Gringley-on-the-Hill is a delightful village and parish, on the highest part of the road from Bawtry to Gainsborough, six miles east-south-east of the former, and the same distance west by north of the latter town. From its situation on the loftiest of the promontories which overlook the wide extent of Misson and Misterton Cars, it commands such extensive prospects, that the minsters of York, Lincoln and Beverley may be seen from it on a clear day, across the vales of the Trent and the Idle, whilst in the nearer distance, the Chesterfield Canal appears emerging from the tunnel at Drakeholes, and winding under the long ridge of hills which extends eastward to the Trent. Near the village are several swelling mounds, which were it not for their size, might be supposed artificial from their very bases. On them, however, there have been thrown up three others in ancient times, a small one to the west of the church, and two large ones on its eastern side, one of which is called Beacon Hill. These are evidently the remains of Saxon or Danish works, and the land, which is still called The Parks, is traditionally said to have belonged to a Saxon lord. As the sites of several Roman stations in the adjacent counties may be distinctly seen from this place, it has, no doubt, been used as an exploratory camp. A great annual fair is held here on December 13th for sheep, cattle, cloth, blankets &c. A hiring for servants on November 1s, and a feast on the nearest Sunday to St peter's Day.
The church is an ancient Gothic structure, with a nave, side aisles, and a tower, and is dedicated to St Peter and St Paul. Near it stands an ancient cross, which was repaired about 30 years ago, when it narrowly escaped the desecrating hands of some of the parishioners, who wanted to use its materials for the reparations of the roads. Tradition says it was built in commemoration of one of the Edwards having passed this way into Lincolnshire. The benefice is a discharged vicarage valued in the King's books at £7 18s 4d, now at £158. The Duke of Rutland is the patron, and the Rev. Herbert Napleton Beaver M.A. is the incumbent. The rectory formed part of the possessions of the Priory of Worksop, but after the dissolution Edward VI granted it to Sir James Foljambe, knight, and his heirs, for the yearly rent of £22 13s 4d.
The parish contains 866 inhabitants and 4,139 acres of land, rated at £4,808. The Duke of Portland is lord of the manor, and owner of a great part of the soil. The other principal proprietors are James Cross Esq., Robert and Williamson Raven, John Lilliman, Thomas Smith, Jonas Marples, and Joseph and William Newton. Nearly 2,000 acres which are comprised in the car, have been drained at a great cost of labour and expense. At the enclosure in 1800, about 500 acres were allotted to the Duke of Rutland, in lieu of the impropriated tithes, and 179a 1r 19p to the vicar, and a commutation of the vicarial tithes. The Duke of Rutland has since sold his allotment to several purchasers. A commodious Wesleyan chapel was erected on the site of the old one in 1836, and a small Primitive Methodist chapel was built in 1838. The infant school was built in 1842, and in the same year a school was established in the schoolroom used by William hunt. The poor parishioners receive yearly 40s from the bequest of William Clark, who in 1621 charged his estate with this and other annuities. An unknown benefactor left to eight poor widows of this parish £1 yearly, out of an orchard which belongs to Mr Cross.
The manor of Gringley was in the soke of Mansfield, and of the fee of Roger de Busli. It was long held by the Lovetots and Furnivals, but in the third year of Edward III, Simon de Beresford claimed in it "emendation of bread, ale, free warren, park, wreck and weyf". It was afterwards granted to John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, as part of the honour of Tickhill, in which it continued till it was sold out by King James. It has long been held by the family of the Duke of Portland, and his Grace holds a court baron every third Monday, at the White Hart Inn, for the manors of Gringley-on-the-Hill, Misterton, Walkeringham and West Stockwith, for the recovery of debts under 40s, and for proving the will of the copyholders. He also holds a manorial court twice a year, on the day following retford Mayday and michaelmas Sessions, for the swearing in of juries &c., and for the transfer of copyhold land which is here subject to a yearly chief rent of about 6d per acre, and to a fine amounting to about 4 percent on the estimated value, on every change of tenant, whether by death or purchase. Mr F.H. Cartwright of Bawtry is the manor steward, and Mr john Hodson is the bailiff. The district around Gringley is a fine sporting country, and a little to the east of the village is an extensive fox cover, belonging to the Duke of Portland.
[Transcribed by Clive Henly]