Holinshed’s Chronicles: Shakespeare’s textbook

In the 1540s, bookseller and printer called Reyner Wolfe had a grand ambition to write a ‘universal cosmography of the world’, an enormous work that would cover the history of every nation complete with up-to-date illustrations and maps, and, to make it more accessible, written in English. It was quickly apparent that this was well …

Thoroughly Modern Manor

At first glance the village of Laxton in north Nottinghamshire does not appear unusual. A few miles from the A1, it is surrounded by farmland and has been inhabited for at least 1000 years. It is estimated from Domesday Book that Laxton may have been home to 120 people in 1086. The population was around …

All Manor of People: everyday life in Newark Court Rolls

It’s very common to dismiss manorial documents as only relating to the lords and ladies of the manor, with very little to do with the lives of ordinary men and women. In fact the documents are often packed full of information about the daily goings-on in villages and small towns, much of which was reported …

Meet the Manorial Records!

The University of Nottingham is hosting the Manorial Document Register Conference in September, along with The National Archives, and this is the perfect opportunity to talk about one of the most useful collections that researchers find most intimidating: manorial records. Mind your Manors What does the word ‘manor’ conjure up in your imagination? Grand country …

Fungi and friendship: Margaret Cavendish-Bentinck, 2nd Duchess of Portland

This is a guest post written by UoN MA English Literature student Eve Campbell. Deciphering and researching the letters of Margaret Cavendish-Bentinck, 2nd Duchess of Portland (1715-1785), has been an insightful and rewarding experience and has allowed me to learn about different roles at Manuscripts and Special Collections. My placement required me to read through …

Sir Peter Kent

What links pleistocene sites in Kenya and Tanzania with the Forties oil field and the Lincolnshire Trust For Nature Conservation? The answer is the varied career of West Bridgford-born exploration geologist Sir Peter Kent (1913-1986). Archaeological work Kent studied geology at University College, Nottingham. At the age of 21 he travelled to East Africa as …

Mansfield and the Waste of Water

In 1899, the Nottinghamshire town of Mansfield was causing a certain amount of confusion and alarm. The population was just under 16,000 according to the 1891 census, was predicted to be about 18,500 to 20,000 by 1901. The problem facing engineers George & F.W. Hodson was that they were all using a suspiciously large quantity …

George Green Library: A Photographic History

George Green Library, originally known simply as the Science Library, was one of various buildings funded in the 1950s and 60s which signalled a massive investment in science teaching and research at the University of Nottingham, facilitated by the Vice Chancellor of the time, Bertrand Hallward. Although the proposed Science Library was originally conceived to …

Happy Census Release Day!

On a Sunday afternoon at the tail end of a global pandemic, millions of people in the UK sat down to complete the decennial census forms, a head count of everyone in the country on a given day. I could be referring to 2021, but as today is Census Release Day, you’ve probably guessed that …

Beyond the Mayflower: nonconformist churches

Our new exhibition ‘Beyond the Mayflower’ is now open at the Weston Gallery, Lakeside Arts. The exhibition goes beyond the story of the ‘Pilgrim Fathers’ to look at the nonconformist churches established by people with similar views who chose to remain in Nottinghamshire. As seen in a previous blog post, the archive of the Archdeaconry of …