The next record of ownership is that of William Stanhope, knight, for the two years 1699-1701; the Rossell ladies have by that time disappeared. And then, in 1711 begins the long ownership of the Wentworths which endured until 1828. I wish to add something about the purchase by the first Godfrey Wentworth in 1711; but first would finish the record of ownership. In 1828 the Manor was acquired by the Rev. Alfred Padley (grandson of John Newton who built Bulwell Hall, or Pye Wipe Hall as it has been called locally), whose family continued to hold it until 1865. In 1865 it was acquired by Samuel Thomas Cooper who died in 1870, when the Manor descended to Thomas Alfred Mann, the sole acting devisee under the will of Samuel Thomas Cooper, on behalf of Percy Hartshorn Cooper and Arthur Francis Thomas Cooper. Percy H. Cooper died in 1883, leaving his brother in sole ownership, who sold the Manor in 1890 to Thomas Hardy of Kimberley. Thomas Hardy died in 1897, when the estate became a trust on behalf of Mary Anne Hardy, widow, and the Rev. T. B. Hardy, the trustees being apparendy Richard Fitzhugh and Roby Liddingtort Thorpe. In 1900 R. L. Thorpe dropped out, and in 1904, the Rev. T. B. Hardy. In 1907 Mary Anne Hardy died, and the estate descended to John Henry Hardy and Charles Hardy, with Richard Fitzhugh, apparently, still trustee; and in the following year, 1908, the estate was purchased by Nottingham Corporation, being held in trust for the Corporation until 1919 by Sir Edward Fraser and Sir John McCraith. From 1919 the Manor has been held directly by the Corporation, who appointed their own Steward, and this continued until the Manor was dissolved by the Law of Property Act which came into force-on January 1st, 1926.

I have referred to the purchase by Godfrey Wentworth in 1711. This is set out in a long indenture now in the strong room at the Guildhall, and presents us with another very pretty problem of ownership, with which I shall, for the time being, leave this part of the subject. This indenture brings us yet another name, that of Charles Stuteville, who sells his rights over Bulwell to Godfrey Wentworth for the sum of one hundred and eighty pounds and ten shillings. Stuteville's rights are set out in the following terms—"All the Estate, Right, Title, Interest, Claim and Demand whatsoever of him the said Charles Stuteville party to these presents Either in Law or Equity And which hee hath or in any wise can or ought to have in or to the said Manour and premisses (of Bulwell) or in any part thereof. By virtue of a decree made the Two and Twentieth day of June in the Six and Twentieth yeare of the Reigne of his late Majesty King Charles the Second (i.e. 1674) in a Cause then depending between the said Charles Stuteville deceased Complainant and Elizabeth Rossell, Katherine Rossell, Mary Rossell Robert Pierpont Esquire William Byron Esquire Michael Coleman and Catalena his wife defendants or otherwise howsoever And all Deeds Writings and Evidences concerning the said Manour and premises which hee hath in his custody or can come by without Suite". So the difference between the Rossells and the Colemans was not the only difference at this time, and to the complica­tions of the unexplained overlapping grants by the King in 1633 and 1638 must be added a possible sale during the Commonwealth when, as is known, many of the Crown lands were sold, few only of which were reclaimed after the Restoration.

I am afraid that in this difficult question of successive ownership I have not been able to offer a clear picture. Such records as we have are not enough to solve the many problems that arise, and we must hope that more of the essential documents will appear, and that someone will find the time to study them and try to disentangle the many problems that remain as yet unsolved.

The so-called Court Rolls—which are not "rolls" at all but vellum bound manuscript books—which formed the basis of this enquiry are now safely lodged with the other archives of the Corporation of Nottingham in a strong room in the Guildhall, and there are there, in addition, a mass of documents which came to the City with its purchase of the estate in 1908. The Courdeet and View of Frankpledge continued to be held until 1925, and the records of its meetings are in the rolls. I have pointed out that in the early eighteenth century meetings were twice yearly, and were clearly divisible into two parts—Frank­pledge and Courtleet which dealt with general questions and management, and Customary Court or Court Baron which was concerned solely with transfers of property whether by descent, purchase or mortgage. All changes of ownership had to be entered in the Court Rolls, and, as the population increased, and the number of houses, and the character of the manor changed from rural to urban, the numbers of property transfers and transactions increased also. In the early eighteenth century there might be a record at each court of one to four transfers, and at least one court was dismissed without finding any business to transact at all; but, in the early twentieth century there might be at a single court a dozen or more transfers, many of which revolved round last wills and testaments which had to be copied into the records, and the number of Courts held yearly had increased from two to ten or more. But the conventional View of Frankpledge and Courtleet continued to be held, though only once a year, in the month of April, and continued to appoint officers such as Bailiff, who cannot have had much to do. The Court had, indeed, become in fact what it was known as popularly—the Copyhold Court—at which were transacted all matters dealing with copyhold property in the lands of the Manor.

The old form of procedure was continued with little if any variation, and we may now take a glance at this. An important instrument was the Rod which, with a strict ritual, was passed from Steward to Copyholder and back as the Copyholder's right to his estate was admitted and allowed to be entered on the roll, a copy of which entry was his deed of possession. By the Rod, he was granted "seisin"; or, in other words, his right to possession was admitted. Copyhold possession was neither freehold nor leasehold; it did not carry entirely unrestricted ownership, as its holding was subject to the Custom of the Manor; but a copyhold owner could sell his rights, or mortgage them, and he could dispose of his rights by last will and testament. Directly, however, the question of transfer of ownership arose, whether by death, mortgage or sale, this became a matter for the Court Baron. The new owner would appear before the Court and assert his right. This would then be called out three times, when anyone who considered he had a prior right must come forward and state it. If no one came forward, the Court proceeded to acknowledge the right of the claimant, who might or might not be called on to swear fealty to the Lord of the Manor— though in the earlier days he must do so—and the ceremony would conclude with the passing of the Rod, and the entry on the Court Roll. It was a cumbrous procedure, and it is not surprising that Parliament should take measures to bring its much too lengthy life to a close by the passing of the Law of Property Act of 1922, amended in 1925—not effective until January first, 1926—which was "An Act to assimilate and amend the law of Real and Personal Estate, to abolish Copyhold and other special tenures, to amend the law relating to commonable lands and of intestacy and to amend the Wills Act 1837, the Setded Land Acts 1882-90, the Conveyancing Acts 1881-1911, the Trustee Act 1893 and the Land Transfer Acts  1875-1897".

The existence of Courtsleet for nearly one thousand years has haJ considerable influence on the lives of many individuals, and in their heyday they were common talk. References in popular literature are innumerable and, as an example, reference may be made to the passage in Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew

"Rail upon the hostess of the house And say you would present her at the Leet Because she brought stone jugs and no seal'd quarts".

And, in the pages of the Court Rolls there are many items of importance to local historians as, for instance, the mention of a paper mill at Bulwell in 1739. and the long succession of Bulwell personal and place names. For those who care to study our past way of life, among much that is worthless, there is a stratum of solid gold.


Date. Holder in chief. Grantee. Extent. Remarks.
1086 William   Peveril.   2 Carucates Godric tenant (?
      2 Acres Villein). 1 Plough,
      meadow 1 Villein, 1 Serf.
      (122  acres). Value 5/- p.a., for-
        merly 12/-.  Peveril
1155 King.     lands confiscated.
1212   Roger Rastall.   Value £5 p.a. Kings ferme "Rouncey and halter".
1219 " Philip  Marc    
1230 " "   "     and    
    Alina, his wife in    
1248 " Alda de Breles.   To be held by
        service due there-from.
1255 "   Inquest Value   £7/11/0   to
      returns. £7/19/0   p.a.
      Manor at 40  
      Bovates   (600  
1271   Feb.   William le Sauser   Value £7/13/4 p.a.
    & John le Caretter.    
1271  June   Richard Monsell.   Replaces John le
1285   Richard Monce.   ? Monsell; grant of
        sole ownership.
1380   Richard de Howes.    
1381   Jan.
"    Mar.
  Walter Rauf. Laurence de Allerthorp. Rent only, not manor. ) ? Joint holding:
) Rauf still living in
        ) 1404
1438   Ralph, Lord of Cromwell.   Value £7 yearly.
1462   William Petyte.    
1463   George, Duke of    
    Clarence. "  
1471   James, Earl of Douglas.    
1633   Thomas Aston and Henry Harriman.   Bought from Aston and Harriman ? for Jane Rossell.
1634   John Northall and Thomas Beeston.   At request of Edward  Ayscouth.
1638   George Anton and Thomas Holder.    
1664       Sold
(?  Mortgaged) to Hon. Wm. Byron
        and Herbert Pierrepont.
        Byron and Pierrepont
1673 Mar. Jane Rossell.     declare their
  Elizabeth, Katherine,     names used in Trust
  and Mary, daughters     to take estate or
  of Jane Rossell.     Jane Rossell and her
"    Apl. "     Thos. Rossell and
        Chris Newton
        bought out rights
        of  Michael and
        Catalena Coleman
        obtained by them
        through Edward
1699 William Stanhope, Kt.      
1711 Godfrey Wentworth.     Bought from Chas. Stuteville for £180/10/0.
1723 Trustees of Godfrey W. Wentworth,  infant.      
1725 Godfrey W. Wentworth.      
1789 Godfrey W. Wentworth  II.      
1825 Godfrey Wentworth.      
1828 Rev. Alfred Padley.     Bought from Godfrey
1856 Rev. Chas.  J. A. Padley.     Wentworth. Son of Rev. Alfred Padley.
1865 Samuel  T.  Cooper.      
1870 Thomas Alfred Mann  (in Trust).     Trustee for P. H., Cooper and A. F. T. Cooper, minors.
1879 Percy Hartshorne Cooper  and Arthur Francis Thomas      
1883 Cooper, jointly. A.  F.  T. Cooper.     P. H. C. Cooper, [deceased.]
1890 Thomas Hardy of Kimberley.     Manor purchased from A. F. T. Cooper.
1897 Held in Trust for Mary Anne  Hardy (widow, Rev. T. B. Hardy), Richard Fitzhugh  and  Roby Liddington Thorpe.    
1900       R. L. Thorpe drops out.
1904       Rev. T. B. Hardy drops out.
1907 John Henry Hardy, Charles Hardy and Richard  Fitzhugh.     Mary Anne Hardy, deceased.
1908 Nottingham Corporation.     Held in Trust  by Sir Edward Fraser & Sir John McCraith.
1919       Trust of 1908 ended.
1925       Court dissolved by
31st Dec.       Statute.


Bennett, H. S.—Life on the English manor, 1150-1400.
Bulwell Court Leet Rolls  (Nottingham  Corporation  archives).
Domesday Book:   Nottinghamshire;  trans,  by W.  Bawdwen,   1809.
Farrer, W.—Honors and knight's fees, 3 vols.
The Book of fees (Testa de Nevill), 1807.
Nottingham Corporation.—Minutes of the Council.
Public Record Office.—Calendar of Charter Rolls.
—Calendar of Close Rolls.
—Calendar of Inquisitions miscellaneous.
—Calendar of Patent Rolls. MSS. in Nottingham Guildhall archives and in the Nottingham Reference Library.