History of Broxtowe
People have lived in the area since early times for three prime reasons - rich agricultural land, the proximity of the Rivers Trent and Erewash and the availability of natural building materials. The extensive and easily-mined coal deposits also had an important effect on the development of industry in the North of the borough.
Evidence suggests that the land bordering the Trent was occupied in the Middle and Late Palaeolithic period. Signs of later settlements are even more positive, with fragments of characteristic Bronze Age pottery, weapons and dug-out canoes now preserved at Nottingham Castle and University.
The Norman Conquest, recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086, shows that Beeston had been held by three Anglo-Saxon lords. Four Englishmen held Stapleford. Greasley and Eastwood appear in the Domesday Book, held under wardship by William Peverel (Peverel of the Peak) as was usual at that time. It was not until the reign of Henry I (1100 -1135) that Peverel was given definite possession of the lands. Political intrigue forced his son to forfeit the land to the Crown in 1155. The lands were eventually divided between Hugh de Beaucham, Baron of Eaton Socon in Bedfordshire and de Argenteins of Wymondly in Hertfordshire. Toton and much of the land around Eastwood were given to the Greys of Codnor Castle. Numerous other minor holdings were recorded at the time and landowners referred to later in this guide include the Strelleys, the Willoughbys of Wollaton and Bramcote and the Cantelupes at Greasley.
The Middle Ages
Tenant farming was prevalent during this period and common pasture land was used for cattle. The system changed little until the early 17th century and the Enclosure Act of the 19th century
Dissolution of Monasteries and Enclosure Acts
During the reigns of Henry VIII and Edward VI the Crown took over numerous small properties and by the end of the 16th century most of the lands had changed hands. The Enclosure Act, where the ownership of agricultural land became more rigorously defined, did not come into effect in Nottingham until the early 19th century. One important consequence was that newly-evolving factories were built around, rather than in, Nottingham as land became available for development.
The Development of Industry
The early trades were mainly rural but, following the invention of the stacking frame, a new cottage industry arose. By 1750 there were about 50 manufacturers in Nottingham employing over 1,500 knitters in the surrounding districts. Modified machines soon saw a diversification into lace, and these two trades became the principal industries of Nottinghamshire. In the north, the rich coal deposits were worked as early as 1485 and were beginning to be exploited by the end of the 18th century as factories demanded steam power. As the mines expanded transport systems developed.
Railways and Canals
Roads were poor in the 18th century, and this limited the movement of coal. Canals helped to overcome this, and one of the earliest to be constructed was the Erewash Canal which opened in 1779. The Trent Navigation Company was set up to build locks and weirs at Beeston together with a canal to Nottingham to provide ready access to the Trent for the mines. In Eastwood the coal masters began to realise that the increase in trade might tempt the canal company to demand monopoly rates. As a result, an alternative canal to Nottingham was built and opened in 1796.
Coal masters Barber and Walker promoted the idea of a railway to run down the Erewash Valley from Pinxton to Leicester. The scheme eventually became the Midland Counties Railway. In 1875 the Great Northern Railway ran a track along the Erewash Valley from Nottingham via Eastwood. This line closed in 1966 and the Eastwood to Kimberley bypass now occupies the line of the track.
Page Last Updated: 19/09/2011
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