The History and Topography of the Parish of Kirkburton and of the Graveship of Holme (1861) - Thurstonland

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The History and Topography of the Parish of Kirkburton and of the Graveship of Holme (1861) by Henry James Morehouse


This township is included in Domesday survey under the name of Cartworth, along with Wooldale, Fulstone, and Hep worth, being five townships, containing six carucates; but in the recapitulatio of that record, they are severally named, of which Cheteuurde [Cartworth] stands at the head ; they were then returned as “waste.”

After the Manor of Wakefield had passed into the possession of the Earls Warren, doubtless many important changes were effected : and it would seem that this township did not long remain a part of the Free Chace of Cartworth, or as it afterwards became designated, Holmfirth, although the townships of Holme, Austonley, and Upperthong, had been previously added to it.

This township differs in one respect from those which have already engaged our enquiries. We have seen that the chief lord of the fee had granted off whole vills, or townships, to some of his attendants and retainers, who held the same by military service, &c. In this township the chief lord seems to have granted smaller plots of land in different parts of it, probably to a number of his humbler dependants ; perhaps to those who had the care of his Free Chase of Holmfirth, close upon which they might reside, and over which they might be enabled, from its high and commanding situation, to exercise a degree of supervision. These grants were made at a very early period, and for many generations several of the families continued to occupy their small possessions, as will be hereafter shown.

In the reign of Edward I., John, the seventh Earl Warren, was found to be Lord of Thurstonland. Mr. Hunter informs us that the last Earl Warren, in his latter years, appears “to have sought to be on better terms with the church than he had been in the busier and more active period of his life, and made, as it would appear, a grant of the Rectory of Hatfield to the neighbouring Abbey of Roche, 'in loco penitentiæ, the profits of which were sufficient to enable them to add thirteen monks to their foundation.”

This grant was made about 19 Edward III., [1345,] the King having granted his licence to John, Earl Warren, to give the Advowson of Hatfield, then valued at seven marks, to the Monks of Roche Abbey. It is therefore pretty certain that the earl must have included other property ; and it does not seem improbable that the Manor of Thurstonland, with certain lands, formed a part of it, as we find the manor was in the possession of this earl in the reign of Edward II., but in that of Edward IV.[1] it was in the possession of the Monks of Roche Abbey; after which we find they had their steward and resident bailiff, as shown by the books of the abbey, “Thomas Green, Steward of Thurstonland-cum-membris, 20s. per ann.” — “Henry Gillott, bailiff there, also 20s. per ann.” With the monks it remained until the dissolution of the monasteries, when, in the 32 Henry VIII., this manor and the lands, &c., were granted by the said King, by his letters patent, bearing date the 1st March, 1540, “to John Storthes, of Shittylyngton, gentleman, (and of Storthes Hall), all his Manor of Thurstonland, with all his rights, membres, and appurtenances, &c., late to the Monastrye of Roche, and now dyssolved, belonging,” &c., “and all other messuages, houses, byldyngs, mylnes, granges, londs, tents, meadowes, pastures, comens, waters, . . . fysshyngs, lyng, and heth,” &c., to hold of the said sovereign lord the King, his heirs and successors in cheff, by the suyte of the XX part of a knyght’s fee, and yelding, therefore, yerly, 20s. to the King’s Cort of Augmentacon of the revenues of his Crowne,” &c.

The manor remained with the ancient family of Storthes, of Storthes Hall, till the close of the reign of Elizabeth, when they alienated the whole of their estates in the parish to Mr. Richard Horsfall, who shortly after took up his residence there. It is therefore unnecessary here to enter into particulars respecting its descent, as this will be shown in connexion with that place.

This township is principally engaged in agriculture; although a number of mills and factories adjoin upon it, which are employed in woollen and fancy manufactures. A large proportion of the cottagers are, however, employed in weaving woollen cloth, yet the occupiers of land are almost entirely devoted to agriculture.

At Mytham Bridge, in this township, is an ancient corn mill, at which the inhabitants, in “olden time,” were required to grind their corn. In connexion with it, also, was a fulling mill, where the lord of the manor appears to have required clothiers within the manor, “freeholders and tenants,” to full or mill their cloth : this unusual custom existed in 1540, in which year John Walker, of Thurstonland, clothier, had conveyed to him from the lord of the manor, certain lands, late belonging to the Monks of Roche Abbey. In that conveyance it is stipulated in addition to the said customs, “that the said John Walker, or his heirs in tyme to come, shall never erect or buyld, nor set up,” within the said lordship, “any manner of myll or mylnes.” Without effecting any perpetual legal impediment to John Walker, or the rest of the freeholders in the township, it is remarkable that this stipulation has been so far observed that there has never since been any other mill erected within this lordship, although the ancient customs respecting the grinding of corn and fulling of cloth, have long since become extinguished.

The Grange.

The name of this place is sufficiently indicative of its ancient use being connected with Roche Abbey, to which it remained appendant until the dissolution of the monasteries, when the Manor of Thurstonland, with all the lands belonging to this abbey, reverted to the Crown, and were shortly after granted out by the King, as stated under the manor.

This grange possessed a right of stray and pasturage for twenty sheep upon the commons and waste lands in the lordship of Shelley, a privilege which, no doubt, had been granted to the Monks of Roche Abbey, by one of the early lords of Shelley. This estate has descended along with the manor, and now vests in C. H. Bill, Esq.

Storthes Hall.

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This is the largest mansion within the parish of Kirkburton. It is situated on a fine richly-wooded knoll, at the north-eastern extremity of the township of Thurstonland, and on the banks of a small stream, which divides the townships of Burton and Shelley from that of Thurstonland. It is a modern-built mansion, plain, but uniform in its exterior, having been erected about 70 years ago, by the aunts of the present proprietor, — Charles Horsfall Bill, Esq. When viewed from the opposite banks, the house has a very pleasing appearance, surrounded with fine timber, which has been allowed to attain a considerable size. There is also an extensive sweep of woodland, which stretches in an unbroken line to the west, and along the south front into the winding dell below.

To the west of the mansion are several fine spreading beeches, which have attained an unusual size. A little beyond these are a number of fine oaks, which, it is much to be regretted, owing to the want of timely thinning, have lost many of their lower branches, and are evidently on the decline. It must be admitted, too, that a judicious thinning of the timber in the foreground within the vale, by affording more variety of light and shade, would add greatly to the effect of the scenery. This is the only instance within the limits of my topographical survey, where timber has been allowed to become redundant. Alas! it has been but too often the subject of regret and complaint, that timber, which was not only highly ornamental to the estate upon which it stood, but also to the surrounding neighbourhood, has fallen beneath the axe, to gratify a penurious craving, or to supply the calls of profligate extravagance.

For more than twenty years this place has ceased to be the residence of its owner, for whom it is to be regretted that so singularly pleasing and picturesque a situation should no longer possess a charm. It was for many generations the residence of a family of very great antiquity, who either derived their surname from the place, or gave their own name to the estate ; and although none of these ever appear to have taken a higher rank than that of “Gentleman,” yet they at all time maintained their position in a remarkable degree, forming alliances with some of the best families in the country, until they finally quitted the place.

The Storthes’ of Storthes, afterwards called Storthes Hall, appear frequently either as principals or witnesses in ancient charters connected with the district. I am, however, unable to reduce them to a clear and connected pedigree. The earliest mention of them is a Matthew de Storthes, who appears as witness to a charter along with Matthew de Scheplay, in the reign of Henry III. The next is Robert de Storthes, who was witness to a deed in Edward I.’s reign. He seems to have been succeeded by William del Storthes, whose name appears in charters dated 1335 and 1339, respectively. But in 36 Edward III., [1361,] we find that “Jennet, wief of William Storres,” bought the wardship of William de Shepley. It is most probable she was of this place, and then widow of the aforesaid William, after whom was Robert del Storthes, who was witness to charters dated 1384 and 1387.

A Robert del Storthes also appears as a witness to a deed 5 Henry V., [1416]. In the 24 Henry VI., [1445,] Richard Storthes occurs as a witness to a deed. In a deed of trust, dated 1448, we find Johanna, the widow of Robert Storrez, holding an annuity of seven marks out of the manor and lands of Shelley, belonging to Thomas Doddworth, and Elizabeth, his wife, which was to remain to the said Johanna, and to her heirs lawfully issuing.

A charter dated 1479, purports to set forth the consanguinity and descent of John Storthes from John de Schellay, the last lord of that surname, viz., that the said John Storthes was the son of Thomas Storthes, who was the brother of Henry, the brother of Robert or Richard, who were the sons of Johanna, the daughter of Katharine, who was the daughter of John de Schellay, aforesaid.

The consanguinity of John Storthes with John de Schellay, as stated in this deed, it seems probable stood as follows :—

The History and Topography of the Parish of Kirkburton and of the Graveship of Holme (1861) - figure 16.png

For a period of sixty-two years we have found no further mention of the Storthes, till in 1541, in the 32 Henry VIII., the King, by his letters patents, granted to John Storthes, of Shitlington, but likewise of Storthes Hall, Gentleman, — who was probably grandson of the last-named John, — the Manor of Thurstonland, together with certain lands, &c., late belonging “to the Monastrye of Roche” [Roche Abbey], “now dyssolved.” Here we have the first indication of the family removing from their ancient inheritance. But in the 6 Edward VI., [1551,] Gervas Storthes, of Storthes Hall, Gentleman, released by indenture, dated 26th October, to John Kaye, of Dalton, Gentleman, for the sum of sixty-four pounds, an annual rent-charge of four pounds, six shillings, and eightpence, due to him, his heirs or assigns, issuing out of the Manor of Shelley, &c., which he thereby conveyed and assured to the said John Kaye, his heirs, &c., for ever. This annual payment out of the Manor of Shelley, then due to Gervas Storthes, has an evident reference to the seven marks (£4 13s. 4d.), settled on one of his progenitors, as already stated.[2] The discrepancy in these sums might arise from the owner of the Manor of Shelley deducting what might then be regarded as the proportionate share of the modus due, in lieu of tithe corn and hay.

In 1573, Gervas Storthes was interred at Kirkburton, where his wife, Elizabeth, had been interred the preceding year. They appear to have had a numerous issue, most of whom died young. He was succeeded by Thomas Storthes, of Storthes Hall, Gentleman, who, by his indenture dated 17 Elizabeth, [1574,] conveyed to Arthur Bynnes, of Over Brockholes, one acre of wood, called “Seynt Marye Wod this had evidently been a part of Roche Abbey lands.

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In 1603, Mr. Storthes was still resident at Storthes Hall ; not long after this time the property seems to have been sold, along with the more recently acquired Manor of Thurstonland, to the Horsfalls. Thus passed away this ancient family from their equally ancient ancestral inheritance, from which time not a trace of the name have I found in the parish! neither have I been able to discover to what place they removed.[3] According to the statement of a local genealogist, the Horsfalls, of Storthes Hall, came here from a place called Mankenholes, in the parish of Halifax. I regret my inability to give a more complete account of this family; repeated applications have been made to its present representative, but without success. It affords me considerable satisfaction to be able to furnish the following pedigree, which, for the most part, has been supplied by the Rev. J. Hunter, F.S.A., the able historian of South Yorkshire, whose extensive researches and devotedness to topographical enquiry, especially in connexion with Yorkshire, have enabled him to render essential service, not only in this instance, but in several other important particulars connected with this work.

We cannot, however, pass unnoticed the name of Captain Richard Horsfall, of Storthes Hall, who took a part in the civil war : joined the royal cause, and became “a captain in Sir George Savile’s Regiment of Foot.”

In one of Sir William Savile’s letters to Major Beaumont, Lieutenant Governor of Sheffield Castle, dated September 22nd, 1643, in reply to one of Major Beaumont’s, he states :—

“I received your letter of the 17th instant, together with a muster of Captain Horsfall’s troope; and I doe desiare him that he will march forthwith, with his troope in Linconshire, to the regiment, and lett him send one trooper to the regiment to give them notise of his cumminge. I desiare he speedily march with his troope, because theare are but few Captns. with my regiment of Horse : and lett Capt. Horsfall carry with him his muster roll, sined by yourself and Capt. Hemsworth, and the comissaryes deputy at Lincon will make it up.”[4]

In August, 1644, Captain Horsfall’s father died about five weeks after the battle of Marston Moor ; upon which event he seems to have settled down in retirement at Storthes Hall, where he suffered no interruption, as he does not appear in the list of compounders for delinquency. He died in 1668, aged 56 years.

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This place would be quite undeserving of notice were it not for the circumstance that its early owners acquired their name of addition from the place, and from their appearing in ancient charters, both as principals and as witnesses.

The earliest mention we have found of the name occurs in a charter dated 1319, wherein John de Stockes appears as a witness.

In a charter dated 1335, John, the son of John del Stockkes de Thurstonland, granted lands to Adam, the son of Thomas del Cote, of Thurstonland, in “villa et infra divisas de Thurstonland,” which he held in trust from Robert, the son of William de Maresto, for the use of the said Adam. The witnesses were John de Shellay, William de Birton, Adam de Helay, William, the son of Hugh, and Richard de Thorntclay.

In another charter of the same year, John del Stokhus (here the name is given with a Latin termination), appears again as a witness.

In a charter dated at Birton, 1384, John de Collerslay, capellanus [chaplain], granted to John del Stockys, and Marjorie, his wife, for the term of their natural lives, and to their issue, certain lands and tenements “in villa et campis de Thurstonland,” with which he had been enfeoffed by the said John del Stockys.

An acquittance dated 16th May, 16 Henry VI., [1437,] was given by William Hynchcliffe de Scooles, in the parish of Burton, to Adam le Stokkes, and Elizabeth, his wife, de Thurstonland, on the payment of 10s., which sum had been given by Marjory Thickholyns and Alice Stone, to the said Adam les Stokkes, and Elizabeth, his wife, to remain to the use of the said Marjory and her executors. Adam Stokkys was also a witness to a charter dated 19 Edward IV., [1478].

The last male heir, Thomas Stocks, of Stocks, appears to have died before the 2nd of Philip and Mary, [1554,] and to have left two daughters, Alice and Margaret, co-heiresses; at which time they made a division of his estate. Alice became the wife of Robert Morton, of Thurstonland, and Margaret the wife of William Fairholme, of Tickhill, linen webster.

The estate appears to have passed shortly after into other hands, as we find a “John Lockwood, of Stocks Hows,” in 1569. The name of Stocks House would imply a superior dwelling. Whatever were its former pretension, it has long since disappeared, and given place to a few ordinary farmhouses.

A part of Stocks appears to have been owned by another family, from a remote period, as I find from an ancient charter; where Matthew, son of Adam Fabus de Famelay, granted to his son John, and to his heirs, lands, &c., at le Stocks, in Thurstonland, which Thomas Flandr. de Dalton gave to Adam Fabus, father of the grantor. The witnesses to this charter were Elias de Byrton, John de Rylay, Adam de Helay, John de Burytwait, and Henry de Byrton. This charter, which is without date, was about the latter part of Henry III.’s reign, or early in that of Edward I.’s.

These estates now vest in Charles Horsfall Bill, Esquire, and Thomas Firth, of Toothill, Esquire, and it is not a little singular that, although the former is Lord of Thurstonland, yet his lands at Stocks owe suit to the Manor Court of Shelley, being held by military services, and three shillings annual rent to the lord.

We may remark that a collateral branch of the family of Stocks afterwards became seated at Wool-row, in the township of Shelley, where the name still continues.

Marsh Hall.

Whatever were the views of our ancestors with respect to the designation “hall,” there is now little pretension to the name in this place according to modern estimation. The present ancient edifice was erected in the reign of Elizabeth, bearing the date “1596” over the door. Though it has since undergone many alterations and adverse changes : even then it could only be regarded as a comparatively humble dwelling.

The family who had been seated here from remote antiquity, seem to have derived their surname from the place.

In 1319, John del March was witness to a charter. From another charter, dated 1335, it would appear Allen de Mercheston granted to William, son of Matthew del Merche, the whole of his tenements and lands, &c., called “le Merche infra divisas de Thurstonland,” with which he had been enfeoffed by Johes del Merche. The witnesses were William de Birton, John de Schellay, John de Schepelay, Adam de Helay, William del Storthes, Richard de Thomtclay, cler., ohn del Stokhus, &c.

In another charter, John, the son of John le Flemyng de Dalton, grants to William, the son of Matthew del Merche de Thurstonland, a parcel of land called Blalceden (with which the said William had enfeoffed him, but for what purpose does not appear), lying along Heyghet Blahedun, adjoining Famelay Moor, in Thurstonland, and on the north side the lands of Henry Dobsun, and on the south the lands of Thomas Faber. Dated at Thurstonland, XX. day after the feast of the Apostles Simon and Jude, 1339.

In 7 Edward III., [1335,] judgment was given at Westminster, in the case of Agnes del Merch, of Thurstonland, complainant, and William del Forest and Agnes, his wife, deforciant, of one messuage, two bovates and a half, and six acres of land, two acres of wood within Thurstonland and Famelay Tyas ; the said Agnes del Merch to hold the same to her heirs, she paying to the said William and Agnes, his wife, twenty marks of silver, on executing a release or quit claim from them and their heirs.

William de Merse appears as a witness to a deed in 1387, and a John de Merssh in another of the 8 Henry IV., [1406,] and a William Marshe in another of the 24 Henry VI., [1445]. By a charter in 49 Henry VI., Richard Mershe, son of William Mershe de Thurstonland, granted to his said father lands, &c., in Thurstonland, during his father’s life. The witnesses were Elias Byrton, Esquire, John Beamont, of Almobery, and William Oldfield. But the said Richard Mersche in the 19 Edward IV., [1478,] granted to John Ashton, of Ashton, Knight, William Oldfield, of Meltham, William Kaye, of Famelay, and Adam Lokkewodde, of Thurstonland, all his lands and tenements in Thurstonland, which he had formerly given to his father, William Marshe, in trust for Edmund Marsche, son of the said Richard. The witnesses to this charter are, James Coppelay, Adam Stokkys, James Walkare, William Coppelay, and John Marsche, all of Thurstonland.

The next record I find of this family is from the parish register, June 18th, 1568, when Edmund Marshe of Marshe Hall was buried. He must have been the son or grandson of the last-mentioned Edmund. He left Henry Marsh.

In the latter part of Elizabeth’s reign, or in the beginning of that of James I., the Marshes appear to have deserted their ancient residence, and to have built and occupied a more commodious and substantial mansion at Hallstead, in Thurstonland, where they remained for several generations.

Here we find Matthew Marsh resident in 1616, under the style of yeoman. In 1652, by inquisition, Henry Marsh, of Hallstead, was found heir to certain lands and tenements in the Manor of Shelley, in right of his wife (daughter of Edward Storer, of Stocks), by the death of her brother, Robert Storer, without issue.

In the reign of Charles II. there were Eichard and Henry Marsh, of Hallstead, the latter of whom died in 1685. Soon afterwards, this estate, with Marsh Hall, passed to the Kayes, of Woodsome.

There is a tradition in the district that a Marsh, of Hallstead, being fond of hunting, resorted to the very reprehensible and reckless conduct of hunting and killing deer in Woodsome Park, which provoked the indignant baronet to take legal proceedings against the offender, and these terminated in the utter ruin of Marsh, whose estates were seized ; and in this way, it is said, they were acquired by the Kayes. I have met with no authentic evidence on the subject; but there is nothing improbable in the story, as hunting was a very favourite diversion among the yeomanry and other classes of these districts, in the pursuit of which they were often led into great excesses.

The estates passed from the Kayes by marriage, along with the rest of their large possessions, to the Earl of Dartmouth, in whose descendants they still vest.

Black House.

This ancient messuage was built about the latter part of the reign of Elizabeth, by a family named Lockwood, who appear to have been resident in the township for several previous generations.

The name of Black House is a corruption of “Blake :” the lands upon which this messuage is built no doubt had been a part of the possessions of the Marshes, of Marsh Hall, who possessed a considerable plot of land called “Blakedena :” name which still exists in that immediate vicinity.

The Lockwoods appear to have had their ancient residence at Collersley, in the reign of Henry VI., about which time they also acquired property in this township. The Lockwoods, of Black House, were in possession of a good estate in Thurstonland during the Stuart dynasty, and until the reign of George II., when the last male heir died, and the estate was divided and sold.

This place is now the property of C. H. Bill, Esq.

Manor House.

This house having been modernised at different times, now possesses but few indications of an ancient messuage, except the date, 1616, over a doorway which was once the principal entrance, but is now hidden by other buildings from observation,

It was erected by John Walker, of Thurstonland, who possessed a considerable estate here, where his family had been resident many generations.

The first mention we have found of the name was as a witness to a charter in the 21 Henry VI., [1442,] of “John Walkere, of Thurstonland ;” and in a deed dated 19 Edward IV., [1478,] “James Walkere, of Thurstonland,” appears as a witness.

In 1582, John Walker, of Thurstonland, clothier, obtained a lease from the Abbot and Convent of Roche [Roche Abbey], of lands in Thurstonland, given under the seal of the monastery. After the dissolution of this monastery, which speedily followed, the King granted the manor and all the lands, &c., in this township, to John Storthes, of Shittlington, Gentleman, in 1540. In the following year, the said John Storthes conveyed by indenture, dated 23rd March, to John Walker, of Thurstonland, clothier, and John Walker his son, for the sum of one hundred pounds, “one messuage, four score acres of land, sixteene acres of meadowe, twenty acres of pasture, and four acres of wodd, &c., in Thurstonland,” “with commons,” &c. The deed stipulates that “John Walker and his heirs hold the messuage and lands, &c., of John Storthes and his heirs, &c., for ever, by knight’s suyte, if the lawe will suffer it; and if they and their heirs must needs hold of the King’s grace, his heirs or successors in cheff, then they and their heirs to pay at every deth, or change of heir, thirty shyllyngs for their releff and also sute yerly to the cort of the seyd John Storthes, and his heirs within the lordship of Thurstonland, and to pay yerly to the said John Storthes and his heirs, 5s., at the feast of annuncyacon of our Lady and Seynt Michel tharchangell, by even porcons.” And it further stipulates “that John Walker and his heirs, at all tymes as they shall have any cloth redy to be mylled, or any corne to be ground, shall exercise and occupy the myll or myllnes within the lordship of Thurstonland, if they be truly well and reasonablye sued and used; and they to pay for the mylning of the seyd cloth and grynding of the seyd come, accordyng after the maner and custome as other freeholders and tenants ther do. And that John Walker and his heirs in tyme to come, shall never erect, buyld, nor set up, within the said lordship, any manner of myll or myllnes.”

John Walker the younger was dead in the 13 Elizabeth, [1570,] having left John Walker his son and heir, who was living in the 39 Elizabeth, [1596,] and then styled John Walker the elder : having then a son and heir of the same name. The said John Walker the elder was, however, living in 1616, when John Walker the younger had a son Thomas Walker, being his “heir apparent.”

The said John and Thomas became parties to a marriage agreement dated 9th May in that year, wherein it was agreed that a marriage should be solemnised between the said Thomas Walker and Frances, daughter of John Smith, of Shepley, yeoman, which was to take place on the 6th June following; in consideration of which marriage, John Smith covenants to pay to John Walker the sum of £100 in the dwelling-house of the said John Walker, as follows, — “that is, fiftie pounds upon the day of marriage, and the other fiftie pounds within one year next after the said marriage : if the said Frances or any issue of hers by the said Thomas shall be then living.” And that the said John Smith shall at the marriage, or within four months next after the same, “decently apparell the said Frances, according to her calling and the custome of this countrye; and shall give the said Thomas and Frances, within the said four monthes, one fether bed and bedstocks, with bedclothes for the same.” The said John Smith also to pay to the said Thomas Walker, on the 2nd February, 1617, the sum of thirty pounds, if the said Frances or any issue be living. And for reasonable jointure an,d dower for the said Frances, the said John Walker covenants with the said John Smith that he shall, within the space of five years next ensuing, “make and execute all such reasonable acts, devised in the lawe, &c., as the said John Smith and Thomas Walker shall reasonably devise and require for the perfect assuring and conveying all the capital messuage and tenements, now divided into two messuages, in Thurstonland, now in the several occupations of the said John Walker and John Walker the elder, together with the lands, &c., to the said Thomas Walker and the said Frances, and their issue.”

At a court baron held at Shelley in 1634, it was presented that John Smith, late of Shepley, deceased, held half a bovate of land in Shelley, and that Elizabeth Walker and Mary Walker were his proper heirs.

Thomas Walker had issue — perhaps by a second marriage, — John Walker, also styled yeoman, who seems to have been involved in litigation, by which it appears that his property suffered some diminution. He died in 1663 : will dated December 1st, 1656. He left William his son and heir, who died in 1685.

This ancient messuage, together with the greater part of the lands, were sold by Jonas Walker, of Thurstonland, yeoman, and Eneas Walker, his son and heir, tanner, to William Horsfall, of Storthes Hall, Esq., in 1754.

Over Brockholes, — otherwise Bank End.

Brockholes is compounded of Bpoc, a badger, and Polh, which signifies a cave, den, or hollow in the earth. This answers very much to the character of this immediate locality, which is a deep woody ravine, where the badger and other wild animals in former ages might find shelter and security.

There is little in the appearance of this place to attract the attention of the observer, except several aged yew trees, which once surrounded this ancient messuage : a significant proof of its having once been the seat of a family of some respectability.

It is situated on the eastern acclivity rising out of the vale of Holme, on a bold and picturesque knoll, which commands a fine view of the valley below. It gave the surname to its ancient owners, who were seated here from remote antiquity.

In the reign of Edward III. we find “John Brockholes” of this place, who appears to have been the last of that surname. He granted this estate to John Dyson, son of Adam Dyson, of Lynthwayte.

From a series of evidences we are enabled to give the following account of the transaction.

In a charter dated 1406, “John Dyson granted to William Dyson, his son, a tenement with all lands, &c., in Thurstonland, called Over Brockholes, which John Brockholes had formerly granted to him. He likewise granted to the said William, after the term of his own life, all his lands, &c., in Lynthwayt in Crosseland mere,” formerly belonging to Adam Dyson, his father.

There is a still older charter, dated 1387, from Margaret, daughter of this Adam Dyson, wherein she granted to her brother John, and Margaret, his wife, and to the heirs of the said John, all her right, &c., in a messuage, &c., called “le Brokholes,” in Thurstonland. The witnesses were Willo. de Sheplay, Rob to. de Storthes, Johe de Inlay, Willo. de Merse, &c.

William Dyson granted to William Smyth, capellanus [chaplain], Henry Beamond, of Lassels-Hall, Richard Beamond, of Newsam, Richard Beamond, of Crosseland, a messuage and lands called Over Brokholes, in Thurstonland, in trust, to the use of the said William Dyson and his heirs, &c. Witnesses: Johane Byrton, Rico. Storthes, Ade. Stokkes de Thorstanland, Willmo. Marsche, Johane Walkare de eadem, et aliis 21 Henry VI., [1442].

The next charter is dated 1452, wherein the aforesaid William Smyth, capellanus, Henry Beamond, of Lassel-Hall, Riehard Beamond, of Newsam, and Richard Beamond, of Crosseland, re-grant to William Dyson the said messuage and lands at Over Brokholes, which had been vested in them in trust by the said William Dyson, to hold to him for life ; with remainder to Alice Katherine and Cecilia, his daughters, and their assigns, for the term of twenty-one years, &c. Witness : Willmo. Lokkwod de Collerslay, Willmo. Lynthwayte, Thome. Hage de Styrhens, Johne Bemond de Crosseland, Johne Lokkewod de Lokkewod, et aliis. Dated on the Feast of St. Andrew the Apostle, 31 Henry VI., [1452].

The next transaction appears to be a charter dated 12th September, 1455, when William Dyson, of Lynthwayte, granted to William Lokwod de Collerslay the messuage, with lands, &c., at Over Brokholes, in Thurstonland. Witness : Willmo. Lynthwaite, Thome. Lokwod de Dodmanston, Ric. Crosland, et aliis.

In three days after, a release was executed by John Herst and Alice, his wife, daughter of William Dyson, to William Lokewod, his heirs, &c., of and in all the messuage and lands at Over Brokholes ; likewise a release, bearing the same date, from Katherine Dyson and Cecilia Dyson, the two other daughters of William Dyson.

In a charter dated 27th May, 14 Edward IV., [1473,] William Lokewode de Collersley granted to John Pilkyngton, Knight, John Leeke, Thomas Beamond, and Richard Beamond, of Crosland, a messuage and lands at Over Brokholes, in trust for the life of the said William ; and at his decease, to Richard Lokewode, his son. Witnesses : John Kaye, of Wodesome, William Lynthwaite, William Dawson, and others.

By another charter dated 6th October, 17 Edward IV., [1476,] William Dighton, son and heir of Robert Dighton, John Pilkyngton, Knight, Richard Wyntworth, Esq., Henry Longley, and Christopher Dighton, trustees for the said William Dighton, released to William Lokewod, his heirs and assigns, all right, &c., to a messuage and lands called Over Brokholes, in Thurstonland. Witness: Thome. Beamont de Whitlay. armigre., Johe. Bradford, Johe. Leeke, Thome. Listr., Willmo. Watson, et aliis. For what purpose these transfers were made from Lockwood to trustees, and again to Lockwood, does not appear.

The estate not long after passed from Lockwood to Kay.

In the 32 Henry VIII., Bichard Kay appeared in the Court of the Lord the King, at Heaton [Kirkheaton], to do suit and fealty on being admitted to a messuage and lands at Brokholes, in Thurstonland, — his father, Thomas Kay, being then deceased, — and paid xvd. fine.

By an indenture dated 20th March, 3 Elizabeth, [1560,] Bichard Kay, of Dodworth, in the county of York, Gentylman, sold and conveyed all his right and interest, &c., in the messuage and lands at Over Brokholes, being two parts, to Arthur Bynnes, of Thurstonland, clothier.

In the 30 Elizabeth, [1587,] John Hoile, son and heir apparent of John Hole, of Holehouse, and Agnes, his wife, in the village of Hyperhome, yeoman, granted to John Bynes, son and heir of Arthur Bynes, late of Brokholes, deceased, one-fifth part of the messuage and lands called Over Brokholes. In whom the other two-fifths vested we have not seen; but the whole shortly afterwards vested in John Bynes, in whose posterity it remained until the death of the last male heir.

The following pedigree will best explain the descent of the Binns, of Over Brockholes.

The History and Topography of the Parish of Kirkburton and of the Graveship of Holme (1861) - figure 19.png

The two last male heirs in this pedigree deserve some notice.

John Binns, the son of John Binns and Elizabeth Castell, was at a proper age entered at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and took his B.A. degree in 1610/11, and M.A. in 1614. He was appointed to the incumbency of Honley Chapel [Church] ; his licence from Archbishop Matthews bears date 2nd May, 1618, where he continued about eighteen years, when he resigned on being appointed to the incumbency of Holmfirth Chapel [Church], which he held until his death in 1646. Not long after his appointment to Holmfirth, he became involved in litigation with some of the principal inhabitants of his chapelry, which was kept up more or less during the remainder of his incumbency. On the breaking out of the civil war, this spirit of opposition became more strongly manifested against him. Many of the inhabitants of his chapelry joined in petitioning Lord Fairfax for his removal. This was met by a counter petition from some of his congregation and friends, who stated that during his ministry at Honley and Holmfirth, they regarded his “doctrine as sound, orthodox, and profitable ; and himself in his calling, painful; and in life and conversation, peaceable ; ready to compose differences, and to set peace among his neighbours upon all occasions.” His somewhat sudden death in 1646, brought these differences to a close.[5]

Christian Binns was the only son of the Rev. John Binns above-named. He was bom at Over Brockholes, and after receiving his elementary education, was sent to Trinity College, Cambridge: his residence there was during the exciting period of the great national struggle of the civil war. He took his B.A. degree in 1646. How soon he entered on the ministry after he left college, does not appear. It is probable he took up his residence at his paternal estate at Over Brockholes [Bank End] ; from which he never removed. He had been ordained a deacon, but does not seem to have taken a church: perhaps the very unsettled state of the national church contributed to make him undecided in his course. He had applied for ordination to Dr. Tilson, Bishop of Elphin, who then resided at Suthill Hall, near Dewsbury, from whom many clergymen of the West-Riding sought ordination; “but it had been delayed in consequence of his having to take the oath of the King’s supremacy,” respecting which he appears to have had scruples. He, however, on the 3rd of October, 1650, was ordained a Presbyter by the Bishop of Elphin, at Emley Church, and was the following year appointed to the incumbency of Meltham Chapel [Church], which had recently been erected, and which was consecrated on 24th August, 1651, by the same bishop,[6] Mr. Christian Binns continued incumbent of Meltham until his death, which took placeat Bank End. He was interred at Kirkburton, 27th June, 1669.

Bank End, otherwise Over Brockholes, — for the ancient name is now forgotten in the district, — owes suit to the Manor Court of Kirkheaton, late parcel of the dissolved Hospital, or Preceptory of Newland, near Wakefield, belonging to the Knights of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, in England. There are also lands at Marsh Hall and Black House in this township, which owe suit to the same court. The places belonging to this religious order were usually distinguished by an iron or wooden cross, fixed at the end or upon the top of one of the buildings.

The Court of St. John’s of Jerusalem possessed the right of issuing probate of wills within its jurisdiction, being what is termed a “peculiar.” The will of the Rev. Christian Binns, B.A., the last of the name at Bank End, was proved in this court, and probate granted in the 28 Charles II., [1670]. He devised his estate to the children of his sister Elizabeth, the wife of Mr. Anthony Armitage of Thickhollins.

We may here briefly narrate an extraordinary circumstance which took place at Bank End, near the close of the seventeenth century. Some years after the death of Mr. Christian Binns, there came to reside at this place the Rev. Edmund Robinson, who for several years was assistant minister at Holmfirth, to the Rev. John Savile, then incumbent, who died in 1685, when Mr. Robinson was appointed his successor. The few particulars we have been able to gather respecting this gentleman, — who was educated at St. John’s College, Cambridge, where he took his B.A. degree in 1666/7, and M.A. in 1670, — represent him as a person of a singular mould; there was an air of mystery in his general behaviour, in consequence of which, he was -vulgarly supposed to be deeply imbued with “the black art.”

His conduct in 1688, on some account, had become very exceptionable, as we find it recorded in the parish register under that date, that he was “suspended all ministerial offices but wherefore is not stated.

The annals of Yorkshire can furnish many instances of persons having engaged in the dishonest and dangerous calling of “clipping and coining;” but perhaps there are few, if any, instances to be found of a person in a respectable sphere of life, and a clergyman too, so engaged; such, however, is the fact with respect to Mr. Robinson. He pursued this disreputable course at Bank End, — then a large ancient dwelling-house, or hall, since pulled down, and the materials converted into three farmhouses. Under this ancient edifice was a large cellar, where he carried on his work with great diligence, secrecy, and success, for some years without suspicion, by which, as tradition states, “he got a deal of money : people knew not how.” At length he was suspected, his premises were searched, and the secret discovered.[7] He was sent to York Castle, along with his son, then a youth about eighteen years of age, who had assisted him, and had become equally proficient in the art. They were put upon their trial, and found guilty : the father was accordingly executed ; but the son, by reason of his youth, and having, as it was alleged, acted under the direction of his father, was reprieved and sent to London, where he was employed in the Royal Mint, and tradition states that there he remained and acquired an ample fortune.

The exact period of Mr. Robinson’s execution we have not been able to ascertain. It appears that the records of the trials and executions at York between the years 1674 and 1700, have been lost, from which cause we have not been able to derive any information from that source.

In the office at Wakefield belonging to the Lord of the Manor, an abstract is kept of certain lands, &c., in the several graveships within the said manor, which at different times have been forfeited to the lord for the time being, in which occurs the following entry :— “A cottage and croft in Holmfirth, now in the possession of John Lockwood, was forfeited to the lords for that, about 20 years

agoe, ___ Robinson, clerk, the owner thereof, was convicted for the treason of

counterfeiting money, and was executed at York, now farmed by the said John Lockwood, under the yearly rent of £1 4s.” The foregoing document bears no date; but there is little doubt it was made about the time when the last verdict by jury was given at a court, to enquire into the rents and evidences concerning the graveship of Holme, in the 8 Queen Anne, [1710]. His Grace Thomas, Duke of Leeds, being then Lord of the Manor. This would fix the period of the execution about the year 1690.

About seventy years since, in pulling down an ancient bam at this place, some coining implements, &c., were discovered, which unquestionably had been secreted by one of the Robinsons about the time of their apprehension. These subsequently came into possession of the late Mr. Newton, of Stagwood Hill.

It only remains to be added that the Bank End [Over Brockholes] estate is now the property of the trustees under the will of the late Ben Haigh Allen, Esq., of Greenhead, in Huddersfield, he having purchased it of the late J. G. Armitage, Esq., of Thickhollins.

Episcopal Chapel.

This chapel was built in 1810, by voluntary subscriptions from the inhabitants, among whom were members of the Established Church, Wesleyan Methodists, and Independents, and was occasionally used by each ; but was for many years occupied by the Wesleyans.

The original trust deed stipulated that the liturgy of the Church of England should be read in the morning service.

Owing to some differences among the trustees, it was ultimately decided by a majority, in 1834, to put the chapel under the patronage of the Vicar of Kirkburton, with whom it has since remained.

In connexion with the chapel is a Sunday school.

Monumental Inscriptions.

In Memory of Margaret Walsh, wife of the Rev. T. H. Walsh, minister of this church, who departed this life January 18th, 1852 ; aged 32 years.
Jonas Walker, of Thurstonland, died 21st June, 1822 ; aged 36 years. Deborah, his wife, died 2nd March, 1856; aged 73 years.
John Walker, of Ackroyd, in Thurstonland, died April 17th, 1830 ; aged 53 years. Mary, his wife, died January 31st, 1855 ; aged 77 years.
Edwin Walker, of Huddersfield, died August 21st, 1858; aged 56 years.
Caroline Isabella, wife of Stephen Washington, of Thurstonland, who died 30th Novehaber, 1849; aged 33 years.
Jesse, daughter of Jonathan and Sarah Gill, who died 10th June, 1846; aged 21 years.

Wesleyan Methodist Chapel.

After the Wesleyan party withdrew in 1834, they proceeded to erect a chapel of their own, which they accomplished in 1837. They have since erected schoolrooms ; the whole at a cost of £590.

Charity School.

Ann Ludlam, by will dated 15th April, 1763, bequeathed £300, and also the residue of her personal estate, to be laid out by Thomas Hurst, her executor and trustee, in establishing a school, and providing for a salary to a schoolmaster for teaching the poor children of the township of Thurstonland : such schoolmaster to be chosen by her said trustee and his heirs, and the principal inhabitants of the township.[8]

The produce arising under the bequest, amounting in the whole to £500, has been laid out on a mortgage of the tolls of the Wakefield and Austerland turnpike road, in the names of trustees, at interest £5 per cent.

A dwelling-house and schoolroom were erected by subscription of the Lord of the manor and the inhabitants, and in respect thereof, an allotment of 2A. 1R. 23P. of land was awarded on the enclosure in 1801.

The school is under the management of seven trustees, chosen from the principal inhabitants, and is conducted by a master who receives the interest of the money secured on mortgage, and occupies the school premises and allotment rent free.

The school is free for instruction in reading to all children in the township, and the scholars are taught to write for a small quarterage. They are admitted to the school on application to some of the resident trustees.

The enclosure of the Common Lands of this township took place in 1801, comprising 497 acres.

The ancient enclosed lands — 1553 acres.

Total — 2050 acres.


  1. From the death of the last Earl Warren to this period, we find none of the Lords of Wakefield bestowing patronage upon the Monks of Roche Abbey.
  2. See Manor of Shelley.
  3. The family of Storthes seems not to have appeared at any of the Herald’s visitations, to register their pedigree, or receive a grant of arms.
  4. Mr. Hunter’s Hallamshire.
  5. Incumbents of Holmfirth Church.
  6. The erection and consecration of an Episcopal Chapel, under the then existing state of the Anglican Church, is perhaps unparalled in the ecclesiastical history of Yorkshire.
  7. So generally did clipping and coining prevail in the kingdom, that in 1695 an act was passed for remedying the coin of the nation, much of which was debased by counterfeits, and diminished by clipping, and a tax was laid upon windows to make up the deficiency on its being called in. "About five millions of clipped money was brought into the exchequer, and the loss that the nation suffered by the recoining of the money amounted to two millions and two hundred thousand pounds.” Bishop Burnet's History of his own Time, 8vo, 1833, vol. 4, page. 316.
  8. Charity Commissioners’ Report.