Odds and Ends for a New Impression.


1564 April 1st. Alys ye wife of John Chambers buryed.

John Chambers, whose restored brass has been placed over the Rev. Septimus Plumptree's tombstone in the North aisle, is worthy of commemoration, not merely in that he was the father of "seven sonnes and seven daughters," but he appears to have been one of the chief characters of his day.

In 1552, April 5, at a Court held for the Manor of Mansfield, John Chambers and John Cost, feoffees of Oliver Dand, surrendered to the use of William Weld and John Chambers, Wardens of the Church of Mansfield, and their successors, the cottage lying at the Churchyard side, to the intent that the said Wardens for the time being should appoint the aforesaid cottage for a playground and Common School within the town of Mansfield aforesaid.

John Chambers therefore was instrumental in founding Mansfield school, and we respectfully submit to the Governors of our School to-day, that the Institution over which they preside is not Elizabethan in date but nine years earlier, and can claim a King Edward VI. foundation. It is true the date of the Charter of the School is 1561, but John Chambers, no doubt with a view to the education of his " seven sonnes and seven daughters," made the first move to bring a school into being in the last year of the boy king.

And furthermore, bv Letters Patent, 23rd February, 1556, King Philip and Queen Mary ordained that Christopher Granger, Vicar of Mansfield, and William Weld and John Chambers, then wardens of the said Church, should be governors of the lands and possessions of the Parish Church of Mansfield in Shirewood, and from thenceforth for ever should be a body Corporate with a Common Seal.

We maintain, therefore, that this John Chambers is a most interesting personality, and fully deserves commemoration in our Parish Church. The simply, quaintly worked brass in the North aisle will for future ages bear witness to one of the founders of our Grammar School, and also the Churchwarden, who, together with his Vicar and co-Churchwarden, was one of the first members of the Corporation of the Parish Church.
1566 May 12. Buried. A strange murdered woman found in ye forest.
1592 May 21. Buried. John Turner, the Crier.
1605 Oliver Dand, son of Francis Dand (see Warsop Church).
1612 Aug. 5. Elizabeth, the daughter of one Newton, but in truth of Sir German Poole, his brother, Bapt. (see Memoirs of Col. Hutchinson, p. 33).
1624 Sept. 13. John Digby, gent., and Mrs. Lucian Trigott mar. (see Memorial of Sir J. Digby, at Woodhouse).
1627 March 27. Buried. Mr. William Farmer, Usher of the Free Grammar School.
1627 March 27. Buried. Mr. Richard Rothwell. the Preacher of Mansfield, "The Apostle of the North" (see Sam Clarke's lives, ed. 1677).
1634 Baptized. Nathaniel, the sonne of Mr. Wm. Westaby, Preacher.

Only one Sermon a Sunday is provided for by the Prayer Book. For the Mansfield folk this proved insufficient. The Intake Farm on the Sutton Road was purchased in the reign of James I., and the rent devoted to the salary of a Minister whose duty it should be to preach on Sunday afternoon. Rothwell would probably be the first Preacher appointed to the office.
1634 March 30. Buried. Wensley Blackwall.

This man's tablet is on the West wall of the North aisle, and is of interest. The Blackwalls were a very old Derbyshire family. Wensley was the eldest son of a Mr. Blackwall who married the heiress of the Wensleys, and his son, Sir Thomas Blackwall, spent his fortune in supporting King Charles I., and died in reduced circumstances. In debt temp. C2. £130,632 7s. 10d. In the shield on the monument the Wendesley Arms are quartered on the Blackwall Arms.
1638 July 11. Elizabeth, the daughter of Henry and Elizabeth Heath, the foundress of Heath's Almshouses.
1652 April 10. Ursula Walker, bur. (see Tablet on Tower Wall).

The lettering on the brass is the work of a skilled mechanic, and the epitaph is delightful and unique.

The Walkers were a family of repute, entitled to bear arms, and lived in Belvidere.

Belvidere has traces of gentility to-day. and perhaps in Cromwell's time such a wastrel as Billingsley the potter (see Harrod) would scarcely have found lodgment there.

However, here lived John and Ursula Walker, and the boast on the tablet that in beauty Ursula was "second to none" may perhaps be justified by a careful examination of her portrait skilfully traced in the left-hand corner. A special interest is further attached to the brass, inasmuch as, when the Church was restored in 1870, the memorial attracted the cupidity of a workman, who apparently possessed more artistic taste than was common at the time. Indignant at seeing so beautiful a bit of work cast upon the scrap-heap, he removed it to his home, and it was only restored to us through the kind instrumentality of an admirer of S. Peter's. May it long adorn our venerable walls as a witness of the artistic taste of a bye-gone age. The inscription is as follows:-
  Expectans Expectavi Dominum
Attendit mihi Exaudivit eduxit &c.
Ursula Jonns Walker marita ingenio,
forma, pietate, minor nulla ; Divina bonitate
Ergastulum Veleludinis, ac taedii Reserante
Christi liberta mature Civitatem Dei repentiit.
Apr 10, MDCLII.
  Translation:—I waited patiently for the Lord and He inclined unto me and heard my calling. He brought me also out of the horrible pit, out of the mire and clay: and set my feet upon the rock and ordered my goings. Ursula, wife of John Walker, in talent, beauty, and piety inferior to no woman. Divine goodness unlocking the prison of ill-health and weariness, The freedwoman of Christ returned to the city of God. April 10, 1652. "John Walker, Gent., died 1659," but, save this entry in the Register, we have no record of the man who composed this delightful epitaph to his wife.
1666 Feb. Buried. Ffrancis Molyneux.

This man's tablet is on the wall of the North aisle. His will can be seen in the Probate Office in Nottingham, tied up in a bundle with the will of Elizabeth Heath (a lengthy document), who was the Foundress of the Alms Houses on the Nottingham Road.

Francis Molyneux left as his executor "my loveing friend John Firth, of Mansfield." John Firth was the Vicar, and witnessed the will, together with Thos. Lister, probably the man after whom Lister Lane was called.
1665 Thomas Balme, buried (see Will in the Nottingham Probate Court).

Thomas Balme is described as a Butcher, and his estate was declared of the value £89 3s. 0d. Isabel, his widow, made her will owing to "the uncertainty of this transitory life, weak and sick in body, being sorry for my sins, and humbly desiring God forgiveness of the same." It is worthy of note that in the old maps the lane (at one time private) connecting Littleworth with Nottingham Road, and in which the Vicarage once stood, is called Balme's lane—unquestionably after Butcher Balme. The name has become corrupted into Baum.

Perhaps some of these days a Committee of our Town Council will realise the importance of preserving the old names, and restore to us Kirk Gate amongst others.
1674. March 13. Garvis Holles, Esq., sep.

Mr. Gervas Holles, a kinsman of the second Earl of Clare, and an antiquarian of note, before the Civil War broke out in 1642, lived in Mansfield, and buried under the North end of the Altar of the Parish Church there, his wife Dorothy, and a son and daughter.

He caused a memorial to be placed on the wall over the grave, and from some fragments of a book of the XVIIlth Century we have been enabled to reconstruct the arms emblazoned on the panel.

The shield speaks of families long since extinct. When it disappeared off the wall we have no means of knowing. Harrod apparently never saw it in 1800—it was gone before then—but the copy of it hangs now in the Vestry, and is a fine bit of penmanship.

This Gervas Holles was not merely a scholar, but a warrior, for he raised a foot regiment at his own cost and fought for the King at Edgehill, Newark, and Newbury. He shared Charles II."s exile in Jersey and Holland, and also his penury. At the Restoration he became M.P. for Grimsby, and was buried at Mansfield in 1674.

His son, Sir Frescheville Holles, incurred Pepys wrath, for in his "Diary" he described Holles as "profane, useless, a coward, a liar, and as idle and insignificant a fellow as ever came into the fleet." However, Sir Frescheville fell in action in 1672, and was awarded burial in Westminster Abbey. The above-named Gervas Holles left behind valuable manuscripts, which are now in the British Museum, and in which he describes the coats of arms he saw emblazoned in our Church Windows about the year low. We have been enabled to reproduce these shields, and they, too, hang in the Vestry—mementoes of families who have figured in Mansfield life years ago.

The families of Darcy, Ferrers, Deyncourt, Holles, Clinton, Pierpoint, Frescheville, Manvers, Heriz, Percy, Byron, Talbot, Burgh, Strabolgi, Wenlocke, all are there.

The XVIIth Century knew nothing of the segregation of the Classes and Masses, from which, alas! we suiter today. Rich and poor in Mansfield lived together. Those to whom the restored shields once belonged, owned houses, samples of which we still have in Stockwell Gate and West Gate.
1689 Jan. 24. Mr. Robert Porter, Clerk, sep. Porter, the Presbyterian Minister of Pentnch, who had been appointed there 1650, spoken of in the Parliamentary Survey of 1650 as anable and pious man, and ejected at the Restoration in 1662.

Calamy thus speaks of him: "His wit rendered him the desire and pleasure of Gentlemen in conversation. The people he settled amongst were poor, but his labours were great and very prosperous. His stated Income was not above £15 p.a. But being greatly beloved by the neighbouring Gentry and other persons, they raised it to near £50. He might have had much more, but refused. When he was ejected in '62 he kept as long as he could within the Parish to help his people in private, when he might not do it publickly. Sometimes he preached in his own house. Sometimes he went by night, or by One or Two of the Clock in the morning, to an obscure House about a mile off, till the coming out of the Oxford Act when he retired to Mansfield, where he spent the rest of his days. From thence he would often visit his former Charge and flock, keeping Days of Prayer with them. And many a dark night hath he been engaged in travelling in dirty and dangerous ways on their account, to show his sincere regard to their souls good.
1731 May 31. Buried. Charles Dix, servant to Mr. Gasterell. Lord Bathurst's steward.

Langwith Lodge, together with 5,000 adjoining acres, belonged to the Bathursts until somewhere about 1850. when the House and all the land in Notts, were sold to the Duke of Portland.
1732 May 20. Buried. John Marsden, who was shot by Mr. Palmer.
1733 Samuel, ye son of Robert and Hannah Halifax, eventually Bishop of Gloster, wrote the preface to Butler's Analogy (see Warsop Tablet).
1733 The Workhouse mentioned March 31 was built on the Whynny Close, sold by the Church Corporation for £236 in 1729. The held had been left by Dr. Laycock to provide for the poor (see p. 12).
1738 On the Farrar tablet in the North aisle we read:-
  Here lies
Skilful, prudent, faithful:
He was a man of the highest integrity
And of piety, which was no mere pretence,
However much you may ridicule the word.
More are not needed, except
Remember to follow his example.
He died on May 29th (a day of joy to him on earth
and in heaven), A.D. 1716, aged 66,
Leaving a sorrow-stricken wife with an only son
and three daughters him surviving.
  It is easy to discern that one and the same mind has prompted this epitaph and the similar one on the brass of Margaret Meymott, who had the felicity of dying "on the same day in which her beloved and justly admired Sovereign Queen Ann of pious memory changed her earthly crown for a more exceeding weight of glory, which was August 1st, 1714."

May 29th was of course the anniversary of the Restoration of Charles II., and it seems probable the sturdy Jacobite who dictated both these epitaphs, and probably inspired both, was none other than the Vicar, George Mompesson.

Fifty-six years had passed away since Cromwell's death, and yet the anniversary of the restoration of the Monarchy was a day of joy to the Mansfield druggist. This dumb memorial seems to speak afresh of people's detestation of the Commonwealth. John Farrar, as a boy of 10, may have seen General Monk march down Leeming Lane he may have heard the five bells in the Tower clang forth at the Restoration. As a boy of 19 he may have seen the Tower capped by its present spire: and to his memory his widow gave a blue velvet Altar frontal, which was in use in 1800. He was Churchwarden 1687.
1739 July 21. Bur. Martha, wife of Scipio L' Esquire, Esq.
1742 May 1. Buried. Mary Sneath, widow from ye cabbin on Nottingham Road.
1743 Nov. 5. Buried. Mr. Samuel Shaw, Presbyterian Minister.

This would probably be the Minister officiating at the Old Meeting House in Stockwell Gate.
1755 May 11. Buried. Thomas Fisher and Elizabeth his wife, aged 94, being both born in one year and buried in one grave.
1702 Oct. 9. Baptised. William, son of Hercules D'Epledge.
1704 Mar. 6. Baptised. Francis, son of Archeleaus D'Epledge.
1759 Feb. 23. Buried. Bridget Statham, a foundling from the Hospital.
1759 April 21. Buried. Richard Johnson, Charity School Master.
1763 Dec. 15. Baptised. John, son of Mark and Hannah Pugson, bap. privately by a Popish Priest as the Father affirms.
1745 Oct. 14. Buried. Martha, wife of Prestwick Darby, a Player and stranger.
1776 Feb. 3. John Sneath, buried without the enclosure in what used to be called Scotland Close—the new Churchyard made in 1762.

The Duchess of Portland gave a field in Bancroft Lane to the Churchwardens in exchange for Scotland Close which she then gave for extension of Churchyard.
1783 Ralph Brocksopp, bur. near Vestry, aged 63. Churchwarden 1762.
1784 Dec. 17. Charles Thompson, aged 76, buried on the Forest.


It does seem a thousand pities that when the Church was restored in 1870 no place was found for the panels which ornamented the front of the Galleries. One has found its way back to the Church and two others were cared for and bequeathed by Mr. Mee to the Board Room of Brunts Charity.

PLATE XI. Interior of S. Peter's before the Restoration in 1870.
PLATE XI. Interior of S. Peter's before the Restoration in 1870.

There were two panels between each bay of the Arcades (see Plate XI.), and three on the front of the Tower Gallery.

It may be of interest to give a complete list of these panels.

1.—The White Hart, left by Dame Cicely Flogan, 1556.

2.—Queen Elizabeth's Free Grammar School, 1560.

3 & 4.—The Intake, granted by King James for the Concionator, 1506.

5, 6 & 7.—Faculty for erecting the Children's Gallery, 1831, which replaced an old one.

8 & 9.—Elizabeth Heath's Alms Houses, 1691.

10—Charity left by John Litchfield, 1693.

11 & 12.—Clothing left by Roland Dand, Esq., 1670.

13.—Faculty for building the Gallery over the North Chapel from the accumulated funds of the Intake, 1772.

14 & 15.—Faculty for building the Gallery over the South Chapel pew rents to found a Sunday evening lecture, 1826.

16.—Charity left by Samuel Brunts, Esq., 1709.

17.—Charity left by Charles Thompson, Esq., 1784.

18 & 19.—Archibshop Sterne's grant towards sending four boys to Jesus College, 1673.

20 & 21.—Charity left by Faith Clerkson, 1725.

22.—Charity left by Joseph Sales, 1795.

23.—Faculty for building the Gallery over South Aisle, pew rents to provide Organist's Salary, 1794.

24.—Charity left by John Bold, 1726.

25.—Faculty for building Tower Gallery ; pew rents, 1702 (x).

26.—Clothing left by Richard Girdler, Esq., 1665.

27.—Charities for Bread and Clothing.


In the Tower there is an ancient piece of machinery like a large musical box. It plays tunes on the Bells above by means of a network of wires and hammers.

In 1762 the old peal of Five Bells was increased to Eight, and a chiming apparatus installed. It plays at 9, 12 and 4, day and night, and the tune is changed every day of the week. On Sunday the tune is Hanover; on Monday, Life Let us Cherish; Tuesday, Ring of Bells; Wednesday, The Bells of Scotland; Thursday, King and Miller of Mansfield; Friday, The Harp that once through Tara's Halls; Saturday, A Metrical Psalm.

The apparatus and extra bells were largely provided through the agency of Mr. Robert Watson and Mr. Ralph Brocksopp, then Churchwardens.

In 1796 it was repaired by Mr. Etchell and Mr. Donaldson.

The chimes apparatus is similar to the old one at Derby All Saints, and was probably made by the same man.

In 1816 a great earthquake took place which damaged the Church, and we do not hear of the Chimes again till 1829, when Mr. Webster, the organist, and Mr. Simpson, manager of the Gas Works, put them in order.

Ten years later, in 1839, they were again repaired, and we learn that both the Clock and the Chimes wanted attention in 1866. This time a clock-maker from Basford came over and repaired the Clock and with assistance the Chimes were set going again.

In 1871 they were once more repaired, and in 1880 a thorough overhaul was made of the clock-chamber and its contents.

They ceased playing about 1890, and in 1897 the bells were overhauled and the old chiming hammers removed. So they remained silent and unused for thirty years, when they were restored once more by John Smith & Sons, of Derby, and a brass plate erected in the Tower to commemorate the re-opening in November, 1921. The "Old Mansfield Society" raised the sum of £100 towards the repair fund.

1774 Earliest recorded Peal of T.B. Major by a band of Sherwood youths from Nottingham.

1924 One hundred and fifty years after, a similar peal rung.



There exists an interesting letter appealing to the Steward of the Manor, who at that time was the Earl of Rutland, for timber with which to repair the steeple. This letter raises the quer: had S. Peter's a wooden steeple in the sixteenth century? It would almost seem so, for the amount of timber required to carry out the repairs was so large, being no less than eight trees—on the other hand the timber may have been needed for scaffolding. The communication was addressed by Lancelot Roleston and William Sterne, to the Earl of Rutland, at Newark, and was couched in the following terms:—

"In most humble wyshe it maie please your honour to be advertised that accordinge to your direction given to the townsmen of Mansfield who have taken the veiue of the steple at Mansfield, and by the judgement of the workmen and ourselves, that yt shall neede eight trees for the necessarie repair thereof. Mansfield, this 29th daye of Januarie, 1583. Your lordships, most humble, Lancelot Rolston, William Sterne."

(x) In 1736 a Singers' and Ringers' Gallery erected below and above this.