When a prisoner pleaded not guilty and a trial by Jury became necessary, a precept was issued by the Court to the High Sheriff to impanel a Jury to try the issue at the next Sessions, and prior to the Civil War the name of the Sheriff to whom the precept was issued is recorded. From the names so recorded the following List of gentlemen who held the office in the years undermentioned has been compiled:

1615 Robert Williamson, Esq.
1626 Timothy Pusey, Esq.
1627 Francis Williamson, Esq.
1628 Sir Thomas Hewett
1629 Gervase Tevery, Esq.
1630 Isham Parkyns, Esq.
1631 Robert Sutton, Esq.
1632 Thomas White, Esq.
1633 Thomas Bolls, Esq.
1634 Robert Mellish, Esq.
1635 Sir John Byron
1635 Sir Hardolphus Wasteneys, Bart.
1637 Sir George Lassells
1638 Sir ffrancis Thornhaigh
1639 Sir George Chaworth
1641 John Digby, Esq.

During the Commonwealth period the only High Sheriff mentioned by name is "Joseph Grubham How."* He and others were presented for a "Ryott and trespass in the Churchyard of Langar," in 1657. On the 11th January 1657-1658, the trial was hastened and ordered to be taken "forthwith" for the special reason "that ye sayd Mr. How being nominated High Sheriff of this County, which the Court thought fitt and reasonable." A verdict of not guilty was found.

In the reign of William III. it is recorded that the Oath of Allegiance was administered to the following High Sheriffs:

1691 Richd Taylor
1696 Sir Thos. Willoughby, Bart.
1699 Jervas Eyre, Esqre

In 1696 there is a reference to "John Clarkson late Sheriff." Oaths of Allegiance were also administered to Under Sheriffs (sub-vicecomes) and Deputy Under Sheriffs.

On 16th January, 1679-1680, the Sheriff of the County was "fined 20 mark for being absent": and on 13th August, 1686, it is recorded that " the Sheriff of ye County fined £5 for negligence in office." This last fine was afterwards remitted.


There is little reference to the County Coroners in the records of the seventeenth century.

On the 18th July, 1656, the inhabitants of Misterton were fined Ten pounds for "suffering a bastard child to be buried privately, suspected to be made away, not sending for ye Coroner."

From the following entry it would appear that the Coroners had to attend Quarter Sessions:

On the 20th October, 1687, Arthur Lindsey, Coronator of this County, was fined 40/- "for not attending this Court."

The Coroners evidently had duties in regard to the prosecution of popish Recusants.

On the 13th July, 1691, a payment of £710 0 was made to "Oliver Taylor one of the Coroners for ye trouble and charges he had in ye time of the Convencon and in summoning in ye Papists."


Constables were of two sorts, High or Chief Constables and petty Constables.

Chief Constables were first ordained by the Statute of Winchester (13 Ed. 1). They were formerly appointed by the Courts leet of the franchise or hundred over which they presided, but later they were appointed by the Justices.

The "petty Constables" were inferior officers in every hundred and parish, subordinate to the high Constable of the hundred. They were Officers of the Manor, chosen annually in the Courts leet. The area for which they were appointed therefore was often not identical with a parish. When in the course of the seventeenth century the Courts leet ceased to be held in many parts of England, or the appointment of a Constable was omitted by them, the appointment was transferred to the Justices, and gradually the appointment of petty Constables passed to the Justices.

In Notts, the Petty Constables appear to have been "parish Constables."


The Chief Constables for the several Hundreds whose names appear in the Records are:

Broxtowe Hundred.
1603 Henry Poole, of Griesley Castle
Wm. Kynoe, gentleman—retired in 1616
George Hardstaft, gentleman—retired in 1616
1616 to 1629 Christopher Snoden, Mansfield Woodhouse, gent.
1616 Henry Trueman, ot Sutton in Ashfield, yeoman
1629 to 1631 Thomas L.inley, of Skegby, gent.
1631 to 1640 Thomas Newton, of Sutton in Ashfield, yeom.
Ambrose Waade—died 1640
1640 John Leek, of Trowell, gent.
1640 Jacob Lane, of Newthorpe, gent.
1684 Thomas Stanfield, of Chilwell
Mr. Barber—retired 1698
1698 Sam Wyld, Hucknall Torkard
Rushcliffe Hundred.
Thomas Nixon—died 1617
1617 William Nixon
Richard Handley—died 1619
1619 Thomas Hemsley, Rempstone
Richard Boyer—died 1653
1653 to 1657 Gabriell Hebb, of Rempstone, gent.
John Graves
1657 Richard ffillingham, of Normanton on Soare, gent.
1674 Mr. Chamberlain
William Wyld, of East Leake—retired 1698
Mr. Sewell.
Bassetlaw Hundred.
1603 Hugo Hill, East Retford
1604 Robert Cado, Boughton
1611 John Hill
Robert Williamson—retired 1614
1614 to 1632 George Biggs, gent.
1632 Robert Bromskill, gent.
James Gunthorpe, of East Markham, gent.—retired 1653
Newark Hundred.
1607 Matthew Martin
1613 John Lunn or Lund. Lambley—retired 1613
1613 Leonard Baynton, of South Clifton, yeom.
John Bristowe, gent.—retired 1614
1614 to 1620 John Pocklington, of Coddington
1615 to 1624 Ambrose Clark
1620 to 1630 Thomas Sharpe, of Barneby
1624 John Pocklington, gent.
1630 Wm. Pocklington. of North Collingham
Wm. Smyth, gent.—retired 1658
1658 Thos. Taylor, North Collingham
1659 Wm. Pocklington, North Collingham, gent.
Bingham Hundred.
1613 Lawrence Gunthorpe, Saxondale, gent.
Robert Alvey, Senr.—retired 1631
1631 Robert Alvey, Junr., Car Colston, gent.
1635 to 1654 John Story, of Kneeton, gent.
1654 Wm. Jackson, of East Bridgford
George Gunthorpe, gent.—retired 1654
1654 John Gunthorpe, of Hickling. gent.
1685 John Crostan
1685 Peniston Howitt.
Thurgarton Aleigh Hundred.
John Lilley—retired 1624
1624 Francis Baker, of Lowdham, gent, (died 1624)
1624 to 1653 Richard Trueman, Stoke Bardolph, yeom.
Wm. Oglesthorpe, gent.—retired 1637
1637 to 1639 Stephen Broome, of ffarnsfield, gent.
1637 Henry Broome, gent.
1653 to 1655 Robert Silvester, of Southwell, gent.
1653 to 1655 Richd. Trueman, of Stoke Bardolph, gent.
1655 ffrancis Haynes, of Thurgarton, gent.
1655 Ralph Brand, of Southwell, gent.
Hatfield Hundred.
1652 Richard Hartshorne, of Sutton upon Lound, gent.
1652 to 1656 Richard Smyth
1656 Thomas Crumwell, of Sutton upon Lound, gent.
1684 Robert Williamson, of Blyth
North Clay Hundred.
Leonard Upsall, gent.—retired 1654
1654 Richard Taylor, of Ragnall, gent.
Benjamin Wyersdale—retired 1656
1656 Richard Nettleship, of Beckingham, gent.
Christopher Johnson, gent.—retired 1694.
South Clay Hundred.
1689 A reference to Jeriman Elliott "late Chief Constable for
South Clay."


There are numerous entries or orders in connection with the appointment of the petty or parish Constables.

The Court received complaints from Parishes or places where there were not sufficient Constables.

On 5th October, 1612, the Court was informed by certain Inhabitants of Radford "concerning many nuisances and inconveniences there due to the want of a Constable in the Township," and upon their requisation" a Constable was appointed.

On 6th October, 1615, the Inhabitants of Clareborough produced here in Court an Order made at last Assizes for the election of two Constables instead of one for the Parish of Clareborough, the reason being that the Parish is a large one containing divers villages and Hambletts, viz., Wellam, Gringley, Moregate and Spittle Hill, and hitherto there had been only one Constable and one Thirdborrow for the same whereby the service of His Macic is much neglected and the per-formance of divers good lawes of his Realm not observed."

On the 8th January, 1620-1621, the Court was credibly informed that "there are certain families and fathers of families within the Constabulary of Lenton in an obscure place by the Castle of Nottingham where many abuses and evil deeds are permitted and cut-purses, vagabonds and ill conditioned persons run hitherto continually and find lodging there and lie securely as in a sanctuary for want of any Constable or other officer making inquisition at fit times, the place being a mile distant from the town of Lenton where the Constable and other officers continually dwell." An Order was made for the annual appointment of a Constable or Thirdborow.

On 12th January, 1656-1657, Complaint was made "of divers misdemeanours and disorders daily committed at Pleasley Hill which, for want of a publique officer in the place, escape unpresented and unpunished, being two miles from Mansfield where the Constable for that Hamlet always resides soe as he cannot take notice of ye said misdemeanours." An Order was made that a Thirdborrow be yearly chosen. On 6th April, 1656, the Inhabitants of Mansfield were ordered "at their next Court Leete" to appoint one of the Inhabitants of Pleasley Hill to be a Thirdborow. On 5th October, 1657, the Inhabitants of Mansfield "by their learned Counsel" appeared and objected to the appointment of a Thirdborow at Pleasley Hill, and by consent the difference upon the whole matter was referred to the Judges at the next Assizes.

The Court considered and dealt with applications for exemption from service as Constable.

On 16th April, 1610, Thomas Storer, Clerk, Vicar of Ruddington, informed the Court "he is only possessed of the lands of his Rectory in Ruddington which are reputed by the Court exempt from the service of Constable." An exemption was granted.

On 18th April, 1617, it is stated that Thomas Stannidge, Senior, of Darleton "inhabiting in a farmer's house" has refused execution of the office of Constable "alleging some privilege to farmers and tenants of his house in which he then inhabited to exonerate them from that service."

On 22nd April, 1653, Robert Johnson, of Misterton, was sworne in as Constable for the ensuing year "notwithstanding such allegations of his old age and other sleight objeccons as he hath made in Court."

On 14th July, 1656, Gregory Sylvester, of Mansfield, gentleman, was ordered to be discharged from being Constable of ye Towne" in regard he is imployed in divers publique offices for the Comonwealth as being a Commissioner for Assessments and otherwise."

It is difficult to reconcile the decisions of the Court in the two following instances:

On 15th July, 1618, a warrant was issued against Thomas Bristowe, gentleman, to undertake the office of Constable within the Constabulary of Caunton, because he is nearest by houserow who ought to serve in the same office, "except Thomas Broome, gentleman, a verderer in the forest whom the Justices exonerated from being Constable by reason of the aforesaid office of verderer."

On 4th October, 1633, John Lupton, of Warksop, gentleman "alledged that he by reason of his office being a keeper of deer within the forest of Sherwood ought to be free and exonerated from the office of Sub Constable," but the Court adjudged the allegation to be insufficient in law, and he had to serve the office.

The following is an exemption on account of poverty:

On 11th January, 1659-1660, the Court were informed "that ye office of Constable within ye Constabulary of Stirrop cum Oldcotes and Mornoy for this present yeare falleth by succession according to ancient custome to ye house of Richard Wardley, being a farme of good value. And that ye said Richard is a poore man and hath "nothing but the house only." An Order was made excusing Richard, "and that Samuel Taylor, gentleman, owner of ye said farm who holdeth in his own occupation all ye lands belonging to ye said ffarme shall serve the office of Constable."

As to the fitness of persons to be Constables:

On 21st April, 1626, the Inhabitants of Clipston were ordered "to elect a suitable man and not a trayned man"† to be Constable for a year.

On 28th April, 1628, in an Order for the Appointment of Constables at Greasley, it is required that "none are to be elected or assigned to the office of Constable but able and sufficient men and such as shall be either freeholders or Tenants of Husbandryes."

On 5th October, 1642, the Court was informed "that in the Constabulary of Lowdham there are above fourty able farmers and divers other verie able Inhabitants and freeholders who are very fit to serve and execute the office of Constable and yet the Townsmen doe impose that office on seaven or some fewe fermers only, and tye the whole burden thereof to them without any just grounds or reason given or alledged for the same pretending a custome wch the Court conceives put upon noe good ground and with ill con-sequences to be observed in case those tenants be unfit." An Order was made that from henceforth "the Constable shalbe usually chosen out of some of the able Inhabitants meete for that service at the Court Leete to be held for the Mannor of Lowdham next after Michaelmas (if any such be) or else by the townsmen about yt time without any regard to any such former usage."

There are frequent entries in reference to the turn to serve. Some have already been mentioned.

On 22nd April, 1638, an Order was made that Richard ffluit of Mansfield Woodhouse, "it being the next turn of his house," shall exercise the office of Constable in the same town according to the custom there "and so there shall be two Constables there to assess during the war time."

On 3rd May, 1640, a warrant was issued against Richard Winkles, of Ratcliffe on Sore, for his contempt in not executing the office of Constable "to whom it comes by houserow according to the custome there."

As to service of the office of Constable by deputy:

On 3rd April, 1654, Peter Belton, of Wysall, was sworne Constable of the said towne for the yeare next ensuing "in the behalf of Mrs. Elizabeth Armstrong widow for one yard and an half of land which he holdeth of her to the thirds there," and the said Mrs. Armstrong is desired by this Court to recompense him for his service "done in her behalf."

On 3rd May, 1640, John Gamble, of Ratcliffe on Trent, "being chosen Constable there by lot this year who hath hired one John Long alias Thrave to execute the office of Constable in his room, whom the Court is informed is for divers reasons unfit to serve being quarelsome." An Order was made that John Gamble being an able and fit man and dwelling there shall execute the office "and not hire any other to do it for him."

There are many records of Constables being fined "for refusing to execute warrant"; "for allowing a man to go at large unpunished after he had been arrested under warrant"; "for voluntary escape"; "for voluntarily permitting persons arrested to escape out of custody; "for not arresting a felon"; &c, &c.

On 4th October, 1615, a warrant was issued against the Constable of Fledborough "because having a warrant sending a prisoner to the House of Correction he negligently sent his wife with the prisoner, who escaped and fled away."

On 11th April, 1605, Edward Caley, of Rolston, was bound over to appear next Sessions "for letten one comitted to his custoyde at large, and to bringe proof that Mr. Sutton's man tould him that the said partye was sett at liberty." At the next Sessions on the 10th July, 1605, Caley was fined 10/- for bad conduct in Sessions, saying these words in the presence of the Justices: "I will fynde another knave to execute my busynesse as Constable."

On the 26th April, 1609, John Girton, of Farndon, was fined "because he concealed presentable causes."

On the 28th April, 1616, the Constable of Whatton was fined "because he did not present to this Session an affray on the Churchwardens of Whatton."

Constables were fined for not attending at Sessions:

On the 13th January, 1614-1615, several Constables were fined for not appearing at Sessions and for sending deputies to appear in their place.

On the 12th April, 1616, the Constable of North Leaverton was fined 5/-'because he feigned himself to be sick at the last Session and did not appeare."

Constables were fined for refusing to take the oath of office: 

On 2nd October, 1620, Jacob Fitzrandall, of Langton Hall, gentleman, was fined 10 /- for refusing to take oath to execute the office of Constable at Kirkby.

On 12th July, 1675, two Constables were fined for acting not being sworne.

There were a number of presentments "for not paying the Constables wages."

On 10th January, 1624-1625, Charles White, of Watnall, gentleman, was indicted for not paying the Constable's wages.

There were a number of presentments against late Constables "for not rendering accounts" to their successors in office:

On 12th January, 1674-1675, Livery Parker, of Fiskerton, was fined "for persuading the Constables not to pay their quarter dutyes."

Persons were presented for "refusing to help Constable":

On 4th October, 1615, a warrant was issued against a man for obstinately and contemptuously refusing to aid a Constable to arrest persons on a warrant "alleging that he would not, as he would be unpaid for his labour."

There were indictments against the inhabitants of Parishes for not appointing Constables.

Reference has already been made to Orders of the Court for the appointment of Constables at Courts Leet at Mansfield and at Lowdham.

On 28th April, 1628, in an Order of the Court for appointment of Constables in the Constabulary of Greasley cum membris it is ordered "that in every hamlet in the Constablery where there shall be no Constable dwelling there shall everie yeare be a Headborow sworn either at the Court Leete within the Mannor or at the Castle Court at Nottingham."


On the 11th January, 1655-1656, there was Information in Court of the great abuse for want of due execution of ye Laws Statutes and Ordinances concerning prophamtion of the Lord's day and against Beggars, Rogues and wandring persons accasioned by the negligence of Constables and other Officers, the not repairing of Highways, and shooting and keeping of Gunnes against the Statute, by reason of the multitude of Alehouses and tipling houses licenced and unlicenced and ye greate disorder therein comitted by harbouring of thieves and Robbers and suspitious persons as alsoe for suffering persons to continue and drink in their houses contrary to severall Lawes and Statutes in that behalf through ye neglect of Constables Jurors and other Officers, in not presenting the said Offences to ye end the same may be reformed." It was ordered as follows:

That the several Lawes concerning punishing of Rogues and beggars, setting the poore on work, and raising a Stocke in every parish be putt in execution; and that the Constables and Grand Jurors doe consider and present to ye Court in their several divisions what number of persons are fitt to be licensed in every parish, that all ye rest may be suppressed; and yt those that shalbe Licensed hereafter doe bring Certificates from ye Minister and foure of ye most able and honest Inhabitants of their parish testifying their fitnes to be licensed.

William ffeatherston and Samuel Tedsdale were appointed Marshalls within this County to see to the apprehending of all Rogues and Vagabonds and to see that the Order of Court be effectually put in execution.

These Marshalls, however, did not hold their office long, for on 10th January, 1658-1659, the following entry appears:

Ordered that the £20 formerly paid to ye late Marshalls of this County be paid £10 to ye Master of ye House of Correction and £10 to ye Treasurers for maighemed Solders for payment of pensions, "withall the stock of ye County falling short to doe the same."


The Court employed "Informers" who made presentations or laid Informations on various matters, chiefly in regard to trade offences such as ingrossing grain, buying and selling without license, carrying on trades without being apprenticed, &c.

On 10th July, 1682, a warrant was issued against John Smith, Informer, "for cheating ye King ye poore" [sic.]

On 2nd October, 1616, there was an Indictment "for a riotous assault on the common informer."

The usual form of entry of appearance and plea to an information laid by an informer was as follows:

"At this Sessions came A. B. (the defendant) in his own person and defends the force and injury, &c. and desires to have read the information exhibited against him by C. D. (the informer) which being read unto him he saith he is not guilty of the premises in the said information specified in manner and forme as by the same is supposed."

Then follows what is termed a "Licence to compound":

"But that he might save his labor and charge about his defence in this behalf he desires licence of this Court to compound with the said C. D. (the informer) concerning the premises, and it is accordingly granted soe that the said C. D. do at the next general Sessions of the Peace here certify the Court upon his Oath what composition directly or indirectly he shall make with the said Defendant concerning the premises," &c.

At the next Sessions the Informer came and certified upon oath that composition directly or indirectly had been made with the Defendant by virtue of the licence of the Court, and that the like sum was paid to the Sheriff in Court to the use of the King (or in the time of the Commonwealth to the Lord Protector).

In 1639 John Hamton, of Newark was charged with "extorting divers sums of money under pretence of information," evidently representing himself to be an informer; and in the same year a man who was a shoemaker at Newark, was charged with "compounding with certain persons under pretence of a process from the Exchequer."

* Note.—Double christian names at this period were very unusual.
† Note—"A trayned man" probably means a soldier.