St James's Street is established
In the same year as the first Castle is established in Nottingham, the road that would later become St James's Street is formed. It created a medieval thoroughfare between the Castle site and the historic market place. It was named after the chapel of St James which stood on the street and over the years was know as Jamgate, Sancti Jacobi, Seynt Jame Lane and St James Lane.
Malting was also an early industry; barley came from the Vale of Belvoir and the natural water from Nottingham. Cave temperature was perfect for both brewing and storing. The town became renowned for the quality of the beer it produced and much was exported across the country. Most pubs stored their beer in caves.
Many of the trades which developed in Nottingham during the Middle Ages are reflected in Nottingham’s street names; Barker Gate (where the tanners worked); Wheeler Gate (where the wheelwrights worked); Lister Gate (listers were dyers); Pilcher Gate (sellers of furs); Bridlesmith Gate where metalworking took place.
Richard III Leaves Nottingham for Bosworth
During the Wars of the Roses, Richard III left Nottingham Castle to meet Henry Tudor at Bosworth in Leicestershire. Richard was defeated and Henry became king, founding the House of Tudor. During Henry VII’s reign the castle continued to be a royal fortress.
The Cavaliers and Roundheads in Nottingham
Charles I happily visited Nottingham and raised his standard here, but the following year, parliamentary troops (The Roundheads) had occupied Nottingham. At the castle, they were attacked by royalist troops (The Cavaliers) in 1643 and in 1644. There was a great fight, the castle was severely damaged and many prisoners were taken. The Royalists never retook the castle and in 1651 Oliver Cromwell ordered that it should be destroyed to stop it from ever falling in to Royalist hands.
The Underground Tanneries
By this time there were 47 tanneries in Nottingham. The majority were in the Marsh area of the town. The city has the UK’s only surviving medieval underground tannery which was used between 1500 and 1640. This can be visited today as part of the tour of Nottingham’s Caves.
The Malt Cross Caves
The Malt Cross site was first listed as an inn at about this time. The caves beneath are likely to have been store rooms or used for brewing and storing ale. The well would have been used for drawing up water for the brewing process. The herringbone brick floor would have been a Victorian addition to make the floor level for better storage.
Malt Cross Closes
Malt Cross was closed by the Council which was cracking down on the drinking culture in Nottingham. It did this by removing music licences from the music halls. Without a licence they were unable to put on live acts and could not then attract the audiences they needed to survive.