Modern Mansfield

Church Street, Mansfield, c.1905.

MANSFIELD, which is one of the quaintest and most healthy of the towns in the Midland counties, is the market town for an agricultural district of eight miles around it. It is the capital of the Broxtowe Hundred of Nottinghamshire, and gives its name to a Parliamentary Division of the county. Mansfield also returns three members to the County Council of Nottinghamshire. It gives a name to a highway district of twenty-one parishes formed under the Act of 1862 and 1864. In addition to this, it is the head of the Mansfield Union, which extends over the same area. The Union Workhouse was erected here in 1837, and has recently been improved and enlarged, and an infirmary has been added at a cost of very nearly £15,000. Here the Guardians and Rural Sanitary Authority hold their fortnightly meetings, for the transaction of parochial and other business, on market day.

During the present century the population has increased nearly threefold. Mr. Harrod, writing in 1800, says: "From the parish books I learn that 916 houses pay assessment; each multiplied by six (the average number of persons in each house) produces 5,496, which, added to 1,000 (the supposed number of paupers), gives a total of 6,495." This gentleman, however, was wrong, as the following figures will show. They are the results of the census from 1801 to the present time:—

Year.   Population.   Inhabited Houses.   Rateable Value.
1801 ... 5,988 ... 1,070    
1811 ... 6,816 ... 1,305    
1821 ... 7,861 ... 1,550    
1831 ... 9,426 ... 1,870    
1841 ... 9,788 ... 2,047   £
1851 ... 10,627 ... a,259 ... 14,165
1861 ... 10,225 ... 2,248 ... 28,748
1871 ... 11,824 ... 2,470 ... 30,652
1881 ... 13,651 .. 2,831 ... 38,329
1891 ... 15,925 ... 3,286 ... 43,141

A work published several years ago on the "Industries of Nottinghamshire" described Mansfield as being one of the most interesting and thriving towns in the county—pleasantly situated, clean and healthy, and as having recently made great progress. That it will thrive in the future there is not a shadow of doubt; for the existence of underlying coal measures of great value was vouched for by the late Sir Roderick I. Murchison, and has since been proved by borings in adjacent parishes; and that Mansfield is now the commercial centre of an immense coalfield, still unwrought, but ripe for development, may be assumed as a fact of present and growing importance.

The town and district supports two newspapers:—The Mansfield Reporter, which advocates the Conservative policy, and was established by private enterprise in 1857. It is now owned by a company. The other paper is the Mansfield and South Notts, Advertiser, established by the present owner, Mr. John Linney, in 1870. This advocates the principles of Gladstonian Liberalism. Both of the newspapers circulate widely, and are as well conducted as any that are to be found in the county. On both sides, personalities of every description are carefully avoided.

Previous to the year 1823, the town was governed by the churchwardens and overseers and a surveyor, appointed by, and acting under, the supervision of the Vestry. A constable and pinder were appointed by the Court Leet. Here it may not be uninteresting to notice shortly what the old Court Leet was. Coke says leet is a Saxon word, from the verb gelathian—to assemble together. Others suppose it to be derived from the Saxon leod, plebs, and to mean populi curia, or folkmote. It is a Court of Record. Its jurisdiction and privileges were purchased from the Crown by the possessors of large estates, that the people might have justice rendered to them nearer to their own homes. It may be held at any place where the lord of the manor pleases within his precincts, except the church, chapel, or churchyard. Suit to the Leet is due by reason of residence or abode, and has no reference to tenure. The steward of a Court Leet is an essential officer, and should be indifferent between the lord of the manor and the law, for he is the judge, and presides wholly in a judicial character. He may fine or imprison, and may take a recognisance of the peace. All fines are recoverable by action of debt or by distress. Since the Leet was originally granted for the more convenient administration of justice, the lord is compelled to hold a court by mandamus, and the Leet is forfeited by non-user or by acts of abuser. All offences cognisable in the Leet are enquired of and presented by suitors of the court, sworn and charged as a jury for that purpose; and all presentments may be removed by certiorari to the Queen's Bench and then traversed. Court Baron is a court which, though not one of record, is incident to every manor and cannot be severed therefrom. It was ordained for the maintenance of the services and duties stipulated for by the lords of the manors, and for the purpose of determining actions of a personal nature where the debt or damage was under forty shillings. It is frequently held together with the Court Leet. The freehold tenants alone are suitors to the Court Baron; and it is essential to the existence of the court that there should be two suitors at the least, for, since freemen can only be tried by their peers or equals, if there should be but one freeman he can have no peer or judge, and consequently must appeal to the Court of the Lord Paramount. The suitors of a Court Baron constitute its judges, and the steward is a constituent essential part of the court, and not a mere ministerial officer, and it cannot be holden without him. A Court Baron not being a Court of Record, neither the lord of the manor nor his steward can fine or imprison. The Court Baron is usually held at Mansfield once in three weeks; the Great Court, or Court Leet, twice a year, generally a few days after Michaelmas and Lady Day. When these courts are held all the copyholders owe "suit and service," and each pays the sum of sixpence yearly for his respective copyholds, be they large or small.

Under the ancient form of government there were no properly made roads and no effectual sewers; indeed, the condition of the town was such as to necessitate a more popular form of government. Numerous meetings were held; and ultimately, in 1823, an Act of Parliament was obtained (4th George IV.), intituled, "An Act for Improving, Paving, Lighting, "Cleansing, and Watching the Town of Mansfield, in the County of Nottingham."

The following is a copy of the petition, with the signatures, for the first Improvement Act under which Mansfield was governed:—

Moot Hall, Mansfield, December 16th, 1822.

At a public meeting of the parishioners, held pursuant to notice, for taking into consideration the propriety of an application to Parliament to obtain an Act for lighting, cleansing, and improving the town of Mansfield;

Thomas Walker, Esquire, in the chair;

Resolved unanimously—

That the present public road from the Nottingham turnpike through Mansfield is wholly inadequate to the traffick upon it, and extremely dangerous.

That an Act of Parliament for widening such road, and for paving, lighting and watching, cleansing, and otherwise improving the town of Mansfield, is highly necessary.

That the undermentioned gentlemen be a committee for superintending the drawing a Petition, preparing a Bill, and all other matters necessary for obtaining an Act for the purposes last above mentioned, also for soliciting donations and subscriptions towards defraying the expenses of and relating to such Act, and for carrying its intended purposes into effect, viz.:—Thomas Walker, William Brodhurst, John Hall, John Need, and John Coke, Esquires; Messrs. James Heygate, Francis Wakefield, Abraham Booth, Charles Neale, William Ellis, Charles Hurst, Robert Watson, Charles Stanton, John Andrews, Isaac Worthington, George Johnson, William Johnson, Dickenson Ellis, Benjamin Bagshaw, William Wragg, Thomas Shipman, Joseph Rolfe, John Ellis, Robert Collinson, William Chrishop, John Mason, Thomas Foster, Samuel Stirrup, William McLellan, and Edward Bunting. That the committee have power from time to time to add other members. That any number of the committee for the time being, not less than five, be competent to act, and that the committee do communicate to a future public meeting of the parishioners of Mansfield the drafts of the said intended Petition and Bill, and report their other proceedings.

That Messieurs Abney and Maltby, and also Messieurs Wylde and Bolger be treasurers for receiving the donations and subscriptions.

That the proceedings of this meeting be advertised in the Nottingham Journal and Review

Scott Portland, £100 Thomas Foster
Thomas Walker Willm. McLellan
Willm. Brodhurst Martin Furniss
Francis Wakefield Joseph Greenwood
James Maltby Peter Wood
John Williams R. Weaver
J. Rolfe Wm. Chrishop
Robt. Watson Thomas Shipman
Chas. Stanton R. Collinson
Wm. Wragg Edwd. Bunting
John Mason Saml. Stirrup
John Ellis J. Heywood
Jas. Binch Thomas Wrothwell
Wm. Johnson Richd. Parsons
B. Bagshaw Ab. Booth
Chas. Hurst Wm. Ellis
James Heygate Jno. Andrews
Josh. Bingley Dickinson Ellis
Isaac Worthington Thos. Parker, junior
George Booth George Page
Richd. Place Richd. Randall
George Langley Joseph Atkinson
Wm. Midworth Edwd. Smith Dawson
Danl. Heald Edwd. Dawson
Geo. Dakeyne John Reed
Wm. Woodcock Robt. Shipman
Joseph Platts John Gresham
J. John Bingley J. Brown

Resolved, that the thanks of the meeting be given to Mr Walker for his kindness in taking the chair, and for his polite and attentive conduct therein.

We, the undersigned, have read the foregoing resolutions and approve thereof—

Henry Cowlishaw John Brailsford
John Andrews, junr. Benjn. Draycott
Josh. Housley John Draycott
Richard Bromhead Thos. Unwin
Humphrey Walliss Richd. Elsam
Paul Boot, junr. George Unwin
Paul Boot Sarah Lester
Thos. Alason Wm. Edge
Thos. Green Jno. Ellis
Thomas Nicholson Jno. Thraves
Thomas Ince John Benton
R. Richard Banes G. W. Ellis
Saville Smith Josh. Booth
John Wood Joseph Wood
Richard Fowler Thos. Hickson
James Moore Susanna Holloway
Richd. Ride E. Lester
Joseph Platts Josh. Boam
Benjn. Downs Josh. Fenton
Wm. Nicholson Robt. Frost
Thos. Poynton Wm. Bell
Thos. Barker Henry Blackwell
Richd. Skinner Mary Ramsbotham
Robt. Jones Dorothy Toplis
John Pearson Wm. Heane
Wm. Hebb Susannah Green
Sam. Walsh Wm. Featherston
John Pearke John Hardisty
James Watson James Webster
John Bilson Richard Poole
Joseph Child William Moseley
Charles Lindley Reynolds Frost
Mary Carter John Rodgers
Solomn. Foster John Aram
Willm. Taylor Josh. Shacklock
Mary Jackson Sarah Weaver
W. Paulson Ann Travis
C. Ellis Joseph Greenwood
John Cutts James Robinson
John Moss Sam. Leak
Thos. Merryman Saml. Midworth
Henry Beare Mrs. Inglis
Richard Watson Peter Alsop
John Adlington Samuel Harvey
James Butler Eliza Worthington
Matthew Robotham S. Bogg
Thos. H. Swymmer Wm. Wright
W. Foster John Paulson, junr.
Elizabeth Barratt Edwd. Robinson
Thos. Jackson Geo. Vickers
Thos. Eyre Thos. Buckler
George Featherston Hannah Bower
Samuel White Wm. Bower
Nathl. Stephenson Mary Brodhurst
F. Sheppard John Bingley
Wm. Mason Jno. Hill
James Wilkinson Wm. Williams
John Palmer Danl. Hurst
Wm. Frost John Barlow
John Watson Robert Linfoot
Christopher Parker Willm. Sheldon
Joseph Littlewood Mrs. Smith
David Bamford Anthy. Buckler
A. Unwin John Fowler
Eliz. Stretton Mrs. Johnson
Josh. Burt The Revnd. B. G------*,
Elizabeth Creswell by L. U.
Jane Hopewell The Trustees of W. T.
Sarah Chopin Hurt
Wm. Goodacre Miss Unwin

Forty-three Commissioners were appointed for carrying the Act into execution. These Commissioners were practically appointed for life, inasmuch as vacancies occurring in their body were, as they occurred, filled up by the survivors; and, up to the year 1874, their meetings were conducted with closed doors. These Commissioners purchased a quantity of property in the centre of the town, which they had pulled down for the purpose of making the present spacious Market Place. This, if they had done nothing else, should have gained them the thanks of their fellows. I was informed by Mr. White, a very old resident in the town, that the first house demolished for the purpose of making these improvements was the "Eclipse Inn," at that time occupied by a Mr. Thomas Cadman. A great number of houses were pulled down. The Commissioners also paved and lighted the town with oil lamps, and carried out a large number of other valuable improvements. Great dissatisfaction, however, appears to have been expressed at the holding of the meetings in private, and at the fact that the members were not popularly elected. In 1873, steps were taken to bring the town under the authority of the Sanitary Acts, and to repeal such parts of the Improvement Act as had become either obsolete, impracticable, or unworkable, or otherwise ill-adapted to the times. This agitation ended in 1874 in the passing of another Act, amending the Act of 1826, embodying the principal clauses of the Public Health Act, and reducing the number of Commissioners to eighteen. The old form of self-election gave place under the new Act to a more healthy system of election by the ratepayers. It provided for the election of six members annually in November, each member being returned for three years. The last of the self-elected members to retire were Mr. R. M. Watson (chairman), Mr. Geo. Pickard, Mr. C. Revell, Mr. W. Hardwick, Mr. U. Lindley, and Mr. S. J. Potts.

Under the Act thus obtained the town was successfully governed until the year 1889, when, having cleared off the whole of the many liabilities created under the Act of 1823, the town came under the provisions of the Public Health Act of 1875. Many of the inhabitants, however, were not satisfied with the existing form of government, and felt there should be a movement in the direction of Incorporation.

The subject of Incorporation appears to have been first introduced as long ago as 1820, but nothing came of the movement, and the Act referred to was obtained. Matters remained quietly until 1883, when a deputation of ratepayers waited upon Mr. Hibbert—the chairman at the time the Charter was granted—and asked him to bring the matter forward. Speaking at the Local Government Board Enquiry, in 1890, that gentleman said that those who in 1820 were in favour of Incorporation never wholly lost sight of the project, for on several occasions it again came to the front, and at one time it had advanced so far that two gentlemen in the town—the late Mr. William Gething and the late Mr. Richard Greenhalgh— were each spoken of as first mayor; and if the choice had been unanimous in that respect, an application would have been made for a Charter. Mr. Hibbert took the matter up, but the time did not then appear to be favourable, as when a resolution was submitted to a meeting of the Commissioners, on the 10th of August, 1883, sixteen out of eighteen members being present, six voted for Incorporation, seven against, and three were neutral. The movement was, in consequence, in danger of being shelved for the time; but a difficulty cropping up respecting the appointment of resident magistrates, the project was revived with renewed vigour; and at a meeting of the Commissioners, held on the 21st of March, 1884, it was proposed by Mr. G. H. Hibbert that "The Commissioners being of opinion that the time has arrived when an application may with propriety be made for a Charter of Incorporation for the town—Resolved that, subject to the approval of the ratepayers, at a meeting to be convened for the purpose, an application be made accordingly." This found a seconder in Mr. J. Harrop White, and, after some discussion, was carried by ten votes to three.

On the 25th of April of the same year, a public meeting was held in the Town Hall, under the presidency of Mr. Maude, chairman of the Improvement Commissioners. This was well attended; and Mr. Hibbert moved: "That this meeting of ratepayers of the town of Mansfield, believing that it would be a great benefit to the said town and tend to its better government if it was incorporated, requests the Improvement Commissioners, being the governing body thereof, to make an application to the Queen in Council to grant a Charter of Incorporation to the said town, and take all necessary steps to procure the same; and that this meeting pledges itself to support such application by all legitimate means." This motion was seconded by Mr. Richardson. Mr. C. J. Neale proposed a negative amendment, which was seconded by Mr. Herbert J. Greenhalgh. After discussion, the motion was carried by a majority of six votes to one. A petition in favour of the Charter was prepared, and, at a Commissioners' meeting held on the 5th of September, the clerk (Mr. Parsons) reported that the petition had been signed by 1,300 ratepayers and householders. The opponents of the scheme, however, had been equally active, alleging that the petitioners had failed to show that Incorporation would increase the trade of the town or add anything tangible to the advantage of the inhabitants; while in the counter petition the opinion was expressed that there would be a tendency to increase the burdens and rates of the inhabitants, by the appointing of extra officials and increased salaries. A good deal of political feeling prevailed in reference to the matter. A minority of householders, but possessing a majority of taxation, signed the counter petition, and so successful were their efforts that, on the 13th of February, 1885, the following resolution was carried at a Commissioners' meeting, on the motion of Mr. Sanderson, seconded by Mr. Greenhalgh: "That the members of the Board, while retaining their individual convictions as to the desirability or otherwise of Incorporation, are yet of opinion that, in deference to the views expressed by so many of their fellow-townsmen, it is inopportune to proceed with the application for a Charter, and this Board accordingly recommends that the petition in favour of Incorporation be withdrawn." The subject then dropped for several years, until Mr. G. H. Hibbert was elected chairman of the Board on the distinct understanding that he should without delay advocate and push forward a scheme for the Incorporation of the borough. After many discussions on the subject and the holding of a public meeting, a form of petition was drawn up and agreed to. This petition was signed by sixteen out of the eighteen Commissioners, and by many of the former opponents of Incorporation, as well as by all the leading professional men and tradesmen of the town, and, indeed, by a thoroughly representative body of the inhabitants. The number of resident householders who signed was 2,089, with a rateable value of £19,775; 248 of the signatories were females, with a rateable value of £1,670. The County Council of Nottinghamshire unanimously and cordially supported the application; and the Duke of Portland—who, as lord of the manor, had previously maintained a neutral attitude—attended the Council meeting and joined in the vote. Eventually, application was made in the usual course for a Charter; and at the end of November, 1890, a Local Government Enquiry was held by the Hon. T. H. W. Pelham. Considerable interest was evinced in the proceedings; and Mr. G. H. Hibbert conducted the case for the petition. He presented a long and interesting statement in regard to the rise and progress of the town, its institutions, and past management, and the advantages which it was claimed would be gained by Incorporation. Mr. Hibbert was congratulated by the Inspector upon the able statement which he had prepared and submitted. A further exhaustive and interesting statement was given by Mr. J. H. White, and the evidence was also taken of Mr. R. J. Parsons (the clerk), Mr. F. R. Vallance (the surveyor), Mr. J. E. Birks (vice-chairman), Mr. G. Pickard, Mr. R. Barringer, Mr. G. Alcock, Mr. W. Wilkinson, Mr. Chadburn (Commissioners), Mr. Heydon (gas manager), Mr. J. Linney (proprietor of the Mansfield and North Notts. Advertiser), and Mr. W. James. All these gentlemen were in favour of a Charter being granted, and there was no opposition whatever to the application. The confident feeling expressed at the close of the enquiry as to the successful issue of the proceedings was subsequently realised. On the 17th of April, 1891, a communication was received from the Privy Council asking the Commissioners to submit a draft of their scheme as soon as possible, and enclosing the draft of the Charter. No time was lost; and within a very few days the two documents were returned to the authorities in London for the signature, on approval, of her Majesty.

The first question discussed after the enquiry was, "Who shall be premier mayor?" By a large majority of the inhabitants it was felt that Mr. G. H. Hibbert, who had carried the scheme in the teeth of great opposition, should be asked to become the first mayor; and, to all intents and purposes, this was agreed to until the name of the Duke of Portland was mentioned as likely to add lustre to the long line of chief magistrates who would follow. It was also suggested that his Grace would inaugurate the infant Corporation in a fitting manner. The first to make a definite movement in the direction of securing the services of the owner of the soil as first mayor was Mr. G. H. Hibbert himself, who, with a disinterestedness that did him infinite credit, attended a meeting of the Mansfield Liberal Association, and advised that body to ask the Duke of Portland to become first mayor. The Conservative Association subsequently joined with the other political party in a petition to his Grace, but without avail, as the following communication will show:—

Welbeck Abbey, Worksop, Notts.,

Monday, May 18th, 1891. To the Mansfield Improvement Commissioners. Gentlemen,—

I am much flattered by the desire you have unanimously expressed to nominate me to be the first mayor of your ancient town of Mansfield, where, in common with yourselves, I have so much real interest and responsibility. I am very sensible of and much touched by the great compliment you desire to confer upon me by the appointment of chief magistrate of your new borough, when the Charter of Incorporation has been granted by her Majesty. After mature consideration, and in view of the many functions I am from time to time called upon to perform, and from my frequent absences from the county, I have come to the reluctant conclusion that I must decline to accept the proffered dignity of being the first mayor of the borough of Mansfield, the success of which, and the welfare of the burgesses and inhabitants generally, will be at all times of interest to me.

I should esteem it a great honour if, when the Charter is received, I may be allowed, as lord of the manor, to present a chain of office for the use of the borough. I am, gentlemen,

Your obedient servant,


A further effort was made to secure the services of his Grace, but an intimation was given that the answer was final; and then, by general consent, it was understood that Mr. Hibbert should be the first mayor of the borough.

The last Board of Commissioners consisted of the following gentlemen:—Mr. G. H. Hibbert, chairman; Mr. J. E. Birks, vice-chairman; Mr. J. Pickard, chairman of the Gas Committee; Mr. T. Taylor, chairman of the Sanitary Committee; Mr. W. Chadburn, chairman of the School Attendance Committee; Mr. W. Wilkinson, chairman of the Fire Engine Committee; Mr. J. H. Blake, chairman of the Baths and Washhouses Committee; Mr. T. Hartas, chairman of the Water Committee; Mr. J. H. White, chairman of the Finance Committee; Mr. W. Hollins, J.P., Mr. Illsley, Mr. G. Alcock, Mr. R. Alcock, Mr. D. J. Patterson, Mr. C. F. Elliot Smith, Mr. J. Watt, Mr. J. Witham. The principal officials were—Mr. R. J. Parsons, clerk; Mr. R. F. Vallance, surveyor; Mr. F. C. Smith, treasurer; Dr. C. Wills, medical officer of health; Mr. W. Lewis, collector; Mr. E. Clayton, inspector of nuisances; Mr. J. Heydon, Gasworks manager; Mr. J. Rawson, manager of the Waterworks; Mr. A. Parker, collector of water rents; Mr. W. Godfrey, school attendance officer; Mr. R. Cotes, superintendent of Baths; Mr. W. Gouk, librarian of the New Free Library; Mr. H. Aves, captain of the Fire Brigade. The following gentlemen have been chairmen of the reformed Board of Commissioners:—Mr. Robert M. Watson, Mr. George Pickard, Mr. James Maude, Mr. James Hartas, Mr. Robert Barringer, Mr. John Watt, and Mr. G. H. Hibbert (the last chairman, and acting mayor from the receipt of the Charter until the election of the first Council).

Immediately on the receipt of the communication that the Charter was ready for the Commissioners on and after the 3rd of June, a private meeting of the Commissioners was held for the purpose of resolving what steps should be taken to mark the occasion as one to be remembered. It was ultimately decided that the 13th of July should be the day on which the Incorporation Committee should proceed to London for the purpose of taking possession of the Charter and bringing it to Mansfield on the next day. It was also resolved that the 14th should be made a day of public rejoicing, under the name of "Charter Day." The elaboration of plans was quickly proceeded with, and, a course of action being decided upon, committees were appointed and their work carefully carried out So enthusiastic were the inhabitants on the subject that little difficulty was experienced in collecting the sum of £400 for the purpose of festivities. The new borough welcomed the actual receipt of the Charter in a manner which showed how great was the gratification of the inhabitants generally that its complete enfranchisement in matters of municipal administration had at last been effected. The proceedings extended over three days, and consisted of feasting, galas, fireworks, illuminations, balls, and other modes of merrymaking. The history of this has been so well written in "The Incorporation of Mansfield" that it would be out of place to go further into the subject here. On the 30th November, these festivities were concluded with a grand treat, through the action of the mayoress, Mrs. G. H. Hibbert, to 1,625 women between the ages of 25 and 60 years who had not been provided for on "Charter Day."

The election of Town Councillors took place on the 2nd of November, and resulted in the return of Messrs. J. E. Birks, R. Alcock, J. H. White, W. Linney, H. J. Knight, and J. A. Pegg (all Liberals) for the North Ward; D. J. Patterson (L.), A. J. Butler (L.), W. F. Sanders (L.), T. Savage (C), G. Pickard (L.), and H. A. Meggitt (L.) for the East Ward; J. H. Blake (C), A. Barringer (L.), W. Wilkinson (C), R. Gunthorpe (L.), T. Hartas (L.), and G. Alcock (L.) for the South Ward. The first meeting was held on the 9th of November, when Mr. G. H. Hibbert was unanimously elected first mayor; Councillor Pickard, deputy-mayor; and Councillors J. E. Birks, R. Alcock, and J. Patterson, T. Savage, J. H. Blake, and R. Barringer, aldermen. The vacancies on the Council were filled by Messrs. J. Crampton (L.), E. Turner (L.), North Ward; William Goldie (L.), C. F. Elliot Smith (C.), East Ward; D. H. Maltby (L.), and T. Taylor (C), South Ward. On the 5th, the Mayor took his seat on the Bench to hear borough cases at the Police Court; and on the 8th, the Corporation attended service at the Wesleyan Chapel, when the Rev. E. D. Dannatt, mayor's chaplain, preached. The first public function of the Mayoress was to distribute St. John Ambulance Association certificates, and the Mayor's that of opening a rainbow bazaar in the Wesleyan School.

At the November election in 1892, Councillors Pickard and G. Alcock retired, and Dr. Graham Philip Godfrey and Mr. W. M. Shaw were elected to fill their places. Mr. G. H. Hibbert, who had worthily filled the office of mayor, was rejected by the ratepayers, and retired from the Council. Mr. Douglas J. Patterson, an alderman of the borough, was elected second mayor by the unanimous vote of the Council. One of the events of Alderman Patterson's year of office was a children's fancy dress ball, on the 12th of January, 1893—the first event of the sort which had ever taken place in Mansfield. It was a thorough success.

In financial matters, Mansfield stands remarkably well. At the Incorporation Enquiry, Mr. J. Harrop White, chairman of the Finance Committee, stated that although the rateable value has increased from £29,471 in 1870 to £42,864 in 1890, the amount of the rate in the pound is not much larger than it was. In 1870, the amount produced by a rate of 2s. 3d. in the pound was £2,759; and in 1889, £4,289 was produced from 4s. in the pound. The total receipts of the Commissioners for the ten years ended 1890 were £64,058 4s. 8d., and the expenditure £64,375 15s. 1d.; the average for the ten years being—receipts, £6,405 16s. 5d. ; and expenditure, £6,457 11s. 6d. The tendency of the rates is towards a reduction.

Amongst the lands reserved by the Allotment Commissioners for the use of the town must be mentioned a piece of land near the Racecourse, allotted to the devisees of the late Mr. Robert Watson, of Mansfield, to obtain gravel therefrom. This piece is about three-quarters of an acre in area. Another piece of land, situate on the Derby Road (at the back of the Cemetery), containing about one acre, was allotted to the Duke of Portland, with a similar right for the inhabitants to take gravel therefrom. A plot of land on the Nottingham Road, containing about two acres, was allotted to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners of England, with a right to the inhabitants of Mansfield to dig out sand, &c, under the direction of the surveyor to the Mansfield Improvement Commissioners. Rights of obtaining stone for the repair of roads, &c. were reserved to the inhabitants of Mansfield over six other pieces of land in various parts of the parish, allotted to Messrs. Richard Blythe, Thomas Hodgkinson, John Millar, John Monk, Samuel Siddon, and William Taylor respectively, and containing in all about two roods twenty-five and a half perches.


On being elevated to the dignity of a borough, a grant of a coat-of-arms was made to Mansfield. For the following heraldic description the author is indebted to Lord Hawkesbury:—The cross flory in the arms is taken from the traditional royal arms of the Saxon kings of England, Mansfield having been a royal borough in the time of Edward the Confessor, as, indeed, it continued to be for a considerable period afterwards. The cotton hanks in two of the quarters are indicative of the trade of the borough, whilst the buck's head cabossed in the other two quarters is taken from the arms of the Cavendishes, Dukes of Newcastle, who were lords of the manor in the seventeenth century, and of their descendants and representatives, the more recent lords, the Cavendish-Bentincks, Dukes of Portland. The crest, an oak tree, is, of course, allusive to the Royal Forest of Sherwood, over a good part of which the Manor of Mansfield extended, whilst the crosses (crosslet fitchee) are taken from the arms of the Howard family, pointing to the Duke of Norfolk being lord of the manor in the sixteenth century. The mullets were originally thought of as being a charge in Lord Mansfield's arms; but on its appearing that he never had any connection with the borough, the "Richmond Herald" still retained them in their place, as he said he would consider them as an allusion to the first Member of the Mansfield Division, these mullets (or astroits) being the principal charge blazoned in the arms of Shuckburgh and Medley, two families represented in the female line by Lord Hawkesbury, and whose arms are quartered with his.

* Probably Grainger, but cannot be transcribed with certainty.