Bawtry and Austerfield.

Early History and Descent of the Manors.

We pass now to another county and another great fief. These two places are situated in the wapentake of Strafforth and Tickhill, in the West riding of the county of York, and on the borders of the counties of Nottingham and Lincoln. The origin of the name of Bawtry is involved in obscurity. I am inclined however to think that, as its port on the river Idle is extremely ancient, it supplied the latter part of the appellation; and the present abridged or corrupted form under which it presents itself is not more remote from the ancient kith or river station than the second syllable of our modern Chelsea (Chelshith) is from the same old root.

The name does not occur in Domesday; but Bawtry was, like Austerfield, a member of the extensive Yorkshire manor of Hexthorpe, near Doncaster, which before the Conquest formed part of the possessions of Earl Tosti, and after that event of the Conqueror's maternal brother, the Earl of Mortaigne, or Morton. At the time of Domesday Nigel Fossard held a considerable portion of the Yorkshire estates of the Earl of Morton, and among others the manor of Hexthorpe, including of course Bawtry and Austerfield. Fossard again sub-infeuded the family of Arnaldus, the brother of Roger de Builli, and that family continued thenceforth Lords of Bawtry and Austerfield for more than two centuries.

Some account of this branch of the Buillis has already been given down to the time of Idonea, the direct descendant in the fourth generation of Arnaldus.

de Builli pedigree

Robert de Vipont was a great supporter of King John, from whom he received the baronies of Appleby and Brough, in Westmorland, together with the bailiwick of that county. In 1213 he procured from the Crown a charter for a fair at Bawtry, to continue four days in Whitsun week. His wife, who survived him, confirmed and enlarged the privileges of the burgesses of Bawtry, granting them a meadow between that town and the park of the Archbishop of York at Scrooby, estovers in the turf moors of Silchemes, Chipvaimes, and Abbemos, and ratifying their tenure of the tofts as they held them in her husband's lifetime at a rent of 12d. each, as well as the free enjoyment of their manorial courts. Her deed was attested between 1228 and 1235 by Walter Grey, Archbishop of York, Gilbert Prior of Blyth, Reginald Abbot of Roche, Sir Marmaduke Darell, her steward, Sir W. Cressy, Geffery and John Clarel, and others; and was sealed with her seal, a figure of a lady with a hawk perched upon her hand.

In the division of the Vipont estates between the co-heiresses Idonea and Isabel, the latter lady received the Cumberland and Westmorland property, whilst Bawtry, Austerfield, and other Yorkshire possessions came to Idonea, whose second husband, John de Cromwell, was constable of the Tower, was summoned to Parliament as a baron from 1 Edw. II. to 9 Edw. III., and in the 11th Edw. II. was made governor of Tickhill Castle.

This last-named lady, as appears by a quo warranto writ of Edward I., possessed free warren at Bawtry, Austerfield, and Kimberworth, where she chiefly resided, as also the common manorial powers and privileges of gallows, infangthefe, outfangthefe, market, fair, and assize of bread and beer in Bawtry. She died in 1334, and was buried with her ancestors in Roche Abbey. By a post mortem inquisition it appeared that she enjoyed a rent of 24l. from Bawtry and Austerfield.

Idonea dying without issue, the greater portion of her Yorkshire property passed to the Cliffords, descendants of her sister Isabel. Inasmuch however as the Cliffords were adherents of Thomas Earl of Lancaster, it would appear that even during her lifetime Hugh Despenser, Earl of Winchester, the special favourite of Edward II., interposed his influence between these the natural claimants and Bawtry and Austerfield, and by an oppressive exercise of his power with the Crown effected an appropriation of these manors to himself and his family.

In the descendants of Hugh Despenser, who allied themselves with royal and noble blood, these manors continued from the reign of Edward II. to that of Edward IV. A female of this house, Isabella Despenser, was twice married, first, to Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Worcester, secondly, to Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, by the latter of whom she had a daughter, Anne Beauchamp, who married Richard Neville, in her right Earl of Warwick, the king-maker, who was killed at the battle of Barnet in 1471. This mighty man was, at the time of his death, seized of the manors of Bawtry and Austerfield, which were forfeited by his treason. His daughter, Anne Neville, was the wife, first, of Edward Prince of Wales, secondly, of King Richard III.

After the forfeiture of the Earl of Warwick the manors reverted to the Crown, and remained there till the time of James I., who granted them, together with the tolls, duties, profits of fairs and markets, &c, to the Countess of Shrewsbury and Catharine Witherington, for their lives; and in the 20th of his reign the reversion thereof to Robert Thomlinson and James Wells, who, about 1633, sold the manors to Sir John Lister, an opulent merchant of Hull. Sir John Lister gave the Bawtry and Austerfield estates to a younger son, Thomas, who resided at Bawtry and connected himself with one of the oldest and best families in Yorkshire, marrying Barbara, daughter of Matthew Hutton of Marsk, near Richmond, Esq., by his wife Barbara, daughter of Conyers Lord Darcy. He died at Bawtry in 1674 and was buried in the church.

Elizabeth and Judith Lister, the two sisters and heirs of John Lister, a descendant of Thomas above named, sold these manors to Pemberton Milnes of Wakefield, Esq., in 1779.

The Family of Milnes.

This family is found located at Ashford, in the county of Derby, from an early period. Mr. Milnes, the purchaser of Bawtry and Austerfield, was a deputy-lieutenant and magistrate of the West riding. He had an only daughter and heir, Bridget, who married, firstly, at Brodsworth, 28 Nov. 1775, Peter Auriol Drummond, Esq., second son of the Archbishop of York and brother of the Earl of Kinnoul; and, secondly, at Harworth, in 1803, Robert Monckton Arundell, fourth Viscount Galway. After his lordship's death, in 1810, the dowager resided chiefly at Bawtry Hall.

She died in 1836, and was succeeded in these estates by Robert Pemberton Milnes, of Frystone Hall, near Ferrybridge, Esq., the eldest son of her cousin, Richard Slater Milnes, Esq.

Mr. R. P. Milnes for some years represented Pontefract, and in the administration of Mr. Perceval was offered a situation of high dignity and importance, which he declined. He was an accomplished scholar, possessed great stores of knowledge, which a remarkably retentive memory enabled him to produce and apply with happy effect in society, and on public occasions spoke with great power and fluency. But he was a man not only of intellectual but of moral excellence. In my official capacity as incumbent of Bawtry and Austerfield I frequently had occasion to solicit his aid for religious and charitable purposes, and I bear this cheerful and willing testimony to the readiness and the generosity with which he ever responded to the appeals thus made to him. I believe further, that in all places with which he was connected by property or other ties the same kindness and liberality are acknowledged to have been exercised. Mr. Milnes died Nov. 1858, and was succeeded by his only son, Richard Monckton Milnes, Esq., who has been member for Pontefract since 1837.

The Chapelries of Bawtry and Austerfield.

In the reign of Henry II. John de Builli gave the chapels of Bawtry and Austerfield to the convent of Blyth. Now the door-way of Austerfield church is of this date. It is a compound arch, with zig-zag and beak ornaments, and a rude carving of a dragon upon the door-way plane. A door-way on the north side of Bawtry church is of the same age. The legitimate inference is, that Builli bruit both these churches. If so, a question arises, Were there any churches here before his time? which must, I think, be answered in the negative; for if there were they must in all probability have been parochial; and in that case we should have heard of a more formal appropriation to the convent, and of the institution and endowment of a vicarage. And yet this conclusion throws us on another difficulty. If there were no churches here before the reign of Henry II. whither did the inhabitants resort for the offices of religion? Naturally, we may imagine, to the nearest church, which would be either Harworth or Scrooby; and the severance of the tithes of the two chapelries from such church, and attachment of them to Blyth, form no insuperable bar to this hypothesis, for these arbitrary re-appropriations were exceedingly common long after the Conquest.

Idonea, the daughter of John de Builli, in her liege widowhood confirmed these donations of her father.

In the ordination of Blyth vicarage, in 1287, the vicar was endowed with all tithes of these chapelries except that of grain, and was bound to serve them by two fit presbyters. Whether this part of his obligation was ever literally carried out, and if so, how long it continued to be performed, I know not. Certain it is that in the reign of Elizabeth it had fallen into desuetude; and in the last century divine service was performed once in each chapel, and that only on alternate Sundays. My predecessor, in the latter years of his incumbency, had a resident curate at Bawtry, who performed divine service in both Bawtry and Austerfield once every Sunday, for which the inhabitants made him a voluntary recompence. I followed the example of Mr. Rudd, but never asked tor any remuneration for my curate.

The Prior and Convent of Blyth did not consider themselves in the light of rectors of these chapels, for the simple reason, I presume, that they were not parochial. This appears from a settlement of a dispute effected by the official of the Archdeacon of Nottingham, at Retford, Jan. 10, 1277, between the convent, represented by their sub-prior Victor, and the inhabitants of Bawtry, represented by Lambert of Bawtry, Thomas East, Hugh the Clerk, and others, respecting the liability of the parties to repair the chancel of the church. It was agreed that the inhabitants should repair it at their own expense; that the convent should give them two marcs as a contribution, "non necessitate juris astricti, sed gratia speciali": and that such gift should not be made a precedent for future demands.

It would appear that in earlier years, after the attachment of the chapelries of Bawtry and Austerfield to Blyth, funerals from these places took place at the mother church; but, as might have been expected, one being four and the other five miles distant from it, such an arrangement was found to be inconvenient, and was infringed. In consequence of which, 25 April 1315, the Archbishop of York inhibited sepultures at these chapelries or any other chapels depending upon Blyth. But, Jan. 5, 1344, permission was granted to inter in the chapel or cemetery of Bawtry, on account of its distance from the mother church.

In the Survey of Chantries for the county of Nottingham, 37 Henry VIII. there is a return, that "the gilde of Bawtrie was founded by one Nicolas Morton, and his coefeoffers, to the intent to have a priest there to praye for the soules of the benefactors of the same duringe the pleasure of the said feoffees, as apperithe by a composition dated anno xi nunc regis Henr. VIII.; that it is worth in the king's books 60s. 8d.; that it is no parish church, but served within the churche of Bawtrie, which is within the parish of Blithe, and three myles dystaunt from the same; that there is no chalice nor other ornements but such as apperteyn to the church of Bawtrie." And in a similar survey 2 Edw. VI. we find that "the Parishe churche of Bawtrye is worthe in a parcell of lande lying within the said parishe grauntecd to mayntayne a light there for euer, by yere 12d. Mem. thys in Yorkshere—the Chaunterye of the Trynytie of Bawtry, in the parishe of Blythe, founded by Nicolas Morton to mayntayne a prieste to sing masses for ever, is worth by yeare in lands, tenements, &c. in divers places within the said parish of Blythe, 4l. 4s. 4d. Rents resolut' yerely 13s. 4d. Rents decayed yerely 27s. Remayneth yerelie unto Alured Bingham, chauntry preste there, of the age of 57 yeres and unlerned, having non other provision, 44s."

Barbara, the widow of Thomas Lister, bequeathed the sum of 9l. annually to the curate of Bawtry and Austerfield, if appointed with her approbation, and that of her heirs; if not, to the poor of Bawtry. This bequest was for many years paid to the curates, but about thirty years ago Earl Rosslyn, the representative of the Listers, on the advice of his agent, Mr. Tottie of Leeds, demurred to the payment till his liability could be distinctly proved. My predecessor and his curate, the Rev. W. Cuthbert, took considerable pains to substantiate the claim, but without success, and the consequence has been that the legacy is lost.

The Church of Bawtry.

With the exception of an ancient doorway in the north aisle, the first towards the west, now partially blocked up, no part of the present church bears the impress of the age of John de Builli. It consists of a nave and two aisles, all conterminous. The piers, arches, and eastern nave window were all built about the middle of the reign of Edw. III. The windows of the clerestory and aisles have been probably altered from an earlier and better shape to their present flat-headed form; and the tower at the west end of the nave was built in 1712.

Among the monumental inscriptions on the floor of the nave are the following:—

" Hic jacent Johes Hobert marcator et catia . . . . . . . . "

"Depositum Thomæ Lister, armigeri, quinti Filii Johannis Lister, militis: denati quarto die Maii, 1674. Quatuor habuit Filios, Johannem, Philippum, Thomam, et Hugonem superstates."

"Here lieth the body of John Hutton, sonne and heire of Matthew Hutton of Marsk, esquire: obiit xxi. die Martii, Anno Dni. 1 . . . 4."

In 1839 the old pews, consisting of every variety of form, colour, ornament, and height, and an unsightly gallery were all swept away. The church was thoroughly repaired and re-pewed at an expense of about 900l.; and in 1857 an excellent organ was added.

If ever the inhabitants of Bawtry should contemplate further improvements in their Church, it would become a matter for their serious consideration whether it might not be more expedient to build an entirely new church elsewhere. The present church can never by any process whatever be made handsome; the soil around its walls, as well as in the churchyard, is saturated with water, and the cemetery itself is now far too small for the requirements of the population.

The Hospital of Saint Mary Magdalene

The Hospital of Saint Mary Magdalene.
The Hospital of Saint Mary Magdalene (1813).

Is contiguous to Bawtry, but in the parish of Harworth, and county of Nottingham. Who was the original founder is not known. King John, in the second year of his reign, in his grant to the church of Rouen includes the church of Harworth, with the chapels of Serlby and Marthon, that is, Martin, a hamlet or township, within which the hospital is situated, and the hospital chapel of which therefore is probably meant.

Robert Morton, escheator of the county of Nottingham, and member of the shire from 1361 to 1393, gave in 1390 to the prior and convent of Nostel the sum of 250l., for which they stipulated to pay eight marcs yearly for ever to the chaplain for the time being of the hospital, to pray for the donor and his family. This sum is still paid to the master of the hospital by the Crown. Morton was an eminent and opulent and charitable man. His will, which was proved at Worksop Nov. 9, 1396, having been made at Bawtry Aug. 25 of the same year, is headed in the archiepiscopal register with the words bonœ memoriœ, a designation in no other instance applied to any one beneath the rank of a nobleman. Among his bequests are the following:—"Corpus meum sepeliendum in capella B. Mariæ Ecclesiæ Conventualis de Wyrksop. Item, lego Domino meo Domino Johanni Episcopo Lincoln: meliorem ciphum meum cum cooperculo. [The Bishop of Lincoln at that time was John Bokyngham, who had held the see for more than thirty years. In 1398 the Pope wished to translate him to Lichfield; but he resisted the mandate, laid aside his mitre, and after living for about six months as a private man at Canterbury died in peace.] Fratribus Minoribus de Notyngham v. marcas—ad celebrandum pro anno. Fratribus Carmelitis de eadem v. marcas. Fratribus dc Pontefracto v. marcas. Fratribus de Tyckhyll v. marcas. Fratribus Minoribus de Doncastre cs. Fratribus Carmelitis de eadem v. marcas. Priori de Wyrsop et successoribus ejus xii. discos argenteos et unam pelvim argenteam cum lavatorio. Item, P. et C. ibidem xx1. [Then many legacies to friends and domestics.] Item, Vicario de Blyth. pro restitutione decimarum si quæ a retro fuerint, v. marcas. Item, magno altari ecc. par. de Blyth xls. Item, Priori dc Blyth xx. marcas, unde idem debet per obligationem x. marcas. Item, hosp. B. M. Magdalense juxta Bautre xls. Item, Willielmo Myrfyne (then master of the hospital and one of his executors) animalia et blada ad valorem x1. Et volo quod uxor mea det dicto hospitali vasa pro coquina et alia neccssaria ad valorem xls. Item, lego ad obitum meum apud Bautre in vigilia, missa et gentaculo, xx1. Item, ad missam apud Blyth et in distnbucione pauperum ibidem cs. et ijs. vj. pauperes tencntcs le torches vestiantur in panno russeto et blankett' bipart' cum capiciis. [Again legacies, some of them large, follow.] Johannæ de Gayteford unum par orationum de auro. Nicholao domino Serleby xls. Executores ordino Robertum Abbatem dc Rupe, Johannem Priorem de Wyrkesop, Johannam uxorem meam, principalem, Johannem de Gayteford, Jacobum de Kyneton rectorem ecc. de Hedon, Willielmum de Burgh rect. ecc. de Babworth, Hugonem de Harworth de Blyth, et Willielmum Myrfyne capellanum."

The landed estates of this foundation consist of 21a. 2r. 14p. in Martin and Scaftworth, held on lease of lives by the Duke of Newcastle, subject to a yearly reserved rent of 51., his grace's being now the only unexpired life; of 15a. in the parish of Scrooby, held also by lease of lives, two of which survive, at a reserved annual rent of 1l. by the late R. P. Milnes, Esq., and by his will transferred to Viscount Galway; and of the precincts of the chapel.

If these leases were suffered to expire, and I cannot think that the two noblemen who have a beneficial interest in them would raise any objection to such a course, the master of the hospital would then be put in possession of property the rent of which would go far towards providing a reasonable stipend for the minister officiating for the time being.

Two widows are provided out of the charity, each with a house and 20s. yearly.

Torre, in his MSS. at York, gives a catalogue of the masters from 1289 to the beginning of the last century. One of these, James Brewster, presented by Archbishop Sandys in 1584, and Vicar of Sutton, appears to have been an unscrupulous man, and for his own aggrandisement to have aimed at the subversion of the hospital. With this view he put an end to the services which had hitherto been performed on Wednesdays and Fridays, destroyed the stalls and furniture of the chapel, and, passing the estates at the Augmentation Office as concealed lands, procured a conveyance of them from the Crown to lay hands. A good deal of litigation ensued, which was finally terminated by a decree in the Exchequer, Feb. 6, 1596, in favour of the Archbishop of York, who is ex officio patron.

John Slack, who was appointed master in 1610, restored the chapel; and in 1674 was collated to the office a man who, in conjunction with his six noble-hearted fellow-patriots and fellow-sufferers, has earned perpetual and grateful homage, and won an undying reputation, among all Englishmen. This was John Lake, afterwards Bishop of Chichester, and one of the seven hishops who gave the death-blow to the tyranny of James II. But, if he resisted oppression, he brooked not usurpation, and, like others of his brethren, refusing to swear allegiance to the Prince of Orange, was deprived of his see.

The ancient buildings of this foundation, with the exception of the chapel, have all long ago disappeared. In 1834, when I visited the chapel for the first time, it was used as a carpenter's shop. Shortly afterwards the late Henry Marwood Greaves, of Hesley Hall, Esq., at his own cost, and to his great credit, restored it for divine service, and continued throughout his life, as his representatives continue now, to contribute a large portion of the stipend of the minister, who acts in place of the master, and solemnizes service in it every Sunday.