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Buying a piece of history

Alec Moretti

From about the 13th century there were three manors in Wymeswold's history and one or other of these has been sold on a number of occasions, and in some cases the deeds for the transaction can be traced. In addition to land and property the lordship included various rights and responsibilities including the holding of the manorial courts which regulated the running of many aspects of village life and especially the organisation of the working of the common land in which many of the villagers had a share.

The earliest of these deeds is dated 1331 when Richard de Willoughby and his wife Isabel bought from Samuel de Joz "2 messuages, a toft, a carucate and 6 bovates (about 200 acres of crop land), 27 acres of meadow,and 13s. 2 d. of rents in Wymeswold and Hoton." In 1338 Richard was granted a charter by the King to hold a market and fair, though how often they were held is unknown. The Willoughby family remained in Wymeswold extending their holding until about 1591 when Sir Francis sold the lordship to William and Edward Ballard including "7 messuages, 350 acres of land, 40 acres of meadow, 60 acres of pasture, 8 acres of wood, 200 acres of heath." The price or 'consideration' was given as 850. Sir Francis Willoughby was building Wollaton Hall at this time and so probably needed the money.

The Ballard family had control of both lay manors , called Willoughby (or Wymeswold) and Crackhole (Crowhill) Manors, by about 1600 and from then on they were treated as one, though the two names persisted until 1919. The third manor was that held by Beauchief Abbey until 1536., at the Dissolution of the Monasteries. Henry VIII gave the Advowson of Wymeswold together with the Rectorial rights and land to Trinity College ,Cambridge in 1546, who held land in the parish until 1956. They still have certain responsibilities to the parish church.

The Ballards sold the lordship of both manors in 1632 to William Leake for 650. This included "6 messuages, 7 cottages, a windmill, 13 gardens, 13 orchards, 500 acres of land 200 acres of heath etc." By 1705 the manor passed by marriage to the Okeover family and in particular to Leake Okeover who was responsible for the demolition of Wymeswold Hall on Hall Field about 1745. He was rebuilding Okeover Hall (near Ashbourne,Derbs.) and was much in debt. Presumably by sale the manor passed to Thomas Allsop and John Davys about 1752. They were prime movers in the Enclosure Act for the parish land in 1757. In 1784 William Fisher became Lord of the Manor and then by the marriage of his daughter the title passed to the Ella family who held it until 1872 when William Fisher Ella's trustees sold it to Wm.Byerley Paget of Nanpantan. The land then only amounted to 160 acres but the sale did include the title and rights. The manorial courts were only held every three years dealing mostly with property repairs. The final court was called for 10th. Dec.1919 but there is no record of business transacted.

By this time manors had ceased to be functioning units and remained only in name with the owner having the right to the title of "Lord of the Manor". It is this that the heiress of the Pagets sold in 1994 to a new owner who wishes to remain anoymous.

Originally published in Wolds Reflections 1997.

Copyright the author.

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