Hucknall Torkard (continued)

On the south side of the chancel wall the following inscription appears on a slab:—

In the Vault beneath
Where many of his ancestors and mother are buried,
Lie the remains of
George Gorden Noel Byron,
Lord Byron, of Rochdale,
In the county of Lancaster,
The author of 'Childe Harold's Pilgrimage.'
He was born in London on the
22nd of January, 1788.

He died at Missolonghi, in Western Greece, on the 19th of April, 1824. Engaged in the glorious attempt to restore the country, To her ancient  freedom  and renown. His sister, the Honourable Augusta Maria Leigh, Placed this tablet to his memory. Adjacent is another tablet erected to Ada Countess of Lovelace, "Sole daughter of my house and heart," which bears the following inscription:—

The Right Honourable Augusta Ada,
Wife of William, Earl of Lovelace.
And only daughter of George Gordon Noel Lord Byron,
Born 10th December, 1815;
Died 27th November, 1852.
On the opposite wall is a large white marble ornamental slab, on which we read:

"Beneath in a Vault is interred the body of Richard, Lord Byron, Who, with the rest of his family, being seven brothers, Faithfully served King Charles, the First, in the Civil war, Who suffered much for their loyalty, and lost all their present  fortunes, Yet it pleased God to so bless the honest endeavours of the said Richard, Lord Byron, That he repurchased part of their ancient inheritance which he left to his posterity, With a laudable memory for his great piety and charity. He departed this life upon the 4th Day of Oct. An Dom, 1679, In the 74th year of his age. In the same vault is interred the Lady Elizabeth, His first wife, daughter of Geo. Russel, Esq., By whom he had ten children. And ye Lady Elizabeth, his second wife, Daughter to Sir George Booth, Kt., and Baronet, Who appoynted this  monument To be erected To the memory of her dear husband, And for her great piety and goodness Acquired a name better than that Of sons and daughters." There are mural monuments to the memory of Luke Jackson, his wife, and members of his family, to the daughter of John and  Elizabeth Godber, to John Curtis  and family, and at the entrance to the chancel are brasses in loving memory of the late vicar, the Rev. J. E. Phillips, and his son. The former is alluded to as having been rural dean, and worked in the parish for 29 years, 25 of which he was vicar. He entered into rest the 10th day of May, 1904, aged 58 years. The beautifully carved pulpit was placed in the church by his friends and parishioners "who esteemed him highly for his works' sake, and greatly regret his loss." The son was John Lancelot, and he died in Ceylon, in 1902, aged 21 years,  from the effects of a chill. There is so much stained glass in the church that unless the sun is shining brightly the interior is very dismal. There are windows to the memory of James Widdowson, for 30 years churchwarden; another one to the glory of God, and in grateful recognition of the generosity of the Rev. I. H. Godber, especially in connection with the enlargement of the church in 1888, purchased by the parishioners; the south transept contains some very fine glass to the memory of Ann Needham, wife of John Godber; in the same transept, on the east side, George and Rachael Stevenson are similarly remembered, the wife of Henry Rhodes, their daughter, providing the same; in the chancel there is glass to keep green the memory of W. Needham Ball, and A. Needham Ball; on the south side of the chancel there is a window placed " for adornment of the church, and in memory of Elizabeth, wife of John Godber," and the last-mentioned is similarly remembered by his children. Crossing over to the north transept more memorial windows in grateful recollection will be found, to the memory of Sarah and Anne Godber; to Elizabeth, Sarah, and Henry Hankin, children of John and Elizabeth Godber; and in the north aisle there are two windows to Edward Godber's memory, who died in 1896.

In the vestry, inscribed on a slab, are two quatrains from "Childe Harold," and close by hang three faded wreaths, scarcely a leaf remaining on one. A card attached to one of the artificial floral tributes bears the following:—"A tribute to Lord Byron, by an American admirer." "My epitaph shall be my name alone, If that with honour fail to crown my day, Oh! May no other fame my deeds repay That, only that, shall single out the spot, By that remembered or by that forgot. Writen by Lord Byron when only 15 years of age.—R.I.P." These are not the only mementoes of the past to be found in the vestry, for in addition to a gilded bust of Byron,  there  is  a long written list of the opinions of eminent men  respecting his genius. Amongst  those contributing are Macauley, Sir Walter Scott, J. G. Tollemache, Sinclair, Ruskin, Chateaubriand,  Mathew  Arnold,  Mazzini, Tennyson (who wrote: A day when the whole world seemed to be darkened to me), Victor Hugo, Disraeli, Shelly, and Goethe. At the end it is stated that the poems have been published in upwards of 20 languages.

The church possesses a handsomely chased cup with a lid to it, presented close upon two and a half centuries ago by the Hon. Elizabeth Byron. The arms of the family are engraved thereon, and embossed with a carolean ornament of grapes. The lid is likewise embossed with vines. A plate was given with the cup, and the inscription here is rather more full than that on the cup, for it states that the Hon. Elizabeth was the daughter of the Rt. Hon. Lord Byron. Here are the Byron arms quartering those of Chaworth, and instead of the usual ornament foliage surrounds it. They were presented in 1664.

The registers date from 1694, and at the end of one (1726—1782) is a copy of the old Terrier, giving an account of all the glebe lands, house, orchards, gardens, stipendiary payment, and all the ecclesiastical dues and profits of the curacy of Hucknall Torkard, delivered at the visitation of the Most Rev. Father in God William Archbishop of York, held at Nottingham, 11th June, 1777. There is also a note dated 1787, stating that the inventory of church goods included a pewter flagon, a pewter plate, a silver gilt plate and cup, bearing inscriptions, three bells, and one clock. There is also an inventory of the sexton's tools, "bought by the churchwardens for the clerk's use."

The original entry recording the death of the poet is as follows:—


Where died. Date   Age.

Geo. Gordon

Died in Missolonghi 16 July 36

Noel Byron

In Western Greece.

Lord Byron

April 18th,  1824.

The entry is in the writing of, and signed by the vicar, the Rev. Chas. Nixon.

Another entry of interest to admirers of Byron is this:—1832, Augusta Ada, Countess of Lovelace, aged 59, Cumberland Place, London,  December  3rd.—Curtis  Jackson.

There are quite a number of entries of the Byron family, some taken from Rampton Church, so the register states. We find George Byron, son of Christopher Byron, was buried 1656, and in the latter year Mary, daughter of Christopher, was also buried. There are several baptisms of Christopher Byron's children. In 1723, April ye 7th, we find buried Mary Gillman, a made, and the same year Thomas Right, a childe, Elizabeth Pogson, a wieder, and John Hopewell, a Bucher. The scribe who entered these was not very reliable as regards his spelling.

1825. Sophia Hyatt, a stranger, 23rd September, aged 70.

There is nothing particularly singular about this entry, with the exception that the person whose death is chronicled, was a stranger. But this Sophia Hyatt was "The little White Lady," who loved to roam about the haunts of her beloved Byron.

Mr. P. Austin Ryan, in a brochure published years ago, says the Hon. Wm. Byron, of Badwell Hall had a daughter who clandestinely married one of her father's dog-keepers named Hyatt. This mesalliance, as might be expected, exasperated her father, and the couple after a few years left the neighbourhood, and were lost to sight. Their two sons emigrated to America soon after the death of their father and mother, leaving the other child, Sophia, behind in England. About the year 1821, a young (?) lady took up hsr abode at Weir Mill farm, situated in the vicinity of the Abbey, and no one seemed to know who she was nor whence she came. She avoided all society, and was seldom to be met with outside the precints of the Newstead demesne. Her face was never seen, the upper part of it being screened with a white veil, and her dress was no less singular than her manners. It was all white, hat included, with the exception of a black bodice, and this obtained for her the sobriquet of "The Little White Lady." Her time was passed in rambling about the spots sacred to the memory of the poet, her admiration for whom amounted to the most intense enthusiasm, and was the all absorbing topic of her life. The news of Byron's death must have been a severe blow to her, but the meagre details we have of her renders it impossible to state how she was affected, or whether she was present at the funeral at Hucknall, where she, one short year after was destined to lie. Mr. Austin Ryan says: On the evening of the 27th September (?) she was observed to linger longer than usual about her favourite haunts, and the same evening Mrs. Wildman received from her a sealed packet accompanied with a request that it should not be opened until the following morning. On opening the packet Mrs. Wildman learned that pecuniary necessities compelled the writer to go to London, and fearing all was not right Mrs. Wildman despatched a messenger to the Maypole Inn, Nottingham, the starting place of the London coach, and on his arrival he discovered the corpse of the " Little White Woman " lying on the pavement. She had been knocked down by a carrier's cart, and expired without a struggle. Such was the sad end of Sophia Hyatt, whose gentle and singular life caused the news of her death to be received with regret throughout the district in which she had lived. She was buried in Hucknall churchyard near the remains of him whose genius she had venerated with such earnest devotion.

There are no weddings entered during the year 1637.

Under deaths we learn that "W. Byrion, Londoner, was buried the 15th of August, Anno Domini, 1664."

"1665,  A lame man, a stranger."

The following entries by the scribe refer to the paper registers, and show how carelessly the registers were kept in those days.

Note in the year of our Lord God 1577, the minister of the church then neglected to write down in the paper register either christenings, weddings, or burialls as appeareth.

In 1582 is another note:—"In the said yeare no weddings to be found in the register." Five years later there is another entry: "Note in the saide year there are no weddings to be found in the paper register," and again in 1578 is written: '' Looke for the register of the christenings as follow in order, in the 21st leafe.

The Notitia Parochialis contains the following:—Hucknall: All the tithes of hay and corn are impropriated to ye Lord Biron anything of wool and lamb ye curate has, which may amount to £5 or £6 a year, and there is a  small glebe  let for  £5 per year.

We are able to form a fairly accurate idea of the size of Hucknall by turning to the subsidy rolls. In the year 1647 the Broxtowe Wapentake was assessed to provide £46 6s. 9d., towards the 60,000 li for the maintenance of the forces. Mansfield Wood-house, £2 1s. 8d.; Skegby. 16s. 2d.; Teversal, £1 11s. 8d.; Sutton-in-Ashfield, £1 19s. 8d.; Kirkby, £2 2s. 8d; Annesley £1 12s. 8d.; Selston, £2 10s. 8d.; Hucknall Huthwaite 19s. 8d.; Linby, 13s. 2d., Papplewick and Newstead, £1 5s. 2d.; and Hucknall Torkard £1 9s. 8d. From this it will be seen that Hucknall was but a small place compared with some of those it has outgrown to-day.

The following is the list of vicars contained in the Torre manuscript:—

1288. Adam de Rudeford.
1297. Tho Torchard.
1324. Fr Ric de Stapilford.
Fr Will de Lenton  (died)
1369. Fr  Edm de St. Andrea,  canon.
1382. Fra John de Warsop, canon.
1398. Robert  Bantre  (died).
1414. Fra Robt. de Chesterfield,  canon.
1414. Fra John de Sutton, canon.
1453. Fr Tho Crofton, canon (died).
1459. John  Kirketon, canon (resigned).
1478. Fra  Job  Walkryngham, canon.
1486. Fra Wm. Kyme, canon.
1521. Fra Joh Cowpe,  canon.
1532. Ric Rowbothain.
1545. Will Baxter.
1550. Rad Smyth.
1555. Egidius Derbishier.
1572. Edw Holte.
Robt. Grace (resigned).
1584. John Thorpe.
1617. Henry Barlow, M.A. (resigned).
1626. Mathew Moore  (deprived).
1634. Adam Hunter, M.A.

The same MSS. contains the following testamentary burials:—

1433. John Sutton, vicar, to be buried in churchyard.
1558. Nic Fenton, to be buried in the church.
1592. Edw Fenton, to be buried in the chancel near to the place where his late father was buried.

Hucknall had a strange man as parson in 1647. This is a brief history of the gentleman:—John Oantrell, minister and schoolmaster to Mr. Raphael Barke's family 1633-1635; minister and schoolmaster at Ashover, 1645-1646; minister and schoolmaster at Hucknall Torkard, 1647-1648; at Elton, 1649-1652; minister at Parwich and schoolmaster at Parwich, Elton, Winster and Darley, 1653-1655; minister at Chelmorton and Beeleigh in 1656. At Elton in 1650, the Parliamentary Commissioners reported him as "scandalous," and also "inefficient." Scandalous probably meant his sympathies were with the Royalists. This, together with inefficiency, would account for his frequent removals.

The Parliamentary Survey of 1654, runs as follows:—"Worth £45 per annum. Now under sequestration for the delinquency of Sir John Byron Knighte, the promt now received for service of state. Henry Hatton, clerke the nowe viccar doth officiate the cure there and receives the proffit of the viccarage to his sallary being worth £13 5s. 8d., and is a preachinge minister."