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Its civic traditions are maintained by Charter Trustees.
However, as the community grew it spread to occupy land on the other bank of the river, and it was this eastern part of the town that eventually became more important; hence Retford's alternative (and, for administrative purposes, still official) name of East Retford.The highly unusual coat of arms for the town consists of two rampant choughs.Retford was largely destroyed by a fire in 1528, but prospered after the Great North Road was diverted to run through the town in 1766 and the Chesterfield Canal (1777) and the direct London to York railway (1849) were both routed via the borough.The Great North Road was diverted around the town in 1961 and part of the route through the town is now a pedestrian precinct.Retford (also known as East Retford) is a market town in Nottinghamshire in the East Midlands of England, located 31 miles (50 km) from the city of Nottingham, and 23 miles (37 km) west of Lincoln, in the district of Bassetlaw.The population of the town at the 2011 census was 22,013.
The town is situated in a valley with the River Idle and the Chesterfield Canal running through the centre of the town.
The village of Ordsall, west of the River Idle and the East Coast Main Line railway, and the former hamlet of Thrumpton are suburbs of the town.
Retford is under the control of Bassetlaw District Council, with their base being located in neighbouring Worksop.
Retford is twinned with the town of Pfungstadt, Germany.
Retford gained its first charter in 1246, when Henry III granted the right for a fair, this was later extended to holding a Saturday Market by Edward I in 1275.
It was reformed by the Municipal Corporations Act 1835, and then remained a municipal borough until 1974 when it was merged into Bassetlaw district.