A Brief History of Eastwood

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Chapman's Map of the Parish of Eastwood, 1774

Early History

Although the earliest written reference to Eastwood is in the Domesday Book, the settlement almost certainly dates back to Saxon or even Roman times. A vase of Roman coins was found at Shipley in 1890 but no evidence of the Roman occupation has been found within the parish boundaries. The Saxon settlement would most likely have been situated near water, either by the side of Beauvale Brook as it flows to the Erewash, by the Erewash itself or by the Springs close to Church Street. The number of inhabitants could not have been more than around 150 with about a hundred acres of land under cultivation.

The Norman Conquest took place in 1066 and the Domesday Survey of England was commissioned by William the Conqueror and completed in 1086. The entry for Eastwood reads:

"In Estewic Ulfchetel had four bovates of land ( assessed ) to the geld, ( there is ) land, ( the amount of land is omitted ) It is waste and is in the wardship of William ( Peveril ). wood pasture for  pannage three quarentens in length and three in breath. In King Edward's time it was worth five shillings."

Origin of the Name

The origin of the name "Eastwood" is uncertain.  It may be a combination of the Old English "Est" meaning east and the Norse "Pveit", pronounced "Thwaite" and  meaning a clearing or village. There are various spellings of the original name, either Estwit, Estweit, or Estewic and over time this devolved into Eastwood.

The Lords of the Manor

After the Norman Invasion, William the Conqueror gave a large portion of his newly conquered land to his illegitimate son, William Peveril, including 55 manors in Nottinghamshire and others in Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Yorkshire. William Peveril built and resided in the castle at Nottingham and was titled 'Lord of Nottingham'.   The lordship of the manor at Eastwood passed down through the centuries, notable holders of the title being the Greys of Codnor, the Zouche and Stanhope families and the Plumpptres.

Whilst it is certain that a manor house must have existed, it's location is unknown. The Greys almost certainly had residence at Codnor Castle. Ivy cottage on Church Street is sometimes known as 'The Old Manor House' although this dates from the seventeenth century, the time of the Plumptres, who are not known to have lived there at any time.

Old Place Names

Many place names from the map of two hundred years ago and before would be familiar today although others have since disappeared. The Breach, Newmanleys, Nethergreen, Moor Green and Brookhill Leys all appear as do the less familiar Outgangs, the Pingle and Corn Close.


The earliest known map of the parish from 1736 shows four main roads forming a cross at the position of the present day Sun Inn. These roads had probably existed since ancient times. What is now Mansfield Road heads north, ending at Beauvale Brook and continuing as a grass track towards Brinsley. Church Street was known as 'Brookhill Leys Lane and Nottingham and Derby Roads are in much the same position as today forming the main exit and entrance to the town. Other smaller roads and footpaths marked on early maps are Church Walk, Bailey Grove, Bridge Terrace (now Tinsley Road) Greenhills Road and Gabes Lane ( now Wood Street.) Initially the roads carried only trains of pack animals and primitive wheeled vehicles but by the end of the eighteenth century fast and comfortable stage and mail coaches plied the routes.Mechanised transport began to appear in the early twentieth century.


Saxon dwellings are likely to have been constructed from wood or perhaps the local yellow clay, making one room 'wattle and daub' shelters. Windows and doors would have been open and perhaps covered with animal skins as protection against the elements. There is no local building stone and this type of construction, albeit more refined, with an extra storey added, windows and a sturdier frame, continued into the nineteenth century. Bricks were introduced around 1650, but only for the better types of houses, such as Ivy Cottage and The Grove on Church Street. The standard bricks we see today were introduced around 1850 and much as we may feel that the houses of Princes Street and other miners dwellings are primitive, at the time they represented a great improvement on what had gone before.

Agriculture and Industry

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Moorgreen Colliery

In early times the population depended almost wholly on agriculture for support although there is early evidence of coal workings for local use.After this came Corn Milling. Framework Knitting was introduced as a local cottage industry in the seventeenth century, evolving into part of the Nottingham textile and lacemaking industries.Also of note were Malting and Brewing, Ropemaking and Pottery. With the coming of the Industrial Revolution, Coal Mining became the dominant industry, dealt with extensively elsewhere on this website. With this came the canals and railways. Other new industries were ironmaking  and brickmaking.

The Pentrich Revolution

There had been a downturn in the economic fortunes of the district after the Napoleonic Wars leading to dissatisfaction amongst the working class. Employment was difficult to obtain, many lost their jobs and those in work scarcely made enough to cover their rent, let alone feed their families. This was coupled by an extremely poor Summer in 1816 resulting in the failure of crops and food shortages. The worst hit were the framework knitters, whose trade depended on the whims of fashion and who also had to pay a rent on their frame to continue in their livelihood. A framework knitter at that time earned about eight shillings a week and worked a fourteen hour day.

Pentrich, in Derbyshire, is a village close to Ripley, Butterley and Riddings and served as the cradle for an attempted revolt. There was much talk of revolution around the country at that time and many local societies met to formate plans for overthrow of the Crown. The leaders in Pentrich were William Oliver, Thomas Bacon, William Turner and Isaac Ludlum. Oliver was, in fact, a government spy and incited the leaders to engage in a revolt in order to manufacture evidence against the local society and justify himself to his superiors. He led them to believe that the revolution would be on a national scale.

Jeremiah Brandreth, who was supposed to have military experience, was recruited to lead the men and on Monday the 9th of June, 1817, about fifty men from Pentrich, Alfreton and South Wingfield, armed with pikes and guns, assembled in Wingfield Park at midnight.They began their march on Nottingham, calling at houses on the way demanding arms and men. At one house, Brandreth shot and killed a servant, Robert Walters.

The men marched through Codnor and Langley Mill and as dawn broke the column was about two hundred strong.On reaching Eastwood they stopped at the Sun Inn to fortify themselves with ale.

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The Sun Inn

The village of Eastwood had been boarded up and the residents hid themselves in High Park Wood. Morale was flagging until the party was misinformed by a courier that Nottingham had already fallen, and so encouraged, the men resumed their march on the city.

Stopping at each alehouse on the way along Nottingham Road the men moved slowly toward Giltbrook and as it began to rain on the intoxicated rabble morale began to flag again. Meanwhile, Lancelot Rolleston, the magistrate, had ridden to Nottingham to warn the authorities who promptly despatched a small party of the fifteenth hussars. On encountering the soldiers at Giltbrook the revolutionaries collapsed and scattered in all directions to avoid capture. the military pursued them and encountered a second force of revolutionaries near what is now Edward Road at Hilltop. A number were taken prisoner, including the leaders. Brandreth escaped to Bulwell but was later given up for a fifty pound reward.

Brandreth, Turner and Ludlum were charged with high treason and sentenced to death by beheading, which was carried out on the 7th November, 1817. The incidence of the Pentrich Revolution is importance in national history as the last of the Peasants Revolts to take place in England

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Above is a first day cover commemorating the anniversary of the Pentrich Revolution. Many thanks to Roy Gregory, formerley of Cotmanhay for this contribution

Famous Residents

Much information is held elsewhere on this website about Eastwood's most famous son, the author D H Lawrence. Other notable residents include Benjamin Drawater, who sailed with Captain Cook as the ships doctor, now buried at Greasley Church.

Links in and around Eastwood

Back to Main Eastwood Page | Picture Gallery of Old Eastwood | Eastwood Interactive Map | Eastwood Phoenix Project | Eastwood and D H Lawrence | D H Lawrence Birthplace | Eastwood and it's Collieries | Eastwoods Canals and Rivers | Eastwood Pubs | Eastwood St Marys Church | Nearby Towns | Newthorpe Baptist Church | Eastwood Comprehensive School | Eastwood Town Football Club | Joe's Eastwood Town FC Site | Virtual Eastwood | Lawrencetown | Eastwood Phoenix Project - Browtowe BC Site | Durban House | Interactive Map of West Nottinghamshire | About Nottingham | Aerial View of Nottingham

This is an unofficial page maintained by Nigel Harrison. Whilst you are visiting Eastwood, why not say Ey Up! Either email me or take the time to sign the visitors book. I would especially like to hear from other residents of the district or anyone from overseas who is interested in our town

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You are visitor number since the 8th June 1997 - It is my intention to regularly change or rotate the photographs on display so hopefully there will always be new material to view. Please visit Eastwood again soon.