"The History of the Old Town of Derby, Connecticut 1642-1880" by Samuel Orcut t and Ambrose Beardsley, M.D. 1880 p779 "Stephen..was a merchant in New York city..He died Fe b 16, 1860; buried in Greenwood, of which cemetery he was one of the original incorporators , and a director through his life. He went to New York when 18 or 20 years of age, having had only ordinary advantages at Derby, and engaged himself as clerk to the firm of Lawrence and Whitney, shippers, in which his brother Henry was a partner. By energy and business talent he soon acquired means to enter copartnership with John Currie, a Scotchman, in the wholesale grocery trade. He traded largely in wines, then in cotton, then engaged in ship-building and the shipping trade to nearly all parts of the world; then in canals and railroads, and finally in banks, accumulating great wealth."

He set himself in business as a liquor retailer and later wholesaler in 1805 at Nr 4 Stone Street, New York. Stephen Whitney's fortune grew heavily thanks to some large and fortunate speculations in cotton. In the 1830's he was among New York's richest men. His fortune was doubled by shrewd investments in city real estate. Second in wealth to John Jacob Astor, Whitney's fortune was estimated between 5-10'000'000 dollars at its height.


Webster Family Genealogy    Yorkshire Roots; Inventors and More...





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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."



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