All Saints


There was a church at Misterton by the late 11th century, with a church being mentioned in the Domesday survey.

During the reign of Henry I, c. 1130, the church of Misterton was granted by William de Lovetot, to the canons of St Cuthbert at Worksop, who between 1214 and 1216 granted the church to the archbishop of York who, in turn, conveyed it to the dean and chapter of York.

Around the year 1290, the prior of Newstead appears to have been, along with Robert de Hayton and Canstantina de Byerne, the chief lord of Misterton, and the situation was the same in 1315. There is no indication that Newstead held any part of the church but the priory did hold land, along with land in adjoining Walkeringham, that had been given by the Count of Mortain (later King John) in the late 12th century.

King Edward I granted protection in 1294 for the period of one year to Roger de Oyly, rector, who had granted the king, along with many others, a moiety of his benefices and goods.

In about 1298 archbishop Henry of Newark sought to impropriate Misterton (along with Bolton Percy and Wheldrake) in order to pay for the restoration of the manors of Hexham and Alwinton in Northumberland which had been destroyed by the Scots; Misterton was valued at 35 marks (£23 6s. 8d.), but he was only granted the first fruits for three years. At archbishop Bowet's visition in June 1409 the church remained appropriated to the dean and chapter of York.

The church, dedicated to All Saints, is recorded in 1291 for the purposes of ecclesiastical taxation under Pope Nicholas IV, when it was valued at £23 6s. 8d. The value of the church was recorded in its constituent parts for the purposes of taxation under Edward III in 1341: the church’s income was derived from a ninth of sheaves, fleeces and lambs worth 26 marks yearly, 6 messuages and 41 acres of land worth 72s. 3d., a tithe of hay valued at 4 marks yearly, and finally, altar, oblate, mortuary and other small dues, worth 8 marks a year. In 1428 under Henry VI, the church remained at the same value, and paid a subsidy of 46s. 8d.

In 1309 archbishop Greenfield absolved Sir Edmund de Mauley, knight, who had been excommunicated for laying violent hands on one Robert Hardy in Misterton church and so shedding blood. He also ordered the reconciliation of the church and instructed the archdeacon of Nottingham and the prior of Nostell to make enquiries as to the names of the offenders. The same year witnessed the death of the rector, Sir Roger de Oyly who was granted licence to choose a confessor by archbishop Greenfield on 9 April and whose will was proved the following day in the archbishop's chapel at Scrooby.

The following year, 1310, saw a case heard in Westminster whereby William Doynel (actually Deyvill) contested the advowson of the church; the outcome was for the archbishop. The same year saw a dispute in the Court of Arches over the legitimacy of the incumbency involving John de Heslerton, rector of Little Laver, Essex, a position that Master Thomas of St Albans who had recently acceded to the post of Rector of Misterton, had held; the court found for Master Thomas. Yet further controversy ensued the same year when the archdeacon of Nottingham's official was prevented from making certain corrections (correccione digna) at Misterton.

In 1328 Master Thomas of St Albans, still rector of Misterton, purged himself to archbishop Melton following an accusation of repeated incontinence (super incontinencia) involving Isabella, daughter of Walter Berdeles of Misterton. However, it would seem that the accusations were not without foundation as two years later, on 25 August 1330, the archbishop condemned him, fining him 100 marks and requiring his mistress, Alice Berdeles (it is unclear if this was the same person as Isabella, and is a clerical error, or was a different daughter), to leave, under pain of deprivation of his benefice. As well as being the rector of Misterton, Thomas was also a canon of Southwell and was the holder of Dunham prebend; clearly he had a lot to lose!

Also in 1330, the archbishop requested King Edward III to restore the lands, tenements, and goods of one Stephen de Misterton, clerk, who had been accused of stealing two cartloads of beans from the rector of Misterton and others, and of being a common thief. The justices delivered him to the archbishop but he was found innocent of the crimes. This Stephen was most probably the man responsible for the day-to-day running of the affairs of the parish church.

Pope Urban VI, in a Papal Bull of 1379, allowed archbishop Alexander Neville to appropriate Misterton church for a period of 10 years specifically for the maintenance of the fabric and the lights of York Minster but in reality probably in order to help pay for construction work in the choir; a licence from the king had been granted in the previous year for the same purpose. The dean and chapter complained to the king that, despite this appropriation, the archbishop had collated an incumbent, Richard de Wetwang, but the Crown merely confirmed the appropriation 'notwithstanding the collation'.

At the subsidy granted to Henry V by the clergy of the province of York in 1418 the vicarage of Misterton was valued at 10 marks, the same as the vicarage of Newark at that time.

In 1419 the Dean and Chapter of York granted expenses to Misterton from their appropriated monies in the sum of £4 6s. Again, in 1421 they allocated money for repairs: for lead to cover the choir, 41 stones in weight, 20s 6d; for soldering the same 12d; for transport 13s.; for 400 lead-nails 9d.; for one timber 3d.; for 60 wooden roofing tiles (thakburd) 3s 4d, 18d. 9d.; for double spiked nails 18d. Total 32s. 8d. In 1446 they once more allocated money for the restoration of Misterton church: to John Roger, mariner, for transportation by sea 10 casks of building stone from his stall at Cawood to Misterton, and for 250 lead nails, total 19s 11d.

Following the Reformation, in 1548, the chantry was dissolved and was let to farm to Robert Thornhill and John Flowers.

In 1596 the churchwardens presented Simeon Hall, excommunicate, for non-appearance and for not mending a glass window in the church, and in 1603 they presented Barnabye Williamson of Bodderensaull [Bothamsall], gent., for not repairing the north 'alley' [aisle] adjoining the chancel of the parish church, with glass and other workmanship.

During the 17th century, on grounds of poverty, the vicar of Misterton was pardoned the arrears of a tenth to the crown that had accrued over 27 years to the amount of £27 13s. 6d.

On 11 April and 7 June 1671 the curate, Nathaniel Pighell, carried out clandestine marriages at Misterton.

In 1743, the curate, Thomas Richardson (admitted on 1 March 1727), provided a full account of the parish in his visitation return submitted to Archbishop Herring. The parish was home to 240 families and contained a relatively high number of nonconformists, including nine families of Methodists (‘general baptists’), three families of Quakers, one family of Catholics, and another family of Presbyterians. The parish contained a licensed Methodist meeting house endowed with £7 a year, where a congregation assembled every Thursday and on alternate Sundays. In terms of charitable endowments, in West Stockwith (annexed to the parish) there was £5 for the teaching of ‘decayed ship carpenters’ or sailors’ children’. There was also a hospital for ten decrepit ship carpenters, sailors or their widows, each to be paid £3 yearly. In addition, the parish contained a chapel endowed with £45 yearly which was managed by ‘six of the best freeholders’, with the curate noting that these custodians were presently engaged in a chancery suit with the inhabitants of the parish concerning the mismanagement of the charity. Other, smaller, charitable endowments included £2 for the yearly maintenance of two aged and poor people, a further £3 18s. and 12 ‘penny loaves’ to be distributed on the first Sunday of every month, all of which were distributed at the discretion of the minister, churchwardens and overseers of the poor.

The visitation return recorded that the curate did not reside in the parish but in Beckingham, with no explanation provided for this arrangement. The curate knew of no member of the congregation who had not been baptised, or, being of sufficient age, had not been confirmed. The public service was read every Sunday. For two consecutive weeks the service was read in the afternoon, and on a third Sunday the service was read in the morning.  The curate catechised every week during Lent when the children of the parish were in attendance. The sacrament was administered five times yearly, with the parish containing around 500 communicants, 70 of whom usually received the sacrament. During the previous Easter 124 communicants had received the sacrament, in addition to those who received the sacrament at the chapel of West Stockwith. Notice of the sacrament was provided the Sunday before it was administered, and the sacrament had not been refused to anyone. The churchwardens at the time of the visitation return were John Walter, William White, George Mote and William James.

The curate, the Rev Robert Pindar, made the return to Archbishop Drummond in 1764. West Stockwith and Misterton had between them 140 families of which ten of those living in Misterton were ‘of the denomination of Anabaptist’. They had a meeting house ‘of ancient standing’ in the village, although their teacher, John Perkins, was not licenced. The Methodists also had a chapel in the village ‘by the directions of the Rev Mr John Wesley and under his immediate inspection, but without any licence’. Pindar lived in West Stockwith in a house left by Mr Huntington, ‘founder of the hospital chapel for the use of his curate who serves both places’. The sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was administered five times a year.

The value of the vicarage in 1796 was given by Throsby as £10 5s. and the dean and chapter of York were the patrons.

Throsby commented of Misterton, ‘here are Catholic, Methodist, and Calvinist places of worship, whither, over some roads intolerably bad, the sectaries, from the neighbouring villages, resort;— but these perhaps are light impediments to a truly religious mind, in the contemplation of heavenly things. To others, of a contrary disposition, such passages imbitter their pursuits, whether their tendency be of a pleasurable or of a laborious nature.’

The church suffered great damage in 1824 when the roof – comprising two tons of lead – was blown down, destroying the south-eastern corner of the building. The damage cost £300 to repair, with £50 being provided by the patrons – the dean and chapter of York – and the remainder of the sum being raised by parochial rates. The church was restored in 1848, when the north aisle and tower were heavily restored and partially rebuilt and a broach spire was added to the tower at a total cost of £1,335 10s (given as £1,237 in Kelly’s Directory from 1922). The architects supervising the restoration were Weightman and Hadfield of Sheffield.

In 1851 the religious census recorded that Misterton parish comprised an area of 5,200 acres, and contained a total population of 1,089 people. The parish was endowed with land in lieu of tithe (commuted in 1771) to the value of £34 7s., a vicarage and garden valued at £7 10s., Queen Anne’s Bounty, invested in land valued at £64 14s, while £12 was derived from other sources. Space in the church provided for around 400 members of the congregation. The vicar at this time was Henry Stockdale, and excused himself from providing data relating to church attendance, ‘because I have no sufficient data whereon to give a correct return, and have no desire to contribute a fallacious one’.

Sir Stephen Glynne visited in January 1859 when he described Misterton as ‘a good church, lately put into excellent repair and the interior newly fitted with low open seats, altogether in a satisfactory state…. The steeple having been in a ruinous state has been in great measure reconstructed’.

In 1902 it was reported in the Southwell Diocesan Magazine that on 19 June a stained glass window, erected at the east end of the church by the parishioners and friends in beloved memory of Queen Victoria, was dedicated to the glory of God by the Archdeacon of Nottingham. The subject of the window was The Lord’s Supper, taken from a picture by Julius Schnor von Cawlsfeld, Professor at the Royal Academy of Art, Dresden. The window was completed by Thomas & Co. of Manchester and Birmingham, at a cost of £225. The large congregation at the service heard a sermon by the Archdeacon based on the text of Isiah 54:17.

In 1910 the parish was rocked by scandal. The vicar, Thomas Philips, was convicted on 11 November at Nottingham Assizes of unnatural conduct, i.e. homosexual activities. At the time this was illegal, and he was sentenced to 15 months hard labour. Subsequently he was deprived of holy orders on 9 December and forced to resign the living.

In 1912, J. C. Cox dismissed Misterton church as being ‘of little interest’, merely noting that the church consisted of a chancel, nave, aisles, southern porch and western tower with a spire. Cox observed that the tower and spire dated to the 13th century, but had been rebuilt in 1847-8 as part of a general restoration. In fact, much of the fabric of the church can be dated to the Middle Ages. The base of the font, the tower arch, chancel arch and north arcade date to the 13th century, whilst the church also contains numerous features from the 14th and 15th centuries, including a 14th century south arcade of two octagonal piers with tapered octagonal bases and moulded capitals, a piscina dating to the same century, and a 15th century west window.

Misterton All Saints was visited by Bishop Edwyn Hoskyns on 2 February 1913. The vicar at this time was H. M. Corlett, and the church was valued at £200. The population of the parish was 1,512, a significant increase from a population of 1,229 in 1901. The church provided accommodation for 330 members of the congregation. There were 84 children enrolled in Sunday School, and over the course of the previous year the church had seen 14 baptisms and 27 confirmations. On 31 July 1915, the sale of work, tea and entertainment at Misterton Vicarage to supplement a fund for the restoration of the church, was reported as being very successful, having taken £54 on the day, and with goods sold beforehand £79 was raised for Church restoration fund.

The church register dates to 1540.