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Help and advice for West Retford

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West Retford

As described in 1871: "RETFORD (West), a parish in East Retford district, Notts; on the river Idle and the Great Northern railway, adjacent to East Retford, and communicating with that town by a bridge. Post-town, Retford. Acres, 1,080. Real property, £3,386. Pop., 637. Houses, 169. The property is divided among a few. W. R. Hall was formerly the seat of the Denmans and the Emersons, and is now the seat of B. Huntsman, Esq. W. R. House is the seat of H. B. W. Milner, Esq. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Lincoln. Value, £550. Patron, J. Hood, Esq.
The church was restored and enlarged in 1864; and has a lofty square tower, with octagonal spire. There are an endowed school with £10 a year, an hospital or alms-house with £1,145, and other charities £34."
[John Marius WILSON's "Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales," 1870-72]



  • A cemetery of over 5 acres was formed on the Great North Road in 1854. It contained one mortuary chapel.
  • Although the cemetery is in this parish, it is known as the East Retford Cemetery and was under the administration of the East Retford Town Council's Burial Board.
  • Andrew HILL has a photograph of the Entrance to Retford cemetery on Geo-graph, taken in April, 2010. And, yes, that is St. Joseph Catholic Church next to the entrance.
  • Andrew HILL also has a photograph of the Chesterfield Canal alongside the cemetery on Geo-graph, taken in July, 2010.
  • You can search for buried relatives at the Retford cemetery Find a Grave site.



  • The parish was in the East Retford sub-district of the East Retford Registration District.
  • There was a special census of West Retford in 1794. Typically, in those days the entry would show head of household's surname and a count of people in the household. There is a 23-page booklet available from the Nottinghamshire Family History Society, "West Retford - 1794 Census," by J. B. Bailey, publ. 1996.
  • The table below gives census piece numbers, where known:
Piece No.
1841 H.O. 107 / 851
1861 R.G. 9 / 2416
1871 R.G. 10 / 3453
1891 R.G. 12 / 2640

Church History

  • The Anglican parish church is dedicated to Saint Michael the Archangel.
  • The church was restored in 1864.
  • The church chancel was lengthened in 1890.
  • The church seats 400.
  • Richard CROFT has a photograph of St. Michael's Church on Geo-graph, taken in November, 2005.
  • For more history, pick up a copy of "St. Michael the Archangel's Church, West Retford," which is a history of the church, publ. by Church Publishers, 1961, about 17 pages.

Church Records

  • The Anglican parish register dates from 1770.
  • The International Genealogical Index (IGI) includes records from this parish for the period 1622-1841.
  • A Baptist chapel was built here before 1869.
  • There is a relatively recent Roman Catholic Church dedicated to Saint Joseph. B. HILTON has a photograph of St. Joseph's Church on Geo-graph, taken in December, 2005.
  • Alan MURRAY-RUST also has a photograph of St. Joseph's Church on Geo-graph, taken in October, 2015.

Civil Registration

  • The parish was in the East Retford sub-district of the East Retford Registration District.
  • Civil Registration started in July, 1837.

Description and Travel

West Retford is a village and was a parish on the west bank of the River Idle, across from East Retford. The parish covered 1,000 acres.

If you are planning a visit:

  • Here is a photograph of the Chesterfield Canal as it passes by West Retford.
  • By automobile, take the A1 motorway north to Ranby and turn right onto the B6079 trunk road. Continuing east through Babworth, and West Retford is dead ahead. It is hard to distinguish West Retford from East Retford these days, but everything west of the Idle River is the old parish and village of West Retford.

You can see pictures of West Retford which are provided by:



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

Click here for a list of nearby places.


Historical Geography

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



  • West Retford Hall is actually in East Retford parish. It is a grade II historic building, built in 1699.
  • Alan MURRAY-RUST also has a photograph of West Retford Hall on Geo-graph, taken in October, 2015.

Medical Records

  • The village had a hospital (Holy Trinity Hospital) for sixteen "decayed" tradesmen, founded in 1665 by John DARREL, M.D., Esq. and built in 1671 It was rebuilt in 1832-34. It is not known what records may have survived as the laws did not require the records to be archived. The hospital was still in operation in 2015. It is not a "hospital" in modern terms, it is a residency home for select elderly people. "Sheltered accommodation" in modern terms.
  • B. HILTON has a photograph of Trinity Hospital on Geo-graph, taken in December, 2005.
  • Graham HOGG has a photograph of Trinity Hospital on Geo-graph, taken in September, 2012.
  • Richard CROFT also has a photograph of Trinity Hospital of 1832 on Geo-graph, taken in March, 2017.
  • Alan MURRAY-RUST has a photograph of Trinity Hospital entrance on Geo-graph, taken in October, 2015.
  • The hospital is a Grade II listed building with British Heritage.
  • The Retford Hospital and Dispensary was on Thrumpton Lane.
  • The Retford Municipal Borough Infectious Disease Hospital was on New Street.


There were three newspapers in Retford in 1912:

  1. The Retford, Worksop, Isle of Axholme & Gainsborough News, 14 Bridgegate, East Retford: publisher: Charles BUTLER, district manager; published Friday.
  2. The Retford, Gainsborough & Worksop Times, Market square, East Retford: publisher: Bennett JACKSON, manager; published Friday.
  3. The Retford & Worksop Herald, 8 Exchange Street, East Retford: George A. SMITH, managing editor; published Tuesday.

Politics and Government

  • This parish was an ancient parish in Nottingham county and became a modern Civil Parish when those were established.
  • The parish was in the Hatfield division of the ancient Bassetlaw Wapentake (Hundred) in the northern division of the county.
  • On 1st April, 1921, this parish was abolished and amalgamated with the Civil Parish of East Retford and, by in large, became the West Ward of East Retford.
  • The petty session court for Retford Petty Session District was held every Saturday at the courthouse just after lunch.

Poor Houses, Poor Law etc.

  • Bastardy cases would be heard at the Retford petty session hearings every Saturday.
  • After the Poor Law Amendment Act reforms of 1834, this parish became a part of the East Retford Poor Law Union.


 Year Inhabitants
1801 483
1811 542
1821 571
1831 593
1841 618
1851 653
1871 691
1881 816
1891 821
1901 782
1911 881


  • A National School for both sexes was built here in 1860.