In the Domesday book Mamesfeld (Mansfield) was arguably named after the curious Hamilton Hill near Kings Mill that in Celtic language was known as a ‘mam’ meaning breast shaped hill such as Mam Tor in Derbyshire. Mansfield was listed as one of the largest Royal Estates within a substantial wooded area covering 25% of the county running north to Worksop, south to Nottingham, and east to Southwell. The western edge of the forest (near Kings Mill) became known as Forest Side (now Eastfield Side) where incidentally, I was born. It was occupied by small farmsteads within clearings who paid taxes to the central court in Mansfield. It names two ‘berewicks’ (barley stores) at Sutton and Skegby. A large corn mill providing an important source of revenue is on the survey where tenants brought their corn to be ground to where close by was a fishpond.
A later mention of Sutton Mill was in 1359. Richard de la Vache, knight, was granted the title of Lord of Mansfield and held the manor from King Edward. He held two water mills in the manor worth £8 yearly rent at Sutton and at Mansfield Woodhouse.
In 1449, Richard Illyngworth conveyed it to William Kyrkby, son of John Kyrkby and Robert Langton, son of John Langton, his manor of Hardwyk, for the purpose of making a settlement in the marriage of his son Ralph to Agnes Nynne. In 1481, the custody of a water-mill called Sutton Mill, in the Forest of Shirewood, between Mansfield and Hardwick, was committed to him.
In 1538 Henry VIII took his most decisive step against the power of the Catholic Church when he began the Dissolution of the Monasteries. The monasterial lands were prime estates commanding high rents and were subsequently sold to the wealthy gentry at a bargain price in order to raise cash. The Dukeries is the name given to the huge swathes of land in Nottinghamshire divided between 5 Dukes that acquired the bulk of the lands.
Queen Elizabeth on 14th November, 1596, granted by charter to Edward Longford a thirty-one years' lease of "a watermill called Sutton Mill," with the ponds of the same, within the forest of Sherwood on payment of an annual rent of 51s. 8d. giving him permission to fell timber in the forest of Sherwood "by the assignment of our officers," for the purpose of repairing the said mill. "Provided always that if any other shall wish to give more of increase for the premises per annum, without fraud or deceit, that then the said Edward Longford are bound to pay as much, if they wish to have the custody "So we can ascertain that it was after 1737 that the name Kings Mill appeared when Mansfield born playwright and publisher, Robert Dodsley, wrote his successful stage play ‘The King and the Miller’. (see ‘The Legend’ for more on that)