White's Directory of Nottinghamshire, 1853



Scrooby Parish is within the North Soke of the archiepiscopal Liberty of Southwell and Scrooby, betwixt and near the confluence of the rivers Idle and Ryton. It contains 271 inhabitants, and 1,523 acres of land. The common was enclosed in 1775, when 160a 3p were alloted to the improprietor, and 34a 2r 22p to the vicar, in lieu of all the tithes of the parish, except those which are still paid on 319 acres of old enclosure.

Scrooby is a neat pleasant village on the south bank of the River Ryton, on the east side of the Great North Road and the Great Northern Railway, which has a small station here. It lies 1½ miles south of Bawtry, and now consists of a few farm houses and cottages, The church is dedicated to St Wilfred, and is a neat structure which possesses none of its ancient grandeur, except its lofty spire, which was greatly injured by lightning on Sunday, August 7th 1831, but has since been substantially repaired.

The former glory of Scrooby was its Palace, which was long one of the principal seats of the successive Archbishops of York, but of the ancient abode of splendour and hospitality nothing now remains except some small fragments incorporated into a farm house. Leland describes it as

"a great manor place standing withyn a mote, and builded yn courtes, whereof the first is very ample, and all builded of tymbre, saving the front of the haule, that is of bricke, to the wych ascenditur per gradus lupidia. The ynner courte building, as far as I marked, was of tymbre building, and was not in compare past the 4 parts of the utter courte".

In Domesday Book, Scrooby is only described as a berne or hamlet of the Archbishop's soke of Sutton, now commonly called North Soke of Southwell and Scrooby. The prelates of York had free warren here as early as the 17th year of Edward II. In the reign of Henry VII, Scrooby was the favourite hunting seat of Archbishop Savage. In the next reign it was occasionally the residence of Cardinal Wolsey, and in Elizabeth's reign, this palace was not only considered as excellent in itself, and more capacious than that at Southwell, but "a better seat for provision" - having a greater jurisdiction and a fairer park attached to it. Archbishop Sandys then appears to have resided here, at least occasionally, as one of his daughters is interred in the church. During his episcopacy he cause this seat to be demised to his son, Sir Samuel Sandys, and the palace was afterwards so much neglected that it had almost fallen to the ground in the early part of the last century, soon after which, the large gateway and porter's lodge were taken down, and the extensive park converted into a farm, in the garden of which is a large mulberry tree, that tradition says was planted by the haughty Wolsey.

The Archbishop of York is still lord of the manor, and owner of 426 acres, but R.P. Milns Esq. is the lessee, and has the impropriation, which was purchased of the late Lord George Cavendish. The living is annexed to the vicarage of Sutton-cum-Lound, and is in the patronage of the Duke of Portland. The rest of the manor belongs to Viscount Galway, Rev. Christopher Nevile, and to several copyholders, who pay small and certain fines. The Methodists have a chapel in the village, which was built in 1829. The charities belonging to this parochial chapelry are two annuities left by unknown donors, viz. £1 13s 4d, paid by Viscount Galway.

Scrooby Inn, on the high road, about half a mile south of the village. was formerly a noted posting house, but is now occupied by a farmer. Early in the morning of 3rd July 1779, a horrid murder was committed at Scrooby toll bar, by John Spencer, who, after playing at cards with the keeper, William Yeadon, and his mother, then on a visit, returned to the house, and after gaining admittance under a pretence that a drove of cattle wanted to pass, killed both his victims with a hedge stake, after having got what money he could find, and was dragging the body across the road towards the river. Mr William White, of Copthorne, in the parish of Laxton, who was preceding a waggon loaded with wool, on their way to Doncaster, rode up, and the murderer jumped over the river and escaped, but was taken in a few days and executed at Nottingham Summer Assizes, and afterwards hung in chains on a gibbet. Bishop Field House, a large mansion one mile south of the village, was erected by James Owen Esq., who wsold it to the present owner, the Hon. Captain Duncombe, son of Lord Feversham,but it is the seat of Henry Smith Esq.

[Transcribed by Clive Henly]