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We know that our Websters lived in an around Spofforth before the early 1700s. They were surrounded by sites of history. Here are some sites that were probably known to them even though who might have been without the benefit of much education.

Roman History

pronounce Spofforth

All Saints Church, Spofforth
All Saints Church, Spofforth, taken 7 years ago
   © Copyright Alexander P Kapp and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.


Spofforth  is a village in the civil parish of Spofforth with Stockeld in the Harrogate district of North Yorkshire, England. It is about 3 miles NW of Wetherby and 5 miles S of Harrogate. It is on the River Crimple which is a tributary of the River Nidd.

The Ancient Parish of SPOFFORTH

[Transcribed information mainly from the early 1820s]

"SPOFFORTH, a parish-town, in the upper-division of Claro; 3 miles NW. of Wetherby, 4 from Knaresborough, 5 from Harrogate, 18 from York. Pop. 895. The Church is a rectory, dedicated to All-Saints, in the deanry of the Ainsty.

Places in this Parish included:

Addlethorpe, Aketon, Blackstones, Braim Hall, Follifoot,  Linton, Linton Spring, Little Ribstone, Newsholme, Plumpton, Rudding Hall, Sandbeck, Spofforth, Haggs, Stockeld, Swinnow Park, Wetherby. (1820s)

from http://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/YKS/WRY/Spofforth/

The ruins of Spofforth Castle (date from the thirteenth century), are near the center of the village.


All Saints' Church is the parish church of Spofforth and also of Kirk Deighton with Follifoot and Little Ribston. The date of the church's foundation is unknown and it is not mentioned in the Domesday Book. In 1893 a portion of a Saxon cross was found built into the stairs of the tower. It is likely that an earlier church existed and was rebuilt between 1175 and 1200, with the doorway in the south porch dating from around this time. The first rector was Henry de Evesham inducted in 1280. Another was William de Melon (1310–1317) Treasurer of England and keeper of the great seal. The church tower was built in 1450. The earliest bell dates from between 1570 and 1593.


Spofforth Pinnacles

a walk http://www.mypennines.co.uk/harrogate/walks/040612.html


From the Norman Conquest until the 17th century, Spofforth was in the possession of the Percy family, one of the most important and influential families in northern England.Spofforth's west range, the only part of the castle still standing today
Spofforth's west range, the only part of the castle still standing today

© English Heritage


It was the principal Percy seat until the late 14th century. William de Percy, a favourite of William the Conqueror, built a manor house here in the 11th century, although nothing remains of this earlier building. Reputedly it was here that rebel barons drew up Magna Carta in 1215.

In 1224 Henry III granted a licence to a later William de Percy to hold a Friday market in the town and in 1308 Henry de Percy received a licence to fortify the manor house. The existing remains of Spofforth Castle are supposed to have been built in the time of Edward III.

During the Wars of the Roses the Percys supported the House of Lancaster. Following the battle of Towton in 1461 (fatal to Henry VI. in which were slain the Earl of Northumberland and Sir Richard Percy, his (Henry VI's) brother, their estates were laid waste by the enraged conquerors) the victorious Yorkist side, led by the Earl of Warwick, marched on Spofforth, burning the castle and plundering the local countryside. The castle lay in ruins for nearly 100 years until 1559, when it was restored by Henry, Lord Percy. By this time, however, the seat of the Percys had shifted to Alnwick in Northumberland.

The last recorded occupant was the castle steward Sampson Ingleby, who died in 1604. The castle was finally reduced to ruin during the Civil War. In 1924 Charles Henry, Baron Leconfield, transferred ownership of the site to the state by deed of gift.

Plan of the west range of Spofforth Castle
© English Heritage

Spofforth Castle is situated on a small rocky outcrop overlooking the village. The medieval manor house was arranged around a courtyard but only the west range, which contained the principal apartments, still stands. Only earthworks and some low walls remain of the north, south and east ranges.
A flight of steps leads down from the site of the courtyard to the ground floor of the west range. At the south end is the earliest part of the building, dating from the 13th century. The west range was built against the rocky outcrop. A passage cut directly through the rock led up to the great hall but was later blocked, probably in the 15th century.

The remains of a row of columns and stone corbels on the west wall date from the 14th century, when a stone vault was added. At first-floor level the east and west walls were totally rebuilt during the 15th century with impressive windows in each wall.

At the far end of the undercroft the solar, or private chamber, is reached through a door in the north-west corner. The solar block, added in the 14th century, is very similar in design to that at Markenfield Hall, near Ripon, with a spiral stair turret leading from the main chamber up to the first floor. The door in the north-east corner leads into the garderobe, or latrine tower.

On the first floor a passage, now ruined, leading from a private chamber and chapel, gave access to the great hall. The great hall could also have been entered through a doorway at the south end of the east wall, where there would probably also have been a passage leading to the buttery and kitchen. The chapel has a finely moulded window in the west wall but was probably later converted to accommodation, a garderobe being added in the east wall.

Bunnet, R J A, Weavr, O J and Gilyard-Beer, R 1965. 'Spofforth Castle, Yorkshire', HMSO: London Disclaimer
The text and pictures on this page are derived from the 'Heritage Unlocked' series of guidebooks published in 2004. We intend to review, update and enhance the content in the near future as part of the Portico project, whose objective is to provide information on the history, significance, research background and sources for all English Heritage properties.



Spofforth with Stockeld is a village and civil parish in the county of North Yorkshire, England. It is located about 3 miles north west of Wetherby and 5 miles south of Harrogate.

Stockeld Park, south of the village near Sincklinghall, is a stone-built eighteenth century Palladian villa.

Blind Jack Metcalf, the eighteenth century road builder, lived in Spofforth in his later years and is buried in Spofforth Churchyard.


William de Percy (d.1096)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

William de Percy (d.1096/9), 1st feudal baron of Topcliffe in Yorkshire,[1] known as Aux Gernons ("with whiskers"), was a Norman who arrived in England immediately after theNorman Conquest of England of 1066, and was the founder of the powerful English House of Percy.

It is possible that Percy had been one of the Normans to whom Edward the Confessor had given lands, but who were later expelled by Harold Godwinson. This may explain Percy's unusual epithet, Aux Gernons, as at the time Normans were generally cleanshaven and the English were not, and it may be that Percy had assimilated local custom.[3] Later generations of Percys would use the soubriquet, as the Christian name Algernon.


Following the rebellion of Gospatric Earl of Northumbria, and the subsequent Harrying of the North, large swathes of territory in northern England and the Earldom of Chester were granted to Hugh d'Avranches, who had been instrumental in the devastation. Percy in turn was granted territory by d'Avranches, in addition to those already held by him from the king.[4] At the time of the Domesday Book of 1086, Percy was in possession as a tenant-in-chief of a hundred and eighteen manors in Lincolnshire and the North Riding of Yorkshire, with further lands in Essex and Hampshire.[5]

Building works 

Percy set about fortifying his landholdings, constructing Castles at Spofforth and at Topcliffe, where was situated the caput (The central settlement in an Anglo-Saxon multiple estate was called a caput) of his feudal barony. motte (a big mound of dirt) and bailey (a courtyard surrounded by a wall or a fence) construction which might have had one or more ditches. This type of castle was prolific between the 10th and 12th centuries.* 

Percy granted land to the Benedictine order and financed the construction of the new Whitby Abbey. By the time of the Norman Conquest in 1066, the Whitby headland seems to have been abandoned, although there was a substantial town called Whitby down by the harbour. amongst the ruins of the Anglo-Saxon Abbey of Streoneshalh. Whitby Benedictine Abbey overlooked the North Sea on the East Cliff above Whitby in North Yorkshire, England. It was disestablished during the Dissolution of the Monasteries under the auspices of Henry VIII. English Heritage link About 1078 a monk called Reinfrid founded a new monastic community at Whitby. re-founded by Regenfrith (Reinferd) a soldier monk, under the orders of his protector, the Norman, William de Percy.


Percy married an English noblewoman called Emma de Porte, ( presumably from Seamer, a once thriving harbour in North Yorkshire.)  By Emma de Porte, Percy produced four sons:

  • Alan de Percy, 2nd feudal baron of Topcliffe (d.1130/5) who married Emma de Ghent, daughter of Gilbert I de Ghent (d. circa 1095).[1]
  • Walter de Percy
  • Willam de Percy, 2nd Abbot of Whitby
  • Richard de Percy

Percy accompanied Duke Robert Curthose on the First Crusade, where he died within sight of Jerusalem. His body was buried at Antioch, and his heart was returned to England and is buried at Whitby.[7] Wikipedia

William de Percy 1st Baron de Percy.

In 1070 he was engaged on works connected with the rebuilding of York Castle after its destruction by the Danes and in 1072 he took part in the Conquerors expedition to Scotland. At the Domesday survey he was tenant in chief in the three ridings of Yorkshire, in Lindsey, with a small holding in Nottingham and of Humbledon Hants which he had received with his wife (Emma de Port). He was also an under tenant of the Earl of Chester in Whitby and in Catton and in the city of York and of the Bishop of Durham in Scarborough and Lund.

He built the castle at Topcliffe and before 1086 he refounded the monastery at Whitby. He was among the Barons present when the Conqueror heard a plea relating to property of the Abbey of Fecamp and he witnessed charters of William II in the period before 1095. In 1096 he set out on the first crusade and died and was buried at Mount Joy near Jerusalem. (This was also the ancient burial site of Samuel of the Old Testament and the hill today is called Nebi Samwel) just 10 km's NW of Jerusalem. Following Williams dying wishes Sir Ralph Eversly a Knight carried his heart back to England and it was buried at Whitby Abbey. William had sons Alan, Walter, William, Richard and Arnolde.

William became the 2nd Abbot of Whitby in 1102.
From Richard sprang the Percies of Dunsley.
Arnolde de Percy witnessed his father William de Percy's charter to Whitby and from him came the Percies of Kildale and Kilnwick Percy.
William de Percy had 2 brothers. Serlo de Percy became prior of Whitby Abbey and Picot de Percy was a tenant of William at Bolton upon Dearne and Sutton upon Derwent. Picot de Percy donated the church at Bolton Percy to Nostell priory. His son Robert de Percy gave the church at Sutton upon Derwent to Whitby Abbey witnessed by his son William. There was further issue from this branch of the family for in 1266 Piers de Percy held Wharram Percy in Chief and had other lands in Sutton upon Derwent, Carnaby and Bolton Percy which all came under the Percy fee. Piers de Percy was of the direct male Percy lineage, which apparently became extinct in 1168.



cottar (also cotter)
Definition of cottar noun (historical (in Scotland and Ireland) a farm laborer or tenant occupying a cottage in return for labor. The Medieval Periodperiod.webcrawler.com/Search for The Medieval Period With 100's of Results at WebCrawler

A Cottar was one of the lowest peasant occupations, undertaken by the old or infirm, who had a series of low duties including swine-herd, prison guard and menial tasks  

A cottar was not a job, but a class status. A cottar was above a serf, but only to the extent that a cottar was free to move off the manor without needing to get permission. The down side of this was that the cottar did not have the rights to stay on the manor, to farm there, and to be protected, which were rights of serfs. 
Usually, cottars farmed, but this was not necessarily the case. They had to pay rent, and they had jobs, but the jobs could include being a potter, weaving, making bricks, tanning leather, or any of a number of other jobs that could be done in a hamlet or village. 

A third answer: Cottar is related to the word cottager. It refers to a peasant who hold no land beyond a cottage, its immediate yard, and a small plot of garden land (half and acre to an acre) adjoining it called a croft. Cottagers could be either free or serf, the main difference being that the serf cottagers would owe a certain amount of labor to the lord the manor. The amount of produce available from the cottars own holdings were generally insufficient to support a family, so cottars would work as hired laborers and also practice basic crafts such as brewing and spinning to supplement their income.

Cotter (farmer)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"CottercottiercottarKosatter or Kötter is the German or Scots term for a peasant farmer (formerly in the Scottish highlands for example). Cotters occupied cottages and cultivated small plots of land. The word cotter is often employed to translate the cotarius of Domesday Book, a class whose exact status has been the subject of some discussion, and is still a matter of doubt. According to Domesday, the cotarii were comparatively few, numbering less than seven thousand, and were scattered unevenly throughout England, being principally in the southern counties; they were occupied either in cultivating a small plot of land, or in working on the holdings of the villani. Like the villani, among whom they were frequently classed, their economic condition may be described as free in relation to every one except their lord.

A cottar or cottier is also a term for a tenant renting land from a farmer or landlord.

Highland Cotters (including on the islands, such as Mull) were impacted by the Industrial Revolution, as landowners realized they could make more money from sheep than crops. The landowners raised rents to unaffordable prices, or forcibly evicted entire villages, leading to mass exodus and an influx of former cotters into industrial centers, such as a burgeoning Glasgow."



9.8 miles from Spofforth Castle


12.5 miles from Spofforth Castle

Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden

Way past the time OUR Websters had left


13.5 miles from Spofforth Castle

9000 BC Victoria Cave Human activity It was discovered by chance in 1837 and since then has been completely excavated. Within the cave’s thick clay deposits, scientists found an amazing record of climate change in the Dales over thousands of years. Some of our Websters might have been aware of the 1837 discovery. [~ 45 miles from Spofforth]

3500 BC Thornborough Henges West Tanfield, Ripon, Yorkshire "the most important prehistoric site between Stonehenge and the Orkneys". ... Thornborough is unusual in that its stones are aligned with the three stars of Orion's belt. Thornborough is part of a larger ritual landscape including the standing stones at nearby Boroughbridge. "The henges were first recorded on the Ordnance maps of the 1840s and 1850s, but were not "noticed" as such until 1864, when a local antiquary, the Reverend William Lukis, embarked one of those campaigns of excavation that is emblematic of the period (see Harding, 2013). The henges escaped further attention until the mid 1950s"... link [ 27 mi N of Spofforth] It is very unlikely any Websters were aware of this site.


1600 BC Rudston Monolith at over 7.6 metres (25 ft) is the tallest megalith (standing stone) in the United Kingdom. It is situated in the churchyard in the village of Rudston (grid reference TA098678) in the East Riding of Yorkshire. [5 mi west of Bridlington]. the monolith and several henges and mounds follow the valley of the stream known as the Gypsey Race. Genuki Rudston article indicates it was mentioned at least by the 1820s. All Saints church in Rudston is a lovely early Norman church built around the year 1100 by William Peverel, lord of the manor. Of that Norman church the tower remains, and you can still trace the original west entrance in the stonework at the west end of the church. http://www.britainexpress.com/attractions.htm?attraction=4571. With visits to Bridlington, it would be very hard for our recent Websters to miss such a large megalith so close by.


500s BC Yorkshire become the home of the The Brigantes tribe.

70s AD Romans defeat the Brigantes

71 AD Eboracum (York) is founded bt the Roman ninth Legion, It becomes the capital of Northern Britain.

80s Yorkshire is pacified and becomes part of Roman Britain

214 York becomes the capital of Brigantium Inferior, (Lower Britain)

293 York becomes the capital of Brigantium Secunda, (Lesser Britain)

306 Constantine [The Great] declared Emperor in York

 The first Roman emperor to claim conversion to Christianity, Constantine played an influential role in the proclamation of the Edict of Milan in 313, which decreed tolerance for Christianity in the empire  

After his promotion to emperor, Constantine remained in Britain, driving back the tribes of the Picts and secured his control in the northwestern dioceses. He completed the reconstruction of military bases begun under his father's rule, and ordered the repair of the region's roadways. wiki

410 - Emperor Honorius of Rome tells Britain to attend to its own affairs. Zosmius reports Roman officials expelled and native government establishes "independence".

413 - The spread of the Pelagian heresy is said to have begun, by Prosper (Tiro) of Aquitaine in his "Chronicle".

418 - The Pelagian heresy is outlawed in Rome.

413 opposed the idea of predestination and asserted a strong version of the doctrine of free will.

c.423 - Birth of St. Patrick in Banna Venta Burniae, thought to be near Birdoswald.

420 on -- Kingdoms make efforts to consolidate and defend positions and power include Irish and requests from the church to send assistance to fight the Pelagian heresy.

425 - Vortigern usurps Imperial power in Britain, possibly as High-King.

c.445-50 - A period of Civil War and famine in Britain, caused by the ruling council's weakness and inability to deal with Pictish invasions. The situation is aggravated by tensions between the Pelagian and Roman factions. Semi-desertion of many towns. Migration of pro-Roman citizens toward the West. The country begins to be become divided, geographically, along factional lines.

c.448 - Civil war and plague ravage Britain.


450s Start of Anglian kingdom of Deira East Yorkshire

c.451 - During the consulship of Marcian and Valentinian (450-7), Hengest arrives on the shores of Britain with '3 keels' of warriors, and are welcomed by Vortigern. This event later becomes known as the Adventus Saxonum - "the coming of the Saxons".

c.452 - There is increasing Saxon settlement in Britain. Vortigern marries Hengest's daughter, Rowenna, and supposedly offers the Jutish leader the kingdom of Kent. Hengest invites his son, Octha, from Germany with "16 keels" of warriors, who occupy the northern lands, to defend against the Picts. Pictish invasions cease soon afterward.

c.453 - Raids on British towns and cities becoming more frequent. Increasing Saxon unrest.

455 - Prince Vortimer apparently rebels against the pro-Saxon policies of his father, Vortigern, and fights Hengest at the Battle of Derguentid (Crayford). Hengest is victorious and the British army flees back to London.

456 - The indecisve Battle of Rithergabail (Aylesford) in which the rebellious sons of Vortigern, Vortimer and Cadeyrn, defeat Hengest for the first time. Cadeyrn is killed in the fighting.

c.456 - St. Patrick leaves Britain once more to evangelise Ireland. The Saxons call the British nobles to a peace conference at Stonehenge, then turn on them and massacre almost everyone. This is the original 'Night of the Long Knives'.

c.458 - The Saxon uprising is in full-swing. Hengest finally conquers Kent.

c.458-60 - Full-scale migration of British aristocrats and city-dwellers across the English Channel to Armorica, in north-western Gaul. The British contingent may have been led by one Riothamus.

c.459 - Vortigern is burnt to death while being besieged by Ambrosius Aurelianus at Ganarew.

c.460 - Death of King Vortimer Fendigaid of Gwerthefyriwg. He is succeeded by his son-in-law, Ynyr, a minor prince of the House of Dyfed. He changes the Kingdom's name to Gwent, after its capital city of Caer-Gwent (Caerwent).

c.460-70 - Ambrosius Aurelianus, from the pro-Roman faction, takes full control of Britain, leading the Britons in years of back-and-forth fighting with Saxons. The British strategy seems to have been to allow Saxon landings and to then contain them there.

464 - Supposed death of the legendary King Aldrien of Brittany.

465 - Battle of Lapis Tituli (Richborough alias Wippedsfleet), in which the Britons defeat the Saxons, but with great slaughter on both sides. The latter are confined to the Isle of Thanet and there is a respite from fighting "for a long time."

c.465 - High-King Arthur probably born around this time. Birth of St. Dyfrig also.

c.466-73 - A period of minimal Saxon activity. Re-fortification of ancient hillforts and construction of the Wansdyke possibly take place during this time.

c.469 - The Roman Emperor, Anthemius, appeals to the Britons for military help against the Visigoths. Reliable accounts, by Sidonius Apolonaris and Jordanes, name the leader of the 12,000 man Breton force as Riothamus. The bulk of the British force is wiped out in battle against Euric, the Visigothic King, and the survivors, including Riothamus, vanish and are never heard from again.

c.471 - The army of King Ceretic of Strathclyde raids the Irish Coast and carries off some of St. Patrick's new flock and sells them into slavery. The King receives a written reprimand from the Irish Evangelist.

473 - The men of Kent, under Hengest, move westward, driving the Britons back before them "as one flees fire."

c.475 - Death of King Gwrast Ledlwm of Rheged. His kingdom is divided between his sons: Meirchion Gul retains the central Rheged homeland and Masgwid Gloff becomes King of Elmet. The death of King Mor of Greater Ebrauc occurs around the same time. He is succeeded by his son, Arthwys, who probably takes the opportunity to seize the Peak District from Elmet.

477 - The Saxon chieftain, Aelle, lands on the Sussex coast with his sons. The Britons engage him upon landing but his superior force besieges them at Caer-Anderida (Pevensey) and drives them into the Weald.

477-486 - Saxon coastal holdings are gradually expanded in Sussex.

c.480 - Traditional ascendancy of Arthur to the High-Kingship of Britain. King Erbin of Dumnonia abdicates in favour of his son, King Gerren Llygesoc. Death of King Glywys of Glywysing. His kingdom is divided into Gwynllwg, Penychen, Gorfynedd, Edeligion and others.

c.485 - Birth of St. Samson.

c.485-96 - Period of King Arthur's "twelve battles" during which he gains a reputation for invincibility.

486 - Aelle and his sons overreach their normal territory and are engaged by the Britons at battle of Mercredesburne. The Battle is bloody, but indecisive, and ends with both sides pledging friendship.

c.487 - Birth of St. David.

c.490 - Hengest dies. His son, Aesc, takes over and rules for 34 years. Death of Einion Yrth of Gwynedd. His kingdom is divided into Gwynedd and Rhos. St. Cybi Felyn is born in Callington in Cerniw. Death of King Cinuit of Strathclyde. The major portion of his kingdom is inherited by his eldest son, Dumnagual Hen. Galwyddel & Ynys Manaw, however, become independent under the rule of his younger son, Tutgual.

493 - Death of St. Patrick, in Glastonbury according to local legend. Down Patrick seems more likely.

c.495 - The Germanic King Cerdic and his son, Cynric, land somewhere on the south coast, probably near the Hampshire-Dorset border. Their followers establish the beginnings of the Kingdom of Wessex. King Gwynllyw of Gwynllwg carries off Princess Gwladys of Brycheiniog. War between the two kingdoms is narrowly avoided by the intercession of the legendary King Arthur. The couple marry.

Part 2: AD 496 -599

c.496 - The Siege of Mount Badon. The Britons, under the command of the "war leader" Arthur, defeat the Saxons, under King Esla of Bernicia and probably Cerdic of Wessex. Probable expulsion of King Mark of Cerniw. He flees to his Principality of Poher in Brittany. King Gerren Llyngesoc of Dumnonia give Cerniw to his younger brother, Salom.

c.496-537 - Following the victory at Mount Badon, the Saxon advance is halted with the invaders returning to their own enclaves. A generation of peace ensues. Corrupt leadership, more civil turmoil, public forgetfulness and individual apathy further erode Romano-British culture over the next fifty years, making Britain ripe for the final Saxon "picking."

497 - Birth of St. Cadog. Death of former King Erbin of Dumnonia.

c.500-17 - King Cadwallon Lawhir expels the Irish from Anglesey.

c.500 - Death of King Arthwys of Ebrauc. His kingdom is divided amongst his sons: Eliffer takes Ebrauc and Pabo takes the Pennines. The others may have held smaller areas.

c.505 - Death of St. Paulinus of Wales.

c.507 - A pestilence strikes Cerniw and its Royal family flee the ensuing famine. King Fracan settles in Ploufragan in Brittany and does not return. Birth of his son, St. Winwaloe. Cerniw probably falls back under the control of Dumnonia.

508 - King Cerdic of Wessex begins to move inland and defeats British king, Nudd-Lludd (Natanleod), at the Battle of Netley.

c.510 - The Battle of Llongborth (possibly Langport or Portsmouth), where King Gerren Llyngesoc of Dumnonia, was killed. Prince Riwal of Brittany murders his brother, King Meliau, and usurps the Breton throne. Many of the Breton Royal family flee to Britain, including Prince Budic who seeks refuge at the court of King Aircol Lawhir in Dyfed.

517 - Death of King Cadwallon Lawhir of Gwynedd. His son, Maelgwn takes the throne, murders his uncle, probably King Owain Danwyn of Rhos, and re-unites the two kingdoms.

517-49 - King Maelgwn flourishes in Gwynedd. Invades Dyfed and generally tries to assert himself as High-King of Britain.

519 - The Kingdom of the Wessex is founded with Cerdic, a leader probably of mixed Saxo-Celtic birth.

c.520 - King Pabo Post Prydain of the Pennines abdicates his throne in order to retire to a hermitage on Ynys Mon (Anglesey). He divides his kingdom between his two sons: Dunaut Bwr and Sawyl Penuchel. The former founds Dunoting in the North while the latter holds the Peak District in the South. Their cousin, Cynwyd, is probably forced to seek land elsewhere and establishes his own Kingdom of Cynwydion, around the Chiltern Hills. Death of King Riwal Mawr Marchou of Domnonée. King Budic II of Brittany returns to Cornouaille to claim the Breton throne.

521 - St. Samson is consecrated a bishop by St. Dyfrig, Archbishop of Glywysing & Gwent.

523 - Death of King Gwynllyw of Gwynllwg. Gwnllywg and Penychen are united under his son, St. Cadog

c.525 -St. Samson founds the Monastery of Dol and becomes its first Abbot.

c.528 - King & Saint Cadog of Glywysing abdicates in favour of King Meurig of Gwent, who is joined in marriage to Cadog's aunt. Banishment of Princess Thaney of Gododdin. Birth of her son, St. Kentigern.

530 - Saint Pabo Post Prydain, former King of the Pennines dies at Llanbabo. The British of the Isle of Wight are defeated by King Cerdic of Wessex at the Battle of Carisbrooke.

c.530 - St. Ninian founds the cathedral at Whithorn. He is opposed by King Tutgual Tutclyd of Strathclyde.

c.535 - Kings Sawyl Penuchel of the Southern Pennines is expelled from his kingdom (enemy uncertain) and flees to Powys. The Saxons of Mercia probably move into the area. Death of King Meirchion Gul of Rheged. The kingdom is divided into North and South. Death of St. Illtud, Abbot of Llanilltud Fawr.

537 - Battle of Camlann (according to the Annales Cambriae which may record the event up to twenty years late), fought between the forces of Arthur and the rebellious Medrod. Death od both. Saint and King Constantine, ruling in Dumnonia, takes on the High-Kingship.

c.538 - King Cynlas Goch of Rhos abandons his wife in favour of his sister-in-law, a nun who he drags from her convent. Civil War between Cynlas and his cousin, King Maelgwn of Gwynedd. Maelgwn enters a monastery, but soon returns to secular life and murders his nephew in order to marry his widow! Civil War also in Powys due to the tyranny of King Cyngen Glodrydd.

540 - King Jonas of Domnonée is murdered by King Cono-Mark of Cerniw and Poher. Cono-Mark marries Jonas' widow and rules Domnonée.

c.540 - Probable writing of Gildas' "De Excidio Britanniae." King Caradog Freichfras of Gwent gives Caerwent to St. Tathyw and moves the Royal court to Portskewett. Death of King Cedic of Strathclyde. His kingdom is divided between at least two of his sons: Tutgual Tutclyd retains central Strathclyde, while Senyllt receives the area around Selkirk.

545 - Death of the joint-Kings Budic II and his son Hoel I Mawr of Brittany. King Tewdwr Mawr succeeds to the throne, but is quickly ousted from Cornouaille by King Macliau of the Vannetais. Tewdwr flees to Cerniw and sets himself up as King of the Penwith region.

c.545 - The Synod of Brefi is held at Llandewi Brefi to condemn the Pelagian heresy. St. Dyfrig, Archbishop of South Wales resigns his position in favour of St. David. David moves the Archdiocese from Caerleon to St. Davids. Death of St. Dyfrig. He is succeeded as Bishop of Glywysing & Gwent by St. Teilo. Death of King Cynwyd of Cynwydion. He is succeeded by his son, Cadrod, who renames the Kingdom Calchfynedd after its chalk hills. Prince Judwal of Domnonée flees from his murderous step-father to the court of King Childebert of the Franks.

546 - St. Cadog returns to Brittany.

547 - The King of Bryneich is expelled from his fortress of Bamburgh by King Ida of Bernicia. Apparent death of the, probably joint-king, Hoel II Fychan of Brittany.

c.548 - King Cono-Mark of Cerniw, Poher and Domnonée marries Princess Triphine of Broërec.

549 - A 'Yellow' Plague hits the British territories, causing many deaths, including King Maelgwn of Gwynedd. Ireland is also affected. The Saxons in the south and east seem to be unaffected by it.

c.550 - Death of St. Ninian, Bishop of Whithorn. King Senyllt of Galwyddel is expelled from the mainland portion of his kingdom by the forces of King Tutgual Tutclyd of Strathclyde. He flees with his family to Ynys Manaw. In the confusion, Prince Gwenddoleu of Ebrauc seizes the area around Caer-Wenddoleu (Carwinley). A probable land shortage in Strathclyde forces Prince Clydno to invade Gododdin and take control of Din-Eidyn (Edinburgh). The Birth of St. Tremeur. Murder of his mother, Triphine, by his father, King Cono-Mark of Cerniw, Poher and Domnonée. Prince Judwal of Domnonée retakes his throne. Cono-Mark flees to Cornwall. The semi-legendary Kingdom of Lyonesse possibly inundated by the sea.

552 - King Cynric of Wessex lays siege to the British at Old Sarum and put them to flight.

c.553 - St. Kentigern Garthwys founds Glasgow Cathedral, adjoining a Christian cemetery established by St. Ninian at the request of the local monarch, possibly Prince Riderch Hael of Strathclyde.

c.554 - Death of King Tutgual Tutclyd of Strathclyde. The kingdom is probably divided between his sons, Morcant Mwynfawr & Riderch Hael.

555 - St. Cybi Felyn, Abbot of Holyhead, dies at his monastery. Murder of St. Tremeur. Death of his father, King Cono-Mark of Cerniw and Poher.

c.555 - Death of King Erb of Gwent. The kingdom is divided into Gwent and Ergyng. St. Kentigern Garthwys, Bishop of Glasgow, tours his diocese and is opposed by King Morcant Mwynfawr of Lesser Strathclyde.

556 - King Cynric of Wessex lays siege to the British at Barbury Castle and is victorious.

558 - Broërec is attacked by King Childebert of the Franks. King Canao II leads resistance.

c.560 - Prince Elidyr of Strathclyde invades Gwynedd in right of his wife. He tries to expel his brother-in-law, King Rhun Hir of Gwynedd, at the Battle of the Cadnant Brook, but is killed in the process. Due to heightened persecution by King Morcant Mwynfawr of Lesser Strathclyde, St. Kentigern Garthwys flees his Glasgow diocese for the safety of South Wales, before moving Northwards to Llanelwy (St. Asaphs).

564 - Death of St. Tugdual, Bishop of Tréguier.

c.564 - St. Cadog settles in Weedon in Calchfynedd and is made Bishop there. St. Samson attends the Council of Paris and witnesses several Royal decrees.

c.565 - King Riderch Hael of Strathclyde mounts an unsuccessful revenge attack on King Rhun Hir of Gwynedd. Rhun marches on Strathclyde and reinforces the armies of his half-brother, Brudei, in Pictland. Death of St. Samson. St. Gildas retuns to Ireland for a while and then retires to Llantokay (Street) in Glastening.

569 - St. David holds the Synod of Victoria to denounce the Pelagian heresy once more.

570 - Death of St. Gildas at Llantokay (Street). He is buried at Glastonbury Abbey.

c.570-75 - The Northern British Alliance is forged between the kingdoms of North Rheged, Strathclyde, Bryneich and Elmet. They fight the Northumbrians at the Battles of Gwen Ystrad and the Cells of Berwyn

571 - King Cuthwulf of Wessex invades Midland Britain and conquers the British, probably under King Cadrod of Calchfynedd, at the Battle of Bedford.

573 - Kings Peredur and Gwrgi of Ebrauc ally themselves with Kings Dunaut Bwr of the Northern Pennines and Riderch Hael of Strathclyde. They march north to claim the fort at Caer-Laverock from King Gwenddoleu of Caer-Wenddoleu. The latter was killed in the Battle of Arderydd (Arthuret) and his bard, Myrddin, is forced to flee into the Caledonian Forest.

574 - St. Kentigern Garthwys leaves his Northern Welsh diocese of Llanelwy (St. Asaphs) in the hands of St. Asaph and returns to Strathclyde to reclaim the Bishopric of Glasgow.

c.574 - After defeating King Gwenddoleu, the security of Strathclyde is at a low ebb. King Urien of North Rheged takes advantage of the situation and conquers Galwyddel.

575 - Prince Owein of North Rheged kills King Theodoric of Bernicia at the Battle of Leeming Lane.

577 - Wessex invades the lower Severn Valley. Kings Ffernfael of Caer-Baddan (Bath), Cyndyddan of Caer-Ceri (Cirencester) and Cynfael of Caer-Gloui (Gloucester) are killed at the Battle of Dyrham. Wessex overuns the Cirencester area. King Tewdwr Mawr of Brittany returns to Cornouaille, reclaims his throne and kills King Macliau of the Vannetais in battle.

580 - The army of Kings Peredur and Gwrgi of Ebrauc march north to fight the Anglians of Bernicia. Both are killed by King Adda's forces at Caer Greu. The Deirans rise up, under King Aelle, and move on the City of Ebrauc. King Peredur's son is forced to flee the Kingdom. St. Cadog is martyred in Calchfynedd by invading Mercians.

584 - Death of St. Deiniol Gwyn, Bishop of Bangor Fawr. The British are victorious over King Ceawlin of Wessex at the Battle of Fethanleigh and kill his brother, Cuthwine. Ceawlin ravages the surrounding countryside in revenge.

585 - Death of King Alain I of Brittany.

586 - Death of King Rhun Hir of Gwynedd. Death of King Judwal of Domnonée.

588 - King Edwin of Deira is ousted from his Kingdom by the Bernicians and seeks refuge at the court of King Iago of Gwynedd.

589 - Death of Saint and King Constantine of Dumnonia. Death of St. David, Archbishop of St. Davids.

590 - The Siege of Ynys Metcaut (Lindisfarne). The Northern British Alliance (North Rheged, Strathclyde, Bryneich and Elmet) lays siege to King Hussa of Bernicia and almost exterminates the Northumbrians from Northern Britain. King Urien of North Rheged is assassinated at the behest of his jealous ally King Morcant Bulc of Bryneich. The Northumbrians recover while internal squabbles tear the British Alliance apart.

c.591 - King Dunaut Bwr of the Northern Pennines mounts an invasion of North Rheged, but is repulsed by its King, Owein, and his brother, Prince Pasgen. Prince Elffin of North Rheged is simultaneously attacked by King Gwallawc Marchawc Trin of Elmet.

c.593 - King Morcant Bulc of Bryneich invades North Rheged and kills King Owein in battle. Prince Pasgen of North Rheged flees to the Gower Peninsula. A greatly diminished North Rheged probably continues under the rule of their brother, Rhun.

595 - The aging King Dunaut Bwr of the Northern Pennines dies fighting off a Bernician invasion. His kingdom is overrun and his family flee to join his grandson in Gwynedd.

598 - King Mynyddog Mwynfawr & Prince Cynan of Din-Eidyn ride south to fight Saxon Bernicia against enormous odds at the Battle of Catraeth (Catterick). The British are victorious, though King Gerren of Dumnonia is killed in the fighting. He is buried at Dingerein. Probable expansion of North & South Rheged to fill the vacuum left in North Yorkshire. Din-Eidyn (Edinburgh) possibly falls back under Gododdin control.

Part 3: AD 600-699

c.600 - Welsh bard, Prince Aneirin of the Northern Pennines, writes the poem, Y Gododdin, recording the events of the Battle of Catterick.

601 - The Synod of Chester. Death of St. Asaph, Bishop of Llanelwy.

602 - St. Augustine of Canterbury meets with the Welsh Bishops at Aust near Chepstow. He accuses them of acting contrary to Church teachings, failing to keep Easter at the prescribed Roman time and not administering baptism according to the Roman rite. He also insists that they help in the conversion of their enemy, the Saxons, and look to Canterbury as their spiritual centre. The Welsh tactfully decline.

604 - The Welsh Bishops meet for a second time with St. Augustine of Canterbury. He neglects to rise to greet them, lectures them again and insists they submit to him. The Welsh send him packing. They refuse to recognise the authority of a church within their enemies' territory under such a disrespectful bishop.

607 - Death of King Judhael of Domnonée. His son, Haelioc takes the throne and attempts to exterminate his brothers.

c.610 - King Aethelfrith of Bernicia overruns most of British Bryneich. King Coledauc probably withdraws to the Northern parts of the kingdom. Probable reunification of Strathclyde, probably due to Northumbrian pressures in the border regions.

612 - Death of St. Kentigern, Bishop of Glasgow. Death of King Hoel III of Brittany.

613 - King Aethelfrith of Bernicia invades Gwynedd in order to route out his old enemy, King Edwin of Deira. A united British force (Gwynedd, Powys, Pengwern and Dumnonian warriors) clashes with his army at the Battle of Chester. Kings Iago of Gwynedd and Selyf Sarffgadau of Powys and Prince Cadwal Cryshalog of Rhos are all killed but the victor is unclear. The Battle of Bangor-is-Coed follows in quick succession. King Bledric of Dumnonia is killed in the fighting and 1000 monks are massacred by the Northumbrians.

614 - King Cynegils of Wessex invades the old tribal territory of the Durotoges and defeats the local army (probably under the British aristocracy based in Wareham) at the Battle of Bindon.

c.614 - Proposed annexation of Powys by the Dogfeiling Prince, Eluan Powys, with the help of his brother, King Cynddylan of Pengwern, "oppressor of the Cadelling". The sons of the Cadelling king, Selyf Sarffgadau of Powys, are later described as "landless oafs". The Tarvin-Macefen boundary between Powys and Mercia is delineated.

616 - Prince Hereric of Deira id poisnoned at the court of King Ceretic of Elmet.

617 - King Edwin of Deira invades and conquers Elmet. King Ceretic of Elmet is killed in the fighting.

c.620 - King Tewdrig Fendigaid of Glywysing & Gwent abdicates in favour of his son, Meurig. King Llywarch Hen is expelled from South Rheged, probably by King Edwin of Deira. Llywarch flees to Powys and becomes a famous bard.

c.623 - King Edwin of Deira is baptised by Prince Rhun of North Rheged, according to the Historia Brittonum. This may have been at the old Royal Court of South Rheged.

625 - King Cadfan of Gwynedd dies and is buried at Llangadwaladr where his memorial stone can still be seen. His son, King Cadwallon, succeeds to the throne. St. Tysilio re-founds the Monastery of Meifod.

c.625 - Death of King Haelioc of Domnonée. His brother, Judicael, succeeds to the throne.

c.626 - The rivalry between King Cadwallon of Gwynedd and King Edwin of Deira reaches a climax. Edwin invades the Ynys Manaw (Isle of Man) and then Ynys Mon (Anglesey). Cadwallon is defeated in battle and is besieged on Puffin Island. He eventually flees to Brittany.

629 - St. Paulinus meets Blecca, the Praefectus Civitatis of Lincoln, and converts him to Christianity.

630 - The West Saxons invade Gwent. King Meurig defeats them, with the help of his aging father, at the Battle of Pont-y-Saeson. Death of King Neithon of Strathclyde.

c.630 - King Penda of Mercia besieges Exeter (possibly held by King Clemen of Dumnonia). King Cadwallon of Gwynedd lands nearby, from his Deiran imposed exile in Brittany. He negotiates an alliance with King Penda of Mercia and a united British and Saxon force moves north to re-take Gwynedd. The Deirans are defeated at the Battle of the Long Mountain and Cadwallon chases them back to Northumbria. The British ransack Northumbria and bring the kingdom to its knees.

632 - King Idris of Meirionydd is killed fighting the West Saxons on the Severn.

633 - The British, under King Cadwallon of Gwynedd, meet the Northumbrians in the Battle of Hatfield Chase. King Edwin of Deira is killed in the fighting and Cadwallon is victorious. Cadwallon is later besieged at York by Edwin's cousin and successor, Osric. The former is again victorious.

634 - King Cadwallon of Gwynedd slays both Kings Eanfrith of Bernicia and Osric of Deira rather than negotiate peace with them. Eanfrith's half-brother, Oswald succeeds to a united Northumbria. He gathers a force and clashes with King Cadwallon of Gwynedd at the Battle of Heavenfield. Cadwallon is killed and Oswald victorius. Cadafael Cadomedd usurps the Gwynedd throne and ousts Prince Cadwaladr. Civil War ensues in the kingdom. Death of the great poet, King Llywarch Hen of South Rheged, supposedly aged one hundred.

635 - King Judicael of Domnonée submits to the overlordship of King Dagobert of the Franks. An alliance is drawn up and the borders of the Breton kingdom agreed.

c.635 - King Meurig of Glywysing & Gwent invades Ergyng and re-unites the two kingdoms in the right of his wife. Probable extinction of the House of Bryneich. King Morcant the Last looses his last Cheviot outposts to the Northumbrians.

636 - King Judicael of Domnonée abdicates in order to enter the Monastery of St. Meven at Gaël. His brother, St. Judoc, declines the throne and flees to Ponthieu.

637 - Death of the retired King Judicael of Domnonée.

638 - Din-Eidyn (Edinburgh) is besieged by the Angles of Northumbria and they almost certainly conquer Gododdin. Probable death of King Rhun of Gododdin. Princess Rhiainfelt, heiress of North Rheged, marries Prince Oswiu of Northumbria. Northumbria embraces North Rheged in a peaceful takeover.

640 - Death of St. Tysilio, Abbot of Meifod.

642 - King Penda of Mercia commands a united British and Mercian force against King Oswald of Northumbria at the Battle of Maes Cogwy (Oswestry). The British contingent includes the army of Kings Cadafael Cadomedd of Gwynedd, Eluan of Powys and Cynddylan of Pengwern. Oswald is killed, and possibly Eluan also. The Mercians become dominant in Midland Britain. King Owen of Strathclyde halts Scottish expansion by killing King Domnal Brecc of Dalriada at the Battle of Strathcarron.

c.645 - Gwynedd and much of Wales is in the grasp of famine. Would be King Cadwaladr Fendigaid of Gwynedd flees to Brittany. Civil War continues in his kingdom.

c.650 - King Cloten of Dyfed marries Princess Ceindrech of Brycheiniog and unites the two kingdoms.

655 - King Cadafael Cadomedd of Gwynedd and his army join King Penda of Mercia and march on the Northumbrians. Penda clashes with King Oswiu at the Battle of Gai Campus (Winwaed), but Cadafael withdraws before the battle begins.

c.655 - King Morfael of Pengwern (re-)takes Wall (Staffs).

656 - King of Oswiu of Northumbria invades Pengwern and kills King Cynddylan in battle. His brother, King Morfael, and the remains of the family flee to Glastening. Mercians take control of Pengwern and may have invaded Powys at this time.

658 - King Cenwalh and the Wessex Saxons make a push against Dumnonia (possibly under a King Culmin). They are victorious at the Battle of Penselwood and the Dumnonia-Wessex border is set at the River Parrett. Death of King Judicael of Brittany.

661 - King Cenwalh of Wessex invades Dumnonia. He is victorious at the Battle of Posbury. Saxon settlers found Somerset in Eastern Dumnonia.

662 - Death of King Brochfael of Meirionydd

664 - Plague devastates Gwynedd. Probable death of King Cadafael Cadomedd there. King Cadwaladr Fendigaid of Gwynedd reasserts himself in his kingdom by sending his son, Ifwr, from Brittany to be regent. The Synod of Whitby determines that the Northern British should comply with the doctrines of Rome.

665 - The Second Battle of Badon

675 - Death of St. Judoc.

c.680 - St. Boniface educated at a Celtic Christian Monastery in Exeter.

682 - The West Saxons "drove the British [of Dumnonia] as far as the Sea" (possibly around Bideford). King Cadwaladr Fendigaid of Gwynedd dies on, or just after, a pilgrimage to Rome.

685 - St. Cuthbert visits Carlisle. King Ecgfrith of Northumbria marches his army north to engage the Picts at the Battle of Nechtansmere. The Scots and Strathclyde Britons probably join the Picts in a thorough defeat of the Saxon forces. The latter withdraw and lose much land south of the Forth to King Dumnagual of Strathclyde in the process.

690 - Death of King Alain II Hir of Brittany.

Part 4: AD 700-804

700 - King Gerren of Dumnonia receives a letter from St. Aldhelm, Abbot of Malmesbury, during his attendance at a Church Synod in Wessex. He insists that the Celtic Church of Dumnonia comply with the doctrines of Rome, as agreed with the Northern Celtic Church thirty-six years previously at the Synod of Whitby.

703 - Death of King Daniel Dremrudd of Brittany.

c.705 - King Gerren of Dumnonia grants land at Maker to Sherborne Abbey in an attempt to strengthen his position in the disputed regions of Dorset.

710 - King Gerren of Dumnonia clashes with King Ine of Wessex who manages to establish a fortress at Taunton.

c.710 - King Seisyll of Ceredigion invades Dyfed and conquers Ystrad Towi to create the greater kingdom of Seisyllwg. A reduced Dyfed and Brycheiniog both appear to have taken on the name of Rhainwg: King Rhain's kingdom now sliced in two.

712 - Death of King Idwal Iwrch of Gwynedd

717 - Death of St.Winnoc, Abbot of Wormhout.

c.720 - Contact between the Welsh Church and Yvi of Brittany is the last known link between the two Celtic countries. After this, each nation goes its own separate way. Death of King Rhain of Rhainwg. His kingdom, already physically divided, is now politically split between his sons, Tewdos (who takes Dyfed) and Tewdr (who takes Brycheiniog). Prince Sandde moves the exiled Royal House of South Rheged from Powys to Ynys Manaw when he married the island kingdom's heiress, Princess Celemion.

722 - King Ine of Wessex attempts a takeover of Dumnonia. His armies are crushed and have to withdraw. Death of King Bili of Strathclyde. King Teudebur succeeds to the throne.

c.730 - Civil War between King Tewdr of Brycheiniog and a rival claimant to his throne, his cousin, Awst. The latter is slain. Tewdr is persuaded to live in peace with Awst's son, Elwystl.

c.731 - King Elisedd of Powys expels the Mercians from his kingdom.

c.740 - Death of King Iudgual of Ynys Manaw. He is succeeded by his nephew, Prince Elidyr, the heir of the dispossessed House of South Rheged.

743 - Kings Aethelbald of Mercia and Ceolred of Wessex join forces to attack Gwent and Powys.

c.744 - Construction of Wat's Dyke. The border between Mercia and Powys is set here.

750 - The Strathclyde Britons under King Teudebur defeat Prince Talorgen of the Picts at the Battle of Mugdock. Decline of the power of King Angus I of the Picts.

c.750 - King Tewdr of Brycheiniog breaks the peace with his cousin, Elwystl, and murders him.

752 - Death of King Teudebur of Strathclyde. His son, Dumnagual, succeeds to the throne and promptly loses Kyle to King Eadberht of Northumbria.

754 - Death of King Rhodri Molwynog of Gwynedd. His son, King Cynan Dindaethwy, nominally succeeds to the throne, but he is very young and Caradog ap Meirion (of the House of Rhos) soon usurps the throne of Gwynedd

756 - Kings Angus I of the the Picts and Eadberht of Northumbria attack King Dumnagual of Strathclyde at Dumbarton. However, Eadberht's entire force is subsequently wiped out, probably by the Britons, at the Battle of Newburgh-on-Tyne.

760 - The Battle of Hereford is fought probably between the Mercians and the Kingdom of Brycheiniog under King Nowy Hen. Death of King Dumnagual of Strathclyde.

768 - Archbishop Elfoddw of Gwynedd persuades the Welsh Church to accept the Roman dating of Easter as agreed by the Northern British Church at the Synod of Whitby.

784 - Construction of Offa's Dyke, the artificial bank and ditch boundary between England and Wales, is begun at the command of King Offa of Mercia.

797 - Welsh forces, including those of Powys and Dyfed, clash with the Mercians at the Battle of Rhuddlan, when King Coenwulf tries to re-assert his domination of North-East Wales. King Maredydd of Dyfed is killed in the fighting. The Mercians push on westward.

798 - King Caradog of Gwynedd is killed fighting the Mercians of King Coenwulf in Snowdonia. King Cynan Dindaethwy retakes the throne, much to the disappointment of Caradog's son, Hywel Farf-Fehinog.

Part 5: AD 805-937

c.805 - King Egbert of Wessex formally establishes kingship over the people of Devon after a gradual integration over many years. Dumnonia is reduced to cover only the Cornish in Cerniw.

807 - Death of of King Arthwyr of Ceredigion.

808 - Death of Kings Rhain of Dyfed and Cadell of Powys.

809 - Death of Archbishop Elfoddw of Gwynedd.

810 - St. Davids is burnt.

811 - Death of King Owain of Dyfed. His son-in-law, Hyfaidd takes the throne.

812 - Degannwy, the capital of Gwynedd, is struck by lighning and burnt to the ground.

813 - King Cynan Dindaethwy of Gwynedd meets Hywel Farf-Fehinog in battle. Hywel is defeated.

814 - Prince Gryffydd of Powys is slain through the treachery of his brother Elisedd. Hywel Farf-Fehinog invades Anglesey and attacks his rival, King Cynan Dindaethwy of Gwynedd. Hywel is victorious, proclaims himself King and drives Cynan from the Gwynedd shores.

815 - The Kingdom of Cerniw is raided by King Egbert of Wessex and his Saxon armies from East to West.

816 - King Hywel Farf-Fehinog of Gwynedd is attacked by his rival, King Cynan Dindaethwy, on Anglesey. Cynan is killed. The English successfully invade Rhufoniog and also ravage the Snowdonia Mountains.

818 - King Coenwulf of Mercia raids Dyfed.

821 - King Coenwulf of Mercia dies in Basingwerk while preparing for another assault on Powys.

823 - The Mercians invade Powys, but are beaten back by King Cyngen. They also destroy the Gwynedd capital, Degannwy.

825 - Death of King Hywel Farf-Fehinog of Gwynedd. The kingdom is seized by King Merfyn Frych of Ynys Manaw (and South Rheged), grandson of his old rival, Kinf Cynan Dindaethwy. The men of Cerniw make a push into Saxon Devon and the two armies clash at the Battle of Gafelford (Camelford or Galford). The Cornish are probably victorious.

c.830 - Nynniaw, Abbot of Bangor Fawr, compiles the Historia Brittonum.

831 - Death of Bishop Sadyrnfyw of St. Davids.

836 - With King Merfyn Frych of Ynys Manaw absent in his newly acquired Kingdom of Gwynedd, Irish Viking invaders manage to take over the island.

838 - The British of Cerniw join forces with the Vikings and attack Saxon Wessex. King Egbert defeats them at the Battle of Hingston Down.

840 - Nobis becomes Bishop of St. Davids.

844 - Death of King Merfyn Frych of Gwynedd. His son, Rhodri Mawr, succeeds to the throne.

848 - The armies of Brycheiniog and Gwent clash at the Battle of Ffinnant. King Ithel of Gwent is killed in the fighting.

c.850 - "Eliseg's Pillar" is erected in Llantysilio-yn-Ial by King Cyngen of Powys as a memorial to his great grandfather King Elisedd (or Eliseg) and the power of the Powysian dynasty. Bishop Censteg of Dingerein (Cerniw) accepts the authority of Archbishop Ceolnoth of Canterbury. King Rhodri Mawr of Gwynedd develops Llanbedrgoch, and possibly other sites, as fortified settlements to protect the Welsh against Viking raids.

853 - Mercia and Wessex attack Powys.

854 - King Cyngen of Powys dies on a pilgrimage to Rome. His throne is seized by his nephew, King Rhodri Mawr of Gwynedd, and his sons expelled.

855 - Anglesey is ravaged by Dublin Vikings.

856 - King Rhodri Mawr of Gwynedd & Powys repels a major Viking invasion of Wales and kills their king, Gorm.

871 - Dumbarton, capital of King Artgal of Strathclyde, is destroyed by King Olaf of Norse Dublin and his Viking warriors.

872 - Death of King Gwrgon of Seisyllwg by drowning. The throne is taken by his son-in-law, King Rhodri Mawr of Gwynedd & Powys. King Artgal of Strathclyde is slain through the connivance of King Constantine I of Alba and his Viking allies. Artgal's son, Run, succeeds to the Strathclyde throne.

874 - Death of Bishop Nobis of St. Davids.

876 - Death of Dungarth, the last King of Cerniw. He was drowned during a hunting accident and buried at St. Cleer.

877 - The Vikings invade Wales once more and King Rhodri Mawr of Gwynedd, Powys & Seisyllwg is forced to flee to Ireland.

878 - King Rhodri Mawr of Gwynedd, Powys and Seisyllwg returns to his kingdoms, but is killed fighting the Mercians of King Ceolwulf II. His kingdoms are divided amongst his three sons, Anarawd, Merfyn and Cadell respectively. The Vikings winter in Dyfed. Death of King Run of Strathclyde. His son, Eochaid, succeeds to the throne and allies himself with his mother's cousin, King Giric of Alba. The two rule all Scotland together as joint-monarchs.

880 - King Anarawd of Gwynedd initiates a revenge attack on the Mercian armies and defeats them on the River Conwy.

c.881 - King Anarawd of Gwynedd and his brothers begin extensive military campaigns to quell resistance in Powys and Seisyllwg.

885 - Asser, a relative of Nobis, Bishop of St. Davids, is summoned to the court of King Alfred of England. He agrees to spend six months of the year in the King's service. Asser helps to enhance the literary status of the English Court and also to negotiate the recognition of Alfred as overlord of the South Welsh Kings.

c.885 - Kings Hyfaidd of Dyfed, Elisedd of Brycheiniog and Hywel of Glywysing are harassed by the armies of King Anarawd of Gwynedd. They seek the protection of King Alfred of England and submit to his overlordship. Anarawd seeks an alliance with the Norse Kings of York.

889 - Kings Eochaid and Giric of Alba, Strathclyde & the Picts are deposed by Viking invaders. The former's cousin takes the throne as King Donald II. The end of independent Strathclyde rule.

890 - King Donald II of Alba expels the British aristorcracy of Strathclyde. They flee south to North Wales.

893 - Death of King Hyfaidd of Dyfed. Battle of Buttington at which the Welsh under King Merfyn of Powys, and the English under King Alfred the Great, besiege and defeat the Danish army of Prince Hastein.

c.893 - Asser, the Welshman, is made Bishop of Sherborne.

894 - King Anarawd of Gwynedd's shaky alliance with the Vikings collapses. His kingdom is ravaged by the Norsemen. Anarawd is forced to ask for help from King Alfred of England and submits to his overlordship. Alfred imposes oppressive terms and forces Anarawd to confirmation in the Christian Church with Alfred as godfather. Bishop Asser of Sherborne, writes his "Life of King Alfred"

895 - King Anarawd of Gwynedd is supplied with English troops to assist in his reconquest of Seisyllwg. He is successful and his brother, King Cadell, is finally able to take his rightful place on the Seisyllwg throne.

896 - Brycheiniog and Gwent are ravaged by Haesten and his Viking pirate army.

c.900 - King Tewdr of Brycheiniog establishes his court on a crannog in the middle of Llangorse Lake. Llanbedrgoch transforms from a fortified settlement into a trading centre.

902 - The Norsemen are expelled from Dublin. They attempt to settle in Seisyllwg, but are driven off northwards.

903 - The Dublin Vikings, under Prince Ingimund, capture Osfeilion in Anglesey, but are quickly repulsed by Prince Clydog and settle in the Wirral and around Kelston & Axton in Flintshire instead.

904 - Marriage of Prince Hywel Dda of Seisyllwg to Princess Elen of Dyfed. Death of the latter's father, King Llywarch. The throne of Dyfed is claimed by Llywarch's brother, Rhodri, but he is probably forced to flee from Hywel's armies.

905 - Rhodri, nominally King of Dyfed, is caught and executed, at Arwystli, probably by his neice's husband, Hywel Dda. Hywel claims the throne of Dyfed. Norse settlers from Flintshire and the Wirral attack the city of Chester, but are beaten off.

909 - Death of Asser, the Welsh Bishop of Sherborne.

c.910 - Death of King Cadell of Seisyllwg. His son, King Hywel Dda unites Seisyllwg and Dyfed to form the Kingdom of Deheubarth.

914 - A Vikings fleet from Brittany harries the South Welsh Coast and moves up the Severn. They capture Bishop Cyfeilliog of Ergyng, but are driven out by Saxon levies from Hereford and Gloucester.

916 - Death of King Anarawd of Gwynedd. English raiders attack the court of King Tewdr of Brycheiniog at Llangorse and make off with the Queen and thirty-three of her courtiers.

917 - Brycheiniog is ravaged by the armies of Lady Aethelflaed of the Mercians in revenge for the killing of the, now unknown, Abbot Ecgberht.

918 - King Idwal Foel of Gwynedd and King Hywel Dda and Prince Clydog of Deheubarth submit to the overlordship of King Edward the Elder of England. The Vikings raid Anglesey.

921 - Foundation of Cledemutha.

927 - Kings Hywel Dda of Deheubarth and Owain of Glywysing & Gwent submit to the overlordship of King Athelstan of England at Hereford. The border between England and Wales is set at the River Wye.

928 - King Hywel Dda of Deheubarth, Gwynedd & Powys begins the codification of Welsh customary law.

929 - King Hywel Dda of Deheubarth goes on a pilgrimage to Rome.

931 - King Morgan Hen of Glywysing & Gwent submits to the overlordship of King Athelstan of England and attends his court with Kings Hywel Dda of Deheubarth and Idwal Foel of Gwynedd.

934 - King Tewdr of Brycheiniog attends the court of King Athelstan of England and signs English Land Charters. Kings Hywel Dda of Deheubarth, Idwal Foel of Gwynedd and Morgan Mwynfawr of Morgannwg are compelled to accompany Athelstan on his campaign against King Constantine II of the Scots.

937 - King Athelstan of England defeats a combined Northern Army under Kings Olaf of Dublin, Constantine II of Scots and Owain of Strathclyde at the Battle of Brunanbury. Though none of the British monarchs appear to have taken part, the people of Strathclyde were a major contingent under their Scottish King. The battle finally ends all British hope of driving the Saxons from their shores.

c.937 - King Idwal Foel of Gwynedd distances himself from his English overlord. The British begin to use the term "Cyrmry" to speak of themselves.


Arthurian locations yorkshire

Dewsbury in Yorkshire

Probably Leaventhorpe in Yorkshire.Thornton Bradford

The Grail kingdom. The name indicates a castle rather than a larger region and probably derives from the Franco-Welsh 'Llys-yn-Nord' meaning Court in the North. Usually identified as modern Northumberland, one might suggest Bamburgh or Yeavering. However, considering the Grail Kings possible associations with the city, York might be a better alternative.



The Early British Kings of what is now Northern England, descend from one of two dynasties commonly known as the Gwyr-y-Gogledd, a Welsh phrase meaning the "Men of the North". They were a P-Celtic people, like the Cymri, who retained their independence from Saxon oppression for a number of centuries, in the relative remote Northern regions of Britain.

Welsh tradition holds that they all had a common ancestor in Old King Cole of nursery rhyme fame. He appears in ancient records as Coel Hen (the Old) and his name seems to ultimately derive from the Roman, Coellius. This fits in well with the time period in which it has been calculated that he lived: right at the end of the Roman administration (very late 4th century).

Considering the regions over which Coel's supposed descendants ruled, his own sphere of influence must have covered a vast area from Hadrian's Wall to the Southern Pennines. In fact, the exact area that would have been governed at this time by the Dux Britanniarum, a Roman official in charge of the military defence of Northern Britain. With his headquarters at York, he would have been in an ideal position to extend some semblance of Roman-type authority into the 5th century, long after the army and administration had returned to Italy.

Traditional Celtic law insists upon the division of land amongst sons upon the death of the landowner and this situation can certainly be traced amongst the kingdoms which emerged from Coel's domain. However, whether these men were really sons and grandsons of this powerful dux or merely early founders, attached to the great man by later generations is unknown. 

According to tradition and early records, the North thus split into many different kingdoms. Ebrauc or British York was centred on that city. Bryneich became the later Saxon kingdom of Bernicia. There were little known kingdoms in the Pennines and the oft-quoted Elmet, around Leeds, whose name is retained today in places like Sherburn-in-Elmet. Others moved further south to establish Calchfynedd. Most powerful was perhaps the kingdom of Rheged, later divided into North and South. Its Kings, such as Urien and Owein, were long celebrated in Welsh poetry and, in medieval times, found their way into the Arthurian tradition. The area they ruled is still called Cumbria today, a name meaning 'Land of the Welsh'.

By the mid-7th century, however, the local Germanic settlers had completely overrun the North. Internal squabbles had weakened the British position in the region and the relatively few Saxons warriors were easily able to take advantage of the situation. Eventually only Rheged was left and a dynastic marriage brought this too into the English fold.


old kinh cole








402 AD the Roman garrison was recalled from York because of military threats in other parts of the Roman empire. Their most abiding legacy in this area is the road system which they left behind. Many modern main roads in Yorkshire, including parts of the A1A59A166 and A1079, still follow the routes of Roman roads.[7]


5th century - the end of Roman rule, Northern Britain may have come under the rule of Romano-British Coel Hen, the last of the Roman-style Duces Brittanniarum (Dukes of the Britons). However, the Romano-British kingdom rapidly broke up into smaller kingdoms and York became the capital of the British kingdom of Ebrauc. Most of what became Yorkshire fell under the rule of the kingdom of Ebrauc but Yorkshire also included territory in the kingdoms of Elmet and an unnamed region ruled by Dunod Fawr, which formed at around this time as did Craven


 Late 5th century - early 6th century Angles from the Schleswig-Holstein peninsula began colonising the Wolds, North Sea and Humber coastal areas. This was followed by the subjugation of the whole of east Yorkshire and the British kingdom of Ebruac in about 560.

The name the Angles gave to the territory was Dewyr, or Deira. Early rulers of Deira extended the territory north to the River Wear and about 600, Æthelfrith was able to unite Deira with the northern kingdom of Bernicia, forming the kingdom of Northumbria, whose capital was at Eoforwic, modern day York. A later ruler, Edwin of Northumbria completed the conquest of the area by his conquest of the kingdom of Elmet, including Hallamshire and Leeds, in 617.

627 Edwin of Northumbria converted to the Christian religion, along with his nobles and many of his subjects, in and was baptised at Eoforwic. His defeat at the Battle of Hatfield Chase by Penda of Mercia in 633 was followed by continuing struggles between Mercia and Northumbria for supremacy over Deira.[25] 

Edwin's successor, Oswald, was sympathetic to the Celtic church and around 634 he invited Aidan from Iona to found a monastery at Lindisfarne as a base for converting Northumbria to Celtic Christianity. Aidan soon established a monastery on the cliffs above Whitby with Hilda as abbess. 

For the kingdom of Northumbria the Viking era opened in 793 with an attack on the monastery at Lindisfarne. Danish Vikings crossed the North Sea to plunder the coast of Northumbria whilst Norwegians raided Orkney, the Western Isles and Ireland. Yngling King Ragnar Lodbrok led a Danish Leidang into Northumbria during the mid-9th century, but was captured and executed in a snake pit at the Anglian court. The Danes embarked on a mission of vengeance, but were also part of the greater Scandinavian imperialist movement. In 865 his eldest son Ivar the Boneless led younger sons in control of the army into landing at East Anglia, where they slew King Edmund the Martyr. After their landing in East Anglia, the Danes headed north and took York in 866, eventually conquering the whole of Northumbria and Kingdom of Strathclyde.

Early Middle Ages

After the Danish subjugation of the region, in 875 Guthrum became leader of the Danes and he apportioned lands to his followers; however most of the English population were allowed to retain their lands under the lordship of their Scandinavian conquerors. Ivar the Boneless became "King of all Scandinavians in the British Isles". The Danes changed the Old English name for York from Eoforwic, to Jorvik. The Vikings destroyed all the early monasteries in the area and took the monastic estates for themselves.

Some of the minster churches survived the plundering and eventually the Danish leaders were converted to Christianity. In the late 9th century Jorvik was ruled by the Christian king Guthfrith. It was under the Danes that the ridings and wapentakes of Yorkshire and the Five Burghs were established. The ridings were arranged so that their boundaries met at Jorvik, which was the administrative and commercial centre of the region. The Swedish Munsö dynasty became overlords of Jorvik because the Danes in Britain had promised loyalty to the Munsö Kings of Dublin, but this dynasty was focused on the Baltic Sea economy and quarrelled with the native Danish Jelling dynasty (which originated in the Danelaw with Guthrum). The Norse-Gaels, Ostmen or Gallgaidhill became Kings of Jorvik after long contests with the Danes over controlling the Isle of Man, which prompted the Battle of Brunanburh. Then, in 954, King Eric I of Norway of the Fairhair dynasty was slain at the Battle of Stainmore by Anglo-Saxons and Edred of England began overlordship.

Jorvik was the direct predecessor to the shire of York and received further Danish royal aids after the invasion and takeover of Jorvik by England, from the Munsö descendants, Sweyn II of Denmark right down to Canute IV of Denmark's martyrdom. Saint Olave's Church in York is a testament to the Norwegian influence in the area.

Middle Ages[edit]

In 1066, after the death of King Edward the Confessor, Yorkshire became the stage for two major battles that would help decide who would succeed to the throne. Harold Godwinson was declared King by the English but this was disputed by Harold Hardrada King of Norway and William Duke of Normandy. In the late summer of 1066 Harold Hardrada, accompanied by Tostig Godwinson, took a large Norwegian fleet and army up the Humber towards York.[26] They were met by the army of the northern earls Edwin of Mercia and Morcar of Northumbria who they defeated at the Battle of Fulford. Harold Hardrada occupied York[27] and the Norwegian Army encamped at Stamford Bridge. Harold Godwinson had to travel from London gathering his army as he went to face the invasion. Within five days, on 25 September 1066, Harold Godwinson had reached Stamford Bridge and defeated the Norwegian Army in a battle in which both Harold Hardrada and Tostig Godwinson were killed.[28] The battle at Stamford Bridge can be seen as one of the pivotal battles in English history, it was the last time a Scandinavian army was able to seriously threaten England.[28] On 28 September William Duke of Normandy landed on the south coast of England forcing Harold Godwinson to rush south from Yorkshire with his army. They met at the Battle of Hastings where the English army was defeated and Harold Godwinson killed, allowing William to become King of England.

Richmond castle walls and towers seen from the Keep

King William I and the Normans did not immediately gain control over the whole of the country, and rebellions in the north of England, including Yorkshire, led to the Harrying of the North. The Anglo-Norman chronicler Orderic Vitalis condemned William the Conqueror for his cruelty in conducting a scorched earth campaign during the winter of 1069-70. Those who escaped initially hid in Yorkshire's woodland but many (some sources say 100,000) then died of famine or exposure when William salted the ground so nothing would grow.[29] By 1071 the last native-led rebellion against Norman authority in Yorkshire had been suppressed.[30] The severity of the Norman campaign is shown by the fall of land values in Yorkshire by two-thirds between 1069 and 1086.[31] Domesday Book records that 25 continental magnates introduced into Yorkshire by the Conqueror held over 90% of the county's manors. The families who had previously held land were either deprived of their holdings or reduced to subtenants.[30] Scholarship on the "harrying" does contain some dissent from this history. For instance the use of land value data does not confirm a specific policy of harrying. The difficulty experienced by kings administering the North compared to the South, produces a slanted view of land values and Domesday information.

In the early years of Norman rule the new rulers built ringwork castles. These were circular defensive enclosures formed by the construction of a bank and a ditch. Examples of which are Kippax, near Leeds and Castleton on the North York Moors. Yorkshire at this time was frontier country. It was vulnerable to attack from the north by the Scots and from across the North Sea by the Danes. Soon more complex motte and bailey castles were being built as the ruthless and ambitious barons appointed by King William to rule Yorkshire gained a hold on their territories. The parcels of land bestowed by William to his followers in Yorkshire were fewer and much larger than in more southern counties. Each was able to support a sizeable garrison in a strong castle. Large castles were established at ConisbroughTickhillPontefract,[32] Richmond,[33] Middleham and Skipsea[34] and two in York.[35] At this time also was established the chain of castles across the southern edge of the North York Moors which included Scarborough, Pickering and Helmsley.[36]

Fountains abbey from the west

When the Normans arrived in Yorkshire there were no monastic foundations.The old Northumbrian clifftop abbey of Whitby lay in ruins. In the centuries following the Conquest splendid abbeys and priories were built in Yorkshire. The first of these was Selby Abbey, founded in 1069 and the birthplace of Henry I of England. There followed the abbeys of St Mary’s, York, Rievaulx, Fountains, Whitby, Byland, Jervaulx, Kirkstall, Roche, Meaux and many other smaller establishments. During the succeeding 70 years religious orders flourished, particularly after the promotion of Thurstan of Bayeux to the archbishopric of York in 1114. Between 1114 and 1135 at least 14 were established.[30]

The Norman landowners were keen to increase their revenues by establishing new towns and planned villages. Among others, the boroughs of Richmond, Pontefract, Sheffield, Doncaster, Helmsley and Scarborough were established in this way as were the villages of Levisham and Appleton-le-Moors on the North York Moors[37] and Wheldrake in the Vale of York. York was the pre-eminent centre of population before the conquest and was one of only four pre existing towns. The others included Bridlington and Pocklington.

The Danish invasions ceased at this time but the Scots continued their invasions throughout the medieval period. The Battle of the Standard was fought against the Scots near Northallerton in 1138.

During this period the majority of the Yorkshire population was engaged in small scale farming. A growing number of families were living on the margin of subsistence and some of these families turned to crafts and trade or industrial occupations. By 1300 Yorkshire farmers had reached the present day limits of cultivation on the Pennines.[25] Both lay and monastic landowners exploited the minerals on their estates. There were forges producing iron, and lead was being mined and smelted in the northern dales. In the West Riding there were numerous small coal workings. Until the late 12th century the cloth industry was mostly urban, focussed on York and Beverley. By 1300 the towns of Hedon, Masham, Northallerton, Ripon, Selby, Whitby and Yarm were also involved in cloth manufacture. Around this time the balance of cloth manufacturing was changing in favour of the West Riding rural communities where it was a cottage industry and free of the restrictions of town guilds.[25]

Water-powered, belt-driven machinery, Abbeydale Industrial HamletSheffield.

Sheffield, situated amongst a number of fast-flowing rivers and streams surrounded by hills containing raw materials such as coal, iron ore, ganister, and millstone grit for grindstones, made it an ideal place for water-powered industries to develop. Water wheels were often initially built for the milling of corn, but many were converted to the manufacture of blades. As early as the 14th century Sheffield was noted for the production of knives, as noted in Geoffrey Chaucer's The Reeve’s Tale from The Canterbury Tales

In the early decades of the 14th century Yorkshire suffered from a series of poor harvests, cattle disease and plundering Scottish armies. The Black Death reached Yorkshire in the spring of 1349. The population was reduced drastically by these misfortunes and consequently more land became available for the survivors. The following decades saw the rise of relatively wealthy farming families who founded dynasties of yeomen and minor gentlemen. The large Honours that were created in Yorkshire and the North of England by William I after the Conquest made them attractive for succeeding monarchs to give to their sons to support a royal lifestyle. These honours were, in some cases, combined to form Duchies, the most notable of which were the duchies of York and Lancaster.

Wars of the Roses

When conflict arose between the two Dukes during the Wars of the Roses much of the fighting took place in Yorkshire, where their estates were interlocked and woven together.[24]

The leading families in the East and West Ridings supported the House of Lancaster overwhelmingly, but in the North Riding loyalty was divided. The Nevilles of Sheriff Hutton and Middleham, the Scropes of Bolton, the Latimers of Danby and Snape, and the Mowbrays of Thirsk and Burton in Lonsdale supported the House of York. The Nevilles’ great rivals, the Percies, together with the Cliffords of Skipton, Ros of Helmsley, Greystock of Hinderskelfe, Stafford of Holderness and Talbot of Sheffield fought for the Lancastrians.


John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster had senior influence over many people in the North of England and consequently, Yorkshiremen fought under his command in the Hundred Years' War. King Richard III of England in the House of York held early office in the Council of the North, at Middleham Castle where Edward of Middleham, Prince of Wales was born. The last vestiges of feudal order remain to-date in the Duchy of Lancaster, founded by the House of Lancaster.

Both Yorkshire and Richmondshire had significant connections with Scotland and France through the personal connections of their feudal and titular Peers which may have been connected to the Auld Alliance. One must consider the historically Norse origins of Yorkshire's population, the local ties of BalliolBruce and Stewart monarchs of Scotland, including Scottish royal fiefdom of Northumbria at several times.(See Earl of Huntingdon)

Early Modern

When the Earl of Richmond became King of England in 1485 his dynasty began systematically to destroy or remove local resistance to their rule by confiscating their religious rights and economic livelihood.

The Yorkshire rebellion, 1489 occurred during the reign of Henry VII. Parliament wanted money to help defend Brittany, which was allied to England, in the war against France. Henry sent PercyEarl of Northumberland to collect taxes to help raise some money. However, many of the people in Northumberland and Yorkshire claimed to have already paid their part through local taxes, and were unwilling to give more money to defend a country of no geographical threat to them, as Yorkshire and Northumberland are in Northern England, whereas Brittany is closer to Cornwall and London. Rebellion broke out in April 1489. The Earl met the rebels, but a scuffle broke out and he was killed. The rebels then asked for pardon but were denied it by the king who sent a large army to the north, led by the Earl of Surrey. The Rebel leader, John á Chambre was hanged for treason, so they found a new leader in Sir John Egremont (an illegitimate member of the Percy family). Unfortunately for the rebels, Egrement proved to be unreliable and so fled to the Court of Margaret of YorkDuchess of Burgundy and a staunch opposer to Henry's rule. The results of this rebellion were that Henry was unable to get enough money to defend Brittany and he became aware of the lawless nature of the North of England.

The Humble Petition of The Gentry and Commons of the County of York, presented to His Majestie at York, 22 April 1642 : and His Majesties message sent to the Parliament, 24 April 1642 : concerning Sir John Hothams Refusall to give His Majestie entrance into Hull. Printed at London, 1642

Between 1536 and 1540, the Dissolution of the Monasteries by Henry VIII of England had a profound and permanent effect on the Yorkshire landscape. Thousands of acres of monastic property was divided and sold to form the estates of the gentry and the newly rich industrial entrepreneurs. This happened right across the county from Guisborough Priory in the north through to Rievaulx Abbey on the North York Moors, Jervaulx Abbey and Fountains Abbey in the dales and Roche Abbey in the south.In all 120 religious institutions were closed in Yorkshire.[38] The unpopularity of the Tudor royals resonated in the Pilgrimage of Grace and Rising of the North. During the reign of Queen Elizabeth Yorkshire saw a steady rise in population. New industries created employment and wealth, and improved farming methods and imports of corn stopped food shortages. The steady rise in population created pressure to enclose common land for agriculture and the farming communities turned increasingly to cottage industries to make a living.

The Gunpowder Plot of 1605 had Yorkshire associations, Guy Fawkes was born in York where he was educated at St Peters School. Nevertheless, a government inquiry of 1605-6 revealed that the plot lacked significant support in the county.[39] The economy and character of many West Riding settlements became markedly different from the other areas of the county in the 17th century. Farmers combined mining, metal working, weaving, tanning and other crafts with agriculture in these towns which were not subject to the restrictive practices of guilds.By 1600 Sheffield was the main centre of cutlery production in England, and in 1624 The Company of Cutlers in Hallamshire was formed to oversee the trade.[40] In Leeds in 1629 manufacturers were employing men full-time as clothiers.

Helmsley Castle was destroyed at the end of the Civil War

Many local families were Cavaliers in the English Civil War and some fled to American colonies during the usurping Commonwealth of England or The Protectorate. Most were either neutral, divided or changed sides.[41] At an early stage in the conflict King Charles attempted to establish a garrison at Kingston upon Hull but was denied entry. After some initial successes the Parliamentary forces were defeated across most of Yorkshire but they staged a comeback and in 1644 at the Battle of Marston Moor Oliver Cromwell's cavalry routed Prince Rupert's forces and during the next few months the remaining royalist garrisons in the north fell. At the end of the war many of the old castles of Yorkshire such as Helmsley and Pontefract were dismantled so that they could never again be fortified.

King James II of England was owner of colonial New York as the Duke of York, as well as governor of the Hudson's Bay Company and Royal African Company.

Some locals were closet RecusantsTory or Jacobite in political orientation, not happy being used against their Scottish neighbours. National government conceded to their sensitivities by appointing a Council of the North and a Secretary of State for the Northern Department, but these were abolished upon the government suspecting its link with independent Northern influence on national affairs, especially in connection to the American War of IndependenceCharles Lennox, 4th Duke of Richmond was Governor General of British North America, after his father had pioneered the peace settlement with the Americans and pressed for a "Union of Hearts" with the Irish. Irish Catholics dispossessed of their lands and experiencing discrimination at home, found a warm welcome from Yorkshiremen in the cities of the West Riding.


The 19th Century interior of Marshall's flax mill, Holbeck, Leeds

The 19th century was a time of rapid urbanisation and industrialisation in Yorkshire. Yorkshire was already a centre of industry in textiles, concentrated in the West Riding. Steel continued to be concentrated around Sheffield, as was the production of coal. The worsted sector of the textile industry was the first to adapt the machinery developed by the Lancashire cotton industry and had become completely factory based by the 1860s including large horizontally integrated mills.[42]

Steel production at this time involved long working hours, in unpleasant conditions that offered little or no safety protection. Friedrich Engels in his The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844 described the conditions prevalent in Sheffield at that time. The city became one of the main centres for trade union organisation and agitation in the UK. By the 1860s, the growing conflict between capital and labour provoked the so-called 'Sheffield Outrages', which culminated in a series of explosions and murders carried out by union militants. The Sheffield Trades Council organised a meeting in Sheffield in 1866 at which the United Kingdom Alliance of Organised Trades — a forerunner of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) — was founded.[43]

William Wilberforce, Member of Parliament for Hull, was a prominent abolitionist in the slave trade. The Edwardian period in Yorkshire brought the Labour Party (UK) into focus, as it tried to mobilise further reform. Robert Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Baden-Powell commanded the Northern Territorial Army at Richmond Castle until 1910.




  • 1643
    During the Civil War, Leeds was captured from Royalist forces by the Parliamentarians, under Sir Thomas Fairax, on January 23rd.
  • 1645
    There was a severe outbreak of the plague which caused the deaths of 1,325 residents, around one-fifth of the town's population.
  • 1753
    There was a major riot in Leeds following the erection of toll bars to pay for the improved roads. The military finally quelled the situation after several people had been killed and another twenty wounded.
  • 1755
    The streets of Leeds were first lit with oil lamps.
  • 1758
    The Middleton Colliery Railway was built between Leeds and Middleton Colliery, a distance of 3.5 miles. It is claimed to be the oldest railway line in the world. Until 1812 the trucks were horse-drawn.
  • 1764
    The first coach service from Leeds to London began operating.
  • 1768
    The Leeds Library, in Commercial Street, was founded by Dr. Priestley.
  • 1770
    Construction of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal was begun.
  • 1773 How did the East India Company change the world?

    American and British schoolchildren are taught about the infamous Tea Act of 1773, which led to the rebellious Boston Tea Party. But exactly why the Boston colonists threw thousands of pounds of tea into Boston Harbor may be less clear. It's actually due to collusion between the government and the East India Company.

    The Tea Act was designed by Parliament specifically to help the EIC unload the millions of pounds of unsold tea in its English warehouses. The Americas were the designated recipients (like it or not) of the surplus tea. The act was meant to enforce the EIC's monopoly on tea in the colonies. It would be like the United States government forcing all of today's Americans to purchase Apple computers only. Ultimately, the Tea Act allowed the EIC to drive its competition out of business. Colonists deemed this an unfair practice -- government was supporting one business's interests at the expense of the liberty -- and it gave rise to the famous slogan "no taxation without representation" [source: Hartmann].



East India Company

Trade monopoly[edit]

  • Rear view of the East India Company's Factory at Cossimbazar

    The prosperity that the officers of the company enjoyed allowed them to return to Britain and establish sprawling estates and businesses, and to obtain political power. The company developed a lobby in the English parliament. Under pressure from ambitious tradesmen and former associates of the company (pejoratively termed Interlopers by the company), who wanted to establish private trading firms in India, a deregulating act was passed in 1694.[23]

    This allowed any English firm to trade with India, unless specifically prohibited by act of parliament, thereby annulling the charter that had been in force for almost 100 years. By an act that was passed in 1698, a new "parallel" East India Company (officially titled the English Company Trading to the East Indies) was floated under a state-backed indemnity of £2 million. The powerful stockholders of the old company quickly subscribed a sum of £315,000 in the new concern, and dominated the new body. The two companies wrestled with each other for some time, both in England and in India, for a dominant share of the trade.[23]

    It quickly became evident that, in practice, the original company faced scarcely any measurable competition. The companies merged in 1708, by a tripartite indenture involving both companies and the state. Under this arrangement, the merged company lent to the Treasury a sum of £3,200,000, in return for exclusive privileges for the next three years, after which the situation was to be reviewed. The amalgamated company became the United Company of Merchants of England Trading to the East Indies.[23]

    In the following decades there was a constant battle between the company lobby and the Parliament. The company sought a permanent establishment, while the Parliament would not willingly allow it greater autonomy and so relinquish the opportunity to exploit the company's profits. In 1712, another act renewed the status of the company, though the debts were repaid. By 1720, 15% of British imports were from India, almost all passing through the company, which reasserted the influence of the company lobby. The licence was prolonged until 1766 by yet another act in 1730.

  • At this time, Britain and France became bitter rivals. Frequent skirmishes between them took place for control of colonial possessions. In 1742, fearing the monetary consequences of a war, the British government agreed to extend the deadline for the licensed exclusive trade by the company in India until 1783, in return for a further loan of £1 million. Between 1756 and 1763, the Seven Years' War diverted the state's attention towards consolidation and defence of its territorial possessions in Europe and its colonies in North America.[24]

    The war took place on Indian soil, between the company troops and the French forces. In 1757, the Law Officers of the Crown delivered the Pratt-Yorke opinion distinguishing overseas territories acquired by right of conquest from those acquired by private treaty. The opinion asserted that, while the Crown of Great Britain enjoyed sovereignty over both, only the property of the former was vested in the Crown.[24]

    With the advent of the Industrial Revolution, Britain surged ahead of its European rivals. Demand for Indian commodities was boosted by the need to sustain the troops and the economy during the war, and by the increased availability of raw materials and efficient methods of production. As home to the revolution, Britain experienced higher standards of living. Its spiralling cycle of prosperity, demand and production had a profound influence on overseas trade. The company became the single largest player in the British global market. William Henry Pyne notes in his book The Microcosm of London (1808) that:

    On the 1 March 1801, the debts of the East India Company to £5,393,989 their effects to £15,404,736 and their sales increased since February 1793, from £4,988,300 to £7,602,041.


    Financial troubles[edit]

    Though the Company was becoming increasingly bold and ambitious in putting down resisting states, it was becoming clearer that the Company was incapable of governing the vast expanse of the captured territories. The Bengal famine of 1770, in which one-third of the local population died, caused distress in Britain. Military and administrative costs mounted beyond control in British-administered regions in Bengal because of the ensuing drop in labour productivity.

    At the same time, there was commercial stagnation and trade depression throughout Europe. The directors of the company attempted to avert bankruptcy by appealing to Parliament for financial help. This led to the passing of the Tea Act in 1773, which gave the Company greater autonomy in running its trade in the American colonies, and allowed it an exemption from tea import duties which its colonial competitors were required to pay.

    When the American colonists and tea merchants were told of this Act, they boycotted the Company tea. Although the price of tea had dropped because of the Act, it also validated the Townshend Acts, setting the precedent for the king to impose additional taxes in the future. The arrival of tax-exempt Company tea, undercutting the local merchants, triggered the Boston Tea Party in the Province of Massachusetts Bay, one of the major events leading up to the American Revolution.

    Regulating Acts of Parliament[edit]

    East India Company Act 1773[edit]

    By the Regulating Act of 1773 (later known as the East India Company Act 1773), the Parliament of Great Britain imposed a series of administrative and economic reforms; this clearly established Parliament's sovereignty and ultimate control over the Company. The Act recognised the Company's political functions and clearly established that the "acquisition of sovereignty by the subjects of the Crown is on behalf of the Crown and not in its own right".

    Despite stiff resistance from the East India lobby in parliament and from the Company's shareholders, the Act passed. It introduced substantial governmental control and allowed British India to be formally under the control of the Crown, but leased back to the Company at £40,000 for two years. Under the Act's most important provision, a governing Council composed of five members was created in Calcutta. The three members nominated by Parliament and representing the Government's interest could, and invariably would, outvote the two Company members. 




Tuesday Mar 03, 2015 · 4:00 PM EST

The British East India Company was one of the world's first "corporations". Chartered by the English Crown, it had its own Army, installed its own Governments, minted its own coins, and ruled entire countries. And it played a direct role in sparking the American Revolution.


One-rupee coin issued by the British East India Company          photo from WikiCommons

In the last years of the 16th century, the British Empire was just beginning to grow, as British trade began to dominate the world. One of the major difficulties facing overseas traders, however, was the inherent risk of long ocean voyages. Many trading ships that traveled from Europe to China, South America or the Indies did not return—the victims of storms, accidents, or pirates. Another and much more dangerous threat was the wide variation in price caused by uneven supply. When no ships had recently arrived and supplies were low, prices (and profits) were high, but if two or three fleets happened to land at the same time and the local markets were glutted, prices (and profits) fell steeply. The best way to protect against this, from the merchant’s point of view, was to act together to insure that fleets arrived at regular intervals and the local supply remained steady (keeping prices and profits steady as well).

Realizing that their risks would be considerably lessened if they had exclusive rights to all the trade from any specific geographic location, these merchants began lobbying the Queen for a charter to grant their corporation complete monopoly of trade over particular areas.

In concert with her Trade and Navigation Acts, which strengthened the Royal Navy, Queen Elizabeth therefore granted a Royal Charter on December 31, 1600, to the British East India Company, granting it a 15-year monopoly on the lucrative commercial trade in spices, silk, and luxury goods flowing from the East Indies. Officially known as the “Company of Merchants of London Trading Into the East Indies”, it soon became known as simply "The Company". Not only was it the first significant corporation in history; it quickly became the largest, richest and most powerful group of men on the planet, reaching heights of wealth, power and influence that even the 21st century multi-nationals have not yet matched.

Dutch traders had already established themselves in the East Indies by this time, and the British initially found themselves at a disadvantage. But a Company trading post that dealt mostly with pepper was set up in Java and became a commercial success.

At first, the East India Company raised only sufficient capital to finance one voyage at a time, and, when this proved unsuitable, then raised enough capital for several voyages over a few years. But by 1613, the Company began issuing permanent shares of stock, with periodic payments to be made from profits to the shareholders, the “dividend”.

As the Company expanded into Asia and especially India, its profits grew. In 1615, with diplomatic help from the British Crown, the East India Company was granted some territorial and commercial rights by the Mughal Emperor of India. By 1611, its shareholders were receiving more than 150% returns on their investments. The Company’s first offering of stock for public sale, in 1616, brought in 418,000 pounds, and another stock offering in 1617 raised 1.6 million.

When the English monarchy was temporarily overthrown in the English Civil War, the government under Oliver Cromwell nevertheless renewed the Company’s Charter in 1657. In 1670, after the monarchy was restored, King Charles II granted the Company the right to mint its own money, to raise its own private army and navy, and to directly govern the territories it had control over. Within its domain, the Company suppressed the development of local competitors and banned any independent local industry. By 1720, some 15% of all Britain’s imports were coming from the Company’s India monopoly.

By this time, the British East India Company had become more powerful than the British Government. In 1709, Parliament finally did move to control the royal company by replacing its entire management; the company simply refused to comply, and placed all the “new” management under its control. By 1850, the British East India Company had sole governing authority over one-fifth of the world’s population, expanding its reach into all of India, as well as parts of China, and enforced its rule with a private army of over a quarter of a million men—twice as large as the British Army. Parliament, which had once attempted to control the Company, was now controlled by it—fully one-third of the Members of Parliament owned East India Company stock. The King, meanwhile, became more and more dependent upon “loans” from the Company, in exchange for increased power and privileges.

The Company soon began to overreach itself. Its heavy-handed methods in India led to such widespread revolts that, in 1858, the British Government revoked the Company’s authority in India and assumed direct colonial rule. Even then, the East India Company still acted as if it owned the place. In one instance, when a competitor was found to be illegally invading the Company’s monopoly, a Company official asked the local government representative to take action, and was told that the offender would be punished according to British law, whereupon the Company official shot back: “My orders were to be his rules, and not the laws of England, which were a heap of nonsense, compiled by a few ignorant country gentlemen, who hardly knew how to make laws for the good of their own private families, much less for the regulating of companies, and foreign commerce.”

The Company also monopolized the trade in opium to China, and twice in the 19th Century, when the Chinese government took steps to end the opium trade, the East India Company used military force to restore its monopoly. The Opium Wars, combined with the rebellion in India, convinced the British Government that the East India Company was becoming more trouble than it was worth, and, when the Company’s economic power began to decline, Parliament dissolved it in January 1874.

The British East India Company had its most far-reaching effect on world history, however, in North America. With the defeat of the French in 1763 in the Seven Years War (also fought in North America, where it was known as the French and Indian War), the East India Company was granted a monopoly on the tea trade to the British colonies in America. To help the British Government pay the expenses of the war, it was decided to place a tax on tea sold in the colonies. The colonists responded with a boycott, and in December 1773, in the “Boston Tea Party”, protesters boarded British East India Company ships and dumped 342 chests of tea into Boston Harbor, an act which led directly to the American Revolution two years later.


Seventeen Million Pounds of Unsold Tea

With the passing of the Tea Act, the seventeen million pounds of unsold surplus tea the British East India Company owned could be sold to markets in the American colonies. The tea was to be shipped to the American colonies and sold at a reduced rate. The Townshend Revenue Act tea tax remained in place despite proposals to have it waived. American colonists were outraged over the tea tax, which had existed since the 1767 Townshend Revenue Act and did not get repealed like the other taxes in 1770, and believed the Tea Act was a tactic to gain colonial support for the tax already enforced. The direct sale of tea by agents of the British East India Company to the American colonies undercut the business of colonial merchants. Prior to the Tea Act, colonial merchants purchased tea directly from British markets or smuggled from illegal markets. They then shipped it back to the colonies for resale. Outraged that American merchants were undercut, colonists initially in Philadelphia and New York refused the British East India Company tea to be offloaded and sent the ships back to England. In many colonial ports to protest the Tea Act, the shipment of British East India Company tea was unloaded and left untouched on the docks to rot. The BeaverDartmouth, and Eleanor arrived in Boston in late November to the middle of December 1773. The colonists, led by the Sons of Liberty, wanted the ships to return to England, and refused the unloading of the ships’ cargo of tea. Lieutenant Governor and Chief Justice of Massachusetts, Thomas Hutchinson, refused to let the ships return to England and held the Beaver, Dartmouth, and Eleanor in Boston Harbor until matters could be resolved and the tea offloaded. The framework for the Boston Tea Party was set, and on December 16, 1773, 340 chests of British East India Company Tea were dumped into Boston Harbor by the Sons of Liberty.




- See more at: https://www.bostonteapartyship.com/the-tea-act#sthash.ig02qnoi.dpuf


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c-TSPUKVt-0 east india



'Iron Tears,' a British View of American Revolution

  • 1770
  • 1816
    The Leeds to Liverpool canal was completed.
  • 1819
    Gas street lighting was introduced in Leeds.

The railway arrived in Leeds with the opening of the Leeds and Selby Railway line. The Leeds terminus was at Marsh Lane, to the east of the city.

There was another cholera epidemic which killed more than 2,000 people in Leeds.

Central Station was opened, in Wellington Street, by the Manchester and Leeds Railway and the London and North Western Railway.

The Mechanics Institute, designed by Cuthbert Brodrick, was opened.

  • 1872
    Horse drawn trams were introduced in Leeds. They were replaced by electric trams in 1894.
  • 1872
    The first public library and Roundhay Park opened.

The City Varieties Music Hall was built.

Leeds' first electricity supply was introuduced.




Archaeologist digs into grandad's tale to uncover lost Yorkshire amphitheatre

A national theatre of the north is found on summit of Studforth Hill in Aldborough
Studforth Hill in  Aldborough
Rose Ferraby strides across Studforth Hill in Aldborough where she and other archaeologists have discovered evidence of a Roman amphitheatre and stadium . Photograph: Christopher Thomond for the Guardian
 This article is 5 years old



The lost amphitheatre of northern England has been found on a Yorkshire hilltop in a discovery with major implications for the study of Roman Britain.

Centuries of speculation have ended with a printout from geomagnetic scanners which reveals a great tiered bank of seats below curving hummocks in a field now frequented only by a herd of cattle.

Crowning the summit of Studforth Hill, the oval arena would have combined spectacles and entertainments with a magnificent 360-degree view, making it the equivalent of a national theatre of the north.

The find by Cambridge University archaeologists – led by a young woman who grew up locally and was told the amphitheatre legend by her grandfather – seals the importance in Roman times of the small village of Aldborough, between Harrogate and York.


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It also adds to growing evidence that Britannia Inferior, as the northern province was known, was busier, more prosperous and cultured than previously thought. There have been a relative shortage of digs and studies of civilian sites in the area, compared with hundreds in Britannia Superior, today's south.

Initial work suggests the amphitheatre was flanked by a sports stadium.

"Its discovery leaves little doubt that Isurium Brigantium, as Aldborough was called in Roman times, was the civil capital of the Britons known as Brigantes, effectively the population between Derbyshire and Hadrian's Wall," said Martin Millett, professor of classical archaeology at Cambridge.

"York is much better-known for Roman remains, in part because it has remained a great city, but the evidence suggests that it was the military base. Civil power and society, and the most important place for Roman Britons in the northern province, was likely to have been here."


The sweeping curve of the amphitheatre, which crowns a long series of discoveries at Aldborough, lay hidden because of changing fashions in archaeology, shortage of money for excavations and pressure for resources to go elsewhere.

Rose Ferraby, who has led a two-year survey of the village with Millett, said: "It was under our noses. I used to come here as a girl with my friends because the slope and terracing made it Aldborough's sledging hill.

"My grandad told me the story of the lost amphitheatre and I got more and more interested through doing odd jobs at the manor house, whose garden has plenty of Roman remains."

The spell cast over her by the village, where no deep digging is allowed without planning permission and all building projects, down to conservatories, have to have an archaeologist on watch, took her from a Harrogate comprehensive to Cambridge and then the British School of Archaeology in Rome.

"The whole of Aldborough – and as much land again around it – is a scheduled monument," she said. "Work over the years has pointed more and more towards the conclusion that it was somewhere very important in this part of the Roman empire. Mosaics have been discovered with inscriptions in Greek, a sure sign of cultured inhabitants. We were certain that there had to be an amphitheatre somewhere."

The breakthrough came with geomagnetic and ground radar in which more than a square mile of cottages and pasture were turned into a grid, which Ferraby, Millett and volunteer students paced with handheld scanners and others examined on a machine akin to a lawnmower. They called locals to a packed meeting this week to announce the amphitheatre had at last been tracked down.

Most of the tiered seats were quarried or hacked out centuries ago, but the high bank which forms the crown of Studforth Hill hides the surviving section. The geomagnetic scan detected a large mass of material and then tiering, which is crudely reflected by ridges in the grassy surface until it disappears under a small copse.


"We don't yet know whether the seats are stone, which would have been the best quality, or a mixture of timber and compacted earth which has been found at other sites in the UK," said Ferraby. "But there are at least four rows and an extra ridge of land behind the trees suggests that there may have been a fifth. Whatever the material, it would have been an imposing building."

Aldborough was thought for years to have been a Roman fort because of its impressive town walls, which include a long remaining stretch with curved lookout towers. The strategic position on Dere Street, up which the ninth Hispana legion marched to its unknown fate in Scotland in about 120AD, also pointed to a largely military function.

But a series of small 19th- and 20th-century excavations, many in gardens and allotments, began to build a more complex picture, and the discovery of the town's Roman name – meaning the "main city of the Brigantes" – shifted opinion towards a large civilian settlement.

This evidence supported theories that the Romans kept their troops in large military bases while encouraging native Britons to build their own towns on the imperial model, with a forum, stone and brick buildings and temples for the appropriate gods, one of the parts of the Aldborough jigsaw still to be found.

The Cambridge team is now completing its geophysical survey of the Roman town's entire site, which will be analysed for possible excavation points, possibly including the amphitheatre, if funding can be found.

Archaeologists hope to combine the scanned data with work by the Landscape Research Centre to allow computer views of underground UK classified by historical period.

"We hope this will be a spur to more exploration of northern Roman sites," said Hillaby. "We probably have an unbalanced impression that more went on in Britannia Superior because archaeologists have spent more time on civilian settlements there. I have no doubt that the amphitheatre spectators, up on the best seats, would have looked out on scores of other settlements between the town and the escarpment of the Hambleton Hills and North York Moors."

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AD 71 - Romans conquer northern England and reach as far north as Carlisle three years later

AD 87 - Troops are withdrawn from the northernmost legionary fortress

AD122 - Emperor Hadrian orders a wall to be built across northern Britain

AD142 - Emperor Antoninus Pius orders another wall be constucted even further north, from the Firth to the Clyde

AD 163 - Romans evacuate the Antonine Wall and retreat to Hadrian's Wall

AD 182 - Outbreak of war between Romans and tribes of southern Scotland and northern England

AD 209 - Emperor Septimius Severus tries to regain Roman control by waging war in northern Britain

AD 211/12 - Britain is divided into two separate Roman provinces, Britannia Superior in the South and Britannia Inferior in the North

AD 400 - Roman troops with drawn from Britain to defend Italy. Tribes have by this point been mounting regular attacks on Roman garrisons, culminating in Britons binning their allegiance to Rome

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2027370/Lost-Roman-amphitheatre-hilltop-near-Yorkshire-village.html#ixzz4gOg0Orex 
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Collectio rerum ecclesiasticarum de Dioecesi Eboracensi, or, collections ...

By Ge Lawton


The British Mercury Or Annals of History, Politics ..., Volume 12, Issues 1-13

Further wayback

Brimham Rocks


Northern Antiquarian

From Spofforth to Bowling...

Speculation on Population Impact of the Enclosure Act in Knaresborough Forest area and beyond.

Actual Awards from 1776 through 1847 in areas of interest for our Websters. These dates are when open fields were removed from common use by residents. While concurrent population is not available for many areas, it is reasonable to speculate significant percentages of the population would bear the impact of these losses/

Fewston was an ancient parish in the Forest of Knaresborough in the West Riding of Yorkshire. It covered a wide area, and included the townships of Blubberhouses, Clifton with Norwood, Great Timble, and Thruscross.[3] All these places became separate civil parishes in 1866.[4] Fewston was transferred to the new county of North Yorkshire in 1974.

The outline of The Forest of Knaresborough extends far beyond
Knaresborough and runs very close to Spofforth. It appears the closest border of the Forest is less than a mile from the center of Spofforth.

Were Websters butchers for hunting as well as domestic butchering?

There was also a Pigot's listing as a "Cattle Dealer" The bishop’s transcript [?1825] (seen at the West Yorkshire Archive Service in Leeds) records that William was a Cattle Dealer [I've seen mention of cattle fairs on given days in market towns] but Piggot’s Directory of professions and trades shows that by 1829 he was the village butcher in Killinghall.

Was his later move to Allerton Mauleverer similarly serving domestic & hunting needs?

check cattle webster allerton mauleverer

"Enclosure Acts for small areas had been passed sporadically since the 12th century, but with the rise of the Industrial Revolution, they became more commonplace. In search of better financial returns, landowners looked for more efficient farming techniques.[5] Enclosures were also created so that landowners could charge higher rent to the people working the land. This was at least partially responsible for peasants leaving the countryside to work in the city in industrial factories.[6]"

I had always imagined that it was the draw of growing industries that brought the Websters to more industrialized areas. To our 21st century eyes, it is hard to comprehend living in Bradford - described as a dirty and dangerous place where mortality was extraordinarily high and life expectancy plummeted within a couple of decades. ejn

"By 1840 Bradford was known for having some of the most smoke-filled air in Britain. As early as 1803 an act had stated that, "Engine chimneys are to be erected of sufficient height as not to create a nuisance by the emission of smoke. All owners of engines etc. are to construct fireplaces thereof in such a manner as most effectually to destroy and consume the smoke arising therefrom." However, little was done to enforce the laws. There was a general feeling that the factories provided work, so should not be pushed too hard to reduce pollution.[19] An 1841 account said, "The condition of Bradford is dreadful. Lowmoor iron-forges most extensively spread their suffocating exhalations on the one side ... On the other side, Bowling Iron Hell (for it is one truly) casts a still denser atmosphere and sulphurous stench..."[20] The Bowling Iron Company was fined on 12 December 1874, but only for £5 with £9. 10s. costs for ten offences. The population suffered high levels of respiratory diseases, peaking in 1890 during an influenza epidemic.[19]

Several selections from the volume below in combination with the Inclosure Laws quote suggest the may have been forced to leave because of a set of circumstances that made it ecnomically impossible to stay. The passages describe a family unit dependent on a combination of economic activities for all the family members that went beyond the profession of the family head -- and several were dependent on having a bit of their own land. ejn

If this is the case, it suggests

* in the countryside - life-long, multi-generational interdependencies with much of the community, not just their own profession.

* relationships in the Spofforth community may have been even stronger than anticipated

* If this move was more or less forced, it may have been more traumatic.



The Great North Road was the main highway between London and Scotland. It became a coaching route used by mail coaches travelling between LondonYork and Edinburgh. The modern A1 mainly parallels the route of the Great North Road. Coaching inns, many of which survive, were staging posts providing accommodation, stabling for horses and replacement mounts.[1] 

Since its origins in pre-Roman times, the Great North Road has been the main north-south thoroughfare of the country and played a part large or small in so much of our history.

The legacy of the Roman Road network is still seen in the landscape and road network of  today.  The Great North Road often follows major Roman routes.

Roman roads were surveyed and built from scratch.  They connected towns and strategic locations by the most direct possible route. The roads were often paved to permit use in all seasons and weather. Most of the network was complete by 180 AD. Its primary function was to allow the rapid movement of troops and military supplies, but it also provided vital infrastructure for trade and the transport of goods.http://www.great-north-road.org/roman-roads-in-england/

Probably the coffin containing the uncorrupted body of Saint Cuthbert and the head of Saint Aidan was carried up it from Ripon towards its final resting place at Durham a thousand years ago.  Edward I carried his queen's body down part of it in 1290, and marked the stops with Eleanor crosses, three of which stood on this road.  The catholic rebels in the Pilgrimage of Grace in 1536 used it to march towards the capital.  Margaret, daughter of Henry VII, travelled north to marry a Scottish king along it.  Butcher Cumberland, fresh from his victory at Culloden, made his triumphant way south down this road.  Nearly every monarch of England or of the United Kingdom has ridden, driven or trodden on it and so have most of our statesmen and writers, especially the diarists.  As a result there is an abundance of comment and description of most significant places on the route.  

The Romans built Ermine Street and its continuations to the north as a military road and even after centuries of neglect Harald was able to use it to march his army to York and back in 1066.  The Scots used the route to invade England, Warwick the Kingmaker died on it and many of the battles of the Wars of the Roses were fought on and near it.  Cromwell's family lived beside it and Monk brought the Coldstream Guards down it during the Civil War.  Not least it served as an artery linking many of the RAF stations built on the eastern side of Britain before and during the last war, and many aircraft, before assembly, were carried along it.

Walter Scott called it the dullest road in the world, though the most convenient for the traveller, and, while this may be an exaggeration, no one can deny that some of the scenery in the flatlands on the eastern side of England is hardly exciting, especially since they became the grain growing factory that they now are.  But there is a romance about the road that Scott himself captured so well in The Heart of Midlothian and which infected even that dour Yorkshireman J B Priestley.

Nearly 400 miles separate the capital cities of England and Scotland which stand at either end of the road.  The smallest and the largest counties in England are traversed.  For most of its length the road runs over low lying land and there are very few hills of any height or length, the highest said to be at Scotch Corner.  Stevenage High Street is claimed to be the highest street between London and York.   Before new bridges and bypasses were built, there were sharp gradients at several river crossings, such as those at Wentbridge, Durham and Newcastle, which created problems for horses and early motor vehicles.  The route through the east of Scotland avoids most of the southern uplands, though the slope up Penmanshiel to Cockburnspath has presented a challenge for travellers through the ages.

The heyday of the Road was undoubtedly the era of coaching, which really started when the Royal Mail began to be carried by coach in 1784 but lasted only until the advent of the railway destroyed the coaching trade in the course of about ten years in the 1830s and 40s.  There was a second flourish when the motorcar appeared in the early part of the 20th Century.  To this day the road remains one of the most highly used and therefore congested routes in the country.  The modern road still essentially follows the line taken by ancient travellers, though the width, surface and volume of traffic would astonish anyone from previous times.  But still it has a distinction and flavour all of its own.

The Great North Road is the axis by which Scots and English, invaders and defenders, Romans and Britons, Vikings and Saxons, rebels and loyalists, Catholics and Protestants, Rugby Leaguers and Rugby Unionists, have sought to impose their will and their map-reading on these British Isles.


The only actual road building ever undertaken in Britain had been done by the Romans. After their legions withdrew from the island, the whole infrastructure of roads, urban centers and country villas was left to wither away through the centuries. Celts, Anglo-Saxons, Vikings and Normans all still had to travel, though, however uncomfortable and cumbersome their progress across the countryside might be.
By the early Middle Ages, the Great North Road had evolved as the single unified route between London and North Britain. In part, it followed stretches of Roman Dere Street, in part it followed the natural topography of the landscape and long familiar routes between villages and market towns. For centuries, rough carts and springless wagons, horses and shank’s mare took pilgrims and Crusaders, bishops and noblewomen, drifters and highwaymen between London and the northern ecclesiastical and political center of York, or on to Durham or Scotland. Generations of adventuring Scots took the road south to seek life in more prosperous England—like James Boswell, who famously wrote of his road adventures with the inimitable Samuel Johnson.

By the time Boswell and Dr. Johnson traveled the Great North Road in the late 18th century, improvements were well underway on both the road and the means of travel upon it. It must have seemed state-of-the-art luxury, indeed, to traverse roads that were somewhat graded and maintained by recently established local “turnpike trusts,” which often financed the work with user fees that were collected at toll booths. Sprung stagecoaches now plied the road on regular routes and fixed schedules—a considerable improvement over the plodding wagons of bygone years. Along the route of the Great North Road the infrastructure of travel evolved, with inns and public houses growing up along the way as surely as fast food franchises and lodging chains mark the popular paths of road travel today. Travel time from London to Edinburgh was cut from 12 days to four in the 18th century. What adventures would I find today, I wondered, during four days on the Great North Road?
You can follow the Great North Road out of London all the way from Smithfield in the City along Clerkenwall Road, up Highgate Hill, through Finchley and Barnett, but I opted to pick up the route at Potters Bar, where the old Great North Road crosses the M25.
It is not the A1 here that leads north on the old alignments of the Great North Road, but the A1000 meandering through what have become London’s nondescript northern suburbs to Hertfordshire and past the gates of Hatfield House—where Queen Elizabeth I spent part of her childhood.
If I was expecting many visual clues as to the route’s antiquity and historic significance in the Home Counties, though, I was soon proven mistaken. Where the road passed through pockets of relative affluence, there were building activities, smart petrol stations, Tesco and chain pubs. Where the road traversed pockets of relative neglect, the detritus left behind was the junk and jumble of the disposal-prone 20th century. As is unhappily so often the case these days, though, one has to go far from London to get deep into England.

A picturesque history of Yorkshire: being an account of the ..., Volume 2

By Joseph Smith Fletcher



Civil War to Modern Day

The Civil War

Knaresborough Castle supported the Royalist Cause during the Civil War, but in 1644 the Parliamentarians were gaining control in Yorkshire. After the battle of Marston Moor in July 1644, the castle was besieged, and finally surrendered when cannon breached the wall on December 20. In 1646 Parliament ordered the castle to be rendered untenable, and by 1648 demolition had commenced. Nearly the entire circuit of the curtain wall was destroyed, as were all the buildings in the grounds, except the Courthouse. The King’s Tower was in the process of demolition when the townspeople petitioned Parliament to allow them to maintain it as a prison. Demolition was halted and the Tower was left standing. The King’s Tower and Courthouse continued to serve as prison and courthouse for some time.

The Modern Castle

Knaresborough Castle site layout

Knaresborough Castle site layout

In the early 20th century, a bowling green and tennis courts transformed the role of the castle in the town, creating a leisure area for local residents, and relegating the structures of the castle to a secondary, almost superfluous role. The putting green now occupies the area where the tennis courts used to be. A war memorial commemorates the many local residents who gave their lives in the defence of their country in the First and Second World Wars. The Courthouse is now a museum which provides an explanation and interpretation of the history of the town, and which still contains furniture from the original Tudor courtroom.

The castle now stands as a monument to Knaresborough’s history, and as a centre for interpretation and understanding of that past. The 20th century has seen a renewal of interest in our historic monuments; in their preservation and interpretation, and in their value as integral elements in our modern landscape. The standing buildings and fragments of wall within the castle grounds provide a glimpse not only into the activities of the past which led to their construction and use, but also to the late activities of disuse and destruction. In their own unique way they stand as a permanent reflection of the changing values and attitudes of our society, from Medieval times to present day.

‘The King’s Chamber’, and it is believed that it was here that Richard II was imprisoned before being taken to Pontefract Castle

Hugh de Morville was Constable of the Castle of Knaresborough and leader of the unfortunate group of four knights who took King Henry II at his word when he said “will nobody rid me of this turbulent priest”. On December 29th, 1170 they murdered Thomas Beckett, Archbishop of Canterbury, on the steps of the altar of his cathedral. The four knights first fled to Knaresborough, where legend has it that they were reviled even by the dogs of the town, although Hugh is also said to have built Hampsthwaite Church and dedicated it to the canonised priest as an act of penance.

Rebels occupied the castle during Edward’s reign and the curtain wall was breached with a siege engine during its recapture. Later, Scots invaders burned much of the town, including the parish church. The church was restored by Queen Philippa, wife of Edward III, who had been granted “the Castle, Town, Forest and Honour of Knaresborough” as part of her marriage settlement in 1328. After her death the Honour was granted in 1372 by Edward to their youngest son, John of Gaunt (born in Ghent). He had already inherited the estates of his wife, Blanche of Lancaster, and was Duke of Lancaster and thus linked the Honour of Knaresborough with the Duchy of Lancashire and hence to the Lancastrian cause in the Wars of the Roses.

King Richard II spent a night in Knaresborough Castle on his way to Pontefract Castle in 1399 where he was murdered.

The various religious upheavals of the first half of the sixteenth century, during the reigns of Henry VIII, Mary and Elizabeth, affected the people of Knaresborough who were generally loyal to the Catholic faith. They were conservative in their religion and slow to accept new ideas, especially if imposed from above by a distant monarch. In addition, most of the local landowners and lords were of the Catholic faith. After the unsuccessful Rising of the North in 1569 services were still being secretly held but the Protestant religion gradually became established. In 1580 a great effort was made to suppress recusancy (the refusal to conform) and an Act of Parliament the following year made this a crime punishable by a fine of £5 a week.

At this time the parish church became firmly established as the church of St John the Baptist, having previously sometimes been known as St. Mary’s (a more Catholic name)and the Parish Register was begun in 1561 with the recording of 41 baptisms, 12 marriages, and 21 burials in its first year. Thatched Manor Cottage at the bottom of Water Bag Bank (up which ponies carried bags of water from the river to the town) dates from this period. Effigies of the Slingsby family in the parish church are worthy of note and include the recumbent Francis Slingsby who died in 1600, cavalry officer to Henry VIII, with his wife lying on his right hand side as she was from a higher born status of the Percy family. Other notable tombs are those of Sir Henry Slingsby, executed under Cromwell in 1658, and Sir Charles Slingsby who drowned in 1869. The church also contains a fine late Jacobean font-cover.

During the civil war Knaresborough was a Royalist stronghold. The castle remained loyal to King Charles but was taken by Cromwell’s soldiers, after a short siege, on December 20th, 1644. A popular story tells (see e.g. The Knaresborough Story) how a Mrs Whincup successfully led a group of people to plead with the commander for the life of a boy found taking food to his besieged father. The castle suffered little damage at this time but in 1648 was a victim of an Act of Parliament ordering the demolition, or “slighting”, of several Royalist castles.

Sir Henry Slingsby, MP for Knaresborough, who had been expelled from the House of Commons for his Royalist tendencies in 1642, remained determined to restore the monarchy. He was arrested in 1654 and charged with high treason. Being found guilty, he was beheaded on Tower Hill on June 8th, 1658 and his headless body returned to Knaresborough for burial.

The early 17th century saw the establishment of King James’s School in the town, its charter being granted in 1616, beginning a long tradition in the town emphasising the importance of education. Originally this was an all-boys school, endowed with £20 per year by Rev. Dr. Robert Challoner, who was born in Goldsborough, and boys from Knaresborough and Goldsborough were to be admitted free, with fee-paying scholars admitted at the discretion of the governors. By 1820, however, there had been no free scholars for over twenty years.

The Charity School was established at the bottom of the High Street by Thomas Richardson in 1765. It was to accommodate “thirty boys and girls of the township of Knaresborough, and for putting them out to apprenticeship”. Several Sunday Schools provided elementary education for all denominations.

It was in the latter half of the sixteenth century that Knaresborough’s reputation as a spa town began with its recommendation as a base for taking the newly discovered waters of Tewit Well. Many eminent travellers of the day, including Celia Fiennes (1697) and Daniel Defoe (1717) visited Knaresborough at a time when Harrogate was still only two small hamlets – Low and High Harrogate. Inns and hotels were being built in High Harrogate but the tradition at this time was to stay in Knaresborough and travel to the Harrogate area to take the waters.

The textile industry has been associated with Knaresborough for centuries – records of 1211 mention mills. While the woollen market expanded in the sixteenth century to satisfy an increasing population and the quality of its cloth improved, interruptions to export caused a depression in the latter half of the century and competition among producers must have been intense. Knaresborough was at a disadvantage because of its poor access to the major marketing centres – in the case of textiles these were Leeds and York. By specialising in a higher quality linen Knaresborough was able to take advantage of the increase in living standards and fund its higher transport expenses. An industry which began in cottages and small workshops gradually transferred to mills.

Old linen mill and weir. Image from an old postcard kindly lent by Pat Wood

Old linen mill and weir. Image from an old postcard kindly lent by Pat Wood

In 1791 a cotton mill was built on the site of a paper mill on the banks of the River Nidd at Knaresborough, and this was in turn converted to flax spinning in 1811. This was the famous Castle Mill, taken over in 1847 by Walton and Company for both yarn spinning and power-loom weaving. At the beginning of the nineteenth century Knaresborough became famous for its linen. In 1838 Walton and Co., had been appointed linen manufacturers to the Royal Household and in 1851 were awarded the Prince Albert Medal for the completely seamless shirt woven by George Hemshell on a hand loom. Castle Mill has now been converted to private residences.

Industrial development was still hampered by the lack of an efficient transport system to bring raw materials and supplies to the town, and to take manufactured goods out to the major trading centres, particularly to the linen market at York. A canal system was proposed around 1818 but deemed to be too expensive due to the large number of locks which would be required. A railway system was costed and proposed in 1820 but did not gain sufficient support and the situation was left unresolved until the middle of the century.

  • A History of Harrogate and Knaresborough; The Harrogate W.E.A. Local History Group; Editor Bernard Jennings; The Advertiser Press Limited, Huddersfield; 1970.
  • A History of Nidderdale; Pately Bridge Tutorial Class; Editor Bernard Jennings; Advertiser Press Limited, Huddersfield; 1983.
  • Early Yorkshire Charters Vol.I and Vol IX (The Stuteville Fee) based on manuscripts of the late William Farrer and edited by Charles Travis Clay C.B., F.B.A. Printed for the Yorkshire Archaelogical Society Record Series 1952. Consulted at Public Record Office, Kew, UK.
  • Historic Knaresborough; Arnold Kellett; Smith Settle Limited, Otley; 1991.
  • The Knaresborough Story; Arnold Kellett; Lofthouse Publications, Pontefract; 1990.
  • Knaresborough in Old Picture Postcards; Arnold Kellett; European Library – Zaltbommel/The Netherlands; 1996.
  • Knaresborough (Archive Photographs); Arnold Kellett; Chalford Publishing Co.; 1995.
  • Knaresborough Workhouse; An interesting series of pages about Knaresborough Workshouse, and workhouses in general may be viewed here.



History of Knaresborough

Dave Teal
Stutton, Yorkshire, England

email me here : chapelcottage@btinternet.com (click here)

Knaresborough wills



Very early Yorkshire mentions of Webster and Walker. Over centuries wool work moved to be more centralized - mostly east and later more decentralized in west with home producers who added it to their other family based industries - a small few acres of land , perhaps trees. cows and swine. Some beef and pork would have been salted for late 1580s era

The male employment was "strongly supplemented by the employment of women and children. In 1588, one loom consumed the yarn carded and spun by five or six persons, and most of the work of preparing yarn for the weaver was performed by women and young persons. Every cottage had its spinningwheel or distaff, as an almost essential part of the domestic equipment. The clothier sent his wool out to the spinners, who, in their homes, spun the mass of raw material into fibre ready
for the loom.
... 1 During the years which followed, the West Riding was too much distracted by plague and civil war to give any attention to the matter of wages. But when some measure of peace had been restored the justices returned to the question, and at the Pontefract Sessions, April 1647, they drew up a comprehensive assessment. This document is the first of such assessments accessible, but is doubtless very similar in form and figures to its predecessors of the earlier years of the century. The assessment touched all the West Riding industries agriculture, building trades, tailoring, mining, and textile work. The clause relating to textile work ran as follows :... p 113 But a large part of the weaving was performed by men who, though employed by a clothier, carried on their occupation in their own homes. These men were also in possession of a piece of ground, and combined the cultivation of their patch of land with their work at the loom. At times they had to wait for further supplies of yarn, and these intervals were doubtless filled up with agricultural work on a small scale." ....

A third point of interest lies in the comparison of the rates paid to industry and agriculture. The most important maxima fixed in the 1647 assessment were : Agriculture. Maximum Wages. Bailiffs or foremen hired by gentlemen or wealthy persons per annum . . . . 3 los - od. 1 Chief servants in the employ of ordinary yeomen or husbandmen . . . . . 3 os - dFemale servants ....... 25s. to 30s. Mowers of grass and corn, per day, with or without food ........ $d. or lad. Ordinary farm labourers, per day, with or without \ Summer, 3d. or 6d. food ........ \ Winter, 2d. or 5^. Building Trades. Master masons and carpenters .... (id. or \zd.
\ Summer, Ad. or Sd. 1 heir men . . . . . . . r . . 1 < ,
\\ inter, 3d. or (mi. Plumbers, glaziers, bricklayers, slaters, tylers, and \ Summer, sd. or qd. others engaged in branches of building . . \ Winter, 3d. or 8d.
Miners. Colliers, per day, without meat or drink . . lod. Banksmen or drawers-up of coal, without sustenance Sd.
Clothworkcrs. All classes, per day ...... d. or Sd. It engaged for year, presumably with meat and \ Skilful, 3 < 1 rink ........} Common, 2 10s. o</. Tailors, with meat and drink .... 2d. to Ad.
' In addition the bailiff received a livery or ioa". per annum in lieu thereof. The large sums denote the maximum annual rates, and include food and
probably lodging.

to p 150


Walkers (fullers)

p.22 The Bradford mill, for instance, was let in the early 'forties to William and James Walker, at a rental of ten shillings per annum.2 In 1346 James resigned his share of the mill to William, being ' unable to hold the said mill on account of poverty '.

3 William retained his tenancy, aided by his son Thomas, and in 1353 managed to secure the monopoly of the fulling on the manor.4 In that year father and son 5 went to the manor court, and gave to the landlord forty pence by the year of

' new rent ' for the term of the father's life, being promised in return ' that there shall no strange fuller enter within the town and liberty of the Court of the Lord of Bradford, . . . neither shall anything be taken or carried out of the said town to be worked upon, nor shall any one use that craft in the said town, except (the Walkers) and their servants '. 6,,, In some wills we get a glimpse of another side of the clothier's life, as for example, in that of John Walker of Armley, clothier (1588; : ...

A path to upward mobility...

p 169 great hurt of the merchants and inhabitants of this town '.* These West Riding merchants generally sprang from local families of clothiers. The father would be a clothier, probably on a rather large scale of business, selling his cloths in the market at Leeds, or at Blackwell Hall and Bartholomew Fair. Thanks to the father's energies and thrift, the son was able to become apprenticed to some merchant, and in time set up as a fully qualified merchant and member of the trading companies, taking the wares of the West Riding to foreign parts. One instance of this is seen in the rise of the Denisons, a family prominent in the history of Leeds. George Denison, born in 1626, lived at Woodhouse, and engaged in the occupation of a clothier. His son, Thomas, became a merchant and member of the Merchant Adventurers ; Thomas's son in time followed the same career, and was elected Mayor of Leeds in 1727 and 1731. 2 Other branches of the family had a similar history. The Denison family had its origins in clothiers' cottages. Its members afterwards numbered three knights, a baron, a viscount, a Speaker of the House of Commons, a judge, a colonial governor, and a bishop, not to mention Mayors of Leeds and lesser dignitaries.

The history of other families is largely a repetition of the above story ; and this line of development accounts in part at least for the rise of the Armitagcs, the Jacksons, the Metcalfes, the Walkers, the Wades, and other families which have played a large part in the economic and political life of Leeds.

"...many witnesses in 1638 agreed that the kerseys, although now made of inferior wool, were ' both finer, better made, and of greater value and price than the said kersies were ' a quarter of a century before. 2 Thus, on the whole, Yorkshire kerseys had increased in variety, in length, in quality, and in value. And yet they were only paying a penny each for subsidy and ulnage ! This was bound, sooner or later, to bring about another conflict between the clothiers and those interested in the collection of the cloth fees, and the legal battle took up the years 1637 8. At this time the control of the ulnage for the West Riding was in the hands of Thomas Metcalfe of Leeds, 1 Evidence of Wm. Busfield of Leeds ; Exch. Dep. by Comm., 14 Chas. I, Mich., no. 20, York. 2 In 161 3, average price for Halifax kersey is. $d. to 2s. per yard. In 1638 the cheapest valued at is. iod. ; others sold at 25. bd. to 4s. 6d. per yard. Even Kcighley kerseys, 18 yards in length, sold at 25. to 2s. 6d. per yard.
described as a gentleman of great estate, but also a merchant who carried on foreign trade in the very wares over which the dispute arose. Metcalfe was assisted by a number of deputies, who lived in the various villages and towns, distributing the seals and collecting the pence. These deputies carried on some other occupation, and did the ulnage work as an additional means of livelihood. Some were yeomen, and might be actually engaged in making cloth ; others were inn-keepers or shopkeepers, or persons of other employments who possessed a little spare time to devote to these duties in return for the two, three, or four pounds which Metcalfe paid them. These ' deputyes did repayre to the clothiers' houses upon notice given, and there seal their karseis ', though, if the clothier wished, he might go down to the deputy's house and there purchase as many seals as he required, paying the customary penny for each. The relations betw'een Metcalfe and the kersey-makers were harmonious until October 1636, but in that year the former decided to raise the fee to i\d., since the cloths were now much too large to be allowed to escape any longer on payment of id. He therefore instructed his three chief assistants, Thomas Walker, Christopher Scaife, and John Crabtree, to demand an extra \d. per kersey from the clothiers, and these men were so successful in their threats and cajoleries that they were said to have wrung an additional 100 out of the clothiers of the four parishes in a short space of time.

Higher still in the industrial scale came the really big clothiers who were to be found in many parts, especially around Leeds, during the latter half of the eighteenth century. These men were large employers, and, in the congregation of workpeople in their shops, they established miniature factories many years ,/ before the perfection of the power loom or the application of steam. For instance, James Walker of Wortley employed twenty-one looms, of which eleven were in his own loom-shop, and the remainder erected in the houses of his weavers. 2 L. Atkinson, of Huddersfield, had seventeen looms in one room, and also employed weavers who worked in their own abodes. 3 These looms were all worked by hand, and in addition to the men engaged in weaving there were many women and children busy preparing yarn. Thus we see that there was no standard size of master clothier. He might be of any status, from the small man, employing his own family and one or two outsiders, to the wealthy clothier, with his two-score looms and his half a hundred workpeople.

been cast, to-day over his dreary toil. Such were the advantages from the workman's point of view, and many masters were quite willing to let the work be done in the men's homes rather than in their own shops. The weavers were paid at the same piece rate whether they were home workers or not, but masters felt that, human nature being what it was, it might be desirable to have one's employees under direct supervision. Thus in 1806 Mr. Walker, of Wortley, explained that he had his men working together as much as possible, ' on purpose to have [the work] near at hand, and to have it under our inspection every day, that we may see it spun to a proper
and he declared that cloth was generally ' more perfectly wrought and with less imperfections at home than abroad '.*

p 5 At Leeds x in 1201 a certain Simon the Dyer was fined 100s. for selling wine contrary to the legal assize ; 2 the nature of the entry and the amount of the payment indicate that Simon engaged in other trades besides that of dyeing, and was a wealthy man. Robertus Tynctor (dyer) de Ledes 3 was a witness to a Kirkstall Abbey charter not later than 1237, and an inquisition of 1258 records the names of William Webster (textor), Richard and Andrew Taillur (tailors ?), and John Lister (tinctor), in the list of Leeds cottars. 4 A little later, in 1275, Alexander Fuller of Leeds was fined for making cloth which was not of the proper breadth,
5 and thus in Leeds of the thirteenth century we meet the weaver, the fuller, and the dyer. The Calverley charters, which cover the thirteenth century, show that Calverley was a centre for the fulling of cloth. Standing on the river Aire, it was especially suited for this kind of work, and no less than five fullers are mentioned about 1257. 6 Turning to the south and west, the Court Rolls of the Manor of Wakefield provide abundant evidence of the existence of clothmakers in the surrounding villages. These Rolls refer to the area between Wakefield and Halifax, and throughout this expanse the distribution of textile workers is almost uniform.


Richard Webster Sheffield 1669


Proto-industrialisation: recherches récentes et nouvelles perspectives ...
edited by René Leboutte

Perhaps their move from Spofforth was influenced by activities resulting from inclosure/enclosure acts.

Some information regarding Follifoot - just 2 miles NW of Spofforth. " At the centre of the parish lies the Rudding Park Estate, with its' Regency House and Parkland, once the home to the Radcliffe family.

The south gatehouse, now known as "Rudding Gates", is a dominant feature of Follifoot main street'.
" http://www.follifoot.org.uk/history.html "The name of the village being derived from the Norse meaning "Place of the Horse Fight". This sport was popular in medieval times and the village was probably a centre for the training of horses and the staging of fights." The earliest evidence of human occupation in the neighbourhood of the village is the prehistoric cicular barrow found at Alexander Hill on the western boundary of the parish. The mound was 150 feet in circumference and was composed of earth and stones. ,,,

The village is not listed in the Doomsday Book and the earliest documentary evidence of the village occurs in the 12th century in land and tax documents. In 1186 it is recorded that Nicolas, son of Hugh, son of Hippolitus de Braam gave one "toft" - a field where a house or building stood, in Folyfait, to Gilbert, son of Thomas Oysel de Plumpton. Gilbert then donated this property to Fountains Abbey.

In 1203, Henriicus, Parson of Knaresborough, was fined in a York court for some illegality concerning lands at Folifeit. When Kirkby's Inquest was made in 1284, it was noted that a fourth part of Follifoot was held by William de Hartlington, owner of the Manor of Braham, and in 1364, Edward III appointed Thomas de Spaigne custodian of "one Messuage" - a dwelling house - and forty acres of land in Follifoot. Indeed by the time of Richard III the village was large enough to be marked on a 1378 map and for the villagers to be dunned for a substantial sum in poll taxes.

...IN the early part of the reign of James I, Richard Paver of Braham Hall obtained the lease of the Follifoot lands from the King for £140.3.4d. These were the lands which had belonged to the Priory of Newburgh before the Dissolution of the Monastries. The lands were held of the Manor of East Greenwich in free socage for the annual rent of £4.7.6d. for the Follifoot lands and £2.15.8d. for the Aketon lands.

...The establishment of Rudding Park is of relatively recent date, 19th century, and until this time Follifoot had no Manor House as such. The Manorial rights to the village were held by the lords of the Manor of Spofforth, namely the Percys, Earls of Northumberland and the Egremonts, Earls of Sussex. During the 18th century, at the time of the Enclosure Acts, Follifoot was the scene of an attempted "land grab". The establishment of Manorial rights was particularly important at this time, as the soil royalties of the moor and common lands were the prerogative of the Lord of the Manor. Daniel Lascelles, who had just purchased the Manor of Plumpton from Robert Plumpton's estate for £28,000, had also obtained land and cottages in Follifoot from a Dr. Hodgson for £1,000. He then continued the practice, illegally adopted by the Doctor, of holding a "Manor court". 


The area of the land in dispute was estimated at 1,100 acres, and eventually 1/16th of this was offered to Mr. Lascelles in compensation for waiving his claim to the Manor. Documents produced by George, Lord Egremont to establish that Follifoot was part of his Manor of Spofforth included court rolls from the times of Edward IV, Henry VI, Henry VII, Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, James I, Charles I and Charles II. The reports of the village constables to the Manorial court at Spofforth were also produced. The Book of the Survey of the Manor of Spofforth compiled in 1577 also listed Follifoot and Aketon in the Manor of Spofforth, with the primary landowners listed as William Plumpton, the Priory of Newburgh (who has held land in Follifoot at least since 1315), and Perivale Tombington. Alice Jonson was named as a tenant holder.

It is interesting to note that the executors of the will of Thomas Richardson of Knaresborough, purchased a pice of land in Follifoot in 1785, the income from which was used to supplement the income of the Petty School established by Richardson on Pump Hill, Knaresborough. This transaction is recorded on a stone slab to be seen at the present time over the doorway of the old school, now a private house.

Title: Spofforth enclosure records
Reference: WRRD B 18 [MIC 600]

Open arable fields, meadows, pastures, commons and wastes 465ac. Act 27 Geo III c.13 1787. Award 14 Feb 1792. Extinguishes tithes on lands to be inclosed by awarding to rector of Spofforth allotments on the open arable fields in lieu of all great and small tithes thereof (except those parts of the open fields which are awarded to owners of ancient messuages in lieu of rights of average and stray, and which are subject to payment of tithes in kind to the rector and Sir John Ingleby, bart.) Commissioners: William Hill, Tadcaster; Miles Dawson, Tadcaster; James Hebden, Leeds. Map missing. Surveyor: William Dawson, Oxton.

Date: 1792
Held by: North Yorkshire County Record Office, not available at The National Archives
Language: English
  • Hill, William, fl 1769-1792, commissioner of Tadcaster, North Riding of Yorkshire
  • Dawson, Miles, fl 1772-1799, surveyor and commissioner, North Riding of Yorkshire
  • Hebden, James, fl 1792, commissioner of Leeds, West Riding of Yorkshire
  • Spofforth, North Riding of Yorkshire
Creator Names:
  • Dawson, William, fl 1780-1821, surveyor and commissioner, North Riding of Yorkshire






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