Chapter IV.

The Parsons

Owing to the appropriation of the Church, given by Gerard de Sutton to Thurgarton Priory in a.d. 1189, no Institution to the Living is to be found till a.d. 1743. The Church up to a.d. 1538 was served by the Canons sent from Thurgarton, or a Vicar appointed by the Prior who resided at the house situated at the junction of Forest Street and Priestsic Lane, still known as Priestcroft, and now (1932) the property of Mr. John Beeley. This house was taken at the Dissolution of the Monasteries, and no residence for the Parson of Sutton was provided till the present Vicarage was built in 1858. The names however of many of the Clergy are to be met with in the records of their time. In a list of Rentals and Surveys of the Tenants of the Manor of Mansfield in a.d. 1295, in the Public Record Office appears the names of Adam and William the Clerks. Adam was Parson of the Parish and William, a son of the Sutton family under lords of the Manor was Priest of the Chantry which had been recently founded at the East end of the South Aisle, its Piscina (without the drain) and two Corbels marking the site. A Seal discovered in the Churchyard in 1870 by the then Sexton Edward Allin was described by the late Bishop Trollope as follows:— "It is the Seal of William de Sutton, Priest . . . . in the 14th Century, who was buried at St. Katherine's Priory, Lincoln, to which house he left £10. The legend is 'Sigullum Willia . . . .  de Sutton' which William is represented sitting at his desk with the word of God before him, and a Clerk similarly occupied below him, whilst a squirrel which has climbed up a conventional tree is throwing a shower of nuts at the learned student, who by the aid of the Sun and Moon above his head suggesting the Old and New Testaments, will most probably crack them." This ingenious explanation may allude to the fact that he was an expert in problems of Holy Writ. But more recent knowledge has definitely settled the date. The late Mr. Wm. Stevenson, the erudite antiquary, pointed out that from its conventional form the Seal dated from the thirteenth century. His opinion was confirmed by other authorities so that it may fairly be assumed to be the Seal of the William de Sutton, the Chantry Priest mentioned above. This Seal was unfortunately stolen from the Vestry in 1918, during the Vicariate of the Rev. A. T. Cowen.

In the Great Regarde or Survey of the Forest made by John de Cromwell and John de Bristol in 1358, Ralph Cain (or de Caen) Clerke was accused as having "usurped to himself a piece of ground in Fulwood." His land was described as being in Hucknall Houthwaite, and as having been in the hand of John the king. No other name appears till 1528 when, in the Inquisition taken on the death of Thomas Langford the name of Robert Clarke, Chaplain appears. His name is also found in the list of Corrodies and Pensions paid on the Festival of St. Michael the Archangel in the second year of Philip and Mary a.d. 1554 as follows:— "Robert Clarke cantarist in ecclia de Suttone-in-Ashfeilde, per annum iiijl, xiijs, iiijd." But in the great quarrel with Thomas Langforthe in 1532 (details of which will be found in the account of that family) Robert Clerke is described as 'pyschepreste' and also Chaplayne, so that he may have occupied both offices till the Chantries were suppressed in 1547 and its land taken by the Crown and sold. It is interesting to note that in 1530 'William Clerke was Vicar of Mansfield.'

In the Registers of the Parish Church the following entry appears "Robert Grace, a Priest, was buried 9 August 1597." A Robert Grace resigned the Vicarage of Hucknall-Torkard in 1572, and on 5 May, 1588 a Robert Grace was Vicar of Blidworth, resigning it in 1587. Whether these entries apply to the same man does not appear, but it may be fairly assumed that they do, and that he came to Sutton and died there, but there is no evidence that he was ever the Incumbent. The family of Grace became ardent members of the Society of Friends in the next century. In 1597 the name of T. Hoyes is found in the Registers, and in 1602 that of T. Osborne. Again there is no direct evidence that the former was Incumbent, but as his name appears at the foot of the Parchment Transcript, ordered to be made from the Paper Registers in 1597, and regulated by the Canons of 1603, it seems probable that it is the verifying signature of the Parish parson.

In the Records of the Archidiaconal Court of 1609, 10 February Richard Hellebie of Pleasley was cited for receiving the Communion at Sutton-in-Ashfield where is no parishioner. He admitted having done so at the hands of Mr. Tomson (whose Christian name he knoweth not). Mr. Tomson and Thomas Tomlinson and Robert Marshall, Churchwardens were duly admonished. Again in 1614 Hezekiah Burton appears as Curate of Sutton-in-Ashfield: while in 1615 Mr. William Snapes, Clerk, Curate of Sutton-in-Ashfield was cited for refusing to observe the rites of the Church of England. He was dismissed with a warning.

It may be noted that Burton was not long at Sutton-in-Ashfield, and he next appears at Sutton-cum-Lound, where he was Indicted at Quarter Sessions for a riotous affray in that Church. In the same County Records, 1642, Robert Wallis, Clerk, of Sutton-in-Ashfield was indicted "for refusing to read the Book of Common Prayer." It cannot be affirmed that the last four clerks were in possession of the Living (which was painfully small) but it is plain that they were in charge of the Cure of Souls, and that they were under the Puritan influence of that unhappy time.

In the Survey of Church Lands 14 August, 1650, by the Commissioners of the Commonwealth, particulars of which may be seen in the Chapter on the Service of the Church, Nicholas Hasard's name is given as Vicar, and is described as "a preaching Minister," that is, he was acceptable to the Puritan Party, and not to be ejected, as so many thousands of loyal Clergy were by the Puritan Board of Tryers. Calamy however states that amongst the Puritan Clergy who came out of the Livings of the Church of England owing to the Act of Uniformity of 1662, was Mr. Lemuel Tuke of Sutton-in-Ashfield. In 1628 a Lemuel Tuke was Instituted Vicar of Greasley, and must have changed his views, for even Calamy describes him "as an ancient blind man of the Congregationalist persuasion," that is, if he were the same person. A Grant of £20 was made to him by the Committee for the Approbation of Publique Preachers in A.D. 1658, but in the same session a Grant of £20 was made to "a Minister at Sutton-in-Ashfield who shall be firmly settled there."

In the Will of Anne Mason, made 1 November 1659, she leaves "20/- to Jacobus Haynes to preach my Funeral Sermond" and "40/- to Lemuel Tuke." The name of Jacobus Haynes appears in the Faculty issued in 1715 for the building of the Western Gallery in Sutton Church (now pulled down), and in the Selstone Church Registers is entered the marriage of Charles Hoodless of Papplewick to Mary Cheetham of Bagthorp in the Church of Sutton 19 December, 1717. From these entries it seems clear that Tuke was a resident but was never Parson of the Parish, who in 1659 was perhaps Nicholas Hasard but more probably Jacobus Haynes, and that Calamy was wrong in his statement.

In 1678 the name of John Newton appears in the Kirkby Registers as being of Sutton, as also does that of Sampson Rogers, but whether they were Assistants to Jacobus Haynes or not does not appear, although Rogers signature appears in the Sutton Registers in 1717 and in 1743, and it seems most probable that Rogers was Incumbent.

The Register of Institutions at York supplies the names following, which are, of course, official. John Green was Instituted 30 June, 1743 upon the nomination of the Duke of Devonshire, and in the Visitation of the Archbishop of York in that year states that he has to live at Pleasley, where he is also Curate, the "Reason of Non Residence is the Smalnes of the Salary, the certain Value is no more than 13 li., 6s. 8 wch with four pounds the Lay Rector, the Duke of Devonshire gives during pleasure, is the whole. Parsonage House there is None." John Green resigned 17 October, 1767 and was succeeded 28 January, 1768 by James Brown, on the same nomination. He died of a Fever and was buried at Sutton 7 January, 1774.

Thomas Hurt, clerk, M.A., was then Instituted 18 May, 1774 He was the son of the Revd. Thomas Hurt, Rector of Teversal who resigned that Living in 1778 when he took up his residence at Dalestorth, enlarging that house. Thos. Hurt, junior had married Amelia Hall at Mansfield 7 March, 1771 and their son Thomas born 1773 became Rector of Linby, married Henrietta daughter of William Unwin, who died 28 February, 1806, he surviving till 1853. The Vicar of Sutton died 20 March, 1820, his wife 20 April, 1820, and both lie in the Churchyard of Sutton, West of the Tower.

The Rev. William Goodacre who succeeded does not seem to be actually in the Cure till 1827 and no Institution is to be found, but that he was discharging all the duties of Incumbent from 1820 there is no doubt, and the Tablet in the Church to his memory erected on his death 13 November, 1859, records a Ministry of thirty-nine years. He came to Mansfield Grammar School as Under Master in 1812 and became Vicar of Mansfield Woodhouse and Skegby later, residing at White House, Coxmoor Road to be within easy reach of his three parishes.

The Dukes of Devonshire and Portland had some time previously to 1820 exchanged lands, but in the Deeds of Transfer the Advowson of the Church had been omitted, and although the Duke of Portland is the lay Rector, the Duke of Devonshire is Patron of the Living. The License of James Pearson as Curate of Sutton in 1822 on the nomination of William Goodacre seems to indicate lawful possession, the Duke of Portland having nominated Mr. Goodacre, it then appeared that he had not the right, but he was left in possession. Thomas Cursham 1778, William Kendall 1789, John Parsons, 1794, and Thomas Hurt junior in 1800 all ministered at Sutton as Curates to the Rev. Thomas Hurt, senior. Saml. McLellan 1798 and Charles Sanders, and James Milner in 1802. Mr. Goodacre had the assistance of James Pearson 1822, Henry Pratt 1825, J. R. Unwin 1827, John Peatfield 1832, C. J. Callow 1834, Abijah Mellor 1836, Hodgson Brailsford 1836, and in 1837 the Rev. William Brooke Stevens who became Vicar 1860 on death of Rev. W. Goodacre. He died 22 October, 1866, and lies buried in the Churchyard East of the Chancel, the Pulpit in Church being erected by the Parishioners to his memory. He had married Miss Martha Adlington of Skegby, his untimely death at the age of fifty-four taking place in the present Vicarage, recently erected (1858).

The Rev. Chas. Bellairs, who succeeded came from Buckley Mountain and was a personal friend of the Right Hon. W. E. Gladstone. His Ministry was distinguished by the restoration and enlargement of the Church and the erection of the National Schools on Blackwell Road, Huthwaite. On his resignation in 1874 he retired to Bolton and later to Goadby Marwood, Leicestershire. His Curates were the Rev. the Hon. John Marsham, Rev. Clement Prance, later Vicar of Annesley where he built the beautiful Church there ; H. Williams, F. Parminter who later became Precentor of the Cathedral at Cape Town, Edw. Ransford, F. Powell, and F. W. Bellairs. In 1874 the Rev. F. Brodhurst came from Gawber, Yorkshire. His family had been long settled at Mansfield, and on his resignation he became Vicar of Heath, and Alt Hucknall. Amongst his Curates were the Revds. L. Iggulden, Chas. Packer, W. A. R. Braybrooke, C. E. Laing (who served at St. Michael's) and F. F. Marsh who did so much in founding the Mission of St. Modwen's. During his Ministry the Chancel part of St. Michael's Church was built, the National Schools at Sutton enlarged, and those on Common Side at Huthwaite were built. He was followed by the Rev. F. R. Pyper, late Curate of St. Andrew's Church, Nottingham, Instituted 18 November, 1893, he returned to that Church as its Vicar in 1896. One of his Curates, the Rev. A. W. Bell later became Vicar and Rural Dean of Ilkeston and Canon of Southwell. The Rev. J. B. Hyde succeeded, 26 July, 1896, leaving in 1903 for the Vicarage of Kirk Ireton. On 23 March, 1903, the Rev. W. H. Williams was Instituted, leaving in 1905 for North Muskham.

On 26 September, 1905, the Rev. F. J. Adams entered the Vicariate, coming from St. Thomas, Derby. A most active and earnest man and pioneer he built the Nave of St. Michael's, restored the Chancel of St. Mary's, and provided a fine new Organ. During his time, also, Huthwaite became an ecclesiastical Parish. He left for the Vicarage of St. Peter's, Mansfield and was succeeded by the Rev. W. L. latham, under whom St. Michael's was created a separate ecclesiastical Parish 18 October. 1910. He left for Morton, Derbyshire and the Rev. A. T. Cowen succeeded being Instituted 1 November, 1916, a most musical man under whom an excellent Choir served, and beautifully rendered Services. He resigned and died at Winchcombe. Following him came the Rev. W. E. C. Sternberg from Allestree, being Instituted 20 October, 1925, resigning on his appointment to the much better Living of Whitwell, his Curate the Rev. G. T. Rudge accompanying him, when the Rev. R. P. Tinsley, M.A., succeeded, coming from Forest Town and he was Instituted 22 July, 1929. He had served right through the Great War, 1914 to 1918, had risen to the rank of Captain, and been twice wounded. He resigned on his appointment to the Rectory of Bulwell where he was Instituted on 7 May, 1938, and was succeeded at Sutton by the Rev. H. N. Wrigley, from Kingston and Ratcliffe-on-Soar and was Instituted 19 July, 1938, and resigning in 1944 was succeeded by the Rev. W. E. A. Pugh, formerly Rector of Bestwood who was Instituted 22 July, 1944.


Copied from the Registry at York by Mr. G. G. Bonser.

1295 Adam. Parish Priest.
William de Sutton. Chantry Priest.
1358 Ralph de Caen.
1391 William Penfax.
1395 William de Sutton (buried at St. Katherine's Priory. Lincoln).
1528 Robert Clarke.
1576 Thomas Hoyes.
1602 Thomas Osborne.
1609 — Tomson.
1614 Hesekiah Burton.
1626 William Snapes.
1642 Robert Wallis.
1650 Nicholas Hasard.
1659 Jacobus Haynes.
1717 Sampson Rogers.
1743 John Green.
1768 James Brown.
1774 Thomas Hurt.
1820 William Goodacre (Instituted 1827).
1860 William Brooke Stevens.
1867 Charles Bellairs.
1874 Frederick Brodhurst.
1893 Frederick R. Pyper.
1896 John B. Hyde.
1903 W. H. Williams.
1905 Francis J. Adams.
1910 William L. Latham.
1916 A. T. Cowen.
1925 W. E. C. Sternberg.
1929 R. P. Tinsley.


1573 Christopher Brandreth Ralph Mason.
1578 " Richard Sugar.
1580 " William Clarke.
1581 Lawrence Newton.
1612 Richard Shaw. George Ellis.
1614 John Rawson. John Leicester.
1620 Reginald Vicars. Richard Rawson.
1628 William Osborne. Richard Clarke.
1630 Thomas Ludlam.
1638 William Osborne. Rowsley Haines.
1736 Jonathon Brandreth. Geo. Fletcher.
1737 John Bower. Samuel Ordidge.
1738 Jonathon Brandreth.
1739 " Thomas Ellis.
1741 " John Bower.
1742 " Thomas Ellis.
1743 John Butterworth. John Brandreth.
1745 John Bower. "
1747 John Clarke. John Butterworth.
1748 Zachariah Downing. William Daubney.
1752 Thomas Clarke. "
1754 " William Osborne.
1755 Matthew Marsh. Samuel Hall.
1756 " John Shaw.
1759 Cornelius Hufton. John Bryan.
1762 Jonathon Leevers. Joseph Shaw.
1763 " Thomas Clarke
1767 George Stow. "
1768 " Joseph Lee.
1769 Thomas Dove. William Bower.
1770 Thomas Peniston. John Bower.
1772 William Bower. John Tomlinson.
1774 Thomas Dove. Henry Ulyet.
1777 Samuel Boot. Thomas Wood.
1779 Samuel Downing. Samuel Stafford.
1780 Thomas Dove. Samuel Barnes.
1782 William Bower. Samuel Downing.
1783 John Chambers. John Tomlinson.
1784 Henry Ulyet. Samuel Ward.
1785 Thomas Bradley. Samuel Stafford.
1786 William Godber. "
1788 Joseph Sims. Thomas Hall.
1790 Clay Hall. John Clarke.
1791 Richard Adlington. Samuel Downing.
1792 John Allwood. Samuel Saunders.
1793 Joseph Sims. Henry Leverton.
1794 John Oldham. James Foulds.
1795 William Brandreth. John Clarke.
1796 Samuel Butterworth. Samuel Boot.
1797 Samuel Boot. Joseph Sims.
1798 William Stanhope James Wright.
1799 " Joseph Sims.
1802 John Clarke. "
1804 John Kitchens.
1805 Thomas Barnes. John Clarke.
1806 " Robert Hall.
1807 Joseph Hufton. "
1809 Thomas Adams. Henry Morris.
1811 James Foxton. John Hill.
1812 William Adin. John Hall.
1813 James Daubney. James Lindley.
1814 " Richard Tudsbury.
1815 " John Lindley.
1817 " Samuel Wooley.
1818 John Cooper. "
1819 John Rhodes. "
1820 " John Cooper.
1822 William Beecroft. Clay Fisher.
1825 Henry Butterworth. Henry Morris.
1827 Charles Beastall. Samuel Fisher.
1829 William Beecroft. "
1831 Robert Judd. Samuel Chappell.
1832 Thomas Gadsby. John Hill.
1834 Edward Unwin. Thomas Spencer.
1835 John Hambleton William Beecroft.
1837 Edward Unwin. "
1840 Henry Dove. "
1845 John Butterworth. Ebenezer Hickton.
1870 William Beecroft. Thomas Robinson.
1873 John K. Daubeny. G. B. White.
1874 " W. Butler.
1876 " William Bonser.
1880 M. F. Hamerton. John Briggs.
1881 William Bonser. "
1890 George G. Bonser. "
1897 Charles B. Beecroft. "
1908 " Arthur Grundy.
1911 " George G. Bonser.
1912 George William Briggs. "
1918 " William H. Keeton.
1922 " John W. Chapman.
1932 " G. A. F. Piggott.
1937 A. E. Roberts. "
1942 H. G. Walton. "