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Nottinghamshire lies on the Roman Fosse Way, and there are Roman settlements in the county; for example at Mansfield, and forts such as at the Broxtowe Estate in Bilborough. The county was settled by Angles around the 5th century, and became part of the Kingdom, and later Earldom, of Mercia. However, there is evidence of Saxon settlement at the Broxtowe Estate, Oxton, near Nottingham, and Tuxford, east of Sherwood Forest. The name first occurs in 1016, but until 1568, the county was administratively united with Derbyshire, under a single Sheriff. In Norman times, the county developed malting and woollen industries.

King William I the Conqueror in 1066 made Sherwood Forest a Royal Forest for hunting which was frequently visited by the Mercian and later Kings. [5] [6] [7]

King William I the Conqueror's 1086 Domesday Book identified certain areas in Nottinghamshire being under the land of King Edward the Confessor these included Mansfield and Sutton in Ashfield, amongst other places including Skegby, Dunham-on-Trent, East Drayton, East Markham, Farnsfield, Warsop, Carburton, Edwinstowe, Carlton-on-Trent, Budby, Perlethorpe and Walesby. [8]

King John's Palace ruin near Kings Clipstone was a royal residence for King John, the area being near to Sherwood Forest. King John's Palace was a place where King William the Lion of Scotland met King Richard I of England to congratulate him on his return from the crusades. [9]

John, King of England died at Newark Castle in 1216. [10]

During the industrial revolution, the county held much needed minerals such as coal and iron ore, and had constructed some of the first experimental waggonways in the world; an example of this is the Wollaton wagonway of 1603–1616, which transported minerals from bell pitt mining areas at Strelley and Bilborough, this led to canals and railways being constructed in the county, and the lace and cotton industries grew. In the 18th and 19th centuries, mechanised deeper collieries opened, and mining became an important economic sector, though these declined after the 1984–85 miners' strike.

Hand-drawn map of Lincolnshire and Notthinghamshire from 1576. Lincolnia nottinghamia Atlas.jpg
Hand-drawn map of Lincolnshire and Notthinghamshire from 1576.

Until 1610, Nottinghamshire was divided into eight Wapentakes. Sometime between 1610 and 1719, they were reduced to six – Newark, Bassetlaw, Thurgarton, Rushcliffe, Broxtowe, and Bingham, some of these names still being used for the modern districts. Oswaldbeck was absorbed in Bassetlaw, of which it forms the North Clay division, and Lythe in Thurgarton.

The flag of the historic county of Nottinghamshire County Flag of Nottinghamshire.svg
The flag of the historic county of Nottinghamshire

Nottinghamshire is famous for its involvement with the legend of Robin Hood. This is also the reason for the numbers of tourists who visit places like Sherwood Forest, City of Nottingham, and the surrounding villages in Sherwood Forest. To reinforce the Robin Hood connection, the University of Nottingham in 2010 has begun the Nottingham Caves Survey, with the goal "to increase the tourist potential of these sites". The project "will use a 3D laser scanner to produce a three dimensional record of more than 450 sandstone caves around Nottingham". [11]

Nottinghamshire was mapped first by Christopher Saxton in 1576; the first fully surveyed map of the county was by John Chapman, who produced Chapman's Map of Nottinghamshire in 1774. [12] The map was the earliest printed map at a sufficiently useful scale (one statute mile to one inch) to provide basic information on village layout, and the existence of landscape features such as roads, milestones, tollbars, parkland, and mills.

Nottinghamshire saw a slight change to its overall boundary in the extreme northern part of the county in 1974, when the villages of Blaxton, Finningley and Auckley (part) were merged into the City of Doncaster in South Yorkshire.[ dubious discuss ][ citation needed ]

Physical geography

Interactive map of Nottinghamshire and city/districts

Nottinghamshire, like Derbyshire, and South Yorkshire, sits on extensive coal measures, up to 900 metres (3,000 feet ) thick, and occurring largely in the north of the county. There is an oilfield near Eakring. These are overlaid by sandstones and limestones in the west, and clay in the east. [13] The north of the county is part of the Humberhead Levels lacustrine plain. The centre and south west of the county, around Sherwood Forest, features undulating hills with ancient oak woodland. Principal rivers are the Trent, Idle, Erewash, and Soar. The Trent, fed by the Soar, Erewash, and Idle, composed of many streams from Sherwood Forest, run through wide and flat valleys, merging at Misterton. A point just north of Newtonwood Lane, on the boundary with Derbyshire is the highest point in Nottinghamshire; at 205 metres (673 feet), [14] while Silverhill, a spoil heap left by the former Silverhill colliery, a human-made point often cited as the highest, reaches 204 metres (669 feet). The lowest is Peat Carr, east of Blaxton, at sea level; the Trent is tidal below Cromwell Lock. [15]

Nottinghamshire is sheltered by the Pennines to the west, so receives relatively low rainfall at 641 to 740 millimetres (25 to 29 inches ) annually. [16] The average temperature of the county is 8.8–10.1 degrees Celsius (48–50 degrees Fahrenheit). [17] The county receives between 1321 and 1470 hours of sunshine per year. [18]

Green belt

Nottinghamshire contains one green belt area, first drawn up from the 1950s. Completely encircling the Nottingham conurbation, it stretches for several miles into the surrounding districts, and extends into Derbyshire.


Nottinghamshire is represented by eight members of parliament. The Nottinghamshire seats are represented by Conservative MPs.

Following the 2017 County Council elections, the County Council is controlled by a coalition of Conservatives and Mansfield Independent Forum, having taken control from the Labour administration. The seats held are 31 Conservatives, 23 Labour, 11 Independents, 1 Liberal Democrat. In the previous 2013 election, the County Council was Labour controlled, a gain from the Conservatives.

Local government is devolved to seven local borough and district councils. Ashfield is Ashfield Independents controlled; Bassetlaw, Gedling, and Mansfield are Labour controlled; while Broxtowe, Newark and Sherwood, and Rushcliffe are Conservative controlled.

Westminster Parliamentary

Statue of Robin Hood in Sherwood Forest (9464).jpg
Southwell Minster - - 43532.jpg
Nottingham Council House - - 2943238 (cropped).jpg
Nottinghamshire UK locator map 2010.svg
Nottinghamshire within England
Coordinates: 53°N1°W / 53°N 1°W / 53; -1
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Constituent country England
Region East Midlands
Established Ancient
Time zone UTC+0 (GMT)
  Summer (DST) UTC+1 (BST)
UK Parliament 8 MPs
Police Nottinghamshire Police
Ceremonial county
Lord Lieutenant Sir John Peace
High Sheriff Professor Dame Elizabeth Fradd [1] (2020/21)
Area2,159 km2 (834 sq mi)
  Rank 27th of 48
(2022) [2]
  Rank 15th of 48
Density539/km2 (1,400/sq mi)
  • 93% White
  • 3% Asian
  • 2.1% Mixed
  • 1.2% Black
  • 0.7% Other
General Election 2019: Nottinghamshire
Conser­vativeLabourLiberal DemocratsBrexitGreenOthersTurnout
258,794 (47.4%)
204,011 (37.4%)
33,585 (6.2%)
15,922 (2.9%)
New party
10,375 (1.9%)
23,241 (4.3%)
Overall number of seats in 2019
Conser­vativeLabourLiberal DemocratsBrexitGreenothers

Political control

Nottinghamshire is a non-metropolitan county, governed by Nottinghamshire County Council and seven non-metropolitan district councils. Elections to the county council take place every four years, with the first election taking place in 1973. Following each election, the county council has been controlled by the following parties: [19]

1973 Labour details
1977 Conservative details
1981 Labour details
1985 Labour details
1989 Labour details
1993 Labour details
1997 Labour details
2001 Labour details
2005 Labour details
2009 Conservative details
2013 Labour details
2017 no overall control details
2021 Conservative details

Economy and industry

The regional economy was traditionally based on industries such as coal mining in the Leen Valley, and manufacturing. Since the invention of the knitting frame by local William Lee, the county, in particular Nottingham, became synonymous with the lace industry. [20]

In 1998, Nottinghamshire had a gross domestic product (GDP) per-capita of £12,000, and a total GDP of £12,023 million. This is compared to a per-capita GDP of £11,848 for the East Midlands, £12,845 for England, and £12,548 for the United Kingdom. Nottingham had a GDP per-capita of £17,373, North Nottinghamshire £10,176, and South Nottinghamshire £8,448. [21] In October 2005, the United Kingdom had 4.7% unemployment, the East Midlands 4.4%, and the Nottingham commuter belt area 2.4%. [22]


Secondary education

The county has comprehensive secondary education with 47 state secondary schools, as well as 10 private schools. The City of Nottingham local education authority (LEA) has 18 state schools and six independent schools, not including sixth form colleges.

A total of 9,700 pupils took GCSEs in the Nottinghamshire LEA in 2007. The best results were from the West Bridgford School, closely followed by Rushcliffe Spencer Academy and the Minster School in Southwell. In Nottingham, the best results came from the Trinity Catholic School and the Fernwood School in Wollaton. [23]

At A-level, the highest performing institution was The Becket School, followed by the West Bridgford School. Some of Nottingham city best results tend to come from Nottingham High School, closely followed by the all-female Nottingham High School for Girls, both of which are privately run.

Worksop College is another private school near to Worksop.

Higher education

The University of Nottingham is a Russell Group university and well-renowned, offering one of the broadest selections of courses in the UK. Nottingham Trent University is one of the most successful post-1992 universities in the UK. Nottingham is home to a campus of the University of Law. All three of these institutions combine to make Nottingham one of England's largest student cities. Nottingham Trent University also has an agricultural college near Southwell, while the University of Nottingham has one at Sutton Bonington.


National and County cricket player Harold Larwood Larwood.jpg
National and County cricket player Harold Larwood
Newstead Abbey Newstead Abbey 02.jpg
Newstead Abbey

Nottinghamshire is home to the Sherwood Forest, known for its association with the legend of Robin Hood. [24] [25]

Nottinghamshire contains the ancestral home of the poet Lord Byron, Newstead Abbey, which he sold in 1818. It is now owned by Nottingham City Council, and is open to the public. The acclaimed author D. H. Lawrence was from Eastwood in Nottinghamshire. Toton was the birthplace and home of English folk singer-songwriter Anne Briggs, well known for her song Black Waterside. The north of the county is also noteworthy for its connections with the Pilgrim Fathers. William Brewster, for example, came from the village of Scrooby, and was influenced by Richard Clyfton, who preached at Babworth.

Thoresby Hall was formally owned by Robert Pierrepont, 1st Earl of Kingston-upon-Hull acquired the Thoresby lands in 1633, but was killed in the Civil War in 1643. His son Henry Pierrepont, the 2nd Earl, built the first grand house, attributed to the architect Talman, about 1670. [26] Thoresby Hall is now a hotel but the park is open to visitors. [27]

Thoresby Hall Thoresby Hall - - 1533497.jpg
Thoresby Hall

Rufford Abbey was formally built (between 1560 and 1590) and owned by George Talbot, 6th Earl of Shrewsbury who was Bess of Hardwick Countess of Shrewsbury’s husband. [28]

Rufford Abbey Rufford Abbey.jpg
Rufford Abbey

Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club (NCCC) are a first class county cricket club who play at Trent Bridge in West Bridgford. They won the County Championship in 2010. The most successful football team within Nottinghamshire is Nottingham Forest, a Premier League club that won the 1978 English championship, and followed it up with winning the 1979 and 1980 European Cup titles. Mansfield Town and Notts County are the other professional teams in the country, both in League Two. Other notable sporting teams are the Nottingham Rugby Football Club, and the Nottingham Panthers Ice Hockey Club.

Nottinghamshire has international twinning arrangements with the province of Wielkopolska (Greater Poland) in western Poland, and with the province's capital city, Poznań. [29]

In 2002, Crocus nudiflorus (Autumn crocus) was voted by the public as the county flower of Nottinghamshire. [30] [31]

BBC East Midlands is based in Nottingham and broadcasts news around the county; ITV Central also covers regional news in the county. BBC Radio Nottingham is the local public radio station, while Hits Radio East Midlands, Greatest Hits Radio East Midlands, Capital Midlands, Gold and Smooth East Midlands, are the local commercial stations. Northern parts of the county such as Worksop and Retford in the Bassetlaw area receive a better signal from the Emley Moor TV transmission so the area is covered by BBC Yorkshire and ITV Yorkshire. [32]

Districts and boroughs

Southwell Minster Southwell Minster 2016 - north-west view.jpg
Southwell Minster
Mansfield Mansfield Market Place.jpg
Retford Town Hall Retford Town Hall, May 2012.JPG
Retford Town Hall
Newark-on-Trent Former Moot Hall, Newark-on-Trent (Geograph 3655815).jpg


Administrative area

(post 1974)

Administrative centre

(post 1974)

Main settlements
Ashfield UK locator map.svg Kirkby-in-Ashfield Sutton-in-Ashfield, Annesley, Hucknall
Bassetlaw UK locator map.svg Worksop (also a non-constituent member of the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority) Retford, Askham, Carlton in Lindrick, Harworth, Bircotes, Elmton-with-Cresswell
Broxtowe Broxtowe UK locator map.svg Beeston Kimberley, Stapleford, Attenborough, Bramcote, Chilwell
City of Nottingham Nottingham UK locator map.svg Nottingham (County town of Nottinghamshire) Bulwell, Bestwood, Sneinton, Clifton, Aspley, Radford, Basford, Hyson Green, Wollaton
Gedling Gedling UK locator map.svg Arnold Carlton, Burton Joyce, Colwick, Ravenshead, Gedling, Netherfield
Mansfield Mansfield UK locator map.svg Mansfield Rainworth (part), Forest Town, Mansfield Woodhouse, Warsop
Newark and Sherwood Newark and Sherwood UK locator map.svg Newark-on-Trent Southwell, Ollerton, Edwinstowe, Rainworth (part), Farnsfield, Sutton-on-Trent
Rushcliffe Rushcliffe UK locator map.svg West Bridgford East Leake, Ruddington, Bingham, Cotgrave, Tollerton, Keyworth, Radcliffe-on-Trent

Settlements and features

The traditional county town, and the largest settlement in the historic and ceremonial county boundaries, is the City of Nottingham. The city is now administratively independent, but towns including Arnold, Carlton, West Bridgford, Beeston, and Stapleford are still within the administrative county, and West Bridgford is where the county council are based.

There are several market towns in the county. Newark-on-Trent is a bridging point of the Fosse Way and River Trent, but is actually an Anglo-Saxon market town with a now ruined castle. Mansfield, the second-largest settlement in the county after Nottingham, sits on the site of a Roman settlement, but grew after the Norman Conquest. Worksop, in the north of the county, is also an Anglo-Saxon market town which grew rapidly in the industrial revolution, with the arrival of canals and railways and the discovery of coal. Other market towns include Arnold, Bingham, Hucknall, Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Tuxford, Retford and Sutton-in-Ashfield.

The main railway in the county is the Midland Main Line, which links London to Sheffield via Nottingham. The Robin Hood Line between Nottingham and Worksop serves several villages in the county. The East Coast Main Line from London to Doncaster, Leeds, York, Newcastle upon Tyne, and Scotland serves the eastern Nottinghamshire towns of Newark and Retford.

The M1 motorway runs through the county, connecting Nottingham to London, Leeds, and Leicester by road. The A1 road follows for the most part the path of the Great North Road, although in places it diverges from the historic route where towns have been bypassed. Retford was by-passed in 1961, and Newark-on-Trent was by-passed in 1964, and the A1 now runs between Retford and Worksop past the village of Ranby. Many historic coaching inns can still be seen along the traditional route.

East Midlands Airport is just outside the county in Leicestershire, while Doncaster Sheffield Airport lies within the historic boundaries of Nottinghamshire. These airports serve the county and several of its neighbours. Together, the airports have services to most major European destinations, and East Midlands Airport now also has services to North America and the Caribbean. As well as local bus services throughout the county, Nottingham and its suburbs have a tram system, Nottingham Express Transit.

Nottingham and its surrounding areas form part of the Nottingham Urban Area while Bassetlaw is a non-constituent part of the Sheffield City Region.

Places of interest

See also

Related Research Articles

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