The Royal Manor of Mansfield

ANCIENTLY Mansfield was a royal manor, held only by favour of the king. Thus we find that in 1042 Edward the Confessor possessed a manor here which paid Dane geld, or Dane gold, for three carucates and six bovates of land. This land consisted of nine plough lands, an ancient legal term which signified a certain quantity of arable land, about one hundred acres in extent. For the benefit of those who are not thoroughly acquainted with these ancient terms, I may here state that "Dane geld" was, according to Hayden, a tribute paid to the Danes to stop their ravages in England, first levied by Ethelred II., in the year 991, and again raised twelve years later by the same monarch after the expulsion of the Danes, to pay fleets for clearing the seas of them. The tax was suppressed by Edward the Confessor in 1051; revived by William I., 1068; and they formed part of the revenue of the crown until abolished by Stephen in 1136. Every hide of land—i.e., as much as one plough could plough; or, as Bede has it, as much as could maintain a family —was taxed at first one shilling; afterwards as much as seven shillings. Camden says that once £24,000 was raised. Carucate is derived from the Danish word carue, a plough—that is to say, one plough land, or as much land as an ox can till in a year by one plough. A bovate was twenty-eight acres. At one time the Manor of Mansfield was very extensive, and included a portion of Scrofton, near Worksop. According to Thoroton, in a plea 30 Edward I., it appears that "Stephen Malovel gave a messuage, 260 acres of land and seven of meadows, in Rentone, nigh Worksop, to Alice, the wife of Ranulph de Huntingfield, who bound himself to John de Melsa in C. marks by a statute merchant, and, failing in payment, the sheriff caused the land to be extended at a reasonable price, viz., £4 9s. 1d., and put the said John in seizin, in which he stood for a year and more, until the said Ranulph and Alice dissiezed him, &c. Upon which came Walter de Dogmerfield, who said he was the king's bailiff of the Manor of Maunsefield, and that Rentone was a member of the king's said manor, and the tenements put in view ancient demesne," &c. At Clumber, also, there were three bovates of land which belonged to the king's Manor of Mansfield.

William the Conqueror had two carucates, five sochmans, and thirty-five villains; twenty borders, with nineteen carucates and a half in demesne, a mill, piscary, twenty-four acres of meadow and pasture, and a wood two miles long and two miles broad. At that early period of the history of our country, the towns of Schegby and Sutton were hamlets of this great manor, the soke (the territory in which the chief lord exercised his liberty of keeping court within his own territory of jurisdiction) whereof extended into Warsop, Clune, Camberton, Clumber, Buteby, Turesby, Thorpe, Scoteby, Rounton, Odenstow, Grymeston, Echering, Raneby, Bodmescill, &c. It had likewise soke in Wardbeck wapentake.

The Manor of Mansfield appears to have been first granted to Ranulph de Gernon, Earl of Chester, whose line, however, ended in coheiresses, and the manor reverted to the crown.

1199. In this year King John held the manor, and the men of Mansfield gave him fifteen marks for the privilege of having common of pasture in the Park of Clipestone, as they were wont to have it before the park was enclosed.

1238. Henry III. granted to Henry de Hastinges and his wife, Ada, the Manor of Maunsefield, with all which pertained to it. Of this noble and ancient family there is a remarkable legend, which may or may not be true— that no child of the line ever saw its father. In other words, the parent in every instance died before the birth of his heir or heiress. The last of the unfortunate line, John, Lord Hastings, Earl of Pembroke, died at a very early age whilst learning to joust. The same monarch, in 1227, gave to the men of Mansfield that they and their heirs should have a market at his Manor of Maunsfield, and commanded his sheriff accordingly. It appears they gave the king five marks for this valuable privilege, and the market was ordered to be held on Mondays. Three years later he decreed that the men of Maunsfield were to have hay bote and house bote in the Forest of Shirewood.

1247. In this year the Stuteville family were connected with the Manor of Mansfield, owing to changes and failures in the line of succession; for in the 31st Henry III., "mandatum est omnibus et aliis tenentibus de Maneriis Bolsouer et Mannesfeld—quod Johanni Stutevill tanquam custodi suo intendentes sint et respondentes."

1302. Thomas Bek, some time Bishop of Mandevensis (St. David's), made one purpesture of old one rood of ground under the Ermitage of East Thwaite, in Mansfield Moore, in the king's demains in the forest. In 1302 the Prior of Lenton was tenant, using the hermitage as a summer dwelling and sanatorium for his sick monks. As Thomas Bek was consecrated bishop October 6th, 1280, and died May 12th, 1323, he must have established himself as neighbour to Mansfield in this interval.

1312. In this year the king, Edward II., granted the Manor of Mansfield, with the liberty and farm of Lyndby, and the mill of Carlton, which had previously been held by Henry de Hastings, to John Comyn, one of the competitors against the Bruce for the crown of Scotland. On his death it passed into the hands of his son, the Earl of Bogham.

1318. John de Hastings prayed the same king concerning the Manors of Mansfield, Oswaldbeck, and Everton, in this county, which King Henry III., that king's grandfather, gave to Henry de Hastings, and Ada his wife, in the twenty-second year of his age.

1329. King Edward III., in the third year of his reign, granted that the tenants of the Manor of Mansfield were to have common of pasture in a place called Woodhouse Wood.

1329. Queen Isabella, mother of Edward III., whilst residing in Nottingham Castle, claimed to be Lady of the Manor of Mansfield, with the whole liberty thereto belonging—with a view of frankpledg and emendation of the assize of bread and ale broken, pillory, tumbrell, gallows, wick, waif, and a market every Thursday. This claim, however, was opposed with partial success by Anthony Beck, at that time Dean of Lincoln, who alleged that he had divers tenants there, and that he and all his predecessors in the deanery used to have assize of bread and ale.

1369. Richard de la Vache, knight, was called Lord of Mansfield, and held the manor from Edward III. during life. He had also rent of assize of freeholders, £17 13s. 4d., and two water mills, worth £8 yearly, in the town; one in Mansfield Woodhouse, and another in Sutton, parts of the Manor of Mansfield.

1377. In this year Richard II., probably in commemoration of his accession to the throne, granted a fair to the men of Mansfield, to be holden yearly on the Feast of St. Peter.

1432. In the eleventh year of Henry VI., according to an old record, "the jury find that Alianora, wife of Sir Nicholas Dagwith, or Dagworth, knight, had and held the day on which she died the Manors of Mansfield and Lindeby, in Shirewood, for the term of her life, by grant of Henry, late King of England, grandfather of the present king, the reversion belonging to the said king. And they say that the aforesaid Manor and Lordship of Mansfield extend themselves into the divers towns and hamlets following, to wit: Mansfield, Mansfield Woodhouse, Sutton, Warsop, Scrofton, Neweton, Budby, Hokenall, Clonbre, Nettleworth, Rodmerthwayt, Morhawe, Le Hill Hotwayt, and Hayam de Fulwood. And they say that at Mansfield there is not any manor-house built, but there is there a site, and that £33 rent is received as well by the hands of divers tenants of the aforesaid towns and hamlets as for other rents of divers tenants belonging to the said manor. And that there are within the precincts of the said manor divers woods, to wit, Lyndhurst and Dalesworth, and the out woods thereof. And there are three mills, and there is a court there holden yearly, from three weeks to three weeks, and that the leet or view of frankpledge is holden there twice yearly, and there is a certain fair there." On this finding of the jury Henry granted the manor to his brother, Edmund, Earl of Richmond, and Jasper, Earl of Pembroke.

1516. By an Act of Parliament in the sixth year of the reign of Henry VIII., the manor was settled on Thomas, Duke of Norfolk, as a reward for his great victory over the Scots at Flodensfield, but was exchanged by the king for some others. They afterwards came into the hands of the Duke of Newcastle, who then added to his other titles, with consent of the crown, that of Viscount Mansfield, then used for the first time. The title, however, became extinct on the death of the last Duke of Newcastle, of the Cavendish family, in 1691. In 1776, William Murray, fourth son of Viscount Stormont, in Scotland, was created Earl of Mansfield, and his descendant, the present earl, still bears the title. The Manor of Mansfield has passed by descent to the present noble and generous holder, the Duke of Portland.

1520—1533. In a Forest book of parchment, written in 1520 or 1533, wherein are the customaries of the Manors of Arnall, Mauncefeld, Edwynstowe, and Southwell, in the county of Nottingham, and of Horeston and Bollesour in Darbishire, and to which is annexed that of Warsop in paper, the customary of Mauncefield begins thus: "Be it had in mynd that the towne of Maunsfeld Woodhouse was burned the Saturdaye nexte afore the Fest of Exaltation of the Holye Crosse, the yere of our Lord m.ccc.iiii. And the kirk stepull, with the belles of the same, for the stepull wes afore of tymber werke: and part of the kyrk wes burned." Afterward there followeth, says Mr. Herrod, several heads of the customs of the manor.