Red Lion Street in the early 20th century.
Red Lion Street in the early 20th century.

Narrow Marsh has had quite a number of interesting and eccentric inhabitants in addition to those whom we have already considered. For example, there was David Lowe about whom the adage arose "Don't be like David Lowe and get into prison for dreaming." It appeals that in 1757 David Lowe had a neighbour who was called Wilson, and Wilson while away on a business journey had the misfortune to have his house broken into and robbed. Upon his return he of course told his neighbours of his misfortune and they sympathised with him. A few days afterwards Lowe came to him and said that he had had an extraordinary and vivid dream in the course of which he had seen Wilson's silver hidden in a neighbouring pig-stye. Wilson and Lowe immediately adjourned to the pig-stye and there they found the missing treasure. Wilson immediately suspected Lowe of the theft and had him arrested, and he was imprisoned, but there was no real evidence against him and as he was a man of thoroughly upright character he was discharged without a stain upon his character and his contemporaries quite believed that his story of the dream was perfectly true, but the whole thing was so entertaining that it gave birth to the proverb.

And then there is James Hutchinson, who died in 1813, aged ninety-three. I think he must have held the record for sheer immobility. He was a frame-work knitter and for seventy-six years he worked the same frame. For twenty years this frame was never moved, nor was Hutchinson's seat, which was just by a window. During the whole of his long life he had never been more than seven miles from Nottingham, and he never drank a cup of tea as long as he lived, and more extraordinary than that considering the times, for fourteen years he never tasted a drop of ale. His food was most extraordinary. For thirty years he lived upon nothing but milk, which he liked sour and clotted. He used to keep fourteen pennyworths of milk in separate vessels in a row and always attacked the oldest so that he could get it as sour and curdled as possible. Occasionally he used to boil it when it became thick and clotty and this he used to call "cheesecake." When this extraordinary man died he left more than thirty descendants alive.

Mrs. Gilbert says that Huntingdon Shaw, that marvellous smith, was born in Narrow Marsh. It is rather difficult to believe this for we know that he was baptised in St. Peter's Church in 1660. He died at Hampton in 1710, but if he was born in Narrow Marsh why should he be baptised in St. Peter's Church which was not his parish church ? Possibly the explanation may be found that during the Puritan regime the parochial system was not very rigorously enforced.

We may leave Red Lion Street, I think, with a note about the Barley Mow Inn which has now disappeared. In 1794 it was a great recruiting depot for the navy, and as the men who were there recruited would fight nine years later at Trafalgar clad in garments made of hosiery wrought upon the Nottingham hosiery frames it will be interesting to copy one of the recruiting bills which was showered broadcast through the town. "God save the King and success to the Navy! Rouse! Rouse! Rouse! To Arms! To Arms! Conquest leads the way! All bold and daring Robin Hood's men, who are known to be brave and true, have an unexampled opportunity to make their fortunes with prize money; also the honour of enrolling themselves with the bravest seamen in the world, the British Tars of Old England. A bounty of twelve guineas to each dashing hero to serve in His Majesty's Royal Navy which rides triumphant on the seas and dares the Gallic foe to combat.

As Robin Hood's men are known to be good marksmen, brave and true, the admiral may appoint them all to serve in Frigates, when they are bound to make their fortunes to a man. Now or never as only a few are wanted—no time is to be lost at this glorious opportunity or they will lose it for ever.

As a further encouragement every gentleman volunteer will receive a handsome Royal undress navy uniform, hat, jacket, trowsers, etc. All able bodied men who wish to enter this noble service immediate application may be made to Mr. Shackleton, Barley Mow, Narrow Marsh where each loyal hero will be honourably received, kindly entertained and enter into present pay and full allowance."