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White's Directory of Nottinghamshire, 1853

A Decription of the Town of Nottingham

Nottingham, the principal seat and emporium of the lace and hosiery manufactures, is an ancient, populous and well-built market and borough town, as well as being the capital of the shire and archdeaconry to which it gives its name, It is in the diocese of Lincoln, and in the midland circuit of England. It occupies a picturesque situation on a sandy rock, which rises in broken declivities, and in some places in precipitous, above the north bank of the little River Leen which, at a short distance to the south-east, falls into the River Trent, near the opposite locks of the Grantham and Nottingham canals, and a little below that magnificent and noble structure, the Trent bridge, which is connected to Nottingham by a flood road, raised at great expense above the intervening meadows, which are often subject to inundation. There is great reason to believe that anciently the River Trent covered all the vale, and that the tide flowed up to Nottingham, which certainly is one of the most ancient towns in England, but its origin is hid in the impenetrable gloom which is cast over the aborigines of Britain.

The town holds a central situation betwixt Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Portsmouth to the north and south, and betwixt Newcastle-under-Lyne and Boston to the west and east. It is in the south-western division of Nottinghamshire, at the junctions of the hundreds of Broxtow, Thurgarton and Rushcliffe, at a distance 125 miles north-west of London, 80 miles south of York, 20 miles south-west by west of Newark, 14 miles south of Mansfield, 15 miles north by east of Derby, 27 miles north of Leicester, and 39 miles south by east of Sheffield, and is at 53 degrees north latitude, and at 1 degree 13 minutes west longitude from the meridian of Greenwich.

The approaches to the town on all sides are particularly striking, and perhaps no town in the kingdom appears under such a variety of aspects. The traveller by the London Road, on descending Ruddington Hill, is delighted with a view of the fertile vale of the Trent, bounded on the north by the precipitate and lofty rock on which the town stands, having the castle on a lofty hill to the left, the long range of building gradually descended into the plain on the right, crowned by the noble tower of St Mary, and terminated on the east by the lofty hills of Sneinton and Mapperley. The recently formed semicircular terrace-road of the castle Park, now lined with elegant mansions and pleasure grounds, terminate the west view, with the foreground having luxuriant pastures, skirted by the Trent, the Canal, and the Railway Station, and by numerous wharfs, warehouses and manufactories. On the approach from the eastern side by the Newark Road, the mass of building os foreshortened, the tower of St Mary and the castle appearing nearly as one edifice, with the Trent and the flood bridges being seen to great advantage below, with the perpendicular rocks and caves of Sneinton. From the north, by the Mansfield Road, after rising the hill above the race ground, a view is presented as if by magic - a long and spacious road, lined with handsome and newly-built houses, descending to the town, beyond which, the Trent vale, and further in the distance, the extensive Vale of Belvoir, skirted by the Leicestershire hills, are seen. The western approach, by the Derby Road, is quite different from the others: on passing Wollaton park, the castle, with its commanding cliffs, is a near and prominent object. Extending from it, the handsome villas and pleasure grounds, which line the terrace walk of the Park, appear to have arisen on the site of the ancient ramparts of the town. On the opposite side of the Park are the Barracks, which appear to form a town of themselves. To the north-west lies the Forest, having the summit studded with a long row of windmills, with the race course and cricket ground below, and with the populous new villages which have arisen in the parishes of Radford and Basford in view.

The pasture and meadow lands, which nearly surround Nottingham, and was subject, by ancient grant, to the depasturage of the burgesses, and could not be built upon, prevented improvements being made within the liberties of the town, and caused several new villages in Radford, Basford, Lenton and Sneinton parishes to be built. However, some local Acts of Parliament were passed for the enclosure of several plots of the burgesses' land, and on June 30th 1845, the General Inclosure Act came into operation, which has made an opening for considerable improvements in the town, which will be noticed.

The town though irregular, is well built, and contains many good houses, public buildings, and well-stocked shops, with a commodious Market place that, in extent, beauty and convenience, has not its equal in the kingdom, and the busy sounds of industry from the noise of the stocking frame and lace machine, are heard through the town and adjacent villages. According to Deering Nottingham can claim, as a town of note, the age of 932 years; as a considerable borough, 792; as a mayor town, 549, being only a century less than the metropolis; as a parliamentary borough, during which it has constantly sent two representatives, 552; and as a county itself, 394 years, up to the year 1844. As population is the great criterion of prosperity, Nottingham, as a mercantile and manufacturing town, may boast a full share; and had it not been that the 1,300 acres of land surrounding the town could not be sold or leased for building purposes, it would have been much greater. During the last thirty years, almost every available vacant plot of land has been built upon, and the population has been nealy doubled. The spirit of commercial speculation has extended itself into the adjoining parishes. The population of Sneinton, which had 987 inhabitants in 1811, had risen to 7,079 in 1841, and in 1851, 8,440. Radford and Basford have trebled their population, and that of Lenton is about five times greater. Thus, within a circuit of four miles round the Market Place, we can number upwards of 100,000 souls, of whom 79,604 are in Nottingham, Radford and Sneinton parishes, the buildings of which are so closely connected by modern erections on the Southwell and Derby Roads, as to form but one town, thoug in separate jurisdictions. (Arnold, Basford. Beeston and Gedling, populous parishes, are all within four miles).

In the reign of Edward the Confessor, about 1040, Nottingham had only 192 men who, in the ravages of William the Conqueror, were reduced to 156, though the town then contained 217 houses. In 1377, when the poll tax was levied, there were in the town 1,227 lay persons of 14 years fo age and upwards, of whom fourpence per head was collected in support of that impost. Supposing one third of the population to consist of clergy, mendicants and children under 14 years of age, the population was then about 2,170. The registering of burials commenced at St Mary's in 1507, at St Peter's in 1572, and at St Nicholas' in 1562, and the total number of funerals annually at these churches was then only about 70, but there are no data whereby to estimate the population until 1739, when they were found to amount to 9,990. According to Lowe'sAgricultural Survey, made in 1779, there were 17,711 persons, 3,550 families and 3,191 houses in the town, and the number of funerals averaged upwards of 650 annually. In 1739, Sir Richard Sutton surveyed the town, and found it to contain 25,000 souls.

The Corn Exchange, Nottingham

The Corn Exchange, Thurland Street, was opened in 1850. It comprises an exchange room, 77 feet by 55 feet, and nearly 40 feet high, a clerk's office, a news room, with suitable offices, and a residence for the housekeeper. The approach is by a large inner portico of colonnade, communicating with the main room by wide folding doors in the centre, and with the office and principal staircase by doors on the side. The room is lighted by a series of span roofs, entirely glazed with cast plate, and supported by truss beams with luminated bows, and with brackets resting on carved stone corbels. The iron work is made ornamental by gilding, and by being painted blue. There are forty-five stalls of elegant construction. The exterior of the building presents a substantial and respectable appearance, and is executed in brick-work, with moulded stone dressing. The style of architecture is a combination of the English and Italian, and is after the type of an old Latin school-house, near Ashby-de-la-Zouch, which is said to have been built by Sir Christopher Wren. The building cost, altogether, £3,000. the news room is approached by a stone staircase, with arcades on each side, of clustered columns, which are made of polished Derbyshire spar marble. Mr William north is the Inspector of Corn Returns.

Nottingham Market Place

The Market Place, with was newly-paved in 1827, occupies a triangular area of about five and a half acres, and has long been admired. Leland, who wrote in the reign of Henry VIII, said:

"Both for the buildings on the side of it, for the very great wideness of the streets, and the clean paving of it, it is the fairest, without exception, of all England".

It is now lined with lofty and well built houses, the fronts of which are nearly all projected over the basement storey, and supported by massive pillars, forming long piazzas, under which are retail shops, many of which are elegant and richly stocked.

The range of buildings on the north side is upwards of 400 yards in length, and is called the Long Row. The houses and shops on the south side bear the name of Angel Row, the Beastmarket Hill, the Poultry and Timber Hill, but the latter is now generally called South Parade. At the east end, betwixt the Long Row and the Poultry, is a centre pile of building, the west end of which presents to the Market Place the spacious and elegant front of the Exchange, Behind the Exchange are the Shambles and the Police Office, and two rows of shops and houses, called Cheapside and Smithy Row, in front of the latter of which there is, on Saturdays, a long row of stalls occupied by butchers, chiefly from the country. The cattle and sheep pens are moveable, and are set up in the Market Place on Wednesdays, and in a broad part of Parliament Street on Saturdays, when the whole extensive area of the Market Place is occupied with stalls of provisions, shoes, clothes, hardware, baskets, coopers' ware, furniture, earthenware, glass, books, &c. &c.

Anciently, the Market Place was divided lengthwise by a wall breast high, but it was taken down in 1711, together with the Butter Cross which stood facing the Exchange, and the Malt Cross which stood opposite the end of St James' Street. The latter was rebuilt on a larger scale, and was not finally removed until 1804. The Hen Cross, at the top of the Poultry, and the Weekday Cross, at the south end of Market Street, opposite the Guildhall, were built in 1712, but the former was taken down in 1801, and the latter in 1804, being great obstructions in two public thoroughfares. The market was held on Wednesday at the Weekday Cross, till the year 1800. In 1750, an unsuccessful attempt was made to establish a Monday market in St Peter's Square, where a cross was erected, but it was taken down in 1787.

Nottingham Schools

The Free Grammar School

This is in Stoney Street, and is now a handsome building, having lately been enlarged and ornamented with a beautiful sone front, in the Gothic order, though it had been repaired in the years 1689, 1708 and 1792. It was founded in 1513 by Agnes Mellers, widow of Richard Mellers, bell founder, and was by her endowed with lands and tenements in the town and neighbourhood, left in trust to the corporation for the maintenance of a master and usher. Robert Mellers, the son of the foundress, bequeathed to it, in 1515, a close in Basford and a house in Bridlesmithgate, betwixt St Petergate and Pepper Street. His brother, Thomas Mellers, who died in 1535, endowed it with "all his lands, tenements and hereditaments, in the town and fields of Basford", but all the property in Basford parish left by these brothers was sold by the corporation sometime betwixt the years 1702 and 1720 (together with those tenements in London, left by Mr John West), to defray the expenses of a lawsuit which they had instituted against Richard Johnson, who was then master of the school.

John Heskey, alderman, in 1558, left to this school the tithes of the Nottingham fields and meadows, and also a house in Carlton Street, except 10s to be paid yearly out of the rent to the poor. John Parker, alderman, in 1693, left £160, with which a rent charge of £13 10s per annum was purchased at Harby, in Leicestershire, for the purpose of founding and supporting a library in the school, and for furnishing £3 apprentice fees for small boys, and £3 gifts to assist them after they had served their apprenticeship, in setting up in their respective trades. In 1828, £72 was received in arrears of this rent charge. Four small closes betwixt Trough Close and Free School Lane belong to the Grammar School, as do also all the houses in Broad Street, from Agnes Yard to Goosegate; and several others in St Petergate, and St Peter's Square, most of which were left by the foundress. The gross yearly income arising from rents and tithes amounted, in 1828, to nearly £700, since when there is not much alteration; out of which are paid yearly salaries and gratuities amounting to £150 to the master, £110 to the usher, and £50 to the writing-master. The school is now divided into a classical school, in which English and other parts of a good education are taught; and an English school, for which a fouth master is appointed, who received £110 a year, paid by quarterages charged on the pupils of the upper school. The Rev. William Butler M.A. is the head master, and has a good house adjoining the school, but is not allowed to take boarders. Mr Samuel Langwith is the usher, Mr Isaac Sparey the writing-master, and Mr Thomas Hewson the assistant.

The Blue Coat School

This was founded in 1706, but the present building, which stands at the foot of the High Pavement, was erected in 1723, on ground given by Mr Wm. Thorpe, a benevolent attorney. It contains a large school room, and a suite of apartments for the residence of the master, who has 100 guineas a year, and he is allowed six tons of coals annually for the use of the school. Two statues, in niches at the front of the building, represent a boy and a girl in their school costume. The charity educates and clothes sixty boys and twenty girls, till they arrive at fourteen years of age, when the former are put out apprentice, with a premium of five guineas each, and the latter have each two guineas for the purpose of clothing them for servitude. Mr and Mrs Cockayne are the teachers, and attend as well to the religious as to the moral instruction of the scholars. The charity, which is supported partly by annual subscriptions and collections at the parish churches, is endowed with property which produces upwards of £380 per annum. A new school is about to be erected, on Mansfield Road, for which ground has been purchased.

The People's College

This was founded in 1846, and is situated in College Street. It was erected by public subscription, and the sum of £1,000 was contributed by one inhabitant of the town, George Gill Esq., of the Park. The design of the projectors was to afford superior instruction for the working classes. The college is open to all persons, without regard to their religious or political tenets. Controversial reading and lectures are strictly avoided, but books of any religious or political kind may be introdiced to the library, if approved by the directors. The building is of brick, and belongs to the Gthic order of architecture. It is divided into compartments, the chief room being towards the east. The central door is pointed, and flanked by diagnal buttresses, above which is a pointed window of three lights, with quatrefoil tracery, surmounted by a square pinnacle or spire of singular construction, which contributes a picturesque aspect to the edifice. The west compartment presents gables and square windows. There is a female, as well as a male department. Mr Jph. Bright is the second master, and Miss Ellen Kirkland the mistress.

The Unitarian Free School

This is situated behind the chapel on the High Pavement, and was founded in consequence of a division which took place in 1788, amongst the subscribers to the Blue Coat School. It is supported by annual contributions, for the education of forty boys and twenty girls of any religious denomination. Ten of the girls are also clothed. Mr John Taylor and Miss Ann Mitchell are the teachers.

The School of Industry

This was founded by subscription in 1808, for the instruction of 150 poor girls in reading, writing and plain needlework. It now occupies part of St James' Church Sunday School, which was erected in Rutland Street in 1824, and has another room occupied as an infant school.

Trinity National School

This is a neat brick building in North Church Street, erected in 1847 at a cost of £3,000, for boys, girls and infants. It has residences at each end, and one in the centre for teachers, and will accommodate 220 boys, 150 girls and 200 infants. Mr Richd. Thurlow is the master, C. Shepherd the mistress, and Ann Haslam the infant mistress. The master has five, and the mistress two pupil teachers.

St John's National School

This is in London road, and is for boys, girls and infants. It is a handsome brick building, faced with stone, erected in 1843 at a cost of £2,500, and will accommodate 160 pupils of each sex, and the same number of infants. <r Luke Bland is the master, Sarah Ann Sylde the mistress, and Matilda Griffin the infant mistress, each of whom resides on the premises.

High Cross Street National School

This is a gigantic seminary, calculated for about 600 boys, on Dr Bell's system. Mr Jph. Aldridge is the master.

Barkergate National School

This is a girls' school, and is a spacious, neat building, erected in 1834. It consists of two storeys, and cost £767, part of which was supplied by a grant from government. Sarah Addicott is the mistress.

The Lancasterian School

This is a boys' school, and is a spacious building of one storey on Derby Road, erected in 1815. It is supported principally by the contributions of dissenters. Mr John Widdowson packer is the master.

The Ragged School

This useful institution occupies St Paul's Infant School room, in Cur Lane, but will shortly be removed to new premises in Glasshouse Street, which will accommodate 300 children. Subscriptions are now being collected for this laudable purpose.

The British School

This is on Bath Street (removed from Leen Side). It is a neat building, erected in 1850, and will accommodate 200 boys and 150 girls. Mr Richard Stimson is the master, and Mary Jane Boot the mistress.

Catholic Schools

The boys' school is a neat, brick building in Kent Street, opened in 1842. Patrick Kerman is the master. The girls' school is situated on Derby Road, adjoining the Nunnery, and is under the superintendence of the Sisters of Mercy. There is also an Industrial Ragged and Infant School, in George Street, conducted by the Sisters of Mercy.

The Infant Schools

Besides the three already noted, viz. Trinity, St john's and St James', there are also infant schools on Canaan Street, Independent Hill and Chapel Yard, Cross Street.

Government School of Design

This is in Beck Lane, and was established April 1st 1843 for elementary instruction, instruction and design for manufactures, and in the history, principles and practice of ornamental art. A competent master, under the general superintendence of the committee, is engaged to afford instruction in the various branches above enumerated. The director (Somerset House) exercises a general superintendence and control in every matter relating to the duties of all who are engaged in giving instruction in the School. The morning school is open from 9 to 12, the evening school from half-past six to nine, excepting Saturday, with other appointed vacations. Fees of admission are to be paid to the Secretary in advancem which are four shillings for the morning school, and two shillings for the evening. The morning students have permission to attend the evening school free of expense. Mr Thomas Clark is the present master.

Nottingham Castle


This once majestic permanent of the town now stands as a monument of the evil and dreadful effect of popular frenzy, and it can scarcely be supposed that its owner, His Grace the Duke of Newcastle, will again restore it to its former state. The castle is situated in the hundred of Broxtow, from which His Grace recovered £21,000 in damages. The historical events connected with this castle have been introduced in in the preceding annals of this town, to which we will add the following recapitulation.

The Early Castle

The Danes, who frequently vexed this isle, possessed themselves of a strong tower here in 852, and were there beseiged by Buthred, the last king of the Mercians, but without success. Calling to his aid, Aethelred, king of the West Saxons, and Alfred his brother concluded a treaty between the Danes and the Saxons without taking the fortress. King Edmund, in 940, finally recovered this castle from the Danes. Immediately after the Conquest, William de Peverel, natural son of the Conquerer, erected a castle here on the summit of the rock, and had a licence to enclose ten acres of land to make him an orchard which, according to the forest measure, contains about fifty statute acres - about the quantity contained in the Old Park. William of Newborough says, this castle was made so strong by nature and art, that it was esteemed impregnable. In 1155, the castle and Earldom of Nottingham reverted to King Henry II; afterwards it was beseiged and held out against his rebellious son. From the beginning of this reign the castle has, for the most part, belonged to the Crown, neither is there (Thoroton says) "any place near, so far distant from London, that has so often given entertainment and residence to the kings and queens of England". Richard Coeur de Lion being returned from his captivity in 1194, beseiged the castle, then held by his brother John, and got possession of it, and held a parliament in it for the trial of his brother and his accomplices, but they did not appear. Here Mortimer, paramour of Queen Isabella, and governor of the kingdom during the minority of Edward III, held his court, and he was here surprised by the young king in 1330. King Edward IV, from the good will he bore to Nottingham, very much enlarged the castle by various towers, so that in manner it seemed new. Richard III held his court, and made further additions to the castle, whereby it became one of the completest fortresses in the kingdom, and said to be invincible to everything but famine. Richard mustered his forces here before marching to Bosworth Field. During the reigns of the Tudors, the place fell into a state of dilapidation, but still was a place of importance in the wars between Charles I and his parliament; for that prince erected his standard at the castle on the 22nd of August 1642, and in Hill Close three days afterwards. It was soon after in possession of the parliamentary forces, and the celebrated General Hutchinson was the governor. After standing about 600 years it was, during the protectorate of Cromwell, rendered unfit for war.

The Building of the Present Castle

Though ruinous and neglected, some parts of it were standing at the restoration of Charles II, who gave it to George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, by whom it was sold to William Cavendish, Marquis, and afterwards Duke of Newcastle who, in 1674, commenced building the present edifice, which was completed in 1683 by his son Henry. The equestrian statue in front was that of the founder, and was cut by Wilson, out of a single block of stone brought from Donington in Leicestershire. Deering states the entire cost of the building to have been £14,002 17s 11d, and the name of the architect, March. The second Duke of Newcastle, dying without male issue, his property descended to the Earl of Clare, who had married his third daughter, and was created Duke of Newcastle by William III. This nobleman also dying without issue, the property went to his nephew, Lord Pelham who, in 1718, was created Duke of Newcastle by George I. At his death, in 1768, his titles of Duke of Newcastle-under-Lyne , and Baron Pelham of Stanmere, descended in marriage with his niece, Catherine, to Henry Fiennes Clinton, ninth Earl of Lincoln, who died in 1794. His son, Thomas Pelham Clinton, died in the following year, and was succeeded by his son, the late Duke, who died January 12th 1851; and was succeeded by his son, the present most noble Henry Pelham Fiennes Pelham Clinton. The castle had not, in the memory of man, been the residence of the family to whom it belongs, but had generally been inhabited by private families; but for two years previous to its destruction, it had ben untenanted. The great dining room was hung with a splendid piece of tapestry, which tradition says was the work of Queen Anne, who was here in 1688, before her accession to the throne. A vast quantity of cedar was used in its erection, and the perfume which was occasioned by its burning was distinctly perceptible during the night, at a considerable distance.

Description of the Castle

The castle, now a mere roofless shell, appears to the distant observer as it did before the conflagration, the exterior walls being left standing. It rests on a rustic basement, and the principal front is highly ornamented in the Corinthian order, with a handsome double flight of steps above which (over the door which led to the entrance hall) is the now mutilated equestian statue of the founder. The whole is surrounded by a beautiful terrace, with an arcade to the south side. It is 72 yards long and 20 yards broad, and was terminated by a flat monotonous roof, without any towers, turrets or embattlements, bearing no resemblance to the formidable fortress which once occupied the site, or in unison with the bold features of the lofty frowning rock on which it stands.

The castle lodge, which escapes the late fire, consists of a venerable gothic gateway, flanked by two bastions, which formed part of the outworks by which the ancient castle was surrounded. One of the bastions is occupied by a porter who, for a small fee, admits visitors into the castle yard, which commands an extensive and delightful prospect, being on the summit of the bold rock which, on the south and west, rises nearly perpendicular 133 feet above the River Leen. The deep ditch, which passed in front of the lodge and along the north side of the castle wall, was filled up in 1807, when the new road from Houndsgate to the Park was made.

Mortimer's Hole

This is a subterraneous passage which formerly had six gates at various distances, and is 107 yards in length, seven feet high, and six feet wide. All the way down there are broad steps cut into the rock, and openings on either side to convey light into the passage, and to serve the soldiers to shoot their arrows through upon the enemy. On the upper part are cut some regular port-holes which show that, during civil war, cannons were planted there, which had a command of all the meadows. Near the port-holes are excavations, evidently intended for the reception of balls and powder. Collins, in quoting from Drayton's Barons' War, says, "This wonderful passage had been hewed and dug during the Danish invasion, by some of the Saxon kings, for the better security in case of a siege". And, indeed, in times of peace it was useful, for it afforded a direct communication with the corn-mill, malt-kiln, and brewhouse of the garrison in the Rock yard, now called Brewhouse Yard. About seventeen yards above the lower entrance to this spacious vault is the entrance to a dark and narrow passage, which branches off to the right, and formerly led by secret doors to the keep of the old castle, in which were the state apartments. This was the passage through which Sir William Eland, in 1330, conducted King Edward when he seized Lord Mortimer, and brought him out of the castle, and was afterwards called Mortimer's Hole, in memory of that unfortunate nobleman, a name which is erroneously given to the principal vault. All the entrances to these passages are now walled up.

The Barracks

These are pleasantly situated at the western corner of the Park, and form the only military depot now possessed by the town. There were built in 1792, on ground given by the Duke of Newcastle. They contain convenient apartments for the officers, a sutling-house, barrack-rooms, and stabling for three troop of horse, an hospital &c. The garrison was suppied with water from a very deep well adjoining, and the water raised by the soldiers. Some years afterwards a horse was applied, and now the supply is received by pipes from one of the water companies. Captain Laing Meason is the Barrack master, and William Morrison, Barrack Serjeant.

The Ancient Walls and Gates

The Ancient Walls

These formerly encompassed the town, but are now scarcely to be traced, though Leland says, "The town hath been meetly welle walled with stone, and hath had dyvers gates; much of the walle is now downe, and the gates, saving two or three". This wall was built by Edward the Elder, about 910. After building the castle, William Peverel made considerable additions to the wall and gates, and in 1259 Henry III commanded "the burgesses, without delay, to make a postern in the wall near the castle, towards Lenton". This postern is supposed to have stood where the reservoir now is, behind the infirmary, and Deeming says, a bridge in front of it crossed the town ditch, at the place now called Boston Bridge, being a corruption of Postern Bridge. In Deering's time, the ditch extending to Chapel Bar was converted into kitchen gardens, and called Butt Dyke, from some butts where the inhabitants used to practise archery, being adjoining. About the year 1800, Butt Dyke, now the site of Park Row, was let as building land by the Corporation on perpetual leases. In digging the foundation of the houses, several fragments of the old wall were discovered.

The Route of the Walls

The town wall passed from the north-west corner of the castle wall, along the site of Park Row to Chapel Bar, and thence across Parliament Street, through Roper's Close and Pannier's Close to St John's Street, Coalpit Lane, Cartergate, Fishergate, Hollowstone, Short Hill, and the High, Middle and Low Pavement, to the end of Listergate, whence it passed up the south side of Castlegate, and below St Nicholas' Churchyard to the Brewhouse Yard, where it joined the Castle Rock. In consequence of part of this wall being destroyed in the wars between King Stephen and Empress Matilda, Henry II repaired it by erecting a wall, which extended from Chapel Bar, down Parliament Street to Coalpit Lane. In 1740, one of the old posterns was standing at the top of Drury Hill, facing Bridlesmith Gate. A little above this is Postern Place, in which Blackner says, there is standing a part of the old town wall, 102 inches in height, thirty-eight inches thick, and six yards in length; with the arch of a sally-port, ninety-two inches in height and sixty-two in width. Tradition says, there were posterns at the top of Listergate and Clumber Street, but the principal entrance hates were those at Chapel Bar and Hollowstone.


Now much altered, this is the remains of an ancient entrance into the town. About one hundred years ago it was a very narrow passage, having been secured by a portcullis. Each side of the gateway was formed of living stone, and above it, on the western side, was a large cavity cut in the rock, capable of holding twenty men, with a fire-place and benches, evidently designed for a guard-house, and having a staircase cut from the top of the rock to communicate with the sentinels. This cavity was widened by the Corporation in 1740, and by the commissioners of the Flood Road in 1800, when the road from thence was raised so much that the chambers in some of the old houses in Bridge Street were converted into first floors. The perpendicular rock on each side of the deep-cut road, called Hollow-stone, is much of it now hid behind many good houses which have been erected against it.

Chapel Bar

This was a strong gateway tower, having on each side an arched room of a pentagonal figure, one of which was used as the guard-house, and the other as a chapel. The top of the arch was well earthed and cultivated as a pleasure ground, in which grew a large sycamore tree. The whole was taken down in 1743 and, in 1831, the street was widened by taking down the houses on the south side, making this previously contracted entrance into the Market Place, from the Derby Road, a spacious street of good houses and shops. Long before the gate was taken down, the old chapel was converted into a brewhouse, to an inn which stood at the corner. The mash-tubs being placed on the altars caused a facetious layman to write the following epigram:-

"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 priest and layman both partook the cup."

Nottingham, Church of England Places of Worship

St Paul's Church

St Paul's Church is a Chapel of Ease to St Mary's parish. It is a handsome, stone-fronted building, erected in 1822, and is situated in George Street. It has a portico, with four large fluted columns, supporting an elegant cupola, in which there is but one bell. The interior is light and neatly pewed, and has spacious free galleries for the use of strangers and the poor, the seats on the ground being the only ones which are let for he benefit of the minister. The Rev. Charles Armstrong B.A. is the incumbent, and the Rev. George Cuthbert the officiating curate.

St James' Church

This is an extra-parochial chapel, pleasantly situated on Standard Hill, opposite the top of Rutland Street, without the boundaries of the "county of the town". It was built by subscription on 1808, at a cost of nearly £13,000, including the expense of an Act of Parliament, which the subscribers were obliged to obtain for its erection, in consequence of their being strenuously opposed by the vicar and two rectors of Nottingham, who have no control over this place of worship, which stands on the extra-parochial ground that once belonged to the castle. It is a neat, brick structure cased with stone, and the doors and windows are in the Gothic style. The tower, which is low, contains but one bell. The interior is neatly fitted up, and has commodious galleries over the side aisles. The Rev. Henry Bell B.A. is the incumbent.

Trinity Church

Trinity Church, Milton Street (Burton Leys) - a district church for the north side of the parish of St Mary. It is a handsome Gothic building of the lancet style, with naves, chancel, side aisles and tower, from which rises a most beautiful spire 177 feet high. It was erected under an Act of Parliament, 1 & 2 of William IV, and the patronage vested in trustees. The first stone was laid April 23rd 1840, and the church was consecrated October 13th 1841. It will seat 1,200 persons, and cost upwards of £10,000, raised with the endowment of voluntary subscriptions. The patronage is vested in four trustees, viz. The Very Reverend J.H. Brown D.D., Dean of Ely; John Pemberton Plumtre Esq.; St. Ramsden Esq.; and Fras. Wellford Esq. The Rev. Thomas Mosse McDonald is incumbent.

St John the Baptist Church

This church is on Leen Side, and is a district church for the south side of the parish of St Mary. The first stone was laid August 9th 1843 by Earl Manvers. It is a stone structure in the early English style, with lancet shaped windows, with nave, chancel, side aisles and south porch. It is built to accommodate about 8000 persons, at a cost of about £4,000, including the purchase, and the enclosure of the site. The boards of the Nottinghamshire Church Building Sociey, the Church Commissioners, and the Incorporated Church Building Society, voted sums of £500, £800 and £500 respectively towards its erection, and on £1,000 being raised for the endowment, the Ecclesiastical Commissioners will raise the endowment to £150 a year. The seats will be free to all inabitants, of which the district assigned comprises a population of about 3,500. The patronage is vested in the Bishop of the Diocese for the time being, Earl Manvers having waived his claim.

Nottingham - Extra Parochial Districts

General Definition

Most such places have been the sites of ancient castles, or religious houses, the owners of which were privileged with an independent jurisdiction, and did not permit any interference with their own authority within their own limits. Hence, they enjoy a vurtual exemption from maintaining the poor, because they have no overseer on who a magistrate's order may be served; from the militia laws, because they have no constable to make returns; and from repairing the highways, because they have no surveyor. According to the ancient law of England, such places were not "Geldable nor Shireground"; and as the sheriff was the receiver-general in his county, till about the time of the Revolution in 1688, extra parochial districts were neither taxable, nor within the ordinary pale of jurisdiction. They are still virtually exempt from many civil duties, and the inhabitants are not called upon to serve many public offices, to which others are liable.

These exclusive privileges are enjoyed by all the Castle-ground at Nottingham, viz. the Castle Enclosure, the Park, Standard Hill and Brewhouse Yard which, though they contain 117 houses at the west end of Nottingham, are not within the jurisdiction of the "town and county of the town", but included within the county at large, and within the hundred of Broxtow. Many neat mansions have, during the last twenty years, been erected in the Park and Standard Hill, the inhabitants of which avoid the payment of their just share of the parochial burthens of the town.

Brewhouse Yard

This is a small district under the south-east side of the castle rock, and on the north bank of the Leen, where the old Waterworks' Company have an engine house. It was formerly in the jurisdiction of the castle, and contained a malt kiln and brewhouse, for the use of the garrison; but in 1621, James I constituted it a separate Constabulary, and granted it to Francis Philips, gent, and Edward Ferres, mercer, both of London. Here is a dye house, and two public houses, one of which has a hole cut in the rock, with a hole at the top for the admission of light, from which it has obtained the name of the Star Parlour.

Another tavern has two large chambers and other conveniences, cut in the rock, near the entrance to Mortimer's Hole, which is now walled up. Dr Thoroton, in speaking of this place, calls it "a receptacle for fanatics, and other like people, who could not live conformable to the laws". A cosiety of people used to meet here, called the Philadelphians, or the Family of Love, from the love which they professed to bear all men, though never so wicked. Their founder was one David George, an Anabaptist of Holland, who propogated the new doctrine in Switzerland, where he died in 1556, after which his tenets were declared to be impious, and his body and books sentenced to be burnt by the common hangman. Since King James' reign, Brewhouse Yard has had a constable and overseer. Mr Charles Ley is the former, and Mr John Fisher the latter.

Standard Hill

This comprises about five acres, nearly one half of which is occupied by St James' Church, and the gardens of the General Infirmary, the north end of which charitable institution is within the limits of the county of the town, in the parish of St Nicholas', which bounds Standard Hill on the east, as the Park does on the north and west, and the outward wall of the castle on the south. This was formerly called Hill Close, and took its present name from the Royal standard, which Charles I set up here on August 25th 1642. In 1807, the Duke of Newcastle divided that part not occupied by the Infirmary into 32 building plots, containing together about 9,000 square yards, which he sold for nearly £7,000. Since this sale, St James' Church, and upwards of 60 large and handsome houses have been erected, so that every building site is now occupied, each purchaser having covenanted "to pave and keep in repair one half of the streets, so far as they respectively extend in front, or by the side of his lot; to make foot pavements four feet broad; and not to build any houses upon the premises, of less value than £25 per annum, nor erect any manufactory, or suffer any obnoxious trade whatsoever to be carried on". In 1814, the parishioners of Nottingham complained that the wealthy inhabitants who had built houses on Standard Hill, were not only exempt from the poor rates of the town, but refused to relieve those paupers who by servitude were considered to have gained a settlement in that extra parochial district. In consequence of these grievances, the magistrates appointed of the inhabitants Overseers, and afterwards gave orders for the removal of a pregnant servant girl from St Mary's parish, to the house of one of the said overseers, where she was refused admittance. After an expensive law suit, in which the three parishes of Nottingham united, it was finally determined by the Court of the King's Bench, "that Standard Hill, not having been proved to be an ancient Ville, or ville by reputation, is not subject to the jurisdiction of magistrates in the appointment of overseers. Consequently, according to this decision, no settlement can be made within its boundaries either by servitude, occupation, or any other means.

The Castle Enclosure

This is bounded on the north by Standard Hill, on the east by Gillyflower Hill, on the south by Brewhouse Yardm and on the west by the Park. It contains about nine acres, including the abrupt declivities of the rock, on the south and west sides, where many trees have been planted, and where one or two modern Gothic buildings may be seen peeping through the sylvan recess. The Riding School stands within its limits, a little below the castle lodge where, in 1798, some part of the old wall was removed to make way for its creation by the Nottingham troop of Yeomanry Cavalry. It is now used as a carriage repository.

The Park

This contains 129 acres, 1 rood, and 9 perches of land, and is bounded on the south by the Leen, on the east by Castle Rock and Standard Hill, and on the north and west by the parishes of Radford and Lenton. It is now an open pasture, except a bowling green, and garden plot at its south-east corner, the site of the barracks at its north-east corner, and its eastern and northern boundaries, which have been lined with large and beautiful houses, with hanging gardens in front, descending by an abrupt but picturesque semicircular sweep to the green pasture of the park. Many very curious excavations have been made in the rock by the owners of these houses. The Park forms a leasant summer promenade, and is much frequented from different roads leading though it to Wilford, Lenton, Wollaton &c. Until 1720 it was well stocked with deer, and had many large trees, but both have now disappeared, except a few sycamores, a little above the barracks. Formerly there was a fish pond in the lower angle of the Park, facinf the Castle Rock, Which was converted about the year 1700 into a reservoir bu the Waterworks' Company, who so neglected it, that it became a filthy bog, and in 1795 was divided by the Duke of Newcastle's agent into garden plots, and let to the inhabitants of the town, as also was the picturesque acclivity of the Park Hill, in 1809, which rises to a considerable altitude above it and the River Leen, and had been unproductive for ages. This sterile spot has, by the labour and horticultural skill of its occupants, been converted into a fertile and delightful paradise. One portion has been converted into a bowling green. On the north side of the Park is the appearance of an embankment enclosing an oblong area, to which tradition has given the name of Queen's Gardens.

Nottingham, Baptist Chapels

The Scotch Baptist Chapel

This is in Park Street, and is supposed to have been the third dissenting place of worship in the town. It was erected in 1724, for the use of a Baptist congregation which existed as early as the 17th century. The Rev. Wm. Green is the pastor

The General Baptist Chapel, Milton Street

This is a large, neat, brick building, erected in 1851 by a body that separated from the chapel in Plumtre Place. The Rev. Geo. Alex. Syme is the minister.

The General Baptist Chapel, Plumtre Place

This is a large, square. brick fabric, adjoining one of St Mary's burial grounds. It was erected in 1799. Near it a large Sunday School was built in 1811. The Rev. Hugh Hunter is the minister.

The Particular Baptist Chapel, George Street

This is a neat, brick edifice, erected in 1815, by the congregation which previously occupied the Park Street chapel. It cost about £6,000, including the purchase of the site, and the erection of the large Sabbath School, which adjoins it. The interior is neatly pewed, and will seat 1,000 people. The burial ground is at a considerable distance, being on the west side of Mount Street. The Rev. James Edwards is the pastor.

The Particular Baptist Chapel, Derby Road

This was erected in 1851, and is a handsome, brick building, but displays a want of symmetry, the breadth not corresponding with the length, but the design is so admirable that it presents a most imposing appearance. The Rev. J.A. Baynes B.A. is the minister.

The Armenian Baptists

These have a large chapel in Broad Street, erected in 1818 by a number of members who, with their pastor, the late Rev. Robert Smith, separated from the congregation in Plumtre Street. The present minister is the Rev. W.R. Stevenson.

The Separatists

These people are a community of Baptists, who occupy Paradise Place Chapel in Barkergate.

Nottingham, Independent Chapels

Castle Meeting House

The Castle Meeting House, near the bottom of Castlegate, was built in 1689, when its founders, adhering to the doctrine of John Calvin, separated from the Socinians, and formed themselves into an Independent Church of "Comgregationalists". The chapel has been several times altered and enlarged, and will seat about 1,200 persons. In 1826, it was thoroughly repaired, and enriched with a good organ. The building stands in the parish of St Nicholas, but the large burial ground in front is in St Peter's. It has a large Sunday School, and the congregation subscribe to a fund for the relief of the poor. The Rev. Samuel McAll is the minister.

Sion Chapel

Sion Chapel, Fletcher Gate, was built in 1819, for a sect of Independents attached to the High Calvanistic sentiments. There is no settled minister.

St James' Street

The Independent Chapel in St James' Street was erected in 1823 at a cost, including school rooms, of £5,500, and will seat 800 persons. The Rev. John Wild is the pastor.

Friar Lane

Friar Lane Independent Chapel is a handsome Gothic Structure, in the decorated early English style, erected in 1828. It is 63 feet 6 inches by 43 feet, and will seat about 800 persons. Two octagonal towers, 52 feet in height and ten feet 8 inches in diameter, at the entrance, serve as staircases leading to the galleries for the congregation, and above that to narrow galleries for 600 Sunday scholars. Underneath the chapel are catacombs for 500 bodies. The centre part of the stairs in both stairs is hollow; one is a ventilator for the catacombs, the other a chimney for the furnace that warms the Chapel. The Rev. Jph. Gilbert is the pastor.

Nottingham, Methodist Chapels

Wesleyan Methodists

The Wesleyan Methodists are numerous and popular, and date their origin from John and Charles Wesley, who commenced their pious labours at Oxford about the year 1730. After meeting some time in a house in Pelham Street, they erected the Tabernacle in 1762, but in 1782 they sold it to the General Baptists. They went from the Tabernacle to Hockley Chapel, a large and handsome brick building, which they erected in 1782, at the foot of Goosegate. Their numbers being greatly increased in 1798, they erected Halifax Chapel, Halifax Place, Pilchergate, being 84½ feet long, and 53 feet broad, exclusive of the vestry and other conveniences, and will seat about 1,600 persons.

The Broad Street Chapel is the largest dissenting place of worship in the town, except the new Catholic Church, being 97 feet 8 inches by 64 feet, with galleries all round, and will seat 1,927 persons, of which 500 are free. The first stone was laid on Monday October 20th 1838 by Wm. Herbert Esq., and it was opened on the 20th of June 1839. The following Sunday, £1,286 5s 10½d was collected at the services. Underneath the chapel are two large schoolrooms, with five vestries adapted to various uses. The cost of the building was upwards of £9,000, and since its erection, the Hockley Chapel has been occupied by the Primitive Methodists.

New Connexion Methodists

These were separated from the Wesleyans in 1797, and were in possession of Hockley Chapel till 1816, when they built their present large and handsome chapel in Lower Parliament Street, which was enlarged in 1825. Rev. Alexander Kilburn, their founder, died December 20th 1798, and was interred in the Hockley Chapel, and a tablet erected to his memory, which was removed in 1816 to the new chapel.

Primitive Methodists

The Primitive Methodists have a large chapel in Canaan Street, erected in 1823, and also the Hockley Chapel, which belonged to the Wesleyans till 1839, both having Sunday Schools.

Association Methodists

They have a neat chapel in Kent Street, erected in 1839. It is seated on an inclined plane, and will accommodate about 400 persons, and has Sunday School rooms below the chapel.

Nottingham, Roman Catholic Places of Worship

St Barnabas

The Roman Catholic Church of St Barnabas, on the Derby Road, is a large stone structure in the early English or lancet style, which prevailed in the latter part of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. The first stone was laid September 29th 1841. It consists of naves, choir, aisles, transcepts and sacristies, is about 180 feet in length, and 80 feet in width at the transcepts. St the intersection of the nave and transcepts is a tower, surmounted by a spire, which rises to a height of 164 feet. At the base of the spire, over the angles of the tower, are four niches, which contain large statues of St Peter, St Paul, St John and St Barnabas; and at the heads of the windows in the spire there are sculptured the heads of the four evangelists. The windows are filled with stained glass. In the centre light of the west window are the arms of the Earl of Shrewsbury, who contributed munificently to the erection of the church; and in the windows of the aisles are the arms of Doctors Walsh and Wiseman, great benefactors to the church. The west front is divided, by buttresses, into three compartments, the centre one containing the principal entrance. There are also porches on the north and south sides. The interior is remarkable for its splendour. The stone pulpit is enriched with foliage and tabernacle work, and is placed against one of the pillars at the junction of the nave and the south transcept. The choir is separated from the nave by a screen of open work. The great rood, or crucifix, rises from this screento the height os 25 feet from the pavement. It has also figures of the Blessed Virgin, and St john the Evangelist, and standards for lights. Above the screen is a figure of Christ on the cross. The high altar consists of a single slab of stone, supported by eight shafts of Petworth marble. Beyond the high altar is the Lady Chapel. On teh north side of this chapel is St Alkmund's Chapel, and on the south side of it is the chapel dedicated to the honour of St Thomas of Canterbury and venerable Bedes. St the entrance, under a covered canopy, is a statue of St Barnabas. On the south side of the choir is the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament. There is another chapel in the crypt under the choir, dedicated to St Peter, to be used in masses for the dead, the whole being rich in ornaments. The pavement of the choir and chapels is formed of incrusted tiles of various devices and colours. The church of St Barnabas appears to be a strict revival of Catholic antiquity, but being in the first style in which the pointed arch was used, the windows, narrow and sparingly used, give a severity to the exterior.

The Roman Catholic Chapel

... in George Street, was erected in 1827, and is now converted into an Infant Ragged and Industrial School.


(The Sisters of Mercy) was established in a commodious house in Upper Parliament Street, in February 1844, but removed in 1847 to a handsome brick building, erected in College Street, behind the Catholic Church, to which is attached a private chapel for the use of the Sisters, 18 in number. Mrs Caroline Borina is the Abbess. There is also a large school for girls adjoining, under the care of these ladies, who are very attentive to the wants of the poor, in seeking out and relieving objects of charity.

The Catholic Apostolic Church

... in Spaniel Row, was previously occupied by the Society of Friends. It has been considerably enlarged and improved by the present occupiers. The exterior and interior being much improved, it now presents a very neat appearance. The Rev. C. Orlebar B.A. is the minister.

Nottingham, Other Christian Chapels

The New Testament Disciples

These people occupy Salem Chapel, Barkergate. It was erected in 1817.

The Friends' Meeting House

This is in Park Street, removed from Spaniel Row. It is a plain edifice, erected in 1847, and the design is chaste and pleasing. The burial ground is adjacent.

The Huntingdonians

These people occupy Providence Chapel, a small building in Plumptre Street.

The New Jerusalem Chapel

This is a small building in North Church Street, occupied by a few of the followers of Emanuel Swedenburg, a Swedish nobleman, who died in London in 1772. Mr William Pegg is the leader.

The Unitarian Chapel

This stands on a court behind the High Pavement, and was erected about the close of the 17th century, soon after the passing of the Toleration Act. Previous to this time the congregation suffered much persecution, and was obliged to assemble secretly in a vault under a house at the top of Drury Hill. They were anciently called Socinians, from their founder, Faustus Socinus, who died in Poland in 1604. The chapel was new roofed, the floor flued, the walls stuccoed, and otherwise repaired in 1805. It will seat about 800 hearers, and has a free school attached to it. The Rev. Benjamin Carpenter is the minister.

Nottingham, Jews' Synagogue

This is in Park Street. Mr Lewin Goldbergh is the Rabbi. They have a burial ground dated A.M. 5583, at the top of Sherwood Street. It contains 200 square yards, leased from the Corporation for 999 years in 1824, at one penny per yard, in which is a small building for watching the dead.

The Caves of Nottingham

The Caves

Of the numerous caves, caverns and rock-houses, of which we have given brief notices, showing that many of then were the work of ancient Britons, and afterwards enlarged by the Saxons, since whose time many modern excavations have been made, particularly some very curious ones by various gentlemen in the Park, many of the old ones are either waster by the corroding tooth of time, or hid from public view by the improvement and extension of the town, under which some of them now form deep and capacious cellars. In digging the foundations of the houses on the north and south sides of the Market Place, many very extensive vaults with arches, supported by pillars, were discovered. Deering says, a bricklayer informed him, that whilst digging in he Weekday Cross, he got into a spacious subterranean passage, supported by ornamented pillars, and extending to the upper end of Pilchergate. The most interesting caverns, now accessable, are the Papist or Druids Holes, in the Park, and the Rock-houses at Sneinton Hermitage.

The Papist Holes

as they are vulgarly called, are a curious range of excavations in the perpendicular rock, which rises above the River Leen, at the north-east corner of the Park, a little to the west of the castle. Stukely, who visited them in the early part of the last century, says:

"what is visible at present is not so old as the time of the Britons, yet I see no doubt that it was founded upon theirs. This is a ledge of perpendicular rick, hewn out into a church, houses, chambers, dove-houses &c, &c. The church is like those in the rocks at Bethlem, and other places in the Holy Land. The altar is natural rock, and there have been paintings upon the wall; a steeple, where I suppose a bell hung, and regular pillars. The river here, winding about, makes a fortification of it, for it comes to both ends of the cliff, leaving a plain before the middle. The way to it was by gates cut out of the rock, and with an oblique entrance for more safety. Without is a plain, with three niches which, I fancy, was their place of judicature, or the like; between this and the castle is a hermitage of like workmanship."

Baird, who visited it in 1811, says "some ingenious artist has added a number of paintings, such as elephants, soldiers in full accoutrements. &c., which must be considered modern antiques". Since this, it has suffered considerably from the effects of time. No care is taken to preserve this venerable specimen. Deering says that, in his time, some of the old people remembered them much more extensive, and he adds, "that in the time of the civil war, the roundheads demolished a part of them, under the pretence of their abhorrence to Popery".

Sneinton Hermitage

This stands on the east side of the town, in the parish of Sneinton, and consists of a long range of perpendicular rock overlooking the vale of the Trent. It has, on the line of its craggy front, many grotesque habitations and curious caves, some of which are of great antiquity. Brick buildings have been erected in front of some of the old rock houses, which still serve as kitchens and lumber rooms to the new erections. In many, staircases lead up the rock to the gardens on the top, and on the shelves of the rock, on the rugged front of which the stranger is struck with the romantic appearance. Two of these are public houses, much resorted to in summer; one of them has neat garden-plots and harbours, which render it very pleasant, and is also very curious, from its great extent in the body of the rock, where visitors may choose their own temperature in the hottest weather. About thee o'clock in the morning of May 10th 1829, a lofty rock overhanging the White Swan public house fell with a dreadful crash, and knocked down part of that building, and an adjoining rock house, giving only just sufficient warning to the inhabitants to hurry from their beds, and escape to a place of safety. Several large portions of rock fell during the same year in other parts of the neighbourhood, and on Sunday night, about eleven o'clock, in March 1830, a high perpendicular rock which stood behind the Lancasterian School, Derby Road, fell, and knocked down the roof and side wall of that building. A range of rock houses on the Mansfield Road were destroyed about fourteen years ago by the Corporation, who had intended to erect a neat row of houses on the site; but Samuel Caulton, a blacksmith who had occupied one for many years, with a blacksmith's shop, without paying any rent, claimed his as freehold, and the Corporation could not get him out; his widow occupied the premises until here death, when it came into their possession. Most of the rock houses within the limits of the town have been destroyed, and the sites let by the Corporation on building leases. On the Derby as well as the Mansfield Road, many large excavations have been made by persons getting the sand-stone for the purpose of selling it to the good housewives to sprinkle their floors with, but these have mostly been broken up and built upon. The caves and scattered rocks near Gallows Hill were levelled in 1811 by the distressed workmen, who were at that time reduced to pauperism.

[Transcribed by Clive Henly]