England

Your East Midlands questions answered

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Media captionAsk us your questions about where you live

You've been using Your Questions to tell us what you have always wondered about the East Midlands.

From "Why do Oakham's stocks have five holes?" to "What are the origins of the word nesh?"

Here's how we have got on with answering your questions.


Paul Bassett asked: "I would like to know the origins of the word 'nesh' meaning cold weather or someone who feels the cold."

This had our writers flummoxed at first but probably because they're not originally from these parts. It seems to be used in Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Staffordshire, Yorkshire and Lancashire to describe someone who feels cold or is a bit of a wimp.

Linguistics expert at Nottingham Trent University, Dr Natalie Braber said it is often difficult to know exactly where local words come from.

The word is said to derive from the Old English word hnesce meaning feeble, weak or infirm.

And according to the Oxford English Dictionary it is thought to originate from the Dutch word nesch or nisch meaning soft or damp.

It was first used in a document in the Lindisfarne Gospels written between 500 and 900AD.

Image copyright Hulton Archive

Derek Cullen asked: "Why have the stocks in Oakham got five holes instead of four?"

A quick call to the local museum revealed they didn't know, so the research net had to be cast a little wider. and eventually an answer was found.

"Five hole stocks are not uncommon although not many now survive," according to Dr Sarah Richardson from the University of Warwick.

Image copyright Getty Images

She added: "Five hole stocks originate from Roman times when the arms, legs and head were confined which was more a form of torture than a shaming punishment."

"More likely with the Oakham example is that juveniles or women could have both legs confined to one hole so they could not wriggle free. Sometimes men were also confined by one leg alone."

Dr Richardson believes more than one man could be detained at a time, probably on alternative sides.


Andrew Kordecki asked: "The Anglo Saxon Chronicle mentions Nottingham in 924 having two towns, one south of the river. Where was this?"

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle was a document created in the 9th Century, recording the history of the peoples of England.

An extract from 924 reads: "This year, before midsummer, went King Edward with an army to Nottingham; and ordered the town to be repaired on the south side of the river, opposite the other, and the bridge over the Trent betwixt the two towns."

Prof John Beckett, from the University of Nottingham, has said, however, that this probably doesn't mean the town was divided in two.

Image copyright Nottingham City Council

Rather, the town south of the river was probably a separate settlement - what we know today as West Bridgford - and the bridge was Hethbeth bridge, replaced in the 19th Century by the modern Trent Bridge.

West Bridgford would have been little more than a hamlet in those days, he said.

Almost 150 years after this entry was written, Norman invader William the Conqueror established Nottingham Castle, above, and it was then that the town really did become divided.

There was a Norman town around the castle area alongside the Saxon town centred on the modern Lace Market.


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