St Edmunds Church

 

The church is not recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 although has retained some internal Norman features so the build date was sometime during the 12th century. Records show that in 1304 the part stone, part wooden church, along with the whole village was destoyed in a fire. Edward the 1st granted the manor permission to cut down oaks from the forest and allowed local quarrying in order to rebuild the village. The records show that the King's quarries in Mansfield/Mansfield Woodhouse provided three types of workable sandstone and limestone for the construction of castles, churches and houses of the King's servants. The chief messuage or the manor house would have been of stone construction. The church was rebuilt in 1306 but the stone tower & spire was not completed until later, which may have been at the time of the founding of the Stuffyn Chantry at the church in 1344. Robert Stuffyn was the Chief of the Feif or manor who had become very wealthy in the wool trade. He had risen to become one of the King's wool merchants. As was usual during the period, powerful & wealthy indviduals would use their surplus wealth to donate to the Priories in return for their services of prayer to protect the souls of the family. The patron of the church was the Felley Priory run by the Austin order of monks dedicated to St Mary. Robert Stuffyn paid them 6 silver shillings a year and provided the incumbent priest with a manse (house) and 6 acres of land (glebe) on which to provide himself with an income. The first Stuffyn chantry priest was John Stuffyn who died in 1349 during the plague.

By 1436 the assets of Felley Priory had been seized during Henry VIII's 'Dissolution of the Monastries', subsequently the manse & glebe reverted to the crown.

This 1787 engraving is probably the oldest image of St Edmunds church and shows the church before the major restoration and significant changes in 1878. Also in view here, the east section of the manor house shows Tudor period features before the Georgian period alterations in the early 1800's.