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Help and advice for Southwell

If you have found a problem on this page then please report it on the following form. We will then do our best to fix it. If you are wanting advice then the best place to ask is on the area's specific email lists. All the information that we have is in the web pages, so please do not ask us to supply something that is not there. We are not able to offer a research service.

If you wish to report a problem, or contribute information, then do use the following form to tell us about it. We have a number of people each maintaining different sections of the web site, so it is important to submit information via a link on the relevant page otherwise it is likely to go to the wrong person and may not be acted upon.



Archives and Libraries

The town has a Library in the Bramley Center on King Street. The library is open normally seven days a week,

Humphrey BOLTON has a photograph of the Library in Bramley Center on Geo-graph, taken in October, 2015.



Alan MURRAY-RUST has a photograph of the Lych-gate Entrance to Southwell Cemetery on Geo-graph, taken in June, 2008.

He also has a view into the Cemetery on Geo-graph, taken in June, 2008.

In 2010, the churchyard at Southwell Minster was closed and the churchyard at Holy Trinity Church had restrictions on further burials.



  • 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
1871 R.G. 10 / 3534
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.
  • Malcome NEAL also has a photograph of Southwell Minster on Geo-graph, taken in October, 2009.
  • 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.
  • Ian TAYLOR has a photograph of the Methodist Church on Geo-graph, taken in October, 2014.
  • Alan MURRAY-RUST also 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.
  • David-HALLAM-JONES has a photograph of the driveway to the presbytery of "Our Lady of Victories" Roman Catholic Church, Wolsey Close on Geo-graph, taken in May, 2013.

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 whole prison could accommodate 132 males and 18 females in 1881. This prison closed in 1880.
  • 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 likeliest places to find individual incarcerated between 1841 and 1881.
  • Stephen RICHARDS has a photograph of the Gateway to the House of Correction on Geo-graph, taken in June, 2012.
  • Jonathan THACKER has a photograph of the Lodge to the former House of Correction on Geo-graph, taken in July, 2017.

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:





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

Click here for a list of nearby places.


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.



  • 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.
  • King Charles I passed through here in August, 1642, on his way to Nottingham to raise the Royal Standard. He was back after the Civil War battle at Naseby in June 1645.
  • It was here that King Charles I surrendered himself on 6 May, 1646, to the Scots' Commissioners prior to his execution.
  • Petty Session 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 (2nd Feb.) and Martinmas days (Nov. 11th).
  • The Admiral Rodney Hotel was a "family and commercial" hotel run by Albert MERRYFIELD in 1911.
  • Graham HOGG has a photograph of the Saracen's Head Hotel on Geo-graph, taken in January, 2015. This hotel is famous for a visit by King Charles I.
  • Ian TAYLOR has a photograph of the Millennium Clock in Market Square on Geo-graph, taken in October, 2014.


  • 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.
  • You may wish to read the Burgage Manor Revealed web page.
  • Peter BARR has a photograph of Burgage Manor on Geo-graph, taken in February, 2011. He reports that Lord Byron called it "home" from 1803 to 1808.

Military History

  • Viscount ALLENBY was born in 1861 at Brackenhurst House, Southwell. His mother was a daughter of the Rev. Thomas Coates CANE, M.A., who resided there many years, and the baptism of the future general is in the register of Southwell Minster.
  • In 1894, the Southwell Rifle Volunteers were here, about 60 members. Captain Thomas Lewis Kekewich EDGE, commanding; Lieut. T. A. STARKEY; Srgt.-Instructor John GRAGGS, drill instructor. These men assembled in late July for training, usually at Sparken Hill, Worksop.
  • In 1911, H. Company of the 8th Btln. Sherwood Foresters was billeted here on King Street. Captain John P. BEECHER, commanding; Colour-Srgt. Walter SADDINTON, drill instructor.
  • Alan MURRAY-RUST has a photograph of the Drill Hall on the Newark Road on Geo-graph, taken in April, 2013.
  • The Newark Great War Bulletin for October 11th, 1915 tells us that the Misses Marjory and Sybil BARROW of Normanton Hall, along with Miss BROADHURST of Upton raised £14. on Flag Day for the RSPCA’s fund for sick and wounded horses in the British Army. Marjory Grantham BARROW and her sister Sybil Grantham BARROW were born in Kent to Leonard Norman BARROW and his wife Mary Mason BARROW. Leonard was born in Southwell, NTT.
  • The Roll of Honour in the Minster commemorates those Southwell men who gave their lives in the service of their country. 107 parishioners are listed on the Roll. The memorial windows was created by artist Nicholas MYNHEER and was dedicated by Bishop Stephen OLIVER on 10th July 2016. Southwell Minster was the Mother Church to Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire. The window commemorates all those from both counties who lost their lives.
  • Southwell Minster also features a three-light window honoring Major John Pickard BECHER, 8th Btln. Sherwood Foresters who died of wounds in France on Jan 1st 1916. John had been born in Southwell in 1880, the son of John Henry and Alice Mary BECHER.
  • Southwell Minster also has another three-light window in memory of Emma SHERLOCK (1795-1877), widow of Colonel Francis SHERLOCK (1781-1848). The Colonel was a hero from the Napoleonic wars.
  • Julian P. GUFFOGG has a photograph of a Southwell Minster stained-glass window memorial to Henry HANDFORD and Everard HANDFORD, killed in action 1915. The window was installed in 1918.  The photograph was taken in April, 2016.
  • Ruth SHARVILLE has a photograph of the War Memorial in Burgage Road on Geo-graph, taken in August, 2009.
  • Alan MURRAY-RUST also has a photograph of the War Memorial in Burgage Road on Geo-graph, taken in June, 2008.
  • Chris ? has a photograph of the Nottinghamshire Army Cadet Force building on the eastern edge of the town on Geo-graph, taken in June, 2018. You may recognize this as the Southwell Drill Hall. The doors have been painted different colours at different times.

Military Records

The Newark Great War Bulletin for May 24th, 1915, tells us that private Ezekial EATON, age 21, died at Lincoln Hospital. He was laid to rest with full military honours at Southwell Minster.

The Newark Great War Bulletin for June 21st, 1915 tells us that private Frank PALIN, age 22, of the 8th Btln, Sherwood Foresters, was killed by a sniper the week before. He was the son of John and Annie PALIN of Station Road.

The Newark Great War Bulletin for August 9th, 1915 tells us that corporal Sam HUMBERSTONE, age 25, of the 8th Btln, Sherwood Foresters, was killed just prior to a planned furlough. He was the husband of Lilla HUMBERSTONE. He had been a key footballer with Southwell City.

That same edition tells us that private John Henry HOPEWELL, of the 8th Btln, Sherwood Foresters, was shot on his 25th birthday, 30 July. He was the son of Henry and Alice HOPEWELL.

The Newark Great War Bulletin for September 6th, 1915 tells us that Flight Sergeant Edwin Cecil RUMFORD of Southwell, serving in the Royal Flying Corps, was recognized for his bravery and awarded the St. George Medal, 2nd class, by the Tsar of Russia.

The Newark Great War Bulletin for September 27th, 1915 tells us that Major John Pickard BEECHER received the DSO for calm leadership of his men at Ypres and gallantry at Kemmel. The Major was a lawyer in the local law firm of LARKIN & Co. The major would be shot in both legs in October, shattering one thigh.

The Newark Great War Bulletin for October 18th, 1915 tells us that 26-year-old private George Henry KIRKBY of the 8th Sherwood Foresters, wrote to his parents Frank and Sarah Elizabeth telling them the the doctor at the No. 3 Canadian Hospital in Carniers, France, had removed a piece of bone "off my brain", and that they should rest assured that he was in good hands.

The Newark Great War Bulletin for October 25th, 1915 tells us that Captain Henry Basil Strutt HANDFORD, 21, and 2nd Lieutenant Edward Francis Sale HANDFORD, 20, had both died in the assault on the Hohenzollern Redoubt in Loss, Belgium. These two brothers were the sons of Major Henry HANDFORD MD, Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC). All were residents of Southwell. This edition also notes that Major John Pickard BECHER, DSO, was wounded.

The Newark Great War Bulletin for November 1st, 1915, tells us that Southwell resident Thomas STEPHENSON of Hearty Goodfellow Yard off of Church Street had 7 sons serving in the Military:

  1. Thomas STEPHENSON, 8th Sherwood Foresters.
  2. Fred STEPHENSON, Cameron Highlanders.
  3. George STEPHENSON, Cameron Highlanders.
  4. Leonard STEPHENSON, 1st Sherwood Foresters.
  5. William STEPHENSON, 3rd Sherwood Foresters.
  6. Baden STEPHENSON, Royal Engineers.
  7. Arthur STEPHENSON, Royal Engineers.

Thomas STEPHENSON was a lace maker, married to Emma. All the boys were born in Southwell.

The Newark Great War Bulletin for November 29th, 1915, tells us that Distinguished Conduct Medal recipient Arthur SHEPPARD had died defending the trenches in France.


Names, Geographical

  • Locals pronounce the name as "Suthall." (Thank you, Brian Binns, 2013).
  • And some insist that it should be more like "Suth-ell" with a long U (Thank you, Di in NZ, 2013).


The Newark Advertiser publishes a Southwell edition. They have an online edition and a "30 Years ago" feature.


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.
  • You may contact the Southwell Town Council regarding civic matters or political issues, but they are NOT funded to do family history searches for you.

Poor Houses, Poor Law etc.

  • Bastardy cases would be heard in the Southwell petty session hearings on alternate Fridays in the court house.
  • The Reverend John T. BECHER (1770-1848) was a staunch advocate for strictness, segregation and economy in workhouses and believed that they should be operated with tenderness towards the infirm and the guiltless poor whilst rejecting the overwhelming advances of idle, profligate and sturdy pauperism. David HALLAM-JONES has a photograph of his home, Hill House, on Geo-graph, taken in May, 2013.
  • As a result of the 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act reforms, this parish became the centre of the Southwell Poor Law Union.
  • Tourists can walk to the poorhouse! Alan MURRAY-RUST provides this Public footpath signpost on Geo-graph, taken in June, 2008.


 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.