History

Fulbeck (over the last 1000 years)

High Street

Photo by Tony Robinson

Down High Street to Sudthorpe Hill, Fulbeck

Fulbeck is a parish and village just 117 miles north of London. It also lies 11 miles ESE of Newark-on-Trent and 11 miles north of Grantham. Caythorpe parish lies to the south, with Leadenham to the north. The parish covers about 3,800 acres. The parish is long on its east-west axis and narrow on the north-south one, extending west to the River Brant and east almost to Ermine Street. The parish includes the hamlet of Sudthorpe near the south end of the village. In 1871, there was a year-round spring, called Holywell, just a mile east of the village, and, near the western edge of the parish was a chalybeate spring.

The village of Fulbeck lies on a slight rise and a creek flows westerly toward the River Brant from just outside the village. The Anglican parish church is dedicated to Saint Nicholas and contains several monuments to the FANE family.  The church seats about 356 people.  The parish register dates from 1562.  The Wesleyan Methodists had a preaching room here in the mid-1800's and the Primitive Methodists had a chapel in the village.

   From the earliest times Fulbeck and Leadenham have been very closely connected.  The Domesday Book 1086, which calls them “Fulebec and Ledeneham”, deals with them in one paragraph.  At that time the principal tenant-in-chief of the King in both places was Alan, Earl of Richmond in Yorkshire.

   From the beginning of' the 13th century until the middle of' the 17th century, or for a period of 450 years, the Manors of Fulbeck and Leadenham with their respective advowsons were held together by the same person.  As early as the year 1086 the manor and advowson of Fulbeck formed part of the vast possessions of' what was called the "Honour of Richmond". This Honour, taking its name from the Castle of Richmond in Yorkshire, was a collection of Manors, lands, rights and privileges scattered about in many parts of England, and usually, but not invariably, held by the Comes Richmondie or Earls of Richmond for the time being.  Both the Earldom and Honour were held by the family of de Dreux from the year 1219 until about the year 1399 with, however, several short intervals when they were forfeited for treason. This usually consisted in the holder taking the side of the French King in his wars with England and, as the de Dreux family, besides being Earls of' Richmond in England were also Duke of Brittany in France, they were pretty well bound to lose their possessions in one country or the other, whether the King of England or the King of France was successful.

   During one of' these intervals viz. 124l-66, the earldom and honour of Richmond were held by Peter of Savoy, the Queen’s uncle; and during another, viz. 1342-72, by John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, third son of Edward III. The connection of the de Dreux family with Fulbeck is doubly attested therefore: -

      1st by their having presented to the Rectory of Fulbeck on several occasions, and

      2nd by their arms (chequy or and azure, a bordure jules inurné of lyons passant gardant or a quarter  rmine) being depicted on the east window of the chancel of Fulbeck Church, as related by Gervase Hollis in Lincolnshire Notes collected about the year 1630.

   Towards the end of the reign of Richard II the Earldom and Honour of Richmond was finally forfeited by the de Dreux family, and were granted for life only to Ralph Nevile, first Earl of Westmoreland, by Henry IV.   Ralph Nevile made five presentations to the Church of Fulbeck in quick succession between the years 1400 and 1418.  During the Wars ofthe Roses the Earldom and Honour of Richmond were granted to a Lancastrian or a Yorkist according as one party or the other got into power, and at times they were kept in the King’s own hands.  Thus we find one presentation in the year 1466, by Sir John Nevile, brother ofWarwick “The Kingmaker”, who was killed with him at the Battle ofBarnet, 1471:  one in 1471-2 by George, Duke ofClarence, who was the brother of Edward IV, and was executed by his orders in 1477-8: one by Edward IV himself in 1480; and one by Richard III in 1483-4.  Henry VII, who had claimed to be Earl of Richmond since 1457, appears to have made up his mind on his accession to the throne in 1485, that the great bundle of Manors etc. called the Honour of Richmond, which conferred enormous power on its holder, having once merged in the crown, should never again be granted to a. subject.   Accordingly from that date we find that "the Honour of Richmond" as opposed to "the Earldom of Richmond", and also as opposed to the separate manors etc. which together composed "the Honour" was ever afterwards retained in the King’s own hands.

   There were presentations to the Church ofFulbeck by Henry VII in 1487 and by Henry VIII in 1515 and 1523.  After a temporary grant of the Manors and advowsons ofLeadenham and Fulbeck to Charles Brandon, Duke ofSuffolk, brother-in-law of Henry VIII, they were granted by Queen Elizabeth to Henry, Lord Strange, and in 1553 he and his wife Margaret, Lady Strange, conveyed them to Christopher Beresford of Tattershall.  He in 1557 obtained letters patent for a license to alienate them, probably merely forthe purpose ofa marriage settlement, as both manors and advowsons remained in the Beresford family down to the year 1653.

   There is among the Domestic State Papers for the year 1653 a petition from one George Smith to Archbishop Laud, alleging that the Rectory of Fulbeck is in the King’s gift, but that the Beresford family had usurped the right of the presentation some 80 years previously, under the colour of a grant of the manor of Fulbeck. In any case the Beresfords held the manor and advowson of Fulbeck until the year 1653 when they were sold by William Beresford ofLeadenham to Sir Francis Fane Sr ofFulbeck, and thus, for the first time for 450 years, became separated from the manor and advowson ofLeadenham.

From 1653 to 1865 the descendants of Sir Francis Fane exercised the right of presentation to the Rectory of Fulbeck. In 1865 Col. Henry Fane and his son sold the advowson to Mr. Anthony {Peacock) Willson, whose son, General Mildmay Willson, again sold it to Mrs Francis Fane.

The Manor of Fulbeck (i.e. the manor which had belonged to the Honour ofRichmond, and which had been bought by Sir Francis Fane from William Beresford in 1653), remained in the possession of the Fane family, but has left few traces in respect of Court Rolls.  There is in existence, however, a “Verdict of the Jury of the town of Fulbeck for the year 1760”.   At that time the widow of one Francis Fane was Lady at the Manor, and we find the following entries among others:

                                                                                           s.   d.

Mrs Fane, for taking in the Lady’s waste                                  6.   8

The gentlemen of the Hunt, for bones on the Lady’s waste          0    6 

   When the enclosure of the heath was made in 1805, a small allotment was made to Sir Henry Fane in the extreme northeast corner of the parish, next the High Dyke, for his manorial rights, and also a considerably larger allotment in lieu of12 guineas per annum rent of a rabbit warren on the heath. The Manorial courts seem to have ceased to be held before the commencement ofthe 19th century, but in 1830 Sir Henry Fane exercised his rights as Lord of the Manor by granting the site ofthe Pound, opposite to the then Post Office, for the erection of a National School, now the Village Hall.  (From Col King Fane’s Fulbeck, 1902)