The very last of our 50 Treasures (D77/1/23/58) is believed to be the very first, chronologically: the oldest document we hold. Dating from approximately 1100-1115, during the reign of Henry I, this deed records the gift of a virgate of land by Walter of Ridware to Robert Mellor. The land in question was in Seale, more familiar to us today as Overseal and Netherseal. The term “virgate” was not used with great precision – but it means about 30 acres.
Our colleague and friend Sue wrote this post about a year ago when the restoration of the Flying Scotsman had been in the news, with a statue of its designer Sir Herbert Nigel Gresley unveiled at Kings Cross Station. At the time, Sue recalled that Sir Nigel was brought up in Netherseal, the 4th son of Rev Nigel Gresley rector of Overseal and Netherseal now in Derbyshire. Here is her post:
He is listed with his family at Netherseal Rectory on the 1881 Census aged 4 above.
His family can be traced back to the Norman conquest, some say before and the Netherseal branch descended from Rev Thomas Gresley (d 1785) who lived at Netherseal Hall. Thomas had plans to rebuild the hall, living there just after the Civil War, but this did not happen as he intended. His descendant Rev William Gresley brought about some changes and extensions, after he unexpectedly inherited the baronetcy from a distant cousin in 1837. Thomas his son, chose to live at Netherseal. As the fortunes of the family diminished it was demolished in 1933.
Rev Nigel Gresley and his wife Joanna, Sir Herbert Nigel’s parents, were comfortably off as we can see from the census above, and employed a number of servants. Rev. Nigel was the 5th successive member of his family to be Rector of Netherseal and died in 1897.
Sir Nigel ‘s famous Pacific’s, of which the Flying Scotsman was the second of the later class A-1, did not appear until 1922. He also went on to design other engines notably the Mallard. We have further information about his career and the history of his family at Derbyshire Record Office.