The History of Huddersfield and the Valleys of the Colne, the Holme and the Dearne (1906) - Chapter II
Table of Contents for The History of Huddersfield and the Valleys of the Colne, the Holme and the Dearne (1898):
The death of Edward the Confessor — The pretensions of William of Normandy — His following — The Battle of Hastings — The introduction of a rigorous feudal System — The Knight's fee — Contemporary money values and wages — Domesday Book — Odersfelt, Almanbuirie, Bradleia, Lillai (Lindley), Cornebi (Quarmby), Daltone, Croisland, Haneleia and Meltha, Witelai, Guldeagscar (Golcar), Heton (Kirkheaton), in Domesday Book — Ilbert de Laci — Holne (Holme) in Domesday Book — Earl Warren — Manorial Lords of the Graveship of Holme — Villans — Chevage — Custom of Lytherwyth — Castle at Almondbury — Slaves and manumission — Descent of the Manor of Huddersfield — Sale to William Ramsden — Sale of Manor of Wakefield (including Holmfirth) — Comparative Tables of Prices and Wages — The Tenant Right Question in Huddersfield — Manors in Colne Valley — Manor of Marsden — The Radcliffe family — The Manor of Slaithwaite — The Kaye family — Woodsome Hall — The Legge family — James II. and Lord Dartmouth — Lord Dartmouth and Rev. John Wesley — The Manor of Golcar — The Savile family — Lord Halifax — Henry Carey — The Manor of Whitley — The Beaumont family — Enclosures of Waste Lands — The Honley Enclosure Act — The Huddersfield Enclosure Act — The Lindley Enclosure Award — The Dalton Enclosure Award — The Golcar Enclosure Award — The Longwood and Deanhead Enclosure Award — The Graveship of Holme Enclosure — The Meltham Enclosure — The Kirkburton Enclosure — The Shelley Enclosure.
AUTHORITIES :— Mayhall : Annals of Yorkshire ; Traill : Social England ; Domesday Book ; Glossary to Domesday Book ; Morehouse : History of Kirkburton ; Crabtree : History of Halifax ; Hobkirk : History of Huddersfield ; Commissioners' Report temp. Edward I. ; Dodsworth MSS. ; Yorkshire Notes and Queries ; Nicholls : History of the English Poor Law ; Law Reports : App. Series ; Stephen : Commentaries on the Laws of England ; Legge : Italian Ancestry of the Legges ; Hulbert : Annals of the Church in Almondbury ; The Parliamentary History of England ; Clarendon : History of the Great Rebellion ; The Dartmouth Papers ; Inquisition of Philip and Mary ; Macaulay : History of England ; Dryden : Absalom and Achitophel ; Various Enclosure Acts and Awards ; Macdonnell : The Land Question.
In the early part of the year 1066, the most memorable year in the annals of England, Edward the Confessor died. He was a prince of the Saxon line and much beloved by the people, and his laws were so just that for many generations after his death the cry of the common people was to be governed by the laws of Edward the Confessor. He left no issue, but there were princes of his blood who, according to our modern notions of inheritance, were in the line of succession. The times, however, were unsettled, and the Parliament, passing over the claims of the lawful heirs of the departed King, invited Harold, a Saxon thegn, whose courage, tried in many a field, and whose wisdom commended him as a fitting ruler in times that clamoured for a man and a leader of men, to ascend the throne. His accession was no sooner known than William, Duke of Normandy, resolved to assert by force of arms a claim to the realm of England, based upon an alleged will of Edward, devising the crown to him ; a claim as preposterous in reason as it was probably baseless in fact and certainly bad in law. William summoned to his aid all the mercenary soldiers of the Continent. Every chief who had in his pay a horde of vassals whom he could equip for the field made haste to swell the Norman host. The adherents of William recked not one jot of the justice of the duke's claim. They were promised the fair domains of England as the price of their assistance. In a word, the expedition that sailed for England was a free-booting expedition, headed by a ruthless leader of men who came for plunder. Every schoolboy knows the story of the Battle of Hastings and of the Camp of Ely and Hereward the Wake, and of the crushing of England under the Norman yoke.
The policy of the Conqueror required that the country that had been won by the sword should be kept by the sword. It was necessary to reward those who had helped him to a crown; but it was expedient to reward them in such a way that the donees should be sureties for the safekeeping of the prize won on the ensanguined field of Hastings. The country was parcelled out into huge fiefs, under a plan that is known as the feudal system. Under this system the country was conceived of as divided into " Knight's fees," and we may regard the Knight's fee as the feudal unit. It appears to have been considered that a yearly income of £20 would suffice to maintain a knight and his household. The reader must not confound the pound of those days with the sovereign of these. A pound is worth what it will buy. Even in the days of Edward III., three centuries after the Conquest, the yearly rent of pasture land was id. per acre ; an ox, stall or corn fed, was valued at 24s. ; a fat sheep at 1s. 8d. ; a fat hog at 3s. 4d. ; a goose at 3d. ; and eggs were 24 for a 1d. ; whilst ale, not ale and chemicals, was 1d. for two gallons in the cities, and for four gallons in the country. The wages of a master mason or carpenter, about this time, were 3d. per day; of his journeymen, 1½d. ; and though the wages of any engaged in textile industries are not stated, so far as I am aware, in any contemporary record, we may surmise from those in the trades mentioned, how wages in the textile industries would range. In the time of William the Conqueror doubtless prices ranged much lower, and one need not, therefore, wonder that land that would produce £20 per annum was fixed as a knight's fee. Taking one kind of land with another, it seems to have been found that 600 acres represented the average knight's fee. This for revenue purposes was divided into carucates (plowlands) or hides, each of 120 acres; the carucate or hide into eight oxgangs of fifteen acres.
The principal followers of William received at his hands estates each containing many knight's fees. These were the tenants in capite, or tenants holding immediately from the Crown; and they proceeded to sub-let or sub-feu the several knight's fees to their own personal following in such manner that when the King called upon them to pay their feudal service, or, as we should say, now, to pay their rent, they in turn called upon their sub-tenants.
It must ever be remembered that William did not make an out-and-out grant of the lands given to the tenants in capite. He required in return feudal aids. In effect, the whole military burthen of the country was placed upon the feudal owners of the soil; though it is right to add that from the earliest times every freeman had been bound by law to keep himself supplied with arms and armour ready to take the field whenever the defence of the country required his service. The reader who knows or cares to acquaint himself with the items of our national expenditure is, or may become, aware how great a proportion of our national burthens is in respect of the National Debt — payment for past wars — or in respect of the Army or Navy. This was the burthen the grantees of land under the feudal system virtually covenanted to bear, and which, in effect, with such aids as the Commons were from time to time minded to make pro re nata, or, as occasion arose, rested upon their shoulders, until the reign of Charles II., when by statute enacted by a Parliament of landowners the feudal burthens were abolished, and the Commons in Parliament granted to the Crown in lieu thereof taxes upon the meat and drink of the people. It was as though the leaseholders of the Ramsden Estate were to meet in solemn conclave, declare their estates to be thenceforth freehold, and grant to the ground landlord, in lieu thereof, a charge upon the borough rate !
The system of land tenure which I have endeavoured to explain at a length I trust not disproportionate to the importance of the subject, necessitated the compilation of a Return of the landowners of the kingdom. This was the Domesday Book — at once a terrier, a rent-roll, an assessment register, a book of settlements, and a legal record. The King's Commissioners responsible for its compilation were bidden "to enquire by oath of the Sheriff of the Shire, and of all the free-tenants, and of the French-born of them, and of the whole hundred, of the priest, the reeve, and six villans (copyholders), from each vill ... the name of the manor, who held it in the time of King Edward the Confessor, and who held it now (1086), how many hides there were in each manor, how many plows on the domain, how many men, how many villeins, how many cottars (small copyholders), how many bondsmen (landless labourers), how many freemen, how many socmen (freeholders), how much wood, how much meadow, how much pasture ; what mills, what fishponds ; what had been added or taken away, what it was worth in the time of King Edward, and how much it was worth now (1086) ; how much each freeholder held; and whether more could be got out of it than now."
The following extracts from Domesday Book relate to the lands of the district with which this history is concerned :—
IN ODERSFELT, Godwin had six carucates (720 acres) of land to be taxed, affording occupation for eight ploughs. Now the same has it of Ilbert, but it is waste. Wood pasture, one mile long and one wide. In the time of King Edward (T.R.E. tempore regis Edwardi) it was valued at 100 shillings.
IN ALMANBERIE, Chetel and Suuen had four carucates (480 acres) of land to be taxed ; and there may be four ploughs there — Lewsin now has it, but it is waste. T.R.E. value forty shillings. Wood pasture six quarentens long and six broad.
IN BRADLEIA, Godwin and Delfin held two carucates (240 acres) of land to be taxed, and two ploughs might be employed there. Now Chetel holds it of Ilbert, but it is waste. T.R.E. it was valued at or paid three pounds. Wood pasture four quarentens long and two broad.
IN LILLAIA (Lindley), Godwin held two carucates (240 acres) of land to be taxed, and two ploughs may be employed there. Now Ulchel holds it of Ilbert, but it is waste. T.R.E. it paid twenty shillings. Wood pasture four quarentens long and two broad.
IN CORNEBI (Quarmby), Gamel and Godwin held two carucates (240 acres) to be taxed, and two ploughs might be employed there. Ilbert has it, but it is waste. T.R.E. it paid ten shillings. Wood pasture one mile long half a mile broad.
IN DALTONE Alric had two carucates (240 acres) of land to be taxed, and two ploughs might be employed there. Now Suuen has it of Ilbert, where the same has one plough, and two villeins with one plough. Wood pasture four quarentens long and one broad.
IN CROISLAND, Suuen held two carucates (240 acres) of land to be taxed, and two ploughs might be employed there. Ilbert has it, but it is waste. T.R.E. value ten shillings. Wood pasture ten miles long and one broad.
IN HANELEIA and MELTHA, Cola and Suuen held five carucates of land to be taxed, where three ploughs were employed. Ilbert now has it, but it is waste. T.R.E. value forty shillings. Wood pasture two miles long and a mile and a half broad.
IN WITELAI (Whitley), Gerneber held five carucates (600 acres) of land to be taxed, where two ploughs might be employed. Now Gamel and Eric have it. There are three villeins, with one plough, and four acres of pasture. T.R.E. value twenty shillings.
IN GULDEAGSCAR (Golcar), Leuine held half a carucate of land to be taxed, and there may be half-work for one plough. Now Dunstan holds it of Ilbert, but it is waste. T.R.E. it paid ten shillings. Wood pasture one mile long and half-a-mile wide.
IN HETON (Kirkheaton), two brothers held three carucates to be taxed, and three ploughs might be employed there. Ilbert has it, and Gamel of him, but it is waste. T.R.E. value twenty shillings. Wood pasture a mile and a half long and one broad.
It will be observed that Godwin, Chetel, Suuen (Sweyn), Delfin, Gamel, Alric, Gerneber, Cola, Leuine, and Dunstan are mentioned as tenants of the land, either in capite or of Ilbert. This Ilbert was Ilbert de Laci, one of the prime favourites of the Conqueror. His principal castle or seat was at Lassi, between Aulnai and Vere, in Normandy, which he held under Odo, Bishop of Bayeux. It is probable that Ilbert fought at Hastings under the banner of Odo. To this favoured adherent the Conqueror gave 204 manors in Yorkshire, of which nearly half were in the Wapentake of Skyrack, the others in Staincross, Agbrigg, and Morley. Having secured this vast territory he fixed upon a favourable and central site for his castle and abode, near where Watling Street, the great northern road, crossed the Aire, and transformed the ancient name of Brokenbridge to Pontefract, which is simply a Latinised form of the name. He had, however, a castle at Almondbury, which he probably used when hunting in this district, and it was a condition of the holding of the Marsden tenants that they should escort their lord from Marsden to Pontefract when on his hunting expeditions.
The town of Huddersfield, Almondbury, and the district comprised in the Valley of the Colne were comprised in the gift to Ilbert, although Linthwaite, Slaithwaite, and Marsden are not mentioned, being comprised, as they were ecclesiastically, either in Almondbury or Huddersfield.
The lands included in the Graveship of Holme fell to Earl Warren, and were part of his manor of Wakefield. Domesday Book has the following Record : "In Holne (Holme) Dunstan has two carucates for geld-land to one plough. This land, some say, is inland, others, soke to Wakefield."
William de Warren, second Earl of Surrey, was son of William de Warren, first earl, by Gundreda, daughter of William the Conqueror. The grant is affirmed to have been made by Henry II. in 1107 or 1116, as a reward for the capture of Robert, whose crown Henry had usurped. The manor long remained in the family of the Earls of Surrey. Of the seventh holder it is recorded that he was summoned, with other feudal tenants, before the King's Council, that he "should come and showe by what right and title he held his lands and tenements. John de Warren, Earl of Surrey, a man greatly loved by the people, perceyving the King to have caste his net for a praye (prey), and that there was not one whyche spake against him, determined to stand against those so bitter and cruell proceedings, and therefore being called afore the justyces about this matter he appeared, and being asked by what right he held his lands, he sodenly drawing forthe an olde rusty sworde : 'By this instrument (sayd he) doe I holde my landes and by the same I intende to defend them.' " The exact words of this perhaps too candid confession of the basis of his rights are given in the "Concise History of the Parish and Vicarage of Halifax" :—
"Produxit in medium gladium antiquum, evaginatum, et ait, 'Ecce, domini mei, ecce meum warrantum! Antecessores mei, vero cum Wilielmo bastardo venientes, conquesti sunt terras suas gladio, et easdam gladio defendant a quocunquo eas occupare volente ; non enim rex terram per se devicit et subjecit, sed progenitores nostri fecerunt cum eo participes et coadjutores,'" or, in our own tongue : "He cast into their midst an old, naked sword, and cries, 'Behold, my lords, behold my title-deed! My ancestors, who came with William the Bastard, conquered these lands by the sword, and by the sword I will defend them against anyone seeking to take them ; for the King did not conquer and subdue this country unaided ; but our forefathers were participators and assistants in the deed.'"
John de Warren, the last Earl of Surrey of that family, died June 30, 1347, and in August of the same year, by Royal Patent, all the lands of the aforesaid John were settled on Edmund of Langley, a younger son of Edward III., and the heirs of his body, with remainder to John of Gaunt. During the Wars of the Roses, there were many escheats and regrants of the manor, but on their conclusion and the union of the White and Red Roses, effected by the marriage of Henry VII. with Elizabeth of York, the whole of what had been settled upon Edmund of Langley was declared to be resumed and for ever annexed to the Crown. The manor of Wakefield, including the Graveship of Holme, remained parcel of the royal possessions till 1554, when, on the marriage of Mary with Philip of Spain, it was united to the Duchy of Lancaster. In the reign of Charles I., by letters patent dated July 28, 1629, the King granted the manor, in consideration of the sum of £648 1s. 0d. to trustees in trust for Henry, Lord Holland. In the following year it was by marriage settlement limited in trust for Sir Gervas Clifton, of Clifton, Coy. Notts, and Penelope, his wife, and their issue. Sir Gervas is said to have been a kindly husband and an affectionate father, and his experiences both as husband and father were varied and extensive, for he married no less than seven times. In 1700 the manor was acquired by Thomas, first Duke of Leeds, and it descended with the title till the sixth duke settled it on Sackville Lane Fox.
The land in the graveship is of copyhold tenure, the tenants doing suit at the lord's feet, but the considerable exercise of the power of enfranchisement has made these local courts a historical memory, or, as some might be inclined to say, a historical mummery.
It is not difficult from a perusal of Domesday Book, and from the researches of modern writers, to form an approximately accurate conclusion as to the economic and social life of our ancestors at the time of the great survey. The villans, or villeins, and their families, made up a great bulk of the population, whose industries were pure agricultural or auxiliary to the tilling of the soil. The villein proper had a nominal holding of thirty acres ; the bordars or cottiers had a cottage and a garden, or a cottage and about five acres, in the common arable fields. The villein contributed a pair of oxen to the common plough, or plough of the township, the public plough as we should now style it, the cottier having no oxen of his own. Oxen, then, as in France to this day, drew the plough. The lord's plough of eight oxen, which tilled the demesne, or that part of the manor which the lord reserves for his own use, was worked by the services of the villeins, who had also to do service with their own plough and oxen. We learn that the great mass of the agricultural population, now landless, were then landowners. In each village there was a large proportion of common land, to be ploughed, harrowed, sowed, and reaped, and enjoyed by the whole community. On the other hand each villein had to plough in spring four acres for the lord, and to supply two oxen for the lord's team, for three days in winter, three in spring,and one in summer. Moreover, each villein had to work for the lord for some portion of three days a-week. The cottiers rendered one day's work a-week. It is to be understood that this was only when the land called for work, i.e., in the times of ploughing, sowing, and reaping. The lord's demesne was cultivated by the compulsory services of villeins and bordars. The villeins were bound to grind their corn at the lord's mill, and could not send their sons away from the farm nor give their daughters in marriage without the lord's leave, often obtained only by payment of a fine. The fine payable for permission to quit the manor was called chevage, and in an Inquisition of the time of Edward III. there is mention of the payments of 4d. each for chevage by Thomas and Adam, the sons of William of Newsome. In a later Inquisition (1480) in the reign of Henry VII. there is evidence of the existence of the custom of Lytherwyth. The extract in Mr. Hobkirk's History of Huddersfield is very imperfect, doubtless unavoidably so, but one would gather from it that a tenant of the manor of Almondbury was bound to pay a fine to the lord if his son became a priest or his daughter married "sine licentia Domini" — without the lord's leave.
To all intents and purposes Huddersfield eight hundred years ago, and indeed at a much later period, was as far removed from London as London now is from Constantinople. It followed, therefore, that the power of the central government in internal administration must rest in the hands of the local barons. As a matter of fact, the feudal chief, seated in his castle, surrounded by his men-at-arms, was over his domain a ruler practically supreme, having often the fear neither of God nor of King before his eyes. There is extant a return to certain articles of enquiry by Commissioners appointed in the reign of Edward I., in which the Commissioners find :—
"That the Earl of Lincoln (de Laci) and the Earl "Warren ... do not allow the bailiffs of the Lord the King to execute any office in his own lands ; but that they (the earls) execute all such offices by their bailiffs. That the Steward of the Earl of Lincoln tries cases of felony in the Court of Almondbury, which is of the liberty of Pontefract, for the last six years past. That the bailiffs of the said earls take and keep possession of waifs.
"Also that when the bailiffs of the Lord the King were about to execute their accustomed office in Scamenden, in Crosland foss, the bailiffs of the Earl of Lincoln, for the space of five years past, would not permit them.
"Also Hugo, Constable of Almondbury, Robert de Marcheden (Marsden), and Henry Odelin, apprehended a certain thief, and took from him 9s. 7d., and allowed Jiim to escape after keeping him for two days ; and the wife of the said thief they also took and imprisoned at the house of Hugo of the foss in Crosland, but how she escaped they know not. The same Hugo apprehended another thief and kept him imprisoned at his own house for six days, and afterwards let him go."
In the following reign, that of Edward II., another Inquisition into the doings at the Castle at Almondbury reported that "a certain stranger was murdered in the Castrum de Almonbury, and his body devoured by worms, birds, and dogs."
It is reasonable to infer that the fact of these Inquisitions being held points to the growing power of the central authority and the determination to assert the law of the land, the rights of the subject, and to curb the power of the feudal lords.
Although there is no mention of a slave class in the foregoing extracts from Domesday Book, it is certain that such a class existed in the district. An article by Mr. S. J. Chadwick upon the Priory of Kirklees, near Huddersfield, sets forth what purports to be a manumission or grant of freedom to, but was, in fact, a sale and assignment of a female slave, and, judging from the name, an English-born girl. I set forth the terms of the deed in the original Latin, that the reader may have an abiding memorial of those dark days foolish people call "the good old times," and I add a translation that all may understand. The "S' Johannis le Flandrensis" who executed the deed, some time before 1349, when he died, was lord of the manor of Clifton, in which is Hartshead :—
- Sciant presentes et futuri quod Ego Dominus Johannis Flandrensis dedi concessi et hac presenti carta mea, confirmavi et imperpetuam quietam clamavi de me et heridebus meis Priorisse de Kirkleys et sanctis monialibus ibidem deo servientibus, pro anima patris mei et pro animabus antecessorum meorum et pro tres solidis VI. denariis argenti quod predicti mihi dederunt per manibus Aliciam filiam Wilhelmi Mounger de Clifton et herfedes sui cum tota sequela, et catallis suis mobilis et immobilis presentibus et futuris sine retenemento. Ita scilicet quietam clamavi quod nec ego Johannis nec ullus heredum meorum clamavi neque calumniam versus predictam Aliciam vel heredes suos vel sequelam vel catalla sua de cetero possumus exigere nec vendicare. In hujus rei testimonium presentum scriptum sigelli mei impressione roboravi. Huis testibus Henrico filio Godewini de Clifton, Thoma de Grenegate, Ada fratre ejus, Johannes de Havearldum, Thomas del Clif, Willelmi et Ada et aliis.
- Endorsement: (L.S.) S' JOHANNIS LE
- Manumissio Nativae. FLANDRENSIS.
- Know all men now and hereafter that I, SIR JOHN FLEMING, have granted and for ever released from me and my heirs UNTO the Prioress of Kirklees and the Holy Nuns there serving God, for the soul of my father and for the soul of my ancestors and in consideration of three shillings and sixpence in silver which they the aforesaid have paid in hand, ALICE, daughter of William Mounger of Clifton, and her heirs, with all her belongings and her chattels moveable and immoveable, present and future, without reserve. Also that I have quitclaimed that neither I, the said John, nor any of my heirs will prefer or present any claim or suit against another in respect of the aforesaid Alice or her heirs or belongings or chattels. IN WITNESS whereof I have confirmed the present writing by the impression of my seal.
- S' JOHANNIS LE FLANDRENSIS.
- Witnesses :
- Henry, son of Godwin of Clifton,
Thomas of Grenegate,
Ada, his brother,
John of Havearldun, Thomas Cliff, William and Ada and others.
- Henry, son of Godwin of Clifton,
It will now be convenient to trace very briefly the ownership of those lands comprised in the original gifts by the Conqueror to Ilbert de Laci, premising that in this work little attention can be paid to the personal fortunes of the successive territorial magnates who have held large holdings in the district. And first of Huddersfield :—
The manor of Huddersfield, with a slight interval, during which it escheated to the Crown on an attainder subsequently reversed, remained vested in the family of the original grantee, de Laci, until the time of Edward II., when Henry de Lacy, third Earl of Lincoln, died (1312) without male issue, but leaving as his heiress his daughter Alice, who had married Thomas Plantagenet, Earl of Lancaster, a grandson of Henry III., a prince of the blood, and cousin german of the King. In his person were united the four earldoms of Lincoln, Lancaster, Derby, and Leicester, and a portion, probably a very slightly esteemed portion, of his vast possessions, accrued to him by right of his wife Alice, consisted of the manors of Huddersfield, Almondbury, and Meltham. The earl placed himself at the head of a considerable section of the barons of England, who resented the influence of the King's continental favourites. He raised a large following, among them Richard Whaley, lord of Honley, and Henry Tyes, Lord of Farnley and Slaithwaite, and took the field against the King. He was defeated at Boroughbridge and taken prisoner to his own Castle of Pontefract. The task of apprehending him had been committed to Earl Warren, lord of the manor of Wakefield, the lover of Lancaster's wife, for whom she had left her lawful husband. Could humiliation further go ! Sentence of death was passed upon the Earl of Lancaster, and he was executed before the walls of his castle at Pontefract, having been condemned to be "drawn for his treason, hanged for his robberies, and beheaded for his flight." He was led forth from his castle, set on a lean white horse without a bridle, accompanied by a friar preacher for a confessor, to whom he cried, "Father abide with me until I am dead, for my flesh quaketh for dread of death." He died without issue, March 22, 1322, and his vast estates were forfeit to the Crown, but were conferred upon his brother Henry, last Earl of Lancaster, for the son of this Henry, also bearing that name, was in 1352 created Duke of Lancaster. This Duke died without male issue, and his estates, including the manors of Huddersfield and Almondbury, vested in his heiress Blanche. This lady was espoused by the famous John of Gaunt, fourth son of Edward III., and their son, Henry of Bolingbroke, became King of England, and the manors aforesaid became on the marriage vested in the Crown.
In 1599 the manor of Huddersfield was sold by the Crown to William Ramsden, ancestor of the present ground landlord, for the sum of £975 ; but it is right to be remembered that at that time Huddersfield was a mere moorside village, and that the £975 of that day would represent to-day a sum at least twice as great.
The following is a copy of the grant :—
- Elizabeth, by the Grace of God, etc., to all, etc. Know ye that we, in consideration of the sum of Nine hundred and seventy-five pounds and nine pence have granted to William Ramsden, his heirs and assigns, ALL THAT our Manor of Huddersfield, etc., and all our capital messuage or tenement called Bay Hall, in Huddersfield aforesaid, now or lately in the tenure or occupation of John Brooke, and all our several messuages, lands, etc., now or late in the tenure of Robert Hurst, Roger Howe, John Batley, John Hesslegrave, George Burke (otherwise Brooke), Percival Clay, and Thomas Brooke, etc. Which manor and premises were lately part and parcel of the land and possessions late of Gilbert Gerrard, our Attorney General, and of one John Sankey, or of the one of them, with us lately exchanged, and to a certain Thomas Norris for or under the yearly rent of £23 19 9 granted for a term of 21 years.
The yearly value of the town, three hundred years ago, was less than £25. I am not in a position to state what is the sum of the yearly ground rents now paid in respect of the lands of Huddersfield, but they are popularly believed to exceed £100,000.
The Ramsden family was formerly settled in Elland, but in 1531 Robert Romysden, or Ramsden, of Elland, married Johanna Wodde, or Wood, heiress of John Wodde, or Wood, of Longley. Longley Hall, Huddersfield, was for many generations the residence of the Ramsden family. John Ramsden, their son, was Under-Farmer of the Queen's Revenue in the Manor of Huddersfield, in Scriptural phrase, a publican ; and his son, William Ramsden, of Longley Hall, baptized at Almondbury, August 27, 1558, it was who acquired the Manor of Huddersfield in fee. He had already acquired by purchase part of the lands of Kirklees, confiscated by the Crown on the dissolution of the religious houses, and the extent of his purchases at length provoked an order from the Crown that he be at liberty to acquire no more lands. The first baronet of the family, the title being conferred in 1689, was great-grandson of the purchaser of the manor of Huddersfield. The present ground landlord, Sir John William Ramsden, Bart., is fifth baronet.
As already stated, the Manor of Wakefield was sold in the time of Charles I. for £648 1s. 0d. ; and it may serve to give an approximate idea of what the purchase money of the Manor of Huddersfield (£975) and that of Wakefield (£648) represented if I set forth a table of prices about the times when the purchases were effected.
On referring to Sir Frederick Eden's table of prices we find "in 1500 the price of an ox set down at us. 8d. In 1511, 13s. 4d. is given as the price of a fat beeve, and 8s. as the price of a lean one. In 1531 the price of a large ox is £1 6s. 8d. ; and in 1551 a best fat ox is set down at £2 13s. 4d., a middling one at £2 3s. 4d., and an inferior one at £1 13s. 4d ... A wether sheep, undipped, is valued at is. 8d. in 1500 ; in 1529 a wether is valued at 2s. 4d. ; and in 1551 the price of a best lean sheep is set down at 3s. 4d., and a best fat sheep at 5s. — the inferior sort of each being valued at 2s. and 3s. respectively. In 1500 the price of a goose is 4d. ; of a dozen pigeons, 4d. ; and of a hundred eggs, 6d. In 1541 it is for a goose, 7d. ; for a dozen pigeons, 10d. ; and for a hundred eggs, is. 2d." If, therefore, we multiply by ten the recorded purchase prices of Huddersfield and Wakefield, of which latter the be forgotten that land values had been much depreciated in the time of Henry VIII, and Elizabeth by the extensive estates taken from the religious houses and thrown upon the market, and possibly by the not ungrounded apprehensions that the title of the purchasers might not prove too secure if the Catholic Church regained and sustained its ascendancy.
A comparison of wages paid at different periods may also assist in the estimation of money values. By a statute passed by Henry VII. (1495) the wages of labourers, other than agricultural labourers, and artificers was fixed (for summer) at 2d. a day with and 4d. per day without meat and clothing ; (for winter) id. per day with and 3d. per day without meat and clothing; and it was ordained that "every artificer" and labourer be at his work, from the middle of March to the end of September, before five of the clock in the morning, and that he have but half an hour for his breakfast, and an hour-and-a-half for his dinner and sleep, and that they depart not from their work till between seven and eight o'clock in the evening. From the middle of September to the middle of March they were "to be at their work in the springing of the day, and depart not till night" ; and the additional half-hour for sleep at dinner-time was not to be allowed during the winter time. The pay of certain specified artificers was as follows :—
- A free mason, master carpenter, rough mason, bricklayer, master tiler, plumber, glazier, carver : From Easter to Michaelmas 6d. a day each, without meat or drink; with meat and drink 4d. a day. From Michaelmas to Easter 5d. a day each, without meat and drink ; with meat and drink 3d. a day.
- Master mason or master carpenter having charge of the work and six or more men employed under him to have 7d. a day without meat and drink, and 5d. a day with meat and drink.
A comprehensive Table of Wages in Sir George Nicholl's work on the Poor Laws gives the following figures :—
|Artificers without meat and drink||1495||1593||1610|
|In Summer||0s. 3d||0s. 8d.||0s. 10d.||on average per day|
|In Winter||0s. 5d.||0s. 7d.||0s. 8d.|
The fact that the wages of textile artisans are not referred to in the various statutes from Henry VII. onwards is probably due to the circumstance that during the earlier periods of cloth manufacture the art was practised at home and the manufacturer was both master and man.
No history of the ownership of the Manor of Huddersfield would even approach completeness without some account of what, half a century ago, was a fruitful source of individual anxiety and public controversy — the great Tenant-Right Question. Among the property of the late Sir John Ramsden — I quote from the authorised Reports — were several pieces of land forming part of the commons or waste of the Manor of Huddersfield, allotted to him in the year 1789, and held by him in fee simple to the time of his death in July, 1839. Sir John Ramsden became possessed of these pieces of land under the will of his grandfather. The mode in which the Huddersfield property was managed was peculiar. A book or roll of the tenants was kept at Longley Hall, and, as the town became extended, any person desirous to take land for the purpose of building a house, used to apply to the agents of Sir John for the land wanted. This was then marked out for him. He erected his buildings, the ground rent was fixed, and his name was afterwards entered on the roll as a tenant, and he paid his rents on the usual day or days of audit. If he wished to sell his house, he and the purchaser used to attend on the agent, and surrender, or purport to surrender, his property into the hands of Sir John, and the name of the purchaser was substituted for that of the original tenant. The same course was followed on a mortgage, only that in that case both names, that of the mortgagor and the mortgagee, were entered as tenants on the tenant roll. In the event of death the name of the legatee, or next-of-kin, was substituted for that of the deceased. Persons thus holding land were popularly described as holding by tenant right. But besides these tenants by tenant right there were other tenants who obtained regular leases ; and the universal, or nearly universal, form of lease, was a lease of sixty years, renewable for ever at the end of every twenty or forty years on payment of a stipulated fine. These tenants holding by lease were entered on the same tenant roll as the tenants by tenant-right ; but a memorandum was made against their names, signifying that they held by lease, and the rents at which they held was always at a considerably higher rate than that at which the other tenants held.
Joseph Thornton, in the year 1827, according to his statements in the bill in equity in the case from which I quote, being desirous of erecting a dwelling-house on a piece of high ground at Paddock, applied to Mr. Joseph Brook, agent or sub-agent of Sir John William Ramsden, and stated to him his desire to become a tenant of the piece of ground in question, as he wished to erect a dwelling-house thereon for himself. Brook, he says, informed Bower (the agent) of what had thus passed, and Bower having afterwards come over to Huddersfield to an audit, went with Thornton to Paddock, accompanied by Thomas Brook (a son of Joseph Brook), who was then about nineteen years of age, and who acted for his father. Thornton pointed out to Bower the land he wished to have for his house, and Bower assented to the application, saying he would leave to Joseph Brook the staking out of the exact quantity of land to be taken. The precise quantity of land was afterwards agreed on between Thornton and Joseph Brook, and the ground rent was fixed by Brook, at an annual rent of £4. Thornton then built his house, and had ever since paid the reserved rent of £4 per annum.
The bill then alleged, that while the building of the house was in progress, and when it was nearly completed Joseph Brook, accompanied by Thornton and his father, came on the land, and on that occasion Thornton consulted Joseph Brook as to the prudence of his taking a lease of the land and buildings; when Joseph Brook stated it would be folly in him to take a lease, that he was equally safe without one, and that he could get a lease whenever he wanted it, the lease referred to being, as Thornton alleged, a lease for sixty years, renewable every twenty years on payment of two years' ground rent as a fine ; no other lease then existing or being known on the Ramsden estates at Huddersfield. No paper or document was signed by Thornton, and he alleged that he took the land, relying on what had been said by Joseph Brook, and on the belief, universally entertained at Huddersfield, and encouraged by Sir John and his agents, that he could have a lease of it for sixty years, renewable every twenty years, whenever he might think fit, and that he would never be disturbed so long as he paid his £4 ground rent, and in the knowledge that very many other persons who had taken plots of land and built on them, on the same belief and assurances, had, on application, had leases granted to them for sixty years, renewable every twenty years. The book or roll of the tenants of the Huddersfield property was kept at Longley Hall, an old manor house situate on part of the property, and the bill alleged that after Thornton had taken the piece of land in question he was entered in that book as the tenant thereof at a yearly rent of £4.
Mr. Brook died in the month of May, 1844, and on his death the trustees of the will of Sir John Ramsden appointed Mr. George Lock, then one of Her Majesty's counsel, to succeed him as author and manager of the estates, and as he resided at a distance, he appointed Mr. Alexander Hawthorn to be the resident agent, subject to his control and superintendence. Alexander Hawthorn resided at Longley Hall.
In this state of things it was alleged by Thornton that, finding himself in the year 1845, inconvenienced by want of out-door offices, he applied to Hawthorn for a second piece of ground, and that the same was accordingly measured out for him by two persons acting under the said Thomas Brook, who had survived his father, Joseph Brook, and was then one of the authorised surveyors of the Ramsden estate ; that he, Thornton, then erected thereon, under the superintendence of Hawthorn, the additional buildings which he wanted, and that, after he had done so, he secured from Hawthorn a letter, partly printed and partly written, fixing the ground rent for this additional land at £1 0s. 6d. per annum, which additional rent had ever since been paid. Thornton alleged that the money expended in building on two pieces of land amounted to at least £1,830.
The house and out-buildings in West View, Paddock, now or recently occupied by Mr. Edward Kendal, are, I believe, the premises comprised in this letting, and may fairly be considered historic.
On occasion of the first hiring in 1837 — to resume the statement of the case — no paper was signed by Thornton, but on applying at Longley Hall for the second piece of land, a paper, containing a form of application, was put before him for his signature as follows :—
- Huddersfield, 16th June, 1845. Gentlemen, — I beg to make application to you for a plot of ground situate at Paddock, Huddersfield, on which I am desirous of building a mistal and other outbuildings, and which I am willing to hold under you as tenant at will at such rent as you may think proper to fix. — I am, gentlemen, your most obedient servant. To the trustees and guardians of Sir John William Ramsden, Baronet.
This he signed, but, as he alleged, without considering its purport or effect, without being furnished with a copy, and without having had it explained to him ; he signed it in the belief that it was a mere matter of course, and in the firm persuasion that he was to hold this second piece on land on precisely the same terms as to not being disinherited in the possession, and as to the sixty years' lease, as those on which he held the other land.
These were the circumstances in which Thornton alleged that he became tenant, first of Sir John Ramsden, and afterwards of his devisees. "And," said the Lord Chancellor (Lord Cranworth) in his judgment, "there could be not a doubt that he thereby became at law a mere tenant from year to year." Notices to determine the tenancies of Thornton, presumably the usual six months' notices, were given by Sir John William Ramsden, and Thornton disregarding these, actions of ejectment were brought to recover possession. At that time the Common Law Courts could not, as now, entertain equitable defences, and accordingly Thornton filed his bill in Chancery, praying for equitable relief against the harshness of the common law, under which he had clearly no defence to the action of ejectment, his contention being that he had an equitable right to a lease for sixty years with a covenant for perpetual renewal on payment of certain periodical fines. Whether he had established or could establish that right was the question raised in the cause ; and though the issue has long been decided on the Ramsden Estate, I may remark that on the Dartmouth Estates in Slaithwaite, the tenants of the moor-side holdings are to this day in the same case as the Huddersfield tenants of fifty years ago, and their so-called tenant-right tenures are as precarious as that of Thornton was declared to be.
The case of Ramsden at the Suit of Thornton was heard in the first instance by Vice-Chancellor Stuart, and His Honour made an order declaring that Thornton was entitled to have a lease or leases of two pieces of land on the terms stated in his bill. From his decision Sir John William Ramsden or his trustees appealed, and the case was determined by the House of Lords, May 11, 1866. The Court was not unanimous. The Lord Chancellor (Lord Cranworth), Lord Wensleydale, and Lord Westbury were of opinion that Thornton had not made out a case for equitable relief, and it was stated that Lord Brougham concurred in this view. Lord Kingsdown, on the other hand, supported Thornton's contention. The appeal of Sir John William Ramsden was accordingly sustained, but without costs, though it is fair to say that, the case being a test case, it is probable the appellants would not have, in any case, asked for costs, and, moreover, that Thornton's case was, I believe, supported not at his own charges, but out of a fund raised either by public subscription or among the tenants of the estates. The following extracts from the judgments of the noble and learned lords fully express the views of the last court of appeal upon the issues involved. The Lord Chancellor said : "It is not my intention to step out of the line of my duty by expressing or even forming an opinion as to how far this claim" — that based on the reliance placed upon the honour of the Ramsden family — "is well founded. Probably the system was adopted in the notion that it would give to a humbler and not generally wealthy body of dependent tenants an easy and cheap mode of holding and disposing of their houses. It was impressed on them that by means of the register kept in the books at Longley Hall they could sell, mortgage, or dispose of the property, so far as they had property in their houses, by will, at an expense of 2s. 6d., instead of many pounds. Now whatever obligations of honour the mode in which the property was managed may have created in the Ramsden family, I confess that this case has satisfied me that it was absolutely necessary, for the interest of all parties, that some mode should be adopted for putting an end to it. It was an attempt to create a new and cheap mode of conveyancing, which was certain, sooner or later, to involve in difficulties those who had relied on it. The supposed transfers were altogether ineffectual, and it is a matter of wonder to me that litigation was not long ago occasioned by it. Sir John William Ramsden endeavoured to do what he thought fair and just by obtaining powers to grant leases for ninety-nine years. Whether that was more or less than his tenants at will had a right to look for from what they call the honour of the family is a point on which I give no opinion, but that some arrangements should be adopted which should put an end to the system hitherto pursued seems to me absolutely indispensable. In my opinion, the plaintiffs did not establish a title to any relief, and so their bill ought to have been dismissed. In the particular circumstances of this case, and not at all relying upon the fact that I know that the opinions of your Lordships are not unanimous, which I think is no ground for influencing your Lordships' opinion on the question of costs, but in consideration of the circumstance that this system has gone on so long, and that the parties might have thereby been misled as to what they supposed to be their rights, I shall advise your Lordships to send the case to the Court of Chancery, with the declaration that the bill ought to have been dismissed, without saying anything as to costs."
Subsequent to this decision tenants on the Ramsden Estate who had erected houses, shops, and mills and other structures on their holdings under the so-called tenant-right tenure, were proffered leases of ninety-nine years, dating, I presume, from the commencement of their tenancy, at the original rent. This was not deemed by the tenants an adequate alternative to the sixty years' renewable lease, and Sir John William Ramsden, for many long years, was far from popular on his Huddersfield estates. Indeed, little reflection is needed to show how very much inferior in value is the tenant's interest under a ninety years' lease to his interest under a sixty years' renewable. Under the former the buildings at the expiration of the term became the absolute property of the ground landlord, though they may be little reduced in actual value since their erection. Not only this, but the lessee's interest, say, after fifty years, becomes a rapidly dwindling quantity, and year after year the interest in the term diminishes; that in the reversion, in other words the landlord's, increases. A considerable portion of Huddersfield is built upon these short leases, granted after the decision in 1866. What will happen when the leases expire is matter rather for the prophet than the historian.
It is but right to record, however, that in August, 1859, the tenant-right holders in public meeting expressed their gratitude to the Ramsden trustees for the provisions of the Ramsden Estate Act, "a measure which empowered Sir John to grant: leases for 99 years, but not making it obligatory upon them to do so ; but it was felt that the manner in which the hon. baronet had met the representatives of the tenant-right holders entitled him to the sincere thanks of the meeting, and the proposed arrangement opened out the prospects of a brighter era for Huddersfield and its trade. The hope was expressed that before long an application would be made by Sir John for power to grant 999 years' leases." The names of the speakers at this meeting and of those prominent in the audience serve to remind us who, half-a-century ago, took a leading part in local affairs : W. Moore (constable), John Brook, T. Mallinson, J. C. Laycock, J. Freeman, Jere Kaye, Wright Mellor, J. Brook (registrar), Thomas Hayley, Abraham Walker, John Booth, S. J. Roebuck, T. Firth (jun.), T. Brook (solicitor), G. Brook (jun.), C. H. Jones, C. A. Smith.
Manors in the Colne Valley.
As has already appeared, the district included in the Colne Valley — by which term I understand the natural Valley, not the Parliamentary Division of that name — was comprised in the grant made at the Conquest to Ilbert, de Laci. I have already shown how these lands became vested in Blanche de Laci, who married John of Gaunt, and through her in her son, Henry IV. It was, if one may so express it, as the son of his mother and not as King of England that Henry of Bolingbroke became Over-lord of the Colne Valley. The lands thus became part of the Duchy of Lancaster, which, considering their geographical position, is one of those paradoxes in which the laws delights, but which the following extract from a learned writer will make quite clear : "The County Palatine of Lancaster was the property of Henry Bolingbroke, the son of John of Gaunt, at the time when he wrested the Crown from King Richard the Second; but he was too prudent to suffer it to be vested in the Crown, fearing that if he lost the one he should lost the other also, for, as Plowden and Sir Edward Coke observe : 'he knew he had the Duchy of Lancaster by sure and indefeasible title, but that his title to the Crown was not so assured,' and, therefore, he passed an Act of Parliament, in the first year of his reign, ordaining that the Duchy of Lancaster, and all other his hereditary estates, with all their royalties and franchises, should remain to him and his heirs for ever; and should remain and descend, and be administered and governed in like manner as if he had never attained to royal dignity. And thus it happened, that they descended to Henry the Fourth's son and grandson, Henry the Fifth and Henry the Sixth, many new territories and privileges being meanwhile annexed to the duchy. In the first year of Edward the Fourth, upon the attainder of Henry the Sixth, the Duchy was forfeited to the Crown ; and at the same time an Act was passed to incorporate the Duchy, to continue the county Palatine (making it at the same time part of the Duchy), and to vest the whole in King Edward the Fourth and his heirs, Kings of England, for ever, but under a separate government from the other inheritances of the Crown. Subsequently, in the first year of Henry the Seventh, another Act was passed to resume such parts of the Duchy lands as had been dismembered from it in the reign of Edward the Fourth, and to invest the inheritance of the whole in the King and his heirs for ever, as amply and largely, and in like manner, form and condition, separate from the Crown of England and the possession of the same, as the three Henrys and Edward the Fourth, or any of them had and held the same."
When we come to search for evidence of the descent of the Manor of Marsden we can understand by the light of the preceding paragraph whence it comes that the first muniment of title to engage our attention, an indenture made 33 Eliz., between that Queen, through her Chancellor, and one Edward Jones, gentleman, recites a former deed or warrant executed by Edward IV., dated May 18, 1481, by which Edward IV. reserved to the Crown out of the fee farm rents of Marsden, 40 marks and eight other marks "for the encroachment," whatever that might mean. Out of this sum of 40 marks the Crown was pleased to remit 4 marks for the use of a minister to perform divine service and worship in the chapel at Marsden, to be paid every Easter Monday to the living incumbent from the fee farm rents by the lord of the manor. The recital continues that the tenants had found a minister, and from the time of Edward IV. had paid 40 marks into the hands of the King's Receiver in the Castle of Pontefract. The deed of Elizabeth, having recited as aforesaid, proceeds to witness or declare that if the said Edward Jones, his executors, administrators, or assigns, pay or cause to be paid into the hands of the Receiver-General of the Duchy of Lancaster for the time being, for the use of the Queen, her heirs and successors, such a sum of money, under the name of a fine, as the Chancellor of the Duchy shall adjudge, the Queen grants, delivers, and demits ad firmam (i.e., to farm lets) to the said Edward Jones, his executors, administrators, and assigns, all the dominical lands within the said Manor of Marsden, as summarily remitted by virtue of the aforesaid warrant of King Edward the Fourth, To hold to the said Edward Jones, his executors, administrators, and assigns, for the term of twenty-one years, he yielding and paying therefor to the Queen, her heirs and successors, the yearly sum of £29 6s. 8d. of lawful money at the Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and that of Saint Michael the Archangel in equal portions, the said Edward Jones, his executors, administrators, or assigns, to be chargeable with the four marks to the minister out of the proceeds, and he or they to find at his or their own charges or cost, a man of piety and learning to do duty in the chapel at Marsden as had been done aforetime, with competent and sufficient fairbote, ploughbote, cartbote, and gatebote.
Although one hesitates to express any opinion with assurance, one inclines to infer from the terms of this instrument that Edward Jones was a Farmer of the Revenue of Marsden, under the Receiver-General of the Duchy, just as, we have seen, John Ramsden farmed the revenues of Huddersfield before the fee simple in the manor was acquired. In other words, Jones secured the manor on condition of paying the sums mentioned in the grant into the Exchequer of the Duchy, recouping himself as best he could out of those who actually tilled the land ; and it is probable that he or some later lessee bought the reversion of the lease from the Crown, but when and at what price I have not been able to ascertain. It is generally supposed that Jones was succeeded in the lordship or sub-lordship by one Edward Firth, and he by a family named Greenwood. We reach surer grounds in the middle of the eighteenth century, when there lived at Milnsbridge one William Radcliffe, said to have been an attorney, and the steward of the Manor of Marsden, for the owners of the manor, three maiden ladies, so tradition runs, had been so alarmed by the wildness of the district and the uncouthness of its people, that no consideration would induce them to live in its confines, and they were glad to be rid of the manor to their steward at a small sum. On September 29th, 1706, this William Radcliffe married the widow of John Sillick Dawson, Esq., of Milnsbridge House, the marriage being solemnised at Marsden. The son of this union was still another William Radcliffe, also of Milnsbridge, a Justice of the Peace of the West Riding, who died unmarried September 26th, 1795, aged 85. The sister of this William, Mary Radcliffe, had married one Joseph Pickford, of Alt Hall, Ashton-under-Lyne, and to their son, Joseph, his maternal uncle left his estates in Marsden, Milnsbridge, and Crosland Moor, on condition that he adopted the surname of Radcliffe, in lieu of the name of Pickford, the Royal licence for which purpose is dated December 19th, 1795. It was this gentleman, born Joseph Pickford, but transformed in his fifty- second year into Joseph Radcliffe, who became first baronet of that name in the year 1813. The title was conferred in recognition of the services of Joseph Radcliffe, who was a magistrate of the county, in suppressing the Luddite rising, of which more anon, and discovering and securing the conviction and execution of so many of those misguided but most unfortunate men. The present lord of the manor is fifth baronet.
Such parts of the Manor of Marsden as have not been enfranchised, are, like those in the Holme Valley, belonging to the Manor of Wakefield, of copyhold tenure. The copyholders are the lineal descendants in law of those villeins who, and whose families, I have stated constituted so large a portion of the population of this district at the time of the Conquest. They held their holdings subject to certain base services, now commuted into a money payment or fine, and at the will of the lord. To this day copyholders are, on their Admittances to the holdings on the rolls of the Manorial Court, stated to hold at the will of the lord, but with this important addition : "according to the custom of the manor," and the custom of the manor exacteth that so long as the customary duties are paid the tenant may snap his fingers in the lord's face. A customary or copyhold tenant is in effect a freeholder, subject to the payment of a fine on a transfer of the holding.
The Manor of Slaithwaite.
This manor, included in the Conqueror's grant to Ilbert de Laci, appears to have been granted or subfeoffed, between the years 1195 and 1211, by Roger de Laci to one Henricus Teutonicus, which I take to mean Henry the Saxon, and in some inexplicable fashion the surname Teutonicus became in later generations corrupted to Tyas, for we have mention of one Sir Baldwin Teutonicus vel (or) Ties or Tyas, who lived about the middle of the thirteenth century, and married Margaret, daughter of Hugh of Elland. In the None Book of Edward I., 1298, we have the entry : "Slaithwaite, John Tyeis, Peter de Wildborelaye" ; and in the Parliamentary writs for 1326, in the reign of Edward II., are named John Tyas, Slaighewaite, Richard Tyas, Farnley, from which we may assume that in the time of the Tyases, as in that of the succeeding Kayes, the estates at Slaithwaite and those at Farnley, including Woodsome, were in the same family. It is more than probable that the seat of this John Tyas, of Slaighewaite, was at Slaithwaite Hall, assuredly the most ancient structure in the Valley of the Colne. If the reader desires to gather a lesson as to the progress made in the art of living, let him contrast Slaithwaite Hall, as he may reconstruct it in his mind's eye, from what still remains of that venerable edifice, and any one of the more considerable of the mansions of our merchant princes in Edgerton, remembering that Slaithwaite Hall was once the abode of a knightly family.
A genealogical tree of the lords of this or other manors would find no fitting place in a History of the People. Suffice it, therefore, to say that in the time of Henry VIII., we find the Manor of Slaithwaite adjudged at law to be the property of Arthur Kaye, of Woodsome, claiming to be the rightful heir of John Tyas. It was he who built the Manor House at Slaithwaite, and who added to the possessions of the Kayes the Manors of Lingards and Denby Grange. In the Kaye Chapel in the church at Almondbury a stone is inscribed : "Here lyeth the body of Arthur Kaye, De Woodsome, Esquier, who died the xvi. October, MDLXXXII., and married Breatrix, the daughter of Matthew Wentworth, of Bretton, Esquier, and by her had issue John, George, and Margaret." This son, John of Woodsome, was something of a poet, and had, like most of us, notions of what the ideal woman should be —
- To live at home in housewyvrie,
To order well my famylye,
To see that they lyve not Idyllye,
To bring up childrene vertuislye,
To relyeve poor folk willinglye.
This is my care with modestye,
To live my lyfe in honestye,
Obeying our husbands in what lawful is.
Who housewifilye taketh delightyng in this,
Weel may be called good matron or maistres.
The Slaithwaite estates remained in the Kaye family down to 1722, in which year Elizabeth Kaye, only child and daughter and heiress of Sir Arthur Kaye, of Woodsome, married the Hon. George Legge, eldest son and heir of the first Earl of Dartmouth, and in the Dartmouth family the estates have since remained. It is claimed for the Legges that they spring from a noble Venetian family, the Legii, a branch of the illustrious house of Traversari, a house connected by alliance with the Foscari, the Piscari, the Falieri, and the Contarini. In the twelfth century the family was much decayed, one of its members following the calling of a blacksmith. In later days one of the name made his way to England, probably as a merchant. Here he settled and prospered, and in 1340 we have a Thomas Legge Sheriff of London, thereafter twice Lord Mayor and M.P. for the City in 1349 and 1352. Canon Hulbert records that in 1338 Sir Thomas Legge sent King Edward III. three hundred pounds towards carrying on the war with France. The commerical instinct was strong in the family at this time, for John, a younger son of the aforesaid Thomas, though holding the post of a Serjeant-at-Arms of the Yeomen of the Guard, made himself obnoxious as a farmer of the hated Poll-Tax, and when the followers of Wat Tyler in the great Peasants' Revolt of 1381 seized the Tower, they gave Serjeant Legge short shrift, beheading him on Tower Hill. During the Civil Wars William Legge, a scion of this house, was remarkable for his fidelity to the ill-starred Stuarts. He fought at Newbury, September 21st, 1643, on the Royalist side, and with such bravery that when attending the King at night in his bed-chamber, His Majesty presented him with the sword he had worn that day, and wished to knight him; but the gallant soldier refused the distinction. Such was his devotion to the person of his monarch that he won the respect even of those who thought such devotion ill-merited. Lord Clarendon said of him : "Legge had so general a reputation of integrity and fidelity to his master, that he never fell under the least imputation or reproach with any man," and praises him especially for "his modesty and diffidence of himself." When Charles I. was about to meet his unhappy fate he charged the Duke of Richmond to tell the Prince of Wales to "take care of honest Will Legge, for he was the faithfullest servant that ever any prince had." At the Battle of Worcester, 1631, Legge was severely wounded and taken ; prisoner. He was confined in the Keep at Coventry, but his wife procured the entrance of an old woman into the Castle, and, disguised in her clothes, the intrepid soldier made his escape. With the restoration of the Stuarts to the throne of England the star of the Legges rose again. The eldest son of William Legge was Governor of Portsmouth and Master of the Ordnance. In December, 1682, he was created Baron Dartmouth, and Bishop Burnet speaks of him as "one of the worthiest men of James's Court ; but he was much against the conduct of his affairs." He was Lord Admiral of the English Fleet at the time of the Prince of Orange's expedition to this country, but failed to intercept the Dutch Fleet, and it was to Lord Dartmouth that James II., last of the Stuart kings, addressed the historic letter which was in effect his abdication of the Crown of this realm : "1688, December 10th, Whitehall. My affairs are, as you know, in so desperate a condition that I have been obliged to send away the Queene and the Prince to secure them at least, what so ever become of me, that am resolved to ventur all rather than to consent to anything in the least prejuditial to the Crowne or my conscience, and having been basely deserted by many officers and soldiers of my troops, and finding such an infection gott amongst very many of those who still continue with me on shore, and that the same poysone is gott amongst the fleett, as you yourself owne to me in some of your letters, I could no longer resolve to expose myself to no purpose to what I might expect from the ambitions of the Prince of Orange and the associated rebellious lords, and therefore have resolved to withdraw until this violent storm is over, which will be in God's good time, and hope that there will still remaine in the land seven thousand men who will not bow down the knee to Baal, and keep themselves free from associations and such rebellious practices. I know not whether any of the fleett under your command are free to continue serving me, if they are, their best course is to go to Ireland, where there are still some that will stick to me ... If they are not, there is no remedy; and this I may say, never any Prince took more care of his sea and land men as I have done, and been so ill repaid by them. I have not time to say more, being just a going to take horse. — JAMES R."
The King fled and Dartmouth made terms with the Prince of Orange, being thereto urged by his wife, who wrote him a letter so characteristic of her sex that it needs must be quoted : "December 12th, 1688. — I knowe my deare hart this juncture of time is very amazeing to everybody throughout this land, and most pertickelery to you upon all accounts, and more in the discharge of so great a trust as you have in their hands which is thought to be the nation's, since the King is withdrawn ; therefore, I desired my lord Rochester, who, I believe, is reely your friend, to advise you in this matter, and we send you the paper of the Lords to show you what is done heare, and I hope, deare, you will be so wise to your selfe and family as to see what becomes a reasonable man, who, I am sure, is left in the most deploreable condition of any subject or servant whatsoever. Therefor pray consider it well in your one thoughts and then no one is better able to judge than yourselfe what is fitt to be don to acquit you, for as hetherto, I doe not find the prodistant interist disatisfied with you, and the other I look upon as quite exterpreted. Lord Chanseler is prisoner in the Tower, and the rable ready to pull him to pieces before he be brought to public justice. — Yours, B. D."
Two years after the Prince of Orange had become William III., King of England, the Earl was suspected of treasonable correspondence with the exiled monarch, and clapt into the Tower, where he died.
His son William, second baron, was Secretary of State in 1710, and in 1711 raised to the dignity of an Earl. He enjoyed the friendship of Dean Swift and other men eminent in literature and the arts. He died in 1759, having lived in the reigns of Charles II., James II., William III., and Mary, William III., Anne, George I., and George II. It was his son and heir, George, whose marriage with Elizabeth Kaye, of Woodsome, added the Manor of Slaithwaite to the Dartmouth possessions. It was not at that time, nor for long afterwards, a very valuable addition ; and one of the Ladies Dartmouth is credited with the saying that the rents of Slaithwaite would not keep her in shoe strings.
The second Earl Dartmouth was Secretary of State for the Colonies from August, 1772, to November, 1775. Those were critical times, the days which saw the American States drift into the War of Independence. For its writer's name's sake I quote a letter addressed by John Wesley to the Earl : "1775, June 14th. — In the way to Dublin. All my prejudices are against the Americans, for I am an High Churchman, the son of an High Churchman, bred from childhood in the highest notions of passive obedience and non-resistance, and yet in spite of all my rooted prejudices I cannot help thinking (if I think at all) that an oppressed people asked for nothing more than their loyal rights, and that in the most modest and inoffensive manner which the nature of the thing would allow. But evading this, waiving all considerations of right and wrong, I ask, is it common sense to use force against the Americans ? ... 'They are divided amongst themselves!' So you are informed by various letters and memorials. So I doubt not poor Rehoboam was informed concerning the ten tribes! So (nearer our times) was Philip informed concerning the people of the Netherlands! No, my lord, they are terribly united, not in the Province of New England only, but down as low as the Jerseys and Pennyslvania the bulk of the people are so united that to speak a word in favour of the present English measures would almost endanger a man's life ... O, my lord, if your lordship can do anything let it not be wanting ! For God's sake, for the sake of the King, of the nation, of your lovely family, remember Rehoboam ! Remember Philip the Second ! Remember Charles I."
The American policy of the Prime Minister, Lord North, was not approved by all sections of the English people. A local echo of the general feeling was heard at Woodsome, as we gather from the following letter to Lord Dartmouth from his agent at Woodsome : "July 16th, 1780. — As your lordship has not heard from Woodsome this good while, I take the liberty to say all is safe and well, and the plantations of last spring tolerably promising, considering the cold and dry weather we have had. I mention our safety, as we have not been free from alarm here, owing to a strange idle report that Lord North had fled from London, and was with your lordship here. This was so much believed by the common people, that a man came from Lascelles Hall one evening, and demanded an audience of Lord North ; being told he was not here he grew abusive. And the next day a considerable number of rabble, about forty, with horns, pans, and one gun, assembled on the Coombs to come again, and another body beyond Kirkburton. But happily they were dissuaded from it."
The present Lord Dartmouth was born May 6th, 1851, and succeeded as sixth earl in 1891. I have pleasure in quoting from my "History of the Colne Valley" : "The relations between the noble family of Dartmouth and the Slaithwaite tenantry have been and are of the most cordial, a circumstance due in no slight degree to the equity of the landlord's dealings and to the tact and consideration of the local agent, Mr. Jas. B. Eagland, and the London agents, Messrs. Thynne and Thynne. I am assured by Mr. Edwin Gledhill, the capable and astute clerk to the Slaithwaite Urban District Council, that no reasonable project of public improvement within the Council's jurisdiction fails to secure the hearty co-operation of the owner of the soil, nor is that project made burthensome to the ratepayers by any of those pecuniary exactions by which too many landowners, throughout the length and breadth of the kingdom, enrich themselves at the public expense."
The Manor of Golcar.
This manor, as we have seen, was named in Domesday Book as part of the domain of Ilbert de Laci ; but not long after the Conqueror's times the manor passed into the hands of the. Savile family. Certainly in the time of Edward I. Peter de Savill is stated in ancient records "to have held the Manor of Goulacres : three parts of the heirs of Richard le Botiler of Sandall and the fourth part of the said manor of John de Heton by the service of 3d. yearly." And in the year 1337 (10 Edward III.) we find John de Sayvile does homage for land in "Goldecar," and a later Return records that Sir Henry Savill, Knt., long before his death, was seized in his demesne as of fee of and in the manors of Botham Hall, Rishworth, and Golcar ; and in the Golcar Enclosure Award of 1823, the last public document I need refer to in this connection, the lord of the manor of Golcar is stated to be the Hon. and Rev. John Lumley Savile. I imagine few manors in the kingdom can be shown to have remained in one family from the time of the first to that of the seventh Edward of England. It were inconsistent with the design of this work to enumerate the successive lords of the manor during that long tale of years ; but I may quote from Lord Macaulay a story of one of the family that throws a lurid light upon the by-paths of national administration. The Duke of Leeds told in debate in the House of Lords, with great complacence, "a story about himself, which would, in our days, drive a public man, not only out of office, but out of the society of gentlemen. 'When I was Treasurer in King Charles' time, my Lords, the Excise was to be farmed. There were several bidders. Harry Savile, for whom I had a great value, informed me that they had asked for his interest with me, and begged me to tell them that he had done his best for them.' ' What,' said I, 'tell them all so, when only one can have the farm ?' 'No matter,' said Harry, 'tell them all so, and the one who gets the farm will think he owes it to me.' The gentlemen came, I said to everyone of them separately, 'Sir, You are much obliged to Mr. Savile' ; 'Sir, Mr. Savile has been much your friend.' In the end Harry got a handsome present and I wished him good luck. I was his shadow then."
The most illustrious of the Saviles was Sir George Savile, fourth baronet, President of the Council, temp., Charles II., created Baron Savile of Elland, 1668, Viscount Halifax, 1679, Earl of Halifax and Marquess of Halifax, 1682. He was born at Thornhill in 1633, and, dying in 1695, was buried in Westminster Abbey, where is a monument to his memory. Lord Macaulay, in his History, devotes much space to an analysis of the character of George Savile :— "Among the statesmen of these times Halifax was in genius the first. His intellect was fertile, subtle and capacious. His polished, luminous, and animated eloquence, set off by the silver tones of his voice, was the delight of the House of Lords. His conversation overflowed with thought, fancy, and wit. His political tracts well deserve to be studied for their literary merit, and fully entitle him to a place among English classics. To the weight derived from talents so great and various he united all the weight which belongs to rank and ample possessions. Yet he was less successful in politics than many who enjoyed smaller advantages. Indeed, these intellectual peculiarities which make his writings valuable, frequently impeded him in the contests of active life. For he always saw passing events not in the point of view in which they commonly appear to one who bears a part in them, but in the point of view in which, after the lapse of many years, they appear to the philosophic historian. With such a turn of mind, he could not long continue to act cordially with any body of men. All the prejudices, all the exaggerations of both the great parties in the State moved his scorn. He despised the mean and unscrupulous clamours of demagogues. He despised still more the doctrines of divine right and passive obedience. He sneered impartially at the bigotry of the Churchman and at the bigotry of the Puritans. He was equally unable to comprehend how any man should object to Saints' days and surplices, and how any man could persecute any other for objecting to them. In temper he was what, in our time, is called a Conservative, in theory he was a Republican. Even when his dread of anarchy and his disdain for vulgar delusions led him to side for a time with the defenders of arbitrary power, his intellect was always with Locke and Milton. Indeed, his jests upon hereditary monarchy were sometimes such as would have better become a member of the Calf's Head Club than a Privy Councillor of the State. In religion he was so far from being a zealot that he was called by the uncharitable an atheist, but this reputation he vehemently repelled; and, in truth, though he sometimes gave scandal by the way in which he exerted his rare powers, both of reasoning and of ridicule, on religious subjects, he seems to have been by no means unsusceptible of religious impressions." Some of his utterances on theological matters were, however, well calculated to give rise to misapprehension in an age not so tolerant as our own of freedom of thought and freedom of speech. What, for instance, are we to make of this ? —"A man who sits down a philosopher rises an atheist." None the less, though he was certainly a philosopher, Halifax declared to Bishop Burnet "that he did not believe such a thing as an atheist existed. For himself he believed all he could, and imagined God would forgive him if, unlike the ostrich, he could not digest iron." Dryden depicts Halifax in the well-known lines —
- Jotham, of pleasing wit and pregnant thought,
Endowed by nature and by learning taught
To move assemblies, who but only tried
The worse awhile, then chose the better side ;
Nor chose alone, but turned the balance too,
So much the weight of one brave man can do.
The wife of this Lord Halifax was the Lady Dorothy Spencer, the Sacharissa of the poets. He had a natural son, Henry Carey, "whose dramas once drew crowded audiences to the theatre, and some of whose gay and spirited verses still live in the memory of hundreds of thousands." One of his songs, Sally in our Alley, is described as "the most graceful and natural of English lyrics."
The Halifax peerage became extinct in the Savile family in 1700, but the baronetcy survived in Sir George Savile, of Rufford, Co. Notts, eighth baronet, who, though only in his twentieth year when the Rebellion of 1745 broke out, received a captain's commission, and raised a company of fifty men on his Yorkshire estates to oppose the young Pretender's advance into England. He entered Parliament at a later age, and allying himself with the Whig party, soon evinced a liberality of political sentiments that would have been remarkable in any man, but was doubly so in one of his descent and traditions. He advocated relief from subscription to the Thirty-nine Articles, and when it was urged that sectarians would find their way into the Church of England, he exclaimed, addressing the Speaker, "Sectaries, sir ! had it not been for sectaries this cause had been tried at Rome." He introduced bills to promote electoral reform, he supported Catholic emancipation — the rioters under Lord George Gordon burned and plundered his house in Leicester Fields — and he advocated an enquiry into pensions and annuities. Horace Walpole said of him that " he had a head as acutely argumentative as if he had been made by a German logician for a model."
The present representative of the family and lord of the manor, is Alfred Frederick George Beresford, tenth Earl of Scarborough, who succeeded to the title and estates in 1884. It may be mentioned as illustrative of the persistency of family names in particular districts, that in Golcar, and in Golcar only, so far as I have observed in this district, the name of Savile is borne by some families of but humble position, yet who could probably trace descent to those lords of that manor who once resided in the district.
The Manor of Whitley.
No record of the manorial lords of this district could have any pretensions to completeness that omitted mention of the Beaumonts of Whitley Beaumont. The Whitley estate appears to have been granted in the reign of Edward I. by Henry de Lacy to William de Bellomonte, and from that day to the present one may say of the Manor of Whitley that "Amurath to Amurath succeeds." In the 31 Edward I. Robert de Bellomonte, Knight, was seized of the Manors of Over Whitley, Crossland, and Huddersfield, and though the lordship of the last named has long ago passed from the hands of the Beaumonts, that family still retains considerable possessions in Whitley Beaumont, Lepton, South Crosland, and Meltham. The will of Richard Beaumont of Whitley Beaumont, who lived in the reign of Henry VI., may be quoted as affording curious evidence of the religious notions of those times: "In the name of God. Amen. On the first day of December, in the year of our Lord 1469, I, Richard Beaumont, of Whitley, sound of mind and of healthy memory, make and ordain my will in this manner. In the first place, I bequeath my soul to God, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and all His Saints, and my body to be buried in the Church of St. John the Baptist, in the Choir of the Blessed Mary of Heton. Item, I bequeath in the name of a Mortuary my best animal, according to the custom of the Parish. Item, I bequeath to the High Altar of Heton two shillings. Item, I bequeath to the Hospital of St. Thomas of Canterbury in Rome, forty pence. Item, I bequeath to the Brotherhood of Knaresboro' twelve pence. Item, I bequeath to the Friars of the Order of St. Francis of Doncaster two shillings. Item, I bequeath to the Friars of St. Augustine, of Tickhill, two shillings. Item, I bequeath to the preaching Friars of Pontefract twenty pence." A Sir Richard Beaumont of Whitley Beaumont, born at Whitley, August 2nd, 1574, and knighted by James I. in 1609, sat in Parliament for Pontefract in 1625 ; Sir Thomas Beaumont fought for the King during the Civil Wars, and held Sheffield Castle for him ; and Henry Frederick Beaumont,of Whitley-Beaumont, the regnant lord, has, as later pages will show, borne an active part in the political life of this district, and his name will be for ever perpetuated as that of the donor to the town of Huddersfield of the park which bears his name.
Enclosures of Waste Lands.
The reader will or should have observed in the extract from Doomsday Book that refers to grants made in this district the words, "It is waste" frequently repeated. It is suggested, by Mr. Macdonnell in the work my indebtedness to which I have more than once acknowledged that these words point to the fact that the lands alluded to were common or folcland ; land which was no man's because it was in a sense all men's. These rights of common claimed and exercised by the tenants of manor over these waste or common lands were of the most varied and yet indefinite character: the rights e.g., to turn their cattle and geese upon the common, to gather fuel, to dig turf, etc. In the Honley Award of 1788 it is expressly stated that the Freeholders of that manor claimed in Mag Spring Wood the right of cutting and having timber for Houseboot, Hainboot, Ploughboot, Cartboot, and Fireboot, and of getting slates and stones — privileges or rights one would have thought well worth conserving. It will, I imagine, be conceded by every thoughtful reader that a system that prevented the most effective cultivation of vast stretches of land situate in the heart of growing communities and that forbade the erection of houses and other buildings thereon could not for ever be endured. It is possible that had the Awards to which I shall refer been deferred to these later days, when we are becoming more and more accustomed to the municipal ownership and use of land and buildings, and when Town Councils and District Councils exist conscious of their powers and their duties, a considerable portion of the lands flung so prodigally to private owners would have been consecrated to public use by being vested in the Town or District Councils, with power to let the same for building sites, devoting the rents to the alleviation of the rates. What can present a more suggestive illustration of the muddle-headed way in which affairs are administered in this country than the fact that the public Recreation Ground on Lindley Moor should in 1810 have been awarded, under the Halifax Enclosure Act, to one Charles Radcliffe, and some eighty years later bought at a price for public purposes out of public monies from the successor in title of the private individual to whom public commons had been allotted !
The process by which the commons or waste lands in Huddersfield and the Valleys of the Colne and the Holme and the Dearne have been diverted from public use to private ownership is partly to be surmised and partly to be traced by reference to the various Enclosure Acts and Awards affecting this district. How considerable was the extent of what were probably common lands may be inferred from the statement in Doomsday Book that while in Odersfelt the ploughland was but six carucates, the wood pasture was one mile long and one wide ; in Almonberie the ploughland four carucates, the wood and pasture one mile long and one broad ; in Crosland the wood pasture ten miles long and one broad ; in Honley and Meltham the wood pasture two miles long and a mile-and-a-half broad ; and so forth. It is not difficult to believe that the lord of the manor or his steward had little compunction in enclosing for his private use such of the common lands as he coveted, and who so bold as say him nay in days when manorial lords had their own courts-baron, their own dungeons, and their own gallows, and set at naught the King's writ and the King's officers. In later days when the feudal lords were brought under the law a great landowner desirous of laying hands upon the commons of his manor had recourse to measures less high-handed than those of his ancestors ; the methods of the latter were robbery open and unashamed, those of their more scrupulous descendants robbery under sanction of the law. Private landowners introduced into a Parliament of private landowners private bills for the enclosure of the commons on their estates, and the legislators, mindful of the adage, "Thee caw me an' I'll caw thee," passed these bills wholesale. I have been privileged to peruse a number of these Acts and Awards referring to lands in Huddersfield and its vicinity. Some of these refer to former enclosures by the lords of the manor and others, and I imagine that many will realise with pained surprise how considerable a portion of our suburban streets and residences have been constructed and erected upon land once common of the people.
The Honley Enclosure.
The Honley Enclosure Act, the Award whereunder was made in 1788, recites that there were in Honley, including the township of that name and that part of South Crosland called Mag Lordship, several open commons and waste grounds containing one thousand four hundred acres, and that the Earl of Dartmouth, as lord of the manor, was owner of the soil of the said commons and wastes as parcel of or belonging to the said manor, and that the Freeholders claimed right of cutting and having timber for House- boot, Hainboot, Ploughboot, Cartboot, and Fireboot, and getting slates and stones, and that as the said commons and waste grounds were in their then present condition incapable of improvement, it would be advantageous to the parties interested therein if the same were enclosed and certain claims and rights were abolished and settled; and that the said Earl was owner of a certain water corn mill, called Honley Mill, and claimed from the Inhabitants and Freeholders some soak or suit in the said mill and repairs to the mill dam, which soak or suit and claim to repairs it was desirable should cease. It also recites that the Governors of Clitheroe Grammar School were impropriators of the Rectory of the Parish of Almondbury, and as such were entitled to the Great and Rectorial Tythes of the said Commons and Waste Grounds, and to an annual modus of £3 11s. 6½d. in lieu of Great or Rectorial Tythes out of ancient enclosed tythable lands in said manor, and that the Vicar of Almondbury was entitled to all vicarial tythes in the said manor. I cannot set out in detail all the allotments made by the Awards under this and subsequent Acts ; but I apprehend that the larger grants are legitimate subject of public interest. It should be premised that the Awards made careful provision for public highways, private roads, public footpaths, wells, and watering-places, quarries, and other public easements. Subject to these the Governors of Clitheroe Grammar School obtained by the Honley Award over one hundred acres in fee simple released from all rights of common, the Vicar of Almondbury some 14 acres, the curate of the chapel at Honley some 26 acres, and the Earl of Dartmouth some 150 acres, and Amos Armitage and George Armitage and a many others plots of land varying from 20 acres to as many roods. The Earl of Dartmouth renounced his rights to soak at his water mill and received Mag Spring Wood free from those vexatious "Boots" ; even the poor were not forgotten, for the all-providing Commissioners reserved no less than one acre, three roods, and nine perches for the poor of Almondbury.
The Huddersfield Enclosure Act.
The Huddersfield Enclosure Act of 1784 affected 323 A. 3R. and of this area eight acres of land at Marsh were allotted to the Vicar of Huddersfield ; over seventy-five acres at Marsh, Gledholt Bank, Heatonfold, and Luck Lane, and about one hundred and thirty acres at Sheepridge, Fartown Green, and Cowcliffe to Sir John Ramsden.
The Lindley Enclosure.
The Award made in 1798 appropriates nigh on 170 acres of land in Farnlee, Westfield, Nearfield, The Spring, Hall Lee, Upper Acre, and Lower Acre, to Thomas Thornhill, lord of the manor of Longwood.
The North Crosland Enclosure.
This Award, made in 1799, assigned some fifty acres of lands at Black Moor, Spring Mill, and Hoyle House Clough to John Kaye, lord of the manor ; two hundred and thirty acres at Black Moor, Hoyle House Moor, Spring Mill, Rye Croft Edge and Crosland Hill to Joseph Radcliffe, of Milnsbridge House ; twenty-six acres at Dry Clough, Moor Hill Road, Lockwood, and at Dungeon Wood ; some seventy acres to Benjamin Ingham and others jointly ; and about forty acres at Cowlersley Edge and Crosland Moor to Benjamin Lockwood.
The Dalton Enclosure.
The Enclosure Award of 1811 affected lands in Dalton of an area of 194A. 1R. 32P., and of this land in Jagger Hill, Nab Hill, Dalton Green, and Almondbury Bank, to the extent of over forty-six acres, were assigned to the Rector of Kirkheaton ; whilst Sir John Lister Kaye, Bart., lord of the manor, secured lands at Kilner Bank, Jagger Hill, Mold Green, Brow Lane, Little Carr Lane, Dalton Green, Dalton Bank, and Well House Clough, amounting to over seventy acres in extent. Sir John Ramsden received a paltry two and a quarter acres ; the poor of Kirkheaton were awarded two roods and seventy-four perches ; and the trustees of Nettleton's Charity one rood and thirty-six perches.
The Golcar Award.
This Award, made in 1823, affected lands to the extent of 330 acres on Wholestone Moor and Bolster Moor. Of all the Awards I have perused this seems to have been the most even-handed, for the lands dealt with are allotted in small portions to a considerable number of small owners. This arose probably from the fact that at an early date the lands of the Manor of Golcar were acquired in fee by purchasers of small holdings from the lord. Whilst in Marsden the tenants were copyholders, in Slaithwaite tenants-at-will, in Huddersfield tenants by an imaginary tenant right, Golcar was being gradually parcelled out into small freeholds, to the owners of which on the enclosure of the commons proportionate allotments were made. To the Hon. and Rev. John Lumley Savile, Lord of the Manor, were awarded twenty-six acres in lieu of chief rents; and some three and a half acres to the Overseers of the Poor of Golcar.
Slaithwaite and Marsden.
There have been no Enclosure Awards in the Manors of Slaithwaite and Marsden.
The Longwood and Deanhead Enclosure.
This Award, made in 1825, allotted thirty-nine acres of lands at Black Moor, Head Green, and Cherry Tree Laund, to the Vicar of Huddersfield ; nigh on one hundred and forty acres of lands at Outlane, Whitestone Moor, Daw Hole, Deanhead, New Hey Road, Nettleton Hill, and Deanhead Common, to Thomas Thornhill, lord of the Manor of Longwood.
The Holmfirth Encolsures.
The Graveship of Holme includes the townships of Austonley, Cartworth, Fulstone, Hepworth, Holme, Upper Thong, Wooldale, Scholes, the area of the Holmfirth District Council comprising Austonley, Cartworth, Upper Thong, and Wooldale, the rest of the Graveship lying within the jurisdiction of the New Mill Urban District Council. The Act "for enclosing lands within the Graveship of Holme and the several parishes of Kirkburton and Almondbury in the West Riding of the County of York," recites that there were within the Graveship divers Common Waste Lands and Moors or Heaths containing by admeasurement eighteen thousand acres or thereabouts and several common fields and Undivided Enclosures containing three hundred acres, and that George William Frederick, Duke of Leeds, was lord of the manor and owner of the soil subject to the Common rights, and that the King was Patron of the Vicarage of Kirkburton. The Act contains the usual provisions for Public Roads, Foot Roads, Wells, Peats, Turves, Quarries, Watering-places, etc. It allots 31 acres, in Cartworth, 96 acres in Hepworth, 63 acres in Austonley, 2 acres 2 roods in Holme to the Lord of the Manor in lieu of his manorial rights, and 17 acres 20 perches in Hepworth as compensation for his Coney Warren, memorial of the distant days when there was a Lord's Chase in the Graveship. To the Vicar of Kirkburton 104 acres in Wooldale and 201 acres in Hepworth and 24 perches in Fulstone are allotted. The rest of this great stretch of common land is parcelled out in varying lots among a large number of small proprietors.
The Meltham Enclosure.
This Award, made pursuant to Act 57, Geo. III., intituled, "An Act for enclosing lands in the Manor of Meltham in the Parish of Almondbury," recites that there were in the Manor of Meltham 4,000 acres or thereabouts, that John Beaumont, Joseph Green Armytage, Charles Radcliffe, Esquires, and Thomas Shaw, Joseph Eastwood, Joseph Crosland, and Timothy Dyson, Gentlemen, were lords of the manor and owners of the soil, mines, etc. It makes the usual provision for roads, footpaths, watering-places, quarries, etc. It awards :—
|To Joseph Green Armytage of Thickhollins :—|
|118||2||11||at Fleck Moss.|
|36||0||29||at Slack of Moor.|
|12||0||20||at Town Flack.|
|79||2||34||at Wilshaw and Thickhollins Moor.|
|4||0||37||at Gill Birks.|
|6||0||24||at Thickhollins Moor and Shivering.|
|5||1||35||at Thickhollins Hill.|
|15||3||34||at Harding Clough.|
|141||3||0||at Thickhollins Moor, Dry Clough, and Harding Hill.|
|124||0||37||at Fleak Moss, Madge Know, and Maggleden.|
|To Richard Henry Beaumont :—|
|252||3||11||at Bell Monte, Scape Moss.|
|191||2||10||at Fleak Moss and Fearer Woods.|
|33||3||15||at Royd Thorns.|
|55||2||16||at Royd Wood.|
|35||3||10||at Deer Hill Bents.|
|To Timothy Dyson :—|
|20||2||24||at Harding Moss.|
|22||1||30||at Wilshaw Slack.|
|To Joseph Beaumont :—|
|80||3||24||at Deer Hill Moss.|
|To Trustees of Charles Radcliffe :—|
|117||1||15||at Deer Hill Moss.|
|22||3||25||at Black Moor Top.|
|36||1||0||at Holt Head.|
|46||2||29||at Ram's Clough.|
|49||1||17||at Harding Moss.|
|To Thomas Shaw :—|
|150||0||0||at Scape Moss.|
|To James Brook, of Huddersfield, Woolstapler :—|
|11||3||16||at Harding Bugh.|
|49||0||29||at Harding Bugh.|
|To Thomas Brook, of the City of London, and Charles Brook, of Healey House
|38||2||21||at Harding Clough.|
|To Jonas Brook, of Meltham, Cotton Manufacturer :—|
|5||0||36||at Wearly Moor.|
|14||1||14||at Snape and Dry Clough.|
|7||0||0||at Maggleden Top.|
|4||1||30||at Dry Clough.|
|To George Crosland, of Crosland Moor, Manufacturer :—|
|18||2||3||at Royd Edge.|
|To Francis Crowther, of Wash, Meltham :—|
|10||1||8||at Black Moor.|
|To Crispin Taylor, of Meltham, Merchant :—|
|4||1||34||at Spark Green.|
|13||0||7||at Moor Ford Hill.|
|To John Taylor, of Greave, Netherton :—|
|19||3||24||at Harding Slack.|
|To Joseph Eastwood, of Meltham, Cloth Dresser :—|
|53||2||28||at Deer Hill End and Haigh's Slack.|
|22||2||39||at Blackmoor Top.|
|18||1||25||at Harding Clough and Fox Royd.|
|To Joseph Haigh, of Almondbury, Yeoman :—|
|11||0||11||at Wearley Moor.|
|14||0||20||at Town's Slack.|
|To Devisees of John Harrison :—|
|20||1||10||at Haigh's Slack.|
|To Devisees of Matthew Hirst :—|
|30||3||27||at Stoneley Carr.|
|To Devisees of James Oldfield :—|
|35||2||22||at Maggleden Edge.|
|To the Heirs and Devisees of George Taylor, of Meltham, Merchant :—|
|92||2||16||at Deer Hill Moss and White Holes.|
|To Thomas Shaw, of Meltham :—|
|250||0||0||at Leggards, Bracken Hill, and Scope.|
|22||0||11||at Slack of Moor.|
|To the Curate of Holmfirth :—|
|To the Trustees of Meltham Curacy :—|
|0||3||36||at High Moor.|
|0||0||3||at Green's End.|
|12||3||33||at Swinsher Slack.|
|16||0||1||at High Moor.|
|8||1||11||at Harding Hill.|
|19||1||12||at Harding Clough.|
|To the Trustees of Honley Curacy :—|
|To And, finally, to the Poor of Meltham :—|
|4||0||0||at Little Dyke Bottom.|
The Allotments of the Meltham Commons would require very special pleading for their justification. The arguments for enclosure, an argument not without substance, was that the allottee would cultivate the land, grow corn on it, and so add to the national wealth and furnish employment to the peasantry. In the case of Meltham what happened was that the sheep of the poor were turned from the moors that the rich might the better preserve their grouse.
The Kirkburton Enclosure.
This Award, dated June 1st, 1816, declares that the commons, moors, and waste grounds, with the encroachments made within 40 years from the enabling Acts, amounted to 206A. 1R. 20P. It allots to the Vicar 11A. 3R. 20P. and 3A. 10P. at Grice Common ; 2A. 3R. 14P. at Teppy Lane ; and 2A. 1R. 29P. on the Common ; to Trustees therein named 38P. at School Hill for a school ; to the Earl of Dartmouth about 25 A. in different parts of the parish, in small lots ; to the Governors of Sheffield Hospital some 2A. ; to Sir Joseph Radcliffe 2A. 2R. 39P. ; and to Sir John Lister Kaye, Bart., as lord of the manor, 9A.1I6P. at Harry Bower, as compensation for his rights in the soil of the manor, 3A. 7P. at Harry Bower, in lieu of Cottage Rent, 2A. 1R. 20P. at Harry Bower in lieu of Rabbits Rents, and some thirteen further acres in small lots in various parts of the parish. After provision for roads, footpaths, quarries, watering-places, etc., the rest is allotted in small holdings to a number of allottees.
The Shelley Enclosure.
The Award, dated 17th September, 1807, recites an Act, 43 Geo. III., intituled an "Act for dividing and allotting and enclosing a piece or parcel of open and unenclosed woodland called Hartley Bank, and also the several commons, moors, and waste grounds within the Manor of Shelley in the Parish of Kirkburton." It certifies these woodlands and commons contain 288A. 1R. 24P. After providing for roads, footpaths, watering- places, quarries, it gives to trustees 2A. 1R. 13P. at Shelley Near Bank, 2R. 27P. at Town End, 3A. on Long Moor as a provision for School House and School Master ; to the Vicar of Kirkburton 22A. on Barncliffe Hill and 10A. 1R. 20P. on Ffeer Moor, which having been let for a term of 21 years for £34 yearly, were to be in full satisfaction of vicarious tithes and other tithes great and small, and all ecclesiastical dues or any moduses (Easter offerings, surplice ffees, and mortuaries excepted), which said Easter offerings included house duty and communicants.
To Mary Kershaw, Frances Sheppard, and Rebecca Kershaw, and the devisees of the late Ann Russell, as Ladies of the Manor of Shelley, were awarded some fifty acres at Grice, Far Moor, and elsewhere throughout the parish ; the rest in small lots to various proprietors.
The Shepley Enclosure.
The Award, dated June, 1827, recites that the commons, wastes, etc., known as Shepley Common, contained 220 A. or thereabouts, and that Sir Joseph Radcliffe, Bart., and Thomas Hardy, Esq., were Lords of the Manor. It gives some 26A. at Carr Common to the Vicar of Kirkburton, some 14A. at Hamer House Common, Dike Bottom, and Nabscliffe to the said Thomas Hardy, and some 25A. at Shepley Marsh, Mankinholes, etc., to Sir Joseph Radcliffe. The rest of the common is parcelled out among a number of small proprietors.
It is no part of the work of the historian to moralise over the records he disentombs ; but I may be permitted one pertinent quotation from the work of Mr. Macdonnell : "Once almost every dweller in a manor, unless, indeed, such as were not freemen, had a share in the produce of the common. Perhaps the lord's right was, until the day of division, of a purely honorary character. Perhaps his legal estate may have been as empty and valueless as the legal estate of a trustee. If he ventured to put up a wall or fence to hinder the commoners' cattle from grazing it would be knocked down. To all intents and purposes, the commoners and not he owned the common. But when a division takes place, those whose rights over the common are of a substantial character may get almost nothing, while those whose rights are a figment of law may get almost everything. The former are stripped of immemorial enjoyments, and the latter are gifted with powers which were never theirs before; and the lord's right at common law to the shell is converted into a right to the oyster itself."
- Those fenceless fields the sons of wealth divide,
And even the barren common is denied.
It should be borne in mind that several of the Enclosure Acts and Awards aforementioned allude to ancient enclosures made before their date ; and that the documents I have summarised are by no means all the instruments by which lands in Huddersfield and the adjacent valleys have been diverted from public to private use. The Kirkheaton Award, for instance, I am informed by the Clerk of the Urban District Council, in whose custody it should be, has been lost or mislaid for many years, and the Council have been so far unable to discover or recover it. Yet even those to which I have had access deal with an aggregate of much more than twenty thousand acres.. One cannot but reflect upon the superior astuteness of the advisers of the German municipalities which secured circumjacent lands to the relief of the communal burdens, and reflect, too, perhaps, that of all the methods of becoming a landed proprietor — and they are various, including force, fraud, and purchase — that of a snug Enclosure Award seems the easiest, the cheapest, and the safest.
Notes and References
- Mayhall's "Annals of Yorkshire."
- Traill's "Social England," 236.
- A quarenten was 40 perches. See Bawdwen's "Glossary of Domesday Book," 17.
- Morehouse : History of Kirkburton.
- Crabtree's History of Halifax (1836), Simpkin, Marshall & Co.
- Dodsworth MSS.
- Yorkshire Notes and Queries.
- Quoted by Sir George Nicholls in his History of the English Poor Law.
- 1 L.R. App. Series, 130.
- As to these enclosures, see later.
- Such tenants were in effect freeholders subject to a yearly rent-charge and a fine on renewal: a blend of freehold, leasehold, and copyhold. — D.F.E.S.
- "Fifty Years Ago," in "Huddersfield Chronicle."
- Stephen's "Commentaries on the Laws of England."
- A mark was 13s. 4d.
- Consult "The Italian Ancestry of the Legges," by the Rev. Augustus G. Legge, M.A.
- Hulbert : Annals of the Church in Almondbury.
- See Political History of England, 4, 43.
- History of the Great Rebellion.
- The infamous Jeffreys.
- The Dartmouth Papers of the Historical Manuscripts Commission.
- These expressions would point to some communication of the Earl to Wesley, vindicating the attitude of his Government.
- He had married the Earl's widowed mother.
- Inquisition of Philip and Mary.
- Dryden : Absolom and Achitophel.
- The aforetime curates of the chapels mentioned are now designated vicars of the churches there.
- Macdonnell : The Land Question.