The Church Estate.

The Church Corporation (the Vicar and Churchwardens), founded by Letters Patent of King Philip and Queen Mary, in 1557, a translation and photograph of which valuable document we have reproduced on p. 48 and plate XII., shortly after its establishment held three different estates:—

1. Dame Floggan's "Harte" Estate , which she left to Trustees in 1516 for the purpose of founding a Chantrey at the Altar of S. Lawrence.

John Porter, her kinsman, was to be the Chantrey Priest for his life, and as the grant was only for a period of 99 years, the Church Corporation could only hold this Estate for the unexpired period, i.e., 58 years.
2. A House and Lands leased from Southwell Minster at a mere nominal rent, called in the Letters Patent "le tenne Chantry priestes' land " (G). See Plate XIII.

Through the kindness of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners we have been able to identify this Estate. In a letter to the Vicar (12th Oct., 1905), the Secretary says:

"We sold the houses situate on the North-East side of Church Street below the Railway Bridge to the Mansfield Improvement Commissioners in 1884. They stood on the site of a Mansion formerly called 'The Ten Chantrey Priests' House.'"

The two lots sold measured 165 feet frontage from the Old White Lion, and fetched £2,890.

A part of the old Mansion, with its mullioned windows, stands behind Mr. Fox's Shot;, and is entered through the White Lion Yard. It may have been used as the Vicarage in the XIV. and XV. Centuries.
3. Gifts made and legacies bequeathed by pious persons for the purpose of augmenting the salary of the Chaplain.

As to No. 1, apparently on Porter's death in 1574 (he could only have been 21 years of age when appointed to the office in 1516, for he was 54 years of age at the Survey in 1549), the heirs of Ciceley Floggan claimed the estate, but agreed to waive their claim on the condition the Estate should pass to the School Corporation (H). Thus the same Trustees (Vicar and Churchwardens) continued to hold the Estate under the Charter of Queen Elizabeth; but for the School instead of the Chaplain.

As to No. 2, this Estate continued to be leased by the Church Corporation until 1842, when the Southwell Endowments passed to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. These latter naturally refused to lease land at any other than a rack rent, and so, the Estate no longer yielding a profit, the Church Corporation ceased to renew the lease from the Commissioners.

As to No. 3, this Estate constitutes the property of the Church Estate to-day, and after paying expenses, finds £120 for an Assistant Curate, and hands over a variable sum of about £60 to the Vicar.

The purpose of establishing; this Church Corporation was "to find one Chaplain to celebrate divine service in the Parish Church for ever."

The only record we have of such a chaplain or priest is when one, James Colley, served as such in 1615.

In 1682 the Vicar, who (with the Churchwardens—one appointed by himself) had the power to annoint the Chaplain, usurped the revenues, and from that day to 1868 (Death of Dr. Cursham) the office was held by the Vicar of Mansfield.


In 1606 (February 20th) was bought from the Crown (with money apparently saved from the Church Estate) a certain farm in Mansfield, called the Intake, wherewith to endow a Preacher-ship or Concionatorship in the Parish Church (I). This land was the same year conveyed to "Eight Men" as Trustees (J).

In 1626 (March 3rd) the two surviving Trustees, Henry Heath and Francis Dand agreed to raise the rent and devote the increase "to divers necessary and behoofful uses of the Town of Mansfield." They at the same time executed a deed making the estate over to Rowland Dand.

In 1656 (Dec. 7th) Rowland Dand re-established the "Eight Men" on condition that two-thirds of the estate should be paid to the Concionator, and the remaining third to the two Grammar School Masters (K).

In 1682 a threatened Chancery suit was averted by "Firth's Agreement" (Harrod, p. 21). Apparently at that time the three Estates (the Church, the School, the Intake) had become so hopelessly confused that to disentangle and identify the properties seemed an impossible task. It was then arranged that the Vicar should take two-thirds of the three estates, and the remaining third should be divided between the two Schoolmasters.

In 1857, when as the result of a Chancery suit the three Estates were thrown into the melting pot, Bishop Jackson of Lincoln, whose father was a Mansfield man, made a strenuous effort to secure the two-thirds of the Intake as an endowment for the newly-built S. John's. He failed in the attempt; "the necessary and behoofful uses" clauses which had crept in towards 1626 being the rock on which the Church was wrecked. It was eventually left for Canon Pavey in 1884 to secure one-third for S. Mark's—the remaining two-thirds being divided between the Hospitals and Grammar Schools. In a sense, therefore, the Vicar of S. Mark's is to-day the Concionator of Mansfield, although the lion's share of the endowment has been alienated to uses other than originally intended. Had the Chancery suit been defended, the result would have been very different.


Richard, the son of Simon Sterne, was baptised at the parish church on 10th April, 1597. He went to the Royal Free Grammar School in the churchyard, which had been founded in 1561, and sat within the walls which have sheltered thousands of Mansfield boys since. As a boy of 6, on the last day of March, 1603, he may have heard 'James ye first Kinge of Scotts solemlye proclaimed Kinge of England at the Markett Cross,' in Ratcliff Gate, by Sir John Byron, attended by Mr. Griffthe Markham, of Ollerton, who a few weeks after was convicted of conspiracy and treason. In 1611 he entered Trinity College, Cambridge, gained a scholarship in 1614, and was elected a Fellow of Corpus in 1620. In 1633 the double honour of becoming master of Jesus College and chaplain to Archbishop Laud was conferred upon him, and it appears to have been mainly through his instrumentality that many of the colleges sent their plate to the King at York, to be converted into money for the Royal use. This roused the ire of the Parliamentarians, and Sterne, together with the masters of St. John's and Queen's, was sent to the Tower. He was permitted, however, to minister to Laud on the scaffold. Rigorous imprisonment followed. Together with the ejected clergy, he seems to have for a while tasted the bitters of being a galley slave. When the storm had blown over, he was liberated, and became master at a school at Stevenage, in Hertfordshire. At the Restoration he was reinstated as head of Jesus College, which post he shortly after laid aside when consecrated Bishop of Carlisle. Baxter, who sat opposite him at the Savoy Conference, remarked: 'Amongst the bishops there, there was none who had so promising a face as Dr. Sterne, Bishop of Carlisle.' In his Northern see he had no light work. He found his cathedral and residence in ruins, no dean or chapter, and many of the poorer clergy had never been ordained. In four years, however, he evolved order out of chaos, but Rose Castle he rebuilt so badly that on his appointment as Archbishop of York in 1664 an action for dilapidation was brought against him by his successor, and he was fined £400. He died in 1683, aged 87, and was buried in his cathedral at York, where his monument is an example of everything that a memorial should not be. Bishop Burnet, in his history, was unduly harsh on this man, for it seems scarcely fair, seeing he gave £1,850 towards the rebuilding of St. Paul's and in 1673 made over estates to found six scholarships at Jesus and Corpus, to complain that 'he minded chiefly the enriching of his family.' At any rate, to Lawrence, the author of 'Tristram Shandy,' the Archbishop's great-grandson, descended none of this enrichment, for at his birth in 1713 Lieut. Roger Sterne, the humorist's father, was penniless. One of his scholarships was confined to Mansfield boys. Most unfortunatelv this close Scholarship was in 1861 declared an open one—a somewhat high-handed proceeding! Is it suggesting too much that some day we should place in the very church where the Archbishop was baptised and taught to pray, a small memorial to the man who, with others, drew up 'the best pre-composed form of prayer ever devised by human wisdom' (Harrod), which revised book has from that day to this remained intact? Surely the man whose impress is borne on the Prayer Book we love and use to-day—the men who bequeathed to Mansfield a scholarship at Jesus Cambridge—is worthy some memorial in the Parish Church of his native town.

(F) In Harrod's time there was a brass in the "middle isle " to the memory of John Bould, sen., who died Dec. 19, 1727, ag. 74. and Hannah Bould, died Feb. 3, 1741, ag. 50.
(G) This clause in the Letters Patent of 1557 has evidently led Thoroton, and through him Harrod, to assume there were 10 Chantries in connection with the Parish Church. Such an assumption is unwarranted. Recollect, "le tenne Chantry Priestes' land" belonged to Southwell and not to Mansfield Parish Church. In the Chantrey Certificates (a copy of which we give on page 18) there is no record of any other Chantrey than Dame Floggan's.
H) See Order of the Master of Rolls, 13th June, 1856, p. 3. The Rector of Southwell writes (8th Oct., 1905): "There were 13 chantry priests here; each had his own separate endowment, and besides they had lands in common. Ten of them might easily hold some or all of these, to the exclusion of the other three." Ten were the original number, three were of later foundation (see p. 48).
(I) Men, usually antagonistic to the Anglican Church, who desired to establish a religion of preaching and extempore prayer, strove to spread their opinions by the creation of Lectureships, by which licensed Preachers of extreme Protestant views, were introduced into many Parishes (Bath, Boston, Grantham, Hexham, etc., etc.) to contradict on Sunday afternoon and eve, the teaching of Sunday morning. One of Laud's most unpopular measures was his effort to bring these free lances more under control.
(J) Presumably these Eight Men were identical with the 8 Assistants created by Queen Elizabeth, 1561, to assist the School Corporation to appoint a Master and Usher.
(K) The Grammar School by the side of S. Peter's Churchyard, built 1567, Charter obtained 1561; rebuilt in reign of Queen Anne, who gave timber from the Forest (Harrod, p. 27).