Notes and Jottings about Sutton Bonington.
BY REV. W. E. BUCKLAND. (Rector of St. Anne's).
Saxon and Norman Times.
ABOUT 560 Anglian War Bands forced their way up the Trent and established the midland kingdom of Mercia and appropriated the settlements of the British, to which they gave the names of their chieftains. So Bonington is a Saxon place-name from the patronymic "ing," "sons of," the "ton," town of the "Bonings," "sons of Bona;" and Sutton, or Sudton is the "ton," town South of Bonington. Mercia did not accept Christianity till their King Penda was slain in battle by Oswy, King of Northumbria, in 656, when they began to build churches of wood. The Domesday Survey of 1086 mentions no church here, but that is no proof that no church existed then.
In 876 the Danes overran Mercia and formed the "Five Boroughs" of Derby, Stamford, Leicester, Lincoln and Nottingham, but Ethelfleda, daughter of King Alfred, widow of Ethelred, as "Lady of the Mercians" made the Danes acknowledge her sway and did much for Christianity, but the final settlement gave the Danes the counties of Leicester, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.
In 1066 William the Norman defeated Harold at Hastings and divided England among his soldiers.
Sutton Bonington was included in the "Honor of Peveril," the share which fell to William Peveril. This lay chiefly in the counties of Stafford, Derby and Nottingham. According to the Domesday Survey of 1086, Harold held three manors here, which were given to the Conqueror's nephew Hugh d'Avranches, Earl of Chester, whom the English called Lupus, the Earl of Moreton, and Henry Ferrarius, a soldier from Ferrers in Normandy. Robert Fitzwilliam held as tenant under the Earl of Chester, Stori under the Earl of Moreton and Siward under Earl Ferrers. Siward, Osgod and Coleman appear to have retained their lands as survivors of the Saxon thegns.
The Earldom of Chester, extinct in the male line, was annexed by Henry II. in 1232 and is now held by the Prince of Wales. The Earldom of Ferrers also fell into abeyance, but one Sewallus de Etingdon, a Saxon who held under him, moved to Shirley in Derbyshire and took the name of Shirley and in 1767 Sir Robert Shirley, sixth baronet, took the title of Earl Ferrers and in 1711 was created Viscount Tamworth. Hence Earl Ferrers, who owned land here till 1832, is not descended from Henry Ferrarius but comes of the oldest Saxon descent. I can find nothing about the Earl of Moreton.
Repton Priory and St. Anne's Church.
Though the Domesday Survey, 1086, mentions no church here, the Church of St. Anne was here about 1100. For Cox, "Churches of Derbyshire" Vol. III., p. 346, dates a deed which he quotes in Vol. III., Appendix XII., from the Harleian MSS. 2044, ff. 82, 83 as "not later than the beginning of Henry I. or the end of William Rufus." The deed states that Gregorie de
Diva gave the Church of St. Anne to the Priory of Calke. I cannot learn how Gregorie de Diva had any interest in Sutton, but Godfrey in his "Churches of Nottingham: Hundred of Rushcliffe," under Gotham, p. 105, says that "Previous to the twelfth century the lordship of Gotham was held by the family of Dyves or de Diva. On the death in 1210-11 of Hugh Dyve, the last of that race, his manors were divided among his three daughters and co-heirs, Matilda, Alice and Ascelin."
By this deed Gregory de Diva gave to the Priory of St. Giles of Calke (near Melbourne) the Church of St. Anne (having the right to baptize) of Sutton-on-Soar with all the appurtenances on condition that the Priory found a regular or secular priest and a clerk to say Mass every day. Cox adds that this gift was confirmed by Leodegarius de Diva under Henry II. and again in 1191 by William de Marteigni.
The "appurtenances" of the Church of St. Anne no doubt included the tithe and glebe, but it does not seem that the Church was appropriated to the Priory so as to make the Prior Rector and the Priest Vicar. Anyhow the Prior of Repton was patron of St. Anne's until the Dissolution of the Priory in 1538, when, after visitation by Thomas Leigh and Richard Layton, two of the Commissioners, the Priory was dissolved, the Canons pensioned, the buildings and land assigned to Thomas Thacker, of Heage, steward to Lord Cromwell, and the furniture and farm stock sold. The church was destroyed by his son, Gilbert Thacker, fearing lest Queen Mary should compel him to restore it. At the Dissolution the Priory of Calke remained with the Crown, until in 1547 Edward VI. granted it to the Earl of Warwick. The remains are now in the house called Calke Abbey.
The Prior at Repton had at Sutton Bonington a Grange Farm with ten yards lands (300 acres), known as Repingdon Grange, but called locally "Hobgoblins." "The Antiquarian and Topographical Cabinet" published by W. Clarke, New Bond Street, in 1811 gives a print and description of it as it was then. It says:— "Upon this estate the Prior of Repingdon had his capital messuage grange or manor farm, of the remains of which a view is here given, containing enough of its character to show that the expenses of the regular clergy were not confined to the decoration of their monastic residences and that taste and solidity were generally united in their architecture and productions. The building, notwithstanding the rude treatment which it has received from the bad taste of those under whose protection it has fallen, retains some vestiges of its former respectability. The entrance is under a lofty pointed arch of the age of Henry VII. (1485-1509), over which is a row of blank shields suspended from a moulded cornice by a foliage of rich workmanship; on both sides are buttresses and windows now stopped up. The interior is without decoration and is now used as a barn."
This building as shown in the print abutted on the road, but has now (1925) entirely gone, except that there are remains of the walls, quantities of stones and an ivy-clad arch. The house behind, now occupied as two cottages, has been much repaired, but has a great open fire place with an overmantel smothered in paint, which looks Elizabethan.
I suggest that at the Dissolution the Repingdon Grange estate was acquired by Sir William Turvill (died July 2nd, 1549), son and heir of John Turvill, who married Katherine, one of the three daughters, co-heiresses, of Thomas Staunton (died 1486). Anne Turvill married George Swillington (died Nov. 22nd, 1560) of Stanford-on-Soar and left two daughters, one of whom, Margaret, married Francis Fylding, gent. So Thoroton says "Sutton's Manor came to the Swillingtons and from them to the Fieldings, who not long since sold to Grey Esqre. of Langley in Leicestershire," But Nichol's, Leicestershire, III., p. 862, says that Thomas Grey of Langley Priory (died March 19th, 1662-3) purchased the house and yard-lands heretofore belonging to Repton Priory and 3½ yard-lands from old Mr. Tate of Sutton."
It would seem that by acquiring Repingdon Grange the Fieldings claimed the advowson of St. Anne's, for Francis Fielding presented in 1572, Anthony Fielding in 1593, and Thomas Grey in 1662. But King Charles II. presented in 1667 and the Lord Chancellor has presented ever since. So it would seem that under Charles II. the Crown claimed the Advowson as part of the Royal plunder of Repton Priory, which the Fieldings had usurped. I have failed to trace the later owners but the map of the Enclosure Award shows the buildings described above in a close marked "Dovecote Close: Buttery and Bosworth." William Buttery, gent, died 22nd December, 1782. There is now no relic of the Dovecote. The adjoining field is still called "Grey's Field." Mr. W. Edmund Paget now owns the property.
The Alabaster Effigy in St. Anne's Church.
The Staunton Tomb, St Anne's, Sutton Bonington.
This mutilated effigy, set on a new slab in a recess in the north wall of the Chancel, is known as "Old Lion Gray." The hands and forefeet are gone; the helmet broken; the face battered; the misericorde, bawdric and "long sword at his left side" (which Mr. Stretton saw in 1819) are gone. There is no remnant of inscription or armorial bearing.
The effigy is that of a Yorkist, John or Thomas Staunton, time of Edward IV., 1461-1481: as shown by the effigy itself and other evidence.
He wears the livery collar of suns and roses (Roses en soleil) adopted by Edward IV. after the battles of Mortimer's Cross and Towton and worn till the accession of Henry VII., the Lancastrian, 1485, who revived the use of the S.S. Collar. Attached to the collar is the pendant "Lion of March." Edmund Mortimer, 3rd Earl of March, married Philippa, daughter of Lionel, Duke of Clarence, and was father of Roger Mortimer, 4th Earl of March, who was great-grandfather of Edward IV. The armour is that of the Yorkist period. (Druitts' "Costume in Brasses," p. 169). The hair cut short in a roll, the "hausse col" of chain mail, the "demi- placates," the "pauldrons" with ridges, the "gardes de bras" and the "taces." The "bawdric" or horizontal belt is gone, so he may have been a knight or an esquire.
Thoroton must have visited the Church for he wrote, "In Sutton Bonington Church (St. Michael's) upon a tomb there, "Hic jacent Thom: Staunton & Milisenta uxor egus filia Willielmi Mering militis: quae Milicenta obiit 12 Aug. 1456. He bears varrey arg. and sable, an annulet or and impales with Mering Arg. upon a chevron sable three escallops or. Another Staunton about that tomb impales with arg. a pile in point gules." "In the other church an ancient tomb defaced: it seems it was a Staunton, Varrey, arg. and sable, a crescent for a difference, impales with Mering as before. Upon that tomb is Bassett's Arms." The tombs in St.
Michael's Church arc gone, but the above proves that the effigy represents a Staunton.
Mr. George Farnham, M.A., F.S.A., of Quorn, has many notes on the Staunton family taken from the "De Banco Rolls" in the London Record Office and the Wyggeston Hospital Manuscripts at Leicester. He says that the Stauntons got their Sutton Bonington Estate from Thomas de Merdeleys early in the 15th century and his notes show this pedigree.
The "de Banco Rolls" and the Wyggeston Manuscripts show that Thomas and Milicent Staunton had five children:
- John Staunton, married (1) Jane Hotoff (?) and (2) —— Jones, and died childless before his father.
- — Thomas Staunton, married Alice Knight and died childless before his father.
- Elizabeth Staunton, d. 1515, married (1) William Haselrig who died 1474 and (2) Thomas Entwysell, who died 1501.
- Katherine Staunton married John Turvill who died 1506.
- Margaret Staunton married John Wylne or Wylys. Hence the effigy represents either John or Thomas Staunton, slain in the Wars of the Roses, and as "the crescent for a difference" represents a younger son, the effigy is that of Thomas, if Thomas was the younger, which is not clear in the Wyggeston MSS.
The "de Banco Rolls" show that the sisters, coheiresses of their father Thomas Staunton, who died intestate in 1486, had suits before the King's Bench about the division of the estate, but it is probable that the suits were a friendly arrangement to obtain a public official record of their title, especially as their father died intestate. I have shown that it passed to the Fieldings and apparently from the Fieldings to the Tates of Coventry: for, "Harleian, Visitations of Notts," George Tate of Sutton Bonington married Barbara Stanley of Sutton Bonington in 1614, living 1621: Anthony Tate was living in 1651 and Henry Tate sold Repingdon Grange to Thomas Grey of Langley and the Hall to Sir Thomas Parkyns in 1698. Another part of the estate passed to the Shirleys of Staunton Harold, and so accounts for the fact that Earl Ferrers owned property here in 1755 as shown by the enclosure award and until 1832.
Notes on Medieval Times.
The Stauntons of Sutton Bonington were a collateral branch of the Shirleys of Staunton Harold by the marriage of Margaret Staunton, daughter and heiress of John de Staunton, to Sir Ralph Shirley. But previously Sir Thomas Shirley had married Isabel, sister and heiress of Ralph, last Lord Bassett of Drayton, and later Sir Ralph Shirley, who fought at Agincourt, had married Joan, daughter of Thomas Bassett of Brailsford. So the Stauntons, Shirleys and Bassetts were allied families and were owners here in the 13th and 14th centuries. These are noted by Thoroton, who also says that the Manor of Bonynton was held in 1312 by Ralph de Crophill and Maud his wife and in 1319 the King (Edward II.) granted to Ralph de Crophill permission "to enclose the way which led from the Church of Sutton-on-Soar to the Church of Boniton on the west part of both towns to enlarge his dwelling." As the parish was not then enclosed, this must have been permission to enclose the main village street on the lines of the present walls opposite the Hall (formerly the Manor), so that the street is only 30ft. wide, whereas the Enclosure Awards of 1775 and 1777 set out all the other roads to be 60ft. wide. Thoroton mentions many other names during this period.
Thoroton also records that "John the Son of Robert de Bonington gave one Mefs, three Tofts and four Bovats of land here and in Rudston to make a Chauntry in the Church of St. Andrew (St. Anne), I suppose, at Bonington. 17 E. 2" (1324). This is confirmed by the Torre MSS., viz. "There was a Chantry founded in the Church of St Anne which belonged to the Patronage of the Priory and Convent of Repingdon" but records only two Cantarists,
" Johannes...................................... died.
6 Nov. 1363. John Uttehall."
The "Thoroton Society's Transactions" and Godfrey, p. 125 give under "Certificates of Chauntries" Roll. 37, No. 21:—
"Sutton (Bonington). A light within the Parish of Sutton ys worthe in a certain parcelle of medows there graunted for the mayntayning of a light for ever viiid," and p. 126. Roll 37. No. 22.
"John Staunton's Obit. The parish Church of Sutton in Bonynton ys worthe by yere in a certaine rente going out of certaine landes and medows lying in Sutton aforesaid, nowe in tenure of Rickarde Gardiner, graunted by John Staunton Esqyer for the mayntayning of an obite for ever xvis, whereof in money distributed unto the poore yerly xiiiis, and so remayned unto the churchwardens there yerly xiiiis." "Note. Sic. The sum should be 2/- but possibly the poor money amounted to 14/-."
After the plunder of the Monasteries by Henry VIII. the great pillage of church goods began, to stop which and secure such valuables as were left the Council of Edward VI. ordered a commission to make Inventories of all Church Goods, with the result that everything except the church plate, bells and a surplice or two were swept into the royal coffers.
Godfrey, p. 264, records about St. Anne's:—
"By an Indenture made the sixth day of March in the seventh year of Edward VI. between the Commissioners of Church goods of the one part and Thomas Stanley, parson of the "parishe Churche of Sutton of Bunington" Alyne Clarke and William Burowe, Churchwardens, of the other part, the Commissioners handed over to the parson and Churchwardens "One chalyce off sylver and gylte for the admynistration of the holy Comunione as also two small belles of one accorde hangynge in the styple of the same Churche" and concerning St. Michael's
The Commissioners of Church goods 6 March 1553 handed over to John Wayte parson of Bunington "one chalyce of sylver p'sell gylte for ye admynistration of ye holy Comuyon, as also three belles of one accorde hangynge in ye styple of ye same Churche."
These chalices were pre-Reformation chalices and, as the result of Archbishop Parker's enquiry in 1569, and Archbishop's Grindals Injunction, were melted down as "massing cups" and reissued in cup form. Both have gone as will be shown later.
In 1348 the Black Death carried off sixty-five of the 126 beneficed clergy in the county, including apparently John de Tykenhale of St. Anne's and Alan de Rothwell of St. Michael's.
The "Taxatio Ecclesiastica Angliae et Walliae" ordered by Edward I. in 1291, i.e., the first fruits and tenths, does not mention St. Anne's but gives St. Michael's the clear annual value £10 13s. 4.d
The "Inquisiones Nonarum," a subsidy of the ninth of corn, lambs and wool, granted to Edward III. in the French wars, taxed St. Anne's at four marks, and St. Michael's at sixteen marks.
The "Valor Ecclesiasticus" made by Henry VIII. in 1536 does not mention St. Anne's but fixed St. Michael's at £15 2s. Id. a year, William Ordenna being Rector.
"The Civil Wars and Commonwealth."
In recent years human remains have been dug up in the great pit of the Hathern Terra Cotta Company at Kirk Hill in this parish near Hathern Station. In October, 1924, I examined the bones of a man and a horse, which were found above 5ft. below the surface. There was no trace of weapons or clothing, and the remains have been found only here and there. These are probably remains of soldiers killed in an engagement in 1644, as described in Bailey's "Annals" III, 713, and Mrs. Hutchinson' "Memoirs."
In 1644 the Royalist forces were holding Newark and Ashby-de-la-Zouch while the Parliament forces besieged Newark, which Prince Rupert advanced from Chester to relieve, marching by Shrewsbury, Bridgenorth and Wolverhampton to Ashby, which was held by Colonel Hastings and Colonel Isham Parkyns, who sent out a force to hold the bridge over the Soar at Zouch. Sir John Meldrum, commanding the Parliament forces at Newark, sent out a force under Sir Edward Hartop to seize the Bridge and daily skirmishes took place between the advance forces before the main forces came up, in which Hartop's horse charged and routed the Cavaliers, but failed to force the Soar. So, fearing he would be surrounded, he drew off, and Rupert unopposed crossed the Soar and in a fierce battle relieved Newark. It would seem therefore that the soldiers slain in the skirmishes on Kirk Hill were buried where they fell and their remains are being disturbed at the present time. Ashby was besieged by Fairfax in 1645 and surrendered in 1646. For the defence of Ashby by Colonel Isham Parkyns of Bunny his son Thomas was created Baronet in 1681.