A Brief History of Watnall

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'A Brief History of Watnall' page

By John Lee

Watnall today is a pleasant, leafy dormitory area for a number of nearby conurbations, including the City of Nottingham itself. It blends into similar residential areas which stretch away seamlessly towards Kimberley, Nuthall and beyond. It is a desirable place to live, with a great pressure for modern housing. Had you been here two centuries ago, however, you would have been in the midst of a small and remote hamlet, surrounded on all sides by the fields and activities of a completely agricultural way of life.

The history of Watnall goes back at least to Saxon times. After the Norman invasion of 1066, the village came under the stewardship of William Peverel and first enters the official records as an entry in the Domesday survey of 1087. As medieval times progressed, Watnall evolved in a very complex manner as two distinct parcels of land: the later Watnall Chaworth and Watnall Cantelupe. Some notable people and institutions were Lords at one time or another – Beauvale Priory, the Lords of Ilkeston, the Earls of Essex, the Byngham family and others. Watnall was unusual too, locally, in that it entered modern times sporting a resident aristocratic family, the Rollestons, with a seat to boot, namely Watnall Hall, which unfortunately they could only afford to live in themselves periodically and, also unfortunately, now gone.

Watnall is also unusual in that other places within the area, notably Kimberley, were moulded and completely transformed by the searing changes of the Industrial Revolution. Watnall was actively involved in the mining industry, but seems to have remained aloof from change and has managed to retain a village-like atmosphere to this day.

This booklet covers all these things in some detail, as well as the local rail network - spawned by the needs of the local mines- together with education and religion. It also covers Watnall’s important contribution to the war effort with its fighter command centre and associated weather station, which later became nationally known in its own right.

Companion "Brief History" booklets are also available in this series covering Kimberley, Awsworth, and Newthorpe. All the booklets are self-published and available locally. They can also be ordered directly from the author J M Lee at a price of £2.50, including inland postage. Additionally there is an e-book (digital) version available from Amazon at a similar price (and sometimes free). More details are available on a dedicated web site: www.facebook.com/jmleebooks (you don't need to have a Facebook account to access this).  Or contact author direct via email jmlee01230@gmail.com

 

This page was added by John Lee on 22/08/2016.

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