Not­ting­ham in spot­light

Loughborough Echo - - VILLAGES | CLUB CALL -

The ori­gins of Not­ting­ham was the sub­ject of the lat­est Sut­ton Bon­ing­ton Lo­cal

His­tory So­ci­ety talk and it was pre­sented by Dr David Knight.

It is ar­chae­ol­ogy that has largely served to in­form us as to where and when Not­ting­ham came into ex­is­tence and at its best it only hints at the na­ture of the ear­li­est set­tle­ment.

From ex­ca­va­tions in Not­ting­ham, and the wider area, there is some ev­i­dence of hu­man oc­cu­pa­tion al­most from the point when the ice fi­nally re­treated around 10,000 BCE.

The clear­est in­di­ca­tion of the ex­is­tence of Not­ting­ham as a set­tle­ment comes from the post Ro­man era. There is some ev­i­dence of Ro­man arte­facts but none of the grand build­ings that char­ac­terised the Ro­man pe­riod in other ci­ties such as Bath.

The An­gles and Danes built, but in wood, and this de­cayed leav­ing only shad­ows in the soil.

Such ex­ca­va­tions as have taken place in­den­tify the ear­li­est set­tle­ment as in the area we now know as the Lace Mar­ket. This is a hill with a steep eas­ily de­fended cliff to the south and the An­gles dug a deep ditch on the north, east and west­ern bound­aries.

Ex­ca­va­tions have in­den­ti­fied both the pres­ence of the ditch and the out­lines of sev­eral build­ings. In­ter­est­ingly the out­line/ bound­ary of this ear­li­est set­tle­ment is still iden­ti­fi­able in the present road lay­out as par­al­lel roads, in­side and out­side the ditch, were later es­tab­lished and these can be seen on mod­ern maps.

Much of the re­mains of the early set­tle­ment were re­moved in me­dieval times, the ground sur­face be­ing se­verely dis­turbed or en­tirely re­moved as more sub­stan­tial de­vel­op­ment took place

Not­ting­ham is well known for its caves. These are all man-made and the early set­tlers ex­ploited the eas­ily ex­ca­vated sand­stone rock to form caves and an early name for Not­ting­ham was ‘ Tig­guo Cobauc’ which meant ‘the place of cave dwellers’ in the Celtic lan­guage of the time.

The Saxon Chief­tain Snot prob­a­bly en­dowed the early Saxon set­tle­ment with the name Snotin­ga­ham and the An­glo Saxon Chron­i­cles are the first writ­ten ref­er­ence to this name.

From the Domes­day Book we know that there were prob­a­bly 191 dwellings prior to the Nor­man in­va­sion. We also know from writ­ten ref­er­ences that the Dan­ish army camped at Not­ting­ham in 868 hav­ing sailed up the River Trent. By and large writ­ten ref­er­ences to the ori­gins of Not­ting­ham are sparse.

This was a talk based on the ar­chae­ol­ogy that has taken place over the last 50 years or more and if any­thing served to il­lus­trate just how much we don’t know about the past and how im­por­tant it is to thor­oughly in­ves­ti­gate town cen­tres site be­fore re­de­vel­op­ment takes place.

The next talk is on Wed­nes­day, Fe­bru­ary 13, at 7.30pm at the Methodist School Rooms, Main Street, Sut­ton Bon­ing­ton.

The sub­ject will be Not­ting­hamshire in Jane Austen’s Day.

Chris Weir will re­veal how Not­ting­hamshire at that time was a county of con­trasts, a rapidly chang­ing so­ci­ety with one foot in the past and the other in the fu­ture.

All wel­come.

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