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This article traces the history and ownership of Acomb Grange from the 12th century to the present day. The article was the winner of the 1991 Sheldon Memorial Trust Essay Competition.

Introduction and early history.

Sketch Map of the area round Acomb Grange, showing township boundaries. Based on the 0.S. map of 1852.

Acomb Grange, as a distinct and separate estate since the 12th century,deserves to have its history recorded. It lies on the immediate outskirts of modern York , in the green belt, only 2.75 miles from York Minster, and yet it has remained an entity for 800 years



                                                     Figure 1


Domesday Book .In 1086, in the Domesday Book, the entry for the vill of Acomb records 16.5 carucates for geld, of which 14.5 belonged to the Archbishop of York and two belonged to the King. The Archbishop's land included wood pasture two furlongs long and two wide, while in the King's land, besides land for one plough, there were 10 furlongs of wood. Woodland plays a significant part in the history of Acomb Grange.


Separation from York Minster

By the end of Stephen's reign the Hospital was separated from the Minster and had received an alternative name of St. Leonard's. It acquired more land and set out to maximise returns from its properties to provide income for running the Hospital

Gift of Henry I The history of the Grange as a separate entity starts when Henry I gave two carucates of land in Acomb to the Hospital of St Peter in York by a charter dated between 1123 and 1133.1 This gift of land in Acomb was the first of numerous post-Conquest donations of land outside York to the Hospital by both the King and the Norman barons.



Management of hospital property The records surviving are scattered and show numerous changes in the ways the properties were managed over the medieval period, varying from direct farming to leasing out for a rent and possibly a mixture of the two. Each property has a different history. This essay summarises the material that can be gleaned about Acomb Grange in particular.

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Acomb Grange by Jennifer Kaner - page 2

Pre Conquest foundation The Hospital was almost certainly a pre Conquest foundation. An ancient tradition records that King Athelstan gave to 'men of sanctity called culdees a thrave of corn from every plough in Yorkshire' except for those in part of the East Riding which he had given to St John of Beverley as a thanksgiving for a victory over the Scots.

This tradition was written down in 1123 and though it may have added the gift to Beverley, which is well attested before the Conquest, to the one to York, it, with the name culdees, which is a gaelic word meaning servant of God, creates a strong probability in favour of a pre-Conquest origin.2

The culdees survived the Conquest; they cared for the poor and sick and were recognised by the Norman Kings.


Grant renewed by William II William II 'renewed' the grant of thraves c. 1090 3 and gave the land in York where the Hospital was built.


Survey of 1280 In a survey dated 1280 the Hospital, sited in its own liberty lying in the north-west corner of the old Roman fortress, the area now' containing the City Library, St Leonard's Place and the Theatre Royal, was described as providing an infirmary for 229 people and orphanage for 23 children.

Two hundred and forty seven loaves, 256 herrings and 14 gallons of beer weekly went to the poor at the gate, and a meal a week was given to prisoners in the castle. It housed 434 people altogether, including brothers and servants, so was a very large institution, one of the largest hospitals in the country.4

Manorial system Some of its properties, such as Heslington and Lead, were initially operated through the usual manorial system. The tenants were bondmen paying rents and doing services and were controlled by manorial courts.


Other properties, such as Heworth Grange and Acomb Grange, seem always to have been run as separate farms, though, despite their names, in the 14th-century accounts they are invariably called 'manors Sometimes part of the income is recorded under Exitus Grangia; this usually means the produce from barns as opposed to stock but may have a double meaning in these accounts.

In the early period peripatetic brothers of the Hospital travelled round administering the properties. A keeper (serviens) was resident at the Grange along with some farmhands (famulis).

This seems to have been the case at Acomb.5 Farm at Rufforth and Acomb The Hospital's two carucates were formed into a farm within a ring fence on the Rufforth edge of Acomb.

This may have been an original arrangement but could have been the result of the reorganisation of Acomb holdings at an early and unrecorded date, since there was, in addition to the Grange, at least one rent-paying Acomb free tenant.6 The Grange was described as being in Acomb in the liberty of St Leonard's in 1307. 7

Holdings in Rufforth The Hospital also held land in Rufforth. There were a number of charters recording gifts to the Hospital from the family of Geoffrey of Rufforth, als Bugthorpe, and Elen his wife.

In 1218 he gave St Leonard's the advowson of Rufforth church and, in 1231, 63 acres of land 'lying in Smalwith and Bargate and between the bounds of Askharn and the crosses placed Keldsykeflat, and 50 acres of wood called Moschawe'. This was recorded in a fine.8 The charters give more topographical detail.9 The bounds of the wood of Mosehaghe were the land given by Fulco de Rufforth as far as the metes and bounds of the culture called Bradale, and from Ackum Hag as far as the bounds of Askham, surrounded by a dyke on which the Hospital could place a hedge.





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Acomb Grange by Jennifer Kaner - page 3

Fulco de Rufforth had given a wood called Kartegathehyrste. This extended in length from the river called the Fosse, which runs under the wood of Acomb, as far as the ditch which divides it from the arable fields, and in width from the ditch of the hospital on the north round land previously given to the hospital as far as the land of John his brother, to be marked by stone marks.

There was land in Baregarths 39 perches wide, in length as far as the ditch which leads from Kategarthehirst, 20 acres on the west of the meadow of the Hospital called Micklermore from the bridge of the Hospital across the Foss, four acres by the perch of 20ft which lie next to the wood of Mossehawe and 20 acres in Keldsike flat.

Jordan, son of Geoffrey, gave a culture called Hag, containing 30 acres to be enclosed by a ditch and a hedge and an acre next to the culture of the hospital called Scalekerflath. There were also grants of meadow in Stubbings, on the bounds of Hutton, and of several tofts and bovates in the village itself. One of these was a toft, with two acres in Ekel and two in Linthwait and 16 outside the hai. The land outside the 'hai' was later described as the culture called Skalcker.

These charters probably date from the first 40 years of the 13th century. and appear to have been gifts for being remembered in prayers. The tofts and the open field land were held by separate tenants paying rents.

The remainder seems to have been assarted land on the edge of Rufforth township; each 'culture' was surrounded by a ditch and a hedge. Except for the four acres on Bradale, this land does not appear to have included any part of the original Rufforth open fields. It is interesting to note that the local measure was a pole of 20 perches and that there is a hint of an inner area of open fields enclosed by a hedge (c.f. Wheldrake). 10


Eastern edge of Rufforth The group of properties consisting of the 'cultures' and woods, including Moshawe and Kartgathehyrst, on the eastern edge of Rufforth township, seem to have been run together with Acomb Grange, though there is evidence from a 17th-century deed 11 that each tenant holding a toft and open field land, formerly the Hospital's property in Rufforth, held around 18 acres of Smalwith. The Grange held a similar amount. By the Middle ages the ditch round it was already looked after by the Grange so there is no way of knowing when this pattern first emerged.

Which parish ? Acomb Grange itself became part of Rufforth parish at some date before 1520 and, apart from the name, lost its connection with Acomb. The likely original boundary was along the dyke/river called the Foss; this is marked on the 1852 O.S. map and was mentioned in one of the 13th-century charters.

Boundary disputes Several agreements were made with adjoining townships about boundaries. In the reign of Henry II the sheriff of Yorkshire had to make a division between the woods of the Hospital in Acomb and the woods of Alan of Knapton, and a ditch had been made between the land of Acomb belonging to the Minster Treasurer and the land and wood of the Hospital. This may be the ditch that now bounds the Chapelfields housing estate.

There had probably been some earlier rights of intercommoning.12 In 1845 the ownership of this watercourse was shared with Acomb.13 In 1371 a ditch between the Grange wood and Askham Bryan field, called the Brind dyke, was to be cleaned and dug out by the men of Acomb Grange.14 According to the Sheriff's court it had been flooding the Askham field.

The Lichfield connection Glimpses of the property in action survive in surveys of the Hospital made in Edward I's reign (now in Lichfield Joint Record Offices) and in some accounts from the 14th century (in York Minster Library). Those housed at Lichfield may have gone there with Walter de Langton, who had become master of the Hospital in 1293, when he became Bishop of Lichfield




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Acomb Grange by Jennifer Kaner - page 4

 Figure 2

Based on W White's map of the Ainsty of York , 1785

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Acomb Grange by Jennifer Kaner - page 5

Walter de Langton was also Treasurer of England. The Lichfield material is very detailed, providing lists of hospital servants, lists of stock, including the cows which provided milk for the orphanage, and surveys of various properties.

Acomb Grange was valued in 1287 at 8s. The survey described the manor site as surrounded by a ditch (fossaturn) and a hedge (hayarn). There was another house called Godeshalles worth yearly 2s. There were 300 acres of payable land by the small hundred, worth 8d an acre, and 23 acres of meadow, worth 20d an acre. There were also two woods of which the pasture, husbote, haybote, underwood and pannage were worth 60s.

This is likely to have included the property in Rufforth mentioned above.The total amounted to £15 l0s 4d. For comparison, the income in the same valuation from Beningbrough was £19 5s 4d and from Heslington £20 7s 7d. The collection of St Peter's corn (i.e. the thraves) made there from various places was worth £5 4s 7 1/4d. Later evidence indicates that Petercorn collected at Acomb came from Follyfoot, Healaugh, Wilstrop, Marston and Poppleton.15

14th Century accounts The 14th-century accounts16 show that one of the serviens of Acomb, John de Hemingbrough, received a length of cloth for his clothes. Men of higher status got lambskin trimmings as well. John got the same as the hospital smith, the janitor and the cook. There is no sign of income from Acomb in these accounts, except for £4 3s 4d for 5,000 faggots sold from Acomb wood and 2s for pasture in the wood and grass on three selions next to Mossawe.

Hugh de Helmsley, serviens of Acomb, paid 24s l0d for rent in Rufforth and received 65s 6 1/2d as a payment, along with Richard de Foxholes who received £17 16s by tally. The reason for these payments is uncertain but perhaps all the produce of the Grange went straight to the Hospital and the payment provided the working capital for running the Grange.

Walter de Langton - Treasurer of England After Edward I died, Edward II arrested his father's Treasurer, Walter Langton, who had been Master of the Hospital, and put him on trial. He invited complaints about his conduct from anyone who had a grievance.


Buried in a long list of complaints from all over England are several relating to Acomb Grange. 17 Walter de Langton seems to have spent some of his time at Acomb Grange, using it in the same way as the Abbot of St Mary's used Overton and the Archbishop used Cawood and Bishopthorpe. He was accused of misappropriating money and property and of using his position to bully people.


For example, his servants had ordered £20 to be spent on making a ditch at Acomb Grange [in the reply it was 'the ditch of the said manor'] which they had extorted from one John Sampson who was in prison.

More significantly a William, son of Alan of Knapton, complained that while he was in the middle of sueing Master Alan Breton for a writ of right in the court of his feudal overloard, Luttrell of Hutton Paynell, for some property in Knapton,

Walter de Langton bought the land. from Alan Breton by a fine levied in the King's court. The court was adjourned and during the adjournment various of Langton's servants went to the house of Robert le Turner, William's attorney, in Knapton, seized him, bound both his hands and tied him on a horse and took him to Acomb Grange where Walter de Langton was living. From there he was forced to go to the court of Hutton Paynell and withdraw the suit.

William's son and John of Grantham also complained of being forced to give up their rights in Knapton and of false imprisonment. John also complained that he had 15 score sheep in Knapton common pasture and that they had been taken to Acomb Grange, and when he had asked for his money he had been imprisoned at St Leonard's.

Walter de Langton’s defence in this case was that John owed money to the King for fines, which was the reason for his imprisonment, and that he had bought the sheep but had not paid for them. The rights and wrongs of each case are buried in time but the material illustrates the way a powerful man could use the law to his own advantage.




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Acomb Grange by Jennifer Kaner - page 6

Langton soon got out of prison and back into favour with the King. He certainly continued to hold a lease of Knapton but not the Mastership of St Leonard's Hospital. His sojourn at Acomb Grange may explain the moat round the site and the tooled stone which is to be found there. Also, if later masters followed the same practice, it would explain why there was expenditure on the Grange but so little income.

Inquisition by the Crown An inquisition made by the crown in 1364 into the affairs of the Hospital18 indicated that income from almost all the holdings was much lower than in earlier years. The former value of Acomb Grange was £30 19s 7d. The deficit in 1364 was 72s 5d, but whether this was a short fall on the previous income or an actual loss is not made clear. However, the inquisition does show the Hospital's consumption of wheat, rye, barley and oaten malt, beef carcasses, pigs and mutton, stones of cheese and butter.


In a later account John Day seems to sell the Hospital a cow which he pays for himself and on yet another occasion, when rendering up arrears, part was from the last account and part was for two cows. The significance of this is difficult to understand; it may be a matter of accounting. Certainly the serviens of Beningbrough and the hospital geldhird received cattle bought at Richmond by tally. Another beast was purchased from the Hospital by a woman of Rufforth, but this may be a payment to redeem a mortuary. So, after Walter de Langton's departure, for much of the 14th century, Acomb Grange was probably farmed directly by the Hospital and its keeper accounted by tally. In contrast, two men were employed directly as haiotors of the wood (see below).

It also states how much in total came from the manors and how much was bought. The accounts only show actual cash expenditure, so one finds money spent on bringing cheese from Broomfleet and driving animals to York but not the day to day expenditure at the 'manors'. The properties were supervised by one of the brothers and a seneschal who travelled around taking courts and seeing to harvesting and repairs; in 1343-44 they spent £13 14s 8d on their travels, including journeys to Acomb, but also visited Holderness to buy butter and Ripon to buy cattle!

An interesting feature of the accounts from 1375-79 is a hint that the keeper of the Grange was being provided with cows by the Hospital which, in return, received payment for dairy produce. 19 The accounts are too badly damaged to be certain but '13s 4d rendered by John Day of Acomb for issue of 22 cows farmed by the said servant, for milk and calves per year 6s' may be interpreted in this way.


Letting of closes By 1409 20 some of the closes, including a pasture called Somergang, wre let out to York butchers called William Tankerley, John Cundall and John Spynk. Pasturage was always at a premium round York and the City council made strenuous efforts to prevent the butchers driving up the price and monopolising all the nearby pastures. Nevertheless York butchers appear as lessees of other pastures near York, including the Tang Hall fields, the Vicars Leas and Heworth Grange.

In the same accounts an ill horse caused great concern and medicines were bought for a foal suffering from the 'farcy'; a woman was paid to cut herbage in the garden of the Grange especially for it. Salve was bought for a little colt and halters were bought for two foals.

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Acomb Grange by Jennifer Kaner - page 7

Use of the estate as woodland Far more is recorded about the wood than about the Grange. It was operated as a demesne woodland by the Hospital, which also had a wood at Sutton Grange in the Forest of Galtres and rights to timber and fuel from the forest; but Acomb wood was a significant provider of timber, poles and faggots.

The accounts show that the hedgers of Acomb wood were employees of the Hospital in the same way as the smith, the tiler and the feriwoman. The feriwoman was paid 2s a year, the miller l0s, the geldhird 14s and the hayortor circum bosci de Akom 5s each. The hedgers were called Robert James and Roger Day. William Wodhagg of the forest, a more important official, was paid 13s 4d.

The 1409 accounts also show that 64 men were paid 4d a day to cut underwood at Acomb for pynnes for the bank of the Humber at Broomfleet, another St Leonard's property. Seventy five cartloads of timber were taken from Mossawe wood to the River Ouse, at a cost of 7d per journey, to build and repair houses belonging to the Hospital in York. Thirty one men were also paid to hedge round the pond. The three gates that they mended for the wood cost 7d. The household and other workmen received 8d for food, at a time when 4d was a day's wage.

Rushes were cut for covering houses in the Hospital and the household were paid for driving the animals and pigs in the wood. The Hospital also moved animals from one Yorkshire property to another. Six score sheep came from Lead to Acomb and the boys who drove them received 3d for drink. Others went from Acomb to Broomfleet and from Broomfleet to Beningborough.

Timber was cut in Mossawe and carted to the Ouse to be shipped to Broomfleet.. It paid gatelay, a toll, at Middlethorpe. Timber was also squared for the repair of houses in Beningbrough and sales of bark raised l0s from John of Baildon. Two timber trees were bought by the Sheriff of Yorkshire from Acomb wood to make 'engines' at York Castle in 1338-3921

The wood was mentioned frequently perhaps because cutting wood was outside the normal work of the household at Acomb; most of the agricultural products probably went straight into the hospital granaries and larders without passing through the surviving accounts.

For instance, in 1379-80 Roger Kidder and his servants were paid £6 12s ld for cutting and bundling 31,300 faggots in the woods. The following year 24,000 were cut, costing 4s 3d per 1,000. A John de Angrom was paid for 130 days at 4d a day for cutting and trimming fuel but other men working in summer got 5d a day. Perhaps wages rose during the hay harvest The wood sales continued with 200 faggots fetching 8s 4d and l0s coming from the sale of bark.


In 1461~6222 more of the closes were rented out, bringing incomes of £8 5s and £6 9s 8d. The wood continued to be run directly with the 'receiver' travelling to Acomb to inspect the wood and organise repairs. During this year timber from Acomb wood, along with carpenters and carters, went to Heslington to frame a new barn. The men were given beer while they worked at framing and erecting.

Much effort went into shipping special long faggots from Acomb to repair the staithe at Morhamwyk. Piles were bought at Carlton and 37 men were paid for 'stuffing' the staithe and binding it with osiers and faggots. Seventeen wagon loads of long faggots travelled from Acomb wood to Bishopthorpe where they were loaded onto boats. Nineteen timber piles were also felled and loaded. It was a major operation with servants from Heslington getting faggots in Moreby wood for the same work, the Hospital having taken a lease of Moreby wood for the purpose.

Later in the year, when Acomb wood had presumably been more or less stripped of usable timber and coppice poles, 5,000 faggots were cut for fuel and 24 cartfuls were sold in York. Long faggots were also sent to Broomfleet to repair the Humber bank. The method used can still be seen in action along the Ouse and there may evidence for the practice in Viking York.23 Stakes are stuck vertically into the edge of the river and bundles of brushwood are stacked behind. During winter floods the bundles of twigs hold the mud and make a firm edge to the river.

Six men were paid for repairing defects in the wood and one, John Soule, who seems to have been in charge, was paid a fee for making hedges round the wood. This would be standard practice after coppicing. The hedges would be repaired to make sure that the animals could not get in to damage the 'spring', i.e. the new growth. The Bryneng dyke was cleaned out by nine men and 14 men were paid for cleaning out the moat round the 'manors'.

Thirty four men were paid for dredging the ditch round Srnalwith. A gate or door (porta) was made for Armathwaite and Towland and a bridge in Cow Lane. Iron keys were bought for the gates of the manor and the doors of the buttery. Planks were made for repairing the bridge at the gate of the manor and an ash was felled for cart timber.


So a picture is given of an actively managed woodland and a building that was being refurbished in 1461-62, but these are just brief glimpses which are difficult to interpret because of the way the accounts were organised.




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Acomb Grange by Jennifer Kaner - page 8


Just before the dissolution Just before the final Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539, which unfortunately included the Hospital, the master and brethren let the Grange on a 30-year lease to Robert Metham and Anne, his wife.

The lease was for the Grange, the Coney Garth (l0s), Grenegarth (l0s), the High Close bounding upon the Grene Garth (53s 4d), and a little close called the Calfe close (13s 4d). 'They were not to strype or waste any maner of wood pertaining to The Grange nor the hagg and were not to fell without licence of the master except it be for the repair of house or hedges.'

This is a fairly standard clause, but there was an additional, more unusual clause that 'if the master and brethren during the thirty years are minded to lye and kepe household in the mansion house of the same grange and the buildings appertaining, upon a quarters warning Robert and Anne shal ly clereley from the same during their time of residence there.' The total rent was 43s 4d. The Methams also leased the tithes of corn and hay in Rufforth, and more closes: the Wrangrow closes (53s 4d), the Whynne close (32s 8d). the Yng close (13s 4d)- late of the holding of John Chilton gent- and the Somergaine (66s 8d) .

The total rent was £8 6s. They were to pay the parson of Rufforth 8 marks and keep 'the closes adjoining upon the woods competently fenced so that no cattail can enter for the destruction of the Spryng trees.' The master and brethren kept the right to cut open and occupy the close called Somergaine.24


Two years earlier Isobel Newarke of Acomb had leased a close called Mykelmore for 21 years, which lay next under Grainge Smalwith.

She was to repair the hedge using bandes and stakes delivered to her.25 It is likely that the Grange had been leased out for some time. The will of John Chulton, dated 1520, describes him as 'of Acomb Grange'. He left his best beast as a mortuary and 13s 4d to his parish church; he also left 'a stotte and a wye' to St Leonard's Hospital, a horse and best gown to his brother, a cow and whye to his mother and, to his sister, 40s and a whye. His wife Anne and son were 'to occupy the farmholde together as they do my goodes' and whichever of them should live the longer was to retain the farm.26

His wife may have been a Snawsell, a family descended from a York goldsmith who had settled in Bilton; John Snawsell, who was described by John Chilton as his brother, witnessed and supervised his will. A Robert Metham, son of a Sir Thomas Metham of Cave, had according to the Heralds' Visitation married Anne Snawsell.27 If he was Anne's second husband it would explain how the property came into the hands of the Methams. Robert Metham first appeared at Acornb Grange in the 1524 subsidy roll. He is described as gentleman and paid 26s 8d on goods valued at 40 marks.

This was a high payment within the Ainsty,being exceeded only by Storey of Bikerton and Stapleton of Wighill. 28 Robert Metham acted as witness and supervisor of Seth Snawsell's will in 1537. 29 .




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Acomb Grange by Jennifer Kaner - page 9

Robert Metham was resident at Acomb at the time of the Pilgrimage of Grace and it is interesting to speculate whether he was involved. His elder brother Thomas is recorded as one of the leaders in the East Riding along with Robert Aske.

His father had been hauled from his bed by the pilgrims and nearly had his house burnt. The Ainsty pilgrims certainly mustered near Acomb and at Bilbrough, and several prominent local families, such as the Stapletons of Wighill and Oswald Willstrope of Wilstrop, are mentioned in the records of the Pilgrimage.

The assumption is that most esquires and gentlemen joined the pilgrims. When the movement collapsed Sir Thomas Metham, Robert's father, was put on the jury to try those considered ring leaders, and his sons, with most of the rest of the gentry, conformed

All that can be said for certain is that in 1539, when a very full list of the militia was made in the Ainsty, Robert Metham esq. is recorded in Rufforth and Acomb Grange as an archer, horsed and harnessed, with a servant called William Wright. A William Metham, probably his son, had a billman servant, horsed and harnessed, and an archer servant with no horse or harness.30

In later visitations Robert and his son William are recorded in Lockton, Lincolnshire and a brass to William, son of Robert, second son of Sir Thomas Metham of Cave, is at Rand in Lincolnshire. Robert's elder brother Thomas, who died in 1573, was one of the first men recorded as 'a moste wilful obstinate papist' in the aftermath of the Northern Rebellion of 1569.



St Leonard's Hospital was finally dissolved on 1 December 1539 and its property went to the Crown.

The first Dissolution Accounts 31 show an income of 62s 4d from the vill of Rufforth, 106s 8d from the Rectory of Rufforth and £22 8s from the Grange. The collector was Henry Burton.

Robert Metham was custodian of the wood of Acomb and received a fee of 2d a day and six cart loads of wood under a lease dated 30 June 1525.

Post Dissolution history. The accounts show that the wood was now being managed on behalf of the King. There was a total income of £15 6s 2d from 1,100 faggots of underwood and firewood and the tops of 35 trees were felled for timber for repairs. Another 1,200 faggots had been sold from one of the haggs in Acomb wood in addition to bundles of spines and briars.

The coppiced wood fetched 20s per 1,000 and the briars 8s 8d. The payment for cutting was 5s a 1,000 for the first 10,000 and 4s for the next 12,000.

 Payment was also made for cutting 176 rods of hedge and ditching round the wood at the rate of 2d a rod.

 Two bridges and three gates in Wode lane were repaired and and the king's way in one venella was repaired for carrying the faggots. The timber trees went to make a post,axletree and sparrs for the Castle Mills in York and for Heslington windmill.





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Acomb Grange by Jennifer Kaner - page 10


A little later, in 1545/6, the receiver of all the money on behalf of the King, Leonard Beckwith, was investigated by the Court of Augmentations for possible fraud.

A survey of ex-monastic dernesne woodland was made32 which included, among others, woods at Poppleton, Healaugh, Beningbrough and Acomb Grange. The wood was described as having 106 acres divided into 14 coppices. These were 'sett with underwood of the kynds of hazzel and sallow of sundrie ages and also well sett with fair timber trees'.

One hundred and fourteen trees had been taken since the Dissolution, of which 58 had gone to a new barn in Poppleton and 58 towards the repair of the King's mills, i.e. Castle Mills, and certain tenements in Heslington. Forty seven had been felled by warrant of Leonard Beckwith, of which 37 had gone to repair the King's tenements in York.

 The arithmetic is shaky and the evidence was angled towards proving that Leonard Beckwith was exploiting his position, but it gives a snapshot picture of the wood.By 1552/3 most of the mature timber must have gone since George Gayle, the new tenant , received six timber trees from Poppleton wood to be carried to Acomb Grange. It likely that these were for repairs by the incoming lessee. ( see below). 33

But, in 1556, when George Gayle died, he left his wife Mary '3000 wood yerely forth of Acorn Wood to be redy made carryed and layd at her dore'.34 There is also evidence in the Acomb Manor Court Rolls of theft of wood from Acomb Grange by Acomb tenants.35




In 1545 Acomb Grange had been leased for three lives to Ralph Bagnall, king's servant, and Richard Mainwaring and Mary his wife, late wife of George Cotton.36

George Gayle, who had purchased a reversion of the lease in 1553, left it to his son Francis.

In 1557 Sir Arthur Darcy purchased a licence from the crown to grant the reversion of the lease to Francis Gayle and Anne his wife. This was all part of the speculation in monastic property.

Bagnall and Mary Cotton had also received Foston and Kirby on the Hill and had as rapidly sold them again.

George Gayle, the receiver of the trees, a goldsmith and Mas6ter of the Royal Mint , had also obtained a lease of Rufforth rectory and is recorded as a farmer ie lessee of the manor of Acomb, in 1553, as well as the site of Wilberfoss Priory.37

George was a wealthy man. He had been M.P. for York in 1533 and was Alderman from 1529-56.

The Crown found his services as Master of the Mint so valuable that an instruction came from London 'Understandying that ye mynd tellecte George Gaill to the rome of Maryyaltie, the same beyng under tresouer of the mynt shall not be able to supple bothe chargs. .. therefore we requyre that.... ye will forbere telecte hym yeur Maier' .38 He was endeavouring to set up his son as a member of the landed gentry.



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Acomb Grange by Jennifer Kaner - page 11




Francis Gavle and his descendants at Acomb Grange.

Francis Gayle, George's son was described as of Acomb Grange, although when he died, a survey of his lands dated 1561/2,when his son Robert was five years old showed that though he held Wilberfoss freehold, Acomb Grange was still held as a reversion on the original lease to Ralph Bagnall.39

In his will,he requested that he be buried at Rufforth 'nigh unto his children'.He left his wife silver cups, a nest of bowls with a cover parcel gilt, 'a litle salt and a chayne of gold'. Francis had his pedigree and arms recorded by the heralds in 1563/4 40

 The arms are described  as ‘azure a fese between 3 sawtrells argent on the fece 3 lionsheads erazed Azure. The crest to his armes on a  wrethe Argent and Azure an Unycornehede paly of 6 Argent & Or ‘.In 1584 Robert, his son, was one of the gentry whose arms were painted in the frieze of arms in the great chamber at Gilling. 41.The family is not listed in the muster rolls for the Ainsty.

This is a puzzling feature until one realises that as Robert was five years old when his father died and, when Robert died in 1585/6, Francis, his heir, was aged only four years eight months and 15 days, they were too young to have been included in the muster rolls which survive; for example, in 1569 Robert would have been 13 years old. Robert Gayle left this servant William Harrison a £5 a year annuity in 1585/6 and, in 1569. a William Herryson had provided armour from Rufforth in the Ainsty rolls.42.

John Ingleby of the Ripley family is described as of Acomb Grange in 1573.He appears in the Subsidy lists from the 1560s as having the wardship of  Robert Gayle. 43.  




It is interesting to note that despite its absence from the muster rolls the Grange does appear on Saxton's map of Yorkshire of 1577.

The Inquest Post Mortem for Robert Gayle in 1585/6 records that he held the site of Wilberfoss Priory, Nunpallions in Escrick, Rufforth rectory and Acomb Grange. He held the last from the Crown by 'military service for a rent of 22s 6d. [This rent was still being paid as a fee farm rent to the Earl of Bridgewater in the 19th century.]

The military service was a carryover of a feudal tenure that ensured that the heir had to pay a fine to inherit and, if he was under age, the wardship could be granted out by the Crown for a fee.

The Grange seems to have continued as a leasehold property into the reign of James I. 44 .

 Like the Methams, the Gayle family were Roman Catholic and intermarried with other Yorkshire Catholic families, such as the Mallorys and Thwengs; but they are not as noticeable in recusant records as some of their contemporaries.

Perhaps they were more successful at dodging the law by moving from property to property. However, in an undated Elizabethan list of priests and Catholics, 'Mr Gayle of Acame Grangre nere Yorke doth lye sumtymes at Carlton. He hath been eight yeres maryed and yet never came at the church. He was marryed at the masse. He hath vi children who were all christened by the old lawe '. 45

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Acomb Grange by Jennifer Kaner - page 12

In 1581 Tristram Tyldesley, priest at Rufforth and vicar of Acomb, had been in considerable trouble for dancing at a rush bearing at Rufforth church, where he 'very unseemely did dance skip leap and hoighe gallantly'.

In the evidence Tristram describes dancing at Mr Gayle's house 'in the times of Christenmas and harvest.. emongst other honest yonge company'. He was suspected of being a papist or 'mislyker' of the established  religion. 46.

 From 1611 onwards the Gayles were certainly presented for recusancy in a number of Ainsty parishes including Rufforth and Acomb. They also appear in  Nether Poppleton, Bilton and Marston.In 1603/4  Barbara Gayle appears in Marston; Barbara , wife of Francis Gayle of Acomb Grange,appears in 1611 and Francis Gayle Esqin 1633/37. Catholics were presented for not attending church or not going to communion or for being recusant. 47.

The Gayles (or Gales) were in the last category so almost certainly would have had their estates sequestered and would have had to pay two thirds of the rents to the Crown. They compounded for their estates in 1629 when they agreed to pay an annual rent charge of £20 on all their estates in return for not being molested.48

 Life was extremely hard for Catholics; they found it difficult to resort to law, paid extra taxes, were fined for not going to church and the gentry had to provide a light horseman for the militia as well as only keeping a rent charge from their estates.

Not surprisingly they found it difficult to make ends meet and were often heavily in debt. Richard Cholmondley's Household Book49 provides a fascinating picture of the problems of a Catholic family of this period at Brandsby.

 Much depended on how zealous the local authority was. In this case the authority was York, who seem to have allowed more Catholics to slip through the regulations than in other areas.



Despite their problems, the Gales persisted in their Catholicism. Matthew Gale, son of Francis and Barbara Gale, is recorded as a student at Douai College in 1629. He had been there earlier but had returned home for four years.

He was in trouble for not keeping up with his work and refusing to provide a 'discourse for the Ascension’. He was supposed to do a penance in the refectory, i.e., he was to spend an entire lunch time kneeling and also write an essay. He disappeared from the college at that point but returned later, did his penance, completed his studies and returned home having matriculated in logic.50

He was recorded in Heworth in 1640 and was regularly presented as a recusant in Rufforth from 1657. He married Ann Thweng, a member of another staunch Catholic family.

A Robert Gale, probably Francis' elder son, was recorded as a 'papist in Arms' in 1648. Under the pressure of debt the Gales had mortgaged part of Acomb Grange in 1607-8 and sold their property in Wilberfoss and Escrick and the advowson of Rufforth.

They had also settled their properties on trustees on the occasion of Robert’s marriage to Elisabeth Langdale in 1624.In addition they sold a property in Acomb to one Peter Hill and it may be noted that one of the fields is later called Peter Hill wood.

This is probably the same Peter Hill of Acomb whose name is remembered in Clifton as the source of a local annual charity dole and who has a road named after him.

Robert Gale fought in the civil war but was unable to pay his fees for compounding and all the family property in Rufforth, including Acomb Grange, was sold by the Treason Committee of the Commonwealth in 1652 to Thomas Raper and Joseph Micklethwaite of York for £4,002 2s 2d. 51 At the time there were seven Rufforth tenants holding messuages, arable strips, meadow and parts of Smalwith. One was Matthew Gale.


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Acomb Grange by Jennifer Kaner - page 13

The purchasers passed the Grange and the closes listed with it, except the Somergames and Mossie Spring, to a London merchant, called John Lawrence, for £1,200. In 1659 John Lawrence sold his interest to Thomas Creswick, a Sheffield cutler, who immediately transferred it to Edward Gaile, clock-maker of York.52

By this time both the Somergames closes and Mossy Spring and a group of closes north of the old Wetherby road were excepted. Edward Gaile then leased it back to Robert Gale for 99 years at £78 per year.

The story is difficult to untangle as some of the transfers may be mortgages; certainly Robert Gale seems to have borrowed £5,200 from Edward Gaile.

The attempt to keep the property in the family failed and in 1663/4 the estate was sold to the Marwood family of Little Busby for £3,800.



The Gales procrastinated over moving out and a legal agreement had to be made that they would vacate the Grange by Lady Day in 1666.

 They were recorded in the Hearth Tax in 1665 with one house of five hearths and one of four.

They seem to have continued to live in Rufforth, possibly in the village in one of the other properties acquired as part of the St Leonard's lands, as they still appear with four hearths in 1670. 53. They continue in the lists of recusants for Rufforth until 1682, long after Acomb Grange had passed into other hands.

A later copy of the Parliamentary survey originally made for the Treason Committee gives all the field and wood names.54 The field names include Mossy Spring pasture, Micklemore close and Micklemore, Over and Nether Spring, and Skawger flatt. Great Somergames and Lee Somergames, Armithwaite and Smawith are other names that remain from the medieval St Leonard's records.





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Acomb Grange by Jennifer Kaner - page 14

Map of the Acomb Grange property owned by the Marwood family 1760.

Reproduced by permission of NYCRO (ZDU 82 mic 1294 fr 2079)

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Acomb Grange by Jennifer Kaner - page 15

The estate under the Marwoods

Henry Marwood of Little Busby bought the Acomb Grange site and the land lying to the south of what is described as 'the old road to Wetherby now a bridleway' (Figure 3).

The 1671 Hearth Tax for Rufforth records a house of seven hearths.55 The land to the north of the road had been sold to Nicholas Blackbeard or Robert Swan, and Mossy Spring, Scawgerwood flat, Great Somergang and Somergang leaz were sold to Christopher Adams in 1652/3.

Christopher Adams' purchase probably represents the land originally granted by Geoffrey and his family in Rufforth, except the tofts and open field land and the area called Smalwith. In the deeds for sale all the properties may well have been described as Acomb Grange als Rufforth Grange.

Ultimately both the other blocks of land acquired farm houses and both were called Rufforth Grange. Indeed, in the 1851 census all three properties are called Rufforth Grange. An 18th-century map of the Acomb Grange property exists and it is possible to deduce that Mossy Spring and Scawgerwood flatt were the St Leonard's properties in Rufforth, the Moschawe of the 1231 grant, and then became the Rufforth Grange on the airfield.

It later passed into the hands of the Lascelles family. They made very good maps of their estates and these enable one to identify Mossy Spring or Moshawe with a group of fields to the west of Mossy Lane, which used to lead from Rufforth to Askham Bryan. It is now cut by the airfield.

This may have been the route taken by the medieval carts to the River Ouse at Middlethorpe. The other field names recorded in the Harewood estate papers are less informative.56 Rape close, Cow pasture, Muckhill and Pighill lay between Rufforth Grange and the Askham Bryan boundary.

 These may be the former Somergames closes. The funnel shape of the field boundaries leading from the broad lane towards the Rufforth boundary may be the relic of an ‘outgang’  to summer pasture possibly originally shared among a number of townships.


The Scawegar wood flatt, possibly the scalerkerflath, was sold with the Somergames closes and may well represent the land on the airfield to the north of Rufforth Grange. The names in 1760, North Close and Winter Close are again unhelpful.

In 1664, 24 acres of Shawgar flatt wood and 25 acres of Laithe wood were in Marwood's ownership and therefore probably represent the woodland over the Foss, which is marked on the 18th-century maps and the first edition O.S. map adjoining the Winter close and North close.

Some of it still remains on the edge of the airfield. It does support some woodland species, such as bluebell and wood anemone, but is chiefly remarkable for the remains of shelters and dispersal bays from the Second World War. The original Acomb wood is represented only in field names - Outlaw  wood, Pullen wood close, Buttery wood close, Thyman or Butcher wood close and, in 1664, Peter Hill wood and Horse wood. By 1760 Horse wood was still a field name, as is Paterkill wood! Now the only reminder of the original wood is the name Woodhouse farm.

The woods, as in the time of St Leonard's, were not let out with the farm but were kept in demesne by the Marwoods. In 1707 there are payments for clearing rubbish underwood at Acomb Grange and, in 1778, the wood may have been clear felled, as there were sales of ash trees, 33 loads of firewood and 1,200 stakes.

Mr Priestman, the York tanner, bought 25 quarters and seven bushells of bark and, though 200 handbills were printed to advertise the wood, no cash is recorded from oaks sold. It is interesting to note how similar the expenses are to those incurred 200 years earlier.

Once again ditches were dug out, 6 ft wide and 3 ft deep, and the hedges by the beck and against Rufforth were cut and laid. They were described as 31 acres in length! The ditch on the west side of the wood was 4 ft deep 2.5 ft wide and 11 acres 3 roods in area.

In 1809 Mr Dodsworth, the York timber merchant, bought timber and Mr Priestman, the Marygate tanner, once again purchased the bark. In 1866 sales on ash trees raised £48 17s 4d. oaks, £188 4s 3d and bark, £114. There were 19 tons of it in all.





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Acomb Grange by Jennifer Kaner - page 16

John Etty’s plan for a house at Acomb Grange , 1694

Reproduced by permission of NYCRO ( ZDU mic 1294 fr 2255 )

Figure 4

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Acomb Grange by Jennifer Kaner - page 17

The history of the house is a puzzle. All that is known of the earlier building is that in the parliamentary survey of c.1650 there was a manor house, the ancient seat of good family, old fish ponds, a good dove cote and a very brave barn.

Three orchards of good fruit trees produced a tun or two of cider every year. Henry Marwood is recorded as paying tax on seven hearths in l670. 57. suggesting that it was a reasonably substantial house which could have been used by him when he visited York.

His father George, in 1669, wrote 'For this at Acame you must resolve to build there if you will see your own money from it. In the meane time I ordered Soulby to find out a tenant for the low house' .58

Today two houses adjoin each other, one single piled, the other a substantial double-piled building. The puzzle is how long has this pattern existed?

In 1694 John Etty, the York architect, provided a design for a new farm house (Figure 4). 'The olde buildings now standing are soe meane and measurably out of repair that their can nothing be don to them it will be money thrown away and the dwelling house soe ill contrived thatt their is no conveniency.' John Etty had been City husband in charge of York Corporation property and had designed St John's church in Leeds and rebuilt the west wing of Temple Newsam.

 His epitaph was 'By the strength of his own genius and application had acquired great knowledge of Mathematicks, especially geometry and Architecture in all its parts far beyond any of his contempories in this city. . . . ' 59


From evidence in Etty's letter there were two buildings which were built of brick and tile and which had some timbers worth saving.

 The agent pointed out that there were but three rooms to a floor and that it might be better to have four so that it might suit a gentleman or tenant.

The problem is whether Etty's house was built and, if so, was it the smaller surviving house or on the site of the larger one? The current situation of two adjoining houses appears to date back to at least the 18th century.

In 1760 two brothers divided the farm between them and there is mention of the low house. The contemporary map shows one house but is illustrative rather than accurate. A sale plan of 1810 60 shows that the larger house was there by then.

There is a strong possibility that the smaller brick-built house may be Etty's farmhouse. The detailing over the windows, now seen as shadows in the brickwork, and the mark where there was a string course can just be made out and stones have been reused in the side wall.

It is of course possible that the larger house was rebuilt with Etty's detailing and the smaller built to match, with the farmer and the gentry tenant living side by side.

In 1725 when Lord Harley, the future Earl of Oxford, visited York he described Bishopthorpe, the home of the Archbishop, and Middlethorpe Hall as lying on one side of his road, and Askham Moor, a marshy bottom, and 'Askham Grange Sir Harry Marwoods' on the other; by then, therefore, it was large enough to be a landmark,61 yet throughout the 18th and 19th centuries all the tenants were farmers.

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Acomb Grange by Jennifer Kaner - page 18

The problem can only be solved by an internal examination of both houses. There were extensive repairs in 1809-13 which may well have been almost a rebuild.62

They include 29 yds of floor boards, flags for a passage floor, a hearth and back hearth in a low room, and the hanging of 12 doors. Another bill includes '57 ft of architraving, roofing and joisting the dwelling house and ceiling joists in kitchen and house, sash windows and window shutters and the building of stairs, 4 yds 6 ft at 9s a yard'. This seems more than an ordinary repair job, possibly a large-scale extension.

The farm was a mixed farm. When Marwood took over from the Gales the agreement included payments for acquiring 19 loads of maselin, harrowing and gripping and laying compost and manure on the fallow and sowing the maselin.

Twenty one quarters of oats were sown in the old hard corn field, a process which included 44 'plowings', presumably days of ploughing. At first most of the closes were let out to different men and only a few were kept in hand. In 1685, Henry Marwood let the Grange to Henry Boswell and the tenancy agreement restricted the ploughing to no more than 40 acres and the cutting of wood to that set out by the landlord.

If Marwood had not moved his stock by a certain date, the tenant could go on pasturing his stock for the same amount of time after the end of the lease. The apple trees mentioned in the Parliamentary survey were still producing fruit in 1683: the agent at Busby, the main estate, was very worried because the wet weather had made the ways so bad that no one would go to fetch the apples.63

A survey of 1760 has the farm divided between William and David Ward. It shows that wheat, oats, barley and beans were being grown, but there was more pasture than arable.



William Ward's farm grew wheat, beans and flax and various comments were made on fields being badly laid to grass with furze and thistles, pasture spoiled by bad management and the flax crop spoiled by thistles. His successor, John Ward, was criticised, though not as fiercely, in 1783 when he gave up his tenancy. He was allowed to reap his crop and take away the helms and was allowed £63 for repairs.

In 1810, when the Marwoods put the farm up for sale, the tenant was John Jolly. By this time some of the closes had been divided and several had changed their names. Only 42 acres, a block in the centre of the farm, were actually sold; the remainder stayed in the hands of the Marwood family with a Jolly as tenant until at least 1865.

The fee farm rent was still being paid in 1903 and in 1911 the Great Ouseburn District Council paid the Marwoods a rent for a rubbish tip. This, incidentally, was very unusual at that time. In the district council area only Boroughbridge had had a scavenger and a rubbish tip by this date. Places like Heworth had to wait until the l930s. This tip was for Acomb rubbish and was a dip in a field, possibly an old sand pit. The district council paid to fence it.64

The rent received for the Grange, £453 in 1903, made it one of the Marwoods more productive properties.

At this point there was a change of tenancy and the farm valuation included raspberries and gooseberries, a turnip house, a barn, threshing machine and a chain pump, as well as a blacksmith's shop, gates, mangers, etc.

The blinds and rollers in the house and the table and shelves in the dairy were allowed for, as well as a house called a Hind house. It was described as a dairy farm in 1909, when the well water was tested.

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Acomb Grange by Jennifer Kaner - page 19

The Marwoods were absentee landlords leaving most of their affairs in the hands of a Durham firm who did the annual accounts, the occasional surveys and ventured south to deal with valuing land and estimating injury by severance when a proposal to build the York Leeds railway was made in 1845/6.

As this would have crossed the entire length of the property on a line south of the wood and of the main farmhouse, it would have been devastating to the farm. The plan was to end the line in Micklegate, on the line of what is now Priory Street, so it would have had equally devastating effects on York;65 but it was never built.

The problems of injury by severance occurred again in a heightened form in the l980s when the York ring road was built across the farm but without the bridges and underpasses that the railway would have had to provide for farmers.

 The estates were entailed but by 1922 were running at a loss and more and more land was being sold. Rents for Acomb are not mentioned after 1923.

The modern farm suffers from being split by the ring road and from damage done to crops in fields adjoining the housing estates. Etty's farmhouse is not in use at present, though the main house has recently been reroofed.

A timber and brick barn on the site, presumably the 'brave barn' of the parliamentary survey, was examined in 1972 by the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England and tentatively dated to the 17th century.

Earthworks survive surrounding the site while pieces of tooled stone lie in hedge bottoms. The ponds, so carefully cleaned out by the Hospital servants, have now gone, but are on the 1852, 1893 and 1975 0.S. maps.


Many of the old hedges have also disappeared but the original boundary between Acomb and the Grange shows up more clearly than ever, as it now forms the boundary of the City of York and of the Chapelfields council estate.

The boundary between the Long Ing (Meadow) and a close called Clappers in 1760, which still has traces of ridge and furrow,67 and a pond from the Little Pond Close of 1760 still shows up in a 1989 photograph but is not marked on the OS map.

The pattern of fields on an aerial photograph of 1967 68 is still much the same as that shown in 1760, but has now (1991( almost gone. Even the old wood lane, which was called Lady Dawes carriageway in 1760 and Broad Lane in 1852, has been almost obliterated.

The ‘ancient road from Wetherby to York’ which forms the northern boundary of the existing Acomb Grange property is a bridleway and tractor track. It has clearly defined hedges and a few bluebells as a reminder of its earlier pre-turnpike role through a wooded area.

It used to join the ‘New Gate’,the current Wetherby Road;but this piece of landscape history was obliterated by the Second World War Rufforth airfield.It is remarkable that any part of the woodland survives, although it is only a small part of the 106 acres that it used to cover.

For the future, with the threat of development on the outskirts of York,it is important that this Grange site is properly protected and recorded. It is hoped that the finding of an Etty architectural plan and the knowledge that the Grange spent a few years as the residence of Walter de Langton might alert people to its existence and possible significance.


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Acomb Grange by Jennifer Kaner - page 20



The author acknowledges the help received from the Record Offices of North Yorkshire, Leeds, York, York Minster and the Borthwick Institute of Historical Research. Permission was given to take exterior photographs of the house by the present occupants of Acomb Grange.


  1. W. Farrar, Early Yorkshire Charters Vol. I [EYC II, 143 Return to main text (1).
  2. P H Cullum, Hospitals in Medieval Yorkshire D.Phil. thesis, University Qf York (1989). Return to main text (2).
  3. EYCJ, 141. Return to main text (3)
  4. Lichfield Record Office, QQ 1-10. Return to main text (4)
  5. York Minster Library [YMLJ, M2/6b-d. Return to main text (5)
  6. W. P. Baildon (ed.), Monastic Notes Vol. I, Yorkshire Archaeol. Soc. Rec. Ser. Vol. xvii (1895), 247.          Return to main text (6)
  7. A. Beardwood, Records of the Trial of Walter Langeton, Camden Society 4th Ser. Vol. 6 (1969), 307.       Return to main text (7)
  8.  J. Parker (ed.), Yorkshire Fines, Yorkshire Archaeol. Rec. Ser. Vol. 62 (1921), 28, 132. Return to main text (8)
  9. Bodleian, Rawlinson B455. Return to main text (9)
  10. J. Sheppard, Ceo graJiska Annaler Vol. 48 (1966). Return to main text (10)
  11. North Yorkshire County Record Office [NYCRO], ZDU 13 microfilm [mic.] 1350. Return to main text (11)
  12. EYC I, 356-7. Return to main text (12)
  13. NYCRO, QDP (M) 60. Return to main text (13)
  14. C. T. Flower (ed.), Public Works in Medieval Law Vol. II, Selden Society 40 (1923), 320.                         Return to main text (14)
  15. A thrave was a stook of corn from every plough. This usually came to 12 sheaves but varied according to the traditional size of the stook. It may originally have been a thrave from each carucate . . . a royal food tax. Return to main text (15)
  16. YML, M2/6c. Return to main text (16)
  17.  N.B. There is a possibility that these records refer to Acomb itself. Although nothing so far discovered links Walter of Langton with the Treasureship of York Minster, a detailed survey of Acomb and other lands belonging to the Treasurer has been found in the Lichfield archives ~RR3]. The Treasurer of the time was an absentee Italian! The property referred to in the evidence is sometimes called the Grange of Acomb and sometimes Acomb. Return to main text (17)
  18. Calendar of Miscellaneous Inquisitions Vol. III, 202-4. Return to main text (18)
  19. Cf. D. Michelmore (ed.), Fountains Abbey Lease Book, Yorkshire Archaeol. Soc. Rec. Ser. Vol. 140 (1981), l-lvii. Return to main text (19)
  20.  YML, M2/6b. Return to main text (20)
  21. Public Record Office [PRO], El01 597 24. Return to main text (21).
  22. YML, M2/6d. Return to main text (22)
  23. R. Finlayson, 'Oh! What a Lovely Waterfront', Interim Vol. 12 no. 3 (York Archaeol. Trust 1987), 7.          Return to main text (23)
  24.  PRO, E303 26 1206, 1207. Return to main text (24)
  25.  PRO, E303, 26 1211. Return to main text (25)
  26. YML, St Leonard's Wills M2/6e. Return to main text (26)
  27. Metham of Bullington, Lincolnshire Pedigrees, Harleian Society Vol. 51(1903), 669. Return to main text (27)
  28. E. Peacock, 'Roll of York and the Ainsty Subsidy, 1524', Yorkshire Archaeol. J. 4 (1877), 198. I am grateful to Marjorie Harrison for this reference. Return to main text (28)
  29. Testamenta Eboracensia Vol. 6, Surtees Society Vol. 106 (1902), 62. Return to main text (29)

      30.PRO, E361/32. Return to main text (30)


  1. PRO, SC6 Henry VIII 4601. Return to main text (31)
  2. PRO, E315 429. Return to main text (32)
  3. Leeds City Archives, GC L02. Return to main text (33)
  4. Borthwick Institute of Historical Research, Wills Vol. iSA, f.62. I am grateful to Vivien Swan for pointing out this reference. Return to main text (34)
  5.  H. Richardson (ed), Court Rolls of the Manor of Acomb Vol. I, Yorkshire Archaeol. Soc. Rec. Ser. Vol. 131 (1969), 4. Return to main text (35)
  6. Letters and Papers of Henry VIII Vol. xxi, 777. Return to main text (36)
  7.  Op.cit. in note 35. Return to main text (37)
  8. D. M. Palliser, Tudor York (1979), 92. Return to main text (38)
  9. PRO, SP12 21 f.2. Return to main text (39)
  10.  C. B. Norcliffe (ed.), Flowers Visitation of Yorkshire Harleian Society Vol 16 (1881), 131-2. Return to main text (40)
  11.  J. Foster (ed), Visitation of Yorkshire, 644. Return to main text (41)
  12.  York City Archives [YCA], E47. Return to main text (42)
  13.  Ibid. Return to main text (43)
  14.  NYCRO, ZDU mic. 1325. Return to main text (44)
  15. Catholic Record Society 53, 191. Return to main text (45)
  16.  Yorkshire Archaeol. .J. 15, 242-3; 1. 5. Purvis, Tudor Parish Documents of the Diocese of York (1948), 167-8. Return to main text (46)
  17.  H. Aveling, 'The Catholic Recusants of the West Riding of Yorkshire', Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society 10 (1963). Return to main text (47)
  18.  Op.cit. in note 45, 318. Return to main text (48)
  19.  Publisher NYCRO. Return to main text (49)
  20.  E. H. Burton and T. L. Williams (eds.), 'The Douai College Diaries', Catholic Record Society 10. Return to main text (50)
  21. NYCRO, ZDU 14(13) mic. 1352. Return to main text (51)
  22. Ibid. Return to main text (52)
  23. YCA, M30: 22, E8OA. Return to main text (53)
  24. NYCRO, ZDU mic. 1294, appendix. Return to main text (54)
  25. YCA, M30: 25. Return to main text (55)
  26. Leeds City Archives, HAR Surveys 64 Vol. 3 Return to main text (56)
  27.  YCA, E8OA. Return to main text (57)
  28. NYCRO, mic. 1298 fr. 0240. Return to main text (58)
  29. G. Beard, Craftsmen and Interior Decoration in England, 1660-1820 (1981), 259. Return to main text (59)
  30. NYCRO, ZDU 14 mic. 1325. Return to main text (60)
  31. Historical Manuscripts Commission, Report on the Manuscripts of the Duke of Portland Vol. 6 (1901), 93. Return to main text (61)
  32. NYCRO, ZDU 14 mic. 1295 fr. 3129, mtc.. 1294 fr. 2302. Return to main text (62)
  33. NYCRO, ZDU mic. 1294 fr. 2298. Return to main text (63)
  34.  NYCRO, Great Ouseburn District Council Minutes, Sept. 1910, mic. 1965. Return to main text (64)
  35.  NYCRO, QDP(M) 60. Return to main text (65)
  36.  Photographs and plans can be seen at the York office of the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. Return to main text (66)
  37. Aerial photograph by Anthony Crayshaw, 1989. Return to main text (67)
  38. Archaeology Department, North Yorkshire County Planning Department Return to main text (68)



The publishers of the article by Jennifer Kaner


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The article ‘Acomb Grange’ by Jennifer Kaner was the winner of the 1991 Sheldon Memorial Trust Essay Competition.


It was published in ‘ York Historian’, volume 10, 1992 a publication of the Yorkshire Architectural and York Archaeological Society (YAYAS), which is a registered charity and was founded in 1842.  YAYAS have kindly given permission for this article to be reproduced on the internet.


The copyright vests in YAYAS, and any use of the information in the article must be authorised by YAYAS.


York Historian is a regular publication covering many aspects of the history of York. Back numbers and details of subjects covered in previous issues can be obtained by emailing a request to Your enquiry will be passed to the publishers for them to deal with.


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 About the author , Jennifer Kaner

Reproduced with kind permission from the Yorkshire Evening Press of September 28th 2000                                 Return to article on Acomb Grange

TRIBUTES have been paid to Jennifer Kaner, "York’s foremost local historian", who has died aged 64 following a long and brave fight against cancer.

A memorial service for Mrs Kaner, whose husband, Ralph, is a former managing director and chairman of Rowntree’s Confectionery Division, will be held at the Friends’ Meeting House in Friargate, York, at 2pm tomorrow.

Born in Kenya, she was educated in Somerset and at London University, working for Clarks Shoes in Street, Somerset, before becoming a personnel officer at Rowntrees in York.

Mrs Kaner was a major figure in local history circles, starting classes for the Workers’ Educational Association (WEA) where students researched their own areas.

The first was at Burnholme School focusing on Heworth and Tang Hall. Clifton, Helperby, Fulford and Skelton followed. At South Cave her group later produced their own publication with her help. She was a past chairman of the WEA York branch and a member for over 20 years.

Current chairman Mrs Terry Fowler called her contribution to local history "immense", adding: "She was very popular and very helpful to people."

York city archivist Rita Freedman said: "York has lost its foremost local historian. Jennifer Kaner has been responsible in a large part for the great strides forward in local history taken over the last 20 years."

She had given tremendous support to the city archives and its researchers for the last 23 years.

Dennis Brewster, treasurer of the Yorkshire Architectural and York Archaeological Society (YAYAS), said Mrs Kaner had been its lectures secretary until forced to retire a year ago.

She kept lecturing and researching until recently despite being in considerable pain. He said: "I thought she was an extremely clever and also very humane and very unselfish person."

Dr Ron Butler, former president of the Yorkshire Archaeological Society and former editor of the Yorkshire Archaeological Journal, said Mrs Kaner represented YAYAS on the Yorkshire body.

"She was energetic and persistent in her research, and helpful to other people with information that she had found. She was generous to other scholars," Dr Butler added.

Research by Mrs Kaner on local volunteering was used in the formation of York’s Council for Voluntary Service (CVS).

Its general secretary, Colin Stroud, said: "She played a key role in the development of the CVS itself and the volunteer centre."

In addition to her husband, Mrs Kaner leaves three sons, David, Tim and Ben, and four grandchildren.

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Last modified 04/12/2002