Over Colwick during the Byron period

Sir Richard Byron (D.1398). He married Joane de Colwick, early in 1380, and taking over the de Colwick’s estate from his wife. Later in the year 1391, he was presented to court, along with his wife for hindering the course of the river, at Over Colwick. About Michaelmas 1391, he had rebuilt the weir which the de Colwicks had agreed to remove. There was a further case against Sir Richard, regarding the river in 1392, for obstructing the river for the benefit of his mill. He made a trench and planted willows, and fixed piles of timber, and great stones, so that no laden boat with merchandise could approach the Castle of our Lord King, nor the town of Nottingham, to the serious detriment of the whole community, and of the four counties adjoining. The order of the Court, directed the Sheriff to throw down and remove the weir, and all the nuisances, and so make a clear course to the Humber. Although the obstructions were removed, the river still ran along its new course, as the main stream had been diverted for nearly ten years and the original river bed had filled in with sand, Quite lengthy reports of these cases are recorded in the Nottingham Borough Records, and in one it mentions that the river at that time was divided into two streams, one running close to Adbolton village which was used by river traffic, and the other running close to the Colwick Manor and used to drive the watermill. The exact site of the weir was revealed in 1973 by gravel working, and it has been excavated by the Nottingham Historical Arts Society.

1396. Thomas Mapurley, a man of wealth in the town of Nottingham, was in the possession of the chief part of an old enclosure in the Parish of Basford, called “Cornerwong”, and also known as “Mapurley’s Closes”. In 3, Henry VIII, John Mapurley Esq. then living in Bulwell, suffered a recovery of this “Cornerwong” to Thomas Archer and. John Byron Esq.

Sir John Byron de Clayton (P.1450). Son and heir of Richard, married Margery Booth,, He had three sons, Richard, Nicholas, and Ralph; his eldest Richard died in his father’s life time; he left a son, James Byron, who died without issue, and was succeeded by his uncle Nicholas.

Sir Nicholas Byron d. Clayton (D.1462). Son and heir of John, married Alicia Boteler, of Beausey, Lancs., and they had two sons, John and Nicholas.

Sir John Byron of Colwick (P.1488). Son and heir of Sir Nicholas Byron de Clayton, married Margery Fowlehurst, but they had no issue. He rallied to meet Henry VII upon his landing at Milford Haven in August 1485, and fought against Richard III at Bosworth on the 22nd August.

The evening preceding the departure of the army from Nottingham for Bosworth, Sir John Byron, spent in the company of Sir Gervase Clifton, at his home at Clifton. Sir John was due to fight under Henry III, and Sir Gervase under Richard III. On this occasion, and with the prospect of being, within the course of a few days, engaged in bloody fray in support of the rival dynasties, the two friends, with their right hands laid on the evangelists, bound themselves, by oath, that whichever of the two — supposing both were not slain - should prove the survivor from the coming conflict, should use his best endeavours, with the dominant power, to save the lands of the vanquished from confiscation; so that his family should not be deprived of their estates and honours. The battle, of the day but one following, brought the pledges of friendship to a trying test. Sir Gervase fell, towards the close of the fight, covered with wounds, in defence of the crown and person of his worthless master, Byron, seeing his friend fall from his horse, quitted the ground on which he stood, and ran to his assistance, sustained him in his arm, and entreated him to surrender himself to his protection. But life was ebbing; the fallen warrior had only just strength of saying in a half-stifled utterance, “All is over; remember the oath between us!” and expired. The victor after restoring the dead body of his friend to his afflicted family, employed himself, successfully, with the King, Henry VII, in saving the property of the Cliftons from the effects of the attainder, under which so many other noble families were reduced to comparative poverty.

Immediately that King Henry VII started his reign, he made John Byron, (Sept. 22, 1 Henry VII) a knight and Constable of Nottingham Castle, and Porter of the same. Steward and Warden of the Forest of Sherwood and of the Parks and Woods of Billey, Birkeland, Rumwood, Dukeland and Fulwode, with £40 per year for the said offices for his faithful services to the King. The forest areas mentioned can still be traced. Birkeland (now Birklands) and Billey (now Bilhagh) are both at the southern end of the surviving forest. Birklands is part of the Welbeck Estate and Bilhagh on the Thoresby Estate. The Major Oak or Queen Oak which stands half a mile north of Edwinstowe is in the Bilhagh area and the Parliament Oak, stands just south of the Birklands area, near to the Edwinstowe and Mansfield Road. Rumwood or Roumwood area of the forest was presumably near to Worksop Priory, as timber in the Gatehouse oak ceiling was taken from there. Fulwood or Fulwode, is the area between Teversal and Sutton-in-Ashfield. Possibly Dukeland was in the area where Clumber Park is now.

Sir John Byron, was also Custos or Lieutenant of the Isle of Man and Steward of Manchester College. Presumably it was this John Byron, who represented the Shire in Parliament in 1476.

Sir Nicholas Byron (D.1504). Sir Nicholas suffers recovery of the manor of Over Colwick With advowson of church there, 4 messuages, 100 acres of land, 300 acres of meadow, 300 acres of pasture, 60 acres of wood and the fishery of the Trent in the villages of Over Colwick, Nether Colwick and Abolton, to Edmund and Richard Gaunt, who gave the said property to the said Sir Nicholas and Joan his wife (who survived him) and their heirs. Nicholas was Sir John’s heir, being as he had no issue. His wife was daughter of Sir John Bussey, of Haughton, Lincs., they had two sons, and three daughters. After Sir Nicholas died, Joan married Gervase Clifton, who also left her a widow. Sir Nicholas was created one of the Knights of the Bath at the marriage of Prince Arthur, eldest son of King Henry VII, in 1501, three years before he died in 1504. He was buried in the chancel of the old Church. In his will, Sir Nicholas gave the rest of his properties at Elston and Stoke, to Joan his wife, for the marriage of their three daughters and to pay his debts. At this period, the manors of Over Colwick, and Nether Colwick, and Adbolton were worth £23. 12s. 4d yearly besides reprises.

Sir John Byron (D.1576 at the age of 88). Son and heir of Sir Nicholas, he first married Isabel Lemmington (or Lenington), when he was only about 16, by whom he had no issue. His second wife was Elizabeth, daughter of William Costerdine, a Lancashire gentleman, and also the widow of George Halgh of Halgh, Lancs. She bore him one son, also named John.

Sir John was a very important man in the country, he filled the offices of Steward of Manchester and Rochdale, was Lieutenant of Sherwood Forest and his name appeared many times in state papers. His office of Lieutenant of Sherwood Forest, was one of some responsibility, for according to a return dated 1538/9, there were in his day about 1,000 deer in the forest. According to the Muster Roll of Thurgarton Hundred of Notts., 34 Henry VIII (1543) we find “Nether Colwyke, Sir John Byron and XX household servants with him to serve the King’s Grace, horse and harnessed”. On 25th May, 1540, he was. granted Newstead Abbey, by Henry VIII, for a sum of £800 and proceeded to fashion a house out of the monastic buildings. In the prior’s parlour at the Abbey, there is a carved overmantle dated 1556, which is reputed to have been brought by Sir John Byron, from Colwick Hall. This overmantle has on it the armorial bearings of the Byrons in the centre, with various figures carved in relief, including the projecting heads of a Christian lady, a Crusader, a Knight and a Moor. By Lord of the Manor of Newstead, he was also responsible for the Church at Hucknall Torkard. He is supposed to have presented the Treble Bell to the Church, which undoubtedly was the Angelus Bell of Newstead Priory, which is inscribed “Ave Maria”. Although he went to live later at Newstead, they still retained Colwick Hall for another century and were still buried in the Church during this period.

He also set out to rebuild Colwick Church during the troubled period which followed the Dissolution of the Monasteries, which is not clear, for all church building was quiescent during the latter part of the reign of Henry VIII. The walls of the nave part of this building are still standing. In the Torre M.S. is the following testamentary burial “31 May 1567, Sir John Byron of Newstead, Knight, to be buried in this church, where he willed a priest to sing mass for his soul and his ancestors ten years after his death and to have for his stipend £10 per annum”. This gives strong evidence that this tomb was used as a Chantry altar, long after chantries had been suppressed.

His son, John, who was responsible for the design of the above tomb, had his father carved on the lid, and himself on the left-hand side of the front side, with his four sons and his wife and three daughters on the right-hand side, with a shield in the centre comprising the Byron arms, impaling those of Strelley, surmounted by the well-known Byron crest of a mermaid. In this design he makes a policy of identifying himself and his offspring with his father “having loved his wife something to soon and sought the priests blessing on their union something to late for decorum”

It was most likely that it was this John Byron, who was High Sheriff for Nottinghamshire in 1578. Owing to father and son being called John, it is very hard to determine which person to record the item against.

Sir John Byron (D.1609). Son and heir of the previous Sir John. He married Alice Strelley and had seven children as already stated. Doctor Thoroton quoted his father as “little Sir John with the great beard”, when it was in fact this Sir John. He received the honour of knighthood in 1579. Sir John and his wife’s relatives were always having squabbles, which came acute and were submitted to arbitration with the result that Sir Nicholas Strelley was ordered to pay the sum of 5¾d to Richard Greenhill, a servant of the Byrons, for “hurts and mayme” to him, given by Sir Nicholas and his servants, and it was further decreed that Sir John and Sir Nicholas were to visit at each other’s houses twice yearly during three years “to haunt myndes to order to avoid further variances”. Mrs. Lucy Hutchinson, in her “memoirs of the Life of Colonel Hutchinson”, tells us that he disinherited his eldest son for marrying “a private gentleman’s daughter in the county”, and passed his estate to a younger son, another John Byron. This eldest son, Anthony, incurred his displeasure by marrying while still at Cambridge, a Beamont, of Coleorton, in Leicester.  His father then planned to leave an equal part of his estate to his younger son, John, but this sign of disgrace became unnecessary in 1587, owing to the death of Anthony. He played a practical joke on a young servant by having something put under the saddle of the horse the man was going to mount. Anthony laughed so much at the young man’s discomfiture that he died.

Among the deeds of sale and purchase of’ houses and lands of inferior note, enrolled in the court of the mayor and burgesses of Nottingham, for the year 1576, is the following entry:— “Enrolment of a deed of feoffment, from Richard Moreton and wife, of a large house situated in Wheelwrightgate, and abutting on Moothall-gate north, to John Byron Esq., of Newstead. The most important deed of release of property, ever hitherto registered in the court of the mayor and burgesses of Nottingham, took place this year (1580), and which is thus noted in the Hall book “Sir John Byron released to Thomas Nix and others, tenants in Over Colwick and Sir Thomas Stanhope, Knight, and others in Sneinton; and to Robert Revell, and others, in consideration of the sum of £10,000”. 1592, among the statute merchants enrolled in the mayor’s court at Nottingham was John Byron, of Colwick, Esq., Son of Sir John Byron, of Newstead, to James Haber, in the sum of £2,000 in 1603, among the Statutes merchants registered this year at Nottingham, were the following;- Sir John Byron, Knight, of Newstead, and John Byron, Seq., his son in bond to Gabriel Armstrong, of Thorpe-in-the-Clods, for £4,000. Sir John Byron and son again, to Huntingdon Beaumont Esq., of Wollaton, in £5,000. This Sir John Byron was High Sheriff of the county in 1596. He gave in August, 1592, for the benefit of the plague stricken poor of the citie of Nottingham, 20 strike of rye and 20 strike of malt.

On the front of the tomb of Sir John and his wife Alice, is a shield with the words “Honor Virtute Persona un 24th Feb. 1609” and beneath the following verse:

Let fame wyth golden trumpet blast,
The worthie praise etenize,
Of Sir John Byron gentle knight,
Whose corpse below those pictures lie,
Sir John, his sonnes for parents love,
Caused to erect this monument,
That vertues of his father dear,
In future times it might express.

Sir John Byron (D:1623). This Sir John married Margaret, daughter of Sir William Fitzwilliams, sometime Lord Deputy of Ireland. They had twin sons and the elder of the two succeeded to the estate. Margaret became demented, and a touching story of her husband’s devotion to her and of their deaths on the same day (17th March, 1623), is related by Mrs Hutchingson.

1st March, 1609. John Byron of Colwick and his son John, for the consideration of £100, sold the premises called “Cornerwong”, (recovered by one of his ancestors in 1396) to Robert Staples, of Nottingham, together with a tenement, and barns thereto belonging.

1611. Among the statutes merchant registered in Nottingham this year were the following transactions: — Sir John Byron, the elder, of Lyndby, and his son Sir John Byron, of Newstead, bound to Thomas Hutchinson, Esq., of Owthorpe, in £2,000.

1612. Sir John Byron was High Sheriff of the county.

Sir Nicholas Byron, the younger son of Sir John, distinguished himself in the wars of the Low-Countries, as also in the time of the rebellion against King Charles 1 in the battle of Edgehill, and as Colonel General of Cheshire and Shropshire, and Governor of Chester. Lord Clarendon quoted him as being a person of great affability and dexterity as well as martial knowledge, which gave great life to the designs of the well affected there, and With encouragement of some gentlemen of North Wales, in a short time raised such a power of horse and foot as made often skirmishes with the enemy, sometimes with notable advantage, never with a single loss.

The memorial tablet to Sir John and his wife Margaret, was erected in 1684 by their grand-daughter Anne, who married Sir John Radcliffe.

Sir John Byron (D.1625). The elder of the twin sons, succeeded his father to the estate. He married Anne, daughter of Sir Richard Molyneux, of Sefton, Lancs. They had a large family of eleven sons and one daughter. The details of the sons as given in Deerings History of Nottingham, is as follows:
1st John, created Lord Byron
2nd Richard, who succeeded his brother as Lord Byron
3rd Thomas, died unmarried
William, was drowned coming from Ireland
5th Sir Robert Byron, Colonel of Foot in the Civil War in the service of
King Charles 1, died unmarried
6th Gilbert, died also unmarried
7th Sir Phillip Byron, who after singular services in Yorkshire, was killed at the heed of his regiment in the general storm made by Parliament forces on York; he never went out with his regiment but he would tell them: “That never brave men came to anything that resolved not to conquer or perish”.

The other four, Thomas, George, Charles and Francis, all died single except Thomas, who was knighted, and as Lord Clarendon quoted, “was a gentleman of great courage and very good conduct. He commanded the Prince of Wales regiment under the Earl of Northampton in the fight near Stafford, (where the Earl was killed) and charging with good execution on the enemy, received a a shot in the thigh, whereby he was not able to keep the field.

Sir John Byron (B.1600 D.1652). He succeeded his father to the estate in 1625. Sir John’s first wife was Dame Cecelia, Bindlosse, daughter of Thomas Lord Dalawarr, who died in Feb 1638. His second wife, Eleanor, was widow of Peter Warburton of Arley, County Chester, and her father was Robert, Viscount Kilmorey, but had no issue. He obtained Nether Colwick, when Mr. Wood decided to sell it, but owing to the outbreak of the Civil War, he had only half the rents from the tenant farmers and he decided to sell all of the village and live at Newstead. He was known to be a gambler and one account states that he lost Colwick while playing cards, but he did in fact arrange to sell it to his relation, Sir James Stonehouse, to find more money for the Newstead Estates. Almost immediately after the deal was arranged, the Roundheads seized the Hall and lands. When Charles II came to the throne, he restored all this to the Byrons, but in the meantime, Sir James Stonehouse, had arranged to transfer the Estate to Sir John Musters, who paid Sir Richard Byron an agreed sum to settle the deal. This transaction, which included Sneinton Manor, took place 3rd — 5th July, 1648, and was confirmed by Sir Richard Byron about 1665-6.

John Byron was knighted by King James I in 1625 and was returned as Knight of the town of Nottingham. He was also in the first Parliament called by King Charles I, at whose coronation he was made Knight of the Bath. On the 3 Charles 1, he was chosen one of the Knights of the County of Nottingham, and being one of the Lords of the Bed-chamber to his majesty, and giving proof of his courage and fidelity was made Lieutenant of the Tower of London in the year 1641 in the place of Thomas Lunsford, removed on a complaint of the House of Commons, but the Commons were not satisfied with this change, desiring a creature of their own, used all their arts to remove Sir John Byron, they even carried it so far, after the King was removed to Hampton Court, as to cause Sir John to appear at the bar of their house, but his answers were so full to all that was asked him that they could not but dismiss them, however, they sent again to the King and proposed Sir John Coniers, as a man in whom they could confide; at last notwithstanding the Lords disagreeing with them, “as well for that the disposal of the custody there of was the Kings’s peculiar “sight and prerogative, as likewise that his majesty had committed the charge there of to Sir John Byron a person of a very ancient family, honourable extraction, good fortune, and as unblemished a reputation as any gentleman in England.” Notwithstanding the Kings repeated refusal, he was surprised, and Sir John himself desiring to be freed from the agony and, vexation of that place, consented to place in his stead Sir John Coniers.

Sir John Byron had served in the Low-Country War and the states committed to him the care of their ordinance and ammunition, he was a very useful officer to his majesty. On the breaking out of the rebellion, he repaired with a good body ‘of men with arms and ammunition to the standard at Nottingham, and brought a large sum of money to the Kings for supply at Shrewsbury, from Nottinghamshire he passed with some troops to countenance the commission of array, and especially in Oxfordshire, to secure the University from the rebels.

While marching with these troops from Leicester to Oxford, they were attacked by Parliament forces and only the leaders escaped at the troops had not been provided with arms. The Parliament forces also seized the following: Sixty horses, two hats full of gold, two thousand pounds in silver, a trumpet, a box with great riches and wealth, a packet of rich clothes of Sir John Byron’s worth two hundred pounds, about fourteen pairs of pistols, a sumpter horse (a charger, or a horse of state) of Sir John Byron’s all worth about seven thousand pounds.

Sir John sent the following letter to Master Clarke at Croughton near Brackley, in Northamptonshire: “Sir, In my way to Oxford, I made some stay at Brackley, to refresh myselfe, and my men and horses, after long march, where I was unexpectedly assaulted by sundry troops of rebels that came (as I am since informed) from Northampton and other adjacent places, and withall most treacherously set upon by the town of Brackley, so that I was forced to make a retreat to the heath to resist them, had the courage to come forth of the town. In this confusion, one of my grooms, who had charge of my baggage, was surprised in the town; another, who had charge of a box wherein was money, apparel, and other things of value, left it in a land of standing corne, which hath since been found, and, as I hear, brought to you; I have therefore, sent this messenger to require the restitution of it, which, if you do, I shall represent it to his majesty an acceptable service; if not, assure yourselfe I will find time to repay myselfe with advantage out of your estate; and consider that as rebellion is a seed of hasty growth, so it will decay as suddenly, and that there will be a time for the King’s loyal subjects to repaire their losses sustained by rebels and traytors. So I rest in expectation of a speedy answer by this bearer.”

Oxford, 2nd Sep. 1642
Your friend and servant
John Byron.

He afterwards commanded the Body of reserve at the Battle of Edgehill and the victory of Roundway-Down was chiefly owing to the bravery and conduct of Sir John Byron, who at the head of his regiment charged Sir Arthur Hazelerig’s cuirassiers, and after a sharp conflict in which Sir Arthur received many wounds, that impenetrable regiment (as Clarendon has it) was routed and chased on their other horse, which in half an hour were so totally dispersed, that not one of them were to be seen upon that large and spacious Down, every man shifting for himself, with greater danger by the precipices of the hill than he could have undergone by opposing his pursuers.

He was in 1542, on the 1st November with other loyalists, made doctor of civil law at Oxford; 1642, 19th September, in the first Newberry fight, he warily and valiantly led on the King’s Horse, which were so hard for troops on the other side that they routed them in most places, till they had left the major part of their foot without any guard at all of horse.

Sir John Byron having given such proof of his courage and military conduct, and otherwise a person of great ability, and his six valiant brothers at that time following his loyal example, he was in consideration the advanced to the degree and dignity of a Baron of this realm, by the title of the Lord Byron of Rochdale in the country of Lancashire with limitation that honour, in default of male issue of his own body lawfully begotten to every his brothers, and the issue of their respective bodies, viz. Richard, William, Thomas, Robert, Gilbert and Phillip, by letters patent bearing date at Oxford, 24th October, 1643; He was afterwards made field Marshall General of all his majesty’s forces in the counties of Worcestershire, Cheshire and North Wales, and on his uncle’s, (governor of Chester) Sir Nicholas Byron being taken prisoner, he was governor of Chester, whereupon the declining of the King’s cause he was besieged, which he held out to the utmost extremity, and then obtained the most honourable terms of surrender for himself and the whole garrison that were given in England, except those he afterwards obtained at Caernarfon, after which he retired beyond the sea.

The King made him governor of the Duke of York, and being in Paris when his majesty was under confinement, he was sent on importurities from Scotland, to get as many to declare in England, in several places, as might distract the army and keep it from an entire engagement against them, also to dispose his old friends about Chester and. North Wales to appear as soon as might be, thereupon with the help of Colonel Robinson, he presently possessed himself of the island of Angelsey and disposed all North Wales to be ready to declare as soon as the Scots should enter the Kingdom, Lord Byron waited on the Duke to Brusels to visit the Duke of Lorrain, as also when the Duke visited his sister at the Hague, and from thence returned with him to Paris; after this he accompanied the Duke when he made a campaign, under Marshal Tureune, and. returning to Paris he died there in 1652 without issue.

Richard, Lord Byron II, his brother, succeeded him, he was Knighted by King Charles I, was one of those valiant colonels at the fight of Edgehill, who on the fifth of November, 1642, was created master Of arts at Oxford; he was governor of Appleby Castle in the county of Westmoreland.

Lloyd in his lives of the loyalists, says, he deserves to be chronicled, for his government of Newark, and many surprises of the enemy about it; he died III 1679.

Sir James Stonehouse (D.1654) bought the village of Colwick from John Byron for £23,000, but with him not completing the deal, it caused him nothing but trouble until he died in March 1654.

11th October 1648. Major Phillip Stevens, lays information that Sir James Stonehouse, of Amerden Hall, Essex, has in his hands £5,000 due to Lord (John) Byron. Stonehouse bought, seven years ago, lands of Lord Byron, 2 miles from Nottingham, worth £1,200 a year and £9,000—10,000 of the purchase money unpaid, Sir James pretending that it is to clear encumbrances on the estate.

After money enquiries etc., Stonehouse is ordered to bring in a particular of the enoumberances on Colwick and Sneinton Manors when he bought them from Lord Byron. (Commission for Advance of Money).

August 1649. Stonehouse states that the lands were mortgaged to the Earl of Worcester, 5 Charles I. In. Notts. Court report (18 April 1651) that pending settlement of the matter, the profits of Colwick and Sneinton estates are being employed to satisfy the alleged encumbrances.

In Feb. 1649, Storehouse was summoned to render an account of his debts to Byron and other royalists. In June he was commanded to produce full evidence of his transaction with respect to his purchase from Byron at Colwick and Sneinton. It was then found that Sir John Byron and his brother Richard had, in 18 Charles I, conveyed Over and Nether Colwick to Stonehouse for £23,000, being £14,OOO down, and £9,000 left in Sir James hands, which he should pay unless good reason were shown to the contrary. The question raised now was why he should, upon fears and suppositions, keep so much money due to the state in his hands. (All lands and money belonging to Royalists had at this time been claimed by Parliament)

Ultimately the following allowances were made to him for debts, £2,400 for Statutes staple, £1,040 due to Sir Thos. Alcook, and £400 annuity and arrears due to Lady Ann Byron, Sir Nicholas Byron’s Lady, and £2,000 claimed at the dower of Lady Ann, mother of Sir John Byron, subject to these persons proving their claims to the premises. He was ordered to pay off £3,000 in ten days in Dec. 1649, but in Jan. 1550 it was still not paid as sequestration was ordered to be made upon his estates for payment of the £3,000. The case dragged on while appeals and legal points were discussed, and by March 1654 he was dead. His widow, Mary, continued the dispute. (C. for A.M.)