Dunham on Trent


by John H Gilbert

Almost equal distance from Lincoln, Newark, Retford and Gainsborough is the historic village of Dunham-on-Trent so named after the Saxon chief DUNA, and HAM meaning village. This village straddles the river Trent with Newton-on-Trent opposite on the Lincolnshire side. Between the two the river is spanned by a long, all-metal modern designed, Toll bridge which carries the A57 trunk road from East to Northern parts cutting through the centre of Dunham village. The first bridge opened in 1830 replacing the Ferry which was in constant use catering for very busy market fairs which attracted commerce from far and wide. The Ferry was often used by King John who was no stranger to Dunham which was the most important of the King's manors in the county of Nottinghamshire.

In 1211 King John built a hunting lodge in the tiny hamlet of Kingshaugh then in the manor of Dunham and the house was in Royal hands until 1604. The present house in Kingshaugh and grounds are open by appointment. In l273 men at Dunham had certain privileges which could only be granted by Royal charter i.e. "tenents of ancient desmene ought to be quit of murder, pontage and all other fines with the commonality of the County". (From 'The Manor of Dunham-on-Trent' by Revd.Howard Chadwick, M.A.) In 1216 a Guildhouse (Merchants Guild) was established herabouts and 1330 Henry 1 made Dunham a free Borough with rights to hold a market which lasted until recent times. The present day population of Dunham village is approximately 312 people occupying 123 households whilst in 1307 there were 145 beings and exactly the same in 1676. The dangers of flooding are always present and notable floods occurred in 1852, 1875, 1910 and remembered today 1947. Pre-reformation Dunham church was dedicated to St.Peter but at a later date it was changed to St.Oswald's.

Not content to rest upon its' laurels - "the communities of Dunham-on-Trent, Ragnal and Fledborough consider that there is no better way for us to celebrate the millennium than to build a new purpose built village hall. A 21st century hall that will serve both our present community and future generations of residents that we follow us" (Dunham-on-Trent Village Hall Committee - Business Plan 1997). This was done an a magnificent purpose built village hall celebrating the millennium was opened in 1998 offering unequalled sporting, recreational and social facilities including a planned Park and gardens on adjacent land.