Sir William de Miggeley
1320 - 'Justice and man of law.....and of that county'30
"William de Miggeley was made a knight of the Shire* [of York] by Edward III... he served on five Royal Commissions to deal with treason and other misdemeanours and also served in the English parliament of 1335-6... he was granted by the king a large piece of land near Wakefield, no doubt that Midgley on the south west side of Wakefield which is little more than a landmark today"1. * Such a knight was an M.P. i.e. a member of Parliament. Clause 18 of the Magna Carta demanded that the king would send to each County four times a year, two judges whose job would be sitting together with four knights from that County to hold assizes in the County Court.16
THE MANOR OF STANLEY
At some time after about 1314 William married Maud de Hercy [Hercy etc.] daughter of Sir Hugh de Hercy of Grove, Nottinghamshire. It appears that Hugh de Hercy had been granted the fee or manor of Stanley, S.E. of Wakefield, probably as reward for enjoining Earl John de Warenne in 1297 in Scotland [writ tested at St,. Paul's, London 24 September 1297]. In the following year Henry was also called-up to attend what was to culminate in the Battle of Falkirk where William Wallace and his army were defeated. It was not uncommon for the father of the bride to grant lands and/ or rents to his daughter and her husband at their marriage to ensure that the newly weds could sustain themselves into the future.
'The last John Earl Warren, Lord of the Manor of
Wakefield, 7 E. 2. made many grants of manors, wastes, and vaccaries (Daries)
and let some by copy, &c. which the Kings of England afterwards confirmed
within this great lordship of Wakefield. And it appears (says Dodsworth, No.
797. Harl. MS. in Brit. Mus.) by the perusal of diverse evidences and rolls
of court, and other memorandums, That one Sir Hugh de Hercy, Knt. (who bore
for his arms, gules on a chief argent a label of 3 points azure) held of the
Earl Warren a certain manor or fee in Stanley, (by which it seems there were
two manors in that township) Wakefield and Osset, and granted the same manor
or fee to William de Midgely and Maud his wife, and to the heirs of their
bodies ; and the same manor did consist of eleven shillings free rent, and
services of diverse free tenants, and of eight messuages and eight oxgangs of
land, and a half, customary, and of the services of the same customary
tenants, and of our close of demeasne land called the Horsecrofte in Stanley.
'AA. 147b. It appeareth by the p'usall of divers Evidences and Rolls of Court and other memorandums that one Hugh de Hercy knt held of the Erle a certain manor or fee in Stanley, Wakefield and Ossett and granted the same manor or fee to William de Midgeley & Maud his wife and to the heires of their bodyes, and the same manor did consist of xi shillings free rent and services of diverse free tenants and of 8 messuages and 8 oxgangs and half of landcustomar' and of ye services of the same customary tenants, and of one close of demeaneland called the Horscroft in Stanley. In abt. 24, Ed 3 it appears it was divided among many coheirs for Wodroves held the moity thereof, Gargrave and Copley another moity. It is believed that Robert Bradford and John Saville of Wakefeild are this day Lords of the mannor. Court at Wakefeild on Friday in the feast of St. Michael 20 E. 3 (1346).' [Harl. M.S. ., 797, cited in Y. A. J., vol 8 (1884), p. 9.]
The Hercy heraldic arms: Gules on a chief argent, a label of three points azure
In 1316 Shelf ('Shef', 'Schef'), an appendage of the manor of Wakefield was held by 'Johannes de Schorell' who was probably Sir John de Thornhill* [Nomina Villarum, 1867, p.361.] Between 1298 and 1314 Adam de Swillington was granted free warren in Shelf by John de Warrene, 8th earl, but because he was an adherent of the rebellious Thomas earl of Lancaster, he forfeited his lands and privileges in 1322. John de Thornhill died in 1322 and sometime after this William de Miggeley a probable tenant if not kinman of the Thornhills appears to have been granted the manor, either under Edward II or possibly in 1327 when the young Edward III, under the control of Queen Isabella and Sir Roger de Mortimer, gained the crown. * In 1314, the men of Sir John de Thornhill, an ancestor of Henry de Saville, paid 4s.6d. in Shelf for foreign service [probably Bannockburn ] to John earl Warrene. .[Watson, History of Halifax, p. 115; Crabtree, History of Haifax, pp. 193-4 referring to a survey of the manor of Wakefield made in 1314] This intransigence seems to have continued when n 1326 the township of Shelf paid a fine of 12d. for contempt in refusing to elect a constable. [W.C.R., 1322-1331, 2013, p. 84.]
From the Calendar of Patent Rolls : 11th August 1337 at the Parliament
held at the Tower of London -
'Grant for life, in recompence of his long service in the Chancery, to Benedict de Normanton, king's clerk, of the lands in Frisleye and Shelf, co. York, which William de Miggeleye, deceased, held of the grant of the present king. By K. & C.' (King and Chancellor) [C.P.R.,1334-1338, p. 492.]
Later in 1348 Benedict enfeoffed Wiliam de Mirfield [arms: argent a saltier gules] in the manors of Farsley and Shelf. [C.I.P.M., 22 Ed III]
Besides the manor of Midgley, Sir William had also held Shelf and 'Frisleye' for life. Shelf was so named from the shelving situation in which it lay within the landscape and there is no difficulty locating Shelf which is five kilometres N.E. of Halifax town centre. Shelf rendered as Scelf in the D.B. summary  and recorded as consisting of as one carucate [60-120 acres] of land was held by the king. [William I at that time and previously by Edward the Confessor] In In 4 Edward II (July 1310-July 1311) Adam de Swillington was granted free warren in the manor of Shelf, which, being part of the manor of Wakefield, is known to have been held in chief by John de Warrene, 8th and last earl of Warrene. [Nomina Villarum] During this time William* (sic) de Swillington, was granted free warren in his demesne lands at Shelf, and also 'Rodes' [Rhodes], 'Birle' and 'Wibbeysey.'29 At the same time that Adam had received free warren 'another family had been granted the manor of Shelf'. [Watson History of Halifax, p. 115 taken from the Calendar of Charter Rolls.]
24th May 1311 at Berwick upon Tweed -
John de Warrene held Shelf in capite until 1317-1318 when Shelf was
forcibly taken with the rest of the manor of Wakefield, into the hands of
Thomas earl of Lancaster. Adam forfeited his lands in 1322 for his
support of earl Thomas at the Battle of Boroughbridge. He was later pardoned
but fined the huge sum of 1000 marks to save his life, for having taken part in
earl Thomas' rebellion against the two Despensers. [Ibid.] Along with many
other rebels, Adam's fine was declared erroneous in 1327 when earl Thomas'
attainder was reversed and he thus regained his lands and charter of free
warren at Shelf. [Ibid. ] These pardons occurred at the beginning of the
new reign of Edward III who was controlled by the two regents, his mother,
Queen Isabella and her paramour, Sir Roger Mortimer whom Ian Mortimer has
labelled with magnificent hyperbole, 'The Greatest Traitor'.
Before Shelf and Frisley were granted to William de Midgley, the two manors were held by Galfrid (Geoffrey) de Fersley (Frisley) probably son of Richard de Shelf 31 who had been adhering to the Scots. Geoffrey as 'Geoffrey de Shelf' appears in the Wakefield Court Rolls for 1331 where he was fined for a trespass 32
In the Inquisition post mortem for a Richard Wade there is made mention of Shelf and Frisley at this time, 28th June 1316:
[Calendar of Inquisitons Post Mortem vol. 2, Ed. III, p. 370.]
8th March 1318 at Byfleet -
* The TNA offers this as Farsley now part of Leeds [SC 8/258/12868] but this is more likely to be the lost village name of 'Feslei' found in D.B. (1086)
The TNA reference: SC
8/258/12868 describes in French the petitioner John Cosyn (Cousin)
Calendar of Close Rolls, Edw II, vol. IV, 1323-1327 p.56 (order to acquit Henry Darcy and Hugh de Totehill of the sum due for these lands, as the King had subsequently granted custody of them to Adam de Stirkeland, and their grant has now been annulled) Calendar of Fine Rolls, vol. II, Edw II, 1307-1319 p.355 (grant of these lands to Henry Darcy and Hugh de Totehill) & p.358 (commitment of lands belonging to Geoffrey de Fressheley to Adam de Stirkeland, at pleasure) C.P.R.,1317-1321 p.113 (grant of these lands to Henry Darcy and Hugh de Totehill)
As a consequence of this Scottish adherence, the two manors and their tenements appear to have been granted by King Edward II to William de Midgley, whose overlord would have been Sir John de Thornhill a subinfeudatory of John 8th earl Warenne of the manor of Wakefield A.K.A William de Shelf or Schelf
In October 1338 Adam and John, sons of 'William de Shelf' i.e. Sir William de Miggeley, are mentioned in a lease of the mill at Raistrick whereby Adam and three named others were granted the lease for a year with John his brother being one of those who gave pledge. [Wakefield Court Rolls, 1338-1340, p. 15.]
In 1339 [12 Ed.III], following the
death of William, Edward II granted Shelf and Frisley to Benedict de
Normanton who enfeoffed William de Mirfield, a priest.23 * This is probably meant to read 'Adam'.
"..to Bennet de Normanton in fee, all those lands and tenements in Shelf &c.
which William de Midgley late held by the service of one penny*."23
* A 'peppercorn rent'.
In 1345 a Cecilia de Sowerby daughter of Alan granted a messuage and garden in Shelf to Geoffrey de Shelf, son of Richard and four years later this Geoffrey granted this land in Shelf to Margery de Shelf daughter of Maya.34
Shelf Hall and Park at the head of Coley Beck, from the 1852 O.S. map.
In 1355 William de Mirfield is mentioned as the lord of the manor of Shelf, he being one of three justices for the West Riding.33 The manor of Shelf was later farmed by the Swillingtons, for in May 1381 Robert de Swillington was enfeoffed of the manor paying 20 shillings for the licence. [C.P.R.] Then in the regnal year 16 Rich.II [Calendar year, 1393] Roger de Swillington, son and heir of Robert [d.1392] the son of Sir Adam held the manor.23 In 3 Hen. VI Margaret Swillington, sister and heir of John married Sir John Grace knt. who held by his marriage 'two parts of two parts' of the manor of Shelf. [Watson, p. 115.]
The location of "Frisleye' is a little more problematical. 'Frisleye' appears in the Domesday Book as 'Werla feflei'22 [there is no dot between the two names unlike the other townships in the same entry which leads some to think they were one place. However the second word Feslei begins in lower case unlike the other entries. If the omission of the dot is accidental then they were two separate townships. This would then translate as Werla . feslei . Werla has been identified as Warley, a township just within the N.W. sector of the modern day Halifax. HALIFAX has been identified by some as FESLEI of Domesday Book which was probably the old name for Halifax. Where the name Halfax originated it is not certain but we still have here a reference to its old name of 'Frisleye' in 1338, early in King Edward III's reign. This indicates that 'Werla' and 'Feslei' were separate places or two places very close to each other considered as one. The name Halifax seems to have evolved after this date, perhaps phonetically from a combination of Werla and feslei 'Werla feslei' to 'Werla faxslei' to 'Halifexley' when the 'ley' was dropped to form Hali - fax . Seriously mumble and mangle the name[s] Werla feslei [there were many migrants here during the town's industrialisation] and it can sound like Halifax, so perhaps its origin is not so latent. We see something similar with Belper in Derbyshire which believe it or not was originally the Norman-French Beaurepaire, the two syllables were retained but the original name was phoneticised.
Halifax parish church has the Midgley coat of arms emblazoned on the church ceiling and with the industrial involvement of the Midgley family in the town and the writing of Halifax, and its Gibbet-Law Placed in a True Light by Samuel Midgley in 1761, the indications are that William de Miggeley was granted Halifax in the early 1300's. At that time of course it was still a small Yorkshire village ['township'] within the Graveship of Shelf and not the industrial complex it became. So next time you see 'Halifax Building Society' you might recall a little piece of medieval history and think 'Werla Feslei Building Society'. See Midgley of Halifax
William de Miggeley's father was possibly John de Miggeley(e) who is recorded in the Wakefield Court Rolls for 1274-1297 at Sowerby 'Sourby' court. Here he is mentioned as the forester for the forest of Sowerby and resided at 'Hathershelf' south of Mytholmroyd. Hathershelf is now marked by Hathershelf Lane which joins the Long Causeway and Mytholmroyd to Sowerby. John is perhaps the same person in 1317 who is mentioned as acting with known supporters of Thomas earl of Lancaster:
Commission of oyer and terminer to John de Donecastre, Robert de Lathum, and John de Lancastre on complaint by William de Wyndhulle that John de la Leghe,
John de Dynleye, Henry de Lacy, Matthew de Shepeden, Thomas de Hatfeld, Hugh de Coppelay, William de Coppelay, Richard son of Adam son of Walter de Cliderhou,
William de Thornor, Richard le fitz Neel de Halifax, Thomas Ibbesone, John de Miggeleye and Gilbert de la Leghe with others, broke the doors of his houses at ‘Brunlay’
(Burnley), co. Lancaster, assaulted him, cut off his right hand, broke his legs and arms, and took and carried away his goods. By K.
The like to the same justices on complaint by Adam de Hallestede that John de la Leghe, &c. as above. By K.
The like to the same justices on complaint by Hugh de Wysewall that Richard son of William de Spellowe, with others, broke
his close at Kirkedale (Kirkdale now part of Liverpool), co. Lancaster, assaulted him, cut off his right hand, and took and carried away his goods. By K. [C.P.R. 1317-1321, p. 606.]
William de Miggeley's two years of Parliament, 1335 and 1336 are significant in English history because of the influence their proceedings exerted on the military, social and economic welfare of the nation. This influence is probably still felt to the present day. The year 1335 saw a merchantile Parliamentary lobby requesting a solution to the Flanders wool trade which led to Edward III inviting Flemish weavers to England [anyone with the name (le) Fleming is likely to have appeared in England at this time]. Thus a major impetus was provided to the woollen industry in England, instead of exporting wool it was finished in its country of origin. Edward III commanded that the Lord Chancellor of 'The Lords' should sit upon a woolsack to remind the Lord's how important it was to the trade of England. This still occurs today.
The year 1336 was also significant for Parliament's very magnanimous offers of revenue to assist with Edward III's military demands. Edward had been seeking funds to begin a campaign in France to reassert his lineal claim to French territories. Calais became the only major prize of these campaigns which ultimately led to Calais becoming Edward III's offshore Wool Staple. Edward's funds were finally granted by Parliament in 1345 the year before Crecy.
THE THREE NEDS -William appears to have lived in the latter part of Edward I's reign, throughout Edward II's reign and the first half of Edward III's reign. As a lawyer, Sir William is likely to have invested heavily in the profitable wool trade, this may explain why the name Midgley, recorded in 1319 was one of 17 most prominent names in Yorkshire.
William de Miggeley is mentioned in the
Chartulary of Monkbretton Priory:
1. William Miggeley on Friday before the Feast of the Annunciation, 1320, where he is a witness to a quitclaim with others - Edmund de Percy, Henry de Ledes, Hugh Pycorde & John Taillour of Cotheworth.17
2. William de Miggelay is mentioned as a witness with Sirs [Domino] John Darcy, John de Eland, Nicolas de Wortley and Adam de Everingham and others in a charter dated at Calthorn [Cawthorne, S. Yorks.] after the Feast of St. Dunstan, Archbishop, in 6 Ed III [1332/3].18
3. William son of William De Migelay is also mentioned as a witness in the release of a quitclaim for William de Notton 19
Early in his reign, Edward III staffed the Offices of State with laymen who were paid in cash and lands instead of benefices. Edward quickly abandoned this youthful attempt at benevolence for it could not continue indefinitely, thus it may have been in this early time of his reign, sometime after 1327 that William de Miggeley was granted the manor lands near Wakefield.
The likely manor mentioned above was that of New Hall, Midgley on the
S.W. side of Wakefield and Stanley [formerly Midgley Hall]
Hall N.E. of Wakefield.. The residence near Midgley was a moated
manor house. The moat is still extant. The name "New" indicates that
William or one of his predecessors was granted new land by Edward III. The term
"New" indicates a rebuilding at some stage. The nearby manor of
Thornhill was built in 1236 in the time of Sir John de Thornhill which was
rebuilt as 'Newhall" at Thornhill by Nicholas Saville in 1490.
William appears to be a descendant of Thomas de Midgley who brought his family from either Normandy or the Loire Valley in the reign of Henry II. If this is the case then William would have been about the fourth generation from the original Norman migrant. Henry of Anjou, later King Henry II and first Plantagenet king of England, was a native of Anjou in the Loire Valley, France. After two visits to England, firstly accompanying his mother Matilda in 1147, he landed in England for a third time during early January 1153 either in Dorset or Hampshire. His fleet consisted of 36 ships carrying 3,000 footmen and 140 horses. Within a year of his 'invasion', Henry had signed a treaty with the unpopular King Stephen who died later that year. Henry then set about destroying over 1000 wooden castles that had been erected during the troubled times of Stephen. Undoubtedly Henry's supporters would have been rewarded with lands throughout England to help keep the peace. Thomas was granted land in Yorkshire principally for the purposes of helping to shore up the northern marches against Scotland. In 1174 the Scots led by King William Ceannmhor, 'The Lion', began invading the north of England but were pushed back by the northern lords when they were soundly defeated at Alnwick in this year. At this point the Angevin Empire of Henry II reached its zenith, stretching from Carlisle in the north of England to the shores of the Mediteranean Sea.
Both New Hall at Midgley and Midgley Hall at Stanley appear to be part of the honour of Pontefract bordering the lands of the manor of Wakefield.
The place-name Midgley follows a pattern for naming villages particularly popular in West Yorkshire. The suffix -ley is one of the commonest Anglian terms of Airedale but much rarer in Wharfedale and Calderdale1. "A 'manor' was so called a manendo, as being the usual residence of the owner. William the Conqueror had divided such parts of England as did not belong to the Church and were not reserved for himself into seven hundred baronies or great fiefs, which he bestowed upon his particular friends and those who had most assisted him in his work of conquest. These baronies were subdivided into upwards of sixty thousand knight's fees, which usually consisted of about two carucates of land [120-240acres], and which were held from the King's immediate tenants on specified conditions of homage, fealty, &c."13
During Edward III's reign, the English language gained greater general use in the courts (1362), although Latin continued to be used for legal work, the first speech in English was used to open Parliament by the Chancellor in Edward III's reign. It was not until the reign of Henry IV [of Bolingbroke] that Englisg was used in official documents of the crown. In tandem with these changes, the ruling classes were no longer exclusively Norman-French.
In 1275 during the early years of Edward I's
reign there was mentioned an Adam de Miggele the
Grave for the Graveship of Shelf and in 1296 an Adam Migge, probably the same person, both names being
recorded in the Court Rolls of the manor of Wakefield. There is also a John de
Miggeley, a forester in the forest of Sowerby mentioned many times
in the 1274-94 W.C.R. who seems to be Adam's son; a Michael de Miggeley the son of Robert de Miggeley, this might conceivably be
William's father, and in the "Feet of Fines" a William de Miggelay 1305 is recorded, this could
possibly be the same William.
Variations in spelling9:
Time line for the period:
William de Miggeley born about 1280-5
Probably at Cambridge University attending the college for Lawyers, recently established by Edward I . Henry de Laci also had law courts at Lincoln's Inn, London.
1296-Edward I's army moved north and sacked Berwick.
1311- Henry de Laci, Lord of Pontefract died leaving no
male heir. His daughter Alice and Thomas Plantagenet, Earl of Lancaster took
control of the honour of Pontefract. Edmund Le Botillier, Lord of Skelbrooke
was Henry de Laci's steward [Fr: seneschal] and may have later been
Thomas's and Alice's steward or seneschal for Edmund did not die until 1333.
In August 1317 William is a witness to a grant:
499. Wednesday after the Assumption of the B.M., 11 Edward [II] [Aug. 17, 1317]. Grant by Adam de Prestewyche and Alice his wife to Sir John de Arcy, lord of Notton, and Emmeline his wife, and John’s heirs and assigns, of all their lands and tenements, rents and services, with appurtenances in the vill and territory of Wlueley (Woolley), with all buildings erected thereon, all corn growing therein, and all goods and chattels thereon; and all easements; to hold of the chief lords of the fee by the accustomed services. Witnesses, Nicholas de Worteley, John de Turribus, William de Migeley, Godfrey de Steynton, John de Burton, Henry de Byrthwayt, Richard de Ryhale. Wlueley. (Duke of Norfolk, Misc., II, ii, No. 3). [Yorkshire Deeds, Vol. 8, p. 171.]
In June 1318 William is also found to be a witness at Westminster to two deeds:
2nd June 1318 at Westminster -
1st August 1318 at a Northampton Parliament -
On the same day a similar writ appears but this time it mentions Beatrice rather than Agnes and includes Thomas Malcus as one of the robbers:
1st August 1318 at Northampton -
This assault carried out by Lord William of Adwick and his men in the confederacy of earl Thomas against the earl's enemies the 'Reynburghs', occurred before Thomas de Furnival of Sheffield belatedly joined the rebels. It would appear that throughout the period of the earl's rebellion, William de Miggeley was working both the courts for the king's camp and the court of Common Pleas: See where William defends Adam de Hudleston against Robert de Clitheroe in 1319: [https://www.bu.edu/phpbin/lawyearbooks/display.php?id=4858]
About October 1318 - Earl Thomas and his men laid siege to Conisbrough Castle
are said to have killed a nephew of Sir John de Elland.
In June 1319 William is again a witness to Sir John John de Arcy (Darcy) and his wife Emmeline:
501. St. Barnabas the Apostle, 12 Edward II [June 11, 1319]. Grant by Henry Achard of Wolueley (Woolley) to Sir John de Arcy and Emmeline his wife, their heirs or assigns, of a certain assart called Cokerode lying on the south side of Thurstonhagh. Witnesses, William de Miggeley, Godfrey de Staynton, Thomas his brother, Robert de Barneby (Barnby), William son of John de Wolueley (Woolley). Notton.2 (Ibid., II, ii, No. 11).[Y.A.S. Record Series, vol. 102: Yorkshire Deeds, Vol. 8, p. 172.]
20th November 1319 at York -
January 6th 1320 at York Parliament -
^Adam de Everingham and William de Miggeley
were probably related through a common ancestor in the Thornhill family,
probably Adam FitzPeter.
Interpolating two generations, it appears that Sir William de Miggeley was a third cousin to Sir Adam de Everingham through a common ancestor, Adam fitzPeter of Birkin, Yorkshire. Thus both were descendants of Assulf [Essulf] who was also the progenitor of the Thornhills of Thornhill See: Midgley-Everingham-Thornhill connections.
In August 1320 William was a witness to a grant of lands in Crofton to St. Oswald's Priory at Nostell: Robert of the pitt of Pontefract granted to St. Oswald's priory at Nostell lands etc. in Crofton. Witnesses were Adam de Wannerville, Edmond le Botiller and William de Miggeley. dated 8 Aug 1320 (14 Ed. II) [Y. A. J., vol. 7, (1882), p. 121.]
In 1320 a petition for the establishment of a
commission of oyer and terminer was made to the king, council and parliament
by Godfrey de Staynton [Stainton] in which William de Midgley was
appointed as one of the commissioners:
The commissioners were: 'John de Donecastre
(Doncaster), justice; William de Miggele, justice & man of law; Ralph de
Beeston, knight, justice; Robert de Reigat (Reigate), knight, justice.'
As a result of this petition the response found in the C. P. R.
is as follows:
William was witness to a quitclaim to Monkbretton Priory in 1320. Other witnesses were Edmund de Percy, Henry de Leeds, John Tailor of Cudworth and Hugh 'Pycorde'.
William de Miggeley was a witness to a grant
from Roger de Novo Mercato (Newmarch) in 1320 to Monkbretton Priory. Other
witnesses were- Stephen de Bella Aqua, Godfrey de Stainton, William Scot of
Birthwaite, William de Notton and others. [The Chartulary of Monkbretton
Priory . J.W. Walker, reprinted C.U.P. 2013, p. 217.]
3rd December 1320 at Talworth -
On 28th March and 8th April 1322 at Pontefract the king gave protection to William de Miggeleye along with such luminaries as Eleanor de Percy and her son Henry, the priors of Monk Brtetton and Nostell, Louis Beaumont the bishop of Durham and the master of the hospital of St. Nicholas, Pontefract. [C.P.R., 1321-1324, p. 91.] This protection was usually offered to those on the king's business.
April 3rd 1322 at a Parliament held at Altofts near Wakefield
[This was shortly after the Battle of Boroughbridge and about 11days after
the execution of earl Thomas of Lancaster at Pontefract]
28 Nov 1322. Grant by William del Pit of
Pontefract son of Adam de Edlingthorp' to Sir Symon de Baldrestou, clerk, of
a rent of 11s. from one messuage, half an oxgang and 10 acres of land in
Southkirkeby in a place called Morthorp, which rent the grantor had by gift
of Ellen daughter of Robert de Puteo of Pontefract. Witnesses: Sir Adam
de Wanrevill', knt, Edmund de le Boteler, Godefrey de Steynton, John de
Burton, John Daungerous, John Metal of Pontefract and Walter de Amyas of the
same. Pontefract, Sunday before the feast of St. Andrew. 16 Edw. II.
1326 - Queen Isabella and Roger Mortimer with Prince
Edward, land in East Anglia on the Orwell and gather some baronial and the
William son of William de Migelay was one of the witnesses to an undated quitclaim by William de Notton to William Scot and Alice (Bosville?) his wife for the vill of Ardsley etc. [The Chartulary of Monkbretton Priory . J.W. Walker, reprinted C.U.P. 2013, p. 59.]
1330 October- The 18 year old Ed III with loyal knights, such as the
Yorkshireman, Sir William de Eland, capture Lord Mortimer at Nottingham
Castle, where a Parliament was to be held. See Nottingham Coup. Later in
1330, a Parliament was held at Westminster.
'William de Miggelay', Sir John Darcy, Sir
John de Eland , Sir Nicholas de Wortley, Sir Adam de Everingham and others
were witnesses to a quitclaim in 1332 of tenements in the vills of Wombwell
and Ardsley dated at Cawthorne ('Calthorn'). [The Chartulary of Monkbretton
Priory . J.W. Walker, reprinted C.U.P. 2013, p. 54. ]
of Halidon Hill, Berwick Edward III (22 y.o.) defeated the Scots
with the help of the longbow and a new weapon, the cannon.
29th May 1335 at York -
1336- Sir William de Miggeley
continued to serve in the English Parliament at York. In this year, funds
were provided for the King's ambitions in France. Edward II had repeated
consultations with the Lords and Commons over supply of money for war
and a decision was made by parliament to start what was to become
known as "The Hundred Years War"14. Being a wool
producer, it is likely that William voted in favour of the beginning of the
'Hundred Years War'.
1337- A Parliament was held at York in
October [the Monday after the 'Feast of St. Hilary'] but then in
readiness for war with France, Edward III moved his government south from
York and Nottingham to Westminster.14 The first speaker
to 'The Commons' or 'Painted Chamber' at Westminster was elected [Sir Thomas
1336-8 also saw good harvests, a glut of food
leading to low food prices in 1338-9. A reduction of food acreage followed by
a food shortage and sharp increases in prices occurred, this was a familiar
July 16th 1338 at a Parliament at Ipswich -
Evidence from the W.C.R. also suggests William 'de Shelf' had two sons, Adam and John. [W.C.R. 1338-1340, p.15.]
This son, William de 'Miggeley' [of
Shelf] is mentioned twice in the Monkbretton Chartularies, once in 1390 where
he was a witness to a grant to the priory by Sir Roger de Novo Mercato along
with Stephen de Bella Aqua, Godfrey de Stainton, William Scot of Birthwaite,
William de Notton et aliis, dated at Monkbretton Priory. The
other occasion of the son's mention is as a witness to a quitclaim to land in
Ardsley by William de Notton to William Scot and his wife Alice and their
heirs, 'William son of William de Migelay', along with Philip de Bosville,
William de Wakefield et aliis.35
1346 - Edward III assembled an army at Portsmouth in
the spring, he knighted his son Edward on landing in Normandy.
1356- The "Black Prince" triumphed at
1376- Edward Anjou/Plantagenet, the "Black
Edward de Langley created Duke of York by Richard II.
1399-Richard II murdered, supposedly by starvation at Pontefract Castle. John of Gaunt dies (59 y.o.)
It is possible that Brearley Old Hall
a seat of the early Midgley manor lordship as was Kirkshaugh (Kershaw House in
Luddenden). The lordship of the manor would have entered Norman hands either by
intermarriage (much favoured) or forcibly taken by the Norman invaders.
This subordinate manor near Halifax was controlled by earl Warrene of Sussex who had in turn been given the manor of Wakefield by William I after the defeat of the English army at Hastings. By 1326 Brearley old Hall was in the French-Norman family Sotehill/Suithill/Soothill, this passed through marriage to the Laci/Lacy family and then again by marriage in 1632 to Henry Murgatroyd until through marriage once again to Henry Farrer of Ewood. The date 1326 for the ownership of Brearley Old Hall by the Suitille's may signify a move for the Midgley ownership of lands furthwer east. It was at this time that Queen Isabella and Sir Roger de Mortimer returned from France to seize power from Edward II.
Midgley near Wakefield
So here we have a time span (1317-1348) when William de Miggeley was active and appearing in court records and Calendar Rolls. It is a time when robbers may have frequented the countryside, way-laying knights, friars bishops and other folk.
William took his name from its Norman-French origin which had supplied the origin for the place name of his lands of Midgley near Halifax and /or Wakefield. It seems that the place-name was so called from an earlier family member who brought his train from Normandy to Yorkshire during Henry II's reign. This may give a clue as to why there are two place names in West Yorkshire with the same name which today are given the same spelling, The Miclei [Micleie] of the Domesday Book near Halifax being of Germanic origin and the Migelaia near Wakefield being of Norman-French origin.
How is William likely to have attained
Edward III's reign opened with the "Hundred Years War", the great war with France. Edward had a claim to the French crown and exercised this claim through warfare. This war did not go on continuously, there were several intervals when all fighting ceased for years on end. The Scots were supported by the French in their efforts to throw off the claims of England to their alliegance.
William de Miggeley could have been involved with the following before being knighted:
i) 28th March 1296 The battle of Dunbar. Here The Countess, wife of Patrick "Blackbeard earl of March" held the sea girt Dunbar castle against the forces of Edward I12. The Scottish campigns of Edward I were led by a Yorkshire noble, John de Warrene, Earl of Surrey10 [Schama erroneously says this was William Warrene11] This is the Warren who had his seat in Yorkshire at Sandal Castle and held the lands of the Manor of Wakefield. Sandal Castle is the closest fortress to the Midgley Manor lands even though these lands may have come under the Lordship of Delaci, the "Honour of Pontefract" whose seat was at Pontefract Castle.
ii) 11th September 1297 The
battle of Stirling in which John 7th
Earl de Warrene was defeated at the Bridge of Stirling.
iii) 22nd July 1299 The battle of Falkirk where Edward I having returned from France and Flanders, met with John de Warrene and a large army to defeat the Scots.
iii) 1322 The battle of Boroughbridge where Edward II's army under Sir Andrew de Harcla [Harclay] defeated Thomas [Anjou] Earl of Lancaster's army.
iv) A stand-off between the forces of
Robert de Bruce and the English army at Stanhope Park, Northumberland in 132710
before Edward III's crowning at Westminster on 24th January 1328.
At this time Bruce had recognised the instability in the crown and despite the existing truce was marauding and burning Cumberland and Durham. The Scots army could not be easily located and so Edward offered a knighthood and 100 pounds annuity for anyone who could locate the army. Thomas de Rokeby , a Yorkshireman, [later made sheriff of Yorkshire] who had been captured by the Scots and released claimed the reward and described to the king how the army was encamped on a high hill on the North side of the River Wear.
The English army moved and encamped on the south side. The Scots were outnumbered and did not accept that they or the English should cross the Wear. The Scots moved to an even steeper hill on the north side of the Wear [possibly Collier Law] after making a bold attack on the English camp the Scots left during the night10.
v) Edward III in
1333, marched north and defeated the Scottish nationalists at Halidon Hill. Here Edward
pitted for the first time, longbow men against armoured knights. David Bruce,
the Scottish "little king" fled to France.
William may have provided his duty at this battle, which as a land owner or son of a land owner, would have been his due to the king. If he had distinguished himself in some way he would have shared in the spoils of war. There was much land owned by lords in the North who if they had not supported Edward III, would have forfeited their lands. Back in 1138, David of Scotland after the Battle of The Standard, had gained almost the whole of Northumberland in negotiations, no doubt many of these lands in Yorkshire were still owned by Scottish nobles.
The profession of arms was considered a noble one, and for a young blood, a campaign was an event of high excitement and offered a chance to mark his entry into the ranks of knighthood with some heroic deed5. However it is likely from his appointment to Parliament in 1335 that he would have been a senior perhaps in his late forties and may therefore have been called upon for military services for Edward I, Edward II, [Isabella and Mortimer?] and Edward III.
Sir Richard de Thornhill
Sir Richard was a contemporary of Sir William de Miggeley and they held adjacent manors. Their coats of arms were very similar only varying in their tinctures. The manor of Thornhill at Thornhill Lees is a moated one, much enlarged later by the Saville family. There are a number of references to Sir Richard in the earliest entry of the Wakefield Court Rolls in 1274 Here he is accused of taking Lord Warenne's [John 7th earl's] deer from the the forest of Sowerby with others. This might indicate that, although he does not appear to be outlawed, he was not a supporter of earl Warenne, and therefore Edward I at this time. Indeed, like William de Miggeley his manor was situated on the Laci estate of the honour of Pontefract. Later in the year of 1274, Sir Richard was pardoned for his tresspass by the Wakefield Court.
Thornhill stands on an eminence, on the south side of the Calder, commanding extensive views up and down the vale of that name. It is memorable for the long residence of a family distinguished in the public concerns of the County of York. In the time of Henry III.[1216-1272] it was the seat of the knightly family of Thornhills, who intermarried with the De Fixbys and Babthorpes in the reigns of Edward I [1272-1307] and II [1307-1327] and in that of Edward III [1327-1377] became united with the Savilles of Dodworth, near Barnsley".-GENUKI-Thornhill
vi) Edward III supported the citizens of the Flemish cloth-weaving towns of Ghent and Bruges, against the Count of Flanders. If the Scots could play the French card then England could play the Flemish card. The Count appealed to his overlord the King of France, war quickly followed. Many of these Flemish weavers were brought to England by Edward III to expand the wool trade, hence the surname "Fleming" entered the list of English surnames. They usually settled at centres where water power was available as cloth fulling became more mechanised.
From 1335-6 William is known to have served in the Parliament2 which was then centred at York and in September 1336 at Nottingham. This was done to more efficiently continue the Scottish campaigns. It was normal to appoint more elderly knights to parliament. Thus William is likely to have been in his early 50's. These were the beginnings of "The House of Commons". The knights would often stand behind other members of the Anglo-Norman nobility who were seated and held the floor of the house. The knights were elected by peers to parliament and were expected to vote on important issues.
THE START OF
THE HUNDRED YEARS WAR.
In September 1336, Parliament at Nottingham denounced the King of France's movements in Scotland and voted Edward III money. Subsidies were granted to carry on the war in Scotland and on the Continent:
"Then the administration left the northern provinces, where it had stayed for four years, returned to Westminster, zealously began military preparations, put the coasts in a state of alert, sent war material to Aquitaine, and concentrated troops and a fleet on the shores of the English Channel."15
Thus we have here the start of the Hundred Years War for which money was voted to take the fight to France, Sir William de Miggeley would have been part of this vote.
The Model Parliament had been established by
Edward I in 1295. This created a pattern for the House of Commons with two
knights from each county and two burgesses from each chartered town. In Edward
III's time there was no actual physical separation of the "House of
Lords" and the "House of Commons". The Commons were absent from
only 4 of 25 parliaments held in the decade 1327-1337.14
In 1338, the Parliament, now at Northampton, authorised expenditure on the War – there were only to be two more of the King’s Parliaments to be held there. Here the "Treaty of Northampton" was drawn up. The terms were very favourable to Scotland, for the English had lost at Stanhope and Weardale, an invasion of Ulster had occurred and Norham Castle had been taken by Bruce. Isabella and Mortimer did not have sufficient time to raise another force. Joanna, the sister of Edward III was married to David [later David II of Scotland] and Isabella and Mortimer "renounced all pretentions to sovereignity" over Scotland.
vii) 1338-1341- A sea battle off the Flemish port of Sluys (1340). This was the first great victory of the English Navy under Edward III.
viii) A truce lasted for six years.
ix) 1346 Crecy -A glorious victory for the English Army. Again the longbow had the advantage. It is said that the English "two fingered salute" came from this time. This derived from the alleged habit of the French cutting off the two bow fingers of any captured English bowman. In defiance the English bowmen would wave their two fingers at the defeated enemy to show their distain and for the successful retention of the most dreaded parts of their anatomy.
x) About 1348 the "Black Death"
appeared in England, entering Yorkshire through York, the epidemic continued
into1349 by which time it is estimated 1/3 of the population was wiped out
(some sources estimate 1/2 the population). It is thought that John 8th Earl of
Warrene may have succumbed to the disease in 1347. It would appear that the 8th
earl established St. Swithen's priory north of Wakefield near Midgley [Stanley] Hall
that those who had contracted the disease could attend chuch without passing on
the disease. Others who died in this year were Stephen II Le Waleys of Burgh
Wallis and according to Joseph Hunter, the non-historical character Robyn
Hode at Kirklees priory. Some villages were completely decimated, these
became "deserted villages". It took another two centuries for the
population to reach the pre-1348 numbers.
What effect this had on the local communities we might well guess, and would raise the question, did William die at this time? An entry in Rev. Watson's book The History and Antiquities of Halifax tells us that Wiliam De Midgley who also held a tenement in Shelf between Halifax and Bradford had recently died prior to 1339 [12 Edward III], this would indicate that he died about ten years before the Black Death:
"12 Edw. III. the king granted to Bennet De
Normanton in fee, all thofe lands and tenements in Shelf, &c. which Will.
de Midgley late held by the fervice of one penny."
Certainly the Black Death had a huge impact on the manorial system, by removing most of the labour for the estates, finally leading to decay of the manorial system:
In that year a soldier had to be provided by each township to join the
army against Scotland, but the failure at Bannockburn was but the beginning
of distress. Repeated depredations were followed by a great famine, when
children were kidnapped and eaten."
In the mid 1300's Edward III's Court became a
model for Europe and it was here that the popular cult of polite
chivalry became paramount.
Chivalry was the ideal by which a man achieved knighthood and by which he was supposed to live in honour and virtue.
Heraldry was the symbolic element of chivalry which was an invention of the noble and knightly classes, heraldry evolved for the practical needs of combat and for a desire to display.7 Feudal ties began to weaken and were replaced by the gentleman's code. King Edward III founded the noble Order of the Garter which is still a high award today in Britain. The Order of the Bath was another title which resulted from a ceremonial bathing the candidate was given to cleanse him of sin7. It was Edward III who had St. George's Hall at Windsor Castle built in 1363 with an Arthurian "Round Table" for 26 of his most loyal knights.( The hall was completely altered in 1682), it is here that the Garter Feasts are still held. Indeed, Edward III 're-invented' the Arthurian mystique which is where the Romano-British warrior of the 500's Artorius, was conflated with chivalric knighthood.
The image of the Franklin appearing in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales could easily be applied to a knight of the shire:
"At sessions there was he lord and sire;
The normal type of man to be chosen for shire
representation in parliament was a knight of middle age, no longer particularly
active in war, but knowledgeable in administration. As an example-26 July:
Westminster. Payment to Adam de Branscombe, knight of the shire of Devon, for
attending a parliament at Westminster. 24 days at 4/- a day. [attends again in
Knights were originally high ranking cavalry officers honoured by the king for service in battle.
In the 1300's knights were small landowners whose estates and titles were inherited. Any additions to the knightly classes were endorsed by the king himself and were usually granted for political rather than military considerations. See: The Knights hierarchy in the social order
Note: This later helped to make England the greatest producer of wool cloth in the world and enabled the development of the woollen industry in West Yorkshire close to the supply of Pennine wool and water power in the 1700's. Wool also became a major contributor to the economy of the colony of Van Dieman's Land when a Yorkshireman [from Farsley, Leeds], the Revd. Samuel Marsden sent the first bag of wool to Leeds in the 1790's. Australia became highly dependent on wool prior to the refrigeration of food  and the exploitation of minerals. Wool could be transported great distances by sea without the quality degrading significantly. Such are the links in the chain.
1.Midgley, John Franklin. Midgleyana. Mills Litho Pty. Ltd., Capetown. 1969.
2. Ibid. p23.
3. Footnotes to Midgleyana by Milnethorpe Midgley.
4. Mills, A.D. Dictionary of English Place Names, Oxford,1997.
5. Hindley, Geoffrey. The Medieval Establishment. Wayland, London, 1970.
6. Skeat W.W [ Ed.], The Poems of Geoffrey Chaucer, O.U.P. 1962.
7. Bedingfield Henry, Heraldry, Bison, 1993.
8. Ashley M. Great Britain to 1688: A Modern History. Univ. of Michigan, 1961. Ch.14,
9. Reany P.H.The Origin of English Surnames. Routledge and Keegan, 1978.
10. Bulmer's Gazeteer, A History of Yorkshire, 1892.
11. Schama Simon. A History of Britain. BBC Publications, 2000.
12. Macdonald Micheil. The Clans of Scotland. Brian Todd Publishing, 1991.
13. Pratt C.T. Rev. A History of Cawthorne. I.W. Davis, 1882.
14. Johnson, Paul. The Life and Times of Edward III. Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London, 1973.
15. Perroy, Edouard. The Hundred Years War. Bloomington: Indiana U.P. 1962, p 91.
16. Danziger D. & Gillingham J. 1215 The Year of Magna Carta. Hodder and Stoughton. 2003. p187.
17. Walker, J.W. [ed.], Abstracts of the Chartularies of the Priory of Monk Bretton, Y.A.S. 1924, p217.
18. Ibid. p54; Abstracts of the Chartularies of the Priory of Monk Bretton, CUP, 2013, p. 54.
19. Ibid. p.59
20. Maddicott, J.R. Thomas of Lancaster 1307-1322. O.U.P. 1970.
21. Calendar of Patent Rolls [C.P.R.] for Ed I, II and III.
22. Faull, M.L & Stinson, M. [ed] Domesday Book for Yorkshire. Phillimore. 1986, Part I, p.299c,d.
23. Crabtree, John. The Concise History of the Parish of Halifax. 1836, pp. 393-394. [Google Books]
24. Yorkshire Feet of Fines, 1327-1347, p. 177.
25. The Publications of the Thoresby Society, 1919, p. 18.
26. C.P.R. Edward II, 1321-1324, p.156.
27. C.P.R. Edward II, 1317-1321, p. 476. 28. Comfort, Arthur. Ancient Halls in and about Halifax. Halifax Courier. 1912
29. Cal. Chart. Rolls. 1300-1326, p. 181.
30. TNA SC ( Special Collections) 8/87 4301-4350.
31. W.C.R., 1322-1331, 2013, p. 30.
32. Ibid. p. 169.
33. Hanson, T.W. The Story of Old Halifax. 1920, p. 45.
34. Y. A. J., v. xiii, pp. 50-51.
35. Abstracts of the Chartularies of the Priory of Monk Bretton, CUP, 2013, p. 59, 90.
references which could prove useful:
Court Rolls for the manor of Wakefield - These were given to the Y.A.S. by Lord Yarborough in 1943. They date from 1274 and continue with relatively few breaks until 1925, The following volumes may contain relevant information:
i) October 1331 to September 1333, Walker Sue [ed.], volume 3 of the Wakefield Court Rolls.
ii) 1338-1340, K. Troup (ed.) 1998., volume 12 WCR.
iii) 1348-50, Sue Sheridan Walker
iv) October 1350-September 1352, Moira Habberjam, Mary O'Reagan & Brian Hale (eds.),1987, volume 6 WCR.
v) ?1378-1380, J. Addy, A. Young (ed.)
Honorary General Secretary
Yorkshire Archaeological Society
23 Clarendon Road
Leeds LS2 9NZ
W.P. Baildon (ed.), Court rolls of the manor of Wakefield. Vol.1 1274 to 1279, Y. A. S., xxix (1901)
[Latin text with English translation of early rolls, thereafter English translations.]
Other earlier rolls of the manor of Wakefield which are much more difficult to source and are well out of print:
W.P. Baildon (ed.), Court rolls of the manor of
Wakefield. Vol.2 1279 to 1309, Y. A. S., xxxvi (1906)
J. Lister (ed.), Court rolls of the manor of Wakefield. Vol.3 1313 to 1316 and 1286, Y. A. S., lvii (1917) [English translation with abstract of computus of 1305]
J. Lister (ed.), Court rolls of the manor of Wakefield. Vol.4 1315 to 1317, Y. A. S., lxxviii (1930) - Number of pages of primary source text: 204
J.W. Walker (ed.), Court rolls of the manor of Wakefield. Vol.5 1322 to 1331, Y.A.S., cix (1945)
William de Midge says:
Midgley 2000, Links revised July 2023.