Sturton History

The long history of Sturton Le Steeple:

The area of the Trent Vale has been occupied for at least 8000 years. The first record of Sturton as a defined settlement appears in the Domesday Book as “Estretone” Over the centuries the name of this village has changed many times, however these changes merely reflected the language of the time, the name “Sturton” means “The Homestead on the Street” The Homestead in question was almost certainly a major Roman settlement with direct links to Segelocum, the “Street” can only be the Roman Street on which it is built.

Visit the Vision of Britain web site for historical and statistical information.

See the Nottinghamshire Heritage Gateway for information about the district.

Changes to the name over time are:

100-400 AD The Romans – “The town on the steet”

1086 Estretone (Domesday Book)

1166 Strotton

1200 Strattone

1216 Strecton

1300 Stretton

1375 Neyerstretton

1383 Overstretton

1384 Stretton-en-le-Clay

1425 Stretton in the Clay

1500 Stretton, and Stirton

1509 Styrton

1640 Sturton cum Fenton

1823 Sturton-Le-Steeple

N.B. The addition of “le-steeple” in 1823 probably refers to the twelve pinnacles on the Church tower that can be seen for miles around and probably done to differentiate it from Sturton-by-Stow that is on the same road over the river Lincolnshire. The name of Clay, refers to the North Clay Wappentake of the Bassetlaw District in which the village resides. In essence the name of the village has not changed since the Roman occupation, minor changes in spelling merely reflect how language develops through time.

Sturton Le Steeple earliest occupation predates the Roman occupation which was followed by Saxons and Danes.  The Domesday Book records that it was farmed with about 25 landowners. 1 Manor is recorded at Sturton that was probably on the site of Manor Farm. The settlement is built on the major Roman military road that ran from Doncaster to Lincoln, crossing the river Trent at Littleborough. The Parish includes Littleborough  Fenton and the abandoned medieval village of West Burton.

The population of Sturton is about 500 and is smaller now than in Victorian times and probably smaller than in the medieval era. The area has been farmed since ancient times, before the enclosures of 1828 it was mainly open field with some areas of strip farming as is still used at nearby Laxton. There is about 4,300 acres of high grade arable land. Historically known for its high quality wheat, now crops such as rapeseed, onions and sugar beet are a common sight. There are several Dairy farms but locally these are gradually moving towards high grade beef cattle.

In the past the area around the now abandoned village of West Burton was part of the major Trent Valley willow production. Willow used for the basket weaving industry that flourished up to the 1950′s.


West Burton village

The church at West Burton is now demolished, the burial ground is all that remains.

The area used to be famous for its cheese production, known as “Trent Side” with a variation that included the use a sage – similar to sage derby. “Trent Side” was an excellent cooking cheese made in a similar way to double Gloucester, but the wheels were only about 2 inches thick – which allowed quicker maturing. The cheese was sold at both Gainsborough and Retford Markets and was a premium grade product. The cheese was sold where the cannon is in Retford and at Gainsborough Market. Local Butter was sold regularly at Retford Butter Market  next to the Town Hall and in Gainsborough Market Square. Like many other cheeses and local butter they went out of production after World War Two.

The Church of St. Peter & St. Paul was built around 1180 and financed by Lady Oliva, the daughter of Alan Fitz Jordan, and Lady of the Manor of Oswaldbeck Soke.

Sturton Church taken before the fire of 1901

When the church was undergoing a major restoration in 1870 a monument to Lady Oliva was discovered placed face downward on the north side of the chancel. This is now located at the base of the tower. Lady Oliva died about 1236. The tower was built in 3 stages, from 1340 to 1480. This probably replaced an earlier wooden Bell Tower. There was a major fire in 1901 resulting in the loss of most of the church records from before 1640 and some later ones that were kept in the vestry. Inside the Church is the last resting place of Colonel Francis Thornagh who was killed whilst leading his Parliamentary army against the Royalists in the battle of Preston. : Further details about the Church

The Village Church

The Church of St. Peter & St. Paul, Sturton Le Steeple

The village school was built in 1837 funded by the Foljambe family. Built on glebe land it remains a church school today. The school used to be the home of a Schoolmaster and wife who lived on the top floor – and one classroom downstairs. Although there was a school in the Church since 1604 – one of the clergy was prosecuted for teaching the children to read and write?

Sturton School 1875

Sturton school children taken about 1875. The School Headmaster is Mr. Samuel Ingham who remained at Sturton until he retired in 1920

Sturton le Steeple is the birthplace of Pastor John Robinson who founded the fundamentalist religious group that became known as the Pilgrims. The were not called Pilgrims at the time and it is a rather strange title as they never went on a Pilgrimage! About 45 “Pilgrims”  sailed on the Mayflower in 1620 plus about 13 of their servants (The Pilgrims were very wealthy people who commonly hired servants). Robinson was born in Sturton le steeple 1576 to a very wealthy family and died in Leiden, Holland 1625. His parents paid for his education at Cambridge University where he matriculated from Corpus Christi in 1596.  He married a wealthy landowners daughter, Bridget White of Greasley Beauvale at Greasley Parish Church  on February 11th 1603.

See information on the Separatists.


Extract from the Gazzeteer: William White 1832


Comprises the village, of Sturton-in-the-Clay and the hamlet of Fenton, and contains 118 houses, 638 inhabitants, and about 4000 acres of land, of which, at the enclosure in’ 1823, an allotment of 727a. in. 4p. was awarded to the Dean and Chapter of York, in lieu of the rectorial tithes, and 127a. 3r.8p. to the vicar in lieu of the small tithes.

Sturton-in-the-Clay is a good village, consisting of four streets, in which are nearly 100 houses, on the Littleborough road, 6 miles E. by N. of Retford. It was anciently called Streton, from the Roman road which passed through it to Doncaster. The church dedicated to St. Peter, is a large ancient structure with a lofty tower, handsomely pinnacled. It is inferior to none in this part of the country, and contains some neat monuments of the Thornhaughs of Fenton Hall, one of which has a handsome white marble effigy of a female as large as life, but the inscription has long been illegible. The fenfire is a vicarage valued in the King’s books at £5. 7s. 3Jd. The Dean and Chapter of York are the patrons; the Rer. Francis Hewgill, M. A., the incumbent, and the Rev. H. V. Hodge, the curate. O. S. Foljambe, Esq, is lord of the manor, and owner of a great part of the soil, as well as lessee of the Chapter land. His ancestor obtained the manor in marriage with one of the Hewitts of Shireoaks, who descended from the Thornhaughs,of Fenton. It was of the King” soke of Mansfield, and was held by the Darcys from the reign of Edward III., till the attainder of Lord Darcy, whose estates, &c. were granted by Henry VIII, to George Lascells, Esq. whose heiress married Sir Fras. Rodes. John Serjeant, Esq. owns several farms in the parish, which lately belonged to the Ramsdens. The annual feast is on the last Sunday in September.

Fenton hamlet is distant three-quarters of a mile S.E. of

Sturton. It was formerly the seat of the Fenton family, the’ first of whom was Sir Richard Fenton, and the last, Katherine, wife of Sir Richard Boyle, Earl of Cork, in Ireland. In 1614, it belonged to the Thornhaughs, who resided here till one of them took the name of Hewitt, and removed to Shireoaks.

Charities.—In 1725, Francis Hopkinson left £24, and all his lands in Sturton, to the overseers in trust, that they distribute the interest and rents yearly, in clothing to the poor of the parish. At the enclosure, an allotment of 5a. 2r. 16p. now let for Je7 a-year, was given in exchange for part of this charity estate ; the rest of which consists of the Poor’s close, 3a. Or. 18p. (also let for £1 a-year,) and four gardens and cottages, occupied rent-free by four poor people. In 1710, George Green left Goodsmore close, (3a. 3r. 34p.) now let for £6. 14a. per annum, for a schoolmaster to teach eight poor children to read. This close is exonerated from tithe, and John Wilkinson is the trustee. In 1800, William Connell left the interest of £100 (now vested with Mrs. Stancer) to be divided amongst the poor parishioners on St. Thomas’ day.

Those marked * reside at Fenton, and the rest at Sturton.

*Ashton Mrs Ann
Bell Joseph, shopkeeper
Bingham Mr. John
*Bingham Wm. shoemaker
Briggs Wm. shoemaker
Dawson Edward, schoolmaster
Downs Joseph, shopkeeper
Drayton Ann, shopkeeper
Drayton Geo. blacksmith & shopkeeper
Hallifax James, wheelwright
Hill William, shoemaker
Hind George, joiner
Hodge Rev. Hy. Vere, curate
Illingworth Wm. shoemaker
Johnson David, blacksmith
Justice Mrs. Elizabeth
Levick Wm. corn miller
Lister Thos. vict. Stag (The Stag Inn – now called the Reindeer Inn)
Otter J as. tailor & parish clerk
Pearce John, joiner
Pearce William, joiner
Staniland John, sen. tailor
Staniland John, jun. shoemaker
Warburton Mary, vict. Crown
Welton Char. shoemaker
Marked + are Yeomen.
+ Ashton Benj.
+Ashton John
Barlow Wm.
+Johnson Wm.
Bingham Fras.
Justice John
Bingham Jan.
Keywoith John
Bingham John, Field house
Keyworth T.
Merrills Wm.  & overseer
Bingham John
Bingham Mary
+Motley Geo.
Booth Jas.
OHivant John
Brown John
Parkinson J.
Burwell Wm.
Quihle Thos.
Carver Wm.
Rouse John
Chambers Wm.
Seels Thos.
Clayton Geo.
Smith John
Clayton John
Spencer Wm.
Cobb James
Stancer Hanh.
Downs Mary
Drayton Ann
Stancer Wm.
Fenton Jph
Fletcher Wm.
Watkin Thos.
+Gauntley T.
Welton Geo.
Gray Jph
+Watkinson E.
+Wilkinson J. (Sturton)High House
Hill Geo. 
Hind Geo.
Wilkinson My.
Jackson John
Wright Wm,
Johnson Fras.
+Johnson Geo.

14 Responses to “Sturton History”

  • Elaine Bradbury

    Hello, My husbands great grandfather Thomas Wilkinson was born in Sturton le Steeple in 1861, and died 1931 in a road accident, when out walking with his friend a Mr Rose. This incident is mentioned in the booklet “the Town on the Street”
    Does anyone have any information about who his parents were and where they lived. Any information would be grafefully received. Thanking you in anticipation.

  • Sue Horne

    I was interested to see the name John Staniland( Snr & Jnr) appear in the list of businesses at the top of the page, as I have that name in my tree, I also have Borwells from the Sturton Le Steeple & Sturton In the Clay areas. Has anyone managed to identify any of the children in the Sturton school photograph?

    • Manager

      Sturton-le-steeple and Sturton in the Clay are the same place, most records from the late 1300′s use Stretton or Sturton in the Clay. then from about 1600 Sturton-cum-Fenton came into use. Sturton-Le-Steeple was used from 1823 onwards – but they are all the same village. We have been unable to confirm any of the names of Children in the school photograph because there was no record kept at the time. Although Nottinghamshire Archives have the original school attendance books from that era. These list every child in school from when it was opened in 1837.

  • Elizabeth Herrod (nee Shacklock)

    I have been researching the Shacklock family for a while. Research led me to a link with Rychard Shakloke as my possible 13th great grandfather! I see that this name appears as billman in the Muster Roll for Henry V111 which is very exciting for me. I have his birth 1490 – 1556 Sturton le Steeple and his wife as Marie.
    I know this is a huge ask – but, would it be possible that any more information about Rychard or his children could be found. Unfortunately I live abroad now, otherwise I would be driving over to your village in a shot!!
    Many thanks
    Elizabeth Herrod (nee Shacklock)

  • Christopher Page

    I wonder if you can help me, I am looking for any Fentons who lived in or around Sturton-le-steeple. I know Sir Geoffrey Fenton lived in the area in 1540′s before he was sent to Ireland. His brother Edward was a famous sea captain against the Armada. Any help would be appreciated.

    • Steve

      Hi Christopher,

      If you click on the link for Fenton there is some information about Geoffrey and Edward Fenton. They were both born at the now demolished Fenton Hall in the village. Have you tried and web sites? Other names in this family were Thornagh, Hewitt and Folljambe. Also try the web site, there is a lot of very good information there.


  • David Hinde


    Several good lists of residents in Sturton, the
    neighbours of the Robinson family, are extant, from
    the time of Henry VIII down to the reign of Charles.
    Most of these I have transcribed, but the space at
    my disposal only permits the printing of a selec-
    tion. Here is a Muster Roll for the parish headed as
    follows —

    ” Certyfycate of Musters takyn the xxiiijte daye Marche the
    xxx te yere of oure sufferand Lord Kyng Henry VIII th by
    Gerves Clyftone, John Hercy, John Babyngton, George Was-
    tenes, Antony Nevyll, Chareles Morton esquiers commys-
    syoners of oure sufferand Lorde the kyng by v’tue of hys
    commyssyon to them derectyd ffor the Northe claye p’cell
    off the Wapyntake of Barsett-Law for the county of Nottyng-
    hm accordyng to the devytyon of syd the commyssyoners
    unto y em allottyd

    Sturton cum Fenton

    b x George Lassells harnes for iij men
    a 2 Antonye thorney harnes for a man
    a Thorns ffenton harnes for a man
    a Rauffe hogson harnes for a man
    b John Drap coman harnes for iij me

    1 b stands for billman.

    2 a stands for archer, Harness = armour or fighting equipment.




    b Thoma Stourton
    b James Tomson
    b John chadkerye
    b John corbrygge
    b Wyllm Hawton
    b Robt Sturton
    a Wyllm Sowbe
    b Ry chard shakloke
    b Robt Ha worth
    b Robt Wolley
    b Robt hynd
    b John Stene
    b Thorns baleme
    b Andyedykcons
    a Rychard Smyth
    a An’y harynton
    a John Smythe

    horse & harnes for a man

    b Wyllm Stort
    b Wyllm Kechyng
    b And Tomson
    a Rychard Saunbe
    b gylles browyll
    a Thorns Saunbe
    a Wyllm kyrkbe
    b Thorns bynghm
    b henry fflowefr]

    horse and harnes for a man

    Vidua clarke
    Wyllm bynghm
    george Nysyo r
    Thomas Rake
    John Smythe
    Wyllm Lawcoke
    olyv’ Boythe
    Wyllm Atton

    a John legett

    b John corver

    b Rauffe cawthorne

    b Robt Smyth

    , horse and harnes for a man



    b Thorns Smythe
    b Rychard cawtorn
    a Henry browne
    a Rychard dogeson
    b Matthewe Roger
    b Wyllm Crofte
    a Thomo 8 Whyt
    b John Shawe
    b Rychard Alyn
    b george cawtorne
    b Roger yewett
    b John powyll
    b Wyllm Wyvyll
    b Wvllm ffenton
    b Wyllm Eyton
    b george cosyn
    b Thorns Wensley
    b Wyllm bee [?Lee]
    b Wyllm byrkyll
    b Ric. Mare
    a hugh unvyn
    b Thorns spense
    a Thorns Joye
    a Edward Or wen e
    a Wyllm Atkynson
    a Thorns catlyn
    b Rychard carver [ ?
    b Robt Stafforth
    a Rye bylle
    a george dewyt

    \ horse and harnes for a man

    Some of y e harnes ys for xiij men
    Some of y e archers ys xxij^
    Some of y e byll men ys xxxvij^.’

    The clerk has made an error in the addition. The
    list gives fifty billmen wha, with the twenty-two
    archers and the widow Clarke, give a total of seventy-
    three names. If we multiply the total of able-bodied
    men by six to give the women, children and aged
    men, we get a population for the parish of 432,
    as compared with an estimated population for the
    present year of 455.

    The names in this list may be checked by an

    • Steve

      Thanks David, you are right to say that this should be on History Pages. The current page is getting a bit cluttered so I may create another page to make it easier to read.

      Thank you for contacting us, it is very much appreciated. If you have any further suggestions we would like to hear them?


  • David Hinde

    The Kings Muster Roll List For the Village Should appear on the history Pages as it used to be included.
    My ancester Robert Hynd is listed as a Billman in Henry 8ths Army in the Muster for the village.
    Please reinstate the Roll on the Website.
    Thank You.

    • Eloine Lawton Garwood

      David Hinde
      My great, great grandmother was born in Sturton in 1786..Millicent Hinds. English census records the birth of a daughter, Mary Ann there in 1813 and a second daughter in 1823 (Elizabeth). I can find no other census records for Millicent except for burial in Gate
      Burton in 1853. Also a possibility of the birth of a son William in 1827/28. However the name was spelled Hinde on that record. Do you have advice as to where I could find the record of Millicent’s birth, or her parents names? More history and records re Sturton are up showing up on the internet much to my delight since I am in the US. Was there and in Gamston in the 1990′s looking for the Hinds and Laughtons…have so many more records now. Thanks for your consideration.

      • Steve

        Hi Eloine,

        There is a record for Millia Hinde
        Gender: Female
        Christening Date: 27 Nov 1785
        Father: Henry Hinde
        Mother: Anne

        This information is on
        This must be your Millicent – name spelling in those days was not an exact science?
        Please note Sturton cum Fenton is the same place as Sturton Le Steeple, the name changed in the mid 1800′s

        There is also a Josh. Hinde 24th September 1780 to the same parents

        Happy Hunting!!!

  • Steve

    Thanks Chris, unfortunately no one made a record of who is in the photograph. The date of 1875 is estimated from the fact that the headteacher is a very young looking Samuel Ingham who was at the school at that time. We do know one of the girls in the second row but nothing else. Do you have an address for your GGrandfather, I would guess one of the Smithies..?

  • Chris Gilbert

    I am very interested to see the c1875 school photo as my Great Grandfather Charles William Gilbert was born in the village and would have been about 8 then with younger brothers Joe aged 7 and George 5. I cannot tell if any of themfeature in the photo. Their father William Burton Gilbert had an agricultural implement business and is buried alongside his wife and parents in the churchyard.

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