Rolleston, Nottinghamshire (Feature by Arnold Burston - Rollestonian Summer 2001)

Holy Trinity, RollestonRolleston is a small village of about 100 houses, near the River Greet, on the railway line between Nottingham and Lincoln, 5 miles from Newark. Southwell racecourse is at Rolleston, the complex includes a golf course and a hotel. The best-known person to have lived at Rolleston is Kate Greenaway, the painter and book illustrator.

The Manor

At the time of the Norman Conquest there were three manors in Rolleston, all of which were taken from their Saxon owners and given to Normans, Thomas, Archbishop of York, Walter d’Aincourt and Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, who was William the Conqueror’s half brother. Odo's Manor was transferred to the Earl of Richmond who granted the tenure to the family of Rolleston until Amflicia de Rodliston married Jolan de Neville, bringing the manor of "Rodliston" (or "Roldeston”) as a dowry. The Nevilles held the manor until the time of Queen Elizabeth when it was sold to Nicholas Lodge, Alderman of London, by whom it was conveyed to the Suttons, Lords Lexington. The Suttons held it until 1919, when it was bought by the Ministry of Agriculture to found a farm settlement for ex-servicemen. According to the present Clerk to the Parish Council, Mr Frank Mitchell this scheme was largely unsuccessful. His father was one of the first non-servicemen to come to one of smallholdings in the 1920s. He himself has farmed the land, and his son-in-law continues to do so. There are now only two working farms in the village. The manor house was demolished in 1813, but the site is still visible with its moats and fishponds, and the stump of an old cross.

The Church

Holy Trinity, RollestonThere was a church in Rolleston in Saxon times, which had its own priest by the 1086 Domesday survey. In 1221 it was transferred by the Prior of Thurgarton to the Archbishop of York who gave it to Southwell in 1225. The Chapter of Southwell kept the tithes until 1848 when the funds were taken over by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners to support poor livings.

There are traces of Saxon masonry but the basis of the building is Norman, including the south doorway. The side aisles were added in the 13th century and some of the windows date from the 13th and 14th centuries. The tower was built in the early 14th century and a hundred years later two more storeys were added, although the original foundations had not been intended to take the extra weight. By the end of the 19th century the old buttresses had to be replaced on deep foundations and the original stone casing replaced by new stone. In the 15th century two new square headed windows were inserted in the south aisle, and the clerestory was added in the following century. During the restoration in 1895, fragments of a Saxon cross were discovered. It is carved in Mansield stone and is very unusual in that it carries an inscription, (Radulfus me fecit - Radulf made me).

Extracts from the Parish registers

The Rolleston Notts. Registers contain some interesting notes. The extracts below are taken from a church history published in 1931.

"On Saturday the XXI1 of June such abundance of raine came that neither the Sunday nor midsomer day could I get to church without boots more abundance fell on weddnesday the tenth of Julie, but the most abundance of raine fell on weddnesday the XVII of Julie wch. raised such a floud both by land & by means of the Trent that the new banke made the summer before wth. Great paines, beeinge a deare yeare with poore men, rie beeinge – Vs1111d - barlie and peason 111s V111d. the strike & dearer, was the most of taken away & all the hay & grass.” (1588)

“Nicholas Nidde about 60 yeares of age a little fellow a smith and a horseleache for divers diseases, was buried on St Bartholomewes day beeinge Munday.” (1590)

"Robert Bower above fortie years of age the swineheard at Fiskerton & a good thresher having a gret swellinge on the one side of his face & head wch. some thought came from cuttinge a swine for the murren died on Sunday.” (1590)

“George Deconsunne an householder about 27 years of age fallinge out with Thomas Heifield at the boules, was by the said Thomas stricken upon the head with two boules in a bagge on Satday Septem. Ixth. At night. whereby havinge his brain pan broken as was supposed, dyed on Munday in the night.” (1592)

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Last updated: 29 June 2001