Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for NOTTINGHAMSHIRE or Notts

NOTTINGHAMSHIRE or Notts, a midland county; bounded, on the N W, by Yorkshire; on the N E and the E, by Lincolnshire; on the S E and the S, by Leicestershire; on the W, by Derbyshire. Its outline is irregularly ovoida1, 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 27 miles; its circuit is about 150 miles; and its area is 526,076 acres. The greater part of the surface belongs to the valley of the Trent; and much of this, particularly in the E and in the N E, is very low, and is drained as fenland. The rest of the surface is uneven and partly hilly, but nowhere rises to higher elevations than from400 to 600 feet. A tract of wold is in the S, extendingfrom Hickling westward to Gotham; and a tract of hill, comprising about one-fifth of the entire area and mainlyidentical with Sherwood forest, is in the W, extendingfrom Warsop southward to Nottingham. Much of thescenery, especially around Nottingham and throughout Sherwood forest, is very pleasing. The river Trentmakes a great figure; comes in, on the S W, at the influx of the Soar; runs 2¾ miles on the boundary with an indenting portion of Derbyshire; goes north-eastward across the county to the neighbourhood of Newark; proceeds thence northward along the border to North Clifton; continues northward, mainly along the boundary with Lincolnshire, past Dunham, Littleborough, and Gainsborough, to the end of Tindale bank; and, throughout all its connexion with the county, amounting toabout 60 miles, is a broad navigable stream. All the other streams of the county go directly or indirectly to the Trent; and the chief of them are the Soar, the Erewash, the Leen, the Dover, the Devon, and the Idle.

A belt along part of the E, the S E, and the S border, continuous with a tract in Lincolnshire and Leicestershire, consists of lias rocks, variously sand, upper liasclay, marlstone, and lower lias clay and lime; a broadbelt, continuous with a great tract in Leicestershire and Derbyshire, extending down all the valley of the Trentto a point below Gainsborough, and bounded on the Wby a line passing through Oxton and Ollerton, consists of old trias rocks, chiefly new red sandstone and keupermarl; a belt, beginning narrowly at Nottingham, and going northward with gradually increasing breadth to awide 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 N E. Red sandstone, white sandstone, magnesia 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; puddingstone, about Nottingham and in Sherwood-forest; and coarse paving stone, at Linley. Lime, for manure, is abundant; good clay also is plentiful; and ironstone is found. Coal is worked in23 collieries; is of similar quality to the coal of Newcastle, but not so good; and is obtained also for local use in the neighbouring parts of Derbyshire and Yorkshire.

About 500,000 acres are arable and meadow. The soil in the N and the E is a fertile sandy clay, giving nameto 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 N E corner is reclaimed marsh. The chief crops arewheat, barley, beans, a poor kind of oats, turnips, and grasses. Hops are grown about Ollerton, Tuxford, and East Retford. Grazing is chiefly followed, and much cheese is made. Farms run from 70 to 150 or 300 acres, and are mostly held at will. Farm-buildings, in general, are good. Cattle of the Herefordshire, short-horn, and Scotch breeds are fattened on the grass lands; and sheep of the Leicester and mixed breeds amount to about 300,000, and yield about 10,000 packs of wool. Goodmarket 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. Framework-knitting is carried on in all the towns and villages of the S, and has its centre in Nottingham. The manufacture of bobbin-net, fine laces, and thread also abounds in the S, and is very extensive in Nottingham. Silk and worsted mills, cotton mills, sail-cloth works, coarse earthenware pot-teries, brick-fields, large iron foundries, brass foundries, machine-works, paper-mills, chemical works, bleach-fields, malt-houses, breweries, and tanneries likewise are prominent.

The Great Northern railway goes north-north-westward, past Newark, Carlton, Tuxford, East Retford, and Bawtry; the Nottingham and Lincoln railway goes north-eastward, past Nottingham, Lowdham, Fiskerton, Newark, and South Collingham, toward Lincoln; the Nottingham and Grantham railway deflects from the preceding at Colwich, and goes eastward, past Ratcliffe, Bingham, and Whatton, toward Grantham; the Southwell railway deflects from the Nottingham and Lincoln at Fiskerton, goes northwestward to Southwell, and was in course of being prolonged in 1867 to Mansfield; the Nottingham and Mansfield railway joins the Nottingham and Lincoln in the W vicinity of Nottingham, goes northward to Mansfield, and was in course of being prolonged in 1867 to Worksop; a line in course of formation in 1867, deflects from the Nottingham and Mansfield at Rad ford, and goes northwestward toward a junction with the Midland at Ambergate; the Midland Counties line comes in from Leicester in the neighbourhood of Stanford, runs along the S W border to junctions at Long Eaton, is prolonged up the Erewash valley partly within Notts and partly within Derbyshire, and sends off a branch from the neighbourhood of Selston east-north-eastward into junctions with the Nottingham and Mansfield; the Manchester, Sheffield, and Lincolnshire railway goes curvingly through the north, past Worksop and East Retford, toward Gainsborough; a line deflects from the preceding 3½ miles E of East Retford, and goes southeastward, past North Leverton and Cottam, toward a junction with the Lincoln and Gainsborough; and two lines in course of formation in 1867 go across the N Ewing from Gainsborough, the one into junction with the Great Northern at Scrooby, the other toward Doncaster. The Trent, as already stated, is navigable through all its connexion with the county; the Soar also is navigable throughout its impact on the boundary; 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 northeastward, 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 roads, so long ago as1814, comprised 312 miles of paved streets and turnpikeroads, and 1, 330 miles of other highways used for wheeled carriages.

Notts contains 209 parishes, parts of 2 others, and 14 extra-parochial places; and is divided into the boroughs of Nottingham, Newark, and East Retford, and the hundreds of Bassetlaw, Bingham, Broxtow, Newark, Rushcliffe, and Thurgarton. The registration county gives off 12 parishes to Leicestershire, 6 to Lincolnshire, 5 to Derbyshire, and 2 to Yorkshire; takes in 2 parishes from Leicestershire, 26 parishes and 2 extra-parochial places from Lincolnshire, 14 parishes, part of another parish, and an extra-parochial place from Derbyshire, and 8 parishes from Yorkshire; comprises 599, 791 acres; and is divided into the districts of East Retford, Worksop, Mansfield, Basford, Radford, Nottingham, Southwell, Newark, and Bingham. The county-town is Nottingham; the towns with each more than 2,000 inhabitantsare Nottingham, Newark, East Retford, Mansfield, Worksop, and Southwell; and there are about 440 smaller towns, villages, and hamlets. The chief seats are Clumber Park, Worksop Manor, Welbeck Abbey, Thoresby Hall, Serlby Hall, Wollaton Hall, Gedling Lodge, Holme-Pierrepoint Hall, Kingston Hall, Norwood Park, Ranby Hall, Clifton Hall, Stoke Hall, Wallingwells, Berry Hill, Ossington Hall, Southwell Palace, Annesley Hall, Arnold Grove, Arno Hill, Arno Vale, Babworth Hall, Basford Hall, Beaconfield, Bellevue House, Bleasby Hall, Blyth Hall, Brackenhurst House, Bramcote Hall, Bramcote Lodge, Bulcote Hall, Bulwell Hall, Bunny Hall, Calverton Hall, Carlton Hall, Carlton House, Cocker House, Cockglode, Coddington House, Colston Hall, Cotgrave Place, Daybrook House, East-wood Hall, Eaton Hall, Edwinstowe Hall, Elston Hall, Elton Manor, Finningley Hall, Flintham Hall, Fountain Vale, Gateford Hill, Gedling House, Grove Hall, Hempshill Hall, Hesley Hall, Highfields, Hill House, Hodsock Park, Hodsock Priory, Kelham Hall, Kirklington Hall, Lamb Close House, Lambley House, Langford House, Langwith Lodge, Lenton Abbey, Lenton Fields, Lenton Firs, Lenton Grove, Lenton Hall, Lenton House, Mansfield-Woodhouse Priory, Mapperley Hall, Mirfield Hall, Nether-Holme House, Nettleworth Hall, New Hall, Newstead Abbey, Normanton Hall, North Muskham Grange, Nuthall Temple, Old Hall, Osberton Hall, Oxton Hall, Papplewick Hall, Park Hall, Ragnall Hall, Rampton Manor, Ramsdale House, Ranby House, Rocklaveston Manor, Ruddington Grange, Rufford Abbey, St. Ann's Manor, Scarthing-Moor House, Shelton Manor, Sherwood Hall, Sherwood Lodge, Sparken, Stanford Park, Stapleford Hall, Staunton Hall, Strelly Hall, Sutton Hall, Syerston Hall, Thorney Hall, Thoroton Hall, Thrumpton Hall, Thurgarton Priory, Upton Hall, Watnall-Cantelupe Hall, Wellow Hall, West Retford Hall, West Retford House, Whatton Manor, Widmerpool Hall, Winkburn Hall, Winthorpe Hall, and Woodborough Hall.

Notts is governed by a lord lieutenant and custos, a high sheriff, about 30 deputy lieutenants, and about 88 magistrates; and is in the N E military district, the Midland judicial circuit, and, excepting part of Ironville, in the diocese of Lincoln. The assizes are held at Nottingham, and quarter sessions, at Nottingham, Newark, and East Retford. The county-jail and a town-jail are at Nottingham, and a county-house of correction is at Southwell. The police force, in 1864, comprised 99 men for Nottingham, at a cost of £6, 708; 11 for Newark, at a cost of £731; and 134 for the rest of the county, at a cost of £9, 548. The crimes committed, in 1864, were204 in Nottingham, 10 in Newark, and 164 in the rest of the county; the persons apprehended were 76 in Nottingham, 9 in Newark, and 169 in the rest of the county; the depredators and suspected persons at large were 465 in Nottingham, 40 in Newark, and 1, 213 in the rest of the county; and the houses of bad character were 160 in Nottingham, 15 in Newark, and 107 in the rest of thecounty. Two members are sent to parliament by each of the three boroughs, Nottingham, Newark, and East Retford; and four are sent by the rest of the county, two for the N division of it and two for the S division. Mansfield is the place of election for the N division, Newark for the S division; and there are 10 polling-places. Electors of the N div., in 1833, 2, 889; in 1865, 4,065, of whom 3, 184 were freeholders, 372 were copy-holders, and 443 were occupying tenants. Electors of the S. div., in 1833, 3, 170; in 1865, 3, 427, of whom2, 215 were freeholders, 235 were copyholders, and 917were occupying tenants. The poor-rates for the registration county, in 1863, were £141, 758. Marriages in 1863, 2, 582, of which 431 were not according to the rites of the Established Church; births, 11, 505, of which1,051 were illegitimate; deaths, 7, 208, of which 3,099were at ages under 5 years, and 172 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 27,072; births, 109, 160; deaths, 69, 272. The places of worship within the electoral county, in 1851, were 248 of the Church of England, with 70, 928 sittings; 21 of Independents, with8, 707 s.; 14 of Particular Baptists, with 4, 885 s.; 14 of General Baptists, with 2, 370 s.; 23 of New Connexion General Baptists, with 5, 633 s.; 1 of Scotch Baptists, with 350 s.; 2 of Baptists undefined, with 370 s.; 3 of Quakers, with 1,090 s.; 2 of Unitarians, with 850 s.; 160 of Wesleyan Methodists, with 32,006 s.; 15 of New Connexion Methodists, with 5, 287 s.; 78 of Primitive Methodists, with 10, 470 s.; 8 of the Wesleyan Association, with 1, 742 s.; 8 of Wesleyan Reformers, with1, 760 s.; 4 of Independent Methodists, with 330 s.; 1 of the New Church, with 200 s.; 10 of isolated congregations, with 1, 210 s.; 1 of the Catholic and Apostolicchurch, with 400 s.; 11 of Latter Day Saints, with 1, 436s.; 5 of Roman Catholics, with 1, 668 s.; and 1 of Jews, with 50 s. The schools were 231 public day-schools, with 18, 286 scholars; 508 private day-schools, with12, 892 s.; 428 Sunday schools, with 43, 938 s.; and 34evening schools for adults, with 1,016 s. Real property, in 1815, £751, 626; in 1843, £1, 142,067; in 1860, £1, 425, 936, of which £1, 506 were in quarries, £26, 996in mines, £7,082 in canals, £26, 351 in railways, and £14, 293 in gas-works. Pop. in 1801, 140, 350; in 1821, 186, 873; in 1841, 249, 910; in 1861, 293, 867. Inhabited houses, 62, 519; uninhabited, 4, 515; building, 498. Pop. of the registration county, in 1851, 294, 374; in 1861, 323, 784. Inhabited houses, 68, 415; uninhabited, 4, 649; building, 528.

The territory now forming Notts was inhabited by theancient British Coritani; was included by the Romans in their Flavia Cæsariensis; formed part of the Saxon king-dom 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 attheir hand till the 11th century; and retains, in its topographical nomenclature, many traces of their speech. The greater part of it was given, by William the Conqueror, to his natural son, William Peverel. Importantevents occurred in it in the time of Stephen, in the civilwars of Charles I., and in the political excitements towards the end of last century; but these, together withevents of more local character, have already been 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 Work-sop. 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 Bridgeford, and Littleborough. Romansettlements were also at Broughton, Attenborough, Clarborough, Flawborough, Bilborough, Woodborough, Mulaleborough, Carburton, West Burton, Batford, Retford, Tuxford, Wilford, Gateford, Rad ford, Rufford, Salterford, Langford, Spalford, Shelford, Stapleford, and Stanford. The Fosse way comes in from Leicestershire at atumulus near Willoughby, and goes north-east by northward, past Owthorpe, Bingham, East Bridgeford, Syerston, East Stoke, Farndon, Newark, Winthorpe, and Brough. Ermine-street comes in from Lincolnshire on the S E, and goes north-westward, across the Fosse waynear East Stoke, and past Southwell, on to Yorkshire. Mediæval castles were at Nottingham, Newark, Blyth, and Cuckeney. Abbeys were at Beauvale, Rad ford, Newstead, and Welbeck; priories were at Mattersey, Thurgarton, Nottingham, Newark, and Worksop; and interesting old churches, or portions of them, are at Southwell, Blyth, Hawton, Worksop, and other places.

(John Marius Wilson, Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72))

Linked entities:
Feature Description: "a midland county"   (ADL Feature Type: "countries, 2nd order divisions")
Administrative units: Nottinghamshire AncC
Place: Nottinghamshire

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