Mr Snott and The Story Of Old Nottingham

by Jimmy Notts

“both for the buildings on the side of it, for the very great wideness of the streets,
and the clean paving of it, it is the fairest without exception of all England.”

Said of Nottingham in the time of Henry VIII, c 1512

Nottingham 900AD to 1066AD

Nottingham, or as it was most likely called Snotts encampment, started life in about 900AD and was a small collection of insubstantial hovels about where the Ice Stadium car park is. Due to the yearly flooding of the Leen it is believed they soon moved to higher, but more rockier, ground.

The first eye witness account of Nottingham’s existence is in 950AD; when the monk Asser, chronicler for King Alfred, passed by on his way to Lincoln. Although he would have been some way off, the wide flood plains would have put little in his line of sight.

Asser wrote in his diary “…this day passed by Tigguocabauc…” ‘Tigguocabauc’ of course is Welsh/Latin for ‘Cavy house’, and describes his view of the south facing rock face with its myriad of rock hewn chambers.

While we are an the subject of Nottingham’s names, Asser obviously wrote down a description of what he had seen not the places name. The name ‘Nottingham’ comes mostly from Anglo Saxon and would have been ‘Snottengaham’:

Snott – the name of the group/tribe
enga – ing/eng meant water or by the water
ham – meant dwelling or hamlet.

So the name Nottingham was a description of the people and their place, ‘the hamlet of Snott’s people by the water’.

What about the ‘S’ where did that go, well after the Norman conquest came the Doomsday Book, collated and written by Normans (who were French) they had great difficulty pronouncing ‘Sn’ so seeing as they were in charge decided not to bother therefore Snottingham became Nottingham.

I am inclined to think they had little to do with Sneinton…..


Mr Snott?

About nottinghamhiddenhistoryteam

Originally formed in 1965 to try to save or at least record before destruction the cave sites continually discovered during the major redevelopment of the City that took place in Nottingham in the 1960′s. Almost every day new sites were unearthed and destroyed before anyone was notified; last thing they wanted was someone telling them to stop what they were doing; TIME is MONEY. The word HIDDEN in the Team’s title is because a lot of what was being invisibly lost in the redevelopment was our early history in the caves, they are under most, if now all, of Nottingham. In the 80’s and 90’s the Team conducted with the help of Dr Robert Morrell and Syd Henley, research and work on Nottingham’s history, folklore and local archaeology. The Team published quarterly magazines on their findings. The Team lapsed for a few years after the death of Paul Nix who was the team leader for thirty plus years. The Team has reformed and is now back working on Nottingham local history. On this blog you will find a series of history, folklore and archaeological related articles and information. Most of the material published will be specifically related to Nottingham/shire local history.
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