Yorkshire Archaeological and Topographical Journal (1891) - The Elland Feud

Reproduced from Volume XI of the Yorkshire Archaeological and Topographical Journal.

The following is a transcription of a historic article and may contain occasional errors.



The following evidence seems to prove that the story of the Elland Feud is substantially true. The entries are as follows (the contractions in the MS. being expanded):—


Deliberatio gaole Castri Ebor. facta ibidem coram Willelmo Basset et sociis Buis Justiciariis domini Regis de gaolam illam deliberandum assignatis die Jovis in festo sancti Jacobi apostoli anno regni Regis Edwardi tercii post conquestum Angliae vicesimo septimo et Francise quarto decimo. [1353].
Ebor. Robertus del Both de Holmfrith et Ricardus frater ejus maneus in Holmfrith Matheus de Hepworth de Hodersfeld Thomas Litster de Almanbury et Radulphus de Skelmerthorp capti pro eo quod receptaverunt Willelmum de Lokwod et Adam Beaumond qui felonice interfecerunt Johannem de Eland Chivaler apud Holmfrith Almanbury et Skelmerthorp Bcientes ipsos feloniam prædictam fecisse et esse utlagatos . . . Edmundus dc Flokton captus pro eo quod receptavit Adam de Beaumond apud Flokton sciens ipsum esse utlagatum pro mortem Johannis de Eland Chivaler felonice interfectum . . . Thomas Molot de Wakefeld captus pro eo quod manutenuit Thomam filium Thome Lascy qui felonice interfecit Johannem de Eland Chivaler et de eo quod dedit eidem Thome filio Thome xl. solidos argent i post pncdictam feloniam factam sciens ipsum fecisse dictam feloniam in manutencione prædicti Thome filii Thome . . . unde coram Milone de Stapelton vicecomite Ebor. indictati sunt venerunt per vicecomitem ducti et per Justiciaries singulatim allocuti qualiter se velnit de præmissis sibi impositis acquietare dicunt singulatim quod ipsi iu nullo sunt culpabiles de feloniis predictis et de hoc de bono et malo ponunt se super patriam. Juratores ad hoc electi et jurati dicunt super sacramentum suura quod prædicti Robertus del Bothe et omnes alii in nullo sunt culpabiles de feloniis prædictis nec unquam retraxerunt se occasionibus prsedictis Ideo consideratus est quod predictus Robertus del Bothe et omnes alii eant inde quieti.

This will be found at the Public Record Office, at the reference Assize Roll, N/1/29, membrane 17 in dorso.


Deliberate gaole Castri Ebor. facta ibidem coram Thoma de Seton Johanne Moubray et Rogero de Blaykeston Justiciariia domini Regis ad goalam illam deliberandum assiguatis die Martis proximum post festum Sanctco Margarets Virginia anno regni Regis Edwardi tercii post conquestum Angliro vicesimo nono. [1355].
Ebor. Johannes de Shellay captus per indictamentum factum coram Petro de Nuttle nuper vicecomite Ebor. de eo quod ipse receptavit apud Brighous Willelmum de Lokwod Adam Beaumond et alios qui felonice interfecerunt Johannem de Eland Chivaler post praedictam feloniam factam scienter de felonia venit coram prcefatis Justiciariis per vicecomitem ducti ——— etc. as before.

He was found “ not guilty.”

The reference to this is Gaol Delivery Roll, Edw. III., No. 30, m. 17 in dorso.

This evidence is quite conclusive on two points, namely, that Sir John de Eland was murdered sometime before 1353, and that his murderers were William de Lockwood, Adam de Beaumont and Thomas de Lacy, who were outlawed for their crime.

Adam of Beaumont there was laid,
    And Lacy with him also,
And Lockwood who was nought afraid
    To fight against his foe.
Ballad, v. 53.

Here we have the tradition confirmed in a most important particular, and that being so, I see no reason to doubt its general accuracy in the other parts of the story.

The only question which presents any difficulty is that of date. Sir John Eland is said to have died in 1350, and it is known that he was Sheriff of Yorkshire in 1341. It is expressly stated, moreover, that Eland was Sheriff when he slew Robert Beaumont. If this is correct the date given by Dodsworth (see Y.A.J., II., 163) is wrong; he says that it was in 24 Edw. III. But if we write 14 Edw. III., instead of 24, this will bring us to 1341, when Eland was Sheriff. As to the date of Sir John Eland's death, it has been objected that Eland, according to the tradition, must have been Sheriff in 1356, that is, fifteen years after the death of Beaumont, assuming that event to have happened in 1341. It is nowhere stated, either by Dodsworth or in the Ballad, that Eland was Sheriff when he was murdered. The words used are "as he came from keeping the Sheriff's turn," The chief mistake of the Ballad seems to be in making fifteen years elapse between the two deaths, whereas, on my contention, it was somewhat under ten years. But surely this is only what we might have expected, and really does not impugn the general accuracy of the Ballad. At any rate the story cannot now be called "merely a poetical fiction" (Y.A.J., VIII., 503).