The Marquess' first act, after his mother's death, was to employ Sir Gilbert Scott to complete and beautify the church in her memory, particularly in the work of the great west window. To link to a website for All Saints Church, click here: allsaintsnocton.org.uk
The Marquess also built the present school on the site of a farmstead, known as Scarcliff, and threw open the rest of the site for a village green. A chestnut tree was planted by Lord de Gray, the Marquis’s only son, famous as one of the best shots in the country, when he came of age in 1873.
In 1874 the Marquess built the Old Four Row and in 1878 he built the 'new' Ten Row. At this time the Great Northern and Great Eastern Railway Company had begun to lay the railway line which passes through Nocton and many of the navvies lodged in the village so that the population of the parish at the census taken in 1881 numbered 628 – the highest ever.
|Old Four Row|
|The 'new' Ten Row|
In 1880 the Marquess was appointed Viceroy of India and the Rev Footman was Vicar of Nocton. The big farmers were Robert Wright, John Mills, Georg Melbourne, George Woodhouse, Edward Howard and William Roberts, besides the Daltons and the Thorpes. There was a tennis club, also a cricket club and an annual flower show was held.
Nocton Wood was then famous for its lilies of the valley, and Nocton Heath famous for its Lincoln Longwool sheep and Lincoln Red cattle. The names of Caswell, Dean, Howard and Wright were as well known in the agricultural world of South America, South Africa and on the continent as they were in Lincolnshire. Early in the 20th Century a flock of sheep founded in 1790 on Nocton Heath was sold to Buenos Aires for £30,000.
In 1889 the Marquess of Ripon sold the estate to Mr John Hodgson of Bradford. It is said the Marquess sold the estate because he could not afford to keep it in good condition and repair.