Parish Roots of St Mary Magdalene

St Marys West faceHuthwaite shares its history tied with and inside wider parish town borders of Sutton-in-Ashfield.   Smallest division beneath the crowns Manor in Mansfield, held since time of King Edward the Confessor.   The Domesday book recorded this whole manor when counting two churches with priests.   A fact leading town historians trusting one was sited at Sutton, perhaps even earlier in referring here often to subjective works by one former leading authority, Mr GG Bonser.

Constructions of Anglo-Saxon or Viking origins were usually made from wood. Natural decay leaves little evidence, but a few internal timbers exposed during renovations have been dated around year 1115. Archaeologists agree many early Norman built stone churches often replaced previously sited christian halls. Presumably also favouring prominently placed meetings begun from darkest ages.

In UK Midlands upon Nottinghamshires far west border, these forested lands remained under successive ownership of English kings.   Heavy protection was afforded their royal parks, although privilege meant being untaxed by the crown.   The 13th century Testa de Neville recording land fees revealed these facts, noting Huthwaite lay within the whole villa of Sutton-in-Ashfield under the local lordship of Jordan de Sutton.   His rent survey of 1295 listed tenants, suggesting a total population could be estimated at 400 residents. Although widely spread across this ancient parish division, the church largely provided a central focus.

The present stone building shown 1914, was commenced from 1179 by Walter de Sutton.   1914After his fathers death, Gerald regardingly presented it to Thurgaton Priory in 1189.   Links to name de Sutton remained with this church into 1391, when John financed construction of its tower. However, as Oliver was made a Bishop this led the families move into Lincoln around 1288.

A priest whose own housing offered naming for Priestsic Road gave Monastic servicing until Henry VIII's 1538 dissolution.   Bought by the kings commissioners, and then removed from its Cathedral of Lincoln, this church and its properties became owned by James Hardwick.   Tithes conveyed at the Reformation record it passed through some notable owners, from Bess of Hardwick Hall to the Cavendish family, through Earls and later Dukes of Devonshire before the Bentincks.   Its lands and properties like most others in this area were handed by a Forest Enclosure Act to the Duke of Portland.   Presented with that award the titling recognised our lands major owner who, gaining full rights as Lord of the Manor held Welbeck Abbey.

A fuller history behind this Sutton church, dedicated to Saint Mary Magdalene and transferred to Southwell diocese, can reveal several major structural changes. Renovations did repair fire damage, plus a lightning strike blasting blocks from its tower.   Modifications mainly aimed at improving services, adding seating pews and, much later an organ after accommodating increasing congregations. Combined parishioner numbers rapidly rose through the industrial years of 1800. Allocating a separate curate in 1826 for servicing its north Hucknall Huthwaite Aisle indicates the interests of Huthwaite villagers. Older headstones fully surround the church, demanding new sites for separate graveyards and eventually our own parish church.


Written 01 Aug 02 Revised 23 Jul 07 © by Gary Elliott