Marnham Parish comprises the two townships of Marnham and Grassthorpe, lying on the west bank of the Trent.
Marnham contains 2,800 acres of land, including the Holme, which is divided into Cowgates. It comprises the hamlets of Ferry Marnham, Church Marnham, distant 5 miles east by south of Tuxford, and 256 inhabitants. Earl Brownlow is the principal owner and lord of the manor of Marnham, which was of the fee of Roger de Busli at the time of the Domesday. Afterwards, William de Kewles became lord of these manors, from whom they passed to the Chaworths. Thomas de Chaworth obtained, 34 Henry III, a market and fair on the decolation of St John the Baptist. Afterwards Elizabeth, the daughter and heiress of Sir George Chaworth, carried them by marriage to Sir Anthony Cope, knight.
The Hall, which stood betwixt the two villages, was the property of the Cartwrights, but sold and taken down about 60 years ago, before the death of the late patriotic Major Cartwright, who was born in it, and had many very extensive estates in this neighbourhood. A large fair is held here on September 12th, for horses, horned cattle and merchandise. One of the Chaworths, in the reign of John, granted to the monks of Radford, "free passage for themselves, their servants, and their carriages, in his ferry-boat here". The ferry is at the north village, and crosses the Trent to South Clifton.
The church is a small fabric, with a tower and three bells, dedicated to St Wilfred. It is a vicarage, valued in the King's books at £8 9s 0d, now £208. Earl Brownlow is patron and impropriator, and the Rev. Henry Apreece Coles B.A. is the incumbent. One of the De Chaurees or Chaworth family gave this church to the Knights Templars from whom, after their extirpation, it passed to the Kinghts Hospitallers, of St John of Jerusalem, and being taken from them, it was given to the Preceptory of Eagle in Lincolnshire from whom, at the dissolution, it was granted to Thomas Babington and John Hide.
Skegby is a hamlet which contains three scattered farms and three cottages. Here, Messrs Cundell and Weare, builders of London, have an estate. Rudding Wood House, 3 miles west of Marnham, is a large farm, the land being partly in Skegby, Normanton and Tuxford. Spring House is a farm 2 miles east of Marnham. Babbington Spring, 3 miles east of Tuxford, consists of a plantation of 40 acres, and a fox cover, where a fox house was erected about 12 years ago, in the hunt of G.S. Foljambe Esq.
In 1677, Henry Nicholson left to the poor of Marnham township land at Normanton, Grassthorpe and East Markham, which now lets at £40 10s 0d per annum, out of which £10 was paid to a master of the school, built in 1827 by Earl Brownlow. This school is now used as a Sunday School only, and £5 is now paid to a woman for teaching poor children in her own house. The poor of Grassthorpe have £4 3s 0d yearly, out of a field let in 1677 by the said Henry Nicholson.
Grassthorpe, 1 mile south-west of Marnham, is a small village and township, having 94 inhabitants and 700 acres of land, enclosed in 1799, when allotments were made in lieu of all the tithes. About one third of it is in Normanton and Sutton. It is a member of the Manor of Normanton, for which J.E. Denison Esq. holds a copyhold court and a court baron, for the transfer of property. There was anciently a chapel, founded to the honour of St James, with certain parcels of land and meadow, called priestland, containing 16 acres. After the suppresion of the religious houses it was used as a barn and a cottage, and Queen Elizabeth granted it to Alexander Rigby, Percival Gunston and John Sankey.
White's "Directory of Nottinghamshire," 1853