Neither the architectural nor the picturesque traveller would place Nottinghamshire in his first dozen or so of English counties. It has no ancient cathedral, though the collegiate church of Southwell might for all intents and purposes be called one, and none of the most spectacular medieval castles or post-medieval country houses. As far as natural attractions go, there is indeed Sherwood Forest, but otherwise the countryside has little of outstanding beauty.

Geographically it stretches from the range of hills in front of the Pennines in the W to the Lincoln cliff in the E with the river Trent crossing it in a NE direction. The contrast between the arable land in the plain and the varied hills and dumbles is very marked. The oldest geological strata are in the W (Permian with coal and magnesian limestone), and the youngest in the E. In between are triassic new red sandstone, waterstones, keuper, broken into by the alluvium of the Trent valley, and then jurassic Lower Lias. Building materials vary accordingly, from the magnesian limestone of Mansfield to the local skerry, that is, sandstones in the keuper, and waterstones (Tuxford, Gedling, Maplebeck, etc.), and the brick of the plain. Half-timbering is now rare, but brick nowhere recorded very early. For special jobs the excellent oolitic limestone of Ancaster in Lincolnshire was occasionally used (Newark, Newark Castle, Hawton, Wollaton House).

In its history also Nottinghamshire is not marked by many events of prime national importance. The most recent county historian tells us that the C12 was 'undistinguished by dramatic episodes', the C13 'unmarked by many outstanding episodes', the C14 and C15 not different in local character from the surrounding counties, the Tudor Age of 'few outstanding contacts with the main stream', and the C17 marked by 'few events of importance'. It is only with the advent of industrial history that things appear livelier.

Additional information

Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Harmondsworth, England
Publication year:
  • 1979
  • 2nd


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.