Powerflush nearby to Retford
Retford, also known as East Retford, is a market town in Nottinghamshire, England, and one of the oldest English market towns, having received its first charter in 1105. It is located on the Idle River, and the Chesterfield Canal runs through its heart. Retford is located 26 miles (42 kilometres) east of Sheffield, 23 miles (37 kilometres) west of Lincoln, and 31 miles (50 kilometres) north of Nottingham. At the time of the 2011 census, the population was 22,013.
An Act of Parliament in 1878 expanded the borough of East Retford to include the villages of Ordsall and West Retford, as well as a portion of the parish of Clarborough. Bassetlaw District Council administers it, and the council is now a non-constituent partner member of the Sheffield City Region Combined Authority.
In addition to being an ancient market town and the infamous Rotten Borough, Retford is known as the birthplace of Nonconformism, with the Pilgrims, Baptists, and Wesleys all having their roots here.
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The name’s origins
The origins of the town’s name are unknown and have been the subject of much debate, but consensus appears to be that it is named after an ancient ford that crossed the River Idle. There has been a lot of variation in how its name has been spelled throughout history, but in early usage it was usually styled as Redeforde or Redforde. One popular explanation for the name is that the river water became tinged red due to the frequent crossing of people and livestock, which disturbed the clay river bed. Other legends hold that the name refers to the abundance of reeds in the river, or that it refers to the Battle of the River Idle, which was said to turn the Idle red with blood.
The first settlement was on the western side of the ford, which was less prone to flooding. However, as the community grew, it spread to occupy land on the other side of the river, and it was this eastern part of town that eventually became more important; thus Retford’s alternative (and, for administrative purposes, still official) name of East Retford. Retford’s central business district is defined by a large Market Square surrounded by Georgian-style architecture. The Retford Conservation Area encompasses the historic cores of West and East Retford, which are located on opposite sides of the River Idle. The Conservation Area also includes the Chesterfield Canal, which was built in the 18th century. The town also includes the nearby small villages and hamlets, which have effectively become suburbs of the town. Ordsall and Babworth are two examples.
History from the beginning
Early human activity in the area dates back to the Mesolithic period, with archaeological evidence of human activity in the area including a Mesolithic flint tool discovered in Ordsall, a Neolithic (New Stone Age) axe discovered in Little Morton, and a Neolithic polished flint axe discovered near the River Idle at Tiln. A Bronze Age spearhead was discovered near Whinney Moor Lane, and Romano-British crop marks can be seen throughout Babworth.
During the Iron Age, the area in which Retford is located was on the border of the Brigantes and the Corieltauvi’s territories. It is likely that Retford’s existence is due in part to its water resources, which include both the river Idle (and its crossing) and the wells that are dotted around the area and are either still in use or can be identified through placename evidence. Spa Common, Cobwell Road (named after the Cob Well), and the ancient well at Welham (called ‘Wellun’ in the Domesday Book) are among them.
There are a number of unidentified earthworks between Retford and Grove. They could be prehistoric or Roman. There is evidence of a mediaeval moated site or a motte and bailey structure. During the English Civil War, this location was reinforced. Castle Hill Wood is the name given to this area’s wood.
Roman-era artefacts are uncommon in Retford, though 1st–2nd century items were discovered in 1922 at a site on Carolgate. In 1981, the remains of a group of 1st–3rd century buildings were discovered at Babworth. A coin hoard dating from the third century was discovered at Little Morton, and Roman artefacts and pottery fragments were discovered at Tiln (Stroud, 2001). Derrick Riley of Sheffield University discovered evidence of Roman field patterns in the 1970s and 1980s. According to Nottingham University archaeologists, North Nottinghamshire was likely populated by “British communities with a sub-Romano-British culture” during the 5th and 6th centuries.
Retford is located in a shallow, fertile river valley with a large flood plain on either side of the River Idle. As a result, the low-lying land adjacent to the river is prone to flooding. The underlying geology consists of Primo-Triassic rocks that lie on top of coal measures. As a result, this district is part of the Nottinghamshire-Yorkshire Coalfield. Pebble Beds and Sandstone outcrops can be found to the west. To the east are Keuper Marl claylands.
Weather Retford is 18m above sea level and has a mild climate that is generally warm and temperate. The Köppen Climate Classification assigns the climate the designation Cfb (temperate oceanic climate). Retford’s average annual temperature is 10.1°C (50.1°F). The average rainfall is 685 mm (27.0 in). The nearest official Met Office weather station with online records is an automatic station located about eight miles north of Retford at Gringley on the Hill. (Coordinates: 53.406, -0.883)
Retford is located in the Idle River Valley, and low-lying areas are prone to flooding. Flooding occurs only on the Idle’s well-defined and wide flood plain; areas above the flood plain or on sandstone (to the west) do not flood. The land to the north and east is clay, and the area was historically marshy (see Isle of Axholm), but it was drained in the 17th century by Dutch engineers led by Cornelius Vermuyden.
Hardmoors, which is adjacent to the Idle at Ordsall, was named after the fact that it floods and freezes in the winter. According to the Environment Agency, which has a gauge on the Idle at Ordsall (location ID 4164), the Idle has had a depth of between 0.19m and 0.85m for 90 percent of the time since monitoring began. The range in 2020 was 0.22m to 0.86m. The highest level ever recorded since the gauge was installed was 1.65m, at 10:30am on June 27, 2007, at the height of the 2007 floods.
According to Rev. W.P. McFarren’s 1947 article in The Retford Times, Moorgate (one of the main streets) derives from the Anglo-Saxon’mor,’ which means a marsh. The author mentions a brook known as ‘The Beck’ that runs through Moorgate and floods every year. “The soil here is largely clay,” he observes, “and Moorgate was well known as the’morgata’ – the miry street.”