22 Sep 2013

Babworth Church, Nottinghamshire

On Saturday (yesterday) we drove to Babworth Church in Nottinghamshire in connection with my family research project.  My maternal grandmother's family came from a village in Essex, but some of them moved and settled in Northumberland. My great grandfather, Charles, then married a Cornish girl whose father had gone to Northumberland to seek work in the mines. However, in the last year or two of my great grandfather's life when he was a widower - my great grandmother had died when she was quite young and I remember my grandmother saying she had to look after her younger siblings - he went to Nottinghamshire.  The rest of the family, including my grandmother, were still in Northumberland so it's likely my great grandfather went to find work in rural Nottinghamshire, not in the mines, but on a farm which had been the family's original means of livelihood.  Unfortunately, at the age of 52 years he died from influenza during the epidemic in 1919.  A family memorial card records that he was interred in Babworth.
The church is open for visitors on a Saturday afternoon from May to September and I thought that even if I didn't find any records it would be an interesting place to visit because of its connection with the Pilgrim Fathers.  The Pilgrim Movement originated there during the time of one of the rectors, Richard Clyfton, (Rector from 1555-1605) and some of the founding families who sailed on the Mayflower lived in the area.

It's situated in an isolated spot in the middle of woods and farmland with the old rectory opposite and a few houses and cottages down the long lane.

                                     Haygarth House (old rectory) and Pilgrim Way


There was to be a harvest festival service
this Sunday (today).

Above the font is the ringing chamber and the window
is by Charles Kempe known for his beautiful
designs in stained glass.

There are eight examples of the carved mouse trademark
of Robert 'Mousey' Thompson, the well known
19th century church furniture maker, in the church.

A model of the Mayflower

Unfortunately, the church warden looked in the records, but the ones kept there are from 1925 and the earlier ones will be in the Nottingham Registry Office archives.  We couldn't find any memorial stone for great grandfather in the woodland burial ground which is quite spread out into various sections.  There might not have been one or any evidence of a grave is covered up by the leaves and vegetation. Nevertheless, it was good to be shown around by the church warden and we sat and listened to him as he played hymns on the church organ before we went on our way.

However, we found what is likely to be the row of cottages where my great grandfather lived from the address I had in my documents and I will be continuing with my research by phoning the Nottingham Registry Office to see if they have some more information on great grandfather Charles.


  1. Amazing!!!!!
    How did you originally come about this information? Was this from family that it was passed down or your own research? My grandmother was born in the UK!! A place called Boston. I would love to research but I have no idea how to go about this.
    This is so very interesting! And a beautiful church!
    Tammy x

  2. Great photos, Linda! The shots with the harvest veggies could be right out of a Miss Read novel. It's nice to know some traditions remain! Your own veggies look great, too. Good luck with your search and research! Blessings, Bess

  3. So rich in history and beauty. Hope you find the pieces to your family tree.

  4. beautiful architecture and I like the harvest table and the flowers in the arched window. what a beautiful church.

  5. So much history, it looks like a beautiful church and as you say, interesting to visit even without your own family history. I hope you manage to find some more information relating to your great grandfather, I find family history fascinating.

  6. Isn't it a fascinating church? I visited a long time ago with a couple of friends one of whom was researching the Pilgrim Fathers for a book, we visited quite a few churches in North Nottinghamshire on that day. Many years later we had to go to Retford to get a copy of my husband's birth certificate and we saw the signs and turned off to take a look - it was then I realised I'd been there before. I hope you can find more information on your great grandfather from the archives.

  7. What a shame you didn't find out more about your great grandfather, family history is so interesting isn't it.

    Talking of family history, my g'g'g'g grandfather miles Standish was the captain of the Mayflower.

    A beautiful church and I do love the carved mouse.xxxx

  8. Lovely post Linda with some beautiful photos. Family history is addictive isn't it? Just when you think you've cracked it, something else comes out of the woodwork. Good luck with your research. The church was gorgeous and I loved the harvest table. Have a great week.
    Patricia x

  9. P.S. I have just had confirmation from the archivist at Nottingham Archives that my great grandfather is indeed buried in Babworth Church ground.

  10. Babworth church is rich in history especially from its connections with the Pilgrim Fathers.
    I have just spotted your P.S. - will you return again and see if you can find the spot where he is buried?
    I was interested to see the stained glass window by Charles Kempe having just written about him myself on the Wightwick post where he did all of the stained glass windows and plaster work.

  11. How fascinating and what a wonderful church for your family to be associated with. I do hope you can come up with the information you need. Will you be back and knocking on the door of one of those cottages?
    I have fallen in love with the little carved mouse! x

  12. hello
    aller sur les traces de son passé
    super génial
    pour nous pas de surprise
    nous sommes Normand depuis plusieurs
    ce que j'aime dans une recherche
    d'anciens parents c'est surtout
    leurs métiers

    qui sont inexistant de nos jours
    vos origine sont très intéressante et ce cottage est splendide
    que de romans ont pu s'écrire sur
    le Mayflower
    bonne chance pour le grand-père Charles
    edith (iris ) France

  13. Hello Linda
    What an interesting post accompanied by your lovely photographs of Babworth, the Church and the surrounds.
    Did you feel a connection with the Church? Your great-grandfather Charles surely attended services on occasions during his time there.
    Marvellous to research your family tree and put it altogether and I hope you will update us with the next instalment once you get more information from Nottingham.
    It's like a good book - I want to know more!

  14. I will certainly try to go back to Babworth and the surrounding area and continue with the story on the blog of great grandfather Charles' earlier life in Northumberland and about his family, including how my grandmother moved from Northumberland to Berkshire and about the Cornish roots of Charles' wife, Elizze Esther.

  15. What a fascinating search.
    The church is just lovely.
    How I would love to have sat in their harvest service and just savored my surroundings.
    I am back for a few days, then off again next week.

  16. Sorry you didn't have any luck finding the information you wanted on your visit, but good to read in the comments that you have now got your answer! It looks like a lovely church. Hope that you are able to track down your family history, I am sure that it will be fascinating.

  17. What a beautiful church and area. I would love to live somewhere that quaint and picturesque with history abounding everywhere.

  18. Exciting travels, given your personal connections. Wish you could have found his grave...but I guess the home address suffices :)
    Puritans...wow, what connections to history you have. I have a nice one, too...descended from Governor Bradford who came over on the Mayflower...:)