Clarborough & Welham
lie side by side just a few minutes drive from Retford on the A620 road towards Gainsborough. So close in fact that from the sign post for Bone Mill Lane you can see both village boundary markers within yards of each other!
They share a parish church dedicated to St John the Baptist in Clarborough.In 1258 the Archbishop of York, Sewal de Bovil commenced building the church which was founded in 1260. The North arcade dates from about this time. Sewell gave the church to the Chapel of St. Sepulchre in York which he had recently built and which needed endowments. However, Sewal did reserve "toft and croft" lying near the churchyard, the tithes of the enclosed crofts of the town and of Bolham mills and the altarage, for the use of the vicar in Clarborough. In return, the vicar was to be responsible for the support of two chaplains to serve the Welham, Bolham and Little Gringley. The parish church of St John the Baptist became the focus of the village.
During the turmoil of the sixteenth century the income from tithes reverted to the Crown. No doubt the building also lost its statues and murals but following legislation during Henry VIII's reign parish registers were started, the oldest of which dates from 1567.
Separatist preacher, Robert Southworth, vicar of Headon, almost certainly was the son of Oliver Southworth of Clarborough. More certain is the identification of Edward Southworth and his elder brother, Thomas, sons of Richard Southworth, who were baptized in the church.Both were almost certainly members of John Robinson's Separatist church in Leiden. One sister of Edward and Thomas married the cousin of Governor William Bradford at Austerfield.
Neither Thomas or Edward sailed on the Mayflower, but Edward's widow, Alice Carpenter later married Governor William Bradford and sailed to Plymouth. Edward Southworth's two sons, Thomas and Constant, also went to America and were prominent Plymouth citizens. Although many early Southworth's were buried within the church building, none have left their mark although there are later Southworth memorials.