The Foljambe Family
The earliest references to the Foljambes occur in the mid 13th century, when they appear as foresters at fee, holding land in serjeanty in return for the services of keeping the forest with bows and arrows. One of the first recorded members of the family, Thomas Foljambe, was also at various times in the late 13th century bailiff of the Honour and Castle of the Peak and held the castle from the Crown at fee-farm. The family seem to have lived at Tideswell, one of the chief settlements in the Forest, but by grant or purchase built up estates in several nearby villages at this period. They contributed towards the building of Tideswell parish church in the 14th century, where many of their monuments can still be seen. The family's status was considerably increased in the same century by the first Sir Godfrey Foljambe (died 1376) as a result of his services to the Dukes of Lancaster. He was, at different times, steward of Blackburn wapentake in Lancashire and of the Staffordshire borough of Newcastle-under-Lyme, steward of the Honour of Tutbury, and later a chief steward of the Duchy of Lancaster. As such he was one of John of Gaunt's closest associates. In c.1361 he obtained a grant of the important manor of Bakewell, a market town just outside the Forest of the Peak, where he later founded a chantry in the parish church.
(Thomas Foliambe was husband of Margaret daughter of Sir John de Loudham. On the death of Thomas, she married John Souche.)
The fortunes of the family grew in the 15th century as a result of a series of successful marriages, partly achieved by obtaining grants of wardship and marriage, which brought to them further estates, chiefly in north-east Derbyshire and adjacent parts of Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire. This meant that by the end of the century the centre of their influence had moved eastwards from the Peak District to the Chesterfield area. Chesterfield was the second town in Derbyshire at this period, and the manor house at Walton, some three miles away, which was obtained by marriage, now became the family's chief seat. A detailed rental of all the estates of Henry Foljambe in c.1500 lists extensive properties in 23 places in Derbyshire (the great majority in Chesterfield and district), 7 in Yorkshire, and 5 in Nottinghamshire, and it is possible that this list is incomplete.SourceNottinghamshire Archives: Foljambe of Osberton: Deeds and Estate Papers, Ref:DD/FJ/1/196 - DD/FJ/1/298
Henry's son and heir, the fourth Sir Godfrey Foljambe, found royal patronage as an esquire of the body to King Henry VIII. An unexecuted will of 1513 in the present collection was made by him when "intendyng to go over the see with the kynges grace". He was at different periods receiver and feodary of Tickhill, in the Duchy of Lancaster, escheator of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, and three times sheriff of the combined counties. He again furthered the family fortunes by arranging the marriages of his two sons to the two daughters and co-heiresses of Thomas Fitzwilliam of Aldwark, near Rotherham, Yorkshire, nieces of the famous William Fitzwilliam, Earl of Southampton. This match brought to the Foljambes extensive estates in South Yorkshire, which the Fitzwilliam's had in turn inherited from the Clarell family. John, son and heir of John Fitzwilliam married Margaret, daughter of Thomas Clarell , about 1410.
Throughout the remainder of the period prior to the Civil War the family continued to be pre-eminent in local affairs, frequently acting as sheriffs and other officials of the counties where their estates lay. They do not appear to have benefited from the dissolution of religious houses, as did so many families in their position (except perhaps by a Crown lease of the prebend of Tickhill with its rectories in 1541). Although most of the family appear to have conformed to the new religion after the Reformation, at least two members of the family were imprisoned for recusancy in the 1580's. This period also witnessed the more intense exploitation of their estate for the minerals in which many of them were rich, but their interests in coal mining and in iron and lead manufacture in Yorkshire and Derbyshire led them into a number of legal disputes with their neighbours, particularly over common lands.
The senior male line of the family came to an end with Sir Francis Foljambe. His first marriage was on 21/10/1614 to Elizabeth Wray, (daughter of Sir William Wray of Glentworth); his second marriage was to Elizabeth Reresby of Thrybergh (daughter of Sir George Reresby, on 22/05/1638. He was created a baronet in 1622, who, to quote the family chronicler, Dr. Nathaniel Johnston, "was a person of great generousness, but of so profuse a temper, and hospitality to excess, that what by reason of the great jointure of the three... ladies, and the contentions about the estate and the less regarding of his interest by reason of his having no issue male, he sold Walton and most of his Derbyshire lands, and much of his Yorkshire lands, and entangled others, that reduced that estate which was so great... to £1000 per annum". On his death in 1640 the residue of the estates reverted to Peter Foljambe of Steveton , Yorkshire (1599-1669), a cousin far removed, who seems to have avoided direct involvement in the Civil War, although during the Commonwealth he was charged with royalist sympathy by the Commissioners of Delinquency. From the late 17th century the chief family seat had moved to Aldwark, where it remained for some 200 years.
The male line of this family also failed in the early 18th century, and the estates passed through the female line to Francis Ferrand Moore (1750-1814), a member of a Hull merchant family, who adopted the surname of Foljambe. He married twice, into the Thornhagh/Hewett and Lumley families, both of them linked by marriage with the Saviles of Rufford Abbey, Nottinghamshire, and all important names in South Yorkshire and North Nottinghamshire. His descendants eventually left Aldwark and settled at Osberton, the old Nottinghamshire seat of the Thornhagh and Hewett families, where they still remain.
Francis Ferrand Moore, later Foljambe of Aldwarke, and Sheriff of Yorkshire married Mary Arabella Lumley daughter of Thomas Lumley the 3rd Earl of Scarborough .History Index