by John H. Gilbert
Ragnall alias Ragenil, Ragenhil, Ragnal and various other spellings all suggest Danish origins. This small hamlet is found by turning off the A57 at the Dunham cross-roads which now forms part of the Dunham-on-Trent with Ragnall, Darlton and Fledborough Parish Council. Population figures have turned circle in the last three hundred years - in 1676 we read it was just 89; in 1801 was 155; in 1901 up to 190 and in 1991 it was just 86 again. This village consisted of 34 households in 1991. The ground area is given as 487 hectare or 1200 acres.
The Ragnall estate commences with the Croftes family who are mentioned as property owners in 1368 and it was they who hired out the windmill in 1393. This wealthy family is credited with the building of the Mansion (Hall) which was pulled down about 1828 and replaced by the present house. On the death of John Croftes in 1451 the estate passed into the hands of the Nevilles where it remained until 1621 when it was sold as the Manor of Ragnall to William Reason for £ 2,700. William died in March 1627 and parts of his burial tablet tablet contained the following description:His riches were like corn lent to the field
what it received it manifold did yield
his boddy hath a grave his virtues none
but shall with time growe green when that is gon
Robert Mellish inherited the estate in 1627; in 1634 he was appointed High Sheriff of Nottinghamshire County, he died in 1662 aged 63 and the estate passed to his son Reason Mellish. Reason continued to live in Ragnall Hall as indeed did his son Charles who inherited the estate in 1696. When Charles died in 1713 his wife became Lord of the Manor and stayed in the Hall - she presented the church with a set of altar plate before her death in 1742. The Mellish family sold to the estate to one Samuel Crawley sometime after 1785; he died in 1805 and his wife died in 1813 after which their son the estate in 1819 to William Simpson who in turn sold it by auction to Mr.Angersteine.
As mentioned earlier about this time the old Hall was pulled down and a contempory description reads as follows: " a roomy brick structure containing a large hall paved, a commodious dining parlour, a lofty drawing room and study, 8 bedrooms, 9 dressing rooms and a water closet; proper apartments for several servants and convenient for domestic offices of every kind - a dwelling of no inferior order". Only a small portion of the original house remains. Local personalities include Richard Taylor as Chief Constable of north Clay Hundreds in 1654. Robert Binham elected Thirdborrow for Ragnal in 1655 and John Wilson elected Pinder (impound stray animals) in 1655. Tom Newbert of Ragnall won the all-England farrier's championship at the Royal Show in 1947.