The Holt Street Estate
The hamlet of Holt Street, sometimes called Old Street, lies some half of a mile or so to the south-east of Nonington church and derives its name from holt, the Old English (OE) name for a thicket or wood. The area was once heavily wooded, adjoining Holt Street to the south-west is Acol or Ackholt, meaning an oak thicket or wood; to the south is Oxenden, or Oxney, Wood; and to the east is Hangers, sometimes Hanging or Hangman’s, Hill which derives from the OE hangra: a wooded slope or hillside.
Old documents and censuses often refer to the lower part of Holt Street as The Drove, from the OE draf, a cattle road.
Holt Street appears to have been part of the Manor of Essewelle, later the Manor of Fredville, from early times. Archbishop Pecham’s survey of 1283-85 recorded Simon of Holestreete and Roger of Holestreete as holding 2 acres 1 virgate and 1 ½ acres respectively in adjoining Ackholt and there is also a reference to a Robert Hollestrete in a document of 1290. The 1309 grant by John, the son of Stephen de Akholte to John, the son of Thomas de Akholte of a windmill describes the mill as being next to Holestrete, almost certainly Cookys, and belonging to Freydevile.
When the parish of Nonington was founded in 1282 the foundation deed referred to the hamlet of Freydeville, this would appear to be Holt Street, the settlement for the Freydeville, later Fredville, part of Essewelle manor. Before the end of the 1400’s the site of the Fredville manor house is unclear, and the present Holt Street farm may well have been the site of the Fredville manor house until a new house was built in the present Fredville Park by the Boys family, which was replaced in the 1740’s. This “new” house was sadly badly damaged by a fire in 1940 and subsequently demolished in 1945.
Robert Baker left a legacy in his 1505 will to the Light of Our Lady of Holstreet and to the Cross Light of Holstreet a bushel of barley each, and the sum of 20/- (£. 1. 00) “to the buying of an antiphoner (liturgical book) for the church” .