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Facts

NOTTINGHAMSHIRE

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FUN FACTS

Nottinghamshire is the 27th largest county or metropolitan borough in England.
Nottinghamshire has the 15th highest population in England.
Nottinghamshire is in 15th place for density of population.

  1. The Royal Connection
  2. The first Nottingham Castle was built in 1067 just after William the Conqueror had invaded England. As with so many Norman castles it was first built of wood but in 1070 a new stone structure appeared. Well, it didn't just appear, it was built. The castle remained under the control of the monarch for the next years. When Richard I was off on his crusades, his brother, John, tried to claim control of England and, in doing so, he took control of Nottingham Castle. When Richard returned in 1194 he reclaimed the castle by laying siege to it.

    King Charles I raised his standard at the castle at the beginning of the Civil War but soon after he left Parliamentarian forces moved in and the castle remained in their hands for the rest of the war. After the execution of the King in 1649 the original castle was destroyed and it was in 1679 that the current building was constructed for the Duke of Newcastle. Although no longer with a royal connection the castle still had a part to play in English History. The Duke of Newcastle was against the Reform Bill in 1831 which was designed to make voting in general elections much fairer. Rioters attacked his castle, looted it and set it on fire. The Duke was given money to rebuild it, took the money and did nothing. In 1878 the Nottingham City Council took over ownership and turned the castle into a museum and art gallery, which is what it is today.

  3. Nottinghamshire Eats
  4. In 1809 a young girl called Mary Ann Brailsford planted some pips from the apple she had been eating in her garden. The pips grew into a tree but Mary left the house when she married and died in 1852 without ever knowing that she had produced one of the most famous apples in the world. The cottage where Mary had lived was eventually bought by a local butcher in 1846. Ten years later a local nurseryman, called Henry Merryweather, asked the butcher if he could take some cuttings from the tree and sell the apples. The butcher agreed but insisted that any apples should be called after him. The butcher's name was Matthew Bramley.

    Merryweather sold his first Bramley apple in 1862 and by 1876 the Bramley apple was highly commended at the Royal Horticultural Society's Fruit Committee exhibition. In 1900 the original tree was knocked over in a storm but survived and is still bearing fruit nearly 200 years after it was planted.

    The Bramley is a cooking apple rather than an eating apple. It is the most important cooking apple in England. It is used in pies and crumbles and also, when cored and filled with dried fruit, baked in an oven and served with custard, a very traditional English dessert. The apples are also used to make a jelly. The town of Sandwell, where the original cottage and tree were, holds a Bramley Apple Festival each October.

  5. Nottinghamshire VIPs
  6. Seven random people who were born in Nottinghamshire in the last 100 years:-
    William Roche (Actor - Ken Barlow in Coronation Street), Jake Bugg (Singer). Rebecca Adlington (Swimmer and Olympic Gold Medallist), Pete Dalton also known as Mistajam (DJ and Radio Presenter), Alice Levine (Radio and TV Presenter), Jay McGuiness (Pop Star and Strictly Winner) and Samantha Morton (Actor).

  7. Now That's Weird
  8. We all know the story of Robin Hood, either from various films or TV series, in my case one that broadcast between 1957 and 1959. There he was, with his band of merrie men and Maid Marion, hiding in Sherwood Forest, in Nottinghamshire and popping out to rob the rich to give to the poor, annoying the Sheriff of Nottingham and all the time dressed in Lincoln Green, presumably a good disguise in a green wood.

    But weirdly there may be other stories. Certainly people have found reference to a Robin of Loxley who was born in Yorkshire and other stories talk about Robin Hood and Little John being based in Whitby, again in Yorkshire. Most tales place Robin as operating during the reign of Richard I, the Lionheart. His name appears all over a map of England with Robin Hood's Cave and Robin Hood's Stoop in Derbyshire and Robin Hood's Well and Robin Hood's Bay, in Yorkshire. The idea of him robbing the rich to pay the poor only began to appear in the 16th century; before that he was a rebel, an outlaw who fought against authority.

    All stories seem to have the same account of Robin's death. Growing old and being unwell, he travelled with Little John to Kirklees Priory near Huddesfield in Yorkshire to be treated by his aunt who ran the priory. However she was persuaded to murder her nephew and gradually bled him to death. With his last strength, Robin blew on his horn, his way of summoning his followers in Sherwood Forest (if he was there) and Little John arrived, placed Robin's bow in his hand and carried him to the window. Robin fired an arrow and asked Little John to bury him where the arrow landed. Little John did this and there is a mound in Kirklees Park, within bow-shot of the house, that can still be seen and is said to be where Robin is buried. Little John's grave is in Hathersage churchyard in Derbyshire. Sherwood Forest and Nottingham have certainly made the most of the legend and the story is one of the best known tales of English folklore.

  9. It Happened Here
  10. This should actually be altered to It Happens Here because, excluding 2020 and the problems with Covid, the Nottingham Goose Fair has been going on for hundreds of years, only being cancelled previously for an outbreak of Bubonic Plague in 1646 and during both world wars. Nowadays it is known for its rides and games but it began life as a genuine goose fair. The name comes from the thousands of geese that were driven from Lincolnshire to be sold in Nottingham. When I say driven, I don't mean in any motorised form of transport. They were shepherded along the tracks that connects the two places.

    A charter was granted for city fairs in Nottingham by Edward in 1284 and the fair originally ran for eight days, starting on the 21st of September. In 1752, when England adopted the Gregorian calendar, the fair was moved to early October. In the 19th century, the fair was shortened from eight days to three days, but after the turn of the century it was increased again to four days. It is now an annual travelling funfair held at the Forest Recreation Ground. In recent years, there have been nearly half a million visitors to the fair each year.

    By the way, going back to the olden days, once sold many of the geese would then be "driven" the 120 or so miles down to London to be on the tables for a Michaelmas feast. Michaelmas Day is the 29th of September so it appears geese can manage at least 20 miles a day in order to get there on time.

  11. Richard Remembers
  12. You've probably guessed that this is another county I haven't stayed in nor have any real memories of except the 1959 FA Cup Final. I was 9. We'd only had a television for about 2 years and Saturday afternoon was usually sport. The year before, the BBC, who operated one of the two channels we had, started a programme called Grandstand which filled their schedules for about 4 hours each Saturday. The programme ran from 1958 until 2007 and was one of the BBC's longest running sports shows.

    The 1959 final was between Nottingham Forest and Luton Town. At the time I was living and going to school in Leeds in Yorkshire. Check out a map of England and you will see Nottingham is far closer to Leeds than Luton is. Most of my class mates at school supported Nottingham Forest so I did too. Luton were known as the Hatters because Luton was once the centre of hat making. To us in the north they were the mad hatters and not worthy of support. Luckily Forest won 2-1 and I'm guessing the commentary was by a guy called Kenneth Wolstenholme (ask your grandparents) who seven years later made the memorable comment "they think it's all over, it is now" at the end of the 1966 World Cup final won by England.

  13. Owlbut's Birdwatch
  14. The wood pigeon is the largest and most common pigeon in England. It can be seen in fields and woods and also in towns and cities. They are most often seen in parks and gardens. It can be quite tame in the towns and cities. It has a very distinctive cooing call and, as it breaks into flight, you can hear the load clatter of wings.

    Wood pigeons like to eat crops like cabbages, sprouts and peas. They also eat seeds, nuts, berries and grain. Bit of a wide diet. They are largely grey in colour with a white neck and white patches on their wings which you can see when they fly. Their legs are brown, pink and red and they have a medium length, thin beak which is mainly orange.

    Wood pigeons are about 40 cms in length, have a wingspan pf 80 cms and weigh around 500 grams. There are, wait for it, about 5 and a half million breeding pairs in the United Kingdom.

We have asked the local Tourist Board(s) for a small contribution (50 pounds) to the cost of running this project and, in anticipation of their agreement, we are providing a link to their site(s) for the next five years. I can assure you we won't see anywhere near everything when we are there, so, if you fancy taking a trip into Nottinghamshire check it (them) out for some great information. Apart from anything else it will get you out in the fresh air, walking around and one day you might be over 70 and still enthusiastically mobile.

All figures the latest available as at July 2020