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Although Whitwell celebrated its 1,000th anniversary in the 'Whitwell 1000' celebrations of 1989, it is much older than this celebration suggests. The earliest written references to Whitwell are from the Anglo-Saxon charters. However, many of its historical sites predate this period. Within the parish are several Iron Age burial mounds, an Iron Age fort and settlement, the remains of a Roman villa, medieval field systems, and both a Norman and Saxon church. The World Heritage Site of Creswell Crags was until recently within the parish. Whitwell Old Hall is a medieval manor house.
Whitwell is a thriving village with strong community spirit. The village has many active clubs and societies, including Whitwell Scout and Guide Group, Local History Group, Whitwell Players, Whitwell Brass Band and junior band, C of E, Methodist and Poplar churches, Natural History Group, green bowls club, cricket club, and football club.
Although being quite a small village, Whitwell has six public houses. It previously had as many as 11. The current pubs are the Holmefield Arms, The Jack Ups (Whitwell Working Men's Club), New Middle Club, The Boot And Shoe, The Half Moon and The Royal Oak. The biggest employer just outside the village is La Farge Works (formerly Steetley Company), which run a quarry which supplies limestone and other products all around the world.
Whitwell Wood is a large area of ancient woodland covering approximately 171 hectares. It forms part of the Welbeck Estate, one of the former medieval dukeries of Nottinghamshire. The wood is managed on a long-term lease by the Forestry Commission. It is a predominantly broad-leaved wood with over 20 species indicating ancient woodland, a number of interesting archaeological features and a freshwater spring known as the Ginny Spring. The spring is designated as a site of special scientific interest (SSSI). This designation is partly due to the varied flora, but also because of a number of species that are rare in the region. As such, the wood has a very high nature conservation status. A Three Shires Oak once stood in a field beside Whitwell Wood, traditionally marking the meeting point of the counties of Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire.
Whitwell Gap (Hwitan Wylles Geat) – Creswell Crags
Until Creswell village was developed by the colliery company in the late 19th Century, Creswell Crags was known locally as Whitwell Crags. Until this time, there were only a few farms around the entrance to the Crags. The nearest Anglo-Saxon villages were Whitwell, Elmton and Thorpe (Salvin). According to a local resident whose relatives lived in the farms close to the Crags, Creswell was only the name of the farm nearest to the new colliery site, and used as a drop off point for materials used in the building of the colliery. The original name of the Crags (Whitwell Crags) may be the location referred to by the Anglo Saxon poets who recorded King Alfred's grandson, King Edmund, conquering the 5 Boroughs from the Viking Earls in 942 AD, reaching as far as Dore & "Hwitan Wylles Geat" (the Whitwell Gap). Whitwell Gap would have to be a significant landscape feature to warrant mention in an Anglo Saxon chronicle, and be easily identifiable.
Also from the village are Chris Adams, the Sussex and England cricketer and Ian Bennett, a former professional goalkeeper for Birmingham City and Huddersfield Town, whose family still lives in the village.
The village is the birthplace and childhood home of J. T. Edson the author, whose various escapism-adventure series sold over 27 million copies globally; the Edson family lived in Whitwell from Victorian times.
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