Cases Concerning Clergy, and Tithes Sermons.

John Pearcey, vicar of Sutton-on-Trent, appeared on 15th April, 1573, and in answer to a citation "for that he causeth not foure sermons yearly to bee made in his said churche" alleged that two had been preached and that he could not get any more as preachers were scarce in those parts. He was ordered to have four sermons in each year. On the same day William Haukeyarde, vicar of Normanton-on-Trent, was cited for preaching without being licensed to do so. He denied that he either preached or expounded the Scriptures in his parish and was ordered to have four sermons preached each year. On 11th June, 1580 "The parson of Eastwaite [Eastwood]" was ordered to give six shillings and eight pence to the poor box for wanting "two sermondes since" Michaelmas, "And to provide two before Michaelmas nexte," and on 11th May, 1583, the vicar of Radford said "that he hath procured as many [sermons] as he can conveniently," and was enjoined "to pay for iij sermons iij halfe Crownes."

On 17th June, 1595, Stephen Moodye, vicar of Elkesley, was warned

"that from hence furth hee faile not upon the sundaies and holidaies to do divine service in his churche betwixt 9 and 11 of the clocke before noone and betwixt 3 and five in thafternoone, and to procure from hence furth that his quarter sermons bee from time to time made accordinge to her majesties injunctions."

"Elkysley sexto die Maij [1606]

We present Alexander Smith minister for Readinge of paid sermons & little printed bookes of Sermons."


2 June 1565. Master Christopher Marshall, clerk, because he had not communicated at Easter last.

He appeared and alleged as follows:—"That he did not refuse to receive the communyon at Easter laste upon any presumptuose or contemptuose cause or any other kind of matter, but for because he was seik so that he was not in good case nor mete for the receyving therof at that present time. And also dothe alledge & saye that he hathe served the cure and mynistred the communyon at Radford for the space of thies thre yeares in the quenes majesties tyme that nowe is. And further hath mynistred the communyon at Colwick to the parishoners there once or twyce syns Eastur. So that it may appere that he did not refuse to receyve at Easter laste uppon any presumptuose or contemptuose cause as is aforesaid."

9 March 1565-6. John Drurie, vicar of Bunny [Bonneye], "for because he did mynister the Sacrament or communyon in a stone potte in steade of a challice."

Alleged that he never administered the Sacrament in the said pot (cyphus) except once in a time of emergency when he had no chalice.

Henry Walles and Simon Wright, the churchwardens, were cited at the same court for not having a chalice, but the case was adjourned and there are no other entries relating to it.

19 March 1568-9. John Fyssher, vicar of Lenton, "for that he ys a player at cardes & tables [similar to backgammon]."

He pleaded not guilty and was ordered to purge himself, and at the next court he produced William Lovelasse and Geoffrey Fynnes as his compurgators, and swore "that he ys no common player at tables nor cardes in his house in tyme of divine service" and was dismissed.

On 15th May, 1573, John Renshall, curate of St. Nicholas, Nottingham, cited for ministering divine service being neither admitted or ordained (non admissus nec sacris initiatus). He pleaded guilty and the judge, on account of his skill (dexteritate) in reading and his display of great intelligence admitted him as a reader in the same church until he should be ordained.

On 21st January, 1573-4, William Bradforde, clerk, alleged "that wheare hee hathe authoritie to place a Curate for to serve the said Churche of Balderton the same John Beswicke serveth the cure intrudinge into it against his will and allso havinge no admission to serve as curate." Beswicke acknowledged that he had not been admitted and did not wish to administer divine service there any more if Bradforde would pay him his salary for his past services and prayed that he should be admitted. He was warned not to administer divine service within the Archdeaconry until he had been duly admitted. On 27th April, 1574, John Sympson, vicar of Basford, was suspended for having published the banns of William Pendocke and his wife Helen twice only, but on 11th May he was released from his suspension and on 6th July, ordered to give four pounds to be distributed among the poor of Nottingham.

22 June 1574. Henry Cooper, curate of Gamston, because he celebrated divine service in the chancel of the church there with his face towards the east contrary to the injunctions of the Archbishop in this case provided.

He admitted that the charge against him was true but alleged that the parish of Gamston was unable to build a platform or stall (suggestum sive stallum) in which he could celebrate divine service in any other manner. He was ordered to instruct the churchwardens to build a platform or stall outside the chancel so that divine service could be celebrated according to the injunctions. On 20th July William Brownloe, one of the churchwardens certified that a "suggestum sive stallum" had been erected.

On 9th November, 1577, the rector of Bilborough [not named] was cited to appear and the judge objected against him "to (sic) taking holly water and that he should saye that he had geven his fayth unto the church and that fayth that was loste he had geven to his wyfe." He pleaded not guilty and was ordered to purge himself and was also suspended. Afterwards he was dismissed for reasons which were not stated. On 2nd July, 1579, John Lambe of Wollaton appeared and produced his letters of ordination, but the judge, finding, on examining the same, both erasures and matters for suspicion (rasas atque suspectas) viz. in the words "Johannes Lambe," in the word "litteram" and finally in the word "diaconus," enjoined him to prove at the next court that the said letters were genuine and had been lawfully granted by the Bishop of Chester and were confirmed by his seal. There is no further entry, however, in this case.

On 16th July, 1579, the vicar of Ruddington was cited because "he ys bounde to fynde a deacon in ye church and doth not." He said "he ought not to fynde anye" and the case apparently was dropped. At the same court the rector of Holme Pierpont was cited because "he frequenteth not his church as he ought to do" and was ordered "to bringe his lycence at Mychelmas of his contynue at the universyty." This licence would be required under the statute of 28 Henry VIII., cap. 13.

On 3rd September, 1579, the judge cited Richard Baggaley, clerk, [the name of his parish is not given] to answer whether "he maried one Swanne and his wyfe unlawfullye bienge of the parish of Sutton in Ashfield." He admitted "that they assembled together and he red (sic) oute the wordes of matrimony." The judge then objected against him "that he doth exercyes hym self in severall labors as ditchinge and hedginge" contrary to clerical repute (contra honestate clericale) which he did not deny and he was excommunicated.

26 April 1583. "It ys supposed that Richard Hyndley parson of Fynnyngley tooke these thinges awaye when he went from leverton viz., a Paraphrase, a common box of Iron with a teame (?) unto yt, the q. Injunctions, the booke of the order of servyce for wednessdayes and frydayes and my lordes g. his articles."

17 June 1584. "John Mytton Vicare there [Balderton] dyd not mynyster the Sacramentes at Christmas last."

"He sayeth that he ys not bounde to do yt at that tyme not withstandinge which he dyd appoynt to doe yt accordinge to the q. majesties lawes, they would not provyde bread and wyne for the same." The case was referred to the Archdeacon.

27 June 1584. "The parson [of Kelham] doth not geve the xlth parte of the profyttes of the parsonage to the poore as he oughte to doe accordinge to the quenes injunctions."

On 3rd August, 1584, Richard Fox, of Gringley-on-the-Hill, for saying "that it was never a good world synce prestes were maryed and called the Vickers wyfe of Gringley paynted stocke. Also he sayd that preestes calves and byshoppes calves would over rone the Realme" was ordered to acknowledge his fault in the church before the congregation and also before the clergy at the next exercise at Retford. On 3rd August, 1585, George Domebell, curate of Keyworth, was inhibited from exercising the office of a minister until he had been licensed and the rector promised "to geve the mynyster or Curat that shall serve the Cure vij li yearley."

27 May 1587. The rector of Eakring "presented for not mynystering the Sacramentes and saying the service in the Church accordinge to the booke of common prayer, and the communyon mynystred but at Christmas and Easter last, and the same parson refuseth to weare the surplysse at any tyme and the Chancell in greate deckaye."

He pleaded not guilty "but say the that thorowe the weaknes of his bodye sometymes he hathe omitted some parte of his duetye which hath bene altogether thorowe the weaknes of bodye and not of any matter of contumacye And saythe further that for any matter that hath bene hearetofore by him omytted he will amend yt."

He was presented again on 16th April, 1589 "because he ministred not the communion generally synce the last Visitacion [1588] but at Easter 1589, And also because the Chauncell wyndoes are in decay and he will not go to the lame to mynyster &c." He was enjoined to administer the Sacrament in accordance with the Injunctions &c. "et administrandum lunaticis quando sunt sane mentis" and to do the same to the lame. [See below for a further entry relating to Eakring].

On 22nd July, 1587, the judge enjoined the rector and vicar of Gedling "that they do observe and keepe themselves in quiet manor in the Church at all tymes and not to geve occasion of breach one to the other of frendship And that yf there be any contencion to ryse betweene them then to exhibite the same contencion in wryteing eyther to my L. grace the Archb. of Yorke or to the sayd Mr Archdeacon and in the mean tyme to surcease from all quarrelous actions."

29 April 1592. "John Kinge bachelor of divinitie Archdeacon of the Archdeconrie of Nottingham in the metropolitane church of Yorke to the churchwardens & inhabitantes of Eikringe of our Archdeaconrie and all others whom it shall or may concerne sendeth gretinge. For so much as Mr. George Piggin person [parson] of the churche of Eikringe aforesaid is much occupied in preachinge and cannot yet (as he saithe) furnish him self of a good and hable minister to serve the cure under him, wee, havinge receaved credible enformacion both of the lief and of the learninge and zeale of Leonarde Marrowe bachelor of art towards religion and of his conformitie to her majesties proceedings, have thought good and (so much as in us is and so far furth as wee lawfully may) hereby tollerate and allowe the said Leonarde to use and exercise the office and place of a Reader in the said Church of Eikringe, and there to teach and instructe children in rudiments of grammer, and such good authors and writers as hee is hable to expounde and ther capacitie fit for, duringe our good likinge and so longe as hee shall honestly and diligently behave him self therin, and not otherwise, and so wee require yow to receave him : Not yet meaninge hereby in anie wise to allowe him to adminster the sacraments or either of them, or anie other publique rites in the churche, or to enterprete the holie scriptures, but onely to reade or singe the morninge & eveninge praiers, the lessons and chapters apointed for the same, the Letanie suffrages and homilies set furth by her majesties authoritie, to purifie women and burie the dead : charginge and requiringe him so to applie him self to the studie of holie scripture and instruction of children in those thinges that bee good and godlie, and so to directe his lief as hee bee no occasion of slander or offense in anie case, wherby answearinge this trust committed unto him hee may bee founde worthie of furder advancement. In witnes wherof our seal is herunto put. Geven at Southwell this 29 day of April 1592."

11 May 1593. Anthony Benet, curate of Mansfield Woodhouse, "he standeth indicted at the last assises holden at Nott. for a common barettor and is theruppon referred over to the order and examination of this courte." [He must have claimed the " benefit of clergy.'].

He admitted that he had been indicted for "le common Barattour" (as aforesaid) and submitted himself to the correction of the court. Then judge with the express consent of the said Anthony and by the advice of the venerable John Benet, vicar general to the Archbishop of York, whom he had consulted previously, enjoined the said Anthony to make a declaration or penance in the church of Mansfield Woodhouse as was prescribed in a schedule.

In the following September he was "presented to bee scandalous in his conversation thorough brawlinge, fightinge, quarellinge & unlawfull games" but swore "that the said detects are altogether untrue and that hee beleives him self therof not to be infamed publiquely in the place of his dwellinge."

Memorandum that in this visitation of the Archdeacon of Nottingham held and kept in the church of East Retford the 23rd, in the church of Newark upon Trent the 26th and in the church of St. Mary, Nottingham the 28th and 29th days of April [1595] there were published and read to the clergy of the same Archdeaconry of Nottingham assembled on the same respective days and places letters from the reverend father in Christ lord Matthew by divine providence Archbishop of York, primate of England and Metropolitan, to the said Archdeacon and his Official for a benevolence or charitable subsidy to be granted by the same clergy, by the example of their predecessors, to the same lord Archbishop on his first entry into the See of the Province of York, the same clergy granted and confirmed as a benevolence a tithe of the whole of their benefices in the aforesaid Archdeaconry to be paid by two equal portions on the last day of September next and of May which shall be in the year 1595 (sic) if the same reverend father shall so long live and shall be Archbishop of York, and agreed on and consented to the other things which are contained in the schedule or paper (carta) of these concessions signed by them, the tenour of which same letters and grant follow "seriatim" and are as follows :

"The L. Archbush his g. letters."
"To my verie lovinge frende Mr. John Kinge Archdeacon of Nottingham or to his Officiall there.

Salutem in Christo. Yt hath pleased god to move the harte of the Quenes most excellent majestie without my suite to bestowe uppon me the Archbushopricke of Yorke. The confirmacion of my eleccion was perfected at Lambith upon monday laste and now direccion is geven for my presente installacion. And albeit I nothinge doubte but such of the clergie as ar within your Archdeaconry will willingly yielde unto mee a benevolence as from time to time hath beene bestowed upon my predecessors : yet quia mos est rogandi, rogo, desiringe yow to move theim all to shewe their goodwille in grantinge the same which I trust I shall endevour to deserve, and they and yow have cause to thinke as well bestowed as upon others &c. I do knowe that the clergie there ar charged with greate payments otherwise, and therefore I do desier thone halfe may bee paid in September next and the other about May day the nexte followinge. Thus with my hartie commendacions I betake yow and theim to the blessed protection of thalmightie. From Channon rowe the xxvijth of March 1595.

Yours in Christe verie assured

"The graunte

The clergie of the Archdeaconry of Nottingham callinge to mynde the virtue and Learninge of the most reverende father in Christe Matthewe by the providence of god Archbishop of Yorke primate of England and metropolitane and consideringe the greate and burdensome charges that his grace of necessitie hath sustained at his ingresse into that See, and is to undergo before hee can bee well settled therin, and well hopinge that his grace accordinge to his wonted favour and love towardes the ministerie will bee a stay and encouragemente unto theim and the furderance of the gospell, notwithstandinge the yerelie and insupportable charges and burdens that otherwise lye upon theim, a greate parte havinge verie small livings hardly affordinge theim competent and decente maintenance for theim selves : in consideracion of the premisses and for an unfeyned declaracion of their lovinge mindes and duties to his grace, with one uniforne agrement and consente and the rather for that his grace hath vouchafed (sic) by letters in good termes to require yt and not otherwise to demaunde yt or of dutie to expecte yt: have geven granted and confirmed and by these presents do geve grante and confirme to the same most reverend father in the name of a benevolence or charitable subsidie one entier tenth of all and every their benefices and spirituall promotions lienge and beinge in the said Archdeaconry, as they bee rated and valued in the recordes of her majesties courte of Eschequer (sic) to bee paid to his grace in manner and forme hereafter followinge, that is to say, one full moitie therof upon the last of September next comminge after the makinge of this graunte, yf the said most reverend father do so long live, and thother moitie therof upon the last of May which shall bee in the yere of our lorde god 1596, if his grace so longe bee (as they (if it may bee gods good will to graunte yt) for the extraordinarie opinion that they have of this governmente hartely wish him longe to bee their metropolitane) livinge, and to continue Archbushop of Yorke and not otherwise. And for the better levienge and recoverie of the said benevolence the said clergie doth willinglie graunte and agree that yt shall and may bee lawfull to and for the said most reverende father and his vicar generall or such other person or persons as his grace shall thereunto authorize, or els for the Archdeacon of Nottingham or his Officiall for the time beinge by all or any of the censures of the churche to compell every man charged by this graunte to the payment of the said benevolence, so farre furthe as yt shall concerne him, if the same or anie parte therof shall fortune to bee behinde or unpaid by the space of one month after either of the said dayes at the which by the woordes and true meaninge of these presents it ought to bee paid, anie appeals or provocation to the contrarie notwithstandinge.''

In 1601, Edward Meeke, vicar of Arnold, was cited because "the Chauncell of his parishe churche is decaied." He said that it had been decayed for twenty years, and that the rectors or the farmers of the rectorial tithes were bound to repair and produced an agreement between the rectors and vicars to this effect. He also said that he wished to call William Clarke and his wife Elizabeth as witnesses but they were too old to attend at Nottingham to be examined, so a commission was issued to Mr. Charles Aynsworth and Mr. Leonard Foster, clerks, or either of them to take their evidence. The evidence of William Clarke was taken in Arnold Church but that of his wife was taken in their house, and both are attached to the entry and are as follows:—

The examination of the witnesses named below taken before Masters Charles Aynsworth and Leonard Foster, clerks, 3rd December 1601 in the presence of me Matthew Weekes, notary public.

William Clarke of Arnold in the county of Nottingham "husbandman" of the age of 75 or thereabouts produced, sworn and examined as a witness upon the allegation of Master Edward Meeke deposeth as follows.

On the allegation made by the said Mr. Meeke he says and deposes "that aboute xlvj yeeres since this examinate beinge servant to Wm. Rawson Carpenter late of Arnoll deceased he with the said Wm. Rawson his Mr did shingle or cover with shingle the roofe of the chancel beinge thereunto appointed by one Richard Greenall servant & steward to Sir John Byron decesed (sic) which Sir John had the impropriacion of the parsonage of Arnoll aforesaid as nowe Sir John Byron his sonne hathe & his said Mr. received his wages for his said worke by the handes of the said Rich. Greenall as from the said Sir John Byron proprietarie who oughte as he thinketh or the proprietarie for the tyme beinge to repayre & maynteyne the chancell aforesaid for the proprietarie from tyme to tyme receaveth the tythe corne of the parishe of Arnoll aforesaid & he never harde (sic) that the vicar for the tyme beinge or anye other besides the proprietarie or parson did or oughte to repayre the same

Elizabeth Clarke of Arnold in the county of Nottingham "spinster" (sic) of the age of 76 or thereabouts a witness produced admitted sworn and examined as above deposed as follows.

Upon the aforesaid allegation she says and deposes "that aboute fiftie and five yeeres since one Willm. Rawson Carpenter this Depontes brother beinge sett a worke by Mr Richard Greenall servant to Sir John Byron late deceased did repaire the chauncell of Arnoll aforesaid at the appointment of the said Sir John Byron deceased who was at that tyme fermor of the propriacion of the parsonage of Arnoll aforesaid." And gave as an explanation of her statement "for that she did divers tymes fetche parte of the money due to her said brother for the repayringe of the said chauncell from Mr Richard Greenall who was then steward to the said Sir John Byron deceased and this chauncell before by her deposed of was repayred as aforesaid in the tyme of Kinge Edwarde the sixte as she remembreth one Sir Richard Peerson beinge then vicar of Arnoll." And she further says and deposes "that she never hearde that the chauncell of Arnoll aforesaid was repayred by the vicars of Arnoll or anye other person but the proprietaries or Fermors of the same parsonage of Arnoll who ought to repayre the same and from tyme to tyme receaved all the tythe corne within the parishe of Arnoll aforesaid.'' And is unable to depose otherwise as she says.

Signum Elizabethe Clarke."

On 19th December, 1601, William Jepson, vicar of Norton Cuckney, in answer to a presentment "for not visitinge the sicke persons in his parishe" said "that by reason of the daingerous disease that the sicke was affected with he did not visit the sicke." On 5th June, 1602, Mark Wiersdale, rector of Costock [Cortlingstocke], was, apparently, cited for not wearing the surplice, as the entry states that the churchwardens appeared and produced "a certain surples which by the appointment of Mr Officiall was not thoughte fitte to be worne bothe because it was to (sic) shorte and likewise Mr Doctor Benet [Vicar General] had before commanded an other to have binne made whereuppon he assinged the churchwardens to make a newe and seemelie surples before Michaelmas nexte." On 7th May, 1608, the same rector admitted "that some tymes he dothe not weare the surples & the reason whie he dothe not usuallie saye service uppon wenesdaies fridayes & Saturdaies is because none of the parishioners resorte to heare service the same daies."

23 March 1619-20. William Carte, vicar of Worksop.

Admited "that he often tymes uppon Sundayes and Hollidayes since the five and twentieth of Marche 1618 bothe in the tyme of the readinge of divine service and in the tyme of administringe the sacrament of baptisme hathe not worne the surplisse and that uppon Wednesdayes and Fridayes he hathe manie tymes since the same 25th of March 1618 omitted the readinge of the lettanie and alsoe hathe omitted the readinge of athanasius creed uppon divers sabaoth dayes and Hollidayes when the same should be read accordinge to the order prescribed in the booke of common prayer and as he beleeveth he hathe not used the signe of the crosse in baptizinge one or two children since the tyme aforesaid in the same Churche of Wirksop." Dimissed with a warning.

On 27th May, 1620, Mr John Wood, vicar of Lenton, pleaded guilty to a presentment "for sufferinge drinckinge and vittaylinge in his house at Martines laste paste," but the entry is incomplete.


4 Dec. 1594. The office of judge for hearing and passing the accounts, statement and reckoning of George Evans clerk, sequestrator of a mediety of the vicarage of the church of North Muskham. On which day the said George Evans, clerk, appeared in person and exhibited his account, statement and reckoning drawn up in writing, which he prayed should be admitted, in the presence of Thomas Ashton, clerk, having, as he asserted, a right and interest in the matter.

And then the said account having been examined and discussed and admitted (so far as he could) by the judge, the judge ordered the clear sum remaining in the said account, viz., Thirteen pounds eight shillings and nine pence halfpenny, to be allowed and allocated to the said accountant for his service in the cure of the same church for one whole year and nine weeks and three days ended the third of this December, and held the same George to be dismissed from rendering a further account, deceit, fraud and wrong excepted, and reserving to all their rights.

On 30th July, 1612, a sequestration of the fruits (fructum) growing within the town of Carburton in the parish of Edwinstowe towards the repair of the chancel of the church or chapel of Carburton was granted to William Moseley gent., John Sharpe yeoman, and John Mitchell yeoman, all of Carburton.

6 April 1614. On which day [before Mr Thomas Bishop, clerk, surrogate, between the hours of nine and eleven in the forenoon] Thomas Hancocke, clerk, appeared in person and humbly prayed that the fruits &c. of the church and rectory of Ordsall should be sequestrated and the custody of such sequestration granted to him and William Weste and Alexander Tonge, churchwardens of Ordsall. To which petition the judge, for certain reasons specially moving him and especially lest the cure of the souls of the parishioners there should be neglected, decreed that the fruits, rents, produce, offerings &c. of the rectory of Ordsall should be sequestered and decreed that the custody of the same sequestration should be granted to the said Thomas Hancocke, clerk, William Weste and Alexander Tonge, churchwardens of the church of Ordsall.

On the same day [before Mr Michael Purefey, Surrogate of the Official [he had previously been the Official] between the hours of four and six in the afternoon] The said Michael Purefey revoked the letters of sequestration of the fruits of the church of Ordsall previously granted to Mr Thomas Hancocke, clerk, and William Weste and Alexander Tonge, churchwardens of Ordsall aforesaid, and granted letters of sequestration of the fruits of the same church to the aforesaid Thomas Hancocke, clerk, and Margaret Coe, relict of Stephen Coe, clerk, late rector of the church of Ordsall aforesaid, deceased.