In the 9th and 10th centuries large estates, monasteries and houses came into being. Rural manor houses developed and its likely a chief lived here in a defensible house by the church or even a monastery with links to Lenton Abbey. Traces of an old moat and medieval fishponds on the south and west of the village are a designated Scheduled Ancient Monument. In the neighbouring fields lie further earthworks of a bank and excavations have found a possible medieval house platform. In a field to the South of the Church a fragment of an ancient cross can be found. Farming would have been the main industry.
In 1966 the ‘Attenborough Hoard’ was uncovered in a garden 100 yards from the church – 1,102 silver coins and a few fragments of others in an earthenware pot with a piece of cloth and a bronze bell. The earliest coin was of Edward I (1272) and the latest Henry V (1422) – Irish, Scottish, and continental coins as well. It was likely buried ~1425 until unearthed over 500 years later and is now in the Nottingham City Museum’s collections. Was the bell a modern-day equivalent of a burglar alarm?
The early half of the 15th century was an interesting time for the village with a ‘puritan spirit’ which saw Henry Ireton’s parents (of more later) brought before a tribunal for refusing to follow the Church of England and riotous affray even, shockingly, involving the vicar.
It’s probable that there was a great deal of Parliamentarian activity disrupting the church and ultimately the English Civil War started in 1642. Parliamentary troops are said to have stabled their horses within the church building. Many battles and sieges took place around the Midlands and Attenborough was a useful quiet Trent crossing avoiding the eyes of military and spies. Apparently In 1646 Charles 1st and some horsemen escaping from a siege at Oxford to surrender at Newark to the Scots Presbyterian Army crossed from Barton to Attenborough and rode through the village. After Charles’ beheading it is said that a headless ghost on horseback can be seen and heard on the footpath leading down to the village green – so be very careful!
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