Edwinstowe (Edenstou), St. Mary’s and its Early Vicars
At the rear of the church, there is a board which lists the previous vicars (incumbents) who have served the church over the centuries each with their own intriguing stories to discover, their lives and times. It is a reminder of their dedication and devotion to God, the church, the members of St. Mary’s and the community as a whole.
The one thing that they all have in common was their position in the church, and what we would hope, their love of God, the care of God’s people and the church building itself. In researching these individuals, I could not help but wonder what were their visions and dreams, in a moment in time, for Edwinstowe.
AD 633. A church in Edenstou was reputed to have been built over the site of the temporary burial of St. Edwin. Probably of Sherwood Oak on a stone foundation. We have no record of who the priest was. The Domesday Book, in 1086, only records that Edenstou had a church and a priest.
Later, in 1146, Edenstou and its chapelries, was given by William 11 to the Dean and Chapter of Lincoln.
In the reign of Henry 11, 1168-69 Edenstou contributed three marks to the subsidy levied for the marriage of the king’s daughter. The priest at that time would have collected the money. Did it come from the villagers and/or the Lords?
In the late C12th, the first recorded Rector of Edenstou was William Parson. This was when the stone church was built in 1175. What a site he must have seen when the stones were being laid. What an enduring legacy he has left us.
The vicarage was ordained on the 15th January 1260/1. The vicar at that time was Richard de Melton. His family were from Yorkshire and his father was a Norman Knight. A relative, William de Melton, was Archbishop of York 1315-1340. In 1306, 28th July, he was replaced by William Thistleton when Richard moved to a new church. Later in 1318, he became rector of The Holy Cross at Gilling near Hull.
John de Ryston was then appointed vicar on the 13th October 1317. It is believed he came from Ristuna (Ryston) Norfolk, a deserted medieval village abandoned by the 18th century. We know very little about him except that in 1334, he broke the strict forest laws and was imprisoned for deer poaching; considered a major crime. There was a Forest Court in Edwinstowe but he was held at Nottingham Prison. Was he brave or foolhardy? It is hard to imagine he stole for his own needs.
Acknowledgement: british-history.ac.uk www.themcs.org/clergy.htm
Robert de Burton Vicar of Edwinstowe
12th August 1346 24th August 1349
Robert de Burton’s name, you could say, is just another name among many other vicars who came to Edwinstowe, with his name listed on the board at the back of the church. Very little is known about him but his family was very well known. Accounts of his family were recorded, from many different sources, in fact you could almost write a bestselling drama about their deeds, actions and wrongdoings.
Burton (Bertune) was an ancient Norman family who came to England with William the Conqueror 1028 –1087) the First Norman king. The Conquerous’ Survey shows they owned a manor, a church and a priest, one border, one servant, one maid, 2 carts, 5 acres of land, 16 acres of meadow and an acre of woodland valued at one mark of silver.
Descendants of Robert de Burton gave the village of Great Hodenhall, in Warwickshire, to the nuns of Eaton. (Nuneaton)
During the time of EDWARD III 1327 – 1377, a relative of Robert, also called Robert de Burton, became Archdeacon of Winchester from 1345-1361. His responsibilities included six deaneries; Bournemouth, Christchurch, Eastleigh, Lyndhurst, Romsey and Southampton.
Another relative, again called Robert de Burton, was appointed in 1379, as ‘Master of the hospital of Playden’. However, in 1380 he cut down timber to the value of £20 at Brookland, he allowed hospital lands to go to waste so crops were lost, he took title deeds, bills valued at 40s and other documents proving another person’s title to land, he gave nothing to the poor so they had to beg daily on the streets and even worse he took cooking vessels instead of rent in which they prepared their dinners.
On another occasion Robert and three others, on the Friday after the Feast of the Annunciation, were accused of robbery and breach of the peace. They broke down the door to a manor house of William de Mere’s, tied him up, forced open a chest with an axe and stole £10. Robert took 6 marks as his share, 20 gold rings, value 60s and 4 girdles of silk with silver worth 100s. The group took flight and after being chased from village to village were caught. They appeared in the county court but denied the felony. William was the prosecutor and could have passed sentence himself, but instead a jury was called. We have no information about the outcome of the case.
Four weeks before ‘our’ Robert came to Edwinstowe, on the 12th August 1346, Robert’s father, also called Robert de Burton (a Norman Knight) sailed from Portsmouth on the 12th July with King Edward 111 and 1,200 men including 7,000 archers. The King’s mission was to invade Normandy. The Battles of Crécy, on the 26th August, followed with the French being defeated by the English longbow men. The first great English land victory of the Hundred Years War.
Life for ‘our’ Robert would have been so different. Settling into a new home and church, taking his first services, meeting the people of Edwinstowe and possibly thinking about his father in France with the King. Robert died in August 1349, just 3 years after coming here. We do not know why. However, during 1348-49 half the population of Nottinghamshire died of the plague (Black Death)! The villagers would have attended his funeral and he was probably buried in our graveyard.
Painting from a C15 illuminated manuscript of Jean Froissart’s Chronicles Reference: French Wars volumeXparts1-2-2 british-history.ac.uk/vch/notts/vol2 www.themcs.org/clergy.htm Leicestershire Men at the French Wars
1349 24 Aug Ralph Bole. Bole is an Anglo-Scandinavian name which is found in Old Danish and Old Swedish. In the Domesday Book (1086) it is called ‘BOLUM’, a Latin word ‘ derived from the Greek ‘BOLOS’, which means’ casting a fishing net. The Berewicks in Bolum (Bole) in 1086 belonged to the Archbishop’s Manor of Lavenham, Notts. This was later in ‘Bassetlaw’ Wapentake,
1356 11 July William Andrew
1360 4 July William de Kynereshale
1370/1 27 Feb William de Bekyngham pr. Southwell Minster lists a church being established in Beckingham sometime between 1120 and 1135. William, a priest, would have come from Beckingham. In 1370, this included the manors of Leverton and Beckingham. Visitors to Southwell Minster may see that one of the stalls on the north side of the choir shows the name Beckingham, as does one of the seats in the Chapter House.
1370 William White not recorded on the church incumbent board but is recorded as a “recent vicar”, by the Curia Ebor Court the ecclesiastical courts at York. 07/02/1370 — 31/07/1372 https://www.dhi.ac.uk/causepapers/causepaper.jsp?id=126463
1375 17 Aug William de Botterthwayte pr. In the 13th and 14th century Botterthwayte or Butter whett, now called Butterthwaite, is a hamlet in Ecclesfield, co. York, There are records of a Butterthwaite Hall in the Parish of Ecclesfield, Yorkshire 5.5 miles from Sheffield, at that time. William would have come from this place.
Acknowledgment – Discover Ecclesfield’s Working Past
William’s ordination was celebrated in the church of St Michael le Belfrey, York, on Saturday after the feast of St Lucy the virgin, 19th December 1349, by Br. Hugh, archbishop of Damascus, by authority of William la Zouche, archbishop of York. It is also recorded when he was ordained as a priest and Deacon.
There are some records of the Butterthwayte family in the early 1300s. On the 1st August 1318, British History Online records 2 incidents/complaints of Richard de Butterthwayte, and a group of his friends. Firstly, assaulting Agnes, daughter of Robert de Reynbergh and stealing her goods and later robbing Beatrice, also a daughter of Robert de Reynbergh. He was fined on both occasions.
1386 29 Apr Richard de Elton. Richard’s son, Hugh, was ordained in the parish church of Newark on Saturday in Whitsun week, 29th May 1344, by Br. Ralph, bishop of Leighlin, by authority of W[illiam] la Zouche, archbishop of York.
1390 7 Oct Thomas Bate
1396 21 June Thomas de Norton pr Court Case for dilapidations of property 15/01/1397 — 18/03/1397 https://www.dhi.ac.uk/causepapers/causepaper.jsp?id=98515
15th Century Vicars
1404 23 Apr John Lunde pr.
1405 Richard Alfreton
1410 26 June Henry de Bilburgh pr
1411 9 July Edmund Hachet pr.
1419 10 Dec Richard Gibbeson psb., per resigned.
1420 8 Oct Robert, s. of William Gomondeley pr. Died in office in 1442.
1425 31 August Robert Maior of Edwinstowe, acolyte, for all holy orders, from any
1434 22 May John Colyngham of Edwinstowe 20th February 19 September 1439 he became a Deacon to Welbeck Abbey.
1439 19 September Ralph Wilbram of Edwinstowe. Ordination celebrated in the conventual church of the Franciscans in York.
1442 9 July William Colyngham of Beverley chap. He was ordination as a Acolytes (a person assisting a priest in a religious service or procession) celebrated in the conventual church of the Dominicans, York, by Br. Nicholas, bishop of Dromore, the suffragan, by authority of
John, archbishop of York, on 20 September 1438.
1443 19 September. John Bewsher of Edwinstowe was ordained as a Acolytes (a person assisting a priest in a religious service or procession) for the Carmelites church at York.
1468 20 Aug Roger Marton pr. His ordination was celebrated in the conventual church of the Austin friars, York, on 23rd December 1452 by John, bishop Insulensis, the suffragan, by authority of William, archbishop of York, M. Richard Tone then being vicar-general in spirituals of the archbishop who was absent extra diocesim. 18 months later he was ordained as a priest in the conventual church of the Franciscans, York, on 15th June 1454, again by John, bishop Insulensis. Roger died in 1473 was buried in the Quire
1473 22 Sept. John Myrfelde (Mirfeld) chaplain. His ordination was celebrated in the conventual church of the Franciscans at York on 27th March 1479 by Br. William, bishop of Dromore.
The John Meryfeld (or Mirfield) mentioned above among the clerici of the priory was not a clerk in holy orders, but a man of great eminence as a physician and surgeon. The first record of Mirfield in connexion with the priory is in the year 1362, for in the year 1390 an inspeximus and confirmation was granted by King Richard (fn. 33) of an indenture of Prior Thomas de Watford, dated May 9th, 1362, which granted to John de ‘Mirfeld’ for life a yearly pension of £4 8s., with a chamber and latrine on the south side of the church near the great altar, at the yearly rent of 4s. for the chamber and latrine; and if the prior failed in paying the pension, then John Mirfield (or his attorney) should have sufficient food from the prior and convent to satisfy the amount due; with power, in default, of entry and distress upon the convent’s possessions in London.
The Records of St. Bartholomew’s Priory and St. Bartholomew the Great, West Smithfield show that John was a great benefactor of the priory. He was executor to the will of his friend John Chishull, clerk. In the year 1377, in part satisfaction of the ‘licence to acquire’ (granted, it is here stated, at the request of Isabella the queen-mother), licence was granted to the same John Chishull, clerk, and to John Mirfield, to convey to the prior and convent rents of 27s. 5½d.,
16th Century Vicars
1500 30 Oct Master John Elton of North Collingham. He became an acolyte (a person assisting a priest in a religious service or procession) on 13th Jan. 1494. Letters of dimissory were needed by any candidate for ordination, born within the York diocese, who for specific reasons wished to be ordained by a bishop other than his diocesan, the archbishop of York, or the latter’s officially-appointed suffragan acting on his behalf. A handful of such letters dimissory are entered in full in these late fifteenth-century registers but the vast majority (and there are over 800 letters dimissory recorded for the 1475-1500 period) are mere brief notes of the issuing of such letters, often grouped together for convenience by the registry clerks when entering them in the registers. John Elton of North Collingham, acolyte, 13 Jan. 1494/5 his letter of Dimissory was received at this time.
1527 20 May Robert Palden pr.
1534 25 Sept Ralph Balguy pr.
1536 5 July William (Willimus) Sapcote. This was his second office is presumably chaplain. Dispensation to hold another benefice. Permutation clause. He resigned 15 June 1548.
1548 19 July Richard (Richardus) Hadfelde M.A . He died 22 January 1554 of natural causes and it is assumed he is buried in the church yard.
1554 22 Dec Henry (Henricus) Tinker. When Henry Tinker died in 1584 he asked to be buried under the great stone outside the Quire door. This great stone was later discovered by the Revd. Bond in 1911. He was curious about the significance and had it turned over and discovered it to be the stone altar with the consecration crosses. It was dated 14th century and so presumed to be the original altar of the chantry chapel that had been ordered to be broken up and thrown away at the reformation. Obviously Henry Tinker did not have the heart to do this. He died of a natural death on 1 January 1585.
1584/5 26 Jan Thomas Damporte. Appointed 1 January 1585
1586, 3 Sept Richard (Richardus) Barton. In 1587 charges were brought against him, ‘Our vicar refuseth to weare the surplysse’.
17th Century Vicars
1625 7 Oct George (Georgius) Rigges. Tithe (hops) 18/2/1637 — 3/8/1638 Ordaned by Richard Sterns Archbishop of York. https://www.dhi.ac.uk/causepapers/causepaper.jsp?id=128885
1646/7 17 Mar Thomas Bowes pr. After the Civil War, Thomas Bowes, Vicar petitioned the Dean and Chapter for a resumption of the ‘Lincoln Dole’ , “11 nobles, 5 nobles for the vicar and 40s to the poor…relating near to 30 families”. And he would like the arrears since the Restoration. Unfortunately this letter is not dated but we know that the ‘dole’ continues to be paid until, in 1878 Earl Manvers, exchanged the church for St Mary’s in Nottingham so that he owned all the village, having also bought out the Duke of Portland’s portion.
1662 John Featley or Fairclough D.D.
1680 5 Apr Benjamin Brunning pr.
1680/1 12 Feb William Silverton pr. In 1681, Revd. Silverton took up residence in the new 12 roomed vicarage. The main living rooms were ceiled and had rooms above them, one rather grandly known as the green chamber. There was a cheese room, a brew house though brewing vessels were also stored in the cellar and a “clositt” that held a plate, worth £10. Most interesting of all, Revd. Silverton, had a library though it is not clear whether this was a special room or just a collection of books. They were valued at £5.
He died in 1699 after 18 years and 6 months. In his Will he lists the tithes but nothing of the buildings. The parsonage received ‘the tithes of corn, hay in all the fields and meadows and one mark from a piece of land’. The vicarage received no rent only ‘tithe of wool, lamb, turkey, goose, duck, chicken, eggs, corn, hay, hopps in the tofts and crofts and the fruit.’ And a petty pittance of 5 nobles from the Dean & Chapter of Lincoln. Patience, bequests to friends of his library, and a sum of 50s to the poor of Edwinstowe.
1699 26 Oct Francis Peete B.A.
18th Century Vicars
1704 20 June John Penn B.A. pr.
1715 21 June Thomas Inett pr.
1718 18 Sept William Carter pr.
1739 21 Sept John Meyrick. His curate was Alexander Penn, who lived on £30 a year and lived in the parsonage. In 1743 Revd. John Meyrick, received a questionnaire from Archbishop Herring of Yoek and in his reply to it he gave some interesting information about the village. There were 60 families (a population of about 200 to 250 people. A school which was simply one room in a cottage where the schoolmaster lived. This was in the High Street close to 2 cottages left for widows.
This is the report compiled by Rev John Meyrick 21st September 1739
1758 11 Apr. Anthony Reynolds
1768 19 May. Edward Bristowe pr.
The Bristowe family had many local links.
John Bristowe, esq; of Edwinstowe, in this county, third son, was master of the Lyons, had by his wife two sons and a daughter, Thomas, a major in the army, Edward, rector of Edwinstowe, who left issue, but deceased, except the daughter. Thomas, fourth son, attorney at law, married one of the daughters and coheirs of Mr. Bookey, of Woodford in Essex, by whom he had two sons and two daughters, deceased,
1771 8 July. Thomas Hurst B.A. pr.
1787 27 Mar. Charles Gordon LL.B. pr.
19th Century Vicars
Edwinstowe attracted many dedicated, hardworking and sincere vicars. In 1835 the Stipend (wages) were £639 a year which meant the church could afford 2 curates. The vicar of east Retford received only £140.
1802 2nd Aug John Cleaver M.A. pr.
1835 17th Feb John Gordon M.A. pr.
1843 19th July Johnathan Blenman Cobham M.A. pr.
1854 15th July William Haywood Ibotson M.A. pr.
1873 4th July John Robert Turing M.A. pr
John Robert Turing was the vicar of St Mary’s Church, Edwinstowe from 1875 until 1884. Born in Batavia, Dutch East Indies, he graduated in mathematics at Trinity College, Cambridge in 1848, abandoned mathematics for ordination and became a Chaplain of Trinity college. In 1861 he married Fanny Boyd and left Cambridge for a living in Edwinstowe, where he fathered 10 children – two died in infancy and the surviving four girls and four boys. His parish included Ollerton (looked after by an assistant curate), Budby, Carburton and Clipstone. In 1835 the total stipend was £639 out of which the vicar paid £140 for two curates. As a comparison, it is interesting to note that at that time the vicar of Worksop received £388 a year and the vicar of East Retford only £140.
Old Vicarage pre-1900s
A magazine “Home News” approved by the Queen reflected the Victorian times, and in 1880 Rev. Turing decided to circulate a free copy of the magazine to 200 families in the parish, into which he added local information. He hoped that sufficient subscribers would be found to make it worthwhile to circulate future editions for the sum of 1d. This proved to be the case. (“Home News” was the forerunner of today’s parish magazines.)
There were differing views over his attitude to his “flock”. Some felt he did not fit in, yet he worked hard holding services regularly, with additional ones being arranged for special
seasons and occasions. Harvest Thanksgiving Services were well attended, whilst the one held in 1883 held an additional interest: “The Lamps lighting it up brilliantly were used in church and were very much admired. The congregation in the evening was exceptionally large.”. Previously Evensong was in the afternoon. The following article published in the Nottingham Journal on 18th September 1874 records the Rev. Turing’s outing with the Church choir:
The vicar was a regular visitor to the School where his wife and daughter (Fanny*) taught occasional needlework and knitting lessons. In addition to the Sunday School, there was a Sunday School Club, and a Sunday School Treat. He started the Girl’ Friendly Society in 1875 with the support of the Anglican Church as a pioneer youth organisation to protect working-class country girls who left home to take up urban employment. All of which ensured that the young people of the village were not neglected.
At Rev. Turing’s induction and institution, the Suffragan Bishop of Nottingham who officiated wrote that “A considerable number of Parishioners were present, who took a manifest and devout and intelligent interest in the service.” After taking a while to organise things to his liking, and seeing some reward for his efforts, Rev. Turing suffered a bout of ill health necessitating time away from church duties. During his absence various changes had taken place contrary to his expressed wishes. On his return he was so disgusted with what had happened during his absence that he cut from the Vestry Book the three pages on which some of the events had been recorded and against a comment that “decreased collections were probably due to the severe winter and consequent reduced employment”, he wrote “The cause of the decrease is the absence of the Vicar” .
However, he wasted little time before attempting to reassert his presence and zealously visited his parishioners. In one month, he visited 156 out of 217 families in Edwinstowe, 37 out of 53 at Clipstone and 6 out of 32 at Budby. The remainder would receive a visit soon after. Sadly, after suffering a stroke Revd. Turing resigned the living in 1883 and spent the remaining few months of his life in Bedford.
* Lady Fanny Jean Turing Trustram Eve was a well-known social reformer. She stood out among the many exceptional women because of her different activities, as a Conservative Party politician and her WW1 work.
Her nephew and Rev. Turing grandson, was Alan Mathison Turing, the renowned computer scientist, and mathematician who broke the German Enigma Code at Bletchley Park. Winston Churchill said of him that he had shortened the Second World War by two years.
Acknowledgements: M J Jackson Edwinstowe, Foster Hill Road Cemetery, The Nottinghamshire Countryside Vol 28, No.2 1967
1884 1st Nov. Henry Telford Hayman M.A. pr Revd. Hayman, was an amateur county cricketer, musician, a Freemason and a keen fox hunter. He was one of the Edwinstowe’s most popular vicars. He was also chaplain to the Robin Hood Rifles.
20th Century Vicars
1907 16th July Revd. Edward Vines Bond M.A. pr He came to Edwinstowe just as the new vicarage was built on Mansfield Road. He was particularly interested in History and Archaeology. He discovered the site of St. Edwin’s Chapel and hermitage in the forest near King’s Clipstone. He persuaded the Duke of Portland to erect a cross and a plaque to mark the site. This had been founded by King John as a Chantry to pray for the souls of his family and for all whom he had wronged. The Rev Bond searched the area for stones and persuaded the Duke of Portland to erect a cross and plaque to mark the site. He also discovered the stone altar in the belfry floor. In 1912 he obtained a Faculty to remove the wooden Altar steps and replace them with stone; to enlarge the Sanctuary and replace blue slates with mosaic; to open out a new window in the Chancel; and to erect the stone altar in the South Aisle.
1918 16 March Frank Cecil Day-Lewis B.A. pr. In 1918 the Rev Frank Cecil Day-Lewis became Vicar. His famous son, Cecil Day-Lewis was a young man at University at the time and he wrote in his memoirs:
“When my father moved to Edwinstowe, it was a country village, … before he died, it had become a mining town … We lived on coal. Seams of it lay below our feet-rich seams which had hardly been tapped yet … and my father’s stipend of £600 a year came largely, I believe, from the titled patron of the living, beneath whose land the coal had been found.”
In 1921 the south aisle became once again a memorial chapel, the stone altar was erected and the memorial stone to those who had died in the war, together with the British Legion flag. The lighting was replaced, first by acetylene gas and later by electricity. In 1935 expensive repairs were necessary to the organ and to the hanging of the bells. The Rev Day-Lewis died suddenly of a heart attack on 29th July 1937. In 1938 altar rails to the south aisle altar were erected in his memory.
1938 19 Feb Donald Haseler pr. His curate at that time was Rev. William Snow. In the same year, new choir stalls and also a Chancel screen were given by Mrs J. W. Stevenson in memory of her husband. In 1941, during the Second World War, he wrote in the Church magazine,
“My dear friends, How terribly complicated life is! It used to be much simpler when we lived in our isolation in our nice little, tight little island, before scientists discovered all the various means of communication and travel………. the world is in a terrible state, but it’s a good training ground.”
He also supported the Church’s work for children, ‘The C of E WAIFS & STRAYS Society’ by handing out a penny a week boxes.
1946 4 Oct William Basil Evans pr.
1957 5 Feb Harold Pickles pr. When the Rev H Pickles accepted the living the chapelry of Old Clipstone was transferred to the parish of New Clipstone in the Mansfield Deanery.
In 1969 Perlethorpe was given official independence with the appointment of a Priest in Charge. It had already had its last joint Church Magazine with Edwinstowe in May 1966. Earl Manvers built the present church in the 19 century and the priest was also his Chaplain.
In 1962, the Revd Harold Pickles, a keen musician, planned to bring the choir and congregation closer together. He moved the organ from the Chancel and re-sited it in the nave which necessitated the repositioning of the pulpit. However, there was opposition to moving the choir stalls! The church was rewired with new light fittings. The medieval aumbries were provided with panelled doors, one of which, in the Lady Chapel, now houses the Reserved Sacrament. Money was given by the Bolton family to provide a carving of the Virgin and Child for one of the plinths in the Lady Chapel; St Margaret was added to the other plinth in 1975, the 800th anniversary.
1996 30 Aug Annette Joy Cooper B.A., CQSW, Area Dean. In 1996 the church welcomed its first female Vicar, the Rev Annette Cooper. At the same time it became clear that the roof was in need of £100,00 worth of repairs. Once again money raising became almost paramount but with a Funding Campaign, the Historic Churches Trust, English Heritage, and good will from the villagers, all has been finished.
2005 Alistair David Littlewood