St Wilfrid


It is possible (although not proven) that Scrooby had a church as early as the 10th century when the Archbishop of York was given a grant of land by King Edgar which developed into the village.

In the early 13th century Archbishop Roger of York gave the chapel of Scrooby to his new founded collegiate chapel of St Sepulchre’s or of St Mary and Holy Angels and in 1253 Archbishop Sewel ordered the provision and maintenance of a vicarage there, granting as part of the sustenance of the vicar (inter alia) the tithe-hay of Scrooby. In 1258 Scrooby Chapel was appropriated to St Mary’s York.

Burials were forbidden at the church in 1315, although no explanation for this is given, but it may possibly be because this was a chapel-of-ease rather than a church. The church was entirely rebuilt in c1380; the reason for this is unknown.

There is no mention of Scrooby in the 1291 taxatio of Pope Nicholas IV, but in 1341 a return was made in the Nonarum Inquisitiones stating that the ninth of sheaves, skins and lambs of the chapel of Scrooby (which is a parcel of the chapel of St Sepulchre, York) was not taxed, namely at the true value of 5 marks (£3 6s 8d) a year and no more, and that the mortuary oblations and other tithes belonged to the vicar of Sutton [cum-Lound], namely 30s per annum. Again, in 1428 when a subsidy was due to Henry VI, there is no reference to Scrooby. In April 1460 in the chapel of Scrooby, Edmund Chaderton was ordained acolyte, by John Green, Bishop of the Isles. The chapel was left without a priest in 1496 due to enclosures of land.

In 1490 the church is referred to as St James in a will, and it is thought that the name St Wilfrid was given to it in the 18th century.

During Elizabeth I’s reign the tithes and patronage of the church were granted to one Webster thus passing them into lay hands.

In 1598 the curate a Scrooby, Henry Jones, was cited for non-use of the surplice (but apparently did use it for the most part and at the ministration of the sacraments). By 1603 during the Archbishop’s visitation it was shown that there were no adults who had refused communion in the parish church and that there was no separatism or puritanism. The population was estimated at 71 adults and about 114 children under the age of 16.

In 1608 Georg Bowear was presented by the churchwardens for not repairing the parish church, and in 1642 the curate presented the following:

Henry Watson and Hercy Croft[es], the late churchwardens, for not presenting many things required by the book of canons and articles, namely for not presenting many who have been taken and found drinking in alehouses in time of divine service; for not providing three locks and keys for the chest for the keeping of the register book and other things belonging to the church ... for suffering swine to root up the churchyard.

In 1727 it was noted that the church was ruinous and decayed, this was because there was neither a vicar nor a curate in the village.

In Archbishop Herring’s returns of 1743 it is noted that:

there are about 40 families 2 of which are dissenters (Quakers). The Quakers hold meetings once or twice a year in their own house. There are no alms houses, hospitals or school in the village, nor are there any lands left for the repair of the church.

Bishop Sharp augmented the living to the sum of £50. The vicar did not reside in the village as the church was a chapel of ease. It was instead supplied with a qualified curate who had all of the profits from the Cure about £8 per year. This enabled him to perform a service there every other Sunday. The vicar performed the catechism every Lent when there was a service which the children and servants attended. The sacrament was administered three times a year. There were 60 communicants of which 30 attended.

By 1764 the number of families had increased to 45 giving and adult population of 106, with no dissenters. There were by now on meeting houses, alms house, hospital or school. There had been no augmentation by lot or bounty to the vicarage. The Archbishop of York, Dr Sharpe, left £50 interest to be paid to the vicar, with the principal being held by Robert Dewhurst of Stone. Benefactions which are to be used for pious matters are 13s 4d left by Lord Cavendish and 6 shillings left by Acklom Esq.

The vicar, William Richardson, resided in his own house at Milton, near Tuxford, as he served as curate to Mr Plumtre, vicar of East Markham and West Drayton. Services at Scrooby were taken by the curate, William Hunt or Hunter, who was curate of Blyth. He was allowed the whole income of the vicarage ‘except rent for the house lately rebuilt by me’. For this allowance he performed divine service every other Sunday. The sacrament was administered twice a year at Easter and Christmas.

When the common land of the parish was enclosed in 1775, 35 acres were given to the vicar in lieu of all tithes, except the 310 acres of old enclosure which still paid money to the church.

In 1786 it was mentioned that £1 13s 4d was given to the poor in Scrooby, but the origin of this donation is not known. This money was distributed to poor widows and other of the parish partly at Easter and partly at Michaelmas.

Throsby recorded that Scrooby was a parish of 1546 acres, enclosed in 1775. He made no mention of the church.

The state of the church before its restoration is described in detail as:

having the appearance exactly of an old barn or lumber room. The chancel is chiefly the receptacle for Log of wood, old balks, fragments of stone, ladders, long brushes, never used and all kinds of rubbish. Yet this is the place enveloped in dirt here the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper is administered.

In c1811 Dugdale notes that:

the church once handsome was so decayed that is possessed nothing of its ancient grandeur except its lofty spire.

The spire was struck by lightning in 1817.

On 1 August 1821 the church was visited by William Stretton who described it thus:

the church is of ashlar stone, and has a nave and south side aisle, separated by chamfered Gothic arches and octagonal pillars. There is a handsome spire steeple, also a stone porch with ribbed roofing. The walls are embattled and the roof leaded. The church has three old bells, and a clock. There are several ancient gravestones having border inscriptions, but [they are] too much worn to be read. The font is octagonal, and of one stone, for immersing. The altar table is a plain oak one. The pewing is good, though not handsome or uniform. Stone floor. The old oak pulpit is very mean. The labels to the west window are terminated by the heads of a King and Queen, and the date seems to be that of Edward I and his Queen (as in St Mary’s, Nottingham). This vicarage is held by the Revd. John Eyre; patron, the Duke of Portland.

On 17 August 1831 the spire was again struck by lightning.

Sir Stephen Glynne visited in 1861. He wrote that ‘this church has nave and chancel with south aisle to both, western tower with storm spire and south porch’. The whole was ‘not in very good condition’. He added that:

the … are hideous and come up quite to the altar and there is a gallery with small finger organ, there is one panelled bench end in the south aisle. The font a plain octagon, the bowl diminishing downwards.

Glynne, as with other Nottinghamshire churches, provides us with a contemporary description just before the church was extensively restored.

The church was restored in 1864, during which the interior was rearranged with new fittings and open seats. The tower was described in 1880 as having a rather peculiar octagonal belfry was a part of the restoration in 1864.

It was in 1882 that the old font was sold to an American and removed from the church. This arose because of the presumed link to William Brewster, the Pilgrim Father, who originated from Scrooby. The Puritan group did not go directly from Scrooby to Massachusetts in the 17th century. They tried to flee to Holland in 1608, and were arrested, so they tried again and reached Amsterdam. They finally sailed for America in 1620. There are 16th century benches in the south aisle, known as ‘Brewster’s Pews’.

By 1911 Scrooby had become part of a larger parish, known as Sutton with Scrooby and Lound. There are no specific population numbers given for Scrooby, but the church had seating for 210 people. The church day school was attended by 42 children and the Sunday School by 34. There were 9 baptisms in the church in the year ending 30th September 1912 and 3 confirmations in the same period.