An early history of Palterton (1002 to 1700)

It is inevitable that this potted history of Palterton will include references to Scarcliffe, since they are so close to each other and historically linked.

The villages of Scarcliffe and Palterton, roughly about one mile apart, are situated on the escarpment of Magnesium Limestone and are amalgamated to form the parish of Scarcliffe.

The Romans reached the Trent about AD.47 and between say AD.50 and AD.70, there is little doubt the Roman soldiers lived side by side with the people of Coritania in Scarcliffe, probably AD.55 to AD.380.

What is the origin of the name Palterton?  The earliest name appears to be Paltertune circa. 1002-1100).

Paltretune 1086 DB.  Pautir -, -er-, -ton 1268-1286.
In 1652, it was spelt Paulterton and Pauterton.

The name is discussed in relation to the River Poulter (PN. NT.7) where it is noted that it's history is obscure and that since no river name of the form of Palter is known, the probability is that it is a back-formation from the p.n. but the whole problem remains obscure.

The belief that Palterton is derived from the River Poulter is wrong. Historically, rivers take their name from places.

I believe we have to take the name Paultretune, Paultertune, Pauterton, Palterton apart, split it into small sections.

"Pall" is old english for a ledge or a step, raised floor, used on a hill with steep sides.  "Pal" is old english for a stake or pole, a barrier.  "Tun" is an enclosure, farmstead, village - fence or hedge, enclosure, plot.

I conject that some ideas can be formed from these descriptions, in that the medieaval village of Palterton was below the escarpment where the present village stands.

979 to 1016.  The reign of King Ethelred.
The manor of Palterton was given by Wulfric Spott to Burton Abbey.

Spott was a large Derbyshire landowner who foundered Burton Abbey in 1002 to 1044.  He was believed to be a Saxon throne of great estate and retired from public life to his Abbey where he died in or before 1006.

1002.  He and his wife Ealhswith were both buried beneath arches in the cloister of the Abbey.  He ceased to witness charters in 1002.  There is no mention of any children.

Wulfric owned a large block of land in north-east Derbyshire: Palterton and Scarcliffe, Barlborough, Whitwell, Clowne, Eckington, Duckmanton.  Also owned land around the Morton, Pilsley, Ogston and North Wingfield.

1002 to 1004.  Depositions in his will, state he left Palterton, Scarcliffe and Tunstall, manor of Domesday to his brother Aelfhelm

1013 and 1016.  The years between were a period of anarchy in the Midlands, during which the family of Wulfric Spott suffered considerably.  His brother Aelfhelm had been murdered and his two sons blinded.

1066.  At the time of the Domesday Survey, the manors of Palterton and Scarcliffe, which had belonged to Levenot, a descendant of Wulfric Spott, were held by Raynoward under Ralph Fitzhubert, ancestor of the de Frechvilles.

According to the Domesday Survey, Palterton and Scarcliffe manors were granted to Ralph Fitzhubert De Rye, who came over with the Conqueror.

No record of there being a church at Scarcliffe when the Domesday Survey was taken nor at Palterton, a hamlet in the parish, which appears to have been the more important manor of the two.

The story of William the Conqueror is well known. After the conquest of 1066 all land became the property of the King.  William sent his men to collect information from all over England so that he could determine the wealth and what was due to him in the way of taxes.

This survey, the "Doomsday Book" was so exact that there was "not a single hide, nor rood of land", nor was there "an ox, or cow or a pig passed by" that was not set down in the accounts.

A "hide" was a measurement of the time and was really the value of the entire agricultural package farmed by a single family.  It varied from 40 to 120 acres, probably nearer the latter.

The following extract concerning the parish is taken from the Domesday Book:  "In Palterton and Scarcliffe, Levenot had 6 carucates of land and 2 bovates assessed to the geld.  There is land for 8 ploughs.  There are 2 ploughs in demesne; and their are 10 villeins and l suchman and 2 bordars who have 3 ploughs and there is one paying tenant with 1 plough.  There is 1 mill rendering 4 shillings and 8 acres of meadow.  Woodland for pannage 1 league in length and half a league in breadth."

In King Edward's time it was worth 6 pounds; now it is worth 50 shillings.   Raynoward holds it."

We cannot say there were ploughed fields and pigs.  There were villeigns or villagers, bordars - almost slaves (they were not free) and slaves - men perhaps who had been captured in battle.

The geld or Danegeld, was a tax paid to the Danes to keep them from harrying the country, this tax was established by Ethelred in 991.

1066.  (5th January 1066).  The 'time of King Edward' normally means the date of his death.  No reason is given to account for the rapid depreciation in value of the manors between this date and the time of taking the Domesday Survey in 1084-1085.

The Domesday carucate was a unit of assessment containing 8 bovates - a bovate being about 15 acres.  The carucate or ploughland would be roughly 120 acres, the essential portion of the plough was it's team of oxen, eight in number.

The demense was the lord's portion of the manor, the peasantry holding the rest of it under and paying rent in the form of service such as cultivating the demense land.  The mill for grinding corn was a valuable asset.  It would be interesting to know the situation of the mill at Scarcliffe.

Since the only source of power at that time for driving a mill would be the stream rising from the Palterwell (Poulter Well) it is feasible that the present 'fish ponds' were originally constructed to impound the water to give sufficient quantity and height to drive a water wheel.

The gates for controlling the flow of water from the ponds and the pond walls were maintained in good order prior to enclosing the common land.  The water was also used to operate the 'sheep wash'.  These items appear many years later in the Constables' accounts.

Robert FitzHubert (Ralph) held several lordships in chief.  His (may have been two brothers, Rober and Ralph) lineage is not well defined.  That he/they was/were kinsmen (nepos) of Henri de Ferrierers is reasonably certain.

The father, Hubert de Corcun, (now Curzon) a seigneur of a fief in the barony of Ferriers in Normandy, held West Lockinge in Berkshire of Henri de Ferrers, the tenant in chief.

He/they were not necessarily 'natural' sons, a Fitz myth long since exploded.

Boscherville, Curzon and Livet were all surnames deriving from the feoffment.

1087.  William died at the age of sixty and everything passed to William 11, known as William Rufus.  He liked a life of wanton pleasure and did not even see that the Domesday Survey in the north of England was completed.

1100.  Eventually, the (Manor) Palterton passed to Henry 1 in 1100.

1100 to 1135.  About this time, that a record appears of a Chapel being situated on Rock Corner.

Ralph Fitzhubert De Rye's daughter Mathilda, first married Ralf son of Eno De TattershallHubert, the son of this marriage was an ancestor of the Frechville family who possessed the manors for 300 years or more.  This was during the twelfth century.

Her second marriage was to Ralf de Aincourt, founder of Thurgaton Priory, and son of WALTER de Aincourt, who came over with the CONQUEROR.  There were at least four sons of this marriage, two of whom were ordained priests and in charge of the churches in Palterton and Scarcliffe.

These churches were built by Ralf de Aincourt and his wife Matilda, thus became patrons and held the advowson's, whence, it was to be expected that their sons would be appointed to these churches.  Ralf and Matilda were generous benefactors to Thurgaton Priory and Rufford Abbey.

Matilda built a Church in Scarcliffe and a chantry chapel in Palterton, (of which there remains no trace) during the middle of the twelfth century.

This chantry chapel at Palterton is described in the Cartulary of the Abbey of St. Mary, Darley, as the

A chantry is "an endowment for priest(s) to sing masses for founder's soul: priests, chapel, alter so endowed". (Concise Oxford Dictionary).

According to Thurgaton Priory Cartulary, Ralf de Aincourt and his wife Matilda, sponsor for the soul of Ralf, son of ENDO (her late husband), and HUBERT, his son, granted a portion of the waste of Scarcliffe from Ulfnesdale to Stonegate by the old way to Elmton, and by the way of Stonegate to Lowcroft.

Witnesses to this charter include WILLIAM, priest of Bolsover, ROBERT de Aincourt, priest of Scarcliffe, ROBERT, priest of Elmton, and GERVASE, priest, his brother, ALURED, priest of Sutton Scarsdale, among others.

In another grant, Matilda for the health of her soul and for ROBERT, her son and for the soul of Ralf, her lord, gave a certain portion of her land in the territory of Scarcliffe lying in the ancient road to Elmton to the Ulfnesdale into Stonegate.

Amongst the witnesses to this document are PETER, priest of Scarcliffe and ROBERT, his brother, STEPHEN, priest of Shirebrook.

HUBERT succeeded to the estates and confirmed grants made by his mother, Matilda, including that which WILLIAM, son of GREGORY, held in Scarcliffe, that is, the land which lay between the course of the mill and the assart of WILLIAM de CRICH and other lands in the culture of Cowdale.

1166.   HUBERT fitz Ralf (son of Ralf), inherited at least thirty manors;  he married twice and appears to have no issue with his second wife, SARA.

1175.  JULIANA, his daughter by EDELINE, his first wife, married ANKER de FRECHVILLE and resided at Crich.

1190.  HUBERT fitz Ralf granted to the church of St. Giles, Scarcliffe, an extension of the orchard and land which Matilda, his mother, granted to PETER Aincourt, parson and priest of Scarcliffe, i.e. that which lies between the orchard which belonged to PETER and the messuage of William, son of Gregory, towards the north.

1215.  HUBERT fitz Ralf, gave to the canons of Darley the advowson of the church of St. Leonard in Scarcliffe.

1217.  HUBERT died (or was it 1222) and his daughter succeeded to half the estate.

1218-1219.  ANKER de FRECHVILLE died, leaving as heir, his son, Ralf, a minor.

When the heir to an estate was a minor, the King automatically became custodian of the heir and estate, and appointed a person to take over the estate during the minority of the heir, the widow receiving one-third of the income.  The King was paid for the privilege and was a fruitful source of income.

1219.  The King issued a precept to IVO de HERIZ, to let PHILIP MARC have custody and marriage of Ralf, son and heir of ANKER de FRECHVILLE.

JULIANA, after the death of her husband, gave a bovate of land in Scarcliffe to the canons of Darley Abbey.

1222.  HUBERT died about this time and JULIANA, his daughter, succeeded to his estates.  JULIANA, daughter of Edelina, first wife of Hubert and widow of Anker de Frechville, granted to the canons of Darley, one bovate of land in Scarcliffe, which John, son of Matilda held in 1228.

1228.  JULIANA died and the King directed the Sheriff of Nottingham to take into the King's hands the lands which , daughter of HUBERT fitz Ralf, held at the time of her death.

1229.  Ralf de FRECHVILLE., son of ANKER, succeeded to the fifteen manors belonging to his father, having attained his majority. (come of age).

The FRECHVILLE family were benefactors to Darley Abbey and NEWSTEAD Priory.

1247.  RALPH de FRECHVILLE granted to the prior of NEWSTEAD certain lands, etc., in Scarcliffe.  This was confirmed by a charter in 1247 of all the land in Scarcliffe with the capital messuage, enclosed park, mill stews, services of freeman and villiens. (see 1324 later).

1261.  Ralf de FRECHVILLE, son of ANKER died in January of that year.

There are many charters concerning Ralf in the Darley Abbey Cartulary.  He was involved in a dispute between Darley Abbey and Newstead Abbey concerning the tithes of Scarcliffe church.

1261.  The usual Inquisitlo Post Mortem, which enquired into the property of deceased persons, was held on the 5th February 1261, at Derby.
Writ.  5th February.  To the escheator in Co. Derby.  The Inquisition is missing.  ANKERUS, his son, is his heir and of full age, was the claim.

ANKERUS married AMICE, daughter of SIR ROBERT MUSARD, who held many adjacent manors, thus acquiring more property as dower by marriage.

1266.  It has been suggested that ANKERUS was present at the Battle of Chesterfield, which took place on 15th May 1266, as a protest against illegal actions of HENRY III, that included many violations of the conditions laid down by the Magna Carta, signed by his father, KING JOHN.  The King, as a reprisal, seized his lands.

1268.  ANKERUS died towards the end of this year, and the following is taken from the Calendar of Inquisition:

Writ. Derby. Scarsdale Wapentake. 12th January 1269.
Scarthecliffe and Sokens. 2 Knight's fee and doing suit at the Wapentake court and county court at Derby, Stavely Woodthorpe and Whitwell - 4 bovates of land in demense, 22s. from the mill at Stavely, 23s..8d. from freemen and 10 bovates in villenage, held of the free marriage of the said AMICE, late his wife, of SIR ROBERT MUSARD 11d. yearly.

The marriage of the said AMICE pertains to the King because the said ANKERUS held of the King in chief by barony and can be sold for £28..0s..4d.

Derby. Lochirche Wapentake.
Alewaston held of Sir William Bardolf for 2 Knight's fee and suit at his court at Scelford co. Nottingham.  The marriage of LADY AMICE, sometime his wife, pertains to the King, because he held by barony of the King - Boney, Kryche, Scarthecliffe and PAUTIRTON.

1275.  It is recorded in the Rotuli Hundredorum that RICHARD de GREY had, this year, the wardship and marriage of the heirs of ANKER DE FRECHVILLE and custody of their lands.

In an Inquisition taken this year at Nottingham before THOMAS DE NORMANVILLE to discover what lands belonged to ANKER de FRECHVILLE, the manor of Palterton was valued at £10.  It was also stated that Ralf de FRECHVILLE, then above the age of 22, was his son and heir.

Towards the end of the 13th century, there appears to have been a period when most of the local manors were in financial difficulties.  It would be interesting to know the reason, probably it was a series of bad harvests which would be serious when the three-field system of agriculture was in operation.

1311.  The FRECHVILLE family was no exception as shown in the Inquisitio ad Quos Damnum in which Ralf de FRECHVILLE had licence to enfeoff 1 messuage, 124 acres, 5 acres of meadow, 50 acres of woodland and £11 rent in Scarcliffe, Palterton. (also Crich, Stavely and Boney manors).

Ralf and his wife, MARGARET, left CRICH manor house, which had been the family seat since Domesday to live at STAVELY manor house.

1324.  This land (refer to year 1247)), was again mentioned when the Crown granted Pardon to the prior and convent of NEWSTEAD by RALPH de FRECHVILLE of all the lands they had of fee of RALPH in Scarcliffe and Palterton with a capital messuage, enclosed park, mill stews, services of freemen and villiens, etc.

Fish were bred in the mill ponds or mill stews. providing both food and sport.

1337.  There were two Ralfs, sons of Ralf and MARGARET, the elder was granted the Staveley manor and the younger Ralf was granted the manor of Palterton this year.

The elder Ralf was succeeded by his son and the younger Ralf by his son JOHN.  These contributed towards the greater history of England.

1346.  These men were part of an army of 10,000 archers and 2,400 cavalry which embarked at Portsmouth on 15th June 1346 and sailed for the Norman coast.  They took part in the Battle of Crecy on 26th August 1346, after which the army marched on to Calais to besiege the town by land and sea.

1346 to 1347.  The siege lasted from September 1346 to August 1347, when the town was starved into surrender.

1347.  On 15th January, ANKER de FRECHVILLE had licence to leave Calais on business with Sir ADAM EVERYNGHAM, Laxton manor, but he convenanted to return as soon as possible.

1348. The following extracts are taken from the Muster Roll (of 21 ED.III): Scarcliffe and Palterton

JOHN de FRECHVILLE, lord of half the same, and within age and in the King's custody, is with the King's army in France.  ANKER de FRECHVILLE, lord, is with the army in France.

1349.  There is no record of him returning to France, but it is known that he died from the Black Death this year.

1349.  (May).  The Black Death which reached Derbyshire and appears to have affected most settlements, including Palterton.

1362.  The Plague recurred.
At Palterton, no tenant survived and the land remained uncultivated for twenty five years.  As a result of this, large acreage's were either returned to permanent fallow, which resulted in a less productive area of arable and fewer families - a downward spiral - or they reverted to common land, the Lord of the manor using the extra grazing for his own benefit.

Tenants in the one hundred years after the Black Death were able mostly to obtain long leases at low rents or demand excessive wages.

There is no further information about JOHN de FRECHVILLE who fought at Crecy.  Since he was in the King's custody, he was under the age of 21, a remarkable feature about the family was the majority of the heirs to the estate were minors, and the expectation of life was limited to forty years or less.

CONSTANCE de FRECHVILLE, whose effigy lies in Scarcliffe church, was probably the wife of JOHN, mentioned above, also the mother of JOHN who died in 1373 on active service overseas.  The epitaph on the effigy shows that the remainder of her children had died and may have been victims of the Black Death in 1349.

In thanksgiving for her survival and her son JOHN, she gave the grant of land to ring the church bells.

On the death of JOHN, the manor of Palterton came into the possession of his son, JOHN de FRECHVILLE.  This is shown by the usual Inquisition dealing with the property, the King took possession of the estate as the heir was a minor.

1374.  JOHN de FRECHVILLE of Palterton
Writ. lst April 1374.
Derby.  Inquisition taken at Chesterfield Tuesday before St. Barnabas (48 ED. III). Palterton.
A messuage, 80 acres arable and 7 acres of meadow held of the King in chief by Knight's service, with 6/8d. rents of free tenants and 47/- rents of bound tenants without any services.

He, (JOHN de FRECHVILLE of Palterton) died beyond the seas on Thursday, the eve of St. Martin last.  JOHN, his son aged 12 was his heir.

Writ. of plura.  8th March 1376.
Inquisition taken at Chesterfield Tuesday after the Annunciation. (50 ED.III). Palterton.
The manor held of the King in chief by Knight's service.  JOHN STYGAYN has had possession of two thirds thereof by the King's grant; and Cecily, wife of the deceased, has had possession of one third thereof as owner.

Lands, etc. held of ANKER de FRECHVILLE in socage by rent of ld. and let at farm for 11 marks yearly, of which rent the said Cecily has had possession by what title the jurors know not.

Writ to Sheriff of Derby to warn the said CECILY to be before the King in Chancy in the quinzains of Trinity next to show cause why she should not answer to the King for the rent in Stavely Woodthorp received by her since her husband's death, and why the King should not receive the rent henceforth during the minority of the heir.

1.  CECILY was warned to appear as above by ROBERT JOLIROBYN and HENRY SMYTH.
2.  She appointed WILLIAM de ROYDINGTON and JOHN RAME as her attorneys.
3.  Successive adjournments of the case until the quinzaine of Michaelmas 50 RICHARD III.

1376.  (6 May).
Writ of dedimus potestatem to the ABBOT of WELBECK to receive the attorneys of RALPH de WODE to sue out of the King's hand certain tenements, late of JOHN FRECHVILLE in STAVELY WOODTHORP which are said to have been taken into the King's hand by the escheator. (50. ED.III).

The ABBOT received as RALPH's attorneys GILBERT de SUTTON and WILLIAM de RODYINGTON.

The male line of the FRECHVILLE family at Palterton became extinct at the beginning of the 15th century.

1408/9.  In his will dated 20 March 1408/9, JOHN SAUVAGE (Savage) of OULECOTES (Owlcotes), citizen and clerk of London, proved on the 20 October 1410, stated he was the son of Robert Savage and mentioned his brother Sir WILLIAM SAUVAGE and his nephew Sir ROBERT SCARCLIF.

He bequeathed £20 (twenty pounds) to poor households without means or alms living in the towns or hamlets of Palterton, Scarcliffe, Steynesby, Heath, Oulecotes, Sutton, Bolsore and Nettleworth at the time of his death.
(Ref.: Derbyshire Wills proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury 1393 to 1574.
E.d. D.G. Edwards - Derbyshire Record Society 26, 1998 pp 223 -4).

1445.  John Ulkerthorpe, who married one of the co-heiresses of the Frechville family, died siezed (in possession) of the manor of Palterton in 1445.

1535.  At the time of the Dissolution of the Monasteries (1535), when inventories were made of their plate and removable goods, the Abbey had an annual value of £258..13 shillings..5d. which included the great Tithes of Scarcliffe, Palterton, Bolsover, Crich, Mackworth, Pentrich, South Wingfield and St. Michaels' in Derby, as well as the tithes of lamb and wool from Scarcliffe, Palterton, Bolsover and South Wingfield.  As a result of gifts from patrons such as Earl Ferrers, along with the purchase of land, the Abbey at Darley had become a large landowner.

1544.  The manor and park at Scarcliffe were granted to George Pierrpont.

1556.  John Columbell died siezed of the manor of Palterton.  It was afterwards in the possession of the Leake family and has since passed with Scarcliffe.

The Great Courts Baron of Staveley, Derbyshire, 1595-1786
a Translation and Transcription, ed.  Anthony D Smith (1999)

There were two manorial courts at Staveley : Staveley Woodhouse and Staveley, the two of which were combined from 1634.  The book’s introduction contains some helpful information on the history of the manors and there’s a glossary of terms.

Staveley Woodthorpe Courts Baron 1595-1634.
20 Oct 1595  [Lord of the manor = Peter FRETCHVILE Esq., a minor]
Transfers by free tenants
Also they say that Francis LEEKE esquire, who freely held for himself and his heires in the aforesaid lord’s mannor one messuage and certain lands belonging to the same in Palterton, recently the lands and tenement of Robert SITWELL, by rent of ii s a year [and by] fealty and suite at the court and by what other services they do not know, since the last court transferred the same messuage, lands and certain premises to John ALWOOD and his heires.  On which the lord’s bailiff is ordered by the court to summon the said John ALWOOD to appear at the next court held there to make his fealty to the lord.

4 Oct 1596  [Lord of the manor = Peter FRETCHVILE esquire] Fealty made To this court came the said John ALWOOD, in his own person, and acknowledged here in full court his tenancy of the lord, in his aforesaid mannor, of a messuage and certain lands with appurtenances in Palterton, formerly the lands and tenement of Francis LEAKE esquire, by faithful suite at the court and by rent of ii s a year.  And upon this did fealty to the lord.
[Note: John ALWOOD is also listed as a member of the homage – the court’s jury]

12 Jun 1598  [Lord of the manor = Peter FRETCHVILE esquire].
Death of a free tenant
Relief iii d
Also they say that Hugh REVELL gentleman, who held freely for himself and his heires certain lands and a tenement in Palterton, of the lord of the aforesaid manor, by faithful suite at the court and by rent of iiii d a year, died since the last court.  Thence falls to the lord a relief of iiii d.  And that the aforesaid lands and tenement, after the death of him Hugh REVELL, are owed to his wife, after whose death moreover they revert to William CAVENDISH esquire and his heires.

22 Oct 1599  [Lord of the manor = Peter FRETCHVILE esquire.]
Death of free suite ower
And they say moreover that William WOODHOWSE, who held freely of the lord of the mannor certain lands and a tenement with appurtenances in Palterton, by rent of iii s. i d. a year, [and by] fealty and suite at the court, and by what other services they do not know, died since the last court.  And that after his death the said lands and tenement descend to John WOODHOWSE the son and heire of him, William, being within an age not exceeding eleven years.

19 Oct 1602  [Lord of the manor = Peter FRETCHVILE esquire].
Also they say that John ALWOOD, who held freely for himself and his heires certain lands and a tenement in Palterton, of the lord of the mannor, by faithful suite at the court and two shillings rent a year, and by what other services they do not know, since the last court transferred the said lands and tenement to Francis LEAKE knight and his heires imperpetuum.

24 Oct 1610  [Lord of the manor = Lord Peter FRETCHVILE knight]
(Among list of free tenants who did not appear so were in default, ie. had to pay a fine) John WOODHOUSE default
xii d. for lands in Palterton in the tenancy of William BUTCHER by annual rent to the lord of iii s. i d…

1616.  Sir Henry Pierrepont died siezed of of the manor of Palterton , this year.

9 May 1628 (Lord of the manor = Lord Peter FRETCHEVILLE knight)
Free tenants of the manor (ie. of Staveley Woodthorpe)
List of 8 free tenants included…
Lord Francis DEYNCOURT, for land formerly HEATHE’s in Palterton.
The heires of Hugh REVELL gentleman, for his land in Palterton.

The main branch of the Frechville family was in existence for more than 300 years.  Sir Peter Frechville was knighted in the reign of Edward VI. for his services at the Battle of Musselborough.  His great grandson, Sir John Frechville, who did signal service for Charles I as a staunch Royalist, was, at the Restoration, created a peer under the title of Lord Frechville of Stavely.

1642.  (22 August).  The Civil War broke out in Derbyshire when Charles raised his standard at Nottingham Castle.

1681.  A year before his death, Lord Frechville, sold the estate to the Cavendish family.

1682.  He died at the age of 76 and was the last of that ancient family.

1690.  This estate was purchased by Sie Peter Apsley from whom it passed into the possession of Earl Bathurst.  The Duke of Devonshire now owns the estate.

An early history of Palterton (1002 to 1700)


Home Page:

Created 2 December 2001
Last updated: 7 January 2016.