|Anglian Incursions||Public Houses|
|As part of Wakefield Manor||Other settlements nearby|
|Early Industry||Luddenden Foot|
|Modern Midgley||The Gibbet|
|Neolithic, Bronze Age and later sites on Midgley Moor.||Pace Egging|
Midgley near Halifax lies below Midgley Moor at an elevation of 230 metres in the parish of Halifax in the Liberty of Wakefield. The settlement is one of a number of hill top villages which also gives its name to the township of Midgley. The place name may be derived from the fact that the mid-level topographical shelf between the valley floor and the moor tops allowed for fields to be established here as 'middle fields', hence Midgley, middle ley.
|A field on the Midgley terrace above Calderdale which may have given rise to the Domesday Book name of 'Miclei'. The valley of Ludenden Dean can be seen to the left and Calderdale to the right.|
There is evidence on Midgley
Moor of Neolithic and Bronze Age remains such as "Churn Milk Joan", the
"Greenwood Stone", "Miller's Grave" and "Robin Hood's Penny Stone" [See below].
There is a hamlet of Midgley further east near Wakefield which appears to have formed part of the honour of Pontefract well after the Norman invasion, however the Midgley settlement in the Halifax locality was part of the western division of the manor of Wakefield. The name appears in Domesday Book as Micleie.
University of Hull site for Domesday Book
Other spellings include, Miclei, Miggeley, Miglay, Miggely, Migeley etc. Following
Domesday the name is then first recorded in 1207. See variations in d
minor. According to the author of the History of the Stanfields, Midgley in
1885 was pronounced as 'Mig-ge-ley' by local inhabitants. [History
of the family of Stansfeld of Stansfield in the parish of Halifax and its
numerous branches, p.
6.] This appears to be close to the phonetically spelt 'Miclei' of the
Lying on the north side of the river Calder the township was bounded on the west by Foster Clough and on the east by the Luddenden stream. One of the oldest churches in the area (St. Mary's ca.1620) in the village of Luddenden lies within its boundaries. It also has strong connections with Methodism, John Wesley having stayed at Ewood Hall on numerous occasions.3
Midgley is sited at the convergence of the Calder Pass and the Roman road from Manchester via Blackstone Edge to Ilkley and Aldborough. This road appears to have been built A.D. 122-125 and replaced the road through Castleshaw and Slack which was built earlier in A.D. 79-80. The Blackstone Edge road is the road the Romans used to transport lead from Greenhow Moor near Pateley Bridge in the northern Pennines, south past Midgley where it is now sited, down the steep Blackstone Edge where the incline is still cobbled with large stone blocks. The road would have also been a frontier and rapid transport route for troops into the Brigantian highlands. This road was being constructed at the time Hadrian's wall was being erected which was a time of increasing raids from the Picts (Selgovae, Damnonii and Venecones) in Northern Britannia, not yet an area politically distinct from Southern Britain until settlements were established around the Clyde by the Scotii from what is now Northern Ireland.
The Romans did not use the obvious east-west passage offered by the Calder Pass which could be easily attacked by bands of Brigantian warriors sweeping down from the surrounding moorlands, but preferred a direct line to Aldborough (Isurium Brigantium) in the north. This road somewhat paralleled the one from Manchester and Chester through Castleshaw, Pule Hill, Slack (Camulodunum 80-140A.D.) Cleckheaton (Cambodunum) to York (Eboracum).
The Romans were losing control earlier here than in the rest of Britain towards the end of their occupation. Roman signal stations were still manned in the closing years of the 300's on the Yorkshire coast to give alarm at the approach of the Anglian pirates. In the early 400's troops were withdrawn to defend Rome when in 410 the emperor Honorius wrote to the British towns telling them to defend themselves and the garrison at York was ordered back to the continent.
Aethelfrith is likely to have made incursions into the district with the withdrawal of the Roman garrisons and decay of rule. In 617 he moved rapidly down the Roman road from the North Yorkshire Wolds and York through Slack, Castleshaw and Manchester to achieve a decisive battle over the British at Chester. This battle separated the Northern British [Strathclyde] resistance from the Welsh British forces [Powys] and allowed the Anglians to control the West coast of what is now Lancashire.
In 620 Edwin struck at the small British Kingdom of Elmete and colonisation in the West Yorkshire region probably became effective from this time. Anglian townships or villages would have begun to appear first along river banks with later groups progressing further inland. The navigable limit on the Aire, Calder etc. would have limited the passage by ship, thus the earlier settlements are seen as being downstream. However it is recognised that early settlement by Anglians occurred in the Yorkshire Wolds and incursions may have occurred from here.
By 1050 the region was under the direct control of Edward ("The Confessor"), we know this because William I took them over as his own and gave the lands to De Laci and Warenne. Earl Warenne was found to be earl at the time of Kirby's Inquest . In 1316 [Nomina Vilarum] 'Miggeley' is recorded as belonging to the earl of Warenne who at this time was John 8th earl and it remained with him until it passed, with the manor of Wakefield, to the crown3.
See map of The manor of Wakefield, Western Division
Midgley near Halifax, Miclei1 or Micleie2
is mentioned in the Domesday book (1086) as one of the
nine outlying sub-manors or beriwicks (berewics*) belonging to the lordship of Wakefield. By
the 1100's Migelaia2 is recorded for the hamlet of Midgley
near Wakefield. The name may have originated in Micel
or Mycel in O.E. and O. Scandinavian Mikill meaning
"great or large", The suffix -leah in O.E. means 'wood, woodland
clearing or glade', later a pasture or meadow.4. [*A berewic O.E. meaning 'a barley or corn farm and later an outlying
grange or demesne farm']
Midgley commands a wide view across the Calder valley and had the advantage
that early Anglian settlers may have used the derelict Roman road for movement. As this line of communication further declined the haphazard pattern
of tracks now represented by local roads would no doubt have developed.
Some of these tracks may represent the boundaries of former fields. The
presence of baulked perimeters would support this. However John Franklin
Midgley states there is little evidence of these Anglian field systems [a
furlong or furrow long, 200 yards, and a chain wide 22 yards]
Field patterns between Midgley and Luddenden
The Medieval Manor
In 37 Henry III  John 7th earl Warrene [d. 1304] was granted free warren in Midgley. John 8th earl, his grandson is later mentioned in Kirkby's Inquest  as holding Midgley. In 1288 Sir John de Meus [Mews, Melsa, Meaux*] is recorded as holding half a carucate of land at 'Miggeley' 26 John de Meaux was a High sheriff of Yorkshire for the years 1292 and 1293 and in 1297 [25 Ed. I]. Earl Warenne granted free warren to 'John Meus'. Besides the manor of Midgley, Sir John de Meus held at his death, lands at Sutton in Holderness, Lepington and Fangfoss. At his death in 4 Ed. II [8 July 1310 - 7 July 1311] Godfrey de Melsa with his wife Scolastica also held, besides these other interests in Yorkshire:
|Byrkyn [Birkin]. 4a. meadow held of Adam de Everyngham rendering nothing.
Farbum [Fairburn]. 3a. meadow held of Adam de Everyngham of Laxton rendering nothing.
The manor of 'Bewick' [?Burstwick], Aldborough and Walkington which he held of the king.32
According to the Nomina villarum of 1316, John de Melsa's wife who was by then a widow, held lands in Lepington and 'Barkethorpe'. 29
On 26th November 1317 at Windsor a commission of oyer and terminer was issued to Robert de Hastanges, John de Donecastre and Adam de Hoperton, on complaint by Scolastica, late the wife of Godfrey de Melsa, 'touching the persons who by night broke her house at Lepyngton (Leppington), co. York, carried away her goods and assaulted her servants. [C. P. R., 1317, p. 95.] Also Scolastica as widow of Godfrey de Melsa was granted Flore and Gayton in Northamptonshire, that had been forfeited by William Trussel. [C.P.R., 1317-1321, p. 287.]
*John de Meaux of Bewick in Holderness seems to be named after Meaux Abbey near Beverley E.R.Y. His heraldic arms were azure six griffins 3, 2, 1 or as borne at the first Dunstable tournament of 1309 by Sir Godfrey.31
John de Meaux======Beatrice
Godfrey==1==Scolastica==2==Thomas de Stafford [Edward II's yeoman]
John [a ward of Edward II] d. ~1321
In 1276 John de Melsa [Meaux] was granted free warren in his lands at Midgley ['Miggel'] Huddlestone, Gawthorpe Leppington &c:-
|7th November 1276 at Westminster -
Grant to John de Melsa, and his heirs, of free warren in his demesne lands of Hodeleston, Fenton, Gauthorp, Lepinton, Wilardeby, Witheton, and Miggel', co. York. [C. Ch. R., 1257-1300, p. 200]
In 1299 John de Melsa was again granted free warren in, this time in additional lands including Midgley:-
|28th March 1299 at Westminster -
Grant to John de Melsa, and his heirs, of free warren in all his demesne lands in Bewyk, Aldeburgh, Thorp, Est Neuton, Halsham, Tonestal, Rymeswell, Sutton, Drypole, Wyllardby, Neuton by Wyllardby, Wycheton, Walkyngton, Lepington, Gouthorp, Hudleston, Fenton and Miggeleye co. York. By K. and pet. of C. [C. Ch. R., 1257-1300, p. 476.]
At the death of Godfrey his son John was underage and was claimed as a ward by both King Edward II and earl Thomas of Lancaster. At the same time Scalby in the honour of Pickering, also held by Godfrey and Scolastica, was seized by the earl who wished to receive the rent.34 At some point, perhaps during the rebellion of Thomas earl of Lancaster, and after the death of Godfrey de Meaux [between August 1309 and February 1311], the manor was probably granted by earl Thomas to the Soothill family, where, from a Soothill i.p.m., they are found to be in possession in 1326.
From the Wakefield Court Rolls for 1276, Henry de Miggeley is recorded as having leased land in Ovenden from Sir John [II] de Soothill. From the W.C.R's the early Midgley [Miggelay, Migge, Miggele, Miggeley, Miggelay] pedigree may be determined as follows as:
Midgley of Sowerby Soothill of Soothill
William 1296 Reginald ~ 1200
Adam * Sir John I ~1198-1266===Alice
| | | |
Henry+ John Thomas Sir John II b. ~1250 d. ~1310
1274 - Forester of the forest d. 1326 |
of Sowerby, resided Hathershelf Sir Henry+ a retainer of earl Thomas
mentioned 1274-1298, 1308, 1321. b. ~1278 d. ~ 1352
* Mentioned 1274, 1275 and in 1297 he was the Grave for the Graveship of Sowerby.
+ Leased land from Sir John II de Soothill who in turn was a tenant of Earl Warenne.
+ Pardoned in June 1322 for his rebellion with Earl Thomas.
|Hathershelf Farm today as seen across the Calder Valley from Towngate, Midgley. In medieval times the summits of the Pennine foothills would have been part of the forest of Sowerby|
This Midgley branch seem to have become settled at Hathershelf but by 10 Ed. II [1317-1318] the Hathershelf vaccary pasture had been granted to Earl Warrene's steward, Henry de Welda:
22nd August 1316 at York -
Confirmation of a grant made by John de Warenna, earl of Surrey, to Henry de Walda (Welda) of all the land which Philip de la Wodehalle sometime held from the ancestors of the earl at la Wodehalle (Woodhall), in the parish of Wakefeld, and which Robert Gunne lately held from the earl at fee farm, and of two parts of all lands with woods, meadows, feedings, pastures, moors, rents and services which John le Barn formerly held of the earl in villenage at Tothille (Toot Hill, S.W. of Sowerby) in the parish of Halifax, together with the reversion of the remaining third part thereof which Beatrice, sometime the wife of the said John, holds in dower; and also of the grant which the earl made to the said Henry of all his pasture in Sourby (Sowerby), co. York, which is called 'Hardteschelf,' (Hathershelf) and of the entire meadow which he held in Thornes (S.W. of Wakefield), called 'Pampellion Holm,' and of the grant which the earl made to the said Henry of the manor of Doltonwode (Dalton Wood near Dalton, east of Huddersfield town centre), with its pastures and woods. By K. [C.P.R., 1313-1317, p. 535.]
Welda probably almost immediately lost the property because in 1318 John de Warrene quit claimed all of his Yorkshire manors to Thomas earl of Lancaster who would then have replaced Welda with his own man. After Edward III's accession the manor of Midgley may have reverted to John de Melsa (son of Godfrey) who died in 1353 [26 Ed. III] having left John, son of Thomas de Den+, of Midgley [John and Thomas de Midgley?], all the land and meadow, &c. which John, the son of Thomas, held by charter in Myggeley, from Lyddingdenhead [Luddendenhead], &c. 30 Ed. III .29 + Possibly of Luddenden i.e. Luddenden Dean.
This Thomas de Den of Midgley who it is surmised became Thomas de Midgley may be the same person mentioned in the Stansfield family genealogy whose daughter Agnes married an Edmond de Stansfield. Thomas is described there as 'alias Mr. Thomas Midgley' who bore as his arms 'sable two bars gemmelles or' [Harlian Ms.] However the author of the Stansfield family adds to these arms 'on a chief of the second, three catherine wheels of the first'. These are the identical arms to those of the Midgleys who later moved into Lancashire as cotton millers, the catherine wheels possibly being mistaken for mill wheels.
In an undated deed there is a transfer of land from 'Agnes at the Gate of Northowram' to John de Tothill. The witnesses are John de Midgley [probably the forester of the forest of Sowerby], Hugh de Eland (d > August 1324, John de Lacy (of Cromwell Bottom, d. 1307-1310), Henry de Rishworth, Thomas de Copley and John de Haldeworth. These witnesses suggest that the deed is dated somewhere between 1298 and 1310. It is implied in the Stansfield history that this Agnes is the same as Agnes de Midgley who married into the Stansfields.
'After this, but whether by purchase or marriage is uncertain, it came to the family of Sotehill; ........for there is (says Watson) the copy of a deed from Gerard de Sotehill, dominus de Midgleye, dated at Miegleye, 3 Oct. 1392, 16 Ric. II. By an inquisition of wastes within Wakefield, 19 Edw. IV. Gerard Soothill, Esq. was found to hold the manor of Midgley, by soccage, &c. and to render by the year 2s. Soon after this it seems to be alienated; for Gilbert Lacy, esq. and Joan his wife, enfeoffed Richard Symmes, vicar of Halifax, and others in this manor, by deed, dated at Southowram, 12th July, 21 Edw. IV. but for what particular purpose does not appear, excepting that it was done with intent to have it conveyed to some one of his own family; for John Lacy of Brearley, Esq. was found in the year 1577, by inquisition at Wakefield, to be lord of the manor. Soon after this it came to the Farrers, by the intermarriage (32 Eliz.) of Henry Farrer of Ewood, with Mary, daughter of the above John Lacy, and in this family it long continued.' 25
Click for enlarged map
At some point after the Soothills held the manor, the Meux family appear to have regained the manor of Midgley. This is indicated when on 12th April 1379 Thomas de Meaux of 'Belynghay' knight to John Aunsell knight, his heirs and assigns quitclaimed the manor of Miggeley co. York sometime of Sir John de Meaux knight son and heir of Sir Godfrey de Meaux knight. Witnesses: Sir Peter VI de Malo Lacu [de Mauley], Sir Ralph de Hastynges [Hastings], John Bygod [Bigod], John Conestable[Constable] of Halsham, Robert de Nevylle [Nevile, Neville] of Hornby sheriff of York, John Seyville [Savile, Saville] knights. Dated York, Monday after Palm Sunday 2 Richard II.33
The other Midgley Sometimes called 'Little Midgley'
This township appears to pre-date another Midgley hamlet near Wakefield which is first mentioned as Migelaia4 in the 1100's and rendered as Miggelay in October 1238 in the Calendar of Close Rolls when referring to William earl Warrene, Richard a tenant and Robert de Everingham and his wife Isabella:
|Mandatum est justiciariis Hybernie quod in loquela que est coram eis inter W. comitem Warrenn', petentem, et Ricardum de [. . .], tenentem, de j. carucata terre in Miggelay unde idem Ricardus vocavit ad [warantum] Robertum de Everingeham et Isabellam uxorem ejus, procedant secundum legem et consuetudinem regni Anglie ad judicium inde reddendum ad diem videlicet quem. [. . . .].|
A descendant of Robert's, Adam de Everingham was ordered to be to be distrained at the Wakefield Court on 7th July 1327 for arrears at court regarding tenements at ‘Erdeslawe’ (Ardsley) and ‘Miggeley’. [W.C.R., 1322-1331, 2013, p. 124.]
In 1577 'Little Midgley' appeared as Mydgeley in Christopher Saxton's
map of Yorkshire. A later spelling in the 1700's recorded it as Mygeley.
Anyone with this surname today knows the exasperation of having
to spell it out for writers. It was not until lexicographers in the late 1700's such as Johnson began
to standardise the spelling of words and compulsory education was
introduced in the late1800's that accepted spellings evolved. Apart
from Webster's deliberate divergence from English as spoken in Mother England,
these changes may help explain the many spelling differences American English and native
English exhibit today, much of the migration to the Americas having occurred before dictionary
It might also be mentioned in passing that the popularity of English over the Chinese language recently is in no small way due to communication through the internet, a place that was originally reserved for Esperanto. We have John Tindale, writer of King James' I's bible version to thank for the simplicity of English with all its richness, John is quoted as wanting to 'make the bible able to be read even by a ploughboy'.
Due to illiteracy, the place- and sur- name like many others was not standardised but merely recorded by a second party in a phonetic style. We see this in the way the Domesday scribes attempted to literate the local Anglian pronunciations.
It would appear that if we try to pronounce say Miclei and Migelaia they sound different. They may in fact be two derivations which have become convergent in their spelling. Miclei could sound more like Migleah, with a hard "g" as in granite, whereas Migelaia may have the softer "g" as in gelignite! Whatever the original pronunciation the convergence of spelling is only relatively recent and may explain the fact that we have today two villages/hamlets in Yorkshire with ostensibly the same name but different locations and histories. But see Sir William Midgley
Other toponymic surnames that appear in the locality are Schepard, Paget, Vornvall [Wormald], Fletcher [a person who made arrows], Townend, Waldesworth [Wadsworth], Okes, Dickonson, Saltonstall, de Burgh, Culpon, and Lemanskill.
Midgley near Halifax from the air
Source: Google Earth
A walk around Midgley Click
here and enter 'Towngate, Midgley, Yorkshire' and go for a stroll on a sunny
The village sits at a point where the steep sided Calder valley changes to a broad open vista north towards Booth. The so-called 'Long Causeway', runs from Burnley in Lancashire over the Pennines through Mereclough, following Keb's Road to Hebden Bridge then through Midgley towards Sowerby and Halifax:.
|Map showing the 'Long Causeway' and townships in the area of Sowerby. Many of these townships [those underlined and others] were gained by Jordan FitzEssulf of Thornhill, in the 1100's, probably by marriage to an heiress of lands in Sowebyshire. [Pontefract Chartulary] Most of these administrative areas were covered by the now extinct medieval administrative unit of Sowerbyshire* well into the 1400's. In the late 1200's a John de Miggeley of Hadreshelf near Mytholmroyd was the forester for Sowerbyshire for John the 7th earl Warrene. * Later called the forest of Hardwick, though for what reason is unknown.|
'Hadreschelf' [Hathershelf] lies on the south side of the river Calder almost due south and within sight of Brearley Hall. In 1315 Henry de Welda [de la Welde/de la Walda]* steward of John 8th earl de Warrene's manor of Wakefield & Wakefield Castle [at Sandal Magna] was granted a pasture [vaccary] near Sowerby called 'Hadreschelf' in 10 Ed. II [1317-1318].28 Today this is marked by Hadershelf Lane west of Sowerby on which are located three farmsteads. Henry was given this vaccary just before John lost his northern manors for in 1318 earl John quit claimed the castles of Sandal and Conisbrough along with estates at Sowerby, Dewsbury, Halifax and estates in other counties which were granted to Thomas earl of Lancaster which he held until 1322.
Brearley Hall lies within the township of Midgley and is described as "an ancient mansion of the Midgley Family"5. This building's history is likely to hold many clues to the early Midgley family which probably pre-dates the Norman conquest. It was supplanted by the Norman family Sotehill and known to be held by this family in 1326 (Brearley Old Hall). However it would appear that the ownership entered the De Laci family, records show that a daughter of the Sotehill's , Johanna Sotehill, married Gilbert Lacy the second son of John Lacy. Gilbert Lacy's daughter married Henry Murgatroyd. The Lord of Midgley in the early 1500's was a Hugh Lacy (a branch of the Norman De Laci family) who was born about 1489 at Brearley Hall and whose will was proved in 1570. He had married Agnes Saville of the Savilles of Thornhill.' Hugh and Agnes Lacy's daughter, Margaret, born abt. 1530 married William Farrer [yeoman born abt. 1514] their child was John Farrer esq. born about 1550 at Ewood Hall. Ewood Hall, is a single house with its estate in the township of Midgley. *Of Wing, Buckinghamshire where John de Warrene held an extensive property.
In 1371 a John de Midgley is recorded in the Wakefield Rolls as being a constable for the township [the Yorkshire name for a village] of Midgley1.This may be the same John de Midgley who is mentioned as having the occupation of a "cissor" [tailor]. There is also a reference to a John Dente a "textor" [weaver]. These two occupational terms bear witness to the early domestic manufacture of woollen goods in the 1300's Initially the soft water used for scouring the wool from the moors was the location factor but later the coalfields of West Yorkshire conspired with water power to locate woollen manufacture to the valley bottoms18.
John Hesketh hypothesises that the Midgley's of Barnsley originated from the Midgley near Halifax. His reasons are that the linen industry in Barnsley lasted from 174 to 1957, and as this developed, local bleachers encouraged cotton industry workers from Lancashire and Chehire as well as experienced weavers from the Halifax area to settle there.21
John Watson in "The Histories and Antiquities of the Parish of Halifax in Yorkshire" 1775 states:
"The Midgley's of Midgley were once a family of some tolerable account who owned much of the land in Midgley, but I can give the reader no better pedigree of them than what we may meet in Thoreby's "Topography "
In a return for Midgley Township (1763-4) there were 217 families and
224 houses, seven being empty. It is estimated that if each family averaged
5 members per household there would have been 1,085 inhabitants. They were
mainly farmers (livestock, barley, rye oats and woollen manufacture- each
house had a loom and spinning wheel)
In September 1824 there were massive landslides in Luddenden Dean below
During the 1830's a dispute occurred between Lancashire and Yorkshire (not the first!) over the positioning of the county boundary to the north of the township.
Also known as Churn Milk Peg and Savile's Low, is located on Midgley Moor. It is a 6' 9" high stone pillar -probably a boundary marker. The stone is claimed to spin round three times on New Year's Eve. It is said to be named after a milk-maid who died whilst carrying milk to the villages here. Peter Evans speculates that this stone could have been erected by Danish [Viking] settlers as delineating their lands. There is also a legend that a penny placed on the stone will bring good luck, no doubt to the person that finds it!. Peter has found boundary marker stones at such places as Pole Stoop and Sutton Stoop on Haworth Moor and a boundary stone on Oxenhope Stoop Hill. The word Stoop originates from Old Norse meaning 'post'.
This may be a property boundary stone named from the Greenwood family. Malcolm Bull has it as erected in the 1500's to mark the boundary between Midgley and Wadsworth townships. This was established following a dispute which arose between Sir George Savile and John Lacy in 1594, both Lords of the manor. The date 1779 has been cut into the west side, this occurred after a beating of the bounds was carried out by Heptonstall Grammar School. The stone is sited on Midgley Moor at Ordance Survey reference SE 017 285. The surface appears fresher and more angular which suggests this later age. See The Knyght at the Lee for the possible derivation of this name*. The Greenwood standing stone is about 4-5 ft tall24. Peter Evans23 who has supplied the photographs describes this landmark as a "Roughly dressed stone about 4ft high carrying an engraved date '1775', leaning badly just a few yards away and slightly further North of a smaller stone". Peter now finds that this smaller stone is no longer standing . This smaller stone at SE 016 284 and the Miller's Grave mound are near the Greenwood Stone. Peter describes the smaller stone as apparently a "standing stone from the Bronze Age, possibly at the centre of a stone circle and probably recently re-erected".
There is also what appears to be a glacal erratic22 at SE 018 284. "A stone of similar type and size to the large stones capping Miller's Grave but partly broken up - it could be entirely natural or it may be a Neolithic or Bronze Age standing stone. This is the closest of the three stones to the Miller's Grave" and can be seen in the distant background on the Miller's Grave photograph23 .
* Peter Evans who is making a study of standing stones on the Pennines suggests that the Greenwood Stone is named after the Greenwood family who built Stone House, Todmorden between 1746 and 1749. There is a huge megalith which stands near the house but it is suspected that it was erected along with others by the Greenwood family. The present owner confirmed to Peter Evans that this was a "folly" of the 1700's-1800's. The resident thinks the other two stones were erected by Icelandic settlers [876-954 AD] after which the Danish/Vikings tended to erect stone crosses to mark their lands. Peter also suggests that there may be a relationship between The Greenwood Stone on Midgley Moor and this family. See Midgley-Greenwood coat of arms.
This is a mound or tumulus on Midgley Moor which appears to have had the overburden eroded leaving the cist or stone burial chamber in a chaotic state. The Greenwood Stone is nearby.
Robin Hood's Penny Stone
On Midgley Moor at Wainstalls there is a large boulder described by the historian Watson. It is said to have been a meeting place for Robyn Hode, the ballad hero. This may have been a plague stone [the first great plague began in 1348 in Edward III's reign] - where those inflicted with the plague placed money - soaked in vinegar to disinfect the coins - in exchange for food left by those yet unaffected by the disease.- from Calderdale web pages
Peter Evans has evidence that Robin Hood's Penny Stone may have been broken up by road builders. Certainly, archaeological excavation may reveal the authenticity or otherwise of these megliths.
From: The Ancient Halls of Halifax 1913
By the late 1960's, two members of the Midgley family, with adjacent farms, were the largest farmers in Midgley17 -"One branch farms at Booth Fold acquired in 1687 from the Brooksbank family of Bankhouse in Warley, while the other, Robert Midgley, is tenant at Dean House now owned by a Murgatroyd."
The Brooksbanks' and Midgleys' of Luddenden Brook
A District of Calderdale north of Heptonstall. A little west of Hebden Bridge following Midgehole Road stands Midgehole, a hamlet which appears in early records of the 1300's for the West Riding. It is also an access to Hardcastle Crags.
In the 1881 census the following entry appears:
Dwelling: Booth Terrace
Census Place: Midgley, York, England
Source: FHL Film 1342056 PRO Ref RG11 Piece 4418 Folio 77 Page 14
Marr Age Sex Birthplace
Squire MIDGLEY M 26 M Midgley, York, England
Occ: Stone Quarry Man
Hannah MIDGLEY M 26 F Midgley, York, England
Fred MIDGLEY 1 m M Midgley, York, England
The Old Tosspot carried a long straw tail that had been stuffed full of pins. He would swing it wildly about, acting as though he were drunk, and wait for some poor unsuspecting fool to try and catch hold of the tail or be tapped by it, all in good humour, but also to encourage people to toss things into his basket. When the Pace-eggers received sufficient eggs or money in the basket, the group would temporarily stop and present a short play and dance. Usually an additional reward for the presentation would be given to the group by a member of the public, such as a glass of beer if performing outside a public house. Once the play was completed and everyone was satisfied, the group would proceed through the area until the entire village had been travelled. Normally the Pace-eggers would attract quite a large group of followers by the end of their promenade as each presentation was sure to be different and build upon the last
Here's one or two jolly boys all of one mind
We've come Pace-egging, I hope you'll prove kind
I hope you'll prove kind with your eggs and strong beer
And we'll come no more nigh you until next year.
Meeting a rival band of Pace-eggers could lead to a lot of competitive
friendly exchanges or "egging" with the passing of witty jibes between
the groups with occasional attempts to steal the eggs. Perhaps this is where
the expression "to egg someone on" originated.
Sometimes the groups would also have wooden swords that could also be used to poke friendly fun at the rival group.The sword in England is said to relate to St. George who is traditionally seen as a protector of justice.
It has been known for Pace-eggers to walk away with a couple of scratches when the exchanges have become a little too over-enthusiastic as you might expect!14
External link to Calderdale Images site
Midgley Village Site OR http://www.midgley.btck.co.uk/Home
Rushbearing at Sowerby Bridge 2009
Midgley has relics of a Pinfold where stray animals or sheep were held, stocks, a communal well ["Town Syke"] a stretchergate and a workhouse15.
Stocks in Towngate Midgley
These are wooden but the lower part of a stone stock can be seen below these with a stone seat behind to sit on - very uncomfortably cold!
|The Town Syke on Towngate, Midgley|
Other Inns in the district run by Midgley's:
Sportsman Inn, Kel Coat, Stainland Innkeeper 1845: William Midgley
Sportsman, Stansfield, Todmorden Innkeepers: 1822: William Midgley and John Hargrave
White Lion Inn, Illingworth Innkeeper 1845: Ellen Midgley
O.E. personal name + feld meaning 'open land of a man called Stan' A town in the parish of Halifax only 12 miles from Rochdale in Lancashire and ten miles from Halifax.
One of the earliest records in the world of the surname Midgley is used in Pipe Rolls which are as follows:
Thomas de Midgley born circa 1154, probably of Stansfeld.
Mrs. Thomas de Midgley born about 1156.
Also Agnes Midgley born circa 1176 of Stansfeld.12
[These dates appear to be wildly inaccurate and incorrectly determined from mentions of these persons in the Stansfield Family History]
of the appearance of the surname in West Yorkshire indicates a movement of
people towards Halifax. In the township lies Stansfield Hall
in the valley of Todmorden. It is here at Todmorden that three valleys meet,
one offers access to Burnley, the second to Rochdale and the third to
Hailfax. Todmorden was originally the seat of a Norman
who accompanied William I to England, Wyan Marmions who was
given land here by Earl Warrene. The Warrene's main seat was the castle of
Reigate with lands at Lewes in Surrey holding lordship over the
manor of Wakefield. Also within the township lies Field Head a farm-house. Stansfield has neolithic sites such as The Hawkstones and The Bride
The Bride Stone consists of one upright stone or pillar, called the Bride, which has a height of about five metres, a diameter of about three metres and the pedestal is about half a metre diameter. Near this stood another large stone called The Groom which prior to 1823 had been pulled down by the locals. Not far away on the old Common are many large and small rocks scattered about which Dr. Stukeley an antiquarian of the 1700's described as 'something like a temple of the serpentine kind"5
A village on the stream of Luddenden Dean uphill from Luddenden, which itself is uphill from Luddenden Foot.
Some individuals are mentioned as living in Luddenden Dean in 1850.3
1. Thomas Midgley ,Victoria House Shop.3
2. John Midgley [John o’ the Lords], Nunnery Farm.3
3. Jonathan Midgley, Clough Farm Cottage.3 batchelors.
4. Peter Midgley, Fulshaw Farm. 2 persons
Luddenden is so deep in Calderdale that the sun does not find it after October7. St. Mary's is the Luddenden chapel in the township of Midgley was built about 1496. The church was consecrated in August 1624 by two priests, the Reverends Greenwood and Walsh the service being attended by James Murgatroyd, William Midgley, Thomas and Jasper Lacy, Gilbert Deane and Gregory Patchett The Church was rebuilt in 1814 [or 1816] on the same site.18
Is situated on the Calder river, it is protected from the northerly winds by Midgley Moor. Paper making was in full swing at Dean Mill on Luddenden Brook in 1726 where two water mills were evident, one for the glazing mill. Another mill was called the 'Vicarage Mill', a fulling or paper mill so called because John Midgley granted the rent he gained from it to the curate of Luddenden while his brother William gifted a loft to the church. By 1792 Jonathan Bracken and Sons, who had purchased the mills, were now paper makers in the Dean until 1921.36 Luddenden Foot was developed faster than Luddenden with the arrival of the Rochdale canal (1794-1802) from Sowerby Bridge to Manchester and later extended in 1828 to Halifax.
The earliest church register of Midgley names given for the township of Midgley were Anthony, Richard and William 10. The earliest marriage given here is between John and Isabella Midgley 4th February 1541. Common first names for males were John, Thomas, William, Robert and Richard and for females, Agnes, Isabella, Elizabeth, Anne, Marion, Margaret and Alicia.
At Luddenden Foot, a canal runs from Littleborough to Todmorden which passes through Sowerby, Luddenden Foot and Hebden Bridge. This canal was used to help construct the railway at Hebden Bridge and Todmorden. The canal had a "basin" at Luddenden Foot where the bargees ("boaties") tied up. They would stay overnight at one of the three taverns here, The Woodman, The Weavers Arms and The Anchor and Shuttle.
There was also a corn mill by the canal in the 1800's owned by George and William Thompson with mills on the hilltop at Midgley which were owned by Ely Titherington who was a wealthy worsted spinner. Ely and his son James also owned a house called Old Ridings overlooking the Luddenden Valley. Luddenden Foot is probably best known for its association with Branwell Bronte the unfortunate brother and artist of the Bronte sisters of Haworth. In the 1800's Branwell Bronte who was working as a station master at Luddenden Foot railway station, frequented the Lord Nelson Inn with the Luddenden Reading Society. Some of the members were9:
Timothy Wormald, the landlord of the Lord Nelson and clerk to the church across the way. John Whitworth a mill owner at Longbottom on the canal, who owned a fine residence called Peel House beyond Luddenden.
John Garnett, a manufacturer of Holm House.
Francis Grundy, a railway engineer (Richard Grundy drove the first train from Manchester to the Calder Valley.)
William Heaton a handloom weaver of Luddenden.
Francis Leyland a printer.
William Wolven, a ticket collector
G. Thompson, a corn merchant.
John Murgatroyd, a wealthy woollen manufacturer of Oats Royd, Luddenden. He employed the Liverpool Irish in his mills. Many Irish worked the mills and canals (Cols, Colls, Killiners and McColls).
George Richardson the wharfinger of Sowerby Bridge (controlled the warehouses and Wharfs)
Branwell Bronte lodged at Turn Lea cottages ('up t' hill'). His bedroom window overlooked the Ewood Estates at Midgley, once owned by John Grimshaw who inherited Ewood when he was twelve from his grandfather. Later it was inherited by John Crossley of Caitcliffe Hall. Branwell also lodged at Brearley Hall. By the end of March 1842 Branwell Bronte had been dismissed from his post as station master at Luddenden Foot. (The railway had arrived in 1840)
Kershaw House at Luddenden Foot
According to Watson in his History of Halifax, Kershaw House was erected by the Midgleys of Midgley in 1650 adding that 'at one time a family of some repute here bearing arms'*.30 The house stands on the site first mentioned in the Wakefield Manor Court Rolls of 1307^ when it was known as Kirkshaugh ['Kirkshaw'], an Anglian word meaning church copse. These rolls also mention a 'John Kirkeshaghson' in 1331 and Alan and John de Kirkeshage in 1339. According to Watson the later Kershaw House built on the same site was built by the Midgley family in 1650.27 [Though some erroneously say 1605] Other sources say that Kershaw House was built in 1650 under the direction of James Murgatroyd who purchased land here in ?1640.The Oldfield family may have been here earlier as the York Index of Wills gives the name of Thomas Oldfield of Kershea House (sic), Midgley who wrote his will in 1635. Midgleys were intermarried with the Oldfields earlier in the second half of the 1500's. (See Magson House, this page.)
Below: Chart of the relationships between Midgley of Thornton &c., and Murgatroyd of East Riddlesden &c.
There are two double story porches one with a rose window above and another with a priest hole a secret chamber often used in houses of this age which was built as a hiding place for Catholic priests after they had been proscribed or banned by Henry VIII. The rose window was added in 1650 by Thomas Murgatroyd and his wife Anne who left their initials carved in stone beneath the window. Legend has it that two nuns who were decapitated here can be seen each year riding in a carriage up the hill to the house. *However despite Watson and Crabtree's assertions this statement appears to be incorrect, the present Kershaw House was built for Thomas Murgatroyd and his wife Anne whose initials appear above the front porch. It may be more correct to say that this was the site of a pre-existing house occupied by the Midgley family.
^ WCR 1307- 'Adam de Kyrkeschawe', 'Kirkeschagh', 1308 'del Kirkeschagh,' In 1307Adam de Kirkeschagh drew blood of William son of William of the same [de Kirkeschagh]
The priest hole lies inside one of two double storey porches. The second porch at the front has a rose window. The rose window may have been added in 1650 by Thomas Murgatroyd and his wife Anne, who left their mark by carving their initials T.M. A.M. in a dated stone beneath the window. There are bee holes (bee hives) which are in the wall over which a basket was placed so a honeycomb could be formed. A bee hive is recorded in Luddenden Dean in 1313 when John the Miller was found guilty of cutting a swarm of bees from an oak tree.35
The building now has a grade
one rating by the Historic Buildings Commission. The Murgatroyd family also built East Riddlesden Hall in the 1600's
which similarly boasts a rose window. The East Riddlesden property covered
over 200 acres and is the birth place of Dennis Healy a cabinet minister
in the Labour government of the 1980's.
In 1538 names were beginning to be officially recorded in parish registers. See Midgley names for Parish Register of Halifax
It may be that the Midgley family at Kershaw House were not supporters of
Charles I and gained the Kershaw estate in the Great Civil War (1642),
when Oliver Cromwell removed Catholics from their properties and installed
Protestant owners. A physician, Dr. Samuel Midgley of Luddenden [d.1695]. was
in prison for debt three times
at Halifax, during his time in jail he wrote a "History of Halifax -
The Halifax Gibbett in its True Light". Whilst in jail he met Oliver Heywood,
he later died in Halifax jail. The book was published after his death
by William Bentley.
Another unfortunate resident of Luddenden Dean was a Methodist preacher, Thomas Midgley [1814-1897] who is recorded as dying after falling over a wall on his way home from an evening prayer meeting.
The descendants of Edward Midgley seated at Kershaw Hall gradually migrated their land holdings N.E. to the Arthington / Adel area in Wharfedale. Their pedigree is shown by Thoresby in his 'Topography' p. 21:
|Kershaw House, Luddenden - Which according to Watson
was the residence of the
Midgleys of Midgley township erected by this family.27, 30
|From Thoresby's Ducatus Leodiensis 1714: Pedigree of the armigerous Midgleys whose progenitor, Edward Midgley resided at Kershaw House, Luddenden. This pedigree is part of Princess Catherine, countess of Cambridge's ancestry. From the 29th October 2011 it has been decided at a CHOGM that the first born, whether male or female, will take the throne. See West Yorks|
In 1825 Robert Midgley (sen.) and Robert Midgley (jun.) were both mentioned as trustees of the Luddenden Church16. In the churchyard there is a headstone to Robert Midgley which has re-used an earlier sundial, the original in recycling.21 There is also the oldest gravestone in the churchyard belonging to a Midgley dated 1625, one year after the church was consecrated.21
LORD OF THE MANOR OF MIDGLEY20
" THE Lord
of the Manor of Midgley, Thomas Fawcett
Riley of Ewood Hall, Mytholmroyd, died in
December , aged 68.
he was of a quiet, retiring disposition and had never
taken an active part in public affairs although he contributed
quietly to various charities. He was also connected with
earlier years, he was a well-known hunter in the East Riding and
was also fond of shooting, although failing eyesight later forced him
to give it up.
was the owner of Midgley Moor and of the Ewood Hall estate,
which included adjoining farms, and part owner of Bracewell Hall
estate, Skipton-in-Craven, where he did most of his entertaining of
"Ewood Hall had a very long history, but was demolished in the early 1970s.
However there is a photo of the hamlet of Ewood and cottages which stood
close by the hall in a booklet of local walks
In 1881 the lord of the manor was one Thomas Riley. He is mentioned in the booklet as having bought Ewood Hall in 1850. He also built many of the properties in the vicinity and they still bear his initials on the walls. Apparently, John and Charles Wesley both preached there in 1752 and Royalist troops camped at Ewood prior to the Battle of Heptonstall in the Civil War in 1643"13
Magson House is sited near Luddenden. Richard Midgely / Mydgley b~1546 married Jane Oldfield. By 1582 Richard was residing at Roebucks, Luddenden and by 1595 held the estate.
Pedigree Chart of Richard Midgley with the Oldfields of Magson, Roebucks and Greystones, Luddendenfoot
Magson House was then sold in 1715 by his heir Robert. Another Richard Midgley b~1563 married a Christabel Oldfield in 1586 [Halifax Registers]. Christabel Ouldfielde (sic) married in 1570 William Midgely (sic) b ~1544. They resided at Roebucks in 1582 having had a daughter, Mary, in 1579.
Roebucks, Luddenfoot/Warley. Originally a timber structure is mentioned in a Grieve List in 1491 when it was held by John Oldfield, being passed to his heir Thomas (1545) and to his heir John Oldfield. who sold Roebucks in 1592. In 1608 Roebucks was occupied by William Midgley who was succeeded by his son Richard and his son Abraham (1624). In 1613 Richard Midgley was recorded as a yeoman clothier with a tenterfield and loom chamber where woollen cloths and shalloons were produced. In 1630 Roebucks was sold by Abraham Midgley to Edmund Tattersall when the wooden building was apparently demolished and replaced with stone. The initials of Edmund and his wife (1633) are carved above the porch.
Lies deep in Calderdale on the river Calder.
O.E. (ge)mythe (dative plural) (ge)mythum+rodu, meaning 'clearing at the river-mouths'.
Mythomrode in the 1200's2. The name Royd which is found throughout Yorkhire has its derivation in 'rode'. Terra bovata and Terra rodata (rode) were two types of land under plough (oxgang land). Rode became Royd (='rid') meaning to clear or grub. Royd is almost as common as a place-name suffix as -field ('felled') or close ('enclosure')4.
Sowerby Bridge ( 1086 D.B. - Sorebi)
In the 1400's recorded as Sourebybrigge. This township had an important role to play as a bridging point across the Calder river.
Warley ( 1086 D.B. - Werla)
Also recorded as Werlei. A town in the Parish of Halifax, Liberty of Wakefield. About 2.5 miles from Halifax. Also one of the 9 Berewicks in the Manor of Wakefield. Under the school are the old Midgley/Warley prison cells which have three exits!
O.E. personal name+denu meaning'valley of a man called Ofa'
In 1219 recorded as Ovenden.
The earliest recorded Midgley here is the marriage of John Midgley to ?Alicia Midgley in 155410.
Thornton by Bradford (1086 D.B.- Torentone)
O.E. thorn+tun meaning 'thorn-tree enclosure or farmstead' Another Midgley manor was situated here.
O.E. Boundary valley of a man called Totta pers. name+maere+ denu
One Todmorden vicar was a Joseph Midgley who succeeded his father, Richard Midgley (b.1500's).Apparently he had more extreme Puritanical views than his father.
In records for the late 1500's it is common to see references to "heading" in Halifax which refers to persons being beheaded at the "Halifax Gibbet" the precursor to the French guillotine but long used here to deal with woollen cloth stealers and "coiners".
Richard Midgley was beheaded at Halifax gibbet 13th April 1624, but on the side of the law is John de Midgley, Constable of Midgley in 1371 (Wakefield Rolls) and Robert Midgley was a Constable at Northowram 1849-1850.
1. Thomas Langdale, A Topographical Dictionary of Yorkshire,1822, TheWest Riding
2..A.D. Mills, Dictionary of English Place Names, 1997, O.U.P.
3.Thomas Langdale, A Topographical Dictionary of Yorkshire,1822, TheWest Riding
4.History of Cawthorne Charles T. Pratt, 1882
5.Baine's Directory of The County of York, 1823
6. W. Midgley, Sunshine on the Howarth Moors,1950..
7. Daphne du Maurier, The Infernal World of Branwell Bronte.
8. G. Dent, Ewood in Midgley, Trans.of the Halifax Antiquarian Soc.7th Feb. 1839
9. List of members of the Luddenden Library in 1840 (now at the Sowerby public library)
10. Births, Deaths and Marriages, Parish of Halifax, Vol 2-37
11. I.A. Richmond, Huddersfield in Roman Times,Wheatley, Dyson & sons 1925.
12. International Genealogical Index 1994. Although some doubt can be cast upon the years given in the I.G.I. see Early names
13. Roy Stockdill via Yorksgen email list.1999.
14. WWW Mystical Months.
15. John Franklin Midgley, Midgleyana, Cape Town, 1968, p.51a
16. Ibid p.52
17. Ibid. p.36
18. Ibid. p.24 [From taxation returns of 1300's]
19. Brian Day, A Chronicle of Folk Customs, Hameln, 1995.
20. Halifax Evening Courier, 1929.
21. e-mail comm. Paul Hesketh March 2003
22. Personally I think this to be a glacial erratic- It does not appear to be composed of Millstone Grit, the local lithology. It seems to display quartz veining, jointing and greenstone facies [olivine] mineralisation. This is typical of a pre-existing igneous plutonic material whch has undergone low grade metamorphism. The source for such could be Northern Scotland or perhaps from as far away as Norway! Since the last [Wurm] glacial retreat about 12000-10000 years ago the boulder has spalled scree around itself probably as a result of ice wedging [the scree is very angular and large]. Of course there may have been some human activity in the intervening period, but the isolated position of these stones and local bad luck omens may have saved them from builders cannibalising or vandalising them.
23. E-mail comm. with Peter Evans April 2003
24. Seller, Gladys. Walking in the South Pennines. Gladys did not give a name to this stone but provides a photogrph of it.
25. Crabtree, John . A Concise History of the Parish and Vicarage of Halifax.1837, pp. 424-425.
26. Cal. Inq. p.m. vol. 2, 1906, pp.383-394.
27. Crabtree, John. Concise History of the Parish and Vicarage of Halifax. 1836. p. 429.
28. Ibid. p. 414.
29. Watson, John. The History and Antiquities of the Parish of Halifax. p. 108.
30. Ibid. p. 429.
31. Foster J. Feudal Coats of Arms. 1902, reprinted 1995, p. 169.
32. Poulson, George. The History and Antiquity of the Seigniory of Holderness. vol. I, 1840. p. 46.
33. Calendar of Close Rolls, Richard II: volume 1: 1377-1381 (1914), pp. 239-246.
34. Turton, The Honour and Forest of Pickering. vol II. 1895, p. 245.
35 Wakefield Court Rolls, 1313-1316, p. 7.
36. Research by Peter Bond.
1.Sue Sheridan Walker (ed.), The Court Rolls of the Manor of Wakefield
1331 to September 1333 (1983)
2.Moira Habberjam, Mary O' Regan, Brian Hale (eds.), The Court Rolls of the Manor of
Wakefield from October 1350 to September 1352 (1987) With Introduction by C M Fraser
3.Ann Weikel (ed.), The Court Rolls of the Manor of Wakefield from October 1537 to
September 1539 (1993)
4.Ann Weikel (ed.), The Court Rolls of the Manor of Wakefield from October 1550 to
September 1552 (1989)
5.Ann Weikel (ed.), The Court Rolls of the Manor of Wakefield from October 1583 to
September 1585 (1984)
6.C M Fraser (ed.), The Court Rolls of the Manor of Wakefield from October 1608 to
September 1609 (1996)
7.Lilian Robinson (ed.), The Court Rolls of the Manor of Wakefield from October 1651
to September 1652 (1990)
8.Constance M Fraser, Kenneth Emsley (ed.), The Court Rolls of the Manor of Wakefield
from October 1664 to September 1665 (1986)
9.Andrew Brent, B J Barber (ed.), The Court Rolls of the Manor of Wakefield from
October 1790 to September 1792 (1994)
K Troup (ed.), The Court Rolls of the Manor of Wakefield from 1338
to 1340 (1998)
J Addy, A Young (ed.), The Court Rolls of the Manor of Wakefield from 1378 to 1380
Enquiries should be addressed to:
Hon General Editor
c/o Yorkshire Archaeological Society
23 Clarendon Road
Leeds LS2 9NZ
Other useful sources/references if you can get to see them:
*Dom Boc. A Translation of the Record called Domesday as far as it relates to the County of York. Revd. W. Bawden, Doncaster, 1809.
*Dodsworth Manuscripts, Bodleian Library, Oxford.
*Extract of Dodsworth MSS Yorkshire Archaeological Journal Vol 2 1871-2
*Pedigrees of the County Families of Yorkshire, Vol I West Riding, Joseph Foster, London 1874
*Leyland's Itinerary 1535-1543 ed. Hearne 1714.
*The Book of Poll -Tax, West Riding, Yorks. Archaeol. Soc. 1882.
*A list of Roman Catholics in the County of York 1604, E. Peacock, Hotten 1872.
*History of Halifax. Watson, 1741. Leyland, Halifax Ed.
*Pictures of the Past . F.A. Grundy, Griffith & Farrar 1879
*It Happened Here. Arthur Porritt
Home - where the whole site can be searched