Chapter XVIII.

Fitzrandolph, Fitzranulph, Fitzrandalle Family

Robert Fitzranulph, son of Ingelram, a Baron by tenure and lord of Alfreton, Norton and Marnham, was of so great importance as to be Sheriff of Nottinghamshire and Derby, A.D. 1166 to 1170, and again in 1189. It is reported, writes Dugdale " that Thomas a Becket was murdered by R. Fitsurse, W. de Tracy, Ralph Brito, and Hugh Morcile. But that there were some others present and guilty thereof there is no question at all to be made, and that this Robert Fitzranulph was one of that number. Nay it is certainly affirmed that he was one of the four, for sure it is that to expiate that bloody murder (29 December, 1170) he founded the Priory of Beauchief for Canons Regular of St. Augustine, and gave thereto the Churches of Alfreton, Norton and two others."

His son William, also lord of Alfreton, temp. Rich. I (c. 1190) gave Blackwell Church to Thurgarton Priory, and his eldest son Thomas, dying before A.D. 1241 left his three sisters his heirs, Alice the eldest marrying Sir Wm. Chaworth of Annesley, the male line then disappearing. But a younger branch was settled at Sutton-in-Ashfield for a Conveyance in the Welbeck Library states that " William son of William de Herdewych (Kirkby Hardwick) grants and confirms to Henry de Pirepunt and his heirs, or to whomsoever he may wish to give, sell or assign, as well on his deathbed as in his lawful power eight acres of land in the fields of Herdewych, to wit, five acres in the field towards the South between the land of Geoffrey Fitzranulph de Sutton on the one side and land of my own on the other . . . . at the annual Rental of sixpence, threepence at Easter and threepence at the feast of St. Michael. Witness, Dom John de Stuteville, Dom Geoffrey Barry, Dom. Nicholas Spigurnel, Dom. William, Parson of Kirkby, Gerard de Sutton, Robt. Torkard, John de Perepunt and Reginald Parcus." This is an interesting document by reason of so many men of local importance having signed it ; the Stutevilles were lords of Kirkby, the Barry's of Teversal, the Spigurnels of Skegby, Gerard of Sutton, Torkards of Hucknall, and from much collateral evidence it dates from c. A.D. 1245. In Rentals and Surveys A.D. 1295 in the P.R.O. appears the name of Walter Fitzrandolph when he paid a Fine of 3/2 for lands held of the king at Sutton-in-Ashfield and of his son Henry, who paid 5/-. The history of this branch is for many years obscure and it quietly lived its life at Sutton, and it is not again prominent till 1489, when in the Torre MSS. appears the name of Christopher Fitzrandolph as Rector of Kirkby when he died, and Thoroton in his account of Linby mentions Sir Brian Fitzrandolph whose daughter Elizabeth married Sir Nicholas Strelley, c. 1540, but died without issue.

The pedigree of the family now becomes clearer, and in the Visitation Rolls of 1569 and 1614 we have the genealogical tree giving Christopher Fitzrandolf who married Jane Langton of Langton Hall, Kirkby-in-Ashfield, temp. H. VIII. After this marriage he became of some importance for King Henry wrote him, under his own hand in 1543 directing him to levy all such forces as were within his Stewardship, as Steward to His Majesty. Another letter was also issued ordering him to levy Forces for the Duke of Norfolk against the Scots. This last allusion is somewhat vague, for Flodden was fought in 1515, and the Duke of N. who commanded there died in 1524. It seems probable that the name should have been that of the Earl of Hertford who commanded the English Forces against the Scots at the Battle of Pinkie in 1547. Christopher died c. A.D. 1570, and Jane his wife 1574, their Wills being proved at York. Their son Thomas married Catherine Foljambe of Walton, and on a small brass plate, unfortunately destroyed in the burning of Kirkby Church, 17 October, 1907 it was stated in Latin " whose souls ascended to the stars," the said Katherine 2 Maie, 1593, and the said Thomas 27 February, 1598. Their eldest son James married Catherine, daughter of Sir William Mantle and they had four children, Filalethes aged 22 in 1614, Thomas, Isabel and Ferdinande.

Isabel married Edmund Davenport of Hucknall Huthwaite 30 November, 1621, Thomas and Filalethes died, and then commenced a most romantic and tragic chapter in family history.

The second son of Christopher and Jane, named John went to live at Birchwood, in the parish of Alfreton, Co. Derby nearly three miles away. He had married Johan Wilson at Selston 30 January, 1564 and had two sons Edward and Christopher. Edward for some time lived at Birchwood after the death of his father, and a dispute arose between him and his uncle Thomas for possession of that property. Edward had married Alice Tompson at Sutton-in-Ashfield, 16 November, 1589, and she dying 27 December, 1604, he married Francis Howis there 17 December, 1605. Christopher married Ann daughter of Hugh Wood of S. Normanton, and resided in a house he probably built, at Fulwood Crow Trees, Sutton-in-Ashfield, the lands running alongside those of Westwood or Langton Hall. He died and was buried at Sutton, 7 June, 1589. To revert to the first Christopher, in 1542 he and Jane his wife brought an action against Hugh Wylloughby (of Selston) concerning a disputed title to a Messuage and lands at Byrchwood which they gained, their son John going to live there.

Later a quarrel seems to have arisen for Thomas the elder brother brought an action against Edward and Christopher his nephews, sons of John, to recover the Deeds of a Messuage and Lands at Birchwood, and a Manor or Capital Messuage called Langton and Westwood Hall, in Co. Nottinghamshire. Thomas was, it seems clear, successful, for on his death his son James Fitzrandolph succeeded to both these estates. Edward came to live at Sutton-in-Ashfield on the death of his brother Christopher in 1589, the same year that he married Alice Tompson at Sutton, and the Baptisms of four of his children are registered there. Christopher left a son, Edward who had married Ann, daughter of Wm. Allwood of Little Normanton in 1640, and in the Visitation Rolls he is given as having six sons and one daughter and at one time was living at Chesterfield, then at Teversal, Nottinghamshire, where two of his sons were Baptised, and then he must have settled at Sutton on the death of his Uncle and his nephews. In the meantime his Uncle James of the elder branch at Langton Hall had fallen upon evil times and we can hardly imagine the sorrow that James and his wife had to encounter.

Thoroton in his account of this family has omitted the fact that Thomas son of the first Christopher had a son Thomas, brother of John, and James was his son. John's two sons Edward and Christopher of Birchwood being cousins of this James.

Edward Fitzrandolf, son of John settled at Sutton-in-Ashfield and in the Subsidy Rolls of 1606 his name appears under the heading of Sutton. Thoroton gives his name as one of the principal landowners in 1612, and in the Subsidy of 1662 Edward appears as one of the largest contributors the Roll being dated at Mansfield, 8 May. Robert Beresford, of Arnold Anniger, being the Collector.

In the troublous time of the Commonwealth and the Restoration of the Monarchy in 1660, the family disappeared, and most probably settled in South Carolina, and dropping the prefix of ' Fitz ' rose to considerable eminence during the War of Independence, a General Randolph being an Officer of George Washington's.

The arms, given in the Heraldic Visitation of 1614 were, Argent, a Chief, indented, Azure.

Crest : Or, a Chapeau, Or, turned up Azure, a Wivern of the last.