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Mansfield in 1839

MANSFIELD, a market-town and parish in the northern division of Broxton wapentake, in the county of Nottinghamshire. The population of the parish in 1831 was 9426. The town is situatted in a valley near the little river Mann or Maun, from which it probably takes its name, and is surrounded by the ancient forest of Sherwood, the scene of Robin Hood’s chief exploits. Its direct distance from Nottingham is 12 miles, north by west, and from London 128 miles north-north-west. The parish church dedicated to St. Peter, is commodious ; the living is a vicarage in the diocese of York and patronage of the dean of Lincoln, producing a net revenue of £158. The principal streets are paved, and lighted with gas. A railway, seven miles in length, has been constructed at an expense of £30,000, connecting Mansfield with the Cromford canal, which is said to have proved very advantageous to the interests of the place. There are some extensive cotton-mills, besides manufactories of hosiery and lace. The market-day is Thursday, and the cattle-fairs are held on the 5th of April, 10th of July, and the second Thursday in October. The free grammar-school was founded by royal charter in the third year of the reign of Queen Elizabeth, who established two scholarships of £10 each at Jesus College, Cambridge, for scholars from this school. The insufficient state into which this school has been allowed to fall was a subject of general complaint among the inhabitants as recently as the year 1832. According to the charter of foundation the salaries of the master and usher are to be paid out of the produce of the church lands, which it declared to be distributed in the proportion of two thirds to the vicar, two-ninths to the master, and the remaining one-ninth to the usher ; and it appears that the master’s share amounted to £115 in 1833, when the number of scholars, including eight boarders, was twenty-seven.

In 1725 Faith Clarkson bequeathed £2000, part of which she directed should be appropriated to the erection of a charity school in Mansfield, and the remainder invested in lands for charitable purposes. By a decree of the court of chancery in 1743 it was ordered that a portion of the rental of these lands should be applied to the maintenance of a master and mistress to instruct twenty poor boys and the like number of girls, in reading, writing, and arithmetic ; the remainder was allotted to the clothing of all the children apprenticing a certain number of the boys. There is ample information as to the grammar-school and the other charitable institutions of Mansfield, in the Twenty- fifth report of the Charity Commissioners, and in the second volume of Throsby’s edition of Thornton’s History of Nottinghamshire, 1797.

In the neighbourhood of Mansfield-Woodhouse, a village about a mile and a half from the town of Mansfield, two Roman villas were discovered by Mr. Rooke in 1786 and in the vicinity of Mansfield numerous coins of the emperors Vespasian, Constantine, Antoninus Pius, and Marcus Aurelius have been found at different times.