Brierley Manor Court

At the Manor House, Manor Courts were held in October of each year. The actions of the Court were recorded on what are known as Court Rolls. The Court Rolls for Brierley Manor show that though the Lord of Brierley Manor hold lands in many of the villages of the south part of the West Riding, the core of the Manor was Brierley, with Grimethorpe, South Hiendley and Shafton.

Brierley Manor Court, held in October each year, dealt with the administration of the area on beha!f of the Lord of the Manor. The Court Rolls relate to the business of the various courts of the Manor-. Baron, Leet and Frankpiedge. Of these, the Frankpiedge is the most interesting as it deals with the population of the area. Its chief purpose was to determine to which village a man belonged. The court seems to have been held once a year, surprisingly enough, even during the Commonwealth of Oliver Cromwell and his son, Richard.

The Yorkshire Fines, dating from the period when Lord Edward Talbot was establishing himself in the manor at Brierley, give an insight into land-ownership and transfer at this time. A fine, in this context, was a fictitious suit at law which played the part of a conveyance. It could be a payment to the Lord of the Manor on the renewal of a lease, or a form of land transfer. The landowner became the plaintiff and the tenant, or leasee, the deforciant (defendant). The term 'Messuage' used in these documents meant a dwelling, including outbuildings, orchard, courtyard and gardens.

The first fine of interest is dated 1572 Trinity Term. The Queen is the plaintiff andi the deforciants, Stephen and Richard Harryngton. The land in question is the manor of Sedbergh, Langor-in-Dent and Brierley (spelt 'Brierley'!). This is the first record of this present spelling of Brierley, earlier spellings being 'Brerelia', 'Brareley', and 'B rea r I ey'. This modern spelling of 'Brierley' was not found in common use until a century later. The fact that Harryngtons are mentioned at Brierley Manor at this time is surprising, as almost one hundred years had passed since the Manor of Brierley was given to the Stanley family. It was well-known that the Harryngtons had contested the Stanleys' rights to Brierley Manor and it could well be that this fine, issued by the Queen, was intended to establish who had the rights to the manor.

In Michaelmas term of 1574, we find another fine issued. This time, the plaintiffs are John Whittakers and Thomas Mart, gentlemen, the deforciant being William Stanley, Knight, Lord Mounteagle. The land in question is the Manor of Brearley, Shafton, Sedbergh, and Langor-in-Dent, almost the same properties which had been contested two years earlier bv the Harryngtons. This again, probably comes in the context of a fine issued to establish the rightful ownership of these manors.

By Easter Term, 1579, another fine had appeared. This time, the plaintiff is George, Earl of Shrewsbury, the deforciant, William Stanley, Knight, Lord Mounteagle, and the land in question the Manor of Brearley with two hundred messuages and a windmill, with lands in Brearley, Shafton, etc. This is the fine which cleared the way for the Earl of Shrewsbury to acquire the Manor of Brierley for his son, Edward Talbot, in 1 580, and it is interesting to note this early mention of the windmill in Brierley.

Shafton receives a special mention in these fines as Thomas Harryngton had given to his son, John Harryngton, the Manor of Shafton as a special gift, thereby taking Shafton out of the direct rule of Brierley Manor. Following the death of John Harryngton, his widow, Maud, married Edmund Dudley and for a time their names appear in connection with this manor at Shafton. (Cultivation appears to have been carried out to a great extent here, as there were eighteen carucates of land under the plough in the eleventh century.)

The final fine in this sequence is dated 1586 Trinity Term. Here, the plaintiffs, George, Earl of Shrewsbury, and Edward Talbot, are establishing Henry Compton, knight, and Lord Compton as stewards at Brierley Manor. The land again is described as 'The Manor of Brearley with two hundred messuages and windmill with land in Brearley, Shafton, etc. These fines also show that there was another, lesser-known manor in Brierley-the manor of Follv Hall. In a fine dated 1584 Trinity Term, we find Robert Swift as plaintiff and Robert Lee, esquire, as deforciant, the lands in question being, this time, the Manor of Follyatt Halle and six messuages and three cottages with lands in Baine, Pollington, Campsall, Snaith, Norton, Kirk-Sandal and Strisethorpe. Folly Hall stands a quarter of a mile to the north- west of the road to Hemsworth. As with all farms in the area, re-building has been carried out throughout the centuries, resulting in a mixture of building styles.

Lords of Brierley Manor:
1335-1347---Robert Neville, Brierley and Hornby
1347-1403---Sir Robert Neville, Brierley and Hornby
1403-1438---Sir William Harryngton (In 1424 he held the manors of Brierley and Hornby and held lands in 23 -----------------Yorkshire villages)
1438-1460---Sir Thomas Harryngton
1460-1485---Sir James Harryngton
1485-1489---Thomas Stanley
1489-1523---Sir Edward Stanely (Created Lord Mounteagle in 1514. He, too, held the Manors of Hornby and -----------------Brierley and held lands in 21 Yorkshire villages)
1523-1560---Sir Thomas Stanley-Lord Mounteagle
1560-1580---Sir William Stanley-Lord Mounteagle

Lands held by the Lords of Brierley Manor

In 1347, the Lord of Brierley held lands in the following villages:

Adwick.... Badsworth....Farnley....Gargrave....Hetton....Hoyland....Kirkby Wharfe....Lothersden
Monk Bretton....Oakenshaw....Potterton....Tanshelf....Brierley

In 1424, the Lord of Brierley Held lands in:

Cawthorne....Grimethorpe....Penistone....Shafton....South Hiendley....Chevet....Gunthwaite....Royston
Oxspring....Skelmanthorpe....Silkstone....Ardsley....Clayton....West Bretton....Brierley

In 1586, the Lord of Brierley held lands in:

Shafton....South Hiendley....Kellington....Skelmanthorpe....Worsborough....Fenwick....Ardsley....Tankersley