Jenny Becket's Lane

By Alan Curtis

My thanks have to go out to Carol Croucher for jogging my memory of the story about the murder of Jenny Becket.

Jane Becket, locally known as Jenny, lived alone in a very old cottage on the edge of the Berry Hill Estate. The year being 1780 . Jenny was a very poor woman who was trying to get through her later years. The un-named and unmade path to her cottage was only used by Jenny and a few others. It was whilst living in the cottage that an intruder broke in and, although it is not known how, he murdered Jenny and disappeared. The murderer was never found, but must have been quite local, for some time later , he was caught and charged for robbing a Clergyman at Calverton. As was the sentencing in the days of long ago, when he was found guilty his sentence was that he was to be transported. Whilst being transported on the sailing vessel, he admitted the crime of the murder of Jenny to one of the crew. Unfortunately , whilst aboard the vessel he died so I guess he was buried at sea. Neither his death or his name was recorded. I personally remember the stone in memory of Jenny being at the side of the still unmade Jenny Becket's Lane. Houses were beginning to be built on the lane and as the number of houses began to increase, the Council decided to make up the road.It is here the stone in memory of Jenny Becket disappeared. Nevertheless, the name of Jenny lives on..

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Jenny Becket's Lane' page
This page was added on 19/03/2014.
Comments about this page

At last - now I know. I lived off Jenny Beckets on Norbury Drive and always wondered who was Jenny Becket. Thank you.

By Val Mason
On 03/04/2014

Alan, Where was the stone in memory of Jenny - I lived there from 1942 until 1965 and can't remember it. Val.

By Val Mason
On 04/04/2014

Val, now you are testing this old brain.... Coming from Southwell Road...You will obviously remember Jenny Becket's lane as an unmade kind of horse and cart type track, and Norbury Drive forking off to the right.. It was in the vicinity where the fork was between Jenny Beckets and Norbury meet, in the overgrown hedge bottom that the stone was set...It was in the shape of an old type mile stone and sat there for many years.. Most would be forgiven for not seeing it. The man who reminded me that it had gone missing is unfortunately no longer with us...

By alan curtis
On 04/04/2014

Val, as you will probably know, many people from the Racecourse side of Southwell Road used to use Jenny Beckets lane, ( when it was a lane ), as a short cut up to Berry Hill and even further, such as Fountain Dale and the Old Newark Road. The Grass Verges either side of the narrow lane, when overgrown, would hide the stone from view of the passers by. Someone somewhere, must know where the stone is...

By alan curtis
On 08/04/2014

Thank you for that Alan. It is even more of a mystery now as I lived nr. to the bottom of Norbury Drive and Jenny Beckets junction.   You may remember that near that junction was an old house with quite a lot of land reaching up to Clifton Grove.  In fact we were allowed to walk up through their garden onto Clifton Grove when we went to the Co-op which was on Southwell Rd.   My sister and I spent many lazy summer days walking down Blackscotch Lane -through the pine forest to Fountain Dale with our picnic. Happy memories.  I presume the stone was in that area.  As I liked to poke my nose in to most things I can't believe I missed it.  Than you once again.

By Val Mason
On 03/05/2014

I found this thread very interesting. From 1940, to when I moved out to marry in 1952, I lived with my parents on Southwell Road, backing onto the unpaved Jenny Beckets Lane. I wandered up and down the lane many times, but was never aware that there was a memorial stone.

By Bryan Fox
On 27/07/2014

I remember it well the house and the stone as children we always ran by the house as we were told Jenny haunted it 

By Diane Stevens
On 18/05/2015

I lived on Racecourse Road in the 1960's and used to catch the bus into Mansfield at the end of Jenny Beckett's Lane. Thanks for relating the sad story. Now I know who the lane was named after.

By Sylvia Sommeling Shaw
On 11/07/2015

What did it say on the stone - was it just a road marker saying Jenny Becketts Lane ?

By David Clay
On 07/01/2016

Hello David, from the late 40's, I used to serve the shop at the bottom of Jenny Becket's Lane With Landers Bread. My wife was brought up on Maltby Road, so this area, the Racecourse, Thompson's Grave, and Berry Hill was what one would call , her stomping ground. She used to pick Daisy's' and Buttercups' from the field opposite the shop. My late Brother in Law, who was a Miner, and in his spare time a very good poacher. A trade handed down to many in Mansfield over the years. This was also his stomping ground as a young man and youth.

It was he who first told me of the Stone depicting Jenny's Death, and the cause of her death, ie, the murder and that was over 65 years ago. He also told of the stone, and where it was on the lane, pointing it out to me when driving. I did not stop the car to go over to have a close look, but I saw the stone, and it wasn't a road sign. It had more than the name Jenny Becket carved into the stone. Originating from Arthur Street, then moving to Budby   Ave. he knew that side of Mansfield like the back of his hand, and no cause to make up any stories unless they were true. I know he was most annoyed when the head stone was taken away. So come on David, even I know a street sign when I see one. 

I do agree there is little known of Jenny and her murderer, only what has been passed down. I recall reading of Jenny's demise, I believe on the internet, in the Nottinghamshire Pages, and can find no reason to disbelieve their findings. Nor can I find any other reason the lane was called Jenny Becket. I am sure my Brother in Law's family may be able to tell me the actual wording on the stone. You can be sure I'll let you know if and when I find out.

By alan curtis
On 11/01/2016

I have just been reading the Bradder/Moor St. stories which brought my own memories flooding back.

I lived at 51 Norbury Drive - we had fields in front and the back of us.  The front field had a quarry hole in the corner (I presume they used the sand when they built the houses. It was a great place to play in.  The gardens from the top end of Norbury Drive backed onto the quarry hole, the roses then grew over the garden fences and hung down the bank.  Beautiful perfumed roses, we used to climb up the bank and take some of them home.

The middle of the field the 'big' lads played cricket - bonfires were  built there.  The top of the field where you came through from Jenny Becketts was one of the sledging tracks - the other was from Berry Hill Lane where Jenny Becketts ended, you crossed the road and it became Black Scotch Lane.  You could sledge nearly all the way to Southwell Rd at the bottom. You never saw a car!

We shopped at Burtons at the bottom of Jenny Becketts nr Southwell Rd which was fine until the Gypsies came and parked nearby the shop. My sister Anne and I used to run past in case they kidnapped us!!

Like the Bradder St. families we went off for the day without a care in the world - and parents didn't appear to worry if they didn't see you all day. Down Blackscotch Lane to Berry Hill park where the 'big' lads used to swim in the lake which has loads of water lillies floating about.  Another walk would be down Blackscotch to Fountain Dale and onto Newstead Abbey.  Glad for such fantastic memories.  

Val

By Val Mason
On 19/10/2016

Hello everybody, I used to live at 63 Jenny Beckett Lane for 20+ years, number 63 was the very first house and Jenny use to live there, the person's who lived in it before all the houses were built on the lane owned most of all the land surrounding number 63 and was used during the war to plant crops.

The problem with today's society is that people are being brought up incorrectly which has resulted in vandalism.

The old sign post was made with wood decades ago and was slowly rotting around the year 1999 which was located in front of the big hedge, somebody decided to kick it in the middle which snapped it in 2... so my dad Carl Webster paid and fitted a metal sign post exactly where the wooden one was.

The house has drastically changed over the years from my dad's hard work in digging and transforming the house into a beautiful place to live.

Unfortunately we moved due to family problems.

In all the time I lived there I felt a kind spirit watching over us, I believed it was Jenny.

I remember when I finished school, I didn't really know what to do to earn money so I just lazed around the house like a slob, my dad use to shout at me for not working and I used to shout back, one night I slammed the door on my dad and I broke his little toe by accident, I was having a typical teenager strop... that night I heard a horrible growling sound at the bottom of my bed and my foot was squeezed.

The day after I went straight to the agency and started to work doing anything I could, I use to do some vile jobs. eventually I used my experience to find jobs which suited me best and to this day I am still working.

So I thank Jenny and my dad for giving me a kick up my arse to get me in gear!

I felt free and appreciated ever since.

If you don't want to believe in superstition thats fine, but Jenny is a lovely woman and she haunts people who are bad.

She looks after the good people.

By Jason Webster
On 27/11/2017

Hi Jason,

Re 63 Jenny Beckets, I presume you may have lived in the house were Morleys used to live opposite the entrance to Norbury Drive.  I lived on Norbury Drive from 1942 until 1965. We, my sister and I used the path through Morley's land to the top gate which led  to Clifton Grove.  I remember Reg Morley and his greenhouses where he grew many Coleus plants.  His mother was still alive then and he also had a sister who used to sew.  I have many memories of growing up in that area before the houses were built on the field at the bottom of Norbury Drive and up the right hand side of Jenny Beckets. We had great fun in the little sand quarry at the back of the field, where I presume they dug the sand out when they were building the houses.      Yet I cannot for the life of me remember the Jenny stone.            Val Mason

By Val Mason
On 16/12/2017

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