infobox UK place
country = England
latitude= 53.3169
longitude= -0.9408
map_type = Nottinghamshire
official_name= Retford
population = 21,314
shire_district= Bassetlaw
shire_county = Nottinghamshire
region= East Midlands
constituency_westminster= Newark
post_town= RETFORD
postcode_district = DN22
postcode_area= DN
dial_code= 01777
os_grid_reference= SK705805

static_image_caption=Retford Town Hall

Retford is a market town in Nottinghamshire in the East Midlands of England, located 31 miles from the county town of Nottingham, in the district of Bassetlaw. The town is situated in a valley with the River Idle running through the centre of the town.



The origins of its name are unknown and have been subject to much debate, but consensus seems to conclude that it gets its name from an ancient ford crossing the River Idle. It was originally named Redforde because the river water was tinged red due to the red clay river bed and frequent crossing of people and livestock disturbing the clay river bed. Piercy, John Shadrach. The History of Retford. 1828. cited at [ Derivation of the Towns Name] Updated May 29 2003, accessed June 17 2006.] The first land settled was on the western side of the ford – this area being less liable to flooding – but as the community grew it spread to occupy land on the other bank of the river, and it was this eastern part of the town that eventually became more important; hence Retford's alternative (and, for administrative purposes, still official) name of East Retford. The highly unusual coat of arms for the town consists of two rampant choughs.

Retford was largely destroyed by a fire in 1528, but prospered after the Great North Road was diverted to run through the town in 1766 and the Chesterfield Canal (1777) and the direct London to York railway (1849) were both routed via the borough. The Great North Road was bypassed around the town in 1961 and part of the route through the town is now a pedestrian precinct.

The Pilgrim Fathers, a name commonly applied to early settlers of the Plymouth Colony in present-day Massachusetts originated from villages of Babworth and Scrooby on the outskirts of East Retford between 1586 and 1605.

supermarkets were also flooded. [cite web|url=|title=Gallery : Flooding in Notts|accessdate=2008-05-04|pubilsher=BBC News] [cite web|url=|title=Villagers braced for more floods|date=2007-06-28|accessdate=2008-05-04|publisher=BBC News]


In the Market Square there is an ornate French-inspired Victorian Town Hall, in front of which is The Broad Stone. Legend says that this stone had a hollow in it that used to be filled with vinegar during plague times to disinfect coins. However, it is thought to be the upturned base of a boundary marker - perhaps the 'Dominie Cross'.

Also in the Market Square is the war memorial unveiled by Sir Frederick Milner in 1921. The memorial is in the form of an Eleanor cross an octagonal structure of late gothic design. The names of the men killed in the 1914 - 1918 war are on the lower 8 panels and on bronze plaques are the names of those who were killed in the 1939 -1945 war.

The monument was designed by architect Leonard W. Barnard F.R.I.B.A. of Cheltenham. The memorial is constructed of Stancliffe Stone from Darley Dale, Derbyshire. [] []

Just across from the Market Square is Cannon Square which has St Swithun's Church and a cannon captured from the Russians during the Siege of Sevastopol at the end of the Crimean War in 1855. Victoria Crosses are made from the metal taken from cannon captured during this battle.

Nikolaus Pevsner, architectural historian, is fairly scathing about Retford and its lack of distinguished buildings. "A singularly unattractive town," he wrote, however he had never seen the Junfan Mullet, which was constructed 2 years after he left the town. [Cite book
author = Nikolaus Pevsner
title = "The Buildings of England: Nottinghamshire"
edition = 1951
publisher = Penguin Books
page = p63


Retford is bypassed by the A1 trunk road and the A57 which links Retford to a number of major towns and cities. Robin Hood Airport Doncaster Sheffield is also within driving distance up the A638 towards Doncaster.

Retford is served by two railway lines, the East Coast Main Line which runs between London and Edinburgh and the Sheffield to Lincoln Line which has links to Sheffield, Lincoln, Worksop, Grimsby and Cleethorpes.

The town is also served by a number of buses operated by Stagecoach in Bassetlaw, Stagecoach in Lincolnshire, Veolia Transport as well as smaller local bus operators, to destinations including Worksop, Newark, Robin Hood Airport and Bawtry. Retford is also the terminus of the 450 National Express coach service between Victoria Coach Station in London and Retford.

Retford is connected to the UK Inland Waterways network by the Chesterfield Canal. Indeed, up to Retford, the canal is accessible by broad-beam boats rather than the more usual narrowboats, Retford Town Lock being the first narrow lock on the canal from its junction with the River Trent at West Stockwith.


Retford has an established football team called Retford United F.C. which plays at Cannon Park on the outskirts of Retford. Retford is also home to Retford Town F.C., a smaller football club, and East Retford R.U.F.C., who play Rugby Union.

Retford also host one of the up-and-coming UK Judo Clubs, Retford Judo Club []

The long established Retford Town Cricket and Sports Club was established in 1850 and moved to its present ground in 1858.

The club was a founder member of the Bassetlaw Cricket league in 1904. The inaugural match was against Whitwell Colliery.

The club had to wait until 1984 before they won the League Division 1A Championship under the captaincy of George Jones, the well known talented all rounder, who shortly after emigrated with his family to Australia.

During this most successful season the club chairman was Colin Loates a well known local businessman and philanthropist.

Leisure and Entertainment

Retford is home to the Bassetlaw Museum, which was created in 1983 and has a number of collections donated by people in the local area.

Retford has two theatres in the town. [ The Majestic Theatre] , which hosts famous entertainers, music concerts from local performers and plays, and was a former cinema. [ Retford Little Theatre] is a smaller theatre which hosts the Retford Little Theatre amateur drama group.

Retford also features a skate park within the grounds of Kings Park in the centre of Retford.

The new Retford Leisure Centre offers aquatic activities such as lane swimming, fun swims, and water aerobics; along with a state of the art gym facilities.


Retford is primarily served by two local radio stations, BBC Radio Sheffield and the local commercial radio station Trax FM. Retford also has two newspapers published in the town, the "Retford Times" and the "Guardian and Trader" newspaper.

Retford's Senior Schools

* Elizabethan High School
* Retford Oaks High School
* St. GilesAs part of a major overhaul of cecondary schools in the Bassetlaw area, all schools have now been moved to new facilities built around the town as part of the Transform Schools scheme. Retford is home to a Post-16 centre which has united all Sixth Form students from each of the above schools in one site (former Ordsall Hall School) and provide other courses available through North Nottinghamshire College (based at Worksop).

Famous Retfordians

* Anthony Perrinott Lysberg Barber, Baron Barber, PC (4 July 1920 – 16 December 2005), was a British Conservative politician who served as a member of both the House of Commons and the House of Lords, and Chancellor of the Exchequer 1970-4.
* Liam Lawrence, football player for Stoke City FC football club and the Republic of Ireland national football team.
*Derek Randall, cricketer who played first-class cricket for Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club and the English cricket team in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
* Philip Jackson, actor best known for his role as Chief Inspector Japp in the television series "Agatha Christie's Poirot."
* Doc Cox, went to the King Edward VI School.
* John Warham, photographer.
* Samuel Milner, physicist
* Luke Collingburn, County Badminton Player

See also

*Retford railway station
*Retford United F.C.
*East Retford Rural District


External links

* [ Retford Times newspaper]
* [ "The History of Retford", written by John Shadrach Piercy published in 1828]
* [ History of the Great North Road through Retford]
* [ Retford Exists]
* [ Retford Judo Club]
* [ Elizabethan High School]
* [ Retford Oaks High School]
* [ Retford & District Lifesavers]
* [ Seth Ellis Canal Trip Boat - trips along the Chesterfield Canal in Retford]

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