Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Nottingham (March 23rd and 25th)

Nottingham was a very interesting place to explore. I have more pictures, but sadly, they have not all downloaded. The first little story is that when the AngloSaxon were in power, the area was under the control of an unfortunately named nobleman named 'Snot'. (Totally not joking). It was named 'Snotingham' which translates roughly as 'the home of Snot's people'. As the property fell to new ownership, turns out that the French do not have the 'sn' diphthong, so the place became Nottingham. I believe that Nottingham owes a great debt to the French. What you see below is a model of the original layout of the castle in Nottingham. 

Not much of it remains, but here is the entrance. 

Robin Hood is a common theme, and a truly excellent slide show followed his exploits. The nobility were very harsh, and the people outside those walls worked hellish hard, but had to turn over virtually everything to the castle and king. They were left only enough to survive another year. This went on for generations. 

The Robin Hood stories span hundreds of years, and it seems most likely that there were a number of heroic figures fighting back against the repressive system. 
Now Nottingham is built on sandstone, and beneath the city there are caves. Hundreds of them. 873+, and every one of them hand dug in the porous sandstone. They were used as hideouts and food storage. 

The castle itself was built atop of a series of caves, most of which were used for storage of wine, ale, and other necessities of life. 
Also beneath the castle was a large kitchen where the game was brought when the hunters came back. Young children spent 9 or 10 hours a day gutting, skinning, preparing meat. Great vats of water were boiled there. There was a waste chute, where the offal was tossed and washed out into the moat with water. A woman was once starved to death for stealing meat from the kitchen. 
Life was quite different above ground inside the castle walls. 
King Edward raised an army. They dug out the sandstone beneath the castle. Queen Isabella, his mother, had been ruling in his stead since the death of his father. She and her lover were captured. He was executed. She was imprisoned (very comfortably).
The original castle was  demolished and replaced by a new palace in the 1600s. 

Side note: we had coffee on the terrace and the view was spectacular. 

Do you see the windmill on the hill? 

Fed up with the status quo, the good people of Nottingham raised up and attacked the castle, looting and setting it afire. The palace has been restored and houses a great museum, part of which pays homage to the importance of resisting tyranny, something that really rings true in these days, doesn't it?

'Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem' is a pub built into the sandstone behind the castle. The date on it is 1089. Lord Byron's immortal (?) words are above the door: 'Man, being reasonable, must get drunk. The best of life is but intoxication'.
The pub got its name from the knights who stopped there for a drink on their way to the crusades. 

Crazy to find myself sitting in the very place where old stories came to life once again. 

Disclaimer: I am not an expert on English history, but I listened carefully, and tried to absorb as much of it as possible. Excuse any mistakes as ignorance. Also, I can't seem to center the post, so ignore that too. 


  1. I wonder if the knights that stopped off for a drink in Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem had a scotch egg and a pork pie too?

  2. Dunno, Jaycee. I had the Hunter Sandwich, and my gosh, that thing was HUGE.

  3. Did you try the English beer? Did you like it? Great photos and write up Debby!

  4. Thanks for ye olde tour! I'm surprised the buildings above didn't collapse with all of the sandstone being dug out from under them. Linda in Kansas

  5. I was fascinated with all things Robin Hood when I was a young boy. I'm sure back then Nottingham would have made a fine destination. But as an adult during my times in England, I haven't made it to that area yet.

    But when in England, I am always blown away at how many things I can physically touch that were built before America was even discovered, much less a country.

  6. Linda, my sister said the same thing. But this is a massive limestone base, and the 873 caves (the most caves of any city in England), is under the city in its entirety. Ed, we did not go there, specifically for Nottingham. We went for St Peter's Cathedral and the museums and the castle. Robin Hood was part the package, I guess. Northsider, I did take a sip of my daughter's ale. It wasn't horrible. I think that I like it better than American beer. But sadly, I don't think I'll ever be much of a beer drinker. It just seemed sacrilege not to have a bit of ale there. I had a wine, which was very nice though.

  7. Anyplace that offers little scale models like that is fun to visit! I love imagining what it was like centuries ago (and being glad I didn't actually live then!). I found beer in the UK to be just like that here... some varieties I like and some I don't.

  8. The big difference to me is that their ale is not carbonated like our beer. I gave up carbonated beverages 20+ years ago. I don't like the taste of beer. Ale was richer. It wasn't awful. I could develop a taste for it I suppose.

  9. That's an interesting short history of Nottingham. Funny about Snot. I have distant in-laws there. Maybe twenty years later I am still using the Robin Hood mug they gave me, although the Robin Hood image has suffered badly from dishwasheritis. Isn't it amazing to stand where perhaps some of your ancestors stood 1,000 years ago.

  10. Just reading about it is awesome. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Snottingham! That's the best story I've heard all day. I think I'll call it that from now on.

    It seems there are tons of places that claim to be the oldest inn/pub in England (or in some specific part of England). But 1089 is pretty hard to beat.

  12. When I was a youngster Robin Hood was a hero and things were very black and white. Now we know that life isn't like that at any stage. However the principle is still the same and I wish that there were more Robin Hoods of this world fighting the Sheriffs of Notingham.

  13. Hi Debby, Just seen your comment to Cro re Leicester and have just read lots of your posts about your visit to England. I am so jealous that you have been to Bradgate Park, one of my favourite places ever, but not been for about 10 yrs or more since Mum died and no longer go to Leicester. We live in Hertfordshire now.

  14. Hi Frances. Bradgate was a wonderful place to roam. The scenery was beautiful. I really thought Leicester was great too. We went to the pumping station there, which was a nice little tour. The city museum is great too. That is where my daughter works.

  15. Snotingham, too funny and yes, thank you to the French.

    Same old story, poor people working their asses off for a little bit while the rich dine well. Seems much has not changed, except for flush toilets perhaps.


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