BEFORE the Norman invasion, the greatest part of Babworth (then pronounced Babvrde) was the property of Earl Tosti, and belonged to the king’s manor of Bodmeschell, paying the tax for six and a half bovats of land. Ulmer also held here two and a half borate, but Roger de Busli procured the whole of it from the Norman Conqueror, and delivered it by feudal tenure to Goisfrid; in Doomsday book it is certified to be one carucate and a half, with a boarder; pasture wood two quarents long, and one broad, which in the Confessor’s time was valued at 40s. but in the Conqueror’s, only at 10s. The following is the entry referred to

Doomsday Book entry for Babworth

For what period Goisfrid held it we are not informed, but in 1316, (according to Nomina Villarum,) the Earl of Lancaster, and Robert de Saundeby, are certified to have been the lords of it, and possessed the greatest part of the parish; but the portion of the Saundbys had been in their family for several years previous: some time after the old feeoffment belonging to the Earl of Lancaster was purchased by Sir William de Grendon, who also held other property, about thirty-five acres of land, &c. in this parish, of Robert de St. George, of Bothamsall, and for which he paid the sum of 3s. 4d. annually. In 1355, nearly the whole of Babworth became the property of Sir Thomas de Grendon, who sold it in 1868 to Sir William Trusbutt, at whose death it descended to Sir Robert, his son, but, who within two years of coming into possession, sold the manor with its appurtenances unto Sir Richard de Willoughby, of Wollaton; afterwards it became the property of the Earl of Shrewsbury and Lord Cavendish, and in the 18th century it was purchased by Sir Gervas Elwes, and lastly by John Simpson, Esq. in whose descendants the estate is vested.

The parish, which contains the hamlets of Great, and Little Morton, Morton Grange, and Ranby, contains nearly 6000 acres, of excellent forest land, mostly inclosed. The whole of the land in Babworth is the property of the Hon. J. B. Simpson, which he has in his own occupation, and upon which he has erected a steward’s house, and farming buildings, upon a large scale.

Babworth Hall, the seat of the Hon. John Bridgeman Simpson, (brother to the late Earl of Bradford,) is pleasantly situated on an eminence, a short distance from the Retford and Worksop road, about a mile and a quarter from the former place. Its vicinity contains some of the finest scenery in this part of the county, for which, it is, in a great measure, indebted to its present possessor, who, has lately increased the beauty and interest of the place by a fine piece of water, a swiss cottage, &c.

Near the church, is the charming little sequestered residence of the Rev. Archdeacon Eyre, the rector, in which, comfort and elegance are blended; and to whose worthy possessor, added to the kind patronage of the Simpson’s family, the parish is much indebted for its internal prosperity.


In 1295, the advowson of this church was the property of Robert de Swillington, who had free warren in Babworth, and at his death, in 1365, it descended to Sir Thomas de Grendon, who, shortly afterwards sold it to Sir William Trussbutt, and his heirs, but who, within three years after taking possession, presented it to the priory of Newstead, having first obtained the king’s license, and the license of Sir Thomas de Saundby, chief and mesne lord thereof, to do so. From this period until 1531, it remained in the possession of the said priory, when John Blake, the then prior, on the 4th of October in that year, for the sum of fifteen pounds, granted it, and one acre of land, to John Hercy, Esq. of Grove, and to his heirs; nevertheless, it appears that he only made one presentation, when it passed into other hands, and in 1674 became the property of the Wortleys, from whom it was purchased by John Simpson, Esq. in whose descendants the patronage is continued.

The church, which is dedicated to All Saints, is a small but handsome structure of stone, advantageously situated on a rising ground. It consists of tower steeple, with three bells, and clock, a nave and chancel uniform in their windows, height, and battlements, with a side aisle and vestry, and a handsome porch. The whole is of the later period of the Gothic architecture. The little burial plot which surrounds it, is considerably elevated, being connected with, or rather enclosed within the elegant pleasure grounds of the adjacent buildings; while the fine trees, aged and bowery, enhance materially the charming effect of the ivy-mantled tower.

The monumental inscriptions here retained, are not of an ancient date, but the following are deserving of record. In the front of the eastern window, which is of purple glass, divided into five compartments, is a very elegant monument from a design by Repton, having the following inscription.

Sacred to the memory of HENRIETTA FRANCES, the beloved wife of John Bridgeman Simpson Esq. whose grief for her early loss, can only be alleviated by the consciousness that for virtue like hers, the gates of the grave shall open unto life eternal! She died July 25th, 1791, aged 32.

On another, near the above, surmounted by an urn, and backed with a pyramid of mottled marble, is as follows.

Within the family vault of this church are deposited the remains of the REV. JOHN SIMPSON, late of Stoke Hall, in the county of Derby, who died the 5th day of April, in the year of our Lord, 1784, aged 85. Religion the most pure, learning the most profound, were his characteristics; every moral and social virtue he possessed and exercised in an eminent and amiable degree: he was honoured and beloved by all who knew him, so his death was universally lamented. Lady Bridgeman, his only surviving child, erects this monument in grateful remembrance of him. And also to the memory of her dear mother, who departed this life, in the year 1785, aged 75. She was the daughter of Thomas Stringer, Esq. of Deptford, in the county of Kent, and grandaughter of Admiral Benbow, of immortal memory.

Another beautiful mural tablet has the following,—

To the memory of JOHN SIMPSON, Esq. (son of William Simpson, Esq. late of this place,) who died February 5th, 1727, and in the 57th year of his age; this monument was erected by Elizabeth, his relict, daughter of Francis Stringer, Esq. late of Sutton upon Lound, in this county. They had issue, six sons William, Francis, John, Gervase, Thomas, and Lindley, and four daughters, Elizabeth, Mary, Jane, and Eleanor: of the sons, two lye buried near this place, Francis and Thomas; and of the daughters, one, Eleanor, the rest still survive. Underneath. ELIZABETH SIMPSON, relict of John Simpson, died the 8th February, 1746, aged 76, and was buried near the remains of her beloved husband, in the chancel of this church.

Another monument, surmounted with an urn, bearing the motto "Duo Juncta in Una," has the following inscription,

In this vault is interred CATHARINE SIMPSON, daughter of the Hon. and Rev. Henry Brydges, D.D. brother to James, first Duke of Chandois; she died justly lamented, 1st May, 1771. In testimony of his high and sincere regard for ‘her most amiable disposition and good heart, this monument was erected by her disconsolate widower, Lindley Simpson. Also in the same vault lie the remains of LINDLEY SIMPSON, of Babworth, Esq. who departed this life justly regretted, the 8th day of February, in the year of our Lord. 1785.

Another monument of white marble, in the form of a cone, surmounted by the arms, bears the following.

To the memory of WILLIAM SIMPSON, late of Stainforth, in the county of York, Esq. and FRANCES, his wife, daughter to John Elwick, Esq. formerly of the same place, and Widow of John Eyre, late of Bramley, in the county of York, Esq. This monument was erected by his own appointment. He departed this life at Stainforth, the 16th of January, 1768, aged 71. She died the 2nd of April, 1762, aged 63. They lived much regarded, and died much lamented. They had four children, who died in their infancy. He married for his second wife, Elizabeth Warrington, daughter of George Warrington, of Wrexham, in Derbyshire, Esq. by whom he had no issue. She survived him.

On another,

This monument was erected in 1759, in memory of the HON. ANNA MARIA VANE, by her affectionate husband. Near this monument are deposited this remains, MORGAN VANE., Esq. of Bilby, in this county, son of the Hon. Morgan Vane, obiit Nov. 11th, An. Dom. 1789, aetatis suae 51.

A small sarcophagus in the body of church, records the following,

Sacred to the memory of JOHN ROGERS, late of Ranby, in this parish, gent. whose remains lie interred near this place, he died the 2nd day of March, 1798, in the 58th year of his age, universally beloved and lamented.

A benefactional table informs us, that Lindley Simpson, Esq. left to the rector of Babworth, one canal share, to be applied in teaching the poor children of that place to read, and in the purchase of Old and New Testaments, and other good books.

A Catalogue of the Rectors of Babworth





14 Kal.Mar. 1295

Dms William de Grendon, Sub

Rob. de Swillington



Dms Thos. Pepyn, Pbr



17th May, 1350

Dms Will, de Borough, Cap

Hercy de Grendon


11th Oct. 1355

Dms Will. Dobynge de Burgh

Sir W. Trussbutt


2nd Decem. 1356

The same

Prior & Convent of Newstead


14th July, 1410

Dms Will, de Berneston

ij dem


24th April, 1411

Dms Burton



12th July, 1415

Dms Will, de Tenelby de Grove



30th Nov. 1417

Dms Will. Tuxford, Pbr



15th Sep. 1419

Dms John Large, de Keworth, Pbr



24th May, 1464

Dms Thos. Marjore, Pbr



4th Feb. 1487

Dms John Cotom



14th Feb. 1494

Dms Thos. Gunthorpe



1st July, 1536

Dms Will. Higden, B. A



19th Aug. 1557

Dms Nich. Pettynger, Cl.

Sir John Hercy



Dms Robt. Lelly, Cl.



11th July, 1586

Dms Richd. Clyfton, Cl.

Assig. of John Sydenham



Dms Richd. Chester, Cl



6th June, 1605

Dms George Turvin, Cl M. A.



14th Oct. 1617

Dms Thos. Bishop, Cl. M. A.

Martyn Taylor



Rev. Thos. Denny, Cl.



17th Aug. 1675

Rev. Charles Wilton, Cl. M. A.

Anna Worsley


9th April, 1700

Rev. Richd. Wilson




Rev. Wm. Justice

J. Simpson, Esq



Rev. Thos. Heald *

W Simpson Esq



Rev. Thos. Mellor




Rev. ——Wood

John Simpson,Clerk



Rev. John Eyre, M. A.

J. Simpson, Esq



Rev. Guy Fairfax




Rev. John Eyre, M. A.



This church is a rectory, and the patronage is vested in the Hon. J. B. Simpson. Incumbent, Rev. Archdeacon Eyre. It is valued in the king’s books at £14. 19s. 2d. and pays for tenths, £1. 9s. 11d, and for synodals, 7s. 6d.


The land in this hamlet, in the Conqueror’s time, was mostly waste, part of which belonged to the king’s manor of Bodmeschell (Bothamsall). Ranesby, and Sudershall, answered the tax for five bovats. The land was one caracute and a half, which was waste. There was also soke to Grove, belonging to time fee of Roger de Busli, amounting to half a bovat. Soke also in Eton, one bovat to be taxed. Ranby originally went along with Bilby, with which part of it is parished to Blythe, amid part of Ranby to Babworth.

Here, is the seat of the Duchess Dowager of Newcastle, lately purchased from H. Blaydes, Esq. who erected the front of the present mansion. The situation of the house is pleasant and agreeably romantic, and her Grace, who has resided here for some years, has made considerable improvements in the walks, pleasure grounds, &c. which has greatly enhanced the value of the property, and shed a degree of beauty around the place, not otherwise particularly prepossessing to the eye of an occasional visitor.

John Rogers, Esq. has also a good house and extensive farm in this hamlet. The high state of cultivation in which the land is kept, is highly creditable to Mr. Rogers, as a practical agriculturalist.

Formerly Ranby was considerably larger than it is at present: until about the middle of the eighteenth century, several ancient oak trees, commonly called "Ranby Oaks," stood in the parish, which were probably the only ones remaining in this part, of the famous oaks of Sherwood Forest. Now, however, the whole is in a high state of cultivation, or covered with thriving plantations of oak, larch, and other useful timber trees.


In Doomsday-book, this hamlet is called Northern Morton, which, before the conquest, was held by two Saxons, Alfrid and Lufchell, paying to the tax for two bovats. In the Confessor’s time it was valued at 16s. After the conquest, these two manors became the fee of Roger de Bush. Early in the thirteenth century, it was the property of the Vavasors, and after numerous changes, it now belongs to William Mason, Esq. and the Messrs. Kippax. Southern Moreton is the property of the Duke of Newcastle, and of the Hon. and Rev. John Lumley Savile.

* In June 1759, this gentleman was unfortunately drowned while bathing in St. John's well, in the parish of Clarbro'.