Sunday, 18 February 2018



Breaston History

Breaston in the Past

Breaston lies within the ancient hundred of Morleston and Litchurch and has been variously known as Breason, Braydeston, Braidstune, Bradeston, Breydiston, and Breston. The origin of its name is said to be Braegd's tun, i.e. Braegd's farm.

Land in Breaston

This site has been occupied for over two thousand years. During construction work in the village a middle bronze-age dagger was discovered and excavations in the area south of Harriman's Drive revealed a small early settlement. Over the years land in the village was held by various people. Amongst them were: at the time of the Domesday Survey, Gilbert of Ghent, Henry Ferrars, Geoffrey of Aselin and Roger of Buseli; later the Duchy of Lancaster, Colonel John Coke of Melbourne Hall and Burton Grammar School. Tax records of 1780 show forty-three land owners together with forty- two occupiers. By the time a survey for the 'Equalization of the Poor Rates 'was made in 1823 this had risen to fifty-three owners and ninety-six tenants.


Certain villagers held ‘Beastgates’ which gave them the right to graze their cattle and horses on the 300 acre Cowpasture which stretched along the south and south east of the church. By an Act of Parliament in 1755 this was enclosed and split into smaller parcels of land to be surrounded by ditches and hedges.


According to d survey of church lands in 1649, the tithes of Breaston were let to Edward Gregory who paid £69 per annum. An enactment of 1836 enabled the commutation of tithes to a rent-charge based upon the price of corn. A Tithe Map and Apportionments of 1841 is extant for Breaston.

Nineteenth Century Changes

This predominately agricultural community turned to industry and the railway for employment by the 19th century. As early as 1821, when 117 families, made up of 579 inhabitants, living in 109 houses, there were between fifty and sixty framework knitters in the village. Three Bobbin Net machines were working in 1829. By 1844, fifty of the 6,447 Stocking Frames found in Derbyshire were at Breaston; this had declined to forty around 1886.

Derby Canal and the Railway

Transport was enhanced by the proximity of the Derby Canal (opened 1795) in the north of the village, where a basin, wharf and Navigation lnn provided necessary facilities. With the coming of the railway, canal trade declined. The railway line between Nottingham and Derby was opened in 1839 with the first train of four first class and two second class carriages being hauled by the engine "Sunbeam". Leaving the Station House, Nottingham at 12.30 pm, amid the cheers of thousands, it reached Breaston at two and a half minutes to one where it took on water.

Breaston at War

Sadly, Breaston was not one of those ‘Thankful Villages’ where men who fought for King and Country during World War I returned safely: thirty-one never saw their homes and families again. Among the medals for valour awarded were the Military Medal and French Croix de Guerre. After the war a memorial was erected in the church. Also in the church are lists of villagers who fought and died during World War ll. There was great rejoicing in the village at the end of World War II with fireworks on Duffield Close, processions, teas and thanksgiving services. A large bonfire was lit on waste ground in Lawrence Avenue to celebrate VJ day. It was not until 1975 that a memorial garden was created to commemorate the fallen in two world wars where a short service is held every Remembrance Sunday.

Modern Breaston

To celebrate the Queen's Jubilee in 1977 an aptly named Jubilee garden was created on the corner of Sawley Lane and later a Parish Council Centenary garden on Draycott Road. For the Millennium a sensory garden was created in the south-east corner of Duffield Close with funds raised by the community.

Although the village is mainly residential, there is a small industrial estate on Bridge Field Road. Plackett's lace factory on Longmoor Lane, after the decline of the lace trade became in turn, a jute factory, sheet metal works, subsequently rebuilt, and now houses a number of small firms. Although close to the cities of Nottingham and Derby, towns of llkeston and Long Eaton and the M1 motorway, the surrounding countryside can be reached within minutes by means of various pathways radiating from the village and the National Millennium cycle track route which passes through the village.

Sandra Stock, Local and Family Historian Breaston - November 2009