"Kelham is a small but pleasant village and parish, upon the Worksop Road, and on the west bank of the Trent, 2 miles north-west of Newark. Its parish contains 208 inhabitants and 1,800 acres of land, of which 484 acres are on the island formed by the two rivers betwixt it and Newark. It has long been the seat and property of the Suttons, who once held the title of Lord Lexington. It is now the property of John Henry Manvers Sutton Esq., who resides at the Hall, which was a plain but elegant building, with a centre and wings of brick, with stone corners and window frames, standing in a handsome lawn, near the Trent.
A curious wooden bridge which crosses the river close to the lawn has been taken down, and a light but substantial iron bridge erected in its place at a cost of £3,000.
The church, dedicated to St Wilfred, had a handsome tower and three bells. It was new-roofed and completely renovated in 1844. Here is a richly wrought monument of the last Lord Lexington and his Lady, of fine stauary marble, but the figures are strangely placed back-to-back. The living is a rectory, valued in the King's books at £19 8s 4d, annexed to that of Averham, being in the same patronage and incumbency. The poor have the interest of £25 left by an unknown donor."
[WHITE's "Directory of Nottinghamshire," 1853]


Archives & Libraries

The Library at Newark will prove useful in your research.



Kelham Hall has a Monastic graveyard for burials between 1903 and 1973, separate from the churchyard.

Alan MURRAY-RUST has a photograph of the Graveyard on Geo-graph, taken in September, 2012.



  • The parish was in the Southwell sub-district of the Southwell Registration District.
  • The table below gives census piece numbers, where known:
Piece No.
1841 H.O. 107 / 866
1861 R.G. 9 / 2472
1871 R.G. 10 / 3534
1891 R.G. 12 / 2708

Church History

  • The Anglican parish church is dedicated to Saint Wilfred (spelling variations abound!).
  • The church was renovated in 1844.
  • The church was not in good condition in 1853.
  • The church was restored and reseated in 1873.
  • The church is a Grade I structure with English Heritage.
  • A photograph of St. Wilfred Church is available at Flickr.
  • Christine HASMAN has a photograph of the Church of St. Wilfrid on Geo-graph, taken in March, 2004.
  • J. HANNAH-BRIGGS also has a photograph of the Church of St. Wilfrid on Geo-graph, taken in February, 2016.

Church Records

  • The Anglican parish register dates from 1670 and is in fair condition.
  • The church was in the rural #2 deanery of Newark.

Civil Registration

  • The parish was in the Southwell sub-district of the Southwell Registration District.
  • Civil Registration began in July, 1837.

Description & Travel

Kelham is a village and a parish on the west bank of the River Trent on the Worksop road. It is about 117 miles north of London and 2 miles north-west of Newark-on-Trent. The parish covers 1,689 acres and includes the hamlet of Debdale Hill 1 mile north-west of the village.

If you are planning a visit:

  • By automobile, take the A617 trunk road west out of Newark. As you cross the River Trent, you will enter Kelham village.
You can see pictures of Kelham which are provided by:





John Manners was born here in January 1721. He was the firstborn son of 3rd Duke of Rutland and Bridget Manners (née Sutton). In 1745 he assisted his father set up a volunteer regiment in Rutland to assist in quelling the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745. John Manners received a commission as colonel of the regiment. He was present at the Battle of Culloden. He was promoted major-general on 18 March 1755, and was at last made Colonel of the Horse Guard (Blues) on 27 May 1758. He became Lieutenant-General of the Ordnance on 15 September 1759. He was also made Lord Lieutenant of Derbyshire on 21 February 1764. On 9 January 1770, he resigned as commander-in-chief and Master-General of the Ordnance, retaining only the colonelcy of the Blues. He died at Scarborough, Yorkshire, in 1770.

He is probably best known today for being supposed to have more pubs named after him than any other person - due, it is said, to his practice of setting up old soldiers of his regiment as publicans when they were too old to serve any longer.


Historical Geography

You can see the administrative areas in which Kelham has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.



  • On 5 May, 1647, King Charles I surrendered at the end of the English Civil War at nearby Southwell and was held at Kelham Hall for several days.
  • For several centuries there was a small wooden bridge over the Trent River. This was replaced by an iron bridge.
  • A lovely and large bridge built of brick with stone dressings and consisting of five arches crossed the Trent to Newark; erected in 1854-57. An earlier iron bridge was swept away by ice in a flood in February, 1854.
  • Richard CROFT has a photograph of the Kelham Bridge on Geo-graph, taken in July, 2012.


  • Lord LEXINGTON had a long history with this parish as lords of the manor. Their surname was SUTTON.
  • Kelham Hall was destroyed by fire on 27 November, 1857.
  • A new Kelham Hall was built on the same site. It stands in a small wooded park of about 25 acres. In 1869 it was the residence and seat of John Henry Manners SUTTON, Esq.
  • Kelham Hall was bought by the Society for the Sacred Mission in 1903 and run as a Theological College. The military used it in World War I. The Great Chapel was dedicated in 1928 and was a masterpiece. It was almost square with a great central dome, (62 feet across and 68 feet high) the second largest concrete dome in England. The Hall was again commandered by the military in World War II.
  • The college closed in 1972. Since 1973 the Hall has been the head office of the Newark and Sherwwod District Council.
  • David BEVIS has a photograph of Kelham Hall on Geo-graph, taken in August, 2009.


  • See our Maps page for additional resources.

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SK774554 (Lat/Lon: 53.090211, -0.845731), Kelham which are provided by:


Military History

There may have been a grass airstrip at Kelham for World War One. The Great War Bulletin for August 10, 1914 tells us that three Army airmen crash- landed their aeroplanes at Kelham.

The Great War Bulletin for December 7, 1914 tells us that one man of Kelham, F. BRITTAIN a woodman, had been appointed as "Special Constables" to assist the police force in the event of a German invasion.

St. WIlfred's Church has a Book of Remembrance that honors those from both World Wars.


Military Records

These are the villagers listed in the Book of Remembrance:

  • William Edward ANSELL
  • William Curtis BOLTON
  • William James COLLYER
  • John Whitworth CORBETT
  • Frederick Johnson DICKINSON
  • Charles Alfred Stanley EVERETT
  • Albert Edward GEAREY
  • John Henry GENT
  • Frank Brooks GILL
  • Stanley Percival HUGGINS
  • Harry Lawford HUNT
  • Reuben INGAMELLS
  • Herbert Peter LEDBITTER
  • Edwin John MEEDY
  • Arthur James NASH
  • John NELSON
  • Stanley PIERCE
  • Samuel Irving PREECE
  • Andrew David SHORT
  • George William SMITH
  • Harold Andrew SMITH
  • Bernard Charles VICK
  • Archibald John WADE
  • Frederick Royden WARING
  • Aubrey Charles Nixon WHISTON
  • John Alfred WILLIAMS
  • Harold Godwin WILLIAMSON
  • Frederick Laurence WILSON
  • Ernest Edwin WILSON

The Great War Bulletin for June 7th, 1915 tells us that Edward MARSHALL's son private Fred MARSHALL with the Lincolnshire Territorials was in hospital suffering from gas poisoning for the second time.


Politics & Government

  • This place was an ancient parish in Nottingham county and became a modern Civil Parish when those were established.
  • The parish was in the north division of the ancient Thurgarton Wapentake (Hundred) in the northern division of the county.
  • In April, 1899, the parish was enlarged when Park Leys Civil Parish was abolished and amalgamated with Kelham.
  • In April, 1935, the parish was reduced by 405 acres ceded to Newark opon Trent Civil Parish.
  • You may contact the joint Parish Council for Averham, Kelham and Staythorpe regarding civic or political matters, but they are NOT funded to help you with family history searches.
  • District governance is provided by the Newark and Sherwood District Council.

Poor Houses, Poor Law

  • The poor of this parish shared the interest from £25 in 1912, left by an unknown donor.
  • Bastardy cases would be heard in the Newark petty session hearings.
  • As a result of the 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act reforms, this parish became part of the Southwell Poor Law Union.


 Year Population
1801 227
1821 199
1851 167
1861 178
1871 157
1881 151
1891 224
1901 242
1911 333
1921 414