Mrs Markham. Rev. John Penrose.

We have said now as much as space will permit of the early history of the parish, and of the curiosities in the ancient church. Just a few words of the incidents of modern days. The secluded situation of Fledborough and the residence there of an accommodating rector who rejoiced in the name of Sweetapple, caused it to be regarded in the earlier part of the last century as the Gretna Green of the Midlands. Hither runaway couples journeyed to be united in the bonds of wedlock, and Rector Sweetapple, who was surrogate, and profited by the licence fees, drove a brisk trade. The register shows two, three, and four marriages at the beginning of his reign, and it ends with 42 and 44 per annum at the time of his death. It is said that a nobleman was married here under an assumed name, but there is no hint of it in the register. More interesting than the Sweetapple episode is the connection of Dr. Arnold with the parish, he having married on August 11th, 1820, Mary, youngest daughter of the Rev. John Penrose, rector of Fledborough, and sister of one of his earliest school and college friends. The licence is still extant and is carefully kept with the entry in the register. Fledborough is several times mentioned in the life of Dr. Arnold by Dean Stanley, and Keble also mentions it. Mr. Penrose was a man of much culture and amiability with a wide circle of friends. One of his daughters was Mrs. Markham, the writer of the well-known History of England for children. Amongst the literary friends who visited at the hospitable rectory was Miss Matilda Williams, a daughter of the poet Isaac Williams, author of the "Cathedral," and noticing the guide post "to Fledborough only" (it used to read "to Fledborough and no further") she penned the following:—

Turn traveller hither; no farther thou'lt stray.
To Fledborough only I point out the way,
To no common village a guide;
For in Fledborough only such charms can be seen;
And he who a guest in her circles has been
Can only wish there to abide.

To this Mr. Penrose sent the following gallant reply:

Do you smile at the legend that Orpheus's song
Moved the trees in the woods and an animal throng
In the dance with alertness to spring?
Nay, deem it no longer a labourer's boast,
Since the muse of Matilda can make e'en a post
With the sweetness of Orpheus to sing.
May we hope she herself, when she travels that way,
May the dictate attend of her flattering lay,

And take the direction thus given?
Then Fledborough truly would greet a new charm,
With virtue and sense the affections to warm,
And each scene to adorn and enliven.

Other incidents in the life of this interesting village might well be mentioned, but our space is exhausted. We can only thank most cordially the courteous rector (the Rev. G. W. Kershaw) for the abundant information he has willingly supplied to us, and wish him God speed in the good work of restoring and enlarging the chancel of the church in which he is now busily engaged, and in behalf of which an appeal, well worthy the support of all Churchmen and antiquaries, has recently been issued.


Sir,—Supplementing the article on Fledborough which appeared in a recent issue of the Guardian, I venture to append a copy of the will of Sir K, Bassett, with a few explanatory notes interwoven in the text. It will no doubt be of interest to your readers on account of the local information it contains.—I am, sir, &c.,
Newark, Dec. 5th, 1889.

N.B.—The next article of the series will be on "Clifton and the Cliftons," and will appear on December 7th.

June 15, 1522. Richard Basset, of Fledburgh, Knight. If I dye within xx myles of Fledburgh ray body to be beriede at the North ende of the hy. altar in the church of Fledburgh, where the sepulchre is usid to be sett of Good Fridaye or els, if I dye not within the same space, to be beriede where it shall please God and my executoure. I will that xx torches be maide & burnyd about my body the day of my beriale & the day of my moneth mynd (a month after burial— "month minds" were monthly remembrances of the dead) if I be beriede at Fledburgh & that such poore men as bere and holde the saide torches the saide dayes have ychon of them a blake gowne to pray for my soule. To every priest that cometh to my dirige & beriale, at Fledburgh, to pray for my soule & al Christen soulies viiid: every clerk ijd; & so in like xvise at my moneth mynde also I will that there be disposide & delte in almos the day of my beriale & of my moneth mynde peny dole & other wise as shalbe thought expedient to Godes pleasour by my executours & by their discretions Also I will if I owe any dettes, or other duety or dutiez, or have downe any wrong or injury to any persone which I am not remembered of, uppon a due prove maide there of afore my executours, that iche of them be paide and restored of my goodes accordyng to good conscience and right by the advice of my executours. Also I will a convenient stone with such scriptare and armes as shalbe advised by me or by my executours, shalbe laid oon my body, or my sepulchre; also I will that a preist do syng for my soull my fader, my moder Sir John Lisury's soull, [the predecessor of the Bassets at Fledborough] al my frendes' soulles, & al Christen soulles, in the saide churche afore the altar of oure Lady [in the lady chapel N.E of the chancel] durynd vij, yeres next after my dethe, and he to have yerely for his wage vij marc iijs, iiijd. I will there be giffyn yerely in Lent season to the iiij orders of Freres in Lincoln, vij yeres next after my dethe, to every order vjs viijd to pray for my soull and for al the soulls that I am bounden to pray for, and for all Christen soulls and also in like manor to the ij orders of Freres in Notingham, to aither order vjs. the Observauntes of the prisoners in the castill of Lincoln... & in the gaile of Notingham to the church of Fledburgh, towards the roode loft makyng, vi. li xiijs, iiijd to the churche of Normanton [an adjoining parish] if they will make a steple there at any tyme within vij yeres next after my dethe v. li sterlyng, or els not. To my sone and heire al my harnes as brigerdyns, [coats of mail] coottes of plate, geserne [a battle axe], peces of harnes, salettes [a light helmet, a skull cap], splintes [small overlapping plates for the defence of the bend of the arm above the elbow] standerdes, falles or foldes of maile, halbertes, axes, bowes & arrowes & al other things belonging or pertenyng unto harnes or artilory. To my household servaunts everychon of them, an hoole quarters wage. I will that my too sonnes, John, younger, and George be kept at the gramour scole until they have conveniently their gramour, at the costes and charges of my wif. Also I will that after my saide sone John be expede sufficiently in his gramour, if he will study the common law of this land [many of the Bassets were lawyers and judges] then I will that yearly during xiiijth yeres, if he will study the same la we in Grey's Inne, that he have yerely for his exercion xij. h ; and if in case that he gyve himself otherwise and will not study the saide lawe in the inne aforesaide then I will that he have yerely durying x years, after that he be spede of his gramour but iiij. h. Also I will that my youngest sone George, after he be expede sufficiently in his gramoure after the mynd of my executours, be bounden apprentice to a marchaunte of the Staple, and immediately after such tyme as he shall have served his apprentiship, if it be thought by my saide executours, or the moost parte of them then liffyeing that he is thryving, 1 will that he have a mare incontynently and without delay, and if in case that he gif not hymself to marchaunduse, and be bounden in maner and forme before specified, or if after that he come furth of his apprentiship, he be not thought by my said executours or the moost parte ot them to be trustye, then I will that he shall have but iiij. li yearly during x yeres next after such refucell to be bounden or after the coming forth of his saide apprentishipe provided alway that if the saide John and George dye or else be sufficiently avaunced by marriage [if he has not good business capacities then he is to marry well] to landes of the yerely valour of xli. or goodes to the valour of an hundreth poundes, before they have receyved this my legacy, that by the dethe or such avauncement of them all that is behynd and not receyved of the same shall utterly from thensforth cease and be not paide. To my sister Margarete Basset yerely viij yeres. iiij li. for the preferment of her in marriage, and in case that she dye or els be professed in religion before the ende of the said viii. yeres, all payments to cease. Where by deede bering date 4th Oct 22nd Harry the vijth, I have enfeoffed John Hussy, John Dunham, Thomas Sutton, Knightes, John Dunham, George Chaworth, Roberte Nevile Esquiers, Edwarde Bassett clerke, William Bassett my brother, Richarde Clerke, John Coke Gentilmen in my maners etc, in the counties of Notingham, Lincoln, Yorke, and Warwicke to the use of my will. Whereas my wif haith hir joyntour in the manor of Normanton, in Normanton & Stockome; if she will forgoo hir joyntour, she to have an annuytie of xl. li: oute of my maner etc. of Flidburgh excepte the Maner Place & the seite of the maner, with al the houses thereto belongyng, the foryerde, the new ortyerde with the gardyns, a close called the olde ortyerde, the Cunyngry [rabbit warren], and the ley close. Elizabeth my wif, John Bassett my sone & heire apperente, my broder Sir Edwarde Bassett cerke, my broder William Bassett, & Sir John Hall clerke executours: Wittenes George Wastnes my sone in the lawe Sir William Gabitas chaplayne, etc.

30 June, 1535 Ladie Elizabeth Bassett of Fledburgh widowe, To be buried at the North ende of the High Altare in the churche of Fledburgh, before Sainte Gregorie [the patron saint of the church]. To son, John B, the elder, a chalice, the vestment, the altar clothes, the super altare, & all things belonging to the altare, wt the holie watter falte, & a goblett & a silver piece. To my dor. in lawe Bassett a blacke silke girdle, a paire of beades, & a golde ring.