Hallamshire. The History and Topography of the Parish of Sheffield in the County of York/Chapter III

Sheffield under De Busli and De LovetotEdit

At the time of the great Norman survey the whole wapentake of Strafford was in the hands of seven proprietors, except a very few manors which were still Terra Tainorum Regis. The earl of Warren had Conisborough and its numerous dependencies: Walter d'Eincourt had Wombwell and Rawmarsh: Aubrey de Coci had Hickleton and Cadeby: and Geffery Alselyn or Hanselyn, Brampton and Cantley. William de Percy had several manors, but by far the largest portion was included in the fees of the earl of Morton and Roger de Busli. These were all persons who had accompanied the duke of Normandy in his successful invasion of England.

Grimesthorpe, Hallam, Attercliffe, and Sheffield are described in the Domesday-book as being Terra Rogerii de Busli. But the latter three were held as before mentioned of the countess Judith, and on that account are placed last in the enumeration of his Yorkshire possessions, except on manor which seems to have been ommitted by mistake in the earlier part of the catalogue.

The whole number of manors included within his fee have been found to amount to forty-six in Yorkshire, eighty-six in Nottinghamshire, besides many in Derbyshire, Leicestershire, and Devonshire[1].

In the immediate vicinity of Sheffield, he had Orgrave, Brinsford, Tinsley, Greasborough, Kimberworth, Ecclesfield, Wadsley, Haldworth, and Ughill, in the county of York; Beighton, Norton, and Dore, in the county of Derby. Of the other manors adjacent to Sheffield, Rotherham, Handsworth, Treeton, and Whiston, were the earl of Morton's, who was uncle to the countess Judith. Dronfield was Terra Regis; and Hathersage, with its hamlets, was part of the possessions of Ralph Fitz-Hubert, to whom also belonged Eckington and Barlborough.

First among De Busli's Yorkshire possessions, in the Domesday survey, is placed Laughton. On that fine elevation, from which he could command a view of no inconsiderable portion of his northern fee, he doubtless for a time resided in the aula left by the dispossessed earl Edwin. But he soon built for himself another residence on the Norman model, near the ancient town of Tickhill, the only place in the Wapentake of Strafford which is returned in the Domesday survey as containing that description of persons called burgenses, and which from thenceforth became the head of his fee. The following pedigree is from Thoroton.

Pedigree of De Busli[2]Edit

Arms.—Gules one bezant[3]

ROGER DE BUSLI who held the manor of Hallam, &c. under the countess Judith, anno 1080. ob. 1099.
ROGER DE BUSLI the second, died without issue in the time of Henry I.
IDONEA DE BUSLI only dau. and heir.
ALICIA countess of Augi, or Eu, owner of Tickhill castle in the time of Hen. III.
JOHN DE VIPONT, ob. 25 Hen. III.
HENRY earl of Augi.
ISABEL sister and co-heir of Richard Fitz-John
elder of the two daughters and co-heirs, married 52 Hen. III. to Roger son and heir of Roger lord Clifford, who had in her right large possessions in the wapentake of Strafford and Tickhill.
IDONEA DE VIPONT, younger of the two daughters and co-heirs, married Roger de Leyburne, and 2ndly John de Crumbewell, who had in her right the manor of Kimberworth.

But when we find districts exceeding many counties in extent belonging to one person, it is obvious that his ownership is not regarded by us in the same light with the proprietorship of a modern land-owner. It seems to have been little more than a nominal possession which De Busli enjoyed at Sheffield. We find not the slightest trace of his connexion with the place except that it is enumerated under the general head of Terra Rogerii de Busli, in the Domesday survey. Nor do we find, as in the case of many other places which were parts of the same fee, that in later times a dependence on the castle of Tickhill and its lords was confessed by any small annual payment. Sheffield was never reckoned among the towns in the liberty of Tickhill; but is uniformly spoken of in the inquisitions as hed of the king in capite.

Of all the places in the immediate vicinity of Sheffield which formed the terra of their ancestor, Kimberworth is the only manor in which I have found the family of De Busli exercising acts of ownership. About the year 1160, Richard de Busli, with the consent of Emma his wife and his heirs, granted to the monks of Kirkstead in Lincolnshire sufficient land in that manor for the erection of four iron-works, forgias, two for smelting the ore, and two ad fabricandum, for forming it into bars, with liberty to dig the ore in any part of the manor[4]. Kimberworth passed to the great heiress of the house of De Busli, Iodena wife of Robert de Vipont, in the time of King John; but long before that period Sheffield and many other estates which had been reckoned amongst the terra of Roger de Busli had become the property of the house of De Lovetot.

By what means, or at what time, the family of De Lovetot acquired their interest in Hallamshire does not appear on the face of any record. But early in the reign of Henry I. we find William de Lovetot possessed of Hallam, Attercliffe, Sheffield, Grimesthorpe, Greasborough, and other places in the county of York, which in the time of the Conqueror were included within the Busli fee, and also of Worksop, and many other manors in the county of Nottingham, which had previously been enumerated among the possessions of the same family. He also had acquired interests in Handsworth, Treeton, and Whiston, and other places which at the time of the Domesday survey were of the fee of Robert earl of Morton.

Little attention has been paid by our genealogists to the origin of the potent house of De Lovetot, and to the means by which they who were before barons of Huntingdonshire acquired their great interest in the north. Dugdale begins his account of the family with the above-mentioned William de Lovetot, following the metrical chronicle of Worksop, and the deeds in the Monasticon which relate to that religious house: not does it appear on what authority Brooke, the Somerset herald, in a splendid pedigree of the lords of Worksop, which he drew up of Edward duke of Norfolk, represents this William as the son of a John de Lovetot. Thoroton has an unsuccessful conjecture, that the interest which the Lovetots obtained in the north was by the marriage of William with the daughter and heir of the Roger who is mentioned in the Domesday survey of Worksop, and whom he supposes to be a homo or tenant of Roger de Busli; while in fact the Roger whose name so often occurs in the survey of De Busli's fee was not any subinfeuded person of that name, but the lord-paramount himself. Nor is any stree to be laid on the deference which appears to be paid to the wife of this William de Lovetot in the foundation-charter of the monastery of Worksop. The donations made to that house are said to have been 'concessione et consideratione Emmæ uxoris';'' but such clauses are usual in charters of that age and nature, and it immediately follows that the deed was executed with the like consent of his sons.

I was once of the opinion, that the Ricardus Surdus of Domesday-book was the direct ancestor of the house of De Lovetot, and would still submit that opinion to the censure of the better informed reader. He was one of the two persons between whom the fee of the earl of Morton was divided as immediately subinfeuded by him, at the time of the Domesday survey. The other was Nigellus Fossard, a name well known to our genealogists as lord of Doncaster, and progenitor of the Mauleys of that place; but this Ricardus who held as large a share of the Morton fee has been unaccountably passed over in silence by our genealogists and topographers, though his name is so intimately connected with the early history of so many manors in Yorkshire. Now some of the manors which he held in the southern part of Yorkshire we find soon after his decease in the hands of William de Lovetot, and between most of those which he held in that part of the county and the house of De Lovetot there was some connexion. Those manors were—

Hutton-Paynel; Whiston; Wales; Bilham; Hansworth; Ulley; Todwick; Treeton; Brampton; Houghton; Aughton; Pilley; Thurnscoe; Aston; Tankersley; Wortley.

This opinion acquires some confirmation from a record of the age of Edward I. copied by Dodsworth from the original in the archives of Saint Mary's tower in York[5]. That record contains an account of the progeny of the three daughters of Simon son of Thorne, a Saxon proprietor of Todwick, one of the manors held by Ricardus under the earl of Morton. It relates that the second of them was given by the Conqueror in marriage to Ralph Tortemayns, armiger to Dom. Lovetoft, and that the youngest, Cassandra, was married to William de Saint Paul by the same Dom. Lovetoft. This marriage must have been solemnized about the time of the compilation of Domesday-book, and it seems to identify the Dominus Lovetoft of the record with the Ricardus Surdus of the survey. It must not however be concealed that Ricardus held many other manors in parts of the county of York very remote from those where the known possessions of the De Lovetots lay.

Like all our old surnames the name of Lovetot is found with great variety of orthography: Lovetoft, Luvetoft, Lovetot, &c. Arms the same in figure, but difffering in tincture, appear in ancient authorities purporting to be the insignia of this family. In one of the windows of the parish-church of Sheffield, in the time of Dodsworth, they appeared a lion rampant parti per fess guled and sable on a silver field. The same lion on a field of gold was used as the insignia of the house of Worksop, till another was adopted formed out of the arms of a later patron Thomas Nevil lord Furnival. In a primer which was executed in the time of Edward III. for Joan de Mounteney, a descendant of the Lovetots, the lion appears with the colours inverted on a field of or: and amongst the painted glass with which the windows of the church of Ecclesfield were once so richly adorned, the arms of Lovetot appeared thus—Parti per fess or and gules, a lion rampant parti per fess sable and argent. There can be no doubt that while all agreed in retaining the same figure it was borne in different tinctures by different members of the family.

The Lovetots became extinct at Sheffield as early as the reign of Henry II. The vouchers for the following pedigree may be found in the Monasticon, where the charters of this great family are remarkably clear in point of genealogy.

Pedigree of De Lovetot, Lords of Hallamshire.Edit

Arms.—Argent, a lion rampant parti per fess gules and sable.

living 1080.
lord of Hallamshire temp. Hen. I. and founder of the monastery of Worksop.
lord of Hallamshire temp. reg. Steph. living 1161.
had large possessions in Huntingdonshire.
witnesses to deeds of the two Richards.
the second, lord of Hallamshire. Dead before the 27 Hen. II. anno 1181.
MAUD, dau. of Walter
Fitz Robert, of the noble house of Clare, Survived, and was aged 24 years 27 Hen. II.
next heir male to William. Confirmed the donations of his family to Worksop, and died without issue.
heir to his brother.
lord of Halamshire in right of his wife.
only dau. and heir, aged 7 an. 27 Hen. II. Living 33 Hen. III.
sheriff of Nottingham and Derby shires, and governor of Bolsover castle.

From the time when the De Lovetots obtained their interest in Hallamshire may be dated the superiority which the vill of Sheffield acquired, and has ever since maintained, through the whole district which has at any period borne that name. For that place they chose among all their Yorkshire possessions in which to fix their usual residence, and they seem to have sought in other ways to advance its consequence. From this time we hear no longer of the manor of Hallam, but that spacious and once consequential manor becomes annexed to Sheffield, which is indeed always spoken of as the head of the whole barony of De Lovetot.

It is by no means certain whether the original castle of Sheffield was built by the first of the De Lovetots, or that he found one erected on that most convenient site by Sweyn the dispossessed Saxon lord, or some of his progenitors. On this point we have neither remains nor record to guide our inquiries. It has indeed been disputed whether there was any castle at Sheffield, the residence of its lords, before the charther of Henry III. in the 54th of his reign, hereafter to be mentioned. But while it is in the highest degree improbable that at the head of the barony should be no mansion of the baron, we have two records which distinctly recognise its existence in times long before the 54th of Henry III.

A deed without date, but certainly before that time, preserved by Dodsworth, recites that Nicholas de Bolonia hath given to Nicolas the son of Roger de Colston, pro homagio et servitio, one toft in Sefeld, next adjoining the gate of the valley of the castle of the same vill[6].

The return made by Ralph Murdac, sheriff of Derbyshire, of receipts and disbursements concerning the wardship of Maud de Lovetot in the 30 and 34 Hen. II. contains these entries:—

In custamento claudendi castellum de Sedfeld vii. lib. per brevem regis.
In custodia castelli de Saffeld de ipso honore [i.e. de honore Willielmi de Lovetot] et I. serviente 4l. 10s. per breve regis.

This record is still remaining in the Court of the Exchequer, and these are among several extracts made from it by Madox, to prove his point, that Thomas de Furnival was in fact a baron, and that the castle of Sheffield was the head of his barony, although a jury in the country had delivered on an inquest for that purpose a contrary verdict[7].

The feudal chieftain of the time of our early Norman kings in his baronial hall presents not at all times an object which can be contemplated with perfect satisfaction by those who regard power but as a trust to be administered for the general good. With authority little restricted by law or usage, he had the power of oppressing as well as benefiting the population by which he was surrounded, and many doubtless were the hearts which power so excessive seduced. It is gratifying when we find those who could overcome its seductive influence. And such seems to have been the family of De Lovetot. But few of their transactions are come down to us, but none which leave any blot upon their memory, and some which show that they had a just and humane regard for the welfare of those whom the arrangements of Providence had made more immediately dependent on them.

One of their first cares was to plant churches on their domains. It was natural that one of these should be placed at the vill of Sheffield, not far from their own mansion: and the spaciousness of the edifice shows at once the liberality of the mind of its founders, and that it was no inconsiderable population which it was intended to accommodate.

The better to secure the regular performance of religious services in the churches which they erected, they were, according to the prevailing custom of the times, attached to certain monastic establishments. The church of Ecclesfield was given to Saint Wandrille, a foreign religious house which seems to have had a considerable interest in Hallamshire before the time of the De Lovetots, and which had established a small colony in the vill of Ecclesfield. Those of Bradfield and Sheffield were annexed to the priory of their own foundation at Worksop. From the brotherhood of that house one was deputed to reside at Sheffield as the vicar, till the suppression of religious houses by Henry VIII.

The tythe of the parish of Sheffield as this period was, according to primitive custom, divided into three parts; but these three parts were not appropriated according to the intentions of those by whom the tything system was introduced; for two thirds went to the monks of Saint Wandrille, from whom, as far as appears, the inhabitants of Sheffield received no services in return; and the remaining third to the monks of Worksop, who were allowed to make what bargain they pleased with the officiating clerk.

Sheffield owed to the house of De Lovetot the establishment of an hospital for its sick, infirmis. This hospital stood on a little eminence on the east side of the town, still called the Spital-hill, and continued to afford its relief to the poor of Sheffield toll the eighth Henry swept away so many institutions of our forefathers, the beneficial with the useless and the pernicious, in undistinguishing fury. It was dedicated to Saint Leonard, and the charter of its foundation will be found to afford us further insight into the state of the town in the first century after the Conquest.

Sciant tam presentes quam futuri quod ego Willielmus de Luvet' dedi concessi et hac presenti carta confirmavi in puram et perpetuam eleemosinam pro anima mea et animabus patris et matris mee et ancessorum meorum infirmis de Sefeldia terram quam Roger ....... tenuit juxta pontem Done et victum illorum in molendino de Sefeldia. T. his: Rob. de Sum'vill, Henrico fil. Godari, Petro fil. Ade, Rob. fil. Pag'. Rob. fil. Erturi, Rob. de Luvet[8].

The original charter on a small slip of parchment, with some remains of the seal appendant, is in the custody of Mr. John Harting, the duke of Norfolk's auditor. The gift of a corrody shows that the Lovetots had by this time established their mill at Sheffield; and it further appears from this charter, that the inhabitants had obtained the accommodation of a bridge over the Don. So that the town seems in the time of the De Lovetots to have possessed every thing essential to the comfortable residence of a considerable population, a church, a corn-mill, an hospital, a bridge where one was most wanted, to which may be added the protection which the castle of the lord afforded, and the benign influence of the family which resided in it. To these we may add, on probable grounds, a market: for it is certain that there was a market at Sheffield before the grant of Edward I. to Thomas lord Furnival; for in the ninth of that reign, fifteen years before the date of the grant, he claimed certain immunities at Sheffield, as being always appendant to a market.

The inhabitants of the town of Sheffield at this period were probably for the most part small artificers, or persons who had certain services to perform at the castle. In the surrounding country, such parts of the old inclosures as were not retained in the lord's own hand were held by small copyholders, none of whom rose above the rank of the mere farmer. It is not till the De Lovetots have passed off the stage, that we find families within the parish aspiring to imitate, if not rival, the chief at his castle of Sheffield.

Some idea of the extent of the town in the time of the De Lovetots may be formed from the position of the parish-church. The site chosen for such an edifice would be close to the town, but not actually within it. A few straggling huts and smithies forming an irregular street extending from the castle and bridge to the church gate, with a few houses lying towards the town-mill, and perhaps a branch stretching in the south-west direction, forming what is now called the Fargate in respect of its distance from the castle, seem to have formed the whole town of Sheffield. The parsonage house would then be a country residence, commanding a beautiful view of the woody hills to the north of the town, and separated from the other buildings by the extent of a spacious church-yard.

In a charter of the next century we find mention of land 'extra barram de Sheffeld[9].' This may imply that small wickets were erected for the purpose of collecting toll from strangers resorting to the market. The memory of these seems to be perpetuated in the name of one of our streets, the West Bar.

Two or three other transactions of these ancient lords of Hallamshire, in the immediate vicinity of Sheffield, claim a notice in this place.

The cell which the monks of Saint Wandrille had established at Ecclesfield was dissolved when Richard II. began, what Henry V. completed, to detach from foreign monasteries their English dependencies. Out of the fabric of this cell or priory, as it is called, was constructed the house called Ecclesfield-Hall, where in the time of Dodsworth Mr. William Shiercliffe was residing. Into the hands of this gentleman had fallen some of the deeds of the house of Saint Wandrille, one of which containing some curious information on the early state of Hallamshire is now for the first time published from Dodsworth's copy in the Bodleian[10]. It has suffered something in the transcription. It contains the first use I have met with of the term Hallamshire.

IHVS Notum sit universis sanctæ ecclesiæ filiis, tam presentibus quam futuris, hanc esse conventionem inter Dominum Abbatem Rogerum et Conventum Sancti Wandragesili, et Ricardum de Louvetot; quod essarta autem a parte dextera viæ quæ ducit de Sefeld ad Eglesfeld usque Blacaburna, remanent quiete Ecclesiæ Sancti Wandragesili sicut sepes antiquitus ante combustionem fuerunt: et essarta a parte sinistra predictæ viæ remanent Ricardo de Louvetot quiete sicuti sepes antiquitus ante combustionem fuerunt: et boscum sicut via vadit de ecclesia de Eglesfeld usque Burleiestan, ad sinistram, alium de Burleia usque ad essarta de Wereldesend ad sinistram, sit in communione sicut antiquitus fuit. Preterea ab essartis de Wereldesenda a capite collis alium ejusdem collis usque Burleistan et de Burleistan tota via usque Uhtinabrigga in bosco usque Douni per terminos predictos habet Dominus Abbas et homines sui pasturam pecoribus suis a festivitate Sancti Hilarii usque Pascha, sine cornu, et cane, et securi; et a Pascha usque ad festum Sanctæ Mariæ in Augusto, mortuum boscum sine vasto. Et porci dominici monarchorum cum porcis Ricardi habebunt pascuagium. Ricardus vero in augmentum elemosynæ de omni venacione sua de Halumsira monachis de Eglesfeld decimum concedit. Hanc quoque conventionem concessit Willielmus heres et filius ejusdem Ricardi. Testibus hiis a parte monachorum Domino Gilberto Abbate de Koard, Roberto Maylard, Rogero Bovett, at Alano filio fratris ejus, Alberto janitore, Godfrido coco, Radulpho camerario, Hugone milite, Ricardo filio Fulci. Ex parte vero Domini Ricardi de Louvetot, Willielmo Faixo, Waltero de Haier, Rogero filio ejus, Rogero filio Roberti, Rogero de Radulpho filio Uhtred. Factum set hoc cyrographum anno ab incarnatione Domini millesimo centessimo sexagesimo primo: anno vero regis Henrici junioris septimo.
Hoc signum Domini Ricardi de Louvetot ☩
Hoc signo Willielmi heredis sui ☩
Hoc cyrographum factum est apud Sanctum Wandragesitum.

In that retired part of the parish of Ecclesfield where it adjoins the manor of Kimberworth, a religious solitary took up his abode. His example seems to have been followed by others, till at length a hermitage became established in this place, which was dedicated to Saint John the Baptist, for obvious reasons the patron of the desert-religionist. The first William de Lovetot settled certain lands upon the hermitage and its inhabitant, and to this gift his son Richard made a small addition. In his time the hermitage lost its inhabitant, and Richard gave it with all its appurtenaces to the monks of Kirkstead, 'for his own health, that of William his son, Cecilia his wife, and others[11].' The monks of this Lincolnshire house having now obtained considerable interests in these parts found it expedient to erect a grange for the residence of their tenant or bailiff, who had the oversight of these outlying lands and iron-works. This grange, called Thundercliffe or Synocliffe-grange, was bought by one of the family of Rokeby at the Dissolution, and passing through the hands of several families, the Wombwells, Shiercliffes, and Greens, in quick succession, became the property of the right honourable the earl of Effingham, who took down the old grange and erected near its site a commodious and handsome mansion, to which the old name is still adhering.

The most splendid act of piety performed by these ancient lords of Hallamshire was the foundation and endowment of a monastery at Worksop for canons regular of the order of Saint Augustine, under the superintendence of a prior. We have a metrical chronicle of the founders and benefactors o this house, composed in the reign of Edward IV. by one of its own monks named Pigot. He assigns the third year of Henry I. as the date of its foundation, and in this he has been followed by Dugdale and Thoroton. But the date is suspicious. It does not appear that William and Emma de Lovetot had children of an age to give consent to the deed of their parents so early as 1103: and Alexander bishop of Lincoln, who witnessed the first endowment, did not enter on his see before the 25th year of Henry I. The spacious and noble church of this monastery with its two towers at the west end still remains entire, but has suffered much in its minuter decorations. Here the funeral obsequies of the early lords of Hallamshire were performed, and here their bodies one by one were returned to the earth out of which they were taken. Before the Reformation might be seen a fine series of their monuments ranged on each side of the choir, immediately before the altar, and in the Lady Chapel, commencing with the founder and ending with the third Earl of Shrewsbury, in the time of Edward IV., but not without some intermissions. What a noble study for the monumental architecture of this kingdom! What a deep impression must they have communicated of the existence of heroes of former days! The nameless and mutilated effigies in an obscure corner of this church, all that remain of the once splendid series, can now only affect the pensive mind with thoughts on the transitoriness of human glory, and the vanity of sepulchral distinctions.

The last of the male line of the Lovetots, lords of Hallamshire, died between the 22d and 27th years of the reign of Henry II. He left an only daughter, named Matilda, or Maud, then of very tender age. This lady was heir to his large possessions, and through her mother nearly allied to the great house of Clare.

The right of the chief lords to dispose in marriage the heiress of those who held lands of them is one of the most indefensible points of the feudal system. It may have had its convenience in regard to the superiors, but what did the tenant gain by it; and in a well regulated community all general political institutions will be directed to the benefit of the more numerous class. In this instance a thousand objections arising out of some of the most sacred feelings of human nature immediately present themselves, which no reasons of expediency or policy ought ever to have been allowed to countervail. The wardship of the great heiress of Hallamshire fell to Henry II. Extreme tenderness of age was not always thought to present a sufficient reason for the crown to forgo the advantages which accrued from the exercise of this right. But Henry seems to have left it to his son and successor Richard to select the person to whom her hand should be given, and therefore appoint to what new family the fair lordship of Sheffield should devolve. As might be expected, he chose the son of one of his companions in arms: and Maud de Lovetot was bestowed on Gerard de Furnival, a young Norman knight, son of another Gerard de Furnival, who was with the king at the siege of Acre.

It does not appear whether Richard intended to exact or remit the usual relief: but we find his successor King John, ever a needy prince, agreeing with the elder De Furnival, that he will take the homage of his son for the lands which had been William de Lovetot's, on condition of receiving four hundred marks of silver. This sum was never paid: for not long after happened the great fight under the walls of Mirabel. To the success which that day attended the arms of King John the valour of De Furnival contributed. In the battle and pursuit two hundred knights were made prisoners. One of them, whose name was Conan de Leon, fell into the hands of De Furnival. This prisoner he rendered to the king, having in return a remission of his homage-fine[12]; so that the Furnivals may be said to have established their interest at Sheffield by the surrender of a French knight of Prince Arthur's party taken by their ancestor at the great battle of Mirabel.

Still, however, they were not unexposed to contests respecting these estates. From the crown itself to the lowest of those who held lands of it, the rights of heirs male and of heirs general were offering perpetual occasions of controversy and discord. While the eldest branch of De Lovetot thus ended in a female heiress, there was another branch still existing, sprung from the first William by his younger son Nigel. When the father of Maud died, the rights of this branch were vested in Richard de Lovetot, who seems to have acquiesced in the transit of the great property to the family of his cousin, her husband, and her issue. Not so his younger brother and heir Nigel. In the Pipe Rolls of the 9th of King John there is much respecting the controversies between this Nigel and De Furnival. In that year Gerard de Furnival gave a thousand pounds and fifteen palfreys to the king that he might enjoy those lands to which Nigel de Lovetot made claim against him[13]. But though thus the best part of the inheritance passed from the name of Lovetot, the family of this Nigel continued to reside in the county of Nottinghamshire, for several generations, in a state of respectability and splendour.

Gerard de Furnival was also early in the reign of King John engaged in legal discussions with a family which bore the name of De Ecclesfield touching certain rights which he claimed in that parish[14].


  1. Magna Britannia.—Yorkshire, p. 516. But Thoroton, much nearer to the truth, says he had a hundred and seventy manors in the county of Nottingham alone.—History of Nottinghamshire, p. 2.
  2. From Thoroton.—Notts. p.2
  3. On the authority of a memorandum by Dodsworth. MSS. in Bibl. Bodl. vol. vlx. f. 17 a.
  4. Mon. Ang. vol. i. p. 811.
  5. Mon. Ang. vol. i. p. 838.
  6. Dods. MSS. n. n. 12 b. Harl. 801. Sheffield
  7. History of the Exchequer, p. 370.
  8. Witnesses to the charters of the old barons were always persons of principal note in the neighbourhood in which they were executed, and especially to those which, like this, were of a public nature. Robert de Sumerville, whose name appears first, is called, in a charter of Maud de Lovetot, 'quondam miles meus,' Mon Ang. ii. 51. He and his father of the same name witnessed the confirnmation granted by Richard de Lovetot to the monks of Worksop, id. ii. 50. Nigel Fitz Godard also attested that confirmation. The names of Robert Fitz Payne and Robert de Luvet appear among the witnesses to the confirmation of Richard son of Nigel de Lovetot, of all the donations to Worksop made by his ancestors and kindred, id. ii. 51. The Fitz Paynes were a branch of the Vescis, lords of Rotherham and of many other places. Roger Fitz Arthur gave the monks of Kirkstead a bovate of land in Handsworth-Woodhouse, id. i. 807. And as to the only remaining name, Peter Fitz Adam, the seal of one of his family was found in a field near Chesterfield, in March 1799, presenting a fleur de lis rudely shaped, and this inscription around it ☩S. DIOTE VXORIS ADE. The Fitz Adams seem to have resided at Staveley; for in the Harl. MS. 1808, f. 18 b. is a very old draft of arms which are said to be'Arma Adæ de Stavelay.' They are like those on the seal, barry of eight gules and argent, a fleur de lis sable.—The witnesses to this charter seem to have been persons contemporary with the second rather than the first William de Lovetot.
  9. Deed of Robert de Ecclesall, in Dodsworth's Extracts from the Rockley Evidences. MSS. in Bibl. Bodl. vol. cxxxix.
  10. Dods. MSS. vol. cxvii. f. 74.
  11. Mon. Ang. vol. i. p. 808.
  12. Thoroton, 4to edit. vol. iii. p. 387.
  13. Id.
  14. Dods. Extracts from Fines 7 Joh. Harl. 801. Ecclesfield. Reference has already been several times made to these manuscripts; and as the name Dodsworth must hereafter often occur in these pages, I shall here throw together a few notices of the life, pursuits, and collections of this eminent antiquary.

    Roger Dodsworth, a name never to be mentioned but with respect, was descended of an ancient Yorkshire family, whose genealogy may be found among the Holmes's Manuscripts in the British Museum. Harl. 1987, f.20 s. His great grandfather, Peter Dodsworth of Masham, is there said to be a younger brother of Thomas Dodsworth of Thornton-Watlas esquire; and it is related of Simon Dodsworth, his grandfather, who was of Settrington, that he was present at the battle of Musselborough. His father Matthew Dodsworth was a younger son, bachelor of laws and chancellor to Toby Matthew, archbishop of York.—He was born at Newton-Grange, in the parish of Saint Oswald in Rydale, on the 24th day of July 1585. Part of his education he received in Archbishop Hutton's Grammar-school at Warton, under Myles Dawson, who was afterwards vicar of Bolton. Vic. Leod. p. 141. It does not appear that he was of either university, or that he was brought up in any profession; but rather that early in life he began to devote himself to those researched which, however gratifying to himself and beneficial to the public, would tend but little to the advancement of his fortunes. But in these pursuits especially it is true that labour is its own reward: and he found a generous patron in Thomas Lord Fairfax, who allowed him an anual stipend to enable him the better to pursue his inquiries, and, what perhaps he valued more, rocured him access to many public and private collections of records. His industry was answerable to his patron's liberality. Ever witness for him that great national work the Monasticon Anglicanum, the labour of which, Sir William Dugdale would have been the first to allow, rested principally on his coadjutor Dodsworth. But of the collections of an industrious antiquary it is usually but a very small portion that finds its way to the public through means of the press. A still more extraordinary proof of Dodsworth's indefatigable spirit is to be found in the manuscript collections of his own hand, now amongst the mighty treasures of the Bodleian library. They consist of church-notes, letters, pedigrees, charters, and many other matters of great topographical importance, which, together with some original documents preserved by him, were formerly stitched in a hundred and sixty-two volumes. Several of these volumes are now bound together, but the old numbering system has been preserved. The Catalogus Manuscriptorum Anglicanorum presents but an imperfect view of their multifarious contents, and the student in Yorkshire antiquities may be cautioned against relying upon the abstract of them as far as they relate to certain wapentakes and certain families in the county of York, which is to be found in the Harleian collection of Manuscripts, 793–804. A complete digest of their contents, and far as they relate to the county of York, upon the plan of the Harleian abstract, would be a work of singular utility to those engaged in illistrating its general history. Dodsworth's church-notes were taken before the Civil Wars: and his abstracts of evidences while many old Yorkshire families were libing upon the estates of their progenitors, and who are now extinct, and their papers dispersed. His abstracts of those in possession of Sir Francis Wortley of Wortley, and Mr. Rockley of Rockley, are very copious: and to Mr. William Shiercliffe of Ecclesfield-hall, and Mr. Thomas Mounteney of Weatley near Doncaster, both representatives of ancient Hallamshire families, he makes acknowledgements of their kindness in assisting him with charters and records from their collections. His extracts from the Scrope charters contain many useful notes respecting Ecclesall.—The world was deprived of the services of this most labourious and useful person as the Monasticon was going to press, in August 1654. He lies in the church of Rufford in Lancashire. His wife was Holcroft, daughter of Robert Hesketh esquire of that place, who is not the only female of that family connected with the literary history of this country. He had three daughters, Cassandra, Eleanor, and Mary; and one son named Robert, who was in the church, as was also a brother of the antiquary, named Edward, who had the living of Badsworth, and appeared at Dugdale's visitation of Yorkshire anno 1666, when he had a son named Matthew and several daughters.

    In the Fasti Oxonienses may be found more respecting the Dodsworth collections; and as everything connected with their history will have a value in the sight of the genuine lover of the topography of Yorkshire, I shall add that Foiler refers to them as being in his time 'at York-house, in the library of the Lord Fairfax.'—Worthies of Yorkshire, p. 201.