Thoroton's History of Nottinghamshire: Volume 3, Republished With Large Additions By John Throsby. Originally published by J Throsby, Nottingham, 1796.

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Robert Thoroton, 'Rufford', in Thoroton's History of Nottinghamshire: Volume 3, Republished With Large Additions By John Throsby, (Nottingham, 1796) pp. 335-340. British History Online [accessed 22 May 2024].

Robert Thoroton. "Rufford", in Thoroton's History of Nottinghamshire: Volume 3, Republished With Large Additions By John Throsby, (Nottingham, 1796) 335-340. British History Online, accessed May 22, 2024,

Thoroton, Robert. "Rufford", Thoroton's History of Nottinghamshire: Volume 3, Republished With Large Additions By John Throsby, (Nottingham, 1796). 335-340. British History Online. Web. 22 May 2024,

In this section


In Rugforde before the Norman invasion Vlf (whose lands in those parts became the fee of Gislebert de Grand) had a manor which defended itself in paying to the Dane-geld or tax of that time for twelve bovats. (fn. 1) The land of it being then known to be sufficient for four plows, or four car. There Gislebert had in demesne one car. ten vill. having three car. There was twenty acres of meadow, pasture wood one leu. ½ long, one leu. broad. In the Confessours time it was 6l. value, in the Conquerours when the survey was taken 60s. it had Soc there and in Bildesthorp, and in Wirchenfeild.

(fn. 2) Gissebert de Gaunt, son of Baldwin earl of Flanders, came with William the Conquerour his uncle into England, and took to wife Alice de Montefort, and had issue Walter and Robert, and died in the time of William Rusus, and was buried at Bardeney. Walter his eldest son took to wife Matilda, daughter of earl Stephen of Britanny, and begot Gilbert his eldest son (who afterwards in his wifes right was earl of Lincoln) and Robert. Gilberts wife was Roesia countess of Lincolne, by whom he had Alice married to Simon de St. Liz earl of Huntington and Northampton.

(fn. 3) Gilbert earl of Lincolne founded the abby of Rufford of the Cistercian order in the year 1148, about the thirteenth of king Stephen; which said king, for the soul of king Henry his uncle, (fn. 4) and his other ancestors, and for the health (or safety) of his own soul, and of queen Matilda his wife, and Eustace his son, and his other children, confirmed the gift of Gilbert de Gant, which he made to God and the church of the blessed Mary at Rievalls, and the monks there serving God, of the manor of Ruford: to his charter dated at Lincolne were witnesses Robert the chancellour, and earl Simon, and earl William of Arundell. (fn. 5) By another dated at Yorke, to which were witnesses the said Robert the chancellour, Earl Simon, and Robert de Ver, he confirmed to the abbat and monks of Ruford, the gift which Gilbert de Gant made to them of the land of Cratela (wherein we suppose Wellehagh was in the book of Doomsday included, as in that place is noted). (fn. 6) By another dated at Wirchesop, wherein the bishop of Durrham, and Richard de Luci, and William Peverell, and Richard de Camuil were witnesses, he the said king Stephen confirmed to the church of St. Mary of Rufford, and the monks there serving God, the gifts which Hugh de Muscam, and Adam Tisun, and William Tisun his son, and Gaufr. de Stanton, and Malger de Rolleston, and Gilbert de Chelum, and Raph Silvan made of lands of their fees, part whereof was in Kelum, as the charter of confirmation made by king Henry the second manifesteth, in which the said king Henry the second also (fn. 7) granted that those monks should have their proper forester to keep their wood as Walter de Gant had in the time of king Henry the first, that kings grandfather, and that they should freely and peaceably take of the forest whatever was needful for their own use, and that no man of his own wood might give or sell without their licence, as it was in the time of king Henry the first his said grandfather; and besides all the fore-mentioned gifts, he confirmed that of Galfr. de Eicring, and Rocelinus, and Raph his brother, of the wood called Rahage; and likewise granted the land which Raph de Hocreton held called Wudehus, and granted them all free customs and liberties, soc, sac, tol, and them, and infangetheof, &c.

(fn. 8) King Henry the third confirmed all the forementioned gifts and enlarged their priviledges, besides several others mentioned in his charter, as the gift of Robert Furnell of the mediety of Mortone, which is next Bomeshill, which Adam de Wellum, and his other men, in times past held; and that gift of Raph de St. George of his moyety of Mortone next the town of Bomeshill, which Hugh de Stretton and other his men (or tenants) held; that of Raph de Hereford of his whole land which he had in Ekering; that of Raph de Furnell of all the land which they had of the gift of his ancestors in Bomeshill; that of Ranulph, son of Roger de Maresey, of a certain part of land and meadow in Hocton, with the water of Hidell, as far as that land extended itself; that of Hugh Fitz-Raph of all his demesne in Kirketon, Wilegby, Walesby, and Besthorp; of William, son of (or Fitz-) William, land which they held in Besthop, of John Burdon, in Maplebek; that of Elias de Whitchurch, and Idonia his wife of three bovats in Kelum; that of Thomas de Rolleston of land in Kelum; that of Lanceline de Stocks, and Amicia his wife, of the moyety of the manor of Albeney; that of Hugh Folenfant, and Richard Folenfant, of certain lands in Moretone; that of Robert, son of Waltheof de Morneshalle, of the moyety of the town of Brithrithefeud.

(fn. 9) John de Vescy made also a deed of confirmation to Thomas de Stayngrene, abbat of Rufford, &c. of eight bovats in Roderham, and the whole demesne of his whole manor of Roderham, with all the appurtenances, and the advowson of the mediety of the church of that manor; with the homage and service of Thomas de Furnivalle and his heirs; for land which William de Vescy, father of him the said John, gave to William de Furnivall, uncle of the said Thomas in Roderham; and the service of William de Cante up, for lands which the said William de Vescy gave him in the said manor; and with all the right he could have in the tenements which Hugh Frassell of Roderham, sometime parson of the church of Penyeston, held of the see of the said John de Vescy in Roderham; and with the homage of Wil. Lovel, son of Will. Lovel, for the tenement which he held of him in Roderham, and the mill of the same town; and the homage and service of the heir of John de Lexington, for the land which was sometimes Raph Tillyes, with the lordship of half the market, and fair and the homages, and services, &c. of the freeholders in Roderham; except the homage of John de Dayvill, for the tenement which Thomas de Dayvill held in Anstan, and the homage of Nicholas de Lyvet, for the fee which he held of him in Hoton near Roch abby.

(fn. 10) Raph Tilly forfeited the moyety of the manor of Roderham to king Henry the third, who granted it to John de Lexington, and he gave it to the abby of Rufford.

(fn. 11) The abbat of Rufford, 13 E. 1, had free warren in Rufford, Cratela, Eykering, Almton, Rohagh, Parklathes, Kirketon, Tuxford, Foxholes, and Morton, in the county of Nott. and in Brampton and Brithefeild in Darbishire; and in Roderham and Carlecotes in Yorkshire.

(fn. 12) Alice the countess confirmed earl Gilbert her fathers gift, and so did earl Simon her husband, of all his land in Rufford, with all the appurtenances, and namely thirty acres of meadow upon the bank of Trent, and his land of Cratela, &c. as in Wallagh, and other places is noted already.

(fn. 13) In the year of our Lord 1159, there was an agreement made between the abbat of Rufford, and Thomas, son of Paul (or Thomas Paul) canon of York, at the feast of St. Michael, in the presence of Roger, arch-bishop of Yorke, and Elred abbat of Rievalls, and others: that the church of Rufford, which appeared to be a mother church, should pay no more tenths after the death of the said Thomas, to whom the abbat of Rufford gave ten marks for the tenths of ten years, and was to pay a mark of silver yearly during his life; which was also ratified by the said arch-bishop Roger and his power legantine.

The house and site of the abby of Rufford, with all buildings and lands belonging to it, viz. three hundred and four acres of arable, and six hundred and forty of pasture, and sixty of meadow, and three water-mills, and the whole fishing were by indenture, under the great seal of the court of augmentations, bearing date Mar. 20, 28 H. 8, (fn. 14) demised to sir John Markham, knight, and his assigns, for twenty-one years from the feast of St. Michael then next following, paying 22l. 8s. per annum. But king Henry the eighth by his letters patents bearing date Octob. 6, in the twenty-ninth year of his reign, in consideration that by an act of his parliament held at Dublin in the kingdom of Ireland the first of May, in the twenty-eighth year of his reign, the castles, lordships, honors, manors, hundreds, and lands, &c. of George earl of Shrowsbury and Waterford, within that kingdom, were settled on the crown, and being unwilling to diminish the state, honour and dignity of the said earl, he granted the scite of Rufford and all his lordships, manors, and granges of Rufford, Ekering, Bildisthorp, Warsop, Walesby, Allerton, Wellugh, Notingham, Almeton, Kirsale, Mapulbek, Besthorp, Boughton, Kelham, Codington, Parkelathes, Kirketon, Sterthorpe, Est Retford, Holme, Foxholes, Lytilborough, Rohagh, Southwell, and Morton, in this county, and his lordship of Rotherham, and lands there, and in Thurleston, Charlecotes, and Wynleden in Yorkshire, with the rectory and patronage of the vicarage of Rotheram, and all his lands in Brampton, Birchefeld, Abney, Chesterfeld, Shirbroke, and Glossopdale in Derbyshire, with the rectory of Glossopdale, and advowson of the vicarage late belonging to the abby of Basywark in Wales in the county of Flint, as they came to his hands, by reason and pretext of a certain act of dissolving certain religious houses in his parliament begun at London November the third, in the twenty-first year of his reign, and then adjourned to Westminster, and by divers prorogations continued till Feb. 4, in the twenty-seventh year of his reign, with all their appurtenances; and lands in Albourne, and Dudmandale alias Barton in Leicestershire, late also belonging to Rufford; and all lands wheresover, whereof Thomas Dancaster late abbat of Rufford, was seised in right of his said monastery, all which were of the clear yearly value of 246l. 15s. 5d. sterling, and no more, to the said earl, his heirs and assigns, for the tenth part of a knights fee, and 46l. 15s. 5d. into the court of augmentations for tenths.

Sir George Savile, son of sir Henry Savile of Barrowby in Lincolnsh. (named in Screveton and Sireston) married Mary, daughter of George earl of Shrowsbury, grandchild of the said George, the patentee to his first wife, by whom he had sir George Savile, knight and baronet, the husband of Anne, the daughter of sir William Wentworth of Wentworth Woodhouse, baronet, and by her, father of sir William Savile, baronet, who married — the daughter of Thomas lord Coventry, lord keeper in the time of king C. 1, by whom he had sir George Savile, baronet, who much inlarged and adorned this place, and is since created viscount Halifax, by king C. 2, about 19 C. 2, he married the lady Dorothy Spenser, daughter of the earl of Sunderland, and by her hath sons, George and William, and a child or two more, as I remember; his second wife is Gertrud daughter of the honourable William Pierpont; his brother Henry Savile is of the bed-chamber to his majesty C. 2, and his sister Anne was married to the lord Windsor.

This place hath often entertained king James, and king Charles his son, being very pleasant and commodious for hunting in the forest of Shirewood. There was some distance from the house towards the south a pleasant large pool, through which the little river Maun has its course, which is now confined to its channel, and carried along the top of the bank or dam, and the place of the pool made dry ground, and thereby made more profitable, pleasant, and healthful than before, though some still think otherwise.

[Throsby] Rufford-Abbey,

The seat of the hon. Lumley Savile.—There is always something more attracting in the accounts of men, who have visited the places they describe, than in those of others who sit down to write upon subjects, of this sort, which they have never seen. Leland's descriptions, in general, unembellished as they are given, are, to me, always pleasing. Of this place he says:—

"Rume river risith by south of Mansfield, a v miles from Rumford abbey, and when the streame cummith nere the abbey it maketh there in a bottom a fair lake of the same name, and so coming again into a narrow course goith to Rumford village, and as I learned thereafter receiveth both Budby water, and after with a neatly long course goith to Bowtre, of some called Vautre, a market town in Nottinghamshire, (fn. 15) a v mile from Doncaster, as so as I heard say in trent."

"On the other side of Rume water is a village called commonly Ruford for Rumeford, a quarter of a mile beyond which stood a late Rumford abbey of white monks. The earl of Shrewsbyri hath it now of the king for exchange of land of his in Ireland."

Of this place as a religious house Thoroton has written pretty fully. Rastal, in his history of Southwell, has preserved abstracts of the charter of the foundation of the abbey, taken from the forest book of Shirewood, in the possession of Mr. Lowe, of Southwell, translated in the time of Henry the eighth. (fn. 16)

This abbey at the dissolution was valued at 176l. 12s. 6d. Dugdale, 254l. 6d. 8d. Speed.

Weaver in his book of funeral monuments, informs us that he found in the Leiger book of this abbey, some verses respecting the sufferings of certain virgins; they are as follow:—

Quid de Virginibus dignum loquere, aspice finem Fides ob veram fert mala multa fidem.

Huic ardens lectus solidam subvertere fidem Nec mors ipsa potest, cui Deus ardor inest.

Tecla feras, Agathes Ergastula, vulnera vicit Margarita, truces Virgo Lucia Duces Balnea Ceciliæ ferventia, nil nocuere. Agneti nocuit flamma surorq; nihil Nil ætas, nil mundus eis, nil obsuit hostis, Cuncta domant, superant infirma, summa tenent, His Ornamentis fulget domus Omnipotentis.

And under the picture of the blessed Trinity, in the abbey church here:—

Sede Pater summa disponit sæcula cuncta, Patre Deo genitus creat, & Regit omnia natus Omnia vivificat procedens Spiritus Almus. Flamma, calor, pruna, tria sunt hæc, res sed & una Sic ab igne calor non dividitur, neque fulgor Ast his unitis unitis subsistit & ignis; Sic pater, & natus, & Spiritus sed Deus unus Huic laude munus, qui regnat trinus & unus, Huic laus & Doxa, nunc & per sæcula cuncta.

Rufford, as a dwelling, has neither enough of religious antiquity remaining to attract, or splendour as a seat to arrest the stranger's travel. From Ollerton you first see it through a grove of trees. It is seated pleasantly, and is of sufficient magnitude for the residence of family and fortune. Woody scenery abounds near this house; but it is in general laid out after the old school of planting, rather formal.—Here is an agreeable sheet of water near the house, which looks cooling, is refreshing, and ornamental.

This residence was honoured as a dwelling by the late Sir George Savile, bart. in whom was sweetly blended dignity and affability, rectitude and eminent abilities; not more esteemed as an upright senator than an honest man.

To Sir George Savile, bart. who died in 1784, it descended through several generations, from Sir George Savile, of Barrowby, in Lincolnshire, (see Thoroton above.) He left his estate at his death to the second son of his sister, the wife of the earl of Scarborough, who has, in consequence, taken the name of Saville. This place, it is probable, may loose its present worthy owner, in his life time, by a remove to dignity.— It is pleasing, however, to relate what I every where learnt, in this part of the county, that his tenantry will loose the best of landlords either from death, or, in that case, his elevation to a peerage: if the latter happen, he will be succeeded in this estate here, by his brother, a clergyman, if living. (fn. 17)

Mr. Savile's property, hereabouts, joined with that of the noble dukes of Newcastle, Norfolk, and Portland, and that of the late duke of Kingston, now Mr. Pierrepont's; takes a sweep of a great extent, in that portion of Nottinghamshire where they reside.— Leaving Rufford you pass from one domain or extensive park to another, without meeting with scarcely any intervening property.


  • 1. Lib. Dooms.
  • 2. Mon. Angl. fol. 1, p. 833.
  • 3. Mon. Angl. vol. 1, p. 848.
  • 4. Regist. de Ruff. p. 1.
  • 5. Ib.
  • 6. Ib.
  • 7. Cart. Ant. CC. 18 H. 2.
  • 8. Mon. Angl. vol. 1, p. 848.
  • 9. Mon. Angl. vol. 1, p. 849.
  • 10. Pl. de Quo War. apud Ebor. 21 E. 1, ro. 6, in dorso.
  • 11. Chart. 13 E. 1, m. 78 & 80.
  • 12. Regist. de Ruff. p. 2.
  • 13. Ib. p. 7.
  • 14. Par. 1, pat, 29 H. 8.
  • 15. It is in Yorkshire considered; but upon the very edge of that county; a small portion, however, is in this county.
  • 16. "Gilbert of Gaunt earl of Lyncoln, to all his men, and to all children of holy church, greetinge. Know ye me to have given and granted in perpetuall almeys to the monks of Reyvall, for the souls of my father and my mother, and for the remission of my sinnes, the manor of Rufforde, and whatsoever I have there in demesnes, to make an Abbey of the order of Cisterciens in the honor of our blessed Ladie St. Mary the Virgin, where I will and command, that they freely and quietly from all manner of earthly services and from all customes holde that land, with all things that to the lordship of the said towne apertaine in wood and in plaine, in meadows and pastures, milnes and waters, wayes and pathes. Theis beinge wittnes. Raufe the sonne of Gil — —, Rauf of Newyll, William of Bambor, Robert of Muskham, Robert of Bartherward, Rause of Herforde, Walt Clearke, Heres the sonne of Arlers, David of Flaunders, Alured Chapleane, &c. "Then follow the confirmations of the above grant by kings Stephen and Henry the third. The clause of confirmation in the former of these runs "for the soule of myne uncle King Henry and other myne ancestors, and for the health of my soule and of Queene Maude my wife, and of Eustice my sonne, and my othor childrenne. I do grant and confirm," &c. &c. "That of King Henry the third is "for the health of my soule; and of my wife, and of my children, and for the soule of Kynge Henry my grandfire, and of myne auncesters, all the gifts of Gilbert de Gaunte, &c. I do grant and confirm," &c. &c."
  • 17. The honourable Lumley Saville, married Miss Willoughby, daughter of the present lord Middleton, before he succeeded to the title, by whom, I am informed, he has no issue.