Situated on the east side of the county, with a few acres still in Nottinghamshire, Pinxton was in Anglo Saxon times, a tiny and purely agricultural settlement which it remained for centuries.
Circumstancial evidence points to its having been the unidentified manor of Esnotrewic or Snodeswic belonging in 1086 to William Peveril, five of whose 13 Derbyshire manors lay on the eastern border, including South Normanton and Shirland. Under him the manor was held by Drogo Fitz Ponce, who seems to have changed its name to Ponceston from which it evolved to Penekeston by 1208 and eventually to Pinxton.
Coal has been mined on a small scale on land leased from the the great landowners from Tudor times but with the arrival of a branch of the Cromford Canal in the 1790’s a miniature industrial revolution began. Within a decade or so of the canal’s arrival there sprang up, close to its terminal wharf, several deep coal pits, four lime kilns and a china works. John Coke built the china factory and was joined by William Billingsley, a famous painter from the Derby works and together they produced a much sought after product. At its busiest the workforce totalled 50 but the factory closed altogether in 1812 and the buildings were converted in collier’s dwellings.
The early 19th century saw the building of a railway line from Pinxton Wharf to Mansfield. It was horse drawn until 1849 when it became linked to the Erewash valley railway. The population expanded from 463 in 1801 to 868 in 1831 with new housing being built in the wharf district which became known as New Pinxton.
John King who lived in Pinxton invented the mine cage safety detaching hook which became world famous and his old workshop was converted into a small commemoratve museum. In a single room it displays through photograps, documents, artifacts and models a revealing insite into the economic and social history of Pinxton and it’s neighbourhood. A John King Memorial Headgear still stands opposite the Greyhound Inn in the village.
The Coke family who owned much of the village lived at the Elizabethan Brookhill Hall. The last of the male Cokes was the composer Roger Sacheverill Coke who lived at the hall until his death in 1972. He was a personel friend of Rachmaninov by whose style he was much influenced. The house was in a poor state by the time of his death and its splendid grounds has run wild but both have been restored since its return to private ownership after a period as a home for drug addicts and it forms a charming green oasis between the M1 and the Erewash Valley.
The church of St Helen partly dates from medieval times and possibly on the site of a small castle that once existed here. only the west tower and west end of the old church survived a massive rebuilding in 1750 when a new much larger church was built on to it at right angles, converting them into a south tower and transcept and making the whole building look rather odd. A new porch and north aisle were added in 1939. The village also had several methodist chapels built in the 19th century and a new Wesley church was built around 1900 near to the junction of Wharf road and Victoria road.
The village has had a variety of recreational facilities in it’s time with the Miners Welfare providing all manner of sports facilities. There was a billiards hall intil the 1950’s and numerous clubs and societies once existed. A modern industrial estate now sits on the site of the former Brookhall Colliery and coke ovens. New housing estates have sprang up and though the older terraces of colliers houses have gone along with the headstocks and other detritus of mining, Pinxton still looks like a mining village with a community spirit still fostered by a common interest in the coal industry of old.