All Saints


In the Domesday Survey of 1086 there was a church in Rampton. On the north side of the nave are apparently three portions of the north wall of an early stone church erected on the site, constructed of hard thin-bedded local sandstone. It would probably have formed part of an aisleless nave, with a chancel, and possibly antedates the building of a tower. ‘Seven Thanes has seven manors or mansions here’, writes Thoroton when referring to Rampton’s Anglo-Saxon heritage. The village, situated within a mile or two of the Trent along the Lincolnshire border, has been the home of many ancient families and changed hands many times in a complex genealogy summarised below.

After the Norman Conquest, King William granted control of the manor and lands in Rampton to Roger de Busli. A hundred years later, the owner was Nigellus de Rampton, who had a daughter, Pavia, who married Robert Mallovell. She gave a part of the estate to the Priory at Blyth. About a hundred years later the estate passed by marriage to the Stanhopes, who held it for over 200 years, when it passed again by marriage to the Babingtons. After another hundred years, early in the reign of James I, the manor passed once more by marriage to the Eyre family, who retained it until 1893, when the late Colonel Henry Eyre sold the manor to Charles Ellis, Esq.

The ancient church that stands in Rampton contains many memorials of the great families of the Stanhopes, Babingtons, and Eyres who were so prominent in its colourful history. One Gervase Eyre, who represented the country in Parliament, is described as entitled to the favour of ‘all true friends of the Church and Constitution’; while his mother, Lady Packington, was so esteemed for her piety that the authorship of a once popular book, The Whole Duty of Man, was attributed to her. There is also a tablet to the memory of Vice-Admiral Sir George Eyre who died in 1839, after having seen much active service in the French wars; while another tells of the sacrifices the Eyres have made in the cause of their country.

In the late 13th century the early north wall was partly removed and three arches inserted; the west window of this aisle dates this marked change. The portion of this aisle wall, including the north door one of the windows, and the buttresses were rebuilt in 1699; the restoration is indicated by an inscription over the exterior door.

The earliest part of the church appears to have been built using thin-bedded local sandstone of the Upper-Keuper marls. The later walls were largely constructed in sandstone of the Lower-Keuper marls.

The prebend of Rampton and its association with the canons of Southwell was evidently in existence by the very early 13th century and appears to have been founded around 1200 by Pavia, daughter of Nigel de Rampton, and Robert Malluvel her son.

In 1256 and 1263 Reginald de Stowe was prebendary of Rampton. He was a chaplain of Archbishop Walter Gray, and in frequent attendance on him.

In 1280 archbishop Wickwane removed the parson, Jacob de Markesley, at Rampton for not being ordained.

On August 18 1290 a certificate was issued from the chapter and canons of Southwell that, in obedience to a mandate from the archbishop they had admitted under a papal provision one Roland de Ferentino, in the person of Master Bartholomew de Ferentino, his proctor, to the prebend of Rampton in their church, made vacant by the promotion of the previous holder Senchius de Pine to the archbishopric of Capua. Evidently the pope was using his influence to appoint chosen Italians to this living as often happened during this period; de Pine, who had been appointed in 1281, was a relation of Cardinal Jacopo Colonna.

Also in 1290 the Chapter of Southwell levied the arrears due for the contribution due to the fabric of Southwell Minster, then owing for three years. It would appear that this money, along with other fines issued elsewhere, was used toward the construction of the magnificent Chapter House at Southwell.

Rampton is recorded in the taxation of Pope Nicholas IV in 1291 as a spirituality of Southwell Minster and was a prebend of the same. Its clear annual income is given as £20, but it was exempted from payment under the rule of being appropriated to a military order, or hospital, or poor nunnery. There is no mention of the church in the 1341 Nonarum Inquisitiones, probably due to the previously agreed exemption. However, in the 1428 taxation of Henry VI the prebend was taxed at 40s. (i.e. 10% of £20), thus showing there had been no change in income since 1291.

In 1425 Thomas Haxey, the Treasurer of York Minster, left in his will the sum of 40s to the parishioners of Rampton. He had held the position of prebendary there from 1405-1418.

In 1435 the vicar of Kneesall, John Gylby who appears to have been connected to the Stanhope family, left his ornate money belt of silver (meam zonam ornatam cum argento) in his will to the vicar of Rampton, John Face.

In 1534 the prebendary Thomas Westby declared to the king that Rampton prebend had a mansion place with five closes in Rampton, containing an estimated 11 acres of pasture to the yearly value of 33s 4d, and also tithe corn and hay worth £18 6s 8d. There was an annual payment of £4 to the vicar choral at Southwell, and to the church there 2s 2d. The whole annual valuation was given as £15 17s 9d.

In 1537 Thomas Winter, the natural son of Cardinal Wolsey, as a canon of Southwell and prebendary of Rampton, signed the surrender of Southwell Minster to the king; he had first taken the prebendary in 1529.

The registers commence in 1563 and are continuous. One register, from 1678 to 1698, contains the names of those who made affidavit before a magistrate that they should be buried in wool. The Act of Parliament for burying in wool was passed in 1666 and repealed in 1678. The people of Rampton were evidently behind the times, in as much as they only observed the act 12 years after is passage and continued to observe it 20 years after its repeal.

In 1596 the churchwardens and their assistants were particularly informative about the state of affairs in their church, stating that: 'their vicar does not use the sign of the cross in the administration of the sacrament of baptism; they had diverse sermons, two preached by Mr Quippe, vicar of Littleborough and others by Mr Gawthrop, vicar of Duneham and by others whose names are not known; the communion is celebrated at least three times every year and no notorious offender admitted thereto; [a note added in another hand at the side of the return that the Bible is in some decay]; the parsonage house is and has been for a long time quite decayed, in whose default they know not ['Mr Clayton, parson' added in another hand next to the presentment]; Stephen Cooper the parish clerk is presented for teaching without licence [added next to the presentment on the opposite side is a note reading 'he teacheth but A.B.C.']; they lack one of the tomes of the Homilies and a Psalter in proof and meter, and the book of Injunctions.

Robert Thoroton wrote of Rampton in his Antiquities of Nottinghamshire in 1677 as a place of ‘rich strong land’, situated near the Trent, largely belonging to Antony Harolph Eyre of Grove.

Nicholas Howlett, the vicar in 1743, recorded that there were then 65 families in the parish, all conforming to the Church of England. There was a school, ‘built nine years ago by subscription without any fixed endowment or salary, and all the children of poor parents are almost wholly educated in it out of a subscription for that purpose and the Communion money, and it is required of the parents (if they would have their children continued gratis at school) to bring them duly to church, and the school master takes care to hear them the Church Catechism once at least every week.’ Howlett also described the charities for the poor. He lived in the vicarage, and read the service once every Sunday. He also read the service at Laneham. The Sacrament was administered on the first Sunday of every month.

In 1764 the vicar, Samuel Berdmore, reported that there were 75 families in the village, all conforming. The parish contained ‘a school house formerly built by the parish and endowed with three acres and a half of meadow land lying in Rampton Marsh and purchased for that purpose with certain legacies devised to the parish by Mrs Elizabeth Eyre’. There were also other charities for the poor. Berdmore did not live in Rampton, but in Nottingham where he was a master at what is now Nottingham Boys High School, and served as a curate at St Peter’s church. He paid William Calvin £20 a year to act as curate at Rampton, and to take the services there. These included administration of the sacrament on the first Sunday in every month and on the three great festivals.

Throsby described the Church as ‘dedicated to All Saints’, and ‘large, with a handsome lofty tower, a nave, two side aisles and a chancel’. In the south aisle at the east end were two monumental stones dedicated to the memory of Sir Richard Stanhope. In the same aisle was another stone with the inscription ‘John Babington of Rampton, esquire, died the third daye of October, 1563, at London...’.

The 1851 religious census states that the parish of Rampton covered an area of 2,155 acres. At this time it had a population of 455, 238 men and 217 females. All Saints church was recorded as being endowed with a tithe of £120, a glebe worth £105 and other moneys adding up to £10. The census records the numbers who attended the morning and afternoon services at the church. The morning congregation of 134 had a general congregation of 70 and 64 Sunday scholars. The evening congregation of 178 had 110 in its general congregation and 68 Sunday scholars. The curate John Parker made an addition to his report for the census stating that ‘in addition to the 342 settings there are also loose benches in the chancel on which 40 children may be seated’, suggesting diversity in the age of the All Saints congregation.

Sir Stephen Glynne visited the church in February 1868. In his description of the church he noted that ‘the Chancel arch has been modernised as has in some measure the Chancel generally, which abounds in monuments to the Eyres on the north wall, which wall has now no windows open’.

Edwyn Hoskyns, the Bishop of Southwell, visited the Church during his parochial visitation to the Deanery of Tuxford on 25 January 1914.  The report begins generally. The bishop writes of the uniqueness of this deanery as the smallest in his diocese with only one parish, Tuxford, having a population of over 1,000. He worries about the dangers for parishes of this size in preserving the fabric of the churches. No longer do generous landlords bare the brunt of repair work, but groups of a few farmers and labours that are unable to bare the costs. The report then narrowed in on Rampton. During recent months the government has built a large criminal lunatic asylum in the parish. The Bishop believed that ‘very soon a considerable village will grow outside the wall, where attendants and officials live’. He urged that the All Saints should ‘in every way show sympathy with the staff’. He warned that they should not forget this new population.

Between 1928 and 1930 the parish was busy raising funds of a much needed restoration, and repairs to the tower commenced in 1930 with the expenditure of £280, but more was apparently still needed.

In 1935 a credence table for the Lady Chapel was installed by a dedicated maker, Charles Fenwick. Desks were also fitted to the choir stalls which matched the clergy desk. Two years later a new font cover in oak was dedicated, the gift of Mr & Mrs Pearson, designed by Canon Rushby Smith, and created by Mr Charles Fenwick.