Nottinghamshire (abbreviated Notts) is a county in the East Midlands of England, bordering South Yorkshire to the north-west, Lincolnshire to the east, Leicestershire to the south, and Derbyshire to the west. The traditional county town is Nottingham.
The districts of Nottinghamshire are Ashfield, Bassetlaw, Broxtowe, Gedling, Mansfield, Newark and Sherwood, and Rushcliffe.
The City of Nottingham is now a unitary authority, remaining part of Nottinghamshire for ceremonial purposes.
The earliest Teutonic settlers in the district which is now Nottinghamshire were an Anglian tribe who, not later than the 5th century, advanced from Lincolnshire along the Fosseway, and, pushing their way up the Trent valley, settled in the fertile districts of the south and east, the whole region from Nottingham to within a short distance of Southwell being then occupied by the vast forest of Sherwood.
At the end of the 6th century Nottinghamshire already existed as organized territory. Saxon relics have been discovered at Oxton and Tuxford. After the treaty of Wedmore, Nottinghamshire became one of the five Danish boroughs.
On the break-up of Mercia under Hardicanute, Nottinghamshire was included in the earldom of the Middle English, but in 1049 it again became part of Leofric’s earldom of Mercia, and descended to the Earls Edwin and Morkere. (Morcar)
The first mention of the shire of Nottingham occurs in 1016, when it was harried by Canute. The boundaries have remained practically unaltered since the time of the Domesday Survey. By 1719 the eight Domesday wapentakes had been reduced to six
Until 1568 Nottinghamshire was united with Derbyshire under one sheriff, the courts and tourns being held at Nottingham until the reign of Henry III, when, with the assizes for both counties they were removed to Derby.
Under Edward I the assizes were again held at Nottingham, where they are held to the present day. The Peverel Court, founded before 1113 for the recovery of small debts, had jurisdiction over 127 towns in Nottinghamshire, and was held at Nottingham until 1321.
The most interesting historic figure in the Domesday Survey of Nottinghamshire is not Robin Hood, (right) who is also claimed by Warwickshire as it happens, but William Peverel. His fief represents the honour of Nottingham, and in 1068 he was appointed constable of the castle (above left) which William the Conqueror had raised at Nottingham.
The political history of Nottinghamshire centres round the town and castle of Nottingham, which was seized by Robert of Gloucester on behalf of Maud in 1140, was captured by John in 1191, surrendered to Henry III in 1264 and played an important part in Edward III’s Scottish wars in 1397. A busy old place to be sure!
In the Wars of the Roses the county as a whole favoured the Yorkist cause. In the Civil War of the 17th century most of the nobility and gentry favoured the Royalist cause, but Nottingham Castle was garrisoned for the parliament, and in 1651 was ordered to be demolished.
The earliest evidence of the working of the Nottinghamshire coalfield is in 1259, when Queen Eleanor was unable to remain in this county on account of the smoke of the sea-coal. Collieries are scarcely heard of in Nottinghamshire in the 17th century, but in 1620 the justices of the peace for the shire report that there is no fear of scarcity of grain, as the counties which send up the Trent for coal bring grain in exchange, and in 1881 thirty-nine collieries were at work in the county.
Numerous cotton mills were erected in Nottinghamshire in the 18th century, and there were silk-mills at Nottingham.
The county flower of Nottinghamshire is the catchfly (or silene nutans) seen here.