Ecclesiastical history of the parish

Rolleston church, 1931.

THE Parish Church of Rolleston is dedicated to the Holy Trinity, though it is curious to notice that Thoroton in his "History of Nottinghamshire," published in 1677, attributed it to St. Wilfred.

It seems certain that a church of some sort existed here in Saxon times, for not only does the Domesday Book of 1086 state that at Rolleston there was a priest and a church, but about 1895, when part of the present church was being restored, some fragments of a Saxon cross-shaft were found, full descriptions of which are given later.

The next information comes from the White Book of Southwell. There we find record of Henry, son of Thomas de Rolleston, giving the patronage and avowson of the church to the Prior and Convent of Thurgarton. This entry is undated, but the Augustinian Priory of Thurgarton was founded in 1187 by Ralph d' Eyncourt, so it must have been after that time; possibly it was in 1220, for in that year Henry de Rolleston claimed the advowson of the church of Rolleston versus the Prior of Thurgarton, so that it would seem that there might have been something of a dispute, eventually settled by Henry consenting to voluntarily hand over any claim which he considered himself to have, or it may have been that the action was a sham one in order to establish title—such being a frequent ruse.

In 1221 the Church of Rolleston was transferred by the Prior and Convent of Thurgarton to the Archbishop of York for the purpose of augmenting the income of the resident Canons of Southwell, and the letter of Walter de Gray, then Archbishop of York, granting the church to Southwell for this purpose is dated 1225.

There would be a house for the priest to live in, and attached to it a garden and glebe, the latter for growing corn. The tithes of the parish would also be allotted to the priest. When the advowson was handed to Thurgarton, the Priory would appoint themselves rectors and take the tithes and send one of their Canons to take care of the parish, or else put in a curate or vicar to do so. When the advowson was transferred to Southwell, they would likewise appoint themselves, namely the Chapter, rectors, and then take the tithes and appoint one of their vicars choral to serve the church. This state of affairs continued until 1848 when the funds of Southwell were taken by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners for the purpose of augmenting poor livings.

We here give a list of the vicars and priests of Rolleston so far as is known, compiled chiefly from the Southwell Records, together with any notes of special interest concerning them, or contemporary occurrences, in chronological order.

1258 (about)—Hugh. A "Hugh vicar of the church of Rolleston " is mentioned in the Assize Rolls in 1272 also, concerning a dispute over some land in Rolleston.

(Undated)—Benedict, parson of Rolleston.

1328—"Hugonus vicarius" appears in a list of names for a tax or levy of some kind in "Roldeston cum Starthorpe.''

The following appears in the Inquisiones Nonarum in 1324 —

"They say that the church of Roldeston which belongs to the canons of Southwell is taxed 20 marcs & the nonae of the sheaves, lambs, & fleeces are worth per annum 14 marcs 3s. & 4d. &no more, that the land and meadow belonging to the said church are worth per annum 13s. 4d. & the tithe of the hay is worth per annum 40s. & the alteragium is worth per annum 23s. 4d." (a marc was equal to about 13/4).

At some time between the years 1389-1401 we have the following, though it is not known whether the chaplain mentioned was that of Rolleston or not:—"Robert de Dalston chaplain, taken for this that he.................... at Rolston feloniously stole 13s. 4d. in numbered money from the goods and chattels of William Symond of Rolston. The Jurors say that in nothing is he guilty."

1398.—Hugh de lanum." "Geoffrey servant of William Clerk of Roldeston taken for this that he feloniously stole 12 sheep value 12 shillings of the goods and chattels of Hugh de lanum chaplain at Roldeston the Munday next before the feast of St. Martin Bishop the 21st year of the reign of King Richard II, whereof he was indicted before Robert de Morton sheriff of the said county."

1487.—William Grene. By his will dated the 20th May, 1487, his body is to be buried in the choir of the church of Rolleston before the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary of pity, and he leaves 20/- to the fabric of Rolleston Church and the same to Barnburgh (Yorks.) church, etc.

(Undated).—Richard Cooper.

1488.—Thomas Gree, presented 11th Sept. on resignation of Cooper.

1502.—William Leys, presented 7th July on resignation of Gree.

(Undated).—Thomas Butterfield. Extract from Valor Ecclesiasticus, Henry VIII.—"Rolston Vicaria. Thomas Butterfield vicare there. Havinge a mansion wt glebe land and medowe thereto belonginge of the yerely value of xxs. tithes at Eastr iijl. iijs. woolle and lambe iiijl piggs geyse & chickens viijs. tithe eggs xvd. holybrede sylver vs. vjd. quyet rent iiijs. vd. hempe and flaxe vjs. tiethe of the water xijd. tiethe of the osyers xijd. and two offreing daies xxs.—Sum[m]a valoris xl. xjs. ijd. Whereof paied to the archebishoppe of York for synage iijs. and to th' archedeacon of Nott, for p'curacons vijs. and so remayneth clere £10—xiiijd. Xma inde xxs.—jd. ob'."

Also there is the following, though there seems to be some mistake in the name:—"On Aug. 20th, 1521, John Butterfeld, vicar of the parish church of Rolleston, already lawfully cited, preconized & long waited for, but never appearing, is declared contumacious, and in punishment of his contumaciousness is suspended from entering the church." A brass plate to his memory is to be found on the back of the chancel screen, as follows—"Hic jacet dominus Thomas Butterfeled quondam vicarius istius ecclesiae Rollyston A° dni m° cccccbo xxx° v° cujus animae propitietur deus."

1535.—Nicholas Palmer, presented 17th July on the death of Butterfield. Deprived.

In the time of Edward VI "The Parishe churche of Roleston ys worthe in a parcell of lande there lying Graunted for the mayntayning of a light or lamp for ever there by yere iiid."

The war memorial
The War memorial.

In the 16th century great changes were made in England, amongst them the visitation of churches for the removal,  by royal injunction, of various ornaments, pictures, crosses, robes, etc., and in Sept. 1552 the Commissioners for removing such ornaments visited Rolleston, and the following were confiscated to the King (Edward VI.) :—

" fyrst a vestment of Rede Dimytye
Item one ode[r] (i.e. "other ") whyte vestment
Item one coope of black sulke
Item one auter clothe
Item ii Laten (i.e. brass) candelstickes
Item one crosse of copper
Item iii belles in the steple
Item one sacring belle & one hond belle (i.e sanctus bell & hand bell)
Item on[e] chales sylver & not gylte
Item on[e] surplesse & one rochette."

1554.—John Thomson. Died. Patrons the Assignees of the Chapter.

1556.—William Munton. Died. Patrons, Philip & Mary.

1556.—Stephen Welles. Resigned. Patrons, the same.

1557.—William Assheley. Died. Patrons, the same.

1557.—Thomas Lutherington. Died. Patrons, the same. This is the first vicar whose name appears in the existing Church Registers, being there spelt "Loderington,'' the entry being his burial on Jan. 4th, 1571.

Apparently during the reign of Queen Mary, she and her husband, Philip, assumed the patronage, for the first appointment after the death of Mary is made by the Southwell Chapter again. Queen Mary would naturally appoint Roman Catholics. After her death Lutherington would not be ejected so long as he took an oath of allegiance and conformed to the rulings of the Archbishop.

On 22 April 1569 the advowson of Rolleston was leased to Sir William Mering, Thomas Mering, Gent., and Stephen Mather, yeoman, for the next vacancy.

1571.—Roger Martin, presented 15 Jan. on the death of Lutherington.

1582.—Thomas Wilson, presented 23 Nov. on the death of Martin.

1583.—Robert Leband, B.A., inducted 16 April. This vicar is worthy of special notice, for it is chiefly owing to his unusual notes and comments written in it that we owe the fact that the existing part of the original paper Register is one of the most interesting Registers in England, as will be explained, and some extracts given later. Robert Leband was inducted into this living at 29 years of age. A note in the Register states that he was buried July 15th, 1626, having been drowned between Rolleston and Upton by falling off a bridge into a ditch, which was then named after him, and probably since corrupted into the name of "Long Bank." He was therefore 72 years old when he died, and was vicar of Rolleston 43 years. His will, proved 16th July, 1627, states that he was to be buried in the chancel near the south wall. Patron, the Farmer of the Rectory.

1626.—Francis Withington, M.A. Resigned 1642.

1643.—Daniel Harding. During the Commonwealth Harding was expelled, and Thomas Ogle, M.A., of St. John's College, Cambridge, a Congregationalist, was put in, but was ejected in Aug. 1662, being one of those who at the time of Monmouth's rising were taken prisoners at Chester. Daniel Harding then came into his own again. He died in 1681.

1682.—Samuel Leeke, presented nth May on the death of Harding.

1687.—John Twentiman, presented 12th May. This vicar is also worthy of note for his interesting entries of various kinds in the Registers, and for his unusually good handwriting. A tablet to his memory is situated at the west end of the south aisle. Buried Nov. 15th, 1706.

1706.—William Benson, presented 23rd Jan, Died 10th Sept., 1717.

1717.—Hollis Pigot, presented 24th Oct. on the death of Benson. Buried 2ist Aug., 1727.

1727.—John Abson, presented 19th Oct. on the death of Pigot. Buried April, 1749.

1749.—Hugh Thomas, presented 20th July on the death of Abson. Resigned.

1750.—Lynford Caryl, presented 24th Jan. on the cession of Thomas.

1752.—Claudius Daubuz, presented 23rd April on the cession of Caryl,

1752.—Childers Twentiman, presented 19thOct. on the cession of Daubuz.

1759—John Laverack, presented 18th Oct. on the cession of Twentiman.

1768.—John Holmes, presented 21ist April on the cession of Laverack.

1779.—William Leybourne, presented 21st Oct.

1784. —Richard Barrow, presented 22nd April on the death of Leybourne.

1785.—Charles Fowler, presented 21st April.

1840.—Thomas Still Basnett, presented 23rd April on the death of Fowler.

1841.—Robert Hodgson Fowler, presented 22nd July on the cession of Basnett. The son of this vicar, also named Hodgson Fowler, was architect for the Dean & Chapter of Durham Cathedral, and it was he who gave his services as architect when the north aisle and ceiling of Rolleston church were restored. A stained glass window in memory of this vicar was inserted in the north side of the chancel.

1858.—John Ash Gaussen M.A., presented nth Feb. on the death of R. H. Fowler.

1865. Frederick Drummond Hay B.A, presented nth Mar. on the cession of J. A. Gaussen.

1886.—Joseph John Merry, presented 9th Dec, on the cession of F. D. Hay.

1891.—George Dent Wharam, presented 1st May on the resignation of J. J. Merry.

1896.—John Bedford M.A., presented 29thOct. on the cession of G. D. Wharam. A brass plate to his memory is situated on the south wall of the chancel.

1899.—Edward Salter Longhurst M.A., presented I7th Mar., on the death of J. Bedford.


"A true & perfect Terrier of the Buildings, Glebe Lands, Tythes, & other profits belonging to the Vicarage of Rolston in the County of Nottingham as delivered in at the Primary Visitation of the most Reverend Father in God, Robert by Divine Providence Lord Archbishop of York, Primate of England & Metropolitan, holden at Newark on Wednesday the second of May, one thousand seven hundred & sixty four.

Imprimis. The Vicarage House (the Walls part Brick,
part Mud, the whole covered with Thatch) contains four
Rooms on a Floor, the Floors are Brick and Plaister except
the Floor of the Parlour & Chamber over it which are both
boarded. One Barn containing two Bays, & a small stable :
the Walls are of Mud & covered with Thatch. A Yard &
Garden containing by Estimation half an Acre..............

The Profits arising from Fiskerton in the Parish of Rolston.

Imprimis. The Tythes of Tofts & Crofts in kind......... The

Tythe of Wool, Lamb, Geese, Ducks, Chickens, & Eggs, which last are paid on Good-Fryday, Pidgeons paid in kind. Pelts a half penny, Pigs, Apples & all other small Tythes.

Easter Offerings, viz., two pence for every Communicant :
Every House three pence half penny. New bear Cows two
pence, Stropper three half pence, Calf sixpence, Foal one
penny, Swarm of Bees one penny. Drape one penny, Sheep &
Beasts bought & sold, if kept one Month in the Parish, one
penny each............

Furniture of the Church. Four Bells, a Clock, a Font, a Poors Box, a Chest, a Communion Table with a Green Cloth upon it, a Linen Table-Cloth & Napkin used at the Communion, a large pewter Tankard and Plate, a Silver Cup, a Silver Salver with this Inscription "Ex dono Hanh the Relct of the Rev. Mr. Ben. Cooper, & Daughter of the Rev. Mr. John Twentyman once Vicar of this Church," a Surplice, Pulpit Cloth, & Cushion, a Table of the Prohibited Degrees of Marriage, a Folio Bible, two Folio Common Prayer Books, & a Book of Homilies.

The Church is Repaired by the Parishioners, the Chancel by the Rt. Honourable Lord George Sutton. The Churchyard Fences are repaired by the Parishioners, each person

repairing such part as belongs to his House or Farm............ "

Regarding the latter, a long and detailed list appears in one of the old Minute Books.