St Peter


Hayton is an agricultural parish, located a few miles north of Retford.

Tilne is the only part of the parish mentioned in Domesday Book; Hayton itself is not mentioned. The Torre Manuscript makes reference to a chantry so ‘that the Parishioners of Tylne, who are distant from their mother church of Hayton above a league, might set up a new font within their said chapel, and there baptize their children born thenceforth in the town.’ This, of course, more properly was a chapel-of-ease.

During the early 12th century, a charter by Matilda de Lovetot records that she gave Worksop Priory an assart in Hayton which was occupied by one Sotsimus, but there is no specific mention of a church.

The Torre Manuscript states that: ‘The town of Hayton was held in the fee of the Archbp. of York, as of his great manor of North … by several freeholders as anciently the Hayton Maignes, Fitzwilliams, and from them the Poges … Flowers, &c. ... Archbp. Sewall ordained that the Vicar of Hayton should have in name of his vicarage the alterage and land of the church of this town, with a garden, and that the sacrist of the said chapel should give three marks per annum to the poor of this place.’

The church of Hayton, along with several others including Everton, and Sutton with the chapel of Scrooby, was given personally by Archbishop Roger Pont l'Eveque when he established c. 1177-1181, the Chapel of St Mary's and the Holy Angels (St Sepulchre's) at York to support the four priests, four deacons and four subdeacons who were to serve that chapel (this chapel was at the gate of the palace in York). He ordained that the Vicar of Hayton should have the altarage and land of the town, and that the Sacrist of the chapel should give yearly three marks to the poor of Hayton.

In the 1291 taxation assessment, Hayton is not taxed separately but as parcel of the chapel of St Mary.

In the August of 1302, the vicar of Hayton was named as Adam when he acted as a compurgator for the vicar of Headon who was attempting to restore his reputation.

On October 3 1303 archbishop Corbridge gave notice to the vicar of Retford to cite the vicars of Sutton, Hayton, Clarborough, and Everton to appear in Hayton church the next day for a visitation of the clergy and people of the chapel of the Blessed Virgin and Holy Angels, York.

One of the earliest listed vicars in the Torre Manuscript was Henry de Sibthorp, Sacrist of Mary’s Chapel, from 6 November, 1310.

In the 1341 Nonarum Inquisitions (a tax of ninths) there was mention of Hayton: 'Item, that the ninths of sheaves of corn, fleeces, and lambs of the churches of Hayton and Tylne (which is a parcel of the said chapel) are worth 16 marks p.a. (£10 13s. 4d.) and not more, and the tithes of hay, 30 shillings. The mortuary oblations and other small tithes are worth 3½ marks (£2 6s. 8d.).'

On 27 June 1409 archbishop Bowet made a visitation to the vicarage of Hayton. No further details are known. In the 1428 Henry VI Subsidy Tax, there was mention of ‘Heyton’ The document states that the church was not taxed (Ecclesie non taxate) and that it belonged to a group of lesser parish churches in the greater parish of East Retford, which was taxed.

The Torre Manuscript lists Testamentary Burials, the earliest for Hayton was ‘16 July 1434 – John de Manthorp, perpetual vicar to be buried in the chancel.’ The same is transcribed in Testamenta Eboracensia, volume 2, where it recorded that he willed a good number of liturgical books to various people, an iron chest to the church of Beckingham, and 6s. 8d. to the bell tower of Hayton.

In a return of 1548 by Sir Walter Mildmay and Robert Kelway to the King's Commissioners it was stated that the chapel of Our Lady and the Holy Angels at York Minister made payment to the poor people of Hayton in the sum of 40s. annually. The same chapel also paid £14 annually to Hayton and Tiln.

In 1528 an assessment of subsidy paid to Henry VIII mentions Hayton vicarage, Tiln chantry chapel and Hayton chantry, and Hayton stipendiary chaplaincy.

In 1535 the Vicarage was valued in mansion, glebe, offerings, tithes of hemp and flax, &c., at £4. 15s. 4d.

In the clerical subsidy of 1571-2, Hayton church is listed as being exempt, most probably as it was valued at under the minimum threshold of liability of £6 13s. 4d.

In 1596 the churchwardens and assistants presented the following: 'the chancel is in decay' [a note written in another hand at the side of the presentment states that Mr Towle the vicar is to repair it]; 'the minister wears his surplice very seldom; George Lidgot 'did take parcell of the bellframe' and employed it to his own uses contrary to the commandment of the churchwardens; Richard Parkins and Nicholas Tomson took all the rest of the bellframe from the church and employed it to other uses contrary to the article'. Two years later the chancel was still in need of repair. The last Testamentary Burial listed in the Torre Manuscript was ‘19 Jan 1619 – Giled Walker of Hayton, clerk to be buried after a Xtian [Christian] manner.’

In 1635 the sum of £20 was expended on church repairs and the following year a further £6 13s. 4d. In 1637 the churchwardens returned that there was no rail placed before the Communion Table but a further £2 was bestowed on the church. The next year a number of problems were reported: the seats in the church were defective in the floorboards, there were two or three pews which were not uniform in the body of the church, the churchyard needed fencing, the bier for carrying the corpse to the church was not sufficient, the cover for the font was not sufficient, and there was no step in the chancel to go up to the Communion Table. However, twelve months later the wardens presented that the church was in good repair, so presumably these defects had been corrected.

The church registers date from 1655 for marriages and burials, and from 1665 for baptisms.

The last listed vicar in the Torre Manuscript was 27 May 1673 – Joh Wildbore B A, Will Earl of Devon.

According to Rosemary Anderson, in ‘1676 there were 103 persons aged 16 years and over “fit for Communion” in Hayton’.

In 1721 the churchwardens presented one Robert Southebye 'for endeavouring to seduce our parishioners to the Popish religion'.

In 1743 the return for Archbishop Herring’s Visitation showed that there were 47 Families in the Parish, none of whom were Dissenters. There was no licenced or meeting house in the Parish, no public or charity school, endowed or otherwise, and no alms house, hospital, or other charitable endowment in the Parish. The curate stated that he resided upon his Cure of Clarborough that was adjoining. He did not have a residing Curate. The Curate did not know of any people who attended the church who were not baptised or confirmed. It was reported that the Service was read alternately every Lord’s-Day at ten in the morning and three in the afternoon. The Curate catechised every Friday in Lent. The parishioners sent their children and servants, as duly as could be expected. The Sacrament was administered six times in the year. At Easter usually Thirty people communicated, at the last Easter there were thirty-three people who received Communion. The Curate gave warning of the Sacrament, but stated that the Parishioners did not send in their names nor could it be remembered they had done. The Curate was Edmund Mower. ADM. 16th March, 1741. The Church Wardens were Edmund Bealey and Thomas Jackson.

Archbishop Drummond’s Parish Visitation Returns of 1764 include HAYTON with TILN (Tylne):

‘Vicar – Charles Cartwright Appeared and exhibited. Old Churchwardens – Anthony Hartshorn; John Wierburton. New churchwardens – William Atkinson; Robert Ellis. Charles Cartwright MA Instituted 29 August 1753. Deacon 5 June 1737, Thomas Secker Bishop of Oxford. Priest 5 August 1739 Richard Smalbroke Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry. He stated: ‘this is answered in the Clarborough paper’. [Reader at Matlock, Derbys. 6 August 1739; vicar of Hayton 29 August 1753; rector of Matlock 4 October 1753; died 1775].’ In response to the return questions the answers given were exceptionally brief responses, most of them simply said ‘No’ but from the few answers that elaborated the following information can be gained: There were about 70 families in the parish, with no dissenters. No licenced meeting house, no public or charity school; no hospital. The vicar resided in the vicarage house in Clarborough. There was not a residing curate. There were no parishioners who were not baptised and no-one who was not confirmed. The public service was read at the canonical season. Catechism was performed ‘four times in a year’. It didn’t appear that the Lord’s Supper was administered, and therefore no warning was given about that.

In 1796 Throsby commented: ‘This place I find not expressed in Domesday book, howbeit it appears to be much as the rest of these townships of the fee of the arch-bishop of York, viz. of the North Sok. The church arch-bishop Roger gave to the chapel which he founded near the minster at York, as in Retford hath been noted, and Sewall the arch-bishop 4 (or 3) of the nones of May 1258, ordained that the vicar of Hayton should have the altarage and land of the church of this town, with a garden, and that the Sacrist of the fore-mentioned chapel, should give yearly to the poor of this place three marks.’

In October of 1807, Hayton Vicarage was reported as being in a dilapidated state, a report was made to: ‘view and estimate the repairs wanting to the vicarage house, barn, stable, outbuildings, farms and other premises of the Living.’

Rosemary Anderson states that: ‘From 1807 to 1833 the two Vicars, William Hodges and William Tiffin, also held the living of Mattersey and probably resided there, as church records suggest that Hayton Vicarage was let to tenants at this time. However, in June 1833, the Rev. John Mason, aged 59, became Vicar, and we know from the 1841 census that he resided at the Vicarage with his wife Hannah, and their family and servants.’

In 1844 White’s Directory stated: ‘Hayton is a straggling village, pleasantly situated betwixt the canal and the Gainsbro’ road, three miles NNE from Retford. The church, dedicated to St. Peter, in an ancient fabric, with a lofty tower and three bells; the living is a vicarage, valued in the King’s books at £4. 15s. 5d. now at £152. The Archbishop of York is the patron and lord of the manor, and the Rev. John Mason, incumbent. The tithe was commuted in March 1844 on 1184a 1r 4p of land for £264 10s to the Hon. J. B. Simpson … Mr Barber being subject to the reparation of the chancel of the church.’

Rosemary Anderson states: ‘When the Rev. John Mason died in 1844 his place was taken by the Rev. William Chapman Mee. He was Vicar of Hayton for 53 years, and as such became a central figure in village life … in 1845 … the vicarage was in a dilapidated condition … as well as repairs, considerable additions including the present west front were made at a total cost of £500, partly financed by the Rev. Mee himself.’

Rosemary Anderson reports that ‘between 1850 and 1900 a total of 214 baptisms, 76 marriages and 222 burials were recorded.’

In the 1851 Religious Census, Hayton Parish showed as having an area of 2,700 acres. Population of 133 males, 127 females, total population of 260. For the Ancient Parish Church of St. Peter’s Endowed Tithe (rent charge) £87, Glebe £10. Regarding figures of people present, for the general congregation there was shown 47 in the morning. There was no figure given for afternoon or evening. But, then on the average general congregation figures, these were given as on average 50 in the morning, and on average 60 in the afternoon, no figures given for the evening. The Vicar was W.C. Mee.

Rosemary Anderson notes: ‘In 1857 the Retford historian, Piercy … wrote that much architectural repair was required and that the east wall of the Chancel was in such a dangerous condition that it needed to be pulled down and rebuilt. The interior of the Church was in a most shameful condition, and he wrote “There is not a lumber room in the meanest cottage in the Parish in such a state … Talk of a house of God … we blush to write it … it is a disgrace to a Christian Country.” The Rev. W. Mee soon took steps to remedy this sorry state of affairs, and an extensive programme of restoration was carried out.’

The Church was officially reopened by the Bishop of Lincoln on 5 May, 1859.

Sir Stephen Glynne’s notebook entry on Hayton, St. Peters from 17 September 1869 states:

‘This church has nave with S. aisle – Chancel – S. porch and W. Tower in fair condition, having undergone partial restoration. The nave and Chancel are lofty and well proportioned – with open roofs. The north walls mostly of rough masonry, but other portions have been new pointed externally. The arcade on the S. of the nave has 3 semi Norman arches, of semi circular form on circular pillars – one of which has the capital plainly moulded, the other of rude foliage having an EE character. The responds have similar foliage. The Chancel arch is pointed on foliaged corbels having an Edwardian character. The S. aisle has a piscina with pointed arch having an ornamental moulding of leaves. The windows of the nave are mostly of 3 plain lights each cinquefoiled – but some on the S are of 2 lights. The Chancel has a Priests door some poor 2 light windows and at the E end one of 3 lights and Decd tracery.  In the Chancel is a piscina with projecting ledge under a short trefoil shaped recess. The pulpit is a/ of stone and modern. The Chancel has a dreary look – The seats are regular, but with doors. The Font has an octagonal bowl and looks new. The Tower is Perpr its arch to the nave is pointed, springing at once from the wall. The tower has base mouldings – and no W door corner buttresses – West window of 2 lights – and a rather plain and bald embattled parapet – with gurgoyles. The belfry windows of 2 lights have ogee heads with finials. The Porch has been restored and has the arched stone roof with ribs not uncommon hereabouts – Within it is a semi Norman doorway of curious character with hood moulding, one cylindrical moulding and one course of toothed ornamentation.’

Rosemary Anderson notes that a Church School, designed to accommodate up to sixty children, opened on 20 March 1876.

In the 1885 White’s Directory there were a few changes in the 41 years: the value of the property had decreased, the patron and incumbents had naturally changed: ‘The living is a vicarage, valued in KB at £4 15s. 5d., now £140. The Bishop of Chester is patron, and the Rev. William C Mee MA., incumbent. The tithe was commuted in March, 1844, on 1184a 1r 4p for £264 10 s, of which £86 was awarded to the vicar for the small tithe and £164 10s to the Hon J B Simpson and £14 to Robert Hartshorn Barber Esq as impropriators … Mr Barber being responsible for the repairs of the chancel of the church‘.

In the 1892 Bishop Ridding returns there was a very brief mention of Hayton: ‘In Nottinghamshire 26 livings are between £150 and £200; 10 are between £100 and £150, Egmanton, Elkesley, Flintham, Gamston and Eaton, Hayton, Langford, Langar, Scofton, Whatton and Willoughby. The 10 are all cases that ought to be augmented.’

According to Rosemary Anderson’s research: ‘In 1910 the Parish Church was packed for the Harvest Thanksgiving service at which the choir sang and solos were given by Eric Pitchfork, treble, and Mr. Burkitt, bass, who although over 70 still had a “powerful voice”. One hundred people sat down in the Vicarage dining room on the Monday evening for the Parochial tea, according to a newspaper report.’

Hayton was shown as due to be visited on 29 June 1914 at 4:00pm by Edwyn Hoskyns Bishop of Southwell. The 1914 visit states that: ‘Hayton, St Peter was built around the 13th c. It was part of the Deanery of Retford. R.D.: Charles Gray, rector of West Retford, 1907. Vicar. R. Jones, 1909.  The net annual value of the benefice was £155. The population in 1911 was 205; the population in 1901 was 233. The church accommodation was 144. The church day school, number on the roll was 30. The church Sunday School number on roll was 20.  There were 3 baptisms recorded in the year ending 30 September 1912. There were 4 confirmations recorded in the year ending 30 September 1912.’

In 1914 during the war the Retford Times reported that the Vicar invited the parishioners to attend church services: ‘interceding to God on behalf of our soldiers and sailors who are fighting our battles for us.’

Kelly’s 1922 Directory stated that: ‘The living is a vicarage, net yearly value £190, including 36 acres of glebe, with residence, in the gifts of the Crown, and held since 1909 by the Rev. Richard Jones Th. A. K. C. There is a chapel for Wesleyands.’

In 1970 St Peter’s Church Parish of Hayton Log Book showed: ‘during this year all the furnishings … stacks, priest stall, lectern and pews were thoroughly cleaned and varnished. Pews showing signs of infestation were treated with Reutoril (?) Pulpit rail and altar rail woodwork was lacquered. Red tiles on floors were recleaned and repainted with preservative. Stone slabs were cleaned off and surfaces brushed. Extensive work was done in the churchyard which has been much improved … Trap door on tower roof fitted with handle.’

In the 1971 log book: ‘all gutters and drainpipes have been cleaned out and painted. The church yard gates have been re-painted. Owing to sale of Hayton Vicarage the public access to churchyard via Vicars’ Croft path has ceased. The Vicar’s Croft was NOT sold but is leased to the new owner of the old vicarage. The exterior walls of the chancel were re-pointed and East window seating also re-pointed where gaps between lead and stone had occurred. This work was carried out 1969-70.’

In 1985 St. Peter’s Church, Hayton was in need of repair and restoration. Rosemary E. Anderson decided to write a fund-raising booklet about Hayton 1762-1914.