Gotham, Nottinghamshire

Gotham ("goat-um") is a village in Nottinghamshire, England, south of Nottingham and north-east of Kegworth. Gotham has a population of about 1,600, it is administered as part of the Rushcliffe district of Nottingham, and has a parish council.

It has a twelfth-century church named after St Lawrence.

The village is most famed for the stories of the "Wise Men of Gotham". These depict the people of the village as being stupid. However, the reason for the behaviour is believed to be that the villagers wished to feign madness in order to avoid a Royal Highway being built through the village, as they would then be expected to build and maintain this route. Madness was believed at the time to be highly contagious, and when King John's knights saw the villagers behaving as if insane, the knights swiftly withdrew and the King's road was re-routed to avoid the village.

One of the mad deeds seen by the knights, was a group of villagers fencing off a small tree in order to keep a cuckoo captive from the sheriff of Nottingham. One of the three pubs/inns in the village is known as The Cuckoo Bush Inn.

Reminded of the foolish ingenuity of Gotham's residents, Washington Irving gave the name "Gotham" to New York City in his Salmagundi Papers (1807). In turn, Bob Kane named the pastiche New York City home of Batman Gotham City. The existence of Gotham, Nottinghamshire in the DC Universe was recently confirmed in Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #206 (and reconfirmed later in 52 #27), although the connection between two names within the DCU has not been fully explained.

Gotham is home to a biological Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) listed as Gotham Hill Pasture.

Gotham’s WW2 past

There are few remaining physical examples of Gotham’s wartime past. The word Gotham was removed from the face of the schools building along with all signs and direction posts during WW2 to confuse troops. The Pillbox pictured is the only remaining structure dating from the Second World War. It was one of two pillboxes erected to form a defence for the village and also for a searchlight battery. The damage to the Pillbox was caused post war and not due to enemy action.

see also British hardened field defences of World War II


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