The Babington family of Dethick arrived in Derbyshire in 1420 when Sir Thomas Babington, who was born in the mid 1370s, married Isabel Dethick the daughter of Robert Dethick, heiress to the Manor of Dethick. Prior to that time the Babingtons were a Nottinghamshire family who had moved south sometime before from Babington in Northumberland. There are records of thirteenth century Babingtons in Northumberland during the reign of Henry III. By the reign of Edward III there are records of Babingtons in East Bridgeford.
It was from this family that the Babingtons of Dethick descended. Sir John Babington of East Bridgeford had five sons and a daughter called Sidonia who was born in 1374. Thomas was John’s eldest son and therefore his heir. There were also Sir William Babington of Chilwell; Arnold Babington who moved to Norwich and became a Merchant of the Staple; Norman who remained in East Bridgeford and who can be found in the records as the Sheriff of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire in 1428. Norman did rather well for himself because he married a daughter of the Duke of Norfolk.The fifth son was called John and he settled in Devon.
Sir Thomas Babington who married Isabel should, of course, have inherited the East Bridgeford property but it appears that he sold his inheritance to William prior to going on campaign to France. When Thomas returned from the Hundred Years War having fought at Agincourt in 1415, he purchased the manor of Kingston-on-Soar in Nottinghamshire. He did the things required of fifteenth century gentlemen. He became a member of parliament, was appointed to administrative jobs and produced sons and married into the Derbyshire landed gentry.
He was also a pious man and spent money on the church at Ashover. The tower was built to mark his safe return from the Hundred Years War. He died in 1464 and he was buried at Ashover rather than Kingston.
Sir John Babington, Thomas’s son married Isabel Bradbourne, ensuring links with another local family. He was the High Sheriff of Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and the Royal Forests in 1480 – demonstrating that public roles were semi-inherited, in this case from his Uncle William. He was a Yorkist supporter and had fought for Edward IV at the Battle of Barnet in 1471. On 22ndAugust 1485 he fought for Richard III and died at Bosworth a the hands of Sir John Blount who was Henry Tudor’s Provost Marshal. Isabel seems to have died the following year.
Evidently Henry Tudor didn’t harbour a grudge against the Babingtons because the records show that Thomas’s grandson, another Thomas pictured at the start of this post, inherited the estates and the job of Sheriff despite the fact that in 1498 he married Editha or Edith Fitzherbert of Norbury. One of the interesting things about the Norbury FitzHerberts’ is that their effigies bear the insignia of the white boar – Richard III’s personal symbol.
Thomas died in 1518 and was buried in Ashover where his grandparents were buried. It was the first thing he identified in his will. His wife had already died and the monument already built. The figures around the tomb included members of his family. He did not want it broken so that he could be interred. He stipulated where he wished to be interred, that candles were to be burned around his body and alms given to the poor. He asked that his debts be paid and that if he had offended anyone that they should have restitution. He asked for masses and prayers to be said. In short it was a good pre-Reformation will with attention being paid for departing purgatory for Heaven as soon as possible.
He left behind him a family of nine sons and six daughters. His oldest son was called Anthony. His grandson was also called Anthony and whereas Sir Anthony Babington senior is remembered for building the church tower at Dethick, his grandson is remembered for the so-called Babington Plot which saw him attainted and executed for treason in 1586.
Antony Babington having been attainted a traitor and executed in 1586 didn’t lose the Babingtons all their property. His brother Francis inherited Kingston-on-Soar but he sold it to Gilbert Talbot – the Earl of Shrewsbury and so the manor passed from the hands of the Babington family. Anthony’s other brother George sold the Manor of Dethick into the hands of the Blackwall family.
Kerry, C. (1887) ‘Babington family (from Report of the Hon. Secretary).’ Derbyshire Archeological Journal :9. (pp. XXI-XXVIII).
Babington, T. (1897) ‘The will of Thomas Babington, of Dethick, Derbys.’ Derbyshire Archeological Journal :19. (pp. 080-093).