WHILST not claiming possession to any special architectural grandeur, the old Manor House, as it is now called, situate in Devonshire Square (formerly known as Upper Green), is a substantially stone-built mansion; and, though once upon a time the principal residence in the parish, is now one of the most neglected and forlorn! It is, however, none the less interesting, and will, we feel sure, always be so on account of its old and venerable associations. With the old village inn, the old village green, surrounded by a growth of graceful looking trees, a real picture of English rural life was here presented some few hundred years ago, and it was then, doubtless, the centre of activity in Sutton's industrial life and its gaiety. Time, however, has brought about a vast change, and the happy days spent in this particular vicinity have gone probably to return no more!

The Old Manor House.
The Old Manor House.

Mr. G. G. Bonser (a well-known Sutton historian and antiquarian) has very kindly favoured us with a brief outline of its history, from which it would appear that Sutton being the property of the King himself, it had no resident Lord of the Manor after the time of Gerard de Sutton, who gave the Church of Sutton-in-Ashfield to Thurgarton Priory, and that being the case, it is clear that there would be no Manor House. Therefore, the building here shown would be the residence of the principal yeomen. The oldest part of the building would be Early Tudor (very early in the 16th c). and at that time it would be the residence of the Fitz-Randolphs. The next residents would be the Langfords. who succeeded to it by marriage, and who would be in residence there until the middle of the 18th century. They would probably be succeeded by the Brandreths. which family has still representatives in the town, whilst in 1838 it was occupied by Mr. Beecroft, farmer. The building shows on its exterior the distinct styles of the period in which it was built, but internally many changes have been made. The only distinguishing feature inside is the large old-fashioned chimney, which was made big enough for smoking bacon and giving room for the ingle-nooks. This chimney, which faced Devonshire Square, and which was a magnificent specimen of medieval architecture, was pulled down about the year 1881. The house, at one period, was also occupied by Mr. Beastall.

The house commonly called the Manor, now occupied by Mr. Mc W. Bishop (for 80 years surveyor of Sutton) was probably built about 1640-80, no doubt by a member of the Langford family. There is a legend that in the 18th c. "pack horse men," carrying jewellery, used to put up at this house, it being an hotel at that period. It is said that they were seen to go into the hotel, but that some of them were not seen to come out, and it is believed that they were murdered for their jewellery. In 1873, it was the residence of one of the Clergy of the parish, and many Suttonians will remember the Rev. Hon. John Marsham living there then.

There are no traces of the Fitz-Randolphs being buried at Sutton, but several members of the Langfords are buried outside the east end of the Church, and the name is now preserved in the fields running along the footpath leading to Skegby, known as "Langford Wongs.''

The ancient pinfold of the parish stands by the side of the old Manor House, it being in the right of the Lord of the Manor.

Club Street and the Idlewells now stand upon a field which was formerly known as "Brandreth's Croft."

The Green, adjacent to the old Manor House, was in days past used by the inhabitants for the holding of meetings, the oldest inn (known as the "Swan") standing opposite. Up to 70 years ago, this Green was used for the "baiting of bulls," and the inn was famous for its extraordinary accommodation for horses, in connection with which some sensational narratives of dealing with those quadrupeds are on record!


THE first pale is a Canton sable on a field argent (Sutton); the second, a Snipe gorged with a crown (Snitterton); and the third pale, a Lion rampant (also Sutton).


BY this publication, the author believes that he is supplying a long-felt want! He can assure his readers that it has imposed no small amount of labour to produce it, though he is perfectly conscious of the fact that it is even now far from being a complete history of our ancient parish. Incomplete, however, as it would seem to be, and though many inaccuracies may be discovered even in the brief accounts relating to each subject included herein, the author trusts, at the same time, that the result of his humble effort will be found both useful and helpful to his fellow parishioners who have for so long been thirsting after historical information appertaining to the town of their birth. For example, the author ventures to submit his own particular case. Born in the good, old town of Sutton in the year 1867, he, later in life, felt the natural desire of being in possession of intelligence relating to the origin of his native town, its development, and of its past manners and customs, and so on. in order that he might be prepared to fulfil any obligation which might arise in the course of his life. Now, where is the essential knowledge to be gleaned? Wend your way to the public "archives" of the parish. Surely you will find your needs there. No; not to be found there!! Nor can satisfaction be gained at the booksellers! True, crumbs of the information sought after may be gathered from out-of-date almanacks, directories, and newspapers; but is this satisfactory? No! Odd individuals, here and there, who are known to be fortunately blessed with the necessary intelligence, may certainly be approached, but can it be reasonably expected of those individuals to be at the command of a parish of upwards of 18,000 souls? No! Can everybody afford the time and funds to search the parish registers in Sutton—and, in fact, parishes far away—for the news he or she may crave for? Still the negative reply. Is such a condition of things, therefore, commendable to a parish the kind of Sutton-in-Ashfield, with its enterprising Urban District Council and its highly intelligent body of School Managers, with half-a-dozen handsomely built schools, admirably equipped and ably staffed, under its wing? Upon this point also there will doubtless, be a concensus of opinion, that 'Such a state of things must inevitably reflect on the status of our town, known as it is throughout the length and breadth of the land for the prowess of its cricketers and the sweet voices of its singers." Moreover, are we not living in an oblivious state? The ancient Parish Church, the Congregational Chapel, the Particular Baptist Chapel, the old Manor House, and the many matters mentioned in these pages, with all their interesting records and wonderful associations of past ages, would appear to be of no moment to the Sutton inhabitant, purely and simply because those records have not been available, or within their purchase reach. Readers will, therefore, readily understand the appearance of this book, which the author hopes will be perused in a considerate spirit despite the flaws and defects it may contain. He believes that he is herewith giving, at least, some small information that is worth knowing, and sufficient to arouse a deeper interest in the history of the town than has been the case in the past, remembering that the lack of knowledge of historical facts courts failure in the building up of an education fundamentally sound.

In conclusion, the author desires to acknowledge the help he has received in the compilation of his work from the labours of past authors—Dr. Spencer T. Hall and the Rev. Charles Bellairs— whose works the present author deemed advisable to augment. Those historical accounts appeared in 1838 and 1873 respectively, and are now rarely to be found in the parish. Hence the author's object in launching this book for the information of the inhabitants. As the former's account consisted of only eight pages, and the latter's 19, and this one being over 100, the great development of the town during even the past half-century will be easily recognised. Approach our septuagenarians, octogenarians, and nonagenarians (for we have, at least, two of the latter in the parish at the present time) in reference to what Sutton was like in their childhood, and the answer invariably will be that since then the town has been "turned upside down," so to speak. And to go a pace further back still, to the days of their fathers, who, if they could but return from their graves to see their once earthly habitation, one would have no hesitation in stating that they would have no little difficulty in recognising it as the same place—so changed has everything become. Surely then there is something for our rising generation to learn, and if full details are not to be found in these pages the thoughtful and intelligent scholar will doubtless welcome even this small contribution. Some day this book may be superseded by a more comprehensive volume, but until then the author appeals for the appreciation of his readers of this work. Sutton itself is not yet a perfect town, there being ample room for improvement, but perseverance is almost sure in the end to bring its due reward.

Having acknowledged his indebtedness to deceased authors, the present author now begs to extend his gratefulness to Mr. G. G. Bonser, of Kirkstede, Sutton, whose assistance has been invaluable; to the Rev. F. Brodhurst, Vicar of Heath (formerly Vicar of Sutton) for his contributions; to Messrs. C. Brooks, W. J. Kirk, Mc W. Bishop, J. L. Jennings, and many others, who, by their kind courtesies, have so greatly assisted the author in his arduous and difficult task.

Sutton-in- Ashfield, September 14th, 1907.


This mansion, the residence of Mr. J. C. Sampson. J.P.. is situate at the entrance to Kirkby Road, and was erected in 1895. It stands on the site of a farmstead which was formerly occupied by a farmer named Hall. The road from the end of King Street to Spring Bank Works was previously to 1847 a field through which a footpath ran, and the cart road to Kirkby being then on what is now known as Brook Side. Then it was converted into a cart road, the late Dr. S. T. Hall noting the fact in some interesting verses to a friend (page h.)


This Club was established in 1831. and has now a membership of 30. President, Mr. Jos. Stirland (Pinxton); Secretary. Mr. J. G. Allsop, High Street; Treasurers, The Union of London and Smith's Bank, Ltd.


This Association, which is affiliated to the Mansfield Central Liberal Association, was formed about 1875. There is also a branch at Forest Side. The number of members is 80. President, Mr. E Pepper; Secretary, Mr. W. Collins, Walton Street; and Treasurer, Mr. J. Pickard, Cursham Street.


This neat and cosy brick building was erected in 1898. and stands on the site of the old British School in High Pavement and at the top of Mount Street. The Pastor is Mr. T. C. Barratt. formerly of Teversal. The British School, which was built in 1836 by public subscription, was up to the erection of the schools in Victoria Street, used as a Sunday School by the Congregational Church. Then it came into the possession of Mr. A. Briggs, who disposed of it again subsequently. It was used by Mr. Johnson, a wheelwright, up to its demolition.


In the Twitchell district,  is now  in  the occupation of Mr. T. C. Barratt.   It used to he called "Leamington Hall" and "Sherwood House."    Previous residents:—Mr  Raymond Radford, Mr. A. H. Bonser, J.P., Mr. H Turner, Mr. Harold Bonser, and Mr. Morrison.


Was instituted about 1839. Each year the old folks of the parish upwards  of 60 years are entertained to dinner in the Town Hall. Secretary, Mr. G. W. Owen.

Page 13—The new Organ at the Parish Church was dedicated by the Bishop of Southwell (Dr. Hoskyns); not Bishop Hamilton Baynes as printed.
Page 17—"Fenny Bank." not "Ferny."
Page 25—A Fire Brigade was formed in 1887, and another about 1892, comprising Messrs Mc W. Bishop (surveyor and captain), F. F. Hibbert J. Patchett F. Massey, S. Wass, J. Jackson, S. Dennis, and H. Orton. G. Reeves has since left the parish.
Page 29—Sutton Junction M. R Station opened October 9th, 1849, not 1850.
Page 34—Messrs J Turner, G. Banner, G. E. Wharmby, and Li T. Robinson also assisted the County occasionally.
Page 54—Mr. C. B. Beecroft. of Church Street, was one of the founders of S Michael's Mission, as well as S. Modwen's. In fact, not a more zealous worker for the Church has there been in the parish, and we regret the inadvertent omission of his name.