The Future of Sherwood’s Past
King John’s Palace and King’s Clipstone
Click on the image above to help sponsor the project
Official Sherwood Forest Archaeology Project T-
This Project is supported by Experience Nottinghamshire!
Official Sherwood Forest Archaeology Project Coffee Mug for just £8.50 +p&p
Click on the image below to see the project blog:
NEW DATES announced for Archaeological Bus tours of Sherwood Forest
Check dates from Nottingham, Mansfield and Newark
There has been a great deal of research at King John’s Palace stretching back 60 years. ..
… and Mercian are very proud to be a part of this great story having undertaken 12 separate projects since 2013 in Clipstone and the Palace.
Mercian Archaeological Services CIC are currently writing the research agenda for the site which will set out the aims for the future research.
Mercian’s work at the site has been undertaken on behalf of the site owners Mickie and Martin Bradley, and has been run where possible with the community as part of the Sherwood Forest Archaeology Project.
It is hoped that the work will run for many years, and help us to understand the site, its landscape, boundaries and built environment (waiting to be discovered below the surface).
Work in recent years has followed Mercian’s aims to understand the boundaries of the site, and has tied in with our aims to understand the landscape of the palace and Sherwood Forest, to understand settlement development in Sherwood Forest, and to create a medieval pottery assemblage for the county.
The modern phase of work on the site stretches back approximately 7 years to 2008, which includes Mercian’s 12 projects since 2013, and before that, in 2012 a project involving the digging of two trial trenches undertaken by Andy Gaunt, Sean Crossley, and David Budge, (now all of Mercian) and Built Heritage Specialist James Wright (now of the Museum of London), and research work undertaken by Andy Gaunt for his Masters Degree.
In 2009 Andy Gaunt began undertaking research for his Masters Degree for the Institute of Archaeology and Antiquity at the University of Birmingham, which he based on the landscape of medieval Clipstone. This research entitled: Clipstone Park and the King's Houses: Reconstructing and interpreting a medieval landscape through non-
Andy’s Geophysical survey helped to bring Time Team to the site the following year. Former Historic Buildings Assistant for Nottinghamshire County Council; James Wright (who had undertaken a building survey on the ruin as part of his role for NCC in 2004) invited Time Team to the site and he and Andy Gaunt acted as consultants to the show onsite. Andy’s Geophysical Survey and Masters Degree dissertation formed the first purely research based fieldwork project at the site since the 1950’s and so defines the start of the modern phase of research at the palace.
The modern phase also includes the Time Team (Wessex Archaeology) dig in 2011.
The Time Team dig in 2011 was the first research excavation at Clipstone since 1956 (with prior work having been done within the planning system or as part of repairs), and certainly helped to promote the site to a larger audience through being on the popular Channel Four television program.
Prior to the modern phase of research projects starting in 2009, work at the site from 1991 -
The ruins were saved from collapse by the work of Mickie and Martin Bradley (the site owners) alongside Stone Masons, Historic England, and Nottinghamshire County Council. Work from this phase includes two building surveys of the standing ruin, an initial one in 2004 by James Wright for Nottinghamshire County Council, and when work was undertaken to rebuild the monument, a second one in 2008 this time by an external contractor Peter Rogan (Chartered Architect and Historic Buildings Consultant).
The earliest excavations on the site were by Philip Rahtz 1956.
In 2016 it will in fact be 60 years since Rahtz first excavated at the site-
As shown; the works that have taken place on the site over the last 60 years can be divided into 4 main periods. These are listed below:
1950s, Earlier excavations:
There has also been Historical research and archaeological and historical publications dating back to the 1960s with some earlier works dating back to the 19th century.
Notable Publications include:
2013 onwards (Mercian Archaeological Services CIC and others):
Two decades of research in the 1960s and 1970s:
Early work (19th Century):
Modern Research Websites:
As archaeological work continues to establish the boundaries of the site, and attention turns to understanding the built environment of the palace complex through Geophysical Survey and excavation; the historical timeline for the site is reasonably well understood.
Publications by Howard Colvin in the 1960s (concentrating on the building records), and David Crook (listing the visits of the Kings to the Palace, and focusing on the deer park) in the 1970s; building on and adding to Stapleton’s work in the 1890s have helped to create a baseline data set and timeline for the site.
Recent publications by Gaunt (Mercian Archaeological Services CIC) and Wright have further helped in the understanding of the written record for Clipstone.
Also local community research concentrating on the records from the various court rolls for the site (notably by Josh Down of the Forest Town Nature Conservation Group (references from Josh Dowen’s site are marked with a link to the Forest Town Nature Conservation Group page http://www.foresttown.net/index.php/heritage/clipstone-
The various court rolls, building records, patent rolls, liberate rolls etc covering the entire period of the sites occupation are published. Some of these are available online, and others in archives.
Mercian are also fortunate to have original full copies of the Nottingham Borough Records, Sherwood Forest Book, History of the King’s Works, Inquisitions Post Mortem, Thoroton Society Transactions, and many other sources for the site in their library.
Below is a timeline of events collated from Court Rolls, Liberate Rolls, Patent rolls, published secondary accounts by Historians, and many other sources; and represents some of the recent research.
Mercian consider that this historical research should be available to the public in order to raise the profile of the site, and help to demonstrate the importance of the site in medieval times.
It is hoped it will be of interest to anyone wanting to know more about the palace, and that it will be of use to anyone looking to undertake further research.
The list should be considered to be dynamic, and is being compiled and updated constantly from our baseline data sets on the Mercian network. We promise that all will be available eventually.
(please forward any questions or comments to info@mercian-
1086: Domesday Book:
“Osbern and Ulsi [Wulfsi] had two manors in Clipstone, which paid the Geld for one caracute. The land was two caracutes. After the Conquest Roger de Busli had in demesne one caracute and a half, and twelve villeins and three borders, having three caracutes and a half, and one mill of three shillings. Wood, by places pasturable, one leuca long and one broad. In the Confessor’s time the value was sixty shillings, but forty shillings at the time of the Survey.”
1164: This year, for a tun of wine for the King, and its conduct from London to Clipstone, and thence to Nottingham, was paid £4 12s. 6d., perhaps in connection with a royal visit. In works upon the Kings' House at Clipstone £20, by the King's writ. And for a fourth of the year, while Robert fitz Ranulph held office, £13 8s. 6d. (Stapleton, A. 1890. A History of the Lordship of King's Clipstone or Clipstone in Sherwood, Nottinghamshire).
This is the earliest reference to the Hays. The word itself means a hedge, but here it signifies an enclosure,—always occurring in the plural. The number however is not mentioned, but there were probably two, perhaps one within the other with a view to defence. The hays of Sherwood Forest were enclosures in which no man could claim commonage.
The phrase "by view" requires a little explanation. When the sheriff of a county executed, by order, any work for the King, the amount expended was set down to his credit, to be settled for at the end of the official year. But, to save the King from being overcharged or defrauded, "viewers" were appointed to oversee the work. The number of these is not often mentioned,—though they are specially set down as four in 1214; it probably varied, perhaps in proportion to the magnitude of the work. These were mostly agents of the Grown, royal taskers, purveyors and the like,—at times local jurats,—who were afterwards examined before the Barons of the Exchequer on their oaths, before the Sheriff was finally credited to the amount expended (Stapleton, A. 1890. A History of the Lordship of King's Clipstone or Clipstone in Sherwood, Nottinghamshire).
(Colvin Vol II p918)
No architectural details, but the beast head “twelfth-
The Angevin house was surrounded by a ditch, partially excavated in 1956 (see rahtz) (Colvin Vol II p918).
Colvin possibly misidentifies the fish pond as the earthwork surviving adjacent to castlefield. Or he may be right! (Colvin Vol II p919)
For some time after the death of Henry II the expenditure was chiefly on repairs (Colvin Vol II p 91)
1181: August (Eyton, R. W. 1878. Court, Household, Itinerary of King Henry II. Taylor and Co. p241).
Henry II visited Clipstone (Crook , D. 1976. Clipstone Park and Peel. Transactions of the Thoroton Society of Nottinghamshire 80).
The King was at Nottingham about August 1181, whence he probably journeyed north (Stapleton, A. 1890. A History of the Lordship of King's Clipstone or Clipstone in Sherwood, Nottinghamshire).
“A charter to the order of Lazarites, bearing date at Clipstone, very possibly belongs to this period. It is attested by Geoffry the King's son, Fulk Painel, Reginald de Curteneye, Robert de Stuteville, Ralph fitz Stephen, Bertram de Verdon, Michael Belet, and William de Bendinges” (Eyton, R. W. 1878. Court, Household, Itinerary of King Henry II. Taylor and Co. p241).
1185: February. (Eyton, R. W. 1878. Court, Household, Itinerary of King Henry II. Taylor and Co. p261).
Henry II visited Clipstone (Crook , D. 1976. Clipstone Park and Peel. Transactions of the Thoroton Society of Nottinghamshire 80).
“Of two charters there expedited one is to Thurgarton Priory, Notts., the other to Barling's Abbey, Lincolnshire. The testing clause of the latter, when corrected by the former, gives witnesses common to both, viz., Hugh, Bishop of Durham; William, Earl of Arundel; Ranulph de Glanvill; Bernard de St. Wallery; Roger de Stutevill; William de Stutevill; Hugh Bardolf, Dapifer; and Ranulph de Guddinges” (Eyton, R. W. 1878. Court, Household, Itinerary of King Henry II. Taylor and Co. p261).
This appears to be the only other recorded visit of Henry, but it is probable that he was here on other occasions, though the sparse records and chronicles of this reign afford but general ideas of the royal progresses. He frequently traversed the neighbourhood in passing between the north and south of the kingdom, and in 1157, for instance, he spent a long period from September to December in Notts, and the Peak (Stapleton, A. 1890. A History of the Lordship of King's Clipstone or Clipstone in Sherwood, Nottinghamshire).
1189: John ,Count of Montain (lthe later King John), visited Clipstone when he owned the royal estates in Nottinghamshire (Crook, D. 1976. Clipstone Park and Peel. Transactions of the Thoroton Society Vol. 80. P 44).
1194: March 29th “in the words of an early chronicler—Richard proceeded to view Clipstone and the Forest of Sherwood, which he had never before seen, and they pleased him much, and on the same day he returned to Nottingham” (Stapleton, A. 1890. A History of the Lordship of King's Clipstone or Clipstone in Sherwood, Nottinghamshire).
1194: April 2nd Richard I visits Clipstone and meets William the Lion King of Scotland. “ the King again proceeded to Clipstone to meet William, King of Scotland there, ordering, in the meantime, that all who were lately taken in the castles of Nottingham, Tickhill, Marlborough, Lancaster, and Mount St. Michael, should be brought together at Winchester, on the morrow after Easter”.
The following day, 3rd April, being Palm Sunday, the King remained at Clipstone on that account.
1194: Richard I visits followed by repair to the fish-
1194: John ,Count of Montain (lthe later King John), visited Clipstone when he owned the royal estates in Nottinghamshire (Crook, D. 1976. Clipstone Park and Peel. Transactions of the Thoroton Society Vol. 80. P 44).
1200: March 19th King John Visits Clipstone http://neolography.com/timelines/JohnItinerary.html
‘John's first visit to Clipstone as King took place in the first year of his reign. He was here on 19th March, 1200, and dated hence his charter to Nottingham, confirming grants made by him while Earl of Mortain. The following list of witnesses was appended thereto, and will be of interest as recording some few of the influential nobles in his company:—"Geoffry Fitz-
1200: November 20th King John Visits Clipstone http://neolography.com/timelines/JohnItinerary.html
1200: During this same regnal year, in 1200, the men of Mansfield, commendably anxious to recover a lost right, offered the King fifteen marks for having Common of Pasture in the Park of Clipstone, as they were wont to have in the time of King Henry (II.) father of that King (John) before it was inclosed to make a park. At this time all favours, however just, requested of the King had to be accompanied by presents. Fifteen marks—a mark being two-
1201: March 6th -
“The King again called at Clipstone this year, on 6th March, in which month four out of five of his recorded visits took place. We have, doubtless, a reference to this visit in the account of William Brewer, Sheriff, this year, in which occurs the cost of carrying the King's bacons from Clipstone to Northampton, 10s. 10d., and to the Chaplain of Clipstone 20s. of his livery, from the Sunday next before the feast of St. Nicholas (St. Nic. 6th Dec.) until the Sunday next before the feast of the Ascension (Ascen. 18th May in year 2) by the King's writ, and likewise 20s. to him from that time till St. Michael (St. Mich. 29th September.)” (Stapleton, A. 1890. A History of the Lordship of King's Clipstone or Clipstone in Sherwood, Nottinghamshire).
1204: At the latter end of this year, on 26th December, while at Tewkesbury, the King sent to the Sheriff of Notts., ordering him to procure out of his ferm,—the county ferm,—so much as was necessary for the repair of the Houses of Clipstone, by view, &c., the amount to be computed to him, &c. The plural, Houses, is constantly used in writs of this character, and itself conveys an impression of what the place was probably like— a collection of buildings for every purpose, perhaps added to a central or main structure as occasion arose, without fixed design; and at a short distance, within the Hays, the necessary buildings and outhouses of a mediaeval farm with houses or huts for the men (Stapleton, A. 1890. A History of the Lordship of King's Clipstone or Clipstone in Sherwood, Nottinghamshire).
1205: March 10th King John visits Clipstone http://neolography.com/timelines/JohnItinerary.html
The King paid his third visit this year on 11th March[?] It was doubtless on this occasion, and for the royal table, that the Sheriff conveyed wine here. For on 28th September following the King, while at Nottingham, directed his writ to the Barons of his Exchequer, ordering them to reckon with that official for that which he had expended in carriage of wine from Nottingham to eleven places, including two tuns to Clipstone (Stapleton, A. 1890. A History of the Lordship of King's Clipstone or Clipstone in Sherwood, Nottinghamshire).
1205: Chapel of St. Edwin endowed by King John (Crook , D. 1976. Clipstone Park and Peel. Transactions of the Thoroton Society of Nottinghamshire 80. p35).
1206: The King on 10th March, while at Nottingham, directed the Barons of his Exchequer to reckon with the Sheriff for what he had expended—by the King's command and by view and testimony of legal men—in repairing the Houses of Clipstone (Stapleton, A. 1890. A History of the Lordship of King's Clipstone or Clipstone in Sherwood, Nottinghamshire).
1207: The King on 23rd May, being at Doncaster, directed his writ to Greoffry de Jorce, commanding him to release to Philip Minekan, or Munekan, the Houses of Clipstone, with the Hays, and the custody thereof, as also twenty librates of land, or land of the annual value of twenty pounds, which were formerly Ivon de Fontibus', but which were afterwards committed to him and Richard de Lexington. (The two latter are mentioned as Foresters two years earlier.) The said Philip was to have only 100s. to sustain him in the King's service, and was to answer to the King concerning the residue and concerning the Vill of Clipstone (Stapleton, A. 1890. A History of the Lordship of King's Clipstone or Clipstone in Sherwood, Nottinghamshire).
1207: On 28th July following, the King, while at Burton, sent intimation to Brian de Insula that he had commanded John fil Jordan, of Boston, to liberate unto him, or to a certain messenger, sixteen dolia or casks of the King's wines which were in his custody, to wit, twelve dolia of wine of Wascon' and four of Muisac'. Of these the said Brian was to convey three tuns of wine of Wascon' and one of Mussac' to Clipstone, and more to Scrooby, Lexington, and elsewhere. A dolium of wine contained fifty-
1207: On 12th October following, from Marlborough, the King commanded his Barons of the Exchequer to settle with the creditor for fifteen dolia of wine, bought at need or occasion, and of which he had caused four dolia to be sent to Harestan and three to Clipstone,—others to Lexington, Southwell, Newark, Gringley, &c. (Stapleton, A. 1890. A History of the Lordship of King's Clipstone or Clipstone in Sherwood, Nottinghamshire).
1207: The King at the end of the year, on 27th December, being at Windsor, sent to the Sheriff of Notts., commanding him to allow to Philip Munekan money from the county ferm for the reparation of the Houses and Dam of Clipstone, which were in the custody of the said Philip (Stapleton, A. 1890. A History of the Lordship of King's Clipstone or Clipstone in Sherwood, Nottinghamshire).
1210: It is an unfortunate circumstance that the series of rolls from which many of these notes are taken, and by which the whereabouts of the King at almost any date may be discovered, are broken at this interesting period by the loss of those for the period of four regnal years—1208— 1212. Another kind of roll, however, for one year, the twelvth, 1210—11, is fortunately preserved, by which happily we are enabled to record another royal visit here. John was at Nottingham in November, 1210, for several days and until Tuesday in the feast of St. Andrew, which latter day is 30th November. On the Thursday following he was at Clipstone, whence he advanced half-
1211: December 2nd -
1212: Legendary reference to Parliament Oak:
“This is the year by which, perhaps, Clipstone is best remembered by most of us. The well-
Whatever may be the truth about this alleged deed of John's, I am afraid the idea of its connection, in any way, with Clipstone must be relinquished. None of the chroniclers, so far as I can find, record such a detail. Rapin, the authority sometimes given, does not connect the story with Clipstone. In short it seems more than probable that some local writer has connected the so-
1214: August 8th Robert de Lexington, during the King's absence in France, was commanded by a deputy to cause what was needed to be done for the repair of the Lord King's Houses of Clipstone, by view of four lawful men,—whatever was so expended to be accounted to him at the Exchequer (Stapleton, A. 1890. A History of the Lordship of King's Clipstone or Clipstone in Sherwood, Nottinghamshire).
1215: January 11th while at the New Temple, London, commanded the Sheriff to provide payment for the two chaplains at Clipstone and Harestan, there ministering, by his command, for the soul of King Henry, his father. This note is of interest as the first intimation of the Chantry here, founded apparently by John (Stapleton, A. 1890. A History of the Lordship of King's Clipstone or Clipstone in Sherwood, Nottinghamshire).
1215: While the King was at Litchfield, on the 2nd April, he directed his writ to the Barons of his Exchequer, ordering them to reckon with Brian de Insula for that which Philip Monekan, sometime Keeper of his Houses of Clipstone, had by command expended. The same Brian was also to be settled with for what he had expended while himself held that custody, after the said Philip had been deposed. The different styles of spelling the late Custodian's name are but accountable variations of one word, well known as a surname in its modern form. The Anglo-
1215: March 26th -
King John paid his last visit to Clipstone. He was here on the 26th and 27th; the 28th he was at Kingshagh; and on the 29th he was again at Clipstone. The latter date,— evidently a mere coincidence,—was the anniversary of the first visit of King Richard twenty-
1215: March 29th -
1216: The King on the 25th February, while at Lincoln, issued writs to numerous constables, including one to the Constable of Clipstone, commanding them not to take the revenues of the lands or fees, in their respective bailiwicks, which were in the custody of William Brewer—that which had already been taken to be without delay rendered. This, if it is not another name for the Custodian or Keeper, is the only reference to such an official. It would be a decided acquisition if we could print, what a thorough search through the public records could alone supply, viz.: a list of all Chaplains, Keepers, Constables, and other officials of Clipstone, to which odd references will be found in divers places (Stapleton, A. 1890. A History of the Lordship of King's Clipstone or Clipstone in Sherwood, Nottinghamshire).
1220: 1 May 1220 “Westminster. Nottinghamshire. To the sheriff of Nottinghamshire. The king as committed to his beloved and faithful Brian de Lisle, chief justice of the king’s forests , the king’s houses of Clipstone and the same vill, to keep for as long as it pleases the king. Order to cause Brian to have full seisin without delay. Witness H. etc.” [Fine Roll C 60/15, 5 HENRY III (1220–1221). Available from: http://www.finerollshenry3.org.uk/content/calendar/roll_015.html] http://www.foresttown.net/index.php/heritage/clipstone-
1220: Henry, on the 23rd November, while at Winchester, directed the Barons of his Exchequer to reckon with Philip Mark, Sheriff, for seven pounds and eightpence, spent by him in reparation of the great Dam and Mill of Clipstone, and in repairing the Pale about the King's Houses there. Mr. Yeatman gives this amount, from the Sheriff's account, as £7 6s. 8d. (Stapleton, A. 1890. A History of the Lordship of King's Clipstone or Clipstone in Sherwood, Nottinghamshire).
1221: The King, on the 15th June, being at Blythe, directed the following writ to Brian de Insula: You are commanded to take with you a Verderer of the bailiwick of Clipstone and go to Clipstone to view the burnt houses of our poor men there; and allow the same men a reasonable allowance of building-
The above is an item of special interest. This, no doubt, is to what Thoroton refers when he says that Clipstone was burned it seems and repaired again before 5th. Henry III., 1220-
1223: the king’s chamber was damaged by fire, and Master Robert de Hotot, one of the King’s carpenters, rebuilt it by taskwork for 15 marks. (Colvin Vol II p 919).
1223: The King, while at Westminster on the 7th February, wrote commanding the Sheriff of Notts., without delay, to make reparation of the King's chamber of Clipstone,—the cost so incurred, by view and testimony of legal men, to be computed to him at the Exchequer.
At the same time and place another writ was directed to Brian de Insula, commanding him to allow the Sheriff to have, for the purpose, building-
1225: November 12th. Hugh de Nevill was commanded to allow Brian de Insula to have —apparently for the second time—full seisen, or possession, of the Lord the King's Houses of Clipstone, with the Park, Hays, &c., and their appurtenances, which the King commits to his custody during pleasure (Stapleton, A. 1890. A History of the Lordship of King's Clipstone or Clipstone in Sherwood, Nottinghamshire).
1227: 31 August 1227 “Concerning the manor of Clipstone. The king has committed the manor of Clipstone to the sheriff of Nottinghamshire to keep to the king’s use for as long as it pleases the king. Order to B. [Brian] de Lisle to cause the money that he received to repair the king’s chamber of the same manor and has not yet put towards the repair to be delivered to the sheriff of Nottinghamshire, whom the king has ordered to cause that chamber to be repaired.” (Fine Roll C 60/27, 12 HENRY III (1227–1228). Available from: http://www.finerollshenry3.org.uk/content/calendar/roll_027.html) http://www.foresttown.net/index.php/heritage/clipstone-
1233: The Kings Chamber was again rebuilt at a cost of £130
From a subsequent account it appears that it stood on an undercroft. (Colvin Vol II p 919).
1236: 7 June 1236 “Concerning the manors of Kingshaugh and Clipstone. The king has committed his manors of Kingshaugh and Clipstone and the honour of Peverel of Nottingham with appurtenances to Roger of Essex to keep for as long as etc. , so that he answers at the Exchequer for all issues of the same. Order to the same Roger to attend to keeping them diligently and faithfully, and when Roger comes to the king it will be provided for him so that he might be sustained from this.” [Fine Roll C 60/35, 20 HENRY III (1235–1236).
Available from: http://www.finerollshenry3.org.uk/content/calendar/roll_035.html] http://www.foresttown.net/index.php/heritage/clipstone-
1236: September 1236 “Concerning the king’s manors handed over to Warner Engayne. The king has committed to Warner Engayne the manors of Clipstone and of Kingshaugh with appurtenances, both woodlands and other things, to keep for as long as it pleases the king. Order to Roger of Essex to cause him to have full seisin of the aforesaid manors with corn, stock and all chattels found therein.” [Fine Roll C 60/35, 20 HENRY III (1235–1236). Available from: http://www.finerollshenry3.org.uk/content/calendar/roll_035.html] http://www.foresttown.net/index.php/heritage/clipstone-
1247: January. “Concerning keeping manors. The king has committed the manors of Darlton, Retford, Clipstone and Ragnall to Robert le Vavasur, sheriff of Nottinghamshire. Order to Warner Engayne to deliver those manors to him to keep for as long as it pleases the king, as aforesaid.” [Fine Roll C 60/44, 31 HENRY III (1246–1247). Available from: http://www.finerollshenry3.org.uk/content/calendar/roll_044.html] http://www.foresttown.net/index.php/heritage/clipstone-
1249: August 24th. For selling the king’s wines. It is written in the same manner to the sheriff of Nottinghamshire concerning the king’s wines at Clipstone, and to the sheriff of Leicestershire concerning the king’s wine at Croxton.” [Fine Roll C 60/46, 33 HENRY III (1248–1249). Available from: http://www.finerollshenry3.org.uk/content/calendar/roll_046.html] http://www.foresttown.net/index.php/heritage/clipstone-
1251: Only the men of Clipstone had rights of pasture within the park. There was no access at all to the neighbouring hays of Birkland and Bilhaugh. These together with thw park, were administered directly by the king’s chief forest justice beyond the Trent, and were outside the control of the hereditary wardens of Sherwood, the Everinghams (Crook , D. 1976. Clipstone Park and Peel. Transactions of the Thoroton Society of Nottinghamshire 80. p36).
1252: The ‘new chapel’ and the queen’s chapel mentioned when the King had them glazed with plain glass and wainscoted. (Colvin Vol II p 919)
1252: December 13, Worksop. “The sheriff of Nottingham is ordered to make a wardrobe for the queen’s use at Clipstone, and a privy-
1252: The same sheriff is commanded to make a certain passage [alea] at Clipstone from the entry of the king’s chamber to the gable of the hall, and another passage to the new chapel, and a chamber on the other side of the same hall, with a privy-
1252: “The sheriff of Nottingham and Derby is ordered to break without delay, the wall at the foot of the king’s bed in the king’s chamber at Clipston, and to make a certain privychamber for the king’s use, and cover it with shingles. Westminster, October 21.” (Turner Page 262 / Close Roll, 36 Henry III.) http://www.foresttown.net/index.php/heritage/clipstone-
After 1252 Henry III ordered no new works at Clipstone, but the buildings were repaired from time to time during the remaining years of his reign. (Colvin Vol II p 919)
At the same time Roger Lovetot was appointed Custodian of the same manors, during the King's pleasure (Stapleton, A. 1890. A History of the Lordship of King's Clipstone or Clipstone in Sherwood, Nottinghamshire).
1279: Edward I at Clipstone (David Crook. 1976. Clipstone Park and Peel. Transactions of the Thoroton Society of Nottinghamshire 80)
Colvin suggests standing ruin may represent one or both of these new chambers. (Colvin Vol II p 919).
1280: Edward I at Clipstone (David Crook. 1976. Clipstone Park and Peel. Transactions of the Thoroton Society of Nottinghamshire 80)
Raine, the Blyth historian, records that during the first five days of August, 1280, the writs of Edward are dated either in Sherwood Forest or at Clipstone (Stapleton, A. 1890. A History of the Lordship of King's Clipstone or Clipstone in Sherwood, Nottinghamshire).
1284: Edward I at Clipstone (David Crook. 1976. Clipstone Park and Peel. Transactions of the Thoroton Society of Nottinghamshire 80)
1287: Pigs allowed pannage in the park for the payment of a fee, as they were in the hays, but the accounts of the agisters who controlled pannage give no indication from which vills they came (Crook , D. 1976. Clipstone Park and Peel. Transactions of the Thoroton Society of Nottinghamshire 80. p36).
1290: September 15th -
1290: September 20th -
1290: October 11th -
October Parliament at Clipstone called to rubber stamp the Kings Crusade and the date for departure was set as midsummer 1293 (Morris, M. 2000. A Great and Terrible King: Edward I and the Forging of Britain. Windmill Books. P228).
“Its accommodation must have been stretched to the limit, with he chancery and it’s clerks having to stay at nearby Warsop” (David Crook. 1976. Clipstone Park and Peel. Transactions of the Thoroton Society of Nottinghamshire 80. P35).
1290: The King, in the autumn of 1290, with a design of proceeding to the borders of Scotland, summoned the Parliament to meet him at Clipstone on 27th October. This was done, possibly, with the idea of thus being nearer Scotland than would have been the case had he called the Parliament together in London. Yet it does not appear that he was over anxious to press in that direction, for during the year he was never more than a day's journey further north than Clipstone.
At the beginning of September he was at Geddington and Rockingham; on the 11th he was at
Hardby, in this county, where, in the following month, his consort Queen Eleanor died. From 13th to 17th he was at Newstead Priory; on the 18th and 19th at Rufford Abbey. On the 20th he was at his own house at Clipstone, which, however, he left on the morning of the 23rd for Dronfield. He remained in Derbyshire until 7th October, when setting out again for Clipstone, he arrived on the 12th and remained.
On 13th October he issued an order for payment of 200 marks from his treasury to Lapus de Pistoria and his associates, merchants of Pistoria.
Edward also issued hence, during this regnal year, and doubtless, if we could ascertain, about the same date, an order for payment of 3,000 marks from his treasury to Lapus Bonchi and Gradus Pini, of Pistoria. A much larger sum was ordered to be paid the following year, as mentioned below, which probably was also on the occasion of the present visit, which covered the commencement of the next regnal year.
On the 14th October, writing hence, the King protests that he intends to go to the Holy Land, and accepts the tenths granted for that object.
The King issued another writ hence dated on Monday next after the feast of St. Luke the Evangelist, which feast is on 18th October.
On 23rd October he issued a writ for the payment of the annual fee of Francis Accursius.
The following note concerning a certain Elias de Hanville and his one servant, taken from the royal accounts, is interesting if only as recording the rate of wages at this period. "To the same for the wages of one man and the expenses of one horse, bringing the jewels which came out of the wardrobe, from Newcastle-
Clipstone, from the 21st day of September to the last day of October—for 31 days—receiving per day 2d. for the man aforesaid, and for the horse 3d.—12s. 11d."
The Parliament was opened on St. Michael's Day, November; and the 251 pleas, with the petitions, then presented "before the Lord King," with the answers, cover twenty-
This— decidedly an event of the first importance in Clipstone's history, when probably a larger number of the nobility and great men of the kingdom were assembled than at any other time —the Parliament Oak was in all likelihood intended to commemorate. Whether the tree was planted in memory of the event, or what was the special connection, if any, between them, it is now impossible to say. The theory that the great national assemby was held around this tree, which careless writers continue to perpetuate, is almost too puerile to require correction.
Edward remained here until 11th November, and possibly one or two days later, but it is certain that he had left on the 14th. He was several days at Lexington, whence he removed to Marnham, and on the 20th he was again at Hardby. He was there up to the 28th, on which day the Queen breathed her last. She died of a lingering disease—a slow fever—and from this we can understand why the quietness and seclusion of Hardby should be chosen for her in preference to the presence of the King at Clipstone, where the Court and Parliament were to be held. The foregoing remarks, it should be added, refute the statement of certain of the chroniclers who aver that Edward was called from the borders of Scotland to the death-
1290: In an "Account of the receipts of the lands in Tynedale and Cumberland lately held by Alexander III. (of Scotland), with a statement of how the money has been applied," we find that, besides a large sum expended at Lexington, £25 and 160 was spent in repairs on the Houses, Dams, and Weir of the Manor of Clipstone (Stapleton, A. 1890. A History of the Lordship of King's Clipstone or Clipstone in Sherwood, Nottinghamshire).
1299: This year the King, an accredited messenger being sent, viz., his treasurer the Bishop of Chester, wrote to the Queen and his son inviting them to keep the solemnity of the birth of our Lord at his Manor of Clipstone, near Sherwood. The Queen replied that she preferred to spend the holiday at St. Albans. However, upon consultation, the King kept his Christmas at Windsor, with his son and all his family. This unfortunate perverseness of Her Majesty has deprived us of an item of interest in local history. However, as this has been the scene of one royal celebration of Christmas, in the next reign, we must rest content.
Edward II., who commenced to reign 8th July, 1307, appears to have been really fond of Clipstone, for he was here on numerous occasions, the first time being about ten weeks after his accession—or rather his proclamation (Stapleton, A. 1890. A History of the Lordship of King's Clipstone or Clipstone in Sherwood, Nottinghamshire).
1300: Edward I at Clipstone (David Crook. 1976. Clipstone Park and Peel. Transactions of the Thoroton Society of Nottinghamshire 80)
1301: reference to ‘the King’s wood of Clipstone called “le Parke” (Crook , D. 1976. Clipstone Park and Peel. Transactions of the Thoroton Society of Nottinghamshire 80. p36).
1307: Edward II at Clipstone (David Crook. 1976. Clipstone Park and Peel. Transactions of the Thoroton Society of Nottinghamshire 80)
On the occasion of this visit the following documents were issued hence:—.
20th September.—The King, by Letters Patent, contitutes William de Carleton, Eoger de Hegham, and Thomas de Cantebrugg, Barons of the Exchequer, during his pleasure.
20th September. — King to the Sheriffs of England, ordering them to seize into the King's hands all the lands and tenements, goods and chattels, of Walter de Langton, Bishop of Litchfield, late treasurer of King Edward I.
25th September.—King asks the Sheriff of Gascony and the Constable of Bordeaux to ship 1,000 tuns of good wine for his Coronation, to be paid for by the Friscobaldi of Florence.
26th September.—King to Dionysius, King of Portugal, respecting the restitution of an English ship recovered by the Portuguese from some pirates.
With reference to this, the first, year of the King's reign, it may be added that among the documents formerly preserved in the office of the Queen's Eemembrancer is mentioned one entitled "Clipiston Regis: Compotus Thomae de Merke, servientis Domini Regis, in Manerio de Clipiston." Or in English—"Kings' Clipstone: The account of Thomas Mark, servant of the Lord King, in the Manor of Clipstone." A translation of this manuscript would doubtless prove extremely interesting (Stapleton, A. 1890. A History of the Lordship of King's Clipstone or Clipstone in Sherwood, Nottinghamshire).
1313: 24 October 1313 “Oct. 24 . Westminster. To John de Evre, escheator beyond Trent. Order to pay to Thomas atte Merk, keeper of the king’s manor of Clipston in Shirwode, the arrears of his wages, and to continue to pay the same, and to pay to the chaplain of the manor such salary as other chaplains have been wont to receive, and to repair the paling of the manor. By p.s.” (Page 22) (JD -
1315: October 29th Edward II at Clipstone (Hartshorne, C. 1861. The Itinerary of King Edward II)
1315: October 31st -
Writs at Clipstone:
2nd November.—King, by Letters Patent,
grants that John de Luter be quit of Tallages, Aids, Watch and Ward, &c.
2nd November.—King of England complains to the King of France of the conduct of certain pirates of Calais.
2nd November.—Complaint to the same effect on the part of certain merchants of the Germanic Hanse in England.
4th November.—King forbids the men of the Bishoprick of Durham to make private truces with the Scots.
9th November.—King orders the arrest of all the Flemings within the realm, the period of their departure having expired.
10th November.—King grants that William Trent, King's Butler, be quit of Tallages, Aids, Watch and Ward, &c.
23rd November.—King indemnifies the Bishop of Durham for having lent him the Castle of Norham
(Stapleton, A. 1890. A History of the Lordship of King's Clipstone or Clipstone in Sherwood, Nottinghamshire).
1315: November 28th -
1315: 10 December 1315 “Dec. 10 . Clipston. To Robert de Cliderhou, escheator this side Trent. Order to repair the chimnies (camina) and houses in the manor of King’s Clipston and in the hermitage near the chapel of St. Edwin, where a hermit shall dwell by the king’s ordinance, and the ponds of the stews in the manor. By K. on the information of William Inge.” (Page 257) (JD -
1315: December 20th Edward II at Clipstone (Hartshorne, C. 1861. The Itinerary of King Edward II)
1316: February 27th -
6th March.—King commands that the ordinances, lately made by the prelates and nobles of the realm, be carefully observed.
10th March.—Letters Patent to stop proceedings in a dispute touching the Castle, &c., of Pool.
14th March.—King requests Amanenus de Lebret to attend the Parliament at London.
(Stapleton, A. 1890. A History of the Lordship of King's Clipstone or Clipstone in Sherwood, Nottinghamshire).
1316: December 9th -
1316: December 9th. Roger Mortimer at Clipstone. (Calendar of Patent Rolls 1313-
1316: December 13th -
Edward was here again in December, as witness the following, then issued.
15th December, Credence for the Bishops of Norwich and Ely, and others, specially recommended by the King to the Pope.
15th December.—King to 22 Cardinals, to the same effect as preceding.
15th December, Safe Conduct for the same persons going to the Pope.
15th December, Credence for the same persons going to the Pope.
16th December, Commission to the above persons to treat respecting the issues of Aquitain, assigned by the King to the late Pope Clement V.
20th December.—King of England regrets that he cannot be present at the Coronation of Philip King of France.
20th December.—King permits David Earl of Athol to take all the plunder he can win from the Scots.
20th December.—King orders a free passage to be provided for Roger de Mortimer and the troops going from South Wales into Ireland.
20th December.—A grant to the widow of Piers Gravestone.
About this date Edward left Clipstone for a few days, to spend his Christmas in Nottingham, but returning again early in the year, stayed until the middle of January or later.
(Stapleton, A. 1890. A History of the Lordship of King's Clipstone or Clipstone in Sherwood, Nottinghamshire).
1316: December 18th. Roger Mortimer at Clipstone. (Calendar of Patent Rolls 1313-
1316: December 30th. Roger Mortimer at Clipstone. (Calendar of Patent Rolls 1313-
1317: January 1st -
1317: 4th January.—King gives authority to the Bishops of Norwich and Ely, and others, to grant pensions to the Cardinals in the King's, name.
4th January.—King requires fifteen of his nobles to go to Ireland to repulse the invasion of Edward de Brus.
4th January, King authorises the Bishops of Norwich and Ely, and others, to prorogue the period of his journey to Jerusalem.
4th January.—King forbids the holding of a tournament at Thetford.
4th January.—King orders the arrest of those who tourney at Thetford.
6th January.—King recommends to the Pope, Alexander de Bykenore to be Archbishop of Dublin.
It may here be mentioned that a Pope, having been chosen by the Conclave in August preceding, intelligence of the event was forwarded to Edward. A few selections from the orders for payments, in the royal accounts for this year, are appended:—
"To Adam Shirlock, coming to the King with letters from Sir Gilbert de Midelton, knight, and returning to the same with letters from the King —of the King's gift, at Clipstone, 6th January, 6s. 8d."
"To Amenenus de Pelagrua, Nuncio of the Pope, coming to our Lord the King at Clipstone, to announce the Creation and Coronation of his said Lord the Pope—of the King's gift, £100."
In the inventory of the jewels, a basin, chased and silver-
But to resume the calendar of writs issued on the occasion of this visit:—
7th January.—King to eight Cardinals, in favour of Alexander de Bykenore as Archbishop of Dublin.
7th January.—King to the Pope, in favour of William de Melton, Archbishop of York.
8th January.—King to Cardinal G., the Pope's Vice-
8th January.—King to the Pope, in favour of Thomas de Cherleton.
9th January.—Mandate to the Keeper of the King's Exchange.
10th January.—King to the Pope and Cardinals, in favour of John, Bishop of Winchester, his Chancellor.
10th January.—Proclamation against the introduction into the realm of clipped or false coin.
12th January.—King asks the Cardinals in the Papal court to forward the petitions presented by his ambassadors, to the Pope.
16th January.—King orders the arrest of all persons who tourney anywhere in England.
1318: August 18th -
1318: Edward was at Clipstone in August this year, and on the 18th he issued hence a Safe Conduct for the messengers of the Cardinals, going into Ireland. He was at Nottingham on 24th— 26th, but had again returned to Clipstone on 5th September, if not earlier, and on the 10th he wrote to Philip King of France, complaining in detail of the injuries done by the latter's subjects to the English (Stapleton, A. 1890. A History of the Lordship of King's Clipstone or Clipstone in Sherwood, Nottinghamshire).
1318: September 1st -
1320: February 1st -
1320: Cattle disease Rinderpest killed up to 40% of the herd at Clipstone (Prestwich, M. 2005. Plantagenet England 1225 -
1320: Edward was here once more in the fore part of this year, and on 3rd February dated hence a commission to Thomas Earl of Kildare and three others, to inquire who rendered help to Edward de Brus in Ireland (Stapleton, A. 1890. A History of the Lordship of King's Clipstone or Clipstone in Sherwood, Nottinghamshire).
1327: April 17th Edward III visited Clipstone (Ormrod, W. M. 2013. Edward III. Yale University Press. P 611).
1327: April. The King’s tenants of Clipstone presented him with a petition. They stated that from time immemorial they had been accustomed to take all the ferns growing in ‘a place which is now called the park of Clipstone’ for an annual payment of a mark, to collect fallen leaves without payment and to have pasture there for all kinds of beasts in return for two of their number performing the office of keeping the King’s vert and venison. They complained about ten years previously Edward II had enclosed the park, foregoing the income but causing them a loss equivalent to 100 shillings a year by leaving them with insufficient pasture. They had also lost the benefit of the ferns, which were strewn in sheep and cattle folds overnight and mixed with dung to form a valuable manure, and the leaves, which were used as a compost. The enclosure had therefore interfered with important parts of the agricultural cycle (Crook , D. 1976. Clipstone Park and Peel. Transactions of the Thoroton Society of Nottinghamshire 80. p37).
1327: May. An inquest into the claims made by the men of Clipstone in April 1327, held by John de Cromwell, the King’s chief forest justice, at Warsop in may ratified their claims(Crook , D. 1976. Clipstone Park and Peel. Transactions of the Thoroton Society of Nottinghamshire 80. p38).
1327: August 28th Edward III visited Clipstone (Ormrod, W. M. 2013. Edward III. Yale University Press. P 611). Mark Ormrod suggests that a tournament was held at Clipstone by Edward III at this time (Ormrod, W. M. 2013. Edward III. Yale University Press. P 67). (RDP, iv, 376-
“After holding a tournament at Clipstone in Sherwood Forest at the end of August the king and his mother retired to Nottingham to await events”. (Ormrod Edward III p66) (Ann Paulini, 337; Tanquery, ‘The Conspiracy of Thomas Dunheved, 1327’ EHR xxi (1916), 119-
1327: November 12-
1327: November 27th -
Edward, like his father and predecessor, was at Clipstone in the first year of his reign, whence he dated the following:—
28th November.—King of England requests Charles King of France to do justice to William de Eydale, an English merchant, whose woad was arrested at Amiens.
28th November.—Safe Conduct for Bartholomew de Burghersh, Constable of Dover Castle, and William de Clynton, who was to accompany William Count de Hainault and his daughter Phillipa into England.
29th November.—King asks the Pope to confirm the decision of the dispute between the Archbishop of York and the Dean and Chapter, about the right of visitation.
1327: “TNA E101/383/3 m.2. This notes gold thread purchased for decorating purple harnesses for the tournament at Clipstone... The tournament probably took place between 15-
1328: 25th August.—King presents Geoffry de Cotes to the church of Fishlake, during a voidance of the Prior of Lewes.
30th August.—The Sheriffs of London are to provide 120 targets, painted with the King's arms, and 120 crossbows, to be sent to John de Roches, Custos of Guernsey, Jersey, Alderney, and Sark, for the defence of the said islands.
30th August.—King orders John de Roches, above-
30th August.—King orders the same John de Roches to complete the Castle at Girburgh in Guernsey.
1328: August 26th. Roger Mortimer at Clipstone. (Calendar of Patent Rolls 1327-
1328: August 30th. Roger Mortimer at Clipstone. (Mortimer , I. 2004. The Greatest Traitor: The Life of Sir Roger Mortimer. Ruler of England 1327-
1328: January 9th-
...The following membrane, m.3, includes payments for six harnesses for the tournament at Worcester between 25-
*Note there is some confusion between Historians as to which of Edward III’s stays at Clipstone in 1327-
“The dating of these in Mortimer, The Perfect King , 449, seems wrong: there are no dates in the accounts… The Clipstone dates make more sense if they are after Christmas rather than before Edward I I’s funeral” (Barber, R. 2014 Edward III and the Triumph of England. Penguin Books. p 573).
Therefore Barber suggests January 9th -
“We have detailed accounts for some of his equipment, such as the two suits of armour covered in purple velvet made for the Clipstone tournament, embroidered with 21,800 gold threads in a pattern of crowns and oak leaves at a cost of £8 3s. 4d. “ (Barber, R. 2014 Edward III and the Triumph of England. Penguin Books. p50).
“Clipstone is the first recorded instance of a very rare practice of jousting at night; there is one other known example in England later in Edward’s reign, at Bristol on New Year’s Day 1358. The image of the young King riding out into the night, the torchlight glinting on the gold of his armour, is a harbinger of the highly visual nature of Edward’s later knightly celebrations” (Barber, R. 2014 Edward III and the Triumph of England. Penguin Books. p50).
1328: February 14th -
1328: June 27th Edward III at Clipstone. (Ormrod, W. M. 2013. Edward III. Yale University Press. P 612).
1330: August 29th -
1330: September 1st Roger Mortimer at Clipstone (Mortimer , I. 2004. The Greatest Traitor: The Life of Sir Roger Mortimer. Ruler of England 1327-
1330: September 22nd -
1330: September 22nd Roger Mortimer at Clipstone (Mortimer , I. 2004. The Greatest Traitor: The Life of Sir Roger Mortimer. Ruler of England 1327-
1331: 25th -
1331: August 5th -
1331: At Clipstone; Queen Phillipa heard an impromptu concert of singing by a group of women from Bilsthorpe (Ormrod, W. M. 2013. Edward III. Yale University Press. P 316).
1331: Edward made another call this year, and on 13th August wrote from Clipstone to four Cardinals, on behalf of Simon Archbishop of Canterbury.
During this reign, the particular year being uncertain, John de Sutton, of Warsop, presented a petition to Parliament which, from the reference to the King's father, may doubtless be placed well within the first ten years of this reign. As it is brief and explains itself, a translation in full of the petition, and the response to it, is appended:—
To our Lord the King and to his Council, showeth John de Sutton, Knight, that whereas he holds the Manor of Warsop of our Lord the King in Chief, and that the King has, during the last ten years, made an inclosure of his wood of Warsop, thus depriving the Manor of forty acres of soil, and holds it inclosed within, as part of, his Park of Clipstone,—to his great disinheritance, and to the impoverishment of his tenants, who ought to have Commonage there.
Answer: Let there be a writ sent to the Justice of the Forest, to make inquiry of the articles alleged in this petition, and of all other necessary matters, &c. Also let the records of the late King, our father, be searched, to see if something may not be found to stay John's action; the inquiry and certification to be returned into Chancery,—the King himself advises this.
Unfortunately we have no information as to the result of the inquiry. We do not even know if the petitioner recovered his forty acres of wood, or whether they remained in the Park. The King would probably use every endeavour to retain the land, as evinced by the above illustration of his personal interest in the matter.
1332: October 9th -
1335: 11 April -
9th April:? William Archbishop of York is directed to permit the cross to be carried in the province of York before the Archbishop of Canterbury, on his way to the Parliament at York (Stapleton, A. 1890. A History of the Lordship of King's Clipstone or Clipstone in Sherwood, Nottinghamshire).
22nd April.—Safe conduct for John de Floto and Thomas of Bologna, Nuncios from the Pope Benedict XII., coming to England and Ireland (Stapleton, A. 1890. A History of the Lordship of King's Clipstone or Clipstone in Sherwood, Nottinghamshire).
24th April.—King orders the Sheriffs of Notts, and Yorkshire te protect the Archbishop of Canterbury (bearing his cross) on his journey to the Parliament summoned to York, on the morrow of Ascension Day (Stapleton, A. 1890. A History of the Lordship of King's Clipstone or Clipstone in Sherwood, Nottinghamshire).
1337: May 19th -
Edward III and Queen Phillipa were at Clipstone celebrating the marriage of one of the King’s esquires, Roger Beauchamp, with the queen’s damsel Sybil Patteshull. (Ormrod, W. M. 2013. Edward III. Yale University Press. P 128).
1339: While in Anderlecht Edward III ordered his ministers at home to speed up the current programme of improvements at Clipstone (Ormrod, W. M. 2013. Edward III. Yale University Press. P 102).
The same year an inquisition resulted in the report that Henry de Wytheton, chaplain, within the Manor of Clipstone, had by Letters Patent of the King, for his sustenance, five marks per annum, receiving it from the issues of the Manor aforesaid.
1343: September 10th -
1345: December 4th -
1345: Edward was here again towards the end of this year, for on 10th December he directed hence a writ to his Treasurer, to deliver 51,000 florins to Peter Gretheved, for rewards to the Earls of Lancaster and Pembroke, and to Walter de Manny.
(Stapleton, A. 1890. A History of the Lordship of King's Clipstone or Clipstone in Sherwood, Nottinghamshire).
1345: Money spent on hinges, hooks and plates for gates. Presumably for the park, (Crook , D. 1976. Clipstone Park and Peel. Transactions of the Thoroton Society of Nottinghamshire 80. P 35), or maybe for the palace.
The roofing material was Mansfield slate. (Colvin Vol II p 920)
1350: September 20th -
1350: Edward was yet again at Clipstone this year, and under date 20th September, he granted hence a License of Mortmain to the Hospital of St, John the Baptist, Nottingham.
1350: “Sept. 23 . Clipstone. Grant for life to Robert Rotour, chaplain, of the chantry of the king’s chapel within the manor of Clipston, with the chapel of St. Edwin within the forest of Shirewode ; he taking for the chantry yearly by the hands of the sheriff of Nottingham as much as other chaplains, who have held the chantry, have been accustomed to take for the same.” Calendar of the Close Rolls, Edward III, Vol. 12. 1364-
1354: August 26th -
1355: Edward III refurbished the fishponds. (Ormrod, W. M. 2013. Edward III. Yale University Press. P 103).
The same year the King assigned Robert Rotor —described as 'clericus' or clerk, one in holy orders—to repair (or oversee the repairs of) the defects of the manor of Clipstone.
This was he who had been appointed Chaplain three years before. It may appear strange to us that a priest should be employed in an occupation of such a secular character, but that the practise was widely prevalent at this period we have ample evidence.
1360: over £140 were spent on general repairs to:
Including the chapel of St Edwin at Birkland which was served by the chaplain of Clipstone. (Colvin Vol II p 920)
1363: July 25th -
1367: further repairs by William of Elmesley who in 1360 had been appointed clerk of the works at the Manor of Clipstone and the lodge of Bestwood. (Colvin Vol II p 920-
Chiminage, or Chiminagium, was toll paid for passing through a forest, with carts or horses loaded. With regard to Expeditation, by the Forest Laws, persons dwelling within a forest were not allowed to keep greyhounds except by royal grant. Spaniels also seem to have been included in this ban, but little dogs might be kept. The intention was to exclude all dogs that might interfere with the venison, but, as it was found impracticable to forbid the keeping of house-
1376: William Witheberd—probably the son and heir of Peter, as mentioned in 1336-
1375: further repairs by William of Elmesley (Colvin Vol II p 921)
1387: Richard II at Clipstone (Crook , D. 1976. Clipstone Park and Peel. Transactions of the Thoroton Society of Nottinghamshire 80. p35).
1393: Richard II at Clipstone (Crook , D. 1976. Clipstone Park and Peel. Transactions of the Thoroton Society of Nottinghamshire 80. p35).
1400: By agreement this year George [de] Dunbarre, Earl of March, or Earl of the Marches of Scotland, promised to transfer his homage to the King of England, who, in return, granted him the Castle of Somerton and the Manor of Clipstone, with appurtenances, for life.
The document was drawn up in quaint old English, commencing as follows:
This Endenture Maad at the Toune of the Newe Castil opon Tyne, the xxv day of the Monyth of Juyl, the Zere, Frome the Incarnation of oure Lorde Jesu Crist, a Thousand and Four Hundreth,
Between the Noble and Mythty Prince Henry, by the Grace of God, Kyng of England and of France, Lorde of Ireland, on the ton syde, and his Cousin George de Dunbarre, Erie of the Marche of Scotland, on the tother syde, etc.
1401: Henry IV gave the manor for life to George Dunbar, the Scottish Earl of March, who had lost his estates by joining the English cause, but it is doubtful whether he ever obtained possession. (Colvin Vol II p 921)
1401: June 28th—The grant by which the Manor passed to the Earl bears this date. By a writ dated 20th July the King allows him to enter and stay in England (Stapleton, A. 1890. A History of the Lordship of King's Clipstone or Clipstone in Sherwood, Nottinghamshire).
Little done to the site during the reigns of Henry IV or Henry V (Colvin Vol II p 921)
1434: The King’s council authorised an issue of £200 for repairs (Colvin Vol II p 921)
According to the summarised enrolment of his account (which is all that survives) the money was spent on repairs and on ‘making a certain new tower within the said manor and other new buildings’. (Colvin Vol II p 921)
1444: The Manor was again in the hands of the Crown, for on the 16th July, 1444, Geoffry [de] Kniveton was made Keeper of the Castles at Nottingham and Rockingham, and of the Manor of Clipstone, and the Lodge of Bestwood in Sherwood, for life.
This was by no means the commencement of Kniveton's connection with the Forest: probably the above was but a formal confirmation of what he had long held. The Castle of Nottingham, with Sherwood Forest, &c., was granted on the 4th March, 1403, to Henry IV's Queen, Joan of Navarre, who held the same for many years after his death. She brought an action against a Nottingham man in 1431, for the ferm of the Chiminage of the Forest, which she had let to him. She then appeared by Geoffry Kneveton and Robert Clapham, her attornies. There are many actions entered by her in the Nottingham Court Rolls for agistment, hay, &c. Geoffry Kneveton —presumed to be the same man—was Mayor of Nottingham in 1446-
1445: The following is an abstract of the translation of a grant, by Letters Patent, to Ealph Lord Cromwell, Knight, bearing date the 1st February:—
The King, for good and noble service many times rendered, grants to the said Ralph the office of Constable of Nottingham Castle, the office of Steward and Keeper of the Forest of Sherwood, and of the Parks of Bestwood and Clipstone, and of the Woods of Bilhagh, Birkland, Rumwood, Ouseland, and Fulwood; also the Mills of Nottingham, called the Castle Mills, and the Rivers of Trent and Leen and the free fishery in the same, and all our meadows under the Castle there, pertaining to the office. Also the same Ralph is to have all chattels waived and estrays arising within the said Forest and Woods, and all Chiminage in the said Forest, Parks, and Woods. Also all Fines, Issues, and Amerciaments of our Men and Tenants within the Forest arising, and forfeitures for the not lawing of their dogs, called Dogsilver, as well before our Justices of the Forest as before other Justices or Ministers. To hold all the above, of us and our heirs, by Fealty only for all Services.
Ralph Lord Cromwell died 4th January, 1455, leaving no issue.
It may here be added, also, that this does not represent the commencement of Cromwell's association with Sherwood. In 1440-
1452: This year the whole Township left the Crown, though the grant, again, was only for the life of the recipients. The King granted to Edmund Earl of Richmond and Jasper Earl of Pembroke, in fee, the Manors of Mansfield and Linby in Sherwood, and the Manor, Demesne, and Vill of Clipstone in Sherwood, also the demesnes of Harestan and Bolsover, Derbyshire.
These estates were settled on them when their titles w$re granted, which was on 23rd November, 1452. The former was created Earl of Richmond, with precedence before all other earls. He was brother, by his mother, to the King, Henry VI. He died on the morrow of All Souls' Day, 3rd November, 1456, when his share of the estates, of course, reverted to the other. Though the local association of this distinguired individual was not long, it will not be forgotten, for the son and heir which he left—Henry aged fifteen weeks—was afterwards King Henry VII.
Jasper, Earl of Pembroke, was his brother, and was afterwards, 27th October, 1485, promoted to the dignity of Duke of Bedford.
From the following, it may be gathered that some interest in the Manor was yet retained by the Crown.
1453: Manor granted to the King’s half-
In 2006 Andy Gaunt (now Director of Mercian Archaeological Services CIC) began working on creating a map of the landscape of medieval Sherwood Forest, with Alan McCormack, former Keeper of Antiquities at Nottingham Castle, while working as a Community Archaeologist at Nottinghamshire County Council.
In 2009 after standing on top of the ruins of King John’s Palace, during restoration work,and observing the relationship of the site to the surrounding woodlands, Andy began investigating the historic mapping and documents, and relating them to the actual landscape through surveying and field work.
In 2010 he undertook a survey of the 11 acres of Castlefield with the intention of understanding the layout of the palace, in order to create a 3D model of the site, and relate the palace to the landscape in ArcGIS through 3D modelling. This led him to interpret the palace site as being the same or similar to the 6-
This formed the basis of his Masters Dissertation; Clipstone Park and the Kings Houses-
In 2012 the Boundary ditch excavation (Gaunt, Wright, Crossley, Budge-
From this it became apparent that the landscape should be compared to other large royal palace sites in the country such as Clarendon and Woodstock.
Work by eminent academics in the last few years on deer parks and hunting landscapes has suggested that landscapes around high status hunting palaces have an element of design, some of which reflects the desire to create landscapes similar to those depicted in the Romance literature of the times.
Andy identified many of these design elements in the medieval landscape of Clipstone, and published his findings in the journal article:
Gaunt, A. & Wright, J. 2013. A romantic royal retreat, and an idealised forest in miniature: The designed landscape of medieval Clipstone, at the heart of Sherwood Forest. Transactions of the Thoroton Society. Vol. 117.
The map below shows his interpretation of the Medieval landscape of Clipstone.
The landscape of Clipstone was altered by the clown to include:
As well as these landscape features all related to hunting, hunting lifestyle, and to providing food, feasting and sport for the palace, the landscape has also been altered to include a number of areas of open grassland known as launds.
In high status landscapes surrounding the Kings Houses, and hunting palaces such as Clipstone and Woodstock, and other residences belonging to great nobles; launds are used to provide views to and from residences.
The buildings at Clipstone were whitewashed as they were at Clarendon.
Medieval illuminations show idealised landscapes consisting of launds, woodlands, ponds, gardens and whitewahsed palaces; providing backdrops to hunting, chivalrous displays and for people to play out their romantic fantasies reflecting the romantic literature of the day.
These landscapes of romance, chivalry and hunting can be seen at a great number of places across both England and Western Europe including sites such as Heisden in France. They reflect the popularity and importance of romance literature to the entire culture of chivalry which dominated the lives of the upper classes in medieval times.
Exactly such a landscape existed around the palace of Clipstone, as an ‘idealised forest in miniature’ surrounded on all sides by the wild forest of Sherwood.
Clipstone was one of a number of royal residences located within or adjacent to Royal Forests that stretched in a broken belt from the New Forest and Winchester Palace in the south, through Clarendon in Wiltshire, and Woodstock in Oxfordshire, to Clipstone in Sherwood Forest.
Kings loved hunting, and royal palaces were never far from Royal Forests.
The outline of the deer park is still visible on modern mapping, and the roads still respect its boundaries. The location of the rabbit warrens and the great pond can still be identified, The site of St Edwin’s Chapel can still be visited, the deer launds can also be understood on the ground… and it is still possible to see the views from the launds to the palace and vice versa.
The following pictures help to demonstrate how the palace was intended to be viewed from the deer launds.
The ruins of Clipstone Palace as viewed from the northwestern deer laund. The palace is seen above the medieval village, framed by woodland.
Views to the Palace from the eastern Deer laund, the deer park is seen behind the palace. This represents the first view of the palace when cresting the hill approaching from the east. All passengers approaching from the Road to York through Sherwood Forest from Nottingham-
Views to the Palace from the eastern Deer laund across what would have been the Great Pond of Clipstone-
The landscape of Clipstone is very special as with a little knowledge it is possible for the visitor to stand both in the wider landscape and at the palace site itself and gain an understanding of how the Medieval aristocracy and crown viewed their palaces, forests and landscape as a backdrop to hunting, chivalry and romance.
For any further information about the King’s Houses, Clipstone and the medieval landscape of Sherwood Forest please do contact us a info@mercian-
The Sherwood Forest Archaeology project focuses heavily on the site of King John’s Palace (previously known as the King’s Houses) in Clipstone with 12 projects having taken place there over the last 3 years.
The site is at the heart of the Sherwood Forest Archaeology Project, reflecting the fact that it was once the Royal Heart of Sherwood Forest.
The Palace was visited by all 8 kings from Henry II to Richard II, with King John possibly holding parliament there in the early 13th century and Edward I holding Parliament there in 1290.
Recent Archaeological work -
The palace was sat at the heart of medieval Sherwood Forest and provided amenities for hunting, royal retreat, and the entertaining of foreign royalty and important members of society, with Richard I having once met William the Lion King of Scotland there…
Mercian Archaeological Services CIC via The Sherwood Forest Archaeology Project seek not only to research and understand the site, but to do so with the community, and to raise the profile of the site so that it is once again recognised as the Heart of Medieval Sherwood Forest, around the world!
In line with the aims and objectives of the Sherwood Forest Archaeology Project; this page sets out to be a central hub for information regarding the history and archaeology of King John’s Palace, Clipstone, and the surrounding landscape…
…including historical timelines of archaeological investigations stretching back 60 years, with 12 projects by Mercian…
…Also historical research including research from the last 5 years, research from a whole decade at the start of the millennium between 2001 and 2011, two decades of research in the 1960s -
Visitors since 7th November 2013
Mercian Archaeological Services CIC
Community Archaeology in the East Midlands,
Community Archaeology Nottinghamshire, Excavation, Research, Volunteering, Community
Archaeology Derbyshire, Training, Social, Learning, Community Archaeology Leicestershire,
Heritage, Involvement, Belonging, Knowledge sharing, Community Archaeology Lincolnshire,
Topographic Survey, Talks and Presentations, Outreach, Archaeology Projects , Open
Days, Schools, Finds Processing, Day Schools, Field Schools, Young People, Archaeology
and History of Sherwood Forest, Pottery Research, Medieval, Roman, Prehistoric, Community
Interest Company, Community Archaeology Nottinghamshire.
© Mercian Archaeological Services CIC 2013. Registered Business No. 08347842. All Rights Reserved.
Community Archaeology in Nottinghamshire
Community Archaeology in Derbyshire
Community Archaeology in Leicestershire
Community Archaeology East Midlands
Community Archaeology in Lincolnshire
1956, Earlier Works
2013 onwards (Mercian Archaeological Services CIC and others)
Two decades of research in the 1960s and 1970s
Early work (19th century)
Archaeological Projects: Find out about all the recent archaeological projects in Clipstone and the Palace, who has run them, how they were sponsored, and a brief description of what was found.
Historical Timeline for the Medieval Kings Houses at Clipstone: Browse through a timeline of the historical records for the palace and village stretching back through the entire medieval period.
The Designed Medieval Landscape of Clipstone: Discover the designed royal romantic hunting landscpe of Clipstone and how it was interpreted.
3D Models of Palace and finds: View the latest 3D models and animations from Mercian’s work at Clipstone
Interpretatoin Panels, tours and information leaflets: View the latest information panels and outreach from around the palace and landscape from the comfort of your armchair.
2015 Archaeological training Field School, King John’s Palace, by Mercian Archaeological Services CIC
Mercian’s 2015 Field School targeted an excavation trench on the north side of the tin Tabernacle to investigate the level of preserved medieval remains, and to further understand the boundaries of the palace complex at this location.
An interim report will be available for download in due course.
The area will be further investigated at next years field school.
2015 Discover King John’s Palace -
This shovel -
The project won a public television vote on ITV as part of the People’s Million’s.
So far 1,500 people have been involved in the project with 750 school children visiting the site and 126 people digging as part of the community archaeology excavation.
The project was designed to investigate the northeastern part of the site to look for the medieval boundary.
Results will be available in January.
2015 Ground Penetrating Radar Survey at King John’s Palace Phase 1, by Mercian Archaeological Services CIC
This project surveyed the northern part of Castlefield using Ground Penetrating Radar.
The results will be fully processed after phase 2 later in 2015.
Initial results show many potential buildings surviving below ground such as in the image to the right. There appear to be buildings leaving Castlefield into an adjoining property.
Mercian will be returning for a second phase of GPR shortly.
It is hoped that the GPR will form the basis of future work on the site.
2014 Archaeological training Field School,
King John’s Palace,
by Mercian Archaeological Services CIC
This excavation targeted again the boundary ditch of the site, and found conclusive proof this time that the the ditch was indeed medieval and dated to around the 13th -
The excavation also investigated a newly discovered geophysical magnetic linear anomaly that intersected the medieval boundary ditch.
Excavations revealed the anomaly to be a steep sided ditch. This feature contained only Pot -
Both of these ditches were cut by the medieval boundary ditch. Both ditches are presumed to pre-
2014 Geophysical Magnetic Survey at King John’s Palace, by Mercian Archaeological Services CIC
A magnetic survey of Castlefield was undertaken by Mercian, led by Andy Gaunt, and volunteers from the community in the summer of 2014.
This survey detected a number of anomalies including the boundary ditch-
The image to the left shows a number of linear anomalies detected by the survey in the southern part of the field, and also a sequence of perpendicular right-
2014 St. Edwin’s Chapel, Kings Clipstone, Fieldwalking, by Mercian Archaeological Services CIC
In Autumn 2014 Mercian and community volunteers undertook field walking at the site of St. Edwin’s Capel. The chapel site is marked by an iron cross erected by the Duke of Portland based on mapping evidence.
Fieldwalking helped to find rubble spreads in the field that mark the location of the former chapel.
GPR survey is planned for the site in October 2015 now that the location has been confirmed.
Poor ground conditions did not result in many pottery finds, but medieval pottery was found in the location of the chapel.
2014 St. Edwin’s Chapel Geophysical Magnetic Survey, Kings Clipstone, by Mercian Archaeological Services CIC
Mercian Archaeological Services and community volunteers undertook a magnetic survey at St Edwin’s Chapel. Unfortunately conditions resulted in poor data quality, but a number of potential linear anomalies have been detected that seem to relate to spreads of FCP pot-
2014 Standing Buildings Survey of Maun Cottage, James Wright for Mercian Archaeological Services CIC
A standing building survey of Maun Cottage was arranged and commissioned by Mercian Archaeological Services for 2014. James Wright undertook this survey of the building with help from Andy Gaunt.
It is hoped a report will one day be available, although where it will be published is not now known.
2013 Digging the Demense, Test pitting project in Castlefield, by Mercian Archaeological Services CIC
Mercian Archaeological Services along with a team of volunteers undertook a test-
The excavations helped to show that this area of land was part of the open fields of the village. Confirming Andy Gaunt’s theory from 2011 that this was the demense land for the palace that formed part of Waterfield.
A concentration of FCP pot -
2013 Topographic Survey of CaftleField, King John’s Palace, Mercian Archaeological Services CIC
A topographic survey of the palace was undertaken by Mercian Archaeological Services CIC in 2013. As well as more conventional methods, the survey attached the DGPS (Differential Geographic Positioning System) to a car, allowing high speed data collection across the entire 11 acres of the field.
Notable features identified include the bank running up the field adjacent to the boundary ditch excavated in 2012
2013 Standing Building Survey of Brammer Farm House and Arundel Cottage by James Wright for Mercian Archaeological Services CIC
A fantastic survey undetaken by James Wright for Mercian Archaeological Services in 2013.
James surveyed and planned a number of medieval walls, mentioned during the Time Team program in 2011.
He produced fantastic results that suggest four medieval walls are located in the buildings on Main Street.
These walls are suggested to represent the medieval gatehouse to the palace.
2013 King Clipstone Village Project,
test pitting in village to investigate settlement development,
by Mercian Archaeological Services CIC
In February 2013 Mercian Archaeological Services CIC ran a community archaeology test -
The project focused on the older properties in the village in the are previously occupied by linear tofts and crofts (historic mapping 1766 and 1630).
The results suggested that the central part of the village is no older than the 13th century. Results also suggested the oldest part of the village was around the cross-
2012 Boundary Ditch Excavation; Andy Gaunt, James Wright, David Budge, and Sean Crossley.
In 2012 Andy Gaunt, Sean Crossley and David Budge (now Mercian) and James Wright excavated the linear anomaly detected by Andy Gaunt in 2010.
The excavation took place over 3 days in the summer of 2012.
The excavation helped suggest that the boundary ditch was medieval -
The excavation helped suggest that the site was very large, and that it should perhaps be compared with other sites such as Woodstock and Clarendon.
2011 Time Team excavation.
2010 Geophysical Resistance Survey of 11 acre Castlefield by Andy Gaunt
A copy of Andy Gaunt’s report written as part of his Masters Dissertation for the University of Birmingham: http://site.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/EasysiteWeb/getresource.axd?AssetID=131123
Medieval Jug, 13th -
School children singing the “King John Blues” Song with Robin Hood aka Ezekial Bone as part of the project…
Ground Penetrating Radar plot showing buildings found in Castlefield as part of Mercian’s GPR phase 1 2015
Although there has been no over-
Project page links:
This page seeks to bring this work together in one place to celebrate what has been achieved so far, and to act as a source of material for those interested in this fantastic site, and present and future work there.
The information below is split into the following headings, each can be viewed individually by clicking on the links below, or by simply scrolling down and reading as you go…
The page will be developed and evolve over the coming months and years… so please do check back regularly…
Mercian have helped to produce interpretation panels which are now installed around the palace site and surrounding landscape alongside our partners the Sherwood Forest Trust, The Friends of Thynghowe, and the site owners Mickie and Martin Bradley. We have also produced a number of flyers and tour guides about King John’s Palace and the surrounding landscape. As part of our commitment to sharing knowledge and promoting the site these can now be seen online below:
Clipstone Park Trail:
Why not take the Clipstone Park Trail, and walk through history?
The Clipstone Park Trail is linear and goes from the ruins of King John’s Palace, once the Royal Heart of Sherwood Forest to the majestic Parliament Oak, which stands as a boundary tree for Clipstone Park. The trail is 5.7km or 3.5 miles in length, and you’ll end up at King John’s Palace. You could take a detour and visit Spa Ponds too, which adds 1.3km (0.8 miles) to your walk.
The trail is suitable for walkers, cyclists or horse riders. Parking is available near the ‘Dog and Duck’ public house, heading east out of Kings Clipstone on the B6030 and 2 spaces at the Parliament Oak.
(click on the picture below to download the FREE pdf version)
NEW King John’s Palace Interpretation panels now installed at the site.
1. Royal Heart of Sherwood
NEW King John’s Palace Interpretation panels now installed at the site.
2. Sherwood Forest -
NEW King John’s Palace Interpretation panels now installed at the site.
3. Clipstone Park -
NEW King John’s Palace Interpretation panels now installed at the site.
4. Parliament Oak -
Discover King John’s Palace Leaflets (2015):