Midgley of Felkirk, Shafton and farming pioneers of Tasmania.

In the Yorkshire Feet of Fines is found a land case for the manor of Shafton:
Case 214, File 117.
York. Morrow of the Purification, 12 Edw. III, 1338.Westminster. Quindene of Easter, 19 Edw. III, 1345.
Agnes widow of William de Miggelay, and Maude daughter of William de Miggelay by John de Northland her guardian, quer., Robert de Irland, chaplain,+ def., of a moiety of the manor of of the manor of Shafton - which William de Bekyngham and Maude his wife hold for the life of Maude: To hold (subject to the life estate) to Agnes, and Maude daughter of William, and the heirs of the body of Maude; remainder to Katherine daughter of William de Miggelay the elder, for life ; remainder to John son of Thomas de Wakefeld, spicer, and the heirs male of his body; remainder to William son of Oliver de Serleby and the heirs male of his body; remainder to the right heirs of Maude daughter of William. Agnes and Maude gave £20.8

                                                           William de Midgley*======Agnes                                                                        Thomas de Wakefield, spicer    Oliver de Serleby
                                                                     the elder            |                                                                                                         |                                             |
                                                     |                                        |                                                                            |                             |                                             |
                                                William                               Maude===William de Bekyngham                     Katherine            John de Wakefield              William de Serleby
                                            the younger

+ The vicar of nearby Felkirk in 1339 was Hugh Derfield (Darfield) who granted lands in this year to Nostell Priory.9

*  This William is now thought to be the son of Sir William de Midgley and Maud de Hercy (Herci) who also had held the fee or manor of Midgley in Stanley and Shelf. See: https://www.midgleywebpages.com/knight.html 

In support of this last statement, it is clear that John de Northland, a one-time attorney of John de Eland, was the guardian of Maude (above) and later in 1351 jointly held in fealty the fee or manor of Midgley in Stanley nr. Wakefield with John de Wakefield (son of Thomas de Wakefield, spicer, above).

1274- A Hugh son of Alan de Northland is mentioned. [WCR 1274]

1274- John de Northland mentioned in court records at Raistrick with Adam de Migge and others when John de Migeley.(forester of the forest of Sowerby), having been charged with taking a stag at the Wakefield Court from Earl warenne's forest of Sowerby, was exonerated and went quit. [WCR, 1274, p. 94].

1296- mentioned in WCR.

1314 - A juror at Halfax Court. [WCR 1313-1316, p. 73.]

Early 1330's- Witness to a grant in Barkisland (nr. Halifax) with John de Eland and Henry de Rishworth. [Yorks. Deeds, William Brown (ed.), vol. I, p. 11.]

1331- Mentioned in the Wakefield Court records. [WCR vol. 5, 1322-1331, p. 195.]

1334 to 1338 - He was Sir John de Eland's attorney v's Earl John de Warenne [Legends and Traditions of Huddersfield District, vol. II,(1945), p. 14.]

2 October 1338 - John son of John de Northland mentioned. [WCR, vol. 12.]

1339/1340 - He was an attorney for William de Baildon. [Baildon History]

1338 & 1339 - He was a guardian of Miles de Stapleton's wife, Isabella. [Feet of Fines for Yorks., p. 136.]

*1345 - He was guardian of Maude de Miggelay dtr. of William de Miggelay and Agnes.

24 March 1350- Appointed justice and keeper of the peace in W.R.Y. [See Eland Feud]

*1351 - Jointly held in fealty the manor of Midgley and Stanley Hall nr. Wakefield. with John de Wakefield. 'In Anno 24.E. 3. John de Northland and John de Wakefield held this manor (of the Midgley fee or manor in Stanley) of the Earl [Warenne*] by fealty only, as at the court held at Wakefield, 22 December, Anno 24. E. 3. it appears. It was afterwards divided amongst many coheirs.....' [The Antiquarian Repository. vol. iv, (1784), pp. 125-126.] *Earl John de Warenne had died in 1347.

10 February 1353 - On a commission with Brian de Thornhill and William de Notton et. al. 

2 December 1358 - Mentioned with Brian de Thornhill et. al. [C. P. R., 1358, p. 69.]


Robert Midgley [I]
Married Martha Wilson [b. 1690 d. 1796].  Richard White has identified this Robert as his 6th great grandfather followed by Robert Midgley 1730, 5th Great Grandfather
and Ann Midgley b. 1777  4th Great Grandmother. Ann married Johnathan White (b. 1768, d. 1858). Jonathan was the brother of Elizabeth White (b. 1774, d. 1836) who married William Shaw (b. 1776, d. 1832). This William Shaw was the father of William Shaw of Stanley Hall, a nephew to Ann Midgley who is mentioned on the blue plaque affixed to the present Stanley Hall building. Contact: Richard White

Robert Midgley [II]
Son of Robert Midgley [I] and Martha Wilson. b. 1730 Felkirk married Hanna Speight [Banns All-Saints Wakefield 21st August 1768] They had five children :
1. Harriet
2. Ann
3. Elizabeth
4. Joseph [I]
5. Lidy

Ch. 25th July 1781 d. 10th Sept. 1833. Buried All Saints Wakefield. Married Sarah Sampson who was christened 11th May 1788  Married: 15th April 1811, died 15th Feb. 1866. Proprietor of the Dolphin Inn, Doncaster.
They had eight children :
1. Harriet
2. Mary Ann
3. Joseph
4. Hannah
5. John Hirst
6. Thomas Sampson
8. Sarah


John Hirst Midgley
Christened 24th March 1824 at Doncaster2, died 22nd April 1901 St. Georges. A farmer, butcher and gambler of Felkirk Green House, Shafton - on common. He married Mary Margaret Sykes at Huddersfield on the 5th June 1845. Mary was born 18th March 1827 daughter of Timothy and Lucy Waley. Mary died 7th January 1899 Shafton, Yorkshire. Like many Victorian families they had a large number of children- twelve:
1. Sarah Ann Midgley marr. James Bywater of Castleford.
2. Joseph Midgley  born 20th Aug. 1827.
3. Timothy Sykes Midgley, [See Tasmanian link Page with incorrect first name!] farmer born 27th July 1849 probably at Doncaster. Died 13th September 1922  marr. firstly [25th Jan 1874] Elizabeth Huntington of Hagley, Tasmania. Married secondly [8th Sept. 1878] Ellen Milnthorpe 4th daughter of  William Milnthorpe and Sarah Horsfall of  Newland Hall, Altofts [nr. Normanton], Yorkshire. Both signed their own names at the wedding [15th October 1836] and  both were of the parish of Normanton3. Timothy and Ellen had three children, Archibald, Lucy and Joseph.
It would appear that Timothy migrated  to Tasmania on the "Great Britain" on 25th December 1870 , his wife Elizabeth died probably in childbirth with their second child in 1877 and he returned to Normanton sometime between in 1878 to marry Ellen. They then migrated on the "Orient" 15th March 1879. He became a farmer  at Pine Road, Penguin, Tas.
4. Thomas Midgley b. 6th April 1851, probably at Doncaster  d. 1st Sept. 1936. Migrated on  the "Great Britain" 25th Dec. 1870 with his brother Timothy.
Married Lettitia Middleton [Middleby]  on 7th August 1879 She was born Emu Bay [now Burnie] Tasmania 9th June 1856 and died 22nd Jan. 1942.
5. Lucy Hirst Midgley b. 20th Dec 1823. Married Samuel Cope of Wakefield, West Yorkshire. Three children.
6. Betsy b. 12th October 1854, married John Pritchard, Armley, Leeds, West Yorkshire .They had four children.
7. Benjamin Sykes Midgley. b. 30th April 1856 died young [4th Dec 1856] at Doncaster.
8. John b. 29th May 1860  migrated to Tasmania on 15th March 1879 on the "Orient" with his brother, Timothy and Timothy's new wife.  John married Louisa Sykes [his cousin]  who was born at Sassafras near La Trobe, Tasmania on 27th July 1861. she was the daughter of Benjamin Sykes and Christina Plapp. John became a farmer at North Motton, Tasmania.
9. Samuel Hawkesworth Midgley b. 21st January 1865. Migrated to Tasmania on the "Orient" on 15th March 1879 with his brothers Timothy, John and Timothy's new wife Ellen.. He is a Boer War veteran and later migrated to New Zealand in 1909. Died 20th May 1936. Samuel married Max Wilhelmina Manson who was born 26th Jan. 1877. They were married in 1911 and lived on Banks Peninsula N.Z. and then Timaroo N.Z. Five Children all born in New Zealand.
See New Zealand Emigrants.
10. Ellen Sykes Midgley b. 15th Sept. 1861. Married Basil Tomlinson, wheelwright. Basil purchased the old Midgley home on Shafton Common, Shafton, West Riding, Yorkshire but sold the farm and kept the orchard. Had one child, Basil.
11. Mary Emily Midgley b. 11th May 1868.
12. Ian H. Midgley b. abt. 1865 who became a gardener4

In the 1881 census [3rd April] John Hirst Midgley market gardener and his wife are recorded as still living in Shafton:

Dwelling: Shafton

 Census Place: Shafton, York, England
 Source: FHL Film 1342109     PRO Ref RG11    Piece 4597    Folio 30    Page 7
 Marr Age Sex Birthplace
John N*. MIDGELEY M 57  M Doncaster, York, England
 Rel: Head
 Occ: Market Gardener 9 Acres
Mary M. MIDGELEY M 56  F Shafton, York, England
 Rel: Wife
Ellen S. MIDGELEY U 19  F Shafton, York, England
 Rel: Daur
Ian H. MIDGELEY U 16  M Shafton, York, England
 Rel: Son
 Occ: Gardener
* Evidently a transcription error.

Joseph Midgley
Third child of Timothy Sykes Midgley and Ellen Milnthorpe Born 13th August 1885 Farmer at "Bullochy", Birkewood, Riana, Northern Tasmania. He died 1967. Married Margaret Sproule on 24th April 1916 [family arrived Tas. 1895]. She was born 28th Jan. 1892, died 8th April 1980. They had nine children all born in Tasmania :
The eldest is Milnthorpe* Malcolm Midgley 22nd Light Horse Regiment, R.A.F., R.A.A.F. Reserve, member and vice-chairman of the Hellyer Reg. Library Advisory Committee, 5 years vice-chairman of the Tasmanian State Meals on Wheels. A.F.C.[1945] O.A.M [1985]. a/c, S/LD R.A.F. SQD. ENG. 1940-45, Farmer, "Killah", Riana, Tas.married Joan Iris Herbert.


Midgleys Road, Riana, Tasmania. Midgleys still run a dairy farm on this road. Killah, Riana, Tasmania -  settled 1885. Today this is a dairy farm.
Team ploughing under the Western Tiers - Sheffield mural, Tasmania  Horse trap, Sheffield mural, Tasmania

Green dot - Today's approximate location of Riana on the Van Diemen's Land Company [V.D.L.C.] map of September 1828 by Henry Hellyer. The red line is the road from Emu Bay [now Burnie] to Hobart etc. Later the town of Penguin developed on the coast and from there Pine Road was driven south into what is now the Riana district.

The 1851 census for Milnthorpe for Altofts shows :

Mary Ann Milnthorpe Hd  W  73  Retired, formerly farmer, born Altofts.
Thomas Milnthorpe  So  U  38 Farmer6 110 acres employs 4 labourers, born Hilltop.
William Milnthorpe  Hd  M  37  Joint Manager of a Farm of 110 acres employs 4 labourers born Altofts.
Sarah  Wi  M  36 Farm Manager's wife, born Hilltop
Charles  So 14 Farm Managers son, born Normanton.
Ann Da  12 Farm Managers daughter, born Normanton.
Sarah Da 11 Farm Managers daughter and Scholar, born Altofts
Mary Ann Da 9 Scholar, born Altofts.
Helen  Da 7 Scholar, born Altofts
William So 6 Scholar, born Altofts
Thomas So 2 At Home, born Altofts.

William Milnthorpe*
The third child of _________ Milnthorp(e), farmer of Altofts and Mary Ann_________
William was born abt. 18144 and became a joint manager of a farm at Hilltop in 1851. He was married by licence 15th October 1836 to Sarah Horsfall both of the parish of Normanton3. William had two older brothers, John b. 1809 [married Hannah Denison, 31st May 1830 both signed of the parish of Normanton3] who is described as a farmer of 180 acres employing five labourers in the 1851 census and Thomas 9unmarried0 described as a farmer of 110 acres employing 4 labourers4.
William and Mary had five children in the 1851 census:
1. Sarah Milnthorpe born abt. 1840
2. Mary Ann Milnthorpe b. abt. 1842
3. Helen [Ellen] Milnthorpe born [abt. 18444]  1st August 1842 who married Timothy Sykes
4. William
5. Thomas b. abt. 1849.

There were contemporaries, possibly cousins to William Milnthorpe in Ann born abt. 1839 at Normanton and Charles b. abt.
Normanton children of ___________ Milnthorpe, described as a Farm Manager4.

A John Milnthorp is mentioned as the proprietor of the Poplar Inn, Normanton in Kelly's directory of 1901.

* Note: The name Milnthorpe originates from the place of the same name near Sandal Magna Castle, Wakefield.

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1. Pedigree kindly provided by David and Milnthorpe Midgley of  Riana & Launceston, Tasmania.
2. I.G.I. 1994 vers.
3. Marriage Index for 1813-1837, Normanton published by W. D. F. H. S.
4. 1851 census for England.
5. Debrett's
6. Also mentioned in Kelly's Directory 1901 as Samuel Milnthorp, a farmer.
7. Helen is Timothy Sykes Midgley's great-grand-daughter who resides in Tasmania.
8. Feet of Fines for Yorkshire, 1327-1347. p. 177.
9. Y.A.J., vol. 12, (1893), p. 59.

Copyright © Tim Midgley 2002, revised 18th July 2023.