"About time too!" Newark upon Trent by leics
Newark upon Trent Travel Guide: 33 reviews and 116 photos
It is, by the way, 'Newark on Trent' not 'upon'. The VT database is wrong.
I have passed through Newark many times over the years, more recently on my way to Lincoln but also on many family holidays to Lincolnshire. I well remember being stuck in traffic and crawling through the town before the bypass was opened, and vaguely remember seeing the castle.....but I'd never actually stopped and explored before.
Arranging a meeting there with an old friend prompted me to spend a few hours beforehand doing a proper VT-style exploration, and this page is the result.
I knew Newark was a market town with a river and a Medieval castle which was more-or-less blown to bits during the English Civil War. I hadn't realised quite what a pleasant little town it has now become. This may be because of its relatively speedy access to Nottingham and London (the latter by train) and thus it has become an outpost of commuterland.....but I really was surprised by the number of independent shops, little cafes, wine-bars and upmarket restaurants around the place.....and also by the upmarket chainstores(Monsoon, for example). It certainly underlines how culturally poor my area is, for Newark has a population about half of my own town (which is not Leicester, by the way). Either that or Newark people have a lot more money to spend (which seems unlikely).
At any rate, it was really nice to see secondhand bookshops, and pleasant cafes, and a typically-English mixture of architectural styles ranging from the 'black-and-white' Tudor/Stuart through Georgian classicism to Victorian brick terraces and extravanganza.
Newark has certainly existed as a settlement since prehistoric times. Itis suggested that its position on on the England's major Roman roads (the Fosse Way from Cirencester to Lincoln) helped to establish the town.
Its castle is a real Medieval one, dating from 1123 (a bridge was built over the river Trent at the same time, although the original no longer exists). Perission was given for both a mint and a marketand the town became a centre for the wool and cloth trade, thus ensuring that the it became a wealthy place. Newark's huge market place (one of the largest I have seen in a town of similar size) is testament to its past wealth.
During the English Civil War Newark was Royalist. It was held under siege three times, the final siege in 1645 resulting in surrender. After the surrender the town's defences were destroyed, including the castle. So what you can see now is what was left......a small hint of what was once a most impressive structure.
Newark continued to flourish and, unlike many English towns, the later 20th century did not result in the destruction and replacement by glass and concrete of its varied architecture. I really like that. A mix of Victorian red-brick set alongside wobbly timber-frame alongside Palladian pomp makes for an interesting streetscene.
St Mary Magdalene, right next to the market place, is a remarkably large, light and airy church. Dating from the 1400s (and on the site of an earlier church, as so many English parish churches are), it has many fascinating bits and pieces inside, including Medieval stone carvings (see my travelogue). Well worth visiting.
So.....Newark, I have discovered, is a most pleasant place for a wander, be it a daytrip or just a stop en route to somewhere else. Plenty of things to see and enjoy, plenty of places to eat and the charity shops are good as well!
- Pros:History, architecture
- Cons:None that I came across
- In a nutshell:Lots to see and explore
Housed in an old oil-seed mill on the banks of the River Trent, this museum houses a variety of objects. It's free to... more travel advice
The font in St Mary Magdalene is very odd. It dates originally from the 15th century (1400s) but was damaged during the... more travel advice
Written Mar 29, 2009
St Mary Magdalene
Written Mar 29, 2009
A variety of architectural styles.
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