Initial M from St. Mark's Gospelidgley near Wakefield

Midgley Vista

Midgley, sometimes called Little Midgley, lies to the S.W. of Wakefield on the A637 between Barnsley and Huddersfield in the parish of  Thornhill. The village or hamlet is at an elevation of  150 metres overlooking the Calder Valley which lies to the north. Little Midgley is sometimes confused with Midgley near Halifax. [As in Y. A. J., vol. 7, p. 425]

Following the Norman invasion the surrounding area which was held by the English king, Edward the Confessor was lost and became part of the manor of Wakefield under William I himself who later bestowed the lands to the Warrenes of Sussex who had accompanied William at the invasion.
That there are two settlements called Midgley in West Yorkshire has been somewhat of a puzzle but this duplication of village names is by no means uncommon in Yorkshire or indeed, England. 'Little Midgley' near Wakefield is first recorded in the Yorkshire Charter Rolls 1160-1175 as the place-name Midgelaia. This name appears to have a Norman origin from the French-Norman, Miggeley which  latter spelling also appears in the Episcopal Registers in 1234. This is differenced from  the Anglian named village of Miclei near Halifax. See Sir William de Miggeley
In fact Midgley near Wakefield did not exist at the time of the Norman invasion or the Domesday Book, but may have taken its name from the Norman-French who settled here sometime in the late 1100's, during the reign of King Henry I Beauclerc the first Norman king born in England. [b. Selby]. Flockton [Flochetone] appears to be the closest vill at the time.

The Domesday entry for Flockton in 1086, Midgley Nr. Wakefield did not exist.

It is apparent that the medieval manor of Sitlington was composed of four hamlets:

1. Chylington / Chylyngton [1316], Middle Sitlington [132622],  Myddleston in 1551, now Middlestown.

2. Over [Upper] Sitlington, now Overton.

3. Nether Sitlington, now Netherton.

4. Parvam Migelheiam [1150-1170], Migelaia, Migelie [1160-1175; 1226], Litle Migeleia [1170-1185], Miggeley [1234], now Midgley. [Farrer, W., Early Yorkshire Charters, vol. III, 1916, pp. 360-365.]

It is thought that Nether Sitlington, Middle Sitlington and Over Sitlington are a result of the division of land between three co-heiresses.

The Midgley township, further west near Halifax, is recorded in the Domesday Book and was part of the manor of Wakefield's western division held by the Warrenes, while Midgley near Wakefield appears later in the 1100's as part of the De Lacy Fee, under the 'honour of Pontefract' once held by the De Laci family of Pontefract. One branch of the De Lacis were the FitzWilliams of Sprotbrough near Doncaster who were lords of nearby Emley. Emley was part of the Warrene lands of the manor of Wakefield.
The area around Midgley near Wakefield appears to have been part of the manor of Cawthorne held at the time of the conquest by an Anglian called Ailric.  Ilbert de Laci (of Lassy in Normandy) was granted the Cawthorne estates in 1067, which covered a wide area mainly to the south and east of the Warrene estates of the manor of Wakefield. It would appear that the Calder Valley estates of the former English King were divided between the two families by William I to prevent any ascendancy and power over himself.3 

Midgley near Wakefield lay within the administrative area known as the honour of Pontefract, held until 1311 by the De Laci lineage with its centre at Pontefract Castle. In the Domesday Book the nearby Sitlington lay within the manor of Wakefield. Thus both villages with the same name of 'Midgley' were in separate feudal administrative regions. This seems to be related to the Anglian name derivation for the western Midgley township found in the Domesday Book and the medieval  name derivation for the eastern Midgley hamlet of West Yorkshire that appeared later.

Honour of Pontefract and the Wakefield Manor

               The honour of Pontefract shown in relation to the manor of Wakefield, West Yorkshire

Purple = The honour of Pontefract                     Blue = The manor of Wakefield

Somewhere between 1145-1160 the wife of Peter son of Essulf de Thornhill, Emma de Lascelles granted land in Sitlington and Flockton to the monks of Rievaulx:

1724. Grant by Emma, wife of Peter son of Assulf, to the monks of Rievaulx of 2 carucates in 'Shitlingtona et in Floketona' with common rights. 1145-1160.
From the evidences of Sir Francis Wortley, 1637 ; Dodsw. MS. Ixii, f. K1d.

Omnibus sancte matris ecclesie filiis Emma uxor Petri filii Assolfi salutem. Sciatis me dedisse et hac presenti charta confirmasse
Deo et ecclesie Sancte Marie Rievallis et monachis ibidem Deo servientibus, pro anima patris mei et matris mee et pro anima mea et viri et omnium parentum nostrorum, in puram et perpetuam elemosinam, duas carucatas terre in Shitlingtona et in Floketona, et communem pasturam utriusque ville predicte, et in bosco et in piano, intus et extra, per omnia, et locum ad construendam grangiam ubi eis placuerit. Hec omnia dedi et concessi eis libere et quiete tenenda ab omni terreno servitio et consuetudine seculari imperpetuum. Hiis testibus, Ada capellano, Paul[in]o clerico de Ledes, magistro Willelmo de Grentavill, Willelmo clerico filio Petri, et aliis. [Farrer, W., Early Yorkshire Charters.Vol. III, 1916, p. 361.]

This grant appears to have begun a tradition in Essulf's eldest descendants, of granting privileges to the monks of Rievaulx.

Take your pickMidgley near Wakefield lies on a geological formation called the Middle Coal Measures where there are seams of coal and  self fluxing ironstone close to the surface which have been worked in the past. Coal is recorded as being dug at Alverthorpe and Stanley in 1338 and 1340 respectively. [W.C.R. 1338-1340.] There is a large area of at least twenty-one shallow pit iron workings ("bell pits") one mile to the S.W. of Midgley at Woodhouse Farm. Bell pits for mining coal can also be seen in the vicinity of Newhall Farm near Midgley. These bell pits date back to the 1200's before Sheffield was using local iron ores and charcoal from the forested areas to manufacture knives in the 1300's. The iron ore was mined from what is now known as the Tankersley Seam which was interbedded with local coal seams, this iron ore ran in a band of about 35cm in thickness. Wood for preparing the charcoal was used by the monks of Rievaulx Abbey to smelt the ore into iron in local furnaces at what is now considered to be Blacker Beck N.E. of Little Midgley.  


                                       Blacker Beck, the probable location for the smithies of Rievaulx Abbey.


Timber was taken from Bank Wood [Furnace Grange] between Emley and Midgley and later from Cannon Greve [at nearby Cawthorne] where it was being sold in the 1300's as fuel for smelting iron ore5. The original grant for this privilege given to these monks was granted by Adam son of Peter FitzEssulf [also known as Peter de Sitlington, de Birkin, de Flockton, de Preston and in the Pontefract Chartulary, 'Petri de Migelaya']:

1722. Demise at fee farm by Adam son of Peter, with the consent of Matilda (de Cauz) his wife and Robert his son, to the church of Rievaulx of 30 acres of land in 'Sitlintona', namely 20 acres in Brerirode and 20 acres in the wood called 'Litle Migeleia', for 5s. yearly rent. 1170-1185. Chartul. of Rievaulx, Jul. D. i, f. 56. Pd. in Chartul. of R., n. 93.

The original grant in Latin:
Notum sit omnibus qui viderint vel audierint litteras has tarn presentibus quam futuris quod ego Adam films Petri concessi et dimisi et hac present! carta mea confirmavi ecclesie et monachis Sancte Marie Rievallis, concessu et bona voluntate Matildis uxoris mee et Roberti filii mei et aliorum filiorum meorum, in liberum et perpetuum feudum, xxx acras terre in territorio de
Sitlintona, scilicet x acras in loco qui vocatur Breriroda et xxtj in bosco qui dicitur Litle Migeleia versus occidentem, tenendas imperpetuum liberas et quietas ab omni terreno servitio et exactione seculari reddendo michi et heredibus meis vque solidos singulis annis ad festum Sancti Martini pro omnibus servitiis et nichil amplius ; et ipsi utentur eadem terra per omnia sicut voluerint. Hec omnia ego et heredes mei warantizabimus illis contra omnes homines
in perpetuum. His testibus : Adam et Ricardo capellanis de Birkina, Matheo filio Saxei, Jordano filio Essolf, Adam filio Orm, Hereberto filio Ricardi, Rogero de Lokedena, Johanne et Petro filiis meis, Willelmo castellano, Roberto filio Haldani. [Farrer, W. Early Yorkshire Charters, Vol. III, 1916, p. 360.]

Peter is described by Farrer as 'an Englishman' while his wife, Emma de Lascelles is 'A Lady of Norman blood'. [Early Yorkshire Charters, vol III, p. 358]

The chemical process in the bloomery or furnace involved the following steps:

  1.   2C+ O2 = 2CO  oxidation of the carbon to carbon monoxide
  2.   CaCO3 = CaO + CO2  calcium carbonate is decomposed to calcium oxide
  3.   Fe2O3 + 3CO = 2Fe + 3CO2  reduction of the iron oxide to iron using CO from step 1.
  4.    SiO2 + CaO = CaSiO3  formation of slag from silica gangue and calcium oxide formed in 2.

The iron ingots were transported along a packhorse route from Emley along Thorncliffe and Lezzes Lanes to a ford in Bank Wood then through Midgley to the River Calder, across the River Calder to Horbury and York, some travelling by boat down-river to Selby.
This movement of raw iron [pig iron] between Emley and the River Calder probably led to the development of a smithy industry in Midgley, from which originated the production of wrought iron and devices known as caltraps or devil-thorns as used in warfare. Consequently this device became a charge on the Midgley coat of arms.

A caltrap from Skipton Castle Museum 

A devil-thorn

Midgley, as Migelaia, and surrounding villages may owe their presence to the exploitation of these iron ore deposits from the late 1100's. The Bentley Grange and Emley spoil heaps overlie medieval cultivated strips this indicates that the strips pre-date the Domesday Book and belong to the Anglian and Danish settlement patterns of the 800-900's.  It was common before water power to site furnaces on moor-land where the winds would assist their work ['bloomeries']. The ores from the Tankersley ironstone bed were low in sulfur, unlike the coal, which made them easily smelted, especially where the iron oxides were mixed with calcium carbonate or were present as siderite. The iron ores lead to the appearance of chalybeate springs in the area. Coal was ignored until the 1200's4  
Monasteries  such as Byland, Fountains and Rievaulx ran mines in the area. 


Adam was called, and calls himself at different times, de Birkin, de Falthwaite, de Flockton, de Middleton, de Midgley, de Sitlington, and de Stainburgh, for he had interests in all those places, most of which he had received with his wife. [Holmes, Pont. Chart. vol. II, p. 396.] Sometime before 1150/9 Adam FitzPeter, grandson of Essulf, granted a place to build forges on the River Dove at Stainborough, one of the earliest such grants known in England, perhaps the beginning of the iron industry in the Don Valley. (Williams, Cistercians p. 375; History of the Baildons. p.27.) whilst Rievaulx Abbey was given a monopoly for iron working. 

The location of the grant by Peter's son Adam  I have found to be an error taken from a speculative note by Farrer where he has interpreted 'Blakeker ' in the original Latin grant as Blacker near Worsborough. However it is clear from the text  [See grant 1754 below] that this 'Blakeker ' is far more likely to be the present site of Blacker Wood and Blacker Beck N.E. of Little Midgley only a few kilometres N.E. of the iron ore workings at Emley. 


The grant is copied from Farrer's work:

1728. Grant by Adam son of Peter to the monks of Rievaulx of Blacker for the site of iron smithies, and iron ore in his part of Sitlington and Flockton, dead wood for charcoal there, 20 acres between Little Midgley and the brook of Emley, pasturage of the above-said towns, and licence to construct a mill with a pool at Blacker. 1150-1170. Chartulary of Rievaulx, Jul. D. i, f. 57d (old f. 61d). Pd. in Chartulary of Rievaulx. n.95.

Omnibus sancte matris ecclesie filiis Adam filius Petri salutem. Noverit universitas vestra me dedisse ecclesie Sancte Marie Rievallis et monachis ibidem Deo servientibus xv acras terre in loco qui vocatur
Blakeker ad construendas favercas suas in quibus facient ferrum et utensilia necessaria domui Rievallensi et totam mineriam territorii de Siclintona et territorii de Flocktug ex parte mea et totum mortuum boscum earundem villarum ad usus predictarum favercarum, ita ut nullus alius favercam habeat ad ferrum faciendum in his predictis locis nee mineriam nee carbonem asportet extra territorium predictarum villarum. Preterea dedi eis xx acras terre inter Parvam Migelheiam et rivulum de Emeleia, et communem pasturam antedictarum villarum per omnia, exceptis segetibus et pratis, et vias et semitas per totum campum et boscum, libere et quiete, scilicet ad iij equos et iiij or boves et v vaccas et xx porcos et pannagium ad eosdem porcos per totum boscum similiter ex parte mea. Insuper concede eis libere et quiete firmare stagnum suum ad molendinum faciendum in terra mea super rivulum qui currit juxta Blakeker et deducere rivulos fontium in stagnum prefatum. Hec omnia dedi eis concessu matris mee et omnium heredum meorum, pro anima patris mei et matris mee et pro anima mea et uxoris pee et omnium parentum nostrorum, in'puram et perpetuam elemOsinam liberam et quietam ab omni consuetudine et servitio seculari et placitis et geldis et auxiliis et assisis. Hanc elemosinam meam ego et heredes mei warantizabimus predictis monachis Rievallensibus contra omnes homines in perpetuum. His testibus, Alexandro abbate de Kirkestal,Serlone monacho ejus, Adam capellano, Paulino clerico, magistro Willelmo, Thoma filio Petri et Willelmo et Rogero fratribus ejus, Willelmo de Wirkesleia, Willelmo Scotto, Willelmo Wahard, Reinero filio Ade, Helia filio Ricardi, Henrico Heenne, Thoma filio Thome, Adam de Prestona.

Farrer's Note:
"Blakeker" seems to be the place in Upper Hoyland now known as Over, Middle and Lower Blacker. Worsbrough adjoins it on the western side, the Dove flowing between. Consequently the ore and charcoal obtained in Flockton and Sitlington had to be brought a considerable distance to the smithy at Blacker.* Roger son of Peter joined with his brother in this gift by charter couched in similar terms, and attested by Simon de Fareburn, Ellis son of Richard, master Matthew the clerk, Adam son of Ketell, Roger le Noble, Roger son of Richard.1 His charter was also confirmed by Adam son of Peter and was attested by the last-named witnesses. [Farrer, W., Early Yorkshire Charters, vol. III, 1916, p. 363.]
* Again Blacker Beck, Blacker Wood, Blacker Hall Spring and Blacker Hall Farm are very little distance from the Emley iron ore pits. Evidently the water course was ponded here at 'Blacker'.


At about the same time Adam granted a charter to Pontefract, this included common pasture and the site for a grange with building materials at Sitlington:

1730. Grant by Adam son of Peter, for the health of the soul of Matilda his wife, to the monks of Pontefract of 1 bovate in Midgley (in Sitlington), being an 8th part of the same Midgley. 1160-1175. Chartul. of Pontefract, at Woolley Hall, f. 57. Pd. in Chartul. of Pontefr., n. 323.

Omnibus fidelibus sancte ecclesie filiis Adam, filius Petri salutem. Sciatis me dedisse et concessisse et hac presenti mea carta confirmasse Deo et Sancto Johanni et monachis Deo servientibus in
Pontefracto unam bovatam terre in Migelaia, scilicet octavam partem totius Migelie, in bosco et piano, in paschuis et pratis, in viis et semitis, in molendinis et cum omnibus pertinentiis suis, in puram et perpetuam elemosinam, liberam et quietam ab omni servitio et seculari exactione de me et de heredibus meis, pro remedio anime mee et patris mei et matris mee et uxoris mee Matildis et omnium antecessorum et heredum meorum et pro animabus omnium qui causa mei peccaverunt. Testante et concedente Roberto filio meo, et testibus hiis, Thoma filio Petri, Willelmo Campiun, Rainero Flamingo, Petro filio Ade, Huctredo de Birkewait, Roberto de Stivetuna, Johanne de Rorestona, Ricardo filio Laising, Rogero fratre suo et aliis. [Farrer, W., EARLY YORKSHIRE CHARTERS,vol. III, 1916, p. 365.]


In addition there were iron ore rights in Sitlington and Flockton and a licence to construct a pool. Land in Sitlington was granted to the monks to build a forge and to make implements for the community’s use. The community was given the right to make iron and use dead wood for charcoal making in Flockton and Sitlington. (Jennings, Yorkshire Monasteries, p. 75.) Charcoal was necessary to help to reduce the oxides of iron into relatively pure iron, coal being too full of impurities and coke, made from coal by dry distillation,  not yet invented.  However Holmes on his Pontefract Chartulary states that the afore-mentioned deed was cancelled in the Rievaulx Chartulary, ........ 'by diagonal lines from each corner meeting in the centre'. [Pont. Chart. p. 345n.] Later Adam added 30 acres to his Rievaulx endowments - 10 in 'Breriroda' [Bank Wood?] and 20 in the wood of Little Midgley [probably today's Stoney Cliffe Wood]. Adam also granted 1/8th of the vill of Midgley to the monks of St. John's in Pontefract.19

The FitzWilliam lord of Emley gave the Cistercian monks of Byland Abbey [near Thirsk] iron ore and enough fuel to supply one furnace here at Bentley Springs near Woodhouse Farm.11 Indeed, Byland Abbey held lands here from a number of local families. At Bentley Grange, where the Tankersley seam outcrops amongst the shallow coal seams are a large number of circular 'bell pits' [some have been obliterated by later strip mining]. These bell pits were dug by the monks of Byland between the 1100's and 1500's. Fountains Abbey, the Cistercian monastery was no exception running mines here for iron in the 1250's. Given all these endowments to the abbeys from this part of Yorkshire, the benefactors must now all be in heaven!
The area in the 1100-1400's was heavily forested forming part of the great forest which ran north from Nottingham to North Yorkshire. This area was inhabited by charcoal burners, foresters and fugitives who helped to fuel the Robyn Hode ballads. By the 1500's wood supplies were beginning to decline, the great forests were becoming depleted.

Sometime in the reign of King Henry III there is also a reference to Roger son of Peter de Midgley granting land in Midgley [nr. Wakefield] to Sir Ralph de Horbury:

318. Grant by Roger, son of Peter de Myggelay to Sir Ralf de Horbire [b ~ 1180 d. >1251] of a bovate of land in the vill and territory of Myggelay, once held by William son of Edward [de Midgley?), with pasture for all his beasts in the land of Scyttlinton [Sitlington] and Miggelay, except in the enclosures (exceptis defensis) of the heirs of Sir Roger de Byrkyn [Birkin]. In return Ralf gave Roger ten acres of land in Floketon [Flockton] with the appurtenances belonging to a bovate of land in Floketon, paying a yearly rent of a pound of pepper at Christmas to the heirs of Sir Roger de Birkin, and doing to the same heirs forinsec service as much as belonged to a bovate of land, where twenty carucates made a knight’s fee. Witnesses, Sir Adam de Preston, Sir John de Thornhill [son of Jordan de Thornhill, grandson of Essulf], Sir William de Bretton, John de Batelay, John de Deneby [Denby], Peter son of Lucy, Henry de Kyrkeby [Kirkby]. (Colonel Gascoigne.) [Y. A. S. Record Series vol. 39: Yorkshire Deeds, p. 115.]

This record suggests that for the Midgleys of Little Midgley, the succession was as follows:

Edward [?de Midgley] b. est. 1130
William [?de Midgley]
Peter de Midgley [b~1180, d. >1251]
Roger de Midgley

If so then Edward  [b. est. 1130] would be the earliest person known with the surname Midgley, probably active during the reign of King Stephen.

Dene Holes  marked by clumps of trees at Flockton near MidgleyIn 1515 at Flockton Edge, shallow coal pits (Day Holes* or Dene Holes) now marked by clumps of trees were worked. Others can be found in the vicinity of  New Hall Farm. The coal was taken from pits here where it outcrops on the steep valley sides. The pits are shallow because of the risk of the sides caving in. Some of the pits had short galleries extending out from the base similar to those found at the flint mines at Grimes Graves in NorfolkBy the 1530's the monasteries were being closed and the ownership was being transferred to protestant entrepreneurs. One such was the Kay family who bought lands near Honley from the Crown after the closure of the monasteries. They continued mining the coal that the monks had mined, using it to burn lime for the fields and in a smithy built in 15734 *sufficient to provide a family with coal day by day.

Towards the end of the 1500's coal began to be in greater demand, which was mainly used for making agricultural lime. Adits allowed the water to drain away from mines, but water was a big problem until pumps were available, so that bell-pits and day-holes could no longer be used. During the 1600's the Spencers of Cannon Hall, Cawthorne had iron production occurring at Bank Furnace in the parish of Thornhill.

During the Middle Ages (1100-1500) the village of Midgley became a hostelling point on the North Road [referred to from the 1100's as "The King's Highway"] from Halifax through West Bretton village to Barnsley and Wakefield with a packhorse route lying to the east from the Hathersage area in Derbyshire to Wakefield. No doubt this packhorse route carried many millions of woolpacks, which from the early Middle Ages, England's wealth depended upon.
The North Road or "King's Highway" was a pre-industrial age road running from the North (Hexham), through Barnard Castle, Richmond, Skipton, Keighley, Halifax, Darton, Barnsley, Rotherham, Nottingham and so south to London.

THE DE HORBURY FAMILY in the manor of Sitlington: Saxe held Horbury after the time of D.B. The two main lines of descent were through Matthew de Horbury and Philip de Sitlington Saxe's two sons.

                                                                                                  Saxe de Horbury



                                                                   |                                                                                                  |

                                                   Matthew de Horbury==Edith                                                       Philip de Sitlington

                                                                  |                                                                                                   | 


                                 |                     |                     |                         |                                                               |

           Sir Thomas de Horbury*  Jordan         William             Adam                                                      Adam 

                      of Midgley ==Agnes                                                                                                              |

                                          |                                                                                                                        Idonia

                                   Sir Ralph*=========Alice

                                   de Horbury    |


             |                                            |                                                  |

       Sir John*===Elizabeth       daughter=== Nich.                    Eglantine =====Reinier 

      de Horbury     Wake                                  de Wortley          or Rosamund      le Fleming


* Held the stewardship of the Warenne fee in Yorkshire.

Source: Farrer, W. Early Yorkshire Charters. Vol. III, 1916 and others.

1752. Grant by Adam, prior of Pontefract, to Matthew (son of Saxe) of his land of 'Schitlingtona', as Saxe his father held it, for 6s. yearly, reserving to the monks necessaries from the woodlands ; Edith, wife of Matthew, in case she survived him, to hold the land for life in dower by the same rent. 1155-1158.
[Chartul. of Pontefract, at Woolley Hall, f. 75. Pd. in Chartul. of Pontefract, p. 582.]

Notum sit omnibus tam presentibus quam futuris quod dominus Adam, prior Pontisfracti, consensu totius capituli concessit huic Matheo terram suam de Schitlingtona in bosco et piano sicut pater ejus Saxi earn melius tenuit pro vj solidis per annum solvendis, liberam et quietam ab aliis servitiis preter ea que liberalis homo facere solet domino suo sine exactione. Ita tamen ut monachi tantum habeant de bosco quantum sufficiat propriis operibus eorum. Et si contigerit Matheum mori ante Edith uxorem suam, eodem servitio quod modo reddit Matheus teneat ipsa eandem terram sicut ei in dote donaverit earn. Hujus rei testes sunt, Adam filius Sywardi, Adam de Horbiri, Paulinus filius Wald[evi], Robertus filius Stanard, Paganus parmentarius, et alii.
[Farrer, W. Early Yorkshire Charters. Vol. III, 1916, p. 379.]

1753. Surrender by Matthew son of Saxe to the monks of Rievaulx of 4 acres and 1/2 perch of land in Blacker, whereon to make smithies for the manufacture of iron and utensils, with iron ore and dead wood in his part of Flockton and 'Sittlingtun' for the supply of those smithies, also common of pasture in those towns for certain animals, and licence to attach the pool of their mill to be made on the stream by Blacker. 1155-1170.
From the original, formerly in poss. of Sir Francis Wortley, knt. and bart. ;

[Dodsw. MS. Ixii, f. 18; Chartul. of Rievaulx, Jul. D. i, f. 59d (old f. 63d). Pd. in Chartul. of Rievaulx, n. 101.]

Universis fidelibus Christi tam presentibus quam futuris Matheus filius Saxi salutem. Noverit universitas vestra me dedisse et presenti carta confirmasse Deo et ecclesie Sancte Marie Rievallensis et monachis ibidem Deo servientibus iiii. acras terre et dimidiam perticatam in loco qui vocatur Blakeker, ad faciendas ibi fabricas suas in quibus facient ferrum et utensilia et alia necessaria domui Rievallensi, et totam mineriam et totum mortuum
boscum ex parte mea de Floctun et de Sittlingtun ad usus 
1 Dodsw. MS. viii, f. 253d. 
2 Dodsw. MS. civ, f. 59 ; Yorks. Arch. JL, xiii, 149.

earumdem fabricarum ; ita ut nullus alius in hiis locis fabricam nisi predicti monachi habeat. Preterea concede eis communem pasturam predictarum villarum per omnia, exceptis segetibus et pratis, ad tres equos et quatuor boves et v. vaccas et xx. porcos similiter ex parte mea, et vias et semitas per totum campum et boscum, sine lesione segetis et prati. Insuper concede eis firmare stagnum suum ad molendinum faciendum in terra mea, si voluerint, super rivulum qui currit juxta Blakeker. Quod si forte alicui terram istam dedero, predictam elemosinam meam, scilicet mineriam et mortuum boscum et fabricas, in manu mea retineo ita ut nullus pro hiis servitium exigat a monachis nisi ad animam suam. Hec omnia dedi eis concessu uxoris mee et omnium heredum meorum, pro anima patris et inatris mee et pro anima mea et uxoris mee et omnium parentum meorum, in perpetuam elemosinam, libera et quieta ab omni consuetudine et servitio seculari et placitis et auxiliis et interrogatis. Hiis testibus: Adam filio Petri, Rogero fratre ejus, Adam clerico fratre Petri de Wakefeld, Paulino fratre eorumdem, Philippo filio Saxi, Adam de Birktwait, Bernardo de Silkestun, Henrico filio Dolfini, Ricardo filio Bernardi, Helia filio Jordani, Helia de Sireburne.

This grant was confirmed by the grantor's son, Thomas de Horebiri.
See the next charter.
Alric and Gamel had manors in Flockton T.R.E. together assessed at 3 carucates of land. They were surveyed as part of the fee of Ilbert de Lascy.
In Sitlington T.R.E. 6 bovates belonged to the soc of Wakefield, and so passed later to the Warenne fee; 2 carucates and 2 bovates, in addition to the above 6 bovates, were in the hands of the king at the Survey and were doubtless soon afterwards incorporated in the honor of Pontefract. At the time of these grants a moiety of the Warenne and Lascy portions was described as " Sitlintuna Philippi," whilst the other portion was held by Adam son of Peter and Matthew son of Saxe. The first-named portion undoubtedly derived its designation from Philip de Sitlington, brother of Matthew son of Saxe. 1 Saxe is named in a charter of the 4th earl of Warenne of the date 1153-1155.
In 1170 an agreement was made between the houses of Byland and Rievaulx in order to put an end to disputes between them, which had arisen by the clashing of their interests in places where both houses had land. That portion which relates to this district runs as follows :

Inter favercam plane monachorum Rievallensium quam habent in Sitlintuna, et favercam monachorum Bellelande quam habent in Emmesleia, tails divisio est, ut, scilicet, Bellelandenses habeant necessaria ferrariis suis, scilicet minaria et carbones, in his sex villis et silvis earum, scilicet, Emmesleia, Brettuna, Sitlintuna Philippi, Denebi, Brerethuisel, Thornehil ; et fratres Rievallenses habeant necessaria suis ferrariis, scilicet minaria et carbones, in his tribus villis, in duabus videlicet Sitlintunis, que sunt de feudo Ade filii Petri et Mathei filii Saxi, et in Floctona et in Threpwda. 1
1 For Saxe of Horbury see the charters of Pontefract Priory.
2 Chartul. of Rievaulx,
[Farrer, W. Early Yorkshire Charters. Vol. III, 1916, pp. 379-380.]

1754. Confirmation by Thomas de Horbiry to the monks of Rievaulx of the gift of land in Blacker and iron ore in 'Sittlingtun' and Flockton, which had been given by his father, Matthew son of Saxe. 1199.
From the evidences of Sir Francis Wortley, knt. and bart., 1637 ; Dodsw. MS. lxii, f. i7d.

Omnibus sancte matris ecclesie filiis tarn presentibus quam futuris Thotnas de Horbire salutem. Noverit universitas vestra me concessisse et hac presenti carta mea confirmasse Deo et ecclesie Sancte Marie Rievallis et monachis ibidem Deo servientibus totam donationem Mathei filii Saxi patris mei quam illis dedit et carta sua confirmavit, scilicet quatuor acras terre et dimidiam perticatam in loco qui vocatur Blakeker ad faciendas ibi fabricas suas in quibus facient ferrum et utensilia et alia necessaria domui Rievallis, et totam mineriam et totum mortuum boscum ex parte mea de Floctun et de Sittlingtun, ad usus earundem fabricarum ; ita ut nullus alius in hiis locis fabricam habeat nisi predicti monachi. Preterea concede eis communem pasturam predictarum villarum per omnia, exceptis segetibus et pratis, ad tres equos et quatuor boves et quinque vaccas et viginti porcos similiter ex parte mea, et semitas per totum campum et boscum sine lesione segetis et prati. Insuper concedo eis firmare stagnum suum ad molendinum faciendum in terra mea si voluerint super rivulum qui currit juxta Blakeker.
Quod si forte alicui terram istam dedero predictam elemosinam meam, scilicet mineriam et mortuum boscum et fabricas, in manu mea retineo, ita ut nullus pro hiis servitium exigat a monachis nisi ad animam suam. Hec omnia dedi eis concessu uxoris mee et omnium heredum meorum, pro anima patris mei et matris mee et pro anima mea et uxoris mee et omnium parentum meorum, in perpetuam elemosinam, libera et quieta ab omni consuetudirie et servitio seculari et placitis et auxiliis et interrogatis. Hiis testibus, Hugone Bardulfo, Philippe filio Roberti, Rogero Arundell, Gaufrido Haget, Gollano de Novavilla. [Farrer, W., Early Yorkshire Charters,vol. III, 1916, p. 381.]

1755. Quit-claim by abbot Ernulf and the convent of Rievaulx to Thomas de Horbury of his houses standing on the western side of Blacker and his park ; agreement also relative to dead wood and iron ore there. 1199.
From the evidences of Sir Francis* Wortley, knt. and bart., 1637 ; Dodsw. MS. Ixii, f. 19. *Sir Francis was baronet of Newhall and Sitlington in 1637. [Y.A.J., vol. 7, (1882), p. 425.]

Omnibus sancte matris ecclesie filiis tam presentibus quam futuris frater Ernaldus abbas et conventus Rievallis salutem. Noverit universitas vestra nos quietum clamasse Thome de Horbury et heredibus suis totum clamium quod habuimus contra predictum Thomam de domibus suis cum terra in qua site sunt que facte fuerunt ad occidentalem partem de Blakeker quando hec facta fuit. Et quietum clamavimus totum jus quod habuimus de parco suo quod erit ejusdem longitudinis et latitudinis cujus fuit eo tempore quo hec carta facta fuit, ita quod inter idem parcum et Bee Rode habebimus liberum egressum et regressum pastoribus nostris et averiis ad pasturam nostram. Et nos capiemus extra predictum parcuta ubique infra sarta et extra mortuum boscum, salvo, stunario predict! Thome et heredum ejus et hominum eorum de adem villa, ita quod de mortuo bosco non dabunt nee vendent nee asportabunt de eodem feudo ; mineriam quoque capiemus ubique sicut continetur in carta patris ejusdem Thome et nominatim in illo loco de quo lis orta fuit inter nos, que per conventionem hujus carte sigillo nostro confirmate pacificata est. Et quoniam pro bono pacis hec inter nos acta sunt idem Thomas et heredes ejus manutenebunt nos et fideliter consulent nobis in negotiis nostris et firmiter tenebunt et servabunt cartam Mathei filii Saxi et cartam ejusdem Thome quam habemus de eo per quam confirmat cartam patris sui Mathei filii Saxi. Hec carta facta fuit anno decimo regni regis Richardi apud Eboracum, coram Hugone Bard[ulf] et sociis suis tune ibidem justiciariis domini regis itinerantibus. Hiis testibus, Roberto le Walays, Willelmo de Livet, Samsone de Wridlesford, Roberto filio Dolfini, Elia de Wlfuelay, Ada filio Philippi, Johanne Taleuace, Willelmo de Horburi, Thoma fratre ejus. [Farrer, W. Early Yorkshire Charters. Vol. III, 1916, pp. 381-382.]

1756. Quit-claim by Randolph de Neufmarche to Thomas de Horebiri, son of Matthew, of the land given in marriage with Cecily, the grantor's grandmother, namely ij carucate in Flockton ; for which release the said Thomas has given him 6 marks and i niais-hawk. 1185-1205.

From the orig., formerly in poss. of Sir Francis Wortley, knt. and bart. ; Dodsw. MS. Ixii. f. 15.

Sciant omnes tarn presentes quam futuri quod ego Randulfus de Novo-foro dedi et concessi et quietam clamavi pro me et heredibus meis et nac presenti carta mea confirmavi Thome de Horeb[iri] filio Mathei et heredibus suis totam terram que fuit data in maritagio cum Cecilia ava mea, scilicet unam carucatam terre et dimidiam in Floketun, libere et quiete cum omnibus libertatibus quas predecessores mei in predicta terre mihi successori suo reliquerunt ; ita quod ego et heredes mei predictam terram predicto Thome et heredibus suis warantizabimus contra omnes homines. Pro hac autem donatione et quietaclamatione et warantizatione dedit prefatus Thomas mihi sex marcas argenti et unum nisum sor; et ego affidavi hanc donationem et quietam clamationem sibi tenendam de me et heredibus [meis] quietam in futuro. Hiis testibus : Willelmo filio Roberti, Jurdano filio Assulfi, Ricardo de Eland, Henrico de Eland, Reginaldo filio Elye, Willelmo de Lyvet, Samsone de Wridlesford, Jordano de Hetun, Johanne de Sandale, Ada de Sitligt[un], Jordano de Horeb[iri], Randulfo de Criglistun, Alano fratre ejus, et multis aliis. 

This charter shows that 1 1/2 carucate in Flockton formed part of the marriage dowry of Cecily, wife of Randolph de Hickleton, son of Wilard, and mother of (a) Matilda, whose daughter Aline, or Alice, married Hugh de Normanvill, and of (b) Isabel, who married William de Neufmarche, and was mother of Randolph, the grantor. This descent corrects the pedigree compiled by Dodsworth and repeated by Dr. Hunter in South Yorks.,1 and is confirmed by a fine levied in 1201 between Hugh de Normanvill and Aline his wife, and Randolph de Neufmarche'. In this fine the moiety of the land which Ranulf son of Wilard had in Flockton was awarded to Randolph, or Ranulf, de Neufmarche'.2 Jordan de Horebiri was a younger brother of Thomas de Horebiri. Jordan and Agnes his wife with the Knights Templars were defendants in a suit in 1204 brought against them by Geofifery Luterel and his wife concerning 4 bovates in Hooton Pagnell.3 Mr. Holmes states that Jordan son of Assulf and Jordan de Thornhill were one and the same person.4 Jordan son of Assulf of Morley Wapentake is named in 1166. 5 Jordan son of Essulf and Samson son of Hervey (of Denby ?) are named in 1178.6 The probability is that the Jordan son of Assulf, who was constable of Wakefield to Hamelin, earl of Warenne,7 and who attested this charter, was of Thornhill, and that the references in 1166 and 1178 were to him.
His era is indicated by the following record of a plea in 1219: An assize came to recognise if Jordan de Thornhull, father of Helen, wife of Matthew de Bramham, and Juliana, wife of Simon de Deneby and Malger de Mirefeld, and Goditha de Barkeston, was seised of i carucate and \ bovate, and the moiety of a mill in Oueden, Schakeshull and Schakestunstall (i.e. Ovenden, Shackle-hill(?) and Shackletonstall) at his death, which tenements John de Thornhull and William his brother hold. William is under age and holds the land of the said John by service only, and it descended to him from Richard his father, who was son of the said Jordan. Matthew and the others acknowledge this and say that they are of one stem and that Richard was their brother. Matthew and Simon in mercy. 
Adam de Sitlington was probably Adam son of Philip, who in 1208 acknowledged that 1 bovate in Sitlington was the right of William del Fin. Adam son of Philip de Sitlington had a daughter Idonia, who released to Ralph de Horebiry her right in a moiety of the town of Saltonstall and what she had in Ossett and Flockton. Jordan de Thornhill, who married Quenilda, daughter and coheir of Richard, son of Roger, thegn of Woodplumpton, co. Lanc., and was living in 1212. [Farrer, W. Early Yorkshire Charters. Vol. III, 1916, pp.382-383.]

See Horbury lineage of Sitlington, Flockton, Little Midgley &c.

The Midgley Area near Wakefield, with the Bank Furnace iron  workings.Domesday only refers to part of Sitlington vill12 [Chylington in 1316].17 Medieval Sitlington was composed of four hamlets13 which included:
* Midgley from Old English Mycg + leah, wood or clearing  of a man called Mycg, called Migelaia in the 1100's and Miggeley about 1300.
* Overton formerly Over-Sitlington (from Old English uferra tun)
* Netherton (from Old English neotherra tun or lower farmstead) or Nether-Sitlington.
* Middlestown formerly from O.E. Scyttel pers. name +ing +tun, Schellintone, in Domesday Book 1086, Chylington in 1316, Sitlington in 1325, Middle-Sitlington which was contracted to Myddleston in 1551.
About the year 1226 a deed  for the manor of Bretton mentions 'five acres of land in Migelaie flat in the territory of Bretton' where new land was taken into cultivation by the monks of Byland Abbey, North Yorkshire. At the same time 'stones' [coal] was taken from a quarry for burning at Bentley where the monks had a grange.15 A land grant from Thomas de Horbury to Nicholas de Wortley sometime between 1295 and 1300  indicates that there were two water mills on the River Calder within the manor of Sitlington:

' Thomas de Horbyri [Horbury], brother and heir of John of Horbyri; to Sir Nicholas de Wortelay [Wortley]. The manor of Shetelingthon [Sitlington] with the homage and services of the free tenants in Netyhir Shetelington [Lower Sitlington, now Netherton]; two water mills; one messuage and two carucates of land in Miggeley by Sheletington [Midgley by Sitlington]; and a parcel of land and wood called Stayniclif [Stony Cliffe]. Witnesses: Sir William FitzWilliam FitzThomas [of Elmley], Sir Robert de Baliol, Sir William de Fleming, Sir Hugh de Eland, Sir John de Sotehill, Sir Roger FitzThomas, knights, Adam de Pontefract, John de Thornhill, John de Lasseles [Lasceles], Thomas de Dronfeld, Thomas de Quitlay, Robert de Barneby [Barnby]. ' Wharncliffe Muniments, Sheffield Archives [Wh M/D/01 - Wh M/P/13], Wh M/D/627[7]

At the Inq. p.m. of Thomas Wortley in December 1514 one of the manors held was Sitlington, 'alias New-Hall'.21 This indicates that New Hall Farm is the site of the original manor house for the manor of Sitlington.

<<<<<<<<<<Click image to see detail of the Bretton iron workings

Interactive Ordnance Survey map here

In 1238 Robert I de Everingham, chief forester of the king in Sherwood, inherited land in Midgley ['Miggelay'] through his marriage to Isabel de Birkin, a great granddaughter of Essulf: 

'Mandatum est justiciariis Hybernie quod in loquela que est coram eis inter W. comitem Warrenn', petentem, et Ricardum de [. . .], tenentem, de j. carucata terre in Miggelay [said to be Midgley  in Halifax but the inheritance of land titles show this is 'Little Midgley'] unde idem Ricardus vocavit ad [warantum] Robertum de Everingeham et Isabellam uxorem ejus, procedant secundum legem et consuetudinem regni Anglie ad judicium inde reddendum ad diem videlicet quem. [. . . .]' [Calendar of Close Rolls, Henry III: volume 4: 1237-1242 (1911),  October 1238,  p. 113.]

Robert I's son, Sir Adam I de Everingham of Laxton, Notts. [d. 1280], keeper of the forest of Sherwood, inherited lands at Lepton near Huddersfield, formerly held by John de Birkin of Laxton.

In 1275 Adam de Miggele at earl Warrene's court gave 12d to replevy [?recover]  beasts which had been distrained by Sir Adam I de Everingham [Wakefield Court Roll, I, p.136.] This implies that Adam de Miggele's beasts were on Everingham's land and had been mistakenly [so Adam said] taken for Sir Adam I de Everingham's failure to do suit of court.

Sir Adam I de Everingham had a son, Robert II who by this time became hereditary keeper of the forest of Sherwood.

Sir Robert II de Everingham - in 1285 the township of Miggeley gave 1m [mark] for respite of suit of Sir Robert de Everingham, for the land of Miggeley, till Michaelmas [Wakefield Court Rolls 209] Everingham of the honour of Pontefract, at his death in 1287 held  10 bovates of land in Sitlington and half a carucate in Midgley [Miggeley]. 

In ~ 1288 [16 Ed. I] at Robert II de Everingham's inquisition post mortem [d. 1287], it is shown that Robert held this half carucate of land for two shillings p.a. in 'Miggeley' by free service of Sir John de Meaux [Meus]. The entry being recorded along with such places as Lepton, Sitlington, Mirfield, Heaton and Shepley ['Schipeley'] indicate that this 'Miggeley' is Little Midgley near Wakefield.

Sir Robert II de Everingham and his wife Alice de la Hyde had two sons:

1. Robert III de Everingham of Everingham, Yorks. 

2. Adam II de Everingham. of Birkin Yorkshire and Laxton Notts. In 1302-03 he held a carucate in Sitlington and a half carucate in Flockton23 In 1310-1311 he was holding land of the earl by knight service as a retainer of earl Thomas. In 1315/1316 Adam II de Everingham,  great grandson of Robert I de Everingham and Isabel de Birkin, held 'Chylyngton' [Nomina Villarum] as tested at Clipston on 5th March 1316. 'Chylington' is identified as Sitlington now Middlestown.18  At the same survey William FitzWilliam held Emley and Whitley. Adam was an adherent of Thomas earl of Lancaster during Lancaster's rebellion against the king and having fought for the earl at Boroughbridge in March 1322 he was imprisoned. After this his lands were forfeited and subsequently he had to pay a fine of 400 marks to 'save his life'. It is likely that with other rebels his lands were reinstated following a pardon issued by the young Edward III in February 1327 who at that time was under the control if Queen Isabella and her paramour, Sir Roger de Mortimer of Wigmore.

In the Lay subsidy of 1297 Alano de Miggelay of Sitlington was shown to have  j vaccam (cow) iiijs; j porcellum,(piglet) precium cujuslibet (the price of each) vjd; iiij quart. avene, precium quart.(oats price per quart) ixd. Summa bonorum (total assets) xs vjd. ixs, xiiijd.24 

On 22nd March 1326 a pardon was issued to John de Methelay [Methley] for acquiring in fee from Adam de 'Everyngham' of Laxton, the manor of 'Middel Shitelington' [Middle Sitlington], 'held in chief as of the honor of Pontefract, and entering therein without licence; with restitution of the same.'22 

A messuage called 'Whitley' and 20 acres of land in 'Midgeley' belonged to Robert Pilkington of Bradley who died in 1497. [Y.A.J.]

Nearby lies West Bretton:

* West Bretton  formerly Brettone in Domesday Book, 1086 and West Bretton  c. 1200 (O.E. Brettas tun or Briton's estate)1 This is an Anglian name used to describe the indigenous Celtic British who probably continued to live here during the Anglian occupation which occurred around 620 A.D.  This was part of the British Kingdom of  Loidis Elmete which continued to exist during the reign of  the Anglian Northumbrian, Edwin.
The Britons may have been making iron here in bloomeries during the Roman occupation. After the arrival of the Anglians these skilled craftsmen would have been retained by the invaders to produce weapons and implements to supply the occupation.
In the time of Charles I, Bretton was owned by the Wentworth family but prior to this had been owned by the de Brettons and then the de Dronsfields. Bullcliffe near Midgley was also owned by another branch of the Wentworth family.
* Coxley,  from O.E. for Coc + leah, wood or clearing belonging to the cook. This would refer to a cook in the Anglian royal household.
* Emley  from O.E. Em(m)a pers name + leah, woodland clearing of a man called E(m)ma, in the Domesday Book 1086 Ameleie
* Bullcliffe the site of an open cast coal mine now abandoned.

Other names which have been recorded2 in 1800's have been:

* Nether Midgley (from Old English neotherra or lower), half a mile downhill from Over-Midgley previously Nether Sitlington [now Netherton]
* Over Midgley (from Old English uferra or upper). This is marked on maps as Midgley today.
* Sitlington now Middlestown
* Over-Sitlington (now Overton) in the township of Middle-Sitlington, parish of Thornhill

* New Hall, described as a farm-house in the township of Sitlington, parish of Thornhill in 1822.
See photographs of New Hall manor moat and the farm buildings
See mudmap of New Hall and Midgley [print off 'landscape'].

In the late 1000's-early 1100's Swein the son of Ailric the Danish-Anglian who held title to the Manor of Cawthorne about the time of Domesday Book held lordship over Newhall ("Newhale") as well as Cawthorne, Kexborough, Gunthwaite, Penistone, Worsborough, Carlton, Brierley, Walton, Mensthorpe, Wrangbrook and Middleton.5 Brierley later represented the eastern part of the manor when two grand-daughters of Ailric were made co-heiresses of the estate. The moated New Hall Farm, near Midgley. This name would indicate there is an earlier hall, this could conceivably have been in the Danish homelands of Englet. The term "hall" is a particularly Anglian one originally referring to the large and long building used by the lord and for formal gatherings and occasions.
New Hall farm is today defended on its south and eastern sides by a moat which would indicate that it was at one time a moated manor.

 Miggeley near Wakefield is mentioned as a place-name about the year 1300 when Thomas de Horbury granted the manor of Shetelington [now Middlestown] to Nicholas VI de Wortley, knight :

"Thomas de Horbyri, brother and heir of John of Horbyri; to Sir Nicholas de Wortelay. The manor of Shetelingthon with the homage and services of the free tenants in Netyhir shetelington; two water mills; one messuage and two carucates of land in Miggeley by Sheletington; and a parcel of land and wood called Stayniclif. Witnesses: Sir William FitzWilliam FitzThomas, Sir Robert de Baliol, Sir William de fleming, Sir Hugh de Eland, Sir John de Sotehill, Sir Roger FitzThomas, knights, Adam de Pontefract, John de Thornhill, John de Lasseles, Thomas de Dronfeld, Thomas de Quitlay, Robert de Barneby." Seal: red wax, vesica with impression of Virgin and child."


On the 12th April 1307 whilst King Edward I was at Carlisle he granted Nicholas de Wortley free warren in all his demesne lands at Sitlington as well as a weekly market and yearly fair at his manor of Wortley, Yorks.20


The Wakefield Court Rolls for 1316 [pdf, p. 140.] record a John son of Philip of Schytlyngton fined 6d. along with a Robert Hoode and others fined 3d. for not attending John de Warrene's army muster. This muster had been for the the Scottish campaign of 1314 and the abortive battle of Bannockburn. Indeed, in this part of the country it appears Edward II's request for fighting men was not popular for it is also recorded that no-one from Heptonstall in the western division of the manor of Wakefield, attended the muster.  It is tempting to believe that this Robert Hoode is the basis for the folk hero 'Robin Hood', but I have plenty of evidence that this is not so. It is just one more false trail down which many researchers have met a dead end. . 


The area of the Sitlington manor is known to appear on the following maps:

*Christopher Saxton's map of  Eboracensis (1577) on which Denby Grange, Thornhill, Netherton, Emley Hall and Bretton Hall are mentioned.
* John Speed's map (1610) of the West Riding of Yorkshire, on which are named, Netherton and Bretton Hall.
*Willdey's pre-industrial map with the "Halifax and Barnesley main road"  or "Via Magna"(1715).
*Thomas Moule's The County Maps of Old England (1830) where Thornhill, Flockton and Bretton are shown including railways.

See: Map for the extent of the manor of Sitlington.

Field Systems
The early field systems appear to have been convincingly obliterated by changes to the Anglo-Danish-Norman and later feudal  patterns. This has principally occurred since the time of widespread land enclosure during the 1700's when common land and early medieval field systems had large changes imposed upon them,. Principally, tilled land became pasture at that time. Prior to this fields would have been elongated to reduce the number of turns needed by the plough oxen.
 See Google Midgley

      Field  patterns today between Midgley and Flockton

Sites within the parish:

*Thornhill Runes Thornhill, stones inscribed with runes and "pot-hook" lettering (a form of debased continental lettering) have been found  from the 800's here. The lettering indicates influence from Hexham at this time6. A moated manor had a commanding view here up and down the Calder Valley.
The remains of The Hall  now lie to the North side of the moat. Here at Thornhill Lees was a Norman court formerly the caput of the Thornhill family who from their coat of arms appear to have feudal connections with the Midgley family of Midgley.14 Thornhill later became the seat of the Savile family. See Thornhill s' of Thornhill

*The National Coal Mining Museum at Overton on the site of Denby Grange Coal pit,
  this is the oldest pit sunk in Yorkshire (1791)
*Denby Grange near Overton which had a hall here in 1577
*Stoneycliffe Wood Nature Reserve which follows a stream north from Midgley to the Calder River.

*New Hall Farm, Midgley, a moat survives on the property which once protected a hall and is likely  to be post 1100. Halls were being established in the late 1500's in the district e.g. Whitley Lower and Denby Grange both in 1577.
*Hollinhirst to the east of Netherton (O.E. meaning Holly Wood or Holy Wood)
*A sawmill in Midgley which operates at the southern end of Stoneycliffe Wood, Job Earnshaws.
*The "Black Bull" public house, Midgley
* Midgley Lodge Motel

*Stoney Cliffe Wood- a well maintained bridleway-footpath - well worth a hike.
*A colliery in Midgley (closed in the 1980's)
*Bullcliffe Colliery to the east of Midgley which developed between 1961 and 1988.
*Open cast colliery (closed) half a mile to the west of Midgley
*A church or chapel without a tower or spire in Midgley.
*H.M. Female Detention Centre near Flockton Green.
*Horbury Bridge which crosses the river Calder, no longer in use.
*Cemeteries lie between Netherton and Midgley and at Middlestown
*Cold Hiendley, Hiendley meaning in O.E. wood frequented by hinds or does.
*Cumberworth (Upper & Lower), meaning O.E. enclosure of a man called Cumbra or of the Britons O.E. personal name or O.E. Cumbre (compare with Cymry-the Cumbrian Britons and Cymry the primitive Welsh form for "The Welsh")
The manor of Midgley which lay in the parish of Thornhill is recorded by the Historical Manuscripts Commission to have no documents relating to it in any official or private repository. Records of account and Court Rolls for Thornhill Parish are held at the Nottinghamshire Archives10.
See map of 1855 for Midgley Farm

An Economic Watershed
E. Charlesworth in 19387 and Fowler have both  suggested that this area has been economically reduced by local factors having influenced industrial location. So much so that both drew lines on a map to delineate the competing areas. Charlesworth  used the east-west watershed and the north-south scarps which joined with Fowler's line8. To the north of this line lay the textile areas with their mills and to the south  lay the coalfield region of Barnsley and the Dearne valley. Charlesworth determined that this division was a result of  Wakefield being the centre of manorial lands. The prosperity of the town depended on cloth making. The rural area to the south of Wakefield could compete because it was not restricted by medieval town guilds.
Rural cloths were cheap and of inferior quality, but found a demand among the rural classes.
The Weavers Act was imposed in the North after complaints from Wakefield, this act restricted rural cloth makers to two looms only.
Wakefield also imposed tolls on rural cloths for sale in the town. This affected the Emley area especially. Thus no development could occur here. By the 1600's Wakefield began to specialise in fine worsted and people outside a ten mile radius of the marketing hall were excluded. The end result of all this was to prevent development in the Emley area due to the proximity of a strong guild in Wakefield. There is also evidence that there was collusion between the landed gentry of the area and aristocracy to prevent development  and so discourage loss of farm workers to the area.
Lack of opportunity would inevitably lead to migration from the area.
Road map of Midgley area

From Baines's Professions and Trades for MIDGLEY in Baines's Directory of 1822:
    Charlesworth John, vict. Black Bull
    Ellis Joseph, wood surveyor
    Hill Thomas, farmer
    Hutchinson John, tanner
    Jones John, blacksmith
    Stringer Joseph, farmer
    Wilson Abm. wood collier & grocer

And later the 1851 Census for Midgley gives some idea of the occupations of the residents9:

Coal miners 6
Farm Labourers 17
Scholars 15
Tailor 1
Pauper 1
House servant 2
Farmer 7
Farm Bailiff 1
Housekeeper 1
Nurse 1

Woodman 1
Hand loom weaver 1
wool comber 1
shoemaker 2
worsted factory girl 2
labourer 7
Blacksmith 1
Maltster 1
Retired farmer 1

From this it would appear that farming and coal mining were the most common pursuits at this time and iron ore mining had ceased. The hamlet of Midgley had 173 persons resident in 1851, of whom at least 81 were born there.

Midgleys of Cawthorne,  Normanton, Woodhouse and Hambleton


The Thornhills of Sitlington and Thornhill
New Hall manor moat and the farm buildings
The Savilles' of Thornhill
The Thornhills of Thornhill - at least one origin for the Midgley surname.
Arms of Midgley
West Yorkshire Arms
Early Yorkshire families
Anglian Life



The grandeur of the communications tower near Midgley, Emley Moor.  1. Dictionary of English Place Names. A.D. Mills, O.U.P. 1997
  2. Dictionary of Place Names, 1822.
  3. History of Cawthorne, Rev. C.T. Pratt, 1883.
  4. Mining. Hugh Bodey, B.T. Batsford, London.
  5. History of Cawthorne, Revd. Charles Tiplady Pratt,  I. W. Davis, Barnsley,1882.
  6. Huddersfield in Roman Times, I.A. Richmond 1925.
  7. Local Factors influencing industrial location, E. Charlesworth, 1938.
  8. Geographical Essays, Fowler.
  9. Index to 1851 Census, volume 39, W.D.F.H.S.
10. Account Roll 1360-1361, Savile DDSR/B11/42, NRA 6119 Savile.
11. Hunter, Joseph, South Yorkshire: The History & Topography of the Deanery of  Doncaster vol. 2, 1831.
12. Faull, M.L., & Moorhouse, S.A., (Eds.), An Archaeological Survey to A.D. 1500, W.Y.A.S., Wakefield, 1981.
13. Faull, M.L., & M. Stinson (Eds.), Domesday Book for Yorkshire, Phillimore, Chichester, 1986.
14. Email communication from a claimant to the Lordship of Laxton, Notts. January 2004
15. Yorkshire Archaeological Society, Yorkshire Deeds, vol. V,  West Bretton pp. 6 - 9.

16. Nomina Villarum, 1867, p.352.        
17.  Ibid.

18. Nomina Villarum, 1867, p. 352.

19. Burton, Janet E. The Monastic Order in Yorkshire, 1069-1215,  p. 212.

20. Chart. Cal. Rolls. 1300-1326, p. 100.

21.  Hunter, Joseph, South Yorkshire: The History & Topography of the Deanery of  Doncaster vol. 2, 1831, p. 314

22. C.P.R., 22nd March 1326, p. 251.

23. Travis, Charles. Early Yorkshire Charters, 1949, p.210.

24. YAS Record Series Vol. 16: Yorkshire lay subsidy, being a ninth collected in 25 Edward I, 1297, ed. William Brown, 1894. Yorkshire Lay Subsidies. p. 110.

 © Copyright Tim Midgley 1999, internal links revised July 2023..

Wakefield Web Ring

[Skip Prev]
[Prev 5]

Take your pick

[Skip Next]
[! Next 5]