Blackwell receives an entry in the Doomsday book of 1085 showing that there was a Lord of the manor, 13 Villeins, 4 Bordars with ploughs, 7 acres of meadow, 1 wood and 1 priest with bordar. Whether the villeins were the first football team in the village was not recorded. The meaning of Blackwell is attributed to a 'Dark Spring' and is believed to be a spring on the hill known as 'Sinai' opposite the church. As coal deposits are close to the surface in that area it may well be they coloured the water to a dark appearance. The community was served by the mining industry throughout the 1800's. The community expanded around this time and records from the Derbyshire Times show that organised football took place in the village even around this era. Without the distractions of television, sport was a major interest for all the villagers. In 1900 the present sports ground was opened and Rugby and cricket was played. Football matches tended to be played on other pitches in the village. The cricket ground has staged many important games during its history & holds the world record for the 9th wicket stand, 283 Derbyshire v Warwickshire in 1910. The village produced many good 'home-grown' teams and everyone turned out to see family, friends and work-mates in action. One record from a treasurers account showed an entry for one game of £40 gate money @ sixpence each, equating to 1600 paying customers. Teams around the early to middle of the century competed in the Ripley and District leagues. In the early 50's the team moved to the Notts. Alliance and enjoyed instant success when they finished runners-up to a very strong
Gedling Colliery side who dominated local football at that time. The following 2 seasons saw them finish 3rd and in 1954/55 the team won the Notts Alliance Championship and finished runners-up to Boots Athletic in the Senior Cup, losing 6-3 in front of 6,000 people at Meadow Lane. They returned to the Ripley league in the late 50's and then had a brief spell in the East Midlands League before joining the Sutton & Skegby League in the early 60's. During that time they enjoyed more success, winning the Stamper Cup. The club disbanded in 1972 but reformed in 1974 winning the Sutton & Skegby Division 'C' title followed by Section 'A' runners-up in 1975/76 & 82/83, Premier division runners-up in 1977-78. Section 'A' Cup was won in 1976/77 and this year began the return of the clubs proud record in Derbyshire County F.A. competitions. The Junior Cup just eluded them that season but it was returned in 1978 / 83 / 84, with the Divisional Cup being won in 1986.
In 1984-85 the club moved into the Central Midlands Football League and became Senior division champions and Cup winners. The club continued to occupy the top half of the tables during the late 80's, but in the 1990's the club struggled at the wrong end of the table, finishing bottom or second bottom on 3 occasions. Despite this downfall in circumstances the club kept going and at the beginning of 1998, the present committee came together to try to revive the fortunes of the club. In season 1998-99 the club achieved fifth spot and were offered the opportunity to play in the Supreme division for the first time. This offer was accepted and although the club finish bottom in the 1999/2000 season they retained Supreme status. In 2000/01 they finished next bottom and were relegated.
Despite this set back the club remained positive and a new manager was installed for season 2001-2002. Trevor Hammond, previously at Shardlow St. James took the helm, and with floodlights installed during the season, promotion back to the Supreme division was achieved with the club also enjoying excellent runs in the cup competitions, bowing out to Shirebrook Town in the Floodlit semi-finals. In 2002/3 they played in the FA Vase for the 1st time and enjoyed more cup success, getting to the league cup semi-final before bowing out to Dunkirk after extra time. However the club finished 2nd bottom but were saved from relegation. Graham Brentnall stepped back into the managers seat in 2003/4 and then halfway through 2004/5 Kevin Jackson and Ben Calpin were handed responsibility of the team and guided them to their best ever finish, 17th out of 22. For the record at the start of the clubs
The village has a strong sporting link to both football and cricket and Derbyshire played county games on the cricket field at Blackwell. In deed the ground actually holds the World Record for the ninth wicket stand, this being 283 runs set during the Derbyshire v Warwickshire game on the afternoon of Tuesday 21st June 1910, between Derbyshire captain John Chapman and Arnold Warren. A brass plaque honouring this record is held in the community centre at Newton.
There is evidence to support that 'Old Blackwell' was inhabited from before the beginning of the Christian era. A Saxon cross believed to originate from 7-800 AD was found and is still to be seen standing at the side of the Church Porch door (As seen on the left hand photo) The church was dedicated to St. Werburgh who claimed kinship with St. Ethereda and St. Hilda the Abbess of Whitby.
Here are a few of the people that have put Blackwell on the map from the sporting arena.
Bill Foulkes--26 stone, 6'-3" goalkeeper who played for Sheffield United / Chelsea / England--
Harold Hill--Played for Notts. County & Sheffield Wednesday
Jimmy Simmons--Sheffield United / Harry Jones--Forest
Terry Adlington & James Radford--Derby County
Ryan Williams--Chesterfield FC / Hull / Bristol Rovers
Elijah Carrington--Derbyshire County Cricket
Alf Walters--Ayr Cricket Club
BLACKWELL'S INFAMOUS SON
Blackwell's most famous resident of the early twentieth century was Percy Toplis, the so-called "Monocled Mutineer". During World War One Toplis appeared in the village dressed in the uniform of a British Army Captain. The story is that the colliery manager's interest in the Army occasioned a parade of the local territorials, who were inspected by Toplis. Soon after he left, the truth was learned by Blackwell residents that Percy had been involved in a mutiny and was eventually shot by the Police during a pursuit. The legend lives on with a picture of Toplis appearing on the sign of the Blackwell Hotel.