On Wednesday 12th June, Retford Ladies Probus Club welcomed Andrew Jefferson to speak on the expansive subject of ‘The History of Events and People in Bassetlaw’. Beginning with the hunter gatherers who visited the caves at Creswell Crags and ending in the 1950s, it was no mean feat!
The club learned that the Romans arrived in this area in AD 60 and built a ford across the Trent at Littleborough, which consequently became the second largest settlement in Nottinghamshire. After the Romans left in AD 410, the regional kings feuded, culminating in a battle at Hadfield in 632. Edwin of Northumbria, a Christian, won and Edwinstowe takes his name.
The River Trent was an easy route for the Vikings and after many raids, they ended up overwintering at Torksey. King Harold crossed the ford at Littleborough to victory at Stamford Bridge. There was a castle at Worksop and also a beautiful Tudor Manor House, visited by Mary Queen of Scots during her incarceration in England. Sadly, it burnt down in the 18th century.
The Pilgrim Fathers connection to this area is now well documented. William Brewster lived at Scrooby Manor and William Bradford would walk nine miles every Sunday from Austerfield to worship at Babworth Church.
The English Civil War also brought things nearer to home, with a battle at Gainsborough where Cromwell beat the Royalist and Charles I famously surrendered to the Scot at Newark in 1646. The Chesterfield Canal was a vital link. It made it possible to transport 25,000 tons of stone from Anston to build the Houses of Parliament. The local stonemasons were not included and Andrew suggests that the buildings might be in better shape now if they had. Members also learned that Wiseton Manor was Princess Diana’s ancestral home before Althorp.
Making these local connections certainly helped to bring history to life and the club is thankful to Andrew. The next meeting will take place on Wednesday 11th September, at Westhill Community Centre, at 10.00am for a 10.30am start. David Dawson will speak on the Worksop and Chesterfield Canal. All are welcome.