The Civil War. In view of the fact that Trent Bridge was one of the places for crossing between the south and the north, it will at once be realized that from a strategetic standpoint the possession of the bridge was, in the dreadful struggle for mastery, of importance to both parties, and it is not surprising to find that repeated skirmishes took place, in which the forts were taken and re-taken. Particulars may be taken from the Life of Colonel Hutchinson, who was Governor of Nottingham Castle, written by his wife. It must always be borne in mind that the authoress was a thorough partizan. Only a brief statement of a few items can here be given. In 1643 six hundred Cavaliers, through treachery, obtained an entry into Nottingham, and having ransacked and plundered it, made a fort at Trent Bridge, whither they carried all the plunder and prisoners, taking much booty by boats to Newark. The Governor, having lost faith in many of his men, formed a watch company of women, who paraded the town all night. He, under colour of attending divine service at St. Mary's church, ascended the tower, and with Hooton, the Engineer, viewed thence the works at the bridges, which next day he attacked, and laid siege to the fort, which after four days was evacuated by the possessors, who in order to prevent being followed, destroyed two of the arches of the bridge. In their flight they left behind them eighty sheep, one hundred loads of coals, twenty quarters of oats, and much hay and lead, which had been plundered from the townsmen These particulars indicate that the fort, which was strong, must have occupied considerable space.

On January 16th, 1644, the fort was again re-taken by the Cavaliers, and one thousand of them entered the town, but four hundred soldiers chased them, killing thirty or forty of them, and taking eighty prisoners. About two thousand of the attacking force from Belvoir, and Wiverton, apparently remained on the Bridgford side of the Trent, doubtless to the consternation of the locality. A fort in the meadows was afterwards erected, and the fort at the bridge strengthened, but the Royalists surprised it when only thirty men were in it, and they were mostly killed. On Saturday, 17th February, 1644, Col. Hutchinson's men were on the bridge about eleven o'clock, watching the people going to market, and they took twelve of Hacker's soldiers, "disguised like markett woemen, with pistolls, long knives, hatchetts, daggers, and great pieces of iron about them." A pursuit followed the enemies' foot beyond the bridge, nine of them who where to have assassinated the bridge guards, were overtaken, and with their captain leaped into the Trent, four being recovered, five drowned, and the captain swam to the other shore. On the 11th March, 1644, a great victory over the Parliamentary forces was obtained by Prince Rupert, at Newark, which caused terror in Nottingham, and discouraged the men in charge of the defences, but subsequent operations went on in other directions.

"Lieut.-Col. Stanhope was slain, his death arising from a shot fired at him by a parliamentary soldier whilst he was humanely engaged in assisting to extinguish a fire, which had occurred in a house in West Bridgford, during the conflict between the contending parties" (Bailey, 744). Query—Was this East Bridgford?

A pamphlet of the period, quoted in the History of Newark, page 80, says, "Apl. 19, 1645. A party of his Majesty's forces from Newark took the fort at Nottingham bridge by a scarlado, taking some 50 rebels in it beside an ensign, and 10 others killed and drowned, 300 horses, 200 ams. and 5 pieces of ordnance. This fort they held about 11 days, and then quitted without any loss." Another account says, "The Newark horse since they took the Trent Bridge fort with the two drakes, and ammunition therein, and killed 30 of our men that were in it, have done much mischief to adjacent towns thereabouts, * * * * and particularly at Bridgeford, where they did not only plunder the inhabitants, but carried every man prisoner that they found in the town. Six of them fled into the church, thinking thereby to save themselves, but they brake open the church doors, and brought them away prisoners" (page 80).

A new fort was now erected at the south end of Trent Bridge—Orange says, "where the new watch house now stands," which resulted in the other fort (which stood where the public house called the Town Arms stands) being deserted. This site had been previously a water mill, and subsequently water works were in the rear.

The people of Bridgford, and the villages on the south of the Bridge, were all this time in a terrible state. Siding generally with the Royalists, they were face to face with the majority who in Nottingham were for the Parliamentary party, torn, however, by faction and internal dissensions. The repeated visits from the Newark army caused great burdens on the peaceful farmers, the pests of fellows who took advantage to plunder rather than work, the constant levies, and the family bereavements, made the peaceful vale the abode of misery. "They have plundered us of our goods and cattle on this (the south) side of the River," wrote one in the Weekly Account, April 16-23, 1645, as quoted in "Memorials of Old Notts.," "and on Saturday last a Partee of the Newark Horse and Dragoons when it was not yet duske fell on Nottingham bridge," etc. Apparently at one time, when the bridge was impassable, the market was held near Bridgford, for Mrs. Hutchinson tells of the repairing of the bridges "whereby the great market out of the Vale was again brought into the town to their great joy and benefit."

Afterwards the Royalist cause in various parts, especially at Naseby, suffered great losses, the Scots army arrived, the King, on May 6th surrendered himself at Kelham, the siege of Newark was raised, the Castles at Newark and Nottingham, and the Palace at Southwell were destroyed by order of Parliament, and on the application from the Corporation the governor gave a license for a portion of the works at Trent Bridge to be taken down (Bailey, p. 765). But it was not till 1683 that contracts were made for rebuilding the bridges which had been destroyed or damaged during the late war. (Walker, p. 27).

Revolution. There is a house on the Radcliffe Road sometimes called "Old England house," as being an imaginary centre of England, and sometimes called the "Revolution house," having a tradition that on the older part of its site some of the patriots who were in favour of the Revolution in 1688 met, but I have not met with any definite record. It is curious that the opposition to the acts of King Charles I. in 1642 should be called "rebellion," and the like acts against King James II. in 1688 should be called "patriotism." The ruse of Lord Delamere to test the people of Nottingham, when he gave out that the King's forces were within four miles of Nottm., and the whole town in alarm armed themselves with whatever implements they could obtain, and rushed on horseback, or on foot, to Trent bridge, and barricaded the road with boats, market stalls, barrels, etc., to stop the passage of the King's army, was at once amusing and annoying, but 200 years of liberty have shewn the wisdom of calling in William I. and Mary to govern. See "Deering" or "In and about Notts." p. 218.

The Plague. The villages of East and West Bridgford, Cotgrave, Bingham, being during the summer of 1636 infected with the plague, a spirited subscription was entered into in Nottingham for their relief. A watch of six householders was appointed to keep out suspected persons from the "visited" places. The plague long continued to linger, resulting in great mortality in Bingham and East Stoke, and in 1646 the Nottingham Council voted and ordered generally "that the goose fair shall bee wholly cryed downe, and proclamacion to bee sent to markett townes to forbidd the people to come to it, by reason of the sickness in the Country, and to prevent danger to the Towne, through God's mercies." (D.B. 243). With civil war, the pestilence, anxiety, want, and crushing taxation, their cup would be full.

"The way to Hell!" Joan Phillips was the daughter of a respectable farmer. She had a fine figure, and a face of rare beauty, and her mind is said to have been at once keen, artful, and daring, so that she had many admirers among young men, one of them being Edward Bracey, a handsome young fellow who had a good address, and was ready for any enterprise, and Joan fell under his influence, which was pernicious, and eventually she fell from the paths of virtue, and from being his adored, she became his dupe and victim, and gradually his accomplice in acts of fraud and violence, for they eloped, robbing her father of all the money and plate in his house, and then continued a course of vice and crime, eventually settling in a public house, which became the resort of thoughtless and profligate young men, who were allured by her beauty to their own destruction, by gambling, at which he was an adept, and by vice and crime found the record true, "her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death." Joan frequently attired herself in man's apparel, and mounted on horseback, with pistols in her holster, accompanied Bracey in cases of highway robbery. On the Loughborough Road, they attacked some gentlemen riding in a carriage, but this time were unsuccessful, for Joan was captured, and taken to the prison, while Bracey escaped. At the Spring Assizes 1685 she was tried, and was hanged on a gibbet at the end of Wilford lane, near the scene of the crime, being then only twenty-nine years of age. Mr. Wm. Stevenson says both were hanged, but Bailey's Annals, from which this account is taken, says Bracey was killed in resisting the attempt made afterwards to take him into custody.

Of course the site of the execution was haunted afterwards—really haunted, for the swinging of the gibbet creaked about misplaced talents, lost opportunities, wrongs done, misery inflicted, and instead of the heaven of remembered kindnesses, the record of a down grade, down, down to hell.

When Charles Rotherham, a tramping tinker, in 1817 murdered Bessie Shephard on the Mansfield Boad, at the spot now marked by a memorial stone, he, foolish man, offered for sale some of the stolen goods, and having travelled on the Loughborough Road was tracked, arrested, and hanged.

The Poor. " The law of settlement," as it was called, was in the olden times a great hardship upon the poor. Thus if a labourer removed from Bridgford to another parish, the Overseers of that parish required the Church-wardens and Overseers of Bridgford to give a certificate on parchment, acknowledging the labourer, his wife, and children, " to be an inhabitant, legally settled in West Bridgford," and further "we do hereby promise for ourselves, and successors, to receive back the said Benjamin Walker, his wife, and family, whenever they become chargeable to work for Relief," etc., and the witness to the undertaking had then to obtain the signatures of two Justices. There are in the parish papers a number of these forms. The quotation is from one in 1720. It will readily be seen how this law operated like a prison wall to the poor. Other parishes would not receive them, or sent them back, or they starved.

Parish Records. I have not met with a book kept by the Overseers, nor one usually kept by the Parish Constables, but there is one, "The Churchwardens Parish Book," 1759 to 1835, which the Rector has kindly allowed me to see. The accounts have been carefully kept, balanced each year, and signed by from three to six residents, as "allowed." The very first item in 1759 is for "Southwell Pentecostal offerings," an annual payment which has probably been continued for 700 years. "For Ringin for a yare," 3s. 6d. was paid, which certainly was little enough. "For Bred and wine for the yare for the Sakrement," 22s. 0d. was paid, which appears to have been a quarterly observance, costing 5s. 6d. each time. "Half a hundred of coles," cost 3d. "36 Childrens Dinners at the Confermation," cost only 12s., and ale for them 4s. 4d.; but what would "oyl for the Beds 2d " mean? "for keeping thees a Counts 2s. 6d." was usually charged, and there was "Spent at Giveing them up 5s. 0d." The payments for the year amounted to £8 12s. 8d. A leuey, levy, or Church rate of 4d. in the £, which 38 persons paid, in sums varying from 8d., the lowest, to 12s. 1d., the highest, brought in £18s. 3d. Then Gamston paid a third part of the expenses £2 17s. 61/2d. It thus appears that there were no collections or offerings.

King George II. died in 1760, and there was paid "for a form of praer 1s. 0d.," "altering the Comon praer 1s. 0d.," "abook for the fast 1s. 6d." In 1762 "pd for a proclaimation for prohibiting vice and Immoralaty 1s. 0d." In 1762 was "a form of prayer for the prince of Wales 1s. 0d.," "a prayer for the Havana 6d." "Sixteen young peoples dinner and ale at the confirmation 8s. 4d." In 1763 "pd for a Penance Paper 2s. 0d.," " For Parchment & Writeing The Tarrier 1s. 6d." In 1764 the churchwarden enters "My Self one da When the bells was hung, 00. 1. 00." "The Sacrament Money on Witsunday" was given to 4 poor women, 1s. 0d. each, and 2 men 4d. each. "Saint Mchorn (? Michaelmas) 4 sums of Is. 0d.," " Christmas, Martha Gregory 5s. 0d.," "Other Sunday Sacrament Roberd Carrnor & money from Porre Boox. 00. 6. 2." "The Ladey Dole" (Was this Dame Pierrepont's?) 4 women 5s. Od. each. In 1765 was "a form of prayer for the birth of a prince 1s. 0d." "The Singin seat" was in 1770 altered, at a cost of 14s. 5d., which must have stimulated the singers, for six times there are entries for candles for them at 7d. a lb. "The Clark his Wages was 21s. 0d." The accounts for 1780 are signed "W. Thompson," who was the benefactor of the schools and endowment. "Expences of 29 children at Conformation 10s. 8d." 1785, "Mr. Saxton for repairing the Bassoon 25s. 0d." (that was before organ days). "40 young people at the confirmation 14s. 4d." The year following there were "Reeds for the Bassoon & Hautboy 3s. 8d." 1786, Building the Vestry £10 10s. 0d. 1788, no accounts. 1789, "1 boys Education 8s. 0d." 1790, "a Commond Prayer book 25s. 0d." 1795, "36 young people going to be confirmed 21s. 0d.," "pd Selby for fiddle Strgs, 2s. 0d." The Clerk's wages here become 48s. 0d. a year, and afterwards 60s. 0d., and later still 80s. 0d. 1801, "To 44 young people going to be confirmed 44s. 0d." 1806, "37 young persons being confirmed 34s. 0d." Bill for Singing loft, &c. £22 19s. 6d. 1807, "Paid Tupman for Music books 21s. 0d.," "5 lbs. Candles for Church 2s. 6d." 1808, "Expenses of 32 young persons being confirmed 29s. 9d." " Communion Plate £14 19s. 4d." 1810, "Whitewashing 3 11. 0." 1813, "Exps 36 persons being confirmed 40s. 0d." In 1814 there was a new bell cost £29 9s. 0d., for two-thirds of which a Levy was made. (Note.—A receipt stamp for £22 cost 8d.) 1816, "Iron Chest £4 10s. 0d." 1817, "Exps 31 young persons being confirmed 47s. 6d." 1822, "young persons being confirmed 42s. 7d." "Whitewashing 3. 13. 0." 1824, "Paint, Oil, Turpentine & Brushes 10s. 3d." 1825, "Exps. Confirmation 37s. 6d." 1830, "ditto 35s. 0d." 1881, "Paid Sutton for books for Sunday School 20s. 0d." 1832, " Paid for two Stoves, etc. £11 1s. 6d., Books 2. 13. 6." 1835, "Expenses at Confirmation 29s. 0d." The foregoing are odd items picked out from the years accounts. One is inclined to note among other matters (1) The numbers confirmed, and the time elapsing between confirmations; (2) The absence of collections or contributions; (3) Quarterly Sacraments; (4) Coals for the Vestry cost 2s. 6d. to 5s. 0d. a year, but no charge appears for warming the church; (5) No mission efforts, no charities, no Sunday School payments until late. We had better look forward, not backward.

So they pursued the even tenor of their way. The years of stress and storm elsewhere made little difference in Bridgford. 3s. 6d. a year sufficed for ringing, and the singers sang for the love of God, with about 6s. 0d. a year for the Hautboy and Bassoon reeds. Little money was spent in repairs, and painting came in at long intervals.