SECTION VI. The Present State.
NOTTINGHAM stands upon a sandy rock, and is one of the central large Towns
of England. Its site, in the County, is on the south-west borders of the ancient forest
of Shirewood. It is watered by the little river Leen, a stream which passes into the
Trent, navigable before the Conquest.
Nottingham, from the bridge, which spans the trent, forms a bold and majestic figure.
The view annexed, was taken on the banks of the river trent, near the bridge; from
which the reader, unacquainted with the prospect, will form his own judgment of the
propriety of the assertion. In the early pages of this history, we have spoken of its an
tiquity, we shall now particularize its present state under various heads:—beginning
with the civil government, and in several instances make considerable quotations from
Deering's book, applicable to our own.
It has been noticed early in these pages, that the Peverel Court, which was of ancient
institution, and of great jurisdiction, was held in Nottingham, in a chapel dedicated to
St. James, and that this town was within its jurisdiction till the 9th of Edward II.—
The other places of the county, over which it had jurisdiction, are as follow:—
Nomina Villarum infra Honorem PEVEREL in Comit. Nott.
"Adbolton p. se et cum Cothinstock.
Aldesworth alias Arsworth.
Assert de Heywood in Forest. de Sherwood.
Aram alias Averham alias Arum.
Barton a Manor.
Bridgford a Manor.
Barneston alias Barestoll.
Bleasby cum Membris.
Conard alias Conorde.
Cossal alias Coteshall.
Cropshall alias Cropwell-Butler.
Cleadon alias Cleidon.
Carleton juxta Nottingham.
Eastwood alias Esthwicke.
Eperstone alias Eperstowe.
Edingfield cum Halam.
Forest of Sherwood.
Flinton alias Flintham.
Gunston alias Gunnalston.
Gamston alias Gonelston.
Gresvile alias Greswell.
Gresthorp cum Normanton.
Hockley alias Hochelia.
Hanne alias Hulme.
Hubenia alias Havershaw.
Hallowton cum Blidworth.
Kingston juxta Ratcliffe.
Kirlington Kirthington cum Normanton.
Kirkby in Ashfield.
Leake parva, Manors
Leake magna, Manors.
Morton Muskham Bathley cum Holme.
Menenton.-Markham South.-Mark. N.
Markham North and South cum Carleton.
Maplebeck cum Kneesal alias Kersal.
Normanton and Kingston.—Newbould.
Norwell and Blidworth.
Nuthall alias Northall.
Ollaverton alias Ollerton.—Oxton.
Ossington cum Carleton.
Remson alias Rempston.
Radcliffe sup. Trent.
Strelley.—Sutton sup. Trent.
Sutton Bonington.—Selston alias Skelston.
Stoke Bardolph.—Sutton Passeys.
Stoke juxta Newarke.—Slegby.
Southwell. in membris.—Stanford.
Thrimpston alias Thrumpston.—Toton.
Tithby.—Thorp.—Thorp juxta Remson.
Towton alias Taunton.
Tokesworth alias Tuxford.
Thurgarton a Leigh Hundred.
Upton and Morton.
Watnoll alias Watners.—Woodborough.
Winkborne cum Hock."
Respecting the civil government of the town, under a body corporate, Thoroton has
given the following:—
"The Town is now governed by a Mayor, a Recorder, six Aldermen, two Coroners,
two Sheriffs, two Chamberlains, and a Common Council of—persons, whereof six are
by a late order to be such as have not borne the Office of Sheriff or Chamberlain. The
Mayor hath a Clark called the Mayors Clark, and commonly the Town Clark. The
Sheriffs have an Officer called the Steward. The Mayor hath a particular Court of Pleas
of Land, hath two Serjeants at Mace. The Mayor and Sheriffs have also there an ordinary Court of Pleas besides, which they keep on Wednesday every fortnight. The
Sheriffs have each of them two Serjeants at Mace, and a more inferiour Officer called a
Bill-bearer. There is an Officer of the Town called a Scavenger, that looks to the pavement and streets of the Town, and attends upon the Mayors wife. There is a Cook attends the Mayor at the Provision of the Town, and two Pinders of the Town, the one
of the Fields, the other of the Meadows; he that is of the Fields, is also Woodward for
the Town, and attends and answers at the Forest Courts. The Town is within the Metes
and Bounds of the Forest, but not within View and Regard: The Town hath long made
that claim of discharge, and it hath been allowed them in Eyre.
There are very fair possessions belonging to the Corporation, some in general, and
some for particular uses, as for the maintenances of their Free-School, and their costly
Trent Bridges, called Heathbet Bridges.
It was a rich and flourishing place when the Staple was up at Calays, since it hath been
destitute of any gainful or beneficial trade.
Yet since the late war, wherein this Town happened to be of the conquering side, there
are many houses new builded, and the greatest part of the good Barley which grows in the
Vale of Belvoyr, and the adjacent parts, is there converted into Malt, yielding thereby,
as I suppose, more profit to the place than ever Wooll did heretofore, or the Manufacture
of coloured cloath, which it was famous for long before Calais became subject to this
The body corporate of Nottingham now, 1795, consist of a Mayor, from the Aldermen, Mr. Caunt; Recorder, Duke of Portland; Mr. Huthwait, Mr. Howitt, Mr. Green,
Mr. Oldknow, Mr. Lowe, and Mr. Hornbucle, Aldermen, seven including the Mayor; 18
Senior Council, chosen from the Burgesses at large, who have served the Office of Sheriff;
and six Junior Council chosen by the Burgesses at large. The Chamberlains and Sheriffs are chosen annually; the Coroners sometimes hold their office for several years.
The Mayor of Nottingham is nominated the 14th of August, out of the body of Aldermen, and takes place the 29th of the succeeding month, on which day the Sheriffs
and Chamberlains are chosen. Of course, some good eating and drinking follow: the
dinner is a cold collation, with plenty of good wine, &c. Deering speaking of this entertainment, in his time, says, "that the Mayor and Sheriffs welcomed their guest with
bread and cheese, fruit in season, and pipes and tobacco." I apprehend that there are very
few corporation feasts now, where bread and cheese are taken as the principal fare.
Deering has this paragraph respecting the ceremony on the 29th of September:—
"Divine-Service ended, at St. Mary's Church, the whole Body goes into the Vestry,
where the old Mayor seats himself in an Elbow-Chair, at a Table covered with black
Cloth, the Mace being laid in the middle of it, covered with Rosemary and Sprigs of
Bay, (which they term burying the Mace) then the Mayor presents the Person before
nominated to the Body, and after it has gone through the Votes of all the Cloathing, the
late Mayor takes up the Mace, kisses it, and delivers it into the Hand of the New Mayor,
with a suitable Compliment, who proposes two Persons for Sheriffs, and two for the
Office of Chamberlains, these also having gone through the Votes, the Mayor and the
rest go into the Chancel, where the senior Coroner administers the Oath to the New
Mayor, in the presence of the Old one, next the Town Clerk gives to the Sheriffs and
Chamberlains, the Oath of their Office. The Ceremony being thus ended, they march
in order as before, to the New Hall, attended by such Gentlemen and Tradesmen, as have
been invited by the New Mayor and Sheriffs: In their way at the Week day Cross, over
against the ancient Guild-Hall, the Town-Clerk proclaims the Mayor and the Sheriffs,
and the next ensuing Market-Day, they are again proclaimed, in the Face of the whole
Market, at the Malt-Cross."
The substance of the charter of Henry the sixth, by which the corporation at this day
regulate their affairs, or act under, is given thus by Deering:—
"He incorporates the said Town by a new name: To wit, Mayor and Burgesses of
the Town of Nottingham, on the date, to wit, 28th of June 1449.
The Town from the 15th of September 1449, viz. the 28th of Henry VI. to be separated for ever from the body of the County of Nottingham, except the Castle and the
King's Hall, wherein is the County Gaol: And to be for ever called the County of the
Town of Nottingham.
And instead of two Bailiffs, to chuse two Sheriffs, who shall continue from the 15th of
September till Michaelmas-Day next, and till two new Sheriffs shall be chosen for the
then next year.
The Mayor and Burgesses on Michaelmas-Day yearly, shall chuse two Sheriffs, as
they were wont to do Bailiffs, who shall take their Oath of Office before the Mayor,
who shall the Sheriffs names return, under their Seal, within twelve days after the
The Mayor shall be the King's Escheator, in the said Town, and no other.
And that the Mayor and Sheriffs, and their Successors, shall have for ever in the said
Town, the power, jurisdiction and authority, that other Escheators and Sheriffs have,
elsewhere, in the kingdom of England.
And that all Writ, &c. which before had been wont to be executed by the Sheriffs of
Nottingham, or Bailiffs of the Town, within the same, shall after the said 15th day of
the month of September aforesaid, be directed to the Sheriffs of the said Town.
The Sheriffs to hold their County Court for the said Town, on Monday, from month
That the said Burgesses and their Successors, shall for ever, have a Court there at pleasure, of all contracts, covenants, trespasses against the King's Peace, or otherwise, and of
all other things, causes, or matters arising within the said Town and Precincts, from day
to day, in the Guild-Hall of the said Town, to be holden before the Mayor, or his Deputy, and the Sheriffs.
And that the Mayor for the time being, or his Deputy, and the Sheriffs, shall after the
said 15th day of September, 1449, the 28th of Henry VI. have power and authority, to
hear and determine in that Court, all manner of pleas, &c. as well in the King's presence
as in the King's absence.
The Sheriffs to have the profits of the Court.
The Mayor and Sheriffs, yearly to account before the Treasurer of the Exchequer, by
Every Escheator, immediately after his Election, to take the Oath of his Office before
Within twelve days after the choice of the Mayor, the name of the Escheator is to be
certifyed into the Exchequer, under the Mayor's seal.
The Burgesses to have the chattels of all convicted of Felony, Murder, &c. all Amerciaments, Post-Fines, Issues of Pledges, and Bail, though they hold of the King, and in
all other Courts whatsoever, and before all Justices and Ministers of the King, as well
in his presence, as in the King's absence.
The Burgesses may from time to time, chuse out of themselves, seven Aldermen, one
of which may be always chosen to the Mayoralty, and be Mayor of the Town, and to
continue Alderman for life, unless at their own special request, or for some notable cause,
they be removed by the Mayor and Burgesses.
The Mayor and Burgesses may have full power, on the death, departure, or removal
of an Alderman, to chuse from themselves another Burgess to be an Alderman. So from
time to time for ever.
The Aldermen for the time being to be Justices of the Peace, within the Liberties of
the Town, and seven, six, five, four, and three, of which, the Mayor to be one present,
have power to punish all Felonies, Murders, &c. as fully as other Justices of the Peace
have, or hereafter shall have.
The Burgesses to have all fines, &c. set by the Mayor and Aldermen or any of them.
The Burgesses to levy these fines by their own servants, towards defraying the charges
incumbent on the Town.
The Burgesses to have the forfeiture of all victuals.
The King's Steward, or Marshal of his Houshold, not to exercise their Office within
the said Town.
The Aldermen to have licence to wear gowns, with collars and half sleeves, of one
form and livery, with furs, facings, and robings, when they assemble in manner and
form, as the Mayor and Aldermen of the City of London are used to do. Any statute
against wearing of cloaths notwithstanding.
The Escheator and Sheriffs to accompt by their Attorney before the Treasurer and
Barons of the King's Exchequer, and of all such things, (not in the Charter a-fore excepted;) which were before accounted for by the Escheator and Sheriffs of the County
The Burgesses not to be barred any former rights or priviledges, by their acceptance
of these presents.
The King will's, that the Burgesses shall have and use all the jurisdictions and franchises, &c. herein expressed, or in any former grant, wholly, and without any molestation,
&c. Notwithstanding there is not express mention there, of the value of the Chattels,
Amerciaments, Issues, Fines, or other the Premisses.
The Charter of Confirmation granted by the succeeding Kings and Queens abovementioned, inclusive of that of King James I. neither alter nor add any thing new."
Copy of a Grant by Queen Anne of two new Fairs.
"Anna Dei gratia magnæ Britanniæ, Franciæ et Hiberniæ regina, fidei defensor, &c.
Omnibus ad quos presentes literæ nostræ pervenerint falutem. Cum per quandam inquisitionem indentat. capt. apud Guihald. villæ de Nottingham in commitatu nostro
villæ Nottingham quinto die Maji anno regni undecimo virtute cujusdam brevis nostri
de ad quod dampnum e cancellaria nostra nuper emanat. vice-comit comitatus villæ
Nottingham predict. direct. et inquisitionem predict annexat. p. sacramentum proborum
et legalium hominum comitatus prædict. compertum fit, quod non effet ad aliquod
dampnum vel prejudicium nostri aut aliorum vel ad aliquod nocumentum vicinarum
feriarum five nundinarum si nos concederemus majori et burgensibus villæ de Nottingham predict. et successoribus suis quod ipsis haberent et tenerent annuatim imperpetuum
apud villam de Nottingham predict. unam seriam sive nundinos incipiend. in diem jovis
proxim. ante festum pascha et tunc et ibidem tenend. et continuand. durand. octo diebus
tunc proxim. sequent. et aliam feriam sive nundinas incipiend. in diem veneris proxime
præcedentem primum diem martis immediate post festum epiphaniæ tunc etiam tenend.
et continuand. durand. octo diebus tunc proxime sequent. pro emptione et venditione
in feriis five nundinis ill is averiorum et pecorum ac omnium et omnimod. bonorum
mercimoniorum et mercandizarum quorumcunque communiter in feriis sive nundinis
empt. et vendit. et tolnet et profic. inde provenien. et emergen. sibi et successoribus suis
percipien. prout per dict. breve et inquifition. in filariis cancellariæ nostræ predict. de
recordo remanen. plenius liquet et apparet. Sciatis modo quod nos de gratia nostra
special. ac ex certa scientia et mero motu nostris dedimus et concessimus ac p. presentes
pro nobis heredibus et successoribus nostris damus et concedimus præfato majori et burgensibus villæ de Nottingham prædict. et successoribus suis quod ipsi habeant et teneant
annuatim imperpetuum apud villam de Nottingham prædict. unam seriam sive nundin.
incipiend. in diem jovis proxim. ante festum paschæ et tunc ibidem tenend. et continuand. durand. octo diebus ex tunc proxime sequentibus et aliam seriam five nundinas
incipiend. in diem veneris proxim. præcedent primum diem martis immediate post festum Epiphaniæ tunc etiam tenend. et continuand. durand. octo diebus ex tunc proxime sequent. pro emptione et venditione in feriis sive nundinis ill is averiorum et pecorum
omnium et omnimod. bonorum, mercimoniorum et mercandizarum quarumcunq. communiter in feriis sive nundinis empt. et vendit. una cum curia pedis pulverisati tempore
feriarum prædictarum, ac cum omnibus tolnet et aliis proficus prædict. feriis five nundinis pertinent five spectant. habend. tenend. et gaudend. prædict. ferias five nundinis et
curiam pedis pulverisati et cæteras premissas superius p. presentes concessas seu mentionatas fore concessas eisdom majori et burgensibus villæ de Nottingham predict. et successoribus suis imperpetuum ad solum proprium opus et usum præfati majoris et burgensium villæ de Nott. predict. et successorum suorum. Et hoc absque computo vel aliquo
alio nobis heredibus vel successoribus nostris proinde reddend. solvend. vel faciend.—
Quare volumus ac p. presentes pro nobis heredibus et successoribus nostris firmiter injungendo præcepimus et mandamus quod præfatus major et burgenses villæ de Nott.
prædict. et successores sui vigore presentium bene libere licite et quiete habeant teneant et
custodiant et habere tenere et custodire valeant et possint imperpetuum predictas ferias
five nundinas uno cum curia pedis pulverisati et cæteras premissis predictis secundum
tenorem et veram intentionem harum literarum nostrarum patentium absque molestatione
p. turbatione gravanina sive contradictione nostri heredum vel successorum nostrorum
vel aliquorum vice-comit. Esceatorum, ballivorum, officiariorum five ministrorum
nostrorum hæredum vel successorum nostrorum quorumcunqe et hoc aqsque aliquo alio
warranto brevi vel process. imposterum in ea parte procurand vel obtinend. denique
volumus ac p. presentes pro nobis heredibus et successoribus nostris concedimus præfato
majori et burgensibus villæ de Nott. prædict. et successoribus suis quod hæ literæ nostræ
patentes vel irrotulamentum earundem sint et erunt bonæ firma, valida, sussicientia, et
effectualia in lege eisdem majori et burgensibus villæ de Nott. prædict. et successoribus
suis secundum veram intentionem earundem.
In cujus rei restimonium has literas nostras sieri secimus patentes teste meipsa apud
Westmonasterium tricesimo die Augusti anno regni nostro undecimo.
per breve de privato sigillo
Nottingham is divided into seven wards viz. Castle-ward, Market-ward, Chapel-ward,
North-ward, Bridge-ward, Middle-ward, and Mont-all-ward, over which the Aldermen
and Mayor respectively presides.
Among the ancient customs of the corporation are these:—
On Whitsun-Monday the Mayor of Nottingham and his brethren the Aldermen &c.
used to ride in their best liveries to Southwell, and so in procession to the church. (fn. 1)
Here was an ancient watch kept so late as the reign of Charles the first, to which every
inhabitant of note, sent a man on Midsummer-day, many of them accoutred in armour and
wielding misive weapons. At the setting of the sun the mayor's serjeant adminstered a
suitable oath to them. After parading the streets, adorned with neat garlands of flowers,
they separated into companies and were stationed till the rising of the sun, and then were
dismised. This was a kind of annual muster-day, or time to shew the arms and armour
belonging to the town, in order.
It was a custom, instituted long since for the mayor and aldermen of the town, &c.
and their wives to visit St. Ann's Well, (noticed p. 170,) on Monday in Easter-week,
having the town waits playing before them.
The butchers, formerly, prior to their killing a bull in Nottingham, were compelled to
bait him in the market place, for which purpose, Deering says, "there used to be a ring
fixed in the ground, and Mrs. Mayoress was to find a rope, for which she has the consideration of one shilling of every one who takes up his freedom."
The counties of Nottingham and Derby, the 10th of Elizabeth, had but one sheriff,
the assize was sometimes held at Nottingham, and sometimes at Derby. The gaol for
both counties was at Nottingham till the 23d of Henry eight.
This bountiful and lovely stream, passeth within half a mile of the town of Nottingham. Its name, according to Camden, is from the Saxon word Treonta, which time had
reduced to Trenta the name it bears in old records. It is one of the four greatest rivers
in England. It partly divides the kingdom in two parts, north and south. Others
have said it received its name from Trentham Abby. Some, from the French word
trenta, on account of its producing thirty forts of fish, which it is reputed to do.
"The bounteous Trent, that in herself enseams
Both thirty forts of fish, and thirty sundry streams."
Various as may be opinions about its origin, we may safely advance that the river is
coeval with the flood, and that its sources small and great are many. (fn. 2)
To enumerate its beneficient and extending influence, we might swell the work far beyond its intended limits. It may be sufficient to observe that this fine river is navigable
upwards of 100 miles, has a communication with the sea, and, in consequence, serves to
convey the productions of the country from its bosom for general benefit; and likewise
to bring hither such things, for common use, which are necessary for the welfare of its
inhabitants. Some of the small productions of the ocean are, at times, found within it.
Besides the ordinary fish, common to inferior rivers, salmon and sometimes sturgeon are
caught in the trent. Deering, who often speaks of his anonymous native of Nottingham,
who wrote about the year 1640, and of which he has made considerable use, has introduced this passage from his M. S:—
"This river, from the head thereof some four miles about Stoke, in Staffordshire, to
the midway between Gainsborough and Newark, runs upon gravel, pebbles and boulders,
with which it seems, especially with boulders, to be naturally paved. There are in the
channel of the river divers hursts or shelves, which in summer time lye dry, from whence
the bordering inhabitants gather great store of these boulders, as they have occasion, and
with which the whole town of Nottingham is paved."
In Nottingham called Trent Bridges, which spans the Trent leading into Nottingham,
was called, in ancient times, Heathbetbe-brigge, as has been noticed in the former part of
these pages. This bridge is an irregular link of arches, originally formed of rough stone,
but now it is disfigured with brick and the ordinariest materials; from being repaired at
a variety of periods it is scarcely left with one trait of uniformity. The bridge indeed is
now grown into disrepute, partly owing to its narrowness and its consequent insufficiency,
as a passage, to convey the vast increase of passengers, and extended commerce to and
from Nottingham, with ease and convenience. It has become, also, dangerous, from the
same cause to carriages and passengers that meet thereon. The time, it is conjected, is
not far distant, when gentlemen may turn their thoughts from war to local improvements;
when peace shall return smiling with a restoration of happiness; then we may reasonably
expect a passage over the venerable trent, here, an useful ornament to this flourishing,
oppulent, and improving town.
This useful little stream rises above Newstead, in the forest of Shirewood. In its passage to Lenton, from whence it takes it name, it waters several villages. Its natural course
was formerly hence to the trent near Wilford; but was turned soon after the conquest to
pass on by the foot of the rock, on which Nottingham stands, so on to the trent beyond
In some instances has been noticed in the preceding pages. Thoroton, page 174,
has shewn us by whom it has been repaired, &c. This passage, over the Leen, into
Nottingham, was made a few years since very commodious, and was an ornament to the
entrance into the Town; but the late great flood, in March 1795, which will be memorable for its devastation on this side of Nottingham, has partly destroyed it.
Under this head I will just notice this great calamity so far as relates to the approach
In consequence of making a cut from the Erewash Canal, near Nottingham, to communicate with the Trent, near Trent bridge, the old road from the bridge to Nottingham was in a great measure cut away for that purpose. The high new road was therefore made in a strait line, at a vast expence, rampired and made losty, above the level of
floods, it was imagined, from Trent bridge to Leen bridge, on the left of the old
road, which was more in a ziz-zag form, than the new road. The new project consolidated, if I may be allowed the expression, a number of little bridges, which you before passed over, into one grand, light, span of arches over the swampy, or
deepest watery currents, which you had to pass, in entering the town of Nottingham,
from the London road. All this excellent improvement, in less than a year after its
completion, was, by the mighty torrent of waters, which broke forth after the thaw in
1795, destroyed, the whole bridges and roads, which builders deemed of sufficient
strength to contend with floods of any magnitude, gave way; this mighty inundation
swept all before it. In many places the lofty road was levelled with the meadows below,
and the foundations of the bridges were shaken so mightly, that their arches fell, and
became an heap of ruin; portions of which appear like a broken rock, lying in all
directions, shivered by a tremenduous dash of the watery element. The damage is
estimated at about 2000l.
Takes its course by Nottingham, at a little distance from the river Leen. This
seheme, which was projected in times highly favourable to works of this fort, promises
fair to be extremely useful to this place. Future times, however, must determine on this
point. The line of the canal passes through that part of the county which abounds in
coal and iron stone, to the Town of Nottingham, where a branch is made to the Trent,
as has been observed under the last head, near Leen River, by the side of the high road to
This work, like many others of this kind, projected in more favourable times, is in an
unfinished state; (fn. 3) it perhaps waits its completion from a return of peace and its concomitant blessings, plenteousness.
The fine extensive meadows which lie on each side the road from London, are delightful, in the summer season, and as fruitful as beneficent to the health and pleasure of the
inhabitants of Nottingham. On the right and on the left, these meadows are watered
by the Trent, on which are almost always in sight vessels of burden carrying
merchandize to various parts of this, and other counties of the kingdom. The seat of
Mr. Musters on the right as you approach Nottingham, and apparently at the extremity
of the meadow on this side, and the romantic village of Sneinton, are pleasing objects.
On the left the meadows are as richly adorned with objects at the extremity. The beautiful little church of Wilford, and Sir Jervas Clifton's towery embowered dwelling,
over the Trent, are delightfulscenes which present themselves in your meadow walks near
Nottingham. In an opposite direction Wollaton-Hall and Nottingham are a fine contrast.
Before we proceed to a description of the Town, it may be necessary to notice some of
the most principal Walks frequented by the inhabitants. For exercise and air, in its
vicinity, as an inland town, none exceeds it. The meadows, the park, the Trent side,
on the banks of the Leen, about Colwick, at Clifton, the Race-ground and other places
which might be enumerated, are all highly useful and, in general, extremly pleasant. In
the park, (fn. 4) lately, have been built, very spacious and handsome barracks for horse
The burgesses' grounds are also frequented in the summer season, and are beneficial to
about 300 burgesses of this place; some portions of them bring in, to each possessor, 3l.
per ann. which they not only enjoy during life, but the benefit descends to their widows.
The Wells, like the Cellars of this place are deep, in general, 36 yards, one well is 43
the whole is through the rock, not at all subject to damps. But a great part of the
Water which is used in Nottingham, is supplied by water-works, which supply all the
town but Parliament street and the New-buildings. There is a Company of Proprietors
to the water-works who have brought this scheme to a profitable issue.
Buildings and Manufactory,
Before we notice any particular building, in this place, it may be observed, in general
that Nottingham exceeds all the neigbouring county towns, with which it is connected,
in the manufactory, both in the stile and magnitude of its buildings. Leicester and Derby
are places of great commerce; but equally inferior to Nottingham both in one and the
other. The Houses of Leicester in general, are not so lofty as those of Derby, owing
chiefly to the great space of ground it stands on, or rather not being so confined for room
in building. The ground on which Leicester stands, is equal, I apprehend, to that on
which Nottingham stands, which contains, at least half as many more inhabitants.
The Hosiery business is the chief employment of the Towns of Leicester and Nottingham; Derby, in a comparative point of view, employs but few hands, in this business; but it has other commercial advantages equally profitable, and beneficent to the
The Nottingham branch, which is in general the finest, and consequently of the most
valuable goods, has rapidly increased of late years. An enterprizing spirit pervades
every branch of the stocking manufactory, and industry is a marking feature in the place.
In 1641, Deering informs us that there were only two framework-knitters in this place;
in his time fifty; now fifty times fifty may be computed, there and in its neighbourhood.
The invention of the Stocking-Frame, which has been so bountiful and productive here,
is noticed page 47 of this volume.
It appears that formely Lenton Martinmas fair, was of eminence, that it nearly served
all the shop keepers of Nottingham with every necessary of life, sold in shops; now London, as it does other places, serves this town chiefly with such articles.
The Woollen Manufactory was carried on here soon after the conquest. King John
to foster it gave a Royal Charter dated March 19, 1199, wherein all persons within ten
miles round Nottingham are forbidden to work dyed cloth but in the borough. This
branch of business was the immediate rise to opulence of several great families in this
place, merchants of Calais, among which may be enumerated the Willougbbie's, Bingham's,
Tannesley's, Plumptree's and Thurland's.
The Normans introducing malt liquor into this kingdom, the Town of Nottingham
soon became eminent in the Malting line. In this branch it had scarcely a competitor in
the Midland Counties, for a succession of years. Now its malt liquor is famed far and
near, but the malting business for other markets is inconsiderable. Newark now does
much in that line of business.
The Tanning business was carried on here formerly, also, with great advantage to the
place; but now in a comparative point of view, that business is of little importance.
This Town has been a place of considerable note in the iron branch, on account of the
great plenty of coal and iron oar in its neighbourhood, now that business is of no considerable consequence.
The sketch of Chapel-bar, page 142 is taken from an ordinary engraving in Deering's
book, drawn by T. Sandby. By the representation, there was nothing in the building
to attract notice: It was neither dignified by design nor bold in features of antiquity:
The celebrity of the name of Sandby, has had more attraction, in giving this sketch, than
any thing itself could set forth.
Although the Gate be removed the site retains its name at this day. On this subject
I will use Deering's words who lived while it was standing:—
"Chappel-Bar was the only ancient gate which had escaped the injuries of time, and
was preserved entire 'till the year 1743, when it was pulled down; under it on each side
was an arched Room of a Pentagonal Figure, of which that which had a door opening
ounder the middle of the gate was a Guard-Room, the other, the door which facedthe
East, was a chappel for the conveniency of the guard, this had given the Gate the name
of Chappel-Bar; it was long since turned into a Brewhouse, late in the tenure of Mr.
Thomas Hawksley, once an Alderman, and for some time Mayor of Nottingham, to
whose own house it was contiguous. In so much that where several Altars stood, MashTubs and other utensils fill up the room, which has given occasion to the following lines:
Here Priests of old turned Wafers into God,
And gave poor Laymen Bread, for Flesh and Blood,
But now a Liquid Myst'ry's here set up,
Where Priests and Laymen both, Partake the Cup.
Onthe top of this gate at the east end, exactly in the middle, did grow one ofthe greater fort of Maples, vulgarly called a Sycamore Tree, part of the branches of which covered
an arbour where six people might conveniently regale themselves. The north half of
this top was very neatly disposed into beds of various figures and turned into a pleasant
garden, where besides many different kinds of flowers, a beautiful variety of Tulips has
formerly, from high, challenged all the gardens in Nottingham. Had the other half
which was in different hands and did lie uncultivated, been managed in like manner,
both would have made a garden of a considerable extent, and given a pretty lively idea
of the Babylonian hanging Gardens."
Deering says, "A narrow passage cut out of the rock, the south entrance into the
town, was secured by a strong Port-cullice, of which not long ago there were plain marks
to be seen; within this gate on the left and going up to the town, just turning the elbow
of the Hollow Stone, there was a cavity cut into the rock, able to hold about twenty men
with a fire place in it and benches fixed, besides a stair-case cut out of the same rock; this
had been a Guard-house, and the stair-case leading to the top of the rock, was for sentinels to spy the Enemy at a distance; this was no doubt of good service to the Parliament
party during the Civil War, if it was contrived by them. A little farther up the Hollow
stone, against and upon the rock there stood an house the property of his Grace the Duke
of Kingston, who upon application made to him, gave leave to the corporation to
pull it down, being generously willing to forward their design of making the Hollowstone a more gradual descent and enlarging the south entrance into the Town, so that two
or more carriages may conveniently pass each other, to which purpose men were set to
work on Tuesday the 17th of December 1740, and this useful and pleasant way into the
Town was completed in a few weeks. On the top of the rocks, on the left side of the
passage into Nottingham Town, the workmen met with a portion of the Town-wall,
the stones of which were so well cemented, that the mortar exceeded them in hardness."
Over-against Bridlesmith-gate, Deering says, "Stood an ancient Postern, 'till within these ten years, on the east side of which, where now the Bull's-head is, was a Gatehouse, where a guard was kept, as is to this day plainly to be seen; on the west side stood
an house formerly called Vout-Hall, the Mansion-House of the family of the Plumptres.
Vout-Hall had its name from very large Vaults which were under it, where in the time
of the Staple of Calais, great quantities of Wool used to be lodged. In one of these
Vaults, in the reign of King Charles the II. the Desenters privately met for the exercise
of their Religion, as they did after the Act of Toleration publicly, in a House at the
upper end of Pilchergate, which is since pulled down and a new one built in its room,
the Property and present Mansion-House of John Sherwin, Esq. This place, on account
of Whitlock's and Reinold's (displaced Minister of St. Mary's) officiating in it, obtained
the by-name of Little St. Mary's."
Or Clare-Hall, stands opposite to the Black-a-moor's-head stables; it is an ancient building of stone, erected by Francis Pierepoint, third son of Robert Earl of Kingston, who
died in 1657. The rooms are spacious but gloomy, the walls are castle-like thick —
Here, on particular public occasions, the noble and gentlemen of the county dine in the
Mrs. Newdegate's House.
In Castle-gate, Deering mentions as being the abode of Marshall Tallard, taken by the
Duke of Marlborough.
Marshal Tallard who was sometime a prisoner at Nottingham, was taken by the Duke
of Marlborough at the battle of Blenheim; during his Captivity here he made very fine
gardens. There were also taken at the same time, and sent Prisoners to Nottingham,
the Marquis de Montperroux, General of Horse, Compt de Blanzac, Lieutenant General,
Marquis de Hautefeuille, General of Dragoons, Marquis de Velseme, Marquis de Seppeville, Marquis de Silly, Chevalier de Crovssy, Marquis de Valliere, Major Generals,
Mons. de St. Second, Brigadier, Marquis de Vassey, Colonel of Dragoons, and Compt
This is one of the most spacious in England. It is environed for the most part by
lofty and ornamental buildings. At the upper end stands an ordinary cross, called
Malt-cross, supported by six plain columns. On the lower end is the 'Change deservedly reckoned the first object here. It is a brick building ornamented with stone, 123
feet in length, supported by a range of stone columns, which form a spacious parade
under the building. On its top, in the centre, is placed a figure of justice. On the front
are three niches said to have been originally intended to hold the statues of George the
First, and the then Prince and Princess of Wales. The building cost 2400l. Behind
this building are the butcher's shambles. Nottingham Market, which is held on Saturdays, is well supplied with every necessary of life.
Under this head it is proper to observe that there are three columns erected, in different
parts of the town, which are denominated crosses. The week-day cross stands in an
opening at the Town-Gaol, and is well supplied with provisions, and consequently well
attended. Another which stands at one of the openings into the Market-Place, from
Bridlesmith-gate seems of no great use as a Market-Cross. The other is a newly erected
column where formerly stood an old one, called Monday-Cross. This stands near St.
Peter's Church, near which is a Sheep Market. On a brass plate "This column erected
in the mayoralty of John Carruthers, 1787." It is topped with a handsome varse.
Such is the state of the market-place, &c. at the present day, what follows under this
head was the state of things here in Deering's time.
"The west entrance into Nottingham offers to the Travellers view a Market-Place in
spaciousness superior to most; inferior to very few (if any) in the kingdom, graced with
many beautiful buildings. (fn. 5) This place has since the year 1711, received great additions; here the grand Saturday Market and all the fairs are kept. It was formerly
divided lengthways in two by a wall breast-high, which had openings at proper distances
to pass from one side to the other. On the north side, i. e. by the Long-Row, was kept
the great Market of Corn and Malt, Oatmeal and Salt, and many stalls and booths
tented for Milliners, Pedlars, Sale-shops, Hardware-men, &c. with Bakers, Turners,
Brasiers, Tinmen, Chandlers, Collar-makers, Gardeners, &c. On the south side between
the wall and a large hanging bank was the Horse-Market, not paved, called the Sands;
on the east end of the just mentioned bank all sorts of sawn timber, as boards, planks,
quarters, pannels, and all kinds of stuff for Carpenters, Joyners, and Coopers, was fold,
which has given an handsome row of Houses built along this bank, the name of TimberHill. On the remaining part of this bank, were every Saturday placed sheep-folds for
the use of the Country People, who bring sheep to fell. West of the Horse-Market under Fryer-Row and Angel-Row was kept the Beast Market, this extended as far as the
Market wall reached i.e. to the end of Bearward lane and at the skirt of this between
Frier-Row and the Sheepfolds, was the Swine-Market. At the east end of the Market
Place between the Long-Row and Cuck-stool-Row are two large shambles called the old
and new Shambles. In the old are 34 several Butcher's Stalls, over them is a room of a
considerable length and breadth floored over with a strong plaister floor, at the west end
of which was an open, breast high, whence the whole Market might be viewed, here formerly the Fairs, &c. used to be proclaimed. In the south west corner of them was a
square room wainscotted and seated about, where the Mayor, Sheriffs and other Officers
used to meet in order to walk the Saturday Market, (a custom now left off) in this room
also used to fit the Steward or his Deputy all day long, on the Market-Day, to enter
Auctions, take Bail, &c all which he now does at his own house. In the remainder of
this large place on both sides were shops of divers tradesmen with a large passage between.
At the west end of the south side of this room used to stand some Haberdashers of Hats,
over against them on the north side stood Country Grocers and Mercers, as the people
used to call them, coming from Mansfield, Loughborough, Mount-Sorrel, &c. whence
this room was called the Spice-Chamber, a name it bears to this day, all the rest of the
shops on both sides were occupied by Leathersellers, and Glovers, these 'till the year
1747, took up almost the whole place. (fn. 6)
On the north and outside of these shambles used to stand Fishmongers and Fishermen.
The New-shambles which contain 26 stalls for butchers, adjoin to the old ones; on
the south-side over these is likewise a long room where in time past the Tanners after
they had done buying raw hides used to stand the remainder of the day to fell leather. South of the New-Shambles are two rows of buildings with a paved passage between, called the Shoemaker-Booths, where on a Saturday the men of that trade keep market, but all the week beside they are shut up. South of these over against Peck-Lane,
used to stand all the Rope-makers. On the west end of Shoemaker-Booths, did stand
such as sold Northern Cloths, Hamshire and Burton-Kerseys, and near them was to be
had store of Housewives Cloth both linen and woollen.
In this great Market-place used to be two Crosses, the first on the west end of the
Long-Row near Sheep-Lane seated about ten steps high with a pillar in the middle,
called the Malt-Cross, because near it the Malt used to be sold; here all Proclamations
are read as also Declarations of War in the face of a full market. The second stood on
the east end of the Market-place, opposite to the first, near the Shambles called the ButterCross, this had large seats about it of four heights and was covered with a large tiled
roof supported by six pillars, here those sat who dealt in Butter, Eggs, Bacon, &c. near
it was the Fruit-Market plentifully provided with all kinds of Fruit in Season.
Such was the face of the Market-Place till within these forty years, since which time
the Market-wall has been removed, as well as the Butter-Cross and the whole place well
paved, the Malt-Cross has likewise been altered, is now but four steps high, has a raised
tiled roof (the top of which is adorned and rendered useful by six Sun-dials and a Fane)
rests upon six pillars; under this roof and about this Cross sit such as fell Earthen ware
both coarse and fine. The Sheep-folds are removed to a place not far distant from this
Market-place, and where the Butter-Cross stood, or rather between that and the shambles,
which looked before very bare, there is since erected a brick building 123 feet in length,
the front of which is supported by ten stone pillars, in the middle of this front are three
niches of stone, designed for placing of the statues of King George the 1st, and the Prince
and Princess of Wales in them, but they remain still empty; above these is a dial with
an hour hand, and on the top of all the building is placed the statue of Justice; between
the pillars and some shops and the shambles is an open walk, in the middle of which a
broad stair-case leads up into the long room where the Tanners were wont to sell their
leather, this has now a boarded floor and two chimneys in it; here the Mayor and Sheriffs give their Michaelmas Entertainments, &c. On the left hand a few steps higher is the
Court were the Assizes and Sessions were held for the Town, which formerly used to be
done in the old Town-Hall, and whither, since the late reparation, (new fronting and
otherwise beautifying of it) they are again removed. This building is called the NewChange; it cost the Corporation 2400l. Notwithstanding all these alterations the several
dealers or market people keep to the same spots or as near to them as they can, where
they used to vend their different commodities, except, that Timber is not now brought
to Market, but sold on Wharfs and in Yards, neither do the Rope-makers at this time
stand in the Market, and those who sell Fish have at present their stands before the NewChange, and the Gardeners who are mightily encreased since the year 1705, have a row
of stalls beyond the Malt-Cross.
Besides the Malt-Cross, there are two others the Hen-Cross and the Weekday-Cross,
The first stands east of Timber-Hill, and almost in the centre between four streets which
here meet; it is a fair column standing on an hexangular basis four steps high, this is
the Poultry Market as may be gathered from its name; hither on Saturdays the Country
People bring, all forts of Fowls both tame and wild, as Geese, Turkeys, Ducks, Pigeons, &c. also Pigs. The Week day-Cross is likewise a column standing on an octangular basis larger than the former, with four steps placed almost in the midst of an open
space between the High and Middle Pavement; here the Wednesday and Friday Market
is kept, for Butter, Eggs, Pigeons, and wild Fowl, and all kind of Fruit in Season; besides on Fridays here are sold, Sea and River Fish. Near this Cross stand other Shambles placed north and south, where all the week except on Saturdays, the Butchers sell all
kinds of Flesh-meat. Over and above all these Markets, a Monday Market was lately
endeavoured to be established, on a piece of waste ground between the west end of St.
Peter's Church yard, Wheelergate and Houndgate, which attempt though it did not answer the end, because the Country People would not take to it, yet has proved an advantage to the town, for this place, which is in the heart of the town and was a mere sink before, and dangerous to pass especially in the night, is now made good and as well paved
as any other part of Nottingham. The Cross, with a roof supported by four pillars is now
walled in, and proves a very convenient receptacle for the Town's Fire Engines, and on
Saturdays it is the Sheep Market, the Folds, which were formerly placed in the Great
Market Place being now removed to this, they stand along the west and north sides of St.
Peter's Church-yard and at the east end of Houndgate."
In general, are upon a narrow scale, if we except that of Castle-gate and High-pavement.
And it may be remarked that the new erections called Bunkers hill, and others in that part
of the town, are not more convenient; indeed some of them are extremely filthv passages:
some of the dwellings seem scattered by the hand of chance, regardless of health, decency
or convenience. I had almost forgot one street, however that is spacious, but of no long
standing, which was till lately, called The Back-side. This passage is now called Parliament
Street and obtained its present name from the following circumstance:—
One Rouse, an inhabitant, a man of some property; but a little deranged in his mind,
offered himself as a candidate, at an election to serve in Parliament, some few years since,
in one of his mad fits. He treated his companions, the lower orders of the electors, with
ale, purl, and sometimes rhubarb, which he strongly recommended to all, as an excellent
thing for the constitution. He not liking the name of the place he lived in, The Backside, and always thinking of the dignity he coveted, was at the expence of placing boards
at some of the conspicuous corners of the passages, on which was written ParliamentStreet, whence he was to pass to his seat in Westminster-Hall. Some of these boards are
still remaining; the man is sunk into the grave, but the street has effectually got a name,
perhaps for ages.
Here I cannot omit the following quotation, "The origin of the names of several
Places says Deering, is as various as that of the Sir-names of Men. Some are derived
from their situation, as the High, Low, and Middle-pavements, the Back-side, Backlane, &c. Some from their shape and magnitude, as the Long-row, Broad-lane, Shorthill, Narrow-marsh, &c. Some from the neighbourhood of some Church, Chapel, Religious House, or the Castle: as St. Mary's-gate, St. Peter's-gate, St. James's-lane,
Castle gate, &c. Some from some noted person living there, or having a property in
that place: as, Marsden's Court, Stephen's Court, Chappel's Court, Barkergate,
Bellergate. Some from the former condition of the ground: as, Rotten-row, or from
what in times past stood there, as Cuckstool-row. Some from particular people inhabiting the place as Jew-lane, (fn. 7) or from some animals formerly kept there: as HoundGate and Spaniel-Row, where doubtless in the time when our Kings used to reside in
the Castle of Nottingham, the Hounds and Spaniels of the King, used to be kept, and as
at this present time Lions are kept at the Tower, so formerly in the room of these, Bears
used to be kept, as appears by the title of the Officer who takes care of them, (which to
this day) is not the King's Lion-Keeper but the King's Bear-Keeper, and thence Bearward-Lane may have obtained its name. Some from the frequent passage of cattle and
other live provisions: as Sheep Lane, Cow Lane, Goose Gate, &c. And some from
the particular trades that used to dwell in them: as Sadler Gate, Fletcher Gate, Smithy
Row, Bridlesmith Gate, and Gridlesmith Gate, of which two last my Anonymous Author expresses himself to this purpose: "Of the Streets in Nottingham I find two very
near in sound, differing only in one letter, viz. B and G, but very wide in their derivation, for the first was so called by reason of the great number of Smiths dwelling there,
who made Bitts, Snaffles and other articles for Bridles, of which trade there are some still
inhabiting this street though the major part of them is now worn out by Smiths of a
rougher stamp, such as make Plough Irons, Coulters, Shares, Stroake and Nayles, Harrow Teeth and the like, of which trade there are at this day such store in this street, and
other parts of this town, as serve to furnish not only the County of Nottingham, but divers other bordering Shires, as Leicester, Rutland and Lincoln. The reason of which
number I suppose is, the great plenty of coals got and the great plenty of iron made in
Gridlesmith Gate he turns into Girdlesmith Gate and this he derives from the dialect
of the common people about the confines of Derby and Staffordshire, who call a Girdle a
Gridle, and in this street such lived, who made Buckles, Hooks, and other matters for
Nottingham has in general one benefit hardly to be matched by any other of the Kingdom, to wit: That the inhabitants are not only well provided with good Barley to turn
into Malt and Ale (for which this Town is famed all over England) but that they have
also the best, coolest and deepest rock cellars, to stow their liquor in, many being 20, 24
to 36 steps deep, nay in some places there are cellars within cellars deeper and deeper in
the rock; but of all the rock cellars those which his Honour Willoughby not many
years ago caused to be hewed out, deserve the principal notice for several reasons, and it
is a question whether there be any rock cellars to be compared with them in the kingdom. From the paved yard even with the brewhouse, which is about 12 feet below the
level of the ground floor, these cellars are 16 feet perpendicular in depth, the passage
leading down to them opens to the north, is arched and has 32 easy steps covered with
bricks, and receives light enough to make the descent pleasant; at the bottom you meet
with three doors, that which faces you leads to the greatest cellar, the other two on each
side give entrance into two lesser cellars; all three describe exactly circles having hemispherical roofs, the centre of each is supported by a proportionable round pillar of rock,
the lesser have bins all around them, and what is particularly remarkable is, that in so
large an extent of rock requisite for three such considerable excavations there does not appear the least crack or flaw.
The shallowest cellars are made use of by tradesmen for store places to keep certain
goods in; others had large and level floors in them with cisterns and kilns to steep barley
and dry malt in, of these there were very many even so lately as the latter part of the
reign of King Charles the Ist, and in some of these subterraneous Malt Rooms, they
used to make Malt as kindly in the heat of the summer, as above ground in the best time
of the winter, and though those Malt Kilns were much less than the Malt Offices at present, which are almost all above ground, yet the number of the others and the working
of them all the year round, made the yearly quantity very considerable, else this Town
could never have supplied with Malt, Lancashire, Cheshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire and
the Peak of Derbyshire, which used to be done by carriers and huksters, then commonly
called badgers, of whom those of Cheshire used to make a double return, by bringing
Salt from the Withes, and carrying back Malt.
The Town of Nottingham is about two Statute miles, and the County of the Town
spreads its jurisdiction upwards of ten miles in circumference, the boundaries of which
they carefully preserve by chusing every half year a certain number of persons of the
town, headed by one of the Coroners, which are called the Middleton-Jury; this name I
take to be a contraction of Middle-Town-Jury, not only because they are summoned from
amongst the Town's people in the Town, but because they not only take care of the extreme boundaries, but they likewise walk through the middle and every part of the
Town, taking notice of, and presenting all incroachments and nuisances.
Speaking of Nuisances calls to my mind what I should have mentioned before when
I was speaking of Building in general, viz. my finding some time ago in the Statute
Books, a title of a Statute of the 27th of Henry the 8th. c. 1. For re-edifying Nottingham, Gloucester, Northampton and other Towns. This put me to a stand how this decay should come, not having either read or heard of any Fire, Tempest or War, this
Town had suffered by, I therefore in hopes of some information wrote to Mr. Plumptre,
who likewise not recollecting to have read of any bad accident of so modern a date, went
and did see the original Statute, and was so good as to transmit to me the Preamble,
which tho' it does not relate the cause, yet tells us the condition this and other Towns
were in at that time: It is as follows:—
"For so moche as dyverse and many Howses, Mesuages and Tenements of Habitations in the Townes of Notyngham, Shruysbury, Ludlow, Bridgenorth, Quynborow,
Northamption and Gloucester, now are and long Tyme have been in great Rayne, and
Decaye, and specially in the pryncypal and cheif Stretes there beyng, in the whiche cheif
Stretes in Tymes passed have been betwtiful dwellyng Howses there well inhabited,
whiche at this day moche part thereof is desolate and voyde Groundes, with Pyttes, Cellars and Vaultes lying open and unkovered very perillous for people to go by in the
Nyghte without Jeopardy of Lyf, whiche Decayes are to the great impoveryshyng and
Hindrans of the same Townes for the Remedy whereof it may please the Kyng oure
Soveraigne Lorde by the assent of his Lordes spiritualy and temporal and the Commons
in this present Parlyament assembled, and by th' authorite of the same that may be
The enacting part provides that if the Owners of the vacant and decayed Houses
and Grounds do not re edify the same, within three years after Proclamation for that purpose by the chief Magistrates of the Towns, those vacant and decayed Grounds, and
Houses, shall fall to the Lords of the Manors, and if in three years more those Lords do
not re-edity, then they shall go to the Bodies Corporate of those Towns respectively, and
if they do not re-edify in three years more, the said Grounds and Houses shall revert to
their first Owners. And there is then a saving to all persons under age, under Coverture,
in Prison or beyond the Sea, provided they re-edify within three years after the Disability
Before I conclude this Section continues Deering, I cannot forbear taking notice of my
anonymous Author's blameable partiality for his native place, with regard to its beauty
and cleanliness. He is extremely angry with the Author of a Leonine Distich which
he fathers upon some Stall fed Monk, viz.
Non, nisi confingam possum, laudare Nottingham,
Gens fætet atque focus, fordidus ille locus.
The which he translates thus:
I cannot without Lye and Shame,
Commend the Town of Nottingham,
The People and the Fuel stink,
The Place as fordid as a Sink.
If he think the lines to be very old, they could not at all affect the condition of Nottingham in his time. But since they have so highly provoked his indignation, let us fee
whether the injustice done the town by them be so great as he fain would make it.
In 1641 the traveller especially in winter, found the Trent lanes very dirty and after
he had passed the Leen bridge, the very foot of the town called the Bridge End, deep and
miry. At his first entrance into the narrow passage which used to lead between two high
precipices to the upper part of the town, he was from a parcel of little rock-houses (if the
wind was northerly) saluted with a volley of suffocating smoke, caused by the burning
of gorse and Tanner's knobs. Every body knows the tragrancy and cleanliness of Tanners, Fellmongers and Curriers, many of which were then dispersed all over the town;
the greatest thoroughfare in the town, Bridlesmith-Gate was then lined on both sides
with the roughest kind of Black-smiths; the Market Place though spacious, yet was
paved but on one side, and on the other called the Sands it was very miry. That place
near St. Peter's Church where the Monday Market was after projected, was not paved, and
part of it was so boggy that there was a bridge of planks laid a-cross it with a single rail,
till of late years, over which people did pass not without danger in the night time; all
St. Peter's Church-yard side was low and dirty, and from the rock of the Church-yard
through Lister-Gate to the Leen, was one continued swamp and the ground was not
raised and paved till the year ******, (fn. 8) when Mr. William Thorp and Mr. Lilly were
Chamberlains. All this is evident by what people remember to have observed within
these 40 years, when the reader may judge whether the author of the Distich has done
any more than delivered the naked truth. To me it is plain that the improvement of
the Town, by mending roads and raising and paving streets, as well as beautifying it
with sightly buildings, was a task left to later generations, who have indeed now done it
effectually, and no stranger who has taken the pains attentively to consider the situation
and present buildings, the state of trade and manufacture, the plenty of provisions brought
to the Market, the excellent malt liquor brewed at Nottingham, but will gladly subscribe
to what is said of them in the following Lines:"—
Fair Nottingham with brilliant beauty graced,
In ancient Shirewood's South West Angle placed,
Where Northern Hills her tender Neck protect,
With dainty Flocks of golden Fleeces deckt,
No roaring Tempest discompose her Mien,
Her Canopy of State's a Sky serene.
She on her left Belvoir's rich Vale descrys,
On th' other, Clifton Hill regale her Eyes;
If from her lofty Seat she bows her Head,
There's at her Feet a flowry Carpet spread
Britain's third Stream which runs with rapid force,
No sooner Spys her, but retards his Course,
He turns, he winds, he cares not to be gone,
Until to her he first his Homage done,
He chearfully his wat'ry Tribute pays,
And at her Footstool foreign Dainties lays,
With Assiduity her favour Courts,
And richest Merchandize from Sea imports.
Ceres her Gift with lavish hand bestows,
And Bacchus o'er his Butt of English Nectar glows.
Thy Sons O ! Nottingham with fervour pray,
May no intestine Feuds thy Blifs betray,
Health, Plenty, Pleasure, then will ne'er decay.
Town-Hall, Town Gaol, and County Hall.
The annexed view of the Town-hall and Prison, in 1741, was taken by Paul Sanby,
and stood upon the site of the present, represented below. Here the business of assize
and sessions, is transacted. The entrance by steps with iron railing, is to the Town-hall,
that in front, under the columns, is that of the prison.
The County-hall stands higher up the street, on the same side, near St. Mary's church.
The front is a plain building of stone, heavy and prison like. It was built in 1770, on
the site of an old wretched building, called Shire-Hall. Behind this building is the
County Prison. From some of the apartments of this place, you have fine bird's-eye
views of some parts of the town down the descending rock. In many instances you see
the tops of chimnies of one house on a level with the entrance into another, which to
strangers, who inhabit, or live in towns seated on a plain, is atracting. In one place or
two it is almost perpendicular, I was shewn one of these precipices, I judge 70 feet deep,
where a man jumped from his prison to the bottom to gain his liberty.
Deering says, "At the upper end of the High-pavement, almost over against Mary gate,
is the King's Hall, or the County or Shire Hall. This though within the Town is not
within the County of the Town of Nottingham, being excepted by the Charter of Henry
VI. and all the subsequent Charters. In this Hall the Assizes and Sessions for the County
at large, as also the County Court are held, &c. here likewise by the fussrages of the
Freeholders the Knights of the Shire are chosen who are to serve the County in Parliament, and the Coroners of the Shire, as well as the Verderers for the Forest of Shirewood.
This Hall was built of stone, 27 feet and a half in front, and 54 feet deep, the courts stood
facing one another, the Judge of the Common Pleas looking towards the south, and the
Judge of the King's Bench towards the north. (fn. 9) John Boun, Serjeant-at-Law, did
some years before the Civil-War, give an house having the Common Hall of the County
on the east, and another house, now (fn. 10) Sir Thomas Hutchinson's, on the west side, to
be used by the Country People for the more convenient Tryals of Nisi prius, it was built
with arches open to the street as it remains to this day.
I found a large pannelled table which formerly was hung up in the Hall, but since the
repairing of the courts has been taken down, cut in two, and made use of to repair the
west end of the Nisi prius Bar; upon this table were painted 23 coats of arms, with the
bearers names under each, with this inscription.
These whose names and arms are here set down, being then in the Commission of the
Peace for this County, were Contributors to the building of this Hall. A. D. 1618.
Some of these arms and names are rubbed out and those I have been able to make out
are the following.
"Lord Cavendith, Lord Stanhope, Sir Percival Willoughby, Knt. Sir John Byron,
Sir George Parkyns, Knt. Sir George Lascelles; Knt. Sir Gervas Clifton, Bart. Sir Francis
Leek, Knt. Sir Thomas Hutchinson, Knt. Folk Cartwright, Esq. Hardolph Wastnes,
Esq. Robert Plerpoint, Esq. Robert Sutton, Esq. John Wood, Esq. Robert Williamson,
Esq. Lancelot Rolleston, Esq. Gervas Trevery, Esq."
By this table it appears that this house was given to the County upwards of 24 years
before those intestine troubles. (fn. 11)
Both Courts are at this time kept in the old Hall, and though of late repaired and altered, so that the Judge of the Crown faces the west and the Judge of the Common Pleas
the south, yet are they still very inconvenient. The old as well as the additional arched
Hall is in a very indifferent condition, the stone work is here and there patched up with
brick, in short 'tis hardly fit to bring any of his Majesty's Judges into, and indeed a certain Judge being very much offended at it, instead of speaking to the gentlemen of the
County in a persuasive manner, laid a fine upon the County of 2000l. but it not being
determined how the same should be levied, so far from forwarding the building of a new
Hall, it has rather retarded it; however I would not be suspected to doubt, that e'er long
the Gentlemen Justices of the County, will agree on some expedient for the honour of
their County and in duty and regard to his Majesty, (whose Representatives the Justices
of Assize are) for erecting a building worthy of themselves, and suitable for the reception
of the Ministers of Justice. Under the old Hall was the Gaol for the Counties of Nottingham and Derby, as several Charters express, this is most likely, that which King John
built. It is now converted into a Brewhouse and Cellars, for the use of the gaoler, and
a new one is built behind the old Hall, leaving a light airy yard between.
Here I must not omit to acquaint the reader, that as after the Norman Conquest, this
town was divided into two Boroughs of separate jurisdiction; so there were also two
Town-Halls, of which that hitherto not mentioned seems to have been the best building,
viz. of stone, it stood in the French Borough, on the spot where now the Feather's Inn
is, some ruins of the old Stone Work is still visible about the stables. The street leading
from this house up to the Castle, commonly called by the people Frier-lane is in all
leases termed Moot-hall-gate."
This place was built by the late Mr. James Whiteley, master of a strolling company
of players who had a circuit in the neighbouring counties, a great part of his mumming
life. He was a jovial and entertaining companion. Without, it has nothing attracting;
within it shews a theatrical model. A remnant of king Whiteley's merry-makers have
weathered many a stormy season, and still, upon their aged stumps, tread, periodically,
their old master's boards. It is not every potentate, that pensions, after a life of servitude,
his faithful servants. This king James did, say some of his trusty Dons.
Free School.—Is noticed Page 40.
This School stands near the Town Gaol, on the High-Pavement; it is a neat little
edifice. In the front are figures of a boy and girl. This Institution is chiefly supported
by voluntary contribution. The site, on which it stands, was given by Mr. William
Thorp, Attorney. Here are also other Schools of interior note, supported by the liberal
and humane. Wilkinson's Boarding-School, for young gentlemen, has been in the highest
repute. See the year 1786, page 69.
The CASTLE.—See Page 17, Section 2.
Is kept in the parish church of St. Peter. There are in all 182 parishes and chapelries
within the jurisdiction of the Arch deacon of Nottingham.
There is, besides, the jurisdiction of Southwell, consisting of 28 parishes and chapelries;
and the jurisdiction of the Dean and Chapter of York, ten parishes and chapelries, and
the peculiar of Kinalton, the Vicar of which is collated by the Arch-bishop of York,
and has ecclesiastical jurisdiction, belonging to it, of which the Vicar is commissary.
Nottingham, in ecclesiastical matters, is under the see of York; it had once a suffragan
Bishop. The last was Richard Barns, who officiated in the reign of Elizabeth.
Medals and Coins.
We are favoured with the following detail of several which have been found in this
county, from Mr. Merrey's collection of Nottingham, and a brief account of our
English Coinage, by the same gentleman, Author of the Remarks upon the Coinage of
England, lately printed by S. Tupman, Nottingham, and which have been commended by
all the Reviewers.
No. 1.—About the year 1771, a number of Roman silver Medals were turned up by
the plough, in a field near Hickling, in this County: Among which was a fair
one with the head of the Emperor, and no other title than Divi F. Augustus. On
the reverse, the image of Apollo in robes, with his Harp, an emblem of Peace; on the
exurge A. C. T. which shews it to be struck upon the victory obtained over Pompey
at Actium, whereby tranquillity was promoted throughout the empire, and made way
for the birth of the Prince-of-Peace, who was born about thirty years after.
There were many other Roman Emperors, as Tiberius, Nero, Galba, Vitellius, Vespasian, Titus Vespasian, Domitian, Trajan, Hadrian, &c. and by far the most of the
two last named, but as we only propose to copy a few, we step over others to give No. 2,
of Domitian, the twelfth Emperor; where we shall find how titles had multiplied.—
Imp: Caes: Domit: Aug: Germ: PM: TR: PVII. On the reverse, the image of
Minerva, (whose son he presumed to call himself) in a walking posture, a Lance in
her hand lifted up as ready to strike, and her Shield on her left arm; around Imp. XIIII.
Cos. XIII. Cens. P. P. P. Which abbreviations, on both sides, may be enlarged thus:
Imperator, Caesar, Domitianus, Augustus, Germanicus, Pontifex maximus, Tribunitia potestate
the seventh time, Imperator the fourteenth time, Consul the thirteenth time, Perpetual Cenfor, and Pater patriæ or Father of his country. This Medal was struck near ninety
years after the birth of Christ, and one hundred and twenty after the former medal of
The Romans frequently struck medals of the Empresses; in those found at Hickling,
there were ten of the elder Faustina, and two of her daughter, who was wife to the
Emperor Antoninus the Philosopher.
No. 3, is a copy of one of the latter; around the head Faustina Augusta. Reverse, the
Empress in robes, the wand, an emblem of dignity and power, in one hand, and holding
out the other as presenting a child to the Empire. Motto, Fecunditas, which seems to
imply a wish that the Empress might have more children. As she was married Anno
139, the medal was probably struck the year after. She died Anno 177.
The Romans began to coin silver 290 years before Christ, and soon fixed upon a size
and weight to which they nearly adhered five or six centuries. They were not so broad
as our sixpence but thicker; so as to weigh near eightpence of our present money; they
were two of these pieces the good Samaritan left with the host, though it is translated a
penny in the New Testament. The impressions exhibit great art and taste, a striking
likeness of the person intended, and with strong relief until the latter end of their power,
when the arts declined.
Their current Copper and Brass Medals were of various sizes, great numbers are
found as large as our crown-piece, but in the lower Empire money became scarce, and
no large ones are found, pay some are so small as not to weigh the third part of our
farthing. In 1776, there were found at Epperstoh, ten miles from Nottingham, about
a thousand Roman copper coins, nearly of a size and weight with our farthing; of ten
different Emperors; but as they are very common we shall only give one.
No. 4, has the head of a man of years, with radiated Crown, the Legend Imp. Aelianus,
P. P. Reverse, the image of Victory; Motto; Victoria Aug. This Emperor in 267,
usurped that title and enjoyed it only a month at Mentz, in Germany; when he was subdued by Posthumus who had usurped in Britain. The medal is so rare that a late Essay
on Medals, says; there have been none found, and indeed this was the only one of the fort
in the thousand.
We will now turn to the British Coinage, and give a sample of different ages.
No. 5, is a very ancient coins supposed to be too valuable for when made, for common use; it is a mixture of gold and silver, and weights.
In Gibson's Edition of Camden, page 697, we have a copy of it, and in page 648, he
says, "From this and others it is manifest the Britains had gold and silver coins of
their own, before the Roman conquest." One side of it is a little convex and the other
concave upon which is a very rude design of the British Horse which was always in great
esteem. The antiquity of it was confirmed by one eminently skilled in medals.
No. 6, is an Angle Saxon penny of Aetheldred Rex Anglo. As there were two of the
name, this is supposed to be the latter, who began his reign in 979: The reverse, says
Camden, page 160, "Seems to be a devout acknowledgment of his being sustained by
the hand of Almighty God, who is Alpha and Omega;" the two Greek letters at the
sides of the hand. The letters around shew it to have been coined by Thurkeret, at
Torkley, a town separated from this county by the river Trent.
No. 7. is a penny of William of Scotland, who reigned from 1166 to 1213; and
though to long a reign his coins were very scarce; this was found with those at Elron;
in this County, and the only whole one of the fort, there was half of one found with
them; for in those days they frequently cut pennies into halves and quarters for the sake
Thought this was coined 200 years after Eltheldred's time the execution is much
horse, and shews how backward the art of coining was in Scotland.
To shew now the art stood in England, we give in No. 8, a penny of Henry the third,
who began his reigh but three years after the death of William of Scotland, it is one of
those found at Elton. Henricus Rex. Reverse, Walter on Lun, for London. The coin
of England at this time consisted of silver pennies only, there being no piece of money
larger nor less, for some hundred years before, and the coinage of gold had been disused
from the time of Athelstan, Anno 930, though it was used in large payments in Byzants and Ingotts. Our pound sterling was a pound weight of silver coined into 240
pennies, and the penny was a penny-weight, or nearly the weight of our present threepence; it would at that time do more than pay a labouring man for his day's work, or
purchase a peck of corn; and hence the Roman piece of silver might be translated a
penny because it would nearly do the same in the time of our Saviour, as we perceive
by the parable of the Labourers.
No. 9.—To prevent the necessity of cutting pennies, there were farthings and halfpence
coined about the year 1300. No. 9, is a halfpenny of Edw. R. Angl. Dns. Hyb. that is
King of England and Lord of Ireland; he was the first who took the latter title upon
the coin; Rev. Civitas, London. The name of the Minter being left out. The weight
of this piece is eleven grains, which shews it was struck before the reduction of our
silver money took place. This, with many more, as well as pennies of the same King,
Edward the third, were found in digging a drain about a mile south of Nottingham, in
No. 10.—Edward the third was the first of our Kings after the conquest, who, (in
1344) coined gold in a sufficient quantity to make it current. Several of his Rose Nobles
and their halves were found amongst the rubbish carried from a house repaired upon the
Long-row, Nottingham, in 1782: among them there was one more rare than the rest,
of the Duke of Burgundy and Earl of Flanders, and so much like the English Noble,
that it will not be necessary to give a copy of both; they are the same in size, and fineness of gold, about five penny-weights each, the difference is in the Legend, and a small
distinction in the arms which the duke holds on his arm as a shield; for in the place of the
lions there are bends dexter, while the fluer-de-lis are quartered (the duke being related
to the French king) in the same manner as our Noble. The Legend, P. H S. Die
Gra: Dux Burg: Comes & Dns: Eland. The initial letters are obscure, and probably
done so on purpose that they might the easier pass for our English Noble; it is thought
the piece was struck by Phillip, who became Duke of Burgundy, 1349. The reverse,
is similar to our noble, and the same motto, I. H. C. Autem Transiens. Per Medium Illorum
Ibat. That is, Jesus passed through the midst of them and went his way. St. Luke,
Chap. 4, Ver. 30. If it should be asked why should a foreign Prince counterfeit the
gold coin of England, and yet use as good gold as our own? I answer it has mostly been
a fault in this country, to value gold at more silver than it was worth, it is the fault of
the present day; but Edward, in his first coinage, attempted to make a considerable profit,
and ordered the noble to go for more silver than any nation in Europe thought it worth:
hence if they paid us for wool, &c. in coined gold, less weight would do than if they had
paid in ingots; and no foreigner would pay in silver because he could procure Flanders
rose nobles at ten per cent. cheaper than we valued them at. The people of England
were so sensible of this, that they refused to give change for the King's nobles, though by
proclamations and threats he strove to enforce the circulation; and the parliament, to
protect the people, passed a law, that "None should be compelled to take the new money
within the sum of twenty shillings," which, at that time, was nearly a pound weight of
silver, and in the purchase of provisions, labour, &c. was equal to ten pounds sterling of
the present money. This act of parliament has hardly been mentioned by either Historians or Antiquaries, and consequently never accounted for, which it is hoped will
plead an excuse for the writer introducing it here, especially as the same fault of valuing
our gold too high (though government gets nothing by it now) is the real cause of the
scarcity of silver for fifty years past. The reader may find this subject more fully explained in the Remarks on the Coinage of England, printed by Mr. Tupman, Nottingham.
No. 11.—Is a quarter noble of Edward the third, more rare than the noble. It was
found in a garden near the new burial-ground in Woolpack-lane, Nottingham, 1791.
—The Legend Edwar. D. G. Rex. Angl. & Franc. Reverse, the Rose like the
Noble, but the motto, Exaltabitur in Gloria: He shall be raised in glory.—Weight 29
No. 12.—This King, having, by different steps, reduced the penny from twenty three
grains to eighteen; and silver becoming of less value compared with every necessary of
life, in 1353, introduced the coining of groats (then called Grosses) of 72 grains, and
their halves. This No. is a sample of the first enlargement of our silver money. The
Legend Edward. D. G. Rex. Angl. Fra. & Dns. Hyb. On the reverse is added, an exterior rim, with this motto, Posui Deum Adjutorem meum: That is, I have made God my
Though the practice of reducing the weight of our silver money was continued by
several succeeding Kings, so as to bring the groat from 72 grains to 48, in the time of
Henry the seventh, (and in succeeding reigns to 32 grains) yet the same manner of placing the head with a full face, and the same motto and place of mintage on the reverse,
was continued until the year 1504. And it is observable, that during the preceding 300
years, there does not appear to have been so much as an attempt to preserve any similitude of the several Kings in the impression of the face; for, Mr. Folkes observes, although Henry the sixth became king when only nine months old, and reigned above
38 years, yet can no difference be observed in his counternance, by which his first monies
and his last may be distinguished from each other; and we may further observe, they
never placed a date upon any money till the reign of Edward the sixth, 1548. Henry
the third, in his twenty-seventh year, 1242, began to distinguish one king from another,
of the same name, by adding III to his name upon some pennies, and Terci upon others,
yet his successors, the Henries, Edwards, and Richards, never adopted the improvement
'till Henry the seventh, 1504.
No. 13.—We therefore as a sample of the first considerable improvement, gave a groat
with the king's head, and a likeness of his face. Legend Henric VII. De Gra Rex. Agl.
& F. Reverse, the arms of England in a shield, motto Posui Deum, &. as before.
The coinage continued to improve through the reign of Henry the eighth, and larger
pieces were introduced into common circulation equal to three groats, taking the name
of Testoons. But in his time the silver coin was so debased as to be more than half brass,
and when the extreme inconveniency was felt, and the coin restored to its former purity
by his son Edward, the Testoon was ordered to go for no more than half of what is was
first coined for, and hence the name of Testoon or Tester for a sixpence, and then the
piece of three groats took the name of shilling, which was a weight originally of the
twentieth part of a pound or twelve penny-weights.
No. 14.—To shew the improvement of our coin about sixty years after the last, we
give a gold half sovereign of Edward the sixth; where we find a youthful countinance
and no ornament upon his head, around which, instead of titles, the motto Scutum Fidei
Proteget eum. or, the shield of faith shall protect him. On the reverse, Edward VI. D. G.
Agl. Fra. & Hib. Rex. Around a garnished escutchion with the arms of England.
From the time of Edward the third to the end of Elizabeth's reign, the pound sterling
had been reduced to one third of its original weight, consequently the penny was under
eight grains; yet such was the attention in those times to accommodate the public with
change, that there were pieces of silver current in her reign of a halfpenny, of three farthings, of a penny, of three halfpence, of two-pence, of three-pence, a groat, six-pence,
and up to five shillings; for people in those days expected to have real value in their coin,
and therefore copper was not current. The quantity of silver coined in her reign was
four millions and a half sterling, and if we consider the smallness of the coin, we may
reasonable suppose there were more pieces of money struck in a year, through her long
reign than has ever been done at the mint either before or since; this was occasioned by
a flow of silver from the new worlds, which created such a hurry of business as to check
the improvements in her coinage, which otherwise we might justly expect would have
taken place. From these causes her coins are so similar and so very common, as are those
of James and Charles the first, that we pass them over except, in one instance, being
No. 15.—It frequently happened in the civil-wars when the demand for money was
urgent, and artists not at hand, that very poor dies were made use of; or if a town was
besieged, they coined money with the best stamp they could get made, so that if a man
could not form the likeness of a King, he might cut a crown and a few figures, without
titles, or motto: of this sort is No. 15. On one side O. B. S. for Obsidium or seige;
Newark, 1646: On the other side was the figures for the value in pence as VI, IX, XII,
and XXX. We readily perceive how conveniently these pieces might be shaped out of
old plate, and be adjusted in weight by the sheers.
Soon after the restoration, the mill and screw were adopted, which coined our money
much handsomer and would preserve it from chipping, but having been in common circulation for near 130 years, renders them no object of curiosity, unless we except the
first of the fort cut by the famous artist named Simon, bearing the head of Oliver Cromwell. This crown piece, it is said, has not been equalled by any other artist since. The
writer of this will cheerfully shew it, and many other coins and Roman medals, to any
person desirous of feeing them.
The plate exhibits the true size of the coins, and it is only justice due to Mr. Wigley,
the engraver, to say they are copied with taste and minute exactness in every particular.
Since the plate was published, there have been found near Calverton, seven miles from
Nottingham, a broken pot which had contained near 200 Roman silver medals of size
and quality of the three first in the plate, but mostly of Trajan and Hadrian who reigned
from the year 98 to 138.
The coins, &c. below, are from the collection of Mr. Wm. Stretton, of Nottingham,
(who on every occasion required, has shewn a readiness to aid the prosecution of this
work) except No. 8, which is in the possession of Mr. J. W. Kellingley, of Nottingham.
See Mr. Stretton's collections of Tradesmens' Tokens, page 56.
About the year 1789, there were found amongst some sand, which had been dug near
the Forest, on the north side of the town of Nottingham, several Pennies of Edward the
Confessor, in high preservation; five varieties of which are given in the annexed plate,
one of them being of the Nottingham mint, and is noticed by Thoroton, is a great
curiosity, and the only one I have seen.
No. 1.—Edward Rex. The King's head, bearded, having on a kind of Conical
Cap, or Crown, set round with Pearls; in his hand the Scepter, ending in a Cross.
Reverse, Forne on Snoting, (Nottingham.) A Cross voided, with an Annulet in
the centre.—Weight, 21 grains and a half.
No. 2.—The same, without the Pearls round the Crown.
Reverse, Lude On Eoferice, (York). A Cross voided, with an Annulet in the center, and one in the fourth Quarter.—Weight 22 grains.
No. 3.—The same as No. 1. the Scepter ending in a Lelly instead of a Cross.
Reverse, Brunting On Leic, (Leicster). Arms the same as No. 1.—Weight 19
grains and a half.
No. 4.—Edward Rex Angl. The King sitting on a Throne, having an imperial
Crown on his head, with the Hastapura in his right hand, and the Orb and Cross in his
Reverse, Brintwin on Wall, (Wallingford). An open Cross between four Martlets.—Weight 21 grains.
No. 5.—Edward Rex. Types as No. 1.
Reverse, Leofrine on Sand, (Sandwich). Lypes as No. 1—Weight 19 grs. & a half.
No. 6, 7, & 8,—are the Half Crown, Ninepence, and Sixpence of Charles the First's,
coined at Newark; which with the Shilling given in the preceding plate, are all the varieties
coined there during the siege.
The following to No. 15, are Tradesmens' Tokens, not noticed in plate, page 56.
No. 9.—Thomas Cocking, Chandler, in Nottingham.
No. 10.—Henry Lambe, in Newarke, his Halfpenny, 1667.
Noe want where these are.
No. 11.—Joh. Hodges, his Halfpenny, in Nottingham.
No. 12.—Richard Turpin, Chandler, in Nottingham.
No. 13.—Joshua Ellison, in Nottingham, 1666.
No. 14.—Christopher Hall, in Nottingham.
No. 15.—W. N. of Nottingham, his Halfpenny, 1667.
Meal and Salt.
No. 16.—The common Seal of the Town of Nottingham, which is coeval with the
Charter of King John.
Ventriloquist and Street Musician.
The former, James Burne, commonly called Shelford Tommy, is a native of that
place; and although a bird of passage, he is most frequently to be seen at Nottingham,
where, by his extraordinary natural powers he has, in a great measure, subsisted for some
years. He carries in his pocket, an ill-shaped doll, with a broad face, which he exhibits
at public-houses, on fair days, race days, market days, &c. as giving utterance to his
own childish jargon. The gazing croud, who gather round him to see this wooden
baby, and hear, as it appears, its speeches, are often deceived; nothing but the movement of the ventriloquist's lips, which he endeavours to conceal, can lead to the deception. I will notice one or two of his exploits in this way.
Tommy was one day at the week-day cross, at Nottingham, and there so much surprized a country girl, in a frolicsome moment, by her hearing, as she thought, a child
speak to her and seeing none, that her astonishment was wrought up to such a pitch as to
bring on a succession of alarming sits, by which the poor girl suffered for some time.
This wanton exercise of his talents got. Tommy a lodging, for a little time, in Bridewel,
by the order of the magistrates.
Another of his jokes, but of a less serious nature, is told thus: Tommy following a
carrier's waggon, on a certain day, imitated, at times, the crying of a child, so naturally,
that the waggoner stopped his horses several times, on the road, to examine the waggon,
conceiving that the cries of the child came from within his carriage; but on examining the
straw, at the tail of the waggon, he could discover no child, and consequently proceeded on
his journey, the wily ventriloquist at his side. A little before the waggon entered the
next village upon the road, Tommy repeated the crying of a child so effectually and so
naturally, as proceeding from within the waggon, that the driver, fearing that he might
be accessary to the death of an infant, was determined to unload his waggon at the village, which, by the help of some people, to whom he had told his story, he effected; but
found therein no child living or dead. Tommy, we are told, in this search, assisted,
who doubtless secretly enjoyed the joke, for which, had it been found out, he would
most likely, got a severe threshing.
Our ventriloquist was, at another time, in the house of a stranger to his extraordinary
powers, where a servant girl, in the kitchen, was about to dress some fish, not long taken
from the river; but apparently dead. When she was about to cut off the head of one of
them, Tommy, at the instant she laid her knife on the fishes' neck, uttered, in a plaintive
voice, dont cut my head off. The girl, upon this, being much alarmed, and knowing not
whence the voice proceeded, hastily drew the knife from the little fish and stood for some
time in motionless amazement. At length, however, recovering herself, and not seeing
the fish stir, had courage to proceed to her business, and took up the knife a second time,
to sever the head of the fish from the body. Tommy, at that moment uttered rather
sharply, but mournfully, what you will cut my head off; upon which the frightened female
threw down the knife on the floor and positively refused to dress the fish.
This man appears to be about the middle age of life.
I have read somewhere of one of these rare beings, being produced in the Emperor's
dominions, and of another exercising his extraordinary talents, in London, about the beginning of this century.
The Street Musician,
Which I have classed as a companion to the Ventriloquist, was born in the parish of
Clifton, near Nottingham, at a place called Clapham. He is now nearly 70 years of age,
and is known, generally, by the name of Charley. This very singular character is often
the sport of boys and booby men; but, perhaps, under the influence of their sneers, he,
like many a knowing one, might say, let them laugh that win. It is not material to our
purpose to know of whom he was born, or how trained up into his present way of existence. This, however, is known of him to a certainty, that by his cunning, or by his
folly, in putting on such a variety of dress, as he is generally seen in, blending the trappings of the great, the array of a soldier, and the cloathing of a beggar, which he varies
at his pleasure, he draws from the pocket of the compassionate, for he is deformed and a
cripple, an existence for which his nature seems perfectly adapted. Every day, although
now enfeebled by years, you find him perambulating the streets of Nottingham to catch
game. The brown jug, the tankard or cash, are alike to him, the objects of his travel.
Sometimes the lute, at others his little horn, attract the notice of the stranger, or the boys,
his almost constant attendants. His meager figure, decrepit form, and in a frantic dress,
paddling along the streets in all seasons of the year, often supply him with pecuniary
wants; equally so do the playful indiscretions of the boys make him an object of the
stranger's bounty. But enough
All by some mean trudge through life,
Some get comforts others strife,
Some sing high and some sing low,
Some get pangs, we little know.
Some the sport of wicked boys,
Pass thro' life, with little joys.
Here the rich in splendour roll,
There the niggard starves his soul;
Here the glutton stuffs his belly,
There the lover sports with Nelly;
All have views some sort or other
Branching out from one or t'other.
This fam'd couple have their share
Of admirers at a fair,
Race or market, all the same
Cash they draw and often same.
That his baby, this his pipe
Whet their whistles as a snipe,
All intent have some design
If to fiddle dance or dine.
Of this place, there can be gathered but little to amuse the generality of readers; as a
place of amusement, in the racing line, there are but few which are considered, in any light
in competition with it. It has enough of variety for a rider to shew his skill in the management of his racer, either on trying, easing or accommodating ground. Its turf is admirably calculated for sporting: it is finely verdured upon a sandy soil: here a gentle
swell of the earth and there as gentle a declivity; in every season of the year it may be said
to be in order.
During the life time of the late Borlace Warren Esq. and Sir Charles Sedley, the races
were kept up in a stile far superior to any thing that has been done, in that way, either before or since their time; they were (using an ordinary expression) the life and soul of the
sport here. The efforts to make this ground rivalled by none, are now strongly visible
in the fences and other improvements, at present, in a state of decay. The Grand
Stand was erected in 1777, as has been observed in page 68. This elegant building
deserves notice, I have therefore given an elevation of it here, which will convey
to the reader, unacquainted with this Race-stand, an idea of its stile and grandeur. The
upper part, like other buildings of this sort, in fair weather, is occupied by the ladies
and gentlemen during the heats, the lower apartments are used as accomodation rooms
The hills within the race-ground, and those without, are amphitheatrically formed,
and serve the numerous spectators that attend the sport; upon the latter, are erected, a
number of stables for the use of racers.
Here is an annual king's plate run for.
About Nottingham, I will just notice from Deering, who was a writer on the subject:—
"If we cast an eye on Vegetables, which nature here spontaneously produces, the soil about Nottingham may justly be called a Physic Garden, abounding in great variety of useful Plants, as may be easily seen by the Catalogus Stirpium, published by me in the year
1738, to which I shall refer my reader, I shall in this place only set down what scarce
plants, both of the imperfect and perfect kind are met with hereabout, more frequently
FUNGUS's. Fungoides clavatum coloris aurantii: not in the Synopsis. It is exactly of the shape of the Pistillum of Aron.
Fungoides clavatum compressum summitatibus luteis; not in the Synopsis. This
has white and somewhat flat foot-stalks, the tops of which are of a pale yellow, are spread
thin and wrinkly, the whole is of a soft spungy substance.
Fungoides minimum fusco luteum dignitatum apicibus obtucis albis: not in the Synopsis. It is not quite an inch long of a brownish yellow colour, sending forth very short
branches, which terminate in round white knobs.
Fungi Clathroides nigri pediculis donati. Dr. Dillenius: not in the Synopsis. These
grow in clusters, are of the size, shape and colour, of mouse-turds, having on the top a
little oblique awn, and at the bottom, a short foot-stalk not much thicker than a horsehair.
Fungus favaginosus. Syn. 11 Park. Rugosus vel cavernosus five merulius. J. B.
Fungus Phalloydes. Syn. 12. J. B. Virilis Penis arreoti facie. Ger. Stink Horn.
Fungus pulverulentus coli instar perforatus cum volva Stellata Dood. Syn. 28 Stelli formis Merr. Pin. Lycoperdon vesicarium Stellatum Inst. R. H.
Byssus aureus Derbiensis humifusus. Syn. 56. found in the stone wall of Colwick
church. Saffron colour'd silken Stone-moss.
Byssus fusco-purpuria petræa gelatinam referens. Not in the Synopsis.
Byssus petreæa galatinam referens nigerrima. Not in the Synopsis.
Ulva marina tenuissima et compressa. Syn. 63.
Lichenoides crustaceum peregrinis velut literis in Scriptum. Syn. 71.
Lichenoides crustaceum nigerrimum e meris papillis conflatum. Not in the Synopsis.
Lichenoides fusco nigricans membranaceum gelatinosum majus folus latioribus Lichenis instar dispositus. Not in the Synopsts.
Bryum trichoides aurium capsulis pyriformebus nutantibus. Dr. Dillenius to whom I
sent it; this Moss is mentioned by nobody that I know of; I found it in Nottingham Park,
growing to the roof of one of the Rock-Holes, it bears heads in May.
Caryophyllus minor repens nostras. Syn. 335,
An Virginius Ger. Common here.
Lychnis sylvestris, alba nona Clusii. Syn. 339. Wild white Catchfly; on the wall
of Nottingham castle-yard, and on the rock at Sneinton Hermitage plentifully.
Colchium commune. Syn. 373. Meadow Saffron, in Nottingham Meadows, especially on the Rye hills, and on both sides the foot-path, going to Wilford, in abundance.
Gramen tremulum medium albis glumis non discriptum. In a hollow lane between
Pleasley and Mansfield.
Verbascum pulverulentuno flore tuteo parvo. J. B. Syn. 287. On a wall in SheepLane, Nottingham, also on the outside of the garden walls on the rock of the High-pavement.
Petasites major floribus longis pediculis insidentibus. Syn. 179. In the mill-yard at
Lenton, in the road to Wollaton."
Deering, pages 70 and 71, has been minute in noticing most of the articles of food,
and their prices, in his time, consequently he has included the vegetables in ordinary use.
The following are a part only of what he has given; enough for our purpose, to shew
the difference of the prices, in about 60 years, of several of the articles of life.
|Deering.||Average of the last 5 years.||July 1795.|
|Bread, Corn, London Bushel from 3s. 6d. to 4s.||Wheat 7s. per strike||18s.|
|Barley, at a medium, 16s. per qr.||36s.||60s.|
|Oats 7s. to 10s.||25s.||40s.|
|Beans and Peas between 16s. to 32s. per qr.||32s.||50s.|
|Beef, Veal, Mutton, Lamb, Pork, pr. st. of 14lb. 3s.||4s. 8d.||6s.|
|Butter, 6d. per lb.||8d. hf-penny.||9d.|
|Eggs, 16 for 4d.||8d.||10d.|
|Poultry, there has been but little variation in proportion to other things ennumerated.|
|Vegetables in general use for tables, he says, were sold in proportion to turnips 1d. per bunch.|
|Potatoes per peck, from 6d. to 8d.||5d.||1s.|
|Fine and strong ale, 4d. per quart,||4d.||5d.|
|Rye, 14s. to 16s. per quarter,||40s.||60s.|
|Hay at a medium, 30s. per ton.||70s.||90s.|
This Lordship, as Dr. Thoroton calls it, is a member of St. Mary's Nottingham; and
now may be almost considered as making a part of that place, by its vicinity.—The
views, subjoined, are merely sketches; but which, perhaps, may convey a better idea of
this place than a description alone. The rock which constitutes the hamlet, or rather its
scite, is congenial with that of Nottingham, a soft sandy stone, which extends in a line
nearly parallel with the Trent, several miles, as you pass towards Gedling. The chapel,
figure 1, stands upon the summit of the rock; figure 2 and 3, are views below, nearly in
opposite directions. Some of the inhabitants, here, dwell as it were, in dens and caves
of the earth, called the Hermitage. This romantic scene, if it lay in regions, seldom explored would afford a wonderful scope for fanciful relation. The traveller might surprize his reader (as doubtless some do by exaggeration and embellishment, and, in that
case, he would not fail to relate his own astonishment at what he saw) he would shew a
people inhabiting the very bowels of the earth; and he might magnify, or reduce their
size, with ease, to that of a giant or a dwarf. Here is a coffee house and other public
buildings resorted to by the hollowday-making people of Nottingham.
From the brow of the eminence you have a fine view of the adjacent country. The
most distant prospect I saw, hence, is that bold feature, the Leicestershire forest rock, the
distance from some part of it is about twenty miles. Below, the seat of Mr. Musters,
Colwick-Hall, seated by the side of the Trent, is a pleasing object.
The dairy people here are famed for summer cheese, commonly called soft-cheese.
Sneinton fields was honoured, as a place of rendezvous, Tuesday, July 14, 1795, for
the Nottinghamshire Gentlemen Yeomanry Cavalry, the day they received their standards.
Therefore here let the history of that day be recorded, in memory of that respectable
corps, who stept forth in the most momentuous and awful period of our history, when
the Throne seemed tottering, the most glorious fabric of a Constitution mightly assailed,
and our holy religion attacked by a wild and frantic philosophy, which has occasioned
the butchery, some compute, of at least 50000 human victims, of all ages, and of each
sex; consigned, by the most tyrannical tribunals, to perish in rivers, by the bullet, and
on the scaffold; besides uncalculated numbers by the sword in battle. Thank God, that
calm reason here, (and in that unhappy country where the sufferings of her people, all
good men pity) has, seemingly, resumed its empire. If we cannot draw a veil over those
direful events, let us charitable judge, with tempearnce, of the intentions of those who fostered principles productive of so much evil. Let us attribute, in some measure, the cause,
partly to the abuse of power in former governors, and to a succession of theoretical
writers, on governments, of the last and present century. By such a just and amiable
opinion, the agitared minds of men, of all descriptions, may find rest after this terrible tempest, thus men may live in peace and with good will towards each other.
CEREMONY of presenting the STANDARDS. (fn. 12)
Tuesday last, according to public advertisement, the respective troops of Nottingham
shire Yeomanry Cavalry (comprising Nottingham, Newark, Retford, and Mansfield)
met together at this place to receive their Colours. The day proving exceeding fine,
it prompted an innumerable concourse of spectators, to view the novelty of the scene.
About ten o'clock, the troops took their ground in Sneinton Field, from whence they
rode in regular military procession to the market-place, and, forming a square in front of
the Exchange-Hall, the windows of which being filled by ladies of the first rank and
fashion,—the sight became truly enchanting—every one seemed pleased—and, doubtless,
admired the patriotic spirit of their countrymen. The four troops being drawn up in
the front of the Exchange-Hall, in the market-place, and an escort being detached to
attend the Standards, they were handed from the windows to Charles Pierrepont, Esq.
M. P. and Thomas Webbe Edge, Esq. who accompanied by the Rev. Charles Eyre, as
Chaplain, advanced to the centre of the regiment, where they were met by Colonel Eyre,
to whom Mr. Pierrepont presented the Royal Standard, on the part of Mrs. Lumley
Savile, with the following address:—
"Next to the honour of being your Representative, I know no greater than being deputed to present you THIS STANDARD, which comes from the hands of beauty, and is
consigned to those of Honour:—If as Englishmen, and Nottinghamshire men, the name
of Savile was dear to us before, it will now be doubly so.—May your laurels be ever
entwined with myrtle; and may the conduct of the corps be as irreproachable and meritorious, as that of its commander."
To which Colonel Eyre returned an answer as follows:—
"In the name of the whole corps I must request you to return our warmest thanks to
Mrs. Lumley Savile, for the particular honour she has conferred upon us in presenting
us with the Royal Standard: assure her, that its Glory shall never be tarnished in our
hands, that, we shall cherish and guard it, as well from affection, as duty; that, zealous
in the cause in which we are engaged, and animated by the patronage of our fair countrywomen, we trust we shall ever bear it in the paths of victory—and we are resolved never
to part with it but with our lives!"
Mr. Edge then presented the Provincial Standard, with an address to the following
"In presenting you the Provincial Standard, allow me to recal to your memory, that,
in the unnatural rebellion in 1745, the only county corps that served in quelling it was
raised in this province;—where they served, is known to every one—how they served, is
recorded in the history of their country: and I trust in its gratitude.—The Lady, in
whose name I have the honour to present you this ensign, is the daughter of a General
Officer of distinguished reputation, and the wife of one who is serving his country at
this moment with the greatest zeal, activity, and success. - - - - - - - - - - - - - —May the present WARREN prove the FUTURE HOWE"
Colonel Eyre then addressed him thus:—
"In the name of the whole corps I must beg you to assure Lady Warren, that we seel
most sensibly the honour she has done us in presenting us with the Provincial Standard,
which allows us the enviable privilege of regarding her as our peculiar patroness:—assure
her, that we will not part with it but with our last drop of our blood!—and that, as the
influence of her charms has already borne the palm of victory over the seas, we feel the
animating hope, that the same success will attend us wherever we march under her propitious patronage."
The chaplain then consecrated the Standards with a sutable Prayer (fn. 13)
Colonel Eyre then delivered the Standards to the Cornets of the regiment, with this
"It is with the greatest confidence that I trust these Standards to your hands, as I
am convinced that you are sensible of the sacredness of the deposit, and that you will
not deliver them up but with your lives."
Colonel Eyre then advanced to the regiment, and in the most distinct and animated
manner, addressed them thus:—
"In the names of Mrs. Lumley Savile, and of Lady Warren, I have the honour to
present you the Standards of the Regiment, which it is your duty to defend with your lives.
I flatter myself that few exhortations will be necessary to induce you to fill this duty:
when you consider the cause in which they are set up,—the cause of your King,—of
your Constitution,—of your Religion,—and every thing that is dear to Man, or sacred
to God.—A neighbouring Nation having torn asunder all the bounds of civil society,
having trodden under foot all laws human and divine, has dared in the hour of her insolence, to threaten this country with invasion, and relying for assistance on the traiterous
promises of some disaffected individuals within this realm, has ventured to hope that
she might plant her destructive principles in this soil;—But I trust that the universal
loyalty and attachment to the Constitution, which have been manifected through the
kingdom, will convince her of the folly of her expectations, and that we shall secure to
ourselves Peace and Tranquillity, by being prepared for War!
It must give the most heart-felt satisfaction to every good citizen to see the number of
Volunteers, who, at this alarming crisis, have stood forwards in support of our country,
and who have shewn themselves worthy of the blessings we enjoy under our present form
of government, by being ready to sacrifice every thing in its defence.—With spirits such
as yours my Comrades, I will be bold to say, we shall overcome all our foes, foreign and
domestic,—we shall support our laws,—maintain our liberties,—and, transmit to our
posterity, that excellent Constitution, which has been established by our ancestors after
many hardy contest, and which has long been the envy and admiration of the World!—
For this cause, Gentlemen, our Standards are now erected,—for this cause who does not
feel it his duty to die in its defence?—And when you consider the fair hands from which
you have received them, and that the smiles of beauty yield us their patronage, I am
convinced that you will all feel what is your duty,—your delight!!!
The regiment then marched to Shirewood Forest, where these provincial soldiers went
through a variety of evolutions to the satisfaction of a vast assemblage of people.
On their return to the market-place, Col. Eyre again addressed them as follows:—
"I cannot dismiss you without expressing to you the satisfaction I feel at feeing the
progress you have made in your military exercises; this can only have been effected by
your unremitted attention and by your laudable zeal for the cause in which we are engaged.—Already your country has benefitted by your exertions;—Let us persevere, my
comrades, and whatever may be the inconveniencies which you now suffer, be assured
that you will be amply repaid by the highest of all earthly rewards—the approbation
of your own minds, and the merited thanks of your fellow-citizens."
After which the corps dined together in Thurland-Hall, where were given may suitable and loyal toasts.—This happy day ended with a ball, and with fireworks displayed in
Description of the Standards.
The Royal Standard was of the most superb workmanship, being crimson, very richly embroidered with the Royal Arms on both sides—devices at one corner, a white horse embroidered, at the
other, N. Y. C. surrounded with the Rose and Thistle. The beautiful display of taste represented in the execution of this trophy, reflects great credit upon the fair Patroness.
The Provincial Standard was peculiarly elegant, and the devices admirably chosen.
The ground buff silk, the facing of the regiment, G. R. with a crown very richly embroidered
in the centre, costly ornamented with roses, wheat ears, and the Olive branch entwined. The
arms of the county at one corner, at the other, implements of husbandry, bound up with flowers;
at the opposite corners martial trophies, with a bow and quiver, on which was embroidered—
"Robin Hood."—Over the crown, on a garter blue silk label the words "Libertas sub Rege
pio," (fn. 14) in letters of gold spangles; underneath a similar label, with the words "Conguges
Liberi, et Penates." (fn. 15)
On the reverse an oak tree, with golden acrons, ivy creeping up the stem, and at the
root of it, the word "Shirewood." On one side of the tree the arms of the county, on one
point of the swallow tails, martials trophies, on the other implements of husbandry. Above the
oak tree, a label, on garter blue silk, had the words, "Et Decus et Tutamen," (fn. 16) and underneath a similar label, with the words "Nottinghamshire Volunteer Cavalry," the whole edged
with silver fringe, and tassels richly ornamented with silver and buff silk, and was a performance
of the most beautiful embroidery.
"Rivers arise, whether thou be the son
Of utmost TWEED or Ooze or gulphy DUN,
Or Trent, which like, some earth-born giant, spreads
His thirty arms along the indented meads."