In 1510 it was found that Sir Edward Burgh's "distracted memorie" incapacitated him not only from his duties in the House of Lords, but even from the care of his property. An inquisition was held, which reported that "he was unable to take care of his manors, tenements, or of his goods and chattels." So the King took charge of his property, restoring it five years later upon upon the coming of age of his son. He died in 1526, and was buried in the choir of Gainsborough Church. His wife Ann, daughter and heiress of Sir Thomas Cobham, brought him great property in Surrey, and before his unfortunate loss of memory he made a good appearance at court, and distinguished himself at a tournament at Westminster in 1494.

He was succeeded by his son Thomas, who was one of the knights attending upon Henry VIII. at the Field of the Cloth of Gold. In May 1533 he took a prominent part in the coronation of Anne Boleyn, supporting her train, and some months later was present at the baptism of Princess Elizabeth. On August 12th, 1541, Henry VIII. and his fifth wife paid a four days visit to Lord Burgh, at Gainsborough. Sir Thomas married Agnes, daughter of Sir Will Tyrwhitt, of Kettleby, by whom he had a large family; he died in 1550. William, his eldest son, succeeded him, who was knighted at Westminster on the day of Queen Mary's coronation.

He married Catherine, daughter of Edward Clinton, Earl of Lincoln; she was celebrated as a court beauty. He died in 1584, and was buried in Surrey.

He was succeeded by his son Thomas, who was much employed in the public service by Queen Elizabeth, being Governor of Brill in the Netherlands, Ambassador to Scotland, and Lord Deputy of Ireland. Unfortunately his patriotic services involved him in pecuniary difficulties, and he was obliged to sell Doddington in 1586, of which he was also Lord of the Manor, and Gainsborough in 1597, in which year he died at Newry. Dunham was also sold by him, but at what date is not known.

It is not likely that the Lords of the Manor had any residence in Dunham, having a fine mansion in Gainsborough, now known as the Old Hall.

Shortly after the death of Sir Thomas Burgh, the Manor was claimed by Sir John Mounson, as heir. The following is a suit in Chancery in the reign of Elizabeth:— Plaintiff, Sir John Mounson, Bart. Defendant, John Roper, Elizabeth Roper, his wife, Henry Jackson, and others. Object of suit:—Claim as heir and to recover deeds. Premises:—The Rectory and Parsonage of Ingle-holme, and lands in co Lincoln, late estate of Robert Mounson to whom plaintiff's heir, and the Manor of Dunham in the co of Notts, plaintiff's inheritance.

It is very probable, therefore, that Robert Mounson purchased the Manor from Sir Thomas Burgh.

In the State Papers there is an entry:—"May 20, 1647,  Manor and  Soke of   Dunham, Notts, bought by Capt. William Daniel." His name occurs in the County Records, viz.:—" On 7th October, 1653, William Daniell of Dunham, gentleman, was indicted for want of a ferry-boat." But from another entry in the State Papers it would seem that in 1650 the Duke of Newcastle was Lord of the Manor:—"Let the expense of £20 for regaining and repairing a boat sunk at Dunham Ferry, being part of the Duke of Newcastle's estate, by the Cavaliers which will be advantage of £20 a year, be speedily considered." And in the British Museum there is a deed (Additional Charter 53392), entitled, "Survey of the Manor and Soke of Dunham late parcel of the possession or belonging to William (Cavendish) Earl of Newcastle, made in January 1651 under the Act for the sale of forfeited estates. Endorsed for Robert Mellish." The document states that the total amount of all rents was £163 95. 6d., and that there is issuing out of the Manor payable to Lord Willoughby of Perham for a landing-place from the ferry per ann 20/-.

It was at this time that the manorial rights of Dunham were granted to Robert Mellish, who in 1626 had received the Ragnall estate from his uncle, William Reason. From this time onward Ragnall was included in the Manor of Dunham, and Ragnall Hall became the Manor House.

The name of Robert Mellish is incidentally mentioned with reference to the collection of the subsidy for the use of the King, which was very unpopular throughout the country. On the 10th October, 1628, a warrant was issued against Anthony Else, Junr., of Carlton-in-Lindrick, yeoman, "for reviling Robert Mellish, gentleman, Collector of the subsidy for the use of the King" (County Records, p. 112).

"Pardon of alienation to Robert Mellish for the grant of the Manor of Ragnall made to his use in Church.
Dat, Westminster, 18 June, 1634.' (Add. Charters, 53384).

In 1634 Robert Mellish was appointed High Sheriff of co. Notts. He was evidently a man of peace, and desired to avoid fighting either for or against the King. Throughout the Parliamentary wars Newark remained Royalist, and did not surrender until after King Charles had given himself up to the Scotch army, in May, 1646, that was besieging Newark. "Those who were able to prove their voluntary surrender before Dec. 1st, 1645, were allowed by Parliament to compound for their estates at 1/3 or 1/10, provided they had taken the national covenant or negative oath; otherwise they were to compound at 1/2 or 1/6. Special favour was promised to those delinquents who should compound on their own discovery before May 1st, 1646, and this brought in numerous applicants. This system and vigorous mode of proceeding proved very useful to the Government, by bringing in large sums of ready money; whilst delinquents themselves, in the decline of their property, were only too glad, by a sacrifice of two years income or more, to secure the discharge and protection of their estates." (Brown's History of Newark). In 1646, Robert Mellish obtained a pass to go to London, evidently for safety, having first satisfied the Parliamentarians that he had not taken up arms in defence of the King. After being in London for nine months, hearing that the garrison of Newark, now in the hands of the Parliament, was about to seize his estate, he returns to Ragnall, having an order from the County Committee that if he quietly resides at home he will not be molested.

Entry in State Papers:—"Robert Mellish, Ragnall, co. Notts, Begs to compound for delinquency in being in Newark whilst a garrison for the King. Never acted against Parliament by arm or counsel. By pass of the Earl of Manchester, left for London, where he remained 3/4 year, when hearing the garrison were resolved to seize his estate, and turn his wife and children out of doors, he returned. Obtained an order from the County Committee of Notts for his quiet residing at home, when the Scottish forces came before Newark, and so disabled him from reaping benefit thereby." 21 June, 1646.

In the same year, December 28th, he was granted the sum of £1800. The reason for the grant is not stated. The entry in the State Papers is as follows:—"Rich, according to their report, ordered to settle £40 per year on Askham, £30 per year on Drayton, and £60 per year on Ragnall, for which Mellish is to be allowed £900, which is to be first payment of £1800."

In Raine's History of Blyth, it is stated that "Robert Mellish of Ragnall, Puritan, was fined £1800 after the Restoration." If so, it would seem that he was made to forfeit the £1800 he had received during the Commonwealth.

Robert Meilish died 16th March, 1662, aged 63, when the estate passed to his son Reason Mellish, who married Anne Metham, daughter of Robert Metham, of Bulling-ton, co, Lines. It is stated in Add. Charter 53396, "Lease for a year by Robert Mellish, sen., of Ragnall Hall, esq., and Reason Mellish his son and heir to John Merson of Burton by Lincoln, esq., son and heir of Sir John Merson of Burton, Knight and Bart., and William Metham, esq., son and heir of Robert Metham, esq., late of Bullington co Lines., deceased, of messuages and lands etc in Ragnall, Dunham, Wimpton, Snansteme, Darlton, and Fledborough, recited. Dat, 23 July, 1658."

"Release on the above lease for a year for a settlement on the marriage of the above Reason Mellish with Anne Metham, daughter of the above Robert Metham and Selina, his wife to uses recited in consideration of a marriage portion of £1800. Dat 24 July, 1658."

Another deed states:—"Lease for a year by Reason Mellish of Ragnall to Robert Saunderson of South Carlton co Line, esq, and John Slyman of Tickhill, co York, of the Manor, soke etc of Dunham with appurtenances in Dunham, East Drayton, Ragnall, East Markham, Gringley (in Clareborough), Ordsall, Thrumpton, Headon, Upton, and Thorpe. Dat, 19 Dec, 1678."

"Release on the above: to the use of the said Reason Mellish for his life, and then to William, Charles, Edward, and Robert, sons of the said Reason in tail male in default, and so to any succeeding sons in tail male in default. Dat 20 Dec, 1678." (53415).

Another deed states:—"Release by Reason Mellish of Ragnall, esq, to George (Savile) Marquis of Halifax, William Mellish of London, merchant, Edward Mellish of Blyth, Samuel Mellish of Doncaster, Thomas Hall of Kettlethorpc, Line, esq, and Anthony Serlby in Harworth, co Notts, gent, of lands etc recited in Dunham in trust to increase the portion of his younger children, Jane, Edward, and Robert Mellish. Dat. 11 Feb, 1687."

Reason died in 1696, and the estate of Dunham passed to his second son, Charles, who married Elizabeth Bostock. He died in 1713; having no son, his wife was lady of the Manor, and continued to live at Ragnall Hall until her death in June, 1742. She presented to the Church a set of massive silver Altar plate. Her name is mentioned in several deeds as Mrs. Elizabeth Mellish.

In tbe Register there is a memorandum, as follows:— "June 7th, 1720, That Mrs. Eliz: Mellish, Lady of the Manor of Dunham gave a silver fflaggon, a silver salver or paten, and a silver cover to it to the Church of Ragnall. Witness my hand"

There is a tablet in Ragnall Church to the memory of William Mellish, brother of Reason, and Dorothy, his wife, bearing the following inscription:—"Near this monument lyeth ye bodies of William Mellish, late of London, mercht (2nd son of Robert Mellish of this place esq) who dyed ye 14th day of December 1690, aetat suae 61, leaving no issue behind him." "And Dorothy his wife who in respect and love to her husband and his family ord'd by her last will his body should be removed out of St. Andrew's Church Holborn, London, and carried with hers and interred both together by his family. She dyed ye I4th day of May 1702. AEtat Suas 55. And was daughter of Sir Humphrey Bennet of Hamshire, Kt, who eminently signalized himself in ye service of King Charles ye first."

Charles and Elizabeth had an only child, Elizabeth, who married Colonel Thomas Condon. The latter had two children, also named Charles and Elizabeth, who are mentioned in Add. Charter 53451:—"Release by Thomas Condon of Kilawick with Walton, co York, esq, and Elizabeth his wife, sole daughter and heir of Charles Mellish, late of Ragnall, esq, to trustees of the Manor of Dunham and Ragnall with appurtenances in Dunham, Ragnall, Fledboro, and Laneham: for the benefit of Charles Mellish Condon and Elizabeth Condon, their children to uses recited. Dat 9 July, 1742."

The estate passed to their son Charles, who took the name of Mellish for his surname. Father and son are mentioned in Add. Charter 53454:—"Lease by Thomas Condon of West Merby co York, esq, and Charles Mellish of Ragnall, esq, his only son, to Stephen Husband,


Joseph Etherington (Vicar)

John Monck Joseph Bingham


yeoman, of the ferry over the Trent, at Dunham, for 24 years at a rent of £10. Dat 1 May, 1744."

Charles Mellish was present on January 26th, 1765, when Mr. Chaworth was killed while fighting a duel with Lord Byron, great uncle to the poet. A number of Nottingham gentlemen were in the habit of meeting in London at the Star and Garter Tavern, Pall Mall, once a week during the season, and dining together at what was called the Nottinghamshire Club. Shortly before seven o'clock, the time for departing, Mr. Hewett chanced to start a conversation about the best method for preserving game on estates, which eventually led to a duel in the house between Mr. Chaworth and Lord Byron, ending in the death of the former.

Charles Mellish had no son; he died in 1781. The circumstances connected with his death and burial are somewhat curious. On June 30th he left Ragnall to go north for the benefit of his health, his wife and daughter being away from home. He died at Doncaster on July 10th. Miss Rankin, his niece, came to Doncaster early on the morning of his death. She ransacked his bureau and destroyed some of his papers. She was annoyed at the will he had left, and evidently made up her mind to spite her cousin, Miss Mary Mellish. Miss Rankin refused to wait until Miss Mellish came from London. She ordered the corpse to be carried to Ragnall on Tuesday, July 14th, but not into the house, and to be put into the ground. She said "she had nothing to thank him for; he had been no friend of hers." He was accordingly buried without being taken into the Church. Some of the tenants said he should have a wheel round the house, and the body was wheeled two or three times round before it was put into the ground. Miss Rankin came to Ragnall on Wednesday, July 15th, Miss Mellish came on Thursday, the 16th. The date of his burial in the register is Friday, the lyth, so probably the Burial Service was read at the grave side two or three days after the interment at the request of his daughter.

His will, dated 1774, was disputed by Miss Rankin. He left the Ragnall and Dunham estate to his wife for life, with remainder to his two daughters, Mary and Frances; the latter died unmarried before her father. At the Nottingham Assizes, in 1785, Mary Mellish brought a "Plea of trespass" against Elizabeth Rankin. The jury found a verdict for Miss Mellish, the plaintiff.

Elizabeth Rankin married Samuel Crawley, of Keysal, Beds., who was the next owner, so that either she or her husband must have purchased the estate from Mary Mellish. Samuel Crawley died in 1805, and his wife in 1813. In the British Museum there are two "Proclamations of the Fair of Dunham," one by Charles Mellish, in 1752, the other by Samuel Crawley, in 1792, "Lord and owner of the Fair."

The next Lord of the Manor was William, son of Samuel Crawley, who sold the estate in 1819. It was purchased by William Simpson. It was again sold by auction in 1824, and purchased by John Angersteine Shortly after this, probably in 1828 or 1829, Ragnall Hall, which had been the Manor House for 170 years, was pulled down. It is described as "A roomy brick structure containing a large Hall paved, a commodious Dining Room, Breakfast Room, and Study, 8 Bedrooms, 9 Dressing Rooms; proper apartments for servants, and convenient Domestic Offices of every description." Thorsby describes it "as a dwelling of no inferior order." Only a small portion of the old Hall is embodied in the present house.

John Angersteine sold the estate in 1867, when the Manorial Rights were purchased by Miss Kirke, of Markham Hall, on behalf of her brother, Colonel Kirke. She married Dr. Wrench, of Baslow, and the Manorial Rights are now held by her son, F. Houlton-Wrench, Esq., Upperthorpe, Sheffield. The estate was again put up to auction in 1919, and sold in various lots.