Scrooby Manor House

A campaign led by Historic England (formerly known as English Heritage) entitled Irreplaceable: A History of England in 100 Places and sponsored by Ecclesiastical, has led to Scrooby Manor House being nominated by members of the public and being named in the Top 10.

Scrooby Manor

Named in Top 10 Travel & Tourism places

Historian and Author Bettany Hughes judged the Travel & Tourism category in Historic England’s campaign and the final ten places chosen from a long list of public nominations include the home of a William Brewster, a Roman road and a pier hailed by John Betjeman as the most beautiful in England.  The nomination for Scrooby Manor House is as follows:

“Site of the medieval Scrooby Manor House, Scrooby, Nottinghamshire: This was the home to William Brewster, one of the Pilgrims who journeyed on the Mayflower to New England in 1620. Brewster was among a group who, in 1606, broke away from the established church after becoming dissatisfied with the corruption in the Church of England. Called Separatists, they wanted to live a simpler life based on the Bible teachings. Brewster opened up his home, Scrooby Manor House, as a meeting place for the new congregation. The separatists were severely censured and a small group of them, led by Brewster, left for the New World in 1620. The influence of the small, idealistic colony they set up when they landed in Provincetown can still be seen in the beliefs of America today and has had a lasting impact on the world.”

The earliest reference to the medieval Manor House or Palace of the Archbishops of York occurs in 1207 when King John ordered French wine to be sent to Scrooby for the use of his half-brother, who was the Archbishop at that time.  Throughout the Middle Ages references are found to successive Archbishops visiting Scrooby and signing ecclesiastical documents there. In 1530 Cardinal Wolsey spent the month of September at the Manor House when he fell out of favour with King Henry VIII. Henry himself stayed there in 1541.

It was from 1590 when William Brewster senior, Receiver and Bailiff of the Archbishop’s estate and Master of the Queen’s Postes died, and William junior inherited the position, that Scrooby Manor House played a role in the Separatist movement.  William Brewster and William Bradford from nearby Austerfield had been attending the Church at Babworth to listen to Richard Clifton preach but his unorthodox views led to him being deprived of his living in 1605.  It is believed that Brewster began holding meetings of the Scrooby Separatist congregation at the Manor House and it was here that the Pilgrims planned their escape, firstly to Holland in 1608 and then in 1620, making that seminal jouney aboard the Mayflower to America.   

Today Scrooby Manor House is privately owned and in in the process of being painstakingly restored by David and Julie Dunstan. 

Julie said “We are delighted that our home has been recognised for its historic importance not only in England but also in America.  One of the remaining original walls of the former palace bears plaques donated by Mayflower descendants dating back over a hundred years and no doubt in 2020, which is the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower sailing to America, there will be an additional plaque to commemorate this historic voyage.”

Although Scrooby Manor House is not accessible to the public, occasional tours of the grounds and exterior of the house can be organised through accredited Mayflower 400 tour guides. For more information for more information on guided tours visit

Councillor Jo White, Deputy Leader at Bassetlaw District Council said ‘We are absolutely delighted that Scrooby Manor House has been recognised in Historic England’s Irreplaceable campaign which identifies sites that are widely agreed to have witnessed historic events.  Scrooby Manor certainly meets these criteria with its links to the Separatists who hailed from North Nottinghamshire and are attributed, through the signing of the original Mayflower Compact, to have been the founding fathers of modern American democracy.”

Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive of Historic England said: “The desire to travel is in our bones, so charting how and where people have travelled around England through these 10 places is fascinating. From a natural spring around which a major city grew, to a Lake District fell which has inspired some of our greatest writers, England is full of places which have drawn travellers and tourists for thousands of years and will continue to play a central role in our national life.” 

Published: Friday 10 November 2017