In the 19th century the name the Dukeries was given to the area of North Nottinghamshire where palaces and vast estates had been created against the backdrop of Sherwood Forest.
For four hundred years from 1550 to 1950, these estates were owned by some of the highest and most powerful families in the land, including the Dukes of Norfolk, Portland, Newcastle upon Tyne, Newcastle under Lyme, and Kingston upon Hull and the Earls of Shrewsbury, Arundel, Oxford, Scarborough, and Clare.
The story of how these great families came to be situated here began when Elizabeth Cavendish, owner of Hardwick and Chatsworth, married George Talbot, the 6th Earl of Shrewsbury, one of the wealthiest men in England, and lord of the manor of Worksop. During the dissolution of the monasteries, King Henry VIII sold off vast areas of church land. Elizabeth, Countess of Shrewsbury's children, step-children and their descendants acquired by inheritance, purchase or by marriage Worksop Manor, Welbeck Abbey, Rufford Abbey, Clumber and Thoresby. Their fortunes changed for better or worse over the centuries by their close involvement with the religious changes of the 16th century, the civil war in the 17th century, the political reforms of the 19th century and the aristocratic decline in the 20th century, when many of the houses disappeared and some of the parklands became open to the public.