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Nottinghamshire, England

(Notts)

Historical Description

Nottinghamshire or Notts, a midland county, bounded on the NW by Yorkshire, on the NE and E by Lincolnshire, on the SE and the S by Leicestershire, and on the W by Derbyshire. Its outline is irregularly ovoidal, with the long axis extending from N to S. Its boundary with part of Lincolnshire is formed by the river Trent, with part of Leicestershire by the river Soar, with part of Derbyshire by the river Erewash, but in general is artificial. Its greatest length from N to S is 50 miles, its greatest breadth from E to W is about 27 miles, its circuit is about 150 miles, and its area is 539,792 acres. Population, 445,823. The greater part of the surface belongs to the valley of the Trent, and much of this, particularly in the E and in the NE, is very low and is drained as fen-land. The rest of the surface is uneven and partly hilly, but nowhere rises to higher elevations than from 400 to 600 feet. A tract of wold is in the S, extending from Hickling westward to Gotham; and a tract of hill, comprising about one-fifth of the entire area and mainly identical with Sherwood Forest, is in the W, extending from Warsop southward to Nottingham. Much of the scenery, especially around Nottingham and throughout Sherwood Forest, is very pleasing. The river Trent makes a great figure, enters the county on. the SW, at the influx of the Soar, runs 2 3/4 miles on the boundary with an indenting portion of Derbyshire, goes north-eastward across the county past Nottingham to Newark, proceeds thence northward along the border to North Clifton; continues northward, mainly along the boundary with Lincolnshire, past Dunham and Gainsborough, to the end of Tindale Bank, and throughout all its connection with the county, amounting to about 60 miles, is a broad navigable stream. The other streams of the county—the Erewash, the Soar, Leen, Dover, Greet, Dean, Smite, and the Idle, &c., go directly or indirectly to the Trent.

The soil in the N and the E is a fertile sandy clay, giving name to the N and S Clay divisions of Bassetlaw hundred; that near the rivers is a rich sandy or gravelly loam or mould, that of the W is mostly poor light sand, and that of the NE corner is reclaimed marsh. The chief crops are wheat, barley, beans, a poor kind of oats, turnips, and grasses. Grazing is chiefly followed, and much cheese is made. Cattle of the Herefordshire, shorthorn, and Scotch breeds are fattened on the grass lands, and sheep of the Leicester and mixed breeds yield large quantities of wool. Good market gardens are in the neighbourhood of Nottingham and Newark. Forests anciently covered great part of the county, that of Sherwood alone was of large extent, and some slight remains, including grand specimens of very old oaks, still exist.

A belt along part of the E, the SE, and the S border, continuous with a tract in Lincolnshire and Leicestershire, consists of lias rocks, variously sand, upper lias clay, marl-stone, and lower lias clay and lime; a broad belt, continuous with a great tract in Leicestershire and Derbyshire, extending down all the valley of the Trent to a point below Gainsborough, and bounded on the W by a line passing through Oxton and Ollerton, consists of old trias rocks, chiefly new red sandstone and keuper marl; a belt, beginning narrowly at Nottingham and going northward with gradually increasing breadth to a wide expanse at the boundary with Yorkshire, consists of new trias rocks, chiefly Bunter sandstone; a comparatively narrow belt along the W side of the preceding consists of magnesian limestone; and another comparatively narrow belt sweeping westward from Nottingham, going northward along the W border, and continuous with a considerable tract in Derbyshire and Yorkshire, consists of the coal measures. Gypsum, for manure, for plastering, for flooring, and for making artificial stone, is worked in the NE. Red sandstone, white sandstone, magnesian limestone, and an excellent moulding sand are worked near Mansfield. Blue freestone is worked at Maplebeck, Staunton, and Beacon Hill; good building freestone at Bulwell; pudding-stone about Nottingham and in Sherwood Forest; and coarse paving-stone at Linley. Lime for manure is abundant, good clay also is plentiful, ironstone is found, and coal is worked.

Framework-knitting is carried on in all the towns and villages of the S, and has its centre in Nottingham. The manufacture of stockings, bobbinet, fine laces, and thread also abounds in the S, and is carried on very extensively in Nottingham. There are also silk and worsted mills, cotton mills, sail-cloth works, coarse earthenware potteries, brickfields, large iron-foundries, brass foundries, machine-works, paper-mills, chemical works, bleach-fields, malt-houses, breweries, and tanneries.

According to the census returns issued in 1893, the chief occupations of the people of the county were:—Professional, 5861 males and 4689 females; domestic, 1335 males and 22,199 females; commercial, 15,752 males and 683 females; agricultural, 20,889 males and 530 females; fishing, 13 males; industrial, 110,173 males and 42,296 females; and "unoccupied," including retired business men, pensioners, those living on their own means, and others not specified, 28,095 males and 124,882 females; or a total in the county of 182,118 males and 195,279 females. The number of men employed in the leading industries was as follows:—Coal miners, 29,820; agricultural labourers, 12,028; lace workers, 9969; and hosiery workers, 7222. The chief occupations of women were:—Domestic service, with a total of 18,343 ; millinery and dressmaking, 7081; lace manufacturing, 14,143; and hosiery manufacturing, 8155. There were also in the county 390 blind persons, 212 deaf, 200 deaf and dumb, and 1474 mentally deranged.

The county is well supplied with railways. The Midland and Great Northern lines provide Nottingham with communications in all directions, and the M.S. & L.R. Extension to London is planned to pass through Nottingham, traversing the south-western part of the county from north to south. The main line of the G.N.R. traverses the north-eastern part of the county, passing through Newark and Retford, while the main north line of the Midland traverses or skirts the southwestern portion of the county. The M.S. & L.R. crosses the northern end of the county, passing by Worksop and Retford, and the L.D. & E.C.R. is planned to cross the centre of the county from west to east at Ollerton. The Trent, as already stated, is navigable through all its connection with the county; the Soar also is navigable; the Idle is navigable from the Trent to Bawtry; the navigable Fossdyke touches the E border on its way to the Trent; the Nottingham and the Erewash canals join the Trent navigation on the W; the Grantham Canal goes from Nottingham windingly southeastward into Leicestershire, proceeds there north-eastward, near the boundary with Notts, and then takes an easterly direction toward Grantham; and the Chesterfield Canal goes across the N, past Worksop, East Retford, Clayworth, and Gringley, to the Trent at West Stockwith.

The administrative county comprises 259 civil parishes besides nine contained in the county borough of Nottingham; there are also four parishes situated partly in the county and partly in the county borough, and three others which are partly in other administrative counties. The ancient county is situated partly in the diocese of Southwell and partly in that of York, and contains 220 entire ecclesiastical parishes and districts, and parts of six others. There are three municipal boroughs, viz., East Retford, Mansfield, and Newark. The administrative county has one court of quarter sessions, and is divided into seven petty sessional divisions. The boroughs of East Retford, Newark, and Nottingham have separate commissions of the peace, and the latter two have also separate courts of quarter sessions. The ancient county is divided for parliamentary purposes into four divisions, viz., Bassetlaw, Newark, Rushclifie, and Mansfield. The acreage and population are as follows:—Bassetlaw, 205,389 acres (population, 51,572); Newark, 183,963 (50,035); Rushcliffe, 89,128 (64,603); Mansfield, 50,337 (65,736). There is also the parliamentary borough of Nottingham, which is divided into three divisions, each returning one member. The boroughs of Newark and East Retford were disfranchised under the provisions of the Redistribution of Seats Act of 1885.

Notts is governed by a lord-lieutenant and custos, a, high sheriff, and a county council consisting of 17 aldermen and 51 councillors, and is in the north-eastern military district and the Midland judicial circuit. The assizes are held at Nottingham, and quarter sessions at Nottingham and Newark. H.M. prison is at Nottingham. The county comprises parts of the dioceses of Southwell and York.

The territory now forming Notts was inhabited by the ancient British Coritani; was included by the Romans in their Flavia Cæsariensis; formed part of the Saxon kingdom of Mercia; passed into the possession of the Danes; was rescued from them by Alfred; passed again into their possession, and continued in it till 942; was then rescued from them by Edmund; suffered subsequent injuries at their hand till the 11th century; and retains evidences of their occupation in its topographical nomenclature. The greater part of it was given by William the Conqueror to his natural son, William Peverel. Important events occurred in it in the time of Stephen, in the Civil Wars of Charles I., and in the political excitements toward the end of the 18th century; but these are sufficiently indicated in our articles on Nottingham and Newark. Ancient British camps or earthworks are at Barton, Oxton, and Worksop. Supposed Druidical remains are at Blidworth, near Wollaston, and near Worksop. Roman camps are at Holly Hill, Hexgrave, and near Mansfield. Traces of a Roman villa also are near Mansfield. Roman stations were at Southwell, Brough, Newark, East Bridgford, and Littleborough. Roman settlements were also at Broughton, Attenborough, Clarborough, Flawborough, Bilborough, Woodborough, Mulaleborough, Carburton, West Burton, Batford, Retford, Tuxford, Wilford, Gateford, Radford, Rufford, Salterford, Langford, Spalford, Shelford, Stapleford, and Stanford. The Fosse Way comes in from Leicestershire at a tumulus near Willoughby, and goes north-east by northward, past Owthorpe, Bingham, East Bridgford, Syerston, East Stoke, Farndon, Newark, Winthorpe, and Brough. Ermine Street comes in from Lincolnshire on the SE, and goes north-westward, across the Fosse Way near East Stoke, and past Southwell, on to Yorkshire, Mediæval castles were at Nottingham, Newark, Blyth, and Cuckeney—the two former were dismantled during the Civil War. Abbeys were at Beauvale, Radford, Newstead, and Welbeck; priories were at Mattersley, Thurgarton, Nottingham, Newark, and Worksop ; and interesting old churches, or portions of them, are at Southwell, Blyth, Hawton, Worksop, and other places.


Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5

Archives and Libraries

Nottinghamshire Archives and Southwell & Nottingham Diocesan Record Office
County House
Castle Meadow Road
Nottingham
NG2 1AG
tel: 08449 80 80 80 general enquiries
tel: 0115 958 1634 archive enquiries
tel: 0115 950 4524 administrative enquiries
fax: 0115 941 3997
e-mail: archives@nottscc.gov.uk


Civil Registration

For general information about Civil Registration (births, marriages and deaths) see the Civil Registration page.

List of Registration Districts in Nottinghamshire from 1837 to 1974.


Directories & Gazetteers

The Historical Directories web site have a number of directories relating to Nottinghamshire online, including:
Kelly's, Pigot, Slater, etc.

We have transcribed the entry for Nottinghamshire from the following:


Land and Property

The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Nottinghamshire is available to browse.


Maps

Old map of Nottinghamshire circa 1895 (Gazetteer of England and Wales)

Old map of Nottinghamshire circa 1848 (Samuel Lewis)


Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following Nottinghamshire newspapers online:


Parishes & places

Adbolton
Alverton
Annesley
Apesthorpe
Arnold
Askham
Aslacton or Aslockton
Attenborough
Auckley or Awkley
Averham
Awsworth
Babworth
Bagthorpe
Balderton
Barnby in the Willows
Barnby Moor
Barnstone
Barton in Fabis
Basford
Bassetlaw
Bassingfield
Bathley
Beckingham
Beesthorpe
Beeston
Besthorpe
Bestwood Park
Bevercoates
Bilborough
Bilby
Bilsthorpe
Bingham
Blaco Hill
Bleasby
Blidworth
Blyth
Bobbersmill
Bole
Bollam
Bonbusk
Bothamsall
Boughton
Bradmore
Bramcote
Brewhouse Yard
Brinsley
Broadholme
Broughton Sulney or Upper Broughton
Broxtow
Budby
Bulcote
Bulwell
Bunny
Burton Joyce
Calverton
Car Colston
Carburton
Carlton in Lindrick
Carlton on Trent
Carlton or Carlton in the Willows
Carlton, Little or South
Carlton-on-Trent
Caunton
Caythorpe
Chilwell
Cinder Hill
Clareborough or Clarborough
Clayworth
Clifton with Glapton
Clipston on the Wolds
Clipstone
Clumber Park
Coates
Coddington
Colston Bassett
Colwick
Cossall
Costock or Cortlingstock
Cotgrave
Cotham
Cottam
Cromwell
Cropwell Bishop
Cropwell Butler
Cuckney
Darlton
Daybrook
Deanthorpe
Drakeholes
Dunham
Eakring
East Bridgford
East Drayton
East Leake
East Markham
East Retford
East Stoke
Easthorpe
Eastwood
Eaton
Edingley
Edwalton or Edwalstone
Edwinstowe
Egmanton
Elksley
Elston
Elton
Epperstone
Everton
Farndon
Farnsfield
Felley
Fenton
Finningley
Fishpool
Fiskerton cum Morton
Flawborough
Fledborough
Fleet River
Flintham
Fulwood
Gamston (Retford)
Gamston (West Bridgford)
Garbythorpe
Gateford
Gedling
Gibsmere
Girton
Gleadthorpe Grange
Goldthorpe
Gonalston
Gotham
Goverton
Granby
Grassthorpe
Greasley
Gringley on the Hill
Gringley, Little
Grove
Gunthorpe
Haggonfield
Halam
Halloughton
Harby
Harwell
Harworth
Hatfield
Haughton
Hawksworth
Hawton
Hayton
Haywood Oaks
Headon cum Upton
Hesley
Hexgreave
Hickling
Hockerton
Hodsock
Holbeck
Holbeck Woodhouse
Holme
Holme Lane
Holme Pierrepont
Hoveringham
Hucknall
Hucknall Torkard
Hyson Green
Kelham
Kersall
Keyworth
Kilton
Kilvington
Kimberley
Kingston upon Soar
Kinoulton
Kirkby Folly
Kirkby in Ashfield
Kirklington
Kirkton or Kirton
Knapthorpe
Kneesall
Kneeton or Kneveton
Lambley
Langar
Langford
Langwith
Laxton or Lexington
Leverton
Linby
Littleborough
Lodge on the Wolds
Lound
Low Lowdham
Mansfield
Mansfield Woodhouse
Manton
Maplebeck
Mapperley
Markham Moor
Marnham
Martin
Mattersey
Meering
Milton
Misson
Misterton
Moor Green
Moorgate
Moorhouse
Morton Grange, Great, and Little Morton
Nether Langwith
Nettleworth
Newark
Newington
Newstead
Newthorpe
Newton
Normanton
Normanton on the Wolds
Normanton on Trent
Normanton upon Soar
Norney or Blyth Nomey
North Clifton
North Collingham
North Leverton with Habblesthorpe
North Muskham
North Wheatley
Norton
Norwell
Norwell Woodhouse
Norwood Park
Notown
Nottingham
Nottingham and Grantham Railway
Nottingham Canal
Nuthall or Nuttall
Oldcoats
Ollerton
Ompton or Almpton
Ordsall
Orston
Osberton
Osmondthorpe
Ossington
Owthorpe
Oxton
Papplewick
Park Leys
Peartree Hill
Pennimont or Penniment
Perlethorpe
Pleasley Hill
Plumtree
Plumtree (Haworth)
Pye Bridge
Radford
Radmanthwaite
Ragnall
Rainworth
Rampton
Ranby
Ranskill
Ratcliffe
Ratcliffe on Soar
Rayton
Rempstone
Rockley
Rolleston
Ruddington
Rufford
Rushcliffe
Ryton
Salterford
Saundby
Saxondale
Scaftworth
Scarrington
Scofton
Screveton
Scrooby
Selston
Serlby
Shelford
Shelton
Sherwood
Sherwood Forest
Shireoaks
Sibthorpe
Skegby
Skegby (Marnham)
Sloswick
Sneinton
Sookholme
South Clifton
South Collingham
South Leverton
South Muskham
South Scarle
South Wheatley
Southwell
Spalford
Standard Hill
Stanford upon Soar
Stanton Hill
Stanton on the Wolds
Stapleford
Staunton
Staythorpe
Stoke Bardolph
Stokeham
Stragglethorpe
Strelley
Stuffynwood
Sturton or Sturton le Steeple
Styrrup
Sutton
Sutton (Granby)
Sutton Bonnington
Sutton in Ashfield
Sutton on Trent
Syerston
Teversall
The Devon
The Idle
The Leen
The Maun
The Meden
Thorney
Thoroton
Thorpe
Thorpe (Mattersey)
Thorpe in the Glebe or Thorpe Bochart
Thrumpton
Thrumpton (Ordsall)
Thurgarton
Tollerton
Torworth
Toton
Treswell
Trowell
Tuxford
Tyln
Tythby
Underwood
Upton
Upton (Headon)
Walesby
Walham
Walkeringham
Wandesley
Warsop
Watnall Cantelupe and Watnall Chaworth
Welbeck
Welham
Wellow
West Bridgford
West Burton
West Drayton
West Leake
West Markham
West Retford
West Stockwith
Westhorpe
Weston
Whatton
White Moor Place
Widmerpool
Wigsley
Wilford
Willoughby (Norwell)
Willoughby (Walesby)
Willoughby on the Wolds
Winkburn
Winthorpe
Wiverton Hall
Wollaton
Woodborough
Woodcotes
Woodhouse Hall
Woodsetts
Worksop
Wyeston or Wiseton
Wysall
Zouch Mill

Population

The population of Nottinghamshire in 1801 was 140,350; in 1811, 162,964; in 1821, 186,873; in 1831, 325,327; in 1841, 249,910; in 1851, 270,427; in 1861, 293,867; in 1871, 319,758; in 1881, 391,815; in 1891, 445,823, and in 1901, 514,459, viz., males, 248,098, and females, 266,361.


Visitations Heraldic

The Visitation of Nottinghamshire 1569 & 1614 is available on the Heraldry page.

Map of Nottinghamshire