For this church:
The village is shown in Domesday Book as belonging to the Bishop of Bayeux. The entry reads:
In Barnby in the Willows Wulfric had 7 bovates of land to the geld. There is land for 3 ploughs. There Losoard, the man of the Bishop of Bayeux, has 1 plough and 4 sokemen on 2 bovates of this land and 9 villeins and 6 bordars having 4.5 ploughs. There is a priest and a church to which belongs half a bovate of this land and 1 mill rendering 5 shillings (25 pence) and 4d, and 30 acres of meadow, and scrubland. TRE, as now worth 40 shillings.
This is the earliest written record of the church in the village. From 1171 until nearly the close of the 18th century All Saints sent 2 shillings yearly at Whitsuntide as its Pentecostal offering to the mother church at Southwell, this was considered a large amount of money at the time. In 1282 the advowson of the church, worth £10 yearly, was held by Sir Andrew de Neville, and this is the amount recorded in the taxatio of Pope Nicholas IV in 1291, and is reiterated in the Nonae Rolls of 1341. In the subsidy of Henry VI in 1428, the amount had not changed, and the value of the subsidy is recorded at 20s.
Sir Andrew was challenged by John Dyve in 1287 but recovered the advowson and granted it to Roger de Brinkel. Again in 1290 William de Wyville challenged Sir Andrew de Neville, pleading that one Eustachia, his ancestor, was granted the advowson in the time of Henry III, who presented her clerk, Thomas de Boulton, to the church, who was admitted and instituted. The right of presentation had then descended to William de Wyville. However, at a subsequent trial, the jurors found that Sir Andrew had a greater right.
The present church was built in the 13th century and is a Grade I listed building. In 1289 the church may have been given to the choristers of Southwell by the Archbishop of York: a reference from the sixteenth century refers to outgoings ‘to six poor choristers’
In 1310 the Knights Templar became associated with the village, in that they held free warren there. What is not clear is whether they had any involvement with the church. By 1325 at the same time as the Knights Templar had a presence in the village, so too did the Knights Hospitaller as evidenced by a document dated 21 October 1325 in which they made a grant of land for life to Thomas de Sibthorpe. Again it is not known how much if any connection they may have had with the church. When the Knights Templar were supressed in 1308 all of their land in the village was given to the Knights Hospitaller.
During the reign of Henry VIII the church, in conjunction with Upton, Rolleston, Edingley, Kirklington, and a third part of Kelham, was paying a yearly sum of £36 16s 8d into the common fund of the chapter of Southwell.
In 1566 Thomas Wilkinson of Flawford Grange was summoned for not attending the Parish Church and contributing to its maintenance. This was disputed but it was eventually proven that he did have this obligation.
In 1613, one John Cappe was presented for ‘sowing discord amongst his neighbours and for chiding and brawling in the church’. The vicar, William Chaundler, also presented Roberte England and Elizabeth Lamme for saying that he would cut their throats for demanding the tithe of Robert’s mill.
In James I’s reign the population of Barnby was estimated to be 130 adults and possibly 208 children. In this same period in 1628 the vicar was cited for irregularities in the church service.
Between 1627 and 1635 there appear to have been a number of irregularities at the church including the vicar not wearing a surplice, fences being allowed to fall into disrepair which allowed livestock to enter the church yard, prayers not being said on the appropriate days, and the catechism not being taught.
During the Commonwealth there is no record of an incumbent in the parish, but in 1676 when the vicar returned there were 79 inhabitants of an age to take the sacrament. There were no suspected cases of recusancy, but there were 15 people who either refused to communicate or who absented themselves on those days that this was required. The following year there were several families who were refusing to attend church. In 1678 there were recorded burials in linen, in accordance with Church Law.
In Archbishop Herring’s visitation of 1743 there were shown to be 23 families living in the village with no dissenters. There was no meeting house in the village nor was there a charity school, almshouse, or hospital. The village is shown as having no charitable donations or any land left for the repair of the church. The vicar did not reside at his house as this is described as no better than a poor mean cottage; instead he resided in the Rectory at Elston which is about 6 miles away. He was shown as having had a dispensation from the late archbishop to do this. The curate (who was qualified), also did not reside in the village, although he is paid £18 per year.
There was no-one attending the church who was not baptised. Services were only held once a week on Sundays, as the vicar did not feel that the allowance of £30 per year was generous enough to enable any greater attendance. For this same reason catechising was also neglected. The sacrament was administered 4 times a year, although out of the 52 people eligible to receive it only about 20 did so. This report was made by Edward Broughton who was the curate. The archbishop noted that the catechism was being neglected and the incumbent had promised to improve this situation.
William Harding, the curate, attended the visitation of Archbishop Drummond in 1764, and reported that there were nineteen families in the village, none of whom were nonconformists. The vicar, George Chappell was excused. He lived in Elston because the vicarage in Barnby was ‘not fit for any clergyman to reside in, though it is as good repair as it has been time immemorial’. The curate lived in Newark. The sacraments were administered four times a year.
Throsby noted in the 1790s that Barnby was ‘a small place. The church has a tower with 4 bells. It is dedicated to All Saints, and stands, in Bacon, amongst the livings discharged. He says the clear yearly value was 25l. 19s. 6d. In the King's Books, 5l. 9s. 9½d. Rev. Henry Houson, Vicar. Syn. 2s. val. per ann. in mans. cum gardin. 4s. in dec. alb.&c. Southwell College, propr. and patr.’
In the five years between 1789 and 1793 it was noted that there were 26 births and 18 burials in the village.
In the religious census of 1851 the population was shown as being 149 males and 145 females. The church had a congregation of 51 in the mornings and about 85 in the afternoons. There were 41 Sunday scholars. There were remarks on the entry which state that ‘the Church is grievously out of repair – not affording sittings suitable or adequate to the wants of the parish. There is no Parsonage House or Glebe land altho’ repeated applications have been made to the Eccl. Comn. for aid’.
The village population was 247 in 1821, 237 in 1831, and 266 in 1841. By 1881 the population had declined to 218. In 1843 the church was restored and partly re-pewed, although what work was carried out has not been detailed.
Cox, writing in 1912, was far from complimentary. He noted, in particular, that in the nave were ‘several old benches, with well-carved traceried panels and poppy-heads, of 15th cent. design; a few reproduced in cast iron. In chancel are quire benches of some kind with panelled tracery in front. Round sacrarium some good oak panelling of late Jacobean date. Holy Table early Jacobean. Egregious bad taste has ejected fine Laudian altar-rails; they were covered with coal dust under the tower during a visit in 1904. Their place was taken by a common “church furnisher’s” rail, supported on painted cast-iron standards!’
In 1931 the population was 266.