Brierley Manor Court Rolls

Brierley Manour House

In the civil wars of the 1640's, the Dewsbury home of the Saviles, Thornhill Hall, was destroyed by the Roundheads, after being defended by Lady Ann Savile. The Savile name is to be seen on the Court Rolls for this period. The surviving Court Roll of the Mounteagle period is on a single sheet and, unfortunately, illegible; four Court Rolls from the Lord Talbot period have survived but only part of these can be made out; but the Court Rolls from the early Savile period are quite legible and very substantially written.

Here is a heading taken from one of these rolls:

"Brearley Manor: The great court baron Sir George Savile, baronet, lord of the said manor, holden at the Manor House Brearley on the sixteenth day of October, in the twelfth year in the reign of our sovereign Lord, Charles."

The Court Rolls dated 1640 to 1685 are headed 'For Sir George Savile' and are addressed 'Brearley' or 'Brerely' up to 1665 and 'Brierley' from then on.

These are set out with the names of the villages controlled by the manor and under the name of each village are the names of the head of each household. The villages named include Brierley, Shafton, Hiendley, Royston, Worsbrough, lngbirchworth, Penistone and Skelmanthorpe. This shows that the holding of land by Brierley Manor had grown again so that it was equal to the amount held at the time of the Harryngtons. The table of villages held by the Manor reflects the growth under the Harryingtons and the Stanleys. Then, there is a shorter list of holdings by Lord Talbot, followed by the list showing re-growth of the Manor under the Saviles. Once again, these rolls have been used to answer certain questions: Exactly which towns or villages were held by Brierley Manor at this time? How does the list of jurors or members of the Court relate to the residents of Brierley?

A true picture of the population of the village is difficult to achieve, due to the fact that res;dents of the village and landowners of the village are indistinguishable on the Court Rolls. However, in 1662, there were sixty-five rented properties in Brierley, with Grime- thorpe, sixteen rented properties in Shafton and fourteen rented properties in South Hiendley

For 1655, Henry Fidling was chosen constable of Brierley; John Wager and John Colly were chosen bylawmen and Attestators for Brierley; and Richard Mann was continued as pinder for Brierley. (The names 'Wager' and 'Fidling' are still in use in Brierley; 'Wager' is the name of a lane leaving Church Street on the north side between what is now Hall Farm and the Brierley Methodist Church; 'Fidling Farm' is also on the north of Church Street, adjacent to the school.) John Stoley was chosen constable for Shafton; Richard Marshall and John Swift were chosen bylawmen for Shafton; Richard Milner was chosen constable for South Hiendley; Thomas Huddlestone and Ralph Downs were chosen swornmen for South Hiendley; they were also bylawmen for South Hiendley.

Listed as freeholders in townships of the Manor for 1655 are Robert Hartcliffe of Cannon Hall, Cawthorne, and William, Lord Viscount Wentworth of Barnsley.

For Denby, there is an entry saying that 'Richard Clayton is dead and that Thomas Moorhouse enjoyeth his lands in the right of his wife'.

Lands Held by the Lords of Brierley Manor:

In 1612, the Lords of Brierley held lands in:
Brierley....Shafton....Ackworth....Grimethorpe....South Hiendley....Ingbirchworth

In 1655, the lord of Brierley held lands in:

Houlbeck....South Hiendley....Birthwaite....Ingbirchworth....Thurgoland....Cawthorne....Kexbourough

Jurors of Brierley Manor Court
In 1655, the jurors of the Court Baron were:
Francis West of Denby
George Holgate of Brierley
John Micklethwaite of Ingbirchworth
Richard Gill of Hodroyd
William Cawthorne of Brierley
Robert Blackeburne of Denby
Jonas Clarkeson of Shafton
John Hellilay of Brierley
George Pitt of Shafton
John Rishworth of Brierley
Richard Cusworth of Royston
Thomas Wildsmith of Birthwaite
Jude Clarkson of Brierley
Daniel Ellis of Worsbourough

There is a similar entry for Royston saying that 'George Wood is dead and that John Wood is his heir'.

Also for Thurgoland, is an entry saying that 'Anthony Moorwood is dead'.

The list of jurors of the Court Baron shows that the residents of Brierley had a greater representation on this, and therefore, probably a greater say in the affairs of the court.

Also in the Court Rolls, is the other business of the Court with entries such as 'We do present that the inhabitants of South Hiendley have not made sufficient horse way at Baynebridge Gate within the field leading towards Wakefield, according to a paine, formerly laid, whereby they have forfeited 30 shillings'.

A full transcription of the Court Roll for 1655 appears at the back of this book.

Also, with the heading 'Paines Laid' are the instructions of the Court. Between 1614 and 1660, the following instructions were given to people at Brierley:

---That John Marshall do not drive his goods through Henry Pitt's croft

---That the inhabitants of Brierley having pits in Sow Croft do fill them up.

---That George Green do scour his ditch at the Flashes.

---That William Berry do make his hedge at Sollil Mills. That the inhabitants of Brereley do make their furrows ---scour before the 1 1 th November.

---That the inhabtants of Brereley do scour the land near the high-way on both sides.

---That John Hoyland shall allow sufficient way for access as formerly accustomed.

---That the township of Brereley do repair and fill up the quarry above the Common Pinfold.

---That Francis Wildsmith do scour his ditch in Broad Lane.

The time usually allowed for these tasks was until the next Court meeting. The reference to pits in Sow Croft may be to South Croft where the Wesleyan Chapel was built. The entry 'that George Green do scour his ditch' appears more than once he must have been one for not scouring his ditches! The word 'scour' as used in these instructions seems to mean generally clean up. The lines could be read as: 'That George Green do clean out his ditch--in order that water would run freely and the ditch not silt up. The inhabitants of Brereley are told to make their furrows straight. In the open field system of the time, furrows that deviated too much would encroach on the next person's land which would lead to obvious problems. The existing pattern of curving field boundaries is due to recurring curves in the lines of furrows becoming accepted as the established boundary, the walls and hedges of the later enclosures being built on these displaced lines. The inhabitants of Brereley being told to clear the land near the highway could be related to the general problem of road maintenance of the seventeenth century. The instruction to leave sufficient way for access suggests that these people lived at the side of or had land adjoining the lanes leading to the fields and were obstructing these in some way. No satisfactory evidence can be found to place the site of the Pinfold mentioned. Many local people believe that it stood on Church Street, opposite where the Church now is.

These Rolls were written by John Stanhope who was steward of the manor during this period.

Since for quite a time the Lords of Brierley had not lived in Brierley, the Mounteagies choosing to live at Hornby, Lord Talbot at Pontefract and the Saviles at Rufford, several Brierley families were able to have homes of hall status in the village. The first of these was the manor house itself. In the mid-seventeenth century, it was the home of John Stanhope, and by 1701, had become the home of John Cawthorne.

The period 1665-1671 is covered by a Court Book, as opposed to the Rol Is which are large sheets of paper. The 1 672-1 685 Court Rolls are very substantial but almost illegible. We can see, then, from the several Court Rolls of Brierley Manor which have survived, covering the period 1538-1685, that Brierley was the leading manor for the Staincross area at this time.