1338.—Edward III. granted a license to the Chapter of Southwell for getting stone from a quarry near Mansfield for the purpose of erecting the choir at the minster.

1486.—During this year, Lambert Simnel, who pretended to be Richard III. nephew, Edward Plantagenet, Earl of Warwick, with near upon eight thousand followers, passed through Mansfield Woodhouse, down Leeming Street, and into the Mansfield Market Place. The Lady Margaret, who used Lambert as a tool, rode at the head of the army, flaunting a gay and proud banner. The only real soldiers, however, were the Germans. The appearance of this great body of men startled the quiet residents of Mansfield, and these were sincerely pleased to see their visitors march off in the direction of Southwell. From this place they proceeded to Stoke, where they were hopelessly defeated by the forces of Henry VII. Lambert was taken prisoner, and, being found to be a baker's son, was pardoned, and appointed to a menial post in the King's household.

1531.—Mansfield was in great danger of being burned down in this year. A casual fire broke out in Stockwell Gate in the early part of the year, by which "one hundred and fifty bays of houses" were totally destroyed, and "old Dunstone's wife" fell a victim to the devouring element. Who old Dunstone's wife was cannot be ascertained; but, doubtless, her husband was a well-known person.

1546.—Again in this year another fire broke out in Mansfield, said to have been wilfully done by Coll. Davey. By this conflagration, one hundred and thirty-one bays of buildings were destroyed. Coll. Davey was tried at the next Sessions held at Nottingham, and, being found guilty, was sentenced to be hanged. The sentence was in due time carried out. The extent of the damage by these fires is to be accounted for by the fact that in those days there were not the appliances we have to-day for the speedy extinction of fires.

1582.—In this year, Robert Dickons, a Leicester boy serving his apprenticeship in Mansfield, wrought upon by the prophesying of this time, proclaimed that he was the Elijah, the prophet promised before the great and dreadful day of the Lord. "Silver Tongued Smith," the great preacher (1550-1600), saw the youth, and by him Dickons was brought to his right mind, renounced his wild imaginations by his own signature, and "lived peaceably and painfully the rest of his life." Some of his descendants are still living, highly respected, in this town.

1585.—On the 27th of June of this year, Thomas Walker and Margerie Custance went into their parish church, and, having filled the font with water, blasphemously immersed a lamb, in derogation of the holy sacrament of baptism. Process was issued, and they were ordered to do penance by walking round the parish church barefoot, and clothed only in a white sheet. They were also ordered to walk round the market-places of three adjacent towns, clothed in the same manner. On the first market day in October, 1585, they perambulated the Mansfield Market Place, accompanied by an apparitor. The record does not state where their parish church was situated; but, in those days, the crime for which they were punished was looked upon as a most heinous one, and the punishment accorded them was comparatively light.

1598.—On the 3rd of January in this year, a Commission sat here to enquire into the condition of Sherwood Forest. The Commissioners were Mr. William Cartwright, Mr. Lancelot Rolleston, Mr. James Leake, Mr. William Lyndesby, and Mr. Gervase Wyeld. At this time, Mansfield Wood contained 480 oaks of more than 200 years' growth.

1603.—A purse of £10 10s. of old gold was, in the name of the town, presented to Prince Henry by Mr. Sherston, on the occasion of the Prince and Queen Anne passing through on their way from Scotland.

1709.—On the 3rd of November, 1709, died William Bentinck, first Duke of Portland. This nobleman in his own person had no direct connection with the county of Nottingham; but, as the lineal ancestor of a family long distinguished among us by its great wealth, general capacity for public business, high private worth, and extensive political influence, I have ventured to give this passing reference to his decease. The Bentincks first made their appearance in this country in 1688, and are of Dutch origin, having flourished as a family of considerable importance for ages at Overyssel. The founder of the noble house of Portland was, when a youth, page-of-honour to William, Prince of Orange, afterwards William III. of England. When the Prince of Orange was seized with the small-pox, it was recommended, agreeably with the empirical notions of that day, that he should receive the warmth of a healthy person in the same bed. Young Bentinck offered his services, and caught the disease in a virulent form, saving, as it was thought, the life of his royal master. From this time his rise in station was rapid, as it deserved to be. In 1689, he was created Viscount Woodstock, and in quick succession Baron of Cirencester, Earl and afterwards Duke of Portland.

1764.—A writer in the Nottingham Journal for the 15th of December, 1764, says:—"I find that an application to Parliament is proposed for a turnpike from Nottingham to Mansfield, and I hope it will meet with no obstruction. The present road is exceedingly bad, and even dangerous in some places. Several accidents have happened thereon within these two or three years past; and, for want of more conspicuous marks, strangers have frequently mistaken their way, been benighted and lost for many hours—a situation most uncomfortable and melancholy to those who have experienced it. A good turnpike road would effectually remedy these evils, by making it more easy and safe to travellers than it is now, and would likewise be a certain guide to them over the wide forest, even in the night time." The road has been made since this was written, and is to-day one of the best in the county.

1767.—Robin Down's Hill, a short distance from Mansfield, and near to the cemetery, obtained its name from the fact that one Robert Down was hung there in chains, after execution and dissection, for murder. The unfortunate man was but one degree removed from a state of idiotcy. He was a native of Eckington, Derbyshire, and was accustomed to wander about the country from place to place making melody with a flute, as a means of livelihood. To this vagrant life he superadded a habit of indulging in petty depredations, so that where most known, he was least esteemed. He was also very irritable. Being one day at Mansfield the sport of a number of lads, who annoyed him in every possible way, he ran after them with an open knife, and stabbed one of them (a deaf mute) so severely as to occasion his death almost immediately. Down made no effort to escape, and suffered himself to be taken, scarcely seeming sensible that he had committed a crime. He was tried at Nottingham Assizes, and a strong plea was put in that he was non compos mentis. The judge, however, believed him to be in possession of his wits; but as a proof of his imbecility, or, rather, to test it, offered him two coins, one of silver, the other of gold. Down, like many more of the same class, chose the brightest, which was also the most valuable. This, his lordship held, was sufficient proof of his sanity, and sentenced him to be hung. The execution took place on Gallows Hill, Nottingham, on the 17th of August, 1767. After hanging the legal time, the body was taken down and dissected. Subsequently, the remains were hung in chains on an elevation in Mansfield Forest, now known as Robin Down's Hill. Had the murder been committed a century or so later, the extreme penalty of the law would not have been carried into effect.

1776.—The bridge from which Bridge Street takes its name was erected in the year 1776. It was subsequently enlarged; and there was at one time, in the yard behind Mr. Cursham's office, an old stone on which was recorded the date of the first erection. This stone, however, has not been seen for a long time. Prior to the erection of the bridge there were stepping stones over the water, and horses and carts were driven across, as they are still in a few country places where no bridge has been built.

1781.—In 1781, William Pitt having given notice in the House of Commons of a motion on the subject of a reform in the representation of the country, a county meeting was convened in the Moot Hall to take the subject into consideration. A petition and resolution were agreed upon, which embraced the abolition of at least fifty of the rotten boroughs, the enfranchisement of the proprietors of copyhold inheritances, and the shortening of the duration of Parliament.

1786.—On the 17th of March, 1786, William Hands was convicted at the Nottingham Assizes, before Mr. Justice Heath, on a charge of having stolen a black mare, the property of Mr. Hopewell, of Mansfield. Hands, who was only 27 years of age, was sentenced to death, and executed on the 29th of the same month. The body was interred on the same day in the Saint Mary's Churchyard, Nottingham. It must be remembered that in these days men were hung for the most trivial offences, many of them being of a most ridiculous character.

1787. — In 1787, Sir Richard Jebb, M.D., physician to King George II., and one of the most eminent practitioners of his day, died. He was created a baronet in 1778, but, dying without issue, the title became extinct. Sir Richard was the son of Samuel Jebb, M.D., of Mansfield.

1789.—On the 19th of March, 1789, to celebrate the recovery of George III. from the mental malady under which he had for some time been labouring, illuminations, transparencies, bonfires, sheep roasting, &c. took place at Mansfield.

1790.—In this year, a numerously signed petition was presented to the Duke of Newcastle, lord lieutenant of the county, calling upon him to convene a public meeting of the nobility, gentry, clergy, and freeholders of Nottingham, at the Moot Hall, Mansfield, to take into consideration the very bold and dangerous attempts made of late to endeavour to carry into execution the repeal of the Corporation and Test Acts, the great bulwark of our safety and happiness both in Church and State. The meeting was very numerously attended, and a petition against any further concessions to persons dissenting from the Church of England was unanimously agreed to amid much cheering.

1790.— During the summer of 1790, numerous town and county meetings were held on the subject of the alleged defence of the Church and State against the machinations of Dissenters and Jacobins. Nottinghamshire took part; and a meeting for the county was convened by the Lord Lieutenant for the purpose of passing resolutions, &c. expressive of the attachment of the nobility, clergy, freeholders, &c. to the present constitution in Church and State. The Rev. Gilbert Wakefield, of Nottingham, a man with a soul much later than the time in which he lived, issued a string of resolutions in mockery of the intended meeting at Mansfield, which ran as follows :—

Resolutions humbly recommended for the adoption of any future town or country meeting in defence of Church and State against the insidious attempts of Protestant Dissenters, particularly to the meeting at Mansfield, in Nottinghamshire, on Tuesday next:—At a most numerous and respectable meeting of nobility, clergy, and laity, summoned by his Grace Demoborus, lord lieutenant of Boeotia, and holden at the King's Head, in Gotham, near Nottingham, July 3, 1796, Sachevaral Ignoramus, Esq. in the chair, the following resolutions were agreed to:—

I. That our Constitution in Church and State is a glorious Constitution, and ought not to be amended.

II. That the country was always indebted for its liberty and Constitution neither to the Revolution nor other struggles for freedom in former times, but entirely to the Corporation and Test Acts only.

Ten other resolutions follow these, all treating with contempt and bitter irony the taking of the sacrament of the Lord's Supper as a test on entering into office. Other meetings in this building were of great interest in the town and county. In fact, it was at one time looked upon as the County Hall, where important meetings were held.

1794.—On the 4th of June of this year, there were great rejoicings at Mansfield by reason of the successes gained by the allied armies in actions in the important capture of the Island of Martinique, &c. The same day being the King's birthday, greater eclat was given to the proceedings.

1799.—On the 12th of July, 1799, James Brodie, a blind Irishman, 23 years of age, was tried at the County Assizes on a charge of wilful murder. The victim was a lad named Robert Henesal, whose mother (residing at Leeds in great poverty) had, in consideration of a small sum of money, let Brodie have the lad as a guide on his journeys about the country. Between Farnsfield and Mansfield, and near the latter place, the lad appears to have offended Brodie, who beat him with such violence that he killed him, and then artfully concealed the body in a quantity of ling. The evidence against him was most conclusive, and he was sentenced to be hung. While Mr. Justice Heath was sentencing him to be hung Brodie was extremely violent, and endeavoured by every possible means to kick and bite all within his reach. On the gallows, Brodie was induced by his father confessor to make a full confession of his guilt. He declared that at first he had no intention of killing the lad; but, being contradicted and provoked, he struck at him with his stick, and passion having the ascendency of reason, he continued beating him till, to his horror, he found him to be dead. He then covered him over as well as he could with ling and left him, and wandered by himself about the forest till he was observed by a gentleman on the road, who rode, up to him and enquired the meaning of his perplexity, and what had become of the boy he had seen with him a few days previously. "I replied," said Brodie, " that I had lifted the lad upon the stump of a tree to look if he could see Mansfield, when he fell down and so hurt himself that (pointing in the direction where he lay) I was afraid he was lying there dying." After this confession, he several times begged for five minutes respite; and such was his dread of death that he made use of a number of petty artifices to prolong his existence. At last, finding that no further ruses would avail, he threw himself out of the cart in a rage and terminated his career. Pursuant to the terms of his sentence, the body was submitted to dissection and was afterwards publicly exposed at the County Hall. Crowds of men, women, and children indulged their morbid curiosity by thronging to the scene of this most repulsive spectacle. Brodie, it may be mentioned, lost his sight by an attack of small-pox in his infancy, and gained his livelihood as a beggar. His poor victim was only eight years of age.

1805.—The Nottingham Journal of July 20, 1805, says :—"Last week, as a corporal of the 45th was escorting a deserter, the latter, in order to avoid punishment, attempted to effect his escape on the road near Mansfield, and took to his heels for that purpose. The corporal pursued him for a short distance; but, seeing no probability of overtaking him, threatened to fire if he did not stop. This, however, had not the effect of intimidating the deserter, who, regardless of danger, continued his flight, and had got upwards of 100 yards ahead when the corporal levelled his gun and lodged a ball in one thigh. The man instantly fell, and, being again secured, was taken to Mansfield Workhouse, where surgical assistance was secured; but in vain, as the wound proved mortal, and he died in a few days afterwards, thus becoming a melancholy sacrifice to his own rashness."

1805.—The Nottingham Journal, December 14, 1805, referring to the Battle of Trafalgar, says:—"The Thanksgiving Day was observed at Mansfield in a truly exemplary manner. Every place of religious worship was open upon this affectingly glorious occasion, and the recommendation of the Committee of the Patriotic Fund at Lloyd's duly attended to. In the parish church, after a suitable discourse by the Rev. John Durham, the sum of £40 was collected; at the Unitarian Chapel, after an excellent sermon by the Rev. J. Bull, in which a handsome tribute was paid to the bravery of the late gallant Nelson, £9 9s.; and at the Calvinistic and Methodist meetings, upwards of £5; being for the benefit of the widows and orphans of the killed and wounded in the late victories. It is truly pleasing to observe all parties uniting in their benevolent undertaking, whose object it is to be a father to the fatherless and the protector of the widow. At the Dissenting meeting at Sutton, near Mansfield, £10 was collected for the above laudable object."

1812.—On the 29th of July, 1812, Benjamin Renshaw, of Mansfield, was executed at Nottingham for arson and larceny. Renshaw was a framework knitter and a native of Mansfield, where he resided at the time of his apprehension. Idleness appears to have led him into crime, and nearly the whole of the six years previous to his execution was spent with his family in the Mansfield poor-house. He was connected with a gang of daring villains who for a long time infested the town, committing depredations on gardens, hen-roosts, orchards, stack-yards, &c, to the number of thirty-five. He was at length arrested on suspicion of having been concerned in the theft of a box containing upwards of £30, belonging to a sick and friendly society at Mansfield, from the house of Mr. James Finch, of that town. But the crime for which he was tried was that of setting fire to a hay-stack belonging to Mr. C. Stanton, of Mansfield, and killing a ram belonging to Mr. Isaac Dodsley, also of Mansfield. Both crimes were proved against him by an accomplice named Thomas Revill. When first arraigned, Renshaw pleaded guilty, but was advised to retract the plea and submit to a trial. In complying with the request, his agony of mind was so intense that he became insensible and had to be carried out of court. Some time elapsed before he recovered sufficiently for the trial to proceed. In the end he was convicted, and was sentenced to be hung. After he had been turned off, the noose slipped above his chin, and it became necessary to replace him in the cart and readjust the noose. This occurrence drew down upon the head of the blundering executioner a perfect storm of execration, which continued for a long time. When the body was cut down, it was handed to Renshaw's friends for interment at Mansfield.

1814.—During this year, an umbrella was first seen unfolded in the town of Mansfield. It was owned by a gentleman who had for a long time lived in the tropics. The astonishment was very great, and the gentleman was an object of curiosity for a considerable time whenever a shower occurred and he was out with his umbrella.

1817.—On the 25th of July of this year, Charles Rotherham, of Sheffield, 33 years old, was arraigned at the County Hall, before Sir John Bailey, on a charge of having wilfully murdered a young woman named Elizabeth Shepherd, on the 7th of July, 1817. To this charge he at first pleaded guilty, but was afterwards prevailed upon by the judge to submit to a trial. The murder was committed at Rainworth Water, about three miles from Mansfield, on the Nottingham Road. It transpired during the trial that the murdered girl left her mother's house at Papplewick, between twelve and one o'clock at noon on the 7th, for the purpose of going to Mansfield to seek for a place in service. She was wearing a pair of new shoes, and carried a light-coloured cotton umbrella. She was seen to leave Mansfield at six o'clock on her return home, and early the next morning her body was found in a ditch by the roadside, about fifty yards south of the third milestone. Her skull was horribly fractured, and a large hedge-stake lay near the body. This was produced in court, and, being nearly five feet in length and clotted with blood at the upper end, a thrill of horror ran through the spectators. The victim was a finely-formed young woman, only seventeen years of age. It was proved that Rotherham was seen drinking at the Hutt soon after the supposed time of the murder, and that he slept during the night at the Three Crowns Inn, Red Hill, where he had offered the girl's shoes and umbrella for sale; but, not meeting with a purchaser, he left the former in his bedroom when he went away at seven the next morning. The umbrella he disposed of at Bunney. Mr. B. Barnes, of Nottingham, being ordered in pursuit, tracked the prisoner as far as Loughborough, where he apprehended him. On the following Wednesday he took the prisoner to attend the coroner's inquest at Sutton-in-Ashfield; and on returning to Nottingham he made a full confession of his guilt. As they passed the place where the deed was perpetrated, he pointed to it; and a little further on, on the opposite side, was the hedge from which he drew the stake. He added that he could not tell what possessed him at the moment; he never spoke to the woman, but the instant he overtook her he struck her on the head, and repeated the blows until she was lifeless. He then turned her pocket inside out, but not finding anything in it, he cut open her stays in front in expectation of discovering money in concealment; but the search being in vain, he was obliged to be content with her shoes and umbrella—the very things which led to his detection. Being, of course, found guilty, he was hung on the 28th at Gallows Hill, at the top of Mansfield Road, Nottingham, where the church cemetery now is. The body was taken to the County Hall, and, after the surgeons had performed their duty, was exposed to public view in the Nisi Prius Court. Ultimately it was buried at the back of St. Mary's Church. Rotherham had been apprenticed to a scissors grinder; but, enlisting in the army, had served twelve years as a driver in the artillery. In this capacity he had been in Egypt, and at Maida, Ciudad Rodrigo, Badajoz, Salamanca, and Toulouse. To perpetuate the recollection of this tragedy, Mr. Anthony Buckles and other gentlemen of Mansfield erected a stone on the site of its occurrence. It bore the following inscription:—"This stone was erected in memory of Elizabeth Shepherd, of Papplewick, who was murdered by Charles Rotherham near this place, on the 7th of July, 1817, aged 17 years." All that now remains is the stone, rounded and worn away by the ravages of time and mischievous persons. The inscription, with the exception of "aged" and "years," has disappeared for ever.

1819.—During this year, the works known as the "Flood Dykes" were constructed at the expense of the Duke of Portland, for the purpose of irrigating his land forming part of the Clipstone Farm. Levels were taken, and it was found possible to convey the water from King's Mill Dam in carriers, so that it should be available to flood the meadows facing south for a distance of five-and-a-half miles, the water being 59 feet above the level of the river bed in the carrier. The river Maun was diverted into the carrier, and, after the necessary irrigation had been done, the water again flowed into the old bed of the river Maun. Subsequently, his Grace gave permission to the Mansfield Improvement Commissioners to discharge the sewage of the town into the flood dykes.

1831.—On the occasion of the coronation of William IV. and Queen Adelaide there were great rejoicings in the town. A large subscription was made, and there was a procession round the town on the 8th of September. After this there were dinners and teas, sports, balloon flying, and at night a display of fireworks. The total amount collected was £131 16s. 0d., including a balance of £12 1s. 3d. in the hands of the Commissioners from the previous coronation rejoicings.

1838.—At Mansfield, on the occasion of the accession of Queen Victoria, the liberality of the more opulent classes toward the less fortunate was particularly conspicuous. Dinners for nearly 600 men were gratuitously provided at the different public-houses, and nearly one thousand women and children were provided with tea and buns on the bowling green.

1839—Owing to the unsettled state of the country about this time, more particularly in the neighbourhood of Mansfield and Sutton-in-Ashfield, the Duke of Portland offered to place at the service of then Goverment a piece of land at High Oakham for use as barracks, which was accepted, and troops were for some time stationed here. In 1854 the last of the troops—Scots Greys—left the barracks for the Crimea, their departure being witnessed by large numbers of persons who wished them God speed. The barracks are now held as a residence by the widow of the late Mr. Charles James Neale.

1843.—On the 30th of December of this year, John Jones, alias Samuel Wilson, boot and shoe maker, murdered Mary Hallam, his sweetheart, in a fit of ungovernable passion. There appears to have been no cause for the commission of the awful crime, as the two were on terms of the greatest affection, though the girl's mother did not want her to have the man. The prisoner, when asked why he had killed her, said: "I wanted to have the girl, but her mother was not willing, and I was determined that if I could not have her no one else should." He also said he had intended taking his own life. The murder was committed with a shoemaker's knife. The prisoner was tried on the 12 th of March, 1842, and, having been found guilty, was sentenced to death by Lord Abinger. The defence was conducted by Mr. Walkden, of Mansfield, and a public subscription was raised for the purpose; the general feeling being that the prisoner's passions and feelings had been so worked on by jealousy as to induce an attack of momentary madness, in which state he committed the deed.

1849.—In this year, Lord George Bentinck died suddenly, at the age of forty-seven, while walking between Welbeck and Thoresby, causing universal sympathy for his family, as he had of late shown marked ability in the House of Commons. In memory of this sad event, the beautiful monument in the Market Place was erected.