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Southwell & District Local History Society Established in 1983

Minster People

Edited by Stanley Chapman & Derek Walker

Published in 2009.  Price: £5

A gift of a Nottinghamshire estate in 956 by the king of Wessex to Ocytel, later Archbishop of York, eventually led to the major rebuilding, nine hundred years ago, of a small church at Southwell. The building which resulted became the magnificent Minster church that we see today.

This book is about just a few of the people who have been involved with the Minster from medieval days to recent days.

Southwell, The Town And Its People

Volume II

Edited by Stanley Chapman & Derek Walker

Published in 2006. Price: Now £2.50

Volume I of this series was published in 1992, written by a team of members, and was a great success.

Volume II looks at a number of important themes in depth and has been equally as well received.

Current Publications

Over a number of years the Society has published a range of books about historic Southwell and some of the people who have helped to make it the interesting place it is today.  The following details  our publications that are still in print. Copies are available direct from the Society and more current editions will be on sale at the Cathedral Shop, Church Street, Southwell, or The Book Case Lowdham. The History of Southwell is also available at Southwell Library.  If you are finding it difficult to obtain a copy of a book please contact:



All prices quoted below exclude the cost of postage and packaging, and books may cost more at the book shops.

Georgian Diary: Southwell 1781

Transcribed by Robert Hardstaff

Published in 2000 Price: Now £4

This is the 1781 diary of George Hodgkinson Junior, an apprentice attorney who worked with his father, also George, in their busy legal practice in Southwell.  George Junior was nineteen at the time and his mature writing presents an interesting insight into their business and professional lives. They had some important clients, including the Archbishop of York, Sir Richard Sutton, a senior member of the government and estate owner, and his father was registrar to the Minster Chapter and steward of the courts in the Peculiar of Southwell.

Other recent publications by members of the society

Under the Heavy Clouds

By Michael Austin

Available from Merton Priory Press

Between 1911 and 1915 Edwyn Hoskyns, the second bishop of Southwell, carried out a comprehensive visitation of his diocese, which then included Derbyshire as well as Nottinghamshire. As he completed his inspection of each deanery, Hoskyns wrote a detailed report on his findings which was published in the diocesan magazine. This volume brings together those reports, prefaced by a lengthy analytical introduction, and supported by a very full list of churches and chapels in the diocese in 1912.

Together the introduction, reports and appendix provide a wealth of factual and statistical information about the Church in both counties on the eve of the First World War, and also reveal the bishop's views on social, economic and theological questions as they affected his diocese. These include such topics as strikes in the coal industry, rural depopulation, the threat to Sunday observance created by trippers in the Peak District, and the Church's mission to the working-class districts of Nottingham and Derby. The book thus provides a fascinating glimpse of many aspects of life in the two counties during the Edwardian period, not merely the fortunes of the C of E.

Our Good Brother: The Life and Times of William Mompesson

By Derek Walker

Available from the Minster Shop, Bookwise, The Book Case, Lowdham and the Eyam Museum.

The Reverend William Mompesson was the rector of Eyam in the Peak District of Derbyshire during the devastating plague epidemic of 1665 and 1666, an experience that was later to earn him the title of 'Plague Hero'. Yet he spent no more than five years of a long life in that village, the remainder of his eventful career being passed in Nottinghamshire, as a village parson in Eakring but also as an influential member of the Chapter of Southwell Minster. There he demonstrated that while showing skill as an administrator and reformer, powerful men can make powerful enemies.

Southwell Inns & Alehouses

By Roger Dobson

Available from the Chairman at the reduced price of £2.00

In the Middle Ages, Southwell was the focus for pilgrimages, and it appears that several inns were built to accommodate the devout visitors, many of whom would have walked long distances.  The little town seems to have had a large number of public houses in relation to the size of the population, than other places of comparable size.    From a wide range of sources, Roger has teased out the diverse roles of hotels, inns and alehouses, and the part they played in the long history of the town.

Georgian Diary 1780:

George Hodgkinson Junior

Apprentice Attorney


Southwell, Nottinghamshire

Edited by Michael J Kirton

Pages: 236, Illustrations: 46

Price Now £5 from the Chairman

In 1780 Britain was at war in a far-off land; the economy was in recession; there were riots on the streets of London; and the government, led by Lord North, was heading for an election.  All of this, together with a record of his daily life as an eighteen-year-old apprentice attorney, is meticulously recorded by George Hodgkinson Junior who worked for his father, also George, in a busy legal practice in Southwell.

Click on the image to view its contents.

It’s Not What You Know…

Patronage in Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Nottinghamshire

Edited by Richard Gaunt

Price  Now £3.50 from the Chairman

It is a collection of four essays based on talks given by the authors at the Nottinghamshire Local History Association in Spring 2011.

Introduction by Richard Gaunt

Patronage and power in eighteenth-century Newark.

By Stanley Chapman

The eighteenth-century country attorney: Professionalism and Patronage.  The Hodgkinsons of Southwell.

By Michael J Kirton

Church class and patronage in Nottinghamshire in the nineteenth-century.

By Michael Austin

Keeping it in the family: political patronage in early nineteenth-century Nottinghamshire.

By Richard Gaunt

Southwell at War


Published May 2014

Soft Back £7.50

Hard Back £10.00

From the  the Cathedral Shop, Southwell, The Bookcase, Lowdham, Southwell Library or


   Michael Austin, Lance Wright and Mike Kirton have researched and edited a substantial account of the town in the war. Approximately 650 men served in the armed forces and 16% of them died in the conflict. The names and biographical details of the majority of the men are published in the book.

      News stories for the 5 year period have been extracted from the Newark Advertiser, which chronicle life in the town during the period and include letters from men serving at the front.

       Further chapters describe life on the ‘Home Front’ and in the schools in Southwell.  There is also a chapter of individual stories of heroism and  tragedy of individuals who served.  The progress of the local territorials who served in the 8th Battalion, Sherwood Foresters has also been extracted from the regiment’s war diary.

      This is a substantial volume containing nearly 350 pages and 136 illustrations.

‘Like a Swift Hurricane’

People, Clergy and Class in a Midlands Diocese,


By Michael Austin

Published 2014

Available from the Cathedral Shop and Merton Priory Press

In 1914 the diocese of Southwell included the whole of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.  This book examines how the bishop, his clergy and the laity of this large and diverse diocese faced the unprecedented challenges of the first global war: how public opinion changed as the war continued much longer than first expected; how initial certainties as to the morality of war turned to doubts; how the clergy who served as both chaplains and combatants were forced to reappraise their ministry and theology; and how the lay people of all classes, from peers in the Dukeries to miners in the villages which had grown around pits sunk over the previous forty years, responded to new demands.

Southwell & District at War 1939-45

Volume 1

‘Keep Smiling Through’

Roger Dobson has spent the last 3 years recording the memories of people who were in Southwell and District during the Second World War.  This is an impressive record of social history from the people of Southwell during the last war.  It also includes memories from the many children who were evacuated to the town in the early years of the war.   Price £12.00

Volume 2 which will include a record of the service men and women from Southwell is to be published in May 2016.

Southwell Settlers

A history of the town of Southwell in South Africa


Doris Stirk

With a foreword by Rob Smith of

Southwell & District Local History Society

This is a fascinating story of the founding of the town of Southwell in South Africa.  Follow the link below for further information.   Price £6.50


A Model Institution

Essential History & Architectural Notes

By Rob Smith

This volume has been extensively researched by Rob Smith and is a most interesting summary of the history of the House of Correction.  It also contains details of the design of the prison, which was copied throughout the country and in other parts of the world.

The book includes a detailed history of the establishment of the prison on the site at the bottom of The Burgage and also some detail of the first prison that was higher up Burgage Green.  

Price £5



Have you heard of the 1820 Settlers?  Did you know that there is a settlement called Southwell in South Africa? Go to The 1820 Settlers page or CLICK HERE

Georgian Diary 1780

Southwell & District at War 1939-45

Volume 2

‘We’ll Meet Again’

This is the second volume of Roger Dobson’s extensive research into the Second World War and how Southwell was affected.  The book is the result of over four years work that involved many interviews of local people and further research into the exploits of men from the district who served in the armed forces. It contains over 300 pages with many illustrations and photographs from the period.

Retail Price £12.50 (includes a 50p donation to the Royal British Legion.

Available at the Cathedral Shop, Church Street, Southwell. The Book Case, Lowdham or direct from the Society

A Brief Guide to The History of Southwell

Edited by Michael J Wilkinson

This latest book, published in May 2017, has been written by 11 different local historians and covers the main historic buildings of the the town.

The subjects covered are: Southwell Through the Ages; Roman and Saxon Southwell; The Minster and the Archbishop’s Palace; The Minster School; The Prebendal Houses; The Methodist, Baptist and Holy Trinity Churches; The Burgage; The House of Correction; The Workhouse; Southwell’s Inns and Alehouses; Southwell’s Industries; In and Around the Town (Easthorpe, Westhorpe and other interesting buildings).

140 pages, 88 illustrations.

Price £7.50

Letters From The Cardinal

By David Turner

Published November 2017

Thomas Wolsey spent five months living in Southwell, between April and September 1530. He had paused in the town on his way from London to York, where he planned to be installed as the Archbishop of York. He had been appointed to the post in 1514, but had never taken it up. Wolsey entered Royal service with Henry VII in 1507, but his real rise to power began in 1509 under the eighteen-year-old Henry VIII. He began to acquire many and various posts, both ecclesiastical and secular. In 1515 he was elected Cardinal and the following year was appointed Lord Chancellor.

All proceeds of the first 200 copies of this historical novel  book will go to the ‘Leaves of Southwell’ project.

Price £6

Roman Southwell and Environs

By Matthew Beresford

Launched 4th December 2019

This book summarises what we know about the Romans in Southwell and is the result of several years work by Dr Matthew Beresford, the Roman Southwell Community Project and various archaeologists over the years.  The book has ben sponsored by this Society and the proceeds of the first print run are going directly to the project.

Price £7.50