THE MANOR HOUSE, SCROOBY. Home of William Brewster, one of the Pilgrim Fathers.
THE MANOR HOUSE, SCROOBY. Home of William Brewster, one of the Pilgrim Fathers.

Scrooby is one of the famous villages of England, and should on no account be left unvisited. Its principal attraction is its connection with the Pilgrim Fathers, but it was an important place for centuries before. It was one of the seats of the archbishops of York, whose palace was at one time the glory of Scrooby. Leland has a full account of the "great manor place standinge withyn a mote, and longging to the archbishop of York." In the seventeenth century, it was still a great place; but in 1854, its ruinous condition was thus described.

A portion of the building of the inner court is still standing. . . . . It is beautifully overspread with ivy in front. . . . The archbishop's private chapel still remains. In a small garden stands a mulberry tree, said to be one planted by Cardinal Wolsey, which still bears fruit.

Fifty years have made a difference. The moat still exists, nearly three-quarters of a mile in circumference, bounded on the north by the river Ryton. Within its area are a pear tree and a yew which were contained in the palace grounds. The mulberry tree is dead and gone. Some of the carved oak beams and rafters were used in the construction of the stables of the manor house close by and may still be seen there; but no buildings—in ruins or otherwise—remain.

At this palace, the bridal cavalcade of Margaret Tudor rested one night, and Cardinal Wolsey, of course, occasionally resided there. Indeed, to Scrooby he retired when he fell into disgrace with the king. The palace was the hunting seat of Archbishop Savage, the chivalrous defender of Lady Jane Grey. Here, too, Dr. Edwin Sandys spent many happy days from 1576 to 1588.

The principal reminders of the Pilgrim Fathers are the dwellings of their leaders which exist almost entire, namely, the Manor House of Scrooby, where lived William Brewster the Elder, (d. 1644), who farmed under Archbishop Sandys and attended to his horses as postmaster; and the house of William Bradford at Austerfield, three miles from Scrooby. Bradford (d. 1657) was the second governor of the colony in New England and its subsequent historian. The community of Brownists or Separatists to which they belonged had three meeting places in the district—the Old Hall, Gainsborough, Brewster's House at Scrooby and Bradford's at Austerfield. Their ministers included amongst others, the Rev. John Robinson, who visited, if indeed he did not at times reside, at Scrooby and Austerfield, the Rev. John Smyth, and the Rev. Richard Clyfton, sometime rector of Babworth. In 1891 a delegation of three hundred Americans visited Scrooby and Austerfield. One result of the visit was a gift of £1,000 from the Congregational churches of America towards the building of the John Robinson Memorial Church at Gainsborough.

THE PARISH CHURCH OF SCROOBY. Interesting because some of the New England emigrants were accustomed to worship here.
THE PARISH CHURCH OF SCROOBY. Interesting because some of the New England emigrants were accustomed to worship here.

The parish church (key at the post office) consists of nave and south aisle, chancel, porch and a tower decorated with pinnacles, from which springs a low, plain spire. Apart from its architectural features, it is interesting from the fact that some at least of the company of New England emigrants worshipped there. Two of the three bells bear date 1411 and 1511 respectively, and must have been heard by the emigrants from their childhood upwards. In the church are three ancient oak benches, with carvings of fruit and leaves, said to have been occupied by Brewster and his family. The communion table, also of oak, is of the same or an earlier period. At the last restoration a flagstone to the memory of one of the Bradfords was built into the wall and so preserved. It is much to be regretted that some of the church fittings, including the ancient font, have been disposed of at various times to Americans. The village stocks were also parted with—by consent of the parishioners—to the shrewd, far-seeing descendants of New England settlers.

The fine old village of Sturton-le-Steeple, sometimes called Sturton-in-the-Clay, has a station on the Great Central Railway. The manor was held by the Darcys from the time of Edward III. to the Dissolution, when Thomas, Lord Darcy, was accused of being a leader in the great northern rebellion known as the Pilgrimage of Grace, and lost his head on Tower Hill. Sturton gave birth to one of the Elizabethan naval heroes—Captain Robert Fenton, who was pilot on the Lord High Admiral's ship, in the fight with the Armada. He had previously accompanied Martin Frobisher on his voyage for the discovery of the North West Passage, and was considered one of the bravest and most skilful seamen in the navy.

The church was almost entirely destroyed by fire in 1901. In the re-building, the previous features were carefully reproduced, including the pre-Reformation screens and stalls and a clerestory which had been omitted from an earlier restoration.


There are four railway stations at Tuxford, Great Northern, Great Northern Dukeries, Great Central (Egmanton Road), and Great Central Dukeries. The direct connection with Retford is by Great Northern. In coaching days, Tuxford was a famous posting-stage, and it is mentioned in the Heart of Midlothian. It is the centre of an agricultural district, has a fortnightly cattle market, a yearly fair, and an annual meeting for sports and horse-racing. The population has increased considerably of late, owing to railway and other developments, so that Tuxford has grown to be a prosperous little town. It is one of the chief points of approach to the Dukeries.

Margaret Tudor in her bridal procession passed through Tuxford. In 1645, came King Charles, after his defeat at Naseby, and shortly before his surrender at Newark. In 1702, a considerable part of the town was destroyed by fire. The Rebellion of '45 was commemorated until recentty, by a stone on the side of the road, three-quarters of a mile from the town, which bore the words, "Here lieth the body of a rebel."

The parish church of St. Nicholas dates from 1495, and has recently undergone complete restoration. It consists of nave with aisles, chancel, porch, and an embattled western tower with spire. There is an ancient screen of six panels with elaborate tracery, and a holy water basin which was discovered during the restoration. At the east end of the south aisle, within a canopied niche, is a representation of the martyrdom of St. Laurence. There are many interesting monuments.


Retford is on the Great North Road and is about 146 miles from London. Distances: Bawtry, 9 miles;

Blyth, 6¼ miles; Carlton, 13¼ miles; Chesterfield, 23¾ miles ; Doncaster, 17¾ miles ; Gainsborough, 11 miles;

Grantham, 34¾ miles; Long Bennington, 26½ miles;

Newark, 19¾ miles ; Rotherham, 2o¼ miles; Tuxford, 7 miles ; Worksop, 8¾ miles.

Local Auto. Club: Nottinghamshire A.C., Hon. Sec., Booth Granger, Esq., 12 Beastmarket Hill, Market Place, Nottingham.

Motor Union Correspondent: Booth Granger, Esq., 12 Beastmarket Hill, Market Place, Nottingham.

Motor Union Solicitors: Arthur Barlow, 1 High Pavement, Nottingham; Charles E. Welles Lucas, 8 St. Peter's Church Walk, Nottingham.

Hotels: White Hart, Retford; Ye Olde Bell, Barnby Moor.

Garage: C. Clark, The Retford Motor Garage, 48 Bridgegate; Ye Olde Bell, Barnby Moor.

Repairs: C. Clark, 48 Bridgegate.

Petrol: C. Clark, 48 Bridgegate; T. Walker, Retford; Ye Olde Bell, Barnby Moor.

General Condition of Roads: Very good.

Tram Lines in the Neighbourhood: At Chesterfield, Mansfield, Nottingham, Rotherham, and Doncaster.

How Speed Limit is Enforced: The 20 miles statutory limit is reduced in Retford to 10 miles (strictly enforced).

Road, Bridge, and Ferry Tolls: At Selby (West Riding, Yorks.) 8d. each way; at Gainsborough is. 8d. "(including return same day); at Dunham, 2s. (including return same day). No toll-bars. Little-borough ferry closed.