Manuscripts and Special Collections

Nottinghamshire and Beyond

  Colour illustration of St Peter's Church in Nottingham

St Peter’s Church, Nottingham, printed by Rock & Co., 10 June 1858
From Acc 830

The ancient Archdeaconry of Nottingham, in the Diocese of York, was almost coterminous with the county of Nottingham.

It included the parishes of Rossington and Finningley which were later transferred to Yorkshire. It also included places like Bawtry and Austerfield, which had always been in Yorkshire but which were chapelries of the parish church of Blyth in Nottinghamshire.

The Archdeaconry consisted of four deaneries: Nottingham, Bingham, Newark and Retford. A total of 185 parishes and chapelries regularly reported to the Archdeaconry court.

The court sat in various locations around Nottinghamshire, so that the local people did not have to travel far to attend the sessions. Most courts were held in Nottingham, sometimes at St Mary’s parish church, but from the early 17th century usually at St Peter’s. Courts were also held at Newark parish church, in the parish church at East Retford, and occasionally in Mansfield.

Outside the jurisdiction of the Archdeaconry were a further twenty-eight parishes, which were attached to the Peculiar of Southwell. In addition, a few parishes reported to the Dean and Chapter of York, and some others were entirely responsible for their own ecclesiastical business, like Kinoulton. No records from any of these places are to be found in the Archdeaconry archive until the mid-19th century.

On 1 May 1839 the historic Archdeaconry was transferred to the Diocese of Lincoln. In 1841-2, the Peculiar of Southwell was abolished and amalgamated into the Archdeaconry. The Archdeaconries of Nottingham and Derby joined together in 1884 to form the new Diocese of Southwell, which lasted until 1927 when Derbyshire formed its own Diocese.

The ancient Archdeaconry of Nottingham ceased to exist in 1913, when Nottinghamshire was divided into two new Archdeaconries of Nottingham and Newark.


Illustration showing Newark Parish Church

Newark Parish Church from William Dickinson’s The History and Antiquities of the Town of Newark (1816) From East Midlands Spec. Coll. Not 307.D14.DIC


Illustration showing East Retford Parish Church

East Retford Parish Church from John S Piercy’s The History of Retford (1828) From East Midlands Spec. Coll. Not 373.D14.PIE



Map of Nottinghamshire showing the deaneries and the Peculiar of Southwell

From Bre 5, marked up by Manuscripts and Special Collections staff to show approximate boundaries of deaneries and the Peculiar of Southwell


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