Majority of Huthwaite folk accepted their village was once called Dirty Hucknall due its coal mining history. My great grandmother did explain earliest understandings after relocating towards modern jobs at the New Hucknall colliery. Blame was placed on the filthy older Hucknall mine sited below Blackwell Road causing dense smoke and carpeting Hucknall Huthwaite in soot. Obviously buried by their newly built clean homes. And whom among numerous pits area could argue with our longer proud mining heritage.
Where there's muck there's money they all said, as the Black Gold fueled British industry raising miners wages.
Such common belief was supported by local historians. Although they revealed Dirty Hucknall references dating centuries beforehand, the familiar association with filthy coal production could similarly be found tied too evidence of earlier mining. While exposed seams scarred meadows along this county borderline, basic haulage upon unmade roads added further arguement behind this often quoted finding. Dating back to 1572 when Thomas Langford reportedly sued Deane of Hucknall for debt. His defensive reply simply stated how he
'worked for Langford at haytime and harvest and brought coal from Blackwell Pit'. Revealing as it may well prove in other ways, there's barely evidence upon which to assert industrial scale pollution. on such scale to rename Hucknall Huthwaite. Assumption has also been made those coals were being carted directly through this villa. Yet mining directly below Blackwell Road borders does not become evident until centuries later. Where ever that pit was located, Deanes reply likely indicates a very small type, just offering seasonal work besides farming. If producing sellable amounts, would not the main highway connecting Alfreton to Mansfield (todays A38), present the best distribution route and destined markets. Besides all, what difference could 16th century cleanliness offer elsewhere?
Agreement reached for places commonly named Blackwell having descriptively featured some darker coloured spring or stream. Surface coals exposed earlier across Derbyshire would be likely cause when identifying our neighbouring ancient parish. Blackwell had fell within same Union of Mansfield, and comparable pit conditions did eventually cross our county borders. Building proud relations since reaching our deeper Nottinghamshire seams, it was obviously assumed those black Derbyshire coals laid dirty path through Hucknall. Although fewer people realise a Sheriff of Nottingham initially gained protective control over both Nottinghamshire and Derbyshires woodlands, one major division did exist.
Representing the crown and overlooking two midland counties, the Sheriffs educated advising officers could be forgiven for showing little immediate interest in or around Huthwaite. Their knowledge of a larger area called Hucknall, could well date back to when a few Saxon farms started populating these remoter forested lands. Whilst Huthwaite and Blackwell names indicate later Old English origins, the term Hucknall Huthwaite was being officially applied to possibly assert they recognised this individual settlements value lay between Ault Hucknall and Hucknall Torkard. Interestingly the original Hucknall settlement actually gained Torkard reference later. Identifying one Lord helped differentiate it from other Hucknall areas, after county courts confused issues by insisting upon renaming our Huthwaite locality.
Mapping combined Notts and Derbys counties by marking places named in 1086, an additional Huthwaite settlement was to be found edging least populated Broxtow Wapentake heights.
Trees still covered most of inland England when royalty claimed their Sherwood Forest spanning majority of Nottinghamshire. Woodland cleared remotely sited and build small settlements. A perambulation in 1232 can determine Forest borders, unfortunately without claiming named inclusion for our area, until they began calling it Dirty Hucknall almost three centuries later.
When a crowns valued timbers and wild forest game could afford brutal protection through a ruling Sheriffs powerful office, it would suggest they viewed these poorer farmlands differently. By recognising Dirty Hucknall fields fell into a foul wood called Fulwood, both bordering under protection of a great Sherwood Forest, the fact that Blackwell is placed outside must surely raise intrigue into separating later descriptive names
Written 30 Oct 04 Revised 06 Dec 09 © by Gary Elliott