Woodborough’s Heritage

Woodborough, a Sherwood Forest Village, recorded in Domesday

Buckland’s 1896 Book - The History of Woodborough etc.

Buckland ~ CHAPTER XIV


Authorities:  Court Rolls of  Woodborough Manor at Southwell.


At the death of the old maiden lady, Madame Elizabeth Bainbridge, Woodborough Hall passed to her cousin, the Rev. Philip Story, of Lockington Hall, second son of her Aunt, Ann Lacock, who married Mr. John Story. The above pedigree is taken from the Court Rolls of Woodborough Manor, which begin in 1626, and are a formal list of admissions to the copyhold of the Manor of Woodborough, Edingly and Halam. The Ecclesiastical Commissioners are Lords of the Manor, the value of which averages £10 a year. The succession to the copyhold in absence of a will is by Borough English or Burgage Tenure, under which the youngest son inherits. This custom arose first in the towns, and was part of the Saxon opposition to the Norman conquest. Three explanations are given of its origin: the first that the Feudal Baron claimed the right to consummate the marriage with the bride of every one of his dependents; the second given by Lyttelton, that the eldest son of the Saxons always had to go out into the world; the third given by Blackstone, that it comes from the custom of the migratory Tartar herdsmen, whose eldest sons always migrated with a share of the family cattle, while the youngest son remained at home.

By the custom of the Manor, the outgoing tenant surrenders by handing a hazel rod to the Lord of the Manor who passes it to the incoming tenant. A Court Leete is held annually in Easter Week, at which certain chief rents are collected by the Steward, Mr. A. J. Metcalf, of Southwell.  

The Court Roll contains the following entry: "Philip Story, of Lockington Hall, in the County of Leicester, Clerk, great-nephew and heir-at-law, and the customary heir of Mary Bainbridge, widow of William Bainbridge, formerly Mary Lacock, spinster, and which said William Bainbridge and Mary Bainbridge are both dead, and whose issue is now also dead and extinct, and great-nephew and heir-at-law of Robert Lacock, formerly of Woodborow, and also great-grandson and only surviving issue of Philip Lacock, of Woodborow, deceased by Mary, his wife (née Mary Wright), and also heir-at-law of Philip Lacock and the said Mary."

Of the Storys I can learn but little; one of them removed the old gabled and tiled roof of the Hall and built another story with the present heavy roof of slates. Henrietta, a daughter of John Bainbridge Story and Sophia, his wife, was baptised in 1814; but there were also three sons, John, William, and Fred. Mr. J. B. Story was killed by the fall of a mast on board ship while travelling from Geneva to Lucerne. Captain Valentine Frederick Story, was in the 11th Foot, and used to pay the army pensioners. He still lives with other members of the family in Nottingham. The Storys were mostly non-resident, and the Hall was successively let to Captain Fenwick, Mr. Worth and Colonel Hancock. The Hall stood empty for seven years. In 1842, the Hall with 53 acres of land was sold to Mr. John Ingall Werg, the second sale since the conquest, but the chief portion of the land was not sold.

John Ingall Werg came from Hexgrave. He appears to have taken considerable interest in church matters, doing his best to improve the condition of the church and promote reverence. He is said to have invested his money unwisely, and to have been much impoverished, so that he sold Woodborough Hall and went to live at Mansfield Woodhouse, where he took Holy Orders, but never held any Benefice or Curacy in the Diocese. This was the third sale since the conquest.

Mr. Mansfield Parkyns, younger brother of Sir Thomas George Augustus Parkyns, 5th Baronet, purchased Woodborough Hall off Mr. Werg in 1852 for £4,500, and in 1875 he purchased the Hall Farm and about 80 acres adjoining, at the rate of £70 an acre from the Story Executors. At that time the remainder of the Story Estate was sold by auction and by arrangement the whole was bought by Colonel, now Sir Charles Seely Bart., and a division was made by which Sir Charles Seely took the upper farms and Mr. Parkyns the Hall Farm. As the Parkyns family held an important place in the County, I propose to give a short account of the family before I give one of Mr. Mansfield Parkyns himself.


Authorities: Thoroton's Notts.  Bailey's Annals of Notts.  The History of Ufton Court. 
A. M. Sharp.  Elliot Stock, 1892.  Parkyns MSS.

The family of Parkyns, of Bunny, in the County of Notts., traces its descent from Peter Morley, Alias Perkins, of Shropshire, "servus," i.e., bailiff or manager of the estates of Hugh Despencer, Lord of Shipton, in Oxfordshire, who was living in 1380 and 1381. The grandson of Peter Morley, alias Perkins, was John Perkyns, who in 1393, held lands at Madresfield, in the County of Worcester. His son, William Parkyns, became Lord of Ufton Robert, in the County of Berks., in 1411. His son was Thomas, of Ufton Robert, who was living in 1452 and 1495, and bequeathed the Manor of Ufton Robert to his eldest son, John Parkyns, and his land in Madresfield to a younger son Thomas, through whom the family of Parkyns, of Notts., is connected with that of Perkyns, of Ufton Robert, as appears from the pedigree above, which may be made plainer by the following :-

Parkyns became Perkins when Barkshyre and Darbye became Berkshire and Derby. The Berks Branch went with the fashion of changing "a" to "e" and "y" to "i" just when the spelling of surnames was getting fixed and became “Perkins:” but the Notts. branch, more remote and rustic, continued to write their names "Parkyns" as their forefathers had done. The name itself is a derivative of Peter, alias Piers; so Peters-kin or Piers-kin became Parkyns.

The Arms originally borne by the Notts. Branch were identical with the Ufton Shield, "or, a fess dancettè between 10 billets ermines," but in 1559, Richard Parkyns, of Madresfield, applied to the College of Heralds and received a grant of arms and a crest, which was evidently taken from the old Ufton arms and one of their quarterings. The original document is now in my possession, and in it after the usual preamble, "William Hervy Esquire als Clarencieux," states that "I have ratified and confirmed unto the said Richard Parkins gent and his posteritie" . . "his said auncient arms," . . "That is to say, Argent, an eagle displayed . . sables, in a canton golde, a fess dauncette between seven billettes sables, on eche an erminey. And forasmuch as I found no creaste to the same I have given unto him . . on a wreath argent and sables a pineapple braunche verte, the aple in his proper couller mantled gules, doubled argente."

Richard Parkyns, the grandson of William, and the great-grandson of Thomas Parkyns, of Madresfield, first brought the family into Nottinghamshire, by his marriage in 1573 with Elizabeth, the widow of Humphrey Barley, of Stoke, in Derbyshire, and daughter of Aden Beresford, of Fenny Bentley, Co. Derby. She had one of the Manors of Bunny, Notts., for her life in lieu of her right of dower, the reversion of which Manor her husband afterwards bought with the other two Manors of Bunny and Bradmore, so that he became owner of the two parishes. He was a barrister of the Inner Temple, Recorder of Nottingham and Leicester, Justice of the Peace and Custos Rotulorum of Notts., and for many years Member of Parliament for the Town.

In 1603, "Queen Ann," wife of James I, "and Henry, her son the young Prince, in their travel from Newstead to London, came through the town of Nottingham, and on their entryment at Crow Lane, Richard Hurt, the Mayor, and Richard Parkyns, Esqre., then Recorder, the Alderman, Council and Clothing, all in their scarlet gowns, and forty of the best commoners carrying Halberts, Her Majesty was received with an oration by the Recorder." On Thursday, 23rd of June: "The Queen and Prince Henry came from Ashby to Leicester. Memo: that there was no oration made to the Queen, for the Recorder, for that purpose, came that Thursday morning from Boney, fell sick at Leicester, where he remained sick till Sunday next after, then went home sick." He died on July 3rd, 1603. [Nichols's Progress.]

Sir George Parkyns, Knight, the eldest son, was born in 1601. He and his next brother Richard were staunch Protestants, but his mother and the younger sons and daughters became "Popishe Recusants," and a family quarrel ensued. He was High Sheriff of Notts. in 1629, Colonel in the Royal Army of Charles I, and Governor of the Castle of Ashby-de-la-Zouche. ¹ "On 30th June, 1645, Sir Thomes Fairfax's army marched from Leicester and sate down before Ashby, which for several months was closely besieged. In September, the town was much visited by sickness, and the garrison reduced to sixty men. In the January following this garrison made several successful sorties, but on the 7th, at night, a strong body of horses came from Leicester undiscovered, surprised the sentinels, fell in at the turnpike, broke the chain, took much pillage and rerurned to Leicester without opposition. After this the following articles of Surrender of this "Maiden Garrison," (so styled from never having been actually conquered) were sent up to Parliament; and after a debate whether the sequestration of the Earl of Huntingdon, the Lord Loughborough and Colonel Perkins, the Governor, should be taken off, were agreed to by both Houses." The terms were that "they were to march out with all the honours of war, with horses, arms, and ammunition, bagg and baggages, trumpets-sounding, colours flying, matches lighted at both ends, muskets loaded, etc., etc."

1: Nichols' History of Leicestershire.

A MS in the Parkyns collection runs as follows:—"The state of the Case of Coll. Isham Parkyns, late Governor of Ashby-de-la-Zouch. February 1, 1645. That before the Rendicion of that Garrison by agreement made Betweene Coll. General Hastings who commanded in chiefe and Coll. John Needham then Governor of Leicester, it was (amongst other things) that the sequestration of the estates of Coll. Parkyns should be taken of, as appeared by the eight Article of that agreement." This was approved by Parliament on February 24, 1645. "After this resolve of Parliament the Articles were signed and the Garrison surrendered which might have been held by all the forces that came against it." "Then XI Martii, 1645, the Governor of Leicester grants his protection to Coll. Parkyns to live quietlie at his own house at Boney and to enjoye his estate free from plunder or other violence of Souldiers." But the Parliament still demanded "60(li) for the fifte and Twentieth part of his estate reall and psonall which he paid." He died in 1671 aged seventy.

Thomas, his second son, succeeded and was created Baronet by Charles II, in 1681, on account of his father's services in the defence of Ashby.

Sir Thomas Parkyns succeeded in 1684. Educated at Westminster School and Trinity College Cambridge, he was admitted to Gray's Inn in 1683, but gave up the Law except so far as to act as Justice of the Peace for Notts. and Leicester. He added vastly to his property by the purchase of the Manors of Ruddington, Great Leake, Costock, Wysall, Thorpe, Willoughby, with parts of Keyworth, Barrow-upon-Soar and Gotham. He put a new roof to the Chancel of Bunny Church, built a new Vicarage, and built and endowed the Free School at Bunny with the four Almshouses adjoining. He took an active part in public matters, for in 1725 the "Hall" of Nottingham voted him £10 as a testimonial of his services in superintending the restoration of the Trent Bridge, and in 1724 he wrote a pamphlet entitled "Queries and Reasons why the County Hall, Gaol, etc., should be built in the County of Nottingham and not in the Market Place of the Town." This pamphlet contains an eulogistic ode in Latin Alcaic verse "Ad Honorabilem Thomam Parkyns Baronettum," and "The Observator on the proceedings of Parliament against Dr. Sacheverell, and their address in favour of Mr. Hoadley," in which he argued that all the Gaols should be turned into Workhouses where prisoners should be made to work and learn trades instead of idling, and also "A method proposed for the Hiring and Recording of Servants in Husbandry, Arts, Mysteries, etc.," and "A Limitation and Appointment of the several Rates of Wages agreed upon by the Justices of the Peace." This last is interesting as showing the value of money and the rates of Wages at the time. For instance:

Sir Thomas  Parkyns was also a Classical Scholar and wrote an “Introduction to the Latin Tongue for the use of his Grandson and of Bunny School,” over which his grandson and the scholars of Bunny must have shed many tears, for the grammar is badly arranged and difficult to understand and contains some mistakes for which many a school boy has received a birching, e.g.,

Eo videre , I go to see.

Manebo dum magister venit, I will wait till the master comes.

Talis contemptor ut amare, Such a despiser as to love.

Tum fias doctus , Then you become learned.

Unum verbum dependet in alium, One word depends on another but worst of all.

"That after such verbs as 'see,' 'hear,' 'think,' 'know,' 'believe,' 'wonder,' 'hope,' 'promise,' 'rejoice,' 'shew,' 'say,' or their contraries, 'quod.'"

Perhaps Sir Thomas, like many Schoolboys, was more fond of games than of Grammar, for it is as "luctator," the Wrestler, that he is best known to fame. He was the patron of this once popular amusement and wrote a treatise on it which he dedicated to George I, called "Inn Play: or, Cornish Hugg Wrestler. Digested in a method which teacheth to break all Holds, and throw most Falls Mathematically." He died in 1741 and was buried in Bunny Church under a monument erected during his lifetime, which is said to have been the work of his Chaplain. In the left compartment he is represented in a wrestling posture, and in the right as "thrown" in a wrestling match with Time. Some have looked upon this as a piece of vandalism, but the Latin inscription shows it was written in the “sure and certain hope of the Resurrection to eternal life.”

"Quem modo stravisti longo in certamine, Tempus,
Hic recubat Britonum clarus in orbe; fugit
Hinc primus stratus; proeter te vicerat omnes;
De te etiam victor, quando resurgit, erit."

"Here lies a man famous in the British ring
Whom Thou hast just thrown in a long match, O Time,
Hence he flies for the first time thrown; except Thee he had conquered all:
Over Thee too he will be victorious, when he rises again."

Sir Thomas Parkyns, third Baronet, succeeded in 1741 and died in 1806. He was twice married, first to his great niece, by whom he had Thomas Boothby Parkyns, and secondly to Jane Boutbee who bore him Thomas Boultbee Parkyns, who was the father of Mr. Mansfield Parkyns of Woodborough.

Colonel Thomas Boothby Parkyns was M.P. for Leicester in 1790 and was created Baron Rancliffe in 1795. He was M.P. for Leicester in 1796 and died in 1800 before his father. Hence he never succeeded to the Baronetcy. I cannot discover the reason for his being created a Peer.

Sir Thomas George Augustas Parkyns succeeded to the Peerage of Rancliffe on the death of his father in 1800 and to the Baronetcy on the death of his grandfather in 1806. He died in 1850, without issue, and left the estates at Bunny away from the family. The Peerage therefore became extinct and the Baronetcy passed to his first cousin, Sir Thomas George Augustas Parkyns, 5th Baronet, the son of Thomas Boultbee Parkyns, who died in Italy.

Mr. Mansfield Parkyns, of Woodborough, was the second son of T. Boultbee Parkyns and younger brother of Sir Thomas G. A. Parkyns, 5th Baronet. He was educated at Woolwich and at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he failed to combine Mathematics with the art of Boxing, in which he was very efficient, as successfully as his great-grandfather had combined Classics with the art of Wrestling. He therefore left the University after a year's residence and went for a tour in the East and for nine years no news was heard of him and he was given up for lost. But during those years he was travelling in Abyssinia, Nubia, Sennar, Kordofan and Egypt, living with the natives and adopting their dress and customs. He then returned to Europe and was appointed attaché to the British Embassy at Constantinople. About 1852 he came to England and was received as one of the "lions" of the day and wrote his book, "Life in Abyssinia." Having purchased Woodborough Hall he married the Honourable Emma Louisa Bethell, third daughter of Richard, first Baron Westbury, who died in 1877 leaving eight daughters. She was a lady of singular charm and sweetness, and her unassuming kindness made her a great favourite with the Woodborough people, who still speak of her with great affection. He was for a time Lieut.-Colonel of the Notts. Rifle Volunteers and Captain of the Sherwood Foresters' Militia, but otherwise he took no part in County matters. He was made official assignee to the Court of Bankruptcy at Exeter and the Comptrollor in London, retiring in 1884. The last years of his life were spent at Woodborough in great retirement where he devoted himself to the improving the house and gardens and farm buildings, and to genealogical and artistic pursuits. With the exception that he was Representative Governor of Wood's School he never interfered in village business, though he was always ready to advise and help and find work for those who applied to him. During the last two years of his life he gave much time to the improvement of Wood's School and the Restoration of the Church, completing the last work of his life, the beautiful carved oak Choir Stalls to the memory of his wife, on Christmas Eve, 1893. He died after a few days illness, the result of cholera and dysentery contracted during his travels, on January 12th, 1894, and was buried in Woodborough Churchyard. His will, which divided his property among his daughters, involved the sale of his property, and Woodborough Hall with the adjoining land was put up for auction, in lots, on June 20th, 1894, but the chief portions were not sold till 1895, when the Hall and 53 acres were sold to Mr. Charles Hose Hill by private contract who shortly afterwards purchased the Hall farm and land.


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