Cotgrave is a town and civil parish in the borough of Rushcliffe in Nottinghamshire, England. It is located about 5 miles (8 km) southeast of the centre of Nottingham. The village sits at the edge of the South Nottinghamshire wolds about 40 metres above sea level. Cotgrave has a population of 7,373 people.
Cotgrave shown within Nottinghamshire
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With an ancient heart that has largely escaped development Cotgrave has a village atmosphere despite a population of over 7,000. This is accented by its amenities and infrastructure that have remained comparatively underdeveloped even when the large estates were built around the village in the 1960s to house the population of workforce for the mine. It's sandwiched between the A52, A606, and A46. Nearby to the west is Tollerton and Nottingham Airport.
Its origins may be in the Iron Age but a 6th-century Anglo Saxon burial ground has been excavated at Mill Hill to the north of the old village. There was certainly a Saxon church a century before the Norman invasion. The Roman road Fosse Way passes a mile to the East where it changes direction slightly. The A46 follows its course and during improvements, in 2012/3, excavations uncovered ice age flint tools. Evidence of an Iron Age settlement was also found at Owthorpe Junction, just to the east, and a 4,000 year old Neolithic circular monument with eight Bronze Age burials was found slightly further north at Stragglethorpe junction. The name "Cotgrave" is possible derived from "Cotta" (Anglo Saxon name) and "Grave", (grove or thicket).
The present substantial church, All Saints, dates from the twelfth century with several alterations and additions. An arson attack in 1996 caused considerable damage but the church was since fully restored at great expense. The church enjoys a ring of eight bells, most made by Taylor's. A team of ringers practice regularly (Fridays and Sundays). The plague visited the village in 1637 killing 93 of the 500 population. This horrendous loss to the village included 46 children. All Saints was used as a food store for the village during the outbreak. Money for the goods was disinfected as it was passed through a hollowed out stone filled with vinegar to the men who had locked themselves away in the church. The stone is still in the church. On Scrimshire Lane, near the church, can be found an old wall, dubbed the "Thousand Year Wall". It is riddled with small holes made by, and providing a home for a large colony of stingless bees. Nearby, through a Lych Gate, is a graveyard that is, unusually, separated from the church by a road. There can be found a substantial war memorial, a pillar on three tiers commemorating those of the village lost in service during the world war. The church, too, has a stained glass window by J.F. Gascoyne & Son of Nottingham dedicated in 1920 as a war memorial. There is also a window on the north aisle east of the north door depicting the koepe towers and underground workings of the Cotgrave Colliery that was sunk in the 1960's and abandoned in the 1980's. The window was installed after the fire at the church in 1996.
The town lies on the Grantham Canal, opened in 1797, but it did not grow until the discovery of coal in the area in about 1950. Smaller exploration for coal had been attempted for an hundred years but the Cotgrave colliery was established in the early 1960s with large numbers of miners & their families being relocated from other mining areas in England, especially the North East, to live on a large purpose built housing estate. Initially, in 1962, around 500 experienced mining workers, and their families, accepted the NCB incentive of tied new houses complete with furnishings to move from the area of the recently closed Radford Mine on the North West side of nearby Nottingham. This mine was near the site of what is now known as Bobber's Mill. Some four years later a similar scheme was introduced to attract miners from other worked out mines in the north east of England including Gateshead, It is interesting to note that, according to residents special meetings were arranged in the township so that workers already established could understand, for safety reasons, the dialect, and vice versa, of the newcomers.The population of the village rose from around 700 to over 5,000 within a few years. A rail track was extended from Nottingham over the river Trent past Radcliffe on Trent to service the colliery. The koepe towers at the pit head were considered very modern and distinctive from more traditional pit head winding gear towers. In a departure from traditional miners working conditions the face workers had extensive modern changing and shower facilities that meant they could leave as clean as they entered. The local economy was devastated with its closure in 1993/4 a move that left many former miners bitter as to their fate. Like most Nottinghamshire mines Cotgrave continued working through the NUM declared UK miners' strike (1984-1985) however the view by many was that this allegiance to the then Conservative government was betrayed. On its closure it is reported that the seams had millions of tons of coal reserves but it was poor quality. Local residents, however, recount that the mine was shut because of geological faults, the encounter of a subterranean stream and subsequent flood problems, and the growing remoteness of the seam face from the shaft drastically increasing the cost of bringing the coal to the surface. The shafts were filled with concrete on closure and all associated buildings demolished.
The local economy has improved considerably as Cotgrave is surrounded by an affluent area with low unemployment. Many of the mine workers who hailed from the north east stayed in Cotgrave, built homes and raised families.
There is a small shopping parade called the precinct, built at the same time that the large housing estates were developed, with a Co-op, library, Fish and Chips shop, Chinese and Kebab take aways as well as other retailers and a medical centre. The precinct is overdue for development and there are plans for this linked to the building of new homes on the nearby pit site. The Cof E church is All Saints, on Plumtree Road and the village also has a Roman Catholic church, (Our Lady of Grace) and a Methodist Chapel, dating from 1802. Near the parish church (All Saints) is a small Sainsbury's Local store and adjacent to that is Grannie's Tea Rooms. The leisure centre. has a large swimming pool, gymnasium and sports hall with playing fields.
The Cotgrave Club
Across the road from the Leisure Center is Cotgrave Club. The Miners Welfare club was built in the early 1960s. An unremarkable building at first sight but of presigious size boasting several large bars, garden, family and snooker rooms, entertainment suites with their own bars and one of the largest fully equipped stages in the East Midlands. The main hall is capable of seating several hundred people with two dedicated large bars, food bar and gallery. The various rooms and hall are available to for hire for weddings, funerals, parties, plays, pantomimes and other productions needing facilities for large audiences and refreshments. The club has a cricket and football team with grounds enough to field two football matches. There are large changing rooms and pavilion facilities for home and visiting teams. In 2012 the club hosted the Cotgrave Festival of Sports, a variety of sporting events throughout the last week in June culminating in a finale day of presentations and entertainment. The event was successful enough, involving all the schools and community, that the town has continued the Cotgrave Festival oin 2013 and 14 and intends to continue the event annually. The club itself enjoys great support and is determined to survive as the heart, and "village hall" of the community.
There are two primary schools: The Cotgrave Candleby Lane School and the Cotgrave Church of England (Aided) Primary School. The latter first opened in 1720, and moved to the present building, built by Earl Manvers, in 1963.
Nearby too is Cotgrave Futures with Sure Start and meeting facilities. There are two pubs: The Manvers Arms, named for the Manvers family that owned much land in the area, and the Rose and Crown towards the north of the village. A third pub, the Black Diamond, was a sixties built establishment which closed in 2006. It was demolished and replaced with housing.
There are two allotment areas in the settlement off Burrhill and Forest Close.
At the end of 2011 the people of Cotgrave launched Cotgrave Community Website. This forum is paid for by the council but administrated by the council and local residents. Members are registered with their real names and checked on the electoral roll. This arrangement replaced a previous forum that allowed anonymity when posting and resulted in acrimony and resentment that is no longer present.
The extensive former mining area has been landscaped to form a country park. Here a long section of the canal has been partially restored including at least two locks. The canal is not presently navigable, however, as nearby road bridges have been removed, though in other areas of the Nottingham Grantham canal some bridges have been rebuilt to accommodate canal traffic. Plans to put the canal back to water were gradually taking shape and, as a brownfield site in a rural area, the old pit head area would prove an ideal area for the building of a marina. This pit head area is cordoned off from public and there are plans for redevelopment which, (as of May 2010), are to be vigorously discussed by the people of Cotgrave. Plans to build around 470 houses on the site would impact the infrastructure of the nearby settlement of Cotgrave and the ongoing development of the young country park. Planted woodland is now beginning to mature and the country park is gradually acquiring a diverse population of wildlife. Wildfowl abound along with reports of cuckoos, warblers, swallows, little ringed plover, yellow wagtail, ring ouzel, wheatear, chiffchaff, dabchicks. Great crested newts are reported to be established in the lake and hares, rabbits, foxes, bats and owls are present. The lake, pictured, is well stocked and is used by anglers regularly. Fishing platforms have been built around the lake and reed beds established to protect the breeding waterfowl that include a variety of ducks, coots, swans and heron. The park has a picnic area, easily accessible car parks, a gallop for the benefit of horse riders and a well marked nature trail. This features woodland, lake and canal side walks as well as taking a route along the old rail track where a short portion of the original rails and sleepers have been left in place. A group "Friends of Cotgrave Country Park" works to maintain and improve the facilities at the park meeting regularly in Cotgrave. Details of how to become involved can be found at the Rushcliffe Council web site page dedicated to the Country Park mentioned in the links below. The group has, during 2010 to 2012, helped plan and build a "swimming pool" for dogs away from the vulnerable wildlife in the country park's lake.
Cotgrave has a war memorial sited in the graveyard at Scrimshaw Lane to the west of All Saints that commemorates the fallen of both world wars. The War Memorials Trust has helped towards the upkeep of this important commemoration.
Twelve men from WW1 are listed above four from WW2 on two metal panels on the East Face of the memorial. The south face (presumably added at a later date as there was no room on the East face), names Walter Henstock, died 1920. An active British Legion group that includes nearby villages has, for the centenary of the Great War, researched the men from the villages who gave their lives in the former conflict. The details of the Colston Bassett Owthorpe and Cotgrave Great War Project, as far as they can be so far traced, are listed on the website cbocgwp.co.uk. The village is, at time of writing 2014, marking the anniversary with a series of events during the four years. The surnames of those noted lost in WW1 are Lacey, Hind, Middleton, Herapath, Simpson, Henson, Hayes, Harrison, Marshall, Moulds, Carrington, Woolley, Henstock. Those from WW2; Cole, Pryor, Pepper, Phillips. The epitaph further expects, “Be thou faithful into death and I will give you a crown of life”.
The epitaph is often referred to as the Cotgrave Cross as is the 2 mt high monument at the East end of the church. The later, part ashlar construction parts from the 20th century and parts from the 16th, is somewhat of a mystery as it is thought as as ancient yet does not appear on photographs or pictures prior to the early 20th century. The site is near an important and old junction but there is no surviving medieval stonework evident. There has been for some time thoughts that the War Memorial should be moved to that site and the “cross” relocated perhaps to the Country Park  but dismissed as costly.
Meanwhile “The Cross” is an informative local booklet magazine produced monthly by the church. There is a further memorial plaque, carved in oak, displayed to the right of the North door in All Saints and a commemorative stained glass window to the East of the South aisle.
To the North at Cotgrave Place, near the golf course, there is a memorial to a Wellington bomber that crashed February 8, 1941 during the Second World War. The aircraft, from 12th squadron recently dispersed from RAF Binbrook to nearby RAF Tollerton,was on gunnery training flight when the pilot encountered control problems. The aircraft hit an oak tree, just short of the still existent runway, next to where the golf club house now stands. A plaque nearby commemorates seven of the crew on board who were killed.
Past notable residents
Ernest Hayes (British Army soldier), born 1898 in Gripps Cottage,Cotgrave. He went on to join the British Army Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry in 1916 and was awarded the Military Medal 3 times for bravery at the Weston Front (France) in 1918. He died in Nottingham in 1938.
Frank Robinson (Xylophone Man) (1932 - 4 July 2004) lived in Cotgrave and travelled to Nottingham daily where, around Lister Gate, he entertained passers-by on a child's 5 note glockenspiel. On his death hundreds of tributes were received from Nottingham's citizens.
- http://southwellchurches.nottingham.ac.uk/c01/hbells.html southwellchurches.nottingham.ac.uk
- http://www.cotgrave.com/history.htm cotgrave.com
- http://www.allsaintscotgrave.co.uk/ allsaintscotgrave.co.uk
- http://www.ourladyofgracecotgrave.org.uk/ ourladyofgracecorgrave.org.uk
- http://www.cotgrave.com/methodistchurch/default.htm cotgrave.com
- http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/ManuscriptsandSpecialCollections/CollectionsInDepth/Family/Manvers/ManversofThoresbyHall.aspx The Manvers of Thoresby Hall
- http://www.bbc.co.uk/nottingham/features/2004/07/xylophone_man_tributes.shtml bbc.co.uk
- Cotgrave Community Web Site and Forum
- Cotgrave Country Park details and directions
- Satellite Map and Photographs of Cotgrave
- Cotgrave Town Council
- Cotgrave Colts YFC
- Cotgrave Welfare Diamond Angling Club
- All Saints church