News for Winter 2016


The Thoroton Research Group held a meeting at Bromley House (in the Thoroton Room!) on Saturday 15th October. The meeting had been called to make decisions on the future fo the Group. The last meeting held, in 2015, attracted only five members. There were seven members at the October meeting but there were a number of apologies. Following a full and frank discussion, it was resolved that:

Members who wish to join the Research Group (no extra cost!) should contact the Convenor (John Wilson) at

Two more notable anniversaries for 2016

In 1816 John Blackner, the author of the “History of Nottingham”, died. And on 1st July 1966 the last Nottingham trolleybus ran from King Street, just off the Old Market Square, to the junction of Nottingham Road and Valley Road in Basford.

A bit more about Blackner - he was born in Ilkeston about 1770 and served an apprenticeship to a stocking-maker there but subsequently moved to Nottingham. He had received an extremely limited education and it was said that he couldn’t write his name when he married. He did, however, have a talent for words and was known for his rhymes and also his ability to speak well. He took a great interest in politics and started to contribute to the Nottingham Review which closely represented his own radical political views. He became prominent amongst a section of local politicians and achieved such literary ability that he was appointed the editor of the London newspaper, The Statesman, but soon reverted to Nottingham to edit the Nottingham Review. He also became a pamphleteer and then in 1815 produced the “History of Nottingham”. Included in his book are interesting items such as the “Brotherhood of the Chair”. This was a group who met at a house near St Ann’s Well to sit in Robin Hood's chair and wear his hat. As Blackner notes, the group consumed a large amount of ale, so it seems to have been a convivial gathering. He was also believed to be a source for the term Luddite. He died on 22nd December 1816 at the Rancliffe Arms in Nottingham’s Sussex Street, of which he was the landlord for some years.

News of the Geoffrey Bond Research Award

We are pleased to announce the outcome of the second year of the Geoffrey Bond Research Awards. Again, we had a good selection of applications. The Panel decided that Matt Beresford, an archaeologist working in the Southwell area on community based archaeology, should receive an award for the continuing work on exploring the origins of Southwell. The Roman Southwell Community Project was established in January 2014 and is entirely self-funded via public support and donations, business sponsorship, fundraising activities and small grant awards. It seeks to research the Iron Age and Roman landscape of Southwell and the surrounding region within a 5-mile radius. This is being done through research, map work, landscape studies, geophysical surveys, fieldwalking and excavation.

Another of Matt’s projects received an award in 2015 - this was based on Kelham, searching out evidence of Civil War activity. A full report on this will appear in the next Transactions, however, a short report is included in this issue of the newsletter.

The other award this year went to the Wollaton Historical and Conservation Society’s Wollaton Cottages Survey which aims to continue research, both documentary and field, on the age and nature of the early cottages of the village.

We were again pleased to see the range and quality of the applications and look forward to next year’s round. This year the sum available was doubled out of the Society’s own funds and this will continue in 2017. Details of the award and how to apply are on the website.

Barbara Cast, Hon Secretary

News from the 2016 Geoffrey Bond Award winners

Last year, through the Geoffrey Bond Research Award, I was granted the sum of £500 to go towards research and travel expenses as part of my doctoral research which examines the development of political culture and the growth of ideas through print within the East Midlands between 1790 and 1832.

A large proportion of the research has now been completed, and the money awarded from the Society has played an important part in this. To date, the funding has paid for reprographic fees at Nottinghamshire Archives and Nottingham Local Studies where many of the key sources for my research are held. In addition,

I have also been able to visit and photograph election literature produced for Nottinghamshire elections held at other archives offices across the region. I am planning on using the rest of the award to carry out several research visits to London where I will visit The National Archives at Kew and the British Library. Here, I will be able to consult and photograph a range of sources which will be helpful as my thesis develops. These include Home Office papers relating to the prosecutions for libel and selling seditious literature of Nottinghamshire printers Daniel Holt and Charles Sutton, as well as a number of Nottinghamshire political addresses, squibs and handbills.

Collectively, these trips to archives collections have been integral to my research. The photographs I have collected through these visits will be used within my thesis, as well as to illustrate my Nottinghamshire History Lecture to the Society in November 2017 and subsequent article in Transactions.

Hannah Nicholson

The Kelham in the Civil War project ran between September 2014 and June 2016 with a small group of local people in order to research the role that the village of Kelham played in the Civil War. One of the outcomes of research was the understanding that the village originated, in the Early Medieval period, on the south side of what is now the Kelham Hall Estate, and 17th century maps showed that the road to Newark originally crossed the Trent at this point. In the autumn of 2015, MBArchaeology was awarded a Geoffrey Bond Research Award in order to fund a resistivity survey in the grounds of Kelham Hall to try and identify the road, and to carry out some systematic fieldwalking on ploughed land in the area where the medieval village supposedly existed. Fieldwalking found a spread of finds of various ages, but little medieval material was recovered, and not enough to suggest the close proximity of the original medieval village of Kelham. This may well be further to the south, closer to Averham, and further fieldwork and documentary research may well answer this question. There was, however, not enough evidence to suggest the location of the village is where it is generally thought to have existed.

We wish to thank Geoffrey Bond and the Thoroton Society for kindly funding this work, Jonathan Pass, the owner of Kelham Hall for his ongoing support of our work and for allowing us access to the land, and to the Fox Inn, whose staff provided meeting space for our indoor work.

Matt Beresford of MBA Archaeology