The first mention of this interesting family occurs in the year 1180, when Geoffrey Torcard, with the consent of Maud, his wife, gave "to God and the Church of the Holy Trinity at Lenton, and the Monks there serving God, a cart to be continually wandering about to gather up his dead wood in Hucknall," on condition that the Monks should pray for the souls of himself, his ancestors, and Alexander de Cluny.

In A.D. 1189 this same Geoffrey gave about 120 acres of Hucknall land to Newstead Abbey. The late Bishop Trollope stated that Geoffrey was the first of the Torcards who lived in the parish.

In the year 1240 one Robert Torcard was living at Kirkby. His name, together with that of William Torkerd appears on a deed appointing a Commission of Enquiry as to the lands and windmill possessed by Hugh FitzRalf at Greasley, about A.D. 1260.

In 1270 John Torcard was an eminent man in the county, and an extensive landowner.

Thomas Torcard was Vicar of Hucknall from 1297 to 1324, being appointed to the living by the Prior and Brothers of Newstead Abbey. It is worthy of remark here that the first three stories of the Parish Church tower were probably built in the lifetime of Geoffrey Torcard.

Nothing more can be found connecting the family of Torcards with the parish, although the name occurs frequently in other parts of the county. The Wolley Charter ("tempus Henry II.") contains the names of Robert Torcard and Hawisa his wife, in connection with a deed of gift to Welbeck Abbey, and a reference to Ralph Torcard is made in a document conveying a gift of land to John Samon, of Nottingham. In 1375 this same Ralph appears to have been Mayor of Nottingham, but, alas, a falling off was there, for the Nottingham Borough Records show that in 1379 he was "presented against the Assize for selling ale in the West Barre at "Nottingham" in cups and dishes which had not been sealed by the Assize of Ale.

In 1311 Richard Torcard, of Sheffield, was presented to the church living at Wodemancote, in the diocese of Chichester, by the King by reason of the lands of the Templars being in his hands (R).

In 1313 the King at Westminster gave protection to Robert Torkard, of Sheffield, the younger, who was staying in the King's service in the company of Anthony Pessaeignne, of Genoa (R).

In 1324 a Commission of Enquiry was instituted against Richard Torkard, of Sheffield, who, with " Simon and Richard his man," and others, " entered the house of Peter de Mauntol, at Ripon, assaulted him, and his men carried away his goods."

On June 5th Hugh Calthorne complained that Richard Torkard and others assaulted him at Owthorpe (Notts.) and imprisoned him.

To sum up, the records show that members of the family of Torkard were definitely associated with the pariah from 1180 to 1324.


Following is a list of some of the people who owned or tenanted land in Hucknall in the 13th and 14th centuries:—


Acres.   Yearly Rent.
Elias le Breton. 8   1    6
Richard Freeman. 28   2    6
Richard Aswarby. 2   0   4
Michael Norman. 8 house and toft 3   4
William Stanlie 1   0   3
Felley Priory 3 one toft 1    4
Geoffrey Langton. two tofts 2    8
Stephen Marshall. 2 one toft 2    0
St. John's Hospital.   0    6
John Pierrepont (s). ¾   0    3

1281—Baldwin-le-Wake owned a " Knight's Fee " (T).
1296—Robert Luttrell.
1313—Simon Greenhale (U).
1315—Henry Winkburn ("Lord of the Manor ").
1324—William Fitzwilliam.
1329—Richard Grey.
1330—William Grey. Alexander Gonaldston.
1331—Ralph de Cromwell.
1331—Ulgar Crumwell gave his interest in a manor at Hucknall to Beauvale Priory.
1339—Alice, wife of Richard Freeman.
1348—Thomas Wake de Liddell.
1356—Matilda Porter.
1364—John Breton.
1391John Danby.


Williemi Breton de Ansley. Died Jan 1595.

This sketch, is copied from a brass which, was formerly in Annesley Church, but was found by Mrs. J. Chaworth Musters in possession of the village blacksmith at Annesley Woodhouse, and is now kept in a place of safety at Annesley Hall. It depicts a member of the Breton family which was prominent in this neighbourhood for several hundred years. It portrays William Breton on his way to the hunt. Bow and arrow in hand, three arrows in his quiver, short sword hanging from his belt, he is followed by his dog, which is leashed to his side.

In the year 1331 Ralph de Cromwell received from Alexander of Gonaldston a watermill which stood on land now occupied by Trinity Church in Baker Street. Sir Ralph and his wife Avicia (sometimes called "Margaret") decided to enlarge their dam up to the churchyard, and extend the dam head eastward, nearer to the mill, and to this end they exchanged land with the Prior of Newstead (Hugh de Collingham), to whom they gave three roods near Broomhill for the land they required for the dam extension.

The transaction is thus recorded by Thoroton:—"Ralph de Crumbwell and Avicia his wife made a certain causey otherwise than had formerly been to increase the water to serve their mill, which was, it seems, in the ditch and upon soil -which belonged to the Prior of Newstede, and extended from the churchyard to the head of the dam towards the east, for which they gave the said Prior three roods of arable land lying in the east field at diverse places at the towne's end towards Nottingham, but the said Ralph oppressed the Priory in causing it to pay more than it ought in the several Scutages (v), for in 5 Edward I. in that for the Welsh expedition, it paid but for the third part of a Knight's Fee, and there were tenants who held 10 bovats of Torkard's fee, and 8 of Luttrel's (of Gamelston) besides: but this Ralph Crumbewell got an Inquisition which found the Priory to have two parts of a Knight's Fee in demesne and service of tenants, so that the Prior was forced to intreat that he might pay but for half a fee which he thought too much before. Ulgar Crumbwell, it seems, gave his interest to the Priory of Beauvale, which paid also for half a Knight's Fee."

From the Cromwells the site of the Baker Street mill passed to Richard Chesterfield, then to Hugh Annesley, who conveyed it to Beauvale Priory. Later on it became the property of the Rollestons of Watnall, who sold it about 100 years ago.


"About this time," says the Sloane MSS., "lived Robin Hood." The time referred to is the twelfth century. The fund of interest this hero of tradition has created for successive ages is almost without parallel. In High Park Wood is Robin Hood's Well, only a bowshot from Beauvale Priory; near Papplewick Hall is the cave called Robin Hood's Stable; his chair is located in Newstead Woods, the place where he is said to have fought the curtal friar is to be seen at Fountain Dale, near Newstead, and his reputed buskins are kept at Annesley Hall.

"The merry pranks he played would ask an age to tell,
And the adventures strange that Robin Hood befel;
When Mansfield many a time for Robin hath been laid,
How he hath cozened them that would have him betrayed.
How often he hath come to Nottingham disguised,
And cunningly escaped, being set to be surprised.
In this auspicious isle—I think there is not one
But he hath heard some talk of him and Little John.
And to the end of time the tales shall ne'er be done,
Of Scarelocke, George-a-Green, and Mutch, the miller's son;
Of Tuck the merry friar, who many a sermon made
In praise of Robin Hood, his outlaws, and his trade.
An hundred valiant men had this brave Robin Hood,
Still ready at his call, bowmen right and good,
All clad in Lincoln green, with caps of red and blue,
Hia fellow's winding horn not one of them but knew,
When setting to their lips, their little bugles shrill,
The warbling echoes waked from every vale and hill."

—Old Ballad.

The opinion of one able to judge of the genuineness of the story of Robin Hood (Mr. W. H. Stevenson) is thus recorded in the book edited by Mr. Cornelius Brown, "Notes about Notts.":—"I think we are bound to accept the existence of Robin Hood as a mediaeval myth, sprung from the mists of Teutonic Paganism, garnished by the prolific muses of the English minstrels, that has survived the wreck of time, and which will live as long as the English language." It may here be added that not a shred of reliable evidence can be found in the history of Hucknall giving colour to the theory that the man existed.

(R) Patent Rolls.
(S) John Pierrepont was a member of tihe family whose chief representative to-day is Earl Manvers.
(T) A Knight's Fee consisted of as much land as would support a knight or armed horseman—about 200 acres.
(U) On September 13th, 1313, King Edward II. issued a pardon to Simon and William Greenhulle for acquiring a piece of land without licence (Patent Rolls).
(V) Scutage—money raised for war expenses.