Rich. II., 1378, July 12th, at Westminster. Commission of Oyer and terminer to Adam de Everyngham Kt., &c, touching the bondmen tenants of Henry de Codyngton and John Danby, Prebendaries of Oxton, and Crophill, in the Collegiate Church of Southwell at Oxton, Crophill, Blytheworth, Calverton, Wodeburgh and Hypelyng Co. Nottm., who have withdrawn their services and customs for their tenures in accordance with the statute recently passed.

Dec. 16th, 1350.—Grant to Henry de Ingelby, King's Clerk of Prebend of Oxton and Crophill in St. Mary of Southwell, lately held by Henry de Edenstowe, deceased.

March 25th, 1351.—Prohibition to all ecclesiastical persons from proceedings in derogation of the King's grant to Henry de Ingelby, King's Clerk of the prebend of Oxton and Cropwell.

Jan. 28th, 1353.—Grant to Henry de Ingelby, King's Clerk of Prebend of Oxton.

Jan. 10th, 1327, Clipstone.—Protection for Henry de Ednestowe, King's Clerk and ratification of his estate in his benefices, viz., the prebend of Oxton and Crophill in the Church of St. Mary, Southwell, in the patronage of the Archbishop of York, and the parsonage of the Church of Swyneshered in the patronage of John de Warre and Joan his wife.

Under date October 17th, 1330, the Patent Rolls contains the following entry:—Signification at the request of Henry de Edenstowe, that the King has commanded John de Crumbwell, keeper of the Forest on this side Trent, to allow Robert de Nottingham and the said Henry Prebendaries of Oxton and Crophill in the Church of St. Mary, Southwell, and the men and tenants of the town of Oxton common pasture in Shirewode Forest at all times, it having been found by inquisition that such belonged to the holders of those prebends from the time immemorial.

In the following year there is in the same rolls ratification of the estate of Henry de Edenstowe, King's Clerk, and there is no doubt this said Henry was a man of considerable importance in his day and generation.

There is also recorded (temp. 1334) a grant to Henry de Edenstowe, prebendary of Oxton and Crophill in consideration of the great place which he holds and has long held in the Chancery in the business of the King and people and his industry therein, that whereas he holds lands in right of his prebend in Oxton without the Forest of Shirewode, but, adjoining it on the south side, and other lands in Warsop of his father's gift, partly without the said Forest, and partly within adjoining the town of Birkland on the North side and some lands within the Forest, he shall have for life. . . Common pasture for all his cattle from such lands in the Forest, and hay with free ingress and egress for these.

We get the situation of the old prebendal house at Oxton in an entry in the Patent Bolls, dated, at Westminster, Oct. 8th, 1397.

The entry is as follows:—Inspeximus and confirmation to William de Rothwell, servant of Sir John de Danby, prebendary of one of the prebends of Oxton and Crophill, and to Alice, his wife, and heirs of letters patent of Robert Archbishop of York (1397) being a grant to the said William and Alice, of a messuage or bovate of land in Oxton, formerly William de Bulwell's, a bovate of land formerly John de Hill's, at one time annexed to a messuage at the end of the garden of the prebendal house (mansi prebende mee), and now taken for its enlargement, lying between the grange of the said house and the course of the water at Oxton.

There is other land in the grant, and the amounts that must yearly be paid to the grantor and his succession. These include such items as 2d. for a hen and a half.

William Mompesson's son (who as an infant was conveyed from Eyam during the plague) afterwards became prebendary of Oxton and Crophill, and succeeded his father as vicar-general.

Calverton was attached at the time of the Protectorate to the Canonry of Oxton and in the special jurisdiction of that Canon, on the list of whom are some of the best known names of English Church history, those of Cardinals, Archbishops, Bishops, and Statesmen being frequent and conspicuous.

Amongst other monastic houses holding lands at Oxton was Worksop priory. This priory surrendered in 1538, and then Henry VIII. in 32-year gave, amongst other lands, Graveslane in Oxton, late belonging to the Priory of Worksop, to Robert Dighton, he paying for the Oxton lands 2s. Robert Dighton had 12 Aug. 32 H 8 licence to alienate the Oxton lands to Wm. Bolles and his heirs. The Bolles' family were of Osberton, and Wm. Bolles made himself very conspicuous in the business connected with the fall of the monasteries. He was Receiver, and made inventories of bells, etc. In 3rd and 4th year of Philip and Mary we find him giving 20s. subscription towards casting of bells, and making of bell frames for Worksop Church. Bolles obtained a good deal of land; from the spoiled monasteries. Amongst other things he had Felley Priory granted to him. Worksop Priory also had the right of chief rent from several persons at Oxton, to the value of 10s. per annum put down amongst chief rents of "Holy Mannors." In 1619 the Earl of Shrewsbury still had 10s. per ann. chief rent from Oxton; no doubt a concession he had obtained after the suppression of Worksop Priory.


The plan of Oxton Church consists of chancel, nave, north and south aisles, and tower at the west end. The earliest part of the church is the chancel, which still shows on its south wall the remains of the Norman builder's handiwork. In this wall are two Norman window openings, one blocked up, and a built-up door of the same period. The window, still open, is not in its original condition, for when the Early English style of building was in fashion it was altered, a pointed arch being inserted on the outside, in place of the Norman round one, leaving the earlier work, with its deep splays only visible on the inside.

The chancel arch likewise belongs to the same period as the above, being in the form of a plain semi-circle, the centre of which is slightly below the line of the imposts giving it rather a wide flat appearance. This arch is finished off with a plain chamfered label mold, and two plain imposts. Judging from the masonary of these remains, in the absence of any ornament to form a guide, the work was probably executed early in the reign of Henry I. The chancel is said to be of Saxon foundation, and its south wall to have masonary of that period in it. Possibly it may have been enlarged in Norman times, for it is long in plan compared to the usual Saxon chancels in small village churches. Whether the early church of which these remnants once formed part, possessed aisles, it is impossible to say, but perhaps alterations at some future time may throw light on the point, and also set at rest the question as to whether even this work was only a restoration of some still earlier building. Apparently, for some ninety years no more building was done, then when Richard the First came to the throne, and the architectural style was hesitating between the departing Norman and the on-coming Early English, Oxton had its north door inserted. This work is seen on the inside of the door, with its bluntly-pointed arch larger than the door now in use. If this door stands in its original position, which there seems no reason to doubt, Oxton had a Norman north aisle, perhaps of the same date as the chancel. A proof of this when the north wall of this aisle was pulled down some twelve years ago, traces of herring-bone masonary were found. The next building operations took place some 20 years later, when a narrower doorway in the lancet style  was put drawing or see it sufficiently to  describe it.

. . As it is not noticed by Thoroton, I enquirid of the Clerk whether anything was remembered by the oldest inhabitant respects ing it. All I could learn was, 'That it was found under ground in some part of the church before the time of any man living in that place.' As I was obliged to lay almost at length to draw it, and attempt to read the inscription round the edge of the stone. I cannot answer for accuracy. I read the date 1126."

This is certainly too early, and the Rev. H. Du Boulay Hill stated that in the Norman French inscription of LE SOTERA DEV and DESALME MCI. Throsby seems to have mistaken the "Deu de sa Alme eyt merci," which is given in a contracted form as supplying a date. On the head of the figure is a coif, or close-fitting cap, a form of head covering worn by both sexes in early times. At the Council of London in 1267 the clergy were forbidden to wear coifs except when travelling, as they concealed the corouce or circlet of hair left by the tousure. The coif afterwards became the distinguishing headdress of the legal profession, and as late as the 17th century lawyers were shown in coifs. By the reign of Richard II., a lawyer was recognised by his coif for in the wardrobe rolls of that reign occurs an entry for "two linen coifs for counterfeiting men of the law in the King's Play at Christmas." Still in the early days of the 14th century many men who were not lawyers wore coifs, foresters, for instance, as shown by the effigy at Skegby. This account of the head-dress may explain the different opinions held as to what the effigy represented. Some say a civilian, some a lawyer, and others a renegade clergyman wearing the coif to conceal his tonsure. The bulk of opinion favours its being the effigy of a lawyer. A small angel is carved on either side the head, and the feet rest upon a dog. As to the dress, it is a plain, long gown, with hanging sleeves from the elbow.

In the 19th century the figure for some time lay on the cill of one of the windows, but is now in a position where it can easily be examined. It might also here be noted that in the church is a 14th century stone head of a priest which was found in a well, the features being much worn by the action of the bucket.


The Font.
The Font.

The fonts next claim our attention. Of these Oxton possesses three, two having been recovered in recent years through the energy of the present Vicar. One of these is Norman, and probably is the oldest. The next, the one illustrated, has a small octagonal bowl on an octagonal stem. Considerable doubt exists as to the age of this font, many considering it to be older than any existing part of the church, but it must be borne in mind that absence of ornament does not necessarily mean great antiquity, for from the latter part of the 14th century and onwards numbers of plain fonts were put in parish churches. Against its being an 11th century or 12th century font also is its shape and size; the octagonal shape not being in use at that date, and the early fonts being large enough for total immersion, whereas the bowl of this is only about 15in. across, and some 51/2in. deep. On the rim likewise are no marks of where the irons fitted for the font cover. Another period when many plain fonts were made was in the reign of Elizabeth. England, freed from Roman Catholicism by the death of Mary, commenced a vigorous crusade against all ceremonies suggestive of Rome, and many fonts were thrown out or no longer used. The Queen thereupon directed that fonts be not moved, and that "curates take not uppon them to conferre baptism in basins; but in the font customablye used."

Supposing that Oxton had run to excess, and parted with their old font they would have to provide a new one, and the Puritan fervour ran high in the village as the following shows:—On June 27th, 1585, a young man Thomas Walker, alias Custance, and a young woman, Margery Bell, came with a number of the Oxton villagers to the church, and there went through the whole of the baptismal service and dipped a lamb in the font. This act was done to bring contempt on the old sacrament of baptism, and possibly in good faith that they were thereby showing their protectant zeal against any relic of Roman Catholicism. No steps were taken to punish the offenders until the 27th of September following, when they were brought before the Chapter of Southwell. They were then sentenced to do penance in the church on the next Sunday, and on the Wednesday and Thursday following, to repeat the penance in the market-places of Newark and Mansfield. This octagonal font we have been discussing was in all probability the identical font used for the desecration. In turn this font was thrown out of the church, and twenty-four years ago was sold from the vicarage garden. It then did duty as a pump trough until rescued by the present vicar. The third font is a Restoration one, and similar to many others put in when Charles II. came to the throne. It is octagonal, and stands on an octagonal stem. The top of the basin is ornamented with an ogee mould, and the base of the stem finished with a plain chamfer. It is not in its original condition, but has been restored.