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Rufford and Sherwood history on TV

Posted onPosted on 15th Nov
Rufford and Sherwood history on TV

TV historian and presenter Tony Robinson lifts the lid on King John’s fascinating connections to Rufford Abbey and Sherwood Forest as part of his latest TV series later this month.

Nottinghamshire County Council hosted a visit from Wildfire Television in July as scenes were filmed for one in a series of six episodes of Channel Four’s Walking Through History with Tony Robinson.

In each episode, the presenter walks through different regions of the British landscape exploring a period of history. The programme on November 22 at 8pm will feature King John and his strong connections to Nottinghamshire and the lead up to the Magna Carta.

Councillor John Knight, Committee Chairman for Culture, at Nottinghamshire County Council, said: “It is great news both Sherwood Forest and Rufford Abbey feature in this programme. We were very pleased to host Tony Robinson and his team and the episode will raise the profile of what life was like in Nottinghamshire during the time of King John, and uncover some of the fascinating stories from that time at both Rufford and Sherwood.”

Walking into Rufford Abbey Country Park from the direction of Wellow, Tony discovers the Abbey ruins and interviews historian Dr Claire Taylor from the University of Nottingham inside the Frater within the Undercroft. In the early 1200s, King John had various dealings with the Cistercians who founded the Abbey, which Tony discusses on camera. Nottinghamshire County Council historian Paul Norton provided vital background about the history of Rufford.

As part of the visit to Sherwood Forest Country Park, Tony meets the county council’s assistant site manager Paul Cook and walks along the forest path, visiting the historic Major Oak, seeing some tree management work, and walking through the visitor centre area on route to Edwinstowe. Sherwood Forest was a Royal Hunting ground so was a popular location for King John to visit during his reign.

Speaking about his visit to Nottinghamshire, Tony Robinson said: “Rufford Abbey and its lovely country park really is a wonderful place to visit. We were lucky to be filming in fine weather, and late in the day when the ruins had all the warmth and glow we could have hoped for. The story of John and his big row with the Cistercians of Rufford is just the sort of historical nugget we seek out on Walking Through History. It’s a fascinating insight into John’s style of kingship that would be overlooked by other shows less able to delve into such local detail.

“I know Sherwood and King’s Clipstone of old and they make for fascinating neighbours. One celebrates Robin Hood and the mythology of John’s region, while the other offers very real evidence of the king’s life and his interests.”

Another location filmed locally for the programme by Wildfire Television is King John’s Palace. This location will provide further interest for viewers as Sherwood Forest Trust has just been shortlisted in the regional final of the Big Lottery ‘People’s Millions’ funding programme for its project ‘Discover King John’s Palace in King’s Clipstone’.

Sherwood Forest Trust has made a grant application valued at £42,000 to improve the access to and interpretation of this historic site, develop educational and learning resources for schools and also to make the links in the lead up to the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta next year.

However, in order to secure the funding, the Trust must win the votes of the general public and is now inviting people across Nottinghamshire to get behind the bid for the big voting day which is Wednesday 26 November from 9.00am until 12.00 midnight.

Nottinghamshire County Council is supporting Sherwood’s bid. Phone lines will not be announced for voting until the morning of the 26 November on Central News East.

For more details about the competition visit: