·Origins and History
Origins and History
Although the village is much older, the first mention of Blidworth is in the Domesday Book, where it states that before the Conquest the Archbishop of York had a manor at Blidworth. At the time of Domesday, Archbishop Thomas had "five villains having two carucats and one Mill which was in Ludham. Pasture Wood three leuc. long and one broad". Calverton was a berue of this manor and both in the Confessors time were valued at 40 Shillings.
The village was originally surrounded by Sherwood Forest. In 1532 the Forest Register recorded that there were 128 red deer in Blidworth, and 15 were 'of antler'. Blidworth was at that time 'fenced and gated against the Deer'.
Blidworth is frequently referred to in connection with the Robin Hood legend. It is said that Maid Marian lived in the parish prior to her marriage. On the parish boundary at Fountaindale is 'Friar Tuck's Well', which is near a moated area on which the Friar was supposed to have his home. Many years ago a simple footbrige spanned the moat, and it is thought that this could be the place where Robin Hood and Friar Tuck disputed right of way. As it is close to a route that ran through the forest for hundreds of years, the claim is not completely improbable.
Will Scarlett is reputedly buried in Blidworth churchyard.
The church at Blidworth would have originally been a wooden structure, but was replaced by one of stone during the Saxon period. It was known as the Chapel of St Lawrence until the time of Richard III (1483-1485), when a tower was built onto "The church of St Mary". Its full dedication is St Mary of the Purification.
The tower is the only remaining part of the old church, as the original structure fell down in 1736, after being in a 'bad state of repair' for some time. The rebuilding work was carried out by Rhodes of Barlborough, and the arcade of five arches were supposedly the design of a pupil of Christopher Wren. The repaired church was re-opened in 1740, and the church was further enlarged in 1839.
St Mary's church is also the location of the annual Rocking Ceremony. The origins of the ceremony go back at least 400 years, to a service known as 'The Presentation in the Temple'. The custom had to be revived in 1842 by the then Vicar, J. Lowndes, after a lapse of 150 years, and again in 1922. The male child born in Blidworth parish nearest to Christmas day is rocked in a beautiful flower-decked cradle at a special service on the first Sunday in February.
A photograph of St Mary's church, Blidworth is available to view here.
The churchyard was increased from its original size on a few occasions. In 1850, Jonathan Hardcastle Esq., of Blidworth Dale, gave a gift of land in order that the churchyard could be extended, and in 1867 he sold a further plot to the parish, which was consecrated by the Bishop of Lincoln. In 1894, money was raised by a subscription, organised by Col. E. B. Hutton, to buy further land, which was consecrated by Rev. E. Were in June 1894.
The monumental inscriptions for St Mary's churchyard have been recorded, and are available from the Nottinghamshire FHS.
The parish registers of Blidworth began on January 3rd 1566, although in 1575 the parish paid a fine of 3/4 for 'neglecting the register book'.
The original registers covering 1566-1934 have been deposited at Nottinghamshire Record Office. Some baptisms and marriages covering the period 1741-1835 have been indexed on the International Genealogical Index (IGI).
The marriage register for 1566-1837 was transcribed for publication by Phillimores, and is available from the Nottinghamshire FHS.
The earliest meetings of dissenters in Blidworth would have been held at the members' houses. In 1797, a piece of land was bought at Blidworth, and a building was erected for use as a Methodist Chapel. The building was licensed as a place of public worship on 22nd February 1780.
In 1837 a new chapel was built at a cost of £380 and using some of the materials from the old chapel, which was demolished. In 1932, a third chapel was built on the same site, at a cost of £1,960. A day school was started in the chapel in 1843, until a purpose built school was erected on the hill behind the chapel in 1885.
Fishpool Ebenezer Chapel was built 1864 on what became known as Chapel Lane. It became disused in 1949. A former Sunday School Superinternded, Mr Richard Clay, had been buried at the bottom of the pulpit steps, and this meant they had difficulty in getting permission to sell the building. The body was eventually exhumed and reinterred in Blidworth Churchyard. The building was demolished. Fishpool was an area now known as Ravenshead.
A Primitive Methodist Chapel was located at Blidworth Bottoms, in a building which was formerly a barn. The chapel was well attended in the 1860's, but fell into decline in the early 1900's.
There were other dissenting chapels (of which little is known) at Dale Lane (Methodist) and at New Lane (Church of Christ).
Back to top
Page created 13th July 1998, by Webmaster - updated 24th June 2001