Ravenshead: The Hutt and the Pilgrim Oak

Ravenshead: The Hutt and the Pilgrim Oak

The oldest building in Ravenshead, the Hutt, dates from the 15th century and stands on what was previously a royal “hutt”, one of a number established in Sherwood Forest by King John to house the armed foresters who protected the royal deer herds. By the 17th century it had become a coaching inn, a stopping place for merchants and travellers braving the often perilous journey between Nottingham and Mansfield. The route between the two places went through what is now Ravenshead and was a well-established track in medieval times. Those travelling along it risked being attacked and robbed by outlaws hiding in the dense woodland, Thieves Wood to the north of the village being aptly named. In 1764 the road became much safer as it was made into a turnpike with tollgates at either end in Arnold and Mansfield. Opposite the Hutt is the entrance to Newstead Abbey at which stands the Pilgrim Oak. Here it is thought that pilgrims would stop and read the gospels before proceeding to the priory, and is also believed to be a place where spring rites were celebrated.

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