The Feudal History of the County of Derby

Volume 5, Chapter 13 - Tideswell, Bishop Pursglove
by John Pym Yeatman, pp.393-400

This transcription by Rosemary Lockie, © Copyright 1999-2001



This worthy man should never be forgotten in Tideswell, and it is scarcely possible that the most malignant Protestant hatred can ever root out his memory for he took means to perpetuate it by the best manner, that of founding a grammar school with ample funds, which still survives, and to which many poor Tideswell boys owe their prosperity. The family appear to have been long settled in Tideswell though Feudal Records do not help until 10 Henry VI (1432). Rich. Purseglove of that place held soc in Weston, a Thomas had dwelt there previously.

William Purseglove was vicar of Tideswell 19 Hy. VI (1441) to whom Hugh Bradshaw appointed lands there in trust for the guild. Wm. Bradshaw, citizen and Sherman of London, 1509, educated Bishop Purseglove. The pedigree of both families is unknown. Little is known of the Tideswell Bradshaws or to which family they belonged. Bradshaw was a very common name and its chief glory is that one member of it produced the President of the Regecides, who was greatly honoured in his day and dishonoured as greatly immediately afterwards.

Mr. C. E. Bradshaw Bowles has written in the Yorkshire archaeological journal (Vol. XVII., pp. 340-70), that Francis Bradshaw, of Bradshaw Hall, who became possessed of a portion of the Stafford estates of Eyam and Abney by settlement, dated 7 Elizabeth (1565), "was the head of one of the oldest of the Peak families which had become possessed of these Bradshaw lands soon after the Norman Conquest as is proved by a Roll of Assarts in the Record Office, dated 18 John, 6 Henry III." (Feudal History of Derbyshire, by Pym Yeatman, see VI., p. 260). That a family of the name of Bradshaw assarted in the Forest at this date is quite clear, but that the Bradshaws of Eyam descended from them is quite another matter, possibly they did; but this is a very different thing from proof and of proof there is none. The Bradshaw pedigree as it has been published is full of difficulties and of some impossibilities, and requires very severe handling before any portion of it is accepted, in fact it has been faked in the usual Derbyshire mode. There were numerous families of Bradshaw in the reign of Edward III. at Tideswell, Wheston, Staveley, Wirksworth, Belper, Duffield, Frith, Bygging, Idresly, and other places, with whom no connection with the early family of the time of King John, or with each other, has been established, nor is there any proof of any of them having any connection with the Bradshaw Hall family, the probability is that they are quite distinct families who have adopted a common local name. The curious fact that this Frank Bradshaw was born at Ford Hall, then belonging to the Creswells, which was afterwards the property of Wm. Bagshaw of Litton, does not establish any connection with the elder family of Tideswell and Litton. Peter Bradshaw, younger brother of Francis, having purchased his property there.

On the north side of the chancel is a brass to the memory of Bishop Pursglove represented in Eucharistic (Catholic) vestments, mitre, amice, alb, dalmatic chasuble stole, jewelled gloves and sandals, his pastoral staff over his left shoulder pointing outwardly; the corners of the slab are inlaid with symbols of the four evangelists; around the margin is this inscription: "Christ is to me as life on Earth and death to me is gaine, because I trust through Him alone salvation to obtaine, So brittle is the state of man so soon it doth decay, So all the glory of this world must pas and fade away."

“This Robert Pursglove sometyme Bishoppe of Hull deceased the 2 day of Maii in the yere of our Lord God 1579”

In addition to this, there is a very full foot inscription. The punctuation has here been altered in an attempt to make sense of the doggerel verse; the difficulties which remain are caused by the obvious demands upon the poets ingenuity of finding a suitable number of rhyming words, and his use of dialect:

"Under this stone as here doth ly a corps sumtime of fame,
"In tiddeswall bred and born, truely, Robert Pursglove by name;

"And there brought up in parents' care at Schoole and learning trad,
"Till afterwards by Uncle dear to London he was had

"Who William Bradshaw hight by name, in (Saint) pauls (School) wch did him place,
"And yr at Schoole did him maintain full thrice 3 whole years space;

"And then into the Abberye was placed, as I wis (know)
"In Southwarke call'd, where it doth ly, Saint Mary Overis.

"To Oxford then who did him Send into that Colledge right,
"And there 14 years did him find, wh Corpus Christi hight.

"From thence at length away he went, A clerk of learning great,
"To Gisburne Abbey straight was sent, and placed in Prior's seat,

"Bishop of Hull he was also Archdeacon of Nottingham,
"Provost of Rotherham colledge too, of York eak suffragan.

"Two grammar schools he did ordain with land for to endure,
"One hospital for to maintain twelve impotent and poor.

"And Gisburne thou with Tideswell town lament and mourn you may,
"For this said Clerk of great renown, lyeth compassed in clay.

"Though cruel death hath now down brought this body we here doth lye,
"Yet trump of fame stay can he naught to sound his praise on high."

Poor rigmarole doubtless but meant with kindly intention, probably written by some poor boy who felt grateful to the pious founder of his school, and he appends a couplet to shew his excellence in Latin, "Qui legis nunc versum crebro reliquum memoreris vile cadaver sum tuque cadaver eris." [Ed: Translates "You who frequently read this verse remember these remains. A foul corpse I am, and you a corpse will be."]

Robert Pursglove, son of Adam Pursglove of Tideswell, was born there about the year 1500, by his wife Modwina, daughter of Bradshaw, sister of Wm. Bradshaw of London of the Shereman's Company, 1509 (Llewellen Jewett in the Reliquary). He was the last Prior of Rotheram and had a pension of £166 13s. 4d., when it was dispoiled by Henry VIII. He was a staunch Catholic and was consecrated suffragan Bishop of Hull, 29th Dec 1538. The following year he surrendered the great house of Guisborough and was made Provost of Rotherham. In 1559 he refused to take the oaths of supremacy to Queen Elizabeth and was deprived with all the other Bishops, except Kitchen of Landaff. In the same year he founded the grammar school at Tideswell. His will was proved 22nd Aug. 1580; his executors were all Catholics: Robert and Jervase Eyre of Keeton, Roland Eyre of Hassop, whom he called his loving and trusty friends.

He bequeathed to Thomas Eyre of Denstone, and to Edward, his son, his cups and a large fyne piece of arras having imagarie upon it and the story of Christ's passion.

To Vincent Eyre, the second son of Thomas, then to have them, as a catholic he was not afraid to avow his respect for imagarie. [Ed: transcription 'sic']

To Robert Eyre, brother of Thomas, a basin of silver and an ewer parcel gilted, weighing 3 score and 34 ounces.

To the daughters of Thomas Eyre, Mary, Esther and Frances Eyre, he bequeathed his half-year's pension due to him at the feast of the annunciation of our blessed lady, the Virgin.

T. Gervys Eyre, Roland Eyre, George Allottson, the writer thereof, and Thomas Wilcoxon.

18th Nov. 2 Elizabeth (1559) Bishop Purseglove obtained letters patent to enable him to found a grammar school at Tideswell. He is described as suffragan Bishop of Hullen, and it was to be founded in honour of our Lord Jesus Christ, for the education, &c., of the children and youth in our Town of Tiddiswall, to consist of one Preceptor, sufficiently learned and expert in the art of grammar, together with the Vicar and Wardens of the parish church of Tideswell.

The Bishop was entrusted to frame the Rules and Statutes for its good and wholesome government, they to be one body corporate, one perpetual community, and have perpetual succession with power to plead and implead in all actions.

To hold land not exceeding the value of £20.

There were to be no charge for fines or fees in the great or small hanaper of the Court of Chancery. A Priest to be appointed Master, or, if not, a layman, unmarried, and if he marry he is to be put out of office.

The Master is to teach grammar and other profitable and virtuous doctrines, but also good manners and virtuous living....

To begin to teach at 6 in the morning until 11 o'clock and then to their dinners, and to begin school again at half-an-hour before one of the clock until 6 of the clock, and the Master not to withdraw himself from the said school houses but for honest, necessary and reasonable purposes, the Latin Grammar as it is set with and generally used this present in all parts of the realm, Terence, also Esop's Fables, Virgil, Tullie's Epistles, or so many of these authors and such others as he shall think necessary for the capacity of his scholars.

In the second form he shall first teach the introduction of grammar, commonly called the eight parts of speech, declensions of nouns and conjugations of verbs, not only that they can orderlie decline nouns and verbs but every way, forward, backwards, by cases, by persons, that neither case of noun nor person of verbe can be required but that without stop or study they can presently tell it.

In the third form he shall give sentences to be made into Latin and as he doth perceive them to increase in learning so shall he place them in the school, and read and teach them placed Commentaries of Caesar, Horrace, Odes ? Tullie's Offices of words and things or so many of the said authors and matters as shall be expedient for their capability; he shall also teach the arts and rules of versyfying, and the practise of the scholars in this form must be to translate daily sentences from English into Latin and contrarie from Latin into English, and at certain times to write also epistles one of them to the other.

If a scholar won't obey he is to be sent from the schoole till he submits himself to discipline.

This document is of great interest as it shews the state of learning in England before it degenerated under the baleful influence of Queen Elizabeth. The curriculum is hard, but no doubt it was tempered to suit the condition of the scholars. It was a splendid course which makes one desire to be young again in order to go through it, it is far better than the modern course at Oxford and Cambridge, if it did not produce fine scholars it could only be through the fault of the Master. It is amusing to see how the old Priest kept out of his school the daughters of Eve, this would be appreciated by the great Queen who knew well their power for evil and had little knowledge of their better influence.

Purseglove monument, (Mr. Fletcher's notes:) "It is clear then that this is not part of a spoilt inscription rejected at the first, for the fragment just restored is of poorer style and of inferior and poorer metal. I am still of opinion that the first one was removed because of expressions that were considered not in accordance with the Reformers' faith. This may, have been done in 1587-9 when first action was taken against the Recusants, who were so strong a body in N. Derbyshire. Possibly the conclusion was a request in English for the good of the soul of the departed prelate."

It is curious that in the whirligig of time this question of praying for the souls of the faithful departed which was so abhorrent to a majority of the clergy, of the Church of England in the reign of Queen Elizabeth and to the Queen herself, has at last been re-established in the Church of England, the real objection to praying for the dead was lest the reformers should be asked to disgorge the church plunder devised by private persons for this purpose.

A private report on Bishop Pursglove to Elizabeth's Council describes him as "very wealthy, and stiff in Papistry, and of estimation in the county", for what reason was he allowed so much latitude. He must have been well known and respected by someone in authority, perhaps by King Henry VIII. himself.

10 Hy. VI (1432). The first Bradshaw connected with Tideswell was apparently dwelling at Stoke by Eyam and was connected with the Calver family.

1399, 1 Hy. IV. Wm. Cook of Holmfield, Executor of the will of Thos. de Wirksworth of Calver, appointed Wm. de Bradshaw dwelling in Stoke his atty.

1444. Nicolas and Henry Bradshaw were then living in Tideswell and for some reason occasioned a riot; when their house was broken into they took refuge in the church, but even there the rioters came armed and in array into the church in a quarrelsome manner.

St. Cedde, 19 H. VI (1441). Hugh Bradshaw appointed Hugh Wilson to deliver seizen of lands in Tideswell to Sir Wm. de Zouch, Thos. Roughton, Wm. Purseglove, Vicar of Tideswell, and Jo. Tunsted (Foljambe Ch.).

37 Hy. VI (1459). John Tunsted released to Robt. Bradshaw of Tideswell his lands there.

19 Jan., 37 H. VI (1459). Acquittance from Wm. Brazier, chaplain, and Robert Neville, Executors of the will of Hugh Bradshaw, late of Coventry, to Roger Barton of Tideswell (Foljambe Ch.).

24 Feb., 7 E. IV (1468). At the Court of the Lady Isabella Meverel held at Tideswell, Robert Bradshaw of Tideswell surrendered his lands in Tideswell and Wheston, except the house in which he dwelt, lying between the Mealegap, North, and the lands of the Cantaria, South, to Thomas, his son, who did Fealty. Richard Beresford then Steward.

1509 Wm. Bradshaw, Citizen and Sherman of London, was uncle of Bishop Purseglove of Tideswell and educated him at St. Paul's

Transcribed by Rosemary Lockie in November 1999 from G4TIFF images,
available as part of David Blackwell's work scanning old, and out-of-copyright books.

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