The History of Mansfield Woodhouse

There is archaeological evidence that humans have lived in and around Mansfield Woodhouse for at least 10,000 years.  By 50 AD, the Romans had established a fortress and a civilian settlement with two villas.  When they left about 360 AD, the villas fell into disrepair and remained buried for the next 1,400 years.  Then in 1786, a man called Hayman Rooke unearthed them, after he came across some mosaic tiles lying in a field.

By the time of the Norman Conquest, Mansfield Woodhouse was such a small settlement that it didn't even rate a mention in the Domesday Book.  Today, it is the largest village in the United Kingdom.

On 12 September 1304, a fire completely destroyed Mansfield Woodhouse and the townspeople had to appeal to King Edward I for permission to gather timber to rebuild it.  The timber-framed church was also destroyed.  A new one dedicated to St. Edmund was built of stone, and stands today, although later generations have added to the original.

One of the most prominent buildings in Mansfield Woodhouse is the Manor House, formerly known as Woodhouse Castle.  During the English Civil War, it was the home of Sir John Digby, High Sheriff of Nottinghamshire, who was a staunch supporter of Charles I.  In 1932, it was sold to the local council for use as offices.  It was later converted into residential flats.

In the 19th Century, Woodhouse prospered with the growth of the textile and hosiery trades.  A fine example of a framework knitter's cottage can still be seen at 21 Station Street (Symonds Solicitors).  It is notable for its large first-storey windows, which were designed to let in extra sunlight.

Former framework knitter's cottage (21 Station Street)

As the textile and hosiery industries expanded, so did the demand for needles and Woodhouse became a thriving centre for their manufacture.

Coal has been produced in the area since the middle ages, when iron working was one of the principal local industries.  In 1903, Sherwood Colliery opened, and, within five years, the population of Woodhouse doubled.  Sadly, the colliery, along with most others in the area, is now closed.

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In 2005, Mansfield Woodhouse Community Development Group (MWCDG) developed a
magazine using Big Lottery Funding.  The magazine collates the memories of World War Two
from local people.  To download, please click on the link below.  This magazine is also available
from Park Road Resource Centre in Mansfield Woodhouse.  It is free of charge but since
MWCDG is a registered charity, donations are welcome.

War Time Magazine - Memories of World War Two (35.1Mb)

To download the above editions of the Woodhouse Warbler, you will need Acrobat.
If you do not have Acrobat then you can download it at the following link for FREE!
Click Here for Acrobat Reader