Woodborough’s Heritage

Woodborough, a Sherwood Forest Village, recorded in Domesday

Middle Manor from 1066 to 1600 - (known earlier as Hertford Manor)

Early History: Woodborough Manor most probably occupies the site of one of Woodborough's three original manors which were listed in the Domesday record of 1086 [LINK]. Woodborough Hall, Woodborough Manor (or Hertford Manor) and Nether Hall (also known as Old Manor or just the Manor).

Following the Norman Conquest (1066-1071), the three Saxon thanes Ulchel, Aldene and Aluric who were the original 'manor' owners lost their lands. Ralph de Limesin founded the priory of Hertford; a cell of St Albans Abbey, giving it the tithes from his lands in Epperstone and Woodborough, hence the naming of the Manor House in Woodborough as 'Hertford Manor'. William de Rempston acquired the Middle Manor by 1400. The Nether Hall was Church (York and later Southwell) property and the Prebend of Woodborough was entitled to the proceeds from it.

From early Inquisitions and Post Mortems – held by local squires and gentry to see if the actions of the others were detrimental to the King and his lands, we find a number of Woodborough names mentioned:

1263 Thomas de Chaworth

1309 Simon de Cruce

1314 Hugh & Robert Aluine (or Alvine)

1330  Adam de Cruche

1331 Adam ad Crucem

1336 Adam of Woodborough

1347 John de Blidworth

1400 Rempstons of Rempstone

1459 Stapletons of Rempstone

1596 John Field of London

1602 John Askew of London

1607 John Wood of Lambley, later of Woodborough

1741 William Edge

1796 Hertford Manor and farm, property of John Taylor (as stated in the Enclosure Award)

Thoroton says there is a manor in Woodborough called Rempstone's Manor, which was by a fine King Henry IV [2H4] settled on William de Rempstone and Agnes his wife for life. In regnal years, he came to the throne on September 30th 1399, his second year i.e. 2H4 places it between September 30th 1400 and September 29th 1401. In Thoroton’s History of Rempston there is no William shown in the de Rempston family tree but it would seem, however, he was a close relative of Thomas de Rempston of the same period. Thoroton continues that there are two Thomas de Rempston’s - father and son, and that there is a memorial slab to the younger Thomas in Bingham Church. However, a booklet about the church believes it is the father who is buried there and gives the following information: “Sir Thomas de Rempston senior had a spectacularly successful career in the service of Henry Duke of Lancaster, the nobleman had forced the abdication of Richard II in 1399, and Sir Thomas was accidentally drowned in the River Thames in 1406”. Henry of Lancaster became King Henry IV, Richard was deemed insane and was imprisoned and died in 1400.


Buckland states that early records show Simon de Cruce held a manor in Woodborough in 1309 but with Adam of Woodborough involved in several Inquisitions it would appear that the Cruce family could probably have owned the Middle Manor, the owners at that time of the other two manors were known.

William was a close relative of Thomas de Rempston who later became Constable of the Tower of London whose son married Alice Beckering, they had three daughters, Elizabeth, Margaret and Isabel. All three daughters married, Isabel marrying Sir Brian Stapleton of Yorkshire. By the time her father died in 1459 Isabel was heir to the Rempston estates. The line of descent passed through Isabel's son, also Brian, to his son George Stapleton who had land in several villages including Woodborough at the time of his death in 1564. This is the first connection of the Rempston/Stapleton families with Woodborough since William and Agnes in 1399/1400. George Stapleton had four sons Henry, Anthony, George and William, but only two of them, Henry and William concern this story. At some time during this period the Middle Manor appears to have been transferred to the direct line of descent in the Rempston family, perhaps William and Agnes who had no children.

From early Woodborough wills there is one for George Clarke who died in October 1578. George was a wealthy farmer who probably lived at the Middle Manor at this time. Amongst other things in his will he left 6/8d [six shillings and eight pence] to the 'poor money box' and 3/4d to the clerk (vicar) Peter Jackson. In his Will, George also says 'l give unto my landlord, Mr Henry Stapleton Esquire, and to my landlady his wife and to Miss Faith Stapleton his daughter, any one of them ten shillings’. One of the witnesses to the Will was the aforementioned Peter Jackson, clerk, and another was a William Lee.

This early os map shows the position of the three

manors, The Hall, Manor House & Nether Hall relative

to St Swithun’s Church at the heart of the village.

Above wall plaque situated on the north wall recording the burials of John Wood and Catherine his wife. Also Mountague Wood and Bridget his wife. The condition of the plaque is poor.

Above: Rempston & Stapleton family tree.

Right: A drawing of a section of the Communion table that was given by John Wood after 1660 but possibly Jacobean and is now serving as the alter.

Back to top Next page

Henry Stapleton died in December 1586, leaving all his lands to his daughter Faith, who married Matthew Babington but died childless in June 1589. After her marriage Faith and Matthew probably occupied Woodborough Middle Manor. After Faith's death the former Rempston estates went via Henry's brother, William, to William's son John who then sold the Middle Manor to John Field, a fishmonger and citizen of London. He paid £300 for it on 24th November 1596. Thus the Manor, after 196 years, passed out of the Rempston and Stapleton families. John Field later sold the Manor for £600 to James Askew who also appears to have purchased the Manor just as an investment. He sold it to John Wood of Lambley on 13th May 1607 for £870. In the sale document between John Field and James Askew is a list of tenants in the estate, at the head of which is Matthew Babington who was Faith’s husband.

From 1607: John Wood's father, Robert Wood of Lambley, had married Margaret Mountague, daughter of the Lord Chief Justice of England. Mountague had formerly been Ambassador at the Court of Louis XVI and had been a favourite of the French Kings. Later he built Boughton House, a substantial house and estate, three miles north of Kettering, and brought back from France a fine collection of French furniture and china which the house still contains. With such a wealthy and famous ancestor it is not surprising that the Wood family in succeeding generations gave one of their sons the Christian name of Mountague. John Wood of Lambley, and later of Woodborough, married Catherine Hewson of London, John was appointed Recorder of Newark by King Charles 1 in 1627, John was also a Verderer of Sherwood Forest and gave the church at Woodborough the beautiful oak Communion table now serving as the altar (see sectional drawing above right). John Wood was buried July 1645, Catherine buried July 1633. John's son also named John, married Catherine Chaworth of Wiverton in February 1617 and their son Mountague who was now the heir, married Bridget, the daughter of Richard Carrell of Thorpe in Surrey. Mountague and Bridget had six children, three boys and three girls. John, Mountague, named after his father, Richard, and Catherine, Elizabeth and Bridget, the latter named after her mother. There is a wall plaque high up on the north wall of St Swithun's chancel recording the burials of John Wood in 1645 and Catherine (née Chaworth) his wife 1633 and of Mountague and his wife Bridget but the inscription is deteriorating badly. Mountague was buried in November 1681 and Bridget his wife in February 1681 (Photo on right).

John, Mountague and Bridget's eldest son, looked after the estate, backed up by his spinster sisters as shown in a document dated 10 April 1704. However John died in 1709 and the estate may well have been leased out as Mountague and Richard were occupied elsewhere. Mountague was admitted to St Catherine Hall, Cambridge 27th May 1678, aged 17, matriculated in the same year, and became B.A. in 1681/2 and M.A. in 1685. He was ordained Deacon at Lincoln in September 1685 aged 25 and Priest in 1686. He became Rector of St Michael Paternoster Royal in 1687, with St Martin Vintry in 1703. Woodborough leases to tenants show he was at St Antholins in 1728. He was Canon of Wells Cathedral from 1705 until his death on 16 July 1741. The three parishes of St Michael Paternoster Royal, St Martin Vintry and St Antholins were all within the City of London. Journeying from London to Woodborough at that time would have been an arduous affair. Mountague's younger brother Richard became Rector of Gedling in 1703 and died in 1734 aged 70 years. At the time of his death only Mountague and Catherine outlived him, Catherine being 83 and Mountague 74 and Richard appointed them executors in his Will. On Richard's death Catherine and Mountague probably realized that as none of their brothers and sisters had married and had children the name of Wood would disappear in the village. It is obvious from the involvement of all of them in the affairs of the manor and village, and the academic attainments of Mountague and Richard that they must have received a good education and what better way of perpetuating the name of Wood than by founding a school in the village [LINK]. Some schools were named after individuals but the Woodborough School does not bear Catherine or Mountague's name - simply that of Wood. Catherine died in November 1738 aged 86 and Mountague in July 1741 aged about 81. The Wood family had held the Middle Manor for 134 years. Mountague's next of kin was his cousin Jane, who was married to William Edge [LINK].

George Lacock, a solicitor, had purchased the Upper Hall from the Woodborough branch of the Strelley family in 1640. Ralph Edge, a Nottingham lawyer, managed to purchase most of the Strelley estates belonging to the Strelley branch of the family by 1651 and was in possession of the rest of the estate by about 1682. After Ralph Edge's death in 1684, the estate passed to his cousin's son, Richard Conway, who changed his surname to Edge. Twice more over the generations there was no direct male heir and the estates passed through the female line. One of the heiress's husbands changed his surname to Edge, the other added Edge to his original surname. William Edge’s wife Jane inherited the Middle Manor but died in October 1777 and William married again in 1789 to Mary Palin, spinster of Woodborough. William died in 1796.  

From the 1798 Enclosure Award for Woodborough it is learnt the Manor and its properties were allotted to John Taylor. This John is the first of several Taylor family members or generations to own the Manor. A date in the brickwork at the end of a former barn gives the initials and date WT 1851 which probably belonged to a William Taylor who had the barn constructed. Most probably John Bagshawe Taylor was the last of the Taylor family to own the Manor. On the south front of the west end of the stables is a date stone bearing the initials JBT 1858 which would seem to confirm this. The Woodborough censuses show that the Pinder family was occupying the property, Joseph Pinder being the farm bailiff from 1860 until about 1875. John Bagshawe Taylor's address is given as Radcliffe on Trent.

Summary of later ownership, alterations and key dates

Wood family tree



Robert Howett died on the 1st January 1889 aged 45. It would seem that on Howett's death, the mortgage was foreclosed by a Mr Mills of Alvaston, who left it on his death to his nephew Mr William Bradshaw who was still in possession of it in 1896. Mr Bradshaw let the property in 1900 to Mr Arthur Burnett who died in February 1904 and in a 1908 Directory Mrs Burnett is listed as having a stud farm. Mr Charles Hose Hill, who had purchased the Upper Hall and Hall Farm with other properties in 1895, and following the death of Mr Mansfield Parkyns, Mr Hill also purchased the Middle Manor in 1915. 
When Mr Hill left the village in 1922 both estates, the Upper Hall and Middle Manor, and all the various properties in the village belonging to them were sold, a good many of them to sitting tenants. Mr Charles Ernest Foster, who had moved from what is now the Old Post Office, to become Mr Hill's tenant at the Middle Manor in 1916, purchased the Manor in the sale for £8,250. At the time of the sale the farm consisted of 112 acres of grass and 68 acres of arable land. At the start of the Second World War in December 1939 until March 1940, soldiers of the Wiltshire Yeomanry were billeted in the stables as well as in many other buildings in Woodborough.

In 1954 the Manor Farm estate was sold again by auction, including the Manor House and Manor Farm, cottages at the top of Lingwood Lane and Green Lane, and an orchard with apple, pear, plum and damson trees. Mr John Taylor bought the entire estate including the Manor House and the Manor Farm Buildings.

Mr & Mrs Robert Hanson purchased the Manor House in 1974, living there until 1998.

Previous owners of the Manor House, Douglas and Helen Ashby bought the property in 1999. The Manor House enjoys 1.6 acres of mature gardens with a variety of specimen trees, there is a walled kitchen garden producing both vegetables and soft fruit. The Ashbys moved from Woodborough in 2014.

Two of many notable families who have occupied The Manor House, the Howett and Foster families, the Howett photograph (above) dates around 1880 and the Foster family photograph (below) 1927.

Two interesting photographs, the one above dated 1915, what appears to be a group of injured soldiers from the first world war at a time when the Manor was possibly being used as a recuperation home. Could some of the none uniformed people be members of the Burnett family?

Below, Mrs Joyce & Mr John Taylor with Rastus in 1956, at that time they were the owners of the Manor House, they lived there for over 20 years.

Above, the Manor and Manor Farm in 1955. The large buildings in the background were the former racing stables.

Below, a hunt meeting in 1921

Below: four recent photographs show the distinctive stripped roofing tiles which also feature on the roof of the nearby racing stables. The attached coach house which has since been redeveloped and finally, the former bakery to the Manor, but in a neighbouring garden, was demolished in 2003. Photos 2003 by John Hoyland