St Wilfrid's church, Scrooby.
St Wilfrid's church, Scrooby.

The Church. In Danish times and subsequently it is probable there was not a church at Scrooby, but  before the Normans came, when all the land in Sutton and Scrooby was confirmed to the Archbishop of York, it is reasonable to suppose that some provision for  church  worship  would be made in  both places.

"Long before the Conquest the Archbishops of York had possessed the patronage of the rectory of Sutton and Scrooby, and when at the Conquest the manor of Ranskill was given to them (the monks of Blyth) it is probable that the tithes of that manor were claimed for this (? Blyth) rectory, more especially as it lay contiguous to Scrooby." So says Canon Eaine (p. 124) and he further tells us that Archbishop Roger, who presided over the diocese from 1154 to 1190, " founded the Chapel of St. Sepulchre on the north side of the Minster at York, and for the maintenance of the institution * * * gave the churches of Everton, Sutton with Scrooby, Hayton, Clarborough, Retford and others. In 1258 Archbishop Sewell ordained vicarages in these churches vesting the presentation in the sacrist. Of course at the Dissolution the revenues and patronage of St. Sepulchre's fell to the Crown. In the 4th Elizabeth they were sold to one Webster, and thus the great tithes of Sutton and Scrooby * * * together with the patronage of these churches have passed into the hands of laymen." One aspect of this gift will be seen when we arrive at the Scrooby Inclosure in 1775.

The first vicar of Sutton named by Torre is William de Hextilderham, 17th October, 1291.

The present structure is regarded by Dr. Cox, in his County Churches of Nottinghamshire," as having had a predecessor. It was "rebuilt throughout about 1380," but the Archbishops had a residence here more than one deemed well by succeeding Archbishops that there should be residences erected at convenient centres, partially furnished with all the heavier requisites, the other necessary articles being carried with the cortege travelling. Such houses were built at York, Bishopthorpe, Shireburn, Cawood, Eipon, Beverley, Otley, Southwell, and Scrooby, and in addition there was a London house. When the house at Scrooby was built we do not know, but King John in 1207 ordered wine to be sent there, and five years later he sent orders from Scrooby to various parts of the kingdom. In White's "Dukeries" it is noted that among the 3,300 charters in the collection of the Right Hon. Francis J. Savile Foljambe, at Osberton, there are two grants made by the Archbishop, concerning the church at Osberton, dated at Scrooby, and believed to have been given in the years 1228 and 9.

When in 1232 Archbishop Gray granted to the brethren of the Hospital of St. John the Baptist, at Nottingham, which stood at the north-west comer of St. John's Street, the power to elect their own wardens, the document was endorsed "Given at Scrooby." Other documents are dated there in 1256. In 1301 Sir William de Eos did homage to the Archbishop in the Chapel at Scrooby, which either indicates a private chapel in the manor house, or the Chapel of ease if built. At various times in succeeding centuries there are indications that the archbishops as they travelled from place to place, attended not only to the local needs, but to general administration, and combined business with pleasure. There are records of many documents and transactions dated at Scrooby.

A Royal Tour. On State occasions the great house must have been taxed to its utmost capacity to find sleeping accommodation for the guests, and probably the entire  district was laid under contribution. On June 12th, 1503, Margaret, the eldest daughter of Henry VII. and sister of Henry VIII. on her way to Scotland to become the wife of James IV. King of Scotland, proceeded by easy stages, at the rate of, say, twenty miles a day, and thus stayed a night at Tuxford,   and  the  next night at Scrooby, accompanied by a cavalcade of three hundred  distinguished  persons and their retinues. The Somerset Herald accompanying describes how the Princess "drew hyr Way ryght  to sirowsby (a Manayer of the Eeverend Father in God my Lord Archbishop of Yorke) to her Bedd." There was the Lord Treasurer "varey nobly arayed and all his Trayne "including" many Nobles, Lords, Knights and Squyers." Other Lords are named "varey nobly arayed and acumpanyd of theire Folks in Liveray, and on Horses rychely in Apparayll." The "Embassador of the King of Scotts" and many Gentylmen, Gentyllswomen and others abidyng in Scotland. There was the "Reverend Father in God my Lord the Bischop of Norwych well accompanyed and honestly arayed." "Ladyes mounted upon fayre Pallefrays, many Squyers before them," "a char (iot)" having several "Fotemen" with "sixe fayre Horseys leyd" and "others Gentylls women of the sayd Ladyes, mounted upon Pallefrays well appoynted," "the Menstrells of Musick" and others were followed by the local escort headed by "Mr. William Perpoynt, Scheriff of Northynhamshyre." Knights, Gentlemen and Squires "accompanyed of their Folks well honnestly drest of their Liverays, and horsed to the Nomber of two hundreth Horsys." All these were followed by a numerous company from Tuxford and district "honest Personnes, next Neybours of the said Place, all on Horseback, honnestly drest, for to se the sayd Quene, wyth many other Personages a Foot in grett nomber" etc. The through company the next day passed over the county border into the care of the Sheriff of Yorkshire. (Quoted and condensed from "The England and Holland of the Pilgrims," by Dr. Dexter, page 218).

It is not surprising that apparently Archbishop Savage, who then occupied the see, was not present. The cost and labour of such an entertainment can best be estimated by ladies who are habitual caterers.

The Park. Around the manor house  at Scrooby was a park. A jury summoned to make  an investigation made a return "that the Reverend father in Christ Thomas Savage, Lord Archbishop of York, did upon the 10th May 19 Henry VII. (1504) encroach, enclose, and impark and add to his old park at Scroby 300 acres of land * * * to the disherison of the King, Hugh Serleby and Nicholas Morten, against the statute." Archbishop Savage also in 20 Henry VII. imparked 80 acres, and enclosed them with paling "and the same so imparked he keeps," said the Commissioners for rearing wild animals"—deer  probably. He  also added to the park in 12 Henry VII. one hundred acres, and 80 acres more of land arable, and used for tillage belonging to a certain chapel of the Street [Query: Roman road to Lincoln] by reason of which inclosure that chapel is without a priest for the celebration of divine offices in the same." The Commissioners referred to were appointed generally by Henry VIII. in his 9th year, because many persons had been evicted and cast out of their holdings and farms, arable land had been turned into pasture, other land had been taken and enclosed for parks only, houses and towns had been destroyed, and people rendered idle, the service of God had been hindered and the king "as in duty bound desiring to reform the aforesaid" sent Commissioners to enquire and report. But it was long before reform came, for wool paid better than corn.

The Manor of Scrooby had now beome a great institution, the Palace was at its best, and lands in various parts of the county are described as belonging to the Archbishop "as of his manor of Scrooby, by fealty at his court there once a year, (Hayton, 1518) or "at the Cardinal's Court of Scrooby " (1520). Even Sutton becomes second to Scrooby, and lands in Lounde and Sutton are described as held of the Archbishop as of his Manor of Scrooby (1531) but in 1545 the description of land is "held of the King as of his manor of Scroobye, late parcel of the possessions of the Archbishop of York." (309).

Cardinal Wolsey.Of all the Archbishops occupying the palace  no one appeals to us so much as Cardinal Wolsey. A man of unlimited ambition, arrogance, and ostentation; a statesman of the first rank, he was made Archbishop of York and Bishop of Lincoln in 1514, Cardinal in 1517, and it was not until his fall in 1530 that he was able to do pastoral work in his diocese. With great national aims in regard to education, he had no moral scruples, and although he attained to the highest offices and dignities in the Church he does not appear to have become a minister of Christ until his fall. Leaving Southwell, in which he had spent the most part of the summer, George Cavendish, his gentleman usher, informs us, "he came to Scrobyr where he continued until after Michaelmas, (O.S.) ministering many deeds of charity. Most commonly every Sunday (if the weather did serve) he would travel unto some parish church thereabout; and there would say his divine service, and either hear or say mass himself, causing some one of his chaplains to preach unto the people. And that done, he would dine in some honest house of that town, where should be distributed to the poor a great alms, as well of meat and drink as of money to supply the want of sufficient meat if the number of the poor did so exceed of necessity. And thus with other deeds practising and exercising during his abode there at Scrobyr, as making of lovedays and agreements between party and party being then at variance, he daily frequented himself there about such business and honest deeds of charity."

This presents a beautiful picture of a man saved through his fall. He went on to Cawood, where he was arrested on a charge of treason, and hurried on through Nottingham to Leicester where he died, exclaiming, "If I had but served God as diligently as I have done the King he would not have given me over in my grey hairs."

One would scarcely expect to find Scrooby a place for the study of foreign languages, but Edward Bonner, afterwards Bishop of London, and who became known as "Bloody" Bonner, was an officer in Wolsey's service, and in a letter written by him from Scrooby to Thomas Cromwell, he asks the latter to send him some books "in the Ytalion Tonge." He evidently wanted to prepare himself for the journey he afterwards took to Italy.

The Pilgrimage of Grace. The Pilgrimage of Grace was a movement that  disturbed the serenity of  Scrooby. It was a rebellion against the ruthless methods of suppressing the monasteries and turning their inmates adrift, adopted by Thomas Cromwell, Wolsey's successor, whose ancestors had gone from Nottinghamshire, and who came to be known as ''the hammer of the monks!'' The people of Louth, Horncastle, and other parts of Lincolnshire, in 1536 rose in great violence to defend their ancient institutions, and this was followed by a more serious rising in Yorkshire. Scrooby being on the road between the two districts, on October 21st the Earls of Shrewsbury, Rutland, and Huntingdon, met in consultation at Scrooby, and sent the Lancaster Herald, "with a proclamation to be read amongst the traitors and rebellious persons assembled at Pomfret, contrary to the King's laws." Of course the suppression was with awful vengeance.

The "Liberty." There was in the county a district called "The Liberty of Southwell and Scrooby," a sessions of the peace was holden independently of the county at the two towns of Southwell and Scrooby by justices of the Archbishop's nomination, but under the King's commission." This extended to only twenty parishes, but the Peculiar of of Southwell extended over 28 towns. (Dickinson, page 180).

"The North Soke cum Sutton was anciently taxed at £18. 15. 4, which Manor of North Soke cum Sutton was by the Archbishop on 6th February 36th Henry VIII passed away to the King in fee, and was confirmed to him by the Statute of 37 Henry VIII. cap. 16" ( Torre).

The Manor House, Scrooby in the 1920s.

The House.  The general appearance of the buildings of the Manor House is thus described by Leland, the antiquarian traveller, in  1541, as "a great Manor Place * * * standinge  withyn a Mote and buildid yn to (two) courtes, whereof the first is very ample, and al buildid of Tymbre saving the Front of the Haule, that is of bricke," which, he says, was ascended by stone steps. The  moat  would  at  the  entrance be crossed by a drawbridge, and doubtless there would be protecting walls, or other fences.

As to the interior, Thomas Cromwell sent Drs. Layton and Legh to make a visitation, who made an inventory of what was in the "dynyng chambre " which was "ceiled and dresed with waynscot," what was in the "wimpholler's chambre and the 4 oodre chambres above and beneath," and so on through all the thirty-nine chambers and apartments. The rents of the Archbishop's lordship of Scrooby were rated at £167 11s. 41/2d.

King Henry VIII. on August 17th, 1541, held a Privy Council here, at which a number of the principal officers of State were present, and the property appears to have actually been transferred to the King with other manors in exchange for advowsons, but afterwards it was released. It was then rated at £32 14s. 8d. annually, and afterwards repurchased by Archbishop Holgate for £630 7s. 8d. (Dexter, page 229).

Archbishop Heath in 1558 leased Scrooby Manor to James Bryne for 21 years, certain of the buildings to be pulled down, and Bryne to provide lodgings for a day and a night for the archbishop, twelve men, and fourteen horses, whenever required, and he to act as the Archbishop's receiver and bailiff, with power to dispark the park, and sell the deer. About this time, and later, Sir William Cecil, Queen Elizabeth's Secretary of State, sent despatches from Scrooby, and the Lord Provost of Edinburgh; Thomas Wentworth; Admiral Lord Ed. Clynton, and others, dated despatches, etc., thence, so that it appears the manor house was then extensively used by distinguished men.

Brewster. In 1574 there was a lease for twenty-one  years to William Marshall. Did these leases fall through? for on Jan. 4th, 1575-6 Archbishop Grindal granted "to our trusty and well-beloved servant William Brewster the office of receiver of our lordship or manor of Scrooby, and of all the liberties of the same in the County of Nottingham;'' and further "the office of Bailiff of our lordship or Manor of Scrooby, and of all the liberties of the same in the County of Nottingham;" to hold, enjoy, occupy and exercise the said offices by himself, or his sufficient deputy or deputies to the end of his life." (Dexter 231).

William Brewster was apparently a farmer in the village, his name appearing in the parish books four years before the appointment, when his son would be—as is supposed—four or five years of age. The appointment showed not only great confidence, but established a sphere of influence in the management of the estate, in the collection of rents, and gave some degree of authority, in seventeen parishes where the Liberty extended, for the ordinary magisterial authority was therein limited. Considering the duties to be performed, and the rooms in the several houses grouped in what was called the Manor House, with the need for their protection, it seems safe to assume that both Bryne and afterwards Brewster lived on the premises.