William de Hamelton of Hambleton Yorkshire

                                                                     King Edward I's clerk and chancellor, dean and archdeacon of St. Peter's, York.

Despite claims that Sir William de Hamelton may have been born in Scotland, evidence in the Calendar of Patent Rolls for 1306 and 1307 indicates that William was born in the humble hamlet of Hambleton near Selby, Yorkshire. There are also a variety of other clerks who rose in the households of Edward I and II who were also educated in the district. Men such as John de Hothum, Adam de Osgodby and lesser known men. Some appear to have been educated at the nearby bishop of Durham's priory of Howden, although William de Hambleton seems to be more associated with the priory of Selby.

During William's life, Hambleton was a manor held by the abbot of Selby. Hambleton lies west of Selby near Thorpe Willoughby.  In  the Calendar of Patent Rolls and the Nomina Villarum (1315-1316) he is always referred to as 'William de Hamelton'. 'Hamelton' was usually the spelling of the vill of Hambleton in 1200's and 1300's.
As he was granted free warren at
just outside 'Hamelton' (1285) and also had a chapel built in 'Hamelton' just before his death (1307), he is almost certainly to have been born in Hambleton, East Yorkshire.


28 May 1280 - As a King's clerk he was gifted houses in 'Konistrete' (today, Coney Street), York which belonged to the late Elias de Mire, a Jew.
[C. Ch. R., 1257-1300, p. 222.] 

In 1280, he was a justice in itinere for Hampshire and Wiltshire, but only for pleas of the forest. 

9 May 1282 - Information is recorded as coming from William de Hamelton to King Edward I. [C. Ch. R., 1257-1300, p. 266.] 

Mentioned 2 June 1282 when he was keeper (custos) of Hyde Abbey, Winchester. [C. P. R., 1281-1292, p. 24.] until his death (1307).

22 July 1282 - Given protection for one year as parson of the church of 'Boudon'. [C. P. R., 1281-1292, p. 30.]

24 July 1282 - Report by William de Hamelton. [C. Ch. R., 1257-1300, p. 262.] 

11 August 1282 - Ordered to restore the temporalities to William de St. Clare in the bishopric of Winchester. [C. P. R., 1281-1292, p. 33.]

1282 - William as Dean of York
[Powicke. Handbook of British Chronology. p. 83] was enfeoffed in Owston by Sir Humprey de Veyley (Ville) who was lord of the manor of Owston. [Kirkby's Inquest, p. 39n.] Other years given for his appointment as Dean of St. Peter's, York are 1298, [Monasticum Anglicorum, vol. 8, p. 1174.], 1306 and 1300 to 1306.

He then became a clerk in chancery.

30 September 1283 - Commission to William and one other regarding two properties being broken into, one in Norfolk and one in Kent where game was carried away.        [C. P. R., 1281-1292, p. 100.]

1 October 1283 - Similar writ as above. [C. P. R., 1281-1292, p. 104.]

7 October 1283 - one of two who were appointed to the custody of an underage heir of an Oxfordshire manor. [C. P. R., 1281-1292, p. 78.]

1285 - William was a tenant of Adam de Newmarch in Marr, South Yorkshire. [Kirkby's Inquest, p. 5.] Marr lies on the road between Doncaster and Gt. Houghton. Sir Adam de Newmarch's grandson, Sir Robert de Willoughby granted the manor of Marr to Sir William de Hamelton. Robert de Willoughby was to collect fees for the archbishop of York in Steeton ('Stiveton' / 'Styveton,' ph. Sherburn) and 'Thorp' ('Thorpe Wyleby' i.e. Thorpe Willioughby) [Kirkby's Inquest, Military Fees p. 383.] John de Reygate (jun.) held 1 KF in 'Thorp' in 1294 and 1300 and in 1314 and 1317-1318 Robert de Reygate held the same in 'Thorp'. 

12 June 1285 - 'William de Hamilton', king's clerk was granted free warren in his lands of 'Mar' (Marr), and 'Albeholm', Yorks. [C. Ch. R., 1257-1300, p. 319.] 'Albeholme (Now sited by 'Habholme Dike') a small stream that runs into Hambleton Dike (Upper Fox Drain) is 2 km NW of the village of Hambleton. [Knights' Fees in Yorkshire p. 213n.]

1285 - Hambleton vill was NOT in Kirkby's Inquest nor were many other vills of the wapentake of Barkston. [Kirkby's Inquest, p. 50n.] It only appears in the Nomina Villarum (~1316) as 'Hamelton' held by the abbot of Selby* as was Brayton. [N. V., p. 344.] 
* 6 January 1281 - The abbot and convent of Selby were granted free warren by King Henry III in the manors of Selby, 'Thorp' (Thorpe Willoughby), Brayton, 'Amelthorn' (Hambledon), Friston, 'Hyllum' (Hillam), 'Acastre' (Acaster Malbis?), 'Chelleslawe', 'Holm', 'Snait' (Snaith), 'Routheclyf' and 'Estoft''. [C. Ch. R., 1226-1257, p. 374.]


1286 to 1289 - Vice-chancellor (deputy) to the king, having occasional custody of the great seal. 

28 April 1286 -'William de Hamilton' was one of those nominated to act as an attorney for Philipp Burnell who was going overseas with Henry de Lacy, earl of Lincoln. [C. P. R., 1281-1292, p. 245.] 

Meantime, he had received ecclesiastical preferment of various kinds. 

8 February 1287 - To Ireland for one year. [C. P. R., 1281-1292, p. 262.]

6 October 1287 - he received the prebend of Warthill, N.E. of York. [Willis, Browne. A Survey of the Cathedrals of York..., (1742), p. 173.]


1288 was appointed archdeacon of the West Riding of Yorkshire.

18 July 1290 - William de Hamelton, king's clerk licenced to alienate three messuages in Cambridge to the priory of Carmelites in Cambridge. [C. P. R., 1281-1292, p. 376.]

1290 - William held 1 KF in 'Magna Halton' (Great Houghton, South Yorkshire) for 20s. [Aid for King Edward I, p. 281.] 

1290 - Held 1/4 KF in 'Thoroure' (Thorner). [Aid for King Edward I, p. 287.]

20 September 1290 - William de Hamelton granted a licence to alienate a messuage and a carucate in Merton to the nuns of Nuneaton. [C. P .R., 1281-1292, p. 388.]

4 August 1291 - Given protection for one year. [C. P. R., 1281-1292, p. 440.]

As Archdeacon of York William is mentioned 12 June 1292 to 1299. Later precentor of Beverley. 

On the death of Robert Burnell, bishop of Bath and Wells, 25 October 1292, the great seal was delivered into the wardrobe under his seal, and until he set out as the bishop's executor with his corpse for the funeral at Wells he sealed writs. 

1292- Mentioned as King's clerk and archdeacon of York. [C. P. R., 1281-1292.]

1292 - William de Hamelton, knt. purchased John de Sutton* (senior's) marriage from Isabella Fortibus, countess de Aumale ('Albermarle') for 120 marks. [Frost (1827), opposite p. 99 citing Chron. Melsa.] *Of Sutton in Holderness, near Kingston-upon-Hull.

On 6th January 1292 the Abbot of Selby wrote “considering the towns of Hamelton, Gayteford and Lund, by reason of the distance of the place, could not repair to their Parish Church of Brayton, a chantry chapel should be built, for ever to remain dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary.” There is no record of the site of this chapel, but it was probably somewhere in the centre of the village of Hambleton [https://stmaryshambleton.org.uk/about/] where there is a 'Chapel Street' although this may be named from a still extant Wesleyan chapel built here in 1875.

25 January 1292 -
William de Hamelton, king's clerk and archdeacon of York, was appointed to survey St. Nicholas' Hospital, York which was found to be decayed with inept governance. 
    [C. P. R., 1281-1292, p. 471.]

5 May 1292 - William de Hamelton witnessed the confirmation of a charter. [C. Ch. R., 1257-1300, p. 421.] 

7 May 1292 - William de Hamilton, king's clerk, was given the custody of the abbey of 'Vaudey' by the king. [C. P. R., 1281-1292, p. 491.]

12 June 1292 - William de Hamelton, archdeacon of York who had made an inspection of St. Nicholas' hospital, York, deferred the appointment of a master until the king made a decision until a chaplain called Robert de Graunt, parson of the church of Cruc, York was nominated. The king appointed Graunt to the position of master of St. Nicholas'. [C. P. R., 1281-1292, p. 494.]

12 July 1292 - Sir William de Hamelton, archdeacon of York was a witness to a confirmation of a charter. [C. Ch. R., 1257-1300, p. 430.]

25 October 1292 - Mentioned in a memorandum re Robert 'Burnel', bishop of Bath and Welles. [C. Ch. R., 1257-1300, p. 426.] 

8 November 1292 - William de Hamelton signed writs for Walter de Langton. [C. P. R., 1281-1292, p. 510.]

18 Oct 1294 - As Archdeacon of York he was granted protection. [C. P. R., 1292-1301, p. 118.]

1295 - Lord Chancellor of England. [Knights' Fees in Yorkshire in Kirkby's Inquest, p. 213n.]

1295 - William de Hamelton was tenant in Great Houghton ('Magna Halghton') of G. Luterell. [Knights Fees in Yorkshire, p. 231.
This is Geoffrey Luterell of the 'Luterell Psalter'.

1295- Tenant of John de Cromwell in the manor of 'Brodesworth' (Brodsworth, S. Yorks.) [Knight's Fees in Yorkshire, p. 233.]

1295- William held five bovates in North Dalton, NRY. [Knight's Fees in Yorkshire, 256.]

1295- Mentioned again as holding  1/4 of KF in 'Thonor' (Thorner.) [Knights' Fees in Yorkshire, p. 208.]

William was in charge of the Great Seal during absences of the next chancellor, John de Langton, from 4 to 30 March, and 22 to 27 August 1297, and  he also had charge of the great seal from 20 February to 16 June 1299. [Hamilton 1890.]

22 Feb 1297 - given protection. [C. P. R., 1292-1301, p. 262.]

8 April 1297- Executor of Robert Burnell. [C. P. R., 1292-1301, p. 264.] Burnell was  the late bishop of Bath and Wells.

22Aug 1297 - Witnessed handing over of the great seal to Edward I. [C. P. R., 1292-1301, p. 306.]

1297- He sealed the statute de tallagio non concedendo, whereby the king could not be granted tallage or aid without the consent of Parliament.

27 Oct 1297 - Witnessed that letters were sealed. [C. P. R., 1292-1301, p. 311.]

26 Jan 1298 - The great seal was delivered to William de Hamelton. [C. P. R., 1292-1301, p. 394.]

13 April 1298- Information was given to the king by William. [C. P. R., 1292-1301, p. 378.]

12 Aug 1299- As archdeacon of York he was ordered by the king to dig for treasure in the church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields near 'Charring'. [C. P. R., 1292-1301, p. 431.]

16 Aug 1300 - As dean of St. Peter's, York he was also described as a king's clerk. [C. P. R, 1292-1301, p. 532.]

9 Jan 1301 - As dean of St. Peter's he was allowed to hunt in the forest of Galtres, which lay to the north of the city of York, but not for deer. [C. P. R., 1292-1301, p. 562.]

12 May 1301 - Complained to a commission that he had the custody of lands at 'Thorp', Notts. but Thomas de Furnival ejected him. [C. P. R., 1292-1301, p. 628.]

30 January 1302 - Appointed to a commission where William as dean of St. Peter's complained that he had custody of the lands of Richard le Chamberleyne and the marriage of Thomas, son of Richard by the demise of Thomas Furnival (snr.) Thomas the son of Richard refused a 'competent marriage' and so Furnival (jnr) ejected William from the custody and lands in 'Thorp', Notts., Furnival being Richard's overlord. [C. P. R., 1301-1307, p. 80.]

16 Feb 1302 - As dean of St. Peter's York - William had a licence to crenellate his dwelling-place that adjoined the churchyard (of St. Peter's, York) for himself and successive deans. [C. P. R., 1301-1307, p. 19.] - Possibly now located by 'The deanery old residence' .


23 February 1302 - Master John de Nassington, parson of Brayton, had a messuage, mill, 4 tofts and 3 bovates of land in Brayton, nr. Selby, alienated to him by William de Hamelton, dean of St. Peter's York and John de Merkyngfeld, clerk, which was used to maintain services at St. Mary the Virgin, Brayton. [C. P. R., 1301-1307, p. 23.]

1302, 1305 - Recorded as holding I/2 KF in Great Houghton, South Yorkshire. 

1303 - William still held 1/4 of KF in Thorner. [Note in Kirkby's Inquest, p. 39n.]

1303 - He is mentioned in the Year-Book as engaged in a lawsuit with Robert le Veyl [Ville].

Knight's Fees in Yorkshire (31 Edward I,  i.e. ~ 1303):
Under Wapentake of Strafford: William de 'Hamelton' (Hambleton) was a tenant of G. (Geoffrey) Luterell in Magna Halghton. [Inquisition of Knight's Fees in Yorkshire. (1867), p. 231.]

28 November 1303 - Confirmation of a sale made by Queen Margaret to William de Hamelton, king's clerk, for 246 L. of the custody of Hunmanby and the underage heir of Robert de Tateshale and if the heir died within  five years then William would be compensated with other lands. [C. P. R., 1301-1307, p. 203.]

As 'William de Hemelthorne' he is recorded as a Canon of St Cuthburga's church (Wimborne Minster in East Dorset) under Dean William de Cornere. 
He also held the deanery of the church of St Buryan in Cornwall. 

'In December 1304, the then chancellor, Grenefield (Greenfield), resigned the seals in order to proceed to Rome and induce the pope to permit his consecration as archbishop of York. Hamilton, though absent, was nominated his successor by the king at Lincoln on 29 December, and until his arrival the seal was placed in the wardrobe, under the seal of Sir Adam de Osgodebey (Osgodby), the master of the rolls.' 

1305 - He granted the manor of Marr in South Yorkshire to Isabel his probable niece. 

5th January 1305 - Memorandum for 16th January 1305, King Edward I commanded the bishop of Coventry and Lichfield (treasurer) to deliver the great seal to Sir William de Hamelton, dean of York, at Westminster in the presence of others. William had just been selected by the king as his chancellor. William had then on 16 January 1305 sealed a writ with the great seal for Master William de Greenfield, archbishop elect of York. [C. P. R., 1301-1307, p. 309.] Hamilton returned and received the seal from the treasurer, the Bishop of Coventry. 
Shortly after his appointment on 6 April, he was admonished by the king in full parliament against granting letters of protection from suits brought against them to persons absent in Ireland. 

23 May 1305 - If William de Hamelton, king's clerk and chancellor assents, a Hugh de Bruges, spigurnel* of chancery, will hold the position for life as had other spigurnels. [C. P. R., 1301-1307, p. 361.] * One who seals writs in chancery.

August 1305 - As lord chancellor William sealed the commission for the  trial of Sir William Wallace. [Campbell, John, Lord. Lives of the Lord Chancellors.., vol I, (1848), pp. 187-188; Hamilton 1890.]

24 October 1305 - William as chancellor oversaw the alienation of 5 marks rent in Salisbury to a Reginald de Tudeworth of Salisbury for a chaplain in order to provide daily services at the church of St. Edmund the Confessor, Salisbury for the souls of Reginald, his wife and all the faithful dead. [C. P. R., 1301-1307, p. 390.]

24 October 1305 - A fine made before William de Hamelton, chancellor, for William la Zouche* to assign a messuage, a bakehouse, 40 ac. of land, 6 ac. of meadow and 4 ac. of pasture in Harringworth (Northants.) to two chaplains to celebrate daily service in All Saints church, Harringworth. [C. P. R., 1301-1307, p. 398.] *
This is the William la Zouche lord of Harringworth who may have been the father of William la Zouche later archbishop of York (1342-1352). This may lend weight to the vexatious problem of which family this archbishop belonged to, those of Harringworth or those of Lubbesthorpe, Leics.

28 October 1305 - A fine made before William de Hamelton, king's clerk and chancellor of two alienations of land to the abbot and convent of Chichester. [C. P. R., 1301-1307, p. 394.]

8 November 1305 - A John de Hamme made fine before William de Hamelton, the chancellor, for Thomasina, dtr. of Roland de Oxstede to assign to himself and Alina his wife a 1/4 of the manor of Oxstede, Surrey. [C. P. R., 1301-1307, p. 393.]

22 November 1305 - William de Bereford made a fine before William de Hamelton, chancellor so that Bereford could be enfeoffed of the manor of 'Stene', Northants. [C. P. R., 1301-1307, p. 408.]

22 November 1305 - Fine made before William de Hamelton, king's clerk and chancellor by the prior of Westacre to have an alienation. [C. P. R., 1301-1307, p. 409.]

6 December 1305 - Fine before Wiliam de Hamelton , chancellor to allow a marriage to take place. [C. P. R., 1301-1307, p. 409.]

1306 - With his brother Adam he granted land in Hambleton to Isabel, his probable neice.

1 Feb 1306 - Granted a licence as king's clerk and chancellor of 1 bovate of land in 'Broddesworth' and its advowson to maintain a chantry in a chapel (St. Mary's) that he recently built at Hamelton. [C. P. R., 1301-1307, p. 414.]

11 February 1306 - Fine before William de Hamelton, king's clerk and chancellor, for William la Zusche to grant to Nicholas de Tewkesbury of Clifton, Dartmouth and Hardenasse, the Dart Water which were part of Zouche's manor of Totnes, Devon in exchange for 16 marks rent in Tewkesbuy's manor of 'Hywissh,' (Huish) Devon. [C. P. R., 1301-1307, p. 416.]

Aug 1306 - he was still recorded as Dean of St. Peter's York. [C. Cl. R., 1302-1307, p. 456.]

27 March 1307 - William de Hamelton as chancellor was granted a licence to alienate to the dean and chapter of St. Peter's , York, 1 bovate of land in 'Broddesworth' (Brodsworth, near Marr, South Yorks.) and its advowson in order to find a chaplain for the St. Mary's chapel in Hamelton that he built, as well as two chaplains for St. Peter's, York to pray for himself, his parents and his ancestors. [C. P. R, 1301-1307, pp. 510 - 511.]

He died on 20 April 1307 at Fountains Abbey, and was succeeded by Ralph de Baldock, bishop of London. [Hamilton 1890.]

18th June 1307 - 'Be it remembered that on Wednesday next after the feast of SS. Tiburtius and Valerian, 35 Edward I. before the dawn of that day died William de Hamelton, the chancellor, at the abbey of Fountains, co. York, and being of good memory and sound mind before his death, charged those who were by him that if it happened that he fell so ill as not to recover, they should deliver the seal enclosed under his own seal and that of the abbot of Fountains to Sir Robert de Bardelby who was then present there, to keep until the king should declare his will therein; and the seal was immediately after the death of the chancellor delivered to the said Robert, under the chancellor's seal and that of the said abbot and the prior of Boulton ; and afterwards, the king, by privy seal, commanded Sir Adam de Osgoteby (Osgodby), Master John de Cadamo and the said Robert, that they or any two of them, together with the rest of the clerks of the chancery, should carry the said seal so enclosed to "Westminster, there to be delivered by the treasurer or the person supply ing his place and the barons -of the Exchequer, to Sir Ralph Baldok, bishop of London, whom the king had made his chancellor ; and the said Adam, John and Robert on the vigil of the Ascension following delivered the seal (which remained in the custody of the said Robert enclosed under the seals of the said William, the abbot and Master John, who after the death of the said William had sealed that seal) at the king's Exchequer at Westminster, to the person supplying the place of the treasurer and the barons of the Exchequer, in the presence of Sir Roger le Brabanzun, Ralph de Hegbam, Hugh de Notingham, Walter de Norwyco, and many others standing by, who having first received the oath from the said bishop, according to the custom, handed over the seal to him, who on the following day at Stibenheth (Stepney) sealed writs therewith.' [C. P. R., 1301-1307, pp. 518-519.]


Location of the Deanery, on the south side of York Minster. Some of the roads in the area have been changed since this map was drawn up.


                                                                                                              Further Reading: Memorials of Fountains Abbey.

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