The list of Rectors goes back to 1254. Between 1254 and 1344 there were six rectors, but in 1344 the patronage of the living passed from Nicholas de Cantelupe to the Prior and monks of Beauvale Charterhouse, the Prior becoming Rector of Greasley; the priest appointed by the Prior to minister to the parishioners became the first Vicar, and this arrangement continued for the next two hundred years until the dissolution of the Priory in 1540. Between 1540 and 1775 there are several gaps in the list of vicars, but from 1775 to the present day the list is complete.

The names of all the parish priests since 1254, as far as can be ascertained, are recorded on the oak tablet affixed to the north wall of the tower.

Mention might here be made of several of them.

William Warburton, born at Newark in 1698, was vicar from 1723-1725. He was a prolific writer of books, became Dean of Bristol in 1757, and two years later was made Bishop of Gloucester.

John Mansell who was vicar 1776-1797, left a benefaction for the poor of Greasley, the details of which are recorded on the tablet on the south wall of the tower.

John Hides, curate of Greasley in 1814, became vicar in 1819. He died in 1865 after a ministry in the parish of fifty-one years.

Rodolph Baron von Hube, vicar from 1866 to 1907, will be remembered as the author of the first and only history of the parish "Griseleia in Nottinghamshire," which he published in 1901. Only a limited number of copies were printed for circulation in the parish, but they have been treasured by the families of those who were fortunate enough to obtain them.


On the window-sill on the north side of the chancel there is a brass shield with an obliterated coat-of-arms in memory of Helena, the wife of Richard Bingham, and one in memory of Gilbert Millington, of Felley, who died in 1694, aged 14 years.

On the south wall of the chancel are memorial tablets of four vicars: —

John Cooper, who died in 1746
William Wright, 1753-1776
John Mansell, 1776-1797
John Hides, 1819-1865

The south aisle is taken up entirely by monuments and tablets to members of the Rolleston family of Watnall Hall. Among them is a marble bust of a Lancelot who died in 1685 at the age of 34, a High Sheriff of Nottingham, greatly beloved by all who knew him.

Over the chalice-shaped 15th century font are slate tablets inscribed with the Ten Commandments, the Lord's Prayer, and the Creed. They were presented to the church by Francis Barber in 1764, and were transferred from the east end of the chancel to their present position at the 1896 restoration.

Among the memorials in the north aisle there is one which was erected in 1744 to the memory of Gilbert Millington and his wife Sarah, of Felley Abbey.

Another is to the memory of the Rev. Rodolph Baron von Hube, vicar of the parish 1866-1907. It was set up by the parishioners in 1914 and unveiled by Colonel Sir Lancelot Rolleston, K.C.B., D.S.O., of Watnall Hall.

On the south wall of the tower is a tablet setting out how the bequest of the Rev. John Mansell shall be applied: —

This charity is now merged with the Rolleston Bog End School endowment and is administered by a body of trustees of which the Vicar of Greasley is an ex-officio member.

A Schoolmaster or Mistress for teaching eight poor children, boys or girls, whose parents belong to the Pansh of Greasley the yearly salary of ... 5 0 0
Also two shillings and sixpence on Christmas Day to each of the said poor children, provided that they shall have regularly attended Church on Sundays and Christmas Day, unless prevented by sickness or lameness 1 0 0
Ten shillings each to eight poor women, parishioners of and resident in Greasley aforesaid, at the time of their Lying In 4 0 0
One shilling per week to five poor women, parishioners of and resident in one of the hamlets of Watnall, Moorgreen, Beggarlee, and Newthorpe 13 0 0
Two shillings and sixpence to each of the said poor women on Christmas Day, provided they shall have been regular attendants at Greasley Church, unless prevented by sickness or other reasonable excuse   12 6
Fifty shillings to be distributed in Wheaten Bread, on Candlemas Day, to the poor of Greasley aforesaid 2 10 0
  £26 2 6


The parish registers begin in 1600, but some of them are in very poor condition; parts of the early parchment registers are badly written and are scarcely decipherable.

There are no entries for the years 1650-1653, 1710-1712, 1722-176, and the marriage records 1805-1812 are missing.

The entries between 1712 and 1730 are on loose leaves, frayed and torn at the edges, and altogether in very bad condition.

The registers are well kept during the incumbency of John Mansell (1776-1797) whom we have previously mentioned in connection with his bequest to the poor of the parish.

He must have loved his people and they him, and as the population was then small, he evidently knew them all. In the burial register he has in most cases recorded the cause of death.

Quite obviously, he was in failing health for some time before his death, and this is reflected in his writing which gradually deteriorates. The death of his wife on May 13th, 1797, was evidently a shock and a blow from which he never recovered, he himself dying three months later.

In John Mansell, Greasley lost a good friend and a much-loved and faithful parish priest.

An interesting entry in the oldest register is that of the marriage of John Robinson. The entry reads: —

"Mr. Robinson married Bridget Whyte
9th February, 1603."

John Robinson was a pastor of the Pilgrim Fathers who had held and been suspended from a benefice in Norfolk. In 1608 he emigrated to Amsterdam and joined the Separatists, later removing with a section of the community to Leyden, where he was ordained pastor in 1609. He is thought to have written the address which was delivered on the departure of the pilgrims for America in the "Mayflower" in 1620, from Leyden in Holland.

Here are two extracts  from the Burial Register: —

1781—March 8th—Walter Stapleton.
Remarkable for his low stature; not much more than four feet high and thin in proportion, yet lived to the age of 83 years.

1783—August 25th—Henry Levers, aged 77.
Clerk of this parish 53 years, suddenly.

These are typical examples of the careful and informative entries of John Mansell.


The Accounts of Thomas Birkin and I. C. Gething, Churchwardens for the Parish of Greasley, from Easter, 1842, to Easter, 1843: —

    £ s. d.
May 30. — Pd. Court Fees at Visitation 1 1 0
  Expenses at Do. 0 16 0
  1  Broom Head and Bannister Brush for Brinsley      
   Church 0 4 3
  1  Broom Head and Bannister Brush for Greasley      
  Church 0 4 11
June 4. — Pd. Willm. Severn 21/2 Days for Cleaning Church-      
  yard Walks 0 5 0
June 17. — Pd. William Pepper for Cleaning  the Flues  at      
  Greasley Church 0 5 0
June 18. — Pd. John Boot for Cleaning the Flues at Brinsley      
  Church 0 2 6
August 31. — Pd. William Banner for Cleaning the Church-      
  yard Walks at Brinsley 0 3 3
Sept. 4. — Pd. Thomas Soar 21/2 Days for Cleaning Church-      
  yard Walks 0 5 0
October 13.— Paid for 4lbs. Candles 0 2 4
October 31 .— Pd. Mr. Thos. Hirst for Coals 0 11 1
Nov. 5. — Pd. the Ringers 0 5 0
  Pd. Postage for Three Letters 0 0 3
  Pd. John Banner for leading 1 load of Coals 0 3 0
Nov. 21. — Pd. Court Fees at Visitation 1 1 4
  Expenses at Do. 0 18 0
Jany. 1. — Paid the Ringers 0 5 0
Feby. 6.— Pd. Mr. Hirst for 2 load of Coals 1 3 8
  Pd. John Banner for leading 2 load of Coals 0 6 6
Feby. 25— Pd. Caleb Slater as pr. Bill 1 18 6
  Pd. Joseph Gelsthorpe his Salary 5 0 0
  William Severn Sexton Salary  and for Mending      
  the Flues 5 6 0
  Thomas Jackson as pr. Bill 1 0
  Pd. John Boot for Cleaning  flues  at Brinsley      
  Church 0 2 6
March   10. — For Collecting the Church Rate 5 0 0
  Pd. Mr. Hirst for Coals 0 15 3
  Pd. John Banner for Leading Coals 0 3 3
    £27 9

March 17th. 1843.—These Accounts Examined and Allowed.


Can you imagine our present Treasurer's smile if our expenses today were under £30?


South-east from the chancel there is an interesting tomb covered by a large stone slab with this inscription: —

"Underneath lies interred the mortal remains of Benj. Drawater, Gentleman, of Mansfield, late of Eastwood, who suddenly departed this life on the 2nd of June, 1815, in the 68th year of his age. In his professional duty he had accompanied the great circumnavigator, Cook, in the years 1772-1775. His virtues were commendable and exemplary, and were highly esteemed by friends and relations and his surviving family. He was a pious and good Christian. He lived respected and died lamented."

An inscription on the tomb of Charles Maltby who died on January 3rd, 1821, aged 90 years, reads: —

"With  successful industry he passed through life,
Attached to his children, his friends and his wife,
And reached the advanced age of 90 you see.
Having lived an example of economy."

An inscription of 1866 reads:—

"Farewell vain world, I've had enough of thee,
I doent value what thou can see of me;
Thy frowns I quote not, thy smiles I fear not,
Look  at home and theirs enough to be done."

The spelling, rhyming, and the sentiments expressed, leave much to be desired!

During the World War, L.-Sergt. Allcorn, of 428 Battery, A.A. (then stationed in the parish) was taking a leisurely walk round the churchyard when he came across the grave of "Elizabeth"; he sent the vicar these lines: —

Elegy to Elizabeth.
Here lies the body of
Elizabeth Cocking
Who died Aug. ye 27,  1766,  in the 17 year of her age.
"What hopes and dreams are buried here?
What dusty virtue wears this equipage?
What Judas Summer of that year
Sold beauty as the toy of age?
The years are not enough to still
Your spirit, and my heart's awake
To yearning only tears can fill,
In silence only hymns should break.

Is it your spirit, or my flesh
That steals this moment from the past?
Death hath no darkness to enmesh
A vision that is born to last.
I see your life, in filigree,
That no unfavour'd history mars.
Your day was happy and, to me,
Your lovely night is full of stars.

"From the dawn of Christianity in this land, successive generations have worshipped within our churches, brought their children to be baptized in them, have come to them for their confirmation and their marriage, have taken their dead to be laid in their God s acre. There have also been untold numbers who while not regular worshippers, have nevertheless felt the influence of the parish church and parish priest. The towers and spires pointing from earth to heaven, the bells summoning all who are within their sound to remember the claims of God upon their lives, the massive strength of buildings which have stood the test of time while cottage, hall and castle have long vanished, all bear witness to the eternal and unchanging God."—Archbishop of York, Dr. C. F. Garbett.

Here we have an illustration of the truth of these words; Greasley Castle has gone, but the church is still here.

St. Mary's has a long history as we have seen from the foregoing pages; there was a church here in 1086, and the list of parish priests can be traced back to 1254.

These facts remind us that for centuries the Church has ministered to the people of this parish, and we can thank God for all who have worshipped here; for the succession of parish priests who have preached the Word and administered the Sacraments; for the devotion and generosity of the faithful who by their example and influence have been as shining lights in their several generations, building up and handing down a goodly heritage. To all of them we owe this House of God, as do all other towns and villages which possess an ancient church. They stand as witnesses to man's need of God and to the Church's care for her children down the centuries. They are more than monuments of the past, for they are shrines of worship to-day; power-houses from which may flow a redeeming power which can change, enrich, ennoble, and uplift all human life.

"Lord,  I have loved the habitation of thy house, and the
place where thine honour dwelleth."