EAST RETFORD. REDEFORD.
This is an ancient Borough, and sendeth two burgesses to serve in parliament, yet
I find nothing of it in doomsday book considerable, saving that in Redford was
a mill belonging to Sudton, of the fee of the arch-bishop of York.
In the record of Nomina Villarum 9 E. 2. the king is certified to be lord of it.
(fn. 1) The men of Retford by the consent of the burgesses of Nottingham, ought to
take Thurtoll, (viz. passage toll) through these bounds, viz: at the head (or townsend) of Melhagh at Mirell Brigg, at Wyston, and in all other places where the burgesses of Nottingham werewont to take.
(fn. 2) Roger arch-bishop of York founded, and built, and dedicated a chapel under
the name of the Virgin Mary and All Angels, near the greater church of York; in
which (chapel) he placed thirteen clarks of several orders, viz. four priests, four
deacons, four sub-deacons, and one sacrist, to celebrate divine (service) according
to the constitution of that church of St. Peter; for whose support he gave the moyety of the church of Otteley, the church of Everton, the church of Sutton, with the chapel of Scrooby, and the church of Hayton, the church of Beardsey. The church of
Claverly was of the gift of William Scoty, that of Hoton of William Pannel, that of
Harewood of Amicia de Rumelly, and that of Thorpe of Adam de Bruis, and Jevetta
de Arches his wife. Hamo the chanter of York, was by the said arch-bishop Roger
made sacrist of the said chapel of St. Mary and All Angels, that in it he might dispose
and order the service, and procure and minister to the chaplains, deacons, and subdeacons, what the arch-bishop had constituted for their food and rayment, &c. Every priest was to have yearly ten marks, every deacon 100, and every sub-deacon six
marks of silver by the hand of the sacrist, who was also to have yearly ten marks,
(though the rents whereof he was made procurator should happen to fall short to the
rest) and the surplusage of all the rents, but was to act with all diligence according to
the will and direction of the said arch-bishop,
(fn. 3) In the year 1258, Mr. Gilbert de Tyva was made the sacrist by Sewall arch-bishop
of York, and on the Saturday next after the feast of St. Martin, inducted into the
possession of the church of St. Swithin of Retford. The same year the 4th. (or 3) of
of the Nones of May, the said arch-bishop Sewall ordained the vicarages of Sutton
Everton, Hayton, Clarburgh, and Redford; and likewise of Thorp Arches, Colingham,
Beardssey, Otteley; Calverley, and Hoton Painell in Yorkshire, in which ordination it
is expressed that if any of the said vicars should happen to have less than ten marks per
annum, the vicarage was to be augmented as it should please the arch-bishop.
The vicar of Redford was to have 100s. of the altarage, and the small tythes, viz.
of chickens, pigs, geese, and the bread and wine, (or ale or beer) which should happen to be brought to the altar: and the sacrist was to give to the poor of that town
the tythes of the mills.
(fn. 4) Philip de Houlecotes (cousin and heir of Mr. Alan de Bolleshoure mentioned
in Little Grœneley) gave the moyety of the mills of Retford to the abbey of Wellebek,
according to the tenor of the charters of king Richard 1, and king John, for the sustentation of two chaplains in the church of Wellebek, and of one in his church of Stirape, to celebrate divine service for ever, for the soul of the said Philip, &c. Alicia de Stirape, eldest daughter of Gerard de Stirape, knight, confirmed the gift which
the said Philip de Houlecotes, her brother, made of the moyety of the mill of Retford, which belonged to her. (fn. 5) Hamelin de Buggethorp, and Margaret his wife,
confirmed to the said abbey the gift of the moyety of the mills of Retford, and all
other donations which the said Philip de Houlecotes, their predecessour had made.
(fn. 6) The king, 11 H. 3. Apr: 17: gave to the abbey of Wellebek, the mills of Ratford, to be holden of him in fee-farm for 10l: per annum, saving to the heirs of Raph
Tessun, if he should recover his inheritance in Watelegh 40s: per annum, which the said
abbat and canons were to pay besides the said 10l: per annum.
Hubert de Burgo earl of Kent, justice of England, considering the love of God,
and for the safety of his own soul, and of his wifes Margaret the daughter of the king
of Scotland, and of their heirs, gave to God and the church of St. James at Wellebek,
and the canons there serving God, and to serve God, 40s. yearly rent which he had
out of the mills of Ratford, which Raph Tessun was wont to receive; and likewise
granted that his men of Wheteley should do suit to the said mills of the said abbat and
covent, according as they ought and were wont.
(fn. 7) It was adjudged in the exehequer, 8 May, 47 H. 3. that the men of Retford
should do suit to the mills of the abbat and covent of Wellebek at Retford duely as other
the kings burgesses and sokemen then did, and it was there noted that the men of
Retford, who would be called burgesses, were the kings sokesmans, and so called in
the doomsday. Hugh Levyn, and other men of Retford, withdrew themselves from
the suit, whereupon the abbat, 4 E. 1. (fn. 8) procured a precept (or writ) to the sheriff to distrain them according to the former judgement.
(fn. 9) The king, (H. 3.) for the bettering of his borough of Retford, granted to the
burgesses thereof, that they and their heirs for ever should have every year one fair
there to endure for eight days, viz. the eve, day, and morrow of the Holy Trinity, and five days following. They, 30 H. 3. (fn. 10) had acquittance from tallage.—
They, in 44 H. 3. (fn. 11) had a fair and other liberties granted. And in 7 E. 2. (fn. 12) the
borough had a fair. And 46 E, 3. (fn. 13) the town had a fair.
They petitioned the parliament at Westminster, 4 E. 3. after the feast of St. Kath.
concerning pardon of their burgesses there—by reason of their poverty. There
was a charter of confirmation of the liberties of the town of Retford, 9 E. 3. (fn. 14) by
which it was granted that the inhabitants of the said town, to wit, the burgesses and
their heirs resident in the said borough should not be put in assises, juries, or any recognizances with foreiners, by occasion of their forein lands and tenements.
(fn. 15) The jury, 6 E. 1. found that Walter Prat held a mansion (or dwelling house)
in Retford of John Prat his brother in free burgage, likewise of Thomas, son of Raph
de Hayton, two acres ½ of meadow, and of divers other small parcels in several places,
and that Adam Prat was his only son and heir, and then seven years old.
(fn. 16) At the assizes at Nott. 30 E. 3. John at Vykers recovered his seisin of one mess.
and one toft in East Retford, and Walter, son of Adam Prat, and others were amerced.
In another assize he recovered against the said Walter, and others, four tofts, two
hundred and sixty acres of land, sixteen of meadow, and 16s. rent in Greneley, Ordesale,
Thurmeton, Tylne, Wellum, Wellum Morehouse, Blith, Stirap, Serleby, Thoreworth, and Hodesake.
(fn. 17) There was a fine levied at Westminster, 48 E. 3. between Thomas de Southorp,
vicar of the church of East Retford, and Robert de Loversdale, vicar of Everton, quer. & John de Walton of Retford, and Alice his wife, deforc. of thirteen mess. four tofts,
one hundred twenty three acres of land and an half, eight acres of meadow, 9s. 8d.
rent, and the moyety of two mess. with the appurtenances in East Retford, West Retford,
Ordesale, Babbeworth, Wellum Morehouse, Wellum, Everton, Eton, Milneton, Hoghton, and Little
Markham, whereby most of the said lands were settled on the said John and Alice, and
the heirs of their bodies; remainder to Elias de Thoresby, and Joane his wife, and
the heirs of their bodies; remainder to the right heirs of Alice.
(fn. 18) The jury, 8 R. 2. found it no damage if the king granted Mr. Richard de Raucliffe, parson of Cloun, William de Burgh, parson of Babworth, and Peter le Cooke,
chaplain, licence to give to the prior and covent of Wirksop, and their successours, five
mess. and the moyety of three mess. with the appurtenances in East Retford for ever,
to find a chaplain to pray for the good estate of the said Richard, William, and Peter,
whilst they should live, and daily to celebrate for them all when they should be dead,
in the church of that priory. The lands were held of the king in free burgage by the
service of 9s. 2d. yearly, paid by the hands of the bayliffs of East Retford, as parcel of
the see farm of that town. In the same year, viz. 8 R. 2. (fn. 19) there was another return
of an Ad quod damnum, that the king might grant to John Liola, parson of West Retford, Thomas, vicar of Clarburgh, Thomas, vicar of East Retford, John de Treyswell,
chaplain, Hugh de Tylne of Retford, William de Burgh, parson of Babworth, John Atte-Vikers, and Thomas de Besthorp, licence among them severally to give to the bayliffs and community of East Retford, and their successours for ever, nine mess. five tofts,
and 8s. rent in East Retford held of the king in free burgage by the service of 1d. per annum, to find two chaplains to officiate at the altars of St. Mary, and the Holy Trinity
in the church of East Retford, according to the ordinance of the arch-bishop of York.
At the dissolution the abbey of Rufford had a grange here. The abbey of Wellebek
had lands then rented at 2l. 17s. 4d. The priory of Radford by Worksop had rents of
assise 7s. 6d. and lands valued at 3l. 11s. The priory of Mattersays lands here were
(fn. 20) The town and borough of East Retford is the kings town, and hath been an ancient borough, as appears by a grant made by king Edward the first, who granted the
town in fee farm to the burgesses of the same, paying ten pounds per annum, giving
them power to chuse bayliffs for the government of the said town. Henry the third
granted them a fair. Edward 3. exempted them from all tolles and foreign services.—
Henry the sixth gave them a court of record to hold plea of action without limitation of
sum, and to use the office of escheator, and clark of the market: All which priviledges have been from time to time confirmed by the several kings and queens of this
land; and king James in the fifth year of his reign did not only confirm all former grants
made by his predecessours, but also incorporated it anew by the name of bayliffs and
burgesses, and appointed the same to be governed by two bayliffs, and likewise twelve
aldermen to make a common council for the town; also they have a common seal, with
power to alter it at their pleasure. And that the said two bayliffs for the time being,
and the learned steward shall be justices of the peace and Quorum within the said borough. Gilbert earl of Shrowsbury was high steward, and sir Richard Williamson, knt.
learned steward. Since then sir Gervas Clifton hath been high steward, and sir Hardolph Wastenes (who in his younger time was a barrester at law) learned steward.—
At this time his grace the duke of Newcastle, as I take it, is high steward, and John
Millington, esquire, learned steward. They have a town clark, and two serjeants at
(fn. 21) The vicarage of East Retford was 5l. when the sacrist of St. Maries at York (called
also St. Sepulchers) was patron: 'Tis now 5l. 5s. 0d. in the kings books, and the
earl of Devonshire patron.
In the Church North Ile on a Marble Grave-stone,
Hic jacet Johannes Smith, Merser, de East Retford, qui obiit 26 die Maii, Anno Dom. 1496,
Cujus Animæ propritietur Deus, Amen.
On another raised three foot high, circumscribed,
Hic jacet Johannes Bowly, — qui obiit — mensis Aprilis, Anno Dom. 1455. Cujus animæ propitietur Deus, Amen.
In the middle two Coats, on each Three Crescents upon a Bend.
On a Grave-stone at the East end of the Quire,
Hic jacet Johannes — Vicarius de East Redford, Rector de Hayton & Orsall, qui obiit
28 Decemb. Anno 1502. Cujus, &c.
In the old Quire,
Hic jacet Johannes Denman, Armiger, qui obiit 16 Novemb. Anno Dom. 1517. Cujus &c.
On it is twice cut, A Cinquefoyle upon a Chevron.
In a West Window—France and England, and Sab. Fretty Arg. a Carpentars square Or, and
Sab. Fretty Arg. and Ax Shaft Or, and head Arg.
There was Gules a Chief Arg. Hercy quartering Leek.
And Gules a Saltier Ermine, Nevill, impaling Arg. a Chevron between three Stars (or Mullets)
pierced Sable; and under the same all in one Scutcheon, Arg upon a Bend Azure
three Crescents Arg.
[Throsby] East Retford,
A considerable portion of the landed property hereabouts is in the hands of the
Corporation of Retford. Near are large plantations of hops.
This ancient borough town is governed by two bailiffs; one elected by the aldermen from their own body, and the other by the burgesses. It sends two members to
parliament, chosen by about 140 burgesses. Here are about 1,800 souls. The duke
of Newcastle was high steward when I visited this place. Sessions are held here:—
formerly offenders were hanged at and transported from this place; but now that
unpleasant business is done wholly at Nottingham.
August 20th. 1645, Charles the first was at this place on his passage from Doncaster to Newmarket. (fn. 22)
The fairs in October and March, the former for hops and the latter for cattle, are
very considerable. The principal manufactories of this place are for hats, paper,
sail-cloth, and sack-bags.
The town house is a commodious and handsome pile of modern building, about
thirty years standing. Here is an hospital for 4 men; a grammar school; and an
alms house for 12 women.
The church of East Retford, which is dedicated to St. Swithin, is called the corporation church in distinction to that of West Retford; it has a tower with six bells,
and consists of a nave and two side ailes well lighted. The chancel is comparatively small and rather dark: upon the whole, however, it is a commodious and
handsome church. The altar piece, which was given by a gentleman of the town,
about the beginning of the present century, is an ordinary picture of the Lord's
Supper. The organ is much too small for the nave of the church it stands in. It was
gallered in 1778 The arch-bishop of York, and the archdeacon, occasionally visit
In addition to Thoroton's church collections I have made the following:
On a stone in the east wall where the ecclesiastic court sits,
Anno Mundi 5526.
Ann. Christi 1582.
A neat tablet, on the north side of the chancel, remembers Robert Sutton, esq;
born at Kelham, 1699, and died in 1776. It says—In 1720 he was appointed Secretary of the embassy to the Congress at Cambray. He was Gentleman Usher to
queen Caroline; Master of the King's Stag-hounds in Shirewood forest; a Justice
of the Peace and Deputy Lieutenant for the county. He gave 100l. toward building
the town house; 100l. towards Barnby common road; built Kelham bridge; paid
the assessment of the poor on new roofing the church; gave an organ and bell; 200l.
towards procuring the queen's bounty; and a dividend of a share, in the canal, to
the poor of East Retford.
Opposite to the above, "William Ross, gent. died in 1753, aged 58." This
says, after a slattering panegyric, (which may be true) that "He recommended religion by the noblest practice of Temperance, Justice, Friendship, and extensive
Another—"To perpetuate the memory of a most amiable woman, in whom united every religious moral and social virtue, this monument was erected, by Josias
Cockshut, esq; of West Retford, to Mary his wife, who died 26th. of Oct. 1770,
Baptists prevail hereabouts.
Patron, Duke of Devonshire in 1772. Incumbent, Rev. Richard Morton, V.
Computed value 100l. per ann. King's book, 5l. 5s. 0d. Val. per ann. in mans.
5s. & in pens. sol. ann. per rect. 5l. Sacrista Sanct. Mariæ Ebor Propr. The king
presented in 1752.
Lord of the manor here is — Hardolph Eyre, esq: of Grove, near this place.
In this village, which communicates with the borough of Retford by a stone bridge
over the river Idle, are about 500 souls. (fn. 23)
Here is an hospital founded by John Darrel, M. D. Anno Dom. 1666, for ten
men, to which the trustees are now adding buildings for six more. The master is the
Sub-Dean of Lincoln. It is dedicated to the Holy Trinity. It was incorporated
soon after its foundation, by the trustees. Their seal has this inscription:—
Sigillum Hospit. St. & individuœ Trinitatis Retford Occident.
The brethren of this house have 10l. per ann. each, and some other benefits, such
as cloathing, coals, &c. Here prayers in the chapel are read twice a day, and the
sacrament received thrice a year, at least, by each. They have a portion of a garden
each, and an orchard left for their use. It is said they live under the best rules and
regulations; and by the charming buildings which are now erecting, it is a sign that
honesty, in the trustees, has been a ruling principle in their conduct. Unhappily for
some institutions of this sort, leases are renewed at the old rents, and somebody pockets the difference.
The following is an account of the terrible flood, in Feb. 1795, given respecting
these places, in the Nottingham Journal:—"The flood came on so sudden at Retford on Tuesday night, that great numbers of the inhabitants had not time to remove
their effects, and several of them have received very considerable losses by it. It
was three feet high in the Market-place, and the torrent ran so strong as to tear up
the pavement in different parts of the town, which was nearly all under water. At
West-Retford a grocer's shop, and part of Miss Hurst's house were washed down,
and four other houses were nearly destroyed, and their inhabitants preserved with
the greatest difficulty."
The Chesterfield Canal, which was completed in 1774, was highly favourable to
East and West-Retford: Coal, that useful article, immediately fell from 15s. 6d.
to 10s. 6d. per ton; lime from 16s. to 9s. per Chaldron. On Tuesday the 9th of
May the subterraneous tunnel, at Norwood Hill upon the line of the canal navigation from Chesterfield to the Trent, was completed. On that day three vessels sailed,
thro' the same, full of people, with a band of music. The tunnel is 2850 yards long,
12 feet high, and 9 feet 3 inches wide; in the deepest part 36 yards below the surface
of the earth.
The church of West Retford is dedicated to St. Michael, has a spire upon a tower
with 3 bells, a nave and side aisles. Here also is a little organ. Within the chancel
rails are two old floor stones, on each a cross; one has a bible and chalice thereon,
and a black letter inscription; but it was so near night, that it was impossible for me,
I think, to read it correctly. It remains nearly thus,—Hic jacet — —quoda r-tor isti eccle-ia q obit Septimo die Jan. anno dm millimo ccccix.
Thoroton has mentioned, in his short account of West Retford, Edward Darrell
who married Barbara daughter of Francis Denham. Her monumental stone is here,
thus:— Barbara Darel Edwardi Daral armigeri uxor præsentibus chara posteris desiderata hic in spem Resurrectionis requiescit obiit xii marti A. D. MDCLIV.
Patron, the Corporation of Retford. Incumbent, the Rev. Abraham Youll, R.—
Supposed value, 300l. per ann. K. B. 9l. 13s. 4d. Archiepisc. pro Syn. 2s.—
Archidiac. pro Prox. 6s. 8d. Val. in mans. terr. gleb. ten. decim. &c.