29 December 2009

New publication on life in Newark during the English Civil War

Dr Stuart Jennings, an academic from Warwick University, has used previously unpublished records from Nottinghamshire Archives to write a book about life in Newark-on-Trent during the English Civil War. The book, 'These Uncertain Tymes' - Newark and the civilian experience of the Civil Wars, 1640-1660, describes the many problems and hardships faced by the inhabitants of the town during the three sieges of the town. A full review has been published on the Thoroton Society website:

The publication can be obtained from Nottinghamshire County Council Libraries:

28 November 2009

D H Lawrence centre in Eastwood gets a reprieve

Durban House, the D H Lawrence centre in Eastwood, was threatened with closure as Broxtowe Borough Council tries to plug a £1.4 million hole in its budget. However, the council has decided to close it on Saturdays and Mondays which will save £40,000.

7 November 2009

D H Lawrence on BBC1's One Show, 9 November

The 'A Place in a Book' feature on the next edition of BBC One's The One Show will focus on D H Lawrence's controversial novel, Lady Chatterley's Lover. Presenter Giles Brandreth will visit places associated with the novel in the author, including High Park wood at Moorgreen and the D H Lawrence Birthplace Museum on Victoria Street, Eastwood.

The One Show is broadcast on BBC1 at 7pm, 9 November 2009.

29 October 2009

Creswell Crags: Art & Photography Exhibition

Creswell Crags starts the search for the next big thing in the creative industry
Deadline for entries 15th November

For the next exhibition to be held in our dynamic temporary gallery space, we want to showcase local creative talent. Are you an artist or photographer? Be inspired by the stunning scenery of Creswell Crags to produce your own piece of art. We will choose five entrants from each age range to be displayed in the new exhibition. One over-all winner will be chosen by art professionals to have their entry made into a postcard which will be sold in Creswell Crags gift shop to commemorate the opening of our new visitor centre.

Use any medium, colour or black and white, to create a unique piece of art. For full details of entry requirements, please contact us at the centre:

Please find attached competition entry form which includes the rules for entry:

26 September 2009

"The Trent Valley: Advancing the Research Strategy" - Third Trent Valley GeoArchaeology Conference 2009

A one-day conference exploring the results of recent research into the landscape and archaeology of the Trent Valley is being held on 18th November 2009 at the British Geological Survey in Keyworth.

Further information at http://www.tvg.bham.ac.uk/conference.htm.

22 September 2009

Roman well found near Bingham

A stone-lined Roman well has been uncovered near Bingham by archaeologists working on the dualling of the A46. Further details are available on the Nottingham Evening Post website:


16 September 2009

Strongholds and mansions: castles in Nottinghamshire

The Nottinghamshire Local History Association is holding an event on Nottinghamshire castles on 24th October 2009 at the village hall in Oxton. The programme include:

  • The castle in the landscape (David Mercer)
  • Castles of Nottinghamshire: a thematic approach to recent fieldwork (James Wright)
  • Seen and unseen: landscape narratives and fresh perspectives on Laxton castle (Keith Challis)
  • Nottingham Castle: 'Noble Pallace of the Duke of Newcastle' (Trevor Foulds)

Contact: Mrs M Woodhead, 12 Church Street, Edwinstowe, Mansfield, Notts NG21 9QA.

The Nottinghamshire Historian, Autumn/Winter 2009

The latest edition of The Nottinghamshire Historian has just popped through my letterbox. Articles include:

  • A new map of Sherwood Forest
  • Did a Keyworth man meet Napoleon?
  • The Somme, Nottingham and the local press
  • Diary of events

Further details on the Local Historian website:

15 September 2009

Lunchtime talks at Nottinghamshire Archives

Details of forthcoming lunchtime talks, promoting the 60th anniversary of the opening of Nottinghamshire Archives, have been published on the County Council website:
Subjects include:
  • Rufford Abbey and the Savile family (14 October 2009)
  • Researching parish church histories in the Nottinghamshire Archives (28 October 2009)
  • The workhouse and its records (11 November 2009)
  • Discovering Nottingham's architectural heritage (25 November 2009)
Talks start at 1pm and cost £3.50 per person.

14 September 2009

Worksop Heritage Trail launched

A fantastic new online resource for anyone interested in Worksop's history was officially launced by Sir Andrew Buchanan on Saturday. The website contains a series of illustrated essays on aspects of the town's history and also essays on the Dukery estates (Clumber, Thoresby, Worksop Manor, Welbeck and Rufford abbey). You can also view over 2000 photographs from Bassetlaw Museum's collections.

The project also includes the publication of a 20-page guide book and the setting-up of five interpretation boards at strategic points around the town.

Heritage and Conservation News, Summer 2009

I've only just stumbled across the latest edition of the County Council Community Department's Heritage and Conservation News. Contents include:
  • Southwell Roman villa
  • Worksop Heritage Trail
  • Jacksdale war memorial and community archaeology
  • Medieval Sherwood Forest map
  • Mansfield Woodhouse ‘Little Big Dig’
  • Heritage events over the Summer

Download from: www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/heritagenews.pdf

13 September 2009

Open day at Beauvale Priory

Just returned from a fascinating afternoon wandering around the ruins of the Carthusian priory of Beauvale, a couple of miles north-east of Eastwood. The site was made accessible as part of the Heritage Open Days initiative. The current owners have restored the farmhouse (which has lost its render revealing timber framing with brick in-filling) and at long last a start has been made on conserving the priory thanks to funding from English Heritage (see http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/server/show/nav.21048 for further information).

The priory was founded in the 1343 by local lord, Nicholas de Cantilupe. The Carthusians were the strictest of any of the religious orders and each monk lived in his own separate dwelling, and none of them were allowed to go out of the bounds of the monastery except the priors and proctors, and they only to attend to the necessary affairs of the house. They were enjoined to study, and to work with their hands, their labour consisting in cultivating the fields and gardens, and in transcribing books.

22 August 2009

DH Lawrence Festival, 27th August - 30 September 2009

The 6th Annual D.H. Lawrence Festival opens next week in Eastwood.

It promises the "fullest and most diverse programme to date, with something for everyone". Highlights include:
  • "Eastwood: the way we lived" - an exhibition at Durban House of historic photographs of Lawrence's hometown of Eastwood

  • Outdoor concert at Collier's Wood featuring the Pye Hill Male Voice Choir

  • Screening of the classic 1949 film of Lawrence's short story, "The Rocking Horse Winner"

  • Outdoor sketching and painting workshops

  • Lectures and talks on aspects of Lawrence's work and related subjects

  • Talk on Beauvale Priory

  • Guided walks around the area
The programme can be downloaded from the Broxtowe Borough Council website:

29 July 2009

Keep it Local audio tour of Newstead Abbey

The CHAD newspaper has launched the first in their 'Keep it local' audio tours and it's a guided tour of Newstead Abbey by Stephen Thirkill.

Listen to it on the CHAD website:


Nottingham Castle: 'Walk with Me' binaural audio tour

Artist Lucy Stevens has produced a 'surround sound' audio tour of Nottingham Castle. The walk "encompasses the history of the castle [and she has] selected dates and events from 1212 to the present day." The tour is available to listen to on the Walk with Me blog:


27 July 2009

In the footsteps of Lord Byron

The actor Rupert Everett is presenting a two-part documentary on the travels of Lord Byron. The first episode is tonight (27 July) at 9pm.

The Channel 4 website describes Lord Byron as a "sex explorer, celebrity, and the original 'mad, bad and dangerous to know' hero of the Romantic movement" so it should arouse some interest!

Further information is available here:

26 July 2009

New publication: Nottinghamshire coal mines remembered

AD Newspapers has recently published "Coal mines remembered", subtitled "a special souvenir picture book of local coal mines with 20 pages devoted to the Hucknall collieries story." The book is full of fascinating stories from the coal industry and is richly illustrated with photographs. The book concentrates on Nottinghamshire collieries but also includes a small number from Derbyshire and Leicestershire.
It is priced at £12.99 and can be bought from newsagents around Hucknall, Selston and Eastwood.
AD Newspapers can be contacted at PO Box 7196, Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Nottingham NG17 9AA.

19 July 2009

New Southwell heritage trail

Nottinghamshire County Council have published a new leaflet, 'Bramley Apple Heritage Walk', in honour of the 200th anniversary of the world-famous Bramley Apple. Download a PDF version of this leaflet and the other Southwell Heritage Trails here:


Evening lectures at Cresswell Crags

Saturday 25th July 2009: 'An evening with Dr Paul Bahn'
Archaeologist and writer Dr Paul Bahn will be giving an evening lecture on Britain's only Ice Age Rock Art, discovered at Creswell Crags in 2003.

Sunday 26th July 2009: 'Are you an archaeologist?'
Dr Patrick Clay, Director of University of Leicester Archaeology Services, talks about working in a professional archaoelogical unit.

Both lectures start at 7.30 and tickets cost £4 (£3 concessions)


8 July 2009

New archive resource: Ancient Petitions (Henry III - James I)

The July edition of BBC History Magazine includes a useful article on a rich archival resource recently made available online by National Archives. Ancient Petitions (covering the reigns of Henry III to James I) were "addressed to the king, to the king and council, to the king and council in parliament, to the chancellor, and to certain other officers of state. The petitions include detailed information about the circumstances of the parties involved, and the conditions of the locality." There are two categories of petitions: one set ask for the redress of grievances which could not be resolved at common law; the others are straightforward requests for a grant of favour.

All 17,000 petitions have been catalogued and scanned so you can search for places and people of interest and download a PDF version of the originals for free! Approximately 450 petitions relate to Nottinghamshire. Quite a number are complaints about violence: for example, in 1319 Walter de Toutheby claimed that John, son of William de Gaitford, attacked him and his men near Worksop, and beat and wounded his men even after they surrendered to him, so that some of them will never recover. Medieval Nottinghamshire was clearly a very violent place!


6 July 2009

Laxton. Farming in an open field village exhibition

A fascinating exhibition on the open field village of Laxton is running at the Weston Pavilion at Nottingham University until 16 August. The exhibition draws on the Manvers collection of estate records along with manorial records from the Tallents archives.

There has been a series of lectures on aspects of the village. The next one, on Wednesday, 15 July, is by Professor John Beckett and is entitled "Why has Laxton survived?"

Further information (including PDFs of the display boards, slides from the earlier lectures and a video podcast) available on the university website:

28 June 2009

The Festival of British Archaeology 2009 in Nottinghamshire

The Festival of British Archaeology (formerly National Archaeology Week) is coordinated by the Council for British Archaeology (CBA) and aims to give everyone the opportunity to learn about their local heritage, to see archaeology in action, and to get involved.

There are a number of events on in Nottinghamshire. Look at the downloadeable guide to events in East Midlands, pages 50-53:

Heritage at Risk Register 2009

English Heritage have just published this year's Heritage at Risk Register. There are 41 buildings, monuments and archaeological sites in Nottinghamshire listed on the register, ranging from the impressive 19th century Bennerley Viaduct over the Erewash valley to the remains of the Roman fort at Scaftworth near Bawtry.

Other sites on the register include:

  • Beauvale Priory

  • Roman towns at East Bridgford and Thorpe near Newark

  • Roman forts at Osmunthorpe and Farnsfield

  • Ollerton Hall

  • Early C16 gatehouse and bridge at Hodsock Priory

  • Medieval ruined chapel of St James at Haughton

  • Early 19th century tower windmill at North Leverton

The full list is available here:


3 June 2009

Church Open Day, 13 June: St. Mary's, Greasley

St. Mary's church at Greasley (near Eastwood) is having an open day on Saturday, 13th June from 10am to 4pm. The church has a fine 15th century tower and featured in D H Lawrence's works as 'Minton church'. The day will include:
  • Tower trips
  • Churchyard tours
  • Local history exhibitions
  • Registers of births, marriages and deaths open for inspection
  • Cream teas, ploughman's lunches, craft stalls and children's activities

21 May 2009

Booklets on Norwell parish heritage launched

The Norwell Parish Heritage Group have recently produced booklets on aspects of the village's history:
  • Norwell Buildings
  • Norwell Trades and
  • Norwell Mills.

Two further booklets on Norwell Schools and Norwell Farms, will follow later this year.


14 May 2009

New publications on Retford and Worksop

I've just received a couple of interesting new publications, ordered from Bookworm in Retford.

Fading Memories of Old and New Retford by Ron Beare contains a splendid collection of colour and black and white photographs of Retford from the 1920s to the present. The book is a fine companion to Ron's previous collection of Retford images, Retford Old and New. The atmospheric photographs capture perfectly the Retford I remember from the 1970s.
A Worksop miscellany edited by M. J. Jackson is published by the Worksop & District Archaeological & Local Historical Society and includes interesting articles on a wide range of historical subjects (from the excavation of an Iron Age/Romano-British site at Scratta Wood to the story of Ned and Flo, two homeless characters who roamed the streets of Worksop).

2 May 2009

Thoroton Society Transactions for 2008 just published

The Transactions of the Thoroton Society for 2008 has just been published. Contents include:
  • The Romano-British Landscape of the Sherwood Sandstone of Nottinghamshire: Fieldwalking the Brickwork-plan Field-systems

  • A Medieval Cesspit and its Contents: Drury Hill, Nottingham 1971

  • A Pair of Merels Boards on a Stone Block from Church Hole Cave, Creswell Crags, Nottinghamshire, England

  • Jordan Castle and the Foliot Family of Grimston, 1225-1330

  • The Nottinghamshire History Lecture 2008. Food and Drink in Nottinghamshire Households, c. 1540-1640

  • The Southwell Set: Prebendaries of Southwell Collegiate Church in 'the Long Eighteenth Century', c. 1660-1840

  • Mapperley Hospital and George Thomas Hine (1841-1916), Consulting Architect to the Commissioners in Lunacy

  • Industrial Welfare, Recreation and Retailing at Boots Pure Drug Company, 1883-1945 by Simon PhillipsArchaeology in Nottinghamshire, 2008

Further information and details on ordering Thoroton Society publications available here: http://www.thorotonsociety.org.uk/publications/tts/trans112.htm

17 April 2009

Concerns over Nottingham's heritage

The BBC Nottingham website reports that Ian Wheeler of the Nottingham Civic Society is worried about threats to Nottingham's heritage on the day that the Lace Centre near the castle closed for good. The Lace Centre was based in the medieval Severns building that was moved from its original position on Middle Gate in the late 1960s when the Broadmarsh centre was being built. It is now empty and the City Council have no immediate plans for it.

Ian said "It is very worrying. There have been other threats, the Industrial Museum is another worrying one."

BBC Nottingham article: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/nottinghamshire/8001520.stm

18 March 2009

Archaeologists in Jacksdale

Archaeologists from Nottinghamshire County Council undertook and excavation of Jacksdale's industrial past in appalling weather conditions at the end of last month. The project aimed to research and record the industrial archaeology of Jacksdale's wharf and uncovered the remains of Stone Row, built in the early 19th century and demolished in 1968, a canal basin and tramway.

See the Nottinghamshire County Council press release: http://www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/home/newshome/newsarticle.htm?id=114102&Environment=t;

New history of Awsworth published

Local historian, Bryan Maloney, has just published a history of Awsworth after spending over nine years working on it. Bryan's book covers churches, schools, the coal industry, transport, the magnificant Bennerley Viaduct (which runs over the Erewash valley), 17th century glass making, engineering and iron making, and politics.

The book costs £8 and can be bought direct from the author: 07943 165189.

3 March 2009

Museums threatened with closure

The dire financial situation looks like it is about to hit the county's heritage as the Nottingham Evening Post reports that a number of museums are threatened with closure.

Broxtowe Borough Council is considering closing the D.H. Lawrence Heritage Centre at Durban House in Eastwood. I used to live opposite this handsome building (formerly the Barber Walker colliery company offices) and have enjoyed visiting the permanent exhibitions on Eastwood history, the coal industry in the area and Bert Lawrence. The temporary exhibitions have also been well worth seeing, particularly the recent one on coal mining put on by Anthony Kirby who has a splendid collection of coal mining memorabilia, photographs and artefacts. The D.H. Lawrence Society is fighting the closure and has organised a petition:

Not to be outdone Nottingham City Council has launched a 90-day consultation on its proposal to close the industrial museum at Wollaton Hall:

The Nottingham Lace Centre, housed in one of Nottingham's oldest buildings, is also set to close in April:

What next?

11 February 2009

Nottinghamshire Heritage Gateway website redesign

I've been spending the last couple of months re-designing the Nottinghamshire Heritage Gateway website. It has spent most of its life as a 'micro-site' of the Thoroton Society website but the team felt it was about time it got its own distinctive identity and a separate domain name.

The website provides a guide to the heritage resources of the county, and a history of Nottinghamshire featuring the latest research. The information on the Gateway website is arranged in a series of research pathways, organised into the following groups: places, people, themes and events. The pathways provide users with a brief overview of a subject area and a list of key resources for further research, arranged by type of source material.

The latest item on the website is a guide to researching the coal industry in Nottinghamshire. Others in the pipeline are: Poverty, the poor and workhouses; Worksop and The Boer War.

9 February 2009

Latest edition of the Nottinghamshire Historian

I've just received my copy of the Spring/Summer edition of The Nottinghamshire Historian. Contents includes:
  • William Elliott of Brewhouse Yard (1701-1792)
  • SRN training at Mansfield General and King's Mill Hospitals, 1965-1968
  • Peer and Pitman

More information is available on the Local History website.

4 February 2009

Norman arch from Newark Castle re-created

A limestone arch with a span of 4 metres, thought to be from a chapel in Newark Castle, has been reconstructed by Weller Engineering Ltd in The Gilstrap Centre, Newark. The stones had been stored in the castle's undercroft for many years and are thought to date from the 1140s.

Read the full story in the Newark Advertiser:

2 February 2009

Edwalton history book published

Edwalton Local History Society has published The Life of a Village as part of the Edwalton Heritage Project. The book contains articles and pictures compiled from the society's archives, and tell the villagers' own stories of living, working, worshipping and growing up in Edwalton over the last 130 years.

The book can be bought in Edwalton and in West Bridgford and costs £10.

25 January 2009

Town heritage trails

Newark Civic Trust have launched their impressive new website which includes a fascinating series of well designed town trail leaflets that "give a guide to points of interest in and around Newark." Leaflets available so far are:
  • Civil War trail
  • Medieval timber-framed buildings trail
  • Malting and brewing trail
Future topics will include: Art Deco Newark; Georgian Newark; Newark Riverside; and Newark’s Curiosities.

The website also includes online copies of the Trusts' interesting magazine.

Mansfield has also published a town trail. It can be downloaded as a printable PDF, an MP3 audio file or a video: