Chapter XVII.

The Family of Langford

Langford Coat of Arms. Paly of Six, Or and Gules, overall a Bend, Arg.
Langford Coat of Arms. Paly of Six, Or and Gules, overall a Bend, Arg.

This family which for centuries was the principal one in Sutton-in-Ashfield had branches at Laganford (Langford) in Derbyshire, at Langford near Newark, in Nottinghamshire, at which place Dr. Thoroton gives a long Pedigree from a.d. 1200 to 1570, stating that Sir Nicholas Langford married Margaret de Sulney. This was in 1391 she being daughter of Sir Alured de Sulney, and by this marriage Brookhill Hall near Pinxton passed to the Langfords, till a.d. 1567 when they sold it to the Cokes.

In the Visitation Rolls of 1569 and 1614 a short pedigree is given commencing with Thomas Langford of Mansfield, but the place of residence is incorrectly given, as will appear later.

From whence this Sutton branch came does not appear, but in all probability from Brookhill, less than four miles away. That they were of note (and very conscious of it) seems certain. The name is still preserved in Sutton, the fields on the N. of Priestsic Lane were long known as Langford's Wongs, and Langford Street now covers part of them. Thomas is stated to have been the son of Nicholas and grandson of George Langford, a younger brother of Langford of Langford. The Rolls do not give a date when this branch settled at Sutton, but the Subsidy Rolls of 1543 under the heading of Sutton-in-Ashfield give the name of Thomas as well as that of Elizabeth Langford. It is stated by Thoroton that under the marriage of Sir Nicholas Langford to Margaret Sulney an Estate at Basford was carried to him and in 1514 Sir Ralph Langford was seized of 8 messuages, 200 acres of land, 10 of meadows, 10 of pasture, and when he died leaving his grandson, Ralph, son of his son Nicholas, his heir. In 1538 William Hollys claimed the Manor of Basford from Ralph, who may have been a spender. The connection between Sutton and Basford will appear later.

The history of the Sutton Langfords seems to be a constant succession of quarrels and disputes with their neighbours and the following Transcript from the Rolls of the Exchequer, not only shows this but settles the place of their residence, correcting the error in the Visitation Rolls.

Inquisition taken at Sutton-in-Ashfield 6 January 22 Hen. VIII (1531-2) before Sir Brian Stapleton, knight, Anthony Babyngton, esquire, (of Dethic, whose son was beheaded in 1586 for a conspiracy to take Mary, Queen of Scots, from the custody of the Earl of Shrewsbury at Wingfield Manor), Richard Samon, esq., and William Kybbie, esq. Commissioners by virtue of a Commission to them and to John Harsye directed, by the oath of Robert Hynkerselle of Mansfield Woodhus, Robert Snowden of the same, Richard Grenewudde of the same Thomas Mottram, and John Benett, John Morres of Sutton, James Walker of Mansfield, John Cotton of Wudhus, Nicholas Eyre, Esq. and Christopher Welpedale, Richard Lee of Sutton, Henry Welpe of Mansfield, Roger Symson, Thomas Pyford and Richard Colynson of the same, William Newton and Adam Pyggot of Sutton, and William Hoton, senior of Wudhus who say " that Thomas Langford three years since enclosed with hedges and ditches a Close called Waturyard containing two acres of uncultivated land in the fields of Mansfield and within Shywudde forest to the injury of the neighbours of Maunesfelde. And he also enclosed with hedges and ditches a close called Le Wedes containing three acres of arable land in the fields of Sutton-in-Ashefelde within the lordship of Maunesfeld and within the aforesaid forest to the injury of the neighbours of Sutton. And one year since he likewise enclosed a Close containing 3 acres of his own land and one acre of land of John Benett called Horseclose, and another Close containing two acres now ploughed which are all made enclosures by the said Thomas Langford within the said lordship. But they say that a certain Thomas Tomson at one time tenant of the lands of the said Thomas Langford fourteen years since enclosed within the fields of Sutton one Close called Syddale's containing three acres of Thomas Langford's lands, one acre of the land of Thomas Richardson, one acre of the land of Geoffrey Newton, one acre of the land of William Hellebye, ½ acre of the land of Robert Clerke chaplain, 2 roods of the land of Robert Hockyng, 2 roods of the land of Christopher Leeme 1 rood of the land of John Benett, and 1 rood of the land of John Sussen. And the said Thomas Tomson enclosed the same year one Close called Mappulwelles containing two acres and one rood of the land of the said Thomas Langford and one acre of the land of Robert Clerke, and three roods of the land of Thomas Mottram. And 12 years since the said Thomas Tomson enclosed one Close called Stonyforthbroke containing 2 acres of land. And they say that all the closes aforesaid are within the forest aforesaid, and are not to the injury of the Game. And they are held of the king by copy of Court (Roll) as of his Manor of Maunsefeld, rendering for each acre two pence. And the acre is worth besides yearly fourpence." Inq. Ad. Q.D. 22 Hen. VIII.

This Inquisition is interesting not only as showing the method of the Court in dealing with land, but particularly so in giving the names, four centuries ago, which the land bears today (1932).

The Visitation Rolls state that Thomas Langford married Elizabeth Lowe of Alderwasley, near Wirksworth, daughter of Thomas Lowe who built the Chapel there, and sister of Anthony Lowe, Standard Bearer to King Henry VIII. They had two sons Roger and Thomas. Roger married Catherine daughter of Thomas Bradshaw of Mansfield, where he probably went to reside and Thomas married Catherine Comyn of Northants, not later than 1546. The following account of a dispute in which Thomas, senior and his wife were involved, circa 1543, and which came before the Star Chamber throws some light upon the village life of those days immediately preceding the Reformation.

P.R.O. To the Right Hon. Thomas Audeley, Lord Chancellor of England (1532-43). Thomas Langeforthe of Sutton-in-Ashfield in the com . . . . of . . . . . That where your said Grace having in Godds peace and the kings upon Christmasse Day taken parte at evensonge in the Churche of Sutton aforesaid . . . . of Robert Clerke pyschepreste of the same pysche who before that tyme had fellid a greate ashe growing in the Churchyarde ther by whych autorytie it was not knowne to the pyshoners there . . . . the knowledge whereof to be had your said Grace at the especial desire of the most parte of the said pyshoners with the Churchwardens of the same after evensong of the same day Done, In good faith did comyn with the sd Robert Clerke demanding of hym in gentill maner by what autorytie he had fellid the said tree. And the said Robert then and there not being contented with the said question, and also being in the Chancell of the said Churche then and there took Greate Displeasure with your said Grace And came into the body of the Churche ther and said many conflycting and cruell words unto your said suppliant saying that he wolde not fail to break the hede of your said suppliant. And the said suppliant demanded of the said Robert what he mente to be angery for so little a matter as to know by whose autoritie he caused the said Asshe to be felled, and the said Robert then and there having no cause to reasonable cruelly in the said Churche reviled your said suppliant and called him knave and especially bad hym come into the Chancell of the Churche saying that he wolde break hys hede, wherupon your said suppliant intending to further to move hym than . . . . out of the said Churche to hye housewardes . . . . And the said . . . . Roger (sic) Clerke hys brother Richard and other riotous persons to the number of XX whose names to your said suppliant be unknowne in . . . . that is to say with staves brake bills and other unlawful wepons folowed after your sd orator, the sd Robert haveinge a greate staff in his hande then and ther made assaulte upon your sd supp. and the wyf of ye sd supp . . . . and your sd supp . . . . did stey the sd Robert to whom your sd supp said ye be my gostelye father and was lothe to meddle with you but as the law requireth . . . . p Robert then said he wolde non other Lawe but Staffars Lawe, and then . . . . Robert dayly continueth in malice and dayly menaceth and thretteneth him so that the sd supp stondeth in greate jopdry of his lyeth (sic) and if you shoulde for hys safeguard grant a warrant for the peace of some Justice of the Peace ther, ther dare non officer within the sd shire for . . . . Robert is dangerous to be . . . . for outher than he wolde be arrested he wolde put some man in jopardie of his lyeff in consideration whereof it may please your good Lordship to issue a writ of subpona unto Robert hym strately commanding by the same to appear before the King his honorable council in his person to be bound in some conveniett sumne to keep the kyngs peace."

The following reply is attached. " The answer of Robert Clarke, Chaplayne to the bill of Complaynte of Thomas Longforthe of Sutton-in-Ashfelde. The sd Robert Clarke sayth as to my misdemenors asserted . . . . in maner and tyme and in the Bill alleged that he be thereof not guilty. And as to fellying of the sd Asshe or any other and asserted in the sd Bill to be committed by him . . . . gainst the kings . . . . he saith that it is matter dependable on the common law, and not on your honourable Court, and he prays that he may be recompensed for any charges that he may have had." This case has been given in full as illustrating a phase of life in an obscure village during the sixteenth century, and it throws some light upon the tempers of the parishioners during the Reformation period and when the King had already appointed Commissioners to suppress the smaller Religious Houses. Langford seems to have carried things with a rather high hand for in the same Star Chamber, temp. Philip and Mary (1554-6) he again appears as a complaintant in a Suit " Thomas Langford vs. Godfrey Hodgkinson, John Benett, John Smith and James Wilford, concerning Two Closes of land at Hucknall Huthwaite in the Soc of the Queen's Manor of Mansfield." Langford claimed the land and impounded Benetts Cattle at Sutton (The Pound, or Pinfold disappeared in 1928. It stood on the Green facing the Swan Inn, near the end of Club Street). The Defendants went to fetch the same, when Langford struck at them and they were hurt and retaliated hitting him lightly (sic) on the head, which was all the hurt and harme that was done him," "Langford being more like a mad man than one of reason."

The date of the death of Thomas Langford, senior, appears in Inquisitions Post Mortem 1531, and it would seem from the Subsidy Rolls that in 1543 mother and son had separate estates. Thomas junior was of much the same temper as his father. For on 7 February, 1572 he sued Deane of Hucknall for debt. Deane replies that "he worked for Langford at Haytime and Harvest, and brought Coal from Blackwell Pit." This is another interesting note as showing the early date of the working of Coal in this neighbourhood. Langford again sues Francis Molineux, John Benett, and John Smith, 10 May, 1565, for recovery of Deeds of land at Sutton-in-Ashfield. His father had a lease of land granted to him in 1536 at Teversal (Domestic Letters H. VIII) and it may be some confusion arose between the transactions. Strange to say no decision in the Cases mentioned in the P.R. Office. Thomas had just commenced another Action against — Leke for forcible entry into Property at Mansfield, when he died, and was buried 14 October, 1585, after a stormy and litigious life. The Visitation Rolls give the name of George the son and heir as being only 22 in 1569, and these Rolls notwithstanding, it is clear that they lived at Sutton, and not at Mansfield and that it was to them that the building of the old house, recently (1928) pulled down, opposite the Swan Inn, was due.

The Parish Registers of Sutton at this period are defective due to the great pillage of the Church at that time, and no resident Parson to keep them, no Incomes being left. No records of the Baptisms of the Langfords are to be found, but the V. Rolls give the names of George, Joane and Dorothy. A record appears of the marriage of Edward Langford and Elizabeth Hodskinson at Sutton 30 April, 1579, but whether he was George's brother or uncle does not appear, and no further mention of George is made in Sutton after 1569. It is to be noted that Joane married 2 November, 1572 Humphrey Louthe and it is the first entry in the Sutton marriage Registers. Louthe was the son of John Louthe, Archdeacon of Nottingham, and a correspondent of John Fox who wrote a " book of Martyrs " and who gave an account of " the shameful murdering of Mr. Edmund Louthe (his father) of Sawtrey by monks and priests." Louthe and Joane settled in Sutton for he appears in the Subsidy Roll of 1606, and on the death of Joane 15 June, 1593, he married Jone Mere at Sutton 11 December, 1594. He was Registrar of the Archdeacons Court.

It has been stated earlier that land etc. at Basford passed to Sir Nicholas Langford by marriage and in 1513 Sir Ralph Langford was in possession and by an Inquisition taken at Worksop 12 July in that year it is stated that Sir Ralph received by reversion, 4 messuages, 100 acres of land, 20 of meadow, 100 of pasture, and 20/- of Rent in Knapthorpe from Sir Nicholas Langford.

The V. Rolls, as has been stated, give Thomas Langford of Sutton as being the son of Nicholas, the relationship to Sir Ralph being therefore obvious. But the family of Langford was earlier connected with Nottingham, for in the Boro' Records it states that in the year 1511 Thomas Langford, at the Feast of St. Michael, let to John Plumtree the Office of Sealing of Linen Cloths for sale for 26/8, and again in 1518 Thomas Langford claimed 26/8 from William Spooner for the occupation of the Seal of our Lord the King for Cloths made for sale in Nottingham for one year, and this connection with the County town lasted till about a.d. 1800.

The same records state that in 1603 the Mickleton Jury presented "Maister (? George) Langford for setting Stakes and Cradles to streatten the Leene", and he had been presented in 1588 " for encroaching on the Leynne." Just the sort of thing to be expected of him if he were the son of Thomas of Sutton. There had been a Recovery 29 Hen. VIII (1538) by William Hollys the younger, Gent, against Ralph Langford and Dorothy, his wife, of the Manor of Basford, Blackwell, Whitwell and Cresswell, but on what pleas is not stated. It may have been on purchase, or for a Trust, for as has been seen the younger branch of the family was in possession of Basford sixty years later.

The Will of William Langford of Nottingham, Chirurgion was proved at York 13 October, 1614, and in the Registers of St. Nicholas Church the marriage of Mr. George Langforthe to Judith Doroninges on 25 July, 1616, appears. In 1688 George L. was Mayor of Nottingham, and again in 1695 when he was also High Sheriff of the County. The last mention of this branch of the family was by Mr. James Grainger who stated that " Mrs. Mary Langford lived in St. Mary's Gate in 1799 " while the old house of the family was in Wheeler Gate now (1930) used as a Cafe. It has a fine ceiling well worth inspection.

To return to the Sutton branch. It is almost certain that Thomas and Catherine had another son named Edward, who remained at Sutton and married there Elizabeth Hodskinson 18 March, 1579. They had three sons, Thomas, Anthony, Bapt. 16 June, 1593, and Edward, Bapt. 12 November, 1600.

Thomas married Mary Wood 18 September, 1607, and went to live at Hucknall Huthwaite of whom more later. Anthony married Elizabeth Strea at Sutton 17 May, 1628 and was buried there 27 March, 1672. On his tombstone near the window E. of the Chancel he is described as ' Chyrurgion ' (Surgeon) and in his Will dated 31 January, 1672, proved by John Ward, Edward Langford and others it states that there was " In the Parlour a Case of Instruments," and tradition asserts that he was a Surgeon in the Army of Oliver Cromwell. His signature was witnessed by Samuel Nowell, who under the Toleration Act of 1672 was licensed to preach in the house of Jonathan Everard, Congregationalist. Edward's marriage does not appear but he had two sons Thomas and Francis. Thomas seems to have been unmarried, and when he died in 1654 he left a Will dated 23 May in that year in which appears the name of his brother Francis, and Edward his nephew, son of Francis, as sole Executor.

The Will gives the names of Cold Close, Currdale, Flaxcrofte, and leaves the following bequest of land " lying in a meane Close called Cutdoles within Crossfield in Hucknall containing 1½acres, 1 perch to the only proper use of the Overseers of the Poor of Sutton and Hucknall . . . . that they shall yearly forever distribute and pay the rents . . . .  to the most neediul and poore people that after my decease shall be living in Sutton and Hucknall upon the Friday next before Easter." It may be stated here that this land was sold to Mr. Edward Unwin of Sutton by permission of a Vestry meeting to pay Huthwaite's proportion in the cost of the new Union Workhouse at Mansfield.

Thomas, son of Edward, married Mary Wood, and resided at Huthwaite. In his Will he is described as Gent, and it is dated 12 August, 1658. One of his bequests is " Item. I give unto the poore peepul of Sutton and Hucknall tenpence a year " and orders that his son in law James Mason shall have the use of his Closes and Lands for a full year without the molesting of Mary, wife of John Daye.

It seems probable that he left a son John, for a Will of John Langford of H. Huthwaite dated 7 March, 1718, was proved at Mansfield. Therein he is described as Blacksmith, and his stock in trade was valued at £391 4s. 8d. He was a strong Nonconformist, and as early as 1666, was indicted for absence from Church, and under the Toleration Act of 1672 had his house licensed for Worship at Hucknall in the parish of Sutton.

Francis died and in his Will proved 20 November, 1670, in which he is described as Gent, of H. Huthwaite gives the names of Anne his wife, Edward his son, and his daughters Elizabeth and Mary. He, too, was a sturdy Nonconformist and his daughters were indicted for not attending Church in 1666-8. Edward the son does not appear to have been married, and in his Will of 9 March, 1703, describes himself as being of H. Huthwaite in the parish of Sutton. He mentions his sister Ann Mandeville, and Mary, and from this period traces of the family disappear. In the Parish Registers of Sutton the Baptisms of Francis Langford 23 April, 1749 and William 18 February, 1751, appear but no further references have been found, it may therefore be assumed that the long connection of this family with the town ceased.

In the Domestic State Papers of Hen. VIII 8 May, 1537, a Lease of Mansfield Mills for twenty-one years was granted to Sir John Byron and Thomas Langford, and in the possession of Mrs. Williams, late of Skegby Hall is a Lease dated 14 November, 1596 for thirty-one years of a water mill called Sutton Mill with the ponds of the same within the Forest of Sherwood on an annual payment of 518 and 8d to Edward Langford : giving him permission " to fell timber in the Forest by the assignment of our Officers " for the " purpose of repairing our said mill." The Lease had the following strange clause : " that provided always that if any other shall wish to give more for the premises per annum without fraud or deceit that the said Edward Langford, etc. are bound to pay as much if they wish to have the custody." Evidently no one did for Mr. Clarence Brooks, late of Sutton has in his possession the Return made by Mr. Gaily Knight who was High Sheriff of Nottinghamshire in 1819 in which is given an account of 53/4 of Edward Langford, Esq. for Mills within the Forest of Sherwood." Who paid this is not stated—probably the then tenant of the Mill.

Inquisition and Wills.

Inquisition taken at Sutton-in-Ashfield 22 Hen. VIII before Sir Brian Stapleton, knight, etc. v.p. 127. Ad Quod Damnum (a.d. 1531).

Will of Thomas Langford, 23 May, 1654 v.p. 133.

Will of Thomas Langford, 12 August, 1658 v.p. 133.

Will of Ann Mason his daughter proved 16 January, 1659. " I give and bequeath my Close' called Horseley Bank Close for teaching the poorest children to read the Bible, v.p. 103. Item : I give to Mr. Lemuel Tuke of Sutton 40/-.

I also give to Mr. Hayne for my funeral Sarmond 20/- and a Book Intituled the Soules preparation to Christ. (Note : Jacobus Hayne was Incumbent of Sutton up to 1717. Will of Francis Langford, Gent, of H. Huthwaite proved 20 November, 1670. Edward, his son, v.p. 134. Will of Edward Langford, made 9 March, 1703, v.p. 134. Inventory of John Langford on 7 March, 1718, Blacksmith of H. Huthwaite, valued at £391 14s. 8d. The above were proved in the Peculiar Court of the Manor of Mansfield. The Will of William Langford, Chyrurgion of Nottingham was proved at York, 13 October, 1614.

The old home of the Langfords on the Upper Green or Bull Ring, later known as Devonshire Square was taken down by the Urban District Council in 1930. The old house had been re-fronted about 1600. It had not been a Manor House : the house opposite the Blue Bell Inn having been built c. 1572 by Gervase Neville who obtained the Manor by his marriage to Anne Greenhalgh, the Manor passing from him to the family of Cavendish in 1574.

Langford family tree