My interest arises because my wife, her paternal grandfather and many of his ancestors were born and spent much of their lives in Newark.
Other major communication routes are the road from Nottingham, which joins the Fosse Way near here on its way to Lincoln, and the river itself, which enabled Newark to function as a port with access to the distant North Sea via the Humber estuary. It carried traffic inland to Nottingham, Derby and Stoke, with a canal link to Liverpool, the Mersey and the Irish Sea added in the 18th century. The 19th century saw the addition of the main railway from London to Edinburgh and the major industrial cities of Yorkshire and north-east England, as well as a smaller line, from Nottingham and points west, to Lincoln and Grimsby. This map (161,461 bytes) of the county shows the location of the town.
The River Trent in fact divides into two a little above Newark, with only the smaller of the two sections reaching the town. It is joined here by the pretty River Devon (pronounced Deevon). However, the other branch is blocked to navigation by a weir just below the split at Averham (pronounced Airum), so all river traffic must pass through the town's lock. When the road to the north crosses the bridge beside the castle it has to cross what amounts to a low-lying island, subject to much flooding, before crossing a second bridge after about a mile and a half. This section of the road was raised in about 1770 on a long series of low arches, so it remains passable at all times.
The land close to Newark is almost flat, with low hills a few miles to the south. Both gravel and gypsum (used in the food and drug industries and for the manufacture of plaster and plasterboard) are quarried in the area, and a sugar factory just north of the town uses locally grown sugar beet. There are small engineering works on edge-of-town industrial estates, and a fairly large factory making bearings, but otherwise the town relies on simply acting as a shopping area and cattle market for the surrounding countryside, supplemented by tourism, with a growing number of residents commuting to Lincoln, Nottingham, Peterborough and even London.
A short distance outside the town is a disused airfield, which in May houses a great agricultural (very widely interpreted) show, and about every three months it is the home for a three-day antiques fair which is said to be Europe's biggest.
The heart of the town is the old cobbled Market Place, a large open square surrounded by imposing old buildings, which still houses the outdoor market every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, as well as more specialised smaller markets on Monday and Thursday. Notable buildings here are the Town Hall and the Civil War Governor's House, as well as several old coaching inns, with the spire of the parish church looking down on it all.
From the major restructuring in the late nineteenth century until the reorganisation of 1974, there were two levels of local government in Newark: Nottinghamshire County Council and Newark Borough Council. In 1974 most of the powers of the borough council were transferred to the new Newark and Sherwood District Council, whose offices are at Kelham Hall, a few miles north-west of the town, while a few very limited powers were left with Newark Town Council, which became effectively a mere parish council but continues to operate from the Town Hall in the Market Place.
Record offices and libraries are operated by the county council as they were before 1974, so most records remain where they were.
Researchers may also need to know that in earlier times (I don't know the dates at present) the Castle and its Liberty, with an extent of 1,138 acres, were in the parish of East Stoke, not Newark, although it was in Newark for Parliamentary election purposes. The village of East Stoke is about four miles south-west of Newark.
A fair (and steadily increasing) amount of very interesting information about Newark and its history can be found on the Newark Advertiser (local newspaper) site, as well as the news, entertainment and commercial information to be expected of such a site.
Newark heritage is stoutly defended, and its enhancement encouraged, by Newark Civic Trust. Their web site is well worth a look if you have any interest in the town and its buildings.
The local government sites, which are quite useful, are:
Newark and Sherwood District council.
Newark Town council.
The local history section in Newark Public Library has microfiche copies (not transcriptions) of parish registers as well as registers of electors, registers of burgesses, directories, old maps, census records (microfiche), etc. and very helpful and knowledgeable staff. They are located at:
Phone: (+44) (0) 1636 703966.
There are also many useful resources (and very helpful staff), such as trade records and photos, at:
Phone: (+44) (0) 1636 655740.
The archives of Nottingham University contain huge numbers of historical documents of interest to genealogists. Of special interest to Newark researchers are the records of transactions concerning Newark people and property from the estate of the Dukes of Newcastle (under Lyme), who once owned much of the town. These occupy three large web pages at http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/mss/online/online-mss-catalogues/cats/ne_1_deeds_part_8.html, http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/mss/online/online-mss-catalogues/cats/ne_1_deeds_part_9.html and http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/mss/online/online-mss-catalogues/cats/ne_1_deeds_part_10.html.
Averham (nearby village) is pronounced "Airum".
Belvoir (nearby village and castle) is pronounced "Beaver"
Blidworth (nearby village) is pronounced "Bliduth" by some people (including my locally-raised wife), but others maintain it is always pronounced as spelled.
Devon (river) is pronounced "Deev'n" (unlike the English county with the same spelling, where the "e" is pronounced as in "met").
Norwell (nearby village) is pronounced "Norrell" by locals (thanks to Derek Wileman for drawing my attention to this one)
Rainworth (nearby village) is pronounced "Rennuth" by locals.
Southwell (nearby small town/large village) is pronounced "Suth'll" by many people, but even natives cannot seem to agree about it.
These and others are also given on my Newark History page.
GOULD Mary 1897
HALL Joseph 1859
My thanks to Jayne of Ontario, who supplied the first of these, and to Mike Spencer who supplied both.
Found the following entry in the Leicestershire 1861 census:
RG9/2260 Folio 14 Page 21 Schedule 137
Wood Street, Hinckley, Leicestershire
HARDY, Isaac I. / Lodger / 22 / Primitive Methodist Minister / bn Newark, Nottinghamshire
My thanks again to Jayne of Ontario
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