Stuffyns

 

The 14thC Woodhouse tax records alone show the Stuffyns to be the wealthiest family in Mansfield Woodhouse, however in 1349 the family were victims of the plague and by the early 15th century their wealth and power had diminished. Robert Stuffyn, Woodhouse chantry benefactor, Woodhouse manor owner and wealthy wool merchant holding title of the 'King's Wool Merchant' died in 1357, giving Edward III a reason to seize his estate until his widow had settled his debt to the Crown of £168. This event created a number of Stuffyn land disposals bringing in new up and coming powerful families to Woodhouse. One such family was the Foljambe's who had risen through services to the Royal Forests including wolf hunting. They even took advantage of the vacant chantry patronage by buying a position for their youngest son through a deal with Felley Priory. Records have shown that this family made a career of sudden vacant seats of power and neglected assets caused by the 'black death' or bubonic plague that devastated the country in the mid 14th century.

The Woodhouse Collection of medieval documents held at the University of Toronto have a document (doc.1.5) dated 18th October 1472 which states the 'confirmation' that John Stuffyn has transfered the 'chief messuage' to William Foljambe including surrounding property and outbuildings. The 'chief messuage' in medieval parlance is the manor house. The manor house was typically built next to the church in medieval manors. I am in no doubt that this sale pertains to the site of the current manor house, which probably existed there at the height of Stuffyn wealth & power in the mid 14th century.

It was just 8 years later in 1480 that Radulphus Stuffyn, son of John, transferred land to Simon Digby that began the Digby dynasty of Mansfield Woodhouse that lasted until the 18th century.