The Legends and Traditions of Huddersfield and Its District: Volume I, Part II (1941) by Philip Ahier

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Price 2/6.


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Prise” Neri

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who has given me valuable assistance in the compilation

of this work.

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CONTENTS. PAGE PREFACE CHAPTER III.—The Legend of Bretton Hall ... .... 67 CHAPTER IV.—-Legends and Traditions connected with Historical Events (i) The Visitation of Plagues ~ (it) The Luddites 18 Fis i. ae

CHAPTER V.—The Matrimonial Adventures of Alesia de Laci and the Love ‘‘Affairs’’ of John

de Warenne, Sth Earl of Surrey’... 108

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10. fi, 12. 13. 14, 15. 16. 17.

See ae


Bretton Hall.

The Boots in connection with the Legend of Bretton Hall.

The Cross on the Vicarage Lawn at Woodhouse.

The Gable of the Houses at Newsome ‘Cross with the Cross of St. Andrew.

The Aberford Market Cross. The Shears Inn, Leeds Road. Pond House Farm, South Crosland. The Porch in front of Pond House. Fixby Hall. The Three Sisters,’ Fixby Park. Thomas Thornhill, 1780—1844. Richard Oastler, 1789—1861.

The Old Jilly. Royd. Farm, Fixby.

Bracken Hall, Fartown. The Cross at Stainland.

Hall, A.D. 1941.

Townend, Almondbury.

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The Second Part of ‘‘The Legends and Traditions of Hudders— field and Its District,’’ deals with that of Bretton Hall, with those connected with the Visitation of Plagues and with both traditional and true stories related of the Luddites. There is also a chapter on ‘‘The Matrimonial Adventures of Alesia de Laci and the Love ‘Affairs’ of John de Warrenne, 8th Earl of Surrey,’’ which, although not legendary, are recorded for the reason therein given.

Owing to the exigencies of space and the desire to keep the price of this Part within reasonable compass, I have been compelled to reduce the number of illustrations. For the same reason, I have not been able to include the story of ‘‘The Elland Feud”’ which I had promised to do in the Preface to Part I. This will form the entire contents of Part III., in which I hope to reproduce twvu original documents, which, at the moment, comprise the ‘‘sources’’ of this vendetta.

Legends concerning Buildings, &c., and a discussion of the Underground Passages (traditional and actual), will form the subject matter of Part IV.

Once again I have to tender my most grateful thanks to the Proprietors of ‘‘ The Huddersfield Daily Examiner’’ for the loan of photographic blocks; to the Directors and Secretary of the Hud- dersfield Industrial Society I am _ likewise indebted; to my colleague, Mr. G. N. Allsop, I owe my best thanks for an en- larged reproduction of an old vignette depicting Stainland Cross.

I must also express my great indebtedness to two monographs published in the Yorkshire Archeological Journals, namely, ‘‘The Chronology of Alesia de Lasey,’’ by the late Mr. Richard H. Holmes, of Pontefract, and ‘‘John de Warenne, 8th Earl of Surrey,’’ by Dr. F. Royston Fairbank.

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Considerable assistance has been given to me at the Hudders- field Public Library, and, again, I beg to acknowledge the many favours which I have received from Mr. Horace Goulden (Public Librarian), and his Assistants, in particular, Mr. Charles Bennett, (Deputy Librarian).


24 Lightridge Road, Sheepridge, Huddersfield, January, 1941.

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Reprcduced by eourtesy of the Proprietors of the “ Huddersfield Examiner.”


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At Bretton Hall, near Wakefield, known so well, Sir William Wentworth Blackett once did dwell; That mansion was his own; there, with his bride, In pomp and splendour, he did once reside. Yet, in the midst of all that he possest, I A rambling mind disturbed Sir William’s breast ; His lady and his home he left behind; Says he, ‘‘The end of this wide world I'll find ; The earth’s extensive, but, you may depend on’t, Before e’er I return I'll find the end on’t.’’ So he embark’d on board a ship, we find, I And, sailing, left her ladyship behind, Who oft in sorrow did his absence mourn, And sighing, said, ‘‘Oh, that he would return, For, be his voyage rough or smooth at sea, It is a cruel: bitter blast to me.’’ Sir William, he rolls on through winds and waves, Undaunted, he all kinds of weather braves; Nor his strange project e’er relinquished he, Till one-and-twenty years he’d been at sea; Then, p’rhaps, he thought, ‘‘Good lack ! the world is round; _ The end is nowhere—so it can’t be found. And, as I’m weary of this wild goose chase, At home again ere long I’ll show my face.’’ Then off he set, but little was aware What would transpire on his arrival there; For while Sir William rov’d as here express’d, Another ‘‘Sir’’ his lady thus address’d : ‘‘Sir William’s gone (ne’er to return again), Past this world’s end which long he sought in vain, There’s not a doubt he’s found the end of life; But don’t be troubled—you shall be my wife.’’ She listen’d, till at length she gave consent, And straightway then to church this couple went. Sir William does about this wedding hear As he unto his journey’s end draws near ; And thus he does within his mind reflect— ‘‘This sly usurper I shall now detect. Soon shall 1 know, though much against his will,

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At Bretton Hall I have dominion still; These woods and fertile fields my own I call, With this magnificent, this splendid hall; And now I come to claim them as my own, Though, by my dress, not from a beggar known; My clothes are turn’d to rags, and by the weather My skin is tann’d till it resembles leather. So now I’ll act the beggar bold and rude, And at this wedding boldly I’ll intrude, And though admittance I may be denied, I’ll rob the merry bridegroom of his bride.’’ Then at his own hall door one rap he gave Resolv’d the inmates’ charity to crave. So he present’d his request, ’tis said, And they presented him—a crust of bread ! The bread he took, and then, to their surprise, He ask’d the servants for some beer likewise. ‘‘No, no,’’ said they, ‘‘beer we will give you none, You saucy, drunken vagabond, begone !”’ At length (with much ado) some beer he got, And quickly he return’d the empty pot; And straightway then into the hall went he, And said her ladyship he wish’d to see. ‘“You can by no means see her,’’ answer’d they, ‘‘She’s newly married! ’Tis her wedding day !’’ ‘‘Married !’’ the feigned beggarman replied, “Then I’ll not go till I have seen the bride.’’ ‘‘Then tow’rds the dining-room his course he bent ; The servants’ quick pursued with one consent, And seized him, with intent to turn him out. ‘“‘Come back, you villain! What are you about ?”’ ‘‘About my business, to be sure,’’ quoth he; ‘‘The room I’ll enter, and the bride I’ll see.’’ ““We’ll see you out of doors,’’ the servants’ said; And now, of course, a clam’rous din they made. Just then the bride, on hearing’ such a clatter, Open’d the door, to see what was the matter. This noble beggar thus obtain’d a sight Of her who erstwhile was his heart’s delight. He viewed her in her nuptial garments dress’d, And did of her a glass of wine request, Which she denied—who little did suppose The ragged stranger was her wealthy spouse; Then straight into the dining-room he went, And down he sat among the guests content. Says he, “‘You’ll grant me my request, I know; A glass of wine I’ll have before I go.’’ The bride at length complied with his request,

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_ Thus thinking to despatch the ragged guest; But when he did this glass of wine obtain He drank and filled, and drank and filled again. The guests astonish’d and disgusted view’d, _ Whilst he proceeded to be far more rude; Around the bride’s fair neck he threw his arm, And gave a kiss, which did her much alarm. On him she frown’d, and threaten’d him with law, Says he, ‘‘Your threats I value not a straw; My conduct to reprove is all in vain, For what I’ve done I mean to do again. Madam, your bridegroom’s in an awkward case; This night I do intend to take his And while upon her countenance he pores The guests agree to kick him out of doors. ‘‘The deuce is in the beggarman,’’ they cried : ‘‘He means to either beg or steal the bride.’’ no,’’ says he. “I claim her as my own.”’ He smil’d, and then he did himself make known, Saying, ‘‘William Wentworth Blackett is my name; For my long absence I’m much to blame; But safe and sound I have return’d at last, So let’s forgive each other all that’s past.’’ The bride did her first bridegroom recognise, _ With joy transported to his arms she flies; And, whilst they tenderly each other kiss, The disappointed bridegroom they dismiss, Who inwardly did his hard case lament, Hung: down his head, and out of door he went. “I’m robb’d of this fair jewel now,’’ thinks he; ‘*How cruel is this tender spouse to me !’’ : Awhile he scratched his head, then heav’d a sigh, Then eyed the hall again, and wip’d his eye. Sir William freely did forgive his wife : They liv’d together to the end of life. My honest story I must now conclude, Which may by some be as a fiction view’d; But, Sirs, the boots in which Sir William went Are kept in memory of that event ; The very hat he wore preserved has been At Bretton Hall—where they may yet be seen.”’

This ‘‘poem’’ was written by James Mann, of Scissett, better known as Jimmy Mann the pedlar, and was printed in 1838. James Mann took this ‘‘versification’’ to Mr. John Jenkinson (the great-uncle of Mr. Fred Lawton, the well-known antiquarian and historian of Skelmanthorpe), to have the spelling mistakes cor- rected before it was put into print. When he had read through

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the screed, Mr. Jenkinson said, ‘‘Is this story true, Jimmy.” Whereupon the latter replied, ‘“Nay, I made it all up out of my own head’’ (!) This admission on the part of the ‘‘author’’ should settle, once and for all, the arguments put forward by those who believe in the veracity of the ‘‘Remarkable Circumstance’’ above related by Jimmy Mann; ‘‘nevertheless,’’ as Mr. Lawton says, ‘“‘hundreds of thousands of people believe it to be true.’’

Jimmy Mann was a noted character in his day; his occupa- tion as a pedlar of small wares took him from house to house ; on being received at an entrance doorway, he would recite a rhyme (except for the last line) of his own composition :—

‘“T come to your door, Just once more, To show you my store, Ill put t’basket on t’floor, And you can look it o’er, To see what you can buy”’ (!!)

One can well imagine that in the forties and fifties of the last century, persons of little historical knowledge would accept, as gospel truth, this story of the temporary disappearance of a former owner of the Bretton estates. The folk living in the vicinity of Bretton would have had handed down to them by their forbears,, many stories, some, no doubt true, others fictitious, of Sir Thomas Wentworth Blackett and of his illegitimate daughter, the famous Madame Beaumont, that they would believe every line of the narrative composed by: James Mann as one more epi- sode relating to the Hall and its former occupants.

The first Baron Allendale (Wentworth Blackett Beaumont, Esq., M.P., 1829—1907) said that the Beaumonts of Bretton knew nothing about the legend till they saw Jimmy Mann’s poem. He also said that there was not a single sentence in the poem that was true. 7

The present Viscount Allendale, in a letter to me dated September Znd, 1940, in reply to my queries concerning the legend, wrote, “‘I have no doubt whatever but that the Bretton legend is entirely fiction.’’

It is probable that Jimmy Mann had heard several true stories concerning former inhabitants of Bretton Hall (the Went- worths) and had linked them together in the composition of his ‘‘poem’”’ :—

(a) Matthew Wentworth, who married Dorothy, the daughter of Richard Charlesworth, of Totties, on the 14th of

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(Reproduced by courtesy of the Proprietors of the “Huddersfield Examiner”’).

THE CROSS ON THE VICARAGE LAWN AT WOODHOUSE. Photo By the late Mr. W. H. Sikes. I I (page 23)

Reproduced by kind permission of the Tolson Memorial Museum Committee,


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May, 1571, had seven sons, three of whom eventually lived in London.

(b) George Wentworth (son of the above), 157 6—1638, had six sons, one of whom, John Wentworth, settled at Twothorn field in Derby. I

(c) During the whole of the lifetime of the first Sir Matthew Wentworth (1616—1678), and during the greater part of that of the second Sir Matthew (buried March Ist, 1706), the then Bretton Hall was occupied by the widow of Sir Thomas Wentworth (died December 5th, 1675). Lady Wentworth later married the Earl of Eglinton in 1679, and died in 1698. Until the death of his aunt, the second Sir Matthew Wentworth lived at Bulcliffe Hall, and only resided at Bretton from 1698 till the time of his death in 1706. Consequently, for twenty-three years in the 17th cen- tury, there was no male representative of the Wentworth family in residence at Bretton Hall—a fact which may have given a clue to Jimmy Mann in the composition of his ‘‘poem.’’

Viscount Allendale, in the letter above-mentioned, says :— ‘“‘T should imagine that it (the poem) was written about the Ist Sir Matthew Wentworth (1616—1678) as the boots would seem to belong: to that period.’’

Curious to relate, however, Sir Matthew Wentworth I. mar- ried three times, and his third wife, Ann Osbaldeston, was the sister of his only son’s (Sir Matthew II.) wife, Elizabeth Osbaldeston, consequently, father and son were brothers-in-law !

(d) Then, again, as will be mentioned later, it may be that one of the Wentworths of Bretton did actually form one of a party to investigate the rotundity of the earth, but, as yet, I have not been able to ascertain the date of this scientific expedi- tion.

(ec) Finally, there are

‘“ The boots in which Sir William went Are kept in memory of that event; The very hat he wore preserved has been At Bretton Hall—where they may yet be seen.’’

The old hat and the boots were preserved at the Hall in the days when the Wentworths lived there, but in Madame Beau- mont’s life-time, they were placed in a cave by the top dam, so Mr. Lawton informs me, and were later removed to the Mansion when Jimmy Mann had made them famous.

To whom did the boots belong?

As stated by the present Viscount Allendale, they belong to the 17th century, but the actual ownership is one of those prob- lems which cannot be definitely solved,

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A story had been handed down to the effect that one of the sons of Matthew Wentworth (died 1637) ‘‘ran away from home.’ When he returned from his travels, his mother had his portrait painted, and she also placed the boots and hat which he had worn on his wanderings in a prominent: position in the then’ Hall ‘‘as a warning not to act again as a wanderer.’

It is quite possible that this tradition may also have influenced Jimmy Mann in the compilation of his ‘‘Lines on a Remarkable Circumstance, etc.’’

The first Baron Allendale (d. 1907), however, queried the truth of this tradition regarding one of the sons of Matthew Wentworth (d. 1637), although, as said above (p. 72), three cf the sons of this owner of Bretton certainly later lived in London —a fact which may have given Jimmy Mann a definite hint con- cerning absentee members of the Wentworth family from the vicinity of Bretton.

But the whole story, as narrated by Jimmy Mann, is so very reminiscent of Mab’s Cross to be read in Roby’s ‘‘ Traditions of Lancashire’’—a fact first pointed out by Mr. Lawton, who has written more than any other local historian to prove the con- tents of the poem to be a myth, knowing, as he did, the state- ment made to his great-uncle by Jimmy Mann. Further, as Lord Tennyson’s poem, ‘‘Enoch Arden,’’ embodies the same idea, one cannot help believing that besides being a ‘‘faked’’ legend, it also comes under the heading of a ‘‘localised’’ one, based on one or two definite historical facts known about former members of the Wentworth family which had been handed down from genera- tion to generation, and which Jimmy Mann used as ‘‘sources’’ to compile his ‘‘poem.’’

At the time Mr. Lawton was busily engaged in ‘‘riddling to pieces ’’ the story in the ‘‘Yorkshire Evening Post,’’ Mr. A. H. Arkle, of Birkenhead, sent the following communication :

following extract, from the Gentleman’s Magazine Library (Cheshire, pp. 146-7) will show that the legend referred to in connection with Bretton Hall is a very old one, I believe the story occurs in many other localities.’’

‘“We have, however, a more romantic local connecting link with the very dawn of nationality consisting of the remains of an ancient cross called Roe Cross, and the mutilated monument of a knight and lady in the Parish Church of Mottram in Longden-— dale, known as Roe and his wife; there is little doubt that Roe is a corruption of Ralph, and that both the cross and the monument relate to Sir Ralph Stayley and as wife, of whom there is the . following tradition :—

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‘Sir Ralph accompanied Richard I. on the 3rd Crusade, where he was taken prisoner and held captive for many years. At length he was on his parole, allowed to return to his native land in order to raise a stipulated sum for his ransom. Travelling home in disguise, he arrived near his home, where he met an old servant accompanied by a dog which had been a favourite with his master. ‘The dog was the first to recognise Sir Ralph, and by his barking and joy attracted the attention of the servant to the seeming stranger, whom, he, on closer attention, perceived to be his master, so long thought to be dead.

‘Sir Ralph soon heard that Lady Stayley was to be married the next day. He therefore hastened forward to his mansion about two miles distant and requested to see her ladyship, but was told that it was not possible, as she was fully occupied with the preparations for her wedding.

“He begged, however, to be refreshed with a cup of Meth- eglin, and when he had drunk it, he dropped a ring into the bottom of the vessel, and requested the maid to give up the cup with the ring to her mistress. Lady Stayley, on examining the ring, ex- claimed that he who put it in the cup must be either Sir Ralph or some messenger from him. ‘But,’ she added, ‘if it be Sir Ralph himself, he will know of a certain mole on me, which is known to none but him.’ The stranger returned such answer by the maid that Lady Stayley was convinced that he was none other than Sir Ralph. The intended bridegroom, who had, in those lawless days, used threats to obtain her for the sake of her estate, had to disappear.’’

‘On the spot where Sir Ralph so opportunely met his cld servant and favourite dog, he caused a Cross to be erected for perpetual memory of the event, and this is the Roe Cross of the present day; and when he and his lady slept in death, recumbent figures of them, side by side, were carved upon their monument with a dog at their feet, and there they lie to this day in Mottram Church bearing the name of Roe and his wife.’’

* * *%

The protagonists for the accuracy of the story have been, among others, the late Mr. S. L. Mosley and Mr. J. W. Etchells whose arguments in favour of the truth of the episode will be considered i in turn :—

(a) Mr. Mosley, in one of his Nature in the ‘‘Hud- dersfield Examiner’’ (August, 1924), said he had visited Bretton Church where he saw a tablet on which was inscribed :

“Sir William Wentworth, Died March 1, 1763, aged 774 years:”’

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‘15 He went to a Scots gamekeeper who lived nearby and said, ‘“There is a tablet there at the end of the Church bearing the name of Sir William Wentworth, has that anything to do with the man

who went seeking the end of the world?’’ The gamekeeper replied, ‘‘That’s the verra man.”’

Mr. Mosley had previously written, ‘‘Mr. Etchells says also that the story of Sir William Wentworth Blackett is true,’’ and ended by stating that Mr. Etchells thinks that ‘‘Blackett’s absence would be from about 1700 to 1800.’’

But against these statements, the following facts must be given :—

(i) No such person of the name of Sir William Wentworth Blackett ever lived at or owned Bretton Hall; the owners of the Bretton estates from the days of Henry III. up till the present time have been the Dronsfields, the Wentworths, Sir Thomas Went- worth Blackett (of whom more anon), the Beaumonts of Darton who later became ennobled and took the title of Baron and sub- sequently Viscounts Allendale.

(ii) The Rev. Joseph Hunter, who wrote a ‘‘History of South Yorkshire,’’ in 1880, discussed very fully the history of the families mentioned above, and had he heard or been told of the story of the disappearance of one of the owners of Bretton Hall for twenty- one years, he would have referred to it. He does mention the faci that during the whole of the life-time of the first Sir Matthew Wentworth (1616-1678), and during the greater part of his son s life-time, the Hall was occupied by the widow of Sir Thomas Wentworth, (p. 72)

(iii) Sir William Wentworth, (the son of Sir Matthew Went- worth II.) who was born in 1686, certainly travelled on the Continent when a young man of twenty-four for several months. About the year 1714, he married Diana, the daughter of Sir William Blackett, the sister and co-heir of Sir William Blackett, of Northumberland. By her, he had nine children, five sons and four daughters. He demolished the Hall then standing and rebuilt it in 1720. In 1744, he built a church on the south side of his mansion which was demolished by his son before 1767. His wife died in 1742 (April), and he himself in 1763.

Now if the story, as related by James Mann, be true, that (for the sake of argument) Sir William Wentworth were absent from Bretton Hall from 1714 to 1735 (twenty-one years), it is difficult to explain how his wife during that period bore him at least six of her children; secondly, if he left. Bretton after 1733, his wife could not possibly have consented to haye become the spouse of a second “‘Sir’’ in 1754 as she died in 1742 shortly after

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having given birth to her last child. From 1742 to 1763 he was living very frequently at Bretton, for, in the Archives of the Bretton Hall Estates, documents signed by himself are to be seen. ' Consequently, he could not have been the ‘‘verra man’’ mentioned by the gamekeeper to the late Mr. Mosley.

. (iv) Sir Thomas Wentworth, the third (but eldest surviving) son. of the above Sir William Wentworth, was born in 1725; here again, there are records of his being at Bretton for practically the whole of the time up till his death in 1792. He assumed the additional surname of Blackett on inheriting his uncle’s estates in Northumberland in 1777. He died a bachelor and so could not have been the ‘‘verra man.”’

Sir Thomas Wentworth Blackett left his estates to one of his illegitimate children, Diana Wordsworth, his daughter by his cook, Nancy Wordsworth, of Penistone. She married Colonel Thomas Richard Beaumont, of the Oaks, Darton, a descendant of the Beaumonts of Whitley, and bearing the same coat of arms.

(v) Colonel Thomas Richard Beaumont was born on the 29th of April, 1758, and became the Lieut.-Colonel of the 21st Light Dragoons. He was elected M.P. for Northumberland in 1795 and sat for that constituency till 1818. In 1826, he fought a duel with the Hon. Mr. Lambton, afterwards Earl of Durham, but fortun- ately, neither of the parties was injured. He died at Bretton Hall on the 31st of July, 1829.

{b) And now we come to Mr. J. W. Etchells’ reasons for believing the story to be true. In a letter to Mr. Taylor Dyson, M.A., reproduced in: the latter’s ‘‘History of Huddersfield,’’ (p. 156), Mr. Etchells said: ‘‘The story runs that the then owner of Bretton Hall formed one of a party to try and fathom what was at that time exciting deep interest in the controversy amongst scientists of that time as to whether the earth was a sphere or a plane. A party of learned gentlemen determined, if possible, to solve this problem. A vessel was chartered for this vovage of discovery, the company interested including the then owner of Bretton Hall. The ship, which sailed from the Port of London, was practically lost for some years, and there was little hope of their return. The distribution of clothing and other articles of the supposed lost lord by the wife to the servants and others, as mementoes, followed in due course.”’

Mr. Etchells then gave an account of a fancy figured waist- coat given to a cook, of relics brought from abroad, of the building of a menagerie to house a collection of animals and birds brought from the tropics, ending up with, ‘‘I sincerely believe the legend of Bretton Hall to be founded on facts. Neither Mr. Lawton’s _ contradictions, nor those of other historians will shake my. belief,

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which, happily, I share with thousands of others, that this legend of Bretton Hall is built upon true foundations.’’

Now, Mr. Etchells’ story of an owner of Bretton joining a scientific expedition and bringing back relics is quite a different matter (except in particulars to be mentioned later) from the en- deavour of another ‘‘Sir’’ marrying his ‘‘grass’’ widow. It is quite possible that some representative of the Wentworths of Bretton did form a member of such a party of scientists bent on solving whether the earth was flat or otherwise; and Jimmy Mann, as already stated, may have heard something about this expedition when he put into ‘‘Sir William Wentworth Blackett’s’’ mouth:

‘* The end of this wide world I'll find; The earth’s so extensive so you may depend on’t Before e’er I return I’ll find the end on’t.”’

But, as already stated, neither Sir Thomas Wentworth Blackett (d. 1792) nor his father, Sir William Wentworth (d. 1763), could possibly have been members of this party of scientists. Moreover, the Rev. Joseph Hunter is silent on this point in their biographies. 3

I am inclined to think that if this aspect of the Legend of Bretton Hall (or better, a tradition respecting one of its owners or of one of the Wentworth family), which differs considerably from the story told by Jimmy Mann, except in the three lines mentioned above, be historically true, then the only method of testing its accuracy or otherwise, would be to ascertain in what year such an expedition left England and also the names of those persons who accompanied it.

Added are pedigrees of the Wentworths of Bretton Hall and of the Beaumonts, later Lords Allendale.

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John Wentworth=iAgnes, sister and co-heir of Sir William Dronsfield.

Richard Wentworth=Cecilia, dau. and heir of John Tansley, of Everton (8rd son; will dated 29 Dec., 1447).

I Richard Wentworth=Isabel, dau. of Sir William Fitzwilliam, of Sprotborough and Emley. w. dated 3rd Oct., 1488, pr. 1489.

I Matthew Wentworth=Elizabeth, dau. of Sir Richard Woodruffe, of Woolley. w. dated 10th Nov., 1505, d. 1505. I


Sir Thomas Wentworth, Beatrix = Thomas Wentworth, d. 1544 Arthur Kaye, will dat, 19 Aug., 1555 =Isabel, dau. of of Woodsome.

Thomas Wentworth.

he Wentworth, bur. 6th June, 1572. =Maud, daw. of Sir William Middleton.

Wentworth, m. i4th May, 1571, bur. 18th Dec., 1637. =Lorothy, dau. and co-heir of Richard Charlesworth, of Totties.

I BS I George Wentworth, bap. 23rd April, 1576. atthew, Robert, bur. 9th June, 1638. Michael, Henry, =Mary, dau. of John Ashburnham. John, Gervase. , I I William Wentworth. (i) Sir Thomas Wentworth, d. Dec. 5th, 1675. d. 22nd Oct., 1641. =Grace, dau. and heir of Francis Popeley. dau. of (ii) =Alexander, Earl of Eglington. Richard Arthington. I

Sir Matthew en I., b. 1616, d. Ist Aug., 1678. =(i) Judith, dau. of Cotton Horne. =(ii) Judith, dau. of Thomas Rodes, of Flockton. =(iii) Ann, dau. of William Osbaldeston, of Hunmanby.

Sir Matthew Wentworth, II., bur. Ist March, 1705-6. =Elizabeth, dau. of William Osbaldeston, sister of Ann (above).

I Matthew Wentworth, Sir Wiliam Wentworth, = Diana, dau. of

(apparently died young) only surviving son. Sir William Blackett. bur. 16th June, 1692. bap. 29th Oct., 1686, © of Northumberland, d. lst March, 1763. d. April, 1742. Pa Re eee 4 sons died 4 daughters Sir Thomas Wentworth Blackett, in infancy or b. 1725, d. 9th July, 1792. unmarried, a the surname of Blackett. Diana=

Thomas Richard Beaumont, of Bretton Hall (1758-1829.

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THE PEDIGREE oF THE BEAUMONTS (LatER LORDS ALLENDALE) of THE Oaks in Darton and of Bretron Hatt. Thomas Beaumont of The Oaks = Anne, dau. and co-heir of Edward Ascough

b. at Whitley, 18th Feb., 1723 d. 14th Dec., 1778 d. 6th Feb., 1785

Col, Thomas Richard Beaumont = Diana, dau. of Sir Thomas Wentworth of Bretton Hall, M.P. Blackett, of Bretton Hall b. 29th April, 1758 d. 10th Awg., 1831

d. 31st July, 1829

Thomas Wentworth Beaumont=Henrietta Jane Emma Hawks, b. 5th Nov., 1792 dau. of John Atkinson, Esq. m. 22nd Nov., 1827 d. 22nd Nov., 1861 d. 20th Dec., 1848.

Wentworth Blackett Beaumont, M.P.=(i) Lady Margaret Anne de Burgh,

Ist Baron Allendale dau. of the Marquess of Clanricarde b. llth April, 1829 d. 3lst March, 1888 m., (i) 6th March, 1856 (ii) Edith Althea, dau. of Lieut.-Gen. (ii) 17th Feb., 1891 George Henry Meade Hamilton d. 13th Feb., 1907 d. 19th May, 1927

Wentworth Canning Blackett Beaumont, 2nqd Baron and 1st Viscount Allendale, b. 2nd Dec., 1860; m. 12th Nov., 1889; d. 12th Lec., 1923.

=Lady Alexandrina Louisa Maud Vane-Tempest, daw. of the Marquess of Londonderry.

es. Henry Canning Beaumont, 3rd Baron and 2nd Viscount Allendale, b. 6th Aug., 1890; m. 20th July, 1921.

=Violet Lucy Emily, dau. of Sir Charles Hilton Seeley, Bart. I 3 (i) Wentworth Hubert Charles, b. 12th Sept., 1922. (ii) Richard Blackett, b. 13th Aug., 1926. (i11) Edward Nicholas Canning, b. 14th Dec., 1929. (iv) Matthew Henry, b. 10th April, 1933. (v) Ela Hilda Aline, b. 27th May, 1925. (vi) George Andrew, b. 21st June, 1938,

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Tradition relates that the village of Hepworth was visited by the plague about the same time as it raged in London in the year 1665.

There is no documentary record concerning its ravages ; nevet- theless, as Dr. H. J. Morehouse, in his ‘‘History of Kirkburton and the Graveship of Holme,’’ says, tradition had preserved its cause up to the time of his writing his History of the locality in 1861.

Two confirmations of this visitation are given :—

(a) About the year 1821, while excavating the ground for building some cottage houses in the village, a number of workmen dug up a quantity of human bones.

(b) No records of this plague are found in the parish registers of Kirkburton Church ‘‘as there can be no doubt the dead were interred in a field adjoining the village, and not in the parochial burial ground.”’

Dr. Morehouse gave the particulars of the tradition as they were then (in 1861) related by the oldest and most intelligent persons of the village of Hepworth :—

‘‘During the great plague in London, a quantity of wearing apparel had been sent to Foster—place (a farmhouse near to Hep— worth, then occupied by a family of the name of Beever), supposed to have belonged to a near relative who had died in London. After its arrival, on being unpacked, the parties were seized suddenly ill, and died shortly after ; and those who attended upon them likewise sickened and died. By this means it was carried into the village of Hepworth, in the southern part of which it appears to have raged with considerable violence, catrying desolation wherever it went. At this juncture, the inhabitants of the north-west end of the village had not yet been visited by it; they therefore determined to cut off all communication with their infected neighbours, and erected a strong hedge or fence across the street or highway, and thus refused all intercourse with them. It is remarkable that this part of the village was thus saved from an attack of the disease.’’ on of Kirkburton and the Graveship of Holme,”’ pp. 197- 198).

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Dr. Morehouse had previously given an account of a Plague which had visited Kirkburton, Highburton, Holmfirth and even to the outlying parts of Almondbury from June, 1558, to the October of that year ‘‘during which time 120 persons fell a sacri— fice to its malignity.’’ (loc.cit., p. 10, 11).


The locality name Newsome Cross is marked on the Ordnance Map of Huddersfield compiled in 1848 and published in 1854. A religious Cross is supposed to have existed here in the Middle Ages. Canon C. A. Hulbert, in his ‘‘Annals of Almondbury,’’ (p. 279), when describing the district of Newsome, observed, that it was a place ‘‘where once stood the symbol of the Christian faith.’’

It would appear that the Cross gave its name to the locality for Newsome Cross is certainly the oldest part of the district now known as Newsome.

The Rev. T. Lewthwaite, the Vicar of Newsome, in the year 1882, wrote a series of articles relating to the history of Newsome in the Parish Church Magazine under the title of ‘‘Sketches of Newsome.’’ In the September issue, there appeared an account of Newsome Cross :—

‘‘Doubtless, here once stood the Emblem of the Christian Faith, and doubtless, here also, as it was the custom in older days when manners were ruder and justice made more summary, many daring characters met with their deserts and received prompt burial near the Cross, as a significant warning to others.”’

This paragraph refers to the custom of burial at Cross Roads and at a Wayside Cross. In medizval days, those who were excluded from being interred in a parish churchyard for such reasons as excommunication, suicide, murder, etc., were buried at the foot of a Cross erected on a highway, as being the place next in sanctity to consecrated ground.

The Rev. Lewthwaite then continued :—

legend we have heard which we will that some of our readers may perhaps be able to throw some light upon. It is that during one of the plagues that smote a great part of York- shire some distant time past and which fell with decimatory force upon Huddersfield, residents from the country, not desiring to enter the town, brought food for starving inhabitants and laid it I down by this Cross; from which place it was fetched by those in the. town who were able to walk.’’

Unfortunately, no one in Newsome, during the years 1882- 1884 when the ‘‘Sketches’’ appeared, was able to throw any light

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(Nos. 117, 119, Lockwood Sear),


Photo by Mr. J. Erie Smith, B.A.

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upon the legend ; moreover, as far as I can ascertain, Canon C. A. Hulbert and the Rev. T. Lewthwaite are the only former local topographers who have discussed the existence of a Cross in this locality.

If a Cross stood in the neighbourhood, it is quite possible that it was of the wayside type and served as a halt for a funeral pro- cession proceeding from Lockwood and other outlying districts to Almondbury in the days when that ecclesiastical parish extended over a much larger area than at the present time.

That a Cross formerly existed in the vicinity is perpetuated by one, painted in the form of Saint Andrew (X.), on the wall below the gable of the two houses, Nos. 117 and 119 Lockwood Scar, on the right-hand side of this road walking from the former Newsome Tram Terminus to Lockwood. This painted cross 1s placed on a square panel made of four rectangular slabs. The sides of the square measure roughly 24 feet. I have been informed that at one time there could be seen in this panel a stone cross which appears to have been a ‘“‘dilapidated affair.’’ Later, the intervening spaces in the panel were filled up and the whole square plastered; eventually the Cross of St. Andrew was painted in brown on the plaster surface.

The only clue that might suggest a reason for the possible erection of a Cross in this locality is found in the Dodsworth MSS. (Y.A.J., Vol. VIII., p. 7) where we read that ‘‘William Smyth, priest, gave to certain feoffees his land in Newsome and other places. (Abstracted from ‘‘the writeings of Thomas Finey of Finey Hall’’). If this priest’s land in Newsome were in the vicinity of what is now known as Newsome Cross, it is possible, but one cannot be positive on this point, that a Cross may have been erected here in the later Middle Ages.

The legend of Newsome Cross is very reminiscent of the story told in connection with the Aberford Cross which now stands on the left-hand side of the Great North Road nearly at the entrance to the Aberford Parish Church.

Aberford was visited by the plague in 1644, and ‘‘it was deemed necessary to transfer the Market to another part of the parish some distance from the infected area and the Market Cross was removed to Lotherton. There it remained (in a holly bush) until recent years, when the original base of the Cross, moss— covered and dilapidated, was discovered by some of the local antiquaries, and a scheme was set on foot for removing it to its former site and restoring it as best as could be done to its old condition. The scheme was consummated, when, on Saturday, the 15th of June, 1912, the Cross was unveiled by Mrs. Gascoigne, of Lotherton Hall.’’ (‘‘Thoresby Society’s Proceedings,’’ Vol. p. 118).

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The square stone which forms its base was once a water trough, which, in medizval days, had a quaint use when, the plague was so common. To prevent infection, buyers and sellers placed their money into the water contained in the trough, thereby avoid— ing hand-to-hand contact, and, as was thought, infection by the disease.

The inscription on the Aberford Market Cross reads :

Market Cross removed during the plague 1644 was restored by public subscription to commemorate the Coronation of King George V. 1911.”’

It may be that there was a visitation of the plague at Newsome in 1588 as recorded by Dr. H. J. Morehouse (p. 80), or in 1641, or in 1644. There is certainly a record in the Rolls of the Wakefield Manorial Court of a visit of this scourge in 1641 in the vicinity of Huddersfield :—

‘‘Memorandum that respecting the inhabitants of the towns of © Rastrick, Hipperholme, ffekisby, Northouram, Shelf, Quernby, Clifton, Dalton, Hartshead, Stainland and Barkisland, the Jury at Halifax report that the pest or plague is very prevalent within Hipp’holme and Shelfe.’’

‘“There was no Court held at Brighouse in consequence in October but on April 26th, 1642, the Court and Turn were held at Brighouse.’’ . (J. Horsfall Turner, ‘‘History of Brighouse, Rastrick and Hipperholme,’’ p. 183).

Thus the date of the visitation of the plague of Newsome and of its Cross being used as a ‘‘decontamination’’ centre and a ‘‘food reception’’ receptacle must remain an unsolved mystery until further documentary evidence is forthcoming.


The history of this movement was written by Mr. Frank Peel in the year 1880 under the title of ‘‘The History of the Luddites.”’

Two of our former local historians, Mr. D. F. E. Sykes and Mr. Taylor Dyson, M.A., have used his researches when discuss- ing the period 1811-1813 ; previous to them, Dr. H. J. Morehouse, in his ‘‘History of Kirkburton,’’ (p. 32-33) had written an in- teresting account of their attacks on mills and dwelling houses.

As already stated (p. 10), a consultation of contemporary copies of the ‘‘Leeds and of the ‘‘Leeds Intelligencer’’ will assist the reader in getting a bird’s eye view of the riots, murders and outrages perpetrated during those years.

There are, however, traditional stories of attacks on mills, houses, etc., which have not been recorded as historical data, and

Page 29

THE SHEARS INN, LEEDS ROAD. (Demolished in 1938)

Reproduced by the courtesy of the Directors and Secretary of the Huddersfield Industrial Soeiety,

Page 30


sundry actual happenings directly and indirectly connected with the Riots which can find a place in this book :—


Three Homfirth Luddites were badly wanted by the authori- ties; they had managed to elude capture, and were chased by Dragoons, so the story goes. As they ran across the open space near the former Greenhead Hall (photo on p. 62), then the site of the Rifle Field, two were overtaken, and taken prisoners.

The third escaped from his pursuers and fled to the ‘‘Shears Inn.’? He asked the landlady of the Inn to shelter him, having first told her what had happened to his comrades. The woman was sympathetically disposed towards the Luddites, and told him to hide in the large grandfather clock, the front lower baseboard of which was partly broken.

He had hardly closed the door of the clock when the Dragoons entered the Inn, and asked the landlady whether she had seen a Luddite. She replied in the negative! The soldiers demanded

drinks which were supplied to them by mine hostess. They emptied their tankards, and, as they were about to leave, one of them remarked, ‘‘Missus, your clock’s stopped!’’ ‘‘So it has,”’

replied the woman, as she, to her horror, noticed the boots of the Luddite projecting out of the bottom of the clock! She rushed to the timepiece and stood in front of it until the Dragoons left the bar.

She hid the Luddite in the attic of the ‘‘Shears Inn’’ for three weeks, after which, he managed to get away to Hull where he took ship to Australia. He returned to Holmfirth some thirty years Jater. It is said that the story of this escapade was written in verse by a Holmfirth man of the name of Coldwell but I have not yet been able to trace it.

The ‘‘Shears Inn’’ was an important ‘‘landmark’’ in the history of the Huddersfield Industrial Society, for it was here in 1860, that a meeting of those who were then interested (mostly members of Lodge 241 of the Bolton Unity of Oddfellows) in the formation of a local Co-operative Society, was held (see the late Mr. Owen Balmforth’s book ‘“The Jubilee History of the Hudders- field Industrial Society,’’ p. 32). I

The ‘‘Shears Inn’’ was deprived of its licence in 1909 and was

converted into a registered Lodging House until its demolition in 1938,

While consulting the Archives of the Corporation I came jicross a record of two quaint notices which used to hang on the

Page 31


walls of this public house. One inscription was in the form of a diamond, thus :— I I ry OU Wd FD RYU. R KP A you

(If you owe for your drink, pay up (!))

The other, in the form of a square, read thus :—


‘‘Mind you pay for your liquor before you drink it,’’ o1

you drink it, mind you pay for your liquor.’’( !)


There is good reason to believe that this Mill was visited by the Luddites on March 12th, 1812. In the list of premises at which outrages were committed, compiled by Mayhall, in his ‘‘Annals of (Vol. I., p. 287), is that of Dyson, of Dungeon.’’

During one of the last few days of December 1812, ‘‘Mr. James Mellor, of Dungeon, a cloth dresser, was passing through his own yard, a pistol was pointed at him, the contents of which passed him and lodged in the wall.’”’ (‘‘Leeds Mercury,’’ January 8th, 1813). I

A tradition has been handed down that the lessees. of this Mill, Messrs. Dyson and Mellor, (it was then divided), ‘‘fortified”’ their premises by storing a quantity of guns which may (or may not) have been used during this period. Many years later, some of these antiquated rifles were found in a disused chimney stack while it was being demolished.


Reference has already been made to the destruction of machinery at Mr, George Roberts’s Finishing Shop at Pond House

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POND HOUSE: FARM: SOUTH: CROSLAND: Photo by Mrs. L. Mellor, :

THE PORCH IN’ FRONT '> OF POND HOUSE, Shewing the Circular Spy-Hole.

Photo by Mrs; L, Mellor.

Page 33


(or Farm) on page 10, but the sequel, which is authentic, has not yet appeared in print and may as well be recorded here :— On the 12th of March, 1812, (the same date as the attack on Dungeon Mill), the farm was raided by an infuriated mob of Luddites who either suspected that Mr. Roberts had power looms in his weaving shops, or, that he possessed a of fire-arms which they could plunder.

To prevent further outrages upon his dwelling house, Mr. Roberts caused a large thick oak door studded with iron studs to be fixed upon the entrance of his homestead, while a huge stone porch was built to enclose the doorway on three sides. Stone seats border two of the sides of the porch and circular spy holes were inserted in order that Mr. Roberts could see what was likely to be going on in the immediate vicinity of his abode, and through which he could fire his rifle upon any possible attackers.

As an additional precaution to prevent thieves or maurauders from absconding with his wealth, (there being few banks in 1812), Mr. Roberts kept his money in a large rectangular cavity cut into the wall of his kitchen; this cavity was closed by a secret panel over which a towel was always placed to camouflage its identity.

Mr. Frank Peel, in his book on ‘‘The Luddites’’ (p. 30), wrote the following paragraph in connection with the Netherton Lud— dites :—

‘The son of an old cropper who still resides at Crosland Moor, in the house where he was born 73 years ago, told us how his fellow workmen at Nab Croft, which is just at hand, boasted how many machines ‘‘Enoch,’’ the large hammer called by them, had destroyed during the night. It was customary, he said, for powerful men to cut through the door with hatchets, and, on an entrance being gained, the machines were broken up in an in— credible short space of time. Great quantities of fire arms were seized in the neighbourhood by men with blackened faces, and midnight drills were common.’’


A tradition obtains in one branch of the Wrigley family that Mr. James Wrigley (1767-1815), the son of Mr. James Wrigley (1748-1809), the first of that name to establish a woollen busi- ness in Netherton and its district, asked for a detachment of soldiers to be kept in his mill, fearing that it might be attacked by the Luddites. It is also said that he was always armed when -he walked from his home at Lane Tep (afterwards known as ‘“The Elms’’) to his mill.

Page 34

“THE THREE SISTERS,’ FIXBY PARK. To the left is the Sunken Fence.

Page 35


There is also a story that one member of this family, while walking across Crosland Moor, was fired at by a Luddite; Mr. Wrigley ‘‘ducked’’ his head, and the bullet. hit the stone walling. For many years after, so it was alleged, black marks resulting from the explosion of the bullet could be seen on this wall.


This supposed attack on the home of the Thornhills is not given in the ‘‘Leeds Mercury’’ or in the ‘‘Leeds Intelligencer.”’


Oastler, in one of his ‘‘Fleet Papers,’’ gives a hint that the Luddites were contemplating an attack on Fixby Hall :— ‘‘T was there (at Fixby) on the very night when the great rising was expected. I was on the top of Cowcliffe—it was a Luddite station—half a mile from Fixby Hall, I went there when the Luddites were gathering.’’ (‘‘Fleet Papers,’’ Vol. I., p. 38).

Oastler did not relate actually what took place.

A story has been handed down that the Constables of Elland and Fixby and a few trusted tenants were called upon to defend the building when the Luddites made their attack. A ‘‘scrap,”’ consisting mainly of fisticuffs and hand-to-hand fighting with clubs, sticks, pitchforks, etc., occurred near the sunken fence on the South-East side of the Hall. The rioters were easily driven away, eleven of their number were injured, and after their dis— persal, about eighteen arrests were made. :

This is the tradition, and the question arises, why, of all places, should the Luddites attack Fixby Hall, except for reasons of plunder? It contained no machinery, while Thomas Thornhiil, its Owner, was not in residence, having left the building for Riddlesworth in Norfolk, shortly after the year 1808.

Thomas Thornhill (Oastler’s employer), somehow or other, between 1800 and 1808, had incurred the displeasure of his tenantry both in Fixby and in Lindley. The cause of this hos- tility is not known, it has been suggested that his philandering with the ‘‘dashing’’ Mrs. Sarah Wood (who later became his wife after the death of her husband), in Fixby Park, may have been responsible for this outburst, but it is more likely to have arisen from personal grievances, one being his absenteeism from the Hall.

And, here again, tradition says that Thomas Thornhill, to gratify a whim, demolished a whole series of cottages on the right hand side of Lightridge Road beyond the present condemned dwellinghouses, and, which, in those days, extended to opposite

Page 36


THOMAS THORNHILL, 1780—1844. Photo from the Print in The Fleet Papers.”


Photo from an Engraving in the possession of Alderman 4 Smailes.

Page 37


the entrance to the East Lodge. Unfortunately, there is no record of these demolitions given in the contemporary Leeds newspapers, and there is very little evidence to confirm such a _ wholesaie clearance of cottages, that the real cause of the animosity of the Fixby people (as well as of the Luddites except for the reason given above) towards Thomas Thornhill must remain a mystery.


(i) At NEwHOUSE HALL, (photo on p. 45).

There are two entirely different versions of raids on Newhouse Hall :— I

(a) The first is based on oral tradition and was originally communicated to Mr. George Fox, of Byram Street, by Mr. J. Hopwood, of Deighton, an antiquarian living in the eighties of the last century. The story of this attack, as given by Mr. Hopwood, was to this effect :— I

The Luddites forced open the front door of the Hall, assaulted old Mr. William Brook, the son of Mr. Thomas Brook (p. 7), and then ‘‘banged their way through the Entrance Hall and marched out of the building by the back door.’’

(b) A second account, which originally appeared in a letter to ‘“The Times,’’ dated December 3rd, 1812, deals with acts of violence committed at Newhall, which, there is reason to believe (as will be stated later), was Newhouse :—

‘“The spirit of Luddism, which was thought to be extinct, has again appeared and raged with more than usual violence. Last Sunday night, about a quarter past nine o’clock, a number of men armed with pistols or short guns, one of them with the lower part of his face covered with a black handkerchief, entered the house of Mr. W. Walker, of Newhall, near Huddersfield, cloth manufacturer, and after taking from him a gun, a pistol, and powder horn, demanded his money, and obtained from him about £15 in notes, the whole of which they offered to return to him, except one, if he would give them a guinea in gold: not being aware of the decoy, he took out a small purse containing five guineas, which they immediately seized, and took all the gold without returning the notes. The chief then proceeded to ransack his: papers, while others of the party presented their pieces at Mr. Walker, and after cautioning the family on pain of death not to quit the house for two hours after, they departed.’’

Page 38

94 As a matter of fact, there were many outrages perpetrated by bands of discontented workers after the murder of Mr. William Horsfall at Crosland Moor on the 28th of April, 1812, the insti— gators of which were in no way connected with the Luddite move- ment, the avowed object of which was the destruction of machinery in weaving sheds and dressing shops.

This year 1812 was noted for a wave of disaffection against the national and local governmental authorities of the time, due to the hardships caused by the prolongation of the second Napoleonic War, high taxation (both national and local), unemployment, etc. ; moreover, a backward agricultural season, deficient crops and the high price of corn, created poverty and misery among the greater bulk of the populace in Huddersfield and district.

The raids on Bracken Hall, Jilly Royd Farm, (mentioned in the same letter to ‘‘The Times’’ by the Huddersfield correspon- dent), were effected by men who took advantage of the state of terror and the general discontent prevailing among the workers to plunder on their own account.

Three questions arise in connection with these two divergent accounts of the raids on Newhouse. Where was Newhall? Was it an error for Newhouse? Who was Mr. W. Walker?

If Newhall be another name for Newhouse, then, as already hinted, the two accounts, above related, do not correspond.

There were, in early nineteenth century days, several home- steads in Sheepridge which bore such names as Upper Newhouse, Lower Newhouse, &c., so that some confusion may have arisen as to which was the building mentioned by the Huddersfield corres- pondent to ‘‘The Times.’

It is also possible that Newhouse Hall, as it stood in the years 1811-1812 (photo on p. 45), may have accommodated two families, and that Mr. W. Walker lived in the then newer (the left—hand) wing, and Mr. William Brook in the older wing (demolished in 1865), and it may be that both versions of the raids by the so— called Luddites on Newhouse are true, although, as yet, the ‘‘visit’’ to Mr. Brook’s homestead depends on oral tradition.

There is a great gap in the names of the occupiers of Newhouse from its sale in 1751 by Mr. Richard Chamberlaine to Thomas Thornhill of Fixby up till the middle of the nineteenth century when Sir John William Ramsden purchased the Newhouse and Deighton estates in 1854 from the Trustees of Miss Clara Thornhill, the eldest daughter of Thomas Thornhill (p. 91).

I intimated in my little book on ‘‘Newhouse Hall’’ (p. 83-84) that a family of Brooks (of whom the above-mentioned William Brook was a son) occupied the building as tenants of the Thorn-

Page 39


hills in late 18th century days. Since that book was printed, I have learned that, in 1840, Mr. Godfrey Berry was a tenant of the Thornhils at Newhouse.

It is now almost certain that Mr. W. Walker lived at Upper Newhouse in 1812, for there is evidence from the Award of the Huddersfield Enclosure Act of 1784-1789, that one Benjamin Walker, gentleman, resided at ‘‘a farm house called Upper New- house,’’ when two roads were ordered to be made, namely, Bradley Gate Road, 21 feet wide, and an Occupation Road, 18 feet wide.’’ Unfortunately, the copy of the plan which accompanied the Award of this Act has been lost, and, although the late Mr. G. W. Tomlinson, who originally published these details in the Hudders- field Parish Church Magazine for July, 1886, said that the original was in the office of the Clerk of the Peace at Wakefield, yet, subsequent enquiries have shewn that this, too, is missing. If this map had been forthcoming, many problems relating to the locality of Sheepridge would have been solved. It is quite possible that the Mr. W. Walker mentioned in the letter to ‘‘The Times’’ was a son of Mr. Benjamin Walker, as the former is mentioned in White’s ‘‘Directory of the West Riding’’ (published in 1837) as residing at Newhouse.

As the other outrages committed by these misguided persons and reported in ‘‘The Times’’ of December 8rd, 1812, have not been recorded by our local historians (except that on Bracken Hall), I propose to relate them here :—


The above correspondent, after having given the story of the ‘‘visit’’? to Newhall, continued :—

‘“The same gang on the same night proceeded to the house of a shopkeeper, at Far Town, from whom they took a gun, some silver, and notes to the amount of £20, together with a pair of silver tongs, and two silver tea spoons, not content with this booty, they went into the cellar, and seized a bottle of rum and some pro— visions.’

I have not been able to ascertain where this shop stood in Fartown nor the name of its owner. Moreover, there is no reference to this burglary in the subsequent trial of those who raided Bracken Hall.

(iii) THe Rap ar Roap Farm.

~The name of the farm is not mentioned in the correspondent’s letter to ‘‘The Times,’’ but I learned from a distant relative of the then tenant, Mr. Joseph Thornton, who was the victim of the

Page 40


OLD: JVILLY ROYD: FARM. FIXBY: Photo from a Painting by Miss M. M. Murgatroyd.

BRACKEN HALL, FARTOWN. Photo by Miss Eileen Holmes.

Page 41


outrage, that Jilly Royd Farm had been visited by Luddites. The tenor of the version given by the correspondent suggests that these men were not Luddites although they adopted their methods :

‘‘From thence they proceeded to a farmer’s house, near Fixby; four men entered, two of them armed with blunderbusses, a third - with a gun, and the other with a pistol; their first demand was for arms, but on being told that the farmer had neither arms nor money, they ordered ‘Enoch, Captain, Sergeant and Hatchetmen’ to enter; but on promising to find them some money, they retired at the word of command. Here they received £5.”’

. Joseph Thornton became subsequently one of Richard ee s friends, and in 1841, contributed £10 towards the sum of money required to secure his release from prison.

The modern Jilly Royd Farm is situated at the end of Jilly Royd Lane, which, up till 19388, was the boundary between the Borough of Huddersfield and the former Parish of Fixby.

The earliest reference to this place is to be found in the Chartulary of Fountains Abbey, in which as far back as 1200, there are documents mentioning the stream of ‘‘Gillialoch.’’ The Abbey had possessions in Bradley and the stream defined the extent of the property of the monks. In some of the Fixby Deeds, published by the Yorkshire Archeological Society, there frequently occur the words “‘the Wood of the Monks’’ meaning Bradley Wood just behind the diverted stream.

The old Jilly Royd farmhouse can be seen behind the modern dwelling. It is believed that it consisted of two small houses to each were attached large barns. One of the most interesting things to be seen in the old farm buildings is an fire place containing sunken corners.


Here, we gather from the letter to Times’’ that the rioters ‘‘after conducting themselves in an outrageous manner’’ at ‘‘the house of Mr. James Brook, of Bracken Hall, in Far Town, took from him his watch, a pound note, and four shillings in silver.’? (Mayhall, ‘‘Annals of Yorkshire,’’? Vol. I., p. 239).

James Hey, of Skircoat, Halifax, woollen spinner, Joseph Crowther, of Sowerby, cotton spinner, and Nathan Hoyle, Skir— coat, weaver, were subsequently charged at the York Assizes on January 12th, 1813, before Mr. Justice Le Blanc, for ‘‘the robbery of James Brook, in his dwelling house at Huddersfield on the 29th of November, 1812.’’ They were hanged in January, 1813.

The prosecuting counsel, Mr. Park, in his opening of the trial, gave additional details the outrage at Bracken Hall :—

Page 42


‘“The nominal prosecutor, James Brook, is a poor man, coal miner, living near Far Town, about two miles from Huddersfield. The prisoners at the bar . . . came to the house where Brook lived, and (as Brook himself will fully tell you), he was standing at his door, about eight o’clock in the evening. They insisted upon enter— ing his house and did enter it; they called upon him to deliver up fire—arms; he told them for a considerable time he had none; they still insisted upon having fire-arms, upon which he said at last, ‘Well, I have an old gun, but it is of no use,’ he shewed it to them, and upon examining it they found it was not a fireable piece, they then insisted he should give them money; he said he had none; they persisted that they would have a pound note, he insisted h. had not one; however, they took him upstairs, frightened him very much, and at last they forced open the cup-board, and there they found a pound note and some silver, which they took away from him; and you will find from the evidence that will be laid before you, that that night, they divided £15 apiece.’’

James Brook, in the course of his evidence, said that on the night in question, two men came to his house while he was standing at the outside of his door : they asked for his gun, he told them he had not got one, on which they said they knew he had a pistol, and followed him into the house; he told them the pistol ‘‘was nothing good for.’”’ As soon as they had got into the house, they demanded threatening to shoot him if he did not immediately give them what money he had. Both men had pistols ; witness thought it was James Hey that demanded the money; witness told them he had no money, they then forced him into a chair and bid him look at the fire. After they had spent some time in searching the house, they insisted on the witness walking up stairs and fetching them his pistol; they followed up stairs.

James Brook gave the pistol to James Hey, who, after looking at it, said, ‘‘It was nothing good for.’’ The children, who were in bed, were terrified and shrieked out, on which one of the prisoners said, (levelling a pistol at them), ‘‘If they mouthed again I’ll blow their brains out.’> When they returned, they insisted 02 his opening the cupboard door; this he refused to do, but said his; wife might doit. After some further threats, the door was opened, and a £1 note taken out of it, and about 4/- in silver; when they had got the money, one of them said a good mind io blow his head off, for telling us such a confounded lie.’’ When they went away, they told him if he went out of doors in less than two hours he would be shot. James Brook said there was a candle in the house, and the prisoner he believed to be James Hey, had a _ handkerchief over his face, but he sometimes put the corners under his hat, and he had then a view of his face, but he could not swear positively Hey was one of thein, but: it was his belief. After they had gone, he missed his watch which, hung by the clock face. (‘‘Ludd Riots,’’ pp. 118, 119, reprinted by John Cowgill, 1862).

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A few words on this homestead, which has given its name to a new Housing Estate in the Borough of Huddersfield, may not be out of place. ,

For over a century, Bracken Hall was occupied by this family of Brooks. The tombstones of various members of this family could be seen at one time in the Huddersfield Parish Church Yard: Brook, of Bracken Hall, in this parish, died 8th of November, 1788, aged 63 years. Mary, his wife, died 25th of December, 1794, aged 66 years. Sarah, wife of James Brook, of Bracken Hall, died 24th of October, 1837, aged 72 years. The above James Brook (the victim of the burglary mentioned above), died. 21st of February, 1839, aged 72 years.’’ (Transcribed by the late Mr. G. W. Tomlinson, in the ‘‘Huddersfield Parish Church Magazine,’’ May, 1891). I

A descendant of the above James Brook, a Rev. Mr. Brook, a Congregational Minister, is said to have written an account of Newhouse, Bracken Hall and Felgreave Farm. Efforts to trace this MS. narrative, which, I am informed, gave many details of episodes which took place at the three homesteads, have, so far, failed.

In late nineteenth century days, Mr. John Hudson farmed Bracken Hall, and was succeeded by his son who died in 1899. Mr. Henry Hudson was succeeded at Bracken Hall by Mr. John Wigglesworth and later by Mr. Benjamin Morton.

In 1900, the late Sir John William Ramsden, Bart., restored the homestead and farm buildings. A tablet stone was placed over the barn door with the inscription “ J.W.R., 1900.”

In 1918, Mr. Theodore Holmes took possession of Bracken Hall after the departure of Mr. Morton. In 1920, he exchanged this farmstead for that of Fellgreave which his brother Mr. James Holmes, had previously farmed, but ten years later, in 1930, the two brothers went back to their former homesteads so that Mr. Theodore Holmes is now at Bracken Hall and Mr. James Holmes at Fellgreave.

(vj ‘THE Cop,”

This former farmstead, at one time known as Upper New- house, and later called ‘‘The Cot,’’ was visited by the Luddites in 1812.

In that year, it was tenanted by Mr. George Scholes, the great-great—grandfather of the late Mr. J. W. Scholes, of Grim— scar, who kept a record of interesting events of ‘‘former days’’ which had been related to him by his forbears,

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It seems that Mrs. George Scholes had a bag containing £50 in gold in her bedroom. On hearing of the approach of the Luddites, she flung this bag over the canopy of the four—poster bedstead. When the Luddites searched the house, they looked anywhere but at this place for the money !

1 he Cot,’?. to use Mr. Ji Scholes's expression, later ‘‘fell down with old age.’’


This structure, (originally built as a Brew House), which is about seven or eight feet high, and contains five deep window slits (reminiscent of those seen on the ramparts’ of Bamborough Castle in Northumberland), through which air could play on the malt laid down on the floor of the original two storeyed building.

Unfortunately, a good deal more has been read into these ruins, which, strange to say, are preserved by the owners.

The late Mr. H. Telfer, of King Street, informed me that it was originally built as a fort during the Luddite Riots of 1812 to defend the Huddersfield Parish Church.

But can anyone seriously substantiate this statement?

(a) It would have been marked on former old maps and plans of Huddersfield, e.g., on Charles Bradley’s, compiled in 1820, on George Crosland’s drawn in 1826, and certainly by Captain Kerr, Lieutenant Penrice, and the other officers of the Royal Engineers when they surveyed and contoured Huddersfield in 1848 for the Ordnance Map of the town and district, ultimately printed in 1854. All places of antiquarian or archeological interest such as castles, abbeys, forts, earthworks, etc., are always printed in Old English characters on ordnance maps, but on the 1848—1854 map, any designation of the building represented as standing in the Queen’s Head Yard in the first-named year, is conspicuous by the absence of such lettering.

(b) All our former local historians and topographers are silent on the existence of this so-called fort; there is no mention in their pages of its having been erected in 1812, when they have related the story of the Luddite Riots. Again, there is no refer- ence to it in the contemporary Leeds newspapers for the years 1812 and 1813. It is quite conceivable that, had this fort been erected during this period, the local ‘correspondent OF these news- papers would have duly reported the fact.

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In order to be positive on this point, I wrote to H.M. War Office in May, 1938, and received a letter to the effect ‘‘that extensive enquiries have been made but it is regretted that the Department is unable to furnish any information which would assist in establishing the original nature of the building to which you refer.’’ I I

Moreover, in those Directories of the County of York which were printed during the years 1818 to 1843, we find no allusion to this so-called fort. Two of the editors of these massive tomes, William Baines, of Leeds, and William White, of Sheffield, invariably sent their assistants to compile a history and topo- graphy of every important town which preceded the directory of the streets of that particular locality. It is certain that if these collectors of information had been told that this structure (if it then existed) was a fort, they would most decidedly have men- tioned that fact in their respective topographies of Huddersfield.

_ (c) Assuming for the sake of argument that this two-storeyed building was originally built as a fort, would it have been effec- tive? How many soldiers, too, could it have garrisoned? If a raid had been made upon the Parish Church (which is quite unlikely), would the firing by the soldiers have had any effect upon the rioters at that distance? An examination of George Crosland’s map clearly indicates that the soldiers therein would have had to fire their volleys over the then Vicarage gardens, possibly through a public house or two (or private dwelling- houses) before a mob of attackers on the Huddersfield Parish Church could have: been dispersed! It is more likely that a mob could have overpowered the occupants of this ‘‘fort.’’

It is difficult to understand, too, why the Luddites should wish to attack the Parish Church? It contained no machinery, their ‘‘objectives’’ at the time were woollen mills and factories containing power looms, &c., upon which they vented ‘their spleen by destroying them, using, as already stated, ‘‘Enoch’’— their great hammer. Nor at the time was the Parish Church- yard used as a mart for the sale of woollen cloth, since the Cloth Hall had been built in 1768 and enlarged in 1780.

How did this fanciful theory arise that the structure was. originally built as a fort?

Two factors may have contributed to the propagation of this idea :— ;

First, there were certainly drafts of soldiers quartered in and about Huddersfield during this period of lawlessness, the 10th King’s Bays and the Scots Greys, which were billeted in various hostelries about the district, ‘‘impoverishing and sometimes ruin-

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ing the landlords, irritating the high spirited, oppressing the neu- tral and contaminating the whole neighbourhood.”’ (!) (‘‘Old Stories Retold,’’ by W. Thornbury, quoted by D. F. E. Sykes in his ‘‘History of Huddersfield and Its District,’’ p. 305). :

Secondly, at the time of the threatened invasion of Britain by Napoleon in 1804—1805, Martello’ Towers were built around the South coast as watch towers and means of defence, gar-— risoned by soldiers. The deep window slits of the structure in Queen’s Head Yard are very similar to those found in Martello Towers. These two factors were linked together, and the '‘sug- gestion was put forward that the building was originally erected as a fort.

I have been informed that the title deeds to the building term it ‘‘The Battery,’’ and that this is conclusive evidence that the structure was primarily erected as a fort. ‘‘The Battery’’ may be the name given to it by later owners, not knowing its real origin, or to camouflage future topographers. Innumer— able misnomers of this type are common in Huddersfield, as will be pointed out in a later chapter.

2. The theory has also been put forward that the structure was the original ‘‘Towzer’’ of early 19th century details.

This is completely disproved by a consultation of both Bradley’s and Crosland’s plans of Huddersfield previously men- tioned, for on each of them, the ‘“‘Towzer’’ of the day is clearly shown to be in Castlegate.

In the late Mr. D. F. E. Sykes’s ‘‘History of Huddersfield and its Vicinity,’’ we are told the exact location of the ‘‘Towzer,’’ namely, between Dock Street and Quay Street. (These streets no longer exist, the houses having been demolished). Mr. Sykes quoted extensively from the description of Huddersfield in 1800 written by ‘‘Native’’ (Mr. John Hanson, of the Lead Works, Folly Hall), who contributed a series of articles in the ‘‘Huddersfield Weekly Examiner” in the months of May and June, 1878 :—

‘‘About the year 1800, our head Constable was a respectable tradesman of the town. His name was Samuel Mosley. He had a large dog which rejoiced in the name of Towzer. After a while, on the ‘Love my dog, love me’ principle, the dog’s master was also commonly called Towzer. He had no lock-up shop in which to put prisoners, so one was built at that part of the town called Low Green, near where Hatfield’s pawnshop now stands. When the prison was finished it was called Towzer Castle, and when a prisoner was placed in durance vile, he was euphemistically said to have ‘gone to Towzer.’ ‘When the streets were named, Castlegate received its name from Towzer Castle, which stood there. a

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There are, however, three inaccuracies in the above quotation :

(i) In 1800-1801, the Constable of Huddersfield appointed by the Court Leet of the Manor of Almondbury was Mr. Thomas Nelson, who put Mr. John Senior in his place as deputy, while among the deputy constables were Mr. Samuel Mosley along with Messrs. Herbert Goldthorpe, Joshua Hobson, Francis Spence and William Horsfall.

(ii) ‘‘Towzer’’ was the nick-name given to any place of detention—there was one in Holmfirth. Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Webb, in their ‘‘History of English Local Government”’ say that this term was the usual appellation for a prison in 18th century days.

(i111) Castlegate probably owes it origin to the fact that it was the gate or road to the Castle which stood on the top of Castle Hill.

The late Mr. G. W. Tomlinson’s description of the ‘‘Towzer’’ was given in the Huddersfield Parish Church Magazine for Sept— ember, 1887 :—

‘At the north end (of Castlegate) between Denton and Rose- mary Lanes, Towzer appears, the prison of the period. ‘I'll tay thee to t’ Towzer’ used to be a very efficacious threat with unruly — children.”’

Mr. Tomlinson located the site of the Towzer on the left-hand side of Castlegate leading to Lowerhead Row between Rose- mary Lane and Denton Street, whereas from the plans above- mentioned it stood on the right-hand side of Castlegate between Dock Street and Quay Street.

3. As already stated, the building was originally erected as a Brewhouse, in the days when the landlords of public-houses made their own ‘‘home-brew,’’ by ‘‘mine host’’ of the White Lion in Cross Church Street.

This fact concerning its origin and purpose was communicated to me in the first place by Mr. George Fox, of Byram Street, who informed me that in the year 1880 when he was a boy and was considerably interested (as he still is) in the old buildings of the town, he made some inquiries from the landlords of the three public houses in its vicinity, and was told by that of the ‘‘White Lion”’ that he was the builder of this brewhouse.

Confirmation of this statement has since been given to me by an elderly lady who saw the building being put up and who remembers seeing beer made from the malt spread out upon its floor. I

Unfortunately, the date when it was built is not known, but

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Enlarged from a Vignette in Hobkirk’s “‘ History of Huddersfield.’’

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from what has been written above, it must have been erected between the years 1848 and 1880.


A tradition has been handed down that the ‘‘cap’’ upon the headstone of this Cross which stands opposite the Parish Church of Stainland was removed and smashed during the Luddite Riots ‘“‘by a remarkably powerful man, some six feet two inches in height, and who was a notorious character in his day.’’

Crabtree, in his ‘‘History of Halifax,’’ written in 1836, makes no allusion to this episode, which apparently, is based upon oral tradition.


During the period under review, 1811-1813, tradition relates that a few soldiers were billeted in this old homestead. As already stated, the military quartered in Huddersfield and district were none too popular in those days (p. 102), and a story has been handed down that one of these soldiers had the audacity to kiss the daughter of the occupier of the house, much against her will.

She told her young man of the affront inflicted upon her, and, the latter, in a towering rage, ran up the stairs of Townend and flung the soldier down the staircase !

The military lodged a complaint before Mr. Joseph Radcliffe, of Milnsbridge House, (afterwards Sir Joseph Radcliffe, Bart.), against the man who had summarily dealt with the soldier. The latter, however, knowing the parents of the young man in question, turned a blind eye to the charge levelled against him and refused to prosecute.

Another story, formerly told in Almondbury, relating to the Luddites, went as follows :—

One of the conspirators, who fired a pistol at Mr. William Horsfall, is said to have been badly injured by the recoil of the weapon. ‘The recoil burned his overcoat so much that a patch had to be stitched upon it lest it should have betrayed his identity. The work of patching and sewing was so badly done by the man’s mother, that, so tradition states, he was ultimately accused of being an accomplice by a soldier who peremptorily turned this man’s coat inside out and discovered sooty bits of cloth which had not been removed !

This story, however, is not true; there is no mention of a . patched overcoat in the evidence given at the trial of the Luddites,

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Photo by the late Mr. J. H, Carter.


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It seems that certain statements made at the trial were linked together and that the above garbled version has been handed down :—

(a) Joseph Mellor, (the cousin of George Mellor, afterwards hanged for the murder of Mr. Horsfall), who lived in Dungeon Bottom, stated at the trial that, on his return home on the day of Mr. Horsfall’s murder, ‘‘he found a dark coloured top coat upon the brushing stone in his shop, and in the pockets there were two ball cartridges, and he found a dark bottle-green coat behind the door, but neither of them belonged to him.”

(b) George Mellor and a stranger, so it was stated at the trial, had asked Mrs. Joseph Mellor for the loan of a handkerchief, and further that George Mellor had asked his cousin’s wife ‘‘to allow the gentleman who was with him to wash himself.’’( !)

In summing up the evidence, Mr. Justice Le Blanc said that one of the accused had hurt his finger and one of them had scratched his cheek in going through the wood (Dungeon Wood). (Report of the Luddite Trials, pp. 60—63).


the Luddite movement had been squashed as a result of the sentences imposed upon its principal ringleaders at the York Assizes in January, 1813, yet its spirit was not entirely killed, as’previously noticed.

On this particular Sunday morning, ‘‘some lawless workmen broke into the dressing shop of Mr. Roberts at Quarmby and destroyed all the shears and improved frames.’’ (Mayhali of Yorkshire,’’ Vol. I., p. 257).

It is said that all the windows in the new house which Mr. Roberts had then erected were broken, and that it was necessary to stuff the window frames with straw to keep out the rain unt'l new ones were inserted.

On No. 5, Tanyard Road, Quarmby, can be seen a tablet stone bearing the inscription and date ‘‘T.R. 1814,’’

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Some criticism may be raised on account of these two topics being included in a work on ‘‘The Legends and Traditions of Huddersfieid and Its District.’’

The reasons for their inclusion in this book are twofold ; first, certain statements made by former historians concerning these two persons who were about the same age, are erroneous; while a tradition arising from their subsequent careers and purporting to be one of the causes of the Elland Feud, 1341-1351, is, I am convinced, devoid of truth; secondly, as yet,, very little has appeared in our Local Histories (with the possible exception of Dr: H. J. Morehouse, in his ‘‘History of Kirkburton and the Graveship of Holme,’’ who discussed John de Warenne), regarding these last two representatives of the great rival feudal families in the West Riding of Yorkshire, that I have deemed it advisable to write short biographies of Alesia de Laci and of John de Warenne, using original sources where relevant. ©

John de Warenne, Earl of Surrey (1286-1347) was the Lord of the Manor of Wakefield which incorporated the Graveship of Holme and the Manors of Lindley, Quarmby, Dalton, Fixby (among many others). Alesia de Laci (1284-1348) was the sole surviving child and heiress of Henry de Laci, Earl of Lincoln; she married for her first husband, Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, who, in right of his wife, became Lord of the Honour of Pontefract which included the Manors of Almondbury and Huddersfield (among many others, also).

Mr. Taylor Dyson, in his ‘‘History of Huddersfield and Its District’’ (pp. 47-48), when dealing with Henry de Laci, Earl of Lincoln (1250-1311), the last of the male line of the second branch of that family, wrote :—

‘*He left as his heiress, Alice, who had married Thomas, Earl of Lancaster. . . . In addition, he (the Earl of Lancaster) had much domestic trouble, for his wife eloped with his rival, the Earl of Warren, Lord of Wakefield, This is the historic background for

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the most famous Civil War, known as the Elland Feud. . Lancaster was Lord of Pontefract, Warren was Lord of Wakefield, and their respective local adherents joined in the feud and for about fifty years the vendetta went on—so at least tradition affirms.’’

Neither the matrimonial disputes between the Earl of Lan- caster and his wife, nor the abduction of Alesia de Laci by John de Warenne, Earl of Surrey, in 1317, were, in any way, the cause of this Feud. Furthermore, Alesia de Laci did not ‘“‘elope’’ with John de Warenne; she was abducted by his orders, and an ab-— duction is a very different matter from an elopement.

Mr. Dyson continued :—

affair of Alice and the Earl of Warren was undoubtedly the ‘cause célébre’ of the time. They were about the same age and no doubt had met each other at the tournaments at Pontefract and Sandal Castle. One can easily visualise a dawning love when political expediency would intervene. Such a marriage would mean the absorption of the Laci lands into the Warren estates and between keen rivals this would not be tolerated. A husband was found for Alice in the powerful Thomas of Lancaster and the Earl of Warren had to seek a wife elsewhere. One can almost feel the thrill of excitement in the neighbourhood when the ‘elopement’ (for such it undoubtedly was) was reported in various manors! How rumours about the long journey to Reigate Castle in Surrey would keep the excitement alive! One can aiso under— stand the fury with which Lancaster attacked his rival’s possessions in the north and devastated the Manor of Wakefield.’’

But the facts, as given by the biographer of Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, in the ‘‘Dictionary of National Biography’’ (Vol. LVI., p. 148); by Mr. R. H. Holmes, in his ‘‘Chronology of Alesia de Lasey”’ (Y.A.J., Vol. XIII., p. 152), and by Dr. F. Royston Fair- bank, F.S.A., who wrote a monograph of ‘“‘John de Warenne, 8th Earl of Surrey:’ {(Y.A.J]., .Vol..X1IX., pp. 193-267), are very different. Not one of these writers mentions any negotiations for a marriage between John de Warenne and Alesia de Laci.


The biography of this ‘‘lady’’ has not yet been fully written, the late Mr. R. H. Holmes, the well-known antiquarian of Pontefract, compiled, as above stated, a ‘‘Chronology of Alesia de Lasey’’ at the conclusion of his Annotations of the Dodsworth MSS. relating to the Wapentake of Osgoldcross, (Y.A.J., Vol. XIHI., p. 152). He also gave additional details (incidentally mentioning that she was ‘‘frequently, but erroneously, called Alice’’), but, as the massive tomes wherein this information can be gathered are not in our Public Library, I am unable to consult them. Nevertheless, from the ‘‘Chronology,’’ one can reconstruct

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a good deal of the life of this ‘‘lady,’’ ‘‘who had a history,’’ Dr. F. R. Fairbank, in his monograph on ‘‘John de remarked.

Alesia de Laci was the sole surviving child of Henry de Laci, Earl of Lincoln and 10th Constable of Chester, by his wife, Margaret Longespée, co-heiress and granddaughter of William, 2nd Earl of Salisbury. If her elder brother, Edmund, had not had the misfortune oi being drowned in a well at Denbigh (date not known), or her second brother, John, not been killed by a fall at Pontefract (date also not known), or an elder sister, Margaret, not died in infancy, it is quite conceivable that she would not have received much attention at the hands of national and local his- torians.

She was born in 1283 or 1284 and was therefore some six _ years younger than Thomas, Earl of Lancaster (b. 1277 or 1278), and some three years younger than John de Warenne, Earl of Surrey (b. 1286).

When she was between nine and ten years old, she became affianced to her first husband, Thomas, Earl of Lancaster. There can be no doubt that this betrothal was one of policy as the Earl at the time was only sixteen years old! Youthful betrothals and marriages were quite a common occurrence in the later Middle Ages, they were effected for policy, convenience, or the union of landed estates. Neither romance nor love played any part in this ‘“engagement.’’

Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, was the eldest son of Edmund Crouchback, the second son of Edward 1. and therefore first cousin to Edward II]. When he was thirteen years old, there had been some negotiations regarding his marrying Beatrice of Burgundy, but these plans fell through.

The subsequent marriage of the boy Earl (his father died in 1296) and the child heiress of the Pontefract estates took place on the 28th of October, 1294, but like that of John de Warenne and Joan de Bar, the alliance proved a miserable failure, for, as Alesia grew older, she seemed to fascinate all types of men whether noblemen or commoners !

Her father, the Earl of Lincoln, died on the 5th of February, 1310-11, and, at the Inquisition held after his death, we gather that she was then aged twenty-six years (it is this data which gives the year of her birth as 1283 or 1284.

In the October or November of the year 1317, as stated pre— _ viously, Alesia was abducted by order of John de Warenne, Earl of Surrey.

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The story of this abduction is given by Walsingham in his ‘‘Historia Anglicana,’’ (Rolls Series, pp. 148, 149); ‘1317.—In this. year, on the Monday preceding the Ascension of Our Lord, the Countess of Lancaster, the lawful wife of the noble man, Lord Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, was seized at Canford, in Dorset, by a certain knight of the house and family of John, Earl Warenne, with many English retainers called together for the detestable deed, as it is said, with the royal assent. And she was conducted, with not a little pomp, in contempt of the said Earl of Lancaster, to the said Earl Warenne, to his Castle of Reigate. And while the. lady was so conducted, behold, during the journeying among the woods and fences, between Haulton and Farnaham, the leaders saw at a distance, flags and banners, for the priests were going with the people, making processions in the usual manner about the fields (Rogation days). The conductors therefore of the Countess, struck with sudden fear and terror, thinking that the Earl of Lancaster, or some people sent by him to obtain the said lady and vindicate themselves against so great an injury, fled with all celerity, leaving the Countess almost alone. But when the truth of the affair was discovered, they returned with threats and plunder. With them was a certain man of miserable stature, lame and hunchbacked, called Richard de St. Martin, exhibiting and declaring constantly his evil intentions towards the lady, so miserably led away. He, puffed up by great encouragement, demanded her as his wife, firmly declaring that he had known her carnally before she married the Earl of Lancaster. Also he stated that she publicly acknowledged it and admitted it to be true. .-. . Therefore the said Richard, exalted himself above himself, dared to claim in the King’s Court the earldom of Lincoln and Salisbury, in the name of his wife—jure uxoris—but in vain.’’ (Quoted by’

Dr. F. R. Fairbank, Y.A.J., Vol. XIX., p. 210).

If the latter part of the story be true, (Walsingham compiled his Chronicles some sixty or seventy years after the event from sources collected by former chroniclers), it shews that both Alesia de Laci and her captor, Richard de St. Martin, played most ig— nominous roles; it is doubtful, however, whether the statements made by de St. Martin concerning his relations with Alesia could stand the test of veracity.

Several facts stand out prominently in this narrative; first, Edward II. connived at this abduction, due, no doubt, to his grow- ing hatred of his cousin Lancaster’s popularity with the people; secondly, there is no hint given that Alesia was a willing victim to her abduction by order of de Warenne; thirdly, no clue is given that Alesia subsequently met the Earl of Surrey; moreover, de Warenne’s motive for her forcible removal from Reigate is definitely stated in ‘‘The Chronicle of Meaux Abbey’’ under the year 1317 :— ;

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‘‘John, Earl of Warenne, seized the wife of Thomas, Earl of

Lancaster—not for the sake of adultery, but to insult the said Karl,”

Her husband, Thomas of Lancaster, furious at the insult offered to him by his rival, immediately divorced her and set about gaining possession of de Warenne’s manors. Prior to her abduction by order of the Earl of Surrey, Alesia, who was known to have been unfaithful to her husband on several previous occasions, was having an ‘‘affair’’ with one of the squires attached to her husband’s retinue, a very young but lame man named Eubolo (or Ebulo) L’Estrange (Le Strange, Lestrange).

It is quite probable that even if this abduction had not taken place, the Earl had sufficient evidence to obtain a divorce from Alesia on account of her misconduct with Eubolo L’Estrange.

In 1322, Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, rebelled against Edward II., was defeated at the Battle of Boroughbridge, tried in his own Castle of Pontefract, (one of his judges being John de Warenne), condemned to death and beheaded outside the castle grounds. His estates were forfeited to the Crown, while those of de Warenne which he had acquired after the abduction of 1317 were regranted to his rival; but, for a while, Alesia, his widow, was unprovided for. On the 26th of June, 1822, she gave a bond of £20,000 to Edward II. for the regrant of her patrimony but this bond was subsequently decreed to be null and void if she alienated lands without the King’s consent. The object of this decree was to prevent her ancestral estates ultimately falling into the hands of a second husband.

However, Alesia, still described in contemporary documents as Countess of Lancaster, lost little time in getting married to her second husband, Eubolo L’Estrange, the lame squire of the Earl of Lancaster; on the 9th of July, 1322, the King issued a mandate ordering an enquiry into the dower granted to Alesia, ‘fat the church door, on her wedding.’’ Mr. Holmes said he had not been able to ascertain when and where she was married, or at what church her wedding took place, or what was the result of the enquiry, but there is no doubt that she joined herself in matrimony to Eubolo L’Estrange at some date after the execution of her first husband and before July 9th, 1822. At the time of her second marriage, she was thirty-eight years old while Eubolo was less than twenty years !

During the last five years of Edward II.’s reign, Alesia seems to have been in the good favour of this monarch, and particularly on excellent terms with his favourite, Hugh le Despencer; on Dec. 21st, 1324, we find that Eubolo and she got leave from the King to grant to Despencer, Halton Castie in Cheshire, the originai seat of the second branch of the de Laci family.

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Alesia’s second marriage was so far proving a success, and in the early days of the reign of King Edward III., both she and her husband obtained Letters Patent from the monarch whereby they and their heirs were to hold certain manors which Alesia had previously held during her life-time only.

In the year 1833, Eubolo, in some manner or other, fell into disgrace, we read of his being accused of ‘“‘breach of the King’s peace’’; however, in the latter part of that year, he re- deemed his character by rendering valiant services in the war against Scotland and obtained a Royal pardon for former mis- demeanours.

A further recognition on the part of Edward III of Eubolo’s services was shown on September 25th, 1335, when the monarch granted him for life the Castle of Builth in Wales.

But in the months of September and October of the year 1335, there is an element of mystery concerning Alesia’s relations with her second husband. There is evidence that her affections for Eubolo had cooled off and that she was now in love with a Welshman, Hugh de Freyne (or Hugh de [N ]Ash), a young man a little less than half her age, she was now fifty-one!

Divorce proceedings do not appear to have entered into Alesia’s mind; she, no doubt, knew of the difficulties attendant upon such a procedure; she knew, also, how John de Warenne had failed to get a divorce from Joan de Bar (p.116). Probably, too, she had no grounds for divorce, as it seems that Eubolo was an obedient husband, and except for the lapse against Edward III., he seems to have been a perfect squire.

Until further documents are discovered, the reasons for Alesia’s estrangement from Eubolo must remain an enigma. Mr. R. H. Holmes, in his ‘‘Chronology of Alesia,’’ says that at some date before the 9th of October, 1335, less than three weeks after Eubolo had been granted the castle at Builth, ‘‘Alesia is said to have poisoned her husband in Scotland’’ (!) Mr. J. W. Clay, in his ‘‘Extinct and Dormant Peerages of the Northern Counties of England,’’ says that Eubolo L’ Estrange died in September, 1335, but makes no allusion to his having been poisoned.

Apparently, the rigours of the law did not fall upon Alesia if she did actually poison Eubolo; she was left a widow a second time, but again not for long ! relate, Alesia de Laci was abducted a second time, and willingly, but on this occasion, the monarch, Edward III., did not connive at the affair as his father, Edward II., had done in 1317! The precise date when this episode took place is not known, but the Patent Roll dated the 20th of February, 1336, has ‘‘the order to arrest Hugh de Freynes and Alesia, Countess

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of Lincoln, wherever they may be found, for he came with an armed multitude to Bolingbroke Castle where she dwelt, and. carried her off to the Castle of Somerton, entering it against Our Will?’ (3)

This second abduction of Alesia did not have such far- reaching effects as that of 1317, no transference of lands from one feudal magnate to another took place; yet, within a month, several events must have occurred; first, Edward III]. must have pardoned Alesia for the poisoning of Eubolo (if he were poisoned), and Hugh de Freyne for having carried off Alesia; also, secondly, Alesia must have re-married a third time in this interval of four weeks, for on the 28rd of March, 1336, a royal order from the monarch contained the words ‘‘Restore lands and goods to Hugo de Freyne and Alesia, Countess of Lincoln, his wife’’ ( !)

There is very little else to record concerning Alesia and her third husband. A Patent Roll dated the 27th of September, 1336, describes them as ‘‘happy and faithful Hugo de Freen and Alesia his wife.’’ Her married life with Hugh de Freyne was but of short duration, he died in Perth in the December of 1336, having been married to her for about eight months. I

Alesia de Laci remained a widow for the remaining twelve years of her life; she died on the Ist of October, 1348, at the age of sixty-four, having achieved a notoriety almost equal to that of her contemporary, Isabella of France, Edward II.’s queen.


John de Warenne was born on the 30th of June of ‘the year 1286 and was the posthumous son of William de Warenne and of Joan, daughter of Robert de Vere, Earl of Oxford. His father was accidentally killed at a tournament held at Croydon on January the 15th, 1286. He then became a ward of King Edward I. When about nineteen years old, he was betrothed to Joan, daughter of the Count de Bar, a grand-daughter of that monarch; she was abroad at the time of her betrothal, but returned to England in April, 1306. As Joan’s parents were likewise dead, she, too, became a ward of Edward I. The marriage of John de Warenne and Joan de Bar took place on May 25th, 1306, in the Chapel of the King’s Palace at Westminster, the bridegroom was not quite twenty years old at the time of his marriage and the bride was half his age! As the parties were related (see p. 124, a dispensation was obtained from Pope Clement V.

The marriage of John de Warenne and Joan de Bar, like that of Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, and Alesia de Laci, proved a failure; domestic troubles soon arose between them as they both

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grew older due to the disparagement of their ages. In 1313, news of these marital quarrels reached the ears of Edward Il. who sent his yeoman, William de Anne, to take her away from Conis- borough Castle and bring her to his Court.

The cause of all the trouble was a young married woman, Maud de Neirford (or de Neyrford) with whom John de Warenne had fallen in love although her husband, Sir Simon de Derby, was still alive. This complacent husband must have died soon after 1318 for we hear nothing more concerning him in the subsequent _ history of the period. The scandal ultimately became public, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Robert de Winchelsea, sent an admonition to the Earl, ordering him to cease from “‘the disorderly life which you lead by living with Maude de Neyrford’’(!) Another contemporary version stated that the Archbishop ‘‘enforced John Warren, Earl of Surrey, to forswear a certain beautiful wench, with the love of which he was greatly bewitched’’( !)

John de Warenne is said to have obtained a Bull of Divorce from the Pope in the spring of 13138 whereby he could dissolve his marriage with Joan de Bar, but the English bishops ignored it; on May 26th, 13138, they declared she was his true wife and that they could not be separated. It further seems that they suspected this Bull to be a forgery. I

In June and July of 1313, Joan was living in the Tower of London under the safe protection of Edward II. (not as a prisoner). In the meantime, John de Warenne co-habited with Maud de Neirford, and by her, had two illegitimate children, John and Thomas de Warenne. Edward II., utterly disapproving of the Earl’s conduct, now ordered the Sheriff of Derby to take the Castle, Town and Manor of High Peak which had lately been granted to thesEarl.

Walter Reynolds, the new Archbishop of Canterbury (Win- chelsea’s successor), and eleven other bishops, now admonished the Earl in a memorial ‘‘as they could no longer suffer such con— tempt of Holy Church.’’ By way of reprisal, de Warenne applied for a divorce on the ground of consanguinity (=relationship), but the Archbishop’s retort was that such a procedure could only be obtained by consent of the bishops of the dioceses in which his estates were situated. Once again, the Archbishop urged him to amend his ways, while on the 26th of May, 1314, the episcopal bench repeated their conviction that the ‘‘Countess Joanna, that good lady, who so languished in expectation of his good pleasure and favour, was nevertheless his true and lawful wife, and that he could never be legally separated from her while she lived, for any reason that they had heard.”’

The King in Council with two bishops, the Earl of Lancaster and other nobles, charged the Bishop of Chichester to consider

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whether it was not time ‘‘to draw the sword of the Lord to pluck out and destroy such vice, inasmuch as the Earl, unlike a true Christian, or son of Holy Mother Church, had no ways blushed to lead such an odious and execrable life, disregarding all good counsel, and had broken into parks, etc.

The last sentence may have had some reference to the various raids effected by the tenants of the Earl de Warenne upon the estates of the tenants of the Earl of Lancaster, but John de Warenne later remembered this accusation brought against him by Lancaster and obtained his revenge.

In the summer of 1314, John de Warenne commenced his divorce proceedings against Joan de Bar at York. The Arch— bishop of York (Greenfield) wrote a letter to the Archdeacon of that diocese in which the Earl’s reasons for a divorce were fully stated :—

‘John, Earl of Surrey, has told us that when under age, and in the charge of Lord Edward (I.) . . . . at the compulsion of certain nobles of the kingdom, he was compelled to marry Johanna, daughter of the Earl de Bar, though within the grade of consan- cuinity, that is, in the third and in the fourth: he was entirely ignorant of this impediment when he contracted marriage, under force and fear : but when it was done, so soon as he was able and he dare, he opposed it, etc.’’ There is no mention in this suit of his ever having been in love with Alesia de Laci or of a betrothal between them. The letter concluded with an order to Joan de Bar to appear at York Cathedral to answer de Warenne’s petition.

On October Ist, 1314, the Archbishop of York appointed two clergymen to hear the divorce suit, and on the following day, he wrote to the Bishop of Durham “‘to cite or cause to be cited Matilda de Neyrford that she appear personally before us’’ at a specified date. However much Maud fancied the idea of being cited as a co-respondent, she did not relish the thought of having to appear before the Archbishop. Her name seems to have beea introduced in this application for a divorce on the ground that the law of the Catholic Church did not permit husbands to bring divorce actions based on consanguinity. The Bishop of Durham attempted to see her at the Manor of the Abbot of Byland in Clyfton, near York, where she was then residing. ‘‘But,’’ wrote the Bishop to the Archbishop of York, ‘‘after waiting a long time we were not able to see her,’’ although the Bishop reported that the Earl de Warenne was staying in the same house!

The divorce suit was heard at Cawood on October the 15th, 1314, but it was not granted to John de Warenne, for it was believed that the dispensation from Pope Clement V. had settled the matter. Moreover, the statement that the Earl had had a pre— contract with Maud de Neirford was not entertained,

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By taking the case to the diocese of York, John de Warenne © imagined that he stood a better chance of success than if he had applied at Canterbury. Failing in his object at York, he went to the Bishop of Norwich for he held estates in Norfolk. At Norwich, the Archdeacon of that diocese cited Joan de Bar to appear in the Church of St. Nicholas at Braksden to answer to Maud de Neirford in the cause of the divorce between John de Warenne and herself (Joan). King Edward II. was so disgusted at the action of the Archdeacon of Norwich, that, after the facts had been stated and proved before the King and his Council, both the Archdeacon and his officer were committed to the Tower of London ! I

While Edward II. was in London in 1315 he consented to allow Maud’s petition for the divorce to be commenced afresh and likewise gave her protection ‘‘as well as to her advocates, proctors, © witnesses and their servants.’”’

The divorce proceedings dragged on miserably until de Warenne, tired of the delay, took the matter in his own hands. After some negotiations in February, 1316, he stated he was pre- pared to give Joan de Bar a yearly rent of 740 marks, nearly £500, ‘within the quarter of a year after the divorce is pronounced.”’

There seem to be no records of the hearing of either of the two cases, de Warenne’s plea of relationship with Joan de Bar, and Maud’s plea of pre-contract (nowadays termed ‘“‘engage- ment’’) to him. A divorce was not obtained and the provision which John de Warenne had made for his lawful wife in Febru- ary, 1316, was therefore made null and void.

There were two obstacles in the way ef de Warenne’s ob- taining a decree of divorce against Joan, first, the Papal Dis- pensation of Clement V., and secondly, the Law of the Church as affirmed by the Synod of London, 1126, ‘‘We forbid the re- ceiving the testimony of such men as accuse their wives of being too near of kin, or of those whom they produce as witnesses ; but in all things let the ancient authority of the fathers be preserved.’’

Maud de Neirford’s argument for a divorce can be under- stood, but, strange to say, no record of a previous contract with John de Warenne can be found in the Lambeth Registers.

At the same time that these futile divorce proceedings were in progress, John de Warenne granted all his estates to King Edward II., among these being the Manor of Wakefield, includ- ing the Graveship of Holme, the Graveship of Rastrick, etc. This was effected on June 29th, 1316, when the King took pos- session, but on July 6th, these lands’ were re-granted by the monarch to de Warenne, but the latter was to receive only a life

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interest in them, the King reserving; the disposal of the remain- ders. There was now a reconciliation between Edward Il. and John de Warenne; subsequent events certainly shewed an im- . provement in their relations. 7

John de Warenne, foiled in his attempt to obtain a divorce from Joan de Bar, now wished to make some settlement upon Maud de Neirford. On August 4th, 1316, the King, “‘wishing to do the Earl a special favour,’’ re-granted to him the greater bulk of his ancestral estates with remainder to John de Warenne, his son by Maud de Neirford and the heir of his body, and failing such issue, to Thomas de Warenne, his second son by Maud. A second charter of the same date, made the remainder to Maud de Neirford, while a third made the reversion to the King and his heirs. :

John de Warenne had never forgiven the part played by Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, who had, in 1314, joined with the King and the Bishops in an attempt to stop his philandering with Maud de Neirford. Huis opportunity for revenge occurred in the autumn of 1317, when he staged, with the help of Richard de St. Martin, the abduction of the wife of his rival, Alesia de Laci, from Canford to Dorset, as has already been described (p. 110).

De Warenne’s sole motive in this sordid affair was, as the contemporary Chronicle of Meaux Abbey reported, ‘‘insult and retaliation.’’ The Earl was not in the least interested in Alesia and the fact that Richard de St. Martin behaved most outrageously towards her on that journey tends to show that the episode was deliberately planned to affront Lancaster.

Lancaster, as we have seen, divorced his none too faithful wife, and waged a private war against the Earl de Warenne. Lancaster besieged Sandal and Conisborough Castles and attacked the de Warenne estates in Wales. John de Warenne was now a supporter of Edward II., while Lancaster was opposing him, so that the animosity and hatred between these two rival noblemen was great. The King ordered the Earl of Lancaster to stop this private war, and in November of 1317, sent: a letter to his cousin (Lancaster) saying he ‘‘was prepared to do justice in his Court concerning the thing's that the Earl has to prosecute against the Earl of Surrey,’’ (John de Warenne).

Lancaster paid no attention to this order and the warfare against de Warenne continued. In 1318, some agreement was arrived at between the rival Earls. Lands were exchanged so that the de Warenne estates did not border on the Castle of Pontefract held by Lancaster. During the whole of 13819, de Warenne granted, by a series of charters endorsed by the King, all his life interest in all his estates except from three manors in the south of

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England to the Earl of Lancaster, and from which de Warenne received a yearly sum of 1,060 marks.

In 1322, the Earl of Lancaster, as already stated (p. 111), headed a rebellion against Edward II. and was subsequently exer cuted outside his own castle at Pontefract.

‘One result of the death of Lancaster was that John de Warenne was re-instated in the greater part of his ancestral domains but the Honour of Pontefract which had belonged to the Earl of Lancaster, in right of his wife, Alesia de Laci, was retained by the Crown for some years.

_ About the year 1325, John de Warenne’s affection for Maud de Neirford had considerably cooled off. She was deprived of all the estates which were at one time to revert to her while her two sons by the Earl were debarred from succeeding by being compelled to enter the religious order of St. John of Jerusalem. These estates were now granted to de Warenne’s sister who had married the Earl of Arundel. Disgusted at the treatment she had received at the hands of her lover, Maud de Neirford left the country in 1327.

In order to legalise these latest grants, the Earl of Surrey granted his Yorkshire estates to Edward II. on.the 7th of May, 1326, and later in the month, they were re-granted to John de Warenne with remainders to his brother-in-law, the Earl of Arundel, who guaranteed the estates against any claim which might be raised in the interests of Maud de Neirford and her two sons.

In 1827, Edward I]. was murdered at Berkeley Castle and his son Edward III. began to reign, although for a few years, the country was ruled by Edward II.’s queen, Isabella (the ‘‘she-wolf of France’ ’) and her favourite, Roger Mortimer. Joan de Bar, who had been employed in several diplomatic missions abroad by Edward II., returned to England and received lands in the south of England. I

I For seventeen years, John de Warenne, stood in_ high favour with King Edward III. and defended the south coast against frequent French raids which formed part of the Hundred Years War. In 1331, he seems to have become more favourably dis- posed towards his wife, and confirmed a grant to the Priory of Lewes, giving as his reason for so doing, ‘‘for his own soul and that, of the Countess, Joan de Bar, his consort,’’—a different state of affairs from the year 1315 when he had confirmed his ancestors and his own donations to the priory of Thetford for his own and his ancestors and his heirs’ souls, and also for those of de Neirford and ‘“‘our children’s souls’

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For a period of thirteen years, it seems that John de Warenne and Joan de Bar lived a life of tolerating each other but were never completely reconciled. In the early part of 1344, the old urge of divorcing Joan came to the Earl once again and on the dth of March of that year, Pope Clement VI., sent a mandate to Philippa, Queen of England, ‘‘to warn and compel John, Earl of I Warenne, to receive and treat with marital affection Joan de barre.”

Thwarted in his many previous attempts to get rid of his wife, putting forward, first, one reason and then another, and after the failure of all his devices, de Warenne now publicly stated in 1345 (thereby creating an amazing scandal), that before he had been forced to marry Joan de Bar, the grand-daughter of Edward I., he had had intimate relations with her aunt, the fifth daughter of Edward I., the Princess Mary, who had been dead for some years. He alleged that this intimacy took place when he was nineteen years old, and that she was twenty-seven, and at the time a nun! If this fact had been raised when he first instituted divorce proceedings against Joan de Bar and proved (for the Princess Mary was dead in 1345), it is almost certain that ne would have scored his point, for it is unlikely that the then Pope in 1314 would have overlooked this irregularity. How- ever, when the Earl’s case was placed before Pope Clement VI. at Avignon (the Popes lived at Avignon from 1309-1377), the latter issued a decree absolving John de Warenne from ‘‘excommuni- cation which he had incurred by inter-marrying with Joan, daughter of Henry, Count de Bar, whose mother’s sister he had carnally known.’’ A penance was ordered to be done by de Warenne, and as to the marriage, ‘‘canonical action was to be _taken,’’ but what the Pope meant by this expression was not apparent.

The penance which the Earl performed was quite a mild one, he granted to the Abbot of Roche the advowson (=the right of appointing a priest) to the Church at Hatfield.

At the age of sixty, John de Warenne now fell in love with Isabel de Holland, the daughter of Robert de Holland. It was suspected that he (or Isabel) invented the story of his so-called intimacy’ with the Princess Mary in order to get a divorce from Joan de Bar in 1346. He was likewise unsuccessful in this last attempt to divorce his wife, and prevailed upon Edward III. to make provision for Isabel in the event of his death. On June 2nd, 1346, this was actually effected by a charter, when, unfor- tunately for Isabel de Holland, Joan de Bar returned to England after having performed some diplomatic mission for Edward III., and naturally resented this proposal, which was also ob- jected to by the Earl of Arundel, John de Warenne’s nephew.

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All the parties concerned were subsequently appeased by a charter dated the 12th of December, 13846, wherein Edward III. decreed that the Manor of Wakefield and several others in Yorkshire, should, in default of an heir of the Earl’s body, remain with Isabella de Holland and then revert to the King.

On June 30th, 1347, on his sixty-first birthday, John de Warenne, the last Earl of Surrey, breathed his last at Conis- borough Castle; his wife, Joan de Bar, was abroad at the time. By his will made at Conisborough, he directed that he should be buried in the Church of the Priory of St. Pancras, Lewes, (the prior of which had the right of appointing the Rector of Kirk- burton up till the time of the Reformation), in an arch near the high altar, on the left side, in the place he himself had prepared. He speaks of Isabel de Holland as ‘‘ma compaigne’’ (=my com- panion), and left her his plate, jewels, half of his estate in cows, mares and other beasts, and the residue of his goods and chattels. He was not very lavish in his bequests to his surviving illegiti- mate children, to William de Warenne, he bequeathed 100: marks (£66 13s. 4d. ), some silver trappings and his ‘‘armour for joist- ing.’’ He left £20 to Edward de Warenne; two illegitimate daughters, Johanna de Basying and Katherin (surname not stated) received a silver cup and 10 marks (£6 13s. 4d.) respec- tively, while another son, Dom William de Warenne received a _ Bible ‘‘which I had had made in French.’’

(c) THe oF ALESIA DE Lact In 1317, AS ONE OF THE CAUSES OF THE ELLAND FEup, 1841—1351.

From these two biographies, it will be seen that except for the abduction of Alesia de Laci by order of John de Warenne, there was no other link in the lives of these two persons.

The statement made by former historians that de Warenne— Lancaster dispute was the cause of the Elland Feud is in- accurate.

How did this fiction arise?

Dodsworth was the first to give this reason in his annota- tion of the Whitley Hall MS., when he visited that mansion in 1629 :—

‘Sir John Eland, of Elland, was a man of great account, and High Steward to the Earl Warren, of the Manor of Wakefield, and other lands in the North parts, and was Lord of Eland, Tankers- ley, Fulbridge, Hinchefield and Ratchdale.”’

And being Sheriff of Yorkshire, slew Robert Beaumont at his own House, at Crossland Hall, the 24. Edward III.; and was himself slain by the said Robert Beaumont’s sons as he came from keeping the turn at his Manor of Brighouse. And

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not long after, the said Beaumonts slew the said Sir John Eland’s son and heir as he came over Elland Mill Dam to Church on Palm Sunday morning, there being at that time no ‘“This appeareth by Evidence and Pedigree in the keeping of John Armitage, Esq.; and they have a Play and Song thereof in the country still. The quarrell was about the Earl of Lan- caster and the Earl of Warren that took away the Earl of Lan- caster’s wife, there being a man slain of the Earl Warren's party in a hurly-burly betwixt the said Lords for that matter. Eland came to search for the murderer in the said Beaumont’s house, who belonged to the Earl of Lancaster, and slew him in his own hall as aforesaid. [This in Mr. Armitage of Kirkley’s evi- dences:-1621. MSS.; YsA.]., Vol. Ls,

There are at least three inaccuracies in Dodsworth’s narrative :

(a) The first was noted by Mr. R. H. Beaumont of Whitley Hall, in his own transcripts of the documents therein contained; he wrote the following : ‘‘John de Eland, Sheriff, in 15 Edward III., 1841, and not 24 Edward III., 1851.’’

(b) Dodsworth confused the ‘‘Hurly-Burly’’ of 1317, that is, the abduction of Alesia de Laci, with the year of the triple murders of ‘‘Old’’ Quarmby de Quarmby, old Lockwood de Lockwood and — Sir Robert de Beaumont by Sir John de Eland in 1341.

(c) As already stated, the Earl of Lancaster had been executed in 1322 outside Pontefact Castle, and consequently the statement that Beaumont ‘‘who belonged to the Earl of Lancaster”’ is absurd. A good many later historians have followed Dodsworth and put forward the view that the Elland Feud was a continuation or local development of the Lancaster-Warenne Feud of 13817-13822. The late Mr. J. Horsfall Turner, in his ‘‘Elland concurred and wrote :—

“Tt was not uncommon for Norman barons to make war on each other. The great lords of Wakefield and Pontefract, the Warrens and the Lacis, had several quarrels. In 1268, they had each armed their retainers to settle by force of arms a quarrel about a pasture, but were prevented by the King. In 1317, Alice de _Laci, who had been given in marriage to Thomas, Earl of Lan- caster, was forcibly carried off to Reigate Castle, belonging to the’ Earl of Warren. The Earl divorced her and laid siege to the . Yorkshire castles of the Earl of Warren, but again the King inter— fered.

‘‘During this struggle the tenants of their respective Lords . took up the quarrel locally seeing that Sir John de Elland was the steward of the Earl of Warren while Hugh de Quarmby, Will de Lockwood of Lockwood and Sir Robert de Beaumont were tenants of the Earl of Lancaster.’’ (‘‘Elland p. 6).

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These last two paragraphs are merely extensions of paragraphs in Dodsworth’s Notes.

I venture to disagree with those former historians who assign the abduction episode of 1317 as being the immediate cause of the Elland Feud for the following reasons :—

In 1341, the year when the first three murders are believed to have been committed by Sir John de Eland, although, as yet, there is no documentary evidence to confirm this statement, the Earl of Lancaster was dead, having been beheaded in 1322. The Honour of Pontefract was now held by Henry, Earl of Derby (1281 ?-1345), the son of Henry, Earl of Lancaster, the brother of Thomas. Henry, Earl of Derby, received from his father the Ponefract estates in 1337, the latter having had the Honour of Pontefract granted to him in 1326 by Edward II.

The Earl de Warenne, in 1341, was, more or less, on speaking terms with his wife, Joan de Bar, and probably had completely forgotten the incident of 1317. In 1346, he was co-habiting with Isabel de Holland and making plans for providing her with an income after his death; he died in 1347, and his estates were settled upon Edmund of Langley, Earl of Cambridge, a son of Edward III.

Alesia de Laci in 1841 was a widow, having married again twice after the execution of her first husband, Thomas, Earl of Lancaster; she died in 1348, a year after John de Warenne.

It is difficult to see in the face of the altered conditions in 1341, why the tenants of the Earl of Derby and of John de Warenne should have carried on a vendetta over a woman, then a widow, and not living in the immediate vicinity of Huddersfield?

The object of this lengthy chapter has been to shew that the abduction of Alesia de Laci by order of John de Warenne in 1317 had no connection with the Elland Feud of 1341-1351, and, at the same time, to givé a recital of their matrimonial affairs from the authorities at our disposal.

It is also worthy of note that neither Watson in his ‘‘History of Halifax,’’ nor Whitaker in his ‘‘History of Loidis and Elmete’’ gives this abduction story as a cause of the Feud. .

The possible causes of the Feud, as gathered from the com— pilers of the Poems and of the Prose Narratives, will be discussed iif,

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Henry II. (1154-1189) Aymer Reigner Hugh IX. = Eleanora of Aquitaine Count of Angouléme Count de 7 Marche I I John (1199-1216) (1) Isabella of Angouléme = (2) Hugh X. Le Brun, Count de la Marche a I - I Henry III. (1216-1272) Alice de Lusignan = John de Warenne, d. 1304, = Eleanor of Provence I 7th Earl of Surrey I I I I 3 Henry de Laci Edmund, d. 1296 Edward I. (12721307) I I Earl of Lincoln (Crouch back) = Eleanor of Castille William de Warenne d, 1311 I ; I coe a d. 1286

I I 4 I a I Alesia de Laci = (1) Thomas Henry Edward II. (1307-1327) Mary Eleanor d. 1348 Earl of Lancaster Duke of = Isabella of France = Henry, Count de Bar (executed 1322) Lancaster I I = (2) Eubolo Lestrange ? 1281 - 1345 Joan de Bar = John de Warenne d. 1335 7 I (1286-1347) (3) Hugh de Freyne Henry, Earl of Derby 8th Earl of Surrey ad. 1336 ? 1299—1361 :



Thomas John William Edward Dom William Johanna Katherin de Warenne de Warenne de Warenne de Warenne de Warenne de Basying °-


Sons by Maud de Neirford


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Notes to this pedigree :—

1. Isabella of Angouléme, King John’s second wife, had been previously betrothed to Hugh Le Brun, son of Hugh [X., Count dela Marche. After the death of King John in 1216, she married her former fiancé and by him bore a number of children, some of whom took the surname of Le Brun.

2. There is a tradition in one branch of the Le Brun family in the Island of Jersey that it is descended from this marriage of Isabella of Angouléme and Hugh X. This tradition is rather I intriguing as my mother’s maiden name was Jane Le Brun.

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by had ta

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