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Newark-on-Trent facts for kids

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Newark on Trent Montage.jpg
Clockwise from top left: The River Trent at Newark, Newark Castle, Newark Town Lock on the River Trent, St Mary Magdalenes Church and Newark Marketplace
Newark-on-Trent is located in Nottinghamshire
Population 27,700 (2011)
Civil parish
  • Newark
  • Newark and Sherwood
Shire county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town NEWARK
Postcode district NG22–NG24
Dialling code 01636
Police Nottinghamshire
Fire Nottinghamshire
Ambulance East Midlands
EU Parliament East Midlands
UK Parliament
  • Newark
List of places
53°04′34″N 0°48′33″W / 53.07611°N 0.80917°W / 53.07611; -0.80917

Newark-on-Trent or Newark is a market town and civil parish in the Newark and Sherwood district in Nottinghamshire, England. It is on the River Trent, and was historically a major inland port. The A1 road bypasses the town on the line of the ancient Great North Road. The town's origins are likely to be Roman, as it lies on a major Roman road, the Fosse Way. It grew up round Newark Castle, now ruined, as a centre for the wool and cloth trades. In the English Civil War, it was besieged by Parliamentary forces and relieved by Royalist forces under Prince Rupert. Newark has a market place lined with many historical buildings and one of its most notable landmark is St Mary Magdalene church with its towering spire at 232 feet (71 metres) high and the highest structure in the town. The church is the tallest church in Nottinghamshire and can be seen when entering Newark or bypassing it.


UK NewarkonTrent
Signpost in Newark-on-Trent

Early history

The origins of the town are possibly Roman due to its position on an important Roman road, the Fosse Way. In a document which purports to be a charter of 664, Newark is mentioned as having been granted to the Abbey of Peterborough by Wulfhere. An Anglo-Saxon pagan cemetery, used from the early 5th to the early 7th centuries, has been found in Millgate, in Newark, close to both the Fosse Way and the River Trent in which cremated remains were buried in pottery urns.

In the reign of Edward the Confessor Newark belonged to Godiva and her husband Leofric, Earl of Mercia, who granted it to the monastery of Stow in 1055, who retained its incomes even after the Norman Conquest when it came under the control of the Norman Bishop Remigius de Fécamp. After his death it changed to, and remained in the hands of, the Bishops of Lincoln from 1092 until the reign of Edward VI. There were burgesses in Newark at the time of the Domesday survey, and in the reign of Edward III, there is evidence that it had long been a borough by prescription. The Newark wapentake in the east of Nottinghamshire was established during the period of Anglo-Saxon rule (10th to 11th centuries AD).

Medieval to Stuart period

Newark Castle "was originally a Saxon fortified manor house, founded by King Edward the Elder. In 1073, Robert Bloet, bishop of Lincoln founded an earthwork motte and bailey fortress on the site. From 1123–33, Bishop Alexander the Magnificent completely rebuilt the castle, when founding a prominent stone structure of ornate construction." The river bridge was built about the same time under charter from Henry I, also St. Leonard's Hospital. He also gained from the king a charter to hold a five-day fair at the castle each year. He gained a charter under King Stephen to establish a mint in the town.

The town became a local centre for the wool and cloth trade, certainly by the time of Henry II a major market was established. Wednesday and Saturday markets in the town were established during the period 1156–1329 when a series of charters granted to the Bishop of Lincoln made them possible. King John died of dysentery in Newark in 1216. Following his death as Henry III tried to bring order to the country the mercenary Robert de Gaugy refused to yield Newark Castle to the Bishop of Lincoln, its rightful owner, leading to the Dauphin of France (later King Louis VIII of France) laying an eight-day siege on behalf of the king, ended by an agreement to pay the mercenary to leave. Around the time of Edward III's death, and excluding beggars and clergy, in "1377 – Poll tax records show adult population of 1,178 making Newark one of the biggest 25 or so towns in England".

In 1457 a flood swept away the bridge over the Trent and, although there was no legal requirement for anyone to replace it, the Bishop of Lincoln, John Chaworth, financed the building of a new bridge, built of oak with stone defensive towers at either end.

In January 1571 or 1572, the composer Robert Parsons fell into the swollen River Trent at Newark and drowned. There is no record of his body ever having been retrieved from the river following his death.

Following the break with Rome in the 16th century, the subsequent establishment of the independent Church of England, and the Dissolution of the Monasteries, Henry VIII had the Vicar of Newark, Henry Lytherland executed when he refused to acknowledge the king as head of the Church. The dissolution affected Newark's political landscape heavily, and even more radical changes came in 1547 when the Bishop of Lincoln exchanged ownership of the town with the Crown. Newark was incorporated under an alderman and twelve assistants in 1549, and the charter was confirmed and extended by Elizabeth I.

Charles I, owing to the increasing commercial prosperity of the town, reincorporated it under a mayor and aldermen, and this charter, except for a temporary surrender under James II, continued to be the governing charter of the corporation until the Municipal Corporations Act 1835.

The Civil War

Siege piece shilling from Newark-on-Trent
A makeshift royalist shilling (siege piece) made from silver plate during the siege

During the English Civil War, Newark was a mainstay of the royalist cause, Charles I having raised his standard in nearby Nottingham. It was attacked in February 1643 by two troops of horsemen, but beat them back. The town fielded at times as many as 600 soldiers, and raided Nottingham, Grantham, Northampton, Gainsborough, and others with mixed success, but enough to cause it to rise to national notice. At the end of 1644 it was besieged by forces from Nottingham, Lincoln and Derby, the siege was only relieved in March by Prince Rupert.

Parliament commenced a new siege towards the end of January 1645 following more raiding, but this was relieved by Sir Marmaduke Langdale after about a month. Newark cavalry fought with the king's forces which were decisively defeated in the Battle of Naseby, near Leicester in June 1645.

The final siege began in November 1645, by which time the town's defences had been greatly strengthened. Two major forts had been constructed just outside the town, one, called the Queen's Sconce, to the south-west and another, the King's Sconce to the north-east, both close to the river, together with defensive walls and a water filled ditch 2¼ miles in length, around the town. In May 1646 the town was ordered to surrender by Charles I, which was still only accepted under protest by the town's garrison. After the surrender most of the defences were destroyed, including the castle which was left in essentially the state it can be seen today.

Georgian era and early 19th century

Newark Castle and bridge London Published by J Deeley, 95 Bewick St Soho, 1812 Coloured aquatint
Newark Castle circa 1812

Around 1770 the Great North Road around Newark (now the A1) was raised on a long series of arches to ensure it remained clear of the regular floods it experienced. A special Act of Parliament in 1773 allowed the creation of a town hall next to the Market Place. Designed by John Carr of York and completed in 1776, Newark Town Hall is now a Grade I listed building. In 1775 the Duke of Newcastle, at the time the Lord of the Manor and a major landowner of the area, built a new brick bridge with stone facing to replace the dilapidated one next to the castle. This is still one of the major thoroughfares in the town today.

A noted advocate of reform in the late 18th century at Newark was the local-born printer and newspaper owner Daniel Holt (1766–1799). He was imprisoned for printing a leaflet advocating parliamentary reform and selling a Thomas Paine pamphlet.

In the milieu of parliamentary reform the duke of Newcastle evicted over a hundred tenants at Newark whom he believed supported directly or indirectly the Liberal/Radical candidate (Wilde) rather than his candidate (Michael Sadler, a progressive Conservative)at the 1829 elections. See the report in Cornelius BROWN 1907, ii, 243 following; and the report in the Times for 7 October 1829. A report in the Times of 10 September 1832 lists ten of the evicted people by name and address.

J.S. Baxter, who was a schoolboy in Newark from 1830 to 1840, contributed to The hungry forties: life under the bread tax (London, 1904), a book about the Corn Laws: "Chartists and rioters came from Nottingham into Newark, parading the streets with penny loaves dripped in blood carried on pikes, crying 'Bread or blood.'"

19th, 20th and 21st century

During the Victorian era a lot of new buildings and industry were established, such as Independent Chapel (1822), Holy Trinity (1836–37), Christ Church (1837), Castle Railway Station (1846), Wesleyan Chapel (1846), the Corn Exchange (1848), Methodist New Connexion Chapel (1848), W.N. Nicholson Trent Ironworks (1840s), Northgate Railway Station (1851), North End Wesleyan Chapel (1868), St. Leonard's Anglican Church (1873), Baptist Chapel (1876), Primitive Methodist Chapel (1878), Newark Hospital (1881), Ossington Coffee Palace (1882), Gilstrap Free Library (1883), Market Hall (1884), Unitarian Chapel (1884), the Fire Station (1889), Waterworks (1898) and the School of Science and Art (1900). These changes and the other industrial expansion that went with them saw the population of the town grow from under 7,000 in 1800 to over 15,000 by the end of the century.

UK Newark on Trent cemetery polish Presidents
Memorial cross to General Sikorski, Newark Cemetery

During the Second World War there were a number of RAF stations within a few miles of Newark, from many of which operated squadrons of the Polish Air Force. A special plot was set aside in Newark Cemetery for RAF burials and this is now the war graves plot, where all but ten of the ninety Commonwealth and all of the 397 Polish burials were made. The cemetery also contains 49 scattered burials from the First World War. A memorial cross to the Polish airmen buried here was erected in the plot and was unveiled in 1941 by President Raczkiewicz, ex-President of the Polish Republic and head of the wartime Polish Government in London, supported by General Sikorski, head of the Polish Armed Forces and wartime Polish Prime Minister. When both men subsequently died, General Sikorski in 1943 and President Raczkiewicz in 1947, they were buried at the foot of the memorial. General Sikorski's remains were returned to Poland in 1993, but there is still a memorial to him at Newark.

The clothing, bearings, pumps, agricultural machinery, pine furniture making and sugar refining were the main industries in Newark in the last 100 years or so. British Sugar still has one of its sugar beet processing factories to the north of the town near the A616 (Great North Road). There have been several factory closures, especially since the 1950s. Breweries in the town in the 20th century included James Hole and Warwicks-and-Richardsons.

Estimated population (mid-2007, via NSDC Stats & Info) is 26,330 for the Newark Parish. Newark is 93 per cent white British, according to the 2011 census. It is also prosperous: 77 per cent of people are employed, according to the latest ONS data, compared with the national average of 72 per cent, and earnings are 7 per cent above those in the surrounding East Midlands.


Newark lies on the River Trent, with the River Devon also running through the town. Standing at the intersection of the Great North Road and the Fosse Way, Newark originally grew around Newark Castle – now ruined – and a large market place – now lined with historic buildings.

According to the 2001 census, it had a population of 25,376. The ONS Mid Year Population Estimates for 2007 indicate that the population had then increased to around 26,700.

However Newark forms a continuous built-up area with the neighbouring parish of Balderton to the south. "The population of Newark is approximately 35,000 and the rural area of Newark and Sherwood to the west of the town has an additional population of 75,000 in the small towns of Southwell and Ollerton and the numerous villages of the district." To the south of the town, along the A46 road, is Farndon, and to the north is Winthorpe.

Newark's growth and development have both been enhanced by its possession of one of the few bridges over the River Trent, the navigability of the river, the presence of the Great North Road (the A1), and later the advance of the railways bringing a junction between the East Coast Main Line and the route from Nottingham to Lincoln. "Newark became a substantial inland port, particularly for the wool trade," though it industrialised to some extent during the Victorian era, and later with an ironworks, engineering, brewing, and a sugar refinery. It was a major town standing for the Royalist cause during the Civil War, "Newark was besieged on three occasions and finally surrendered only when ordered to do so by the King after his own surrender."

The A1 bypass was opened in 1964 by the then Minister of Transport, Ernest Marples. The single-carriageway £34m A46 opened in October 1990. The junction with the A1 is very busy.


The town is home to many people who commute to the city of Nottingham (around 20 miles (32 km) away) and to London and other cities such as Leicester, Leeds, Doncaster and York. Newark is home of Newark Rugby Union Football Club, which has produced past players such as Dusty Hare, John Wells, Greig Tonks and Tom Ryder. The leisure centre is in Balderton at the Newark Academy, formerly the Grove School. Construction of a new Leisure Centre on Bowbridge Road began at the end of 2014 and is expected to be open in the Spring of 2016.

Newark and Sherwood Concert Band is a thriving concert band based in Newark which has in excess of 50 regular members. It has performed at numerous events in the area over the last few years.

The Palace Theatre is Newark's main entertainment venue, showcasing a variety of drama, live music, dance and film.

The National Civil War Centre and Newark Museum is adjacent to the Palace Theatre on Appletongate in the town centre. It was opened in 2015 to interpret Newark's part in the English Civil War in the seventeenth century and to explore the wider implications of this important period of the nation's history.

Landmarks and treasures

Newark's new police station opened in October 2006. The Palace Theatre is in Appletongate. The Market Place is the focal point of the town. The Queen's Head is an old pub.

The 16th-century Governor's House, named after Sir Richard Willis, Governor of Newark Castle at the time of the English Civil War, is in Stodman Street. Now a bread shop and cafe, it is also a Grade I listed building.

Newark Torc

The Newark Torc, a major silver and gold Iron Age torc, the first found in Nottinghamshire and very similar to those of the Snettisham Hoard, was uncovered in 2005 in what is now a field on the outskirts of Newark, and in 2008 was acquired by Newark and Sherwood District Council. The Torc was displayed at the British Museum in London until the opening of the National Civil War Centre and Newark Museum in May 2015. It can now be viewed in the Museum galleries.


Newark is a commuter town, with many residents travelling to Lincoln and Nottingham and even London.

Newark has two railway stations. The East Coast Main Line serves Newark North Gate railway station with links to London King's Cross in about an hour and a quarter, and north to Leeds, Hull, Newcastle upon Tyne and Edinburgh Waverley. Newark Castle railway station on the Leicester – Nottingham – Lincoln line provides cross-country regional links. The two meet at the last flat crossing in Britain. Grade separation has been proposed.

The main roads of Newark include the A1 and A46 as bypasses. The A17 runs east to King's Lynn, Norfolk, and the A616 north to Huddersfield, West Yorkshire. The bus-service providers include Stagecoach in Lincolnshire ("Newark busabouttown"), Marshalls and Travel Wright, under Nottinghamshire County Council control,

Twin towns

Since 1984 Newark has been twinned with:

  • Germany Emmendingen, Germany
  • France Saint-Cyr-sur-Loire, France
  • Poland Sandomierz, Poland


British Sugar PLC runs a mill on the outskirts that opened in 1921. It has 130 permanent employees and processes 1.6 million tonnes of sugar beet produced by about 800 UK growers, at an average distance of 28 miles from the factory. Of the output, 250,000 tonnes are processed and supplied to food and drink manufacturers in the UK and across Europe. At the heart of the Newark factory's operations is a combined heat and power (CHP) plant, with boilers fuelled by natural gas to meet the site's steam and electricity requirements and contribute to the grid enough power for 800 homes. The installation is rated under the government CHP environmental quality-assurance scheme.

Other major employers are a bearings factory (part of the NSK group) with some 200 employees, and Laurens Patisseries, part of the food group Bakkavör since May 2006, which bought it for £130 million. It employs over 1,000. In 2007, Currys opened a £30 million national distribution centre next to the A17 near the A46 roundabout, and Dixon's moved its national distribution centre there in 2005, with over 1,400 staff employed at the site at peak times. Flowserve, formerly Ingersoll Dresser Pumps, has a manufacturing facility in the town. Project Telecom in Brunel Drive was bought by Vodafone in 2003 for a reported £163 million. Since 1985, Newark has been host to the biggest antiques outlet in Europe, the Newark International Antiques and Collectors Fair, held bi-monthly at Newark Showground. Newark has plentiful antique shops and centres.


The town has two main mixed secondary schools. The older, Magnus Church of England Academy, founded in 1531 by the diplomat Thomas Magnus, lies close to the town centre. The Newark Academy is in neighbouring Balderton (previously The Grove School). It underwent a £25 million rebuild in 2016 after a long campaign.

The town's several primary schools include a new school in the Middlebeck development on the town's southern edge, opened in September 2021.

Notable people

Armed forces

  • Gonville Bromhead (1845–1891), army officer and Victoria Cross recipient educated at Magnus Grammar School
  • John Cartwright (1740–1824), naval officer, militia major and political reformer educated in Newark.

Fine arts

  • William Caparne (1855–1940) – botanical artist and horticulturalist born in Newark
  • William Cubley (1816–1896) – artist settled in Newark
  • William Nicholson (1872–1949) – painter and illustrator born in Newark


  • George Allen (1832–1907) – engraver and publisher born in Newark
  • John Barnard (died 1683) – biographer and religious writer, who died in Newark
  • Cornelius Brown (1852–1907) – journalist and historian, Newark Advertiser
  • Henry Constable (1562–1613) – poet (early sonneteer) born in Newark
  • Winifred Gales (1761–1839) – novelist and memoirist
  • T. W. Robertson (1829–1871) – playwright and innovative stage director


  • John Blow (1649–1708) – composer and organist
  • Ian Burden (born 1957) – keyboard player with the Human League
  • Jay McGuiness (born 1990) – band singer with The Wanted


  • Alexander of Lincoln (died 1148) – Bishop of Lincoln, founded a hospital for lepers in Newark.
  • Annette Cooper (born 1953) – Anglican Archdeacon of Colchester, educated at Lilley and Stone Girls' High School in Newark
  • John Burdett Wittenoom (1788–1855) – pioneer cleric and headmaster in Swan River Colony, Australia, born in Newark

Science and technology

  • John Arderne (1307–1392) – notable surgeon, lived in Newark in early life.
  • Basil Baily (1869–1942) – architect
  • Francis Clater (1756–1823) – farrier and veterinary writer
  • Godfrey Hounsfield (1919–2004) – electrical engineer, Nobel Laureate in medicine, inventor of the CT scanner
  • Rupert Sheldrake (born 1942) – biochemist and parapsychology researcher born in Newark
  • Giovanni Francisco Vigani (c. 1650–1712) – chemist from Verona, who first settled in Newark in 1682
  • Frederick Smeeton Williams (1829–1886) – writer on railways


  • David Avanesyan (born 15 August 1988) – professional boxer
  • Steve Baines (born 1954) – League footballer and referee
  • Phil Crampton (born 1970) – professional alpinist and high-altitude mountaineer
  • Craig Dudley (born 1979) – professional association footballer
  • Harry Hall (born 1893 – death date unknown) – professional association footballer
  • Willie Hall (1912–1967) – Notts County, Tottenham Hotspur and England footballer
  • Dusty Hare (born 1952) – rugby union international
  • Phil Joslin (born 1959) – league football referee
  • Mary King (born Thomson, 1961) – Olympic equestrian sportswoman
  • Sam McMahon (born 1976) – professional association footballer
  • Shane Nicholson (born 1970) – league footballer
  • Henry Slater (1839–1905) – first-class cricketer born in Newark
  • Mark Smalley (born 1965) – professional association footballer born in Newark
  • William Streets (born 1772, fl. 1792–1803) – cricketer
  • Chad Sugden (born 27 April 1994) – professional boxer born in Newark

Stage and screen

  • Arthur Leslie (1899–1970) – actor and playwright, born in Newark
  • Norman Pace (born 1953) – actor and comedian
  • Terence Longdon (1922–2011) – screen actor
  • Donald Wolfit (1902–1968) – Shakespearean actor
  • Toby Kebbell (born 1982) – actor educated at the Grove School

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See also

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