The Patrons.

We hare already printed a list of the Rectors of the parish, and their names can be read on the oak panel which was recently presented by a friend to our Church. We give here the names of Patrons of the living, who have appointed the Eectors since 1302. The earlier part of the list may be found in the manuscripts of that wonderful Antiquary, Torre, who spent many years at York collecting the history of the Churches from the Archbishop's Registers. Only a very few of these registers have yet been published. They contain a vast  number  of  transactions by the Archbishops in the administration of their office. All the earlier register's are written in mediaeval Latin, and the late Canon Raine once said it would take six months to read through one of the larger registers, and translate it. When an appointment is made in our Church the Patron chooses the Incumbent, and unless there is some legal objection, the Bishop admits and then institutes him to the living or benefice (as it is called because he receives the benefits). By this Institution the Rector or Vicar is placed in charge of the parish and made responsible for the care of souls there, after taking certain oaths of duty and obedience. Institution may take place anywhere wherever the Bishop may happen to be, either in Church or in his own house. The service of Induction is familiar to many Church people, by which the Archdeacon, after receiving the Bishop's  Mandate or Command, leads the new Rector or Vicar into the Church, and inducts him to all the possessions and privileges of the Church and Living. He then tolls the bell to signify to all the parish that he is the new Minister. Thus there are four things necessary before any priest can become Minister of a parish: (1) Presentation by the Patron; (2) Admission and (3) Institution by the Bishop; (4) Induction by the Archdeacon. If the Bishop himself is Patron (1) (2) and (3) are joined together and called Collation.


Patrons of Ordsall.


Sir Hugo de Hercy


Sir Thomas Hercy


Sir Hugo Hercy


Sir Humphrey Hercy


Heirs of Sir Hugo Hercy


Sir Humphrey Hercy


Sir John Hercy


King James, presented by Lapse.


Lyon Falconer


Anne Wortley


Sidney Wortley


John Baker


Edward Wortley


Earl of Bute


Lord Wharncliffe


Lord Wharncliffe


Lord Wharncliffe


Earl of Wharncliffe


Mrs. Elizabeth Stott.

The dates refer to the appointment of the Rectors.

Except for a short interval the Patronage was in the hands of two great families, Hercy and Wortley, for more than 600 years. In early days a large part of the Manor of Ordsall, and the Advowson of the Church belonged to the owners, of Grove. One of the family, Laurence de Hercy, became Rector of Ordsall in 1322. The last of the family was Sir John, who died in 1570. His daughter, Barbara, married George Nevile, who probably sold the Ordsall property with the Advowson to Samuel Bevercotes, and so he became possessed of the living. After a short time it came to the Wortley family in Yorkshire. Sir Francis Wortley died in 1665 and left his estate with "my manors of Ordsall, Babworth and Tylne" to his daughter, Anne. She was a noted heiress and married Hon. Sidney Montagu (the second son of Edward, 1st Earl of Sandwich), who assumed the name of Wortley, as specially directed in Sir Francis Wortley's will. A curious thing was that he never signed this will, but the Court afterwards allowed it.

The appointment of King James I by lapse took place when Edward Mason became Rector. If a Patron does not appoint in six months, the presentation passes by lapse to the Bishop. If the Bishop in his turn does not fill the vacancy within the next six months, the presentation passes to the Archbishop. Finally, after another six months, the appointment lapses to the King. These periods may be shorter if the Bishop should die or change his Diocese. Edward Mason was Tutor to Charles I, the King's son, so it is not surprising that he was appointed in this case. Afterwards, in 1622, he became Chaplain to the King. Lyon Falconer was probably a Trustee acting for the Estate, or it is possible that he himself became possessed of the living by marriage. Thomas Cornwallis married Anne, only daughter of Samuel Bevercotes, and he sold his Ordsall property to Lady Wortley, who became Countess of Devonshire on her second marriage. So the living came to her grandson, Sir Francis Wortley father of Anne, who was patron in 1673.

The husband of Anne Wortley was the Hon. Sidney Montagu, son of the 1st Earl of Sandwich. Under the express conditions of Sir Francis Wortley's Will, he relinquished the name of Montagu and was known as Sidney Wortley, and he appointed Rev. John Pigot Rector of Ordsall in 1695. Mr. Wortley took an active part in political life, and was one of those who conspired to bring William of Orange to the English Throne. Hunter, the Yorkshire antiquary, says that he used to sit in a great chair using remarkably strong language to his servants, even in the presence of his brother who was Dean of Durham! He died on November 11th, 1727, having survived his eldest son, and so the Patronage of Ordsall came with the Wortley Estates to his second son, Edward Wortley Montagu, who was born in 1678. Just before his death, the Rector, Rev. John Pigot also died, and John Baker was probably acting as Trustee or Executor when Rev. George Mason was appointed Rector at this time. Edward Wortley, as he was known, presented Rev. Thomas Cockshutt to the Rectory in 1743. He was Vicar of Penistone, and a near neighbour to Wortley Hall.

This Patron of Ordsall was a distinguished man in political life and became one of the Lords of the Treasury. In this capacity he was said to be the only one who could talk in French with George I. He married a celebrated lady of letters, Mary Pierrepoint, daughter of the 1st Duke of Kingston, who then lived at Thoresby in this County. They married in 1712 against the Duke's wishes, but he was afterwards reconciled to the match.

She was remarkable for her beauty and became a favourite of George I. She had a great knowledge of Classics which was very unusual for a young lady in those days. She recovered from smallpox, and this made her resolve to introduce vaccination into England. Her only son was the first Englishman to be innoculated. Her husband was appointed Ambassador to Constantinople in 1716 and her only daughter, Mary, was born there. Here she wrote her letters from the East which have become famous in English Literature. Their son, Edward Wortley Montague, would naturally have become Patron of Ordsall, but was disinherited by his father, and his mother, Lady Mary, left him the sum of one guinea! This man was very eccentric and ran away from Westminster School as a boy and at different times became a sailor, an M.P., a scholar and traveller, and eventually died in Italy. His sister Mary inherited all her father's estate and married the 3rd Earl of Bute in 1736. So we find that this Earl presented Rev. Joseph Scott to Ordsall Rectory in 1774. The former Rector, Thomas Cockshutt, was his Chaplain for a short time. The Countess of Bute settled the ancient Wortley property and all her estates upon her second son James Stuart, who assumed the name of Wortley and afterwards also that of Mackenzie.

In 1812 he presented Rev. Francis Foxlowe to Ordsall Rectory and in 1826 was created Baron Wharncliffe. The Earl of Bute's daughter Augusta married Mr. Andrew Corbet, and at a later date, Lord Wharncliffe appointed "his friend and near relative" Rev. Stuart Corbet, D.D., to the Curacy of Wortley Church. This clergyman married Ann King, aunt of Rev. Thomas King. When the Rev. F. Foxlowe died in 1841, the living was offered to Mr. Corbet immediately, but for some reason he did not accept it, and so Rev. Thomas King (his son-in-law) was appointed. Here again there was a double family connection, for Mr. King had married his cousin Louisa Corbet, daughter of Rev. Stuart Corbet, and so was a relative of Lord Wharncliffe by marriage.

In 1873,. Rev. S. K. Stothert, who had been a Chaplain in the Crimean War was appointed as Rector of Ordsall by the 2nd Baron Wharncliffe, who was created an Earl soon afterwards. In 1897, the 1st Earl of Wharncliffe appointed Rev. S. W. Stott as Rector, at Bishop Ridding's request. Eventually Mrs. Stott bought the Patronage from the 2nd Earl, and so had the right to appoint Rev. R. D. Foster in 1908. Last year the Church Council managed to purchase the Advowson from Mrs. Stott and present it to the Bishop of Southwell, and this transfer was confirmed by Order in Council on 21st Feb., 1935. Thus the long line of Patrons since Sir Hugo de Hercy in 1302, is brought to an end, and the living will remain for all time the Gift of the Bishops of Southwell.

Vestry Minute Books.

In ancient days the Easter Vestry was a very important meeting in the parish. The election of Wardens took place then, and all ratepayers could attend the meeting. The Church Accounts for the year were presented; Overseers of the Poor and Overseers of the Highways were also appointed, and assessors and collectors of taxes. The Churchwardens and Vestry could levy a Church Rate, and this was done every year. A special rate for the repair and maintenance of highways was also levied each year by the Vestry Meeting. The Village Constable was another official elected by a special meeting of the Vestry. Actually, the Constable and Overseers had nothing to do with the Church, but were Parish Officials, and often their election took place at the same time, as it was a convenient meeting of all the ratepayers. The Overseers, Constable, and Churchwardens all kept separate account books, and these were presented  annually for approval by the Vestry. Some parishes, such as Hayton, Gamston, North Wheatley, and East Drayton have very complete accounts. In some cases the books are still in existence, and are records of parish life for the last 200 years, but we do not often find accounts before 1700, except in large town Churches. In places where there were no Mayors or Bailiffs and Aldermen, the Vestry practically ruled the town until 1835, when the Municipal Corporation Act was passed. In villages these officials carried on the whole business of the parish, and they were not always popular if they did their duty well.

Unfortunately, the early accounts for Ordsall are lost. Until 1831, Churchwardens kept their accounts in the same book as the Overseers, but in that year they decided to have a separate minute and account book. This decision arose out of a previous resolution to put new pews in the Church and move the old rood screen to the west end by the tower. Evidently the "Wardens thought there was much to be done and a good deal of money would have to be raised. This Churchwardens' Account Book (1831-1900) we still possess, although it accidently journeyed into Gloucestershire for about twelve years with the Rev R. D.Foster's other possessions, and he only recently discovered it and sent it back again.

"We shall give extracts from these books, which are interesting, and quote here an extract from the first meeting held on October 20th, 1831, to examine and pass the Wardens' accounts. The meeting found that "Some of the charges were considered as somewhat exaggerated, but in consideration of the irregularities which appear to have existed all were allowed"!!


  1.  That the Clerk's salary should from henceforth be £7 a year, including the washing of the surplice, and every other expense.
  2.  That the sum of three guineas shall be annually allowed to the Churchwardens for their expenses at the two Visitations.
  3. That the sum of four pounds shall be allowed annually to the Churchwardens to expend on a supper for the singers.

The amount of the account till Lady Day, 1831, is £105/4/3 disbursed, £105/1/2 received. Examined and approved by Wm. Bury, Curate; Wm. Roberts, John Cooke, late Churchwardens; John Kippax, J. Roberts, Thomas Bedford, Thos. Swinburn, present Churchwardens; Edwd. Fowe.

In former days the year did not end until March 25th (Lady Day), and accounts were therefore presented then. In old Church books and registers the date of the year was not altered until after this dray, and we have to remember this when giving dates out of old books. In 1752 this was altered, and the Civil year in British Dominions began on January 1st. Another great change in the calendar took place in 1752, when 11 days were omitted and September 3rd became September 14th in that year. For this reason we often find villages keeping their Feasts and Fairs eleven days wrong, because the people refused to change their parish calendars and kept to the old dates from year to year.

We also have a Vestry Minute Book which begins with the Overseers of the Highways Accounts for 1835. These accounts are only given for five years, and after 1840 the book simply contains records of the Vestry Meetings held for various purposes. This book has on the front page a note about an apprentice, "Henry Pashley served his time with Mr. Stevin, Joiner, North Parade, Sheffield, but was never bound." The Overseers Account for 1834 was presented by Robert Lindley and John Cook, and signed by Wm. Roberts, W. Jackson, and Steph. Hemsworth. These accounts had to be approved by a local magistrate or Justice of the Peace and allowed by James Lee, of Retford, on Dec. 19th, 1835.

The Vestry Book.

Another old Minute Book is in the Church; it contains a record of the Vestry Meetings at Ordsall since 1835, and it is still brought out every Easter. So it has now completed a century and has become a historic book. As we have mentioned before, there were three sets of accounts to be presented to the Annual Vestry Meeting— the Overseers of the Poor, the Highways, and the Churchwardens. Sometimes the Constable presented separate accounts too. The Vestry Book contains the accounts of the Overseers of Highways, which are set out in detail, 1835-1841.

The first Overseers were Robert Lindley and John Cook. Poor people were set to work on the roads when there was not much work on the land, and stones and gravel were put down. We give some of the items:—

Oct. 11.

Mr. Cook, 20 ton stones





Wm. Steel, 4 days.





Richard Morris, 4 days





Charles Lane, 2 days




Feb. 7.

Mr. Cresswell, Composition for Turnpike





[This was evidently some agreement that the main road should be kept in order by some other Authority.]




Sep. 26.

Mr. Marsh, Competition for Worksop Road









Balance of last year





Received by Lanes Letting





By 1/- Rate




Total received      




[So there was a deficit of £11 that year. The accounts had to be submitted to the Local Magistrate, and were signed by James Lee.]












Jan. 29.

D. Salvin, for writing guide posts



July 30.

Pd. for ale for masons at the Mill Bridge





Six men working at the Mill Bridge, 4 days each at 2/6





[These were presumably skilled bricklayers]




Aug. 10.

Paid at the Toll Bar when leading bricks





[This was the Toll Gate on Gt. North Road at Whitehouses or else at Babworth Corner]




Jan. 21.

Paid for ale when cleaning the river





[The charge for ale appears at intervals and seems to have been a necessity whenever important work was to be done.]





April 4.

A Vestry Meeting 





[Later in the account for this month there is a note that 7/6 of this charge was for Vestry Ale. Probably the meetings were well attended in those days.] In this year the Rev. F. O. Morris took the Chair for the first time. He was Curate in charge of Ordsall, and became a famous authority on British birds; he was afterwards Rector of Nunburnholme in Yorkshire.





Jan. 6.

It was resolved that the large hole in the river against the paper mill caused by the late rains be filled up with lime stone.

The Rev. Thomas King was appointed Rector this year, and came to live in the Rectory himself. The Wardens accounts had not been passed for two years.


Dec.1. 1845

It was resolved that the salary paid to Stephen Hemsworth, as Clerk, be £7; for ringing the bell, £2; for washing the surplices, 10/-.

That a rate of 3d. in the pound be allowed for the expenses of the Churchwardens.


Mar. 27.

The following were appointed:—
Churchwardens—Robert Lindley and John Cook.



Overseers of the Poor—Charles Thorold and George Townrow.



Overseers of Highways—Robt. Lindley and Thomas Nelson.



Collectors of Taxes—Mr. Roberts and Mr. Swinburne.





April 14. 1849

Resolution agreed that the Parish Accounts appear to be so mysterious that no clear understanding can be come to!

Later on "the same mysterious accounts were brought forward respecting Church and Highways, and the same persons present." Apparently the matter was cleared up later and James Blagg was ordered to collect rates and pay accounts in future after sanction by the Vestry.


April 12.

£2allowed to J. Blagg for the excellent way in which he does the parish business.


July 6.

A new County Rate declared for the first time.


Oct. 18.

Plans and estimates considered for the bridge over the Idle.


1850 April 4.

Mr. P. Lindley and John Christopher Payne appointed Churchwardens. [There is a memorial window to the latter in the North Aisle; he went to Florida and died there]


Juno 27.

Valuation of rates of the two railways recently made through the parish.





April 13.

Meeting to consider the offer of the Retford Corporation to make a joint drainage system near the steam mill. Brick-kiln Lane with Coach Road and Goosemoor Lane were let to Thomas Bunting for 35/-; Dunham Lane to G. Cole at 14/-; Marsh Lane and Common to T. Kirk at 10/-; Retford Lane and Biggins Lane to W. Jackson at 12/-; Breck Lane to J. Cook at 5/-





April 6.

The list of persons receiving dole from White House rent was exhibited. [This was the small field left for a charity, which has already been referred to]


Feb. 24.

William Lambert appointed Constable at a salary of £2.


April 26.

Thomas White appointed Pinder, and is to receive 10/- at Easter, 1860, if he does the work to the satisfaction of the Parish.





Jan. 11.

It was decided to sell to the Ordsall



School Board the cottage and garden. No. 208 on the map, and that the Guardians of the Poor be requested to apply for consent to the sale. [This was one of the old Workhouse Cottages]


March 6.

It is the opinion of this meeting that the Ordsall Bridge over River Idle just repaired, is considered safe for a year or so. The Rev. B. Barrett, Curate, took the chair.


Dec. 19.

The Rev. S. K. Stothert appears as Eector for the first time, and it was decided to apply to the Bishop for a Faculty to amend, enlarge and repair the Parish Church.



Complaints were made by the Vestry on the state of the level crossings of the M. S. & L. R. at Ordsall and Thrumpton.


Aug. 19.

A bridge or subway at Thrumpton crossing was considered absolutely necessary for the children attending the Board School.


March 2.

The question of the Parish "Well was mentioned, but nothing was decided. Mr. Jones suggested it should be sold if any one would buy.


Mar. 24.

To take into consideration the question of selling the two cottages in Ordsall Street, the property of the Parish, now in the occupation of Theaker and Morris. [We have already referred to these old cottages at the top of High Street.] It was also decided to sell the Parish Pound [which was used for keeping stray animals and stood in the garden attached to the end house. The cottages were for the old people of the parish]



St. Thomas Day—A list is given of those who 1887 received the dole or charity.


April 7. 1892

It was reported the population was now over 3,000.


April 21.

An interesting exposition was made by Mr. Lazenby on the Bell question. It was decided that the order for the new bells should be given to Taylor, of Loughborough.


July 13.

Rev. Dr. Stott meets the Vestry for for the first time as Rector.