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Help and advice for Southwell

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  • The parish was in the Southwell sub-district of the Southwell Registration District.
  • The table below gives census piece numbers, where known:
Piece No.
1841 H.O. 107 / 867
1861 R.G. 9 / 2470
1891 R.G. 12 / 2707


You can also perform a more selective search for churches in the Southwell area or see them printed on a map.

Church History

  • The Church of Saint Mary was founded by Paulinus about 630 AD. This was surrendered to Henry VIII in 1540, but the King refounded the charter in 1543.
  • Much of the fabric of the church dates from 1109-1114, other portions to 1230.
  • A Chantry was built along the eastern side of the transept during 1248-1260.
  • The church was damaged by a violent storm on 11 November, 1711, when lightning struck the southern spire setting fire to the spire, the roof and the central tower.
  • Brian GOTTS has a photograph of Southwell Minster on Geo-graph, taken in July, 2001.
  • Richard CROFT provides another view of Southwell Minster on Geo-graph, taken in February, 2007.
  • Holy Trinity ecclesiastical parish was formed in 1846 and the new church for it was consecrated on 31 March, 1846.

Church Records

  • The Anglican parish register dates from 1559 and is in good condition.
  • The register for Holy Trinity Church dates from 1846.
  • The International Genealogical Index (IGI) includes records from this parish for the period 1633-1838.
  • The Wesleyan Methodists built a chapel here in 1840.
  • Alan MURRAY-RUST has a photograph of the Methodist Church on Geo-graph, taken in June, 2008.
  • The Baptists built a large chapel here in Moor Lane before 1881.

Civil Registration

  • The parish was in the Southwell sub-district of the Southwell Registration District.
  • Civil Registration began in July, 1837.

Correctional Institutions

  • The House of Correction in the Burgage part of the town served as a "Bridewell" for the whole county. A new structure went up in 1808 on the site of the old one, and a new wing was added in 1868. Altogether there were 118 cells with officer and warders' quarters. The wole prison could accomodate 132 males and 18 females in 1881.
  • It is unknown if any rosters of prisoners were archived, but court and petty session records may show if any of your relatives were inmates here. The Census returns are the likliest places to find individual incarcerated between 1841 and 1901.

Description and Travel

Southwell is a parish, a township and a market town. The town sits on high ground on the western bank of the little River Greet, a tributary of the River Trent. The parish is 132 miles north of the city of London, 7 miles west of Newark, 14 miles north of Nottingham city and covers 5,645 acres.

If you are planning a visit:

  • The A1 motorway used to run through the village but a modern bypass now skirts the place.

You can see pictures of Southwell which are provided by:


Historical Geography

You can see the administrative areas in which Southwell has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.

Ask for a calculation of the distance from Southwell to another place.


  • Southwell was originally a Roman station. Their camp was on Burgage Hill.
  • Southwell once had four famous wells, noted for their nearly miraculous healing powers. Two of these, near the church, have been covered over.
  • King James I passed through the town in 1603 on his way to London to assume the crown.
  • It was here that King Charles I surrendered himself on 6 May, 1646, to the Scots' Commissioners prior to his execution.
  • Petty Sessional hearings were held here on Fridays, once a fortnight, at the Town Hall.
  • A Savings Bank was established here in 1818.
  • Statutes for hiring servants were held on Old and New Candlemas and Martinmas days.


  • The Manor House in the Burgage part of the town, inhabited by Miss MONCKTON in 1881, was formerly the residence of Lord Byron, the poet, who spent his boyhood days here.

Military History

  • Ruth SHARVILLE has a photograph of the War Memorial on Geo-graph, taken in August, 2009.

Names, Geographical

  • Locals pronounce the name as "Suthall." (Thank you, Brian Binns, 2013).

Politics and Government

  • This place was an ancient parish in county Nottingham and it became a modern Civil Parish when those were established.
  • The parish was in the southern division of the ancient Thurgarton Wapentake (Hundred) in the southern division of the county.
  • The town was divided into five constablewicks: High Town, Burgage, East Thorpe, West Thorpe and Normanton. The town had four "parks": Hexgrave, Stockerton, Norwood and Southwell. These "parks" had been the property of the Archbishop of York and were enclosed and cultivated as farms.
  • Between 1836 and 1837, the parish was in the Southwell and Scrooby Liberty.
  • In October, 1877, this parish gave up Upper and Lower Hexgrave to enlarge Farnsfield Civil Parish.

Poor Houses, Poor Law etc.

  • Bastardy cases would be heard in the Southwell petty session hearings on alternate Fridays in the court house.
  • As a result of the 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act reforms, this parish became the centre of the Southwell Poor Law Union.


 Year Inhabitants
1801 2,305
1811 2,674
1841 3,487
1851 3,516
1861 3,469
1871 3,166
1901 3,196

Probate Records

Ros DUNNING provides a transcript of the will of OTTER, Charles of Southwell.

Ros DUNNING also provides a transcript of the will of WYLDE, Esther of Southwell.


  • The Grammar School here appears to go back to at least 1531, but the date of construction is not given.
  • The National School on Moor Lane was built in 1840 to hold 200 children.
  • The Endowed Free School in Easthorpe was founded in 1780.
  • The Infant School in West gate was built in 1860 to hold about 220 children.