THE barony of Grove, with the manor of West Retford, was part of the large property granted by William the Conqueror, to Roger de Busli and is thus noted in Doomsday survey

From Roger de Busli it came to Gerbert (or Gilbert) de Arches, Baro de Grove, (in the early part of the reign of Henry the second,) whose great grand-daughter, Theophania, being a co-heiress, carried it to Malvesinus de Hercy, in the reign of Henry the third. It continued in the Hercy family till Sir John de Hercy bequeathed it to Barbara, one of his sisters, and co-heiress, who had married George Nevile, Esq. of Ragnall, in whose family it continued till the latter end of the seventeenth century, when Sir Edward Nevile sold it to Sir Creswell Levinz, one of the Judges of the Common Pleas. Sir Creswell Levinz was succeeded by his son, William Levinz. who resided at Grove, and was sometime one of the members for East Retford, and afterwards for the county. This William Levinz left a son, William, who alienated the greatest part of his inheritance, and sold the manor and estate of Grove, with its appurtenances, in the year 1762, to Anthony Eyre, Esq. of Rampton, and of Adwick, the father of Anthony Hardolph Eyre, Esq. the present possessor. A large brick house, in the old English style, with gable ends, and mullion windows, had been erected at Grove, at a period which is not known, and had undergone considerable alterations. During the wars between the Houses of York and Lancaster, the Hercy family, with their neighbours the Stanhopes, of Rampton, were active supporters of the House of Lancaster, and during the arduous struggle for superiority, were frequently surrounded by dangers of no common kind; till at length Victory

"To Tudor's brow transfer'd the gem,
The long disputed diadem."

Afterwards, as a mark of their zeal, and as a remembrance of their past services, they each of them inserted in the walls of their respective mansions, a sculptured rose and crown, the device assumed by Henry the seventh, and by many of his adherents. This device was placed in the house at Grove, over a large Gothic window, which lighted the principal staircase. Sir Creswell Levinz and his son, made some alterations in the house, and Mr. Eyre after he purchased it, entirely altered the character of it, removing the whole of the ancient roof, and pulling down a considerable part of the south-west front, in the place of which, under the direction of Mr. Carr, the architect, he built a suite of rooms of handsome and more convenient dimensions. In making this alteration, he took down a stone tower, which must have been built in the time of Queen Elizabeth, and under it were found a considerable number of the coins of that Queen’s reign.

The lordship of Grove is extensive, containing about 1500 acres, part of which is covered with wood, and the rest is occupied, either in grazing, or to agricultural purposes.

The situation of Grove Hall, is said to be the most elevated and picturesque in the county; on all sides, the views are pleasing and extensive: to the east the levels of Lincolnshire appear beautifully tinted with variety, the view of which, is backed with the noble promontory on which part of the city of Lincoln stands, whilst the minster rears its venerable head, and overlooks the vast Plains which extend themselves until the ocean terminates their bounds. To the west the view is equally extensive, the ancient forest of Sherwood, from the numerous woods and plantations which rear their heads in every direction, reminds the beholder of ancient days, when the famous oaks displayed their towering boughs; this very interesting view is only terminated by the hills of Kinderskout in Derbyshire. To the north and south, numerous objects are distinguishable, to enumerate which, would exceed my limits, and the place must he visited ere the beautiful scenery can be properly appreciated.


"All hail! ye mighty, venerable work.
Of our forefathers, great in deeds of arms!
To late posterity memorial stand
Of their immortal fame."

The situation of Grove, being bold and commanding, and strongly fortified by nature, we can hardly suppose that it would escape the attention of those warriors, who, in ancient days led on their respective armies to the combat, as being a place admirably suited for military purposes, and capable of being used as an exploratory situation: to the greatest possible advantage. Accordingly I find such traces as strikingly corroborates the above supposition.

Within the precincts of the parish, is a wood, generally designated "Castle Hill Wood," where, as its name imports, has formerly stood a castle on a mount, which appears to have been surrounded by a double trench of considerable magnitude, having the entrance to the south-east.# To the south-east of this mount is a piece of ground, now almost level, where the traces of foundations are discernible; this is surrounded by a moat, both wide and deep, having formerly circumscribed a mansion or castle, but of which no memorials are now in existence. This place, as well as the one just alluded to, together with the greatest part of an extensive wood, are still circumvallated, and a trench or foss, in some instances double, may be distinctly traced for upwards of a mile.

It is generally acknowledged that this part of the country formed a portion of the settlements of the Coritani, but that in common with the rest of the island, it became a prey to the Roman armies, who, in making the conquest, were necessitated to undergo considerable hardships and privations, and on obtaining possession, to cast up those fortresses and bulwarks, which, in almost every part of the kingdom, remain to the present time, as mementos of their bravery and determined perseverance.

To this period therefore, it appears to me, may be properly attributed the formation of these extensive works, although others have supposed them to have been originally British. With this opinion I am not inclined to coincide, because there are other circumstances concurring with the above, tending to confirm the supposition of their being of Roman origin. About a mile beyond Gringley are the traces of an encampment to the right of the road leading to Leverton; which road has every appearance of having been Roman, and was continued to North Leverton onward to the Roman station at Littleborough,* without fetching the compass towards South Leverton, which it now does; and the old road may still be traced, being, with the intervention of a wood, nearly entire.+


The period when this church was founded is not exactly known, but in all probability it was anterior to the conquest, as in Doomsday-book is observed, that here was a priest and a church, and eight acres of meadow; pasture wood one league long and half-a-one broad, of the yearly value of 40s. Anciently it was a double rectory, and also a vicarage of medieties, but on the 3rd of the nones of May, 1227, Walter de Grey, Archbishop of York, consolidated them, when George de Ordsall, who was vicar of one mediety, was presented to the whole by Malvesinus de Hercy, (the first of that ancient family,) on condition that he should allow the rector 28s. per annum, for ever.

In 1425, Sir Thomas Hercy, Knight, bequeathed to the rector of this church, "in name of his principal," his best horse with his array, according to his estate. Humphrey Hercy, Esq. at his death, bequeathed "his soul to God, and his body to be buried in the Queare or Chancel of the Invention of the Crosse of Grove."

The situation of this church is peculiarly pleasing and interesting; seated on an eminence, and surrounded by trees rendered venerable from their great age, it may with propriety be stiled a place where

"The traveller outworn with life’s pilgrimage dreary,
Lays down his rude staff like one that is weary,
And sweetly reposes for ever."

Indeed, the whole scene is calculated to excite those finer feelings of the mind whilst ruminating over the scattered fragments of mortality; whilst they, unconscions of the visitors tread, sleep on in silence and obscurity. Here the ashes of some of the bravest and best of human kind commingle together, and although the destroyer—Time, has obliterated nearly all the visible signs which once mark’d the hallowed spot, he has not yet been enabled altogether to blast with his oblivious breath those records which bear testimony that they have once existed.

The church is small and ancient; it is dedicated to St. Helen, and consists of a nave and chancel; in its exterior it has nothing whereof to boast, its interior is simple, clean, and in good repair. The tower is squat and contains two bells.

Within the chancel are two or three curious antique monumental floor stones, on one of which is inscribed an ornamental cross, hut the rest is illegible. By the side of this is another to the memory of Hugo de Hercy, on which

"Outstretch’d together are exprest,
He and my Lady fair;
With hands uplifted on the breast,
In attitude of prayer."

This is an alabaster slab, six feet six inches long, and three feet three inches broad; one of the figures represents a man in armour, on his head a hat and feather, a greyhound at his feet looking up,—the face worn out: at his side a woman,—her face and head-dress very indistinct, on the left side of her head some appearance of a reticulated dress. The crack across the stone is so splintered that whatsoever has been at her feet is not now to be known. Above the man’s head is a shield, but the colours are quite indistinct; above the woman’s, the saltiere is engraved, with a round pell,.— it appears black, being inlaid with pitch. Near the edge of the stone—

"Hic jacet Hugo Hercy qui obiit VI die Decembris anno dm m. cccc. I. V. et Elizabeth uxor ejus quae obiit anno dm m. cccc. I. Animae proprietur Deus."

In the aisle is another, having the following,—.

Resvrgam Katharine Neville obiit 17mo. die Mass 1683.

In the chancel is a neat mural monument as under,—

To the memory of WILLIAM LEVINZ, Esq. only son of Sir Creswell Levinz, Kt. Judge of the Court of Common Pleas, whose many virtues he inherited, having represented in Parliament for many years the Borough of East Retforel, and then this county, with uncommon abilities, diligence and integrity. He died May 7th, 1747, aged 76 years. He married Anne daughter of Samuel Buck, Esq. barrister at law, a partner worthy of so much merit, who died June 15th 1726, in the 51st year of her age, and lieth here interred.





8th Ides Mar. 1237

Dms Ru de la Mon, Cl.

Will. Rufus


5 Kal July 1302

Dms Step, de Wobrington, Sub.

Hugo de Hercy


Ides March, 1307

Dms Robt. Brennand de Leverton, Cl.



14 Kal. Oct. 1308

Dms John de Hercy, Cl.



Ides Oct. 1309

Dms John de Corbridge, Pbr.



6 Ides April, 1315

Dms John de Scardeburgh, Acolites


p Mort

7 Kal. Maii, 1341

Dms Thos. de Amcotes, Acolites

Sir Hugo de Hercy



Dms Thos. fil. Robt. de Askham, Pbr


p Mort


Dms Will. Rong, Pbr


p Mort

p Resig

18th March, 1428

Dms Will. Stayne, Pbr

Kath. Hercy

9th Junii, 1431

Dms John Brantyngham, Pbr.


1st April, 1434

Dms John Stephenson, Pbr


p Resig

24th Maii, 1464

Dms Thomas Walmesley, Pbr

Feoffators. Hugonis Hercy

p Resig

13th Aug. 1467

Dms Thos. Suthworth


p Resig p Mort p Resig

4th April, 1472

Dms Thos. Bib, Cap


9th Sep. 1472

Dms Rich. Levessay, Cap


23rd Sep. 1487

Dms Will. Mauleverer, Cap

— Hercy, Esq.

p Mort

7th Sep. 1502

Dms Cuthbert Darwin, Pbr


p Mort

2nd Oct. 1506

Dms Robt. Nevill, Cl.


p Resig

18th Feb. 1512

Dms Thos. Elton, Pbr


p Resig

14th Sep. 1521

Dms Matthias Witton, A. M.

Jn. Hercy, Esq.

p Priv


Dms John Robynson, Cl.



1st Sep. 1554

Dms Will. Perpoynt

Sir John Hercy


6th May, 1579

Rev. Francis Nevill, Cl.

Geo. Nevill,Esq

p Mort

21st Sep. 1611

Rev. Gervas Nevill, Cl. M. A.

Will. Nevill, Esq.



Rev. Walter Bridges, Cl.

Ed. Nevill,Esq. Extores Ed.

p Mort

15th Sep. 1662

Rev. Nathan Townell

Nevill, Esq.

p Mort


Rev. —

Wm.Wogan, & Sam. Buck, Esq.



Rev. Stephen Cooper




Rev. Robt. Wright

Will. Levinz, Esq.

p Mort


Rev. Wm. Pashley

— Levinz, Esq.

p Mort


Rev. Charles Eyre

A.H. Eyre, Esq.

p Mort


Rev. A. Youle, M. A.



The living of Grove is a rectory, and when Mr. Hercy was paton, it was valued at £10; it is now £11. 14s. 2d. in the king’s books, and pays for tenths, £1. 3s. 5d.; for first fruits, 6s. 5d.; and for synodals, 3s. Patron, Anthony Hardolph Eyre, Esq. Incumbent, Rev. Abraham Youle, M. A.


The Eyre family came over from Normandy, with William the Conqueror; and we find it early settled in the county of Derby. By an Inquisitio post mortem taken in the reign of Edward the first, it appears that Robert le Eyre was settled at Hope, in Derbyshire, which he held for being hereditary warden of the Peak Forest; we find also by an Inquisitio post mortem in the reign of Edward the third, that William le Eyre de Hope, was also warden of the forests of Edale, Hassop, and Derwent. One of this family married Joan of Padley, who being an heiress, brought to her husband the manor and estate of Padley, and other considerable estates in the county of Derby. From the Eyres of Hope, many scions branched off, settled in different places, and became heads of families.† One branch settled at Kiveton, on the borders of Yorkshire; and besides Kiveton, possessed the large manor of Newbolt, in the county of Derby. A descendant of this family, Anthony Eyre, of Kiveton, married Barbara, relict of John Babington, Esq, of Rampton, Nottinghamshire, (a younger branch of the Babingtons, of Dethick,) daughter of Sir Henry Nevile, of Grove; and his son, Sir Gervas Eyre, married the daughter and co-heiress of the above John and Barbara Babington. This Sir Gervas Eyre, took an active part in favour of Charles the first, during the troubles in that reign. He raised and commanded several troops of horse for the king, and was esteemed one of the best horsemen in the king’s army. He died at the siege of Newark; where also his father, General Eyre, lost his life. Sir Gervas and his father, sold the property at Kiveton and Newbolt, to Sir Edward Osbourn, ancestor of the Duke of Leeds, and came to reside at Rampton. The son of Sir Gervas Eyre,—Anthony Eyre, was chosen knight of the shire for the county of Nottingham, at the first new Parliament, which was summoned by Charles the second, and he served in that Parliament till his death. Gervas Eyre, the son of the above Anthony, was returned to Parliament at different times, as knight of the shire, and died of the small-pox in London, in 1702, when attending his duty in Parliament. He left a son, Anthony, (with other children,) a minor, who pulled down the old family house at Rampton, and removed to an estate which he had at Laughton-en-le-Morthen, until he purchased the estate of Adwicke, near Doncaster, of his uncle, Sir George Cooke. He then removed to Adwicke, and continued to reside there till his death; he was buried at Laughton. He left one son, Anthony, and four daughters. Anthony married Judith Letitia Bury, daughter of John Bury, Esq. and great niece of Sir Hardolph Wastneys, Bart. of Headon Park, in the county of Nottingham. He purchased of Mr. Levinz, in 1762, the estate and appurtenances of Grove, which joined to the old family estates of Rampton and Treswell; and to Headon, which came to him by his wife. He then removed to Grove, where he made great alterations in the house and place, and made it his principal residence till his death in 1788. He served in several Parliaments for the borough of Boroughbridge. He had four sons and two daughters. The eldest son, Anthony Hardolph, was brought up in the army, and obtained the rank, of Lieutenant Colonel in the 1st Regiment of Foot Guards, and was for some time member of Parliament for the county of Nottingham. He married in 1783, Francisca Alicia, third daughter of Richard Wilbraham Bootle, Esq. of Lathom House, Lancashire, and sister to the present Lord Skelmersdale, and had by her one son, Gervase Anthony, born October 29th, 1791, who was also in the 1st Regiment of Foot Guards, and was unfortunately killed at the victory gained at Barrosa, in Spain, March 7th, 1811, in his 20th year. He has also three daughters, the eldest of whom, Mary Letitia, married the present Earl Manvers, and has by him Charles Evelyn, Viscount Newark, and other children. Frances Julia, his second daughter, married Granville Venables Vernon, Esq. son of the Right Hon. Edward Vernon, brother of Lord Vernon, and Archbishop of York, and by him has several children. Henrietta, his third daughter, married first, in 1816, her cousin, John Hardolph, eldest son of Archdeacon Eyre, who died S. P. 1818. Secondly, in 1825, Henry Gally Knight, Esq. of Firbeck Hall, Yorkshire.

John, the second son of the above Anthony Eyre, was brought up in the church, and became Rector of Babworth, Canon residentiary of York, Prebendary of Southwell, and Archdeacon of Nottingham. He married in 1790, Charlotte, daughter of Sir George Armytage, of Kirklees, Bart. by whom he had several children, two of which only survive, Charles Wasteneys, in Holy Orders, Rector of Carlton in Lindric, Notts, and Charlotte, married to Henry Willoughby Esq. M. P. of Settrington, Yorkshire.

Charles, the third son of the above Anthony Eyre, was brought up in the church, and became Rector of Headon cum Upton, and of Grove, and died unmarried.

George, the fourth son of the above Anthony Eyre, was brought up in the navy. He obtained the honor of knighthood for his gallantry in taking the Island of Santa Maria, in the Mediterranean, and was afterwards made K. C. B. and became an Admiral. He married Georgiana, daughter of Sir George Cooke, of Wheatley, Bart. and has by her several children. The eldest of whom, George, is Rector of Molesworth, Huntingdonshire; and the second son is a Captain in the army,—he has also six daughters.

The arms are Argent, on a chevron, sable, three quarterfoils, or; their crest; an armed leg.

# The situation is particularly noted in some of the oldest maps of this county, under the appellation of ‘Little Gringley Castle."
*This place has occupied the attention of antiquarians for a long period, in attempting to fix upon it as the Segelocum, mentioned in the Itenerary of Antoninus. Camden, in his first edition of the Brittanica in 1504, had fixed this station at Eaton, but afterwards, it is said, he changed his opinion in favour of Littleborough. Mr. Horsley, also decidedly says "Segelocum or Agelocum, as called in two iters, is certainly Littleborough. Dr. Gale was of the same opinion; and Pegge, in his British Topography, seems to coincide therewith. To such an host of observations and conjectures, I cannot presume to add any thing, save that of recording an humble opinion in favour of that given by Mr. Horsley.
In 1684, when the inclosures between the bridge and town were first ploughed up, many coins of Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Constantine, &c. were found, together with Intaglios of Agate, and Cornelian, the finest coloured urns, and paterae, some wrought in basso relievo, with the workman’s name generally impressed on the inside of the bottom; also a discus, or quoit, with an emperor’s head embossed upon it. Again, in 1718, two very handsomely moulded altars were dug up, and in 1759, the drawing of another was communicated to the society of antiquaries. A curious tassera, or tally, was also found near this place; these tallies were supposed to have been used in the Roman armies, to distinguish each other from the enemy, and for setting the nightly watch.
+On this road, between Leverton and Littleborough, formerly existed a stone bridge, about the repairs of which, several disputes arose. In 1253, the court of Oswardbeck was held at Sturton, when an inquisition was taken, as to whether the inhabitants of Sturton and Fenton, or the abbot of Welbeck should repair it; the jurors gave it in favour of the abbot. Another inquisition was likewise held at Retford, in 1290, when the jury found as before.
† One branch of this family settled at Hassop, in the county of Derby, and still resides there; and having married the heiress of the Ratcliffe family, obtained the earldom of Newburgh, which title, the present possessor of Hassop, now enjoys. Another branch settled at Rowter, In Derbyshire, and the last of this branch left a daughter and heiress, who married the late Viscount Massarene, and the whole has since been sold. Another branch having married an heiress of Gell, of Hopton, assumed the name and arms of Gell, and his descendants continue to reside at Hopton. Other branches also settled in the neighbourhood of Sheffield and Chesterfield, and the Eyres of Wiltshire, and of Ireland, can trace their pedigree to the Eyres of Hope.