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
'FRISLEY' AND SHELF [D.B. 'Scelf']
In 1316 Shelf ('Shef'), 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]
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. Edward III ,1334-1338, p. 492.]
Besides 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.] 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) who had been adhering to the Scots. In the Inquisition post mortem for a Richard Wade there is made mention of Shelf and Frisley at this time, 28th June 1316:
|579. Richard Wade.
Writ, 28 June, 9 Edw. II.
[York.] Inq. Monday after the Decollation of St. John the Baptist, 10 Edw. II.
Schelf. Tenements held for life, of Geoffrey de Fresselay, a Scot who is in Scotland against the king's fealty, who held them of Sir John de Thornhill by homage, fealty, service of 2s. 10d. yearly, and other services unknown.
Fresselay [Frisley]. Tenements held for life, of the said Geoffrey, who held of John de Calverlay [Calverley] by homage, fealty, suit at the court of Calverlay, knights' service pertaining to 21/2 carucates of land, and other services unknown. Heir unknown, because he had several wives.
C. Edw. II. File 46. (30.)
[Calendar of Inquisions Post Mortem vol. 2, Ed. III, p. 370.]
8th March 1318 at Byfleet -
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 Warrene 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'.
Shelf Hall and Park at the head of Coley
Beck, from the 1852 O.S. map.
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 others to 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
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 of the Shelf Graveship 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
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:
"No surer way can be found to annoy some people than to mis-pronounce their name. One Midgley could always be roused to fury by spelling his name Midgeley, a form others accepted without complaint.......it is merely an antiquated spelling dating from the time ....were interchangeable and is identical in origin"........ Surnames, P. H. Reany, ch.2, p.24.
See: variations in d minor
Time line for the period:
|1276-1285||William de Miggeley born about 1280-5
[from the fact he was in Parliament in 1335, which for a Parliamentarian knight would traditionally place him in his 50's]
This would make him born about 3-8 years after Earl Thomas of Lancaster, cousin to Edward II. It was Thomas who gained the Honour of Ponterfract after the death of his wife's father, Henry de Laci died in 1311. William may have already been a follower of Thomas after this year. However there is no evidence that William was a rebel to the king as was Thomas.
|1286-1295||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.|
|1296-1305||1296-Edward I's army moved north
and sacked Berwick.
Following the Battle of Dunbar, John de Warren, 7th Earl Warrene & Earl of Surrey was appointed warden for Scotland by Edward I.
1296-7 At about this time, due to king Edward being in Scotland, the Royal Court moved north from London to York.
1298 Battle of Falkirk, Edward I and Warrene triumphed over William Wallace & the Scots. Edward's secret weapon, the longbow was deployed with great success against Wallace's secret weapon, the schilltron. At this time Robert Bruce, yet to be king of Scotland was in the pay of King Edward and tried to capture Wallace as he escaped across the Carron River. The youthful Thomas Earl of Lancaster was present with his valet.
1300- Siege of Caerlaverock, Dumfriesshire. Earl Thomas was present with Prince Edward. Large siege engines were used to cause the garrison to surrender.
1st June 1300 Edward I's son, Thomas, by his second wife, Margaret, was born at Brotherton near Castleford.
1304- The Royal Courts moved from York back to London.
1307-Death of Edward I the "Hammer of Scotland"
|1306-1315||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 1311 the Lords Ordainers tried to curb the antics of Gaveston, Edward II's favourite. Much of the North became opposed to Edward II under Thomas of Lancaster.
1311 William de Miggeley was recorded as making judgement in a case of a parliamentary writ.
1314 - 24th June Edward II's forces were defeated at Bannockburn by Robert de Bruce. At the same time disastrous crop failures and famine occurred, 15% of the peasant population died of starvation. These two problems, the favouritism of the Despensers and the seeming indifference of Edward II to the plight of the peasants helped lead Thomas Earl of Lancaster to a second rebellion in 1322.
Between 1310 and 1322 Edward II seized many Knights Templar properties in Yorkshire and granted them to the Knights Hospitallers. These knights were originally founded as a military monastic order to protect and heal pilgrims who travelled to the Holy Land.
1314 - John de Warrene was forced by Earl Thomas with the acceptance of Edward II, to grant the manor of Wakefield to Thomas 2nd Earl of Lancaster whose main residence and castle was at Pontefract (gained through marriage to Alice de Laci).
1315- Thomas Earl of Lancaster was a landowner in ascendancy until 1322.
1317-Alice de Laci was abducted by the Warrenes of Conisbrough and taken to Reigate. Others suggest that she left her husband, Thomas earl of Lancaster, voluntarily. [See the Elland Feud]
Further calamity beset the north when cattle murain and sheep disease followed the famine. In this year Sandal castle was put under siege by the Earl of Lancaster and his men, a neighbourhood disagreement ostensibly over the death of Gaveston, had developed between Warrene and Lancaster. This is the turning point for Warrene who now sided with Edward II. Sandal Magna Castle, then a wooden castle, was supposedly burnt to the ground by Lancaster but there is little archaeological evidence to support this.
22nd July 1317 a writ at a Nottingham Parliament -
Commission of oyer and terminer "to John de Donecastre [Steward of the manor of Wakefield], John de Neville and William de Midgele (or Miggele), touching the death of William de Helleby, and John son of Alice (Alic') de Horbiry at Niderdale. By K." [CPR EdII, 1317-1321, p.82]
1st August 1318 at a Northampton Parliament -
Commission of oyer and terminer "to Thomas de Fournival [Furnival Lord of Sheffield and Hallamshire], William de Byngham and William de Migele on complaint by Agnes daughter of Robert de Reynbergh, that William * le Lord of Adwyk, William le Lavedyman of Adwyk and Richard de Butterthwayt, with others, assaulted her at Adwyk, co. York, and carried away her goods. By K." [C.P.R.,1317-1321, pp.275-276.] *This may be William FitzWilliam, a Lancastrian rebel who was eventually sentenced with the earl at Pontefract where he was drawn and hanged 22nd March 1322. William's great aunt, Agnes FitzWilliam had released all her lands in Adwick to Robert de Reynbergh and his wife Alice in 1303. [T.N.A. DD/FJ/1/194/20]
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 the courts for the king's camp.
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.
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:
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:
3rd December 1320 at Talworth -
|1326-1335||1326 - Queen
Isabella and Roger Mortimer with Prince Edward, land in
East Anglia on the Orwell and gather some baronial and the people's
This was the first successful invasion of England since1066. [There had been a French invasion in King John's time which was not successful]. There has never been a successful military invasion of England since this time - an advantage of being an island kingdom, which the French, Dutch,
Spanish and Nazi German assaults could not overcome- long live the Sceptred Isle!
1327 Queen Isabella, Sir Roger Mortimer and other barons overthrow Edward II, Mortimer reinstates many 'contrariants" from the battle of Boroughbridge. Mortimer and Isabella hold the power for three years.
There is a stand-off of forces with a Scottish army at Stanhope Park, Co. Durham
1st February 1327 - Edward III ascended at the age of 15, but did not take control for almost three years.
21st September 1327 - Edward II reported to have died at Berkeley Castle.
1328 - 24th January, Edward III married Philippa of Hainaut at York.
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.
A new Wakefield Church was built. Did Ed. III have a hand in this as reward from his loyal Yorkshire knights? Was Ed III in the area at the time? Did he meet someone in Barnsdale who compiled the ballad of Robyn Hode? Were other "contrariants" given pardon here? Both Ed III, and according to the ballads, Robin, were avid supporters of church building.
William de Midgley supported Edward III, as he had supported Edward I and II. He is unlikely to have supported the "contrariants"or Earl Thomas's rebels. William de Miggeley was a contemporary of Stephen II Le Waleys of Burghwallis who was also a landholder within the honour of Pontefract. It is this person who is considered by myself to have compiled at least the earlier parts of the ballad 'A Lytell Geste of Robyn Hode'. See Robert III Butler of Skelbrooke
1330- Birth of Edward Plantagenet of Woodstock [now Blenheim, Oxon.] later the "Black Prince", eldest son of Edward III.
1332- Edward de Baliol, who was the son of the vassal king of Scotland, John II Baliol stayed at Sandal Magna Castle whilst waiting to assemble an English army for Berwick.
In the same year the government was moved north to York until 133714.
1333-The Battle of Halidon Hill, Berwick Edward III (22 y.o.) defeated the Scots with the help of the longbow and a new weapon, the cannon.
William Midgley is likely to have been involved with this campaign, the nearest castle to his estates was Sandal Magna [now once again under John Warrene 8th earl's control] where Edward Baliol awaited the amassing of an English army division for Berwick - Edward's mother was Isabel de Warrene the former Queen of Scotland wife to the vassal king John II Baliol.
1335 -William de Miggeley was in the English Parliament at York. Parliament requested Edward III solve the problem of the Flemish weavers and the English wool trade* and as a consequence the Flemish weavers were invited by Edward III to settle in England. *France was attacking the English wool export markets in what is now part of Belgium.
While at the parliament in York William was granted lands in Shelf and Fesley:-
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'.
Another Parliament was held in September 1336 at Nottingham.
1336-8 England drifted towards war, the parliamentary rolls for this period have not survived14.
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 Hungerford].
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 cycle.14
1338 at a Parliament at Ipswich -
from the W.C.R. also suggests William
'de Shelf' had two sons, Adam and John.
[W.C.R. 1338-1340, p.15.]
assembled an army at Portsmouth in the spring, he knighted
his son Edward on landing in Normandy.
-Battle of Crecy, defeated the French using a new tactic, vollies of arrows, resulting in the loss of only 40 men.
-Scotland beaten at Neville's Cross, Durham, David II captured.
1347-Calais taken after 11 months seige.
- John de Warrene dies (8th and last earl of Warrene) Some state John de Warrene died of the Great Pestilence - in the interim he had regained the manor of Wakefield. His widow now ran it. However Edmund de Langley at the age of six years of age is granted the Warrene lands.
- Ed III founded the Knights of the Blue Garter consisting of himself and 26 of his best companions.
Joseph Hunter calculated that a Robin Hode, in the accounts of Edward II, died in this year. It is possible this person died from the plague or Black Death.
1348-The Black Death appeared in England, although it may have been present two years earlier in a less infectious state. Alice de Laci of the Pontefract honour died in the same year.
1349-1/3 of the population die, as a result a great shortage of labour occured.
Lords of manors abandoned cultivation of marginal land. Barley was replaced with sheep. A time of great land ownership change as a result of the depredations of the plague
1351-Henry Plantagenet made Earl of Lancaster (6th March)
1355- Henry edarl of Lancaster attacks France from Brittany.
|1356-1365||1356- The "Black Prince" triumphed at Potiers.
1360- The youthful Edmund de Langley (19 y.o.), Ed III's favourite son, granted the manor of Wakefield with Sandal & Conisbrough Castles which followed the death of John de Warrene's widow who had no heirs.
1361- Henry Anjou, Earl of Lancaster died from the "Great Plague" -Edward de Langley was created Earl of Cambridge.
<1364- John of Gaunt married Blanche Plantagenet and created Duke of Lancaster.
Anjou/Plantagenet, the "Black Prince" died.(June)
1377-Edward III died
|1386-1395||Edward de Langley created Duke of York by Richard II.|
|1396-1405||1399-Richard II murdered, supposedly by starvation at Pontefract Castle. John of Gaunt dies (59 y.o.)|
It is possible that Brearley Old
Hall was 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.
How is William likely to have attained his knighthood?
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
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.
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
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 Warrene's [John 7th Earl] deer from the Sowerby Forest with others. This might indicate that, although he does not appear to be outlawed, he was not a supporter of Earl Warrene, and therefore Edward I at this time. Indeed, like WilliamDe Miggeley his manor was situated on the de Laci estate of the honour of Pontefract. Later in the year of 1274, Sir Richard was pardoned by the 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|
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 English surnames. They usually settled at centres
where water power was available as 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.
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. Aggain 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 so 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."
-The History and Antiquities of Halifax, Rev. J. Watson, 1775, p.283.
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:
"FROM 1311, the Northern counties were greatly harassed by Scottish incursions, wars, and plagues. All the immediate neighbourhood from Skipton to Bradford was ransacked in 1316 by bands of red-shanked robbers from Scotland, who not content with robbing and murdering the inhabitants, maliciously burnt what they could not carry away.
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;
Full oft time he was knight of the shire.
An anlaas and a gipser al of silk
Heeng at his girdle, whit as morne milk.
A shirreve hadde he been, and a contour,
Was nowhere such a worthy vavasour.''
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 1348]
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
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.
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. 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.
Honorary General Secretary
Yorkshire Archaeological Society
23 Clarendon Road
Leeds LS2 9NZ
Tele: 0113 245 7910; Fax: 0113 244 1979
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:
If tha sowest nowt then
Thall reap nowt!