Nottingham Lots

Maryland was mostly part of southwestern Chester County, PA, one of William Penn's original counties after his founding of Pennsylvania in 1682. This area of the county represented the western frontier of Pennsylvania at that time, and the lands west of here were primarily tribal and unsettled by Europeans.

Native Americans, particularly descendants of the Susquehannocks and other tribes that had been displaced by the growth of colonizing settlers, once used the heavily forested lands here for their hunting and fishing grounds. William Penn's several treaties with the Indians, including one in 1705, probably helped minimize major outbreaks between the Colonists and the Native Americans living here.

Nottingham Lots MarkerHistorically, the Nottingham Lots were "ground zero" for a multi-generational land dispute between the several Lords Baltimore and William Penn, his sons and grandsons over border rights. Unlike other English colonies in America, both Maryland and Pennsylvania were originally grants or gifts to Lord Baltimore and William Penn, respectively. Each had autonomy in governing his colony without the direct control of the English government.
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It is apparent from the records that Maryland had its toehold in this area before Pennsylvania. The Maryland Charter of 1632 placed that colony's northern boundary near 40 degrees latitude, closer to Philadelphia. However, this border was never firmly established.

Fifty (50) years later, in 1682, William Penn received a grant of land from James 11 of England on the west side of the Delaware River and Delaware Bay. Penn appointed his cousin, William Markham, governor of Pennsylvania and appointed three commissioners to lay out the city of Philadelphia. Penn continued to amass great land holdings in the new colony, as he had in England.

The primary dispute was over Lord Baltimore's claim to the northern border of Maryland and William Penn's claim to the southern border of Pennsylvania. This land dispute continued for another fifty years after Penn's death in 1718. It was not until the late 1760's that the boundary was drawn through the work of two eminent English mathematicians and astronomers, Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon.

The Nottingham Lots grew out of William Penn's tenacity in establishing his border rights. The second Lord Baltimore, Cecil Calvert, became more preoccupied with settling his border rights with the colony of Virginia to the south. At the same time, Penn was successful in attracting Quaker families primarily from the Philadelphia area and West Jersey as a means of fortifying his title to it.

In addition to the political differences between Lord Baltimore and William Penn, there were also differences in their religious backgrounds. Maryland was a Catholic-friendly colony and the Calverts were Catholic. There were strongly held feelings between them and the Protestant King William and Queen Mary of England. The late 1600's and early 1700's represented a turbulent time in the religious history of England. Lord Baltimore could not assume an adversarial role toward William Penn due to Lord Baltimore's complex relationships with the Crown of England at that time.

In the late 1600's, the second Lord Baltimore, Cecil Calvert, had a relative named George Talbot. Talbot, an Irishman who became Surveyor General of Maryland, was granted a patent for a huge tract of land of 32,000 acres known as the Susquehanna Manor to help settle English and Irish immigrants in Maryland. Talbot was an adventurous man who became embroiled in. a series of turbulent events, including a murder that resulted in his forfeiture of the Manor. William Penn used his dominant position to carve out over half of the former Susquehanna Manor for the new Nottingham settlement at the turn of the century.
Penn's original tract was divided into lots running north and south, resulting in 37 lots. Each lot averaged approximately 500 acres and each was numbered between 1 and 37. It is generally believed that prospective owners made selections by the drawing of lots - hence, the use of the term "Lots."

The name "Nottingham" most likely came from William Penn's home in Nottinghamshire, England. The local township became known as East Nottingham and the meetinghouse became East Nottingham. Quakers and Scots-Irish Presbyterians settled the area to the west, known as West Nottingham.
These 37 lots laid in Maryland and were part of George Talbot's "Susquehanna Manor" of 32,000 acres granted him in 1680 by Lord Baltimore.