Chapter XXII.

The Grace Family

This family for a considerable period figured largely in the affairs of the town, many of them resting in the Church yard by the path to the old door in the Chancel.

The Reverend Robert Grace at one time Priest of Hucknall Torkard became Vicar of Blidworth in a.d. 1585, but resigned that Living in 1587, came to live at Sutton, perhaps from a change in his religious views, and probably got married.

There are two entries in the Sutton Parish Registers both probably relating to the same person, one in the old original paper Register as follows : " Robert Gosate a Priest was buried 4 August, 1596." the other in the Parchment Transcript " Robert Grace a Priest was buried 9 August 1597." No trace of the old Priest's marriage appears nor does that of the Baptism and Marriage of his son William, but on 9 February Robert Grace, son of William, was Baptised at Sutton, 1617. Robert married Martha Stone at Sutton 10 October, 1647, his brother Thomas's marriage is not known to the writer, and William another brother married Jane Bladderwick at Sutton, 28 October, 1644.

Robert died 1685. In his Will made 21 day of 3rd month 1681 he gives the names of his brothers William and Thomas, and continues " Also I give to the poore of Sutton 20/-. Also I give to the people called Quakers of Sutton-in-Ashfield in Mansfield, in Mansfield Woodhouse, in Skegby and in Hucknall the sum of £2to be paid into the hands of Richard Bateman and George Hopkinson." He was buried at Sutton 8 December, 1685. No Will of Thomas appears, but he had four children, Elizabeth, Katherin, William and Martha.

William died June, 1702, leaving to his nephew William, son of Thomas, Pingle Broad Close in occupation of Anthony Ramshaw, house in occ. of John Berry to his niece Mary, having no children of his own.

This nephew William married Mary, her surname is unknown, and their son William was Baptised at Sutton 14 June, 1723, but died in infancy. A second child was Baptised William 24 December, 1725, and a son Thomas, 18 December, 1730. The father, William, died January, 1755, and in his Will he leaves Samuel Unwin, Hosier, Tnos. Hunt, Weaver, and Richard Pickbourne of Kirkby as Trustees, and " 10/- to the Revd. Samuel Wilson for Funeral Sermon." He left three daughters, Elizabeth, Ellinor and Martha. The last entry in the Sutton Registers is the marriage of John Grace to Mary Goodhall, 27 November, 1795, but a member of this family married Thomas Oscroft, of Swan Street, and died there about 1895, well-known as Tetty (Elizabeth) Grace.

The history of this family is bound up in that of the Quakers in Sutton during the seventeenth century and it is from the " Sufferings of the Quakers in Notts." by Percy Cropper, of Nottinghamshire, and Joseph Besse, 2 Vols. 1753 that the following accounts are given. The first part is by P. Cropper.


Bateman, R., Brandreth Richard & Elizabeth, Blackburn, John, Clay Nathaniel & Francis, Fulwood John, Fells Elizabeth, Grace Robt., Hopkins (son) Geo., Marriott Robt., Roberts Joshua, Tomlinson Anthony, Whitworth Saml. and Margaret and Mary. Hucknall under Huthwaite, Langford John. Skegby Bullivant, John & John junr., Cockram Geo. Cowpe Jno., Hooton Samuel & Elizabeth, Leadbeater John, Mary & Thomas, Mason Wm., Emly, Wm., Mansfield, Garland Timothy, Moore Robert & wife.

The Oppressors.

Sutton-in-Ashfield : Girton Thomas, Ward John., Wycam Robert, Scarcliff Francis, Urdidge Thomas, Brittaine Saml., Skegby. Overton Robt., Plumtree, Jno. Hardy James, Clark Thomas, Watson Francis.

The Cry of Oppression from Quakers, 1676.

At another meeting the 23rd of the 2nd month, 1676, at the house of Robert Grace of Sutton-in-Ashfield, these several persons following were taken by the aforesaid John Smith and Thomas Sharp, Informers, and had before Arthur Stannup, called Justice, who fined them as followeth, Robert Grace for having the meeting at his house fined £4, for which Saml. Brittaine took away part of his household goods. William Clay fined 10/- for himself, and £10 for the pretended poverty of the Owner of the house. Thomas Cockerham fined 10/- for himself, and 5/- for his wife, and had two young beasts taken from him worth £3 which the Officers sold for £1 8s. Od. Elizabeth Clay fined 10/- for herself, and 10/- for her dauhgter. Mary Leadbeater fined 10/- for herself and 10/- for her son Wm. Maulson, and 5/- and £1 for the poverty of two others, for which two last fines the Officers took away a Cow and household goods to the value of £5 4s. Od. Officers names, Francis Scarcliff, Constable ; Thos. Urdidge, Thirdborough.

On the 28th of the following month 1676, the aforesaid people were by the Officers kept out of their meeting at Sutton in the Street, where the aforesaid Informers finding them took several with them to a Justice's house, but it being late at night the Justice appointed them and the Officers to come the next day, the Officers came but the Informers went to Robert Thoroton another Justice who they thought might be readier to do their work, who fined those persons following, and granted Warrants to make Distress on their goods. Robert Grace, Anthony Tomlinson, Joseph Roberts, 10/- apiece, distresses made by Saml. Brittaine, Constable, Geo. Cockram, John Fulwood 5/- and £10 for the poverty of a woman pretending to be the Preacher, altho some of the Officers present at the meeting time did testify to the Justices whom the Sufferers were first brought to that they did hear no words tending to either Preaching or Teaching: yet this Thoroton upon the Informers false swearing did grant a Warrant to make Distress upon his persons Goods for £20 for the Preacher that day. J. Fulwood, Wm. Day, Geo. Hopkinson, and Robt. Marriott were also fined.

The following is from Sufferings of Quakers by Joseph Besse, 2 Vols., 1753.

Nottm. 1660. On the 29th of the month called April, Elizabeth Hooton passing quietly on the road was met by one Jackson priest of Selston, who abused her, beat her with many blows, knockt her down, and afterwards put her into the water.'

Note.—Charles Jackson was a Presbyterian intruded into the Selston Living by the Committee for the Approbation of Publique Preachers appointed by Cromwell. Jackson's Elders, etc. are named in the Selstone Parish Church Registers. He came out of the Living in 1662 rather than accept Episcopal Ordination. G. G. B.

About July, 1676, Distresses were made on the Goods of several persons for attending at a meeting at Sutton-in- Ashfield : William Day, a Heifer, Pewter, Brass and Bedding, worth £14 10s. Od. Zachary Bower, a Cow, £2 10s. Od. Geo. Greaves, 4 Cows, £13 10s. Od. John Wilson, a Mare, £4 10s. Od.

Ano. Dom. 1658. John Cowper, of Skegbie for conscientiously refusing to pay a demand of 16/- on him for Tithe had 3 Cows taken worth £10. Ano. Dom. 1670. For the same cause of religiously assembling to worship God were taken from, int. al. Robert Grace, of Sutton, £6 8s. 0d., Richard Brandreth £5 15s. 0d., Nathaniel Clay £1 6s. 8d. Distress Warrant issued by Dr. Robert Thoroton, J.P. (the County historian).

To the Constables, Churchwardens, Overseers, Thirdborough (? Head), of Sutton-in-Ashfield, and Hucknall and every or any of them. Forasmuch as Robert Grace and his wife, Elizabeth Brandreth, John Blackburne, Samuel Whitworth, Elizabeth Whitworth, Elizabeth Fells, and Sarah Clay, Richard Bateman, Joseph Roberts, Francis Clay, and Margaret Whitworth of your said towns, are lawfully convicted before me, for having been present at a Conventicle or unlawful assembly in Mansfield on pretence of religion otherwise than by Law established on Sunday, the 9th of this instant July. These are therefore in His Majesty's name to require you to levy of the said Robert Grace for his own offence, and his said wife's offence, the sum of One Pound, being formerly convicted, and the said John Blackburne, Samuel and Elizabeth Whitworth and Elizabeth Fells of every or each of them the sum of 5/- apiece, and of the said Margaret Whitworth the sum of 5/- for her own offence, and the sum of Two Pounds by reason of the poverty of R. Bateman, J. Roberts, Sarah Clay and Francis Clay, formerly convicted, by Distress and Sale of Goods, which said sums you are to deliver to me to be distributed according to Law. Hereof fail not as you will answer the contrary to your peril. Given under my hand and seal the 25 day of July, 28. Char. II & Ano. Dom. 1676. Mansfield, Robert Thoroton.

After the death of Robert Grace in 1685 the history of the Society of Friends in Sutton ceases to be of any interest.

Elizabeth Hooton, of Skegby, mentioned by Cropper under the List of the Oppressed, 1649-89 (v.p. 266) was the first woman preacher amongst the Quakers, a great friend of George Fox, v. also p. 268.

What became of the meetings at Sutton, how the Batemans, Hopkinsons, and relatives carried out his bequests, where the house stood, where the meetings were held, cannot now be said. The Society of Friends seems to have had members of the family of Ellis. Thomas Ellis died 1746, leaving two sons, William Ellis who made his Will 29th of 9th month, left instructions for " his body to be buried in the Quakers Ground, Mansfield, if the Trustees permit." The last Sutton families to remain members were John and Timothy Hall, Henry Crofts and his sons Emlen and Joseph, and the Clarkes of Huthwaite.

An interesting note with regard to this Society is that they were originally called Seekers, and later Friends from the 14th verse of the third Epistle of John, " Greet the friends by name." The name ' Quaker ' was given them by Justice Benne at Derby in 1650, because Geo. Fox admonished him and those present to quake at the word of the Lord.