This laudable institution commenced on the 16th of February, 1818, under the patronage of His Grace the Duke of Newcastle, the Hon. J. B. Simpson, A. H. Eyre, Esq. John Kirke, Esq. the Rev. Archdeadcon Eyre, and others; Treasurers, Messrs. Sir W. B. Cooke, Bart., Childers, Foljambe, and Parker; Secretary, John Mee, Esq.; and Clerk, Mr. Aldn. Thornton; this latter situation being the only one whence any profit or pecuniary remuneration is derived.

Deposits of one shilling and upwards are received, (and bear interest as soon as they amount to twelve shillings and sixpence,) at the house of Mr. Thornton, in the Square, every monday morning from tea to twelve o’clock.

A few years after its commencement, the directors found that the purposes for which the bank was established, were considerably abused, by persons investing money therein to a large amount, from mercenary motives, whose stations in society did not entitle them to do so: a resolution therefore was agreed upon, that no person should deposit any sum or sums exceeding £50 in the whole, in the first year; or exceeding £30 in the whole, exclusive of interest, in any subsequent year: nor should any person deposit any sum whatever which shall make the sum to which the depositor is entitled £200 in the whole, exclusive of interest:

At the last annual audit, in November, 1827, the number of depositors amounted to 833, and the amount by them deposited to £33373. 2s. 7d. making a trifling decrease during the year; yet if we take into consideration the low ebb of agricultural affairs, and consequently the general depression of trade, no cause need be apprehended of any serious decay in the interests of the institution.


I have deemed it proper to give the following description of a building, which, although private property, is not only deserving of notice, but well worthy the attention of every person whose taste may lead them to admire the works of antiquity.

John Holmes, Esq. an old inhabitant of East Retford, has erected on the premises adjoining to his house, a Gothic building which he occasionally uses as an auxiliary library, or summer reading room. It has windows looking east, west, and south, which are enriched with painted glass. The south windows contain several portions of the scripture history of Joseph, in ancient glass, brought from the Continent to England during the time of the irruption of the French armies into many European states, several other portions whereof had been buried for safety, and were thus destroyed. The eastern lancet windows were constructed under Mr. Holmes’s directions from models in the chapel at Bishop Aukland; and the great western window was executed by that ingenious artist, Mr. Miller, of Regent Street, (London,) upon plans suggested by the proprietor. The interior of the library is wholly composed of very ancient carved oak, brought from distant places, and forms a rich storehouse of interesting materials, well preserved from decay, and arranged in a method harm6nizing with a building supposed to be erected in early times. The book-stands, tables, desks, chairs, and other furniture, exactly correspond. The room is about ten yards long, and is much visited by the curious.


Oak sofa

Mr. Hudson, who resides in Carhillgate, has a considerable collection of interesting curiosities, consisting of carving in woods bone, and ivory; a variety of ancient rings, swords, pistols, crucifixes, Roman payers, coins, medals, old prints, &c. &c. collected by him within the last fifteen years.

The oak sofa, (see the engraving,) is of the age of James I. it contains two drawers under the seat in front; its length seven feet, breadth twenty inches, and height of the back four feet. It was purchased at Scarbro’, in 1825, and altogether forms a useful appendage to a room, whilst, it displays a fine specimen of carving in days long since departed.

An ivory crucifix too, is an interesting relic of antiquity; the body is fully and most beautifully developed, particularly the toes and feet, which have been executed with the greatest nicety.

An ancient pistol-sword, of singular and curious construction. The pistol, which is rifle barrelled, is concealed by a shield in front of the sword handle, and has evidently been intended as an instrument of sure destruction.

The chest, (of which the accompanying plate is a correct representation,) is a very interesting relic, well preserved from decay; it was found some years ago in the ruins of the Abbot’s Palace, formerly belonging to the Franciscan Convent, at Scarbro’. It was purchased of the individual who found it, by Mr. Carter,* who, shortly after sold it to its present possessor. This chest is made of hammered iron, about one-eight of an inch thick, and bound with thin bars of the same metal, so as to divide it into compartments as represented in the drawing. The key hole on the front is false, and only placed there for ornament; it has been richly gilt, as has also the outward border or frame, in the stile of French foliage; all the inner compartments have been painted with various devices, chiefly landscape: the handles and bases are painted with native cinnabar; the cover, which is represented open, is almost covered with the lock, of curious workmanship, having five strong bolts, which when the cover is put down, lock themselves, and are opened by a key in the centre of the lid, the key hole of which, is hid with a sliding bar; the enrichment on the front of the lock is curiously chased and fitted up with white metal, not unlike silver, the inside of the chest is painted with native cinnabar or vermillion, as is also the support of the lid.


An eminent dissenting minister, eldest son of the Rev. James Wright, was born at East Retford, January 3rd, 1683; but losing both his parents when in his infancy, the care of his education devolved upon his grandmother, and his maternal uncle. Having finished his studies under Mr. Jollie, at the academy at Attercliffe, near Sheffield, he became chaplain to several families of distinction in or near London. During the long period of thirty-eight years he was pastor of the church in Blackfriars, and became so much admired as a preacher, that Dr. Herring, afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury, frequently went to hear him, to learn from him a just elocution. During his life-time he printed thirty-seven single sermons, chiefly at the request of those who had heard them delivered. His practical works are considered to be highly important, fully answering the noble ambition which he expressed in the preface to his "Treatise on the Deceitfulness of Sin." "I had rather be the author of a small book that shall be instrumental to save a soul from sin and death, than of the finest piece of science and literature in the world that tends only to accomplish men for the pr.. sent state of being." Dr. Doddridge justly observes "that his treatise on being born again, is one of the most useful, published in that age." He expired on the 3rd of April, 1746, in the sixty-fifth year of his age.


Although the subject of the following brief memoir was not a native of this place, it may not be inappropriate if we mention it here; his spending a considerable portion of his life within the borough will offer an excuse for so doing.

Mr. Thomas Gaskin was born at Ordsall, near this place, on the 24th of June, 1738, of poor but respectable parents, and on attaining a proper age, was bound an apprentice to a shoemaker of Retford, who was also a burgess; consequently, on the completion of his apprenticeship, be was entitled to the privileges of a freeman, and at his decease was the oldest burgess upon the list, or what is generally denominated "the father of the Corporation."

A short time after the expiration of his apprenticeship, Mr.Gaskin, obtained a situation in the excise, which he filled with great credit until an accident obliged him to retire from the service, when a pension of about £30 a year was allowed him; this he retained, with some augmentations which from time to time were made, until his death. It is not, however, from this circumstance, that Mr. G. claims our notice, but from the miserly habits in which he indulged for several of the later years of his life ; so penurious, that he would not allow himself the common necessaries of life, but subsisted chiefly upon what he could pick up in the streets; and as to his dress,# it consisted of a texture of rags of various qualities and colour, so tacked together, as to have defied Argus himself to have pointed out the original. His distrust of the world was as great as his love of money, not daring to trust his savings in the hands of any person, by which he became a considerable sufferer, as in one of his annual journeys to Derby to receive his rents, his abode was broken open, and robbed of bills and cash to the amount of upwards of £500. His house was truly a miserable abode, and the little furniture, which had descended to him from his father, appeared, at the time of his death, not to have been cleaned or even removed from their situation for several years. Mr. Gaskin lived and died a bachelor, and until two or three years before his death, resided along with his sister, who, either from example, or from principle, had become nearly as penurious as himself. On the 22nd. of December, 1822, he was found dead in his own house, lying with his face on the floor of his chamber, and his extremities on the bed. A coroner’s jury, which was held on the body during the following day, returned their verdict that the deceased had "died by the visitation of God."


Few towns are more fortunate in the birth of an individual of integrity, than is East Retford, in the birth of John Kirke, Esq. He was born at this place, in the year 1777, and entered early in life into his Majesty’s service. Whilst his regiment lay in Ireland, he married the daughter of Sir William Richardson, Bart. of Augher, in the county of Tyrone, and shortly afterwards retired from active service, and settled in his native town. Immediately after this, he was appointed one of his Majesty’s justices of the pence for this county, the multifareous duties of which he faithfully discharged to the latest period of his existence. In addition to this office, he was elected an alderman of this borough, in the year 1816, and succeeded to the magisterial chair in the year 1817. He also became lieutenant colonel of the Yeomanry Cavalry, commanded by his Grace the Duke of Newcastle, and the same conduct, which invariably characterized his career in the army, alone predominated whilst entrusted with this important duty. His demise took place rather suddenly on the 23rd of February, 1826, to the great grief of his family and friends.


This eccentric individual who was a native of this town, was by trade a staymaker, in which he is said to have excelled; but this business was far from being congenial to his ideas, and in the after part of his life, his sole attention was directed to the making of telescopes, electrifying machines, &c. &c. and, although being a man whose mind

"Fair science never taught to stray
Far as the solar worlds or milky way,"

he was not deficient in scientific lore, which was greatly assisted by strong natural abilities. He was particularly fond of fireworks, in the making of which, he greatly excelled. After his death, which took place on the 10th of July, 1816, his sister looking over his furniture and effects, found a tin canteen full of powder, for manufacturing fireworks, which she was advised to bury, instead of which, she put it into the fire; it immediately exploded, and threw part of the end of the house down, blew the windows and door completely out, and so dreadfully lacerated her arm and body, that she shortly afterwards terminated her own existence, in consequence of the severe sufferings. Mr. Clifton was greatly patronized by the neighbouring gentry, who entered into a subscription to assist him in commencing business as a mathematical and nautical instrument maker, and obtained for him a situation in the Hospital at West Retford; nevertheless, he was so intent upon his favourite studies, and neglectful of his health, that he died almost from want.

* Mr. Cole, of Scarbro', tlie intelligent author of “Hervieana,” "History of Ecton,” &c. &c. has given a very interesting account of this chest in a publication entitled "The Repository."
# In an electioneering squib, printed in 1802, the following lines occur respecting his dress, which he wore for upwards of twenty years afterwards.
"Had I been this fam’d poet, I’d have wrote
‘Bout Gaskin’s bald old hat, or worsted coat;
No man dare undertake to count the stitches,
Or take the grease in nine days from his breeches."