Mansfield-Woodhouse (St. Edmund)

MANSFIELD-WOODHOUSE (St. Edmund), a parish, in the union of Mansfield, N. division of the wapentake of Broxtow and of the county of Nottingham, 1¾ mile (N.) from Mansfield; containing 1871 inhabitants. This place, which anciently formed part of the parish of Mansfield, has undergone much improvement, and several hundred acres of barren waste have been converted into rich meadow land, by a judicious system of irrigation adopted by the Duke of Portland, who caused a canal to be cut through this parish and Clipstone, communicating with the river Maun. About 1300 acres here, with some land in Mansfield, constitute the only uninclosed portion of the ancient Forest of Sherwood. The substratum abounds with limestone of good quality, and there are extensive lime-kilns, and quarries of excellent freestone. The stone from the quarries of this vicinity has of late years obtained very great celebrity, and is of three varieties, the Woodhouse or Bolsover stone, and the Mansfield red, and Mansfield white, stone. The first, a most durable magnesian limestone, was chosen for the erection of the new houses of parliament at Westminster, for which purpose quarries were opened here by Mr. Lindley, the proprietor, on a hill bearing evident marks of having been quarried at a very remote period, and from which the stone used in the older portions of Southwell cathedral was extracted. It had long been matter of conjecture whence the material came of which that edifice was built, few structures of as early a date having their mouldings and finer carvings so well preserved; but from strict comparison of the stone of the cathedral with the beds in these quarries, no doubt now exists of the stone having been obtained from this place. On a part of the same range of limestone rock, is quarried a material which may be classed among British marbles, but its great solidity increases the difficulty of raising it, and prevents its being applied to ordinary building purposes. It possesses the transparency, and is susceptible of the polish, of foreign marble, with a slight tinge of colour sufficient to distinguish it from white. Of this marble, the memorial erected at Oxford to the Martyrs is composed.

The village is large, and contains several very respectable houses; many of the inhabitants are employed in frame-work knitting. The living is a perpetual curacy; net income, £94; patron and impropriator, the Duke of Portland. The church is a large structure, with a spire, which was rebuilt in 1304, with one of the aisles, after having been injured by a fire, which also destroyed part of the village. There are places of worship for Independents and Wesleyans. A free school was founded by Faith Clerkson, in 1725, and endowed with land; Richard Radford, by deed dated May 10th, 1827, gave £800 for another school. In 1786, Major Rooke discovered two Roman villæ in the parish: one of them contained nine rooms and a hypocaust, with part of a very elegant mosaic pavement in the centre room; the other contained thirteen rooms, two hypocausts, and a cold bath. About 100 yards to the south-east were two Roman sepulchres, in one of which was an urn containing ashes, with fragments of bones lying near it; and coins and various other Roman relics were also found. Dr. Mason, Bishop of Sodor and Man, was born in the parish.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, 7th edition, published in 1848.

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