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History of Rothwell (Book)

From Rothwell Wiki


The History of Rothwell

By John Batty.
Published by the author,
[Entered at Stationers' Hall.]


To many it may seem a matter of surprise that Rothwell, possibly regarded by them as merely an obscure village, should be able to furnish materials sufficiently important and interesting to engage the attention of the historian. Such, however, is the case. On entering the village, more notably by the Church, an observant stranger cannot fail to notice the venerable appearance of this sacred edifice, and must feel that a certain antiquity hangs about the place; as he goes along he will be struck with the somewhat curious and quaint aspect of the village generally in the mixture of its old and new buildings.
Rothwell unmistakably possesses several proofs of existence in the distant past, as in stanced by present archæological remains, and in recorded history. It had a name and a place in the reign of Edward the Confessor, if not earlier, and is prominently mentioned in the Domesday Book. It was a small market town six hundred years ago, and in later times was selected as a convenient situation for the Debtors' Gaol connected with the Honour of Pontefract. Moreover, important events have transpired within the parish, not only of local interest, but occasionally connected with national affairs.
The present attempt is called forth in the belief that Rothwell is worthy of a fuller, and therefore more satisfactory account, than has hitherto been given of it in several sketches already published.
The author of this work feels that even in the present undertaking only an imperfect history is produced. The limited time at his command, available only out of business hours, prohibits that complete research necessary for an exhaustive work. Unfortunately, the fundamental sources of information to be obtained from the archives of the Duchy of Lancaster, Manorial Records, and other valuable documents and private deeds, are almost beyond the reach of those having only ordinary means of time and money. He trusts, however, that the result of his humble labours now presented, will not be in vain, and that additional and valuable facts, referring more especially to ancient times, will be elicited in the future, and thereby one of the objects of the writer accomplished.
It is to be regretted that a better Chronicle of Local Events has not been made many years ago, and so rescued from oblivion circumstances of an interesting character, which might have given an insight into the curious manners and customs of the inhabitants of a former age, and have furnished a picture of the district generally.
The aim of the author has been to introduce new and original matter obtained by personal inquiry, from people possessing authoritative and official information. He has as far as possible avoided repeating that which has already appeared in print.
The reasons for the delay in the publication of the history are manifold. An unexpected amount of information acquired in the process, and the consequent enlargement of the work; the care and anxiety in obtaining correct dates and in the verification of facts, names, and circumstances; conflicting evidences, causing the arrival at the truth to be slow and difficult; added to these the constant impression that the writer must acquit himself worthily in his object and undertaking. Errors, however, in spite of this, may still creep in, as all human effort is liable to imperfection. At all events, the writer trusts that the criticism, which, like others, he does not expect to escape, will, in consideration of these points, be just if not generous.
In this pleasurable pursuit and study the author has met with far more encouragement than he calculated upon. His especial thanks are due to William Wheater, Esq., of Leeds, a thorough good antiquary, for the valuable information so freely rendered; to Mrs. Bell, and the Executors of the late Rev. John Bell, M.A., Vicar of Rothwell, for the use of his valuable manuscripts on the ecclesiastical affairs of the parish; to the Rev. R. Burrell, Vicar of Stanley, for the interesting notices of the Ancient Britons and Romans in the neighbourhood; to J. J. Cartwright, Esq., of the Record Office, for the loan of original notes; for the important suggestions of William Smith, Esq., Historian of Morley; Edward Hailstone, Esq., of Walton Hall; Fairless Barber, Esq., of Raistrick; Wm. Andrews, Esq., of Hull. He is also thankful to John Holmes, Esq., of Methley, and Mr. Charles Forrest, of Lofthouse, for the appreciated opportunity of consulting their splendid libraries, so rich in antiquarian and historic lore, and their kind responses to certain inquiries. To the Rev. George Heberden, Vicar of Rothwell, his cordial thanks are due for the ready permission granted to examine the Church Registers, so fruitful in dates and suggestive facts.
The wonderful treasures of the Leeds Old Library and the Public Library have been freely and courteously thrown open to him by their respective librarians. In a word, to all who have revised his proofs, lent books or documents, given information upon the subject, or in any degree contributed to bring about the present result, the author feels grateful.
The intention has been to produce a popular history, the various explanations of terms, &c., in the notes, to the initiated may appear lengthy and superfluous, but they have been deemed necessary in order to make the history thoroughly understood, and thereby acceptable to all. It will be well if this, the first important literary effort of the writer in a historical direction, should be productive in the future of a more learned and elaborate work on the district.
In conclusion, if the reader derives as much pleasure from the perusal of the work as the writer has had in its compilation, he will be amply repaid.

J. B.


October, 1877.

Corrections and Additions

Page 36, line 29, read William Transversus, instead of Henry Traverse. This is founded upon a statement made by Richard of Hexham, in his “History of the Acts of King Stephen, and the Battle of the Standard." It extends from 1135 to 1139, and was probably written about 1140, before Richard became prior in 1143. The quotation is :-“At this period (evidently the beginning of Stephen's reign, 1135 or 1136), William, surnamed Transversus, who, by a grant from King Henry, held the lordship of Pontefract, as the town is called, having received at that place a mortal wound, from a knight named Pain, died three days afterwards, having assumed the monastic habit.”—(“Sketches of Pontefract Topography," published at the office of the Pontefract Advertiser.)
Page 41, line 5, omit first, and read Henry, Earl of Lincoln.
Page 71, last line, instead of offered read afforded.
Page 76, line 41, instead of Scotchman, read Westmoreland man, the name of Airey being common in that county.
Page 96, line 9, instead of His, at the commencement of the paragraph, read The.
Page 106, line 30, instead of Whitwall, read Whitewall.
Page 112, line 3, for Laurence, read Launcelot; line 7, omit farmer's man.
Page 130, lines 34 and 38, read great grandmother and great grandson.
Page 142, line 26, read the late Joseph, instead of John. Page 153, line 11, "Auspicium melioris ævi." This motto appears also on the crest of the Duke of St. Albans. Auspicium, if considered as a noun, and translated to signify a token, sign, or augury, is perfectly correct.
Page 156. The cost of the Holy Trinity Schools was about £2000.
Page 167, line 10, read great grandson of John Nelson.
Page 185, line 1, read Joseph, instead of John.
Page 273, line 18, after “Education Acts,” in the place of is read are.

The Old Gaol Buildings (Page 126.)

Mr. John Dickinson, the second owner of the name, has just restored the cottages in the yard, and plastered them over, giving them, as it were, another lease of life. He intends also to improve the street frontage, by elevating some portions of the buildings. He wishes to do away with the old title, and to designate the whole, “Dickinson's Buildings," by which name in the future he desires them to be known.

Rodes Hall (see page 60)

1651, 21st Jan,—Dorothy, daughter of Mr. Stamper, baptised of Rodes,
1654, 9th Oct.—Richard, son of Mr. Richard Bubwith, buried from Roades Hall,
1732.—Anthony Clarkson.
1751.—Elizabeth Brook, married John Rodgerson, of Leeds.

1754.—Elizabeth Ellis, widow, buried 17th day of April, from Rhodes Hall.

From Registers.

The following more correctly indicates the gentleman’s trade than on page 126, line 17 :—"Mr, Carrett, merchant, of Lisbon, is married to Miss Elizabeth Berkenhout, of this town, a very agreeable young lady.” — Leeds Intelligencer, March 20, 1759.
In 1803, beacons were erected, in fear of Buonaparte’s invasion, The West Riding Beacons were placed at the Wapentakes or or Divisions, viz., Lower Agbrigg at East Ardsley—Morley at Charnock’s.

The Brandlings

1748.—Ann, wife of Ralph Brandling, Esq., buried 4th July, from Middleton Hall.
1749.—Ralph Brandling, Esq., buried 22nd June, from Middleton Hall,
1759, June.—Barbara, daughter of Charles Brandling, Esq., buried the first day, from Middleton Hall,
1766, April.—Charles, son of Charles Brandling, Esq., buried the 30th day, from Middleton Lodge.
1785.—Elizabeth, wife of Charles Brandling, Esq., Middleton, buried 7th October, aged 54 years.
1797.—Born 14th November, Charles John, son of the Rev. Ralph Henry Brandling, by Emma, his wife. Thorpe, Vicar of this Parish.
1802,—Charles Brandling, Esq., died July 6, of Middleton, aged 70.

From Church Registers.

The Hunt Family, of Carlton (see page 89)

Mr, Thurston Hunt was a gentleman by birth, born at Carlton Hall, near Leeds. He was brought up at Douay College, during his residence at Rheims. From thence he was sent upon the English Mission, after being ordained priest by Cardinal de Guise, April 20, 1584. He was arrested and suffered death on account of his priesthood, at Lancaster, in March, 1601. —‘* Memoirs of Missionary Priests,” by Dr. Challoner.

Burials From Carlton Hall

1740,—John Norton.
1740.—Francis Howard.

Curates (add to list, page 76)

1705.—Thomas Woodcock,
1715.—John Downs, curate of Rothwell, buried 5th November.
1719.—M. E. Day.
1721.—M. E. Cooper.
1734-5.—Walter Wyate.

Parish Clerks (add to list page 93)

1705.—William Akeroyd, parish clerk of Rothwell, sepult. October 28,
1707.—John Rockett,
1718.—Ye 1 Sepr., George Fentiman, sexton (see page 100).
1751.—John Proctor, church beagle, buried the 19th day April, from Rothwell.

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