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Nottingham in the Middle Ages (600 – 1499)

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‘Robin Hood and His Merry Men Entertaining Richard the Lionheart in Sherwood Forest’ by Daniel Maclise 1839 © Nottingham City Museums and Galleries

‘Robin Hood and His Merry Men Entertaining Richard the Lionheart in Sherwood Forest’ by Daniel Maclise 1839 © Nottingham City Museums and Galleries

600

Nottingham was called Tig Guocobauc, meaning a place or house of cave dwellings, and formed part of the Kingdom of Mercia, later coming under the rule of a Saxon (English) chieftain named Snot who called it Snotingaham, meaning the home, dwelling or homestead (the ham) of Snot’s people

867 or 868

Nottingham was captured by Danish Vikings and later became one of the Five Burghs (fortified towns) of The Danelaw

868

Records first suggest the existence of caves in Nottingham, thanks to a Welsh monk called Asser

918

King Edward the Elder recaptured Nottingham for the English

920

The first bridge was built over the River Trent at Nottingham; ordered by King Edward the Elder

1067

William the Conqueror ordered the first wooden Castle to be built on Castle Rock

1068

Nottingham’s French Borough and Saturday Market were established

1086

The Domesday Book refers to Nottingham as Snotingeham and Snotingham

1086

A church was mentioned in the Domesday Survey of Nottingham, probably St Mary’s, with the Priest named as Aitard

1100

The approximate construction date of the original St Peter’s Church

1103-8

St Mary’s Church was mentioned by name when it featured in the foundation charter of Lenton Priory

1103-14

The Cluniac Priory of Lenton was founded

1140

Robert of Gloucester and the army of the Empress Matilda attacked Nottingham Castle, held by King Stephen, they set fire to the town and massacred the parishioners of St Peter’s who had taken refuge in the church

1153

Much of Nottingham was destroyed by fire

1155

A Royal Charter granted by Henry II confirmed Nottingham’s rights and liberties

c1156

Henry II replaced the old bridge over the River Trent with a new one, called the Heth Beth Bridge

1170

Nottingham Castle was rebuilt in stone as a principal royal fortress by Henry II

1170

Newstead Abbey was probably founded in 1170 by Henry II in atonement for the murder of Thomas a Becket

1180

Nottingham’s St Peter’s Church shows traces of construction from about this date; the original church of around 1100 was destroyed by fire

1180

Nottingham was the first place in England to record an earthquake

1189

The approximate establishment date of Nottingham’s Ye Olde Trip To Jerusalem public house

24 March 1194

Richard the Lionheart captured Nottingham Castle from his brother John after a three day siege

1212

During an uprising by the Welsh Prince Llewellyn, King John ordered the execution of 28 Welsh boy hostages, who were hanged on the walls of Nottingham Castle

15 June 1215

Magna Carta was signed by King John at Runnymede; the first document forced onto an English King by a group of his subjects in an attempt to limit his powers by law and protect their privileges. The charter was an important part of the process that led to the rule of constitutional law in the English speaking world

1240

The approximate establishment date of Nottingham’s Ye Olde Salutation Inn public house

1251

Henry lll ordered improvements to Nottingham Castle, including a twin towered gatehouse

1276

Carmelite friars founded a Friary on Friar Lane

12 February 1284

The Royal Charter of Edward I granted the office of Mayor to Nottingham; the first appointment was Roger de Crophill

1302

The earliest mention of Nottingham’s Bridge Estate for the maintenance of bridges over the River Trent

1304

Oak panelling was used in a building in the original Shambles; a group of shops near the Market Place, this panelling is still in use in the present day Council House that was later built on the site

October 1330

Roger Mortimer, the lover of Queen Isabella, was captured by supporters of her son, King Edward III, who entered the castle through the system of caves in Castle Rock

1346

Goose Fair (or Goods Fair as it was originally known) was cancelled because of the Black Death

1348-49

About half of Nottingham’s population of around 3,000 people died during the Black Death

1375

The first written record of the Shire Hall site in the Lace Market being used as a law court

1377

A capitation tax roll of Edward III showed the population of Nottingham to be 2,300

1380s

The south aisle wall was the first part of the Church of St Mary the Virgin to be constructed, the church is mentioned in the Domesday Book and is believed to have been on the site since the early Saxon period, the main body of the present building is at least the third on the site

1392

The Mayor of Nottingham, John de Plumptre, founded Plumptre Hospital

1396

The unallocated common well providing water to Nottingham had its hauling equipment repaired

1401

Pope Boniface IX granted a ten year Indulgence for alms to be used for the fabric, conservation or repair of St Mary’s Church

1437

The approximate establishment date of Nottingham’s Bell Inn, a Grade II listed public house

1449

The first written reference to the Shire Hall site in the Lace Market being used as a prison

28 June 1449

The Charter of King Henry VI separated the borough of Nottingham from the county and approved the appointment of Sheriffs for the two Boroughs of Nottingham; the first incumbents were William Sadler and Thomas Lyng

1458

Wealthy local merchant Thomas Thurland built the historic mansion Thurland Hall, the building and grounds covering about eight and a half acres near the centre of Nottingham

1476-80

New building and refurbishment of Nottingham Castle was completed for Edward lV

1483

The Mayor and other local notables welcomed Richard Duke of Gloucester (later Richard III) on his visit to Nottingham

1485

Richard III left Nottingham Castle for Bosworth, where he died in battle

16 June 1487

7,000 men were killed at the battle of Stoke Field, between Nottingham and Newark, the bloodiest battle ever fought in Nottinghamshire

12 October 1492

The first sighting of land (the Bahamas) on the first voyage to the New World by Christopher Columbus

Continue to ‘Early Modern Nottingham (1500 – 1799)’


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For other information about Nottingham click here



If you want to know more about Nottingham’s past there is further information in ‘Events and dates in Nottingham’s history’ and through these websites:

The Nottinghamshire Heritage Gateway

The Thoroton Society of Nottinghamshire

Nottingham Local Studies Library



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