It has often been remarked that the pages of Hucknall history have been free from records of murder; however, human skeletons have been found in the Watnall Road cutting, just beyond the top pit gates, and near the Great Central Roalway station, and others were turned up by excavators near the Station Hotel as well as in the trenches on Carlingford Road, near the Catholic Church site, which was waste land in the 18th century. Most of these remains were probably those of parishioners who succumbed to some of the visitations of the plague, especially the severe epidemic in 1603.

An attempt to murder a boy 40 years ago in the Lammas fortunately failed, but the "Patent Rolls" tell of King Edward II. on August 25th, 1307, at the instance of John de Crumbwelle, granting a pardon to John Merton for the death of Hugh Bereman, of Hucknall Torkard.

A.D. 1313—Edward II. pardoned the brothers Greenhill, of Hucknall.

A.D. 1313—May 10th. Edward II. at Windsor confirmed grant made to William de Cossall, King's Clerk, of 80 acres of waste (A). (These 80 acres were probably the Bulwell Wood estate at Hucknall).

A.D. 1315—King Edward II. at his palace at Clipstone "commissioned Walter de Grisli (Greasley) and Robert de Stretleye (Strelley) to enquire in the presence of Thomas de Crescy, whom the King appointed to array 60 foot men at arms within the Wapentake of Broxtowe for War against Scotland and also of William Foljambe, of Gratton, the King's Attorney, as the king has been given to understand that de Crescy has greatly abused his powers for the purpose of exacting money from the inhabitants of the Wapentake, and that after he had caused the 60 men to be led towards Scotland, he received various gifts from them in order to allow them to return home." (B.)

In 1315 it was stated that de Crescy "assembled a large number of men and told them to be prepared to go thither (to Scotland) at their own expense, by fear of which he extorted money from them.

A.D. 1317—William Curteys (Curtis) of Newthorpe, and William, the parson of Nuttall, went deer hunting in Codnor Park, of which Richard de Grey complained, as he afterwards did of the Annesleys for doing similarly.

A.D. 1320—Parish Church enlarged about this period; Thomas Torcard, Vicar.

A.D. 1331—Ralph de Crumwell acquired the mill dam by the side of the churchyard.

A.D. 1341—Parliament granted King Edward III. a subsidy of the ninth of the corn, lambs and wool in every parish, in aid of his wars with France. The ninth of the fleece at Hucknall was valued at £4 13s. 4d.; 24 acres of land 8s., Rents 15s. 4d., Oblations 16s. 4d.

A.D. 1343—Edward III. gave Nicholas Cantelupe licence to build Beau vale for a prior and twelve monks.

A.D. 1344—Bulwell Wood estate given to Newstead Abbey.

A.D. 1364—Edward III. was at his hunting lodge at Bestwood on September 1st, and on that day granted to the Prior of Newstead certain rents rising out of Lindeby Hay and Bulwell Rise.

A.D. 1400—The prices for various articles in this year, in this neighbourhood were:—Smock and 2 shirts, 2s. ; pocket, 2d. ; breast pocket, 7d.; neckerchief, 4d.; wheelbarrow and fire-wood, 4d.; five tables, 10 x 11/2 x 4, 2s. 1d.; two bedsteads, and one bed, 5s.; two pairs of shoes, 10d.; ladder, 4d.; sheep bell, 1d.; candlestick, 6d.; two bows and quiver of arrows, 1s. 4d.; pair of breeches, 1d.; pair of beads made out of cannel coal, 4d.; grindstone, 20d.; muck fork, 2d.; iron coal rake, 2d ; iron stove, 3s. 8d.; pair of clogs, 2d.

A.D. 1400—Hugh de Lyndeby was Member of Parliament for Notts.

A.D. 1411—John Barker, of Hucknall, owned a garden by the side of Barker Gate, Nottingham.

A.D. 1431—Queen Joan of Navarre, widow of Henry IV., was the owner of Linby Manor and in this year sued Thomas Bayle, of Nottingham, for 6s. 8d., half-year's rent of his farm at Linby.

A.D. 1433—John de Sutton, Vicar of Hucknall, made his will and directed his body to be buried in the "churchyard of Hokenell."

A.D. 1458—William Leek held a manor here which was afterwards held by Sir John Leek, knight and King's Falconer. Sir John was required to be on duty with his birds in the forest every year, from Michaelmas to Lent. He was provided with horses, 2s. a day, half a cistern of wine, also two robes when required to do duty. He held his Hucknall manor for the same service. About 200 years afterwards this manor was divided up and parts of it were held by Sir John Byron, Lancelot Curtis and John Palmer.

A.D. 1458-9.—Thomasyn, widow of Henry Perpont, "sometyme of Holme, Esquire," appealed against Robert Grene, of Plympton beside Knaresborough, Gent. There was a counter-writ against John Perpont, of Rodmathwaite, Notts., Gent, and others, on account of the death of his uncle John. "These homicides were committed on Papplewick Moor." It is supposed that these men were killed in feuds connected with the Wars of the Roses. Henry Perpont's sister Ann married Sir Nicholas Strelley, and a Henry Perpont represented Notts, in Parliament in 1424. After the Battle of Towton, March 29th, 1461, Edward IV. rewarded Sir Henry Pierrepont for his "good and laudable service against the King's enemies." This must have been a relative of the Papplewick Moor victim. In passing, it may be remarked that the hill opposite Papplewick Grange is called "Cudgel Hill."

A.D. 1462—On July 23rd the Archbishop of York at Southwell veiled Alice, widow of Sir Nicholas Byron. She took the vow of chastity.

A.D. 1476—Knights of the Shire: John Byron and William Mering.

A.D. 1485—August. "York City Records" state that Bichard III. was at Bestwood for the purpose of hunting when he heard of the near approach of his rival, Henry Tudor, afterwards Henry VII.

A.D. 1489—John Savage, of Hucknall, witnessed a deed of gift to the Church at the altar of St. Mary, at North Wingfield, Derbyshire.

A.D. 1494—Nottingham Corporation accounts contain the following entry:—Item: To Butler of Hucknall, the xth day of June, for ij lodes of grete bulders, xij." This means that Mr. Butler sold the Corporation two cart-loads of stone for 12 pence. His name as a stone dealer occurs several times in the Corporation accounts. Stonegetters at Gedling were paid 3d. per day at that period for getting stone for St. Peter's Church, Nottingham. Mr. Cutes (probably Curtis) sold the Corporation 13 loads of sand in 1494.

A.D. 1506—June 13th. 21st year of Henry VII. At an Inquisition held at Nottingham before Roger, Abbot of Rufford, and five King's Commissioners, William Chamberlyn, of Hucknall Torkerd, yeoman, was charged with having on June 4th, 1504, "by force and arms entered upon the King's soil at Lynby, called Lynby Hawes in Sherwood Forest, and without licence took and carried away seven oak trees value 9 shillings to the King's damage of 40 shillings." (C.) In A.D. 1524, Wm. Chamberlyn, with Robert Fawkonberd, sat on a jury together; this circumstance indicates that the yeoman had at this time retrieved his character.

A.D. 1518—In this year Robert Mellors, bellfounder, at Nottingham, brought Thomas Blythe, carpenter, of Linby, before the justices, charging the latter with breaking an agreement made in 1513, whereby the aforesaid Thomas Blythe engaged to build for Mellors a house of posts and frames, containing three bays, 17 by 17 feet. Damages were laid at £20.

A.D. 1523—Hugh of Annesley, who died in this year, held a manor in Hucknall, "but by what services the jury know not" (D).

A.D. 1530—Friday, Nov. 25.—Cardinal Wolsey rode from Kirkby to Nottingham. He was so weak that he could hardly sit on his mule. He slept on November 24th at Kirkby Hardwick, and died in Leicester Abbey on his journey south, whither he had been summoned by Henry VIII.

A.D. 1538 The Mayor and Burgesses of Nottingham were troubled by men who were in the habit of running greyhounds after foxes and hares in the forest. These offenders were strongly condemned by the Burgesses, and prosecuted.

A.D. 1539—Dissolution of Newstead Abbey.


King Henry II. built three abbeys in England to atone for the murder of Thomas a Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury. Newstead was one of these Abbeys, and to-day the visitor may behold and admire some of the splendid stonework erected 730 years ago. The Abbey was built in one of the beautiful glades of the King's Forest of Sherwood, and its tenants for 370 years were the Prior and Black Canons Regular of the Order of St. Augustine. In A.D. 1235 we have record that there were dwelling at the abbey a Prior, sub-Prior, and twelve Canons and Chaplins.

In A.D. 1300, the Abbey had fallen into debt, so the King sent his clerk, Peter de Leycestre, to the custody thereof, during pleasure. The importance of Newstead as a guest-house is shown by the fact of its exemption (A.D. 1488) from paying tenths to the Crown. Its nearness to the King's highway conduced to its frequent use by travellers.

The following is a list of the Priors of Newstead, compiled from Dugdale and other sources:—





John de Lexington.

1256—William de Mottisfont.

1287—Richard de Halum (E).

1293—Richard de Grangia.

1325—William de Thurgaton.

1350—Hugh de Collingham.

1357—John Willesthorp.

1367—William de Allerton.

1406—John de Hockendale.

1416—Wm. Bakewell; sub-prior, Robert de Sheffield.

1422—Thomas Carleton.

1423—Robert Cutwolfe.

1456—William Misterton.

1461—John Durham.

1467—Thomas Gounthorpe.

1504—Wm. Sandall.

1526—John Blake.

15313—The priory  was  surrendered, Prior  Blake  and   eleven canons came out.

It will be noticed that John of Hucknall was Prior of New-stead in 1406, but to what family he belonged the records do not tell. In King John's confirmation charter to Newstead, mention is made of a grant from "William le Wayte to John Huckenhale of a dwelling in Nottm. and a toft lying under the Castle."'

The Vicar of Blidworth has written a vivid pen picture of the visitation of Archbishop Gray of York to the Abbey in July, 1250, which gives an idea of the Abbey customs. The Archbishop and Prior met at a stone cross near the Hutt, and travelled down the slope to the Abbey, followed by their trains, the big Abbey bells ringing out a welcome. A meal in the Refectory (the present banquet hall) was followed by evening service (Compline). For the morning mass the chapel floor was spread with fresh green rushes from the sedgy banks of the Leen, with marjoram, rosemary, and lavender. Next morn at sound of the Angelus bell, the prelate, prior and canons betook themselves to the Chapter House. In the seats ranging north and south sat the Canons of Newstead, arrayed in black cassocks, surmounted with a white rochet, and a black cloak or hood over his shoulders. The Archbishop was conducted to his seat, and began his enquiry as to the conduct of the Abbey. He reported the Prior and Canons to be hearty in observance of their rules, lovers of peace and concord the one to the other, and to all men. He ordered another prior to be appointed who should act in the absence of the prior and sub-prior. The report continued: "We have also provided that the prior, sub-prior, and three or four older members of the convent shall, at least once a year, audit the accounts of the Cellarer and all others discharging any services. We enjoin also that an Inventory shall be made to contain the rents, assizes of bread and ale—to make appear whether the property of the house is increasing or decreasing—we will also that the seal of the convent shall be kept in the Treasury by some discreet Canon. We will also that the Cloisters, Refectory, and other places set apart for the quiet of the Canons be kept from the intrusion of boys and disorderly persons."

King Edward I. with Queen Eleanor, visited the Abbey in 1280, where the Abbot of Jervaulx and Odinius de Guac de Noli, an Italian, also had an interview with the King, the latter being enrolled "a member of our household, and he was awarded "the diploma of the merchant." Lord Marmion likewise waited on the King relative to a dispute in the family as to who should pay the King's demands. William le Knight, of Rolleston, had quarrelled with and killed his neighbour, John Seely, and he was brought to the Abbey to be tried. Solomon de Roffa and other witnesses secured his acquittal by their evidence that William slew John in self-defence.

In 1315 Edward II. visited the Abbey, and was there interviewed by William, Count of Hainault, with a view to promote British and Dutch trade.

Edward III. visited the Abbey on 12th November, 1327.

Layton, the Commissioner from King Henry VIII., came to the Abbey and held his enquiry with the result that the dissolution was brought about on 21st July, 1539, the Abbey and lands (including the greater part of Hucknall parish) passing into the hands of Sir John Byron for a little over £800; (F). The monks threw their brass eagle lectern into the lake. When found, some old deeds were discovered in it. The lectern is now used in Southwell Minster church. There were four bells which were taken away and have been lost sight of. Sir John fitted up the ancient building as a mansion—bringing the fountain out from the cloister garth and re-erecting it before the West front, and making various other alterations.

Two gorgeously coloured overmantels in the Abbey, containing portraits in relief of Henry VIII. and a number of contemporary people, evidently placed there by the first lay owner of the place, are to be seen to-day, excellently preserved.

The next owner of Newstead was Sir John Byron, founder of the Hucknall Broomhill Charity, who entertained Queen Anne of Denmark and her son, Prince Henry, in June., 1603. Charles II. also visited the Abbey  in the same century.

The successive owners of Newstead were :—

Sir John Byron, died 1576.

Sir John Byron (Hucknall Charity founder) died 1609.

Sir John Byron, died 1625.

Sir John Byron, M.P. in James's reign; he fought at Brackley, and was created first Lord Byron in 1643; died in 1652 in Paris.

Lord Richard Byron, the defender of Newark, died 1679.

Lord William Byron, husband of the Lady Elizabeth, who gave the gilt chalice and paten to Hucknall Church, died 1695.

Lord William Byron, died 1736.

Lord Byron, "the Wicked," who killed Chaworth in the duel, died 1798.

Lord George Noel Byron, the poet, who died in 1824.

The Byrons gradually became poorer, and the Abbey was allowed to fall into a ruinous state, and the poet Lord, no longer able to maintain the mortgaged estates, on February 6th, 1814, left Newstead for ever, and after extended negotiations, the Newstead estate passed into the hands of Colonel Wildman for £95,500. The Colonel was a school-fellow of the poet, and it pleased the latter that the place fell into such desirable hands. The Byron effects were sold by auction and many of them were purchased by the Colonel, who began with praiseworthy zeal and almost regardless of cost to restore the dilapidations. He restored the fountain to its old site in the cloister garth, he pulled down the stone stairway erected by Sir John Byron, and erected the Sussex tower in commemoration of the visit of the Duke of Sussex, leaving the beautiful building in much the same condition as it is to-day. He altered the interior with a view to restore to the Abbey its original features, and in the Banqueting Hall alone a lasting and adequate memorial of the generous and intelligent methods of the Colonel is left to posterity.

At the Colonel's death, the late Mr. W. F. Webb bought the Abbey, and estate in 1860, and it is pleasant to record how piously and intelligently he continued the work of restoration, making it one of the chief aims of his life to increase the Byronic and historical interests of the place, at the same time enabling pilgrims from far and near to view the treasures of the place. Mr. and Mrs. Webb sleep 'neath "Afric's sunny sands," but Lady Chermside and Miss Webb have inherited their parents' spirit, and recently restored the priors' rooms to their ancient glory, and some of the old apartments are now hung with tapestry in singular good taste, wrought by these ladies. The effect of the electric light on the groined ceilings is very pleasing, and everywhere the order, care and intelligence with which the fabric and its treasures, also the park, lakes, and grounds, are preserved, are manifest.

(A) Patent Rolls.
(B) Patent Rolls.
(C) Inquisitiones Post Mortem.
(D) Inquisitiones Post Mortem.
(E) He was promoted by the Archbishop from the office of Sub-cellarer to Prior.
(F) In A.D. 1535 the Abbey lands in Hucknall paid a rent of =£13 5s. 10d. per annum. The total annual Abbey income was £219 18s. 8d. The monks there gave the poor, weekly, 14 loaves, 7 flagons of beer, and each day fish and flesh for one poor man.