Before the earth was prepared for the reception of her last and greatest tenant, man, nature had written her characters upon its face with an enduring hand. In some quarters of the globe these characters had been drawn with awful majesty and grandeur; in others, with stillness and composure. Skiddaw, Snowdon, Scawfell, and Benvenue, like those dark and precipitous and angry clouds which portend the coming storm, attest the gigantic and convulsive efforts amid which they were produced; whilst the undulating limestone hills and vales of South Lincolnshire, like those soft clouds which we so frequently behold reposing in the calm sky of a summer evening, bespeak a much more tranquil action.

North Nottinghamshire has not been the theatre of nature's grandest operations. We no where behold the mighty mountain hiding its head in the cloud and the storm like Ingleborough; or the rapid river falling, like the Clyde at its falls, or the Tees at High-force, at one moment in a headlong cataract, at another forcing its way through a narrow groove in the solid rock, like the latter river at Egglestone Abbey and Rokeby; or those ponderous erratic blocks or bowlder stones of granite, porphyry, greenstone, and of other rocks, which are so peculiar a feature in our northern geology, and which, wrenched from their original beds, and carried far away by an irresistible current of water, have, innumerable ages ago, made a lodgment where we now see them, and where they will remain till the end of all things; or the igneous basalt of Staffa, Stirling, and Bamborough; or those trap-dikes, as they are termed, running like veins for miles and miles across the country until they are finally lost in the ocean, which, although of small width, are of extreme depth, and which, heaved up from beneath in a state of fusion, have turned into cinder and ashes the coal formations wherever they have come into contact with them.

Our mountains are only hills of red sand, and our rivers are small and sluggish streams; and yet nature has left behind her some characters which will amply repay our study and investigation. Whoever will take his station upon the hills near Styrrup, or Everton, or Gringley, will at once perceive that the whole of the level ground now known by the names of Gringley, Everton, Misson, and Styrrup Cars—the latter extending through the lands of Tickhill, Stancil, and Hesley, to Rossington and Doncaster—has at one time been covered with water, which, divided by the high grounds of Plumtre, Bawtry, Martin, and Shooter's Hill, has to the north-east of Rossington Bridge formed one immense lake or estuary, covering the localities where now stand Haxey, Thome, and Hatfield, and, as we may reasonably conjecture, communicating with the Humber or the sea.

The soil of these cars is all essentially of the same character—black bog, and is filled with trees, generally speaking pine, oak, and yew, which have evidently stood very thick on the ground, and, having fallen off at the base, and leaving their roots in situ, are buried about a foot deep, although in some instances much deeper. They have fallen in every direction. Wherever any unusually large tree has been successfully exhumed, its trunk and limbs look like the mighty carcase of some antediluvian megatherium. The tenants of these lands are gradually reclaiming them by extirpating these old occupants of the soil, which are converted to the practical purpose of fuel, or the more ornamental of garden fences and gateways.

It is found, however, that after one or two crops the land becomes highly pulverised, and resembles dry soot, and the farmers are obliged to change the cultivation from arable to pasture land. When undergoing the process of paring and burning, the cars have been known to ignite to the depth of six feet, and therefore proportionate care is required on such occasions. Sometimes as many as six horses are found necessary for the removal of one tree. Horses dislike all novel work; but on such occasions as these a fertile imagination would be tempted to suggest that their fears arose from apprehension that they were disinterring some mysterious creatures of a bygone age.

Now, the question arises, how is the formation of such cars to be explained? I conceive, then, that after the trees found on these lands had attained their growth an extensive irruption of the ocean, owing to a subsidence of the ground, took place; that they were either at once destroyed by this irruption, if sufficiently violent and powerful for the purpose, or that if it assumed the nature of a lake they fell through gradual decay at the point where they came in contact with the surface of the water, as the wooden viaducts over water of our railroads are now found to decay; and that the water eventually returned to the sea by a subsequent elevation of the level of the ground, or was gradually filled up by vegetable matter.

A tract of land exceedingly similar to the cars here described may be seen reaching from Canterbury to Pegwell Bay near Ramsgate. Through this bay the sea in ancient times extended to Reculver, forming the Isle of Thanet, and washing the base of Richborough Castle. At this ancient fortress Ethelbert King of Kent was residing when Augustine landed on the Isle of Thanet, and hearing of the arrival of strangers in his dominions summoned them to his presence in that royal residence. The sea has now receded from this extensive tract of country, which is and long has been under fertile cultivation. The remains of Richborough Castle arc now at some distance from the sea also: and within the ruined walls the ground is cultivated with the exception of a piece of masonry in the shape of a cross, which is of such great depth that it has never been able to be removed; which, according to immemorial tradition, marks the spot where the King of Kent was received into the profession of Christianity by Augustine; and at the sight of which in former times, being then elevated and conspicuous, seamen sailing up the bay are recorded to have lowered their sails in token of veneration and reverence.

There is another interesting feature in North Nottinghamshire which deserves notice. The insignificant character of our hills has been mentioned. But there is one exception to this description. From Gringley-on-the-Hill to West Markham extends a bold and elevated chain of hills, composed chiefly of red marl, lias shale, and limestone, which commands a very extensive view of the counties of Lincoln and Nottingham, as well as of South Yorkshire, and from which, as the most remarkable feature of the district, the hundred of Bassetlaw, Bersetlaw, the Berset Hill, has indisputably in remote antiquity derived its name.

We are in the secondary system, as it is termed, of geology, and upon the new red sandstone, consisting of loose sand and red sand rock, which is so prominent in the north of Cumberland, and which, sweeping around the northern and midland portions of the island from the mouth of the Tees through Stockton and the north and west ridings of York at Bedale, Knaresborough, and Doncaster; skirting the southern coal-field of Derbyshire; and covering almost the entire counties of Stafford and Chester; finally disappears in the sea on each side of the Mersey.

On our eastern side we are flanked by the lias and oolite of Lincolnshire, and with the exception of Bassetlaw and the noble elevation on which stands the Cathedral of Lincoln, nothing meets the eye but one continuous and dead level until we arrive at the German Ocean. On our western side we are far more highly favoured—

Largior hie carapos aether et lumine vestit
Purpureo, solemque suum sua sidera norunt.

At the distance of only three miles to the south-west of Blyth we enter the county of York, and immediately a glorious country with its bold magncsian limestone hills of Wickersley, Rotherham, and Sheffield, opens out upon us and gives us a foretaste of Airedale, Wharfdale, and Craven.

From the peculiar geological formation of Nottinghamshire our capital town derives its name. Here, in the new red sandstone, our ancestors found extensive caves to which they gave the general name of Snottingham, from Snottinga, a cave, and ham, home—now corrupted into Nottingham. And it is probable that the adjoining village of Snenton owes its name to the same circumstance, Snottingaton, Snettingaton, Snenton. For here are extensive caverns of great antiquity, and many of the cottages are within the rock, which is pierced with doors and windows, and through which staircases are made to the gardens above.

At Shireoaks, a small hamlet three miles to the north-west of Worksop, on the borders of the counties of York and Derby, and very near the point where they meet, the Duke of Newcastle has recently succeeded in finding coal.

The strata through which the mine is carried shew the general formations which we possess in this neighbourhood, and arc therefore here given, together with some general remarks upon the geology of the district.

The upper beds consist of thin and alternate layers of soft sandstones and red marls, which attain a total thickness of 60 feet. The magnesian limestone follows, and is divided into two beds, the yellow, which is very hard and crystalline, 54 feet thick, and the blue, below it, containing bands of blue shale 20 feet thick.

Below the limestone were found 33 feet of blue shale, and then a very soft gritstone, 5 feet thick, of the same character as a rock met with in a similar position at Patricroft near Manchester, and the equivalent of the "quicksand" of the Durham coalfield.

Underneath the gritstone the coal measures commence with 5 feet of blue shale, in which there are four bands of ironstone, and, immediately below, a bed of the same stone, 15 inches thick, but of a richer character. The ore is principally in the state of peroxide, and the bed and bands give an average of 42 per cent, of metallic iron. The Messrs. Dawes, as tenants under the Duke of Newcastle, are now sinking a pit for the purpose of winning this stone. The ore resembles the Froghall ore of North Staffordshire, and that of a bed found at Patricroft in a similar position as regards the limestone.

The first seam of coal was cut November, 1855, at a depth of 88 yards: it is 2 feet thick, and of inferior quality. Twelve feet below this came a compact sandstone or grit 66 yards thick, and of a very hard and open kind. Towards the west a great portion of it is covered by the magnesian limestone: but it crops out at Harthill four miles west of Shireoaks, and is there largely used for scythe stones, &c. It occupied a year and eight months to sink through this rock, and the total quantity of water made in each pit was 500 gallons a minute, which was stopped by cast-iron tubing carried to a depth of 170 yards from the surface.

Below this point no difficulties occurred, the strata consisting chiefly of shales free from water. Several coals and bands of ironstone were met with in the next 170 yards, which were all thin, or of inferior quality.

At the depth of 346 yards the first thick coal was cut, and found to be 4 feet 6 inches thick and of good quality. By practical geologists and engineers this was considered to be the "Wathwood coal" of Derbyshire and South Yorkshire, and was found at the same distance from the "hard coal" as in those fields.

The principal coals between the "Wathwood" and the "top hard coal" were found of very much the same quality and with the same thickness of intervening strata as known to exist elsewhere.

On the 1st of February, 1859, the "top hard coal" was cut at a depth of 510 yards, and proved to be 3 feet 10 inches thick. It exhibited the following section:

The following are the points of greatest interest proved by this sinking:

1. The existence of a soft sand-rock at the bottom of the Permian beds in this district, which appears to be the equivalent of the "quicksand" of the north. 2. The absence of any workable seam of coal in this district, at least in the 300 yards of coal-measures above the "Wathwood'' or "Shireoaks thick coal." Thirty-seven feet of coal were passed through in the sinking, but only four seams are of a workable thickness. 3. The existence of a red ironstone in the upper measures, which promises to be very valuable. 4. The "top hard coal" seems to thin out towards the east under the magnesian limestone, since at Killamarsh and near its outcrop, six miles west of Shireoaks, it is 6 feet thick, whilst at Shireoaks it is only 3 feet 9 inches.

The dip decreases considerably towards the east, the strata assuming more of a basin form. At Comberwood Colliery the dip varies from 1 in 6 to 1 in 12: at Shireoaks it undulates, but has not been observed more than 1 in 36.

With regard to the geology of this district, we may observe that the separate beds are so numerous as to give great variety to the general contour of the country and to the soil.

The general inclination or dip of the strata is east, and the outcrop along a north and south line.

Thus the new red sandstone, consisting of loose sand and red sand rock, first covers the Permian rocks along a line passing through the "Worksop Manor Hills, Haggonfields, Gateford, and Carlton, and it covers the whole surface from Worksop to Retford, beyond which it in its turn is covered by the lias.

From Haggonfields to Kiveton Park the Permian rocks come to the surface, the principal stratum being the magnesian limestone, and it is the bold escarpments of this rock which give so picturesque an appearance to Bolsover, Cresswell Crags, and the Grips near Elmton.

The other beds of the Permian series are so thin that they give great diversity to the soil where they come to the surface. They yield excellent clay for brick making, and thin bands of pipeclay. They are remarkably well developed near Shireoaks.

None of the preceding rocks are rich in fossil remains; but in this respect the geologist is better repaid for his researches by the coal measures, consisting of sandstones, shales, and beds of coal, which cover the surface as far as Sheffield.

In the upper portion there is a very hard rock nearly 200 feet thick, which comes to the surface at Harthill, and is there extensively used for scythe stones, troughs, &c. It has also been found beneath the Permian rocks at the Duke of Newcastle's colliery at Shireoaks, and in a bore hole sunk several years ago at Lady Lee near Worksop. Here it yields so much water as to make a never-failing Artesian well, which in taste is very similar to the mineral waters of Harrowgate, and contains large quantities of the bicarbonate of soda, sulphate of lime, common salt, and some sulphate of iron. Here therefore, perhaps, in after days a Midland Harrowgate may be established.

The Duke of Newcastle's success in finding coal at Shireoaks proves its existence in workable seams continuously from Sheffield, under the Permian rocks and new red sandstone. The seams lie so horizontal that the eastern limit of the field cannot be determined.

A few words may here not inappropriately be added respecting the chemical nature of our soil. The following analysis of a superficial acre, one foot deep of average quality, on the red sand of Nottinghamshire, is given by the late Mr. Haywood of Sheffield:—

    Tons. cwt. lbs.
Stones and gravel, consisting of silica and silicates of alumina, little prone to disintegrate, and incapable of yielding anything serviceable to the growth of plants 155 10 0
Roots and fibres in a state of decay 10 14 0
  Organic matter, principally humus, containing a little      
  condensed ammonia 18 2 45
  Water of absorption 12 15 0
Coarse and fine sand insoluble in acids, but containing minerals capable of disintegration, and yielding potash and silica to plants:—
  Silica 680 0 0
  Alumina 102 14 0
  Potash 3 4 89
  Soda 0 16 0
  Lime and magnesia 0 8 0
Soluble in acids or in water containing carbonic acid, as it exists in soils :—      
  Peroxide of iron 7 8 0
  Protoxide of iron 0 8 0
  Oxide of manganese 0 2 67
  Free alumina 0 14 89
  Phosphate of lime 0 12 44
  Carbonate of lime 2 2 44
  Carbonate of magnesia 0 0 50
Soluble in pure water, and easily lost by drainage:—      
  Sulphate of lime 0 1 20
  Potash 0 0 54
  Soluble silica 0 0 31
  Chloride of sodium 0 0 89
  Humate of lime 1 2 44
  Unaccounted for in analysis 3 2 6
    1000 0 0

He adds that the above soil may upon the whole be considered as naturally poor, and that it might soon be run out by a bad system of farming. It requires to be nourished by phosphates in the form of bones; by gypsum, salt, lime, and magnesia, in various tillages; and under such treatment yields on the four-course system of cultivation excellent crops of wheat, barley, and turnips, as well as of clover: but as a general rule never answers the purpose of the farmer as permanent grass land.

In luxuriant and fine timber, such as oak, beech, and elm, the combined influence of soil and atmosphere places us upon an equality with the most favoured districts of England.

If now we pass from the physical characters which nature has impressed upon this district to the contemplation of those material and intellectual characters which man has left behind him, we become necessarily very much circumscribed in the period over which our investigations are permitted to extend. We are but of yesterday and know nothing. The intellectual monuments of man have generally survived his material works, and for an obvious reason. The oldest and deepest strata, so to speak, of our language are of aboriginal date. The names of our neighbouring rivers, such as the Don, Trent, Derwent; and of our own rivulets, the Idle, the Maund, the Meaden; of our hills, such as Bersetlaw; of our cities, such as York, passing successively from the original Caer Eabhruc through the Roman Eboracum, the Anglo-Saxon Eoforwic and the Danish Jorvik to its present form, and Lincoln, compounded of the ancient Lindisse and the Roman Colonia; these and many more of the names of rivers, mountains, find towns, Blyth perhaps itself not excepted, are all of indigenous or Celtic mould. And that some, if not a considerable, portion of our language itself is derived from the same origin can hardly be doubted. For let us bear in mind that the Britons were the only people included in the pale of the Roman dominions who made a lengthened and determined stand for their independence. Italy, except some Greek fortresses, rapidly fell beneath the invasions of the Ostrogoths and Lombards: Spain did not even offer resistance to the Wisigoths and other barbarous invading tribes: Gaul was passive: Caesar acquired but little honour in Britain: Hengist and Ida would have gained less, if the natives had acted in concert for the common defence. And even as it was we know that Wales escaped the Anglo-Saxon yoke, and that neither in Cornwall nor in Cumberland was it established until the tenth century. From first to last, namely, from a.d. 457, when Hengist founded the kingdom of Kent, to a.d. 586, when Cridda established that of Mercia, it took nearly a century and a half to erect the Anglo-Saxon polyarchy.

The successive invasions of the Romans; Jutes, Angles, and Saxons; Scandinavian Normans or Danes; and finally of the Normans of France; like successive formations, blended with those British remains of an earlier age to which I have adverted, without destroying either these or each other, but rather producing that union of varied but harmonious and copious materials, out of which our language, our manners, and our institutions have arisen.

Of the first nation, the lords of the world, we have vestiges either more or less distinct almost everywhere. Two of their great roads passed through Nottinghamshire, viz. Fosse Way and Ermine Street. The first, passing through llchester, Bath, and Leicestershire, entered the county near Willoughby, and, passing through Bingham and Newark, conducted to Lincoln and across the Humber to the eastern coast. The second, leading from Pevensey and Regnum, through London and Lincoln, entered our county at Littleborough, which Camden believes to be the Agelocum or Segelocum of Antoninus, and proceeded to Doncaster and the North. To come to our own immediate locality, at Mantles, a detached house, not more than a mile from Blyth, were found two Roman urns, the larger inclosing the smaller, a few years ago; and flanking Serlby Park is a long ridge or mound, which has long been reputed to be a portion of a Roman road. There are not wanting some evidences in favour of this supposition. It is the boundary of townships and parishes, and upon its summit and sides may be seen oaks of considerable age. At Arnold, a village about four miles to the north-east of Nottingham, is supposed to have been a central depot of the Roman forces of the district; whilst at Mansfield Major Rooke discovered, in 1786, considerable remains unquestionably of Roman origin. Now, it is perfectly possible that from either of these places a Roman road may have led along the outskirts of the present park of Serlby, and joined at Bawtry that great trunk way, Ermine Street, just mentioned, which conducted from Lincoln across the Trent at Littleborough to Doncaster, Pontefract, Castleford, where it crossed the Aire, Aldborough, Catterick, Piercebridge, across the Tees, to the great camps of Binchester and Lanchester and the Vallum of Adrian. But, on the other hand, this mound of Serlby Park begins and ends with the park; on neither extremity have I been able to trace any continuation of it. I therefore hesitate between the two hypotheses of its being a fragment of a Roman road, and of its having been thrown up by an early lord of Serlby for the purpose of forming a boundary or inclosure.

Passing from the Roman to the Anglo-Saxon invasion, Mercia, the marsh land, was the last kingdom of the Heptarchy which was established. It was founded in 586: it contained all the counties from the Thames and Severn to the Mersey and Humber, and eventually became, next to Wessex, the most powerful kingdom of the Anglo-Saxons.

The Anglo-Saxons are the great forefathers of the English people. From them we derive our name, and a large portion of our language and institutions. But, infused into all these, and most especially with reference to the midland and northern portions of the island, is another element, and that is the Danish.

Between the close of the eighth century and the time of Alfred the Great, these Scandinavian invaders, beginning with Northumbria, East Anglia, and Mercia, had possessed themselves gradually of the whole kingdom. But it was in the counties north and east of the Wash that their power was most successfully exerted, and the influence of their language and manners most permanently established, in which, indeed, they bore a closer resemblance to the English inhabitants of these regions than to those of the south. The Wash, the Humber, the Tees, and the Tyne were most conveniently situated for the landing of the northern Vikings, and were their favourite points for disembarking. Very early they obtained possession of the five burghs as they were termed of Stamford, Leicester, Derby, Nottingham, and Lincoln, which formed a chain of fortresses protecting them from the hostile incursions of the southern English. Their earliest settlements were around the Wash, and thence reached to the frontiers of Scotland. Nottingham was one of their strongest holds, and witnessed some of their severest struggles with the English people. The remains of their encampments and fortifications are to be found in great abundance in central and northern England, as at Flamborough, Driffield, and Easington, on the cast coast of Durham; and in our own neighbourhood the very name of Danes-hill, and very probably that very remarkable conical mound which exists to this day at Laughton-en-le-Morthing, comprising a ditch around its base, and an embankment about seven feet in width proceeding from the mound, and returning to it and inclosing a nearly circular area about 52 paces in diameter; and other smaller tumuli around us, attest a like origin.

The impress of the language of the Danes is still more large and permanent. Words which to a southern would be perfectly unintelligible, but which are in common use in the vulgar tongue of North Yorkshire, Durham, and Northumberland, are purely Danish. Again, with respect to our local nomenclature, the Anglo-Saxon terminations of—ton, ham, forth, worth, which are the prevailing terminations of names of places in the south, are indeed to be found everywhere; but as we advance northwards they begin to be mixed more and more with names ending in the Danish by, thorpe, thwaite, and others. In Lincolnshire alone there are no less than 212 names of places ending in by, and 63 in thorpe. Many of our neighbouring villages have Anglo-Saxon names; but there is one purely Danish word which enters into the composition of several of them. Ranskill (Ravenskelf), Ranby (Ravenby), Rayton (Raventon), and probably Sturton (East Rayton or Raventon), Leverton (Cled Rayton, Clay Rayton), Misterton (Minster Rayton); as also Ravenfield near Rotherham; and further off, the ancient Ravenspurn on the Humber, all derive their origin from Raven, the bird sacred to Odin, which was painted on the Danish banners and gave an auspice of victory in battle.

We now come to another great epoch of our history, that of the Norman Conquest. At the time when Domesday Survey was completed, A.D. 1086, the crafty policy of the conqueror, the cupidity of his followers, and the continued rebellions of his new subjects, stimulating and stimulated by both, had dispossessed the preceding proprietors of the soil around us, Earls Edwin and Morcar, the Countess Godiva, Swein, Leuin, Brixi, Caschi, Elsi, and others; who were succeeded by Robert, Earl of Mortaigne, and Odo, Bishop of Baieux, maternal brothers of William, by William Peverel, said to have been his illegitimate son, by Alan, Earl of Britanny and first Earl of Richmond, who married his daughter Constantia, by our own great Norman baron, and the founder of our monastery, Roger de Builli, by Thomas and Remi, both of them foreign ecclesiastics, who assisted him in his expedition and were promoted, the first to the See of York, with grants in addition to those which his predecessors already possessed in the county of Nottingham, the second to that of Dorchester or Lincoln; by Hugh de Grentmesnil, Laci, Ferrers, Malet, D'Eyncourt, Gant, and other great men; among whom the lands of the county were parcelled out.

Upon what principle, if upon any, the Conqueror proceeded in the partition of the estates of the Anglo-Saxon and Danish proprietors, it is not easy to determine; but it is certain that he gave them an interest, probably gradual, as estates of previous proprietors happened from time to time to be seized by him, in localities very remote from each other. Roger Pictaviensis, for example, one of the lords of this county, is to be found as a proprietor in Craven.

These barons were in point of territory and power little short of kings. Holding their estates immediately under the Crown, on condition of military service, they divided them on the same condition with a liberal and lavish hand among their friends and companions in arms. If the great tenants in capite were princes, these their first subinfeudatories occupied a rank analogous to that of a modern large proprietor.

"Thus (in the words of Lingard) every large property, whether it were held by a vassal of the Crown or a sub-vassal, became divided into two portions of unequal extent. One the lord reserved for his own use, under the name of demesne, cultivated part of it by his villeins, let out parts to farm, and gave parts to different tenants, to be holden by any other than military service. The second portion he divided into parcels called knight's fees, and bestowed on military tenants with the obligation of serving on horseback at his requisition during the usual period."

At the time of Domesday the country around us was uninclosed, and a considerable portion of it covered with wood. We scarcely ever meet with a town or village adjoining to which there was not a pasturable wood, sylva pastilis, varying in extent from one to four or five miles in length and half that number in breadth, the coarse long herbage of which was depastured with cattle and swine. The process of reclaiming these woodlands, or essarting, as it was termed, was gradual and slow. We shall find for example that at Barnby Moor a large wood remained unessarted even to the close of the thirteenth century. In addition to these woodlands, Nottinghamshire was in ancient times celebrated for its Royal Forest of Sherwood, the mention of which occurs as early as the reign of Henry II. and the extent of which at that period appears to have been about twenty-five miles in length from north to south, and about seven or eight in breadth, bordering upon the town of Worksop at its northern extremity. Portions of the township of Hodsock, in this parish, are still known by the general name of The Forest, and indeed several tracts of land in North Nottinghamshire, and in South Yorkshire, as far as to Rossington, have been reputed to be portions of Sherwood Forest; but from a survey made in 1609 they appear either not to have really belonged to it or to have been disafforested before that time. The chief remains of this ancient forest, so celebrated in the ballads of England, consist of the hays of Birkland and Bilhagh, in which to this day may be seen oaks of extreme age, with their gnarled and knotted trunks and decayed heads, and which give probably the most perfect conception of picturesque and wild forest scenery which can be obtained in England. It would appear that the whole soil has been granted out by the Crown, with the reservation of the vert and venison.

And here it may aid the general reader if I give a very concise explanation of the more common terms employed in those extracts from Domesday which are to be laid before him in the following pages.

In drawing up this survey commissioners were appointed. In the midland counties, if not generally, were employed Remigius, Bishop of Lincoln, Walter Giffard, Earl of Buckingham, Henry de Ferrers, and Adam, brother of Eudo Dapifer, who summoned sheriffs, lords of manors, presbyters of churches, reves of hundreds, bailiffs, and six villeins of every village, and from them received upon oath an account of the name of every place, who held it in the time of King Edward, who was present possessor, the quantity of land, cultivation, number and quality of occupiers, value in the time of the Confessor, and present value.

Carucata, carucate, a plough land, as much as could be managed with one plough and the beasts belonging to it in a year, with meadow, pasture, houses for the householders and cattle. In the counties of Derby, Nottingham, Rutland, York, and Lincoln, the carucate has been supposed to be co-extensive with the hide (not mentioned in them), or to contain six score acres. The abbreviations of the plough land (carucata), and of the plough (caruca), used in the Survey, are so confused as not readily to admit of distinction. I have in the following pages adhered to the former term.

Bovata, oxgang, as much as an ox-team could plough in a year. Eight bovates are reputed to have made a carucate.

Leuca and Quarentena, applied to woodland. Ingulphus estimates the former as a mile. But the old English mile was nearly a mile and a half of the present standard.

Socmanni, the men of the soke, copyholders, with an interest equal to a freehold. They held the pleas of the manor court, and rendered to it suit and service.

Villani, men of the vill. Under the Saxons they were slaves, and were the property of the lord of the soil, with their wives, children, and effects. The Normans mitigated in some measure their servile condition; but still they were the property of their superiors, for whom they performed all the lowest services, and under whom they occupied small portions of land by way of supporting themselves and their families. In the following pages instances will occur of parents and their families, cum totd sequela, as the phrase ran, being transferred from one owner to another.

Bordarii, board men, in a better condition than the villeins, held small parcels of land, and supplied their lords with provisions in kind, such as poultry and eggs, for their board.

In conclusion, I would observe that little has been done hitherto, in any systematic and collected form, to elucidate the history of the county of Nottingham. Our only historian, Dr. Thoroton, in his preface, very quaintly observes, that "the art of physic, which I have professed with competent success in this county, not being able for any long time to continue the people living in it, I have charitably attempted, notwithstanding the difficulty and almost contrariety of the study, to practise upon the dead, intending thereby to keep all which is or can be left of them, to wit, the shadow of their names (better than precious ointment for the body), to preserve their memory as long as may be in the world."

And assuredly he has left us a history of dry bones, historiam jejunam et exilem, consisting for the most part of mere extracts from Domesday and other early public documents, strung together in the most dry, repulsive, and unintelligible manner. And yet, as from a mere fragmentary specimen, the skilful anatomist or geologist can deduce the character of an animal or a rock, so, from Thoroton's dry bones, a quick-sighted reader may frequently obtain a clue which shall guide and direct his investigations.

The late Charles Mellish, Esq., for some years had made collections for a history of our county; and, indeed, had completed an account of some of the southern portions of it; but the loss of sight in his later years prevented him from carrying his design into execution.

Detached accounts of portions of the shire, such as Southwell, Newark, and Retford, of more or less value, we possess. But, as I have remarked, we have no good county history. Neither do I think that it is a work which will ever be accomplished by the strength of one man. Intellectual and physical power, and pecuniary resources, adequate to the task, will hardly be combined in one and the same person. And, besides all this, the history of this county, studded as it literally was in ancient times with religious houses, must necessarily be attended with more than ordinary labour and difficulty. We must therefore rest content with the hope that the different deaneries or hundreds of which it is composed will be treated of by different men in succession, and that thus the topography of the entire shire may be attained in a satisfactory manner.

The field within which I have professed to circumscribe my labours is limited. And yet, as may readily be imagined, it comes frequently in contact with the civil and ecclesiastical history of the country at large. I have accordingly endeavoured, not merely to give a faithful and full record of the religious establishments, and of the transmission of property within my own peculiar province, but also, where occasion appeared to suggest and to justify such a course, to illustrate from the transactions of this Parish, and of men connected with it, the history, not only of the Shire, but of the Church and Kingdom at large. In what manner I may have accomplished my task, I must leave to the candid and indulgent reader to decide.