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

King Edward III 1327-1377 'FRISLEY' AND SHELF  [D.B. 'Scelf']

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 [1086] 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 -
Grant, at the instance of Adam de Swilyngton, to William de Swilyngton*, and his heirs, of free warren in all their demesne lands in Rodes, Birle (Burley nr. Leeds), Wibbeseye (Wibsey, S.W. of Bradford) and Shelf, co. York, Jokesford (Yoxford) and Middelton (east of Yoxford), co. Suffolk, and Pirrowe, co. Norfolk. By p.s. [C. Ch. R., 1300-1326, p. 181.]

*Adam's older brother.

 

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:

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 Inquisitons Post Mortem vol. 2, Ed. III, p. 370.]

8th March 1318 at Byfleet -
Grant for their lives to Henry Darcy and Hugh de Totehill of all lands and tenements, late of Geoffrey de Fresshelay, in Shelf, and Fresshelay,*
co. York, which Richard Wade, deceased, had held for life, and which are in the king's hands as an escheat, the said Geoffrey having adhered to the
Scots, subject to rendering 4L. 10s. a year at the Exchequer. By p.s. 
 [C.P.R., 1318, p. 113.]

* 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) 
who states that he had suffered great losses in the King's service, and that he had been in his wars and garrisons in Scotland and that his lands were completely ruined. He asked, in consideration of this, for some lands in Farsley and Shelf, escheated to the King because of the enmity of Geoffrey de Fressheley as well as 40 marks that the King owed him.

Similar entries are made in the C.F.R., 1307-1319 p.355 dated 8 March 1318, and p.358 is dated 13 March 1318. CPR 1317-1321 p.113 is dated 8 March 1318. CCR 1323-1327 p.56 is dated 24 January 1324. The TNA reference may date from 1318. 

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 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 & Park
                       Shelf Hall and Park at the head of Coley Beck, from the 1852 O.S. map.
            

                                                                        Shelf Hall28 



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 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 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:
"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:

                                      Decade      
                                Occurences
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.

 
1316-1325
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. 

In June 1317 William is found to be a witness at Westminster to two deeds:

2nd June 1318 at Westminster -
Enrolment of release by John de Valle Torta of Schene to Sir Edward de Sancto Johanne, knight, of his right in a yearly pension of 15L. and one robe, as contained in a deed of obligation made to the said John. He also wills that Edward and his heirs shall be quit of all debts and contracts made between Edward and him. Dated at London, on Thursday the feast
of the Ascension, 11 Edward II. Witnesses: William de Miggele; John de Denum [Denum]; John de Cantebrigg'; Robert Malemayns; John Priket; Richard de Chelesfeld; Henry de Sturreye.
Memorandum,that John came into chancery, on 2 June, and acknowledged the above deed. [C.C.R., 1313-1318, p. 617.]


2nd June 1318 at Westminster -
Enrolment of deed of William Martyn, witnessing that whereas his daughter Joan de Lascy,* countess of Lincoln, is bound to him in 10,000L. by recognisance made in chancery on 29 May, in the 11th year of the king's reign, the said William hereby grants that the recognisance shall be annulled in case Joan marry with his assent and counselor in case she remain single during his life. Witnesses: Sir Hugh de Courtenay; Sir William de Campvill; Sir John de Caireu; Sir Stephen de Haccoumb; Sir James de Oxton; Sir Martin de Fisshacre; Sir Robert de Stokkehegh; Philip de Columbers; Sir John de Gahlmeton, clerk; William de Mygeley; James de Podemore. Wrltten at Westminster, 30 May, in the above year. French. [C.C.R., 1313-1318, p. 617.]
*Joan de Lacy/Lascy (nee Martin) was the wife of the great northern baron Henry de Lacy (d. Feb. 1311), earl of Lincoln who held the honour of Pontefract, she did later remarry to Nicholas de Audley.

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 -
The like to Thomas de Furivalle (sic), William de Byngham and William de Miggele on complaint by Beatrice daughter of Robert de Reynbergh that William le Lord of Addewyk, William le Lavedyman of Addewyk, Thomas son of Richard Butterthwayt, Richard de Butterthwayt and Thomas Malcus of Roderham (Rotherham), with others, robbed her of her goods at Haddewyk Onderne,* co. York. By K. [C.P.R., 1317-1321, p. 283.] *
This second entry shows that the place where the robbery took place was Adwick Upon Dearne not Adwick Le Street.

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: [http://www.bu.edu/phpbin/lawyearbooks/display.php?id=4858]

About October 1318 - Earl Thomas and his men laid siege to Conisbrough Castle and are said to have killed a nephew of Sir John de Elland.

1319 - As Thomas Earl of Lancaster became more powerful, John Earl Warrene was forced to grant the manor of Wakefield lands to Thomas in this year. Thomas already held the neighbouring lands of the honour of Pontefract. Thus for about five years, from 1317 until 1322, the Pontefract lands and the manor of Wakefield lands were held under one baron. It is likely that the landed knights such as de Thornhill and de Midgley of the the honour of Pontefract were affected by this aggregation. Lancaster would have demanded their services. 

20th November 1319 at York -
Enrolment of release by Adam son of Cicely Belechose of Cliderhou to Robert de Cliderhou, clerk, of her right in the lands that belonged to Jordan son of Peter in Cliderhou. Witnesses: Richard de Aldeburgh; William de Migelay; Robert Meek, then mayor of York; Henry le Calvehurd; John de Horneby; John son of John de Blakeburn; Henry Gilibrond. Dated at York, on Monday the morrow of the octaves of Martinmas, 13 Edward II. [Calendar of Close Rolls,  1318-1323 (1895), p. 214.]

January 6th 1320 at York Parliament -
Commission of oyer and terminer "to Adam de Everingham^ of Birkyn [Birkin, Yorks.], William de Miggeley and Edmund le Botyler* [Edmund Butler - probably also Lancaster's butler] on complaint by Thomas, earl of Lancaster, that John de Mansion and Richard le Wayte of Ledes [Leeds], with others, whilst the earl was engaged on the king's service in Scotland [probably the siege of Berwick, 1318] and under his protection, forcibly entered his manor of Ledes, co. York, carried away his goods, and assaulted Robert son of Elias de Knontesthorpe, his servant.
The like [i.e. c
ommission of oyer and terminer] to the same justices on complaint by Robert son of Elias de Knontesthorpe that John de Mansion and Richard le Wayte of Ledes assaulted him at Ledes, co. York.
The like to John de Donecastre, Roger de Somerville+, Robert de York and Adam de Hoperton on complaint by John de Anlaughby (Anlaghby) that William de Anlaughby, John de Rottese, John Heuenrik,William son of Nicholas de Burton, and Emma, late the wife of Richard de Anlaughby, with others, assaulted him at West Elvele, co. York. Afterwards Richard de Burton was associated in the foregoing commission."27
                                                                                                         ^Adam de Everingham and William de Miggeley were probably related through a common ancestor in the Thornhill family, probably Adam FitzPeter. 
+ An adherent of Earl Thomas who was pardoned in 1313. [Maddicott, p. 275]
* Edmund was brother to Robert III Butler of Skelbrooke, seneschal [steward] of Pontefract to Henri de Laci
[< 1311] and was probably murdered in 1333.  See Butlers of Skelbrooke Edmund le Botiller was father of John le Botiller of Skelbrooke. Edmund was seneschal of Pontefract in Henry de Laci's time [< 1311]. Dr. Maddicott says he was like Everingham, a retainer of earl Thomas [Maddicott, 1970, p. 50.] Edmund's wife was Agnes ?de Langthwaite.

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 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 petition was in French  and mentioned La Ridyng (Rhydding or Riddings by Ackworth, South Yorkshire, still a farm today) The malefactors who are said to have greatly disturbed De Stainton and his wife were Adam de Wannervill and his two sons, Adam and Robert and Adam de Hyndeleie and his brother Robert.  
Godfrey de Staynton stated 'that certain malefactors came by night to his manor of Riddings and burnt down the buildings there, attacking his people and servants, so that some are dead and some badly wounded, and would have killed him and his wife if their chamber had not been of stone and well protected.' 

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.'
The petition was endorsed on the front:  'Justices: John de Donecastre, William de Miggele. Justices: William de Miggele, man of law and of that country, Ralph de Beeston, Robert de Reigat, knights of the same country and on the dorse: 'Certain faithful and suitable justices are to be appointed in Chancery to hear and determine the trespass, as the deed is outrageous.
[TNA SC (Special Collections) 8/87 4301-4350.] 

As a result of this petition  the response found in the C.P.R. is as follows:

20th Nov. 1320 at Westminster Parliament -
Commission of oyer and terminer to John de Donecastre and William de Miggele on complaint by Godfrey de Staynton that Adam de Wannerville and Adam and Robert his sons, and Adam de Hyndeleye [Hindley] and Robert his brother, with others, broke his granges, sheepcots and houses at Akworth
*, co. York, and burned the houses with his goods stored therein, and assaulted his servants. By pet. of C. [C.P.R. Edward II, 1317-1321, pp. 546 -547.]  * 5km SW of Pontefract

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.]

It appears William Midgley  was a supporter of King Edward II, and opposed or at least was ambivalent towards Thomas, else why did Edward III reward him with a knighthood? Certainly he is recorded as practising law in the courts at this time. It may be that following the victory by the king's army at Boroughbridge in 1322, William was given a part of the honour of Pontefract [possibly lands at Shelf and 'Frisley' and the halls and lands at Stanley and Midgley near Wakefield] sometime after 1327 [when Edward became king under the control of his Mother Queen Isabella and her paramour, Roger de Mortimer] and before 1335. From later involvement of the Midgleys' of West Yorkshire with Lord Hastings of the Calais Wool Staple, it would appear that William de Miggeley as a lawyer heavily invested in wool production, perhaps with an extended family network through the Pennines grazing areas.

3rd December 1320 at Talworth -
Enrolment of release by Edmund de Dacre, knight, to Elias, abbot of Rufford, and the convent of the same, of his right in a moiety of the market held in the town of Roderham [Rotherham] on Monday in each week, and in the toll or other profit of the market or toll, and of his right in the yearly fair of the same town held on the eve and feast of St. Edmund and five following days. Witnesses: Geoffrey le Scrop [Scrope], John de Denom, William de Miggelay, William de Bingham, and Robert Russell. Dated at Westminster, Wednesday after St. Andrew, 14 Edward II. [Calendar of Close Rolls, Edward II: volume 3: 1318-1323, p. 345.]

Thomas de Dronsfield of nearby West Bretton appears to have been granted land at about the same time. It is possible that these two families intermarried. In which case part of the line would have been absorbed into the Wentworth's, later of West Bretton.

'In 1321 there was a grant by William de Miggelay to John Tilly [Tilli], lord of Ockwell, of a messuage and two bovates of land in Little Gomersale [Gomersall], which William had by the feoffment of Sir Robert le Vavasour. [Thoresby deeds.]25

16th - 17th March 1322- Battle of Boroughbridge, Thomas earl of Lancaster lost to the forces of Edward II.
Lancaster was arrested whilst praying in the local Boroughbridge church and taken to York. Edward II then had Thomas arraigned in the Great Hall at  Pontefract Castle . John de Warrene was one of the judges.

Sometime between 17th - 21 March 1322, Thomas was mocked at York by the crowd, thence he was taken to Pontefract where he was confined to a tower of  his own castle. Edward II arrived shortly after Lancaster's incarceration and Lancaster was arraigned before the king, Hugh Despenser, John de Warrene, Edmund FitzAlan of Arundel and others in the Great Hall of Pontefract on the 22nd of March.
On the same day of his 'trial', Lancaster was paraded on an old horse through the streets of Pontefract with a friar's hood on his head and given many insults. Initially he was to be hanged, drawn and quartered but this was reduced to execution by beheading because of his royal blood. At his execution on a hill to the north of the castle, later to become known as 'St. Thomas's Hill', he was made to kneel towards Scotland before being beheaded as a traitor. It was speculated by the Yorkshire historian, Joseph Hunter that remnants of Lancaster's army were declared "contrariants", many escaping to the protection of the local woods such as those found around 'Barnsdale'. See Robin Hood
Ninety five barons and knights were made prisoners at Pontefract and tried for high treason. Sir Richard le Waleys of Burghwallis, one of many rebel knights, who had married Eleanor, widow of the father of King Robert Bruce, lost his lands after the Battle of Boroughbridge and had to pay a fine of 2000 marks of silver to Edward II 'to save his life'. However, in 1327 this fine along with many others was cancelled by the fifteen year old Edward III, his first year as king under Isabella and Mortimer. [Hence perhaps 'Edward our comly king' of the Geste]. Some contrariants were executed at Pontefract at the same time as Thomas whilst others were taken to York and executed later. Robert de Clifford of Skipton was hung in chains at York castle, the tower keep here now being named in memory of a later family member who was appointed constable here.
Edward II then held a parliament at York, reversing sentences that were previously passed by rebel barons against the Despensers. The honour of Pontefract then reverted to the king. This is one of the few successes of Edward II's reign.
Two days after earl Thomas' death, on the 22nd March 1322 at Pontefract, William de Miggeley with other Commissioners of the Peace investigated the persons entering lands formerly held by Lancaster's rebels which were by then in Edward II's hands:

"The like [i.e. Commission of the peace, pursuant to the statutes of Winchester and Northampton] to Roger Beler*, [of Kirby Bellars, Leicestershire] John Cheynel and Henry de Hambury* [of Hanbury, Staffs.] touching the persons who entered the castles, manors, towns, lands and tenements, late of divers rebels, and in the king's hands through forfeiture, viz. at Duffeld, Beaurepeir [Belper], Wirkesworth, Hertingdon, Assheburn, Chaumpaynpark, Borughes, Matlok, Bonteshale, Bough, Kenill, Dalbury, Longeford, Haversegge, Bradburn, Hugh, Thurvaston, Longele, Brassinton, Thorp, Bredelowe, Chelardeston, and Melburn, co. Derby, Bromshulf, Sondon, Chetelton, Amelcote, Cressewall, Tilinton, Aiiegh, the dwelling-place of James de Stafford in Stafford, that of William de Stafford in Stafford, Blitheworde, Snellesdale, Throule, Efchelaston, Adgareslegh, Neuborugh, Okovere, Blakenhale, Migners, Yoxhale, Newcastle under Lyme, the castle of Helegh, Frodeswall, the castle of Tuttebury, the castle of Charteleye, co. Stafford, the castle of Kenilworth, Blashale, Shustok, Braundon, Arleye, Sloleye, Stretton, Lee, Dunton, Whitacre, Elmedon, Grave, Lapworth, Baddesleye, and Oxhull, co. Warwick, Hynkele, Desford, Shulton, Melton, Newbold, Luttreworth, Cotesbech, Minstreton Temple, Shepesheved, Brochton Astelc, Swithelond, Petlyng, Flekeneye, Ernesby, Lindrich, Andrechirche, Stordum, Leicestre, Stapelford, the manor of the bishop of Lincoln in Leicestre, Badeclive, the castle of Leicestre, the castle of Dunyngton, Loughtburgh, Beaumaner, Huclescote, and Fretheby, co. Leicester: Navesby, Buckeby, Passenham, Wadenho, Hales, Little Preston, Kiskingbury (sic), Kyldesby, Crek, Flore, Broyngton, Welde, Milnecotes, Eydon, Marham, Sudborugh, Twywell, Lillebourn, Eketon and Brampton, co. Northampton, Forthe, Forthesham, Pontesbury, Cherleton, Neuport, Egniyngdon, Norton, Ercalewe and Bed Castle, co. Salop; and touching the keepers and ministers of the king who appropriated and concealed the king's goods found there, imprisoned divers ecclesiastical and secular men until they made fine for their delivery and appropriated such fines, seized their goods to the king's use and appropriated them, levied in the king's name money granted in aid of the king's expedition at the time of the late disturbance and appropriated it, received money from men of their bailiwicks whom they ought to have compelled to go on the king's service, and committed other offences. By K.
Afterwards on 20 May next, Walter de Friskeneye and William de Miggelye were associated with the above-named justices."26
 * Both former Lancastrian retainers!

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]
"Protection with clause nolumus for: Roger Troniewyn, Richard de Wamberge, Richard de Shefeld, The abbot of Roche. William de Wermynistre, Thomas de Bray, parson. William de Miggeleye. Henry de Percy. Eleanor de Percy. The prior of St. Leonard's. The prior of Newstead Adam de Batelay." [CPR Ed II 1317-24]

1323- King Edward II visited many parts of Yorkshire, Lancashire, the Midlands and Nottingham, particularly former rebel held manors.

1324 - 24th March to 22nd November a "Robyn Hode" was employed by Edward II. Roger de Mortimer escaped from the Tower of London to seek protection in France.

1325 Queen Isabella of England travelled to France and called for Edward [later III] to join her.

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 support.
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.

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.
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.

'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. ]
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 marginally 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 -
Grant for life to William de Miggelaye of the lands in Ferslaye and Shelf, co. York, which Richard Wade, deceased, held for life of the grant of Edward II, at the rent of 4 marks a year at the Exchequer in moieties at Michaelmas and Easter. By p.s. [8617.] [C.F.R., 1327-1337, p. 443.]

 

1336-1345 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].
From a reference in Rev. J. Watson's The History and Antiquities of Halifax, Sir William appears to have died just prior to 1339.

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
As William was recorded in Parliament in 1337 and  his lands at Frisley/Frisleye and Shelf  in August 1337 were described as late of William it would appear to have died in the winter of  sometime in 1337.

August 11 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 Norrnanton, 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.' [C.P.R. Edward III ,1334-1338, p. 492]

July 16th 1338 at a Parliament at Ipswich -
"Grant to Benedict de Normanton, king's clerk, in enlargement of the late grant to him by letters patent of lands in Fresley and Shelf, co. York, late of William de Miggeley, for life, that he shall hold the same in fee by the service of 1d. yearly to the king at the Exchequer rendered by the hands of the sheriff of the county, and the services due to the other chief lords of the fee. By p.s." [C.P.R. 12Ed III vol. 4, p.113, mem.11.]


From the Yorkshire Feet of Fines: Case 214, File 117.
York. Morrow of the Purification, 12 Edw. Ill, 1338.Westminster. Quindene of Easter, 19 Edw. Ill, 1345.
Agnes widow of William de Miggelay, and Maude daughter of William de Miggelay by John de Northland her guardian, quer., Robert de Irland, chaplain, def., of a moiety of the manor of Shafton,'- which William de Bekyngham and Maude his wife hold for the life of Maude : To hold (subject to the life estate) to Agnes,* and Maude daughter of William, and the heirs of the body of Maude ; remainder to Katherine daughter of William de Miggelay the elder, for life ; remainder to John son of Thomas de Wakefeld, spicer, and the heirs male of his body ; remainder to William son of Oliver de Serleby and the heirs male of his body ; remainder to the right heirs of Maude daughter of William. Agnes and Maude
gave £20.
24
* Agnes is also shown to be the widow of 'William de Miggilley' in August and September 1339. [W.C.R., 1338-134, pp. 104, 107.]

                                                William de Midgley======Agnes
                                                        the elder             |
                           _________________________________________________________
                           |                                                      |                                                          |                                 
                 William de Midgley                               Maude                                             Katherine
                  the younger

Evidence from the W.C.R. also suggests William 'de Shelf' had two sons, Adam and John. [W.C.R. 1338-1340, p.15.]

See Midgley of Felkirk

1341- The English are pushed out of Scotland.
June 1345- Henry Plantagenet 11th Earl of Lancaster landed at Bayonne.
1345-Henry 11th Earl of Lancaster dies (held the Honour of Pontefract).
Parliament voted money for the 1st time for a campaign against France.

1346-1355 1346-Ed III 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.
1366-1375
1376-1385 1376- Edward 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.



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.

The girding of a knight with a sword 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 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.


A knight from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales THE PARLIAMENTARIAN
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. Aggain the longbow had the advantage. It is Helmet used at Battle of Crecy 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."
John 8th earl of Warrene [really, he was what later came to be known as a Plantagenet] continued to strengthen Sandal Castle which was completed by Thomas earl of Lancaster here in about 1320 (Edward III's reign) to secure the district.
"In 1332 one of the most disastrous Scottish incursions to this district took place, and the scarcity of labourers added to the scarcity of money, led to a general depreciation in land. Labourers were not to be obtained, so wages became higher; and serfs absconded to become free men".
                                                                                  -History of Bingley.

In the mid 1300's Edward III's Court became a model for Europe and it was here that the popular cultA joust 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


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 [1888] 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.

Links:
King Edward I
King Edward II
King Edward III
                                                                          Home           Midgley Arms           Edward III

References/Sources:
  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. 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.


Other 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.)

Write to:
Jo Heron
Honorary General Secretary
Yorkshire Archaeological Society
Claremont
23 Clarendon Road
Leeds  LS2 9NZ

Tele: 0113 245 7910;  Fax: 0113 244 1979
email: j.heron@shef.ac.uk
web: http://www.yas.org.uk 

Now online:
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!

© Tim Midgley 2000, revised 23rd July 2016.