Nockolds History

Nockolds Solicitors’ roots trace back to 1831. The history dates back to Thomas Unwin, a practicing Solicitor in Bishop’s Stortford and Sawbridgeworth who merged his practice with that of Henry Baker. They were later joined in 1879 by C.V.Thorneycroft and the practice became known as Baker & Thorneycroft. 

At the same time, a firm called Ackland & Son was in practice in Bishop’s Stortford and Sawbridgeworth. 

In 1879 Ackland & Son bought the lease to 6 Market Square, and it is believed they moved their practice here at the same time. They were joined the following year by Alfred Nockolds, who was living and practicing in Sawbridgeworth at the time. The firm was renamed Ackland & Nockolds and the practice continued as such for the next 25 years. Towards the end of the 19th century, Ackland & Nockolds acquired the Baker & Thorneycroft practice. 

In 1906, Alfred Nockolds was joined in partnership by Arthur Wade, upon which the firm became known as Nockolds & Wade. In 1909 Alfred Nockolds’ son Bryan joined the firm, when Wade retired in 1912, Bryan became a Partner and thus the firm took the name of Nockolds & Son. 

In the 1940s Peter Davies and Robert Lofts were articled to Nockolds. On Bryan Nockolds’s death in 1958, he left the firm to Robert Lofts and Peter Davies and they retained the name of Nockolds & Son. They were joined in partnership by Peter’s younger brother David Davies in 1964. Richard Downing was articled to Nockolds in 1964, and made a Partner in 1971. At the time he became a partner the ‘& Son’ was dropped, so the firm would be known from then on as Nockolds. Nicholas Belcher joined as an Articled Clerk in 1968, becoming Partner in 1980. 

In 1992 Richard Downing took over heading the firm as Senior Partner for the next nine years, until his own retirement in 2000. Nicholas Belcher, Senior Partner took over steering the firm in 2001 and later passed the reins on to Darren Hayward who became Managing Partner in 2010 and who holds that position today. 

Having closed its Sawbridgeworth office in 2009, the Bishop’s Stortford office experienced significant growth over the next few years and in 2012 the firm became Nockolds Solicitors Limited. 

In response to the firm’s continued growth and expanding client base, in 2013 the firm opened its London office. The doors to 46 New Broad Street in the City of London opened on 1st October 2013 and since then both offices have continued to grow from strength to strength. The firm has nearly doubled in turnover over the last six years and now boasts a formidable team of 13 Partners with over 130 employees.