Mansfield, a market town and parish, in the wapentake of Broxtowe, is situated in the forest of Sherwood, at the distance of 138 miles from London, 14 from Nottingham, 12 from Worksop and Chesterfield, 9 from Alfreton, 8 from Ollerton and 20 from Newark.
It appears to have been a place of high antiquity; coins of several Roman emperors have been found in and near the town; and the recent discovery of ancient relics, near Mansfield Woodhouse, is an indisputable proof that the Romans had a station or settlement in this vicinity. In the Domesday survey Maunsfield, as it was anciently called, is mentioned as a royal manor; and successive monarchs have granted several privileges to it. A market was established by a charter of Henry III.; and a fair by a grant from Richard II. When Sherwood forest was a royal chase, here was a royal villa, which the sovereigns kept as a hunting seat; and, to use the words of an old inquisition, "Henry Fauconberge held the manor of Cuckney in serjeantry by the service of shoeing the king's palfrey when the king came to Mansfield."
The town is large, lighted with gas, well paved, and the houses are in general well built; the trade is flourishing; participating largely in the manufacture of stockings, bobbin-net and lace thread; considerable business is also transacted in corn and malt; and there are productive coal mines and stone quarries in the neighbourhood; a rail-way, seven miles in length, giving great facility for the transmission of their produce to the town and neighbourhood. Upon a rivulet are no less than eight cotton factories, within the space of four miles.
The church here is an ancient commodious structure; the living is a vicarage in the patronage of the Dean of Lincoln, and in the incumbancy of the Rev T. L. Cursham. Here are also chapels for the independents, baptists, unitarians, methodists and quakers; a free grammar school, two charity schools; and twelve alms-houses.
The seats in this neighbourhood are numerous, and add a considerable consequence to it. The pricipal ones of note are, Hardwick Hall, four miles west of Mansfield, belonging to the Duke of Devonshire; the like distance south is Newstead Abbey, the seat of the late Lord Byron, and now the property of Colonel Thomas Wildman; and at Berry-hill is the agreeable residence of Thomas Walker, Esq.
The market is on Thursday, which is well supplied with corn and other necessaries; the fairs are the first Thursday in April, July 10th, and the second Thursday in October. There is also a fair or market every second Thursday in the month, for cattle and hogs.
The parish of Mansfield, which has no dependent township, contained, according to the parliamentary returns for 1821, 7,861 inhabitants.
Pigot's Commercial Directory of Nottinghamshire 1828-9
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Created 8th February 1998