A campaign led by Historic England (formerly known as English Heritage) entitled Irreplaceable: A History of England in 100 Places and sponsored by Ecclesiastical, led to Scrooby Manor House being nominated by members of the public.
Historian and Author Bettany Hughes judged the Travel & Tourism category in Historic England’s campaign and the final ten places chosen from a long list of public nominations include the home of a William Brewster, a Roman road and a pier hailed by John Betjeman as the most beautiful in England.
The nomination for Scrooby Manor House is as follows:
Site of the medieval Scrooby Manor House, Scrooby, Nottinghamshire: This was the home to William Brewster, one of the Pilgrims who journeyed on the Mayflower to New England in 1620. Brewster was among a group who, in 1606, broke away from the established church after becoming dissatisfied with the corruption in the Church of England. Called Separatists, they wanted to live a simpler life based on the Bible teachings. Brewster opened up his home, Scrooby Manor House, as a meeting place for the new congregation. The separatists were severely censured and a small group of them, led by Brewster, left for the New World in 1620. The influence of the small, idealistic colony they set up when they landed in Provincetown can still be seen in the beliefs of America today and has had a lasting impact on the world.
The earliest reference to the medieval Manor House or Palace of the Archbishops of York occurs in 1207 when King John ordered French wine to be sent to Scrooby for the use of his half-brother, who was the Archbishop at that time. Throughout the Middle Ages references are found to successive Archbishops visiting Scrooby and signing ecclesiastical documents there. In 1530 Cardinal Wolsey spent the month of September at the Manor House when he fell out of favour with King Henry VIII. Henry himself stayed there in 1541.
It was from 1590 when William Brewster senior, Receiver and Bailiff of the Archbishop’s estate and Master of the Queen’s Postes died, and William junior inherited the position, that Scrooby Manor House played a role in the Separatist movement. William Brewster and William Bradford from nearby Austerfield had been attending the Church at Babworth to listen to Richard Clifton preach but his unorthodox views led to him being deprived of his living in 1605. It is believed that Brewster began holding meetings of the Scrooby Separatist congregation at the Manor House and it was here that the Pilgrims planned their escape, firstly to Holland in 1608 and then in 1620, making that seminal jouney aboard the Mayflower to America.
Today Scrooby Manor House is privately owned and in in the process of being painstakingly restored by David and Julie Dunstan.
Julie said “We are delighted that our home has been recognised for its historic importance not only in England but also in America. One of the remaining original walls of the former palace bears plaques donated by Mayflower descendants dating back over a hundred years and no doubt in 2020, which is the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower sailing to America, there will be an additional plaque to commemorate this historic voyage.”
Although Scrooby Manor House is not accessible to the public, occasional tours of the grounds and exterior of the house can be organised through accredited Mayflower 400 tour guides.
Councillor Jo White, Deputy Leader at Bassetlaw District Council said,
‘We are absolutely delighted that Scrooby Manor House has been recognised in Historic England’s Irreplacable campaign which identifies sites that are widely agreed to have witnessed historic events. Scrooby Manor certainly meets this criteria with its links to the Separatists who hailed from North Nottinghamshire and are attributed, through the signing of the original Mayflower Compact, to have been the founding fathers of modern American democracy.”
Another Nottinghamshire place featuring in the Top 10 is 'Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem Inn', Nottingham. This claims to be the oldest inn in England, with its establishment stated as 1189. The word trip formerly meant stopping point on a journey, suggesting the inn was originally used by travellers, pilgrims and crusaders on the epic journey to Jerusalem. The inn is built beside and into the sandstone rock upon which Nottingham Castle stands. Among the curiosities inside the inn are a wooden chair which is said to increase the sitting woman’s chances of becoming pregnant and a model galleon in a glass case, which is cursed so that anyone who has dusted it has met a mysterious death.
About Historic England
We are Historic England (formerly known as English Heritage), the public body that champions and protects England's historic places. We look after the historic environment, providing expert advice, helping people protect and care for it and helping the public to understand and enjoy it.
Through Irreplaceable: A History of England in 100 Places, we aim to encourage debate about which places best tell the country’s national story. We recognise that there may be different theories about where certain historical events happened and we welcome discussion which will encourage better understanding of England’s history. The places identified as the sites of important events during this campaign may not be definitive - we have chosen the spots that are widely agreed to have witnessed historic events. History is often disputed and part of our job is to raise a debate and help people to engage with their history and the places where it’s marked. If you think we have got any of the answers wrong and you can shed further light on them, we’d be delighted to hear from you.
For further press information on Historic England please contact Rosie Ryder on rosie.ryder@HistoricEngland.org.uk 020 7973 3388, 07789927584
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