THE first mention which I have found of this place is in the reign of Edward the Confessor, about the year 1037, when it contained four manors, held by Osward, Turstaun, Oderic, and Thurstan, and they paid to the geld or public tax for four bovats (60 acres) of land.

The following is the entry in Doomsday book respecting Ordsall.

After the conquest, it became the property of Roger de Busli, and was acknowledged to have soke to the king’s manor of Dunham, of one bovat to be taxed. The land one caracute. There was also soke to Grove, of one bovat and a half to be taxed. The land one caracute. Of the Tayn land, held by Erwin, there was one bovat to be taxed, which was for four oxen. According to the above survey, the land here was chiefly waste, but afterwards, the tenants of Roger, had three caracutes (360 acres) of land, and five villains;—and two borders having two caracutes. There was also sixteen acres of meadow land; and pasture and wood land one mile long, and half a mile broad, which, in Edward the Confessor’s time, was valued at 28s. but in the Conqueror’s time, only at 24s.

Early in the thirteenth century, the greatest portion of Ordsall became the property of the Hercys of Grove, part of which had previously been held by Mauvesinus de Hercy, of Robert de St. George, of Bodmesehell (Bothamsall,) to the amount of 30 acres, for which he paid the sum of 5s. 4d. annually. After the disposition of Sir John Hercy’s property, this part of the estate came to Francis Mackworth, Esq. who had married Ellen, his seventh sister, whose son on coming to the property, disposed of it to —— Bevercotes, Esq. a barrister at law, in York, at whose decease it descended to Thomas Cornwallis, Esq. who had married his daughter; Mr. Cornwallis shortly after sold it to the Countess of Devonshire, who settled it upon Sir Edward Wortley, her eldest son; it is now, for the most part, the property of the Hon. J. B. Simpson, and of the Messrs. Kippax.

In the year 1290, Robert de Bakere of Retford, brought an action against Hugh de Hercy, Esq. of Grove, because he had prevented him from fishing in the Iddell of Ordsall; when the jury found that "all who hold lands abutting on that water have a right to fish in it at their pleasure unto the threed of the water." Verdict for the plaintiff.

The village of Ordsall is situate in the Hatfield division, of the hundred of Bassetlaw, about a mile to the south-west of Retford, and half a mile from the line of the North Road. The north-west approach to it may boast a considerable share of rural beauty on this side, the church may be seen, slightly shaded by the trees and shrubs, from which, at a distance, it appears to rise. The village itself, however, cannot be called pleasant, the houses being generally old and extremely irregular, and the road through it hollow, and in some places dangerous; but the parish, which comprehends the hamlets of Thrumpton and Whitehouses, has been very considerably improved by the erection of several respectable houses,—the gardens too, being pleasantly situated and tastefully laid out, give a very pleasing appearance to the neighbourhood.

The rectory house is very spacious, and from its choice situation, is calculated to afford a comfortable residence for those appointed to minister to the spiritual wants of the parishioners. Amongst others, may be mentioned. the mansion of John Kippax, Esq. at the Elms, to the west of the North Road; this is pleasantly situated, and although the views cannot boast of being extensive, yet they are far from being devoid of interest. Nearer the precincts of the town of Retford, on a slight declivity, stands a neat house, built by the late Mr. Alderman Ginnever; the ground in front is tastefully decorated with shrubs and evergreens. The next deserving of notice, is the house recently erected by George Kippax, Esq. its bold and commanding situation renders it a very prominent object, and the picturesque scenery which displays itself in every direction, may be said to make it a very desirable residence. The hamlet of THRUMPTON has undergone several improvements within the last few years, and to a person unacquainted with its limits, it would be supposed to form part of East Retford. Mr. Roberts possessed a snug and comfortable cottage here, which has a cheerful, light, and airy appearance, but the lowness of the site on which it is erected, prevents its appearing to advantage, WHITEHOUSES, which takes its name from two very ancient white cottages which time is rapidly devouring, is situate on the North Road, one mile south of Retford, and contains besides an inn, two or three tolerably good houses,


This edifice, in its exterior appearance, is neat and somewhat antiquated; the tower is considerably more modern than the body, but there are no records to my knowledge, at present in existence, to show the positive date of either. It is quite certain, however, that it was founded about the middle of the thirteenth century. At that period, the principal part of Ordsall was the property of the Hercys, of Grove, to whom the advowson of this church belonged; in this family the patronage continued until the death of Sir John Hercy in 1570, when his immense property was divided amongst his eight surviving sisters, the Ordsall estate was given to Francis Mackworth, Esq. of Empingham, in Rutlandshire, who had married Ellen, the seventh sister, but the advowson became the property of George Neville, Esq., who, at the same time came to the estate at Grove, by marrying Barbara, the fifth sister; afterwards the living came to Thomas Cornwallis, Esq., who sold it to Lady Wortley; who finally settled it along with the, ancient estate, on her eldest son; it was disposed of some years afterwards, but the patronage of the living is still vested in the descendants of that family.

The interior of the church is in a very poor state of repair, more especially the pewing. It is greatly to be regretted that this should be the case, as the village is improving, and the living of a superior kind.

The tower, which is lofty and pinnacled, contains three bells, and previous to the year 1823, was in an excellent state of repair, at that time, however, it was struck by lightning, and towards the top sustained considerable damage; the south-east pinnacle was completely shattered to pieces; since then the damage has been repaired.

In the ecclesiastical history of this place, two very remarkable instances of persecution occur, which are particularly deserving of notice;—the first is the case of the Rev. William Denman, who, in the popish times of Queen Mary, appears to have sacrificed this living to his strong attachment to the protestant cause; afterwards, in the more tolerant reign of her successor, Queen Elizabeth, he was fully restored to his benefice, and died at a good old age, bequeathing to posterity an example of firmness and perseverance in the religion which he had embraced, well worthy of imitation. The other is the case of the Rev. Marmaduke Moore, also rector of this parish, whose paternal estate, on the 18th of November, 1652, was forfeited "for treason," and himself sequestrated from his living, "for the heinous and damnable offence of playing at cards, three several times, with his own wife!!!" a genuine specimen this of the principles (!) which actuated the Rump Parliament, during the fanatical and puritanical times of the commonwealth!

The monuments and monumental inscriptions are not numerous, nor, with one or two exceptions, are they particularly interesting. In the north aisle is an ancient mural monument, uncommonly beautified with whitewash; the upper part, which projects, is supported by pillars; in the centre of the tablet is the figure of a man kneeling, having a desk and book open before him; round his neck the broad ruff, much worn in the time of Queen Elizabeth; there is no inscription whatever to show for whom it was erected. Within the altar rails, on a brass plate, is the following.

Hic jacet Dms stephanus Coe in Artibus Magester qvondam Rector Istivus Ecciesia qvi aminam deo reddidit sexto Aprilis anno dm. 1614.

On the same floor stone, and nearly in the centre,

Here lyeth interd the body of the truly just and vertuous Robert Coe, at Ordsall, gent. who departed this life for a better, March the 23rd, in the year of our blessed Lord 1718, and in the 74th year of his age.

On another to the north is as follows,

"Quatis vitae fuus Ita," this is to the memory of the wife of the above.

Another on the north side of the chancel.

Johananes Pigot, A. M. Ecclesiae Cathedralis et Metropolitaniae Cantariae a sex Concionatoribus Ecciesiae Southwell Canonicus et hujus Ecc1esiae Rector obijt Aug. 21, A. D. 1727, annus natus. Elizabethae uxoris ejus cineres juxta sunt deposite obijt Jan. 4th, A. D. 17.8, 60 annus natae.

On a plate in the south aisle,

Here lyeth the body of JOHN JOHNSON, who died October 10th, 1680. and was buried November 1st, in the 43rd year of his age; he was the son of Stephen Johnson, of Ordsal1, and Anne his wife, and married Catharine, the daughter of Wm. Brownlow, of Ossington, by whom he had issue one son, Stephen, deceased, and one daughter Elizabeth surviving, aged 11 years. The memory of the just is blessed.

The following inscription to the memory of the Rev. William Denman, before mentioned, was formerly in the church, but I do not find it there at present.

Filius Armigeri mihi mater militi hoeres,
Nomine sum Denman, arte magister eram.
Pastorem Ordsalie Mariae regnante remotum
Restituit princeps Elizabetha gregi.
Continuo & feci caperet Retfordia fructus
Progredier si qui Religione student.
Pauperibus struxisse domos Ordsalia novit,
Mole sub hac tandem mortuus ecce cubo.
Mortuus! Ah fallor, vitam traduco beatus,
Terra cadaver habet, spiritus astra colit.

The most recent monuments are belonging to the family of the Masons, on one of which, is as follows.

Sacred to the memory of ANNE MASON, of Eaton, in this county, who was born the 10th March 1743 and died the 8th, January, 1795; and Catharine Mason, of Eaton, in this county, who was born the 6th, October, 1745, and died the 18th May, 1807; and George Mason, Esq. of Eaton, in this county, who was born the 18th, July, 1741, and died the 30th, June, 1800.

On another opposite to the above,

Sacred to the memory of WM. MASON, Esq. of Welham, who was born the 20th, January 1747, and died 21st, September. 1803. JANE, relict of William Mason, Esq. of Welham, born 28th, March, 1751, and died 12th, February, 1823.

In the south aisle is a table of benefactions, and a monument to the memory of Richard Brownlow, of Thrumpton; also of Mrs. Anne Turnell, his daughter.

The font is plain, and cannot boast of much antiquity.

The living is a rectory, in the gift of the Right Hon. Lord Wharncliffe; it was valued at £24 when Mr. Hercy was patron, ‘tis now valued in the king books £19. 10s. 7d. and pays for tenths, £1. 19s. 03/4d.; for synodals, 4s.; for first fruits, 7s. 6d.; and for procurations, 6s. 8d. Rector,—Rev. F. Foxlowe.

A Catalogue of the Rectors of Ordsall.





6th Ides Feb. —

Dms Thos. de Burton, Sub_______

Dms Hugo de Hercy


11 Kal. Mar. 1313

Dms Aiardus de Longo Prato, Pbr



4th Ides Nov. 1322

Dms Laurence de Hercy, Cl.



10th May, 1364

Dms Thos. de Ordsall, Pbr




Dms John de Sandalle



23rd Decem. 1379

Dms John de Burton, Pbr



20th June, 1410

Dms Will. Burgh

Sir T. Hercy, kt.


4th June, 1415

DmsRobt. Cave, Pbr



20th June, 1416

Dms Reginaldus de Tylne, Pbr



22nd June, 1417

Dms John Marton, Pbr



25th Nov. 1418

Dms Robt. Conynye, Pbr



26th July, 1484

Dms Adam Southe, Pbr




Dms Robt. Smith, Pbr



5th Dec. 1441

Dms John Hardfish, Cap

Hugo Hercy



Dms Robt. Baynbug Donnington



29th Sep. 1483

Dms Rad. Stanhope

Humph. Her­cy, Esq.


12th April, 1486

Dms Will. Rose, Pbr



9th July, 1487

Dms Greg. Warych, Cap

Fee of. Hugo Hercy, Esq.


20th Aug. 1506

Dms John Helwys, Pbr

Humph. Hercy


31st Jan. 1512

Dms Robt. Neville, M.A



2nd June, 1550

Dms Will. Denman, Cl.

Dms Jn. Hercy

Depro Vacate

16th Jan. 1556

Dms Robt. Blundesby




Dms Wm. Denman, Cl.



4th April, 1568

Dms Francis Nevyle, Cl.

King James, by lapse


29th Sep. 1614

Rev. Ed. Mason, Cl, M. A.



3rd March, 1631

Rev. Marm. Moore, Cl.

Lyon Falconer



Rev. Will. Haughton, Cl



22nd Oct. 1673

Rev. Ed. Raynes, Cl. M. A.

Anna Worsley



Rev. John Pigott, Cl. M. A.

Sidney Wortley, Esq.



Rev. Mason

John Baker, Esq.



Rev. Thomas Cockshutt, M. A

Edw. Wortley



Rev. Joseph Scott

Earl of Bute



Rev. F. Foxlowe, M. A

Lord Wharncliffe