Lords of Brierley Manor

Adam Fitz Swein had two daughters named Amabel and Matilda. The latter married John Malherb and the couple were given Brierley as their home. On the death of Adam, the estate was shared by the two daughters. Amabel receiving Cawthorne and Matilda, Brierley. From then on, Brierley passed to the Longvillers and then the Neviles. When Sir Geoffrey Nevile died at Brierley in 1284, the village was described as having one hundred acres in demesne, thirteen acres of meadow, with manor, garden and fish-ponds. This is the first mention of the manor as a building. At this time it was probably a kind of summerhouse on its hilltop position, overlooking the moated hall. The manor house later became the centre of administration for the area. Now, having been repaired several times, it still dominates the landscape around Brierley.

In 1288, a grant of land by Margaret Nevile of Brierley gives an interesting description of the village: Margaret, the widow of Geoffrey Nevile, gave to Bernard de Brearley, who was a clerk, a carucate of land and twenty acres of meadow in Brierley and Grimethorpe. The grant reads as follows: "Bernard and his heirs to hold of the chief Lord. Margaret for herself and her heirs has further granted that Bernard and his heirs may have reasonable estovers to burn, build and enclose in all woods of Margaret and her heirs in the said towns, without a view and livery of the foresters; also that they may grind all kinds of grain coming from the said tenements at the mill of Margaret and her heirs of Brierley". (Estovers were the rights to cut and collect wood.)

This manor of Brierley was held in 1347 by Sir Robert Nevile who also held the manor of Hornby, which is in Lancashire, and from these controlled many Yorkshire and Lancashire villages. Hornby is a sma!l village, eight miles north-east of Lancaster and is linked with Brierley history from 1335-1 583. Sometime between the seventh and ninth century, local people, having been converted to Christianity, had erected a stone preaching-cross in the village of Hornby. In the period of monastic building, a small priory had also been erected by the pre-monstratensians, to the west of Hornby, and this spot is now marked by Priory Farm. In the thirteenth century the village had made history when Roger de Montbegon of Hornby had helped other barons to force King John to sign the Magna Carta. Roger died in Hornby in 1228.

Lords of Brierley Manor:
1066----------Ernui, Brerelia and Hindelia

1086----------Alric, with all Staincross Wapentake

-----------------Swein, all Staincross Wapentake

1158----------Adam Fitz Swein, all Staincross Wapentake

-----------------John Malherb, Brearley Village

1232----------Hugo de Longvillers, Brearley Village

1254-1279--John de Longvillers, Brearley Village

1279-1284--Geoffrey Nevile, Brearley Village

1284-1289-- Margaret Nevile, Brearley Village

1289-1335--John Neville, Brearley Village

By 1335, Robert Nevile had become the first lord of the combined manors of Brierley and Hornby and ruled them from Brierley until 1347. From then on, the manors stayed together under the Neviles and laler the Harryngtons. By 1424, Sir William Harryngton held twenty-one Staincross viliages from his manor at Brierley, together with his lands at Hornby. -i his is when Hall Steads really came to its height. It was the hall of the Brereley Park of the Harryngtons. The park contained Hall Steads, the manor house, and Lodge Farm. It covered about four hundred and twenty-five acres and was bounded by, but did not include, Spa Well, Tr cket Head, Brierley Common, Grimethorpe village, Tom Bank and West Haigh Wood. The boundary can still be seen as a wall along the side of the Common and as a grass mound along the side of West Haigh Wood. Tom Bank Wood, Spa Well Plantation, Car Plantation and Ladywood are plantations within the Park whilst Howell wood, Burntwood and West Haigh wood are the remains of a forest which stood between Brierley, Kirkby and Great Houghton.

In West Haigh Wood is another mediaeval enclosure similar to that at Hall Steads. It lies only half a mile from Hall Steads but stands outside the land known to be owned by the Harryngtons and no documentary evidence has been found to explain its presence. It covers about one acre and is enclosed by trenches or ditches which are about three feet deep and six feet across. Its general shape is one large rectangle, one hundred yards by one hundred and twenty yards with a smaller rectangle on the south-east side.

Thus from the midst of this Brereley Park Sir William Harryngton ruled his villages. In 1447, his son, Sir Thomas Harryngton, was Sheriff of Yorkshire and in 1458 joined the Duke of York for the ensuing Wars of the Roses. John Harryngton, Thomas's son, had married Maud Clifford, s'ster of Lord Clifford of the House of Lancaster and so it seems that the troubles of the times split the family. Another son of Sir William Harryngton is thought to have left Brierley and settled at Kelstone near Bath. Sir Thomas and Sir John Harryngton died at the Battle of Wakefield which took place near Sandal Castle on December 29th, 1460. Sir Thomas's will asked that he be buried at the priory at Monk Bretton.

John Harryngton left two daughters: Ann, aged five and Elizabeth aged four. Their uncle, Sir James Harryngton, took care of them and presumably took over at Hall Steads. His cus'llody of the g'ris, -who were heirs to the estates of Brierley and Hornby, was challenged. A letter was 'found', saying that their uncle was keeping them prisoners and they were therefore put under the guardianship of Thomas Stanley of Lancash;re. In 1485, Sir James Harryngton, the uncle who had been on the side of Richard of York at the Battle of Bosworth, was dis- possessed of his lands and left the country.

It is possible that this is the time when Hall Steads was abandoned, as the estates of Brierley then went to the Stanleys of Hornby. The Stanleys had started as the chief foresters of Wirral[ and became a leading Lancashire family. Edward Stanley married Ann Harryngton and this gave the Stanleys control of the Harryngton estates at Brierley and at Hornby. Edward was later given the title of Lord Mounteagle for his decisive leadership of the English archers at the Battle of Flodden. He was also an accomplished musician and played at the court of Henry Vil at the King's request. Edward's father, Thomas Stanley, was given the title of Earl of Derby for his support of Henry Tudor at Bosworth.

The Harryngton family never gave up their claim to Brierley. In 1503, a James Harryngton had the dispossession of his grandfather reversed in order that he might inherit his mother's lands. It is not clear as to whether this included Brierley Manor. He was Rector of Badsworth church with which the Harryngtons had connections. Ann Harryngton, who had married Sir Edward Stanley, died and as she had no children, her sister, Elizabeth Harryngton, who had married Richard Beaumont, considered herself to be sole heiress to Brierley Manor. On failing in her claim, she gave her support to her cousin, John Harryngton of Slaidburn, who was later found to have been poisoned.

The old castle in which Roger de Montbegon lived is now a mcated site to the north of Hornby and it is interesting to note that it is called Castle Stede, whilst the old hall at Brierley was called Hall Steads. (Stead is the old English word for site.) The old castle was replaced by one built by Edward Stanley in 1513 on the banks of the River Wenning. To the east of this are the woods that are the remains of Hornby Park. The Mounteagle coat of arms can be seen on the church tower at Hornby.

At this time, the materials used for building were changing. The dissolution of the monasteries in 1539, as at Monk Bretton, led to vast changes in the economic structure of the country and one of the results of the changes was the increased use of stone for domestic building. Many of the stone barns now seen date from this period. Another change which came about with the dissolution of the monasteries was that for the first time many people were able to become farm owners, though still paying to the manor in the form of leases or free rents. After a few prosperous generations, these farmers were able to re-build their farms in stone.

Towards the end of this particular century, in 1580, on the death of the third Mounteagle, the Brierley-Hornby estate was sold up. Only the castle and Hornby remained with the Mounteagies, whilst Brierley was sold to the Earl of Shrewsbury who bought it for his son, Edward Talbot. Thus, the link between the history of Brierley and

Hornby was severed. The Parker family became the Lords Mounteagle and it was to a Lord Mounteagle-Parker that the letter disclosing the Gunpowder Plot was sent. In June, 1643, Parliamentary forces captured Hornby Castle and the Mounteagle reign came to an end.

Edward Talbot had New Hall, Pontefract, built as his home, from the stones of St. John's Priory, having paid two hundred pounds for the carting of them. Lord Talbot, though choosing to live at Pontefract, used Brereley as the head of the estate, and so the Court Rolls of this period are headed 'Brereley Manor'.

In the 12th. and 13th centuries a family called Stapleton held the Manor of Cudworth. They had a large hall there to which a chapel was added about the year 1200. From 1254 there are few records of Cudworth until 1424 when land there is mentioned as part of the estates of Briarley Manor. Cudworth until this present century consis- ted of the tw'n hamlets of Over Cudworth built around a pond, and Nether Cudworth built around a village green. Later these became known as Upper and Lower Cudworth. In 1542 George Eyre held the Manor of Over Cudworth. This manor appears to have been short lived as there is no further mention of it. Then in 1 585 Robert Jobson acquired the Manor of Cudworth, together with its water mill, fishing rights on the River Dearne, and a nearby coal mine. The water mill stood at Storrs Mill on the road from Cudworth to Darfield. Remains of the mill and of the old bridge over the River Dearne can still be seen in Storrs Mill Wood close to the remains of an old drift mine.