The Old Magnus Buildings, Newark

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'The Old Magnus Buildings, Newark' page
Photo: Illustrative image for the 'The Old Magnus Buildings, Newark' page

Newark Museum, Appletongate & The Tudor Hall

Findings in the Tudor Hall Attic

By Nalhs Newark


Following on from our research into William Brown Darwin, and his inscription above the fireplace in the attic room of the Tudor Hall in 1790, the other names inscribed on the opposite wall, are considerably older – by 130 years or so!  

  So far uncovered are the names:  

EDMUND TRAFFORD (with the initials FMH above) and the date '1667 V'.


JOHN NEWTON         (this was down twice)

ISAAC RICHIER (? – or RICHLER) 1798 Aged 14 (this was written in a sort of line-drawing of a building-shape.








On the fireplace wall:



--- BOOT 1788


So far we have discovered the following:  

Francis Clarke – assuming the date of 1667 just above, is correct for him, was admitted as a sizar[1] at St John’s College Cambridge on 7th June 1665, aged 17 years, and matriculated in 1667. He gained his B.A  1668-9 and was ordained a priest at Lincoln on 24th September 1671.  He was the son of John Clarke (who was deceased when Francis entered Cambridge) from Staythorpe, near Newark, and where Francis was born.  He was a preacher, deacon, then vicar throughout the diocese of Lincoln.  He died on 15th August 1679 at Sixhills, from a natural death, aged just 31.  

RICHARD TAYLOR – was this the son of Robert Taylor, Churchwarden in 1665?  

JOHN NEWTON – assuming he left his mark in or around 1667 (as it was near those of that date), he could be the son of Mr Newton, who was listed at being owed the sum of £1000 under the “Schedule of several sums of money borrowed upon bonds and otherwise by His late Majesty’s commissioners of the County of Nottinghamshire and expended in the defence and preservation of the garrison of Newark according to his Majesty’s command, whereupon they become liable for the same, and are paid by some of the commissioners”. (the total of Debts upon bond which are paid, as at 14th February 1661 is £14,498  3s. 2d.) – Note: it is not recorded if these debts were ever paid! 

On the fireplace wall; G HUTTON 1790 – was this the same George Hutton, who was Mayor in 1846?  

Frustratingly, I can find no local trace of EDMUND TRAFFORD (1667).  There are early, same names of a family based in the Manchester area, but no records of them being schooled in Newark.  

Between 1640 and 1641, there were six boys admitted to Cambridge (St John’s and Caius colleges), one of them moving up from Magdalen Hall at Oxford.  At this time the school was attracting the sons of country gentlemen, clergymen and lawyers, coming from much further away than Newark, but also there were the sons of humbler parents, yeoman farmers, a carpenter (1641).  

Most of the Masters were graduates of Cambridge, so it is not surprising that scholars were encouraged to go there.  At this time there were only two Universities, with a student population of under 1000, and no competition for places.  If the scholar was reasonably proficient in the classics and mathematics, and his father could afford the fees, he was sure to be admitted.  If not, “sizarships” could be obtained, and three or four year’s tuition at University would be of little or no cost to his parents.  The usual age for going up was 16-17 years, and a good scholar stayed for 7 years, taking his BA after 3 or 4 years and MA after 7.[2]  

The School building in the 1600s was described as being 80 feet long by 30 feet wide, having two storeys and attics above; the schoolroom was 42 feet long, occupying almost the whole width of the building, and being itself two storeys in height.[3]  In a bill of 1640 the description ran thus:  “two chambers towards the south end of the house, two chambers over the school, the high chamber towards the north end of the house, a chamber underneath, the schoolhouse, a chapel and the town’s chamber”.  

It was in one of these upper chambers that a tradition seems to have been established of leaving a tantalising glimpse into the past of the school, and the boys who studied there.


A school that was founded as a gift, for the education of the boys of Newark, is still providing an education today.

Jill Campbell

Newark Archaeological & Local History Society

May 2011



[1] ‘SIZAR’ - The term sizar describes a poor student admitted to the university with an exemption from some expenses. For example, he would not be required to pay for meals, but as a consequence, he would dine after everyone else on the leftovers. Generally, he came from a family of small farmers, poor clergy or petty tradesmen.

[2] Information gathered from “Newark Magnus, The Story of a Gift ” by N G Jackson.

[3] From Dickinson’s “History of Newark”   (1819) p180

This page was added by Jill Campbell, Nalhs Newark on 10/06/2011.
Comments about this page

Really interesting article - thank you and keep up the research!

By B
On 13/06/2011

'Stop Press' - Revised date for R Darwin is 1608!

By Jill Campbell
On 15/06/2011

Absracts of Feet of Fines or Final Concords show that one Ric Dysney esq held the manor of Stapleford, Lincs in 1562 during the reign of Elizabeth I. His son and heir was one Daniel Dysney LAO FL/TRANSCRIPTS/R/13 A land exchange document relating to Stapleford, details land passing from Edward Hartley to one Daniel Disney of Norton Disney, Li, and his heirs. The document is dated 1584 University of Nottingham MSS & Special Collections Mi/3/106/3 Could the R Disney be Daniel's son and heir?

By Anne Coyne
On 25/06/2011

Correction to my earlier comment! Name should have been 'R DISNEY 1608' - and NOT Darwin!! Lesson - Always read your comments before posting!!

By Jill Campbell
On 25/06/2011

If you're already a registered user of this site, please login using the form on the left-hand side of this page.