The FitzRanulf family was descended from the Saxon Earl Ingram. Ranulf (Ralf) de Alfreton was the son of Ingram and served twice (1155-1156 and 1160-1164) as Sheriff of Nottingham and Derby during the reign of Henry II.
Ralf had two sons, William and Robert , both of whom, like their father, became Sheriff of Nottingham and Derby. Robert served from 1165 to 1168 and William from 1169 to 1176. They served jointly as Sheriff from 1177 to 1179.
The family was greatly favoured by King Henry II.
Robert FitzRanulf was Lord of Alfreton, Norton and Marnham. He later took the name of ‘de Alfreton’.
Sometime between 1172 AD and 1176 AD, Robert made a gift of land to a group of monks to set up an abbey in Beauchief. The abbey was dedicated to St. Mary (The Virgin) and St. Thomas the Martyr (Thomas Becket). It is believed that Robert had some involvement in the murder of Beckett. He also gave the Abbey the churches of Alfreton and Norton.
By 1183 Robert had passed on his titles to his son William and had become a priest and joined the order at Beauchief Abbey.
William FitzRanulf became Lord of Alfreton and Norton in 1180 AD. William was also a benefactor of Beauchief Abbey, giving the abbey the mill at Coal Aston.
When William’s daughter Alice married Sir Radulphus, first Lord of Ecclesall, some of the Alfreton estate passed over in the form of a dowry. The lands and titles passed directly to Robert (2) and in turn to his son Thomas.
Thomas had no male heirs to carry on the family name and rights and so on his death, the titles and properties passed through Robert’s daughters when they married. Alicia married Sir William de Chaworth and Amicia married Robert de Lathom.