The Queen's Survey of Scholes Manor 1611 Back to the Main Historical Society page
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The Queen's Survey of Scholes Manor 1611

from The Barwicker No.55
Sept. 1999

In 1425 in the reign of King Henry VI, a survey of the manor of Scholes showed that there was an agricultural settlement there with two small adjuncts to the north and south - Morwick and Lazingcroft (see 'The Barwicker' No.51). The manor had increased in population and acreage of agricultural land since the earlier survey of 1341 (see 'The Barwicker' No.50) despite the effects of the Black Death and other epidemics. The influence of the manorial system seemed to be waning and this change benefited the manorial tenants or villeins. The next detailed survey available to us dates from a time almost two centuries later.

After ascending the throne of England in 1603, King James I gave to his wife Queen Anna (of Denmark) for her life several of his manors in the district including those of Barwick and Scholes. In 1611, she ordered surveys of the two manors and the resulting documents, with copies in Latin and in English, are preserved in the Leeds District Archives at Sheepscar.

The Queen's Survey of Scholes lists the rents, issues and profits" of the manor at that time. It is made up of 15 sheets of parchment 80cm. long and 33cm. wide. The penmanship is wonderfully decorative but the lettering of the time needs some practice in interpreting. The spelling, which is eccentric and inconsistent, has been retained in the extracts. The survey was drawn up by Thomas Potts of Skipwith Wood, deputy to Thomas, Lord Knyvett, the Queen's Surveyor General, in the presence of a jury of the following local worthies: John Ellis of Kiddal, Esq., George Fawcett of Thorpe, gent., Thomas Wetherall of Bramham, gent., John Tailor of Morwick, yeoman, Richard Vevers of Scholes, yeoman, John Picford of Barwick, yeoman, Robert Haige of Barwick, yeoman, and John Hardcastle of Barwick, yeoman.

Mr Potts first task was to survey the circuit (boundaries) of the manor which he did in the presence of: George Shilitto, Lord of the Manor of Seacroft, Esq_, John Gascoigne of 'Barmbowe', John Ellis of Kiddal, William Oglethorpe of the County of Yorke, Esq, Nicholas More, gent. and "many others of the Queen's tenants".

One can picture Mr Potts perambulating the boundaries followed by a large crowd of 'helpers' and being bombarded with ancient anecdotes in support of claims and counterclaims concerning the possession and uses of the land. The survey of the circuit includes the names of places which are now obsolete and reference is made to the properties of people well known at the time but now almost forgotten. I am including it below in full in case any of our readers can identity for us some of the places mentioned. The circuit begins in the north east part of the manor, moves south and then west to the Cock Beck before extending far to the west to include modern-day Stanks and Swarcliffe before passing to the north of the present village back to the starting point.

The Circuit of Scholes Manor
"The Circuite of Scoles beginneth in the East at a place called the Milne gate leading upon the South to a common called Barmebowe Carre by a close in the occupation of Denese Brayme; from which there is a hedge which leadeth by Barnbowe carre unto Scoles South field gate and so turneth upon the South part of the said Carre thro' part of a close called Mabwell close in the occupation of John Gascoigne Esquire; and so along on the west side buttings of the grounds of the said John Gascoigne to the River Cock on the South; And so leading up by the said River to a ponde in the little Stankes; and then turneth westwards butting upon the Groundes of William Mallinerre Esquire in Manston to a parcel of Scoles Moore. And from there to the Corner of the Speightleyes on the west butting upon the highe Street from York to Leeds; And so Northward alonge by the hedge of Scoles Parke butting upon the outwood to the west end of Scholes being full west from Scoles. And so along northwarde by the side of Scoles outwood to the rakehill on the north. And from there eastward by the close called Oaken-heade in the tenure of Martin Settle and Berwick Cornefielde to the aforesaid Milnegate on the East."

Scholes Outwood lay at the extreme western end of the manor and the following note is included in the survey.

"There lieth within the said Mannor of Scoles one Wood called and knowne by the name of Scoles Outwood, the herbage thereof is common to the tenants of her Majesty's said Mannors of Berwick and Scholes; and there is no profit to be made of the underwoods."

The survey proper begins with information about Lazencroft (Lazingcrofte) in the southern part of the manor of Scholes, where the property was held by the same family and on the same terms as in the 1425 survey.

"John Gascoigne of Barmebowe in the County of York. esq., holdeth one capital messuage in Lazingcrofte with divers landes antiently belonging in Free Socage to him and his heirs for ever and payeth yearly to the Queen pound of pepper or 12d. and foreign service."

The next section of the survey contains the names of "all freeholders, customary tenants, farmers and others whatsoever belonging to the Manor of Scholes". There are 18 named people listed, who are described in the index as 'farmers' (or leaseholders). They hold in total 29 items of land, which are either named closes or 'parcels' of named closes, indicating that the land was being cultivated individually and not as part of an open field system of farming. A few dwellings are included in the descriptions. The annual rent is included which, depending on the extent of the holding, varied from a few pence to more than a pound in a few cases.

Sir William Slingsbye, knight, held "the herbage and pasture of the Queen's waste and park", paying yearly 30s.6d. Much of Scholes Park had been enclosed and turned to arable land as early as the fifteenth century as the previous survey shows. Another major landholder was Edmunde Cloughe of Thorpehall in the County of York, who was the guardian and tutor of Nicholas Clough and held the land for him. John Gascoigne of Barnbow and Martyn Settle of Barwick were other tenants who did not reside in the manor.

The residence of the remaining 13 tenants is not given so we can assume that it was Scholes. The list includes one woman, Widow Kay, who held a 'Capital Messuage', as did Richard Slater. This was a term which in past centuries had been reserved for the seat of the lord of the manor. The total annual rent paid by the 18 farmers in this section was given as 10.5s.3d.

The next section of the survey lists 28 items of property in Scholes held by 18 copyholders, whose claim to the land, dwellings, etc. was recorded in the manorial court accounts, of which they kept a copy. This gave them considerable rights of ownership although they did not possess the freehold of the property and had to pay an annual rent. Many copyholders in later centuries were allowed to purchase the freehold of their property. 11 of the Scholes copyholders also appear in the 'farmers' list

The property is often described in greater detail than in the previous section and includes many dwellings. Thus Robert Sayner held: one messuage, one 'kilne', one orchard, one garth, two cottages and 17 and half acres of arable land, meadow and pasture, at an annual rent of 15s.1d. There are five other people mentioned in the survey with the name Sayner, including the only other woman, a copyholder called Elizabeth Sayner.

Another prominent property holder was Richard Vevers with seven (and a half?) messuages, (one "not builded"), a cottage and several plots of land. Alverey Vevers owned two messuages, one decribed as a capital messuage. John, another man with this well known local surname, owned a cottage and land. The total annual rent paid by the copyholders is given as 7.17s.2d.

The survey continues with the holdings in Morwick of Abraham Fenton and John Tailor, the latter holding one capital messuage, two other messuages, 'divers buildings' and several plots of land. The total rent of these Morwick properties was 3.1s.3d.

Other surnames listed in the survey are: Daniell, Jacksonne, Feather. Slater, Topcliffe, Dill, Tayte, Copley, Brigges, Greenwood, Harrison and Carter.

The survey includes the conditions under which property was held in the manor. Copyholders had to pay a 'fine' of one year's rent in the event of a change of ownership because of 'alienation' or death. Customary tenants and 'farmers' had to pay half a year's rent in similar circumstances. Copyholders who suffered 'forfeiture or seizure' of their land, presumably because of non-payment of rent or some other offence, had to pay two year's rent to regain their former estates.

One relic of ancient manorial privilege remained, that of 'chimage'. the customary toll imposed on 'all wains, carts or one pair of wheels' used in the passage across Whinmoor of strangers, who were not commoners of the manor. This was valued at 5s.6d. per annum.

Another ancient source of income for the lord of the manor seems to have dried up completely by this time.

"There lyeth within the said manor of Scoles divers Cole-mynes upon Wynmoor in the tenure and occupation of Thomas Mather of Seacroft, gent., but what rent or to whom payeth we knowe not and by what estat he holdeth the same we knowe not."

Apart from chimage most of the privileges and monopolies of the lord of the manor have disappeared. What remained of Scholes Park after loss from enclosure has been let out. The mill, fishpond and dovecote are not mentioned either because they have been sold or have fallen into disuse. The fine imposed on the commoners of Scholes to cross the lord's meadow and draw water from the spring is not mentioned and we must assume that it was no longer imposed. The right of the commoners to gather fuel in Scholes Outwood was still however granted. The former feudal relationship between the lord of the manor and his villeins or serfs has been replaced by one between owner of an estate and his tenants. The functions of the manorial court by this time has been reduced to overseeing transfer of land and this was to remain with decreasing importance until the early part of the nineteenth century. The total value of the manor is not stated in the document but by adding the parts we arrived at a total of 21.8s.2d. per annum, the income from the manor which Queen Anna would have received. We have no report of her visiting Scholes to thank her loyal tenants.

There are 27 manorial tenants of various descriptions residing in the manor in 1611 and 30 (and a half?) dwellings, excluding the two messuages 'not builded'. The latter figure should represent the total number of households and if we assume the accepted average for the time of 4.5 inhabitants per household we arrive at a figure for the total population of Scholes Manor in 1611 of about 135. This compares with the figure of about 120 derived from the last manorial survey of of 1425, a surprisingly small change in nearly two centuries.

The survey tells us much less about the lives, occupations, rights, duties and responsibilities of the inhabitants of Scholes Manor than do the 14th and 15th. century surveys described in past editions of 'The Barwicker'. It is however one of the the very few documents we have of this period and so is worthy of note if only for this.


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