A century ago Lord Melbourne was lord of the manor and the chief local proprietor, and the establishment of, mills and breweries with other industries produced a growing population for whose accommodation houses and shops were provided to the obliteration of much of the rural charms of the township.

For a township in the modern sense of that term was rapidly springing up and important developments were about to occur.

In 1848, Kimberley was detached from Greasley and formed into a separate civil and ecclesiastical parish and presently the living was restored to a rectory.

The old High-street surrendered to Main-street its time-honoured pre-eminence as an artery, and the new Kimberley has environed the church which was erected in 1847, in which year came the Midland Railway.


The ruins of Kimberley chapel, c.1790.
The ruins of Kimberley chapel, c.1790.

Of the ancient church no trace remains. The date of its erection is unknown but, as has been shown, it was in existence by the reign of John and probably was built in Norman days. Throsby's illustration of it shows mixed styles of architecture with arches apparently Norman, and windows Early English but it was then roofless

Its walls were crumbling, and after being the scene of cockfights, it had quite vanished by 1844.

Lace and leather works have materially assisted the growth of Kimberley's activities and population since 1870, and at the last census (1931) the parish, inclusive of Babbington, Newthorpe Common and part of Hill Top numbered 6,304, of which the township's share was 4,910.

The parish yields some interesting field names and among them figure Kester Dale and Little Kester Hill of which the Place-Name Society's Nottinghamshire volume states that they give us the Roman name of 'caster,' camp, and may perhaps relate to Dead Man's Quarry where bones and weapons are said to have been found," but in the absence of details it is impossible to assign any date for relics which may perhaps be related to the Civil War in the 17th century.


ONE of the reason for the paucity of Kimberley's population may have been that it was bordered by the strictly preserved royal forest of Sherwood which checked agriculture on that side and debarred developments. In the reign of Henrv VI., commencing in 1422, the village could not muster ten householders

In 1448, the parish church and rectory were united with Greasley, the living was reduced to a vicarage and the inhabitants thenceforth had to repair to the mother church at Greasley for marriages and burials and for the great celebrations at Easter, Whitsuntide and Christmas.

On the eve of the Wars of the Roses properties were finding new owners, among them the Strelleys and. somewhere about this time, the Lovels. As Lenton Priory does not figure among the local proprietors at the Dissolution, its rights here may have passed into lay hands.


Although no records appear to connect the lordship with the Wars of the Roses during the reigns of Henry VI and Edward IV, it may be supposed from subsequent event that John Lord Zouch and Francis, Viscount Lovel, fought on the Yorkist side, and upon the death of the victorious Edward, in 1483, both transferred their allegiance to his usurping brother, Richard III.

Each took part for him in the battle of Bosworth Field in 1485 where Zouch fell with his king, but Lovel survived to take a prominent part in the slaughter at East Stoke which closed the long wars in 1487 and established the Tudors on the throne. The estates of both warriors were at once confiscated by Henry VII. Lovel, hotly pursued, found sanctuary in Colchester church before making an abortive attempt at rebellion in Yorkshire whence he escaped to Ireland.

The possessions of both men. including Greasley Castle and Kimberley manor, were bestowed upon Sir John Savage, the grateful victor recording that he made the grants "in consideration of his having largely exposed himself with a crowd of his kinsmen, servants, and friends as volunteers" in the king's service.


Such was the royal persiflage but it is to be feared that this new local lord was a renegade who changed sides in the fray at Bosworth in which he fought first for King Richard and finished fighting for the victorious Tudor.

Adversity pursued Kimberley's lords. After Stoke Field Lord Lovel fled and, like the Peverel lord of 1154, was heard of no more though a skeleton found in later days in a secret chamber of his seat at Minster Lovel, is presumed to have been that of the unhappy fugitive.                                             

John Savile, the grantee, was slain at Boulogne in 1494, and his son and grandson, convicted of the murder of John Pauncefote, obtained a, pardon by a fine of 4,000 marks to the king and 1,000 marks to their victim's widow, Elizabeth. The fines were to be paid by regular instalments and until their liquidation trustees were placed in charge of their lands.

The debts were not extinguished when Sir John; Savage died in 1527 and a decade later his widow was granted a lease of Kimberley manor for nine years, one third of the penalty to the king having been cleared but the solatium to Pauncefote's relict remained unpaid.

The lease, which also included other Savage properties, was made "by reason of the attainder of William Brereton, late husband of the said Elizabeth" who perhaps had been fatally implicated in the Pilgrimage of Grace (1536), the subsequent rising in the North.

In 1535 Isabella, a Strelley heiress, as widow of Richard Paynell, shared her inheritance here with William Paynell and her son, John Sacheverel.

The still diminutive population of the village is shown by the record that for the muster array in 1539 only four of its men were found able to bear arms either as bowmen or billmen, whereas Annesley provided 38 and Watnall 15.


In that year Prior Webster of Beauvale was put to death for refusing to acknowledge Henry VIII as Supreme Head of the Church in England; the priory was suppressed in 1539 and two years later commenced a series of grants of its possessions which continued into the reign of Elizabeth.

The priory itself with many of its possessions, including lands, rents, and a coal mine here which yielded a yearly profit of £10 to the monks, together with the advowson of the rectory were sold to Sir William Hussey of London to whom an allowance was made for rentals of the past two vears. The grant seems, however, to have been for a limited period, for in 1550 Sir Richard Moryson purchased from the down the reversion of these properties though certain rights were reserved to Sir William and Sir Richard had to pay 2s. a year for the synodals and procurations of Kimberley Church. The tithes of the parish were sold to a couple of Londoners in 1553 and in 1589 they were resold. Sparse indeed are the local annals from that time until the time of George III. The sale of old Zouch and Sayane properties to John Manners introduced the Earl of Rutland as local proprietors,  Moryson's interests went by an heiress to Lord Capell and descended to the Earl of Essex who owned them under Charles II. by which time the manor had been acquired by the Earl of Rutland but save for recurrent orders for the inhabitants to perform their statutory duty of turning out to repair their roads little more is known of Stuart Kimberley.