|Midgley of Halifax|
|The Cluniac churches established by the black-robed monks of Lewes through their benefactors, the Warenne family. Later the priory at Lund near Barnsley came under the Benedictine Order.|
|William I de
II de Warenne [William de Placetis]
Had a motte and bailey on the left bank of the River Calder near Wakefield.
It was William I de Warenne who introduced the Cluniac Order into England at Lewes when he established Lewes priory.
Eldest son of William the first earl Warenne. William II built the first Sandal Castle, probably of timber. He married Isabel de Vermandois [her second marriage after Robert de Beaumont, the first earl of Leicester, d. 1118]. The second earl carried the Warrrene Shield.
He sought to marry Edith Ceann mhor [a.k.a. Eadgyth, Maud, Matilda Atheling and 'Good Queen Maud', d. 1118], daughter of Malcolm Ceann mhor, [Malcolm III], but Edith was married to Henry I Beauclerc in 1100. This marriage may have been the reason for William's hatred of Henry, and helped in causing William to join Henry's son Robert Curthose in a rebellion. In 1101 earl William II supported Robert Curthose against Henry I and for a time was banished from the kingdom for his efforts but was reinstated by Henry two years later and redeemed his position by distinguishing himself at the Battle of Tinchebrai  during a Normandy conquest against Curthose.
It may be for this supportive action that William was granted the manor of Shelf, north-east of Halifax before being granted the manor of Wakefield. One version states that as a result of William's loyalty, Henry I also granted him the Wakefield estates in 1107. Sir William de Miggeley appears to have held lands at Shelf in the early 1300's.
The second earl had two children [some sources state six], William and Adeline.
Adeline married Henry Ceann mhor de Huntingdon, Prince of Scotland [b. 1114 d. 1152] earl of Northumbria and Huntingdon. Prince Henry's fifth child, David became earl of Huntingdon. One of Henry's grandchildren, Isabella married Robert de Bruis [Bruce] of Scotland. The title earl of Huntingdon was lost with David's son's death [John Le Scot] as David was succeeded by three heiresses.
< Grave cover ca. 1150 Halifax Church
Other local arms of familiar names displayed on the ceiling were:
King William I [Gules two lions guardant passant Or*]
Earl Warenne [Chequy Or and Azure.]
Lacy of Cromwellbottom [Argent, six pellets, 3, 2, 1 sable.]
Savile [Argent on a bend sable three owls proper impaling.]
Waterhouse [Or a pile engrailed sable impaling, sable, a wolf salient and in chief three mullets argent.]
Chamberlain [Sable, a chevron between three escallops argent.]
Farrer of Ewood [Argent on a bend engrailed sable three horse-shoes argent.]
Lister of Shibden Hall [Ermine on a fess sable three mullets Or, a canton gules.]
Greenwood [Quarterly 1 & 4 sable, a chevron ermine between three saltires argent; 2 & 3 gules a fess between three oak trees Or, three escallops argent.]
Cockcroft [Cobcroft] of Mayroid [Sable, an elephant passant argent on a chief azure three mullets Or, pierced.]
Murgatroyd [Argent three crosses fleury sable, five times pierced of the field.]
Thornhill [Gules, two bars gemels and a chief argent] These were also recorded by John Burton in 1758 as being in one of the windows of Selby Abbey [Mon. Ebor]
.....amongst many others. * According to Sir Bernard Burke 1884. and still maintained as correct today. These are also those those of King William II, King Henry I and King Henry II before his marriage  to Queen Eleanor of Aquitane, confirmed in 1154. Thereafter Henry II used three lions as did Richard I, John, Henry III, Edward I and Edward II.
THE ORIGIN OF THE NAME HALIFAX
Some suggest that there is a link between Halifax and St. John the Baptist. The hypothesises suggests that medieval knights, perhaps Knights Templars [Knights of St. John of Jerusalem in England] brought the head of St. John, called by the Templars, Baphomet, to Halifax. To support this some refer to the common belief that the name Halifax means 'holy face' and indeed the parish church is dedicated to St. John the Baptist [feast day: 24th June, Midsummer Day] whilst St. John's head is part of Halifax town's coat of arms.
Whittaker has pointed out that the origin of Halifax's name has been 'variously given'. The name 'Halyfax' is first mentioned in 1116, merely thirty years after the Domesday Book, in which it is not mentioned as such. Thus the name seems to have coincided with the time that the monks of Lewes were granted land here, almost 200 years before the demise of the Templars. However, the origin of the place-name is well open to debate.
Whittaker stated that "the town of Halifax cannot boast
of great antiquity; its name is not found in Domesday Book, nor is
it mentioned in any ancient record, before a grant of its Church was
made by Earl Warrein to the Priory of Lewes, in Sussex". Whittaker
suggested that the name was half Saxon [Anglian] and half Norman and
that "formerly, in the deep valley where the church now stands, was
a Hermitage, dedicated to St. John the Baptist, the imagined sanctity
of which attracted a great concourse of persons in every direction.
There were four roads by which the Pilgrims entered, and hence the name
Halifax, or Holyways, for fax in Norman French, is an old plural noun,
The prefix hali may be derived from words meaning either holy, or a personal name, and the element fax or gefeaxe may be derived from words meaning a division of land, or coarse grass land or highways.
Camden provides us with a legend that the town was originally known as Horton and The Chapel in the Grove and changed its name to Halig-fax or Halifax as it grew. Camden identified fax as meaning hair, which related to the story of Aelred and the virgin.
William White in 1837 also recorded four ways, by which the town of Halifax could be entered, they each pointed towards the parish church as their common centre; "these were the roads by which the pilgrims approached the object of their devotion, and hence the name Halifax, or Holy Ways; for fax, in Norman French, is an old plural noun, denoting highways" [we find this name ending also in Kippax].
If, as the folklore implies, St. John the Baptist's face was buried under the Halifax Church, which remained as a rectory until 1273, it would have become an international place of pilgrimage, which it never did. If it were a face, then it was more likely to be a carved representation or painting. John the Baptist's severed head is generally believed to have been buried in Damascus, Syria. For some reason John became the Wool Weavers patron saint perhaps identified with the paschal lamb which also appears on the Halifax coat of arms. See Midgley dna By 1252-1253 John de Warenne 7th earl [d. 1304] granted free warren in Halifax to he monks. This meant that they could freely hunt here.
However examining the text of Domesday Book  I find that there is an entry as the phonetic, Werla . feslei . Werla has been identified as Warley, a township just within the N.W. sector of the modern day Halifax. FESLEI has been identified by some as HALIFAX. Where the name Halifax originated, we can see from the above discussions, it is not clear but we have in a record of the C.P.R. for William de Miggeleye a reference to its medieval rendering of 'Frisleye' in 1337, ten years into King Edward III's reign.
This indicates that 'Werla' and 'Feslei' were separate places or in
1086 two places very close to each other considered as one. The name Halifax
seems to have evolved after this date, perhaps phonetically from a combination
of Werla and feslei. From 'Werla feslei' in 1086 to 'Werla faslei'
to 'Ali-fesley' to the sounds of 'Alif-exley' when the 'ley' was
dropped or slurred to form the text spelling of Hali-fax .
If we seriously mumble and mangle the name Werla feslei [there were many
migrants here during the town's industrialisation] it can sound like
Halifax, so perhaps its origin is not so latent. We see something similar
with Belper in Derbyshire which believe it or not was originally
the Norman-French Beaurepaire, the two syllables were retained but
the original name was phoneticised.
Halifax parish church has the Midgley coat of arms emblazoned on the church ceiling and with the industrial involvement of the Midgley family in the town, the indications are that William de Miggeley was granted land near Halifax at Shelf in the 1330's. At that time of course Halifax was still a small Yorkshire village ['township'] and not the industrial complex it later became. So next time you see 'Halifax Building Society' you might recall a little piece of medieval history and think 'Werla Feslei Building Society'.
|August 11 1337 Tower of London
'Grant for life, in recompence of his long service in the Chancery, to Benedict de Norrnanton, king's clerk, of the lands in Frisleye and Shelf, co.York, which William de Miggeleye, deceased, held of the grant of the present king. By K. & C.'
[C.P.R., Edward III, 1334-1338, p. 492.]
The Magna Via Leading from Halifax Parish Church to Wakefield and thence to London and the South is the so-called 'Magna Via'. This was traced in 1920 by T.W. Hanson to Clark Bridge climbing the Old Bank along Beacon Hill Road passing below Beacon Pan where there were paving stones. Then on to Barraclough Lane, via Dark Lane to Dumb Mill below Hipperholme railway station.7
This large trading house has a large number of shops present similar to the now demolished markets in Huddersfield.
A directory of local merchants and manufacturers in 1787 recorded a Francis Midgley having a shop in the Arcade, John Midgley with a shop in the Rustic Gallery and another John Midgley had a shop in the Collonade section1.
The Arcade Royale
A covered shopping arcade similar to the Huddersfield Markets, opened in 1912. It was built by the Halifax developer, Walter Midgley, and was designed by local architects Clement Williams and Sons. It was a set of small units until 1951 when it was taken over by the Halifax Co-operative Society and converted into a single store in 1967.
MANY COATS OF ARMS from the the nave ceiling of St. John the Baptist,
"On the roof of this church are painted, in different compartments, the following arms, (1.) Wilkinson; (2.) Archbishop Tillotson; (3.) Savile, impaled with four others, viz. 1st, Gules, three lions passant guardant; Qdly, Howard; 2dly, Warren; 4thly, Gules, a lion rampant argent. (4.) Archbishop Sharp; (5.) Lister; (6.) Farrer, a martlet for difference; (7.) Farrer, no distinction. ( 8.) Sable, a chevron between three escallops argent. ( 9.) Cockcroft, of Mayroid, but the colours, as I apprehend, mistaken; a martlet for difference; (10.) Same arms, crescent for difference; (11.) Greenwood, impaled with another coat, forgot.-( 12.) Prescot; (13.) Argent, a chevron gules between three elephants passant sable. (14.) Argent, a fess between three crescents gules. (15.) Savfle. (16.) Argent1 a lion rampant gules. (17.) Argent, on a pale gales between two three towers of the first, and in chief, gules, a crescent betwen two escallops (18.) Naylor; (19.) Argent, on a fess sable, between three crescents, as many mullets, gules, or some-thing like it; for this and two others quartered with it, I could not distinctly make out, owing to their great distance from the eye, (20.) Midgley, of Midgley. (21.) Argent, a plain cross azure.
(22.) Argent, two bars gemells gules, and in chief three torteauxes. (23.) Argent, three pales sable. (24.) Same as the last. (25.) Lister, but wants the canton. (26.) Waterhouse. (27 and 28.) The Cloth-workers' arms. (29.) Lindley. (30.) Drake, impaled with......... (31.) Or, a chevron gules between three towers argent. (32.) Argent, in chief gules, three escallops (33.) Azure, on a chevron argent, between three griffins passant or, three escallops gules. (84.) Naylor. (35.) Murgatroyd, as I take it. (36.) Sable, a fess lozengy, and in base an escallop argent, on a chief indented of the second, three escallops of the first. (37.) Same as No.35. (38.) Sable, a chevron between three roses argent. (39.) Midgley of Midgley. (40.) Livesey. (41.) Argent, two bars nebule, over all a bend gules, quartered with, Argent, a chief indented sable.-(42.) Bameden, of Crawstone. (43.) Argent, three crosses forme, five times pierced of the field (44.) Gules, a griffin passant or. [Some of these are now left out, and the arrangement is totally different.-J.H.T.]".
- From Halifax Families and Worthies, J. Horsfall Turner 1883.
Midgley of Midgley was buried at Halifax
Church in 1569.[Ibid., p. 393.]
MEMORIUM TO MIDGLEY. On the wall in the north chapel is a monumental inscription:
"Near this place resteth the body of MARY, daughter of WILLIAM MIDGLEY, Master of Arts, late of Headley, now of Sowerby, who was born March 3, 1696, and departed this life November 7, 1704. The inscription includes the Midgley arms of Sable two bars gemel Or on a chief of the second, three caltraps of the first. [Dugdale's Visitation of Yorkshire ]
Mortal by birth, short my stay, here sleeps my dust,
My better part joins consort with the just."
Above this: "Exuviae GULIELMI MIDGLEY, A. M. Curat. de Sowerby, juxta depositae Maii 10o, 1706. Anno Aetatis 34."
i.e. William Midgley, A.M. curate of Sowerby, died May 10th, 1706. Aged 34 years. [From History of Halifax by Samuel Midgley, 1789, pp. 231-232; Halifax Families and Worthies, J. Horsfall Turner 1883.]
William Midgley, the curate of Sowerby died of a palsy and was buried within the parish church of Halifax. [History of Halifax by Samuel Midgley, 1789, p. 304.]
William Midgley died of a palsy May 7, 1706, buried in Halifax Church aged about 30. [The History and Antiquities of Halifax, Rev. R.J. Watson, 1775.]
William Midgley Gent. of Halifax, daughter Mary who married Thomas Holdsworth son of Thomas Holdsworth [d. 23rd June 1709 or 25th October 1710] of Ashday, Southowram Gent. and Phoebe Oats. Mary was buried at Holdsworth Chapel. [The History and Antiquities of Halifax, John Watson, 1775, p. 381.]
Cut on a blue stone within a raised stone border painted over, and fixed to the north wall of the Rokeby Chapel, beneath the second window from the west.
Arms. — (Sable), two bars gemelles (or), on a chief (of the second) hree calthrops (of the first) — Midgley.
Near this place Resteth the Body of Mary, Daughter of William Midgley, Master of arts, Late of Headley, now of Sowerby, who was born March the third 1696 & Departed this life November 7th 1704. Mortal by birth, short my stay, here sleeps my dust. My better part loynes consort with the lust. [Monumental and Other Inscriptions in Halifax Parish Church]
William Midgley, gentleman, M.A. of Halifax had a daughter Mary who married Thomas Holdsworth of Ashday. He was bap. 4th July 1677 in Halifax, d. 20 April 1735 at Halifax and bur. 23rd April in Halifax Parish Church where a monumental inscription was noted in Dugdale's Visitation of Yorkshire [pp. 107-108.] Mary died earlier on 25th October and was also buried in the parish church with a monumental inscription. [Ibid.] Thomas and Mary had at least five children:
2. Thomas who became a curate at Sowerby.
4. Phoebe ['Pheebe'] b. 1709 and married on 25th June 1739 at York, William Drake of Fixby [b.~ 1711]
On a large monument of stone fixed to the south wall of
the Holdsworth Chapel, between the third and fourth windows from
the east. Holdsworth Arms - Argent, on a stump of a tree raguled and eradicated, in
bend a crow perched near the top (proper)
impaling, gules, a fess between six garbs, or
Holdsworth of Ashday (otherwise Ashdale) in Southowram
Died the 20th Day of April 1735 in Ye 56 Year of his Age
Cut on stone within a raised stone border, fixed to the south wall of the Holdsworth Chapel between the third and fourth windows from the east.
Arms. — (Argent), the trunk of a tree raguled and eradicated in bend (proper) — Holdsworth.
Near this place Lyeth the Body of Thomas Haldsworth of Ashday in Southowrom, Gentleman, who Departed this Life the 23rd of June 1709: And also the Body of Mrs. Phebe Haldsworth, his Wife, the Daughter of Mr. James Oats, of Lands Head in Northowrom, who Departed this life the 12th of October 1709. And also the Body of Mary Haldsworth, the Daughter of William Midgley, of Hallifax, Gent : And Wife of Thomas Haldsworth, son of the above mentioned Thomas Haldsworth, who Departed this life the 25 of October 1710. [Monumental and Other Inscriptions in Halifax Parish Church]
In 1694 William Midgley of Halifax was one of two plaintiffs relating to an inheritance of Gilbert Deane's property in Sowerby and Wakefield. The entry also mentions Josiah Midgley, gentleman. [TNA C6/410/13.]
William Midgley gentleman of Halifax [Who may be the same as above] had a daughter Susannah who married Thomas Greenwood, clerk on 28th May 1711 at York Thomas Greenwood on 28th March 1745 [18 George II] was late of Elphabray Hall, in Ryall Park, Erringden but now of New House, Luddenden, Midgley.
William Midgley, gent. was 'to
be ensigned' into the Third West Yorkshire
Militia on 19th September 1810. [The London
Gazette, part 2, p. 1691.]
For others see list of Midgley of Halifax
from the 1881 census
Map Source: Midgleyana.
See Lady Day Hearth Tax 1672 for Halifax
Halifax circa 1828
Source: A New and Complete History of the County of York, Thomas Allen
6. Crabtree, John. A concise history of the parish and vicarage of Halifax, in the county of York. 1836. - download pdf.
7. Hanson, T.W. The Story of Old Halifax. 1920. [pdf 20.9 mb searchable]
8. Monumental and Other Inscriptions in Halifax Parish Church