The Manor and Lordship of Wakefield  

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Before the Norman Conquest Sixth Earl Warrenne
Domesday Book Record Seventh Earl Warenne
The Wakefield Manor after the conquest Eighth and last Earl Warenne
"Harrying of the North" Sowerby Hunting Park
First Earl Warenne Revolt
Second Earl Warenne Red-Shanked Robbers
Third Earl Warenne The Lancastrian Revolt
Fourth Earl Warenne Reversion to the Crown
Fifth Earl Warenne Later lords of the manor

Before the Norman Conquest
The Anglian, Wacca's Feld later Wachefeld sometimes referred to as 'Merry Wakefield' was the site of rural festivals or 'Wakes'.
The manor of Wakefield is the chief place of the lordship of Wakefield which belonged to the English King, 'Edward The Confessor' and were therefore "terra regis". King Edward's wife also held great swathes in Northumberland. The Domesday Book stated that the Upper Calder Valley had in Edward the Confessor's time been part of the manor of Wakefield.

Early Anglian settlers had penetrated to the forest of Hardwick (Sowerbyshire, now essentially the parish of Halifax) and it is recorded that in Hardwick there were three Anglian districts or graveships (Anglian : gerefe, or German : graf), these were Fixby, Rastrick and Hipperholme.16 Each one had a collector of the Lord's rents. Hardwick had its western boundary on the present Yorkshire/Lancashire border, its eastern boundary along the Salter-Hebble Brook, its northern boundary with the parish of Bradford and its southern one along the Calder and Riburn rivers. To the south of Hardwick lay the forest of Sowerbyshire.18

The forest of Hardwick or Sowerbyshire contained the following places: Halifax, Ovenden, Illingworth, Mixenden, Bradshaw, Skircoat, Warley, Sowerby, Rishworth, Luddenden, Midgley,  Erringden, Heptonstall, Rottenstall (Rawtenstall), Stanfield, Cross-Stone and Langfield16. (Underlined are names of Anglian origin, others are Danish/Scandinavian ('Viking')

The later parish of Halifax contained 26 townships* or hamlets: Barkisland, Brighouse, Elland, Erringden,
Fixby, Greetland, Halifax, Heptonstall, Hipperholme, Langfield, Midgley, Northowram, Norland, Ovenden, Rastrick, Sowerby, Rishworth, Stainland, Stansfield, Shelf, Skircoat, Soyland, Southowram, Warley and Wadsworth16. .

*In this part of England, villages and their surroundings were known as "townships".

There is some evidence that the township of Midgley in the upper Calder Valley was part of Miclei, the Anglian manor of Wakefield belonging to "Edward the Confessor" in 76119.

                                                                             Domesday Book Record*:
Area of land in the manor of Wakefield. "60 carucates" or about 10,000 acres [one ox required 2 acres of pasture, one sheep one acre] "three and a half bovates on which danegeld has to be paid,
wood pasture, 6 miles long and 4 miles broad".
number of ploughs this area might employ 30 ploughs 
priests (presbyters) 3
churches 2
Sockmen(Sokemen)# 7
Villeins 4
bordars (peasants or smallholders) 16
                                                                        * Source: Domesday Book 1084-1086, Public Record No.1

#Sokemen were free peasants who gave payments or services to the lord of the manor. They were descendants of a pre-conquest Danish army who were much depleted between 1066 and 1086
. Note that the present day Yorkshire dialect is very similar to  modern Danish.
At the time of the Dom Boc [Produced under Alfred the Great, 893, now mostly lost] records, there were only 7 ploughs and the value of the manor had fallen from 60 pounds to 15 following the conquest and "Harrying of the North"

After The  Norman Conquest
The manor of Wakefield  passed directly into the hands of William I of England himself. The Anglo-Danish Lords were dispossessed.
During the time of The Domesday Book the Lordship of Wakefield belonged to William the Conqueror i.e. nearly the whole of the
Calder Valley were "terra regis".  William was the cousin to Edward the Confessor so the invasion of England might be seen as a domestic dispute of the rich and powerful. At this time William held some 300 manors in Yorkshire ['EVRVICSCIRE'] and 1200 in different parts of England.
Motte and bailey at Sandal bulit by William de Warrene A motte (mount) and bailey were originally built at  Wakefield on the left bank now called Lowe Hill at Thornes. This may have been built by the second earl of Warenne before 1138. A later wooden castle of Sandal was built by the 6th or 7th Earl Warrene from 1240 as the headquarters for the manor on the right bank which by feudal times (Ed. III's reign, about 1320) was a stone fortress.
The name Warenne (Warren, Garenne) is popularly believed to originate from the river Varenne near Dieppe, however, although the Norman-French called rabbits 'conies', 'garenne' in French means 'rabbit' in English and may thus be a reference to someone who had been the king's warrener. These animals are thought to have been introduced into Britain by the Normans in Ebgland. The first Warenne earl in England, William, came from France with the invasion of 1066 and was created the earl of Surrey with castles at Lewes, Castle Acre and Reigate.  The first Earl Warenne was granted the Wakefield estates by his father-in-law the Norman King. Warenne pedigree and heraldry
The manor lands in Calderdale were not entire or contiguous, they were broken by the honour of Pontefract and other manors17.  There were nine subordinate manors, outliers or Berewicks in the manor of Wakefield, these were:
Name in Domesday Book Domesday transcription in G. Crowther's A Descriptive History of the Wakefield Battles. Comments
SANDALA - Sandal Magna near Wakefield
SOREBI TORBE Sowerby near Halifax
WERLA - Warley /Werloweley/ Warleyfeslei*  Township of Warley Town.
FESLEI FISBE Werla and Feslei  later formed Halifax.
MICLEIE MIELEI  Midgley near Halifax
WADSWUURDE WADESWIDE  Wadsworth nr. Halifax, centred on 'Old Town'
CRUMBETONESTUN CRUMBETONSITON  Crutttonstall, Crompton.  ceased to exist, located on Erringden Grange.
LANGEFELT LANGFELD  Langfield, Longfield.
STANESFELT STAINSFELT   Stansfield a township near near Heptonstall.
                                                                      * = Now suburbs of Halifax
It appears that the Normans planned to have a castle guarding the entrance to each Yorkshire dale and a religious house within the dale. The church was obviously an arm of the state.
DALE Swale          Ure      Nidder   Wharfe    Aire  Calder Don / Dearne
CASTLE Richmond Boroughbridge Knaresborough Tadcaster Leeds Sandal  Magna & Pontefract Conisbrough
RELIGIOUS HOUSE                  - Fountains Abbey                 - Bolton Abbey Kirkstall Priory Kirklees priory /
Monk Bretton Priory

The town of Wakefield had two churches, the parish church, All Saints, in the town and St. Helen's church at Sandal Magna. The main streets of the town radiated from the church with gates to the walls at Westgate, Northgate, Kirkgate and Warrengate. Wakefield was a major centre of the wool trade, the market place was called Bichill.
The manor of Wakefield was one of the largest in the country and comprised 118 towns, villages and hamlets with Halifax, Wakefield and Dewsbury being the chief towns. The Manor of Halifax (Feslei)was seen as "a manor within the Wakefield Manor". The whole Manor of Wakefield stretched over 30 English miles east-west. William I granted to Ilbert De Laci (from Lassy, Calvados, Normandy) the  nearby Lordship of Pontefract (Pomfret) castle along with 150 manors in  the county of York as well as Clitheroe castle. 


Wakefield Manor eastern divisions


These estates juxtaposed and interlocked with those of the king's land. It is believed that this was purposely done to ensure a strong hold on sparsely populated land which was strategically important e.g. the De Laci lands came close to the River Calder near Southowram & Elland and crossed the river near Huddersfield and Almondbury. 


Castle Hill Almondbury during medieval times. The medieval construction probably took place during King Stephen's reign when many illegal castles were erected, and as with many others, it was demolished during Henry III's reign. Joseph Hunter records that in 1307-8 there was a dungeon at the 'castle of Almonbury', during the later years of Henry de Laci's tenure.39 The medieval tower and motte were located where the more recent Victorian tower (below) now stands. Source: Base image by Kirklees Council on site.

The De Laci  estates may have secured important roads e.g. from York to Chester and river crossings such as at Battyeford. The De Laci family also held the Heptonstall area which controlled the pass from the River Roch across to the Hebden and Calder River as well as manors within the crown land such as at Scissett. The Heptonstall area is one of the earliest places for the recording of the Midgley name (1100's) to the north of which lies the high and exposed Midgley moor on the backbone of England, the Pennines. Later Medieval Packhorse routes  with occasional wayside crosses traversed the Pennines, one such ventured through the Heptonstall Pass (The Long Causeway), a strategic link across the Pennines. It was probably built by the monks of Whalley Abbey, in the Ribble Valley, to link lands that they held on either side of the Pennines10. The Long Causeway connected through Halifax to the Magna Via to Wakefield and thence to the wool markets of Europe.
In April 1066 many people flocked to church at the sight of what was to become known much later as Halley's comet and on Christmas Day of 1066 William 1st was crowned the new king of England in Westminster Abbey.
In 1068 two earls, Edwin and Morcar led a revolt against the Normans in Yorkshire. The revolt did not succeed.
In 1069 William, as a prelude to the 'harrying of the north' and
in retaliation for the uprising led by the two earls, sent Ilbert de  Laci to break the inhabitants. Much of the region was destroyed.

Harrying or Harrowing of the North

 In March 1067  William returned to his Normandy and left England in the hands of his half-brother Odo. The estates and  titles were distributed among the Norman barons who had backed William.
No man was given too great a part of the land in one region, the estates being scattered all over the country so that one baron could not combine
his estates into one powerful, and possibly rebellious, whole. William soon found that it was not safe to stay away from England for too long.
The barons, became powerful and extortionate towards their subjects and quarrelsome between themselves. They raised taxes to breaking  point
until a rash of revolt broke out across the country. William returned and, although he recognised that much of the fault lay with his people, burned and slaughtered his way through any resistance.

      '…. Nowhere else had William shown so
      much cruelty. Shamefully he succumbed
      to this vice, for he made no effort to
      restrain his fury and punished the
      innocent with the guilty. In his anger he
      commanded that all crops and herds,
      chattels and food of every kind should be
      brought together and burned to ashes
      with consuming fire, so that the whole
      region north of the Humber might be
      stripped of all means of sustenance. In
      consequence so serious a scarcity was
      felt in England, and so terrible a famine
      fell upon the humble and defenceless
      populace, that more than 100,000
      Christian folk of both sexes, young and
      old alike, perished of hunger.'-     Orderic Vitalis in1069

      "....slaughtered the people…it was horrible to observe in  houses,
streets and roads human corpses rotting…for no one survived to cover
them with earth, all having perished by the sword and starvation,
or left the land of their fathers because of hunger… between York and Durham no village was inhabited.'-Symeon of Durham,
In 1070 Thomas, the Treasurer of Bayeaux became the Archbishop of York. On his arrival in this ruined city he found everything deserted and waste.
A Scottish perspective states that every male from the Humber to the Scottish border who was over the age of 12 years was slaughtered and the country was turned into desert.34

First Earl Warenne, Earl of Surrey [died 1088]
Warenne from the Varenne valley, near Rouen, Normandy. Possibly the son of Ralph de Warenne35
Soon after 1084-6 the Lordship of Wakefield was granted by William The Conqueror or one of his sons, William Rufus (William II30) or Henry I (Beauclerc)17, to the first Earl Warenne, created Earl of Surrey.
Henry was born  in Yorkshire at Selby in 1086 and was thus the first Norman king born in England was a Yorkshireman.
The first Earl of Surrey, William I de Warenne (Warren*) married  before 1078, Countess Gundred(a), who was the sister to Gerbod, the Earl of Chester30. William & Gundred founded St. Pancras, the priory of Lewes in the year 1078.
Gherbod the Fleming was created earl of Chester by William the Conqueror. Some37 have him married to Matilda before she was married to William the Conqueror. Their daughter Gundreda is believed by some [Leland's Collectanea, vol. 1, p. 238.] to be the Gundreda who married William De Warenne

Gerbod====1st==== Matilda====2nd====William I King of England

                                                  Gundreda=====William Earl of Warenne
                                                                       |       d. 24 June 1088
                                                           William De Placetis

William de Warenne was related to the Dukes of Normandy and as such was a distant relative of William I 'The Bastard'. It was common to provide some surety for the king by intermarrying his children along with the possessions, blood became thicker than water.
(*The name Warren may derive from the introduction of rabbits by the Norman-French into England. Initially they constructed warrens to encourage the rabbits, which were more suited to the Spanish Mediterranean climate. A Warrener was one who worked the warrens, the rabbit quickly became the poor man's deer whilst the Normans took up eating English deer)

However another version13 says that in 1087 King William I was succeeded by William II (Rufus) and title to the Manor of Wakefield passed to him. Rufus then granted the Wakefield Manor to the first earl Warenne for his loyalty.

The first Earl of Warenne, William, and his wife Gundreda [of Flanders] had issue, William de Placetis who was later granted the Wakefield estates for taking Robert Curtois prisoner in Normandy17. Gundreda died in childbirth in 1099 [others say May 1085 at Castle Acre, buried Lewes. The year 1085 is more likely if William founded the Cluniac priory at Castle Acre in 1086]
Besides Castle Acre [Norfolk] and Reigate [Surrey] this first earl held estates in Lewes [Sussex], Conisbrough [South Yorkshire] as well as the Wakefield Manor. In all, the earl was granted 28 towns and estates.William the first earl died at Lewes in 1088 following a seige at Pevensey.
The succession to the estates then passed as follows17: Click Here

In 1088  a revolt occurred in which many of the Norman Barons took part. One baron who remained faithful to William II was William Earl de Warenne who unfortunately was fatally wounded by an arrow during the siege of Pevensey at the time of the barons' revolt. According to the historian William Dugdale, this first Earl Warenne died in 1088.
He was succeeded by his son another William in the same year (1088).
The Warennes came originally from Bellencombre near Dieppe in Normandy and had supported William I during the Norman Conquest.

William II recognised the Warenne's loyalty during the Baron's revolt and rewarded them by giving them the Manor of Wakefield which included Upper Calderdale. The grant was reaffirmed in 1106 in the reign of Henry I. The Warennes built a castle at Sandal to guard their new possessions, this was likely to have been a wooden motte and bailey.

Second Earl Warenne, Earl of Surrey [died 1138]
Eldest son of William the first Earl Warenne31. This earl built the first Sandal Castle, probably of timber. Warenne seal
This second Earl  of Surrey, William II de Warenne, [William de Placetis] married Isabel de Vermandois (her second marriage after Robert de Beaumont, the first Earl of Leicester, d. 1118).4 The second Earl carried the Warenne Shield. See Warenne pedigree and heraldry.
In 1101 William 2nd Earl supported Robert Curthose against Henry I and for a time was banished from the kingdom, losing his lands in the process, but was reinstated by Henry two years later. He was redeeemed by distinguishing himself at the battle of Tenchebrai [1106] during a Normandy conquest against Curthose. It may be at this time William was granted the manor of Shelf , north-east of Halifax.
One version states that as a result William was granted the Sandal estates in 1107.

Either his father or the 2nd Earl granted the Parish Church at Halifax and others to the Cluniac order of Monks who had previously been granted a priory at the mother house of Lewes.16 The second earl also founded another daughter house at Castle Acre in Norfolk.36 The 2nd earl had two children [some sources state six], William and Adeline. Adeline married Henry de Huntingdon  [b. 1114 d 1152] Earl of Northumbria and Huntingdon. His fifth child, David became Earl of Huntingdon. One of Henry's grandchildren, Isabella, married a Robert de Bruis [Bruce] of Scotland, a forebear of King Robert De Bruce. With David's death in 1219 at Yardley-Hastings [Northamptonshire] the title Earl of Huntingdon passed to his son John Le Scot.
With John's death by poisoning in 1237, the Earldom was held in the crown until Edward I's time when the title was granted to William Fiennnes [Clinton].

Third Earl Warenne and Surrey.
[died 1148] The 3rd Earl of Surrey. He married Adeliade Talvas [b. abt. 1110, Sussex]. They had one child, Isabel de Warenne [b. 1137, d. 13th July 1199]. Isabel married Hamelyn Plantagenet of Conisbrough William III de Warenne died in 1147/8, on the crusades in Palestine at Laodicia [now in Syria]. He left no male heir.

Fourth Earl Warenne and Surrey.
Isabel, daughter of William 3rd Earl Warenne was given in marriage to William de Blois [by so doing he became the 4th Earl Warrene], son of King Stephen. William de Blois died in 1159, Isabel and William had no issue.

Ruins of Sandal Castle, near Wakefield. Hamelyn,Fifth* Earl Warenne and Surrey [d. 1202]
Secondly, in 1164, Isabel was given in marriage by Henry II to Hamelin Plantagenet, the "natural" or illegitimate son of Jefry [Geoffrey] Plantagenet, Earl of Anjou by whom she had issue, William Warenne or Plantagenet, later 6th earl. Hamelin was also Henry II's illegitimate half-brother. Hamelin assumed the titles of 5th earl Warenne and 5th earl of Surrey through Isabel in 1163. This led to subsequent Earls of Surrey.Hamelyn is credited with building the very early Norman stone fortifications of Conisbrough Castle replacing the earlier wooden motte and bailey built about 1100 and similarly at Sandal Castle. Hamelin supported Henry II and was one of the nobles to donate to Richard I's ransom. He attended Prince John's coronation  [1199] and the king of Scotland, William Canmore's oath of homage at Lincoln to John and England [1200] and played host to King John at Conisbro'.  Hamelin died in 1202 and was buried at Lewes, Sussex. Isabel died in 1203 and was buried next to Hamelin at the priory of Lewes. * As John Watson in his History of Halifax p. 404  correctly states.

Sixth Earl Warenne and Earl of Surrey [1240]
Hamelyn and Isabel's son, sometimes erroneously described as the 5th earl [because William de Blois is omitted]. This William married [1225] Maud Marshall* by whom she had issue, John (7th Earl Warenne). In 1204 John lost his campaign in France, and like all the English nobles who supported John and held land in France, the sixth earl's Normandy estates were confiscated by Phillip II of France32. William was loyal for a time to king John against the barons and indeed is one of only four nobles whose name appears in the Magna Charta for John. But by the summer of 1216 he had deserted John and was supporting an invasion by the Dauphin, Louis of France. The sixth earl supported Edward III and also visited the Shrine of St. James [Santiago] at Compostella, Northern Spain.
*d. of the great knight William, The Protector, earl of Pembroke.

In 1212, Peter of Wakefield, a prophet, foretold King John's reign would not last until 23rd May, 1213 {Ascencion Day], when this date passed without the realisation of such, King John had Peter and his son hanged32. 
William acted as a guarantor for King John for the keeping of the Magna Charta32. He became warden of the Cinque Ports in 121632. In the same year he supported France against King John32.
By 1221 he had his lands restored for he had taken an active part in politics between 1220 and 123032. In 1225 he married Matilda the daughter of the Earl of Pembroke [Valence line].  In 1238 he was appointed the treasurer of the Royal Taxes. Their only son, John [later 7th Earl] was born in 1231. William died in 124032.

John, Seventh Earl Warenne and Earl of Surrey [1231-1304]
Sometimes erroneously described as the 6th earl. [William de Blois is omitted again] Because his father died when John [really a Plantagenet through his grandfather Hamelyn] was eight or nine, his mother Matilda [Maud Marshal] held the estates until later. He became a ward of Henry III as a result of his father's early death. John Warenne 7th Earl married [april 1247] Alice/Alicia de Lusignan [de Brun] d. 9th February 1255, they had a son, William and two daughters. Alice, Henry III's half sister, took Henry III's side against the barons in 1258. John 7th earl [succeeded 1240] and supported Henry III against the rebel barons in 1258 . However he supported the barons from 1260-3. But again, in 1263, he returned to  king Henry III when he fought at the Siege of Rochester and the Battle of Lewes [May 1264]. He fled to France returning to England with the future Edward I in 1265. and freed Henry III at the Battle of Evesham34. He was pardoned in 1268.

It was John the 7th Earl of Warenne who completed the stone castle of Sandal Magna, from 1240, making it the chief seat of the manor1 An earlier wooden motte and bailey had been built soon after the conquest. He became involved in a vitriolic land dispute with Henri de Laci of Pontefract in 1268 which spilled over in the king's court.  The 7th earl was issued with a writ along with may other barons by the king, Quo warranto? [Who Holds?], in which it was demanded by what authority he held his estates.The earl is said to have drawn the first earl's sword and replied " Gladoi riri, gladio teneo, gladio tenedo" or " I gained it by the sword, I hold it by the sword, I will keep it by the sword". Both barons assembled their armies but Henry III  intervened to prevent the situation leading to war.   In 1270 John was criticised by the archbishop of York, for the harshness of his treatment of his Yorkshire tenants; this may have coincided with building work at Sandal and also Conisbrough . By 1282 he was styled the earl of Sussex. he assumed this title but the claim was uncertain. In 1296 John  joined Edward I's invasion of Scotland where he took Dunbar Castle in April 1296. From 1296-7 he was Warden for Scotland. 



John 7th earl had issue:

William de Warenne married Joan the daughter of Robert de Vere, Earl of Oxford, but William died at a tournament at Croydon** in the life time of his father hence he was not created earl. He left a wife and child, John, later 8th Earl. **This is mistakenly identified by Simon Schama with William de Warenne a nobleman of Yorkshire mentioned by Schama as Edward I's administrator in Scotland who suffered defeat at Stirling Bridge in August 129721 However Bulmer's Gazeteer  and many other sources state that this is John de Warenne [ 7th ] Earl of Surrey, earlier rewarded for success at the battle of Dunbar with the wardship of Scotland.22

Battle of Stirling Bridge

By 1297 [11th September] William Wallace had routed the English army at Stirling Bridge, but within a year John seventh earl helped Edward defeat Wallace at Falkirk and and the Scots at Caerlaverock [1300]. Throughout their conflicts with their Southern neighbour, every brilliant success brought the Scots a pattern of resounding defeats.
After Edward I's success at Falkirk in July 1299, Yorkshire was called upon in the summer of 1300, to provide 5,900 fighting men to serve in the war against Scotland, by 1304 Stirling Castle was captured and the battle with Scotland was ended for a time22.

During the time of John 7th Earl of Warenne, and in the 3rd year of Edward I's reign Alexander Lucas was the steward for the Wakefield manor, later that year the steward was John de Ravensfeud20. John died in 1304 in London and was buried at Lewes.
John 8th Earl Warrene's seal

John, Eighth Earl Warenne, Earl of Surrey and Sussex.
  29 June 1286- 1347
In 1304 he had assumed the title Earl of Sussex, which his grandfather had also titled himself. John Earl Warenne 8th, grandson of John 7th Earl, at the age of 19, married the 10 year old Joan de Bar [Barr], grand-daughter [some sources erroneously say daughter] to Edward I. The childless marriage was not successful and both sued for divorce and as a result the Pope excommunicated John. John produced many "divers bastards" and left no lawful issue, the estate was thus transferred to King Edward II17.
At Whitsuntide 1306 Warenne and his countess Joan of Bar were present at Prince Edward's investiture as a knight at Caernarvon Castle. In 1310 John joined Edward II in an invasion of Scotland.
However in 1312 he rebelled against Edward II . John quarrelled with Piers Gaveston, Edward II's favourite, and joined the party of barons at Scarborough [Knaresborough32.] in 1312, when Gaveston was taken prisoner. See Bulmer's Gazeteer.

But John capitulated and was pardoned with about 300 others in 1313 after Gaveston was murdered by the Earls of Warwick, Lancaster, Hereford and Arundel [Beauchamp, Plantagenet, De Bohun and FitzAlan respectively] and returned to supporting Edward II, a king unpopular with half of the people.
By 1314 John had been proceeded against for divorce17. [others say both parties filed for divorce] Whatever the case, the eigth earl was living in adultery with Maud de Neirford in 1313.
In 1318 John quit claimed the castles of Sandal and Conisbrough along with estates at Sowerby, Dewsbury, Halifax and estates in other counties17.
At this time earl Warenne's steward was probably John de Doncaster25. In 1316 John 8th Earl Warenne was excommunicated for adultery by pope John XXII32 with an Isabel de Houland [Holland daughter of Lancaster's favourite] and Matilda de Neirford17[Maud de Neirford of Castle Acre, Norfolk]. Both produced illegitimate children. In 1317 Edward II granted the manor to Matilda and her two natural sons by John [John and Thomas de Warenne]. Later John 8th Earl Warenne is claimed to have married Matilda. [others mistakenly say Isabel de Houland.]
John 8th earl  Warenne had a disagreement with Thomas the earl of Lancaster Scene from Ivanhoeover the death of Gaveston some suggesting that Warenne helped Thomas's wife to elope with her lover. However, she appears to have been a willing captive. This dispute  led to Lancaster laying siege to Sandal Castle in 1317. Lancaster reportedly burnt Sandal to the ground, however the archaeology does not necessarily support this.36  

Thomas had succeeded to the lands of his father-in-law, Henry de Laci, at Henry's death in 1311. Between 1317 and 1319 Thomas Plantagenet, Earl of Lancaster seized much of John's land.
J.W. Walker states that at this time a Robert Hood of Wakefield was on a roster to join the army against Scotland but apparently did not appear.24 In the 12th year of Ed. II (1318) this John de Warenne was forced to  grant the manor to Thomas Earl of Lancaster, probably because of Earl Warenne's infidelity and resultant ex-communication by the Pope [remember his wife, Joan de Bar was a relative of Edward II]. From 1320 Thomas Earl of Lancaster built a stone castle at Sandal Magna.
Following the short tenure of the estates by Thomas, John who had 'married' Matilda de Neirford, his  concubine, received back the estates, whilst the remainder were given to their two sons, John de Warenne and Thomas de Warenne [both born before the marriage].
Thus John 8th earl, Lord of Wakefield manor,  died without lawful issue in the 21st year of Ed. III* (1348)17 possibly as a result of contracting the "Black Death". This is the same year that Joseph Hunter, the Yorkshire Antiquarian, calculated the death at Kirklees Priory of a non-historical figure, 'Robin Hood'26, 1347 being the same year that Sandal ended its association with Castle Acre.36,p47 
  Matilda (now Countess de Warenne ) lived until the 33rd year of Edward III (about 1360), her two sons John and Thomas dying before her. The Wakefield Manor reverted to the crown in 1362 and the barony and revenues were now given by Ed. III to his  six year old son Edmund de Langley/Longley [later the Duke of York], who later died at the Battle of Agincourt (others say his birthplace, Kings Langley). The Earldom of Warenne was now granted by Edward III to Richard Fitzalan II, Earl of Arundel. John 8th earl is thought to have owned the Macclesfield Psalter which was rediscovered in 2004 and with strong public support has been  reconditioned and is now on show at the FitzWilliam Museum, Cambridge.


Like John de Warenne [d. 1347] who had no legitimate children, there is some evidence that Thomas of Lancaster had at least two illegitimate sons. One was Thomas de Lancaster and the other John de Lancaster. As adults, both appear to have joined the clergy. Importantly in a papal record we are given a clue to the identity of the concubine or mistress of earl Thomas, John de Lancaster's mother. She is described as being a spinster who was related to the earl [probably numerically inaccurate] in the third degree. However, this is a very strong indication that the lady in question was from the aristocracy. After an exhaustive study of the various genealogical lines for the early Plantagenets it is evident that Alice de Warenne is a strong candidate for concubinage*, a younger and only sister of John 8th earl Warenne.* Ockham's Razor is operating here.

Alice was born on 15th June 1287 whilst earl Thomas was born about 1278. Alice's father had died on 15th December 1286 d.v.p. at the Croydon tournament, she was thus born exactly 6 months after his death. Her ancestry like that of earl Thomas is clearly Plantagenet, she having descended from Hamelin Plantagenet, half-brother of King Henry II, who assumed the name Warenne after his marriage to Isabel de Warenne. Thus Thomas and Alice's common ancestor was Geoffrey de Anjou, the progenitor of the Plantagenet line in England. Thomas earl of Lancaster had many dealings with Alice's brother John and until his falling out over the death of Gaveston in 1312 they were compatriots. After 1312 John became a king's man and joined with Edmund FitzAlan against earl Thomas. In 1322 Edmund and John were two of earl Thomas' judges at Pontefract after which Thomas was executed. Edmund FitzAlan was later also executed, like Despenser, at Hereford in 1326  probably with the assent of Mortimer and Queen Isabella. Like earl Thomas, a cult developed around Edmund in the 1390's which projected him as a martyr, although like Thomas, he was never canonised.

Alice de Warenne married in 1305 at the age of about eighteen, Edmund FitzAlan, earl of Arundel. Although it is recorded that Edmund had been made a ward of Alice's brother, John de Warenne in 1302 Edmund initially refused to marry her but the reason is not evident. Speculatively, the reason Edmund refused her was that she and earl Thomas had produced a child, John de Lancaster. This has never been suggested before and is highly contentious for Alice, as her brother's heir, with Edmund went on to produce at least nine children including Richard 'Copped Hat' [b. 1306] who led to the later FitzAlan earls of Arundel. By extension this would make John de Lancaster an older half-brother to Richard 'Copped Hat', earl of Arundel.

Thomas earl of Lancaster

Alice de Warenne

 Predicted concubine

A legitimate Plantagenet and potential contender for the throne. Descended from Geoffrey de Anjou 'Planta genista'  through his illegitimate son Hamelin, half-brother of King Henry II.
Born: ~ 1278. Born: 1287. 
Betrothed: 1292. Betrothed: ~ 1304. 
Married: Alice de Lacy on or before 28th October 1294.  Married: Edmund FitzAlan 1305.  
A compatriot of John de Warenne  in the Scottish wars of King Edward I.  Sister of John de Warenne.
1312 - Rebelled against king Edward II and had Gaveston killed. John de Warenne turned to the king after Gaveston's execution.
Divorced his wife in 1315 and took over earl Warenne's estates in Yorkshire 1318.  Alice's brother John and her husband Edmund were two of the judges with Hugh Despenser at Pontefract who condemned earl Thomas to death, March 1322. 

Sowerby Park
The Earls of Warenne had a castle in Sowerby for hunting & hawking. In the 1800’s remains of it could be seen in the fields12. The exact date when the deer park at Sowerby was created is not known but most scholars agree that the mid 1100's is probable. It occupied most of what became the township of Erringden and was created out of part of the then "Forest of Sowerbyshire". This was an enclosed park, like Wakefield park, for breeding deer.  It was ditched and paled around its entire perimeter.
The fence was kept back from the River Calder when a strip of land approx. 100 yards wide was created which remained part of Sowerby township and was known as the Sowerby Ramble. One section of the fence in the Cragg Vale valley crossed and recrossed the Elphin Brook presumably to allow the deer access to water. The deer were probably bred for both hunting and for meat. The Earl Warrene also had a large vaccary or cattle farm here. The Lord's keeper of the park lived in the forest. The Earl received 100 shillings per annum from tenants in the Sowerby manor to send pigs into the wood for food19. Surnames such as, Hunter and Forrester appeared in the 1300's. The chief forester for the forest of Sowerby in 1275 was John de Miggeley who resided at Hathershelf, now a farm west of Sowerby.

In 1313 it is recorded that the 8th earl, John de Warenne had a garden at Sowerby.40

On the first year of entry 1274, for the Wakefield Manor Court Rolls  a John de Miggeley (sic) is fined 12 pence for calling another man a usurer.
Perhaps the same John de Miggeley on 22nd November 1274 (Ed I) was made surety for a man who helped to eat a stag, stolen from the forest of Sowerby19. Even Sir Richard de Thornhill was charged in the same year with hunting the Earls stags at Sowerby, he was later pardoned. In the same year John de Miggeley, the forester of Sowerbyshire [the forest of Hardwick] was residing at Hathershelf now located by Hatheshelf Lane east of Sowerby.
In 1296 a John de Midgley was fined two shillings for carrying away the Earl of Warenne's timber19. At a criminal court (Tourn) in 1307 one juryman was Adam de Midgley. Jurymen were usually trusted community members. In 1313 Adam at Townend, Midgley was mentioned in the Wakefield Court Rolls regarding a tree from the Lord's forest needed to repair a house19.
On October 18th 1314, in a court at Halifax, a John de Miggelay was charged with receiving two oaks worth ten shillings to repair a chapel and kitchen built by the earl's grandfather. Not having completed the work he had to pay twenty shillings19.
By the late 1300's the fencing for Sowerby Park was in disrepair and it was said that the park held as many sheep as deer, this could have been the result of demands being made by Edward I on the manpower in Yorkshire for the fight against Scotland22.
About 1332, Edward Baliol resided at Sandal Castle with John 8th Earl Warenne whilst an army was raised to establish him on the throne of Scotland. Edward was the son of John Baliol (1249-1315) who had competed with Robert de Bruce for the Scottish throne. Edward I decided in John Baliol's favour but John only reigned four years before Edward deposed him, eventually banishing him to Normandy.
John's son Edward Baliol recovered his fathers kingdom in 1332 and was upheld by Edward III whilst very unpopular for having relinquished south Scotland to England.
In 1336 John 8th Earl Warenne was created Earl of Strathearn by  Edward Baliol, king of Scotland as a reward for his help.
In 1449 during the reign of Henry VI when Richard Duke of York was Lord of the Manor, the park was dispaled and the land rented out for farming.
Following the removal of the fence, Erringden became a separate township but the strip around the perimeter known as the Sowerby Ramble still remained part of Sowerby township.
The boundary of Sowerby Ramble was marked with large stones in which was carved a letter S and many of these stones still survive. About the middle of the last century Sowerby Ramble was absorbed by Erringden. Sowerby Ramble can still be found on older maps. There is some speculation regarding the eastern boundary of the park. It is generally shown as following Elphin Brook before crossing the stream at Mytholmroyd but there is evidence to suggest that a substantial area within Sowerby township in the Hall Lane area lies to the east of the stream. This area is located at the end of the old road from Sowerby township and could well have been a rendezvous and camp site for hunting parties. The survival of some of the S marked boundary stones around this area support this theory13.

Coat of Arms for Wyllem Marmyim, 1280 with vair pattern.In 1138 The Battle Of The Standard  was fought near Northallerton between King David of Scotland and The English under Geoffrey of Anjou, the Scots were defeated but in the negotiations which followed David gained almost the whole of Northumberland.1 In this year Earl Warenne died (probably at Northallerton) and willed the church at Halifax to the monks (O.E. munuc) of Lewes in Sussex where he held his seat at Reigate Castle. 
Checky Seal of John Warrene's time The Lordship and manor of Wakefield included almost the whole of the Calder Valley from Normanton through Wakefield, Dewsbury and Halifax to the borders of Lancashire. The estates remained in the Warenne's hands for eight generations, about 300 years, until the last legitimate male heir, John 8th Earl de Warenne , died in 1347.

Red-Shanked Robbers
"FROM 1311, the Northern counties were greatly harassed by Scottish incursions, wars, and plagues. All the immediate neighbourhood from Skipton to Bradford was ransacked in 1316 by bands of red-shankedrobbers from Scotland, who not content with robbing and murdering the inhabitants, maliciously burnt what they could not carry away.
In that year a soldier had to be provided by each township [village] to join the
army against Scotland, but the failure at Bannockburn was but the beginning of distress. Repeated depredations were followed by a great famine, when children were kidnapped and eaten.
Sandal Magna castle was rebuilt here, probably by the earl of Lancaster in about 1320 (Edward III's reign) probably to secure the district.
In 1332 one of the most disastrous Scottish incursions to this district took place, and the scarcity of labourers added to the scarcity of money, led to a general depreciation in land. Labourers were not to be obtained, so wages became higher; and serfs absconded to become free men.

In 1340 at Wakefield the Chantry Chapel of St. Mary was built  on the old Wakefield Bridge and is one of the only four still surviving in England. The great pestilence reached European countries from Asia  and spread right across Europe reaching England in 1349. It spread desolation everywhere.
Consternation reigned for some months-rents were uncollected; courts suspended in several Yorkshire manors; half the priests died; the poorest suffered more severely. This terrible Black Death was succeeded in 1379 by another plague in Airedale. The population was never lower in number or prosperity than at this time, and the subsidies imposed by the king and his parliaments were outrageously heavy.
We are able to give two of these, and thus discover the names of the wealthier men residing here in those dark days, but the most interesting list is afforded by the Poll Tax fifty years later. These heavy burdens were then extended to every householder and person of sixteen years of age, except the clergy and slaves. The insolent and exacting manner in which they were collected roused Wat Tyler and others to rebellion, they were branded as 'Roberdsmen'. A silver groat (4d.) was equal to 10s. of our money probably, and where there were two or three children over 16 to pay for it was insupportable."3

The Lancastrian Revolt
Thomas Plantagenet [b. ~1278 d. 1322], 2nd Earl of Lancaster who married into the De Laci line and therefore gained Pontefract, had taken possession of the manor of Wakefield from Lord Warenne 8th Earl.14
Thomas had become very powerful in the North, gaining the Earldoms of Lincoln [acc. 1294], Salisbury, Leicester 8th in 1298] and Derby. He could therefore feel confidant about challenging the king, Edward the II his cousin. Thomas was one if not the leader of the 'Lords Ordainers" so called because they "issued ordinances for the better government of the realm". However they really were jealous of Piers Gaveston's influence on the king and were really concerned solely for their own interests. Thomas and the other barons tried to force the king to dismiss his favourite confidante, Piers Gaveston, (who was probably homosocial). In 1310 they drew up ordinances to restrict Edward II's powers. Thomas attempted to get Edward II to adopt reforms, ostensibly to help his peasant tenants who were badly affected by famine, it is estimated that in the early 1300's about 15% of the population died as a result of starvation.
The king agreed to reforms but then changed his mind, Edward II was apparently indifferent to the deaths caused by famines.
"We are historians we believe no one"

In 1311 Thomas and fellow Ordainers banished Gaveston and when he returned to England, had him killed in 1312. Thomas was eventually forgiven by Edward II for he too was a Plantagenet, receiving the king's full pardon in October 1313..
Later in 1313 Thomas refused to accompany Edward II on campaign in Scotland and after Bannockburn in 1314 rested control of England from Edward III32
In 1318 the king and Thomas reconciled once again and campaigned together in Scotland, but they failed to regain Berwick from the Scots. Many towns suspected Thomas of conniving with Scotland and King Robert Bruce I to further his own political ends.
In 1321 Thomas led a force to London and made Edward II dismiss the Despencers [father & son]
As a result of Edward II's failures, in 1321 and again in 1322 Lancaster attempted to call a parliament at Doncaster but to no avail.  Consequently, in March 1322 Lancaster mounted a rebellion.  However the barons were not as united as they had been in Edward I's reign and Thomas's army which marched north to join with Robert the Bruce's army on the 15th of March 1322 had only travelled 50 miles when it was defeated by the king's forces at Boroughbridge. [Burton-on-Trent according to Hallam but then she or her sources appear incorrect on a number of issues regarding the Warennes 32]
Thomas had been ambushed by Sir Andrew Harclay and his bowmen, showers of arrows had scattered the knights, cavalry and footsoldiers.
Lancaster took refuge in a local chapel but the army took him from the altar steps to York and then back to his seat at Pontefract Castle.
Following the battle John regained some of his estates, he recovered the remainder in 1326 when he supported Edward II during Isabella's invasion. In 1327 when Edward II was forced to abdicate, John made his peace with Isabella32.

Bitter rivalry must have existed between the De Laci family of Pontefract and the Warennes at Conisbrough and Reigate in the early 1300's.
Alice the Countess of Lancaster (of the De Laci line) was abducted forcibly from her husband's castle at Pontefract whilst he was still alive, by the Earl Warenne of Conisbrough, probably with the connivance of Edward II, Edward was much despised by noble and commoner alike.
She was taken to the Warennes Castle at Reigate in Surrey. This gave rise to a private war between the houses of Lancaster and Warenne.

Later, as already stated, Alice's husband Thomas Earl of Lancaster surrendered to Edward II at Boroughbridge and was tried at Pontefract and beheaded outside the castle walls for treason on the 23rd March 1322.
One of the judges at Lancaster's trial at Pontefract was John Earl Warenne, to whom Edward II returned Sandal Castle and manor.
A fellow Yorkshire baron, Robert de Clifford of Skipton was hung in chains in York Castle tower. The people determined Thomas was a martyr and called him "St. Thomas", declaring miracles at his tomb and "St. Thomas" as a watchword for liberty. All the estates of the Earl of Cumberland including the former De Laci estates were forfeited to the crown5.
At about this time John de Warenne began rebuilding Sandal Castle in stone (the ruins seen today), being the last castle built in England which included a state-of-the-art defence system.
It was at this time that many of Thomas's followers were outlawed and fled to forests such as Barnsdale, and may be the time when a person of these "Contrariants" called Robertus Hode of Wakefield appeared as a leader against the king14.


A Thomas de Midgley of Halifax appears associated with the Stansfield family of Stansfield Hall, Todmorden when his daughter Agnes married Edmund de Stansfield. This marriage is estimated from other associated genealogies  to have occurred in the first half of the 1300's. Thomas may be the progenitor of family lines of Midgleys, spreading out from Halifax and surrounding areas into The West Riding. Stansfeld (Stansfield) is claimed to have been granted to the Norman, Wyan  Maryons (created Lord Stansfield) a follower of earl Warenne, by King William I early after the conquest.

From 1348 to 1349 about half the population of England died from "The Black Death" or great pestilence, some villages were wiped out altogether. It took another 200 years for the population to rise to that of 13481

Reverts to the Crown
King Edward  III granted, in 1360, the manor of Wakefield and estates to his own youthful son Edmund de Langley (Edmund Plantagenet),whom he also made Earl of Cambridge and ultimately the First Duke of York, Edmund was later to die, some say at Agincourt (1415) - unlucky as only about 100 English combatants died here, whilst 10 times that number of French fell. Included with the Lordship of Wakefield were Sandal castle on the river Calder and Conisbrough castle on the river Don and all other possessions of the Earls of Warenne to the north of the River Trent.
At some point during Edward III's reign, prior to 1355, a William de Midgley was knighted and given a large area of land near Wakefield.

In 1371 during the 45th year of King Edward III's reign the Wakefield Manor Court Rolls record that  John de Midgley was the Constable for Midgley. This may be the same John Midgley who in a return was said to have the occupation of a "cisor" or woollen cloth maker19. Being elected a constable would be a trusted position for a person of some standing in the community who would keep law & order.

In 1381 a Poll Tax was taken and gives details for The West Riding inhabitants. As a result of this tax there was a revolt which "set the country ablaze from coast to coast"

Later Lords of the Manor
In 1449 during the reign of Henry VI, Richard Duke of York was Lord of the Manor of Wakefield.
About 1469 the Luddenden Church was built at Midgley (rebuilt in 1860) during the reign of Edward IV and it is from about 1463 that woollen manufacture is introduced into Halifax which causes a rapid upsurge in the local wool production. In the following century the number of houses in Halifax grew from 15 to 520, a time of prosperity  following the Battle of Wakefield Green (1460) and the Battle of Towton (1461) during the "Wars of The Roses".

From Yorkshire Dictionary 1822:
Wakefield and Sandal
In 1460, a bloody battle was fought at this place between Richard,
Duke of York, and Margaret, [Lancastrian] the Queen of Henry VI.  The Duke had not been in his Castle of Sandal with his men, more than two days before the Queen approached, at the head of 18,000 men [some say 20,000], and much sooner than the Duke expected.
[Richard Duke of York had declared himself king and entered Sandal Castle on December 21st  with a force estimated to be around 3000 to 5000 men]
She appeared before the Castle with a small party of her army,
and tauntingly upbraided him with being afraid to face a woman.  Her insults repeated, the Duke could refrain no longer, but four days after his arrival,drew up his men upon the Green facing Wakefield, and after marching a little way down the hill, the battle began.
It should seem that two detachments were sent to lie in ambush to attack the Duke in the rear.  It is, however, certain that the Duke was deceived in the number of the Queen's troops.
The ambush parties were commanded by the Earl of Wiltshire, and Lord Clifford.  These two parties attacking the Duke on the right and left at the same moment, quickly surrounded him.  The battle lasted half an hour, and it is probable that the Duke was killed, about 400 yards from the Castle, by Clifford who had sworn destruction to every member of the House of York.  He, however, cut off the Duke's head when slain, placed on it a paper crown, and carried it on a pole to the Queen, who, rejoicing as much as himself, caused it to be placed on the walls of York.  In this fatal conflict fell Sir John and Sir Hugh Mortimer, the Duke's uncles, Sir David Hall, Sir Hugh Hastings, Sir Thomas Neville, and about 2800 men.  The Earl of Salisbury, Sir Richard Limbric, and others, were taken prisoners and beheaded, and their heads placed on Micklegate Bar, York.  --Hall --Holingshed --Rapin.

The Earl of Rutland [Edmund, Richard of York's son], a child of 12 years old, probably remained in the Castle with his tutor, Mr. Aspell; but when the battle was lost, he fled for safety, without knowing wither to fly.  The savage Clifford had intelligence; in a fright the child ran into the house of an old woman, near the bridge, begging protection, which the woman durst not grant.  He then hastened down a footpath, by the river side; the furious Clifford overtook him and his tutor.  The child fell on his knees, wrung his hands, but could not speak.  The tutor begged for mercy to the child, but the monster, with more than savage ferocity, stabbed him to the heart.  The place where he fell is called The Fallings.
[Edmund's head, as with his father's was placed on the walls of York]

Edward IV. in commemoration of this battle, erected a beautiful
little Chapel upon the bridge, in which, two priests sung requiems for the souls of the slain.  The Chapel is ten yards long, and six yards wide.  One end of the building constitutes part of the bridge.  It is three stories high, and has nine rooms, three on each floor.  On the outside is curious Gothic work, but some of it is gone to decay.  The front is divided into compartments, with arches in relief; their spandrils are richly flowered, and over each compartment, are five shorter ones, with historical relics.
In one is a woman reclined, lamenting a youth, who, at her feet, sits wringing his hands:  this is probably the Earl of Rutland, begging
protection of the old woman at the foot of the bridge.  The buttresses are beautifully carved, the windows have a rich tracery, and the whole has a charming effect.  Since the priests left it, the place has often changed its use.  --Hutton.

The manor of Wakefield estates remained in the hands of the house of the Plantagenet kings with occasional intervals of forfeiture during civil war until the murder of the youthful Richard Duke of York and his brother Edward V ("The Princes in the Tower") when King Richard III lost his life and the English crown at the Battle of Bosworth Field, 1485. The manor and Lordship was then held by the crown from Henry VII to Charles I See Saxton's map of Elizabethan West Yorkshire 1577.
In 1624/5 at the beginning of Charles I's reign, the manors of Wakefield and Halifax were granted to Henry Rich who had been created earl of Holland [Lincolnshire] on the 24th September. In 1607, Henry had a large house and park built, then just outside London, that after ~ 1624 took its name, Holland House, from his chosen title. However, Henry and his father, Robert were beheaded on the 9th March 1649 by parliament for attempting to restore King Charles who was also beheaded in the same year. Henry and his wife Isabel had four sons and five daughters.38 Henry Rich's daughter* Penelope held the manor of Wakefield from the time of her marriage [perhaps ~mid 1630's] to Sir Gervase Clifton of Clifton, a Nottinghamshire Baronet. * J. Horsfall Turner says she was the daughter of Robert Rich, earl of Warwick who had been granted the manor. [History of Brighouse, Raistrick and Hipperholme, p. 43.]

                                             Robert Rich=============Penelope Devereaux
                                            1st earl of Warwick    |                    d. of Elizabeth I's favourite
                                             Executed 1649                                Walter Devereaux, earl of Essex
         |                                                                                                                      |
        Robert                                                                                                  Henry Rich===============================Isabel Cope
                                                                                                            earl of Warwick, 1st earl Holland        |
                                                                                                                        d. 1649
                                                                                                                            |                                                                                             |
                                                                                                                      Robert Rich                                                        
Penelope Rich===== Sir Gervase Clifton of Clifton, Notts.
                                                                                                                     2nd earl Holland                                                       d. 1613                                d.1666


John Midgley of Headley [b~1570, d 1642] was appointed deputy steward28 of the manor of Wakefield, during the time of Henry Rich, 1st earl of Holland, in 1639 [Baron Pontefract, Viscount Savile was high steward for life]. John was an attorney, principally a conveyancer, who by 1602 referred to himself  as a gentleman. At the same time he considerably enlarged Headley Hall, Thornton. In the year before he was appointed deputy steward he became an armiger and lord of Thornton probably having acquired considerable lands in this district. 

John the deputy steward had at least two children, John Midgley the younger [d. 1669] and Mary. Mary married John Murgatroyd of East Riddlesden and Hollins [aka Murgatroyd], Luddenden. John Murgatroyd was an  older brother of Thomas Murgatroyd of Kershaw House, Luddenden. John who died in 1669 had a son , Josias [Of Headley Hall, lord of Thornton]. In 1695 Mr. Josias Midgley of Headley subscribed 3 pounds with others to purchase the vicarage house in Goodmansend.41  Midgleyana also tells us that in 1715 the whole of the Headley estate together with the manor of Thornton was sold by Josias Midgley to John Cockcroft, a Bradford attorney who had married Ann Ferrand. Following the enclosure acts which enclosed the moors and wastelands in 1771 the manor was dispersed. Records show that one of the largest freeholders of an enclosure allotment was made to a Miss Midgley. Some say that Josias [d. 1718] was the last Lord Midgley of the manor of Thornton but technically it was Josias' son, the armigerous William Midgley, the curate of Sowerby who died of the 'palsie' [paralysis], predeceasing his father in 1706. 

William's 'Coat of Arms appear in Halifax Parish Church cut on a blue stone within a raised border, painted over, and fixed to the north wall of the Rokeby Chapel. This lies beneath the second window from the west where are found the arms in memory of Mary Midgley, who died 7th November 1704, daughter of William Midgley, M.A., curate of Sowerby, who died on 10th May, 1706, and according to Watson, late of Headley near Thornton, Bradford. William the Curate is also described as "Mr. William Midgley the minister at Sowerby who died on the 7th May 1706 aged about 30 of the "palsie" (paralysis). [Dickenson's Register-burials.]


William had at least three children, John of Scholesmoor and Horton, an attorney [b~1675, d. 1730.] and Mary and Martha who both died young. John of Scholesmoor etc. carried the arms sable, two bars gemels argent, on a chief argent, three calraps sable and married Bathsheba Hollins. John James pointed out that "there is a handsome mural monument of marble, bearing the above arms, and those of Hollings, at the east end of the north aisle of Bradford Church, to the memmory (sic) of John Midgley of Scolemore, gentleman, who died 23rd of June, 1730, aged 55 years, and of Bathsheba his wife, daughter of John Hollings of Crossley-hall, who died August 29, 1736, aged 49. From the words (in the Latin inscription" 'Juris et Legum peritium' I infer he was an attorney."42

The last siege Sandal Castle sustained was in the civil wars of Charles I.t. Col. Bonivant held it for the King, and surrendered to the arms of Parliament, in the month of October, 1645. when the Castle and garrison fell to parliamentarian forces. In 1646 it was dismantled, by the order of Parliament.

In 1663 the estates were purchased by Sir Christopher Clapham.

About 1695  Dr. Samuel Midgley (son of William Midgley who was buried 21st August 1695) wrote a history book "Hallifax and its Gibbett Law Placed in a True Light"  Samuel was a man of letters, who practised "Physic" in Halifax for a long time, but he was imprisoned for debt in York Castle in 1684. He was incarcerated in Halifax jail three times for debt and on his last sojourn in order to help pay his debts he wrote his treatise and thereafter, shortly died in jail on the 18th of July 1695 and was buried at Coley Chapel aged 66. A William Bentley assumed the authorship as a result of Samuel's untimely death and had it published under his own name.

In 1700 the estates were sold to the first Duke of Leeds as Lord of the manor, which  was still held by this family in 18222

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Link to directly download:
Baine's History (2.5 Mb pdf file)
Crowther's History (1.1Mb pdf file)

  1. Rayner R.M., A Concise History of Britain, p97, 1934
  2. Topographical Dictionary of Yorkshire, Wakefield 1822.
  3. History of Bingley
  4. Bedingfield Henry, Heraldry, Bison Group 1993
  5. Pratt Rev. C.T., History of Cawthorne, 1881.
  6. The History of the Principal  Cities &Towns of Yorkshire
  7. Banks, W.S., Walks in Yorkshire, Wakefield and Neighbourhood, Longmans, London.
  8. Waller B., Wakefield, Field & Innes.
  9. I.G.I. - The International Genealogical Index 1994 version.
10. The Dalesman, February 1976 p.870
11. Relics of the Ancient Mother tongue  The Dalesman, December 1976,p.709
12. A Dictionary of Place Names, West Riding, Halifax, 1822.
13. Calderdale Family History Society.
14.Phillips G. & Keatman M. Robin Hood The Man behind the Myth, 1995.quoting Joseph Hunter.
15. Taylor Thomas. The History of Wakefield, The Rectory Manor, 1886.
16. Thomas Baines,Yorkshire Past and Present.
17. Crowther G., A Descriptive History of the Wakefield Battles.
18. Watson's Halifax, 1775.
19. Midgley, John Franklin. Midgleyana, . LMills Litho Pty Ltd. Cape Town, South
      Africa, 1968, taken from Wakefield Court Rolls.
20. The Wakefield Court Rolls for 1274-97
21. Schama, Simon. A History of Britain, BBC Publications, 2000.
22. Bulmer's Gazeteer for 1892, A History of Yorkshire.
23. The Yorkshire Dictionary-GENUKI
24. Walker, J.W. The True History of Robin Hood, 1952.
25. Harris, P.V. The Truth about Robin Hood, 1951.
26. Hunter, Joseph. The Ballad Hero:Robin Hood, London, 1852.
27. Walker, Sheridan, Sue; Wakefield Court Rolls vol. III,  1331-3, Yorkshire Archaeological Society, Leeds, 1982.
28. The Bradford Antiquary, issue 4, 1989. pp. 44-52.
29. Andrews, Allen. Kings & Queens of England & Scotland, Times Media, 2000.
30. Faull, M. L., & Stinson, M. (Eds.), Domesday Book For the County of Yorkshire,
      Phillimore, Chichester,1986.
31. Early Yorkshire Charters, Y.A.S. Record Series, viii, 2-5 & 238-241
32. Hallam, Elizabeth [Ed.], The Plantagenet Encyclopaedia, Tiger Books, London, 1996.
34. MacDonald, Micheil. The Clans of Scotland, Brian Trodd, London, 1991.
35. Planche, J.R. The Conqueror and His Companions, Tinsley Bros., London, 1874.
Butler, Lawrence. Sandal Castle Wakefield. Wakefield Historical Publications, 1991.

37. Watson, John. The History and Antiquities of Halifax. 1775.
38. Midgley, Samuel. History of Halifax, 1789, p. 71.

39. Hunter, Joseph. South Yorkshire, vol. ii. p. 424.

40. Wakefield Court Rolls 1313-1316, p. 144.

41. James, John. History of Bradford and its Parish, (1866) . p. 205.

42. Ibid.,  p, 331, footnote.

Useful References if you can find them:
* Lloyd, L.E., The Original Family of Warenne, Y.A.J. XXXI (1934), 97-113
* Watson, John; Memoirs of the Ancient Earls of Warren and Surrey, 1782. Watson's  book is now [Oct 2003] available in a twin volume CD version from Tom Burch it has a searchable text which is hyper-linked to photographs of all the original pages  with all the portraits and heraldry.

Wakefield and District Family History Society

Copyright ©Tim Midgley 1999, revised 26th March 2024.