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24 September 2014
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A history of Nottinghamshire
Creswell Crags
Creswell Crags
There is evidence of human settlement in Nottinghamshire dating back thousands of years. Excavations at Creswell Crags, a group of limestone caves near Worksop, have revealed continuous human occupation from 40,000 - 28,000 BC.
People of snot
Later the Romans built the Fosse Way, linking Leicester and Lincoln. When the Anglo Saxons colonised Nottinghamshire they established the fortified borough of Snotengaham on a steep sandstone outcrop. The name meant the "ham" of the people of Snot. Luckily for the locals the Normans later dropped the unattractive "S".
War and peace
Newark Castle
Newark Castle
However, their arrival also coincided with a period of conflict. Major castles and defensive walls were built at Nottingham and Newark while a series of "mottes" (castle on earth mounds) were constructed in the countryside at villages like Laxton and Cuckney.
The Domesday Book (1086) records invaluable information on these early settlements. Around this time Sherwood Forest was preserved to provide hunting for the Norman Kings and has since become world famous for its association with Robin Hood, his Merry Men and the Major Oak.
Nottingham caves
Nottingham caves
In medieval times Nottingham Castle became an important stronghold, defending a major route to the north of England. Under the Castle and other parts of the town there is an extensive network of tunnels and caves in the sandstone, some of which can still be visited today.
Abbeys and churches

The Normans also had a passion for building churches. At Southwell Minster, begun around 1108, the imposing nave is a fine example of Norman architecture.

Newstead Abbey
Newstead Abbey
Abbeys and priories were established in places like Worksop, Newstead, Welbeck and Rufford.

Religion was at the heart of life in medieval times, so much so that many churches were enlarged or rebuilt to hold larger congregations; one of the great town churches being St. Mary's in Nottingham.
Pilgrim Fathers
In the late 1500's a religious movement began in North Nottinghamshire that was to shake the world. In the villages of Babworth and Scrooby a group of religious thinkers began to formulate new religious (nonconformist) ideas. They became known as the Pilgrim Fathers and eventually sailed to New England in 1620 on the Mayflower.
Salvation Army
William Booth
William Booth
Many religions are now represented in Nottinghamshire. Nottingham itself was the birthplace of William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army. He was born in Notintone Place, Sneinton, a suburb of the city. The Salvation Army now works throughout the world.

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