Retford, is one of the oldest boroughs in England, the
first documentary evidence of Retford was found in the
Domesday Survey of 1086. King Henry I established the borough of
East Retford in 1105 and it was granted a Royal Charter by Henry
III in 1246 allowing a market to be held each Thursday. In 1275
Edward I extended the charter to allow a Saturday market as
well. This tradition still continues today, along with a
Retford was a municipal borough until 1974 when it merged
with Worksop and became Bassetlaw district. Its civic traditions
are maintained by Charter Trustees and Charter Day continues to be
celebrated each May Day Bank Holiday.
Retford was largely destroyed by a fire in 1528, but prospered
during the 18th and 19th centuries with the coming of the Great
North Road (1766), the Chesterfield Canal (1777) and the railways
(1849). The fine Georgian and Victorian frontages and a large
number of former coaching inns can still be seen in the town
to this day.
The origins of the name Retford are still not know, although
speculation states that the name probably comes from an ancient
ford crossing the River Idle. It was originally named Redforde
because of the frequent crossing of people and livestock disturbing
the red clay on the river bed, which would tinge the water red.
Because it was less liable to flooding, the first land settled
was on the western side of the ford. As the community grew it
occupied land on the other side of the river and this eastern part
of the town eventually became the more important. This resulted in
Retford's official name of East Retford.
On the third Saturday of every month, Retford hosts a popular
farmers’ market offering a variety of local produce. On Fridays,
browsers can seek out bargains at the antiques and bric-a-brac
market. Each year a very popular continental market is held,
attracting visitors from near and far.
In addition to these markets, Retford also offers an impressive
range of traditional high street and independent shops.
History of Retford Town
Last Updated - 25/04/2013