Chapter VII.

Tudor Period. 1485-1603.

1485, September 22nd.—Grant for life to Simon Digby of the office of Lieutenant of Sherwood Forest, Bestwood and Clipstone, &c.; also grant for life of the office of Keeper of the Park of Clipstone and of the Woods of Nottingham.

November. In the Parliament held this month was introduced the 'Act of Resumption,' for the King to resume possession of all castles, lordships, honours, manors, lands, fee-ferms, &c., &c., granted during the three previous reigns, or during the supremacy of the House of York. The Act has a vast number of exceptive clauses, one of which is that it "be not in any wise prejudiciall or hurtfull to Simon Dygby, of or for the Office of Levetenauntship of the Forest of Shirwood, Beskwood, Clipston, and Bosturn, of Billowe Birkland, Ronwod, Osland and Fulwood, with purtinaunce, in the Countie of Notingham, with the Kepyng of a Parke called Clipston aforesaid, with the Wood of Notyngham, in the same Countie, unto hym graunted by the King oure Soveraigne Lord, by reason of the said Graunte: but the L[ette]res Patents therupon, be good and availlable unto the said Simon; the said Acte or Actes notwithstanding."

1486, May 13th.—Grant for life to Richard Scoley, chaplain (in consideration of faithful service, good disposition, and because he for a long time occupied and held the same by gift and grant of Edward IV., the King's progenitor) of the Chantry within the Manor of Clipstone, together with the Chapel of St. Edwin, within the Forest of Sherwood; also grant for life, of 100s., yearly, in aid of Divine service there, out of the issues, &c., of the counties of Notts, and Derby, in the same way as 100s. yearly were allowed in the Great Roll, 29th Edward III., to Walter de Montgomery, Sheriff of Notts, and Derby, for paying to Robert Rotour, Chaplain of the said Chantry and Chapel, and in the Great Roll, 6th Richard II., to John Look, Sheriff of Notts, and Derby, for payment to John Davy, of Colwick, Chaplain of the same.

19th October; King to the Sheriff of Notts, and Derby,—mandate to the Sheriff of the said counties to pay to Richard Scoly arrears of the said annuity from the said 13th May, and also the annuity, from time to time, during his life, in accordance with the grant.

1495, October.—The King, in Parliament, ordained that the Manor, Lordship, and Town of Clipstone in Sherwood, with many other places in the possession of his uncle Jasper Duke of Bedford, should revert to himself after the death of the said Jasper, and not to his (the King's) second begotten son Henry Duke of York.

Perhaps signs of the Duke of Bedford's approaching dissolution were then visible, in view of which the above announcement was made. For in the following month, 21st December, 1495, he died, and in his will, dated 15th December, appointed that certain of his lordships and lands in Notts., Derby, and Warwick, of the yearly value of £40, should be amortised for the finding of four priests to sing perpetually for his soul and for those of his relatives.

1514.—On the 1st February, Henry VIII. granted in special tail Clipstone, with Linby, Mansfield, Mansfield Woodhouse, and Sutton-in-Ashfield in

Notts., to be held by the service of one knight's fee, (with many other manors in other counties,) to Thomas Howard Earl of Surrey. This took place on his creation into the dignity of Duke of Norfolk, for his services at Flodden Field. The local estates, however, came again to the Crown, being then exchanged by the King for some others. This nobleman, who died 21st May, 1524, was not the least illustrious of the number who have been associated with Clipstone. His connection with the Battle of Flodden, as leader of the English, is best immortalised in Scott's Marmion.

1519.—Royal grant to John Byron, Squire of the Body: to be one of the four Foresters of Sherwood Forest, that is to say, Keeper of the Lodge of Immerslowe and Clipstone Shrogges in "le Northbale" or the North Keeping of the said Forest, with 4d. a day, in place of William Pye, deceased.—Greenwich, 8th May.

1520.—Grant to William West, Groom of the Privy Chamber, of the quitrent of tenements called "le Croune" in Westchepe, parish of St. Mary Colchurch, London, forfeited by Sir Richard Charleton, attainted; and of the Keepership of the Castle or Manor, and of the Park of Clipstone in Sherwood Forest, Notts., and the pond called Clipstone Damme.—Eltham, 25th March.

1524.—Thomas Manners, Lord Roos, to be Warden and Chief Justice Itinerant of Sherwood Forest, and of the parks of Bilhagh, Birkland, Rumwood, Owseland, Fulwood, Bestwood, and Clipstone, Notts.—Del. Westminster, 12th July.

1524.—Commission to the Abbot of Welbeck, the Abbot of Rufford, the Prior of Newstead, Sir Brian Stapleton, Sir Richard Basset, Sir John Vyllers, and John Hercy, to survey and report into Chancery the condition of Nottingham Castle, the parks of Nottingham, Bestwood, and Clipstone, the Manor of Clipstone, the Forest of Sherwood, and the woods of Thorneywoods, and at the said Castle, with the habiliments of war, and also the deer in the said manors, &c.—Westminster, 23rd November.

A commission like this is calculated to raise the highest expectations concerning the report of the inquiry into the condition of the never-described Manor House, which, however, are doomed to disappointment. Either the inquiry did not take place or the report has been lost, or perhaps it has been overlooked by those who overhauled and calendared this series of State Papers. At least we hear no more of it. Another inquiry concerning the deer, a few years later, had a better result.

1528.—Grant in survivorship to Sir John Byron and William West, Groom of the Privy Chamber, of the custody of the Manor, Castle, &c., of Clipstone, Sherwood, Notts., on surrender by West of Patent of 1520.—Del. Westminster, 1st April.

1531.—Commission to the Abbot of Welbeck, Sir Richard Sacheverell, Sir Brian Stapleton, John Hercy, and Roger Greenhagh, to visit and survey the parks of Nottingham, Bestwood, and Clipstone, the Forest of Sherwood, and the woods of Thorneywood, and to certify into Chancery the state and number of the deer.—Westminster, 20th February.

This commission, like a former one, had no result. Sir Richard Sacheverell, Sir Brian Stapleton, Sir John Villers, and Roger Greenhagh addressed a communication to Thomas Earl of Rutland (Warden of the Forest) dated 18th of May at Mansfield. It was to the effect that a Commission, dated 20th February, to the Abbot of Welbeck, John Hercy, and the above-mentioned, was delivered to the said Commissioners on the last day of April. They met at Nottingham on the 2nd May, where Nicholas Strelley, Lieutenant of the Forest, told them he must have three weeks, and the time of the year for taking any view was past. They gave him fifteen days, and on the 18th May met him again at Mansfield, where he said he, nor any of his officers, had stirred any of the deer, for it would have done more hurt than good, the season of the year being passed.

Nicholas Strelley addressed a similar epistle to the same.

1532.—15th January.—A schedule attached to the Commission of the 20th February, 1531, contains the report of the Abbot of Welbeck, Sir Richard Sacheverell, Sir Brian Stapleton, Sir John Villers, John Hercye, and Roger Greenhagh, in pursuance of the King's Commission, dated the 12th November, 1531. The local report is: View 15th January, at Clipstone stone Shroggys 310 red deer, of which [are] 70 deer of antler . . . . . . Clipstone Park, 100 fallow deer, of which 26 [are] deer of antler. This interesting document also affords accounts of the deer at thirteen other places in the Forest, concluding: Total fallow deer in the three parks and Thorneywoods 11 hundred and 31. Red deer within the Forest without the parks, after six score to the hundred, 11 hundred and 66. Eed deer in Bestwood 10 score and 14. Total red deer, 13 hundred and 40. Endorsed with a memorandum of delivery into the Exchequer, 16th Nov., 1532.

We thus learn that Clipstone was remarkably well stocked with the royal game—the number of red deer exceeded that at any other place in the Forest. These animals were doubtless the descendants of those hunted by the Plantagenets, and in earlier days by the Saxons. Their descendants remained until the time of the Commonwealth, and others took their places at a later period.

1545.—The Act of Parliament was passed this year for dissolving, and appropriating to the King the revenues and possessions of, colleges, free chapels, chantries, hospitals, fraternities, brotherhoods, guilds, and stipendiary priests. By virtue of this—if the free Chapel of Clipstone had continued to flourish in use to so late a date—it would be stripped of its furniture and belongings, its chantry dissolved, and the last chaplain and chantry priest dismissed—the echoes of the final requiem for the soul of Henry II. having died away.

1551.—Thoroton says that on the 16th November the Manor of Perlethorp, sometime parcel of the possessions of Edward, son of George Duke of Clarence, and late in the tenure of John Byron, Knight, with Knesall and Clipstone, &c., were among other things granted to Edward Fynes, Lord Clinton and Saye, and his heirs. This would seem to imply that Clipstone had been possessed by the son of George Duke of Clarence (that Duke, by the way, who met his death in an unique manner by being drowned in a butt of malmsey) and afterwards by Lord Clinton. Evidently, however, such reference is meant only for Perlethorpe. Kneesall and Clipstone are apparently merely mentioned as having been also in the custody of Sir John Byron.

However, during this reign of Edward VI. (1547-1553) the King passed Clipstone to John Earl of Warwick and Henry Sydney, as the possession of Jasper Duke of Bedford. But it came again to the Crown, and there remained until the time of James I.

1568.—March 19th, Westminster. Grant to Thomas Markham, Standard Bearer of the Gentlemen Pensioners, of the office of Keeper of Clipstone Manor, Sherwood Forest, county Notts., the site of the late Castle, Park, &c., with the customary fees; also, the fishing of the Dam, and Herbage and Pannage of the Park, as held by the late Sir John Byron and William West.—Endorsed with note of a reversion for Sir Roger Aston.

The right of Herbage carries its own meaning. Pannage was the right for swine to feed on the mast in a forest,—acorns, beech-nuts, &c. The most important passage to us, however, is the reference to 'the site of the late Castle.' This shows us on the one hand the character of the structure—so alluded to twice previously—and on the other that it was no more. It seems to have been standing on the appointment of the Commission in 1524, also in 1528, and was probably dismantled and demolished between these dates. It is likely that it had been allowed to fall into decay, or at least much neglected, after it had ceased to be the resort of royalty.

It is surprising how little we are able to gather respecting the building itself. We can only surmise when it originated, we have no drawing or description of its appearance, and the reason and time of its demolition cannot be decided. Neither are we informed how the, necessarily large, quantities of materials were disposed of. It is probable that all the valuable portions, fixtures, &c., were sold for the King, while much of the masonry—as was commonly the case with ruins—would be appropriated by such of the surrounding inhabitants as had uses for it. It is a common occurrence, in the neighbourhood of sites of ancient buildings, to discover fragments of worked masonry, re-used by being built into cottages, walls, &c., and it is not unlikely that such may exist around Clipstone.

1584-5.—The amounts of the "Pentecostal Offerings," formerly paid at Whitsuntide, from time immemorial, by every village and hamlet in the county to the church of Southwell, are all recorded by Thoroton from a book bearing this date. Clipstone paid 16d.

1591.—In a list of the officers of Sherwood Forest, written about this year, occurs for Clipstone Shrogges the Earl of Shrewsbury, deputy Plesington; and for Clipstone Thomas Markham, underkeeper Paul Dawe.