22 April 2015

Welbeck Abbey Tours, August 2015

Tours of the state rooms at Welbeck Abbey are being run again this year (in August) and tickets are now on sale.

The press release reads:
'Welbeck Abbey has been home of the Cavendish-Bentinck’s since 1607 and has evolved over the centuries. The tours take in the Abbey’s State Rooms, which were remodelled by Ernest George for Winifred, Duchess of Portland. The 6th Duke of Portland and Duchess Winifred  created a house fit for Edwardian high society, entertaining royalty, diplomats and statesmen.  
The tour is not only an opportunity to see these interiors, but also to see objects from Welbeck’s historic Portland Collection of art which decorate the State Rooms. Works on show in Welbeck Abbey’s State Rooms include pieces by Sir Peter Lely, John Wootton and Sir Joshua Reynolds. We will be opening a new Gallery to exhibit works from this astonishing collection next Spring.'
I took the tour a couple of years ago and would recommend taking the opportunity to see inside one of the least known stately homes in the county.

Further information and booking details are available here:

8 April 2015

Archaeological excavations at Nottingham Castle, Southwell and Kings Clipstone

There are a number of archaeological excavations taking place in Nottinghamshire this summer:
  • York Archaeological Trust's 'Archaeology Live!' training excavation from 27 July to 14 August will be examining the outer bailey of Nottingham Castle (more information from the Archaeology Live! website) and
  • Researching Roman Southwell ('an exciting, community-led project that aims ... to investigate the town’s Roman past while providing training and hands-on experience, and help local people to become involved in their local heritage') will be running a community excavation on Harvey's Field to the south-east of the minster (see the DigVentures website for more details)
  • Mercian Archaeological Services CIC are running a free community excavation at King John's Palace in Kings Clipstone in July and a Training Field School at the site in August (see the Mercian Archaeological Services CIC website for further details)

7 April 2015

Nottinghamshire Archives re-opens on 28 April 2015

Nottinghamshire Archives, currently closed while it is extended and refurbished as part of a £2.5m project, will re-open on the 28 April. According to the county council press release the building now has
  • 'additional space to accommodate new archives for decades to come, including specialist storage for photographs and digital media
  • a computerised building management system
  • an additional new meeting room/multi-purpose learning space
  • improved computer suite for accessing digital heritage, with free public wi-fi throughout the building.
There will be an 'Archives Fun Open Day' on 2 May 'with entertainment and activities for all the family'. The programme for the day will include:
  • 9am onwards Explore the new building, with a display of archives
  • 10.30am Official opening ceremony
  • 11am – 3pm Family activities: seal making, design your own coat of arms, dress up in historical costumes
  • 11.45am onwards Tours of the new building, go behind the scenes to discover more of the changes
  • 1pm Talk about historical fiction by writer Judith Alnatt 

6 April 2015

Nottinghamshire county records of the 17th century

The latest addition to my Nottinghamshire History website is 'Nottinghamshire County Records: Notes and Extracts from the Nottinghamshire County Records of the 17th Century', compiled by H. Hampton Copnall and published in 1915.

The material is drawn from the rich archives of the Quarter Sessions and reflects the incredibly wide range of business dealt with by the Justices of the Peace: the maintenance of highways and bridges, licensing alehouses, cases of bastardy and sexual 'incontinence', the administration of prisons and 'houses of correction', taking religious oaths of allegiance and the registration of nonconformist places of worship, misbehaviour in church and mole catching!

Some examples:
On the 3rd October, 1687, it was ordered that Will Jackson of Kirkby-in-Ashfield, labourer, 'being an idle, loose, light-fingered pilfering ffellow be conveyed to the House of Correction at Southwell for one month and in ye interim to be well whipped 3 times in each week'.

In January, 1624-1625, Jacob Peary alias Pearson of North Collingham, clerk, and two gentlemen of North Collingham, named Samuel Sheppard and Benjamin Sheppard, were fined 10/- each "for riot in church."

On 3rd October, 1655, Elizabeth Banes, of Southwell, spinster, "standeth presented in this Court for a comon scold and the Court also further informed yt the sd Elizabeth by reason of her continuall brawling and extraordinary turbulent spirit doth soe dayly vex and disquiet her neighbours that they cannot follow their callings and occasions inquietness to their extreame troble and vexation." The woman was ordered "to be cuckt in the Cucking Stoole at Southwell."

All human life is here!

The Great Nottinghamshire Local History Fair at Mansfield Library, 10 May 2015

The third Great Nottinghamshire Local History Fair will be held at Mansfield Library on Sunday, 10 May, 11am-3pm. 
It promises 'fun for all the family with craft demonstrations, local history displays from across the county, screenings of bygone Mansfield film footage and children’s activities PLUS meet real owls.'
Further information is available on the Our Nottinghamshire website.