Nottingham Riot in 1678.

By the Rev. R. Jowett Burton, M.A.

WHEN Thomas Bailey wrote his "Annals of Nottinghamshire," he described, on pages 974-977, a riot which arose over the election of a common-councilman on December 10th, 1678. The source of his information was "a MS. document in the hands of a descendant of Mr. Alderman Drury." As, however, these MSS. (for there are several) have not been printed in full and the incident is singularly interesting, it seems desirable that the records should be set forth in completeness.

The documents have a charm of their own, which a description of the events could not enhance. They bring to the mind a lively and intimate conception of the ways of life at that period, and of the gross and shameless injustice meted out when partisanship sought its ends. The denial of the status of burgess by the Mayor appears to be barefaced effrontery, worthy of the age and methods of Judge Jeffreys. The complainants, it will be noticed, acted as judges in condemning the prisoners, after some six weeks in gaol, to a heavy fine before the order of the Privy Council was due for execution. Some credit for a sense of justice seems due to Alderman Jackson, who sat in judgment but did not sign the committal. It is to be regretted that the whole proceedings are not available. Whether the Privy

Council confirmed or rejected the actions of the local authority is not here recorded; but, in spite of the last note in the "brief," it seems clear that this William Drury, styled "the elder," was elected Alderman and Justice of the Peace in 1693-4; in which year William Drury "the younger," probably a son, was school-warden. Bailey states that the Wm. Drury of the riot was Sheriff for the borough in 1659-60, which seems most highly improbable, and more likely to refer to an older member of the family.

The Inventory of goods is added to complete the records of Wm. Drury. All the documents are written on paper and the seals on the Committal are of ordinary red sealing-wax.

A comparison with Bailey's extracts shews these papers to be the ones to which he had access; a second collection is inconceivable. It would seem that they were kept at an early date by Richard Clayton of Codnor Breach, Derbyshire, an attorney of Nottingham, who married Sarah, daughter of William Drury and Dorothy his wife: from whom they came by lineal descent through the families of Robey of Denby, and Strelley, to Robert Strelley Parker of Denby, the "descendant of Mr. Alderman Drury "referred to by Thomas Bailey. From Mr. Parker they came to Miss E. F. Gregory, the present owner of Denby Old Hall, through whose kindness they are now in the hands of the transcriber.

The help in connection with the papers, very kindly given by Mr. K. Tweedale Meaby, Clerk of the Peace, and by Mr. J. T. Perry, of Nottingham, is gratefully acknowledged.

the 24th of December 1678

By the King's most Excellent Maty. and the right Honoble. the Lords of his Matys. most Honoble. Privy Councill.

His Maty. beinge this Day in Councill informed of a Dangerous Ryott Comitted att Nottinghm vpon the 9th and 10th Instant att the Election of an Aldrman and Cloathing Covncillmen there by one William Drewry and others whereby the King's Peace was not onely highly broken but the Major. and other ye Magistrates of that place in greate danger of their Lives to ye high Violation of his Matys. Royall Authority and ye Lawes of ye Kingdome his Maty. beinge sensible of ye Consequences of such Illegall proceedings was pleased to Order And it is hereby accordingly Ordered That Ralph Edge Esqr Major. of the said Towne doe forthwith cause (? the) matter of fact Complained of to be Examined and ye said Examina(con) taken vpon Oath to be by him transmitted to this Board togeather (with) such of ye principall Witnesses as the said Major. shall thinke fitt And ye said Drewry and ye other Riotors are hereby required to attend his Maty. in Councill to answer ye same Vpon ye first Wednesday in February next wherrof they are not to faile.

Tho. Dolman A True Coppy Exaied by me
Richard Lambert."


" To the Wor11. Mr. Major Mr. Recorder & Mr.


The humble Peticon of Wm. Drewry Shoueth That he is altogether ignorant & innocent of the Desturbance yesterday, And prayeth you will be pleased to grant him audience, to be heard speake & declare his innocency to you, And if in any Thing you be offended at him, He Does hereby declare his sorrow, Assureing you his indeavour was to appease the tumult after he had notice of the commotion, And that his purpose was not in anything to offend the Magestrates of this Corporacon whereof he is a member ; And prayes you will conseder of him as a member & lover of the same Body, And discharge him of his Imprisonment. And to take those persons into consideracon also, that are vnder restraint, who are guiltlesse of the Disturbance

Willm. Drury."


"Towne of Nottm. To Wm. Hardy & Robt. Howet Sherriffs of ye Towne & County of ye Towne of Nottm. Or to ye keepr, of his Matys. Gaole wthin ye Towne & County aforesaid & to their Deputy & Deputyes there & to euery or any of them greeting.

Whereas Wm. Drewry of ye Towne & ye County of ye Towne of Nottm gen George Kirtland Jeffery Nixon John Woogden Wm. Chambers & Wm. Dennis stand seuerally Indicted & convict of a Ryott by them made ye Tenth day of December last past vpon ye view of Ralph Edge Major of ye said Towne of Nottm. Wm. Greaves Wm. Jackson John Parker senr. xpof Hall John Parker Junr. & Gervas Rippon Aldrmen of ye said Towne & Justices of ye peace of or. Soueraigne Lord ye King wthin ye said Towne & County of Nottm. assigne &c And of Wm. Hardy & Robt. Howett Sherriffs of ye said Towne & County of ye Towne of Nottm. as by ye Record of Conviccon this day fyled vpon Record at ye Generall quarter Sessions of ye peace houlden for ye said Towne & County of Nottm. relacon therevnto being had more fully & at large it doth and may appeare And whereas alsoe wee his said Matys. Justices of ye peace for ye said Towne of Nottm. have this day in Court fined ye said Willm. Drewery George Kirtland Jon. Wogden Jeffery Nixon Wm. Chambers & Wm. Dennis seuerally for ye said Ryott in in ye said Record of Conviccon menconed

These are therefore in his Matys. Name to will & require you & euery of you to take into your Custody the bodyes of ye said Wm. Drewry George Kirtland Jeffery Nixon John Woogden Wm. Chambers & Wm. Dennis whom wee have sent you & them receave & safely keepe in yor. said Gaole vntill he or they Seuerally & respectively shall have seuerally made his or their ffyne & Ransome seuerally imposed & sett vpon him or them unto oer Soueraigne Lord ye King & be thence deliuered by ye order of ye Law And herein faile you not at your P'ill Given vnder or hands & seales at ye Guildhall of ye said Towne of Nottm. the Twentith day of January in yeThirtith yeare of ye Raigne of or. most gracious Soueraigne Lord Charles ye second by ye grace of God King of England Scotland ffrance & Ireland Defender. of ye faith &c Annoq : Dni 1678.

Ralph Edge
Major Will Greaves
Ald John Parker
Ald CH Hall
Ald John Parker
Ald Ger : Rippon Ald "

Note—Of the small seals of red sealing-wax appended :
1 and 5 are too defaced to understand.
2—a deer, lodged.
3 and 6, appear to be a cow, statant. 4—three hounds' heads erased.


" The major & Aldermen of Nottingham against William Drury gent

At Councill table on
Wedensday next in the

The 10. of december last a Comon Councell man was to be chosen at ye Geildhall of ye said Towne, into the place of Mr. Rippon, who was made an alderman.

In order wherunto ye custables of ye wards (as ye usage is) had notice from ye major by his officer to sumon ye burgesses of their respective wards to appeare there that day to elect ye Comon Councill man

Mr. Drury as a burgesse was sumoned to be there by william flinders ye cunstable of his ward—to prove this

Alderm. Jackson

Mr. Drury went to ye hall accordingly, & ye greater number of ye burgesses were for him. but Mr. Edge the major told them, Drury was no burgesse & named one Mr. Wortley to be Councill man

Upon this Mr. Drury replyed that he had been a burgesse a long time & had enjoyed ye priuiledges of a burgesse parte, & quitt of tolls & freedome of Comon as other burgesses had, & was ready to take ye oathes ye law did require in such case. ye major told him he must come another day, with that Mr. Drury desired his burgesses to goe home, for he was satisfied, they hauinge chosen ye Comon councell man, & he imediately went to his owne house1, & dureing his being in the hall there was no tumult or stirr

Alderm. Jackson & Mr. Mercer
Alderm. Parker
Mr. Salmon

Mr. Drury when he came home went thence imediately with one Mr. Cresswell & his man to ye majors house, he being an atturney, to seale a defeasance to a statute which was acknowledged to him by Cresswell before Mr. major, & was there about 2. houres, & mr. major came from ye hall to his house where Drury was & sayd nothinge to him of any disorder by any ! & mr. Drury after he came from ye hall neuer came neer or amongst ye company or Riottors nor had any hand in ye tumult yt. after happened.

George Sheldon.

After this that ye major & Aldermen were come from ye hall they went to ye signe of ye castle2 with ye new Councell man mr Wortly to dinner, & when they was at theire collation, some 20. or 30. of ye rable (no burgesses) came to them & did assalt ye major & them in a uery tumultuous & uiolent manner, mr. Drury not there nor neer ye place.

Imediately after this tumult ye same day, they comitted Drury to ye Gaoll & there he lay 6. weeks till he payd his fine.

Mr. Drury was conuicted of ye Riott upon their uiew, (whe . . . be when he was in ye hall & then their was no tumult or stirr.) & at their last sessions fined Drury 100. markes, which he hath payd & hath a receipt for it.

They were both witnesses & iudges of fact & fine : & ye corporation hath ye fines. ue receipt And yet they haue occasion'd him now to appeare at Councell table, he is a conformable man & no fanatic as you will see per Certificates. & of peaceable behauior.

ue Certificates

By ye Comissioners for regulating Corporations Drury was turned out from being Comon Councill man, but hath euer since enjoyed ye priuiledges of a burgesse as aforesayd. for all that are made freeman are sworne burgesses & therefore questionable whether within ye act for regulation of Corporations ue

Mr. Drury will neuer trouble ye corporation for any offices or places."

NO. 5.

"We Edward Buxton Minister of the Parish and Parish Church of Sl. Peters in Nottingham and George Alseabrooke and Thomas Lovett Church Wardens of the same, Doe hereby Certifie That We know Mr. William Drewry of the Towne of Nottingham, That he is a person very well affected to the present Governmt.

of this Kingdome, as it is now established both in Church and State ; And a constant comer to, and hearer of Divine Service, and a Receiver of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper according to the Rights of the Church of England, And that he is a person of a peaceable De-meanoer, and not addicted to any manner of factious Principles.

Witnesse our hands the one and Twentieth day of January Anno Dni 1678.

Ed : Buxton R : sti petri Not. . . .
Geo : Alseabrooke Chourch
Thomas Louett Wardens.

I John Greaues Gent one of his majestys Coroners for the Town and County of the Town of Nottingham Do Affirme that the aboue named Mr. William Drury did Receiue the Sacrament of the Lords Supper According to the Rights & Ceremtnies of the Church of England on Xtmas Day last past1 witness my hand the 25th day of Jan. 1678.

John Greaves."

NO. 6.

"We who have herevnto subscribed our Names Doe hereby humbly Certifie, That We doe know William Drewry of the Towne of Nottingham gentl, and have long knowne him to be a Loyal Subject to the King's Maiesty, And in the general course of his life very conformable to his Maties Government, both in Church and State, Noe way inclinable to faction, or of any seditious Principles, But of a peaceable behaviour:

Witnesse our hands the Three and twentieth day of January in the Thirtieth yeare of his Mat,es. Reigne, Annoq Dni 1678.

W. Byron
R Pierrepont
Geo Gregory
Thomas Rosell
Tho : Parkyns
Willm Savile
Tho : Charlton
Hen : Plumptre
Tho : Charlton junr."

NO. 7

"A true and perfect Inventory of the goods, Cattels, and Chattels of William Drury Alderman of Nottingham deceased taken & appraised by us whose names are under written this seauenteenth day of September 1697.

Imprimis. £    
Purse and apparel 20 0 0
Plate 12 3 0
Debts good and bad 15 17 2
In the greate Parlor.      
12 Chaires, a table, bed, and bedsted 5 3 4
In the Hall.      
8 Chaires, a Press, a table, 6 Cussions &      
Lancettle 2 6 8
In the Parlor next the Hall.      
4 Chaires, a table, bed & bedsted 2 2 6
In the kitchen.      
6 Chaires, a table, Jack, Pewter & Brass 5 4 0
In two little Parlors.      
two tables, two Old beds & 8 Chaires 2 13 4
Wood in the ouer and neather yard Sawn,      
and Clouen 40 13 4
Malt 10 3 4
Horses, Carriages & Geers 15 6 8
38 Sheep, 3 Cowes 16 0 0
Corn, and Hay in the Barn 10 1 5
Goods seen & unseen 0 13 4
  158 8 1


Willam hallam )  
Henry Vincent ) Apprasers
Ralph peight )