Amongst trades, etc., mentioned, we find servants of the gentry as in 1654:

"Peter Foster, servant of Mistress Savile and Ann Smith, widow, both of Oxton, before Mr. and Mrs. Sherbrook, 20 June." And again in 1658: "Richard Baguley, of Bingham, and Elizabeth Wright, of O, maidservant to Mris Andrewes, 24 Jan."

In the same year (1658) the marriage of the Parish Clerk is recorded, viz.: "Joseph Birch, parish clerk, and Dorothy Tacie, both of O. 2 Dec." He may have been the man who acted as "Public Register" from 1653, for Parish Clerks were then very important personages consulted by the inhabitants on various matters.

Amongst the burial entries of this period is: 1653. "John Taylor, late servant to Wm. Walker, who hanged himself, was buried on the north side of the Church, January 31."

This man was a servant of one of the Walkers previously mentioned, second cousin to Thoroton, and the note of his burial taking place on the north side of the church is interesting. Such a burial was popularly known as a "burial without the sanctuary." This does not imply that it took place in unconsecrated ground, but the north side of the graveyard was considered fit only for the interment of still-born infants and suicides, and spoken of as the "wrong side of the church." What the origin of this repugnance to a burial on the north side was, cannot be determined, but legend states that the devil came from the north, hence perhaps people preferred the south side when the church interposed itself as a shield to that objectionable quarter. Whatever the cause may have been, the fact remains that although, in many places, the south side of the churchyard is crowded, few or no graves mark the north. This crowding on the south side led an Epworth man to specially request that he should be buried on the north, and his tombstone still remains bearing date 1807, with a long poetical inscription, the concluding couplet of which runs:

"That I might longer undisturbed abide
I choos'd to be laid on this northern side."

In 1654 is this entry amongst the burials:

"Elizabeth Wilson, sister to Tom Burges' wife, buried." The relationship to Tom Burges' wife seems to have been worthy of special note, perhaps because Tom Burges was a son of the former Oxton vicar, Richard Burges.

The same year occurs: "Old Thomas Ball was buried November 18th." In the 17th century an old man was a much rarer sight than now, for the conditions of life were against longevity, but these two entries are typical of the gossipy way in which the laymen of the time carried out the duties of registration; the latter entry might have gone farther, and given us Thomas Ball's age.

In 1678 we come across: "Burials since the Woolen Act. This written by Mr. Cross, vicar after the name of the deceased made affidavit."

This alludes to the Act, called "An Act for bury in woolen," which was intended "for the lessening of the importation of linen from beyond the seas, and the encouragement of the woolen and paper manufacturers of this kingdom." The relatives of the deceased had to make an affidavit before a justice that the corpse was wrapped in wool only, and the clergy were enjoined to state in the entry for burials that the law had been kept. At the burial service the clerk used to ask, "who makes affidavit?" One of the relations made reply, and the fact was noted in the registers, then the certificate was handed in, and in some parishes many of these old certificates still exist, the 17th century ones mostly in manuscript, and those of the 18th on printed forms.

The following are in the baptismal entries:

"Henry, ye son of John Little and Jane, his wife, was born the 4th day of September, being Saturday in morning. Anno Dom 1697."

"William, son of Peter Rubottam and Ann, his wife, was born September the 10th, about four o'clock in the afternoon."

"1710. July 24 day, Mary ye Daughter of Thomas and Ann Robottom was borne on Monday at a Lavor."

These are fuller entries than usual, and it will be noticed in the first the baptism as well as birth is noted. This double entry is rarely seen until the Commonwealth period is reached, for in 1653 the entries of births were commanded to be more exact than before. Whether the children in the two latter entries were ever baptised does not appear.

Following 1707, it is stated:—"Baptismes wch were omitted or else cutt out of ye Register are here inserted as they came to hand." First two entries following are the birth of sons to Robt. Porter, Esq., and Catherine, his wife, one dated July 4th, 1704, and the next August 25th, 1707. Then follows another birth in 1703, and next one in 1708. In the marriage entries for 1715 is one of another Oxton vicar, viz: "Mr. John Lambe, Ms of Arts and Vicar of Oxton, and Mrs. Mary Davies, only daughter of Mr. Edmund Davies, late Vicar of Calverton, married in Tollerton Church by Mr. Latimer Cross, Rector ther 10 Nov."

During the time Rev. John Lamb was vicar, Oxton was still strong in Nonconformity. Prominent in the movement were the Quakers, who had a meeting house in the village, and they occasionally came into collision with the vicar, especially on the subject of tithes. In the "Book of Sufferings for the Society of Friends," it is recorded that Vicar Lamb in 1711 distrained on Thomas Corkram for refusing to pay tithes, and took from him wool to the value of 6s.

On the back cover of the register containing baptisms and burials 1783 to 1813, it is noted:

"Michaelmas, 1791, the Vicarage of Exton als Oxton was augmented with the sum of £200 by the governors of Queen Annes Bounty and the interest thereof commenced from chat time. Ephm Rogerson, vicar."

"Mem. Lady-day, 1799: The Land Tax with which the Vicar of Oxton was charged £2 annually was purchased for £49, being part of the Queen Anne's bounty."

In the tower and at the west end of the nave are recorded on painted tablets details of some of the bequests made to Oxton.

Mr. James Harvey, by his will dated xth September, 1835, gave unto the parish wardens and overseers of the parish of Oxton, the sum of forty pounds in trust to place the same at interest, and to apply the dividends arising therefrom in the purchase yearly of bread, to be given to the poor of the parish yearly on Christmas day, for ever.

Another generous churchman was John Littles, who by his will dated September 13th, 1756, gave six pounds to be put out at interest, and the dividends accruing therefrom was to be spent in sixpenny bread and disposed of at the discretion of the minister and churchwardens on the 7th of June and the 7th of December, to the poor of the parish for ever.

John Godfrey, in February, 1690, gave one acre and a half of land, the rent of which shall be distributed yearly to the poor of the parish of Oxton, for ever.

Mr. Sherbrook was another benefactor. He gave three pounds yearly to the poor to be paid on the 5th day of November, and Richard Chapman, by his will bearing date 21st September, 1725, left five pounds to be put out at interest and the dividends paid yearly on the 12th day of January, to five of the poorest men of this parish for ever.

This church was re-pewed in the year 1840 by which means 87 additional seats were obtained, and in consequence of a grant from the Incorporated Society for promoting the enlargement, building and repairing of churches and chapels, 73 of which number are hereby declared to be free and inappropriated for ever. The provision of church room previously to the alteration being of the extent of 277 seatings, 141 of which number are free. A plan showing the number of free seats is affixed in the vestry.

Signed:  John Downall, M.A., (curate).

Richard Bingham,      John Paulson,


There are five hatchments in the nave, two on the north arcade and three on the south bearing the arms of the Sherbrooke family, many of whom were buried here. The family vault is at Oxton.

There axe a number of mural tablets and floor slabs to the memory of persons buried in the church. We noticed the following:—The Rev. Rogerson, vicar of this parish, died 1805." In front of the chancel arch is another: "Here lieth the body of William Savile, Esq., interred 18th day of May, A.D. 1681." On the south side is a stone to the memory of Ann, relict of Wm. Sherbrook, Esq., who died 1847, age 84 years. South side: Sarah, relict of the late Samuel Hawer Oates, of Chapel Allerton, in the county of York. Another: Eldest daugh ter of the late William Coape Sherbrooke, of Arnold, in this county, after residence of 21 years in this county. She died February 1834, aged 76 years.

Henry Coape, of Sherwood Lodge, Esq., second son of the late William Coape Sherbrook, of Arnold, Esq., for many years Colonel of the Nottinghamshire Militia, and an active magistrate of this county, died 1849, aged 89. His mortal remains were deposited in the family vault in this church. On the South wall: "Sacred to the memory of William Sherbrook, of Oxton, Esq., one of Her Majesty's Justices of the Peace, for many years chairman of the quarter Sessions for this county. He died on the 17th November, 1831, aged 73 years." His remains are deposited in the family vault in this church.

There are many stones in the churchyard on the north side, to the memory of the Lowe and Sherbrooke families. The oldest stone we found bears the date 1674. There is in the Churchyard a very fine yew tree, said by the late vicar of Blidworth, to be 700 years old. The bells contain the following inscriptions:

(1). "O Lord save Thy people."

(2). "God save the Church, 1638." (This bears George Oldfield's mark.)

(3). "God save the Church, 1638."

The ornament between the lettering is not that usually employed by Oldfield.

A bell recast by Taylor, of Loughborough, is inscribed:—"Jesus be our speed,"

Previous to being recast this bell was cracked, and it is said to have been done maliciously.

In 1885 all the bells were rehung at a cost of £80, raised by subscription. The big bell was recast in 1840. It's date was probably 1638.

Here are some extracts from the churchwardens book:—At the vestry meeting holden on the 12th day of November, 1828, it was agreed that there shall be a stove erected in the parish church for the purpose of warming the church, likewise it is agreed that there shall be a wall built at the opening of the belfry. This was taken down when ringers loft gallery (erected about same time) was removed.

The colour wash was scraped from the walls inside the tower, and the little XIII century turret door was discovered. Remains of fire were found on the walls in the N.W. corner of tower. Old Thomas Gibson, 86 years, old told vicar he remembered as a boy that the ringers used to light a fire at Xmas. time in that corner of the tower to keep themselves warm. April, 1755: Memorandum that Henry Sherbrook, Esq., late of Arnold, left 20s. per annum for a sermon to be preached in this church upon the 5th of November, to the vicar of Oxton, and if the sermon was omitted two years, the executors of the said Henry Sherbrook are entirely relieved from the payment above mentioned.

Thomas Marshall, vicar of Oxton, Feb. 24th, 1804. Common furniture, a silver cup, large pewter flagon, and silver and pewter plate.—E. Rogerson, vicar.

In 1514, a parishioner of Oxton made a will strikingly significant of religious belief and practice of the times. The vicar, Richard Taylor, was witness to and probably made the will, which was that of Richard Cowper. The testator began by bequeathing his soul to God Almighty, and ordered his body to be buried in the Church of the Apostles Peter and Paul, at Oxton, and he also left one pound of wax to be burned around him on the day of his burial, and as a symbol of the eternal light and to the parish Church of Oxton he bequeathed vjs viijd, and to the vicar xiid. for forgotten tithes and unpaid church dues.

The Church plate includes a silver chalice, a good specimen of a Queen Elizabeth cup, date about 1572, and there are a flagon, chalice, two patens (Sheffield plate) presented by Mrs. Sherbrooke in 1836.

[Reprinted from the "Mansfield Reporter," August, 1912.]