March 10, 2012

The Stovin Manuscript

By Angus Townley

The Yorkshire Arcaeological and Topographical Journal




Communicated by CHARLES JACKSON, Doncaster.

George Stovin, the writer of the manuscript of which the following notices are presented in these pages, was the eldest son of James Stovin, esq., of Tetley, in the parish of Crowle, in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, and was born about 1695 or 1696. Before the death of his father in 1735, he married Sarah, daughter and heiress of James Empson, esq. of Gowle, or Goole, in the former county. We are toldthat he appears not to have been brought up to any profession, but to have led the life of a country gentleman, which afforded him abundant leisure to prosecute the topographical and antiquarian researches to ^hich from early life he was addicted. He took a considerable interest in the drainage and other general affairs of the Level of Hatfield Chase, in and about the neighbourhood of which he had inherited, on the decease of his father, a good patrimonial estate. The adjustment of those affairs of the drainage, under circumstances of complication and diflBculty of no ordinary kind, as will be seen hereafter, had occupied the attention of Mr. Stovin’s predecessors ever since their commencement by the celebrated Sir Cornelius Verrauyden, in the beginning of the reign of King Charles the first, and he continued to perform the onerous duties to which he had succeeded, and which his position entitled him to fulfil, both as an assiduous commissioner of sewers and a no less active justice of the peace.

Mr. Stovin would, no doubt, derive from his father and his other older relations many curious and interesting stories about the previous state of the Levels, when the greater


* See memoir of him by Hunter in is no particular jurisdiction prevailing South- Yorkshire, vol. 1, page 181. throughout them, nor can their limits be 2 Mr. Hunter says, “When we speak accurately defined. But when we speak of the Levels we are using a term which of the Level of Hatfield Chase, we detach is mearly a common colloquialism. There from the whole level land a portion the  boundaries of which we can define quoting the story as given in De la Pryme’s MS.’ Hunter, South’Yorkshire I. (South’Yorkshire, voL 1, p. 150.)

portion of that country consisted largely of extensive meres, turf-moors, bogs, and swamps, and when the unrestrained overflowings of the Trent, the Aire, the Ouse, and the Went, rendered the district thereabouts almost unfit for the residence or the labours of man. We can imagine him, arrectis auribiis adstans, listening with no small interest to the popular and traditionary stories communicated to him by the ancient regarders and keepers in the Chase, who, in their turn, would have received the like from their forefathers.

Especially exciting and amusing to him, we can fancy, would be, for instance, such an account as we have of the semiaquatic deer hunt in these levels, when Henry Prince of Wales is stated to have visited that part of Yorkshire in 1609, whereat his royal highness and his retinue turned out at Tudworth, for the chase, not on sprightly steeds, with hound and horn, but attended by a numerous assemblage, they embarked themselves in about one hundred boats, and having had driven from out the neighbouring woods and grounds some five hundred deer, which took to the waters, the little navy of sportsmen pursued their game into Thorne Mere, and there some of the party going into the water, and feeling such and such that were the fattest, either instantly cut their throats, or drew them by ropes to land and killed them. With a day’s work such as this (the last time that there was any royal sporting in this Chase), the prince is said to have been ” very merry and well pleased”.3Mr. Stovin would learn also from the older class of his acquaintance various anecdotes respecting Sir Cornelius Vermuyden and his Dutch and French partners, or participants as they were usually termed,^ in the grand scheme of drainage for which they left their native country to engage in ; and he would be told of the ill blood that their proceed ings stirred up, and the serious disturbances thereby provoked, terminating frequently in loss of life and property to many. There being in those times no local newspapers or periodical magazines, the stirring events of the period had to be recorded, as best they might be, in the memories of the inhabitants, and by them handed down, either verbally or in written memoranda, to their posterity. The observant Abraliam De la Pryme, who died when Mr. Stovin was about nine years old, left behind him a good store of local information regarding those levels, and of these written collections Mr. Stovin afterwards availed himself much, as he has acknowledged.

It is related of Mr. Stovin that he scarcely ever left the Levels, living in Crowle and its vicinity, and with the true feeling of a native antiquary thinking no part of England comparable to the Isle of Axholme, and no town equal to Crowle. In the latter part of his life, however, he crossed the Trent, and fixed his residence at Winterton.^ There he spent the concluding years of his long life, living, as one who knew him well informed Mr. Hunter, in a little cottage which he had made Arcadian with honeysuckles and other flowers, where he was to be seen with his pipe every morning at five, and where he was accustomed to amuse his neighbours with the variety of anecdote with which his memory supplied him. He died in May, 1780, aged about 85 years, and was buried in the chancel of Winterton church.

Mr. Stovin contributed to the Gentleman’s Magazine an account of Lindholme, a remarkable isolated place in the turf-moor of Hatfield ; and to the Royal Society, he made several communications of an antiquarian sort that were printed in their Transactions. Besides these, he left in manuscript many notes of Roman roads and stations in the counties of York and Lincoln, the result of his personal observation. But perhaps the most important of his topo graphical collections is the manuscript now brought before us. This is a quarto volume, in size about eight by seven inches, bound in rough calf, containing 458 pages, closely written, consisting chiefly of transcripts of all documents he could obtain which in any way related to the drainage, together with extracts from law books detailing the powers and duties of Courts of Sewers, &c. To these Mr. Stovin prefixed the brief account of Vermuyden’s costly proceedings in the drainage of the Level of Hatfield Chase, which, by the favour of this Society, is now printed in the writer s own style and language, and thus, it is hoped, rendered secure from the risk of loss to which manuscripts of importance are too frequently exposed.


* In the preface to South- Yorkshire. Mr. Hunter pays a passing compliment to both these worthy antiquaries of the Levels, by saying : ** De la Pryme’s notes are admirable for the history of Hatfield Chase ; but that portion of the ensuing work would not have been so complete as I flatter myself it may be found, if I had not had the benefit of the labours of another gentleman, who fifty years after the time of De la Pryme, employed himself in collecting materials for the history of that Level. This was George Stovin, esq., of Crowle, grandfather of the rev. Dr. Stovin, the rector of Rossington, who, in the most obliging manner) acceded to the request of a friend, and allowed me the unrestricted use of a well-filled volume.*’ (The MS. now under our notice.)

^ A small market town, about 8 miles W.S.W. from Barton-upon-Humber, and a place where Roman antiquities have been met with.

^ No gravestone remains to mark the exact spot of his interment At one time it was thought likely that it might be under one of two pews, but when these were removed nothing was found; nor does the record of any monumental remembrance of the deceased antiquary exist. In front of the old hall at Winterton is a shield carved in stone with the arms of Stovin, viz. : — Barry of six or and gules, in chief a label of five points; impaling Empson, Azure a chevron between three crosses form^e argent. Crest, over the helmet, a bow with the string drawn and the arrow ready to be discharged. Buried, a.d. 1780, May 14, Mr. George Stovin (Par, Reg.). Ex. inform. Rev. J. T. Fowler.)

7 January, 1747, page 23. See Peck, 197

The contents of this volume, probably in some better digested and more carefully arranged form, it seems to have been Mr. Stovin’s intention to give to the public, for at the end of the manuscript he has sketched out a summary of the contents of it, with ” Proposals for printing by subscription, in one volume, folio, with marginal notes. The History of the Drainage of the Great Level of Hatfield Chase, in the counties of York, Lincoln, and Nottingham; by George Stovin, Esq., near forty years an acting Commissioner of Sewers in the said Level.” The price was to be a guinea, in sheets, or handsomely bound and lettered; but the design was abandoned, probably for want of encouragement. The groundwork and main outline of the history, however, was in after years taken up and enlarged upon by the learned historian of ” South Yorkshire,” with that ability of composition and clearness of construction for which his works are so justly remarkable, and which will accord him a place in the front rank of topographical writers to the end of time.^

^ In 1880, the MS. was accidentally discovered behind some books in the office of a solicitor at Doncaster much connected with the legal affairs of the Level of Hatfield Chase. From whence it came, or how long it had been lying there, could not be explained,

^ Peck, Wainwright, and Stonehouse also derived information from this MS.


A Brief account of the Drainage of the Level of Hatfield Chase in the Counties of York, Lincoln, and Nottingham, WITH THE Country adjacent.

This famous Chase of Hatfield was the greatest Chase of red deer the Kings of England had, containing in all limits above one hundred and eighty thousand acres; and was formerly the estate of the Earls of Warren and Surry.

William the first gave the church to the Priory of Lewes, and William the second gave the tithe of all the eels taken out of the fisheries here to the abbey of Roch.

The manor of Hatfield continued in the Warren family for many generations and came at last to John Earl of Warren and Surry, who died possessed of it. He settled it upon Maud de Bereford, his concubine, and two children, John and Thomas; but it came, soon after, to Edmond de Langley, fifth son of Edward the third, and continued in the Crown till King Charles the first granted it to S’ Cornelius Vermuyden.

This church is only a vicarage, and but of small income, but the inpropriate tithes are let for above eight hundred pounds a year and are now the property of the Duke of Portmore, but for many years they were the property of the Cavendish family.

The town of Hatfield is in the West Riding of Yorkshire, and is one of the cleanest and pleasantest villages in those parts, being a fine gravelly soil, and most of the buildings new, and built of brick and tile. It stands about twenty-five computed miles almost south of York, and five computed miles almost north-east of Doncaster.

It is a very large and extensive parish, and the manor is copyhold, at a fine certain, and a very small one. The copyhold tenants having the privilege of felling their wood and timber without the consent of the lord of the manor.

To which manor belongs the several towns or hamlets of Thome, Stainford, Woodhouse, Dunscroft, Tudworth, Fishlake, &c.

At this town of Hatfield, the Kings of England had a royal seat (now called the Manor House), at which place Queen Philipa, consort to King Edward the third, being there to take the diversion of hunting, was brought to bed of a prince (called from thence), William de Hatfield, who died there, and was hurried in the cathedral church of St. Peter in York, where his effigy is to be seen cut in white marble on the north side the quire in the said church.

His mother gave five marks yearly to the Abbot of Roch, and five nobles to the monks there, for the saying mass for the repose of his soul; which said sum was transferred and is now yearly paid out of the impropriate tithes of Hatfield to the archbishop and dean and chapter of York.

This town of Hatfield is famous in history for a great battle fought there between Penda King of Mercia and Cadwala King of Wales, who fought Edwin King of Northumberland; in which battle Edwin and his eldest son Offred was both slain. Edwin was hurried at Dervento, now Aldby six miles east from York, upon the river Derwent. This estate of Aldby now belongs to Henry Brewster Darley, esq. There are many Koman antiquities found at this place.

In the parish of Hatfield is a large morass, about fifteen miles in circumference, a rank moor, and so light and boggy that you may thrust a pole down to the length of ten, twelve, or fifteen foot ; this place is called Hatfield Waste, and is where the inhabitants dig their turf for burning. But what is most admirable, in the very centre of this morass is about sixty acres of firm land, sandy, and full of blue cobble stones, much like those got in great plenty at the Spurn Head, at the mouth of the Humber. Upon this ground is a farm-house, and a spring of fine fresh water, though the water in the morass is very bad, and of the colour of coffee. This place is called Lindham, where dwelt a hermit, called William de Lindham,” of whom the people of Hatfield, Wroot, Finingley, Thome, Blackston, &c,, tell incredible stories, and some things more than wonderful.

This great Level has the river Trent and the Humber to the east, and south-east; and the river Ouse to the north and north-west; and had several natural rivers running through it, which emptied themselves into the two rivers of Trent and Ouse. The river Aire arises in the western hills near Skipton in Craven, and has many fine seats and towns upon it, as Leeds, a famous town of trade for fine broad cloths, tamys, stuffs, &c. Temple- Newsom, now the seat of the Honble. Lord Irwin ; this manor belonged to the Knights Templars but was given by Edward 3rd to John Lord D’arcy. Thomas Lord D’arcy forfeited this by rebellion, 1544, 35th Hen : 8th, who gave it to Matthew Earl of Lenox and Margrett his wife. Henry Lord Darnley, father of King James the first, was born in this house.

Upon the banks of the said river stands Swillington, the seat of Sir William Lowther, Bart. Also Kippax, the seat of Sir John Bland ; and Castleford, a Roman station, where I have met with several Roman coins. Through this place is the famous Roman road leading from the watering place north of Lincoln, over Littlebrough Ferry, over the Trent to Doncaster, and from Castleford to Aldborough, Catterick,


^^ See Drake’s Eboracum p. 33.

^^ Lindholme. John Symposia, of Fishlake, by his will 23rd March, 1407, and proved at York 28th July following, bequeathed “Id to the Hermit of Lindholme (Item lego viirf. heremite de lyndholm.)
Dr. Johnston’s MSS. at Campsall, contain some notices of this place and its occupant, which have been followed by other writers.
See Diary of Abraham De la Pryme, Surtees Soc. pub. vol. 64, 146. Hunter’s South- Yorkshire I. 196. Stonehouse’s Isle of Axholme, 394. In 1747, Mr. Stovin communicated to the Gentleman’s Magazine an account, with a small wood- out of the hermitage or cell said to have been the abode of William of Lindholm, which Dr. Miller reproduced in his History of Doncaster, page 300. John Bland, of Lindholme, gent., made his will 28th August, 1629 ; mentions his sisters Ann and Johan— his wife Sarah — leaves to John West his hanger or his peece, which he shall choose— 4/- each to the poor ofHatfield andHatfield Woodhouse —

12d. each to persons named Ashley desires to be buried at Haitefield — John West and Wm. Woodcock supervisors. About the year 1837, Mr. John Hatfeild Gossip purchased between 3000 and 4000 acres of land on the Lindholme moor or waste, with the intention of converting the property into one of great value by the process of  ” dry warping.” For want of sufficient funds, however, to enable him to prosecute the works successfully, it is believed that the property passed into the hands of Messrs. Charles and Robert Wright, of Anston, who had advanced money upon it. The Rev. N. Greenwell suggests the meaning of the word Lindholme to be the linden or lime tree island. Lindi, Danish for a linden or tell, and holme an island or low-lying level, alluvial land. The lime tree is said to succeed best in low, deep, subhumed loams. Another derivation may probably be from ‘ling* and * holme,’ the ling (heath) island.

Near this famous road, and adjoining Kippax, is Ledstone, now the estate of the Honble. the Earl of Huntington. At the conquest it was the estate of Edwin Earl of Mercia; afterwards belonged to Harboard, esq. ‘^ then to S’. Ric. Saltonstall ; then to S”^ John Lewes ; and then to Lady Betty Hastings. Below this is Biram, the seat of Sir John Ramsden. Also Ferry-Bridge, upon the great road from London to Edinburgh. Then Carlton, the seat of Sir Miles Stapleton ; and Cowick, the seat of the Lord Viscount Down. Near which is Snaith, a market town, formerly the estate of Laceys, Earls of Lincoln, with the soak of Snaith, containing all Marshland, &c. Then Rawcliff, late the seat of S”” John Boynton ; and then Ayremin, where the river falls into the Ouse, and now the estate of the Rt. Honbl. Hugh Earl of Northumberland. N.B. This river was made navigable up to Leeds, and in my memory the lock dues of this river was let to one Mr. Clark for £800 per annum ; but by the increase of trade up that river, the lock dues are let at £3,500 per annum and has been let at that rent for several years, and it is supposed they will now be let for £4000 per annum.

The next river which came in a more particular manner through this Level is the Don, which rises in the black mountains near Penniston in the West Riding of Yorkshire, and comes near Sheffield, a noted place for cutlers, and glides down to Rotherham, where it takes in the Rother out of Derbyshire, and many other small rivulets. It then comes by Oldwork, the estate of Francis Foljamb, esq. ; then by Tribourgh, Coningsburgh, Strafford ; takes in the Dare” at Darefield; then by Sprotburgh, and so to Doncaster, a Roman station upon the military road ; then to Wheatley, the seat of Sr Geo. Cook; Sandal, Bamby-super-Don, Stainford, and Fishlake, below which place, and near Thome, this river divided itself into two branches, the one running north into the river Ayre, and the other east into the river Trent.^^ On this branch stands Croul, an ancient market town, and formerly part of the possessions of the Abbey of Selby, in Yorkeshire; below which stands Eastoft, divided by the river Don, one part in the West Riding of Yorkshire, and the other in Lincolnshire. The Yorkshire part was lately the estate and residence of Francis Eastoft, esq., and the Lincolnshire part the estate of Sir John Lister, and his seat (though there are some other owners in the place). This estate was part of the possessions of the Abbey of Selby and is now the estate of Thomas Lister, esq., of Geresby, near Louth, in the comity of Lincoln.


*2 Harebred. See Thoreaby’s Ducatus’ Leod. 235.

*’ Dearne.

*^ This branch having been stopped up by Sir C. Vermuyden, at the drainage, it may be as well to notice Mr. Stovin’s memorandum of “The course of old Donn from Eastofte to Stainford. Going by Micklemash Hill and Barefoot Bill, and so along between Raynsbutt on the north side and Blackwater to the Garth on the north side the Hazell-ends, and so by the Garths called the Land-Garths almost by Tockwith to Saunder-Garth, and so up the south side of Reeder-Wath to the Crooke; and so through a Garth called Wrymouth to Lamer- Rack, and so through a wath called Booth-Eye to Ellen-Tree- Hill, and from thence by to Tudworth; and so by Sea- Bank up the closes late Thomas Darling’s, of Thome, and so on Stainford Inge up Fyll-pitt against Mydleinch-Nooke, and to Stainford.

Below this, in Lincolnshire, and upon the banks of this river, is Ludington, part of the manor of Crowle, and below it stands Haldenby, formerly the seat of Sir Francis Haldenby, and below that Folkerby, the estate of . . . . Skeme, esq., now of Eliz. Ramsden, a widow lady. Below this, and near Don-month, where it emptied itself into the river Trent, stands Aethlingfleet, now called Adlingfleet, which took its name and being from Edgar AEthling, who was heir to Harold (slain by William the Conqueror) and also to the crown of England, who having fled into Denmark with many English noblemen for refuge, prevailed with Swain, King of Denmark, to send his son Knut with a fleet of 300 sail of ships, and a great number of men to assist him in recovering his crown, who came into the Humber in the third year of William the first, and having ruined and plundered the country on both sides that famous river, passed on to York, took that city, and got therein a great booty. But William the Conqueror having raised a large army, and upon the march to give them battle, they returned to their fleet that then lay between the Trent and the Ouse, in the river Don (where the tides before the drainage of Hatfield Chase ebbed and flowed up beyond Doncaster). Here the Danish army encamped all winter, and in the spring Knut came to an agreement with the Conqueror for a large sum of money, and with the great riches he had got at York, and in the country, he quitted the nation, taking those spoils along with him, and left Edgar AEthling to shift for himself, who fled into Scotland to the king his kinsman, by which means William the Conqueror was left in peaceable possession of the kingdom of England.

This camp was strongly situated, having part of the Humber and the Trent to the east, the Ouse to the north, and the river Don to the south, and covered with a deep morass (twenty-five miles in circumference, to the west), so that a few forces would defend it against the Norman duke, as the Danes by their fleet were masters of all the above-named rivers.

The river Don is at this place, and for many miles upwards, the ancient boundary between the counties of York and Lincoln.

Swain, King of Denmark, came into the said rivers, the next year, with a large fleet and army, plundered the country, got a vast booty, and made all the people swear fealty to him, thinking to secure his possession ; but, upon more mature thoughts, he conceived it best for him to get off with his booty, and, sailing home, the Danes never came more to disturb this nation.

This lordship of Adlingfleet was given by William the Conqueror to one of his followers in his expedition against England, called John D’avill, and anno. Dom. 1080, William Ellerker of Ellerker, esq., lord of Holdenshire, married Marrian the daughter and heiress of John D’avill, lord of Adlingfleet. She bears Or, on a chevron betwixt four flower de luces sable two flower de luce, William Ellerker, his great great grandson, married the daughter and coheiress of Sir Amias Ludlow, of Scrivleby, in Lincolnshire.”


” In another part of the MS., Mr. Stovin writes: — “Anno Dom. 1080, William Elerker of Elerker, esq., married Marrian, the daughter and heiress of John D’avill, lord of Athlingfleet. I take it that John D’avill came over with William the Norman, as a soldier, and as Edgar Athling, (from whom this town had its name) with the Danes, invaded  England soon after William was pro

claimed king, went up as fair as York and burnt and sack’d that city, they returned to their fleet, which they left at this place, in the autumn, and with the army encamped in the grounds betwixt the rivers Trent and Ouse, and having their fleet at hand wintered there. In the spring following, the Conqueror attempted to dislodge them, but their camp being suiTOunded with large rivers and moorasses, he was forced to come to terms with the Danish general, and by a shower of gold divert the storm that hung over his head ; upon which they sett sail, and returned to their own country.

A.D. 1101. John Ellerker, son of William, by Marrian D’avill, built the chapel of Ellerker (nere South Cave, in the East Hiding of Yorkshire about eight miles from Athlingfleet, and within one mile north of the Humber) and covered it with lead, which was enjoy ned his father to have performed by King William Ruffus, and gave the bells.

A.D. 1241. John Ellerker, his great grandson, repaired the chancel of Ellerker, being casualy buried in the year 1241 ;

and being lord of Holdenshire in the time of Nevile Frisney lord bishop of Durham (by the help of Joceline earl of Northumberland, who gave the timber), the said John undertook the repair of the same, and gave lands to the maintenance of the chantry ; wherefore the bishop gave him and his heirs for ever the grantship of Ellerker, with a certain fee thereto belonging. William, liis son, married the daughter and co-heiress of S’ Amias Ludlow of Scriyelby, in com. Lincoln.
N. B. The owner of the manner of Scrivelby is Champion of England, S’ Amias Ludlow was Champion then. It hass been for many years in the hands of Dimock, Champion of England.

N.B. I take it that John D’avill, lord of Athlingfleet, was a chief officer in the Conqueror’s army, and for the good services he did the Norman Prince in treating with the Danes to quit the kingdom, and this peece of ground whereon they encamped in particular, he gave him a grant of it. This was a strong place to encamp in, as may be seen by the short feketch below.”

Danish Camp Stovin

The third river that runs through this Level was the Idle, which takes its rise near Idleton, in Nottinghamshire, and took in innumerable brooks and rivulets in its passage, even to the borders of Derbyshire, and running past Bawtry to Missen, fell into this Level, and was a large and very crooked river, as most natural rivers are. At Sandtoft (before the drainage of this Level), there was a ferry over this river into the Isle of Axholm, from Thorne, Hatfield, &c., and about a mile north-east of this ferry, it fell into the river Don.


The fourth river is the Tome,’ a small brook which brought great quantities of water into this Level from Tickhill river, and St Catherine’s Well, near Loversall; and several other books fell into the Idle near Wroot.

The fifth and last river is te Went, which rises near Nostell, the seat formerly of …. Gargrave, knight, but now of Sir Rowland Winn Bart., which takes in many streams, and fell into the north branch of the river nearCowick, the seat of Lord Down.

The reader may form an idea of what a watery country this must be before the drainage. Five rivers running through it, and frequently overflowing their banks ; besides the tides coming into the two branches of the Don every twelve hours, and no artificial banks to confine the waters in their proper channels; and he will be, I hope, agreeably surprised when he finds, in this history, that all those waste lands, by the management of the undertakers of this great work, are now become dry land.

I cannot omit giving some account of Thome, within the manor of Hatfield, now become a handsome market-town. It stands about two measured miles almost north from Hatfield, in a point just between the before mentioned branches of the river Don.

On the north side, the church at Thorne stood a castle, which was the prison for offenders in Hatfield Chase. This castle has a large ditch round it; the mount where the castle stood is very high; but the castle is long since demolished; the dungeon is yet in being, and was used for a cellar by the late Mr. Thomas Canby of Thorne. The castle hill was planted with ash trees, which was a great ornament to the town, but they were lately sold and cut down. The hill is now called Peel Hill, being a corruption of Pile Hill, from the word Pile (among architects) signifying a mass or stack of buildings.'”

By the drainage, this town was greatly enriched, and their turbary’^ has for above a century employed their poor and will do the same for ages to come. The labouring people digg their turff” in the summer, and their wives and children make them ready for sale. When the harvest is over, the men bring them in small boats from the moors, down the canals and drains made by the undertakers of the drainage, into the river Don, through Thorne Sluice, and put them on board keels and other small vessels, which carry them to market to York, Selby, Leeds, Wakefield, Hull, Gainsborough, Lincoln, &C where they have ready sale  for them. There is scarce a boatman in Thorne but what has built a new house of brick and tile, and maintain their families exceeding well.


The river Torne is stated in a presentment of a jury of the court of sewers, 2nd Oct. 1668, to have been “anciently a navigable river, and so continued to be till Mr. Francis Childers erected a dam or wear, about 20 years ago, upon the said river, below Rossington bridge, whereby the same is damned up and become un- navigable.”

(Court records, vol. 2, p. 362).

^ The place being used as a prison for offenders.  may it not be called a peel from the French word pillfer to rob or plunder?

^^ From turba, an obsolete Latin word for turf ; turbary is a right to dig turf on a common or in another man’s grounds. **C. E. K.” in Notes and Queries, 6 N.S. Ill, 457, states that at Tolpuddle church, Dorset, the three bells are supposed to ring, “My turfs out, my turf’s done.” Turf being the principal fuel of the peasants, when their firing was done, he says, they repaired to the belfry to keep themselves warm by ringing.

These moors, or Thorne Waste, is of great extent, being twenty-five miles round; in the midst of which has been a Lodge for one of the keepers of this famous chase. It affords turbary to Croul in Lincolnshire, Eastoft, Haldenby, Folkerby, Adlingfleet, Ousefleet, Goule, Hooke, Ayremin, Rawcliff in Marshland, Snaith, Sykehouse, Fishlake, &c., in the county of York. And upon this waste is plenty of game, as hares, partridge, black moor-game, ducks, geese, curlews, snipes, foxes, &c. It affords plenty of cranberries, and an odoriferous shrub called Gale ; some call it Sweet willow, or Dutch myrtle.

And here I cannot omit to mention that the inhabitants of Thome far exceed all their neighbours in their care and industry, for they have had the art to get estates out of fish-ponds ; to make terra firma of pools and stagnated waters ; to plow with horses, where a man, a hundred years ago, could not walk nor stand. In short, to get good corn, meadow, and pasture land, where there was none before.

As a confirmation of this country being nothing but water, there was, in the parish and liberty of Thome only, fifty-three copyhold fishings held of the lord of the manor of Hatfield by certain rents, and also many copyhold fishings held of the lords of the manor of Epworth, Croul, and Wroot. None of the inhabitants of the other towns who have a right upon this Waste could or would as yet follow so good an example as the Thome people have set them. It is chiefly the inhabitants of Thome that have changed the face of the country, and that have got estates out of the deepest pools of water; converted moor and moss into dry land, and out of quagmires and bottomless pits raised meadows, pastures, and cornfields. And as it may be natural for the reader to enquire how all this was perfected, I shall inform him as well as I can. This was their method and industrious care, viz., every inhabitant that had right of common and turbary in this parish, by agreement had the moor measured in breadth next to Thorne common, and they computed how many yards broad would fall to each common-right house. When this was done, every person had his equal breadth next Thorne common to the west, and so was to cut to the east (each man as far as he could) ; then they begun to cut drains betwixt each other’s moor; the turf that came out paying for the labour, and betwixt those dykes they graved their turf. But they graved it to the very bottom until they came to the natural soil, which in many places is good strong clay, sand, &c. ; and so every year cleared as much of it as they could sell or bum for fuel. So that now they have got from twenty to forty and fifty acres each of good firm land, and in all above acres, and above …. miles from west to east, and still pursues the game.

And upon this new found land is planted oaks, elm, ash, willows, thorns, &c., which grow exceeding well. I question there is such an improvement made in any part of Great Britain. They are every year improving and draining this Waste, that in the same number of years that is past since the first drainage to this time, they may and possibly will gain as much more land as they have already gotten, and so on for some ages to come ; for there is no other town that opposes them, or makes any improvement. And they having no known bounds between them, the Thome people will go on until their spades clash against the spades of the inhabitants of the towns above mentioned, almost at their own doors.

This great Waste is of the same nature with that called Hatfield Waste, and both of them, as also all the low grounds and commons in Hatfield Chase, is a sort of subterraneous forest which is dug up daily, as oak, fir, &c. I have known an oak tree taken up that afforded a thousand pales five foot and a half long and from six to seven inches broad, for which I paid ten shillings a hundred, besides several loads of firewood.

N.B. — In the year 1100, all Belton, Ep worth, Crowle, Haxey, and Owston commons, part of this Level, were covered with a great old decaying forest, or wood, and all down from Crowle Causey to Althorp upon Trent. Philo Transactions Vol 1st Part 3rd pa:218

Fir trees have been found underground above thirty yards long, and yet wanting many yards at the small end, and have been sold for masts for ships from 4, 8, 10, to 15 pounds a piece. Some have been found chopped and squared, some bored through; some burned through, or on oneside ; some half riven with great wooden wedges in them, and broken axe heads, somewhat like sacrificing axes in shape. Under a tree near Hatfield was found 8 or 9 Koman coins.

Mr. Edward Canby, father to the late Mr. Thomas Canby, of Thome, found an oak tree 40 yards long, 4 yards in diameter at the great end, 3 yards one foot in the middle, two yards over at the small end ; so that the tree seems to have been as long again ; for which he was offered twenty pounds.

A man was found in Thorn moors lying at his length with his head upon his arm, as in a common posture of sleep, whose skin being tanned, as it were, with the moor water, preserved his shape entire. (Do. part 2nd, pa: 212.)

About sixty years ago, or seventy, the servants of Mr. James Empson, of Goole, was digging turf in this great Waste, and one of them cut a man’s arm off by the shoulder, which he carried home to his master, who took the bone out and stuffed it, and made a present of it to Dr. Johnson,** of York, an antiquarian. This was the very hand and arm mentioned by Dr. Gibson, late bishop of London in his Translation of Cambden’s Britania, in the additions to the West Riding of Yorkshire. And in June 1747, in the neighbouring moors, and on the said Level, in the moors belonging to Amcotts, was found by John Tate of Amcotts, who was digging turf, the entire body of a woman. He first cut of one of her feet with his spade, on which was a sandall; but being frighted, left it. I being informed of it, went with Thomas Perfect, my gardener, and others, and we took up the whole body ; there was a sandal on the other foot ; the skin was like a piece of tanned leather, and it stretched like a fine doe skin; the hair was fresh about the head and privy parts, which distinguished the sex ; the teeth firm ; the bones was raled black ; the flesh consumed ; and she lay upon her side in a bending posture, with her head and toes almost together, which looks as tho’ she had been hhurled down by the force of some strong current of water, and though a great part of this moor had been formerly graved of she lay seven foot deep from the present surface. I took the skin off

” Probably Nathaniel Johnston.

one arm, from the elbow to the hand, and shaking the bones out, it would have made a ladies’ muff. The other hand not being cut with the spade, as we dug for it, I preserved it, and stuffed it, first taking out the bones, which my son, James Stovin,”” now has in his possession, at Doncaster. And what is very remarkable, the nails are firm and fast on the fingers. He also has one of the sandals, which was made of one whole piece of a raw hide, and only one short seam at the heel, sewed with a thong of the same leather. The sandals had ten loops cut in the whole leather on each side, and ten small loops at the toe, which caused to the toe of the sandal to draw up like the mouth of a purse. They were laced on, upon the top of the foot, with a thong of the same leather. This lady’s skin and the sandals were both tanned by the same tanner (to wit) by the black water of these moors; for there being such great quantities of oak, firs, and other wood hurried in these moors, the water is by them tinctured and made exactly of the colour of the modern tann fatt water, and the fir having so much resinous matter in it, no doubt that helps to preserve these bodies for so many ages, for that they have laid some hundreds of years. I have the assent of that learned body, the Royal Society, for in September 1747, I sent the hand and sandal above mentioned to that learned body with the same account (or to the same purpose I have here given),and when they returned it, I was honoured with their thanks by letter, and their opinion was that ** they must have laid there many hundred years ; for the sandals were worn in England about the conquest, yet they could not find they were of the make or shape of this above mentioned but concluded it must be much ancienter than that period.” I hurried the remains of this lady in Amcots chapel yard. I showed the hand and sandal to my worthy friend Thomas Whchcot, of Harpswell, esq. knight of the shire for the county of Lincoln in parliament, who was pleased to put the sandal on before I sent them to the Royal Society.

At Thome, in these moors, about ten years ago, as one William Biddy, of Thorne, was digging turf*, he found the entire body of a man with his teeth firm in his head ; the hair of his head firm and fast on, and of a yellowish colour, either naturally so or dyed by the water of this moor. His skin like a piece of tanned leather. He took the body up entire, after having lain there some hundred years. N.B. — I had this account from the man himself.

I also think proper to mention that the servants of Mr. George Healey, of Burringham, on the east side Trent, and near this Level, was digging up firewood in a large moor belonging to Burringham, and at the bottom of a fir tree root they found (as tho’ laid together) a British spear, a British axe, and two short swords or dirks, all of brass, which Mr. Healey made me a present of, and which I now have by me.


^ James Stovin, elected Clerk of the  Court of Sewers for Hatfield Chase 5thFeb., 1757: resigned in 1775. Elected town-clerk of Doncaster, 11 Dec. 1771: resigned 12th Jan. 1778 : became of Whitgift, also a commissioner of sewers and a justice of the peace for the West-Riding co. York and for Lincolnshire. He built the house in the parish of Rossington, formerly called Shooter’s Hill, and died at Sprotborough Hall» where he then resided, 26th July, 1789, and was buried at Rossington.

In these moors is found yew in plenty, which the country people call wire thorne, and it is very evident that all this wood grew upon the place, for you find the roots in their natural position, and when they fell is unknown. Some will have it that thsy have lain in the ground ever since Noah’s flood; others that this great forest was destroyed by the Romans, which last is the opinion of Abram de la Pryme, a native of this Level and F.R.S., who writes that, ” he supposes it was destroyed, and set on fire by the ancient Romans, under Ostorius, the Roman general, who had a pitched battle with the Britons, at a place now called Osterfield, near Bawtrey, upon the confines of this great Level ; that the Romans being victorious, the Britons fled to these woods and fastnesses ; that he pursued them with his victorious army, and, in order to destroy them, set fire to the woods, &c.^

This seems possible, but I want to know if this battle was fought in autumn ? for it is evident to me that these trees, whenever they fell, it was in autumn, and when the fruits of them was at maturity ; for I have taken out of the places, when they was digging these trees, hazel nutts, in great quantities, also firr apples or the cones, all very fair and at full perfection. When I have laid the hazel nutts in the sun for some time they would moulder to dust in one’s fingers; but the cones of the fir grows tough and hard. The nuts have the kernnel left in them.

Dr. Shuckford makes Noah’s flood to be in autumn, but it’s observable that all the tops of the trees, in general, when found, lie towards the east, which is the course of the rivers running through this Level into the river Trent, that it’s very probable, the woods being destroyed by the Romans, that those rivers overflowing frequently and by several inundations from the west and south-west, with the leaves, dirt, and sludge brought down for several ages, these large moors was formed, and those trees covered ; for this Level was the receptacle of all the waters from the south-west of Yorkshire, a great part of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.

King Charles the first, being lord of Hatfield, Epworth, Croul, Misterton, and thirteen other contiguous manors, the domains whereof consisted of a Level of above seventy thousand acres of overflowed wastes, whereupon he and his progenitors had an extensive chase of red deer, for the ease of his tenants (from the destruction made by the deer in the adjacent inclosures and cornfields), and for the good of all his subjects, he contracted with Sir Cornelius Vermuyden and his Participants, in the 2nd year of his reign, to dischase and drain the same, reserving to himself one third part of the said Level, as lord of the soil, allowing the drainers one third part for their charges, and of meer grace granted the remainder to the respective tenants for their common.^

Vermuyden was to agree with the commoners about their several allotments, yet he met with unaccountable and unforeseen trouble and vexation from the commoners. But, by several commissions directed to several noblemen, all the allotments was settled by consent of parties, and soon after confirmed by decrees in the Exchequer.

2* See letters from De la Pryme to Dean Qale, Surtees Soc. pub. vol. 54, p. 221.

^ A copy of this agreement dated 24th  May, 2d Car. 1626, is printed in Peck’s Isle of Axholme, 1815, Appendix No. 2: and an abstract of it in Hunter’s South Yorkshire f vol. 1, page 160. Mr. Stovin also gives a copy of it in the MS.

But the tenants and commoners of Epworth manor in the Isle of Axholme,^ in the towns of Haxey, Owston, Bumham, Epworth, and Belton, claiming under an old deed of John de Mowbray, once lord of the whole island, dated the 31st of May, 1359,^^ gave- great obstruction to this laudable and great undertaking.

N.B. Roger de Mowbray forfeited the fine estate by rebellion against Hen. the …. See Rapin.

The said Level was dischased and drained at the expense of above four hundred thousand pounds, Vemiuyden and his Participants being obliged to stop up the old natural rivers, and to cut new and spacious canals, rivers, and drains for some hundred of miles in all.

The river Idle was stopped up near Haxey, and the waters conveyed into the Trent at West Stockwith.

The first Commission of Sewers for this Level was granted a.d. 1630 ; and in the year 1632 another was granted in order to compel Vermuyden to stop up the branch of the Don that runs east through the Level into the Trent, and to cut a new drain from the northern branch of Don near Cowick to Goole, into the river Ouse, which cut being four or five miles long, and very wide, cost the undertakers thirty thousand pounds, and the sluice into the Ouse cost above three thousand pounds.

The King, in the fourth year of his reign,^ sold his manor of Hatfield to Sir Cornelius Vermuyden under the old rent of £195 3. 4d, and a red rose, and an increased rent of £425 per annum, to be paid to the Crown for ever. Also, part of the manor of Brampton, with his premises in Wroot, under the old rent of £8 6a 8d, and a pair of gloves, or four- pence, and an increased rent of £60 per annum.

His majesty also sold his third part of the drained lands to John Gibbon and John Corsellis esquires, under the fee farm rent of one thousand two hundred twenty-eight pounds seventeen shillings per annum, payable to the Crown.

But soon after this, the king granted the above-mentioned rents to Katherine, Duchess Dowager of Buckingham, and George, Earl of Rutland, in trust for George, Duke of Buckingham, son of the said duchess and the late Duke of Buckingham, who was stabbed by Felton, at Portsmouth.

Sir Cornelius Vermuyden had brought over a great number of Dutchmen and French Protestants, with their families and their whole substance, amongst whom were several gentlemen of famaly and great fortune. These gentlemen came over to participate in this Level, as may be seen in page . . . and where you have an account of the numbers of acres they severaly purchased of Sir Cornelius Vermuyden.


De La Pryme, in one of his manuscripts, says the Isle of Axholme ” was a mighty rude place before the drainage, the people being little better than heathens; but since that ways have been made accessible unto them by land, their converse and familiarity with the country round about them ; they have become mightily civilized.”

2* A copy of this deed, stated to be translated from the French by Wm. Ryley, keeper of the records in the Tower of London, is printed in Peck’s Isle of Axholme Appendix No. 1. Mr. Stovin also gives a copy of it in the MS.

2* Some notes concerning the river Idle are printed in Peck’s Hist, of Bawtry and Thorne, 1813, Appendix No. I.

* Mr. Stovin gives in the MS. a Latin copy of this grant, dated 31st January, 4th Charles. Peck furnishes a translated copy which he dates ** the fifth day of February,” without any year, and styles it in the heading as ” made in the second year of his (the King’s) reign.”

These undertakers had many difficulties to encounter with, having houses to build for themselves and their tenants, who they had brought along with them, to keep them from the inclemency of the weather; and Sir Cornelius Vermuyden built a noble house, according to the fashion of those days. It was stud-bound (and I have heard all the wood work was framed in Holland). It was a great pile of building, with a square court in the middle of it, with barns, stables, granaries, &c, to the northeast and west, and the south front was the dwelling-house. These buildings are still standing, but the dwelling-house almost new built of brick and style by . . . . Harvey, esq., of . . . . , in Bedfordshire, the present owner.

Sir Matthew Vanvalkenburgh also built a good house upon the banks of the Don, in this Level, which was lately the estate of Sir John Boynton, then of Boynton Boynton, esq., who left it to two daughters.

Sir Philibert Vernatti also built a good house near the banks of the Idle, in this Level ; also the De Witts, two brothers; and many more.

They also built a church at Sandtoft, in Belton parish, for the use of the Dutch and French Protestants inhabiting this Level, and had several minister’s that succeeded each other, who preached to the Dutch every Lord’s Dav in the forenoon, and to the French Protestants in the afternoon, in their several languages ; as will more fully appear hereafter.*^

The people of the manor of Epworth claimed right of common upon thirteen thousand four hundred acres; and at the division of the lands between the drainers and the commoners they had six thousand acres allotted then. But some of them not being content therewith, in the twelfth year of the said king, their differences was by consent of the Participants and commoners referred to Sir. John Banks, the then Attorney General, who allotted the commoners one thousand acres more out of the Participant’s part (which, at the first allotment, I find, was seven thousand four hundred acres), also Epworth south moor and Butterwick moor. And considering that the poor of Epworth, Owston, and Belton parishes would be great sufferers by their loss of fishing and fowling, he awarded that the Participants should pay four hundred pounds for a stock to employ the poor people in the making of sackcloth, cordage, kc.
N.B. This manufactory of making sackcloth is still carried on in this island, and employs numbers of poor people, they having ready sale for it.

These lands were at the first peaceably and quietly enjoyed. Great numbers of Dutch and French Protestants being planted there, as is above mentioned. A house was erected for their minister, and a handsome salary, fixed for him, paid by the owners of this Level. But the people of Epworth manor and Misterton did, at the breaking out of the civil war between King Charles the first and the Parliament, take up


^ Roger de Mowbray, in the reign of Henry II f, by a charter of which an exemplification is given in the Monasticon^ and copied from thence by Wainwright in his ” Strafford and Tickhill,” page Ixxviii, granted certain lands and fisheries at Sandtoft to the Abbey of St. Mary, at York ; for the sustenatioun of a recluse.

It was then an island, formed by the river Idle dividing into two streams near its junction with the Don. There was a ferry over the Idle from Hatfield and Thorne. The situation for a church was most central for the Dutch and French protestants. (Stonehouse’s hist Isle of Axholme, p354)

arms against his majesty, and with the assistance of some parliament soldiers they laid waste the inclosed lands within these manors burned and destroyed houses and corn thereon to the value of twenty thousand pounds.

Page 210 to continue


for it, but no person would own they knew anything of it. Upon which I informed the court that I see a certain gentleman (W d, then clerk of assize fur the Northern circuit), as wee was setting down to dinner, hand a parchment out of the ctiseraent into the street to M””. John Arthur the former clerk. This alarmed the commissioners, and they very justly resented this treatment, when they sent for the gentleman, and charged him with conveying the commission, which he absolutely denied. But the commissioners threatening to commit him to York castle if he did not produce it, he, in a sneaking, dirty manner, fetch’t it from Arthur, and delivered it into court. This base action lost their election ; many of their friends being
angry at this proceeding, and M*”. Robert I^anks was elected clerk.

There is also an Expenditor for this Levil, with a sallery of fifty pounds a year paid by the Participants. This officer receives all the scotts or asscsmcnts laid anualy upon te lands in this great Levil, at so much the acre, for the maintaining and supporting the drainage of the same, repairing of bridges, banks, sluces, navigable sasses, cleansing the drains and watercourses. lie also pays the clerk, the surveyor, and other officers their salleries, buys wood for stay thing and banking, stone, timber, tkc, which these great works may want. Mr. Francis Simpson, of Fishlock, is the present expenditor.

They have also a Surveyor,’*” with a sallery of fifty pounds a year. His business is to survey the drains, sluces, sasses, bridges, banks, ifcc, and to sett on workmen to dyke, scour, bank, and repair, as occasion requires. When money is wanted for the workmen, «fcc., lie makes out his warrant under his hand, directed to the expenditor, to pay so much money to the paity, or parties, who have done such or such a peece of work relating to the said levil, which warrant is a sufficient voucher to the expenditor when he passeth his accounts, which he does once every year, about tlie month of October, before the Commissioners of Sewers

** These were the members of the court who were more especially interested in what were formerly known as the
‘* High Level’ and the ” Low Level, ” which from their position received different degrees of benefit from the operations of the drainage. Under a more equalized system of taxation, however, there is now practically little or no distinction known between them.

^* Mr. Arthur was elected clerk 24th Aug., 1724, but on the 17th Sept. following his appointment was revoked, and

Mr. Banks was elected. He was a son of the Hev. Kobert Banks, of Hull. Of this family was afterwards the Right Hon. Sir Joseph Banks, Bart., 1781, who died 8.p. in 1820.

^ Either the father or the brother of Sir Edward Simpson, LL.D., M.P. for Dover, Master of Trinity Hall, Cambridge.

^^ Mr. Abraham De la Pryme, nephew of the Rev. Abraham De la Pryme, the antiquary, was elected surveyor I5th December, 1724. Died in 1740.


and as many of the participants as please to attend at a court of sewers held for that purpose within the limits of the said commission, the surveyor always attending such court. This officer has also a power to lett any dyeking, scouring, banking, stoue, (fee, fur repairs ; but mostly has the advice and assistance of the expenditor in matters of moment, and frequently the approbation of some of the chief participants, as lately in a breach on the south side Gowle dyke or Dutch river, which cost the participants 1700 pounds to take again and secure the country.

They have also a Bailiff attendant upon this court, whose business it is to call the court, summons the several juries, to serve all warrants or orders made by the commissiouerti ; to publish their laws and decrees in open markett ; to levy fines and forfietures ; to make distresses for rents, scotts, or assessments ; to adjourn the courts by proclamation, sallery is small, but his perquisites very good, having certain fees fur executing wan*ants, summons, orders, laws, decrees,

They have a Sluice Keeper at Thorne, with a sallery and a house to live in. Another at Althorp ;^^ another at Ferry ; another at Misterton Siisse ; one who looks after the Dutch river ; and workmen employed in and about it ; besides several under-masters who look after the workmen.

N.B. The fee- farm rents of this Levil now belong to Edward Wharton, esq., of London.

S*” Cornelius Vermuyden and his Participants met with great opposition from the people of Hatfield, Fishlake, Sjkehouse, Snaith, and other places in Yorkshire, as well as from the people of Epworth manor, Misterton and Gringley : so that it is much to be wonder’d at that they ever brought this great undertaking to perfection. For the people uf thoise places rise against him, pull down his works several times ; and when that would not do they burned all his airts and barrows by night, in great heaps ; upon which S”^ Cornelius purchased lands of the antient owners to make such drains as would satisfie the common people, and gave those people exterordinary wages in his employment, that they not care to disturb him or his works any more.

But his stoping up the Don that ran through the Levils into Trent, by which the surcharge of water was carried away from the antient lands in the last mentioned places, and raising a mighty bank from where ho stop’d up this branch of Don to Turn-Bridge, six miles long, and o^ an exterordinary hieght and thickness, threw the water ujjou the lands of Sykehouse, Fislake, Stainford, Bain, and Pulington, and uther place-, into their very houses. And now this part of the country rise again, cutt the banks, and destroy all before them, so that the Attorney General, in his majesty’s behalf, and S*” Cornelius Vermuyden, on his own behalr’, set forth before the Councel Board the lijtuus carriage of Robert Pui tington, esq. and others in beating, wounding, and killing divers of their workmen employed in this undertaking, and for spoiling of the walls and bunks made lor the defence of the Levil. This business was heard at Double Kivers, and between the two

**’ Sic in MS. apparently. stone sluces at Althorpe, of brick and built a handsome new house between the (MS.)


the Board, both partys present, fully debated by their counsel, in the presence of the King. Mr. Portington and others were bound to their good behaviour and left to S” Cornelius his liberty to prosecute. But S’ Conielius was to secure, at his own charge, the banks of Fislake and Sykehouse in what was requisite for their safety more then the usual charge before the undertaking of the drainage. And whereas it was moved against Robert Portington, esq., (one of the persons complained off), that he might be put out of the commission of the peace in the West-Riding of the county of York, it is ordered that he shall continue in commission so long as he behaveth himself well.”*^

S^ Cornelius Vermuyden having thus shown the way to Whitehall, the inhabitants of Sykehouse, Fislake, Stainford, Cowick, Snaith, Bain, Polington, and divers ether places in the West-Rideing of Yorkshire exhibited their petition to the Board, with a certificate of divers justices of the peace of the said rideing, made at a quarter-sessions held at Pontifract the seaventh of April 1629, representing that the said places, with the countiy thereabouts, had sustained infinite loss by the inundations of water caiised by the Participants’ new works, flowings were occasioned by the great bank erected by S’ Cornelius Vermuyden, as mentioned above, and by turning the water of Don and Ayre into channels not capable to receive them and carry them away, and that the new channel to Gowle, repairing and raising the old banks on the west side of the north stream of Don, according to a late order of the Board, would secure the country and prevent future danger.

These allegations on both sides were deliberatdy heard by their counsell, the King present, and it was ordered, for preventing further disputes, that the inhabitants of the above mentioned towns should raise by an equal assessment upon their lands the sum of two hundred pounds, to be i)aid to the said S”* Cornelius, and that thereupon the said S*” Cornelius with the other participants shall, at his and their own proper costs and charges, make the old wall on the west side the river Don as high as the great bank on the cjtst side lately erected by S”^ Cornelius Vermuyden, and he and his participants shall for ever repair the same, upon condition they pay to him and his participants such yearly allowances as by certain commissioners of sewers to be indifferently chosen by both parties shall be thought requisite ; and that the country do not directly or indirectly cutt, pull down, nor wilfully in damage the banks so raised and repaired, and for quietness sake provided that all losses and damages on either side committed or sustained should be remitted, in that their lordships looking forwards were desireous to avoid all contentions and law suits, and to promote a good understanding between S*” Cornelius and the countiy.

S^ Cornelius Vermuyden now projected to have this improvement establishd by Act of Parliament ; and this same project was on foot soon after the Restoration of Charles 2*^., but obstructed by the late lord Down, which noble lord, with S*” ‘i’homas Yarborough, both member of parliament for Pontifract, satisfy ed the house by several weighty arguments to the contrary.

Upon which the petition of the above mentioned inhabitants was considered over again, and the whole matter in debate twixt the partys was


refferred, by order of councel, to tlio right hon^^*^ Thomas Lord Viscount Wentworth, lord president of the north, John Lord Darcy, and Mr. Justice Hutton, or any two of them, whereof the Lord Wentworth to be one.

Accordiug to the direction of this order, Lord Wentworth and Lord Darcy melt at Hatfield two several times, and view’d the works made by S”^ Cornelius for draining the Siiid Levil of Hatfield Chase, and the 26th of Aug*. 1630, after hearing the alligations on both sides, and with the assistance and consent of S”^ Robert Heath his majesty’s Attorney General, and S”” Thomas Fanshaw his majesty’s Surveyor Ceneml (both S”” Cornelius his especial friends), and by the consent of both paiiies, these two noble persons made an order or award. This award was ordered to be decreed in his majesty’s court of Exchequer, also before the Lord Precident and Councel in the north. But, to prevent this, S”^ Cornelius Vermuyden secretly cunveys his improvements unto trustees.

This made the Lord Precident grievously complain from York to the Councel Board above, that, notwithstanding his award, the banks and works were neglected, and the country miserably drown’d, and that S”^ Cornelius kept without the jurisdiction of his court, and so made all process inefectual ; that he hass great difficuilty to keep the people from riseing ; therefore humbly desires their lordships to direct S”^ Cornelius to be sent down to him and order him to make just satisfaction to the country.

But the countiy being much under water on the west side the river Don, the inhabitants preffer’d a fresh petition to the Councel Board, 25th May 1631, settini; forth that S”” Cornelius refused to give way for the passing a decree according to order ; and the Board having called both partys before them, and seen their order, and heard the arguments on both sides, did unanimously order and declare that the said S”^ Cornelius and his partners shall sufier the said order to be decreed as well in the Exchequer Chamber as before the Lord Precident and Councel at York, according to the true intent and meaning of the said order : and they further order that the petitioner’s bill now depending in the Exchequer Chamber may be so suffitiently answered by the said S”^ Cornelius and his partners before the first day of the next termas that a decree may be thereupon had by consent, without any suit or delay ; and, if the said S”” Cornelius and his said partners shall make default in performance of their lordships’ orders, the Board will take notice thereof. So that upon the 28^^ day of November following the award was decreed in the Exchequer. But S”^ Cornelius and his partners still puts off the award being decreed at York.

The famous since at Gowle blowing up some years after this, for want of proper repairs, lett in the tides out of Ouse, and for many years caused great floods upon the antient lands, some of which I can remember, and the people of Fishlake and Sykehouso at such times used to cutt Vermuyden’s great bank on the east side Don and drown’d all the levils as faiT as Crowle, Belton, Epworth, and Haxey. But the great bank being become very firm, and Gowle dyke, as well as the north branch of Don, with which it communicates, being by the tides worn much deeper, it contains all the water that ebbs and flows, so that there hass not been a flood this forty years past, except the breach made in the bank of Gowle



dyke iu the year . . . which cost the Participants seventeen hundred pounds to take it.”*^

The tides being lett into this Dutch River was the only cause and decay of the navigation up to York, and of infinite loss to that antient and great city, once the seat of the Roman emperors. For the tides flow out of Ouse up this river, and so up Don as farr as Doncaster, and capeable to carry a ship up of a hundred and fifty tons burden, but that they are prevented by three bridges across this Dutch River.

It was also complained of, at the same time, agaimst S”” Philibert Vematti,*2 S”^ Cornelius Vermuyden, S”” Matthew and Marcus Vanvalkenbourgh, and others their partners, that above a hundred poor workmen wanted above fifteen hundred pounds for w^ages, for which a decree was made in the Councel at York and adjudged to be by them paid, which was unperformed, and they stood out to the writ of rebellion. It was therefore expressly ordered that they should obey the said decree, and give full satisfaction before the first day of next term, or otherwise they should be committed to a messenger of his majesty’s chamber, to be by him carried down to York, and there be proceeded withall according to justice.

Most of these transactions happened in the first nine years of this great undertaking about Thorne, Fishl^e

[Here follow :

The Bounders of the lordship of Hatfield Chase.

Ordinance for the preservation of the King’s majesty’s Swans and Cygnets, and for the conservation of Fish and Fowl, with the fishing of nets within the chase of Hatfield.”*^

*^ Mr. Stovin records ia another part of his MS., under date of Sunday, 18th February, 1753, N.S.— “The highest tides at night in the rivers Ouze and Trent ever known. It top’d the banks in most places ; broke several gymes ; and drovmded the country on each side of those rivers, and in the Dutch river, going from Qowle to Doncaster, about a mile up the river from Qowle, it broke on the south side, as wide and a^ deep as the river itself. Mr. Benj. Empson, of Gowle, comeing from Thorne in the night, his servant man viith hiti horse chop’d of a sudden into this gyme, and the water beginning to ebb, he and his horse was carried into the Dutch river and their both drowned. The Participants maintain those banks, and its supposed it will cost 1000/. to stop the breach. The tide ebb’d and flowed through this breach from Monday to Saturday senight after, and laid most of Marshland under water, as also up to Thorne. N.B. This breach cost 1700/. to take it.”

^- One of this family. Sir Gabriel Vernatti, was committed to the gaol at York, by order of the Court of Sewers, 25th April, 1650, for assaulting the Officers of Sewers in the execution of their duty.

Some account of the Vernatti family and its connections is to be found in ” The Herald and Genealogist,” 1868.

^•* ” But as their swan poles and fishponds in this famous chase are now, by great expence and industry, converted into dry land and corn-fields, there is no occasion for these laws, in this part of the kingdom, and it is to be hoped never will be.

There was an officer appointed by the Kings of England in this chase called the Master of the Game, who had deputies under them. The Master of the Game had his turfls lead to the manor-house by the tennants of the manor of Hat6eld, giveing them a dinner and ale. He also had the agiestment of a large parcel of ground called the Severals, which the tennants of the manor fenced for him, with several trees, and other great perquisites; but I take it that this officer was first created not long before the drainage. Sir Gervise Cliftlon beins: the first. How long he held this office I cannot learn. Robert Lee, esq. was the second, and continued in that office above twenty yeara ; and the last that enjoyed that office was Edmond Lord Sheffield, of Butterwick, in whose time, I think, it was dischased.** (MS.)


Proceedings of a jury sworn at a court at Hatfield, 31″^ March 1651, relative to laying out the moors from Kirkbrigg cawsey, Thorne, to Fishlake.

Copy of a Quo Warranto against John De Warren Earl of Surrey, 12*^ Feb. 4 Eliz. (Latin.)

Proclamation, dated 3^ Nov. 33 Henry VIII. (1542)^^ recorded at a Forest or Chase Sessions held 26 July, 38 Henry VIII. Perambulations of tiie Chase of Hatfield. Notes of the bounders betwixt Hatfield and Crowle.

A copy of the bounders of the lordship of Crowle, 7^^ Nov. 1607.

The course of old Don from Eastoft to Stainford.^^

Copy of the decree for the certainty of the Fines of copyhold lands within the manor of Hatfield, confirmed by an act of parliament 7*^ James cap. 21.

Articles of agreement, 24 May 2^ Charles, between the King and Sir Cornelius Verm uy den for draining Hatfield Chase.

31 January 4^^ Charles. Grant from the King to Sir C. Vermuyden of the manor of Hatfield, etc.

Copy of certain notes of Sir Kichard Gargrave, relative to Sir Anthony Browne K^

Owners of the Level of Hatfield Chase 1635.

Charges of Scots 1629, 1635.

Extract from indenture dated 14 June 1628 — the King to Sir C. Vermuyden.

Letter from the King to the commissioners of sewers, 2’^ April 12*^ Charles 1637.

Certificate of the Commissioners of sewers to the King, 4^^ Aug. 1637.

Certificate to the Lords of the Privy Council, May ^^ 1635, of the arrears of Scots owing from the Participants.

Order of Court of Sewers at Haxey, 2^ June 10^^ Charles, 1635.

Names of gentlemen in a commission of sewers 2Q Feb. IP** Charles.

Bill against Participants by the Earl of Antrim and Catherine Duchess of Buckingham for fee farm rents, 13*^ Charles.

Another commission of sewers 13^** Charles.

Decree of Court of Sewers, 28 May 21 Charles, 1645, relative to the repairs by the Participants of the banks from Idle-Stop to Misterton b’asse.

A Commission for the better draining the lordship of Hatfield 25^** June . . . Charles. And instructions to Commissioners named in the said commission for the better execution of an order annexed.

Certificate of the same Commissioners to the Barons of the Exchequer, S^h Sept. 5tt» Charles, 1630.

Copy of the Decree out of the Exchequer Chamber for the commons of Crowle &c., 30th ^ov. 5^^ Charles, 1630.

Decree in Michaelmas term 6*** Charles, 1631, relative to Sir C. Vermuyden.

Law of Sewers made at Doncaster 9^^ Dec. 1640, for raising a tax.

*^ By this tbe manor of Armthorpe, added to the Chase of Hatfield, which is parcel of the possessions of the late described as being one of red deer for monastery of Uowthe [? Roche], and the the pleasure and pastime of the Kings of manor of Crowle, parcel of the possessions England, and well replenished, of the late monastery of Selby, were ^ See anteaj not-e 14, page 200.


Decree and Ordinance of Sewers made at Doncaster 1** Oct. 1647, for repair of Trent banks.

Petition from the commissioners of Sewers to the Lords Keepers of England, setting forth the doings of ** the Dutch ‘* ; riotous proceedings tkc. If their lordships do not take some timely course for prevention of these vexations, the burden will be too great for us to undergo ; and we must leave both the Levil and the rest of the country adjoining to gi’oan and sink under their own burthen.

Petition of the Commissioners of sewers 1647, in which they complain against one Matthew Brunyee *^ ** an alien borne and no denizen/’ for having at the session of sewers at Doncaster, the 8^^^ Oct. 1647,** in a most scomefuU jeering manner,” contemned the laws of the kingdom to be unjust ; and further questioning the authority of the commission, the court thought fit to fine him £10, whereupon he appeared very contemptuous, and further insisted upon his former discourse, and would not be silenced, inveighing against the justice of the law, and authority of the commission, till it was thought fit to commit him to the castle of York : and there lie remained for some few days, and then brought his action against the commissioners.

Answer of the commissioners of sewers to the Lords Commissioners of the Great Seal of England Mich. Term 1648, to exceptions exhibited against them and the officers of the court, in the foregoing business.*^

A Commission of Sewers 30^^ Aug. 1649.

A Decree of Sewers made at Doncaster, 23^ Nov. 1650.

. 25tJ’Sept. 1651.
. 22d April, 1651.
rith 15^1^ April, 1651.
. 27t^Feby. 1651.
. 2d March, 1652.
. 26^^ July, 1652.
. 2″‘! June, 1653.
13^Manuary, 1652.

A ti-ue copy of the autient deed of John de Mowbray some time Lord of the Isle of Axholme and of the Honour of Brember, made to the freeholdera there, after he had made an approvement to himself of some of the wastes within the manor of Epworth in the said Isle, as is now translated out of French into English by William Riley keeper of the records in the Tower of London ; dated 31^* May 33 Edw. 3. (1359).]

The freeholders and commoners had a trial, verdict, judgment, and execution upon this deed at the Exchequer bar in Michaelmas term last [1651], in the name of Thomas Vavasour, a gent, of an antient family, son of Henry Vavasour, son of Thomas Vavasour, the grandfather, son of Henry Vavasour the great grandfather, who married Joan one of the daughters of Robert At-Hall, to w^hom, by partition made between her and Elizabeth and Mary her sisters, the same place called Bel wood did come. Robert At-Hall was son and heir to Oliver

*^ This name still exists on the Levels who died at Sand Hall, 25th Feb., 1858,

and elsewhere. The Rev. Nathaniel £et. 80. Brunyee, M.A., of Tickhill, late rector of *^ These proceedings are entered in the Belton, is a son of Mr. John Brunyee, records of the Court of Sewers, Vol. I, late of Sand Hall, near Crowle, a son of pp. 23 i, 258, 286. Mr. Nathaniel Brunyee of the latter place.



• •



• •



at West-Stoc



at Doncaster







11 -»^



„ Whitgift



,, Doncaster


At-Hiill, wlio v:w sou aud heir of Margery one of the daughtei’s and heirs of Thomas Beltoft and Emot his wife, to whom, by partition with Elizabeth her sister, the said place called Belwood came. Emot was daughter and heir to Richard de Belwood, who is one of the eleaven specially named in the deed of ^Mowbray, and lyeth entombed in the parish church of Belton, in a tomb called Belwood tomb/’*

And Thomas Vavasour the grandfather, dcsireiug upon his death-bod to be hurried nere the said tomb, was after his death laid in the tomb, (the tomb being broken open for that j)urpose) where a pair of slippers were found at the feet of Richard de Belwood, whose bones are there yet in lead. All things haveing ever since passed according to the above deed till now that the projectours (S”” Corn. Vcrmuyden, «tc.) came in against law.

N.B. The 12

given in Stonehouse’s Uist, Isle of Ax- above.
hohru, page 322.


In tho register book is this memorandum : — Mtmorandum, that the h(a»pJieniou8 pictures of the lioly Trinity^ Father^ Strn, and Holy G/wst, trfre removed out of the ylass windows of this quire of Belton Jan. 10^ lo95, the exjytnce wliereof was 10 pence and no moi^e. Witness thereof, John Melton clerk, Henry Glew, W^ Asliton, fP’* Marcer, Rich^ Medley.

In £elton church, — taken from a manuscript book of M’Torrd’s, now in York Minster, by the Rev** W”* I’otter, vicar of ITemingbrongh nero Ilowdeu, Yorkshire, June 1753.

In the north quire window : — Gules, on a bend com pone azure and argent between 2 lyons’ heads erased argent 3 leopards* faces or, and boarder compone argent and azure.

In the north quire : — Gules, a lyon mmpant argent debruised by a bend azure, thereon 3 escalops or. Gules, a lyon rampant argent.

In the east window of north quire. Bendy of G argent and gules ; fyle of 5 points or.

In the chancel lyes a white stone with a double inscription about its vei^e, thus : — Here lyeth the Body of John Ftrne son to William Feme Ksq. wfio died y* 20 Aug^ A,D. 1G15. — Here also lyeth the Body of Joh Jilia et heres Willi Gardinery qui ohilt 3 die mensis Feb. & Agnes 16 die mends Noif A.D. 1500.

The inhabitants of tho Isle of Axliolm, under the aLove-mentioned grant of Mowbray, claim’d right of common in all the waist gi’ounds of the said island and parts adjacent ; and notwithstanding the grants of the Crown of part of this land to the Participants for the draining of the remainder, yet the islanders would not submit or yield up any part, but was at law with tho Participants for almost a whole century, as I have heard W”™ Gylby esq. recorder of Lincolne say, who was many years of councel for* the islanders. But if the law did not favour them they imeadietly went to club law, and broke down the inclosures of the decreed Lands, destroying large quantities of corn, rape, The islanders were unanimous, and when they did rise they gathered their whole posse, men, woemen, and children all went in a body to do what mischief they could.

To manage the cause against tho Participants, the islanders chose a person at their head which they called their solicitor. The first they appointed was Thomas Vavasor esq. of Belwood, (a descendant of Vavasor of Belwood, in the parish of Belton). But he being a gent, of a generous disposition, he spent great part of his own estate in protectin,:^ his neighbours* right>o solicitor for the isle was John Pindar,*® an attorney-at-law at Owston in this islcand, (the son of Robert Pindar, of
^ Stonehouse gives a jiedigree of his wrw left to Earl Beaiichamp. The above family, and states Uiat by his groat grand- Thomas lia^l a brother, the llev. Robert 800 Thomas Pindar (who died s-p), “a I’indar, who loft is^iie. (///.*/. Isk of person remarkable for the oddity of hh A.ihitlnf p. 244.) manners,” the property they had acquired



Eastoft, yeoman,) who raised a considerable estate by this oflice ; for they not only now paid an annal assessment for their estates to carry on their cause against the Participants, but their solicitor tooke in several hunderd acres of comon ground, which was let to farmers, and so raised great suras of money. How it was accounted for by this gentleman I know not ; he had all or most of the inhabitants of Belton, Epworth, Owston, and Haxey bound, and many of them was ruiu’d and forc’t to sell their estates.

The next and last solicitor for the Isle people was Robert Poplewell, of Moswood, in the parish of Belton, and sou of David Poplewell yeoman,*’ who from a small paternal estate of fourteen pounds a year raised an estate of four or five hundred pounds a year. How he came to be chose tlieir solicitor I know not. He had no education but in a comon country school. Indeed, he was land-steward to Grace Countess of Granvill, and by that most of the tennants of the manor of Epworth lay under one obligation or other to him ; and I am of opinion this was the true reason of his being chosen solicitor.

This gentleman had them all bound (or the greatest part of them), and which they had reason to repent whilst they liv*d, and almost all their posterity after them ; for he taxed them at his pleasure ; besides, he inclosed what comon ground he pleased, under a pretence to raise money to carry on the cause, but never was (that I ever heard off) accountable for the rents and proffets thereof. The Isle cause and his pocket was the two great gulphs that swalled all that and many estates of substantial yeomen in the island, as the Kin mans, Halifaxes, Foxes, Bernards, Nodel, Tankei’sley, Wakefield,

He and his Affidavit men attended Westminster Hall almost every term for a great number of years, and was as well known their as an Irish evidence. He tooke in lands to support these men nere Hyrst Priory,” called ” Affidavit closes.” ^^ To this day I can remember Belton West CaiT taken in by him, containing some hundred acres, and fine oats growing thereon, which was the last ground this worthy solicitor inclosed.

I have mentioned above how the Isle people had recourse to club law, when the law of the nation was against them, and cannot well omitt the following narrative, as it is true in fact.

I have said that the fee-farm rent of the manor of Hatfield, &c., was given by King Charles the P^ to Geo. Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, and that the Earl of Antrim in Ireland maiiied his dowager. But, before I proceed any further, I shall give some account of Nathaniel Heading esq. This gentleman where he was born I have not had the opportunity to be informed, but he was brought up at the Inns of Court and was

** A John Popplwell,of Belton, laborer, was one of a party of 24 persons who were indicted at York for killing John Pattricke, in Sept., 1660. (Depositions from York Castle, Surt. Soc. pub. 40, p. 175, note.) Richard and Humphrey Popplewell, esqs., occur as Commissioners of Sewers, 8rd June, lltli Geo. 2. 1738.

*- Mr. Stovin, in this MS. says in a marginal note, ” Hyrst is in Belton parish, and was a cell to Nostal in Yorke*

Bbire. Its now the estate of Mr. Jona. Stovin, and tythe-free. Had a great quantity of fine oake upon it about 40 years agoe, and is now planted round, and in every hedgerow with elmes by the
said Mr. Stovin.”

” A sketch of this ** Affidavit Land,” taken from a map in the possession of the Stovin family, is given in Stonehouse’s Isle o/AxhohnCf page 3d«i.


called to the barr, lived in Chanel Row, Westminster, and practised as a oouncel in the law. He married Arabela Churchill, sister to S’ Wynston Churchill, bj whom he had John, Thomas, Robert, and Lionel. Mrs. Reading being own aunt to John Churchill, late Duke of Marlbrough (that second Alexander, and British hero), he provided for the sons of Mr. Reading in the army. John died a major in Ireland ; Thomas was a captain of foot, but sold his commission soon after ; Robert died at Newcastle, lieut. colonell of Clayton’s regiment of foot ; and Lionel was many yeare a superior officer in the Emperor’s army, and died in that service.

Nathaniel Reading esq. in his youth made the tour of Italy, &c, and was at Naples when the insurrection of Masinela^^ happened, and was made secritary to this usurper, and with his master and others was condemned to die. But when he came to the place of execution, and being admitted to speak, he made so fine a Latin oration, &c., that he was pardon’d ; and returning into England putt on the gown, was an able and learned councel, and then married the said Mrs. Churchill.

He was of councel for the Popish Lords in the Tower, committed their upon the evidence of Titus Oats and others for being concerned in what was then called the Popish Plott.

Mr. Reading, instead of acting as became one in his station, undertooke to suborn the king’s evidence ; was imprisoned and tryed for the fact and convicted, and was sentenced to stand in the pillory and pay a fine to the king of a thousand marks, executed upon him ; how he got quit of the fine I know not, but he was discharged from his imprisonment and imployed afterwards by the Earl of Antrim (who was at the head of the papists in Ireland) to collect the fee-farm rents above mentioned. The earl might employ him as a fitt and proper person to cope with the parties who was in arrear, but I rather think it done as a reward for his suflTering in the case of the Popish Lords, for the old gentleman retained his high-flown principals to the last. And I remember, not many years before he died, when that great incendiary in church and state, D’ Sacheverel,^” was impeach ‘d and tryed by the House of Comons, and was only degraded, &c., and escaped with his life, Mr. Reading roasted an ox whole at Sandtoft, which he gave amongst the populace, with ale, and each of them two roasted eggs with the letters H. S. upon each egg.

But now I return to Mr. Reading’s first settleing at Sandtoft. When he first came he begun with the collecting those fee-farm rents, and used to make frequent distresses of cattle upon the grounds lyeable to pay the same, and used to impound them at Hatfield, Bawtrey, and Doncaster, 80 that there was a perpetual strugle between him and the landowners and tenants of those lands in arrears for the fee-farm rent.

Mr. Reading being a very active man, the Participants, who mett with continual opposition from the Isle people, thought proper to lett several large parcels of the decreed lands to him, thinking he would defend their possession better than they could themselves. Upon this he inclosed these decreed lands, and got large crops of com and rape, but

** Musaniello. June, 1724. See account of him in

^ £65 89. id, ** Lives of Eminent En^Udhmen,’* 1834,

*• Henry Sftcheverell, son of Rev. vol. iv., p. 110.

Joshua S. of Marlborough. Died 5th




inras forced to defend his possession often at the hazard of his life, for the Isle people often attempted to take it, and in particular by setting his dwelling-house on fire at Sandtoft in the dead of the night. This wicked act was comitted by one Peel, Spark, and others, with the solicitor’s wife at their head. They first cutt up a fine young orchard, then stopt all the keyholes of the doors with clay, that the keys could not be moved, and then sett fire to the house, and had certainly burnt Mr. Reading and his lady in the flames, had not Providence been their friend in this calamitous condition. For I have heard Col. Reading say he was then about eighteen years of age, and in bed, when they percieved the fire, he and the rest of the famaly flew to the doors, but could not get the keys to move, and in the hieght of despair he wrenched an iron barr out of the window frame, and got his aged father and mother out of the window, and by a nieracle saved there lives, for that the house roof fell in the moment he had got them out of it. This was barbarity with a wittness, and yet none of the offenders met with the punishment they deserved, for the lesser vilians fled their country and never returned ; and Mr. Reading, being in low circumstances, compounded with the great ones for money ; and especialy the solicitor, by the award of S’
Willoughby Hickman and Colonel Geo. Whichcot, paid (to save his wife’s bacon) to Mr. Reading six hundred pounds.*’

After which Mr. Reading built another house not farr from that which was burnt upon the bank of the Idle, whose son. Colonel Robert Reading, enjoyed the same (after his father’s decease) to his death.

This old gentleman died at Belton, amongst the most inveterate enemys, in the year of our Lord . . . supposed to be above a hundred years old. He was reduced to poverty and extreem want before he died, yet was a man of excellent parts, both natural and acquired, and one of the finest orators of the age he lived in. His son Robert was an acting Justice of the Peace for the parts of Lindsey, in the county of Lincolne, for many years, and a fine orator. He left a son Robert, an unfortunate young man, who died at Wakefield or Leeds, 1746.

57 Mr. Readinfi;, no doubt, underwent numerous *’ perils by hii own countrymen.” In 1655, Peter Barnard, of Belton gent., had been heard to Bay that if Mr. Heading came at Low Melwood, or Epworth, or Owaton, he would have four men to lie in wait to beat him, ‘*and lay him along.” {Records of Court of Sectrs.) On 2l8t Jan., 1669-70, about fifty persons, armed with swords, pistols, guns, and other arms came to Sandtoft, where they assaulted, shot, and wounded Mr. Reading and his servant. On 2l8t Jan., 1669, Humfrey Tonge, of Hatfield, came to Mr. Reading’s house, and there, without any provocation, shot him in the legs, having before threatened to put a brace of bullets in his belly. ( Depositions from York Castle, Surt. Soc. pub. vol. 40, p. 174.) In 1702, Mr. Reading presented a memorial to the Commissioners of Sewers setting forth a long list of grievances he had had to undergo in their service; amongst other things, he said that in the performance of his duties as agent to the Participants he had thirtyone set battles, wherein several of his men were killed, and others wounded and lamed ; that after several years spent under inexpressible hazards and difficulties, *’ he subdued these monsters,” and restored peace in the Levels for a time. But afterwards the rioting again commenced ; the disaffected people assaulted him and his sons and servants night and day, fired at them, killed his cattle, fired his house with design to have burned him, his wife and family in their beds, **and gave him the diversion of all points of military execution.” Having thus ‘ ‘ been kept in the wilderness of their service, and grieved with a generation of vipers longer than forty years,” he concludes by hoping he shall be suffered to depart in peace with SOOOZ. in part payment of what his employers were indebted to him.



ThLs Robert, the lieut -colonel, and his brother Thomas the captain, fanned many hundred acres of the decreed lands of the Participants, and kept possession for them against the Isleanders for many yeers ; until the passing the act against rioutous assembles (as mentioned before) in the reign of king Geo. the first, about the year 1716. This famaly of Reeuling is now extinct.

Whereas their was in process of time, some years after the great drainage of this Levil, several other improvements made, and new drains cutty &Cf by the power of the commissioners, I shall only mention one amongst many others, as it happen’d within the manor of Crowle, which was part of Hatfield Chace, as before taken notice of.

[Minutes from Keadby Law of Sewers, 17th May, 1717.

Articles of agreement between the lord and the inhabitants of Keadby, 13th June, 1722.

Court of Sewers at Crowle, 5th July, 1722.

Do at Epworth, 22nd June, 1727.

Petition of Nathaniel Reading esq. to the commissioners of sewers, ” well worth the reading.”

Notices of Adlingfleet, families of Ellerker, Davill, Ludlow, Tatthew Vanvalkenburgh, who died in 1644, and it was possibly under some alleged claim of right that he made this attack upon the residence of the deceased baronet’s brother. (See Surtees Soc. pub. vol. 54, pp. 5-288.)

*’ This baronetcy was created 20t]i July, 1642. Sir J. A. Vanvalkenbtirgh was aged twenty -one in 1664. ** We have been unable to obtain any information respecting the baronetcy or family since that date.” (Burke’s Extin Baronetcvn^ lb38, p. 540.

^ In the Court of Pleas at Doncaster, 6th Sept., 1649, John Noades, gent., brought an action against Mark Vanvalkenbrough, gent., fur having, on the 7th of May previously, publicly spoken of him these “falsa, Jicta, scandalosa^ et opprohiosa verba” viz. “You are a I’heife,” to his great damage of 50^. The Jury gave a verdict for the plaintiff for £6 IS5. 4^^., and costd £2 I2s. Sd. =
£9 69. Od,


[Copy of receipt of the King*s fee farm rent for the man ^r of Wroot, 23rd July, 1649.

Copy of a Commission of Sewers, dated 3rd June, 1 1 Geo. 2ni

Precedents of oath, forms of court proceedings, &c., concerning the office of Commissioners of Sewers, taken from ” Callis on Sewers.”

Lists of names offered to the Lord Keeper to be put into the commission of sewers, on behalf of the counties of York, Lincoln, and Nottingham, and the Participants, ** who all stand.”

1633, Jan. 8th. An Agreement of the Participants for a Minister of the Gospel amongst the French and Dutch Protestants who first inhabited the Levels of Hatfield Chase, &c. ; translated out of the French, 1647.

Petition for a Minister of the Gospel in the Level addressed to the Participants.

The Participants title in equity against the Queen Mother and her trustees or assigns.

Order for payment of 40^. a-year to a Minister, made at a Court of Sewers, held at Bawtry, 9th Sept., 28th Charles 2nd.

Order made at a Court of Sewers, at Tumebridge, 30th Sept. 1681, referring question of a salary for a Minister to Sir John Boynton, Kn^

Copy of Indenture dated 26th May, 8 Charles I. 1632, whereby Sir Arthur Ingram, Kn’, sells land in Armin to Sir C. Vermuyden and others, to cut the Dutch river.

Copy of Indenture, dated 17th April, 1654, whereby Sir C. Vermuyden and John Lamott convey to Thomas Lee and Thomas Thompkinsoii lands in divers parishes.

Report from Rushworth’s appendix, vol. 3, p. 39, of case, Vermuyden versus Torksey and others, concerning a riot in the Level.

The relator states that, under his agreement with the Crown, he was bound to drain and lay dry the grounds in the Level ; and his workmen being at work thereabout, the defendants at several times beat and terrified them, threatening to kill them if they would not leave their work ; threw some of them into the river and kept them under water with long poles ; and at several other times, upon the knelling of a bell, came to the works in a riotous and warlike manner, divided themselves into companies to take the workmen, and filled up the ditches and drains, burned up the working tools and materials, set up poles in the form of gallows to terrify the workmen withal, threatened to break their arms and legs, beat and hurt many of them, and made others flee away, whom they pursued to a town with such terror and threats that they were forced to guard the town, to the damage of the relator of 2000^. The defendants were all committed to the Fleet ; three of them fined 1000/. a-piece, one of them 500/., and nine others 500 marks a-piece; all of them at the next assizes to acknowledge their offences and pay 2000 marks damage.

Copy of a decree, dated 3i-d Feb., 7th Eliz., for the agistment of Dikesmarsh or Hoole Pasture,e Zembr

Jaques Dubois fills de Martin et de Judith Salmon, Bapt. Salmon. May 5^ David Beharelle fils de Jean et de Jenne Cor- Cordain.

dain, Bapt.
May 12^. Marie Letalle file de Jean et Judith Descay, Descay.

May 19*^ Jenne Leroux file de Anthoine leroux et de

Marie Dufosse, Bapt. Dufoss.

11*^ May. Marie Hancar fille de Isaac et de Jenne Legrand, Legiand.

Ester fille de Rob*, et Marie Taffin Bapt. Taflfiji.

Susnie (?) Amory fille de Isaace Amory et de Ann Moril- Morilliou.

lion Bapt.
16 Nov. Ann de Lepiere fille de Joel et Marie Lermitte, Lermitte.

Ann Leconte fille de David …. Bapt.
25 Jan, David et Abram fils de David et Ester Lenoy, Lenoy.


Abram de Lannois fils de Jean et de Marie Pincheon, Pincbeon.

30 May. David Amory fils de Jan et de Marie Thery, Thery.

Piere de Roubay fils de Jan et de Sara Canster, Bapt. Canster.

20 June. Jan filz de Abram Blique et de Marie Discampe, Discamps.

4*^ Juliet Piere filz de Daniel Duverlie et de Marye

Lenoir, Bapt Lenoir.

22 Dec. Jacob filz de Jacob Liennar et de Maiy Frank, Frank.

Jacob filz do Charles de Lannoy et de Sara Albert, Bapt. Albert.
6 March, Marie file M’. Berchett minister de Santoft et

Marie Lecoq, Bapt Lecoq.

Sam*, fils de Isaac Amory et de Anne Morillion, Bapt Morillion.
4**^ Sept. Isaac filz de Jan Vennin et de Cath. Smaque, Smaque.

9^^ Oct. Vierre filz de Isambar Chauate et Mary Ample, Ample.








Le Haire.














De Batte.





12 Mar. Sarah file de Joel Lespirre et Maiy Lermit, Lermit.

9 April Marye fiUe de Isaac Lennoy et Marye de Chatlet, Chatlet.


25 Jan. Jan fiUe de Piere Egar et de Sarah Vandebec, Vandebec.

Jenne fille de Jan demoulin et de Margeret Legraine, Legrain.

Piere filz de Piere Duquenne et de Jenae Bernard, Bapt, Bernard.

19 Aug.
Abram filz de George Hardicq et de Marye Roubay, Bapt Roubay.

26 May. Piere fils de Sam”. Letalle et de EHz. Descon, Dcscon.

Abram filz de Simon Le Haire et de Marye Le Roy, Bapt. Le Roy.
Jan fils de Isaac Hancar et de Jenne Legrand, Bapt. Legrand.

Marie fille de Jan Yenain et de Catherine Smasque, Bapt, Smaque.

18 Oct^ Marie file Pieire Egar et de Sara Vandebec, Vandebec.


Sara file de Jan Vennin et Cath. Smaque, Bapt. Smaque.

Ellie filz Charles Lennoy et de Sara Albert, Bapt. Albert.

Anne file de Jan Lehaire et de Anne Le Roy, Bapt. Leroy.

25 March. Pierre Morillion filz de David Morillion et Letalle.
Ann Letalle, Bapt.

28 Junii. Abram Vennin filz Jan Vennin et Cath Smaque, Snwque.

14 Oct. David Letall filz de Sam”. Letalle et Eliz. Descon, Deacon.


27 June Susanne file de Benjamin quoy et Elisabet
Lehouq, Bapt. Lehouq.

14’^ Sept. Jan fils de Isaac Beharell et de Marye Bhiique, Blique.

21 Junii. Piere filz de Jan Gougler et de Susanne Herssin, Hersein.

26 Feb. Sara file Abram Brynye et Sara Tissen, Bapt. Tysen.

5 April, Jaques filz de Jaques Hernu et de Ann Amory, Amory.

Abram filz de Jaques De Ratt et de Jenne Descamps, Descami)y.

Le 20 May, Jaques filz de Jaques Rammery et de Cath

Cigny, Bapt. Cigny.

4^^ JuUiet, David filz Jan Egar et Mary Morfin, Bapt. Morfin.

22″*. Juliet, Jaques filz de Jaques Hernu et Ann Amory, Amory.

26 Aug*. Elisabet file de Isaac Deburge et Elizabet Amory, Amory.

7 Oct^ Jacob filz de David Morillion et de Cathrine Ben- Benroccdt.

roccdt, Bapt.























11 Nov^ Pierre filz Isambar Chavatt et Ann Morrillion,

30 Dec”. Piere fils de Isaac Vanplue et Jenne de Verlier,

19^^ May. Rebecca file Abram Egard et de Jenne Lennoy,


26 May. Isambar filz de Abram Brynje et Sara Tyssens,

23 Feb. Pierre filz de Piere Tuyssen et de Elizabet Leo-
nards, Bapt.

Jene file de Jaques Hemu et de Ann Amory.

12 Sept. Piere filz de Piere Leleu et Mary Dnmerlye,

15 Jan. Piere filz de David Morillion et Cath. Banderete,

3 Dec’. Isaac filz de Jaques Harnu et de Ann Amory,

15 Jan. Abram filz de Matthias Priam et de Sara Smaque,

Bapt.*’ It is from this Gent I have collected most of my

materials for this Booke^^
12 Oct. Penelope filla de Marc Vanvalkenburgh . et de

Anne Starkey, Bapt.

27 Sept. David filz de David Priam et de Maria Beau-
mont, Bapt.

6 Mar. Rachel file de Isaac Hanquar et de Jenne Le-

9*^ April. Piere filz de Matthias Priam et de Sara

Smacque, Bapt.

24 Feb. Sam^^ filz de David Letalle et de Marie Amory,

6 Mars. Catheline fille de Jan Tyssen et de Susanna

Venin, Bapt.
8 May. Jan filz de Jaques Hemu et de Ann Amory,

21 June. Jean filz de Francois Oesley et de Marie Amory,

8 Jan. David filz de Matthias Priem et de Sara Smaque,


8 Feb. Caterine file de Abram Egar et de Jenne de Lan-
noy, Bapt.

9 April. Susanne file de Abram Brongne et de Sara
Tyssen, Bapt.




















^7 In a memorandum in his own hand- writing, Abraham de la Pryme gives this as the date of his Hrth, See Surtees Soc. pub, vol. 64, p. 259. This was the eminent antiquary and diarist, de quo see hunter’s South-YorkshirCy vol. 1, p. 179, Surtees Soc. pub. vol. 64. In the latter work a pedigree of this family is printed ; and there are several genealogical, monu- mental, and testamentary notices of them in the appendix.

^ In one page of the MS. Mr. Stovin gives ” An account of what papers relating to this history, are taken out of Mr. Pryme’s booke since the year 1735, when I first see it, and which was not to be found in it when I had the booke from Mr. Wharton, Feb., 1752.”














29 April Marie fille Gregorii Impson et Susanne Van- Vanpoville.
pouille, Bapt.

1 Sept. Jan fils de Jan Frouchart et Eliz. Taylor, Bapt. Tayler.

2 Oct. Jan filz de Jaques Rammery et de Catherine
Cugny, Bapt. Cagny.

Abram filz Jan Swarte et de Jan Dewit,® Bapt. Demtt.

I Amory.

1 1*^ Nov^ Elis file de Jaques Herau et de Ann Amory,

1 Jan. Anne fille de Isaac Hernu et de Eliz. Amory,

8 Jan. Sam^^ filz de Jaques Hemu et de Ann Amory,

4 Dec^ Abram filz de Jaques Hemu et de Ann Amory,


3′ Jan. Isaac filz de Sara^’. Amory et de Jenne Mare- Marquilly.
quilly, Bapt.

8 Sept. Isaac filz de Jaques Hemu et de Ann Amory, Amory.

9 Sept. Jan fils de Sam^^. Amory et de Jenne Marequilly, MarquilJy.

20 Nov^ Marie fille de Pierre Leleu et Sara Glover, Glover.

8 June. Susanne fille de Jaques Hernu et de Ann

Amory, Bapt. Amory.





Marie Dufosse interre a Santoft, 8 Julet.
Piere Derick interre a Santoft, 4 Feb.

Dam Catberin Le Coq de la Femme de Mons’. Bercbett Minister,

enterr a Santoft, 26 May.
M*”. Bercbett ministre de Santoft est decede merquedy 18 Auril

1655 enurion midy et a este enterre le leudemain enuiron 4 beures

du soir, a Crowle.

^’ Concerning the De Witts, see Hun-
ter’s South YorksJure, vol. 1, p. 169. The
marriage of ‘*Jaquus Dewett, wth.
Antoniee Vandemin,” is registered at
Doncaster, Ist Dec., 1631. Peter, son of
Jacus de Witt, bap. Jan. 21, 1633-4;
buried March 1 9th same year. John, son
of Do., bap. 16th Feb., 1634-5 ; buried
May 30th, 1635. Joshua, son of Do.,
buried Feb. 10th, 1644-5. Rachell, dau.
of Do,, bap. Dec. 14th, 1648. {Thome
Ite^.) 1677, Sept. 6th, Elizabeth, dau.
of Jaques De Wit, buried. 1679, March
80th, Mary, dau. of Do., master and
mariner, baptized. {St. Mary’s^ Hull.)
1781, Feb. 8, James Dewitt, of Ringston-

upon-Hull, mariner, aged 40 years, slender,
tall person, ruddy complexion, was ad-
mitted and sworn a younger brother of the
guild of the Trinity House at Hull 1788.
Dec. 8th, Samuel Dewitt, of the same,
mariner, aged 35, admitted the same.
1776, Dec. 18th, ” Mr. Richard Dewitt, a
stranger,’* buried at Doncaster. Jaques
Dowit departed this life 1717, aged 77.
Holy Trinity Ch., Hull. (Gent’s Hist.
Hull, page 48.) A Mr. De Witte, cement
merchant at Liverpool, in 1870. The
baron Jules De Witte, Paris, was an
honorary member of the Archaeological
Institute in 1867.


I find Mons^ Berchett’s hand at the Churchwardens or Elders accounts to the year 1655, as Pastue’^*’ of the Church at Santoft. 1659. I find the hand of Jean Dekerhuel Minister a Santoft ; and then

Mons’. De la prix.
1664. Samuel Lamber, Pasture a Santoft.
1676. Jaques De la Porte, Ministere a Santoft.
1681. The last minister, Mons’. Le Vaneley. minister a Santoft.

Ministers. Mons’. Berchett, M*”. Deckerhuel, M’. Delaprix, M””. Delarporte, M’. Levaneley.
Mem”, this is but an abstract of the Regester. I find above four hundred ninety nine children baptised in this little church, and no doubt many others was baptised in the neighbouring churches of Crowle, Belton,Epworth, Haxey, and Missen, in Lincolnshire, also at Wroot, and also at Thome, Hatfield, Finningley, molished by the Isleanders for several years, till reedified by Mr. Reading.
N.B. S’^ Matthew Vanvalkenbourgh had S’ John Anthony Vanvalkenburgh his son and heir.

This S’ Matt”^. was elder brother to Marcus and Lucius Vanvalkenber.
N.B. It was their custome to add the names of the Sureties to every
one that was Baptised in the following manner. Le 25 Feurie 1654, a
este Baptises a Red Hall (or a Santoft) Jehan Filz de Pierre Egar et de
Sara Vandebec, Ses Tesmoins sont Jehan Egar filz de Jehan, Marye Quoy
femme de Jaques Iserby. (Enquire where Red Hall was.)

January 1752. Died, at Welchpool, in Montgomeryshire, Jonathan
Evans a shepherd, aged 117. Had his eyesight and hearing till a few
days before he died. He left a son who is 91 years old, and a daughter
aged 87.7^

Also Robert Magrath, of Kilbarton^- in the county of C^are, aged 115 years, in full enjoyment of all his senses. He was a student of the Temple at the Restoration of Charles the 2°^ ; was married, and had a daughter born in 1664, and another daughter born in 1737. He was a man of a most exemplary life, and possessed of every social virtue. (From the York Courant, Feb. A^ 1742.) N.B. His eldest daughter (if living) must have been 73 years of age when his other daughter was
bom in 1737.

Mem”. I convers’d with a man at the Salutation at Castleford Bridge in July 1749 : born in Pennyston parish, in Yorkshire, that was then 106 years old ; very hearty, and then going to York Assizes as a witness about a highway. He told me he liv’d with a daughter that was above 80 years of age. What is remarkable, he eat broil’d hang beef to his breakfast that morning, and drank ale ; had comed above 30 miles computed, the day before, on horseback.

G. Stovin.

I enquired after this man in 1751, and he was dead that year, so that he was 108 years old.

7* Paateiir-pastor. 22, page 92.

71 This peraon’s death is under date of ‘”^ In 6^671^. Mag. Kilburrow, ib. page