Wollaton, Olaveston

Thoroton's History of Nottinghamshire: Volume 2, Republished With Large Additions By John Throsby. Originally published by J Throsby, Nottingham, 1790.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.


Robert Thoroton, 'Wollaton, Olaveston', in Thoroton's History of Nottinghamshire: Volume 2, Republished With Large Additions By John Throsby, ed. John Throsby( Nottingham, 1790), British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/thoroton-notts/vol2/pp208-215 [accessed 21 July 2024].

Robert Thoroton, 'Wollaton, Olaveston', in Thoroton's History of Nottinghamshire: Volume 2, Republished With Large Additions By John Throsby. Edited by John Throsby( Nottingham, 1790), British History Online, accessed July 21, 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/thoroton-notts/vol2/pp208-215.

Robert Thoroton. "Wollaton, Olaveston". Thoroton's History of Nottinghamshire: Volume 2, Republished With Large Additions By John Throsby. Ed. John Throsby(Nottingham, 1790), , British History Online. Web. 21 July 2024. https://www.british-history.ac.uk/thoroton-notts/vol2/pp208-215.

In this section


In Olaveston (through corruption of speech now called Wollaton) there was of William Peverells fee of a Mannor which defore the Conquest Vlsi had, who paid for it to the Dane-geld after the rate of a carucat and an half. The Land was then for twelve oxen, or twelve bovats. (fn. 1) There afterwards Warner the man of William Peverell had one car. seven sochm. four vill. having four car. small wood, one leuc. long, one qu. broad. In King Edward the Confessours time this was valued at 100s. but when the great Survey was made, towards the latter end of the Conquerours reign, but at 60s.— The Soc extended into Totteshale, Brauncote, and Sudtune.


The family of Mortein were the next successours to Warner in this place, of which Robert de Mortein lived in King Henry the firsts time, at the foundation of Lenton Priory; and Adam de Moretonio, (fn. 2) 22 H. 2. gave account of xxx marks of the amercements of the Forest. Eustachius de Moretoin gave Henry, son of William (fn. 3) (fn. 4) Hamelyn of Wollaton, his Villain, with all his sequel and Cattel, to the Priory of Lenton. Eustace, son and heir of Eustachius de Mortein, had seisin, &c. (fn. 5) 7 H. 3. I suppose that William de Mortein, who was several years High Sheriff of the Counties of Warewick and Leicester, and married Joane, eldest daughter of Sir Philip Marmion, but had no issue, was son of Eustachius, son and heir of Eustachius de Mortein, son of Adam, son of Robert, before named; which William died seised of the Mannors of Wollaton and Cossale on St. Leonards day, (fn. 6) 12 E. 1. Roger, son of Roger de Mortein, being then found his next heir; which Roger had a Charter of Free Warren the same year for Wallaton and Cossale in this County, Eyum and Riselle in Darbyshire, and Walesalle in Staffordshire; it seems he was nephew and heir of his uncle the said William Mortayne. (fn. 7)

The Jury, 7 E. 2. returned it no damage to the King, &c. if Roger de Morteyn, granted and assigned fourscore acres of Wood in Wollaton, and the advowsons of the Churches of Wollaton and Cossale to Richard Willoughby, and his heirs.

(fn. 8) William, son of Sir Roger de Mortein, 11 E. 2. granted to Richard de Willoughby, Knight, the whole Mannor of Wollaton, except the capital Mess. &c.

This Sir Richard de Willoughby was son of Richard de Willoughby, son of Raph Bugge of Nottingham, the original Ancestor of divers good Families, as in Willoughby on the Woldes may be observed, and in some other places of this Book. That branch of Bingham bore for their Arms, three Waterbougets upon a Fesse, being, it seems, from the eldest son: this of Willoughby divided the Fesse into two Bars, with two Budgets on the uppermost, and one upon the lower; (fn. 9) as the Seal of Sir Richard Willoughby, appendant to his Deed, bearing date 17 E. 3. whereby he passed the Advowson of the Church of Stanton on the Wold to Sir Ger. de Clifton, yet remaining at Clifton manifesteth.

(fn. 10) This first Sir Richard de Willuby did increase his Patrimony very well in divers places, and added to it much Land, which he purchased of the Morteins, both in this place and elsewhere; he died 18 E. 2. (fn. 11) seised of the Mannors of Wollaton and Willughby, and the third part of Riseley, and Lands in Ingleby and Aylwaston in Derbyshire, which the Kings Eschaetor took into his hands the seventh of April after, and delivered them the seventeenth of May following to Richard de Willuby his son and heir, who was then found to be above thirty years old.

This second Sir Richard, was the very great advancer of his family, being a Judge from the 3 E. 3. to the 31 E. 3. (fn. 12) and sometimes Chief Justice, when Galfr. le Scrop the Chief Justice was gone on the Kings business beyond the Seas. He married (fn. 13) Isabell, the daughter of Roger de Mortein, and had the Town of Cossale of his gift, which he gave to Sir Richard his son, who married the sister of Sir John de Grey, but died, without issue, as did also Roger another son, so that the entail he had made of Riseley, and other Lands, (fn. 14) 11 E. 3. brought the inheritance to Hugh Willoughby, Clark, his next son, who died the 14 Sept. 7 H. 4. and the Jury found Bertram Monboucher, son of Bertram, son of Isabella his sister, and William Malory, son of Robert, son of Marjory his other sister his heirs, as John Malory, son of Robert, son of this William did afterwards claim.

(fn. 15) But this Hugh the Clergy-man had a wife (or Concubine) called Joane de Riseley, by whom he had a daughter named Felice, married to John Armstrong of Thorpe, and a son called Hugh Willoughby, who married Joan, daughter of Sir John Dabrigecourt, Knight, by whom he had a son Hugh Willoughby of Risley, who married Isabell, daughter of Sir Gervase Clifton, and bore the Arms of his mother, viz. Ermine, three Bars Humett, as appeareth by his Gravestone in Wilne Church, upon which those Arms of Dabrigecourt impale with Cliftons. From these are descended the Willoughbies of Risley.

But the more considerable part of that great Estate descended to Sir Edmund Willoughby, son of Sir Richard the Judge by another wife, who at the death of his brother Hugh, 7 H. 4. (fn. 16) was about sixty years old, and had livery, 18 Septemb. that year of this Mannor and Bradmere, three Mess. and seven Bovats in Carleton, &c. his wife was the daughter of Sir Richard Pole of Suffolk, by whom he had a son of his own name Edmund, who took to wife Isabell, the daughter of Sir Hugh Annesley, Knight, and by her had Sir Hugh Willughby, whose first wife was Isabell, daughter of—Folejambe, who brought him Richard Willughby, who married Anne, one of the four daughters and co-heirs of Simon Leek of Cotham, Esquire, but he died without issue, 12 E. 4. as his younger brothers Nicholas and Thomas it seems did before. His father the said Sir Hugh to his second wife had Margaret, (fn. 17) sister and co-heir of Sir Baldwin Frevile, son and heir of Sir Baldwin Frevile, Knight, afterwards married to Sir Richard Bingham the Judge, who brought him many children. His eldest was Robert Willoughby, Esq. heir to his half brother Richard, before named; he married Margaret, daughter of Sir John Griffith of Nichnor in the County of Stafford, Knight, by whom he had Sir Henry Willoughby, Knight and Banneret, who had four wives, the first was Margaret, daughter of Sir Robert Markham, by whom he had Sir John Willughby, who married Anne, daughter of Edward Grey, Viscount Lisle, but died without issue, and Sir Edward, and others. His second wife was Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Abon (or Burgh) the relict of Richard Lord Fitz-Hugh. His third was Ellen, daughter and heir of John Egerton, Esquire, of Wren-Hall in Cheshire, by whom he had Sir Hugh Willoughby the famous Navigator, who was frozen to death in the North Seas, whose wife was Jane, the daughter of (Sir Nicholas) Strelley, by whom he had a son called Henry after his grandfather, whose fourth wife was A—daughter of Welles (or Walters.) He died the seventh of May, and was buried in the Church of St. Leonard at Wollaton, in the 20 H. 8. Sir Edward his son, named before, married Anne, daughter and heir of Sir William Filioll of Woodlant, afterwards I think married to George Medeley, Esquire; she brought Henry Willoughby, Esquire, who married Anne, the daughter of Thomas, Marquess Dorsett, and was slain in the commotion at Norwich, 27 August, 4 E. 6. the year after the death of his uncle Sir John Willoughby, before named, leaving his son Thomas Willoughby, his heir then 8 year old, nine weeks and one day, who died 16 August, 1 Eliz. and left his Fortune to his brother Francis, second son of this Henry, (fn. 18) who by his Will gave the Inne called the Castle in Holborne to George Willoughby alias Fox, his bastard brother, and to the heirs of his body; remainder to this Francis, who came of age 10 Eliz. and was the builder of that Stately Pile, the House at Wollaton, the stone whereof was all brought from Ancaster in Lincolneshire by the people of those parts, who when fetched Coles from Wollaton, which they had for their labour, which still remains a conspicuous monument of the greatness of the Family and Estate, the most considerable part whereof this last Sir Francis Willoughby, having no son, settled on Brigitt his eldest daughter, the wife of Sir Percivall Willoughby descended from another Judge, of the House of Eresby in Lincolneshire, but resident in Kent, who had Sir Francis Willoughby, father of Francis Willoughby, Esquire, who died owner of it in the year 1672, having two sons by—his wife, the daughter of Henry Barnard, Equire: but besides his said daughter Bridget, whose posterity still enjoy this Mannor, Sir Francis by Elizabeth, daughter of Sir John Littleton of Frankeley, his wife, had Dorothy, wife of Henry Hastings, second son of George Earl of Huntington, and father of Sir George Hastings. His third daughter was Margaret, wife of Robert le Spenser. His fourth Winifrid married to Edward Willoughby, son of Percivall Willoughby of Bocreplace in Kent. Another was Abigail, married to William Pargiter of Northamptonshire. Another was Frances, wife of Mountague Wood of Lamley. Sir Francis Willoughby had another wife, Dorothy, daughter of Thomas Coleby of Grayes Inne, the relict of John Tamworth, and afterwards was Lady Wharton, who made her advantage of the declining time of her husband Willoughby, and his great Estate, if we may believe report.

(fn. 19) Sir Galfr. Bakepuz, and his wife the Lady Amicia, demised, during their lives, the Mill called Ingram, scituate on the Leene, between Lenton and Wollaton, by the wayside which leads from Nott. to Derby, to the Prior and Covent of Lenton for 20s. per ann. and the Multure of their House and Family of Wollaton, and the Town of Wollaton was to grinde there for the twentieth grain; which suit Hugh de Weloghby Lord of (fn. 20) Wollaton, also granted for his life to Sir Galfr. the Prior, and the Covent of Lenton, 8 H. 4, to their said Mill, upon the same terms; and Thomas Elinham tee Prior, and the said Covent, 1 H. 6, demised the said Mill, with the said suit, to John Botre for ten years for 3l. per annum.

(fn. 21) The Jury, 25 E. 3, found it not to the Kings loss if he granted to Sir Richard de Willughby the elder, licence to give a Mess. and two Bovats of Land in Wollaton to two Chaplains in the Parish Church of Wollaton.

(fn. 22) The Chantry House of St. Anthony, in Willerton, was granted, 24 July, 3 E. 6, to William Nevell, Esquire, amongst many other things.

(fn. 23) The Rectory of Wollaton was 12l. 'Tis now 14l. 2s. 6d. in the Kings Books, and the Patronage continueth to the Willoughbies.

In the Chancel on a flat marble, whereon is cut in brass, the Effigies of a Man in armor and a Woman.

Hic jacet Richardus Willoughby, Armiger, qui obiit VII. die Octobris, Anno Dom. nostri JHV CHRISTI M,CCCC, LXXI, & Anna uxor ejus quæ obiit XXIII, die mensis Julij, Anno ejusdem Domini M,CCCC, LXVII. Cujus animæ propitietur Deus, Amen.—(See fig. 1 subjoined plate.)

On it are these Arms of Willoughby and Leek, single, and the same impaled also.

In the Church on a Tomb the statue of one lying, with two wives on each side:—

Hic jacet Henricus Willoughby, miles, pro corpore Regis & Baronettus (mistaken for Bannerettus) & quondam Dominus de Wollaton, qui obiit XX, die mensis Maii, Anno Domini M,CCCCC,XXVIII. Cujus animæ propitietur Deus.—Fig. 2.

At the east end of the North Ile on a Monument in the wall:—

Henricus Willoughby, Armiger, & Anna uxor ejus, Henrici Grey Ducis Suffolciæ foror, hic fœliciter in Domino obdormiunt. Ille obiit in Bello contra Rebelles in Norfolcia 1548. Illa occubuit Anno salutis nostræ 1546. Tres liberos susceperunt Thomam; qui obiit sine prole superstite, Franciscum Willoughby, Equitem Auratum, & Margaretam nuptam Matheo Arundell, militi. Optimis parentibus Francifcus filius mœrosus, & amoris ergo hoc Monumentum posuit.

On it are many Quarterings.—Fig. 3.

On another Monument on the North wall:—

Hic jacet Henricus Willoughbeus, Armiger, filius quartus Percivalli Willoughbei, militis, & Dominæ Brigittæ uxoris ejus, Juris confultus & unus Assessorum e Templo interiore Londinensi instructissimus, studiis devotissimus nec non edocumentis Religionis & integritatis; qui obiit decimo octavo Septembris, Anno ætatis suæ quadragesimo octavo, Annoque Domini Millesimo quingentesimo quadragesimo primo.

The Arms on it, Azure fretty Or, Willoughby of Eresby, impaling Or on two Bars, Gules, three Waterbougetts Arg. Willoughby of Wollaton.

On an Alabaster Tomb under an arch in the middle of the Church:—

Hic jacet Nobilis Domina Domina Matildis, quondam uxor Domini Johannis Dabrishecourte, militis, quæ obiit xxi, die mensis Maii, Anno Domini M,CCCC, quinto. Cujus animæ propitietur Deus. Amen.

The Arms on it are:—

1. A Saltire engrailed, impaling a Fesse, and five Billetts in Chief, (if it should not be a File of five Labells.) 2. Erm. a Chevron. 3. Erm. three Bars Humette, Dabrichcourt. And 4. on two Bars, three Waterbougets, Willoughby.

In the Chancel on a flat Marble in Brass:—

Hic jacet Robertus Willoughby, Armiger, Dominus de Wollaton, filius & hæres Hugonis Willoughby, militis, & Diminæ Margaretæ uxoris ejus — — — — filia Johannis Griffyth, quæ obiit die—— mensis———M,CCCC,———uorumanimabus propitietur Deus.

On this are many quarterings.

[Throsby] Wollaton.

This lordship, which is small, abounds in pit-coal; it is owned by Lord Middleton, and is old enclosure.—The village contains 50 dwellings.

The church is dedicated to St. Leonard, has a spire and six bells, it is neatly pewed, and has a small viol organ. Here is a vault for the family; but at present no monument for the late lord and others of his predecessors. Those remain given by Thoroton. Over the family seat, which is conveniently fitted up, is a monument to the memory of William Willoughby, of Selston, in this county. He died in 1670, aged 49. Thomas Man, Dr. of Physic, died in 1690. Here are two brass figures not noticed as such by Thoroton, I have given them in the Broxtow plate, the 4th from this page, fig. 1 & 2.

Patron Lord Middleton. Incumbent Rev. Isaac Pickthall, Wollaton cum Cosall. K. B. 14l. 2s. 6d. Clear yearly value 44l. 13s. Archiespisc pro Syn. 7s. 6d. Archidiac pro Prox. 6s. 8d. Val. in mans. cum gleb. ibidem. per ann. 1l. 10s. in dec. rec. de Jo. Willoughby. Mil. & Her. suis infra paroch. 7l. dec. lan. &c. cum decim. in Cossall. Sir Thomas Willoughby, Bart. presented in 1708, Lord Middleton, in 1724, 1766.


The seat of the Right Honourable Henry Willoughby, Baron Middleton, is situate about two miles west of Nottingham, on a gentle rise of ground, seen in almost every direction in the county. (fn. 24) This seat is beautifully surrounded with a variety of pleasing foliage matured by age; in the park is a large pond of water, and some agreeable shady walks, groves, and park scenery. This most noble fabric was built, we learn from an inscription over one of the entrances, by Sir Francis Willoughby, knight.—"En has Francisci Willoughbæi ædes rara arte extructas Willoughbæis relictas. Inchoatæ 1580, 1588."

The Hall is lofty, and the roof, which is supported with arches something like Westminster-Hall, has a grand appearance. The screen, in the hall, is supported by pillars of the doric order. There is a variety of devices under the beams, agreeable with the taste of the times, such as heads of satires, &c. The walls and ceiling were painted, I am informed, by La Guire. The rooms, in general, are on a grand scale, lofty and spacious. The fabric, taken as one built for a commoner, exceeds the loftiest ideas of imagination; it is wholly of stone, and must have cost the owner an immense fortune. The stone it was built with, it is said, came from Ancaster, in exchange for pit-coal. Sir Francis Willoughby, the builder of this mansion, was extremely rich: some have attributed the cause of his building such an edifice to ostentation. "Wollaton," says Camden, "is rich in seams of coal where Sir Francis Willoughby, knight, nobly descended from the Greys Marquis of Dorset, in our days, built out of the ground with great charges (yet for the most part levied out of the coal-pits) a stately house with artificial workmanship, standing bleakly, but offering a very goodly prospect to the beholders far and near."

Lovely art thou fair Wollaton; magnificent are thy features! In years now venerable, thy towery crested presence, eminently bold seated, strikes the beholder with respectful awe. Unlike many of the visionary built edifices of the present day, designed with but little variation of stile, and uniform in disordering architectural Order, thee we must admire, chaste in thy component part and presenting an harmonious whole.

In the Hall is a good painting of Charles the first, on horseback; a family piece by Smith, in which one of the figures represents, Sir Hugh Willoughby who was frozen to death in the north passage; and several other paintings of merit The gallery, among others, contains some portraits, Joseph and his brethren, and a piece of still life. Best staircase: Here is an excellent deception of a picture frame, The dining-room is a most excellent place; in it are two of the most magnificent glasses I ever saw. In the saloon is a masterly performance of dogs worrying a boar. The Common drawing-room possesses among other paintings, a view of Nottingham from the trent; good portraits of the late Lord Middleton and Lady; an old Lady by Sir Godfrey Kneller; two sea pieces of merit and two India pieces. I saw in this charming dwelling, also, a piece of humour, two boys eating hasty-pudding: a little story belongs to this painting. One of the late Lords of Wollaton seeing two boys, at the village, eating hasty-pudding, in the act of quarrelling over their mess, had this picture drawn. The least appears to be crying because the other acts upon the old adage:—"Love father, love mother, love ownself best." I saw an old carbine, in the house-keeper's room, very curiously wrought in figures, doubtless one of the first efforts in the art of gun-making.

Hemlock stone, Stukely is of opinion, a little beyond this place, is the remains of a quarry.


  • 1. Lib. Doomsd.
  • 2. Pip. 22 H. 2. Regist. de Lent. p. 43.
  • 3. Reg. Lent. 39.
  • 4. Vide Grove.
  • 5. Rot. Pip. 7 H. 3, & Fin. 7 H. 3. m. 7.
  • 6. Esc. 12 E. 1, n. 26, Ch. 12 E. 1, m. 52.
  • 7. Rot. Pip. 14 E. 1, Warw, & Leic. Esc: 7 E. 2, n. 130.
  • 8. Ex Autog in Coll. G. B.
  • 9. Autog. pen. Will. Cliston.
  • 10. Ex Evid. Fr. Willoughby, Ar.
  • 11. Rot Escaet 18 E. 2, ro. 7, in dorso. & Esc 18 E. 2, n. 81.
  • 12. Orig. Jur. 45, & Claus. 7 E. 3. p. 1, m. 2.
  • 13. Glover, Regist. de Novoloco, p. 246.
  • 14. Esc. 7 H. 4. n. 44.
  • 15. Glover, Ex Coll. S. Lo Kniveton.
  • 16. Fin. 7 H. 4, m. 6:
  • 17. Fin: 7 H: 5, m: 1-
  • 18. Populwell, 45:
  • 19. Regist. de Lent. p. 137.
  • 20. Ib. p. 184.
  • 21. Esc. 25 E. 3, n. 48.
  • 22. Par. 7, pat. 3 E. 6.
  • 23. Mss. J. M.
  • 24. Thoroton has given us the descent of this Family down to Sir Francis Willoughby, knt. the builder of this Mansion, whose daughter, Bridget, intermarried with Sir Percival Willoughby, of another branch of this Family. By this Union Sir Percival became possessed of Wollaton, and the greater part of Sir Francis's possessions Sir Percival left five sons, the eldest of whom, Sir Francis, who died in 1665, was father of Francis Willoughby, Esq. one of the greatest virtuosi in Europe. His renowned History of Birds, was published in Latin after his death, in 1676. It was translated into English in 1678. He wrote also, besides some other Treatises on natural History, Historiæ piscium libros quator, &c. Oxon, 1686: He dying in 1672, left two sons and one daughter, viz. Sir Francis Willoughby, created a Baronet the 7th of April 1677, with remainder to his brother Thomas who succeeded him, and Cassandra, who was married to James, Duke of Chandois. Sir Francis died unmarried in the 20th year of his age, in 1688. Sir Thomas Willoughby, Bart. was the 10th of Queen Ann, Anno Domini 1711, raised to the dignity of a Baron of England by the stile and title of Thomas Baron Middleton, of Middleton, in the county of Warwick. Lord Middleton married Elizabeth, daughter and coheir of Sir Richard Rothwell, of Stapleford, in the County of Lincoln, Bart. by whom he had four sons, Francis, Thomas, Rothwell, and Henry. His Lordship, prior to his elevation to a Peerage, served in several Parliaments for the County of Nottingham He died the second of April 1729. Francis Lord Middleton, his son and successor, married Mary, second daughter of Thomas Edwards, of the Middle-Temple, London, Esq by whom he had two sons, Francis and Thomas. This gentleman also before his brother's death served in Parliament for this County. He died in 1758, and was succeeded by his son. Francis Lord Middleton, who died suddenly, unmarried, December 16, 1774, aged 48. Thomas Lord Middleton, his brother. who succeeded to the honour and estate, was married in April the 7, 1770, to Georgiana Chadwick, daughter of Evelyn Chadwick, Esq. of Leek, in this County. He died without issue at Middleton, in Warwickshire, January 19, 1781. He was born in December, 1728. In consequence of the failure of issue, the honours, &c. of this family descended to Henry Willoughby, Esq. of Birdfall, in the county of York. Henry Lord Middleton, the present possessior, the 4th of January, 1757, was married to Dorothy, second daughter and coheiress of George Cartwright, Esq. of Ossington, in this county. He has had, by this Lady, Henry, born April 24, 1761, and three daughters. He was born 19th of December, 1726.