Farming Families in Tollerton in 17th and 18th Centuries

Last updated on 20 September 2019

Pacy/Pacey, Leeson and Kettleburn are all old Tollerton family names dating back to the late 1600s. All these families were referred to in Sidney Potter’s ‘A History of Tollerton’ published in 1929 and all were involved in farming in Tollerton in the late 17th century and beyond.

One can imagine our excitement when we stumbled upon a descendent of these families who had researched his roots back to these early times and published his family tree on the Internet.

The Pacy line with Tollerton connections starts with Robert Pacy who was born in Elston, Nottinghamshire in 1651. The son of Fearever Pacy and Elizabeth Merriweather, he married Elizabeth Leeson (born 1663, daughter of Robert and Elizabeth Leeson) in Tollerton in May, 1681 and they went on to have five children listed below:

  1. Frances Pacy born 1682 and died that same year in Tollerton;
  2. Elizabeth Pacy born 1686 went on to marry David Kettleburn in 1708 at Tollerton. David was the son of Edward and Ellen Kettleburn and was born 1682.
  3. Frances Pacy born 1688
  4. Mary Pacy born 1694
  5. Robert Pacy born 1697 married a Sarah Wright of Barton and thereafter had two children – Sarah born 1724 and Robert born 1729.

Robert Pacy (senior) died at the age of 61 years at Tollerton in 1712 – the year when Sir Robert Walpole became the first prime minister in Great England. Robert Pacy was a farmer in Tollerton and upon his death left the following will dated 27 May 1712, which is a most interesting find with its quaint old phrases and spellings.

In the name of God Amen: I Robert Pacy of Tollerton in the County of Nottingham, yeoman, being weake of body, but of sound & perfect memory blessed be God, doe make this my last will & testament; in manner & forme following:

ffirst I commend my soule to God: hoping for mercy & forgivenesse of all my sins through ye merite of Jesus Christ my son & saviour & my body to be decently buryed at the descretion of my Executor here after named; & for all my worldly goods I give & bequeath in this wise following.

Imprimis: I give and bequeath unto Robert Pacy my yonger son so far as is in me the possession of the ffarm in which I now dwell or the tenant right thereto; yet so as that Elizabeth my dear wife, shall & may dwell with him, in the same, provided she does not marry, but if she does, she shall then leave it solely to him the sd Robert;

Item I give & bequeath unto my daughter Mary Pacy the sum of Thirty pounds: to be payd her when she arrives at the age of twenty five years: or shall be marryed: or which shall first come.

Item I give & bequeath unto my Daughter Ffrances Pacy the sum of ffive pounds, & one waggon Load of Coles so long as shee shall live, & the same to be brought to her to Tollerton, gratis: yearly & every yeare:

Item I give unto my granson Robert Kettleburn the sum of five pounds to be payd to him within one yeare after my decease or to be improved for his use till he shall arive at the age of fiveteen years & there to helpe to put him forth to some trade as his parents or gardians shall thinke fitt: but in Case he the sd Robert Kettleburn shall dye before that Age then to returne to my executor.

Item all the rest of my Goods and Chattells I give and bequeath unto Robert Pacy my son, whom I make sole Executor of this my Last will & testament in witnesse wherof I have here unto set my hand & seale this Twenty seventh day of May in the year of our Lord one Thousand seven hundred and twelve.

Robert Pacy his mark [R]

Sealed signed and published in the presence of:

Robert Barton (his marke)
David Kettelborn
John Pacy

The will was proved on 5 July, 1712, with bondsmen Roberte Pacy of Tollerton, Notts., farmer, John Barlow, farmer, and John Pacy, farmer of Tollerton, Notts.  These names further confirm that other members of the Pacy family and John Barlow were farmers here too.  Indeed further references in Potter’s publication of 1929 indicate that John Barlow was a steward for John Neale Esq. the Lord of the Manor and collected his rents as well as being a churchwarden. Furthermore, Robert Pacy’s grandson – David Kettleburn (sometimes spelt Kettleborn) was also a farm labourer who was baptised at Tollerton in January 1682. David was the son of Edward Kettleburn and Ellen Rest. His father, Edward Kettleburn born at Cropwell Bishop, lived at Cotgrave with his first wife and appears to have moved to Tollerton in 1669 when he married Ellen Rest, the widow of George Ward.

Equally, if not more fascinating, is the inventory of Robert Pacy’s estate which was made on 26 June 1712 by Anthony Lacy and John Barlow, which came to a total of £288 pounds – a large sum of money in those days. Of particular interest is the relative value of specific items and the insights this inventory gives us in to the type of farming Pacy was involved with and the farming equipment then available to him. The following inventory sets out the value of specific assets in pounds, shillings and pence.

His purse and Apparell 5 0 0
Brass Pewter Tables, stooles, palls in the Kitchin 6 17 0
Copper brewing tubbs Barrells etc. 6 14 0
Bed and bedding and all in the parlour 8 10 0
Bed and bedding and all in the Chambers 15 10 0
Some Corne, Cheese and Bacon 3 10 0
Woollen and Linnen Cloth 7 10 0
Horses and Mares 52 0 0
Cowes and Young Beasts 36 0 0
Sheep and wooll 18 0 0
Plow Timber and other wood 4 10 0
Carts Plowes and Harrowes 10 0 0
The Geares ffann and ffleabes 4 4 0
Haystack 5 0 0
The pump Troughs and Coles 3 10 0
Swine and Bees 4 15 0
The Crop or Corne on the ground & the Hallowes 95 0 0
All other things not seen nor herein mentioned 1 10 0
Summa total 288 0 0


Sadly we have no idea at the moment of where Robert Pacy farmed within the village but it is interesting to note in this inventory that he had brewing tubs and barrels.  One wonders if the resultant brew was simply for consumption by those in his household or whether it was more widely distributed.

These ancestry records found also confirm that the Leeson family resided in Tollerton as early as 1569 since Robert Leeson was baptised here on 1 June that year – the son of Robert Leeson and Margaret Mabbatt. There is a chance however that upon the marriage of Robert Leeson (junior) in 1613 to Frances Cliff of Widmerpool he moved to Widmerpool until his fourth child, Henry Leeson, was born in 1622 at Tollerton.  One can only assume this, since the first three children born to Robert Leeson and his wife Frances were all baptised at Widmerpool between 1614 and 1620. Frances Leeson (nee Cliff) was buried at Tollerton in August 1666; her husband, Robert, predeceased her. This couple had seven children in total and their fifth child, also called Robert Leeson, died in Tollerton in 1686. This means that members of the Leeson family were resident in Tollerton for around 120 years if not longer.

Meanwhile we can trace some members of the Kettleburn family in Tollerton back to 1667 – a mere 350 years ago – when Charles II was King and the Great Plague came to Nottingham.