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Dronsfields c.1261-1407

The Dronsfields or 'Dransfields' were a well-to-do family who began to accumulate a considerable estate in and around West Bretton. However, there are no records of a house on the site. 

The following genealogy is gleaned from land charters given in Hunter's 'South Yorkshire'  vol. II, p. 241:

In the reign of King Edward II, Thomas de Dronsfield sen. and his son, also called Thomas, seem to have owned houses and property in West Bretton. Thomas sen. had three sons:

1. John of West Bretton

2.  Edmund - had a son Walter

3. Robert  - in 1323 his attorney was Henry de Spenthorne, parson of Thornhill.

Thomas de Dronsfield sen. is mentioned in 22 Ed. I [1294] and 1310. He married Joanna. Their son was Thomas jun. mentioned in 4 Ed. II [1310-1311] when he received 3 acres in West Bretton. This Thomas seems to have married Mariota Aryas daughter of John Aryas. Thomas jun. was deceased by 1315-1316. John and Mariota's son was John de Dronsfield.

John de Dronsfield  of West Bretton became prominent in the area and is mentioned in charters of King Edward II's reign. About 1319 he married Agnes de Thornhill, daughter of John de Thornhill [d. 1322]. John and Agnes had two sons:

1. John

2. Thomas of West Bretton

Thomas had a son Edmund whose heraldic arms were paly of six on a bend three mullets

There is little that we know about the family but a rental of the year 1370 held in the Bretton Estate Archive records lands held by them. The Estate then included Bretton, Cumberworth, Darton, Cawthorne, Barugh, Gawber, Barnsley and Keresforth.

Later in Henry IV's reign, the son of  a John de Dronsfield and his wife, Joan, was William Dronsfield who was knighted by King Henry IV at Pontefract Castle. Sir William served the king firstly as an esquire (when the king, as Henry Bolingbroke was Earl of Derby), and later as a messenger to his Chamberlain. He was a sheriff of Yorkshire and represented the County of York in Parliament at Coventry in 1404. Sir William married Grace, a daughter of Sir William Gascoigne, but they were childless, and he died in 1407. Sir William Dronsfield's sisters,  Agnes and Isabel, were co-heirs, Agnes marrying John Wentworth of North Elmsall, and Isabel became the wife of John Bosville of Ardsley.This brought Bretton into the hands of the Wentworth family and although there is no evidence that Agnes and her husband lived there, she bequeathed the estate to her third son, Richard Wentworth.

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Tim Midgley, 13th December 2011.