History of Nottinghamshire.


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Nottinghamshire Places

1610 Map of Nottinghamshire by John Speed


The county was first recorded in 1016 when it was known as Snotinghamscir. The name is derived from Snot's people. The motto of the county is Sapienter Proficiens which means Advancing Wisely.

Nottinghamshire is bordered with Yorkshire in the north, Lincolnshire in the east, Leicestershire in the south, and Derbyshire in the west. The eastern part of the county which borders Lincolnshire is flat although to the west there are some rolling hills which is where the county's mining area is located. The Nottinghamshire coalfield were worked from the early 13th century. The Sherwood Forest is not as mighty as it once was but its broken wooded district is still an important feature of the landscape.

The county's inhabitants were probably having a ball in pagan times but St.Paulinus insisted on introducing Christianity to the Trent valley around 630AD. Following the raids of the Scandinavians, the county formed part of the Danelaw in the 9th century. In 1174, Henry II gave Nottingham Castle to his son John, and it became his favourite residence. After Runnymede, John prepared to make his last stand at Nottingham Castle. He died at Newark. King Richard made Sherwood Forest a royal hunting ground. East Stoke was the site of a bloody battle in 1487 between the forces of Henry VII and those of Lambert Simnel. The Pretender's forces were completely routed. On 20th August 1642, King Charles I raised his standard at Nottingham Castle in a formal declaration of war. It marked the beginning of the Civil War. In 1589, Reverend William Lee of Calverton, invented the stocking frame, from which developed the great hosiery and lace trades, which were the staple industries of the county in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Southwell Minster is celebrated for 'The Leaves of Southwell' exquisite, life-like foliage carvings in its chapter house. The present Thoresby Hall is a neo-Tudor mansion and the third to be erected in Thoresby Park. Newstead Abbey was converted into a house in the 1540s. It was the ancestral home of Lord Byron who was forced to sell it in 1818 to pay his debts. Welbeck Abbey has a tunnel over a mile long leading from it and big enough for a horse and carriage to pass through which enabled the reclusive 5th Duke of Portland to leave and enter his estate unseen.

Famous People
Thomas Cranmer, the first Protestant Archbishop, was born in Aslockton and lived there for 14 years. William Brewster, one of the leaders of the Pilgrim Fathers, was born in Scrooby. Jesse Boot, the 1st Lord Trent, was born in 1850 in Nottingham, and opened his first shop in Beeston in 1877. He built up the largest pharmaceutical retail businesses in the world. Henry Ireton was born in 1611 in Attenborough. He married Cromwell's daughter Bridget, and became Cromwell's right-hand man. He signed the death warrant of Charles I. He died of overwork and the plague and was buried in Westminster Abbey. On the Restoration of the monarchy, his body was taken from his grave and hanged for a day at Tyburn Tree. He was then buried at what is now Marble Arch. D. H. Lawrence was born at Eastwood in 1885. His frank and outspoken novels shocked the Establishment, particularly Lady Chatterley's Lover which he printed privately in Florence in 1928. It was not published in Britain for over 30 years. Lord Byron inherited Newstead Abbey from a great uncle at the age of 10, and lived there intermittently for several years after leaving Cambridge. When he died, his body was brought back from Greece to be buried at Hucknall Torkard, where his mother and daughter are also buried.

Mansfield Pudding is a brandy-flavoured suet sponge pudding served sprinkled with caster sugar. Hemlock Stone in Bramcote stands over 30ft high and is around 70ft in circumference; it is believed to weigh over 200 tons and is popularly connected with Druidical rituals.

Why, Robin Hood of course. He was an outlaw who lived outside the protection of the law. He was a law unto himself. He was the self-styled king of the greenwood - either at Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire or Barnsdale in Yorkshire. Robin Hood was no common criminal. As the famous saying goes, he robbed from the rich and gave to the poor. His enemies were the rich and corrupt, especially the Sheriff of Nottingham. According to legend, Robin Hood also fought for the Saxons against the often-cruel domination of the Normans, the French-speaking descendants of Vikings. In many modern stories, Robin fights for an England where Norman and Saxon can live together in peace. Although Robin was an outlaw, a thief and a rebel, he was usually a strong supporter of the rightful king, especially when that king was Richard the Lionheart. In many stories, Robin was devoted to the Virgin Mary but in some versions, he is the "son" of the pagan forest god Herne the Hunter. Others say he is one of the "Fair Folk" or the "Little People," the magical inhabitants of Britain. In the earliest tales, Robin Hood's name is Robin Hood. But many stories say he was born in AD 1160 in the village of Locksley or Loxley, which is sometimes in Yorkshire and, at other times, in Nottinghamshire. So, Robin is often called Robin of Locksley. The earliest stories say he was a yeoman, a member of the rising middle class. In the medieval ballads, no explanation is given for why he was an outlaw. However, a well-known later tale has a bloody explanation for Robin's outlawry. A tall lad of 15, Robin went to Nottingham to attend a fair. He was stopped by 15 surly foresters who mocked Robin's youth and said Robin was too young to shoot a bow. Robin wagered 20 marks on his skill. Then, Robin shot and killed a hart that was over 550 yards away. The foresters refused to pay up and were going to beat up young Robin. But Robin managed to shoot and kill all fifteen of them. For this, he was outlawed. Some stories say Robin was outlawed when he rescued Much the Miller's Son from the sheriff's men. Much was hungry and had killed the king's deer. Under the harsh forest laws, the foresters were to chop off Much's hand or remove his eye. "Are there no exceptions?" Robin asked with an arrow trained on the sheriff's men-at-arms. Other stories say that Robin is the son of a forester. Or that he was Sir Robin of Locksley, a knight who returned from the Third Crusade to find his land stolen by the sheriff. And in some tales, he was the Earl of Huntingdon, a powerful land owner who loses his lands either by going into debt or by betrayal. As the earl, Robin's real name was sometimes said to be Robin Fitzooth, or the lord of Locksley Hall. Whatever the truth or fable really is, Robin Hood is a character who has captured the imagination over the centuries.

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Photographs of Nottinghamshire

Nottingham : Market Place [c.1924]

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Nottinghamshire Breweries

Hardy's Kimberley Brewery Limited : Home-Brewed Strong Beer Label

Hardy's Kimberley Brewery Ltd.

This Kimberley-based brewery merged with Hanson's in 1930 to form Hardy's and Hanson's, one of the largest breweries in Nottinghamshire. The company was acquired by Greene King in September 2006 and production of the Hardy's and Hanson's brands was switched to Bury St Edmunds. It was in 1832 that Samuel Robinson rented an old bakehouse in Cuckold Alley and established Kimberley's first commercial brewery. Fourteen years later Stephen Hanson acquired land in Brewery Street and built a rival brewery. Enjoying considerable growth in their business, the Hardy family bought land in Brewery Street in 1861 and erected a modern plant opposite Hanson's. Seven years later the firm acquired their first tied house - the Cricket Player's Arms, which was next to the brewery site. This marked the battle to establish a tied estate to promote further sales and expansion. It was in 1930 that, following secret negotiations, the two rival breweries merged. Apparently, it is not known who first proposed this business deal.

Hole's Newark Ales - The Sign of Good Beer

Home Brewery Bendigo Strong Ale Beer Label

Home Brewery Co. Ltd.

This company was founded in 1875 and was registered in 1890 to acquire the business of John Robinson. The famous brewery gates can still be found - well, they were the last time I went past. In July 1986 the business lost independent status when the family owners sold the company to Scottish and Newcastle, a mega-concern with little regard for local tradition. They immediately changed the styles of the beers produced at the Daybrook Brewery. Then they contracted out the production of Home Mild to the nearby Mansfield Brewery. It was the same old story - S&N got the tied estate of 447 public houses and closed the brewery.

Shipstone's Nut Brown Ale Beer Label

James Shipstone and Sons Ltd.

It is with great regret I have to declare that, being from the Black Country, I never did try the beers from this brewery. I say regret because whenever you mention "Shippo's" to anyone from the city of Nottingham they all say how much they enjoyed the ales. Sad therefore that the much missed large concern should fall victim to another takeover by Greenall Whitley who also robbed us Black Country folk of our beloved Simpkiss Brewery. The Star Brewery - which still stands today - operated in New Basford. The firm was founded by James Shipstone in 1852. Visible for miles around, the Red Star of the brewery became a very familiar landmark. Independent status was lost in 1978 when Greenall's of Warrington acquired the company. Just like other Greenhall takeovers, the Star Brewery came under threat from the very beginning. The Warrington firm closed the Wem Brewery in Shropshire, Davenport's in Birmingham and on August 31st 1990 the company announced that brewing would cease at Basford. Proof, if any were needed, that they were only really interested in the estate of 280 pubs. The Star Brewery finally closed in 1991.

Warwick's Home Brewed Ale Beer Label


A Halted Mail Coach by Henry Thomas Alken [The British Postal Museum and Archive]

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Related Newspaper Articles

"The two Nottinghamshire girl cyclists who were reported missing in Scotland on Monday night reported to the police on the Isle of Arran yesterday morning after reading of their "disappearance" in Scottish newspapers. The girls, Dorothy Gillian Duckett, of Glen Road, Burton Joyce, and Josephine Stonelake of Grange Road, Woodthorpe, both aged 18, are to join the Arnold District Girl Guides" Camp at Oban today. They left on the 25th July for a cycling tour before the camp and reached Kilmarnock via Sheffield and the Lake District. Dorothy had arranged with her father, Mr. John A. Duckett, to write him a postcard every other day. Her last one was received on Thursday. When Monday came and there was no further word he became concerned and contacted the Nottinghanishire police, who sent a description of the girls to the Scottish police. The girls reported to the C.I.D. on the Isle of Arran yesterday morning when they read in Scottish papers of their "disappearance." The explanation for the break in the mail is apparently that it is carried to the mainland by steamer, whose sailings are comparatively infrequent. Both girls left Brincliffe School, Nottingham. last term."
"Two Girl Cyclists Are Safe"
Nottingham Journal : August 10th 1949 Page 5

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