Rolleston.-This place was anciently appendant to the abbey of Burton, and afterwards to the priory of Tutbury. "By a charter dated in 1008," writes Mr. Harwood, "Ethelred gave it in exchange for the villages of Eldeswithe and Elfredinton, to Abbot Wulfget. The boundaries are minutely described in the charter. In the time of Edward the Confessor it was the lordship of Earl Tosti, at whose death the king gave it to Morcar, earl of Northumberland. William the Conqueror gave it to Henry de Ferrers; and it was forfeited to the crown in 1269 by Robert de Ferrers, last earl of Derby of that name, who was taken prisoner in 1266 at the battle of Chesterfield." It is now a township and parish in the Burton-upon-Trent district. The township has 686 inhabitants, 144 houses, and real property valued at £5222. The parish also includes the township of Anslow, and contains 3847 acres, 1079 inhabitants, 226 houses, and real property valued at £8151. The living is a rectory worth £664, in the gift of Sir T. Moseley, Bart., who owns the manor and Rolleston Hall, a handsome mansion, much damaged by fire in 1871, but since splendidly restored. There are an endowed school, alms-houses, and other charities, and a Wesleyan chapel.
In the British Museum there is a MS. of the reign of Queen Elizabeth, which gives the following account of "Rolleston Parke." It is "within the precinct of the manor of Rolleston, and within the ward of Tutbury, within half a mile of the castle, and is in circuit two miles, and containeth by the foresaid measure _ acres and three roods, whereof in marish overgrown with allors six acres, in meadow three acres, and the rest is all very good and beautiful pasture. It will bear well deer, and sufficient herbage to make the king's rent, which is yearly CVIs. VIIId. And there are in it at this present CXX deer; there is no covert in all the ground but the six acres of marish and allors, and the rest is well planted with old oaks and some timber, to the number of MXL, whereof may conveniently no sale be made, because it cannot be coppiced; and yet if it might, the trees be so old, that the spring would not increase. The keeper thereof is also appointed by the king's Majesty's letters patent, under the dutchy seal. His fee is yearly _; the lodge rent-free; one horse grass for himself and two for his deputy, and such other fees and rewards as belongeth to the keeper.
"The said manor of Rolleston is within one mile of the castle of Tutbury, and is well inhabited with divers honest men, whose trade of living is only by husbandry; for the whole manor consisteth only in tillage, and has no large pastures or several closes, as in other manors of the honor, but has been always accustomed to have their cattle, and sometimes their plough-beasts, pastured in the queen's Majesty's park at Rolleston for LXXd. the stage, which is from the first Holyrood Day to the last Holyrood Day; without which aid and help they were neither able to maintain hospitality nor tillage: and now of late years the farmers of the herbage have advanced the stage to VIs. IIIId. and yet the queen's Majesty's rent nothing increas'd. The said manor extendeth to Rolleston, Annesley, and Ryddings, which are within the manor and parish of Rolleston, and are all suitors to the court and leet of Rolleston, and inter-commoners, as if the same were but one entire manor not divided. There are within the said manor twenty-eight copyholders which are called 'reves places,' and have an estate of inheritance according to the custom of the manor, and as it should seem were in auncient time bondmen, for at this survey we found in an old rental the entry of the auncient customs of the said bond tenants, the tenure whereof ensueth :-
"Every tenant holding by copy of court-roll of tenement, whether it be builded or decayed, and a yard land to the same belonging, by the name of a reves places, shall be reve when it cometh to his course, and shall collect the rent of the manor and the profits of the courts, as shall be extracted unto him, out of his own costs and charges, and pay the same to the receiver of the honor; and also at the audit shall make a true account, as well of the rent as also of the profits of the courts, and pay there before his departure all such sums of money as shall be then due upon the determination of his account. And if any tenant hold two or three reves places, he shall use the office of the reve, in manner and form as before, for every of them, as if the same were in the hands and occupation of several tenants. If any of the said tenants, being reve, spend or consume the Q. Majesty's rent, so as at the audit they be found in arrearages, and not able to pay, or if any of them flee the country, or commit felony, or any such like, all the copyholders called the bond tenants shall answer all such sums of money as, at the next audit, shall be found due upon any such tenant, for any of the causes abovesaid, for as much as the reve is yearly to be chosen, and to choose such as they will answer for his doings at their peril. And so forth with the rest of the customs."
Erdeswick gives the following account:- "It is and hath been long the seat of a gentleman that takes his name of the place, whom I imagine originally to be a Mutton, and that being a younger brother he changed his name when he became lord of that town, which his armory induceth me to think, being A. a cinquefoil B., and differs only from the coat of Mutton by having a red chief charged with a lion passant gardant O., which chief was added that he might thereby differ from the elder house, given, as it should seem, by one of the Lancastrians since they came to have the Ferrers' revenues. And yet I have seen very old monuments of the coat and chief, especially one in Adbaston church, so old that a man would think it to be of Henry III.'s time; and therefore, I think, set up by the first owners of Rolleston, being of this house."