Introduction to Radcliffe on Trent
Radcliffe on Trent is a village lying south of the river Trent on the main road between Nottingham, the county town 6 miles to the west, and Bingham market town some 3 miles to the east. Situated on the margin of the red Mercian mudstone (Keuper Marl) and the aluvium, it is slightly elevated above the flood plain. Its meadows border the river and its arable land slopes upwards to the higher ground on the south. To the east dramatic cliffs give the village its name.
Written evidence of any settlement does not appear until after the Norman conquest, however archaeological finds suggest that the site might at least have been traversed, if not settled, from early times. By Tudor times a settlement would have been clustered around the church and also the main road.
Information relating to Radcliffe occurs in the Domesday Book of 1086.
The basic unit used in the Radcliffe section was the manor. This term referred to the single administrative unit of a landed estate and could include the hall or residence of the land holder. Two names are described in the village, one conveyed to the King’s son, William Peverel and the other to William de Aincourt (Deyncourt), Lord of Blankeney in Lincolnshire.
During the Tudor period the Rosell family were the resident squires living in what was The Chestnuts (now Tudor Grange), they were the visible representatives of gentry authority at a time when the absentee landlord was commonplace. Great political or social heights eluded them, their status was improved in the 16th century but met ill fortune in the 17th century and they had left the village by the close of the Stuart period. The Pierreponts were the next land holders, evidence exists that they held some holdings in Radcliffe and Lamcote as early as 1527, gaining complete control in the 18th century.
From Lamcote Corner the street plan followed todays main road past The Green and St Mary’s church.
Another site the traveller would see was the Syke Drain, an unculverted stream which came down from Saxondale, through the Main Street, causing occasional footbridges to be built for access to property, before flowing towards the river down The Green.
A Painting of The Poplars by Samuel Parrot 1797 to 1876, loaned to the society by Mr D. Tomlinson.
Syke Drain and Bridges in the foreground
Inns and alehouses
They provided a focal point for the community. The first one to be encountered would have been The Red Lion, now a private house, on Water Lane. Next would be The Manvers Arms formerly known as The White Hart and was probably the most important inn as coaches regularly stopped outside. Documentary evidence records it was built in the late 18th century. The Royal Oak formerly The Dukes Arms and then The Plough is next along the Main Road. It became known as The Royal Oak in 1834. Then we come to The Black Lion, originally situated on the opposite side (where the Indian takeaway is now) to its present location and dates back to the 18th century. It moved over the road in 1928 on the site of Buxtons farm and village pinfold. The Black Lion is now a Tesco convenience store. At the bottom of Bingham Road stood The Nags Head, now a private house, run by Sarah Buxton who is described as a ‘beerhouse innkeeper’ but it only appears in the 1851 Census. The Chestnut, formerly known as The Cliffe Inn was developed from a beerhouse later in the 19th century.
Cricket was first played on a pitch on Holme Lane as early as 1801. It was played only by the parish elite. Famous cricketers from Radcliffe were George Parr and Richard Daft.
The Golf Club was formed in 1909 on Cropwell Road on land leased from Lord Manvers.
Radcliffe Olympic football club traces its beginnings to 1876 playing on a ground on Holme Lane, it later moved to its current location in the late 1890’s.
Religion in Radcliffe
Records of a church in Radcliffe appear in the 13th century when references to priests begin to appear. The early building dedicated to the virgin Mary with a traditional chancel window at the east end and north and south aisles presumably on either side of a central nave would have been similar to how it looks today but on a much smaller scale.
The church as we now know it was extensively rebuilt in the Victorian period together with a distinctive high tower with a saddle-back roof and was finally completed about 1905. For more information see History of St Mary’s Church and also an article on the Reverend John Cullen, vicar at the time of the rebuilding of the church.
Photograph taken before the saddleback tower was added in the late 19th century
Methodism came to Radcliffe in the late 18th century in the form of Primitives and Wesleyans. The Wesleyan chapel situated on Nottingham Road, close to Mount Pleasant was built in 1839. It was demolished in 1967.
The Primitive Methodist chapel on Shelford Road was built in 1893 and it wasn’t until 1953 that the two branches of Methodism were combined and services were held here on Shelford Road.
The Railway came to Radcliffe in the mid 19th century. Construction work commenced in 1848. A grand opening of the line from Colwick to Grantham was held in July 1850. By early 1864 it was clear that because of increased freight traffic the original wooden viaduct across the meadows to the Trent was in need of replacement by something much stouter, and work began on a new viaduct in January 1909 . The railway opened up the village to the wealthy businessmen of Nottingham and contributed to the building boom of the 1870’s around the Shelford Road – Lorne Grove area.
Other changes in the Victorian period saw improvements to sanitation and water supplies. Schools both private and public flourished, with the old school opposite the church provided by the Dowager Countess Manvers being replaced by a new school on Bingham Road in 1909 (now demolished).
The 20th century saw the War Memorial erected in the Churchyard, recording the deaths of 52 Radcliffe men in the First World War and 9 more who died as a result of illness on active service. A further 19 names were added after the second world war.
Rockley Memorial Parkand the Cliff walk was given to the village by Lisle Rockley in memory of his son who had been killed in the first world war.
Lord Manvers ownership of many lands in the village came to an end in 1920 with further sales in 1940/1. A bypass was constructed in 1930, and a large housing estate built for the Canadian airmen stationed at Langar was built in the 1950’s with numerous housing developments since including Council Houses some of which on Shelford Road were built following the First World War and a larger estate built after World War 2.