IN presuming to lay before the public an Historical Account of the Borough of East Retford, and of the villages in its immediate vicinity, I deem it necessary to state the motives which induced me to commence the undertaking.

Time, that great despoiler of every thing terrestrial, had long since laid his withering hand on many ancient documents of interest and moment, and in a few more years would have buried them in oblivion. Feeling the absolute necessity of something being done, as well from personal observations as from the representation of others, I was induced to make this attempt, but with what success

"This let the world, which knows not how to spare,
Yet rarely blames unjustly, now declare."

It is to myself matter of as great regret, as it can possibly be to any of my readers, that the task has not fallen to some one

"Older in practice, abler than myself."

From the many and varied duties which I am called upon to perform, it must be expected that such attention has not been paid to various subjects, which, under other circumstances, might have been; and that many deficiencies will be found to exist in a work requiring the exercise of talents far superior to any which I can boast of possessing.

In forming a judgment on my labours, the public will do me, justice to bear in mind, that my task has been to traverse a wilderness, through which a path had ne’er been beaten,—nay where human foot had never trod,—with but little light to dissipate the gloom. There is another circumstance, likewise, which gives me a strong claim on their lenient consideration, which is, the paucity of materials for an undertaking of this nature; most of those places which come under the observations of historians have known from time immemorial an uninterrupted succession of lords, whose respective lives have formed a complete chain of continuity, or a sort of railway along which the writer had nothing to do but to drive; this is, however, an advantage which East Retford cannot boast of having enjoyed.

The obscurity of the situation of East Retford in "the days of other years" has likewise proved a great obstacle in the way of a straight forward narrative, and has, in a considerable degree, contributed to heighten the difficulties of connecting the various epochs, so as to enable me to give a succinct and detailed account. Previous to the 17th century, the Corporation was in possession of numerous documents containing very valuable information, but unfortunately the major part were lost in the ruins of the Church, when it was destroyed, and many of those which were saved were so much damaged as to be almost unintelligible. But most of these having escaped the Scylla of a storm have fallen into that Charybdis, yclep’d, the Court of Chancery, their release from which at any particular time, it were a folly to account as certain.

In recording the various events, I have endeavoured to adhere to the real and definitive features of the subject, without hunting after vague probabilities, or amusing myself by indulging in improbable speculative surmises.

Flattering the neighbouring nobility and gentry, and other principal inhabitants, and proprietors, a fault too often attendant upon local history, it has been my study to avoid, from a conviction that real worth and merit would feel pained at any lengthened or studied encomiums, whilst the good sense of my readers would be insulted were I to bestow praise and panygerics where they were not due.

The various embellishments it is hoped will be found worthy the objects they are intended to represents and are offered with confidence to the attention of the antiquary and the admirer of the me arts. Those engraved by JEWITT fully supports that character which he has so justly earned; and those by CAVE, of York, are excellent specimens of that gentleman’s superior method of engraving.

To several gentlemen I beg to tender my warmest acknowledgments for the kind assistance which in a variety of ways they have afforded me, particularly to the Rev. Archdeacon EYRE, A. H. EYRE, Esq. THOMAS DENMAN, Esq. and JOHN MEE, Esq. for whose numerous favours I cannot be sufficiently grateful.

In conclusion I beg to throw myself on the indulgence of the public, and trust my claims for success will be tried by the inclination I have evinced to do justice to my arduous task, rather than by the ability with which it is executed, feeling convinced that however deficient I may have been in the latter quality, the former one will ensure me the meed of approbation.

East Retford, Sept. 22nd, 1828.