South Muskham
St Wilfrid


Domesday Book. Although there is no mention in Domesday of a church in South Muskham, there is at the base of the north and south walls of the western part of the chancel, and the north wall of the nave some herringbone work. Of this, Cox says: ‘With regard to herringbone masonry…it was at one time generally considered to denote pre-conquest work. When, however, it was shown that such masonry occurred in work undoubtedly post-conquest….nowadays (1912) it is more usual to style all herringbone work Norman. The truth lies between the two contentions: no certain conclusion can be drawn from this one test. The Romans used herringbone work, and so beyond a doubt did the Anglo-Saxons….There is a fairly distinct difference, perceptible to the practised eye, between this kind of work before and after the Conquest; taking other circumstances and appearances into consideration, there need be no doubt ……in accepting the South Muskham herringbone work as of Saxon origin’.

1108-1114. Probable foundation of South Muskham prebend for Southwell Minster by archbishop Thomas II.

c.1200-1204. North and South Muskham split from a larger prebend already in existence at this time (probably simply 'Muskham'). Mr Thomas de Disce was appointed prebendary (but it is unclear whether this was to North or South Muskham).

1275. The first appointment by the Chapter of Southwell to South Muskham vicarage (i.e. the appointment of a vicar for the cure of souls).

1291. The taxation of Pope Nicholas IV records that the prebend of South Muskham, belonging to Southwell Minster, yielded a clear annual value of 20 marks (£13 6s. 8d.)

1295. From the Letter of Ordination of the vicarage of South Muskham, May 1295’:…the vicarage consists of one Toft lying near the place of Robert called Petit on the North part and in all Tithes great and small and oblations and obventions whatsoever to the church belonging. All which are taxed by estimation at 6 marks-but there are excepted from the portion assigned to the vicar, the Title of Sheaves, Hay, Wool, Lambs and Geese. Of the person presented to the same they say that he is of good and honest conversation and fit for the same and would be of great service.....’

1301. Archbishop Thomas of Corbridge undertook a visitation to South Muskham church on the Friday following the feast of the Purification.

1330. Master John de Pinibus, prebendary (of South Muskham) going beyond the seas, has letters nominating Bernard Viventis his attorney for one year.

1341. Nonarum Inquistiones (taxation of the ninths) recorded that the annual value of the church was 20 marks, and that the ninth of sheaves, lambs and their fleeces were worth 13 marks a year at true value and no more, and that the arable land and meadow there belonging to the prebend were worth 46s. 8d. a year, and the tithe of hay with altar dues were also worth 46s. 8d. a year.

1347. Raymond Pelegrin, Canon of London, papal envoy, to John de Offord, Chancellor: request for 10ths not to be collected from South Muskham, county Nottingham, prebend, in the pope’s hand. Dated at London 27 Nov 1347.

1388. John de Tibbay requests a grant of the prebend of South Muskham which is void and in the king’s grant

1390. Murder of vicar Patewyn: pardons granted to William Par, Knight and Richard de Walehill of South Muscham for the death of Richard Patewyn, vicar of South Muscham killed there on Friday the feast of St Edmund the King. Calendar of Patent Rolls 3 June 1390 (the murder may have been connected to Wat Tyler’s movement).

1398. An exchange of benefices was permitted by Archbishop Richard Scrope between the existing vicar, Thomas Paule, and John de Cave, chaplain of the chantry at Wykeham, Yorkshire. Cave was instituted to South Muskham on the presentaion of John de Tibbay, prebendary, September 1398.

1411. To Thomas Kyngton, canon of Southwell. Dispensation to him-who is licentiate of civil law by examination, and who has had papal dispensation, as the son of an unmarried man and an unmarried woman, to be promoted to all, even holy orders and hold one or two compatible benefices, even if one were a canonry and prebend or a dignity etc., after which he was made a subdeacon and obtained the canonry and prebend of South Muskeham in Southwell and the parish church of Burton Noveray in the diocese of Lincoln — to hold any mutually compatible benefices, of any number and kind, with and without cure, and even if canonries and prebends and dignities etc., and to resign them etc., as usual. Litterarum etc.

1428. In the subsidy of Henry VI South Muskham is listed as a prebend of Southwell Minster, taxed at 26s. 8d., i.e. exactly 10% of the 1291 valuation showing that there had been no change during the intervening years.

1433. Under the Will of John Cotes a gift was made to the church of torches.

1474. Archbishop Neville in 1474 collated and personally inducted Edmund Chaterton into the Southwell prebend of South Muskham; Chaterton also held prebends of Beverley, Ripon, Lincoln, St. Pauls, St Stephens Westminster and Salisbury. (All the Canonries of Southwell, as well as of York, Beverley and Ripon, were in the gift of the archbishops, and it was by no means infrequent for these prelates to bestow three or even more of such prebends on their favourites).

1526. Thos. Nicholl, priest, and a prebend of Southwell, bequeathed 20s. to the parish church of South Muskham, and the like sum to the poor of that parish.

1534. The Valor Ecclesiasticus records that Edward Basset was the prebendary having a mansion house with arable land and meadow of the yearly value of 32s., tithe corn and hay £9 6s., wool and lamb £6, tithe goose 2s., and the mansion house in Southwell 6s. 8d. In summation £17 6s. 8d. Paid yearly to Nicholas Walkar vicar choral there £4, and to the chapter of Southwell 2s.

1538. Doctor Langriche, archdeacon of Clefland in Yorkeshire, did wilfully lepe out of the cloister of saint Magnus into the Temse, wilfully drownyd himself yn ye month of May. Prebendary: Richard Langriche, Langridge, or Langreth, Rector of Weldrake, Yorkshire, Archdeacon of Cleveland from 1534, and prebendary of South Muskham, Southwell, from 1538.

1620. A presentment drawn by the church wardens of Newark upon Trent as follows: We present Wm. Strumfield of South Muskham and Olive Parker for fornication according to the ...(illegible) 2 December 1620.

1649. Accounts of sale of Dean and Chapter lands (1649-1657) has the following items of expenditure: Francis Linley, Minister of South Maskham (sic), 1 year to 1649, Nov. 11, £17. According to A.C. Wood, ‘The end of hostilities made it possible for the triumphant puritans to effect a clean sweep of all the clergy who had shown themselves disaffected to parliament, and in all at least a further twenty Nottinghamshire incumbents lost their livings for delinquency during the Commonwealth period. They were ……..Francis Linley of South Muskham…..Where the parson was ejected, one-fifth of the proceeds of the living could be claimed for the maintenance of his wife and family. His place was of course filled by a man more acceptable to the dominant puritan faction’.

1673. ‘A Rentall of the Glebe at Muskham assessed for this year 1673’

1702. Willoughby v Dixie — mentions South Muskham prebend.

1706. South Muskham Parish Church 12 Jan. 1706 person receiving Sacrament — Francis Burton, clerk; clergyman-Gervas Burton, clerk, minister; churchwarden Robert Holmes, witnesses Henry Brown, William Beedham of South Muskham.

23 Sept. 1725. Person receiving sacrament — Alexander Stuart, gent.; clergyman-Joseph Ellis, Minister. Churchwarden William Beedham; witnesses John Hutchinson and John Astling.

1707. Burton v Dexie, vicar of South Muskham, Notts pecuniary cause-tithes.

1743. Terrier of houses and glebe lands belonging to the vicarage of South Muskham 19 September 1743: The vicarage house; stable; church yard containing about 1 acre; cottage; surplice fees amount to about 7 shillings p.a.; Easter dues amount to about £1. 13. 0 p.a. ; small tythes set at £30. 0. 0 p.a. Henry Clark vicar; Wm. Greaves and Wm. Linis churchwardens.

1743. From the replies to Archbishop Herring’s questions at his Visitation we have the following information about the life of the church: In the parish at that time there were 41 families, none of whom were described as dissenters. There was a charity school, described as being in a ‘very, to which belong 5£ p annum: & 20s to be laid out in 5 Bibles, but ye Salary has not been paid for several years last past. Ye Pson who ought to pay it is ye psent Ld. Middleton. [Francis, 2nd Baron Middleton who succeeded his father in 1729 and died in 1758]. I have offered my Service to wait upon his Ld.ship with some of ye principal Inhabitants of ye Parish (who are all his Tenants) to desire a Continuance of ye Benefaction, but have not yet been able to prevail upon ym to go with me. As I am inform’d ye Thing was left by Will by hid Ldship’s Grand Mother.’ The vicar did not live in his Cure ‘but at a convenient Distance for Supplying it, & I take Care yt it be duly Supplied. Ye reason of my Non-Residence is, because ye Income of my Living is small, and ye Vicarage House (tho’ kept in good repair considering wt it is) not fit for a Clergyman to live in’. There was a service in the church every Lord’s Day ; it could not be more frequent as the vicar was in charge also of the parish of Weston. The Sacrament was administered four times a year and the number of communicants about 91, of  whom 32 usually receive communion.

1764. At the time of Archbishop Drummond’s visitation, the vicar was Henry Clark and at that time there were 39 families in the parish. Divine Service was performed each Sunday, at which a sermon was preached and also on Holy Days; the Sacrament was administered three times a year.

1774. Extracts from the Poor Book. Disbursements (relating to the church) of Mr Will Egglestone churchwarden and overseer of the poor: bottle of wine for the sacrament £0.5.0, Bell ropes £0.10.0, Church ward book £0.4.6. 1779: John Welby Cloth and thread for surplus £0.1.1, Thomas Cawthorn for repairing of church and church yard £0.7.4.

1796. Talking about Southwell Minster…….There is yet, and from the beginning of this church, I suppose ever hath been, at Whitsunday a certain small pension paid from every parish and hamlet in this county called the Pentecostall offerings whereof the prebendary of the Sacrists or Sacriston prebend hath the tenth part, and the residue is equally divided between the commons of the canons (resident) and the prebendary of the prebend of Normanton. (that for South Muskham was 2s. 0p.).

1809. A Terrier of the houses glebe lands and other things belonging to the vicarage of South Muskham in the County of Nottingham in the province of York made this 12 day of June 1809: the vicarage house; a stable yard; a garden; the church yard; surplice fees; Easter dues; vicarial tithes have not for many years been taken in kind....(vicarial, or lesser, tithes were raised from labour and minor produce i.e. the day labourers and cottagers).

1831. On 27 August 1831 a baby found abandoned in a barley field in the village was christened; she died and was buried on 29 August aged about 7 weeks.

1831. Chapter patronage and the vicars choral:….The vicars choral in 1831 included Richard Barrow who was then rector of Barnoldby le Beck in Lincolnshire, perpetual curate of Halloughton, rector of South Wheatley, vicar of Rampton and vicar of South Muskham all in the gift of the chapter or individual prebendaries. Richard Barrow died in 1838 aged 91; in 1831, his gross income from his five Nottinghamshire benefices alone came to £452.

Benefice incomes:………South Muskham 1831 £65.00, 1855 £139.00.

The vicar of South Muskham, John Drake Becher, lived in considerable style in Hill House in Southwell, his glebe house being no more than ‘a cottage let to the Schoolmaster’.

1848. MUSKHAM SOUTH (St. Wilfrid), a parish, in the union of Southwell, N. division of the wapentake of Thurgarton, S. division of the County of Nottingham, 2 1/4 miles (N) from Newark; containing 262 inhabitants. The parish is bounded on the east and south by the river Trent, which is crossed by a bridge leading towards Newark; it comprises 2467a. 2r., and the soil is fertile. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king’s books at £4; patron, the Prebendary of South Muskham in the Collegiate Church of Southwell. The great tithes have been commuted for £677.4.3., and the vicarial three. The church is a neat structure in the early English style.

1851. The religious Census of 1851 reveals that the population of South Muskham was 303; within the church there were 100 free spaces and 200 others. The usual number of attendants at both the morning and afternoon services was 80 with 32 Sunday scholars at each.

1853. According to White’s Directory the church was a vicarage valued in the King’s books at £4 now £65 and is in the patronage of its own prebendary in Southwell Collegiate Church, who is also appropriator, and at the enclosure had 140 acres and 37 perches of land awarded for the large tithe. The Rev. John Drake Beecher M.A. is the incumbent and has 3a 1r 2p of glebe.

1854. Sir Stephen Glynne visited the church and part of his description is as follows:

In the South aisle are some plain 3 light Perp. Windows-and one square headed Decd (decorated) one of 3 lights. The Chancel is spacious and long in proportion to the nave and of good Early English character but unhappily a modern flat ceiling cuts off the upper parts of the E window which has been altered and spoiled (the writer has crossed out ‘otherwise horribly mutilated’). It seems to have been originally a triplet, with some of the original shafts remaining but transformed into a Perpendicular window of 5 lights. There are 3 lancet windows on each side, having internally trefoil headed arches and the 2 lantern ones having shafts. In the E. window are remains of stained glass in which may be seen armorial bearings reversed and displaid and the words ‘fiere fecit’ are visible. There are some good poppyhead ends of benches and part of the wood screen remains. The Font has an octagonal bowl, surrounded by Norman shafts with capitals, but the arches are gone-the pieces are alternately clustered-the whole is on a stone block.

1855. John Murray Wilkins’s Visitation of the Southwell Deanery parishes: his visit to South Muskham occurred on the 17 May 1855 when the population consisted of 263 houses: 51 Acreage: Value returned: £139. The patron was the Bishops of Ripon and Manchester alternately and the incumbent the Rev. John Drake Becher (Rev. Becher’s name appears in some records as Becher, in others as Beecher). He was vicar of South Muskham 1835-64. The church was then described as being dedicated to St. Wilfrid; the Chancel 36 by 15, Nave and N&S aisles 45 by 39 and a West Gallery; in good order and repair throughout-fine old tower. Chancel: Lord Middleton (lessee under Eccl. Com). Room : 206; free:60-30 of them in the Gallery*. Pews: 20-allotted to Houses. There were two services on Sundays-mornings and afternoons except during the winter months. Communion took place four times a year; at Christmas, Easter, Whitsuntide and Michaelmas. The average no. of Communicants was 20 and the average number of churchgoers on Sundays about 110 besides children. The Parish Clerk was John Fletcher who was appointed in 1838. His salary was £4. 4s. & fees; Mr Fletcher was described as ‘efficient’. The Glebe House was a cottage let to the Schoolmaster. Terrier: Land: 3 acres. Tithes: Commuted at £139. 10s. Great Tithes: Lord Middleton (Lessee under Eccles. Com.).Q.A.B.: Interest of £200. Easter Dues: average about £2. (* it is not known when the gallery was removed but there was no mention of it at the time of the restoration in 1878).

1859. The plaster was removed from the walls of the church.

1860. Notes made by a visitor (describing the church in 1890) that the last remains of the screen were removed about 1860.

1871. South Muskham Baron Middleton: Rev. A W Wood

1876. The Post Office Directory of Nottinghamshire for 1876 describes the church as a very ancient edifice containing chancel, nave, aisles and a square tower with 3 bells; a niche in the tower contains the figure of a mitred bishop with the right hand upraised in the act of blessing and a crozier in the left hand. The earliest date of the parish register is 1589. The living is a vicarage with residence and 3 acres of glebe in the gift of the bishop of Ripon and held by the Rev. Arthur Widdowson Wood of St. Bees; the yearly value of the lands appropriated in lieu of tithes are-to the vicar £139.17s. and to the impropriator £677 4s. 3d. The interest of £100 left by John Foster is distributed annually to 6 poor widows and widowers. Here is a parochial school erected in 1874 by Lord Middleton; it is supported by a rate made on the parishioners. Lord Middleton is lord of the manor and chief landowner.

1876. Oil lamps were introduced into the church in September 1876 (the chains which held these can still be seen) and electricity in 1949.

1878. In October the church was re-opened having been closed for a year following a violent storm the previous year which destroyed the roof. During the closure, extensive renovation work took place: the nave and chancel were re-roofed; the existing seating (including the boxed seats) was removed and replaced with new pews; the porch was re-built; the font re-mounted and a new pulpit installed. The medieval poppy heads were fixed on the new pews in the choir stalls.

1879. Land belonging to the Rector of the parish: church and grave yard 0a. 2r. 0p; church close 1a. 2r. 29p; rectory house, out offices and pleasure ground 1a. 0r. 6p; paddock 0a. 3r. 34p.Total 4acres, 1 rood, 9 perches.

1885. South Muskham in 1881 had a population of 245 inhabitants; Lord Middleton was the lessee under the prebendary and chapter. The church (St. Wilfred (sic)) is an ancient structure consisting of nave, chancel, aisles and tower, containing three bells and a clock. There is a figure of the patron saint in a niche in the tower. The nave and chancel were restored in 1878, at a cost of £800 and a vestry has since been fitted. A stained glass window has been inserted in memory of the Rev. J D Becher M.A., a late incumbent who died in 1861; there is also a small memorial window to Mrs Bradley. The Register dates from 1600. The living is a vicarage valued in KB [The King's Books] at £4 and now at £130, in the patronage of the Bishop of Ripon who at the enclosure had 140a.37f. of land awarded for the large tithe; the Rev. A.W. Wood, the incumbent, has 13 acres of glebe. The vicarage house was built in 1872 at a cost of £1400, by grant from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. A Parochial School was erected in 1875, at the expense of Lord Middleton. It is partly supported by rate and is attended by about 30 children. In 1841 John Foster left by his will the interest of £100, to be distributed every year on Christmas Day to six poor widows and widowers, belonging to and living in the parish.

1891. In 1885 the Prebend of South Muskham was Alfred Olivier, of Pear Tree, Derby. The church of St. Wilfrid is an edifice in the Perpendicular style, consisting of chancel, nave, aisles, south porch and an embattled tower at the west end containing clock and 3 bells 1585; a niche in this tower includes the figure of a bishop, vested and mitred, his right hand upraised in the act of blessing and his left supporting a crozier; the chancel retains its piscina in the south wall and has mural tablets to John Welby and Ann his wife (1779-80); Henry Huggins (1824) and Elizabeth Beevor (1819): there are stained windows in the nave to Hannah, daughter of Henry Huggins (1855): John Bradley (1853): and Sarah , his wife (1859). The west window commemorates the Rev. J.D. Becher M.A. for 29 years vicar of this parish: the church was restored in 1878 at a cost of £1000 when it was entirely new roofed, the porch rebuilt and the interior re-seated: a new pulpit and reading desk were introduced and the vestry renovated at the expense of the late Rev. Arthur W. Wood, a former vicar. The parish register is in fair condition; its entries which are much confused appear to date at the earliest from 1603. The living is a vicarage, net yearly value £200 with residence and 10 acres of glebe in the gift of the Lord Chancellor and held since 1890 by the Rev. Nesbitt Edward Willoughby. The interest of £100 left by John foster in 1841 is distributed annually to six poor widows and widowers. Lord Middleton is lord of the manor and is chief landowner.

1912. At the time of the visit by Edwyn Hoskins, Bishop of Southwell, the population of the parish was 194 (in 1911). The church could accommodate 204. The church day school number on the roll was 18, and baptisms for the year ending 1912/13 numbered 3, confirmations 9.

1949. Electric lighting was installed.

1959. A Victorian marble reredos was removed from behind the high altar.

1960s. New Calor gas system installed.

2003. The nave roof was removed and replaced.

2004. A children’s corner was introduced.

2005. Modern electric infra-red heaters installed.

2007. Within the vestry, a tea bar and a disabled toilet were installed.

2011. The tower underwent substantial repairs.