Extracts from the old Parish Registers
The Rolleston Registers commence 1559. In the year 1597 it was ordered that Parish Registers, hitherto made on paper, must be transcribed on to parchment. Usually when this was done the original paper Register was destroyed, but in the case of Rolleston fortunately a large portion, some 37 leaves stitched together but unbound, has been preserved in fairly good condition. It can be seen that many leaves have been lost from the beginning, and a few from the body of the volume, but most of the years from 1584 to 1615 are covered, and it is these pages which are so unusually interesting owing to the large number of notes and comments written in them alongside the entries of Marriages and Burials by the Vicar at that time— Robert Leband, as previously noted. These include notes on the weather, local floods, corn prices, comments on the characters of parishoners, poetic verses and quotations in English, Latin and Greek, and current events, such as the ‘passing through Newark of King James in 1603.
A few extracts from this Register, made by Robert Leband, are here given, together with any explanatory notes on them that may be of interest:
“Richard Walker aboute 23 or 24 yeares of age somewhat tall, slow of speech, a still, quiet & gentle younge man diligent in serving his maister dwellinge with John Guill since Martinmas last & keepinge his sheepe, was buried on Teusday in crosse weeke the XIIIIth of may - 1588.”
“On Saturday the XXII of June such abundance of raine came that neither the Sunday nor midsom[erj day I could get, to the church without boots (? boats) more abundance fell on
weddnesday the tenth of Julie, but most abundance of raine fell on weddensday the XVII of Julie wch raised such a floud both by land & by meanes of the Trent that the new banke made the summer beefore wth great paines, beeinge a deare yeare with poore men, beeinge vs. IIIId - barlie and peason IIIs. VIIId. the strike & dearer, was the most of it taken away & all the hay & gras... in the meadowes mowne, aboove a hundred akers I am sure... marshe Willowholme, Smeethinge, Key, Withaimes .......(illegible) .... fleet landes quite carried away, no hay to speake on gotten.......of continuall raine & unseasonable weather the medow .........
So.... that I feare it bee utterlie...... favour toward us againe that wee may finde grace when wee come to appeare beefore His iudgmt seat, that our saviour may receiue us into blisse from the miseries of this world. Rolston by faire feeldes never more plentifullie enriched wth blessing from god ar now consumed, thy great, thy two great store of horses halfe pininge poore mens cattle, wth thy beaste & sheepe will now be pined to death & thou thy self wilt bee famished; beethinke thee therefore how thou maist obtaine godes favour settle thy harte aright, let mercie & faithfullnes alway p’serve thee, that god may bee thy god unto the end & in the end. Amen, & for ever & ever.” (1588).
“Nicholas Darwin a tall ma[n] but crooked through age beeinge four-score & tenne at the least, a painefull labourer in ditchinge, mowinge, & other labourious woorkes, whom I have hard of him selfe report a thinge strange as mee thinke that he was never day sicke in his whole life to his remembrance, & in truth bee lay and sat up in his last sickness as one that felte little or no paine for ought that could bee p’ccivd. but by his forsakinge of meat etc., this said Nicholas Darwin deceased this life on Munday Decemb. 23, & was buried on Christmas eeven.” (1588).
“Margret Scarbrough a maide XL yeares of age or aboove beelage diseased wth a great swellinge in her whole bodie wch gettinge issue at length in her legge was almost cured, whereupon the greese as might bee thought for want of issue strucke to her hart, so that shee died on Tuesday June XVIIth & was buried the same day.” (1589).
“Longe beardes hartles
painted coats witles }
daintie fare needles } the Scothcma[n] to the Englishe"
maketh England thriftles } (1589)
“The last day of March the frost havinge continued fro[m] beefore Martinmas for the most part, was changed into fruitfull & warme showers for a plentiful! springe so that a more seasonable Aprill till the XIXth. day thereof wch was Easter day hath seldoome beene seene, almightie god bee praised for his blessing after his chasticement. who grant us his grace to please him that that this bodie (though punished) not perishinge may withe the soule all trouble & vexacion ov[er] past, bee received into foelicitie not subject to alteracion wch the enimica[n] not minishe.” (1590).
“Thomas Thorneton about threescore & twelve years .of age or aboove a bonesetter, dwelling at Morton wthin this parishe was buried on Munday the seaventeenth of August.” (1590) (Note: - Bonesetters are frequently mentioned earlier than Leband’s time. “He ys allso a boone-setter” occurs in an author of 1470)).
"Nicholas Nidde about 60 yeares of age a little fellow a smith & horseleache for divers diseases, was buried on St. Bartholomewes day beeinge Munday" (1590). ("Horse-leache" - i.e. he was a fore-runner of the modern veterinary surgeon).
"Since the beeginninge of Julie until this day August 26 their hath beene sick in Rolston aboove fortie p'sons younge & ould, no house free, but one or moe sick."
"Robert Bower aboove fortie years of age the swineheard of Fiskerton & a good thresher haveinge a gret swellinge on the one side of his necke face & head wch some thought came throughe cuttinge a swine for the murren theron died on Sunday at night & was buried the next day Septemb[er] XXIIIth (1590)
Christopher Bettinsonne about threescore years of age a ma[n] of low stature a painefull woorkma[n] in ditchinge & mowinge, but beeinge in his last years weake throughe sickness hee was the townes neatheard until his death was buryed on Wednesday the fourth of Novemb[er]" 1590.
"On Sunday at night decemb 20 1590 beeinge St. Thomas eeve a great snow fell, which issued such a frost especiallie on the morrow after St Thomas day that bread & all moist things were frosen in extremite since wch time there hathe beene scarceile aine moisture fallen until snowes in March."
Sometimes Mr Leband would put any unfavourable comments on characters in Latin, as instance the following, where the portion in italics is in Latin in the original - "Will[ia]m Forrest about 60 years of age a cu[n]ninge fellow I will not say crafty, of little faith, or hope of eternal life, if it be permissible to regard words as an index to the mind, but in handy woorke as ditching, mowinge, sheip-clippinge & such like, skillful was buried December XXVIIIth Tuesday" (1591)
"On Weddenesday Septemb[er] the sixt a tempestuous winde from the north west blew down the middle pinnacle on the south side of this steeple, without other harme dooinge, thanks bee to god."(1592) (In 1714 and in 1912 also are there records of the pinnacles being damaged by storms)
"George Deconsonne an householder about 27 years of age fallinge out with Thomas Heifield at the boules, was by the said Thomas stricken upon the head with two boules in a bagge on Satday Septm IXth at night, whereby havinge his brain pan broken as was supposed, dyed on Munday in the night Septemb[er] XIth & was buried the day followinge 1592 (this refers to an incident in a bowling-alley)
After an entry of the burial of a woman appears a remark, written in Latin and afterwards crossed out, the translation of which is as follows - "A praisworthy woman whose honest manners certain survivers do not distain to imitate."
“In the month of June 1596, 38 Elizabeth, certain nobles under the Earl of Essex went to Spain and honourably carried off (if report does not lie) a very brilliant victory in naval and terrestrial warfare, and returned gloriously into England to their own people in the month of August.” (This is a translation of the original, which is written in Latin and refers to the winning of Cadiz.)
A note in Latin in the margin is translated as follows: - “Do not trust a woman not even if she be dead.”
“Joane Peele about IXX yeares of age the wife of John Peele was buried on Tuesday in Easter weeke Aprill 18 Eliz. 40. So singular a huswife as Rolston could not match.” (1598).
The following is a translation of an entry, again in Latin, "25 March 1603 Friday. The death of Elizabeth our most gracious Queen was suspected by many; it reached our ears on the 26th. and affected the minds of many among the rest myself with no slight grief. On 26th. March James King of Scotland was proclaimed at Nottingham King of England, France and Ireland, and at Newark on the 30th of the same month also publicly. Long live King James & may he study the prosperity of the English"
"This Thursday April xxxith. 1603 came Kinge James toward eveninge to Newarke castel where hee lodged that night & the next day beeinge good Friday departed towards Beaver castell"
On August 8th 1604, the Great Plague, which had spread to Nottinghamshire, claimed its first victims in the parish, according to the following entries: - filia Joh [ann] is Thorneton de Morton pestilentia mortua" and "John Thorneton was buried in Morton churchyard, pest". But it was not until the end of 1611 and early 1612 that this scourge took its chief toll from the village, for between Dec 9th, 1611 and May 16th 1612, no fewer than 19 entries of burials have marginal notes such as "pestis suspecta", "pestis co[n]fessa" or "pestis" written against them. On April 8th 1612, three victims were buried in the one day. There is an entry showing that a child was baptized in the churchyard instead of in the church owing to the risk of plague infection.
The following is a translation of an entry in Latin: - "On August 10th, the tenth year of his reign, 1612 James King of England, Scotland, France & Ireland, defender of the faith stays in the Castle of Newark with his son Henry now, as it is said in the nineteenth year of his age. In the Parish Church of the said Newark Dom. Parker precentor of Lincoln, commonly called "Chaunter", preached a sermon before the said King & Prince. A crowd of noblemen, knights, esquires & commoners desiring to see the King and Prince flocked thither.”
The following is a translation of an entry in Latin, in another and later volume of the Registers by John Twentiman, then Vicar: —“ John Wise, a bachelor, a frequentor of the taverns rather than of the church and sacrament, attacked by raging fever, vomiting dreadful curses and blasphemies, died and was buried. In the hour of death Good Lord deliver us.” (1687).
The next two extracts given are also by John Twentiman: — “Margaret, Wife to the Right Honoble Robert Lord Lexington dyed at London April 17. Aged 31 years, & was buryed in the Chancell here She was of the Family of the Hungerford’s of Farley Castle in Som[m] ersetshire. The sole Heiress of Sr Giles Hungerford of Colston in the County of Wilts.”
“Robert Bush (a servant of Mr. Jalland’s) was Buried - Nov. 20. He was bitten with a mad Dog Oct. 3, last. The changes & full of the Moon wr as followeth. New Oct 6. Full Oct. 21 New Nov. 5. Full Nov. 19. So that he was bitten in the wane; passed 2 Changes & almost a Fulls. He killed the Dog; eat p’ of his Liver. Took the. . . (a word here erased)... Milk in wch the Roots of the Flower-de-Luce was boiled, (The only Medicine given by the Keepers to their Hounds) w~ vomited & purged him. He took Decoctions of Rue & other Alexipharmicks - was Blooded twice (wch p’haps he had better not have done) & took some other things from the Apothecary. But the Poisonous Quality prevailed. And some Symptoms thereof appeared by times, gt Heaviness or Oppression at his H’, & difficulty of Breathing, etc. Nov. 16. He drank one Draught of Ale, but found himself so disordered by it that he sd he wud never drink Ale more. Nov. (.. .) He thought himself very well, & went to the Barn to Thrash. Nov 17. About 5 clock in the Evening he told us in my house he thought he shud leave off Small Beer as well as Ale, for that nothing but water agreed with him; that he was Dry but cared not to Drink. He went im[mjediately home & sat down by the Fire, & within 4 or 5 minutes start up very hastily & ran up to his Bed. crying he was struck with Death. And fm that time continued under great Agonys - sensible almost to the very last - yet rambling and Raging wn he had got any persons name into his head, repeating over & over “O he or she’s a good man “ (woman, lad, lass, according as the p’son was that spoke to him) “Pray for me!” this was his request to all that spoke to him, & repeated the same 10 or 12 times together. He lay always on his Belly - vomited sometimes - sweat exceedingly - eyes twinkling fast & staring - mouth gaping & catching & foming - breath full & steaming as gross as a boiling pot - all very ill-scented. If any one touch’d him he always avoided the touch & struck; & wud not suffer his Mother (of whom he was very tender) to come near him, but always thrust & beat her off; & always was in violent agonys whilst she was in the room & made lamentation over him. He got her thumb in his mouth.. (something here erased) .... not long before he dyed wrupou she call’d to him, “wt’, will you bite your mother “; & after some pausing. He sd, “No, no, my dear mother”; & let her go without drawing blood. They bound him at last. And on the 18 day, about 3 clock in the morning, he lift up himself as high as the ropes wud give way, & then lay down, & after 2 or 3 sighs, he died. Being (as I compute) about 34 hours in the sharpe agonys I have mentioned. A young man, piously disposed, well worded, & of a good Disposition. His wounds shud have been kept open, & the blood drawn out (while fresh) with Cuppings, & the sores fretted & made more sore with sharp washes, that the Poison might have been recalled back & drawn out of the Sores, before it got into the Blood.” (1705).
The following three extracts were written by William Benson, Vicar at the time.
“The Honble Wm George Sutton onely Son of the Rt Honble Robt Ld Lexington born at Vienna when his Lordship was Ambassador to the Emperor Leopold died at Madrid Sept 23d his Ldship being then Ambassador extraordinary to Philip the 5th King of Spain. He was buried here Dec. 29th.” (1713).
After an entry dated Feb. 1st, 1714, appears the following note: - “ On wch day was such a violent tempest of wind as was never known in any man’s memory, it struck down 2 pinnacles from the steeple & did great damage to the Ch: & a g’ deal more in Town.”
“The Honble Leonora Cordelia Margaretta Daughter of the R’ Honble Robt. Lrd Lexington aged 20 years buried here, Octobr 30th. (1715).
The following quaint and interesting items taken from the Parish Constables’, Overseers’ and Churchwardens’ Account Books may suitably be given here.
ll s. d.
1685 Given to a man & a woman & a child with a pass 3
for a huencry (hue and cry) to Aram 2
given to two slaves that came out of Turkey 4
Given to a man with a wooden legge 8 more with him 8 ½
Pd. for the warrant for watching with a double guard 2
for a warrant for Calling in the Malisha money 2
Given to a cripple 2
Given to James Dring for Carring him in his cart 8
For lodging a Soulger at Thos: Spickes 2
Given to a dutshman (Dutchman) with a pass 1
Spent with the Chimley man at Peeter Clarkes 4
Paid to the prisoners at Nottingham 1 0
1686 Paying the muster maister fees at Carlton 1 2
Given to a blind man with a pass 2
For carriing him to Fiskerton on horseback 2
Given to Mr Speight and Mr Williamson for drought and waggon charged fro the kings service to Bautry 1 0 0
1688 Given for a Sabath Daies Lodging of Mrs Tould Gentle woman 1 0
To a Pore Minnester 2 0
1693 Charges about Mr Millns man goeing to the Justice house of Correction 1 4
1694 Given to 6 passengers for a loss of the sea banke breakage 6
Paid for warrant to carry in the dubly cats (duplicates, i.e. Register Transcripts) 2
1695 Paid the Bone setter for setting Luke Harding leg 10 0
1696 Paid Wid. Spick for lodging a mad woman & child 8
Paid to three men one day for mending the highways 2 0
1697 Paid John Lillie for the death of 2 foxes 1 0
Paid Mr Twist for blooding Mary Vrry 6
Paid Mr Witton scavengers fees 5 0
1698 Given to a gent man that said he had four thousand pound loss by sea 1 0
Paid for a warrant for the window tax to go into Newarke to the Justises 2
Gave Newarke Bellman that he should never charge a waggon upon us againe 2 6
Pd. For hay to stop the Great banke 2 0
1699 For carrying the Kings Deare to Colsworth 1 10 0
Paid for 16 weeks table for Tho: Bell 1 12 0
for 3 cravats & 2 pair of stackings 7 6
For a comb & curing him of the itch 2 8
1702 Paid for ale at the Queen coronation (i.e. Queen Anne) 10 0
1706 Paid for a wagon that carryed away the coyliers to Grantha[m] 10 6
Charges going to Southwell about the Catholix 1 6
1707 Paid for 2 foxes to my Lords Keeper 2 0
1708 Paid Robt. Spick for mending the Guttertree at milln 1 6
1713 Given to a woomen in fits 8
Given to a mad woomen 6
1715 Pd. Mr Brown for cilling a notter (i.e. killing an otter) 1 0
1717 The watch spent on Roulstone feast Munday night 1 0
1720 pad for a nabstrakt (i.e. an abstract) 2 2
To 4 Turkey slaves 4
1721 Given 2 out Landish men wt pass 2
pd. Sam’ Richman for mending the stocks wood & work 7 0
Given to 3 Spanyards 2d to 4 disbanded Soldiers 4d 6
Given to 9 sailors Taken slaves by the Turks 1 0
1723 Given my Lords servants for killing otters 2 0
Pd. Sam Richmond for a gate head and a bar for the pin fold gate 6
1726 pd Mr. Wmsou for goeing to Notting. to seek Joseph Darbyshire a master but cold finde none. 2 0
pd. towards the schoolhouse Building 2 8 5
1728 Given to Aman from Turkey 3
1729 Gave to a woman that was deaf and dum 6
1734 Given to a man without a Tongue 2
pd. the Scavengers plies (i.e. fees) 5 0
for cleansing the common Drain upon the Green 4
I735 Going 4 Days to Sell the Towns Cloth 1 0
1740 Corroners wart when be sat on the man that was starved to Dead 2/ Charges 12/ 14 0
1741 pd. Jn. Girtone for Blooding Mary Sharpe 6
1744 To the Apparitor for the Proclamation to prevent the spreading of the 1contagion amongst cattle 1 0
Spent at rejoiceing for the Victory obtained by the Duke of Cumberlands Forces over the Rebels 8 0
1748 given to 4 tuerkye slafes (An Account Book evidently missing) 6
1808 Pd. for Sparrows 14 6
1811 Pd. Mr. Williamson Bill for the Bakehouse 2 19 1
1813 Pd. Mr. Barnsdale for wood for the Pinfold 1 8 0
1814 Pd. the Rat Catcher 1 10 0
1823 Pd. for Moles Killing 10 6
1824 Pd. Pinder’s Sallery Churchwarden’s Accounts 5 0
1690 The Clock price 7 0 0
Spent at the Bargain making 2 6
Weights for the Clock 1 4 0
Nayles for the Clock House 1 6
for the Clock Bringing 3 2
Spent at severall times in Ale at the setting up of the Clock 2 0
1712 A Bell wheel mending 6
Candles & oyle for the Bells 1 0
1713 Spent at the Perambulation 15 0
1714 Spent at John Lillyes the Rejoyceing day for the Peace 2 0
1715 Spent by the Ringers when the King was Crowned .
(i.e. George 1.) 4 0
Disburst by Wm. Boswell for the Damage That was done by the Great Wind on the first of February 1714. A whole page is devoted to these items total cost 27 7 6
1719 3 yards of Silk to Line the parsons Hudd Pd. to the Taylor for Lining of it.
& Silk to soe it with 10
1719 pd. to John Spick for the Stoops & Raill about the Dial 5 2
1722 Gave the Ringers for K. Charles Restauration 1 0
Recd. for a Bason-pewter that was sold 1 0
1725 Beesoms to sweep the Church Wt 6
1727 on the King’s Proclamation Day (i.e. George II) 2 6
on the Coranation Day (i.e. for ringing) 7 6
1734 for ringing att the Princes weding 2 6
1736 To Wm Parnham for cleansing the Church Wall from Weeds (An Account Book evidently missing)
1820 King George the third bell ringing 1 0
for Ringing King crowning
1837 Paid for a New base viol £2-10s-od.Strings & Bag 3 0 0
1843 Mr. Ridges for new Clarinet 2 0 0
1844 2 Bassoon 2s. and 2 Clarinet Reeds 8d 2 8
1846 Repairing Clarinet 1 0
1851 2 Clarinet Reeds
1853 Carriage of Organ from London (i.e. a "Barrel Organ") 193
1857 Rec. For sale of Violoncello 2 2 0
1858 Cleaning out coal house for vestry 1 6
Holy Trinity, Rolleston with Fiskerton