Mattersey, or Mattersea, is a genteel and very retired village and parish, on the western bank of the Idle, 4 miles south-south-east from Bawtry, and 6 miles north by west from Retford. It stands on a pleasant elevation, and has several handsome mansions. It comprises Blaco Hill, one mile south of Mattersey; Mattersey Abbey, one mile east; Mattersey Grange, one mile west; which are large farms, and Mattersey Thorpe, a hamlet half a mile west of the village. The parish is about 1½ miles in length, and contains 493 inhabitants and 2,561 acres of land, which was enclosed by an Act passed in 1770. The Rev. Christopher Nevile is the principal owner, and lord of the manor. The Abbey Farm, 150 acres, belongs to JohnWormald Esq., and Mr John Walker senior, and Mr John Walker junior have estates here.
The church, dedicated to All Saints, is a handsome gothic edifice, in excellent preservation, and is a most pleasing object in the village. It has some curious carvings, which were discovered about 70 years ago, under the old pavement of the chancel, one of which represents the benevolent action of St Martin dividing his cloak. It had a chantry dedicated to St John the Baptist, and in the reign of Edward I was appropriated to Mattersey Abbey, to make amends for some losses the monks had sustained by fire. The vicarage, valued in the King's books at £6 8s 9d, now £250, is in the patronage of the appropriator, the Archbishop of York, and is now enjoyed by the Rev. W.C. Fenton, who in the year 1829 founded the Yorkshire Institution at Doncaster for the deaf and dumb, which has now within its walls 100 pupils, from the counties of York and Nottingham. The vicarage is a neat house near the church. Here is a small Methodist chapel, erected in 1792. The parish school was endowed by Edward Nettleship in 1742, with £140, now increased to £248 10s 7d, 3½ per cent stock, the yearly dividends of which, £8 13s, are paid to the master for teaching seven poor boys, who are admitted by the vicar and churchwardens.
Before the Conquest it was the manor of Earl Tosti, and afterwards belonged to the family, who took the name of De Mattersey or Maresay, but ended in an heiress Isabel, married to Sir Phillip Chauncy, who gave the village to the monks of the neighbouring Gilbertine abbey, founded by her ancestors, and dedicated to St Helena. The prior had been free warren here, and the village had a market and a fair. The abbey was founded before 1192, by Roger Fitz Ranulph De Maresay, for six canons, and at the dissolution it was valued at £60, when the manor was granted to the Nevile family, whose heiress married Sir William Hickman, whose descendants resided here till the early part of the last century, in a house which still remains. The Abbey stood near a mile east of the village, and its site is now occupied by a farmhouse, and the remains of part of the cloisters and cells are occupied as cart houses and poultry roosts.
[Transcribed by Clive Henly]