Chronology of Clipstone Park and Peel
- Read about the history of Clipstone Peel and Spa Ponds in Sherwood Forest on the Sherwood Forest History blog and the Mercian AS King John’s Palace Chronology.
- Read about Garibaldi Woods – Spa Ponds – Gara Ponds on the OurMansfieldAndArea website.
Domesday Book, as set out in A Stapleton’s A History of the Lordship of King’s Clipstone or Clipstone in Sherwood. Available from: http://www.nottshistory.org.uk/monographs/clipstone1890/clipstone1.htm
“Osbern and Ulsi [Wulfsi] had two manors in Clipstone, which paid the Geld for one caracute. The land was two caracutes. After the Conquest Roger de Busli had in demesne one caracute and a half, and twelve villeins and three borders, having three caracutes and a half, and one mill of three shillings. Wood, by places pasturable, one leuca long and one broad. In the Confessor’s time the value was sixty shillings, but forty shillings at the time of the Survey.”
Henry III Fine Rolls Project. Available from: http://www.finerollshenry3.org.uk/ & Some account of domestic architecture in England, from the conquest to the end of the thirteenth century (Thomas Hudsen Turner, 1851). Extracts from the Liberate Rolls and Close Rolls of Henry III., 1229—1259. Available from: https://archive.org/details/someaccountofdom00turn
1 May 1220
“Westminster. Nottinghamshire. To the sheriff of Nottinghamshire. The king as committed to his beloved and faithful Brian de Lisle, chief justice of the king’s forests , the king’s houses of Clipstone and the same vill, to keep for as long as it pleases the king. Order to cause Brian to have full seisin without delay. Witness H. etc.” [Fine Roll C 60/15, 5 HENRY III (1220–1221). Available from: http://www.finerollshenry3.org.uk/content/calendar/roll_015.html]
“Tallage of the king’s demesnes : Lincolnshire. Nottinghamshire. Derbyshire. A moiety is to be rendered at the Close of Easter in the seventh year and the other moiety at Trinity in the same year:
From the villate of Lincoln, 300 m. From the villate of Torksey, £10. From the villate of Caistor, 10 m. From the villate of Grimsby, 60 m. From the vill of Nottingham, 100 m. From the vill of Derby, 50 m. From the vill of Mansfield, 30 m. From the vill of Carlton, 5 m. From the vill of Edwinstowe, 100s. From the vill of Carlton, 100s. From the vill of Melbourne, 10 m. From the villate of Rufford, 5 m. From the vill of Ragnall, 100s. From the vill of Darlton, 100s. From the vill of Clipstone, 3 m. From the vill of Shrewsbury, 100 m. – Memorandum that later it was granted to them by the king’s council that they are to have those monies in aid of enclosing their vills. From the vill of Bridgnorth, 10 m. – Memorandum that later it was granted to them by the king’s council that they are to have those monies in aid of enclosing their vills. From the vill of Worcester, 50 m.From the vill of Feckenham, 10 m.”
7 June 1236
“Concerning the manors of Kingshaugh and Clipstone. The king has committed his manors of Kingshaugh and Clipstone and the honour of Peverel of Nottingham with appurtenances to Roger of Essex to keep for as long as etc. , so that he answers at the Exchequer for all issues of the same. Order to the same Roger to attend to keeping them diligently and faithfully, and when Roger comes to the king it will be provided for him so that he might be sustained from this.” [Fine Roll C 60/35, 20 HENRY III (1235–1236). Available from: http://www.finerollshenry3.org.uk/content/calendar/roll_035.html]
“Concerning the king’s manors handed over to Warner Engayne. The king has committed to Warner Engayne the manors of Clipstone and of Kingshaugh with appurtenances, both woodlands and other things, to keep for as long as it pleases the king. Order to Roger of Essex to cause him to have full seisin of the aforesaid manors with corn, stock and all chattels found therein.” [Fine Roll C 60/35, 20 HENRY III (1235–1236). Available from: http://www.finerollshenry3.org.uk/content/calendar/roll_035.html]
31 August 1227
“Concerning the manor of Clipstone. The king has committed the manor of Clipstone to the sheriff of Nottinghamshire to keep to the king’s use for as long as it pleases the king. Order to B. [Brian] de Lisle to cause the money that he received to repair the king’s chamber of the same manor and has not yet put towards the repair to be delivered to the sheriff of Nottinghamshire, whom the king has ordered to cause that chamber to be repaired.” (Fine Roll C 60/27, 12 HENRY III (1227–1228). Available from: http://www.finerollshenry3.org.uk/content/calendar/roll_027.html)
“The sheriff of Nottingham is ordered to build at Clipstone, a fair, great and becoming hall of wood, and a kitchen of wood, and a wardrobe for the queen’s use. Clipston, July 21.” (Turner Page 205 / Liberate Roll, 28, Henry III.)
“Concerning keeping manors. The king has committed the manors of Darlton, Retford, Clipstone and Ragnall to Robert le Vavasur, sheriff of Nottinghamshire. Order to Warner Engayne to deliver those manors to him to keep for as long as it pleases the king, as aforesaid.” [Fine Roll C 60/44, 31 HENRY III (1246–1247). Available from: http://www.finerollshenry3.org.uk/content/calendar/roll_044.html]
24 August 1249
“St. Neots. For selling the king’s wines. Order to the sheriff of Northamptonshire to intermeddle diligently, together with Peter, the king’s clerk, bearer of the present, so that the king’s sour (venalia) wines at Northampton, King’s Cliffe and Geddington are sold, and not to permit other wines to be sold in his bailiwick until the aforesaid wines are sold. When they have been sold he is to cause the monies arising therefrom to come safely into the king’s Wardrobe.
For selling the king’s wines. It is written in the same manner to the sheriff of Nottinghamshire concerning the king’s wines at Clipstone, and to the sheriff of Leicestershire concerning the king’s wine at Croxton.” [Fine Roll C 60/46, 33 HENRY III (1248–1249). Available from: http://www.finerollshenry3.org.uk/content/calendar/roll_046.html]
Some account of domestic architecture in England, from the conquest to the end of the thirteenth century (Thomas Hudsen Turner, 1851). Extracts from the Liberate Rolls and Close Rolls of Henry III., 1229—1259. Available from: https://archive.org/details/someaccountofdom00turn
“The sheriff of Nottingham is ordered to make a wardrobe for the queen’s use at Clipstone, and a privy-chamber in the queen’s great chamber, and another privy-chamber at the head of the hall ; and to buy a chalice, vestments, books and other necessary ornaments for the new chapel; and to remove the high bench and the other benches in the new hall, and the small chimney in the great chamber and to make a chimney in the king’s wardrobe, through a mantel, and hrough another mantel in the queen’s wardrobe by one and the same flue [per unum et idem tuellum]. Worksop, December 13…
The same sheriff is commanded to make a certain passage [alea] at Clipstone from the entry of the king’s chamber to the gable of the hall, and another passage to the new chapel, and a chamber on the other side of the same hall, with a privy-chamber and other necessaries : he is also to whitewash the king’s chamber, and to block up the window between the chimneys of the same chamber, and to bar the other windows in the said chamber with iron ; to put glass windows in the queen’s chapel, to wainscote and border the same chapel, and likewise the new chapel : and to build a great gate with a certain chamber above it, and a privy-chamber : and to remove the wall at the foot of the king’s bed, and make a certain privy-chamber for the king’s use, covered with shingles ; and to glaze all the windows in the privy-chambers of the king and queen. Same date” (Page 235 and 236 / Liberate Roll, 36, Henry III)
“The sheriff of Nottingham and Derby is ordered to break without delay, the wall at the foot of the king’s bed in the king’s chamber at Clipston, and to make a certain privychamber for the king’s use, and cover it with shingles. Westminster, October 21.” (Turner Page 262 / Close Roll, 36 Henry III.)
Calendar of the Close Rolls AD 1313-1318 (EDWARD II) . Available from: https://archive.org/details/cu31924091068993
24 October 1313
“Oct. 24 . Westminster. To John de Evre, escheator beyond Trent. Order to pay to Thomas atte Merk, keeper of the king’s manor of Clipston in Shirwode, the arrears of his wages, and to continue to pay the same, and to pay to the chaplain of the manor such salary as other chaplains have been wont to receive, and to repair the paling of the manor. By p.s.” (Page 22)
10 December 1315
“Dec. 10 . Clipston. To Robert de Cliderhou, escheator this side Trent. Order to repair the chimnies (camina) and houses in the manor of King’s Clipston and in the hermitage near the chapel of St. Edwin, where a hermit shall dwell by the king’s ordinance, and the ponds of the stews in the manor. By K. on the information of William Inge.” (Page 257)
Calendar of the Close Rolls AD 1318-1323 (EDWARD II ) . Available from: https://archive.org/details/cu31924091068985
28 October 1320
“Oct. 28 . Westminster. …To the same [Gilbert de Stapelton, escheator beyond Trent]. Order to repair the houses in the king’s manor of Clipston.” (Page 270)
17 March 1322
“March 17 . Warsop. To Thomas de Burgh, escheator this side Trent. Order to pay the arrears of the following wages: to a chaplain celebrating divine service daily in the chapel of the king’s manor of Clipston 5 marks yearly; to Thomas atte Merk, bailiff of the same manor and keeper of the king’s peel there, 3d. a day; and to Roger de Warsop, keeper of the paling about the park there, 2d. a day, from the time of the death of Gilbert de Stapelton, late escheator this side Trent; and to continue to pay the earae wages until further orders. By K. on the information of Master Robert de Baldok.
To the same. Order to repair the houses within the said manor by the view and testimony of Thomas atte Merk, bailiff of the manor. By K. on the above information” (Page 428)
2 April 1322
“Pardon to Peter Wicceberd of Kyngs Clypston [Clipiston Regis] for acquiring in fee without license, 1 toft and 1 bovate of land in Warsop, held in chief from Richard de Notyngham, who had acquired the same in like manner from Richard de Sutton. By fine of `1 mark” (from Calendar of the Patent Rolls, not Close Rolls)
16 June 1323
“June 16 . Colwick. To the treasurer and barons of the exchequer. Order to allow to Thomas de Burgh, escheator this side Trent, 10l. expended by him in repairing the houses within the manor of Clipston, in execution of the king’s order of 17 March, in the 15th year of his reign…” (Page 666)
Calendar of the Close Rolls AD 1323-1327 (Edward II)  is available from: https://archive.org/details/cu31924091068977
“The present volume forms part of a series of Calendars of the Close Rolls from the reign of Edward II. to that of Edward IV. the object and character of which are explained in the Preface to the first volume for the reign of Edward II. (a.d. 1307—1313.) In addition to the rolls calendared in this and the three preceding volumes, there are in the series of Close
Rolls at the Public Record Office two rolls “de terris forisfactis,‘ belonging to the 15th, 16th and 17th years of Edward II., which have not been calendared separately, inasmuch as all the entries in them occur also in the normal Close Rolls of the period, and have consequently been calendared in their proper places. The text has been prepared, with the sanction of the Lords Commissioners of Her Majesty’s Treasury, by Mr. W. H. Stevenson, M.A., EeUow of Exeter College, Oxford. The Index has been compiled by Mr. C. H. Woodruff, B.C.L., Mr. Stevenson having assisted him by identifying most of the places.
H. C. MAXWELL LYTE.
Public Record Office,
28 May 1898.”
16 November 1323
“November 16 . Nottingham. To the keeper of the king’s peel (peli) of Clipston. Order to deliver to Joan de Boys, Petronilla de la Dale, Robert de Couelond, and Joan de Oselaston, poor tenants of Edward de Chaundos, four oxen, six cows, and three calves, which were taken from them by certain men who were pursuing Thomas, late earl of Lancaster, on his flight from the bridge of Burton, when the said men took many beasts in co. Derby from those who were believed to be the earl’s adherents, and drove them to the said peel, and delivered them to the keeper for custody. By K. and C.” (Page 40)
27 October 1325
“Oct. 27 . Cippenham. To the treasurer and barons of the exchequer. Order to allow to Thomas Cippenham. de Burgh, late escheator this side Trent, what he has paid in execution of the king’s order of 17 March, in the 15th year of his reign, to pay to a chaplain celebrating divine service daily in the chapel of the king’s manor of Clypston, who receives 5 marks yearly, to Thomas atte Merk, bailiff of the same manor and keeper of the king’s peel there, who receives 3d. a day, and to Roger de Warsop, keeper of the paling round the park there, who receives 2d. a day, the arrears of their wages aforesaid from the time of the death of Gilbert de Stapelton, late escheator this side Trent, and to pay the
same until further orders, as the said Thomas has paid the aforesaid wages and stipends from 28th May, in the 14th year of the king’s reign, the day of Gilbert’s death, until 29 November, in the 17th year of the reign, as he says.” (Page 416)
11 December 1325
Dec. 11 . The Tower. To the same [the treasurer and barons of the exchequer]. Whereas the king lately ordered them to account with his The Tower, yeoman William de Monte Acuto, son and heir of William de Monte Acuto, for the expenses incurred by his father when he was keeper of the town of Berwick-on-Tweed and seneschal of Gascouy and elsewhere in the king’s service and also in the late king’s service by his order, and for all moneys delivered to his father as imprest of the wardrobe or by assignment or other delivery in the time of the late and present kings, and to cause the demands made upon the son by summons of the exchequer by pretext of his father’s debts and of the aforesaid payments to be examined, and to cause the son to have allowance for the expenses aforesaid ; and they have signified to the king that the son sought to be admitted, by virtue of the above order, to account before them for the victuals and money received by his father for the custody of the said town, and for his father’s expenses for himself, his knights, esquires, and other men-at-arms in going from York to Berwick, staying there, keeping house there, and in paying divers wages to the men staying in Berwick for its defence, and in returning thence with certain of the aforesaid knights to the king at Northampton, and for the money received at Clipston by imprest of the wardrobe for the expenses of his father, the knights and other men-at-arms going with him from Clipston to Bernard’s Castle to make rescue of the lady de Clifford, then captured by John le Irreis, and for the expenses in returning thence with the said knights and men-at-arms to the king at Clipston, and for the money received and expended by his father for the making of certain barriers [barrearum] at Kenyngton, and for his father’s expenses in going as the king’s envoy from Clipston to Thomas, late earl of Lancaster, then at Wygan Underwode, in staying there, and in returning thence to the king, and that they have deferred receiving the son’s account for the expenses aforesaid because he did not shew the king’s letters of warrant therefor before them; wherefore the said William the son has besought the king to signify his will in this behalf to the treasurer and barons: as it appears truly to the king that the said William the father set out with knights, squires, and other men-at-arms of the king’s household from York, in the 8th year of his reign, to Berwick, and there stayed for the defence of the town, holding house for the said men in going thither and in staying there, and paying them their usual wages in the king’s household during that time by the king’s orders, and that he afterwards returned to the king at Northampton with certain of the said knights and men, and that he set out from Clipston, in the 9th year of the king’s reign, with knights and men-at-arms of the king’s household to Bernard’s Castle to make rescue of the said lady de Clifford, and there retained knights and other men-at-arms at the king’s cliarge in this behalf, and that he returned thence to the king at Clipston with the said knights and men-at-arms, having made the rescue aforesaid, and that he caused certain barriers to be made at Kenyngton by the king’s order, in the second year of his reign, and that he went from Clipston, in the eighth year of the reign, as the king’s envoy with three esquires and one clerk to Thomas, late earl of Lancaster, then staying at Wygan Underwode, and that the said William the father had no letters of warrant for the premises from the king, the king orders the treasurer and barons to take information from the men who were with William the father in the garrison and in the journeys aforesaid concerning the number of knights, squires, and other men-at-arms that he had in the king’s services aforesaid, and to have consideration to the service that he rendered to the king in the said places and to the costs that it was necessary for him to expend about the premises, as the quality of the times and places then required, and to cause William his son to have allowance for all such costs, expenses, and wages in his own debts and in his father’s debts to the exchequer, notwithstanding that the son has not in his possession any letters of precept of the king whereby his father did the premises. By K.” (Page 440)
12 December 1325
“Dec. 12 . The Tower. To John de Bolyngbrok, escheator in cos. Warwick, Leicester, Nottingham, Derby, and Lancaster. Order to cause the houses and walls of the manor of Clipston to be repaired, by the view and testimony of the sheriff of Nottingham and the keeper of the manor. By K.” (Page 435)
Calendar of the Close Rolls AD 1327-1330 (Edward III)  is available from: http://www.archive.org/details/cu31924091767859; where specified the Calendar of the Patent Rolls (Edward II), sone of which is available from https://archive.org/details/calendarofpate01grea
“The present volume forms part of a series of Calendars of the Close Rolls from the reign of Edward II. to that of Edward IV. the object and character of which are explained in the Preface to the first volume for the reign of Edward II. (a.d. 1307—1313.) The text has been prepared, with the sanction of the Lords Commissioners of Her Majesty’s Treasury, by Mr. W. H. Stevenson, M.A., Fellow of Exeter College, Oxford. The Index has been compiled by Mr. C. H. Woodruff, B.C.L., Mr. Stevenson having assisted him by identifying most of the places.
H. C. MAXWELL LYTE.
Public Record Office,
15 July 1896.”
26 May 1327
“At York confirmation to Henry de Witherton, chaplain in the chapel in the Manor of Clipston, of the grant by letter patent dated 5 December, 9 Edward II. of 2 marks yearly payable by the escheator this side of Trent, beyond the 40s he receives a year for the chantry in the said chapel, and the other emoluments which he has, in consideration of his sometimes celebrating divine service in the chapel of St Edwin. By p.s.” (from Calendar of the Patent Rolls)
10 June 1327
“June 10 . To Simon de Grymesby, escheator this side Trent. Order to cause the York. head of the king’s pond at Clipston to be repaired by the view and testimony of Robert de Clipston, bailiff of the manors and town of Clipston, as the king understands that the said head is so weakened by flood (cretinam) and overcharging of the water that it is feared that it will be broken and the fish in the pond will be lost, unless it be speedily repaired. By p.s. .” (Page 136)
10 January 1328:
“Jan 10 . Clipstone. To Robert de Clypston, keeper of the manor and peel of Clypston. Order to cause all the houses at the peel aforesaid built by the late king, except the great gate of the peel and the house over it, to be removed, and to cause certain of them to be re-erected in the manor according to his discretion.” (Page 194)
“Jan 10 . Clipstone. To Robert de Clypston, keeper of the king’s manor [and] peel of Clypston. Order to cause all the houses at the said peel built by the late king, except the greater gate of the peel and the house built over it, to be removed from the peel without delay, and to cause certain of them to be erected in the said manor, as shall seem good to his discretion.
Vacated, because within the roll.” (Pages 237 & 238)
12 January 1328:
“Jan. 12 . Clipstone. To Simon de Grymesby, escheator this Bide Trent. Whereas the king, on Clipstone. 9 June last, committed to Robert de Clipston the custody of the manor and peel of Clipston during pleasure, receiving therefor as much as other keepers have received heretofore for that custody, and the king has now committed to him the custody of the manor and park of Clipston during pleasure, so that he shall maintain the manor at the king’s cost and the paling of the park at his own cost, receiving for the latter timber from dry wood in the park and taking 7d. a day for himself, the parkers, and makers of the paling aforesaid from the escheator this side Trent ; and although the king has ordered the escheator by divers writs to cause as much to be paid to Robert for the said custody as other keepers received, the escheator has nevertheless deferred paying Robert anything, because it was not evident to him how much other keepers were wont to receive for the same, and Robert has therefore prayed the king to cause his wages for the custody to be paid to him, as he, by himself and his servants, has kept the park together with the manor and peel from the said 9 June, and has repaired the paling : the king therefore orders the escheator to pay him 7d. a day from 9 June for himself, the parkers, and the makers of the paling, and to pay him the same henceforth for so long as he shall have the custody.” (Pages 195 & 196)
22 January 1328:
“Jan. 22 . Henry de Brauntiston acknowledges that he owes to John de Mongomery York. 500l. ; to be levied, in default of payment, of his lands and chattels in co. Norfolk.
Memorandum, that Robert de Clipston, Thomas de Mammesfeld of Clipston, Peter Wythe Berd, and other men and tenants of the town of Kynges Clipston came before the king at the said town, on 14 January, in the first year of his reign, and complained to him that the late king caused a wood called of old time ‘Clipston Park’ and certain other places in his forest of Shirewode, wherein they and their ancestors from time out of mind have been wont to have common of pasture, leaves, and divers other profits and commodities, to be enclosed with a ditch and pale and a park to be made thereof, and ‘thus the wood and places have been hitherto and are still enclosed, and the said men and tenants have lost their common and other profits aforesaid up to this time, and they prayed the king to cause justice to be done to them concerning this matter; and the king, wishing to shew them favour in recompence for their loss by the said enclosures, wills and grants that they and their heirs for ever shall have in his Hay of Birkelunnd, in the said forests, common of pasture for all their beasts and slieep, goats alone excepted, without hindrance from him or his ministers, just as they and their ancestors had in the aforesaid wood and places before the enclosure, and also that they shall have at his will ferns (feugram) and foliage in the said wood called ‘Clipston Park’ and in the said places, rendering to him therefor 13s. 4d. yearly by the hands of the keeper of the manor and park of Clipston for the time being ; provided that they do not claim or exact anything therein except the said ferns and foliage, and that only at the king’s will. And hereupon John de Crumbwell, keeper of the Forest this side Trent, is ordered to permit the men and tenants to have common in the aforesaid Hay; and Robert de Clipston, keeper of the manor and park of Clipston, is ordered to permit them to have the said ferns and foliage in the aforesaid wood and places in form aforesaid. By K.” (Page 244 & 245)
1 February 1328:
“Feb 1 . Knaresborough To Robert de Clipston, keeper of the manor and park of Clipston.
Whereas the king has granted – in recompense for the losses sustained by the men and tenants of the town of Mammesfeld Wodhous by the enclosure with ditch and palings by the late king of a part of the wood called ‘Wodhouswod ‘ in Shirewod forest adjoining the old park called ‘Clipston Park,’ for the enlargement of that park, and of certain other adjoining plots by a ditch and hedge (haia), in which part and plots the men and tenants and their ancestors had common of pasture and divers other profits – that the ditch and hedge whereby the said plots, to wit those that are outside the palings of the park, are thus enclosed shall be thrown down, and that the said plots shall not be enclosed hereafter by the king, his heirs or his ministers, and that the men and tenants and others who had such common and profits there, and their heirs shall have for ever in the said places enclosed with ditch and hedge common of pasture for all their beasts and all other profits, in the same manner as they and their ancestors had therein before the enclosure, without hindrance from the king or his ministers, provided that the said men and tenants or their heirs shall not claim here- after anything in the said part of the wood that is enclosed with ditch and paling for the enlargement of the park, and the king has caused this grant to be enrolled in the rolls of chancery : the king therefore orders the keeper to permit the men and tenants to throw down the ditch and hedge whereby the said plots outside the paling of the park are enclosed, and to permit them and others who had such common and profits in the same plots to have the common and profits without hindrance. By K.
Memorandum, that Alan Stuffyn, Walter le Wolfhunt, Robert de Kirlyngton, John de Hathelslay, Alan son of Matthew, Richard Stuffyn, and other men and tenants of Mammesfeld Wodhous came before the king at Kynges Clipston on 14 January, in the first year of his reign, and com-plained to him that the late king caused a part of the wood to be enclosed [etc. as in preceding enrolment], and they prayed the king to cause justice to be done to them, and the king granted that the ditch and hedge [etc., as above]. And hereupon order was given to Robert de Clipston, keeper of the manor and park of Clipston, to permit the men and tenants to throw down the ditch and hedge [etc. as above].” (Page 360)
8 February 1328:
“Feb. 8 . York. To the same [treasurer and barons of the exchequer]. Order to cause John de Bolingbrok, the late king’s escheator in cos. Warwick, Leicester, Nottingham, Derby, and Lancaster, to have allowance in his account for 6 marks, if they find that he paid that sum to Henry de Wytheton, chaplain celebrating in the king’s chapel within the manor of Clipston, for the arrears of two marks yearly granted to him by the late king on 5 December, in the 9th year of his reign, in execution of the late king’s order to pay to Henry the arrears of the said sum from the date of the grant for the time of John’s office.” (Page 257)
22 May 1328
“May 22 . Northampton. To the same [Simon de Grymseby, escheator beyond Trent]. Order to pay to Robert de Clipston—to whom the king, on 12 January last, committed the custody of the manor and park of Clipston during pleasure, so that he should answer for the issues thereof and should maintain the manor at the king’s charge and the paling of the park at his own charge, receiving timber for the repair of the paling from the dry wood in the park, and taking 7d. a day for six parkers and makers of the paling aforesaid by the hands of the escheator beyond Trent—the arrears of the aforesaid 7d. a day from the said 12 January, and to pay him that sum daily henceforth for so long as he shall have the custody aforesaid.” (Page 287)
28 May 1328:
“May 28 . Hereford. To Simon de Grymesby, escheator beyond Trent. Order to pay to Henry de Wytheton, the chaplain celebrating divine service in the king’s chapel within the manor of King’s Clipston, co. Nottingham, beyond the
Trent, the arrears of 40j. yearly from the time of the escheator’s appointment, and to pay him that sum yearly hereafter, as Henry has shewn to the king that the escheator has deferred paying him the said sum from the time of his appointment as escheator, which sum Henry ought to receive, and he and his predecessors have been wont to receive in the past, by the hands of the escheators beyond Trent from the issues of their bailiwick, for his chantry in the said chapel in addition to the emoluments that he receives because he celebrates on some occasions in St. Edwin’s chapel.” (Page 287)
“May 28 . Hereford. To the same. Order to pay to Henry de Wytheton, the chaplain celebrating divine service in the king’s chapel within the manor of Clipston, the arrears of two marks yearly from 26 May, in the first year of the king’s reign, when the king accepted the late king’s grant of 5 December, in the 9th year of his reign, to the said Henry of two marks yearly by the hands of the escheator beyond Trent, in addition to the 40s. yearly that he was wont to receive for the chantry in the said chapel, and in addition to the other emoluments that he was wont to receive because he celebrated sometimes in St. Edwin’s (Odwini) chapel, and granted that Henry should receive the said 2 marks yearly as above during pleasure.” (Page 287)
25 August 1328:
“Aug. 25 . To Simon de Grymeaby, late escheator this side Trent. Order to pay to Chpstone. Robert de Clipston—to whom the king, on 12 January last, committed the custody of the manor and park of Clipston daring pleasure, so that he should answer to the exchequer for the issues thereof and should maintain the manor at the king’s cost and the paling of the park at his own cost, receiving for the repair of the paling timber from dry wood in the park and receiving daily for himself, the parkers, and the makers of the paling 7d. a day from the escheator this side Trent—the arrears of the aforesaid 7d. a day for the time of Simon’s office.” (Page 315)
12 September 1328:
“Boston. Appointment of Richard de Grey, Nicholas de Cauntelou nd John
Boston. de Mounteny, to search for Joan daughter of Thomas Breton, to examine
her -whether it was against her will that she was ravished, abducted or detained at Dalton by Roderham, within the king’s verge, and in his presence, when he was recently at Clypston; and if so, they are to cause her to be safely and decently kept till they have certified the king thereofand received his commands. By K.” (from Patent Rolls, membrane 21d)
8 February 1329:
“Feb 8 . The Tower. To John de Bolyngbrok, escheator beyond Trent. Order to pay to Robert de Clipston—to whom the king, on 12 January, in the first year of his reign, committed the custody of his manor and park of Clipston, during
pleasure, so that he should maintain the manor at the king’s cost and the paling of the park at his own cost, receiving for the repair of the paling timber from the dry wood of the park, and receiving 7d. daily for himself, the parkers and makers of the paling by the hands of the escheator beyond Trent—the arrears of the aforesaid 7d. a day since the said 12 January for John’s time, and to pay him that sum daily henceforth.” (Page 433)
4 May 1329:
“May 4 . Eltham. To the sheriff of Nottingham. Order to expend up to 10 marks in repairing the great gates and sluices of the king’s mill of Clipston on the side of the head of the great pond there, by the view and testimony of Robert de Clipston, the king’s bailiif there, as the king is given to understand that they are so weak and ruinous that breach of the pond and loss of the fish in it is feared unless the great gates and sluices be repaired, and that they may be sufficiently repaired for 10 marks. By K.” (Page 455)
Calendar of the Close Rolls AD 1330-1333 (Edward III) . Available from: https://archive.org/details/calendarofclose02grea; and, where specified, the Patent Rolls available from: http://sdrc.lib.uiowa.edu/patentrolls/e3v1/body/Edward3vol1page0551.pdf
5th September 1330
“At Clipstone grant during pleasure, to Henry de Wycheton, a chaplain celebrating divine service (daily?) at the chhapel within the King’s manor of Clipston of 5 marks yearly out of the said manor in lieu of the 40s he has for his chantry in the said chapel and the further yearly sum of 2 marks which he has by letters patent dated 5th December, 9 Edward II.” (from the Patent Rolls)
22 January 1331
“Jan 22 . Wesminster. To John de Houton, escheator beyond Trent. Order to cause 7d. a day to be paid to Robert de Clipston, keeper of the manor and park of Clipston, for the time of the escheator’s office, and to cause that sum to be paid to him henceforth, as the king, on 12 January, in the first year of his reign, committed the custody of the manor and park to Robert during pleasure, so that he should answer to the king for the issues thereof, and should maintain the manor at the king’s cost and the palings of the park at his own cost, receiving for the latter timber from dry wood in the park and 7d. a day from the escheator beyond Trent for himself, his parkers and the makers of the palings, and the king afterwards, on 15 September, in the second year of his reign, committed the custody to Robert during pleasure, so that he should answer for the issues thereof, and should maintain the manor and palings, and should receive as above.” (Page 107)
23 January 1331
“Jan. 23 . Wesminster. To John de Houton, escheator beyond Trent. Order to repair the houses
in the king’s manor of Clipston, as the king understands that there are many defects in them.” (Page 113)
“Jan. 23 . Westminster. To John de Houton, esheator beyonod Trent. Order to cause the houses of the manor of Clipston, the palings of the manor, and the mills and sluices of the ponds there to be repaired by the view and testimony of the keeper of that manor.” (Page 264)
28 January 1331
“Jan 28 . Hertford. To John de Houton, escheator beyond Trent. Order the pay to Henry Hertford. de Wytheton, chaplain celebrating in the chapel within Clippeston manor, the arrears of 5 marks yearly from 6 September last, when the king granted to him this sum during pleasure, to be receievd from the escheator beyond Trent, the late king, having on 5 December, in the 9lh year of his reign, granted to the said Henry that he should receive 2 marks yearly from the escheator, in addition to the 40s. yearly for the chantry in the aforesaid chapel and in addition to other emoluments that he was wont to receive because he celebrated divine service in St. Edwin’s chapel on certain occasions.” (Page 188)
10 March 1332
“March 10 . Havering-atte-Bower. To John de Louthre, escheator this side Trent. Order to pay to Robert de Clipston, keeper of the manor and park of Clipston, the arrears of 7d. a day from the time of the escheator’s appointment, and to pay to him that sum henceforth, in accordance with the king’s grant [as in this Calendar, 3 Edward III.p. 433].
To the same. Order to pay to Henry de Wytheton, the chaplain celebrating divine service in the king’s chapel within the manor of Clipston, the arrears of two marks yearly from the time of the escheator’s appointment, and to pay to him that sum henceforth, in accordance with the late king’s grant, in the 9th year of his reign, to Henry of this sum yearly by the hands of the escheator beyond Trent, in addition to the 40s. yearly that he was wont to receive from the chantry in the said chapel and because he celebrated sometimes in St. Edwin’s chapel, which grant the king accepted on 26 May, in the first year of his reign” (Page 438)
8 May 1332
“May 8 . Woodstock. To John de Louthre, escheator beyond Trent. Order to pay to Henry Woodstock de Witheton, chaplain celebrating divine service in the king’s chapel within the manor of Clipston, the arrears of 5 marks yearly from the issues of the manor since 6 September, in the 4th year of the reign, when the king granted that Henry should receive this sum yearly from the said issues, in accordance with the late king’s grant, of 5 December, in the 9th year of his reign, to Henry of 2 marks yearly in addition to the 40s. yearly that he was wont to receive for the chantry in the said chapel, and in addition to the other emoluments that he was wont to receive because he celebrated sometimes in St. Edwin’s chapel, and to pay him this sum hereafter.” (Page 463)
20 October 1332
“[Oct.] 20 . York. To the same [William Erneis, escheator in cos. Warwick, Leycester, Nottingham, Clipstoue. Derby and Lancaster]. Order to pay to Robert de Clipston, keeper of the manor York, and park of Clipston, the arrears of 7d. a day from the time of the escheator’s appointment, and to pay to him that sum henceforth, in accordance with the king’s grant [as in this Calendar, 3 Edward III. p. 433.]” (Page 499)
22 January 1333
“Jan. 22 . York. To Richard de Peshale, escheator in cos. Warwick, Leicester, Nottingham York. Derby and Lancaster. Order to pay to Robert de Clipston, keeper of the manor and park of Clipston, the arrears of 7d. a day from the time of the escheator’s appointment, and to pay the same to him henceforth, in accordance with the king’s grant [as in this Calendar, 3 Edw. III. p. 438]. (Page 525)
Calendar of the Close Rolls, Edward III, Vol. 3. 1333-1337 . Available from: http://www.archive.org/stream/cu31924091767875#page/n3/mode/2up
12 March 1333
“March 12 . Pontefract. To William Erneys, escheator in cos. Warwick, Leicester, N’ottingham, Derby, and Lancaster. Order to pay to Henry de Wythelon, the chaplain celebrating divine service in the king’s chapel within the manor of Clipston, the arrears of five marks yearly, from the time of the escheator’s appointment, and to pay to him that sum henceforth, in accordance with the late king’s grant, on 5 December, in the 9th year of his reign to Henry of 2 marks yearly by the hands of the escheator beyond Trent, in addition to the 40s. . yearly that he was wont to receive for the chantry in the said chapel, because he celebrated sometimes in St. Edwin’s chapel ; and on 6 September in the 4th year of his reign, at the petition of the said Henry, the king granted him 5 marks yearly, to be received from the issues of the said manor by the hands of the escheator beyond Trent… By K. ” (Page 438?)
Calendar of the Patent Rolls. Edward III. Available from: http://sdrc.lib.uiowa.edu/patentrolls/e3v8/body/Edward3vol8page0573.pdf
23 September 1350
“Sept. 23 . Clipstone. Grant for life to Robert Rotour, chaplain, of the chantry of the king’s chapel within the manor of Clipston, with the chapel of St. Edwin within the forest of Shirewode ; he taking for the chantry yearly by the hands of the sheriff of Nottingham as much as other chaplains, who have held the chantry, have been accustomed to take for the same.”
Calendar of the Close Rolls, Edward III, Vol. 12. 1364-1368 . Available from: http://www.archive.org/stream/calendarofcloser12grea#page/n3/mode/2up
16 October 1365
“Oct. 16 . Westminster. To the sheriff of Notyngham for the time being. Order to pay to John Davy of Shillewell chaplain the arrears of 100s. a year from 10 May in the 39th year of the reign, and henceforth of the issues of his bailiwick to pay him that yearly sum for life, taking his acquittance, according to the king’s letters patent of the said date, giving to the said John for life the chantry of the king’s chapel within his manor of Clipston, and the chapel of St. Edwin within the forest of Shirewode, taking for the said chantry 100s. a year by the hands of the sheriff in the same manner as other chaplains holding the same used to do. Et erat patens.”
20 May 1368
“May 20 . Wesminster. To William de Elmele clerk of the king’s works at Clipston. Order, of the 40l. which he lately took at the receipt of the exchequer for repair of the enclosure of the king’s park of Clipston, to cause as well the defects of said enclosure as those of the enclosure of his park of Beskewode and of his lodges in the said parks to be repaired where need be by view and testimony of Robert de Morton keeper of Shirwode forest, so far as that money may go.
7 June 1368
“June 7 . Wesminster. To Robert de Morton keeper of the king’s manor of Clipston, or to his representative. Order of the issues of the said manor to cause all defects of the king’s chapel within the same, and of the chapel of St. Edwin within Shirwode forest in roofing and otherwise where need be to be repaired. By K.”
4 July 1391
“July 4 . Westminster. To all sheriffs, mayors, bailiffs, ministers and lieges of the king to, whom etc. Order to suffer all men and tenants of the manor and town of Clipston CO. Notyngham, being of the ancient demesne of the crown as the king is assured by certificate of the treasurer and the barons of the exchequer sent into chancery at his command, to be quit of payment of toll, pontage, picage, pavage, carriage, murage, stall-age and passage upon their goods and merchandise, as they ought to be, and as they and others were used to be time out of mind, releasing any distress upon them made; as by custom hitherto kept and approved in England men and tenants of the ancient demesne have been thereof quit throughout the realm time out of mind. Et erai patens.
Belvoir Map of Sherwood Forest showing Clipstone Park and Peel, circa 1400. Extract available from: http://www.nottshistory.org.uk/images/clipstone/clipstone-park-on-belvoir-m.jpg
“A map of Sherwood Forest dating to c.1400 survives in the archive at Belvoir Castle, Leicestershire and shows Clipstone Park as a clearly defined emparked area circled by a pale fence. There are several place names marked relating to the medieval infrastructure such as “ye pele” (Clipston Peel), “Clipston ye dam” (the dam at the head of the Great Pond) and Clipston Parke; and the River Maun is shown flowing through the park. ” – source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_John’s_Palace
Sixteenth-century commissioner. Included in The Victoria history of the county of Nottingham (1906) available from: https://archive.org/details/cu31924088434703 and in the Life of William Cavendish, Duke of Newcastle by Margaret, Duchess of Newcastle, Edited by C. H Firth M.A. (1893) and The Hermits and Anchorites of England, Clay, Rotha Mary (1914) available from: http://www.historyfish.net/anchorites/clay_anchorites_two.html
“At Clipstone, in Edwinstowe parish, there was a chapel, a mile from the parish church, roofed with slate; the priest’s chamber seems in this case to have been under the chapel, for the commissioner said, ‘ itt hathe no mancyon butt a parlor under the chappell of no valewe.'”
Black’s guide to Nottinghamshire (1876). Available from: https://archive.org/details/blacksguidetono00lowegoog
“According to a survey of Sherwood Forest made in 1609, it appears that the entire forest embraced 95,115 acres; of which, however, not less than 44,839 acres had even then been enclosed, and of the remainder, 9,486 acres were covered with thick woods, and 36,080 acres lay waste and unplanted; whilst 1,583 acres were included in Clipstone Park, 3,672 acres in Bestwood Park,
326 acres in Bulwell Wood, and 128 acres in Nottingham Park.” (Page 21)
Letter from Charles Palmer, keeper of Clipstone Park, to Lord Edward Harley [later 2nd Earl of Oxford], St James’s Street, London, dated 1 February 1714/15, Pl C 1/43, University of Nottingham Manuscripts and Special Collections. Transcription provided by Lucy Veale. Document listed at: http://mss-cat.nottingham.ac.uk/DServe/dserve.exe?dsqIni=Dserve.ini&dsqApp=Archive&dsqDb=Catalog&dsqCmd=show.tcl&dsqSearch=%28RefNo%3D%3D%22PlC%2F1%2F43%22%29
“Clipston Parck, February the 1
May it ples [please] your Lordship Mr Banks has bin [been] at Clipston Parck [Park] by your Lordships orders and my Lady Harley to Demand pousoson [possession] and he ordered me to acquaint her grace that he had bin [been] here and a Corden Ly [accordingly] i Did and her Grace ordered me that if thay [they] broht [brought] any in of acckmant [acknowledgment] to me that i shuld [should] bring it to her grace and a Cordinly [accordingly] i did
May it ples [please] your Lordship i have bin [been] with her Grace severall [several] times to gite [get] some fence wood for the parck [park] fence and some hay for the Dere [deer] but her grace will not Grant any and i fach [fetch] home a Grat [great] many Dead Dere [deer] that Dys [dies] for povety [poverty] i had a very fine hand of staggs [stags] and a very fine hand of Bucks and with out a speedy remedy thay [they] will all be lost and since her grace came a way we have had a very Grate [great] harakan [hurricane] by a Double [_] wind and it has blew Down a bove 4 mils [miles] of the parck [park] fence flat to Ground and wee [we] are in [_] to Lous [loose] all the dere [deer] for want of hay to keep them att [at] the fendrin [feeding] plases [places] in the parck [park] for thay [they] Run all about the Contery [country] and the Contery [country] pepell [people] will kill them. i humbley [humbly] bege [beg] your Lordship orders what [_] Lordship will have me Dere [deer] the dog knel’s [kennel’s] blown Down and all the out house is blew fore [fall] to peses [pieces].
her grace has lefte [left] the houns [hounds] with me and her Grace has Given me a porticklen [particular] orders to tack [take] grate [great] care of the houns [hounds] but her grace has paid no money this 3 yeres [years] but woht [what] i have had of your Lordship and woht [what] to done with them i cant tell…
Letters from Henrietta Countess of Oxford, to Lady Mary Wortley Montagu. Available from: http://www.nottshistory.org.uk/articles/tts/tts1923/oxford/oxford5.htm
21 January 1747-8
“I live as retired here as I can in this country where my ancesters had lived so long. It is most agreable to my health and inclinations, but must see more company than I chuse, which has tempted me to build in Clipston Park two floors … I call it Cavendishe Lodge.”
23 December 1749
“In this [Clipstone] Park is a mineral spring, which restores some persons to their health, but do’s not agree with me, nor any other steel waters.”
The Antiquities of England and Wales (1772 / 1777), by Francis Grose. Available from: https://archive.org/details/antiquitiesofeng00gros
“THE KING’S HOUSE AT CLYPESTON
Clypestone, Clipston or Kyngesclypeston lies on the western side of the country, a small distance north-east of Mansfield.
Before the conquest Clypston belonged to Osborne and Ulfi, and being taken from them, became the property of Roger de Bufti; after the conquest it was the royal demesne, but when or by whom the mansion or palace was built is unknown; it is mentioned in a record quoted in Madox’s history of the Exchequer, as early as the 29th of Hen. II. when 36s. and 6d. was laid out in utensils for it, in obedience to the king’s writ.
King John frequently resided here, both while earl of Mortain and after his ccession to the crown, as appears by several deeds dated at this place, particularly the charter granted by him to the town of Nottingham in the first year of his reign,; by him the park is said to have been added.
Thoroton, in his hifsory of Nottinghamshire, says, “Clipston was burned it seems and repaired again before the 5th of Hen. III.” but whether he means the king’s house or the village seems doubtful.
A parliament was held at Clypston by Edw. I. anno 1290, whether in the king’s houfe or elsewhere is not certain ; it is however at least probable that the king resided here at that time, and that the parliament was therefore assembled at this
place ; an ancient oak on the edge of the park, now bears the name of the parliament oak.
Edward II. used also, at times, to retire hither, several writs recited by Madox being dated from Clypston in the 9th year of his reign: Clypston manor and park, says Thoroton, 2d Edw. III. were by the king committed, during hi1700s pleasure, to be kept by Robert de C…. so that he should answer to the exchequer for the issues, and keep the manor in repair at the king’s cost, and the park pale at his own, receiving for the reparation.”
[See also illustration of “King’s House at Clypston. Nottinamshire.”, available from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:King_Johns_Palace_Francis_Grose.jpg – a colour version of this illustration was published by S Hooper in c 1784, and is available from: http://www.picturethepast.org.uk/frontend.php?action=printdetails&keywords=Ref_No_increment;EQUALS;NTGM020498&prevUrl=]
Artwork by Samuel Hieronymus Grimm (dated 1773/1775)
–1773: Clipstone, King John’s Palace. Medium: Ink on paper. Available from: http://www.bl.uk/onlinegallery/onlineex/topdrawings/c/005add000015543u00166000.html
– 1775: Clipstone. ” The ruins can be seen in the distance in this picture”. Medium: Ink wash on paper. Available from: http://www.bl.uk/onlinegallery/onlineex/topdrawings/c/005add000015543u00164000.html
– 1775: Clipstone Park, Cavendish Lodge. View of Cavendish Lodge on the estate of chief local landowner, the Duke of Portland. Medium: Ink on wash paper. Available from: http://www.bl.uk/onlinegallery/onlineex/topdrawings/c/005add000015543u00167000.html
Chapman’s Map of Nottinghamshire, 1774. Extract available from: http://www.nottsheritagegateway.org.uk/images/places/sherwood/chapman-1776-edwinstowe.jpg
The Antiquities of Nottinghamshire by Robert Thoroton, as expanded by John Throsby (1790).
~1790 – Illustration of the ruins of King John’s Palace. Available from: https://www.facebook.com/ArchaeologyHistoryKingsClipstone/photos/a.414531482016720.1073741831.240827869387083/414531582016710/
Peter Perez Burdett’s Map of 1791 (extract)
~1810: Illustration of King John’s Palace. Available from: http://www.picturethepast.org.uk/frontend.php?keywords=Ref_No_increment;EQUALS;NTGM020339&pos=19232&action=zoom&id=114682
The Beauties of England and Wales; or, Delineations, topographical, historical, and descriptive, of each county. Volume XII (Part 1). Available from: http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=nyp.33433075909063;view=1up;seq=687
“…After proceeding a short distance we come to Clipstone Park, now the property of the duke of Portland, and containing a handsome lodge, but small and modern, belong to that nobleman. This park is near eight miles in circumference, and was once famous for its fine oaks, but most of these were cut down during the civil wars and usurpation; much of it is now waste, but there is still some old planting. Near to it is the village of Clipstone…King John frequently resided here, both whilst earl of Mortein and after his accession to the crown, and several deeds and grants are dated from this place, since which it has retained the name of king John’s palace. A Parliament was also held here by Edward the first in the year 1290; it is indeed uncertain whether they met in the palace, or under an ancient oak on the edge of the park, to which tradition now gives the name of the Parliament Oak. Of this nothing now remains except part of its large trunk, scathed and denued, with one solitary branch about ten feet from the ground, which annually puts forth a few leaves. The only part remaining of the palace, which stands in a large field close to the village, seems to have been the hall; and several of its Gothic windows are yet entire. Its foundations have, formerly, been very extensive, with several faults, but during the last summer great part of these were dug up to be deployed in a system of drainage which the duke of Portland has commenced upon his property here. We understand, however, from the workmen, that his Grace had given strict orders, that the venerable walls of this once royal pile should not be touched. Even in its present dilapidated state, it would be pictueresque if shaded with planting; it is still, notwithstanding, interesting, and strongly raises the idea of times long past, when steel clad knights, and barons bold, and hauhgty priests, and smiling courtiers, and strait laced dames, and blushing damsels, and the whole etcetera of feudal pomp and high minded chivalry paced its now deserted halls, where the bat and toad assume the empire of the night, and where the sun only breaks in upon a scene of desolation…” (Page 385-386)
The New Monthly Magazine and Literary Journal. 1825. Part II. Original Papers. Available from: http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=diM8AQAAMAAJ
“To The Spirit of the Forest:
SPIRIT of these wild groves and dells!
The Muse thy power invokes-
Spirit of loneliness that dwells
Where green moss creeps, and heather swells
Around these ancient oaks.
1700Hamadryad, Sylph, or Fairy;
Or whate’er thy name may be,
Gloomy, gay, or grave, or airy,
I approach with footsteps wary,
Anxious to commune with thee.
Old thou art – thou wert presiding,
If tradition’s lore be true,
O’er this forest when was riding
Bold Robin Hood – his archers gliding
Among these oaks, now seen, now hiding
Ere they twang’d their bows of yew.
Then the stag in crested pride
Wild roam’d these woodlands o’er,
And show’d his antlers branching wide,
His glossy eye, his spotted side,
Where Rayneth’s still smooth waters glide
Within their peaceful shore.
Then were these oaks in all their glory,
Which are sear’d and blighted now,
And tell a sad, a mournful story,
And show the hand of time so hoary,
In many a scathed and blighted bough.
Merry Sherwood wert thou then,
Wide thy range, and wild thy rangers,
When a palace deck’d thy glen,
And holy towers appear’d in ken,
And kings were there to welcome strangers.*
[*Footnote: Clipstone Palace, said to have been built in the reign of King John; some part of the old walls still remains standing, and is yet called in that neighbourhood by the peasantry King John’s Palace]
Merry Sherwood art thou still,
Thou times are changed, and oaks are blighted;
Yet there’s music in the rill,
And mirth upon the sunny hill,
Where wild birds love to warble still,
Delighting and delighted.
Spirits of these woodlands wild!
Though long thy reign, it is not ended;
For oft will Fancy’s wayward child
Wander in summer evening mild,
In thine own groves, by thee attended:
And often in the fitful breeze
That rustles when the leaves are falling,
Believe thy sylvan form he sees,
And hears thy voice amidst the trees,1700
As thou wert summer days recalling.
And what though summer days are past,
And thou art changed in voice and form,
And thou hast clothed thee in the blast
That whirls the leaves in eddies past,
And ranges o’er the forest vast,
The genius of the storm.
Yet, Spirit! I invoke thee still,
Whether in winter’s sullen reign,
When icy fetters bind the rill,
And Sherwood’s choristers are still;
And sunbeams which crown the hill,
Scarce reach the distant plain:
Or in those bright and sunny days,
When heather blooms, and bracken’s green,
And the sun his beams displays,
And numerous warblers tune their lays,
And plume their wings beneath his rays,
And harmonize the scene.
Let none thy charms presume to tell
Save those who in thy groves have stray’d,
And found that powerful wizard spell,
Which Fancy’s votaries know fullw ell,
And all who in thy regions dwell,
And love thy groves of shade.” (Page 138-140)
Robert Millhouse’s Sherwood Forest and other poems, 1827. Available from: http://spenserians.cath.vt.edu/TextRecord.php?action=GET&textsid=36695
“…Dear to my soul thy haunts have ever been;
Thy very heath-bells, rustling in the gale,
To me are fairy tenements; thy green
And yellow furze, whence oft the linnet’s tale
Breathes love untainted; and each narrow dale,
Where peeps the earliest primrose, and the thorn,
Made vocal by the redbreast’s plaintive wail,
And fragment oaks, which still thy nooks adorn,
Seem fair, as when my youth smiled out its joyous morn.
My home, my birthplace, many happy years
I sojourned on thy border! and have strayed
Far, far away, and been a slave to cares,
And sighed o’er sweet remembrance of thy shade;
At each return, the hill, the stream, the glade,
Possessed a stronger talisman to charm:
And though the inroad melancholy made
Is still a breach, the patriot feelings warm
Imbibed in early days take fire at each alarm,…
I am a Briton! and my native land
Conferred the privilege of being free!
And when I contemplate that structure grand
Of Freedom, I behold a part in thee,
Old Sherwood! and whate’er my fate may be
In waning life, this now shall be my choice,
To tell a portion of posterity,
That oft thy hills and plains have heard my voice
In strains whose free-born airs in memory’s glance rejoice…
Hence wending slowly near to Welbeck shades
I roam, where Poulter murmuring winds along;
And gentle Meden strays through Thoresby glades;
And man still rolls his forest haunts among;
But lo! where yonder claim the minstrel’s song
The mouldring ruins of a kingly dome!
Here, oft retiring with his hunter throng,
The timid despot sought this greenwood home,
When foiled by England’s Peers, or vexed by haughty Rome.
These forest solitudes have been the haunt
Of fearful phantoms to his guilty mind;
And Arthur’s injured ghost would often daunt
His soul, with wailings on the midnight wind,1700
For he, to mercy and to justice blind,
Defiled his sceptre with a kinsman’s blood:
Heaven did for this fit retribution find,
And gave its vengeance to the whelming flood,
And sunk him to the grave with sorrow’s withering brood.
Yet hence we date our freedom — heaven decreed
The worthless tyrant should not live in vain;
Reluctantly compelled, be signed the deed
Which dignifies our link within the chain
Of nations; — greatest or by land or main;—
Our bulwark Independence, and our arms
Valour’s unshrinking might to scour the plain;
Dreadful to foes in battle’s fierce alarms;
Yet mild o’er prostrate ranks compassion’s sunbeam warms…
Now journeying on by Rainworth’s fairy stream,
Where stood the Abbey, famed in days of old,
The mind surveys, as through a youthful dream,
The curtal Friar, and Sherwood’s Outlaw bold;
And often shall their merry jest be told,
While gravity itself a smile shall yield;
For Fountaindale will never more behold
Jest like to that, in greenwood, stream, or field,
Nor e’er shall priest like him the hempen penance wield…”
History, gazetteer, and directory of Nottinghamshire, and the town and county of the town of Nottingham. William White, 1832
“…The only part of the palace now remaining, stands in a large field close to the village, and seems to have been a hall. The foundations have formerly been very extensive but in 1810, a great part of these were dug up to be employed in a system of drainage, which the duke of Portland commenced upon his estate here; but we understand that his Grace gave strict orders, that the venerable walls of this once royal pile should not be touched, yet in opposition to the edict, much demolition has taken place; and on our visit we observed under the ruins large heaps of stones which some churlish surveyor appeared to have broken to the purpose of repairing the roads and which would have been so appropriated, had not his Grace on hearing the dilapidation, forbidden their removal. …”
Sherwood Forest : a poem. By Sarah Johanna Williams (1832)
~1832 – Poem alludes to the ruins of Clipstone Palace (according to A Stapleton).
Christopher Thompson’s ‘Clipstone Castle and St. Edwin’s Chapel’, published in Edwinstowe in the periodical ‘Sherwood Gatherer’, as reproduced in Leaves from Sherwood, January Searle (1850). Available from: https://archive.org/details/leavesfromsherwo00sear
Circa 1840 (Christopher stated in 1850 to have written it “a long while ago”)
…”Yon crumbling mass of ruins that crowns the hills the remains of Clipstone Palace, once the favourite abode of royalty… This ancient domain, supposed to be the oldest in England, is now the property of the Duke of Portland, who preserves, with laudable pride, the remains of the ancient pile to whisper its stories of the olden time to all visitors. The once-vaulted walls now present a mass of crumbling rubble ; and scarcely a trace of architecture remains. Only three faced stones are left, which appear to have formed a part of a stone staircase. A corbel stone, on which is carved a bluff-cheeked image with a crown on its head, grins upon the angle of a one-storied cottage close by, as if in mockery of the royal ruins before it. Traces of the moat are still visible, and village crones talk of long subterranean passages, and the dire sounds that have issued thence, like to the moan of captive knights and the shriek of pining ladies; whilst strange sights they say of spectre figures, make the ‘night hideous’.
“The last man who held the title of King’s Huntsman for the hays of Birkland and Bilhaugh, was, a generation ago, laid in a green grave in the churchyard of Edwinstowe ; the dog- kennels are changed into cottages, and the imagination fills up the void with dim visions of a dim age. Neat, trelliced, rose-entwined, and comfort-breathing cottages, are picturesquely dotted around the castle, and eflected in the clear and limpid stream that steals through the pleasant village of Clipstone.”
“Near to the Palace of Clipstone stood the Chapel of St. Edwine. A few moss-grown stones are all that mark the spot where the holy father, from the
palace, was wont to offer up the mass for the kingly train who there held court. The plough has upturned the site—the mighty oaks, that spread their sturdy
arms over the sacred retreat, have long ago yielded to the woodman’s axe ; the shrine, with its emblems of devotion, is mouldering in the dust, and wild flowers
bloom upon the spot where the penitent knelt to tell his beads.
Ruins and Old Trees, Associated with Memorable Events in English History by Mary Roberts (Circa 1844). Available from: https://archive.org/details/ruinsoldtreesass00robeiala
[A “romanticised” account of Clipstone Palace – illustrations from designs by Gilbert, engraved by Folkard, available from source]
“Ruins of Clipstone Palace…Little now remains of the old palace where King John and Edward I. resided. reeping ivy covers the once strong walls, and large elder bushes springing from ut the rents which time has made, afford a shelter to such birds as like to build heir nests in solitary places. The goatsucker is one of these; you may hear her mournful voice at night, as if she bewailed and lamented the downfall of the once stately building; the gray owl is also there; the jackdaw and carrion-crow; they are never seen beside the cottage door, or in cheerful apple-orchards, covered with blossoms, where the goldfinch and linnet, the joyous throstle and the bullfinch, love to nestle. All is lonely here, the long grass which grows wild and high, around and within the ruin, is rarely trodden on, and so damp and chill is the feeling of the place, that the sheep and cattle that graze upon the common rarely seek it, unless in the hottest summer-day, when they cannot find shelter elsewhere. Yet this lone and melancholy spot was not always thus deserted: the broken-down walls encircled a spacious area, within which was all the life and business, the gladness and festivity of a palace; there was the great hall and the refectory, the chapel, where prayer was duly offered, the rooms of state, and apartments of various descriptions. Men-at-arms guarded the strong gate by night and by day, and when its ample doors were opened by the king’s command, a troop of horse might freely pass, and large companies did come and go, for great hospitality was occasionally exercised in Clipstone palace.
Fancy, that nimble fairy, who calls up the images of bygone days, who causes men to live again, and re-people the fair scenes in which they once rejoiced or suffered; who builds up the ruined wall, and removes the unsightly branches which keep off the pleasant sunbeams, bids the stately palace of Clipstone to stand forth in all its majesty. Touched by her wand, the mists of ages have rolled away, and surely a more goodly building rarely meets the eye.
The walls are thick, and the embattled parapets present a range of towers, each of which are firmly guarded. The knight or palmer, he who comes in peace or war, has to pass over a strong drawbridge, and through the barbican or watch-tower by which the castle is further strengthened. He sees over his head a portcullis armed with iron spikes like a harrow, and as he passes through the long stone passage, he hears the heavy tread of the guard going their rounds along the high wall, by which the entrance is flanked on either side. The deep moat with its heavy and sluggish waters, the inner and outer ballia, the guard and the portcullis, all and each betoken that the country is in an unsettled state; but within the area on which the castle stands all is bustle and animation, its ample space contains barracks and residences for the workmen attached to the palace, together with a well and chapel, and in the centre stands the keep, where the king presides, and where his great officers have their abode. A terrace walk extends around the keep, and appended to it is a straight bowling-green, where amusements of various kinds are going on. The old castle looks gloomy to him who passes by; it stands an isolated object, stern and lonely, as if nothing within or around it, held communion with any living thing. But such is not the case, for the monarch holds his court here; King John, who has lately come to the throne, and with him is that kind and gentle lady, his fair queen, who tries to soften the rugged temper of her husband. Lords of high degree are invited guests; with them are a large company of knights and squires, and while tilts and tournaments are going on within the walls, the retainers of the castle are seen coming with provisions, or else driving both sheep and cattle, for the demand for them is great. Alms are duly given by the express desire of the queen, and those who seek for shelter are hospitably entertained.
In winter, the banquet room is lighted up with large torches, and a band of minstrels make the castle resound with their songs and roundelays. You may hear occasionally the trampling of horses, even when the company are set at table, and see a number of young gallants, of knights, too, and minstrels, coming through the great stone entrance, mounted on steeds richly caparisoned, and clad in fantastic vestments of green and gold, with high caps and ribands. Thus accoutred, they ride round the hall, and pay their respects to the assembled guests with such speeches as best please them. But, torches are not needed now, for summer is at its height. Some converse in the great halls, others mount to the top of the high keep, where they amuse themselves with observing the comers and goers from the castle, and in watching whether any knights or ladies, mounted on their palfreys, are coming from afar; others go forth to hunt over the wild moor, or to chase the deer in his forest haunts. Others, again, amuse themselves with tennis, or foot-ball, or in feats of arms. Knights and squires are seen going to and fro, conversing on foreign news, or on the valorous achievements of those with whom they are acquainted.
The queen thinks well of such proceedings, and she endeavours to promote the kindly intercourse that subsists within the walls. But now they are put aside. The king is weary of them. The jest and laugh, the discoursing of the old, and the amusements of the young, suit not with his turn of mind or the sad condition of the country. He has other thoughts than those of gladness and festivity, and growing weary of the hospitable life which he is constrained to lead at Clipstone palace, he has suddenly withdrawn from thence and gone to London.
Clipstone looks lonely now. The minstrel’s harp is silent, neither knights nor ladies ride forth over the wild moor, and rarely does any one seek for hospitality within the walls. A few men-at-arms guard the place, and you may hear the baying of the watch-dogs at eveningtide; but this is rather from impatience than necessity, for they miss the riders who used to pat their shaggy heads, and speak to them as they passed.
Sad rumours are afloat, but the place is so remote that no one knows what to believe. Some say that a civil war has broken out; others that the country is laid under an interdict, that the church doors are to be closed, and that no one is to be interred in consecrated ground.
A church may be seen among the trees, beside the stream where it forms a small cascade that falls with a pleasant murmur into the vale below. It is a church of the olden time, with its primitive-looking porch, and creeping vine. Prayers have been offered there ever since the days of Alfred, and beside it the villagers have been laid to rest for successive generations: a few bells call the people to their matins and vespers, and some images stand within the walls of the edifice.
Prayers may not be offered now, for the good old priest has received orders to close the doors, and to take down the bells. It is sad to see the few images that have long recalled to recollection the holy lives of those whose memory they are designed to perpetuate, lying with the ancient cross upon the ground, and, as if the air itself is polluted, and may pollute them by its contact, the priest and his attendants carefully cover them, even from their own approach and veneration. The bells, too, which used to ring out, that all might hear and make ready for the house of prayer, are taken down and placed beside the grey tower from whence they had long sounded in seasons of gladness or sorrow. No one hears the passing bell that was wont to call the neighbours to intercede for him who lay weak and sinking upon his bed.
The living partake of no religious rite, except baptism to new-born infants and the communion to the dying; the dead may not lay in consecrated ground, neither are words of peace, nor any hallowed ceremony spoken or performed at their obsequies. Graves are opened beside the public road, on some wild common, or lone forest; those who dig them seem filled with more than usual sadness, for they have not yet learned to think that it is a matter of indifference where their friends are buried. Strange it is, that in these fearful times any should think of marrying. Yet such there are, and now a bridal company is seen passing up the narrow pathway that leads to the small church. The sun shines as brightly as if all on earth were happy; the trees wave in the soft summer wind, and the butterflies and bees flit from one flower to another, or rest on the tufts of wild thyme that skirt the path. But the old people look exceeding sorrowful, and there are no smiles on the faces of the young. They stop at the entrance of the churchyard, at the old stile with its thatched roof, where part of the ceremony is wont to be performed, and the bride and bridegroom stand there, as if they almost feared to go on. The sod which used to be kept so nicely that a weed might not lift up its head unbidden, has grown long and rank. It overtops the graves; and the thistle, and that unsightly weed the great cow-parsnip, with its sickly-looking flower, has sprung up in rank luxuriance. The bells are placed beside the church, and near them the images, and the one old cross are lying on the ground, covered up in a manner which cause them to look like corpses waiting for interment.
In a moment the old church and its venerable yew—the sad bridal company—the bells and images are gone.A new scene presents itself, for more than eighty years have passed since these things were done, and the aspect of everything is changed.
Clipstone Palace does not look gloomy now. Alterations have been made, though it is difficult to say how or where. There is the keep and the bastion, the wall and moat, but the place looks lighter, the men-at-arms are not so heavily loaded with armour, and the knights and ladies wear a lighter and a gayer dress. Their palfreys are elegantly caparisoned, and they go forth with hawks upon their wrists, and hounds running by their sides, with only a few attendants. The dwellings of the poorer classes are more comfortable than in the days of John, and they have around them small enclosures, in which grow pot-herbs, and fragrant flowers. The country, too, is cultivated in many parts, and all look peaceful and contented.
He who surveys the landscape from an eminence, will observe that houses have been built, which, although not rising to the dignity of castles, have much of the ancient baronial style, being strongly moated, and having the entrance guarded with a portcullis. They consist of a quadrangle, with a large area in the centre, into which both sheep and oxen are often driven for greater security by night. The fields around are in general well attended to, and large gardens, stocked with fruit and vegetables, supply not only the wants of the respective families, but also provides abundance of such medicinal herbs, as is convenient to have within reach. This style of building evinces a considerable improvement in society, for during the insecure condition of the country, when Clipstone Palace was last brought into view, every baronial residence was strongly fortified, and scarcely any intermediate gradations existed between the vassal and his lord, except in commercial cities. Men had consequently little inclination to cultivate the arts of peace. The knight or squire who rode forth fully caparisoned, and armed cap-à-pie, turned not aside his charger into the recesses of the forest to gather such beautiful flowers as might grow therein, when there was danger in his path; the serf, who toiled hard to sustain his wife and children, had neither time nor inclination to seek out, or to plant around his cabin either the wild rose or the honeysuckle. The wild rose grew, as now it grows, fragrant and beautiful; the honeysuckle, too, and wild flowers of all scents and hues sprung beside the common, or skirted the thorny brake; but the outlaw often lurked among them, and it was death to him who sought, unarmed or alone, the beautiful solitude of nature. But now that the country is at peace, and the towns and cities contain a class of persons who grow rich by commerce, and who frequently obtain in their intercourse with foreign nations, curious specimens both of art and nature, men begin to lay aside that dread of their fellow-men which has hitherto caused them to think most of their personal safety, and to direct their attention towards improving their own condition.
The dwellings which arose in consequence throughout the country, and give the traveller a feeling of security as he passes beside their gardens, or through the pathways which lead across the fields, are inhabited by a class of men who had no political existence in the days of John. These are the lesser barons. They originated with the partition of the great estates which had been given by the Norman conqueror to his immediate followers, and which anciently conferred power on individual families. Many of these had escheated to the crown when the heads of them, having taken part in civil broils, either fell in battle or fled into foreign lands. The king then generally parcelled such estates among his courtiers according to their merits; others were divided, either to make provisions for younger children, or partitioned among coheirs, and hence originated a number of small estates, which required economy in the management, and caused the proprietor to remain much at home, where he occupied himself in cultivating his paternal or appropriated acres, and in attending to his cattle.
It is the wise policy of Edward, who resides much at Clipstone Palace during the pleasant months of summer, to encourage and protect the lower orders of society. He is not ignorant concerning the transactions of other days; though a long interval has elapsed since the crown was overawed by the turbulent barons in the days of John; since that stern and vindictive monarch sat sullenly brooding over his sad condition, and devising schemes for aggrandisement or revenge in the same apartment which King Edward enlivens with his presence; from the embattled parapets of which he can survey the smiling and well-peopled landscape.
A fine young oak grew on the west side of Clipstone Palace in the days of John; it was noticed at that time for its girth and height, and was much admired by many who resided within the park. Parties were assembled occasionally beneath its shade, and the minstrel would wake up his harp in a fine summer evening. Those who loved his lays gathered around him, and while they listened to the deep music that he poured forth, and to the thrilling strains by which it was accompanied, the sun often set below the horizon, and his beams shed a purple light on the rising ground, while the plain country and the woods were covered with the mists of evening. Had the tree a voice, or could its leaves form words when shaken by the wind, how much of ancient history—how many tales of loves and woes—of human suffering and human joys, would be unfolded! The tree looks not now as it did then; somewhat of its grace has passed away, but there is more of majesty; the branches are exceeding ample, and the stem is beginning to be slightly furrowed. Knights and ladies still sit beneath its shade, as in the days of John, and the minstrel’s harp is awakened at their bidding, while the same bright sun is setting in his glory behind the hills, on which the inmates of the palace looked in bygone days. The same hopes and joys—the same ties of family and of kindred, were among them as among those of the present day. Modified, indeed, by the times in which they lived—by the hopes or the misgivings of that eventful period, but still the same in all their bearings, on the weal or woe of knight or lady, sire or son.
Now there is another company sitting there; men of grave countenances and full age. Their plaited ruffs and satin doublets, their high-crowned hats and plumes, though reverently laid aside, the richness of their vestments and, above all, their dignified demeanour, show that they are of high degree. Some have broad and ample foreheads, furrowed with deep thought; others seem worn with care; some again appear to have sustained the shock of many battles, and among them are a few with staffs and crosiers, whose countenances denote a life of prayer and abstraction. This goodly company are the counsellors of the king, together with the greater and lesser barons and knights, assembled at his bidding: they hold a parliament beneath the noble tree, for such is the royal pleasure. The king presides in state among them, and right and left, and immediately before him, seats are placed for those whose rank entitles them to the pre-eminence, while the burgesses sit apart. They are deliberating on matters of great importance; on the affairs, perhaps, of Scotland; for the young Queen Margaret is dead, and the king is devising schemes for obtaining possession of the country. It is a solemn sight to see men thus deliberating, as if eternity depended on their decision, while the very tree beneath which they meet, and the adjacent palace, might teach that human life is even as a vapour.
Gradually as the mist of ages were dispersed, so gradually do they return. They gather over the assembly, and cover, as with a light transparent mantle, the palace with its embattled parapets, and men-at-arms, the moat, and drawbridge. Fainter and fainter grows the scene; the king may yet dimly be discerned, and one among the rest seems speaking with great earnestness; now the strained eye discerns them no longer. All and each are concealed from the view. Where stood the noble oak, and those who were assembled beneath its branches, a solitary spot of ground, with an aged, riven, and time-worn tree, alone appears: in the place of a stately palace, broken ruins meet the eye, and a few straggling sheep graze beside them.”
The wanderings of a pen and pencil’ by Francis Paul Palmer and Alfred Crowquill (1846). Available from: https://openlibrary.org/books/OL25119144M/The_wanderings_of_a_pen_and_pencil
Circa 1846: “In the morning, after disposing of some bacon and eggs fried in the dripping-tin, we visited ‘King John’s Palace,’ as it is termed, a mere shell of ruin, at the rear of Mr. Amos’s garden, in a wide meadow; the traces of defence are to be followed as far as the edge of the moat pool to the south. Before the Norman Conquest, Osberne and Ulsi had two manors in Clipstone (King’s Clipstone, since designated). These paid gold for one carucate. The land was two carucates. Roger de Busli had in demesne there after-wards one carucate and a half, with twelve villains (small farmers) and three cottagers (called Borders), having three carucates and a half, and a mill of 3s. There was a wood, by places pasturable, a mile either way. In Edward the Confessor’s time it was valued 60s. ; in the Conqueror’s day, 40s. John, King of England, whilst Duke of Mortaigne, buried his treasons and dissatisfactions in this Palace of Clipstone, and in the hunting-grounds of the vicinity. Edward I. resided here. Mansfield also was a court residence. King John’s mark is proved to have existed upon a tree, cut down an inconsiderable time since ; it was eighteen inches within the tree, and a foot from the centre : the tree was calculated to have been planted in 1087. “
[See also illustration of the ruins of King John’s Palace, looking south-west. Available from: https://www.flickr.com/photos/internetarchivebookimages/14760733976/in/photolist-oumBXo-oumCF7-oeUxya-odrx3d-oeUwSa-owGgox-oeUz8c-oeTCYn-ovo5pT/]
Leaves from Sherwood, January Searle (1850). Available from: https://archive.org/details/leavesfromsherwo00sear
“…There are various other traditions concerning Robin Hood, which, whether true or false, are valuable, as evidences of the general impress which his character and actions stamped upon the memory of his time….This king had offered large rewards for Robin [Hood], alive or dead, but none of his officers and spies could find him out. So having conquered the
Welsh, he came down to Sherwood, resolved to try what he could do with his blood-hounds and most trusty followers, in the way of extirpating
the outlaw and his merry men. It is said that he took up his abode at Clipston Castle, and scoured the whole country round for many days without success. At last he went in disguise, and wandered about the Forest alone, in hope of
meeting with his enemies. All these things were well known to Robin Hood, who managed to have his spies at Clipston Castle. …” (Pages 82-84)
“The plaintive coo of the ringdove comes softy over Birkland’s hays : the sheep press their fleecy carcases closely to the earth, and seem to wish they could bury themselves in the cool soil, and so escape from the myriad hosts of teasing flies ;how closely the stray ones from the flock creep around the mossy bole of that old thorn. If the traditions are to be believed in, what a story of olden time that patriarchal throne could tell. It is the ‘King’s Stand Bush.’ Upon that very spot, we are told, the kings of olden time were wont to gather for the regal sport of hunting the antlered deer through ‘Shirewood’s merrie glades.’…” (Page 140)
History of Worksop: With Historical Descriptive and Discursive Sketches of Sherwood Forest and the Neighbourhood. Available from: https://archive.org/details/historyworksopw01eddigoog
“Until recently the extensive foundations and vaults of the palace remained, but the greater part have been dug up. It is now but a ghost of a palace. The only remnants are some rugged walls in which are a few gothic windows, whose rich tracery has yielded, like the hand that Carved it, to the action of Time. And now the moaning forest wind sounds requiems over its bare ruins, and the wild-flower clings to crumbling walls, the only tangible mementoes of its glories past.”
From Doncaster into Sherwood Forest: Passing through Bawtry, Blyth, and Worksop. A Pleasent Ramble. By John Tomlinson, accompanied part of the way by his brother William Tomlinson. Re-issued from the Doncaster Gazette. (Circa 1876)
“Birkland to Clipstone
We lingered in this region of Birkland, which was once the very heart and kernel of Sherwood Forest. The scenery is simply charming. We do not here, nor indeed in any part of Nottinghamshire, meet with the craggy hills and towering eminences which the neighbour county of Derbyshire display. And yet, emerging out of woody labyrinths, there are beautiful outlooks down and away among cultivated slopes into rich low lying meadows. Pursuing our course from Birkland we come to a special eminence partially denuded of trees, which looks down into the sweet vale of Clipstone, with Edwinstowe to the left, and in front the dark, dense woods around Rufford. This glorious elevation has been crowned. In 1844, the duke of Bortland, * [Footnote: We learn that only that portion of the ral forest nearest to Thorseby, was parted with to Earl Manvers, in exchange for Holbeck and Bombusk, lying near Welbeck . The Duke still retains about 900 acres in Birkland, lying nearest to Wellbeck and Clipstone] built a “lodge,” not for hunters to lunch and rest in, but where village children can get the rudiments of education, and something more. In architectural design this lodge is almost a facsimile of Worksop Abbey Gate-house; a wide archway, like that of the old relic alluded to, occupies the centre, on each side of which is a little room, with beautiful gothic projections. The great room is on the second floor, extending nearly the whole with of the building; and if children can acquire a sense of the beautiful, they have only to look out of the windows and feel the throbbings of poetry. Poetry! A. B. C., a little work, an early marriage, a cottage full of “bairns,” with now and then a pint more beer than is good for them – these form the common routine of their lives.
…A few yards further on the land gradually rises, and at the back of some cottages there is a turnip field. It was not the field which attracted our attention, but certain jagged, blanched, irregular line of walls, which told unmistakably of age and former strength. These are the sole remains of Clipstone Palace. Luckily, just in front, by the road side, stand the “Fox and Hounds;” so being jaded with our walk, and again needing refreshment, we turned with pleasure to the clean, comfortable little in…
Clipstone to Rufford
In the morning we were out before breakfast, crossed a garden at the back of our inn, and stood by the walls of Clipstone Palace. How we did – curse and swear? Not audibly, for that would be profane; but inwardly we chafed. Yesterday our first view was a shock of surprise and disappointment. This one of the most interesting of our national relics, stands in the middle of a turnip field ploughed and planted to the very foundations, and inaccessible, except in the way stated. How an intelligent foreigner would scoff at our national taste, and laugh to scorn that barbarous neglect of our most priceless treasures. Had Sir John Lublock visited the spot, such a sight might have added zest to his arguments for the conservation of our national monument.s We can scarcely believe that the Duke of Portland is totally careless about the perpetuation of this relic, for something to the contrary was said in the village. But what means are taken to preserve and protect the ancient ruin? It is under the care of no one, but at at the mercy of any ignorant ploughman. The field belongs to the Duke, and the turnips to the tenant; but historic Relics belong to the nation at large. And yet this memento of antiquity is kept, or rather concealed, as if it unworthy the passing glance of casual visitors. But the jagged tooth-like projection of a broken wall is fossilised history. The ruins of a side and two ends appear to indicate the extent of one front or wing, which, according to our striding, would be about 60 feet in width by — nobody knows what. Some portion of the walls are 6 feet thick, the mortal or concrete being hard as the stone itself. Whether any clearly defined plan of the original building can now be traced from the foundation wall is more than doubtful, as the deeply imbedded masonry has for centuries been gradually dug up, that the course of the ploughman might not be impeded. What is the date of this building? No one can tell us. It is called King John’s Hunting Palace, because John spent so much of his time here; but it may have had an existence long before his day. Is it of Saxon origin? To this question we must write – doubtful. As squatters we feel certain that the Saxons, if not the Romans, and even the Ancient Britains (now, come, one may as well go the whole hog) did wander here, and stay here; but probably, not with any resolution to erect a palace. Some things we do know. This was a favourite rendezvous of Henry II. when he came a hunting to this grand old forest:-
“Henry, our royal king would ride a hunting
To the greene forest, so pleasant and faire,
To see the harts skipping, and dainty does tripping,
To merry Sherwood his nobles repaire.
Hawke a hound were unbound, all things prepared
For the game, in the same, with good regard.”
Richard L’s connection with this famous pile is even more distinctly marked. On his return from the crusades, and after experiencing hairbreadth escapes, the King of Scotland, and his own barons, came to offer their congratulations.
Here Edward J. was recreating himself with hunting, when a mounted courier brought news of another revolt in Wales; so a Parliament was hastily summoned to Clipstone. At that period there was no regularly constituted Parliamentary representation. The barons held a “palaver,” when the King requested it, (and, sometimes, without the King’s authority), for the consideration or urgent, import business.
It might be, at this particular time, when Edward I. was at Clipstone, that the palace was engaged. There were men of honour, maids of hour, with the necessary dependents of a court – nobles, squires, grooms, huntsmen, officers of the hawks, pages, cooks, scullions, &c.- a conclave in themselves; any how, it was thought advisable to hold parliament in the open air. So the senators gathered under the shadow of a wide-spread oak, * [Footnote: Called from that date to this the “parliament Oak.’ The tree stands at some distance from Clipstone, on the Ollerton road; and, judging from the trunk, it must have been amongst th most gigantic of forest oaks. But the ancient giant is now a mere wreck, with blanched and riven head, arms torn and nearly ???, the ??? of time being supported in his tottering position by massive props. And yet this tree may have a significant history preserved within itself. On several occasions, when forest oaks have been sawn asunder, carved and embedded characters have been discovered within the trunk; the letters and diagrams have been exposed at a depth of from nine to fourteen inches from the bark. Among a number of minor monograms, a crown and the initials “J. R.” were discovered embedded within one tree, and another in “W.M.” and a crown. Major Rooke, who discovered these marks, perhaps strains a point when he interprets the first to signify “James Rex” and the other “William and Mary.” Without concluding that King James and William themselves carved their own initials, the Major thinks there is nothing improbable in the supposition that persons at the periods in question did form the letters, and that year by year the new wood grew over the interstices, without forming a homogeneous mass], and had the satisfaction to see herds of deer fly from their august approach, which was a good omen respecting the Welsh.
But Clipstone Palace was most closely identified with John. It was here, in the first year of his reign, that he granted a charter to Nottingham. Between that event and his death at Newark, the King made Clipstone his favourite retreat. London was especially too hot for him, and he was glad to escape from the clamours of other towns. Never did [a] monarch, not even the worst of the Stuarts, make such a mull of national government. The French disposed him of his inheritance across the Channel, and threatened his throne; then, while the barons scorned and hated him, he was outlawed by the Church. In seasons of tribulation, and in times of their wrath, the barons came to Clipstone in search of their King, and it was only by a mere coincidence that the great charter was not signed here instead of Runnymede, a place almost as far distance from the ken of the populace.
O that these Clipstone ruins had a tongue to tell of John, without an army at his back, met face to face with self-assertive barons. Truly, the lords had cause, on public grounds, for stern remonstrance. There was the more than suspected murder of the nephew, Arthur, real heir to the throne; there was the dreaded seizure by the French King of the English crown; there was the terrible papal interdict which blasted future hope, making even the king an outcast, in daily peril of his life, until he made a craven barter of his country to the Pope. Nor was this all; there were private scandals. A certain maid was poisoned for repulsing John’s lewd amour; while the barons knew that their own wives and daughters were subject to his base intrigues. The king had alternate fits of petulant defiance, of brazen softness, of jocular, whistling courage, and meek servility. But amidst all, what merry conceits this monarch could indulge. He fined the Bishop of Winchester a tun of good wine for not reminding him to give a girdle to the Countess of Albemarle.
In 1363, when the Kings of Scotland, France and Cyprus came on a visit to Edward III., the latter showed his guests what royal hunting was in England; so a large retinue, with the forest retainers, met in Sherwood. We may naturally conclude, although history has not preserved the mementos, that Clipstone Park would be the chief rendezvous and resting place.
Standing on this gentle palace-eminence, which had a glorious outlook, we tried to realize a scene of olden times. Those numerous upland slopes and tiny glades, now ploughed and cropped, would form a ground swell of forest verdure, looking like a petrified wave in that emerald ocean of vegetation.
In you clear interstice a group of deer is ken’d by hound and huntsman. Whoop! Slip the —. Hush! Startled by a whisper of danger the herd will be off like a flash into the defuse obscurity of their forest solitude. Te-e-uep, te-e-uep, phlu-a-a! What is that? Ha! ha! Somebody else has seen the deer besides our Royal party, for that is the distant sound of a rover’s bugle. The Clipstone huntsmen have resolved to keep well together, in case they meet not the deer but forest bandits; a wise precaution, as it is almost certain that the Robin-Hoodians, while themselves concealed, will get a glance of the royal huntsmen.
It was so. When kings came for their forest sport to the Palace of Clipstone, news of the fearful havoc made among deer by outlaws stirred up the royal wrath; and great efforts were made to capture offenders; and great efforts were made to capture offenders. But men like Robin Hood knew Sherwood Forest better than the king, or even the king’s foresters. One English monarch (tradition points to Edward I.) did in disguise encounter the outlaw alone; and they “made a night of it.” But about deer-stealing; amongst the vast herds, how could a few heads be missed? The forest rangers had seen numerous traces of blood upon the grass, and evidences here and there of disembowelling. But for these stains, and numerous lumps of offal, nothing would have been known. Worst of all wolves and winged scavengers were allured by this scent. Wolves in Sherwood Forest? Of course there were. Within about four miles of Clipstone is Mansfield Woodhouse. Sir Robert Plympton held a bovate of land there, called “Wolf-hunt land,” by service of winding a horn and chasing or frightening the wolves in the forest of Sherwood. Ah, me! and alas! alas! Where are the wolves, and where are the red-deer? We may sing but still our throats are sore:
“Bold Robin Hood was a forester good,
As ever drew how in the merry green-wood.”
But when we come in the refrain:- “The wild deer we’ll follow.” there is a pang of regret in our inmost heart that never more in Sherwood shall we have the wild deer to follow.
For more than a dozen successive reigns Cluipstone Palace housed the kings when they came here a hunting; and during this long period a number of servants would be there constantly, to look after the royal residence. At what period it fell into disuse, and whether the destruction was accelerated otherwise than by the gradual waste of time, we have not been able to learn. Thoroton says that the palace was once destroyed by (fire?), but rebuilt during the reign of Henry III.; but no written, so far as we are aware, gives us any else to the period when it first (started?) to become inhabitable.
This old hunting palace would follow the inevitable law; as the forest became thinned, with Abbeys and baronial residences built in the very heart of Sherwood, it (waned?) into into (disusage?); and we all know how roofs and timbers will decay when uninhabited a and left to the elements for a century or two. We do net even know in what condition the Stuarts left it. What a pity that tattlers like Sir John Reresby did not give us a word-picture of the palace on the event of the Commonwealth. The Thrybergh baronet often went “to hunt at Clipstone, the [inn] accommodation there not being very good.”
From Clipstone the next object of interest to us is Rufford Abbey. The scenery on the route is charming as a whole, but it lacks the isolated specimens of forest grandeur with which we have just parted…
Black’s guide to Nottinghamshire (1876). Available from: https://archive.org/details/blacksguidetono00lowegoog
“Beyond these famous ‘water meadows,’ in the most picturesque part of the valley of the Maun, about five miles east-north-east of Mansfield, may be found the ruins of Clipstone Palace, said to have originally been erected by one of the Saxon kings of Northumbria, and subsequently a favourite resort of the kings of England, who came here to hunt in Sherwood Forest. Henry II. made Clipstone Palace his residence on more than one occasion, and it was here that Richard I, on his return from the Crusades, received the congratulations of William the Lion, King of Scotland, and John was so frequently at Clipstone, that the ruins are called ‘King John’s Palace’ to this day. The ruins themselves present very little worthy of notice, nothing remaining beyond a few broken walls, whose bare outline is only relieved by a luxuriant mantle of ivy.”
The limping pilgrim, on his wanderings (Edwin Waugh, 1883). Extract available from: http://gerald-massey.org.uk/waugh/c_pilgrim_4.htm
“After dining at the little forest village of Edwinstowe, near the ruins of the ancient Palace of Clipstone, we returned to Worksop by another woodland route, as the rosy rays of evening fell upon the forest glades”
A History of the Lordship of King’s Clipstone or Clipstone in Sherwood, Nottinghamshire (A Stapleton, 1890). Available from: http://www.nottshistory.org.uk/monographs/clipstone1890/clipstonepreface.htm
“Some, possibly, would consider an apology necessary from the author, on account of the insignificance of the subject for a history—the most obscure of hamlets, without church or monastery, and only noticeable for the Kings’ House, the remains of which are not of sufficient interest even to be included in the routine tour of the Dukeries, nor yet, pictorially, in any published series of local views or photographs that I have seen. I am of opinion, however, that none is needed for chronicling the annals of a spot deemed worthy of entertaining at least half-a-dozen English monarchs and one Scottish king, with abundance of nobility, which has been associated with quite a remarkable succession of noble lords, and which has been the scene of an English Parliament.”
Joseph Rodgers’ “The Scenery of Sherwood Forest” (Fisher & Unwin, 1908). Available from: https://openlibrary.org/books/OL7095189M/The_scenery_of_Sherwood_Forest
“Well may it be said of these old oaks, “You seem as ’twere immortal, and we mortal,” for still, on the return of summer, does this tree, one of the most ancient in the forest, give signs of vigorous life [Footnote: In 1896 the Parliament Oak bore a large crop of acorns.]; although, since it was in its prime, every other tree and shrub, all neighbouring life has “gone, like the hour that can return no more.”
It has been stated, with some probability of truth, that King John, while hunting in the forest, was informed by a messenger of a revolt of the Welsh, and of an insurrection in the north of England ; that he hastily summoned a parliament to meet under this tree, and that it owes its name to that incident. Another account connects it with Edward I., who, when on his way to Scotland, in 1290, summoned a parliament to meet at Clipston. The proceedings opened on St. Michael’s Day, but there is no authority for stating that any ceremonial assembly took place here, although the name may have been given to the oak in consequence of some informal meeting under its branches.
Standing on high ground, as it does, on the borders of Derbyshire, the prospect from the Parliament Oak is more varied and extensive than is generally found in Nottinghamshire. On one side it is bounded by the hills near Bolsover Castle and Welbeck, while in the valley beneath may be seen the red roofs and the church of the ancient village of Warsop. Looking towards the south-east from near this tree, in former times would be noticed ” The Kings’ House ” at Clipston, with the vivarium, so often named in the royal accounts. Beyond, in the same direction, are the woods of Rufford Abbey, and in the east the spire of Edwinstowe Church rises gracefully from among the old oaks.
The boundary of Clipston Park was formerly at this tree, which stood in the park fence, but in the time of Edward III. an attempt appears to have been made to extend its limit considerably further in the direction of Warsop, for in that reign, John de Warsop, who was lord of the manor, presented a petition to the King and Council, complaining of an inclosure within the park of his wood of Warsop, to his great disinheritance and the impoverishment of his tenants, who ought to have commonage there [Footnote: Stapleton’s History of Kings’ Clipston.]…”