In October of 2006 I was contacted through this website by a researcher of Wall to Wall Productions who was preparing a show for the BBC's Who Do You Think You Are. The subject was the life story of John Hurt, the famous British actor. The researcher asked me for more information regarding Henry H Hurt who was listed on the 1881 census as living at Stuffynwood.

I was aware through local publications that John Hurt was born nearby in the 1940's at Shirebrook's Vicarage where his father was vicar. Also, the founder of the Stuffynwood Estate, Joseph Paget, philanthropist and deeply religous man, had built and gifted the vicarage to the Shirebrook parish community. With these facts in mind whether coincidence or not, confident of a link between Henry Hurt and John Hurt, I set about tracing Henry Hurt's family tree. Henry was born in Mansfield Woodhouse in 1858 where the 1871 census describes him as a domestic gardener aged 13 living on Town Street. The 1881 Stuffynwood census named Henry Hurt as a gardener, living on the estate at 1 Nutshell Cottage with his mother Rebecca Johnstone. Henry must have been highly regarded, as the cottage is a substantial home that was later attributed to the home of the estate manager. The 1881 census records around 40 staff at the Hall all living in much smaller terrace style accomodation that are now demolished but can be seen on aerial photos on this site.

In 1889 Henry Hurt married a teacher, Emily Corbutt Browne, living at Grimsby. They were married at Caistor.

They were recorded living at 'Nutshell', Broad Green, Wellingborough, Northhamptonshire. The household record lists Cedric C Hurt aged 2, Charles J Hurt aged 5, Evelyn A Hurt aged 8, Emily C Hurt aged 39 and Henry H Hurt aged 43, recorded as a grocer provision merchant. Also in the household was Henry's mother Rebecca M Hurt, widow, aged 64 born at Mansfield Woodhouse in Nottinghamshire close to Stuffynwood. Incidentally, the 1901 census shows George Hurt and wife Ann, both 45 years old living at Booth's Row, Mansfield Woodhouse recording George as agricultural labourer. The children were all listed as born at Wellingborough, which means, given the age of the oldest child as 8, he had left Stuffynwood before c.1893.

Arnould Hurt, John hurt's father was not born until 1904 so obviously is not on the 1901 census.

All pretty much anecdotal stuff, subsequently disregarded by the production team for the John Hurt show screened in 2007 as it wasnt even mentioned, albeit a brief mention of Shirebrook. However, at the end of last year I was emailed by John Hurt's older brother, Michael (Dom Anselm) Hurt OSB who is a monk at Glenstal Abbey on the west coast of Ireland. He very kindly supplied me with additional family information and photographs with permission to publish them on this site.

The Hurt family had for generations resided at Eakring, Nottinghamshire, however, Henry Hurt's Grandfather was a bootmaker at Mansfield Woodhouse but died young leaving Henry as eldest child to begin work at a very young age at the expense of his education. Henry's marriage to the teacher Emily Browne at Grimsby in 1889 elevated him to greater opportunities moving into the wholesale grocery business in Northamptonshire. It would appear that after leaving Stuffynwood Hall he became Head Gardener at Patterdale Hall in the Lake District. He was a completely self-educated man later becoming a lay reader for the Church of England.

In the picture to the left is Michael (Dom Anselm) Hurt OSB and on the right is Michael & John's father, Arnould Hurt who was Shirebrook vicar during the 1940's.

Michael confirmed that his father's position as vicar of Shirebrook and his grandfather Henry's link to Stuffynwood and Mansfield Woodhouse was purely coincidental. Henry's son, Arnould Hurt, entered the church as a curate at Blackburn and then at Sunderland where Michael was born in 1932. Arnould then answered an advertisement in the Church Times for a Priest-in-Charge at Belper, however, because of 'difficulties' with the Vicar, the Archdeacon of Chesterfield 'rescued' him with an offer of a temporary curacy at the Chesterfield parish church until it was practical to offer him a parish. As it happened the parish that came available was Shirebrook.

On the left is Henry H Hurt who resided at 1 Nutshell Cottage, Stuffynwood and on the right his grandson, John Hurt.

With thanks to Michael Hurt.