Visit Mansfield and the surrounding villages and stay in bed & breakfast accommodation:
Mansfield, Nottinghamshire. Now one of the most important industrial centres in the North Midlands, Mansfield was once a place of only a few thousand inhabitants in the heart of Sherwood Forest. It was the home of a community from earliest times, however, as is proved by the number of remarkable cliff dwellings hewn out of the sandstone in Southwell Road. These are known as the Rock Houses and were fully inhabited in the l860s, the last tenant leaving in the early years of the present century. Coins found dating from the times of Vespasian, Constantine, Marcus Aurelius and later emperors and the remains of a villa in the adjoining mining village of Mansfield Woodhouse, pinpoint the area as a Roman settlement. During the Anglo-Saxon heptarchy the city was a temporary residence for the Mercian kings. In the time of Edward the Confessor it was a royal manor, and remained one until Stephen de Blois granted it to the Earl of Chester. Henry VIII gave it to the Duke of Norfolk as a reward for his gallantry at Flodden Field. It then reverted to the crown until the reign of Elizabeth, when it was held by the Earl of Shrewsbury. In 1631 it was owned by William Cavendish, Earl of Newcastle, from whose family it passed to the Dukes of Portland.
One of the earliest of Mansfield notables was John Cockle, known as the Miller of Mansfield. who entertained Henry II after finding him lost in the woods, and, not realizing who his guest was, served him a great pasty stuffed with venison poached from the king's own forests. Mansfield was also the birthplace of Archbishop Sterne, who was present at the scaffold when William Laud was executed and was the grandfather of Laurence Sterne, author of Tristrain Shandy. Another famous man born in Mansfield, in 1704, was Robert Dodsley, who ran away to London to become a footman. In 1732 he produced a book of poems called A Muse In Livery, which brought him to the notice of Alexander Pope. Pope helped him to produce a play, The Toy Shop, a great success at Covent Garden. With his profits Dodsley opened a bookshop, and in 1738 he published London, which he had bought for £10 from an unknown author called Samuel Johnson. The two became great friends and it was Dodsley who suggested to Johnson the scheme of the English Dictionary. Finally Dodsley became one of the greatest of the 18th-century publishers, bringing out works by Pope, Goldsmith, Horace Walpole, and Sterne.
The prosperity of modern Mansfield, standing amid the remains of the Dukeries, rests principally on the coal lying under its surface. No collieries are in the town itself, but many of the 55,000 inhabitants are employed in the ones nearby. Mansfield is famous, too, for its hosiery manufacture, footwear and ‘cotton doubling’ - a twisting together of several threads of cotton yarn to make lace, net and quality cloths.
In the middle of the town rise the high arches of the railway viaduct, cutting off the market place from the Parish Church of St Peter. This church has an exceptional Norman steeple but the main impression is 14th-century The Church of St Mark in Nottingham Road is worth a visit, since it is one of the best Victorian churches, built in 1897 by Temple Moore. The market place Moot Hall was given to Mansfield by the lady of the manor, the Countess of Oxford of Welbeck Abbey, in 1752. In 1836 a neo-Classical town hall was added and later still a huge memorial was erected to Lord George Frederick Cavendish Bentinck, son of the 4th Duke of Portland, whose biography was written by Disraeli.
About 1 mile away, on the secondary road to Southwell, is the enclosure containing the grave of Charles Thompson, who endowed Brunt's School in Mansfield. He became rich in Europe and the East, but after the shock of seeing Lisbon destroyed in the earthquake of 1755 he returned and settled in his home town. He was buried in 1784 in the grave he had chosen because the place reminded him of the spot where he had been standing when he witnessed the appalling spectacle in Portugal.
Nearby towns: Afreton, Chesterfield, Hucknall, Newark-on-Trent, Southwell, Sutton-in-ashfield
Nearby villages: Blidworth, Calverton, Edwinstowe, Kirkby-in-ashfield, Lambley, Market Warsop, Norton Disney, Ollerton, Rainworth, Ravenshead, Shirebrook
Have you decided to visit Mansfield or the surrounding villages? Please look above for somewhere to stay in:
- a Mansfield bed and breakfast (a Mansfield B&B or Mansfield b and b)
- a Mansfield guesthouse
- a Mansfield hotel (or motel)
- a Mansfield self-catering establishment, or
- other Mansfield accommodation