The History of the Manor of Rampton, in Nottinghamshire


Village Green, Rampton (c.1910)
The village green in Rampton, c.1910.

THE Trent-side parishes are mostly in shape long and narrow. The Parish of Rampton is about five miles long, with an average breadth of one mile, the acreage being 2,159 acres.

When the townships were formed by the Saxons, it was important that a portion of the river-side should be included, the river being the means of communication with the outside world; this accounts for the shape of river-side parishes.

Rampton is now in the Wapentake of Bassetlaw, but was formerly in that of Oswardbec, which has long since ceased to exist. It is thus described by Thoroton, the words in brackets being added:—"It appears in the book of Domesday that Oswardbec before the Conquest was a Wapentake containing all the towns (and islands) between the river Idle and the Trent, beginning with Rampton and Treswell and so (north) west to Retford which is now (1677) called the Clay division of Bassetlaw with the addition of those first named towns (Rampton and Treswell), most of which Wapentake of Oswardbec was either of the fee of Roger de Busli (Domesday gives earlier owners) or soc (outlying appendages) to the King's great manor of Mansfield, except some parcels belonging to the Archbishop of York."

The lord or owner of the Wapentake, as was the case with most Wapentakes, was the king. He had the perquisites of the Wapentake court, and shared them with the earl, but it is clear that the court of Oswardbec was originally an open air court, which all landowners and freemen had to attend to form juries, do fealty, witness transfers of properties, note deaths, pay fines, settle disputes, assemble with arms, etc.

All Saints church, Rampton is largely Early English (early 13th century) in style (A. Nicholson, 2000).
All Saints church, Rampton is largely Early English (early 13th century) in style (A. Nicholson, 2000).

In Domesday Survey, 1086, Rampton is spelt Rameton; in the register of Blyth Priory, Ramton; in 1302 and later, Rampton. Mr. Mutschmann in the "Place-names of Notts." gives the meaning of the word as "The tun or homestead of Hrafn." He says "This Scandinavian personal name is found in various forms in English records as Rafn, Raven, Ram, etc. The latter type is contained in the above place-name. The development of the labial glide between m and t is a natural and progressive process."

The entry in Domesday referring to Rampton is as follows:—"VII Manors. In Rameton 7 thanes had 2 carucates and 3 oxgangs and 1/5 part of one oxgang to be taxed. Land to 71/2 ploughs. Roger de Busli with 4 vassals have 3 ploughs and 11 sokemen and 8 villeins and 6 bordars have 51/2 ploughs. There is a church and 31/2 fisheries of 3/6. There are 65 acres of meadow value King Edward's time 54/-, now 4/- less." (Note, an oxgang=as much as a pair of oxen can keep in husbandry, usually 15 acres. A carucate = 8 oxgangs, or 120 acres.) If we could go back we should probably find that the fishery here mentioned had been a payment in fish, but later computed to a payment in coin or money.

In Rampton, before the Conquest, there were seven manors or separate properties. "But after the Conquest all this was changed. The land throughout England was claimed as the property of the Crown, to be distributed among foreign favourites under feudal tenure. William I. appropriated 1,422 manors for his own use, and distributed the rest among his favourites." Rampton fell to Roger de Busli. He was a member of the great northern house of Montgomery, and appears to have been a particular favourite, for according to Domesday survey he was possessed of 174 manors. His seat in this county was at Blyth, and in Yorkshire at Tickhill. He died in 1099. "After the coronation of William no man could hold an acre of land by an ante-Norman title, and it was exceptional that a thegn of the time of King Edward should retain his possessions under King William. Dispossessed he must sink to become a tenant-farmer or a villein. The freeholder of his allodial land had to become extinct, and a network of officials were cast over England holding the people involved in its toils." (Family names, etc., by S. Baring-Gould). The Barons could not reside on all their manors, so were constrained to place sub-tenants in them.

Mr. William Stevenson says, "It looks as if Roger had granted out four of these properties to four vassals. Thoroton calls them tenants; but those four had three of the eight and a half ploughs, or fully a third of the land. The other five and a half ploughs were in the hands of 11 sokemen, 8 villeins, 6 bordars; that is all that remains to Roger, except the military service. The sokemen were tenants who had paid chief-rents, and so long as they paid could not be disturbed; they were thus freemen, and freeholders with Roger as their lord and protector, to whom they paid nominal chief-rents. The villeins (husbandmen in a state of villenage or vassalage), and bordars (cottagers) held lands at the will of the lord; their holdings later were registered on the manor rolls by the lord's steward, and where they have never lapsed or been bought up by the lord or other owners, we should find copyhold land and property. If we could see Rampton about A.D. 1100 we should possibly find those four vassals holding separate and intact, or it might be that one or two had been bought out or merged. Before the middle of the century Robert de Rampton, one of them, as we may suppose, became the most eminent of them, and got the whole into his possession. His property falls to his nephew Nigel."

In Magna Britannia it is stated that "Nigellus de Rampton and his wife confirmed to the church of St. Mary at Blith the lands which Robert, the uncle of Nigellus, held in Rampton, paying 2/- yearly to the said church on St. Dionysius' Day, October 9th."

Nigellus's heir was a daughter, named Pavia, who married Robert Malluval (spelt Mauluvell, Maulovell, Maluvell), whose posterity succeeded him for many generations, viz., from the beginning of the reign of Henry II., to that of Richard II. It is likely that the Malluvels originally came from Northumberland, as the name occurs in the Northumberland Pipe Rolls. At that time Northumberland was a portion of the kingdom of Scotland. A Richard Maluvel is mentioned in a poem written by Jordan Fantosme, in the 13th century, entitled, "Chronicle of the war between the English and the Scots in 1173 and 1174."

The following is from Rastall's History of Southwell :—

"Pavia, daughter of Nigellus de Rampton, with the consent of her son Robert Maluval, founded the Prebend of Rampton, in this church, and endowed it with lands and tithes there. This foundation was afterwards confirmed by Pope Innocent (1198-1216), and many augmentations conferred upon it by private persons, as appears by the White Book."

It is stated in Archbishop Sharp's MS., dated c. 1710, that "this church was given in the time of King Henry II. (1154-1189) to make a Prebend in the church of Southwell, so that the Prebend of Rampton is the Rector of the church and Patron of the Vicarage."

As the charter is said to have been confirmed by Pope Innocent III., it would appear to have been granted in the time of one of his predecessors, towards the close of the reign of Henry II., i.e., before 1189. This endowment continued until 1840, when the Chapter of Southwell was dissolved, and the emoluments of the Prebends placed in the hands of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners.

charta roberti maluvel de rampton.

Omnibus Sanctae Matris Ecclesiae filiis presentibus et futuris Robert Maluvel in Christo salutem. Noverit Universitas vestra me de consensu Paviae matris meae ecclesiam de Rampton, cum omnibus pertinentiis suis pro amore dei et animabus antecessorum meorum Ecclesiae Beatae Mariae de Southwell, in puram et perpetuam eleemosynam dedisse et hac presenti charta confirmasse ad Prebendam in eadem Ecclesia de Southwell, ordinandam. His testibus Adam Abbate de Wellebeck, Alano Canonico de Ripon etc.

Robert and Pavia Malovel had sons—Stephen, Robert, Roger, Richard. Stephen married Gundreda de Monasteriis, and endowed her with seven bovates of land in Rampton with appurtenances, and had a son Robert who was her heir.

Stephen died when his children were quite young, before the year 1194, and his father also appears to have been dead at the time, because in that year Gundteda had already been married a second time, her husband being Adam de Benningfield (or Bedingfeld).

It appears that when John, Earl of Morion, fortified Kingshaugh against his brother King Richard I., that Robert, the younger brother of Stephen, took possession of the lands with which his sister-in-law Gundreda had been endowed, and gave them for the fine demanded of him by Earl John. In 1194, Adam de Benningfleld and Gundreda brought an action against Robert, and Pavia his mother, to recover the property. The Lord Chancellor in court said that he had it from the King's (Richard I.) own mouth to restore the lands to all who were dispossessed by Earl John, and so Gundreda had her possessions restored to her. Robert appears to have had to pay a fine of 40/-.

In the same year, Robert Maulovel, and also Ralph Wudburc (Woodbeck), had to pay a fine of twenty marks to Richard I. for being knights or men of Earl John.

In 1199 "Adam de Bedingfeld paid 50 marks for having seizin of half a knight's fee in Rampton and half mark in Bedingfeld of which he had been disseized." (Pipe Rolls—Fines).

In 1199 "Robert Maluvel 40/- that he should not be compelled to plead with Adam and Gundreda his wife concerning 7 bovates of land in Rampton." (Pipe Rolls— Fines).

When William I. conquered Britain he divided the kingdom into 60,000 parcels of nearly equal value, from each of which the service of a soldier was due. If the owner of a parcel did not provide a soldier he had to pay a fine or fee of £20, called escuage. In 1201, William Rufus Maulovel, son of Richard, son of Pavia, gave the King, as Knight's fee, "20 marks and a palfry for having the custody of 7 bovates of land with appurtenances in the town of Rameton, which belonged to the children of Gundreda dc Monasteriis," but owing to the death of Stephen their father (perhaps of their mother too) were in possession of the King.

In England and in Normandy, the lord had the wardship of his tenant during minority. By virtue of this right he had both care of his person, and received to his own use the profits of the estate. By right the lord of Tickhill would have wardship of the heir of the Manor of Hampton, but perhaps at that time that manor too was in the hands of the King, William Rufus Maulovel evidently acting as guardian of his cousins.

"In 1204 Robert Maluvel paid 12 marks for his relief for his land." (Pipe Rolls—Fines).

"In II John (1209) Roger Maulovel gave account of a swift running palfry and two leash of greyhounds, for having the King's letters deprecatory to Maud de Muschans, that she should take him for her husband." (Thoroton). This probably means that Roger was appointed by the authority of the King to marry Maud de Muschans, who was an heiress and ward under age, holding estates direct from the King. Not wishing to marry her, Roger paid instead the fine of a palfry and two leash of greyhounds.

William Rufus Malovel was probably now dead, as Roger had the custody of his nephew Robert, the son of Stephen, heir to the Manor, who, it is stated, by reason of infirmity was not responsible for his actions. He evidently got the better of his infirmity, because he afterwards brought an action against his uncle Roger to recover one bovate of land with appurtenance, which Roger declared Robert had given him by deed. Robert said that "he was not in his own power when he made that deed, nor knew his own sense then in the custody of the said Roger his uncle, who took care of him in his infirmity, when all his other friends left him, and therefore begged the consideration of the court, whether that gift should be established, and offered a mark for having an injunction, whether that deed was made in the time before mentioned, or when he was in his own power." (Thoroton).

Robert appears to have come into the estate in 1207, as in that year he paid a fine to Hugh Butiller, when the bovates of land were conveyed to him.

In 6 Henry III., 1221, "Robert Maluvel 1 mark for having gone against Roger Maluvel and others in Ramton, Gerard de Mering, Ralf de Rodes c.s for his relief for 1 knight's fee of the Manor of Peverel." (Thoroton).

Robert had frequent troubles with his relations concerning property. In 1223 he claimed land against his uncle Richard. In 1227 he had to answer "by what warrant he had intruded himself into 24 acres of land with appurtenances in Rampton, which ought to remain" to Roger and Richard his uncles.

Richard had a son and heir called Stephen. It is stated (Testa de Nevill) that he held a knight's fee in Rampton of the Countess of Ewe (of the honour of Tickhill) which she holds of the King of old feoffment. He died in 1293 without issue. His wife was Elizabeth, the daughter of Thomas Cuily (Thoroton). In 1273 he was ordered to pay to the Jews a debt he owed to them. Many landowners got into debt with the Jews to raise money to go to the Holy Land and fight the Saracens. Possibly he borrowed money for that purpose. Edward I. made a law that the needy who were indebted to the Jews should not be compelled to pay, but that the rich, and those whose means are sufficient to pay their debts should pay. Stephen tried to deceive the court by asserting that he was poor, whereas it was proved that he has £50 of land or more yearly, and that his goods suffice to pay the said debts. So Stephen could not take advantage of the King's clemency.

An inquisition dated August 22nd, 1293, states "Stephen Maulovel held 3 parts of a bovate of land or 24 acres of the Manor of Tykyl, doing suit 3 weeks at the court of Tykyl, which he holds by knight's service, and does waymete and causway and gives scutage when it shall come; and he had nine bondmen holding 41/2 bovates, each rendering 20/- yearly and 35/6 assised rents from free tenants yearly, and albs, pepper, 2lbs. cummin, and 1lb. wax. Stephen, son of Robert Maulovel, is his next heir."

This means that Stephen had twenty-four acres of land in his own hands, and he had 41/2 bovates in the tenancy of nine bondmen who each paid 20/- per year rent. These bondmen might hold in tenancy free or otherwise of the will of the lord. The assize, or fixed rents 35/6, was nominal yearly rents or acknowledgments of freeholders on that particular manor. Other freeholders did not pay in money, but paid in peppercorns, cummin-seed, and wax. It was common in this district at the time of Domesday Survey, and before, for rents to be paid in honey. Stephen is said to do three weeks suit at the court of Tickhill. "Forty days was the usual term during which the tenant of a knight's fee was bound to be in the field at his own expense. But the great length of service diminished with the quantity of lands. For half a knight's fee 20 days were due; for an eighth part 5 days, and when this was commuted for an escuage or pecuniary assessment, the same proportion was observed." (Hallam).

In 1302 and 1346 the lord of the manor held one knight's fee, and therefore would serve fifty days at his own expense. In 1428 instead of serving he paid escuage, the amount of which was 8/6, for one knight's fee and a fourth part.

Stephen was succeeded by his nephew of the same name, son of his brother Robert, who was then only 161/2 years old. In 1294 an order was issued to the escheator to take the lands of Stephen into the King's hands, Stephen the younger would be of age in 1298.

In 1254, Peter Maulovel and his brother Thomas paid one mark to the King (Fines Rolls). They may have been the younger brothers of Stephen the elder, or his cousins. We hear of Peter again in 1290. Robert le Cartwright of Gaynesburgh makes a complaint that he had been ejected from certain lands in Gaynesburgh, of which the said Peter enfeoffed him, asserting that the said Peter was not compos mentis. It was decided that Peter when he enfeoffed the said Robert of the said lands was sufficiently of sound mind, "but in what state he is now the jury are ignorant, because he remains in distant parts."

Thoroton states that in 1291 "the jury found that Simon Maulovel of Rampton and John Fumery were not blameablc for eating acorns with their swine in the woods of Robert Musters in Tyreswell, in which they claimed common etc."

Stephen is accused of unjustly appropriating to himself some pasture which was his brother William's.

In 1310, both Stephen and William were killed by Hubert de Tyreswell. How this happened we do not know. Hubert may have killed his neighbour on purpose, or by accident in a quarrel or drunken brawl.

In the Patent Rolls it is stated that "on October 28th, 1310, pardon was granted to Hugh de Treswell for the death of Stephen and William Maulovellof Rampton." He probably obtained pardon by fighting for the King in Scotland. The men of Treswell appear to have taken possession of his goods, for in 1315 an order was issued (Close Rolls) to the men of Treswell to restore his goods and chattels, but the men of Treswell were not to be aggrieved on account of the said goods.

Stephen was succeeded by Robert, his son and heir, who was lord of the Manor in 1316, receiving in that year a parliamentary writ. Thoroton states that he married Elizabeth, daughter of John Longuillers, but in an inquisition, date 1341, and also in the Subsidy Roll of 1327, her name is Petronilla. William de Anne, Constable of Tykehill Castle, would have distrained him for not doing knight's service for the Manor of Rampton, but he was forbidden to do so, in as much as Robert had done homage to the King.

In 1317, Richard Maulovell, who served both Henry III. and Edward I., is sent by Edward II., "to the Abbot and Convent of Monk Bretton to receive maintenance" (Close Rolls). Having faithfully served three kings, and now being worn out with age, he is provided for in his latter days. He was probably a younger brother of the father of Stephen who was killed.

In 1318, Ralph Maulovell and Matilda his wife, and John his son, sought to recover their land in Rampton, which had been taken into the King's hands for their default. Ralph was probably brother to Stephen and William who were killed.

Thoroton states that "there was a fine at York in 1322 between John Maulovell of Rampton and Katherine the daughter of William Abbot of Pokelington, plaintiffe, and Ralph Maulovell of Rampton deforested, of one messuage, 60 acres of land, 13 of meadow, with the appurtenances in Rampton, which were thereby settled on the said John and Katherine, and the heirs of their bodies; remainder to the right heirs of Katherine. To this fine Robert Maulovell of Rampton put his claim."

In 1325, William Maulovell, who had been "commanded by letters of the Privy Seal to perform service in Gascony, absconds after receiving the King's wages." The Sheriff of Norfolk has orders to commit him to prison. He was probably brother to Robert, then lord of the Manor.

Both Robert and Petronilia died while Stephen their son and heir was a minor, and so the estates were held by the King, in whose hands was also the honour of Tickhill. He appears to have given them into the custody of his wife Queen Isabella. She held Rampton in 1330, during the minority of Stephen. In 1341 they were held by Queen Philippa, wife of Edward III. In a letter to Thomas de Longevillers, dated 1341, she states that she has granted the custody of one third part of the Manor of Rampton to Eleanor de Gisteles, the honour being in her hands by reason of the death of Petronilla Maulovell. If Stephen, son of Robert Maulovell, died before attaining his full age, then Eleanor, the wife of Wolford de Gisteles, granted the same to Thomas de Longvillers, grandfather of Stephen, i.e., during the minority of the heir of Rampton. However, Stephen was of age in 1346, and in that year did homage of the lord of Tickhill, paying one knight's fee and one quarter knight's fee. He married Frances, daughter of Thomas de Mering.

His next heir was Elizabeth, his daughter, who, according to Thoroton, was a minor on the death of Stephen. She married John Stanhope, circa 1374, and by means of this marriage the manor of Rampton passed to the family of Stanhope, having been in possession of the Maulovell family since the middle of the 12th century, that is about 200 years.