quadrille band, and after musical honours for their host and hostess, sang the National Anthem. Mr. Parrick addressed the children, and thanked Sir Tonman and Lady Mosley for their great kindness, and trusted Mr. And Mrs. Mosley would follow in their worthy parents’ footsteps especially with regard to the aid they most generously bestowed on the schools . He concluded by calling for cheers for the above. On arriving at Tutbury, they proceeded to the residence of Miss Mosley and sang a song or two, after which the order was given to dismiss. The Rolleston children, under their efficient master and mistress Mr Eley and Miss Ellis, were dispersed later on in the evening. Such a day’s enjoyment has seldom, if ever, been accorded to these schools.

The following evening a ball was given. Through the liberality of Sir Tonman all the servants of the neighbourhood (200) were invited to the hall. Carriages arrived in rapid succession at eight o’clock, and the respective occupants were escorted to the cloak room by Mr. White. Tea and coffee were set out in the smoke room, and all new arrivals were invited to refresh themselves preparatory to the dance. At nine o’clock the strains of Mr. Stagg’s efficient quadrille band were heard, and a general movement was made towards the saloon, which was in itself worthy of a visit. It was illuninated with two sun lights, and as the company arrived in their various coloured costumes the effect was exceedingly pretty. This room was most tastefully decorated with flowers, evergreens. flags and shields under the able superintendence of Mr. Buck.

The motto “Mos Legem Regit” came out most prominently on the North Wall. The floor deserves a word of notice, being of the very best oak, polished, all of which has been grown on the Rolleston Estate. The stewards of the evening were Tonman Mosley, Esq., and Mr. White, who were quite at home with their duties.

At a quarter past nine o’clock the ball was opened by Mr. Kirk and the Lady Mosley, followed by Tonman Mosley, Esq., and Mrs. Stevens. About 150 joined in this, it being the well known country dance “Triumph”. Mr Cornish’s perfect mastership of the cornet deserves special mention.

The next was a Polka in which Mr. Joseoh Barton had the honour of dancing with her Ladyship. The following was the programme which was well carried out, and a Scotch Reel or two were added by special request :-

  • Country dance “Triumph”
  • Polka “Sultan”
  • Country dance “Valse”
  • Schottische “Moldovian”
  • Quadrille “Christmas Echoes”
  • Polka “Jolly Dogs”
  • “Pop Goes the Weasel”
  • Galop “Cliquot”
  • “Spanish Valse”
  • “Patanella”
  • “Scotch Reel”
  • Country dance “Tempete”
  • “Polka”
  • Country dance “Haste to the wedding”
  • “Galop”
  • “Lancers”
  • “Sir Roger de Coverley”

At one o’clock the company sat down to an excellent supper, which was set out in the marquee. The tables were laden with good things, and bore ample proof that the week’s festivities had not drained the vineries. Grace having been sung, about half an hour was occupied with toasts.

Mr. Abby proposed the healths of Sir Tonman, the Lady Mosley, and mr. And Mrs, mosley, which was responded to by Tonman Mosley Esq,.who asked for a little fore bearance as it was the fourth speech he had been credited with in the past few days .

He said that nothing would have given his father greater pleasure than to have been present on this occasion, but lameness prevented him. He hoped they would all thoroughly enjoy themselves and dance to their hearts content, He concluded by proposing the health of all his father’s servants, who had been most severely taxed with over work during the week, coupled with the name of his esteemed friend, Mr. White,

This was drunk most cordially with musical honours, led by Mr. Parrick,

MR. WHITE acknowledged the compliment in an able manner.

After Mr. Stagg had said a few words on behalf of the visitors, the company, like giants refreshed, returned to the charge, and the small hours of the morning smiled on the throng. Slowly and reluctantly the company broke up to return to their homes by the morning light, and to regret the fleeting haste of our old enemy, Time.

On Saturday about 100 of the old parishioners were invited to tea on the lawn. Various amusements were engaged in and the garden and grounds thrown open.
Thus ended a weeks festivities, the like of which has never been seen by the present generation of Rolleston.

We conclude our report by by sincerely wishing that the worthy owner and his lady will live long to enjoy each other’s friendship in their princely mansion.


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