The Early History of Arnold

Arnold has a very long history with the earliest traces of the occupation being in the form of defence earth works dating from the late Bronze Age. These are situated between Killisick Lane and Coppice Road. This shows that Arnold was a residential place even at this early date. The good supply of timber, water and good growing land together with the defensive position made it a good place to stay. When the Angles invaded England they took over the settlement in about 600AD and called the place Ernehale. This being translated as 'the place of the eagles' or more rightly herons. 

The name Ernehale can be found in many places in the existing town. The most noticeable of these being the old Co op building, now called The Ernehale, on Nottingham Road. 

The next invaders were the Danes who passed through the village in 868AD on their way to attack and capture Nottingham, burning houses on their way.

By the time of the Norman Conquest, Ernhale is recorded in the 1068AD Domesday  Book, as a thriving village with a population of about 150. Quite a large place for the time. 

Not much is then known about the town until 1436AD when it was decimated by the plague which had spread to the village. It later recovered and grew in size with the population still dependent on agriculture and the supporting trades. 

The name of the town now changed first to 'Arnhale' and then to Arnold as the spoken word was written down, nearly for the first time, and translated by scribes who were not natives of the area. 

Stocking frame knitting was introduced first as an extra form of income, especially during the winter months. This soon became the main form of employment for the town. At its height some 1300 frames were in use in the town. This number being greater than all other places except Nottingham itself and Sutton-in-Ashfield which employed slightly more. 

In 1779, Arnold became notorious as 300 of Mr Needs Stocking frames in Arnold were destroyed . This being the first act of  the Luddite Riots which rapidly spread to other parts of the country. 

In 1788, industry came to Arnold with the building of a worsted mill by Hawklsley and Davison. This was situated on what is now Arnot Hill Park. This mill, the largest of its type ever built, employed over 1200 people at its height. The result of this was a rapid influx of people into the town from all over the country.  

During the 1800s  other large manufacturers arrived in Arnold.  J Jacoby and Co Ltd , J Clarke & Co and I & R Morely, who also built mills in the town, changing it forever from an agricultural community. The industrial Revolution had arrived. 

A copy of 'The History of Arnold' by Rev Russell and Rev King is available at:


All articles © Bob Massey


St. Mary's Church, Church Lane, Arnold