Blidworth (St. Mary)
BLIDWORTH (St. Mary), a parish, in the union of Mansfield, Southwell division of the wapentake of Thurgarton, S. division of the county of Nottingham, 5 miles (S. S. E.) from Mansfield; containing, with the hamlets of Lower Blidworth, Bottoms, Fishpool, and Rainworth, and the extra-parochial places of Lindhurst and Haywood-Oaks, 1154 inhabitants. At the time of the Norman survey this formed a berewic to Oxton, and in the 3rd of Henry V. was given by that monarch to the college of Southwell. The parish comprises 5302a. 3r. 10p. The village is nearly in the centre of the ancient forest of Sherwood, in all the perambulations of which, from the reign of Henry I. to that of Charles II., it is mentioned as a forest town: it is pleasantly situated upon an eminence, surrounded by some of the finest scenery of the forest. The "Queen's Bower" and "Langton Arbour" are still pointed out as the sites of hunting-seats of King John; and "Fountain Dale" and "Rainworth" are both celebrated in the annals and ballads of Robin Hood. Rainworth gives name to the forest rivulet that rises near Robin Hood's hills. A portion of the population is employed as frame-work knitters of stockings, and in glove-making and running lace. A fair for sheep is held on Old Michaelmas-day. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £4, and was till lately in the alternate gift of the two prebendaries of Oxton, on the decease of one of whom, his right of patronage devolved to the Bishop of Ripon; net income, £188. The tithes were commuted for land and a money payment in 1769 and 1806; the glebe comprises 140 acres. The original church becoming dilapidated, the present edifice was erected in 1740, and re-roofed and enlarged in 1839 at an expense of above £1000. There is a place of worship for Wesleyans. In a field near the village is a rocky formation of sand and gravel, commonly called plum-pudding stone; it is fourteen feet high and eighty-four in circumference, and is supposed to have been a Druidical idol. At the inclosure in 1806, upwards of 1000 acres were planted, which are now in a very flourishing condition.