Clayworth Parish comprises the two townships of Clayworth and Wiseton, which together contain 3,170 acres of land and 627 souls. It is intersected by the Chesterfield Canal, and bounded on the west by the River Idle. The two townships maintain their poor separately, and have both a fertile soil, that of Clayworth being a rich clay, and that of Wiseton a fine red sandy mould.
Clayworth is a good village on the east side of the canal, 6 miles north by east of Retford. It contains a population of 474 inhabitants, and 2,076 acres of land. The heirs of the late Peter B. Dickenson Esq. and lords of the manor, and the principal owners are the Rev. John Otter, G.C. Fox Esq., H.B. Simpson Esq., and Mrs Davenport.
The church, dedicated to St peter, is an ancient edifice with a tower, and contains many old monumental inscriptions. The living is a rectory valued in the King's books at £26 10s 10d, now at £604, in the patronage of the Dean of Lincoln, and now enjoyed by the Rev. Thomas Henry Shepherd M.A.
At the Domesday Survey, the manor of Clayworth was of "the king's soc of Mansfield, and had one carucate and six bovates for the geld". It was enclosed in 1791, when 281a 1r 19p was allotted to the rector in lieu of the tithe, and is now called Clayworth High Field, or the Tithe Farm. In the village is a Wesleyan chapel, built in 1834. The free school was founded in 1702 by the Rev. William Sampson, rector of the parish, who endowed it with 26a 1r 6p of land, now let for upwards of £60 per annum. In 1707 Christopher Johnson left an orchard worth £2 a year, to be occupied by the schoolmaster, who has also a house and grass plot, left in 1813 by Francis Otter, subject to a rent charge of £4 to be paid yearly to two of the best ploughers, and two of the best female shearers of the parish. But the contest gave rise to such dissensions, that the amount has for some years been carried to the school account. The master receives £48 yearly for teaching eleven poor boys of Clayworth, and two of Wiseton, and the remainder of the income is given by the rector in prizes to the free scholars who are most proficient in learning, pursuant to the will of the founder. The other charities of Clayworth are six small rent charges, amounting o £5 13s 4d yearly, left to the poor by unknown donors, and distributed at Easter and Christmas. The benefactions to Wiseton township are two yearly sums of 18s and 6s 8d, as the rent of the poor's close; an annuity left out of land by an unknown donor; £1 yearly left to the poor out of William Gray's land; and £3 yearly, left in 1751 by Richard Acklom, out of land which now belongs to Rev. Christopher Nevile.
Drakeholes is a hamlet 4 miles east-south-east of Bawtry on the Gainsborough Road, partly in Wiseton township, and partly in the parish of Everton. Here is a depot for the Chesterfield and Trent Canal, which passes through a tunnel 270 yards in length, and 15 feet in height and width, in cutting which many coins of Constantine and human bones were found. There is no doubt that this has been a Roman station, for a Roman road, of which some faint traces may still be seen, has passed through it and connected it with the station at Agelocum, or Littleborough. Here is also a good inn, occupied by Mr Henry Dean, and a handsome entrance lodge to Wiseton Hall, built by the late Mr Acklom, whose long life was principally spent in improving the county around him, and his place was well supplied by his successor, the late Earl Spencer, who in 1829 erected a steam engine of eight horses power, for the purpose of pumping off the drainage water from the low lands on both sides of the Idle, in Wiseton and Mattersey.
New Wiseton is a small hamlet of 6 cottages in Wiseton township, half a mile north-west of Clayworth, built by the late Mr Acklom, and now the property of the Rev. Christopher Nevile, through whose estate the canal pursues a winding course of two miles.
Wiseton is a small village in the township to which it gives name, five miles south-east by east of Bawtry. It contains 127 inhabitants and 930 acres of land, all of which, except 48 acres, belonged to the late Earl Spencer, to whom it passed in marriage with the grand-daughter and heiress of the late J. Acklom Esq. of Wiseton Hall, a handsome mansion which was built by him and his predecessor, but is now the residence of the Rev. Robert Manners Sutton. Its situation is highly pleasing, standing on a gentle swell, with an expansive lawn in front, finely belted with trees and ornamental shrubs, and judiciously broken at intervals by picturesque clumps. The grounds command extensive prospects over the adjacent shires of Derby, Nottingham, York and Lincoln. The hall consists of a centre three storeys high, with two wings of one lofty storey each, the whole light and pleasing, and accompanied with a commodious range of offices. The manor is so plentifully wooded as to appear one great ornamental plantation. A very interesting walk round the house ground winds for upwards of a mile in a circuitous route amongst this delightful sylvan scenery, whilst on the surrounding eminences may be seen the farm houses erected by the late Mr Acklom.
The old hall was originally the residence of the Nelthorpe family, but about two centuries ago was purchased by the Ackloms, an ancient Yorkshire family, often honoured with knighthoods in earlier times, when that title was given for important services to the state, or on those whose birth entitled them to it. The branch of the family is now extinct, as its last heiress, the late Lady Althorpe, died about 29 years ago without issue, and on the death of the late Earl Spencer, the estate was sold to the Rev. Christopher Nevile of Thorney.