The Manor.

The origin of the English manor is still wrapped in obscurity, and is still a debatable point amongst our leading historians. Mr. Kemble says before the coming of the Saxons the land was held in common by various communities and that these communities gradually acknowledged the lordship of one, who by social or political cause, gained an ascendency over them, and he in return offered them protection for their subjection. Mr. Seebohm and Professor Maitland combat this idea. Certain it is that in Saxon times the settlers gradually united for purposes of agriculture and defence and "the sway of the military class over the agricultural was made easier by the gathering of masters, foremen, and tillers in the same centre."—Vinagradoff, "Growth of the Manor."

The lord (or great man) became increasingly important in the village system and was found useful in the administration of justice among his people. Small men were saved costly law processes and secured protection, while the lord obtained new sources of income and influence. Mr. Seebohm shows that it was demanded of the lord of the manor to (1) fight for King and country; (2) help to build castles; (3) maintain bridges. There were several classes in in the village. One section, whom we might compare to small farmers, had to work on their lord's land from two to three days a week throughout the year. The lord provided them with a small stock, land, and tools, which were required again by the manorial estate on the death of the farmer. The cottar had a smaller holding and had also to work on the manor estate from one to three days a week.

The relations between lord and peasant differed according to the character of the individual lord; some of the lords were "flayers of rustics," whilst others were mild and kind in their attitude to their dependents.
At the time of the Domesday Survey there existed three classes of peasants, viz,: villeins, cottars (or bordars), and slaves, but the latter class became merged into the cottar division in less than a century after the great Survey was made.

We gain the first reliable data relating to the parish of Arnold from Doomsday Book, compiled A.D. 1086, by order of William the Conqueror. Doomsday Book was so called because it was to be held as a supreme authority in case of doom or judgment between disputing parties.

It may be mentioned here that in the quotation from Doomsday Dook given on page n, the word "pannage" was the name given to swine's food in the forest, chiefly roots and acorns. Swine were largely kept by the community, the flesh being salted for winter fare, salt being obtained from the coast, where it was procured by evaporation and was costly.

With regard to honey it was much used in those days when sugar was practically unknown.

Judged by the scanty details yielded by Doomsday Book the population in 1086 may be roughly estimated at 150.

Arnold in 1086 would probably consist of the rude timber-built hall, with a small tower erected for defensive purposes, a chapel on the south side and a kitchen on the north. Small lean-to buildings were joined to the hall, and stables and barns adjacent afforded shelter to the herdsmen.

The floor of the hall was strewn with reeds, and the walls were hung with arms and with tapestry woven by the women of the household. A log fire burned on the centre of the earthen floor, the smoke escaping through a hole in the roof. At night a tapestry curtain was drawn to divide the women's sleeping room from the men's:  thus the hall was occupied day and night.

The dwellings of villeins and bordars were dark, squalid and dirty—some roofed with turf, others thatched with straw. The toilers slept in their working clothes on beds of straw; no wonder, therefore, that skin diseases were common. The labourers wore a kind of tunic with a girdle of rope or leather round the waist in which each man stuck his knife. They had no covering for arms or lower part of the legs. They drank water, herb beer, and cider. In their gardens the chief vegetables were cabbage, onions, parsnips, carrots, and turnips, but no potatoes. Their recreation was generally limited to poultry keeping, digging out the badger, with an occasional hunt for the wolf. At times the wandering minstrel entered the village and broke the monotony by play on his rude instrument, and the singing of songs, some of which were very coarse. In later days these minstrels amused the villagers by recitations and ballads relating to Robin Hood, and other romances.

It is a hard task to write a connected account of the successive owners of the manor, and for the chief source of information on this point we have to thank that good historian of Notts., Dr. Thoroton, who published his book A.D. 1677.

Beginning with the kingly owner, Edward the Confessor in 1042, the parish passed with Sherwood Forest to William the Conqueror.

In 1176, Richard de Arnal or Earnhale gave an account to the Sheriff of the amerciaments of the forest, so it is probable this man and his posterity held the manor under the King, and was the chief man in the place from which he took his name. But the family did not hold the manor long.In 1204, King John granted the manor to Hugh de Nevil and his heirs in fee farm for £10, and the service of a fourth part of a knight's fee. The Nevill family (one of whose descendants to-day is Archbishop of New Zealand) appear to have held the manor of Arnal till A.D. 1368, although the Arnalls figure occasionally in the parish records. Thus in 1231, Gervase, son of Richard de Arnall, held 3 bovats (45 acres), but, adds Thoroton "In a book of fees in the exchequer, Herbert de Nevill (or rather, Hugh, I suppose) is said to hold the whole town of Arnold."

A Patent Roll, dated 1284, records the "Ratification of a grant of farm made by Robert Bishop of Bath and Wells to Thomas de Whiton, parson of the church at Ryse, of the custody (during the minority of the heir to the manor of Arnhale) late of John de Neville, tenant in chief, formerly granted to Armadeus de Sabansdia, the King's kinsman, and by him to the Bishop."

In 1290, the Close Rolls records that Thomas de Whyton, Keeper of the Manor of Arnold, issued an order to receive 12 oaks fit for timber out of the forest of Shirewode, which is in the King's gift. In the same year an order was issued to Thomas de Ryse to cause the Abbot of Croxton to have in the wood of that manor 4 oaks.
In 1291, Ralph de Arnehale appears to have held from John de Nevill the same 45 acres with house and garden at a rental of 22/4 per annum.

A.D. 1309, Torre says, "There was another manor here in Arnold held of the Nevills by the family of Arnall, which was in this year settled on Ralph de Crophill and Maud his wife in tail special and remainder to the right heirs of Ralf, which in A.D. 1418, was settled on John Merbury and Agnes his wife whose heir was Walter Devereux, Esq. This manor apparently passed under the ownership successively of Sir Thos. Rempston (A.D. 1431), Lord Ferrers of Chorley, and Samuel Cludd, gent.

In 1309, a document records the manor was settled on Hugh de Nevill and Ida his wife and their heirs, remainder to the right heirs, who left John de Nevill his son and heir. In this year occurs the quaint announcement that "The jury said that Jordan, the rector of the Church of Arnall, got and took 20 oaks whilst that manor was in the king's hands."

About this period there was a grant in payment of £200 (lent towards the King's passage beyond the seas) to Richard de Willughby of farm of £10 of the manor of Arnhale and £39 of the greater and lesser farms of the town of Nottingham, to be received by him and his executors until the debt be paid.

In 1327, there were 240 acres of land in Bramcote subject to the Court at Arnold. It was given to the Holy Trinity and the monks at Lenton Priory.

A.D. 1362, Richard Penfax, of Skegby, held a house and some land at Arnold.

In 1368, the manor seems to have passed from the Nevills, for the "Jury found it not to the King's loss if he granted licence to Humphrey de Bohun, Earl of Hereford, to give the manor of Arnold, which he held of the King in capite by Knight's service of £10 yearly rent paid into the exchequer to Sir Nicholas Tamworth, knight."

A.D. 1378. Grant made to Robert de Mareton, Esq., from the manor of Arnold and "the good men of Edwinstowe."

A.D. 1383. Licence for the King's Uncle, the Earl of Buckingham, to grant 2 parts of the manor of Arnhall which are held by the King in chief, to his esquire, John Torrell, for life, who is on that ground to remain with him for life.

In 1398, the manor passed to Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of Gloucester, by his marriage with Alianore, daughter of the Earl of Hereford, from whom it descended to their son Humphrey.

A.D. 1400. Whereas Robert Braybroc, Bishop of London, and others lately acquired to themselves and their heirs, from Eleanor de Bohun, late Duchess of Gloucester, 2 parts of the manor of Arnhale held in chief, and the reversion of the third part of the manor of Arnhale which Joan, Countess of Hereford, holds in dower after the death of her husband, Humphrey de Bohun, late Earl of Hereford, and entered there without licence, the King, by reason of £10paid him by the said Bishop of London, pardons the trespass in this and grants licence for them to grant the said 2 parts and reversion of the third part to Sybil Beauchamp for life.

A.D. 1407. The manor with the appurtenances was settled on John Folejambe and his heirs.

A.D. 1420. Sibylla Beauchamp died holding two parts of the manor of Arnold, the remainder belonging to Sir Roger Leech and others.

A.D. 1442. The fee farm rent of £10per annum granted to Ralph Crumwell, knight, and his heirs.

A.D. 1465. The manor came to the family of Hastings, and then to George, Duke of Clarence.

A.D. 1475. Licence issued for Will Hastings, knight, and Lord Hastings, who are going to cross the sea with the King, to grant the manor of Arnold to Thomas, Cardinal Archbishop of Canterbury, and others.

A.D. 1485. Grant to Lenton Priory of £10 from the King's fee farm.

A.D. 1508. At an Inquisition held before Sir Wm. Perpoint and Sir Edward Stanhope, knights, concerning intrusions or hunting in the King's Forest or chases. Sir Wm. Hastings was seized in the manor of Arnold and died. His widow, Katherine, held it from that to the taking of the inquisition. Wm. de Hastings, one of his younger sons held the manor of Arnold. All messuages, lands and tenements in Arnold, parcel of the possessions of Wm. Hastings, Esqre., were granted to John Beaumont, knight, and his heirs.

A.D. 1547. John Beaumont conveys the manor to the crown with other lands, in satisfaction of a great debt due for the arrears of his office as Receiver General of the Court of Wards. It anciently consisted of a small demesne, and the main part of it were copyholders of Inheritance: they in King James' time purchased the manor for the preservation of their customs and commons, being within the Forest of Shirewood, and Mr. Wm. Stanhope, half-brother to Philip, Earl of Chesterfield, had the demesne in 1677.

At Inquisitions taken in the reigns of Kings Henry VII. and VIII. a parcel of land at Strelley was of Lord Hastings as of his manor of Arnold, and testimonies were made before the Commissioners by Richard Bonour, yeoman; Robert Smith; Nicholas Hyde, yeoman, all of Arnold. And it was shown that the lands and premises at Bramcote were held of the heir of William Hastings "as of his manor of Arnold."

A.D. 1776. The Earl of Chesterfield's rental book shows that his tenant, Thos. Sleight, Jr., held 18a. 3r. 30p., and the remark occurs:—"This belongs to Arnold Lodge and is enjoyed by Mr. Sleight in right of his office as keeper of Thorney Chace."

Mrs. Sherbrooke of Oxton was at one time Lady of the Manor, and at the demise of her or her heir, Colonel Coape, the manorial rights devolved to the Rev. Robert Lowe, of Bingham.

A.D. 1797. Throsby states:—"Mr. Cope is a principal proprietor," and in 1813, "Beauties of England and Wales" (Hodgson & Laird), states that "Arnold is an enclosed Lordship principally belonging to Mr. Cope, who resides in a pleasant modern house with handsome plantations on the verge of the forest, called Sherwood Lodge."

As the lands became more and more divided and the number of freeholds increased, the lordship of the manor gradually became of less importance.