Colwick Cheese

Three cheeses (2)

Colwick Cheese is a fresh cheese invented around the 17th Century in the village of Colwick, south of Nottingham on the River Trent.  The cheese has recently been revived using traditional methods and milk from the rare Red Poll Cattle.

Colwick is a soft, curdy cheese.  Because of the way it is made; it has a unique shape, forming a bowl. The centre of the curd falls to the bottom of the mould while the sides still hold to the cheese cloth. Nottingham locals would place all sorts of flavourings into this bowl: jam; soft fruit such as strawberries, apples, pears etc. Others would eat a savoury version with onion, garlic or pieces of bread. It was also combined with cream in the hollowed out bowl and locals would spoon the two together.

Colwick cheese is normally made using moulds similar to cake tins. Many households which traditionally made their own cheese would tip the curds into a cloth, rather than a mould, which they would hang on a line, letting out the whey until the cheese is dry.

Colwick can be eaten either fresh or ripened.  To ripen: the cheese is covered to exclude the air. In former times the traditional way to cover it was with cabbage leaf placed over the top. 

History of Colwick Cheese

The name Colwick comes from the Old English word wic, which was a word for a farm and particularly a dairy farm.  Colwick might well come from the name of the farmer, i.e. as in Cole’s Dairy.  The Domesday Book mentions the village as Colewic:

“There was a church there and a water-mill by the Trent side, and attached to the manor were the important rights of a free fishery. More dwelt seven villeins and six bordars in addition to a priest and two serfs or servants.” 

The cheese is believed to have been made since as far back as the 17th Century.  It is said to have been invented by a John Clarkson who lived in the village and died in 1645 and was one of the family buried in the nave of St John’s church.

Colwick Cheese is celebrated in an 1857 poem by John Dilks ‘The Artist’s Bride’ which also features the River Trent (page 23);

“Many others, there assembled,
Cosy, sitting at their ease;
Or despatching with great gusto,
Pleasant ‘Colwick,’ thy rich cheese.”

The entry in an 1813 guide book states for Colwick:

“The village itself is rural, at present in some measure romantic; has a number of pleasant villas and cottages, and has long been, famous for a race of dairy people, who make a very pleasant kind of soft summer cheese.”
-‘A topographical and historical description of the County of Nottingham’ By Francis Charles Laird (page 153). The entry is repeated word for word in ‘The Beauties of England and Wales’ by John Britton. (Volume 12, Part 1 Page 153).

The entry for Colwick in the 1832 Nottingham directory by William White (page 667) states:

“The village is noted for the making of a thin soft kind of cheese, called Colwick cheese; it is often seen amongst the refreshments set before parties at the tea gardens, and other places of public resort around Nottingham.”

The 1864 edition by Francis White (page 501) adds the following:

“The Clarkson and Horsley families who have been resident here for the last three centuries, have been noted for their manufacture of this kind of cheese, for the last 150 years. Although vast quantities of cheese made in other places is styled the ‘real Colwick cheese,’ it is only that made in this village which is the genuine article.”

43 thoughts on “Colwick Cheese

  1. This cheese sounds absolutely gorgeous, I live in Poole in Dorset and would love to try.
    It makes a change that we have these beautiful cheeses in the UK but it’s a shame it’s not easily available. Please can anyone tell me where to buy thank you.

  2. I live in Devon and love to support British cheese would love to buy this versatile cheese to support our farmers products !. Another potential buyer!!

  3. Have saved you to “favourites” and will await developments about more suppliers, but as I only live in Birmingham, I am considering a day out to Eastwell . . . . hope all works out wonderfully, Gill

  4. watched Jamies last night, I remember Colwick cheese being sold in the fish shop on sneinton Dale Nottingham. Now very keen to try it again, where is the nearest outlet PLEASE

    • Thank you John are you still in Nottingham? If so see our where to buy section.
      If not go to your local cheese/farm shop or deli & ask them to order from their
      cheese wholesaler for you.

  5. My family came from the village of wyme swold. In Leicestershire and were cheese makers my great grandfather sold this type cheese in Nottingham Market and I can rember my grand mother making this cheese in her farm house kitchen as a boy in the 1950s.l have searching for this cheese for years and thought it lost.l would love to try it again and pass it onto my children ,please could you enable to purchase some.
    Keith jamesD

  6. Pingback: Nottingham – great stuff #6 | Tim Garratt's Blog

  7. Amazing how a taste can take you straight back to your childhood – which is exactly what your cheese does. Also got my mum reminiscing about how she used to buy it on the market from families that made it. A fantastic product.

  8. I remember eating this every week as a treat I think we bought it from the butcher on Wilford Road. Loved it on crusty bread with lots of pepper. So pleased to be able to get it again

  9. So pleased to hear of the return of this great cheese. At home we usually had one every weekend, eaten on good wholemeal bread with a sprinkle of salt. I shall certainly try to order from my local farm shop in Suffolk.

  10. Hi, could you tell me if cowlick cheese is suitable for freezing? I would like to buy in bulk and hopefully freeze some for when I need it 😀

  11. good luck to you . my sisters and I remember having Colwick cheese with cucumber in particular in the early 60s when we lived in Woodthorpe. We bought the cheese from our local grocer on Thackeray’s Lane. so pleased it is back in production.We loved it. I will recommend it to my sister in law who now lives in Gedling and I will get some on my next visit.

  12. Just learnt ’bout the existance of this “bijou culinaire”. Happy to see that local “saveurs” are still do exist everywhere.

    Greetings from Bordeaux/France

  13. Hi are you the couple I saw in jamie and Jimmy cafe show today. If so bloody marvelous job at producing a quality cheese to please the taste buds.
    I’m in the north east do you supply this far north. I’d love to try.
    I’m 40 next week and my bucket list is taste sensation, experiences and love.
    Pls holla
    X zoe

  14. Hi
    I’ve been asked to source your Colwick cheese.
    What is your minimum delivery and do you have a London based distributer?

    Do you supply any other cheese varieties?

    Many thanks
    Brent Wilkinson

  15. I was thrilled when I heard about the return of Colwick Cheese – something I remember by name and by taste from being young and, like the post above, growing up in Woodthorpe. However…am I right in remembering this cheese being sold in white pots with blue writing on them back in the 70s/early 80s? Perhaps sold in Pork Farms shops? Or is that something different I’m remembering?

  16. Pingback: Colwick Cheese Revisited | PorchesterBus

  17. We are in Australia and saw this cheese on Jamie Oliver’s show and wish we could try it, it looks amazing. Anyway of getting some somehow? 😊

  18. Hello there,

    we love to get hold some of your cheese since we last saw you on Jamie & Jimmy’s Friday Feast, and understandably that your produces are only supplying to the local area where you are, so we are wondering whether or not you will be supplying somewhere near us here in London or with any local Farmer’s market in the near future? Perhaps you would consider to sell them online? Shame that we couldn’t get to where you are but hope something will come to our end soon….

    So please let us know.

  19. My father who was from Basford, Nottingham, used to buy Colwick cheese and ripen it before eating. I remember its pungent smell as it colapsed and spread over the plate left in the pantry until mother complained! Am pleased it is still made and locally.

  20. I live in Queensland Australia and am going to try making it myself! Got all the ingredients but waiting for my air conditioner to be fixed as it is 36C here again today – think that might be a touch hot for making cheese! Can I put it in the fridge to cure? Looking forward to trying it – saw it on Jamie and Jimmy.

  21. Hi Alan and Jane,
    I work in Nottingham at the racecourse in Colwick and I would love to use your cheese. Please let me know if that would be possible?

    Many thanks

    Trevor Bearder

  22. Would love to try this amazing cheese.. I live just outside Oxford and have no idea where to buy it. Help! Look forward to hearing further. thanks. Bea

  23. Hello
    I’ve seen this cheese on tv
    Where would I be able to purchase some ?
    The salty variation seems delicious.



  24. My husband and I love to try new cheeses but we are in Norfolk and no idea how to get some of your lovely local produce.

    Many thanks

  25. We live in West Sussex and would like to buy your Colwick soft cheese…………. after watching Jamie & Jimmie …………. we will pester our local shops to stock it

  26. JUst had the pleasure of meeting you and drinking your fantastic milk! Hope to see you again and to meet your wonderful gIrls! Melton artisan food show rocks.

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