Notes by Allen Smith of Braithwell, Micklebring and Clifton History and Heritage Group
Parliament ordered a survey of the village, and the Commissioners for the Commonwealth began their work in 1652. The reason for the survey soon becomes apparant. The final statement, dated 30th November 1654, is headed as being written by "the Commissioners for removing obstructions in the sale of the Honors etc., of the late King, Queene and Prince". Since the Norman Conquest the Manorial system, based on the notion that the land all belonged to the Crown, had been diluted so that by the period of the Commonwealth much land was considered owned by important families and was bought and sold by them. In some Manors the farm plots were considered as tenancies (Copyhold) of the Lord while in others the the tenants were virtually owners themselves. The Commissioners were anxious to recoup all the wealth of the executed King and therefore demanded proof that that Lord Hudson or his forebears had legally bought Braithwell, as part of the Manor of Conisbrough, from the Crown.
The statement goes on to mention that rent and rates have been paid "out of the village" to the "Lord of Conysborough, but by what right they were paid we could not find".
It becomes obvious that they, the Commissioners, had visited Conisborough, and had meetings with Lord Hunsden, and his Steward to ascertain what proof they had to substantiate their claim to own the manor of Braithwell.
Thomas Bosvile, vicar of Braithwell at that time, was interviewed on the 15th.November 1652, having previously been asked to "bring sure writings as were then in his hands, concerning Braithwell and Clifton, and to answer such things as should be demanded of him... having in his custody, certain writings of Viscount Rochford's concerning the Mannor of Cunningsborough".
The Commissioners came to the conclusion that Sir Henry Carey, Lord of the Manor of Conningsburg was granted by the "late Queene Elizabeth ... at Westminster on the 21st.October, in the 21st year of her reign... the lands and mannor of Conningsburgh, and castle, with their right to members, liberties, tenements, appurtenances, to be held by him and his family". This fact could not be questioned, but as far as the Township of Braithwell was concerned, the statement goes on to read.. " but not that this Mannor of Braithwell was any of the appurtenances of Conningsburgh for there could not anything be produced to sattisfie therin".
This left the way clear for the Manor of Braithwell to be sold.
The Commissioners also questioned the villagers re- the way the Township was administered, and also the amounts of rent paid by the copyholders. - obviously with a view to assessing its worth when put up for sale.. There were also suggestions as to how the administration must be made to work more efficiently.
The findings were made in 8 separate points which I copy out verbatum.
1. That there ought to be Courts kept within the fair Mannor although for those many years lapsed past there hath not been a discontainment to which all the tenants, both free and coppieholders are to do... and service.
2. That the coppieholders by their custom upon the oath are ... of any of them, are bound to pay a ftne of four pence by the acre for as many acres as they hold besides there were but none pay any ... neither do any of the freeholders pay any as we can finde.
3. The tenents of this fair Mannor have liberty to fell wood for their own use and also to get enough in their own grounds for the necessary reparations of their houses.
4. The fair coppiehoulders by custom are bound to choose each year from amongst them a........ or Reeve who is to collect the Land rent and give warning to the tenants to come to Court when there is any one houlden.
5. That the fair tennants have freedom of common stints in certain commons known by the names of Burkwood and Oastewood and have also freedom of comon in a certain Moore known as Brathwell Moore.
6. There are foure poor houses built on the Lords waste in the Mannor of Brathwell aforesaid who pay to the Lord thereof 12d. which is set down in the rental hereafter mentioned, but the said cottages were valued to be worth besides the ........ ye annum 4s.
7. There hath bine a Markitt once a week kept within the Mannor of ye Brathwell and also a fayre once in the year which hath bine of a long tyme discontinued soo that none can remember but that by tradition they have heard their ancestors say so however the tenants produced certain papers whereby we find that in a Charter ... in the ... 12th.year of the Raiyne of Edward I that he did grant to one Elias de Hendwell a faire and a markitt to be kept within the Mannor of Brathwell. The Markett to be once every week on Tuesday and the Ffayre to be kept once in the year viz; on the vigil of St.Margarett, on St.Margaretts Day,and for six days after without it be a (hinderance) to the marketts and faires within the Townes adjoining. We have not returned any value upon the doles? and other .... which may arise out of the faire, marketts and faires shown. There hath not bine any there kept within the memories of man, and we know not whether there will be any kept."
(An interesting point of discussion is raised here regarding the dedication of the Braithwell Parish Church. It is now dedicated to James the apostle - but was that always the case?)
8. That the said Mannor is claimed by the Lord Hunsdon to be one of his possessions as in right of the Mannor of Conningsburgh which he purchased with appurtinances of the late Queene Elizabeth in free form to be held by him and the heirs male of his body lawfully begotten for once and of this grant his Steward showed us an exemplification in which we found that Cunningsburgh was granted to him with the appurtinances but not that this Mannor of Brathwell was any of the appurtinances of Conningsburgh and that it was for there could not be anything be produced to satisfaction therein.
(As can be seen, Point 8 deals with the disputed ownership of "Brathwell". It would seem that the conclusion reached was that the Manor of Braithwell was not part of the possessions of Lord Hunsdon of Conisbrough, and therefore the Commissioners had the right to sell the land. It appears that the Manor was not sold, however, as the Enclosure Act for Braithwell Commons of 1765 names Braithwell as still part of the Manor of Conisbrough).
Lord Hunsdon of Conisborough, and therefore the Commissioners had the right to sell the land.)
The document also gives us an insight into the names of the inhabitants in 1652. To begin with there is a list of the "Rentall of free rents of the fair Mannor". Under this heading we learn that;
"Thomas Waterhouse payeth for certain lands he holds within the fair Mannor per annum £2. ls. 6d."
Thomas Bosvile paid 7s. Od, John Moor paid £2. 0. 0., and John Hewett paid 6d.
The village "Coppiehoulders" who paid their rents at Candlemas and Whitsuntide were as follows:
|Charles Matchlin||00. 07. 00||00. 07. 00|
|William Wilson||00. 08. 00||00. 08. 00|
|Randall Engall||00. 03. 04||00. 03. 04|
|Thomas Sheepeherd||00. 06. 04||00. 06. 04|
|Richard Ward||00. 06. 00||00. 06. 00|
|Henry Nicholson||00. 03. 04||00. 03. 04|
|William Narborne||00. 01. 08||00. 01. 08|
|Anthony Lawton||00. 01. 08||00. 01. 08|
|John Needham||00. 01. 08||00. 01. 08|
|Alice Hewett||00. 03.00||00. 03. 00|
|John Thomson||00. 07. 00||00. 07. 00|
|James Browne his land in Dalton||00. 01. 08||00. 07. 08|
Those paying at "Miclunas" were as follows;
|William Wilson||00. 09. 00||? Nicholson||00. 03. 04|
|Charles Marchant||00. 06. 08||James Murfin||00. 00. 04|
|John Richardson||00. 00. 04||Richard Smalebent||00. 00. 03|
|Randall Ingall||00. 03. 04||Stephen Waterhouse||00. 00. 04|
|Ellen Bomthomley||00. 01. 00||Margaret Hewett||00. 00. 04|
|James Hewett||00. 01. 00||Anthony Lawton||00. 01. 08|
|Thomas Sheepeheard||00. 06. 10||John Needeham||00. 01. 08|
|Susan Jackson||00. 00. 04||Richard Hewett||00. 03. 00|
|Edward Bridges||00. 00. 01||John Moore||00. 00. 04|
|James Brownehall||00. 01. 08||Thomas Bosvile||00. 00. 01|
|Thomas Lande||00. 00. 04||Ray Casworth||00. 00. 06|
|Thomas Murffm||00. 00. 01||Thomas Thompson||00. 07. 00|
|William Narborne||00. 01. 08||Richard Ward||00. 06. 0|
According to the document, the "rents of assize, prerequisites of Court, and the ffynes
of the coppiehoulders", together with the rents paid by the "coppiehoulders", amounted to the sum of £14. 11s. 11d. per annum.
The document was signed by John Birkinsha (ll?), Gabriel Taylor, and John Thorne.
(It was usual in the Middle Ages for the village Fair to be held on the anniversary of the Saint to whom the Church was dedicated. In 1652, the villagers told the commissioners that the feast was held on 'the vigil of St.Margarett'.
The village 'holiday' at Braithwell in those days commenced on the Sunday nearest to the 20th.July. There are two St.Margaret's and both are celebrated on this same day.
St.Margaret was born at Antioch about the year 278AD. She was the daughter of a pagan priest. Olibious, a Roman high official wanted to marry her, but when he found out that she was a Christian he postponed the wedding until he could get her to renounce her religion. She refused and later was beheaded. On stained glass representations of her, she is pictured stamping on a dragon, with a crosier in her hand, or piercing the animal with a cross.. Sometimes she holds a book and wears a crown.
St.Margaret of England was the niece of Edward the Confessor. She married Malcolm, King of Scotland, and was crowned in 1070.She had eight children, and according to Tordun, a Scottish historian, her life was one of self denial, holiness and charity. She was cannonised by Pope Innocent IV in 1251. Her feast day was moved in 1693 from June 10th to July 20th.
The Church at Braithwell is dedicated to St.James. At an earlier date, was it recogised as St,Margaret's'? It would seem that in the 1650's the villagers thought so!)