The Earle & Welford Families of Yorkshire, England 1268 - 1911
The Earle & Welford Families       of Yorkshire, England               1268 - 1911

Earle Family of Wakefield

Wakefield Court Rolls

Long before the first church registers began recording the baptisms, marriages and burials of the inhabitants of its parish, Manorial Records, where they exist, are perhaps the most useful source of information for the genealogist. The Wakefield court rolls are no exception providing an almost complete series of manorial rolls documenting the business of the manor of Wakefield from 1274 to the dissolution of the manor in 1925. The manor was one of the largest in England and covered not just Wakefield, but a huge area of the West Riding from Holmfirth to Halifax, Heptonstall, Dewsbury and Normanton. The court rolls are probably the longest and most complete set of English court rolls to survive.


The court rolls were first written in ink on parchment and after 1737 on paper, bound together at the top “exchequer style”. In some cases a paper draft is also preserved along with the final official parchment copy of the court roll. Originally all the rolls were stored rolled up (hence the name “court rolls”). Until 1733 the rolls are written in Latin (with the exception of the Commonwealth period), and thereafter are in English The rolls are annual, but their year begins at Michaelmas (29 September). They record the business of the court baron (held three times a year at Wakefield) which dealt with enforcing manorial dues and transfers of land, and the court leet or tourn (held twice yearly at Wakefield, Halifax, Brighouse or Rastrick and Kirkburton) which dealt with law and order and common agriculture The court rolls are an important source for both local history and for legal, social and economic history in general. They touch on many themes including: law-keeping, commerce, taxation, debt, customs, the English legal system, agriculture, textile industry, food-production, climate change, social structure, industry, crime, poverty, landscape, inheritance, record-keeping, vernacular architecture, women's rights and population.
These rolls are a vital source of detailed local information about the inhabitants of Wakefield manor and the way that they lived from the 13th to the 20th century: their family structures, occupations, wealth, living conditions, transport routes, customs, and rights. But equally, the rolls are important because they document the development of English society in general over a long period of time
Almost immediately we find the name 'Erle' mentioned in the court records and one name in particular that of Robert le Erl. It is just possible this is the Robert, son of Henry Erle of Fenton mentioned in the 'Early Instances' section. Certainly we know from the court records Robert had a son Henry and as was so often the case in this era a child, especially a first-born child, was christened with the name of the grandfather. Of one thing we can be certain the descendants of Robert ensured the name Earle would remain in Wakefield and its surrounding villages for the next three hundred years.


It is also just feasible that a descendant of Robert le Erl followed the Roman road north the short distance to Ripon leading to the establishment of the Earle's in the ancient villages of Newby and Roecliffe. Certainly towards the end of the fourteenth century, Wakefield and Ripon were the two pre-eminent cloth-making areas in the county judging by the contribution made to the exchequer in the Ulnagers accounts.


Court Rolls for the Manor of Wakefield


3 Edward I [Friday, Whitweek 1275]

Robertus le Herle makes pledge of prosecution in an action involving Robert Ereward of Wakefeud who is charged with being a villein[1] and the son of the Earl's villein; he admits it and gives as a recognition 13s, 4d paying 12d yearly [Wakefeud]


5 Edward I [15th August 1277]

Robert Earl along with several others make pledge of prosecution as William the Fuller of Wakefield and Ralph de Wrteley agree to pay 40s for the Fulling Mill for the coming year from the feast of St John (24th June) to be paid at the three terms of the year [Wakefeud]


Robert Herel and Robert the Goldsmith make pledge of prosecution after it is presented by inquisition held by the men of Kergate that a hare was killed on the dunghill of Hugh son of Robert Tirsy; and he gives 4s to be quit thereof [Wakefeud]


12 Edward I [12th October 1284]

Robert le Erl, German the Mercer and John Mous are essoigned[2] for the first time for allegedly taking cattle belonging to Simon de Chamberleyn. Richard de Bateley makes pledge and a day is given.


12 Edward I [2nd November 1284]

Robert le Erl, German the Mercer and John Mous are essoigned for the second time in the plea for seizing cattle belonging to Simon de Chamberleyn. William de Castelforthe makes pledge


12 Edward I [13th December 1284]

Robert le Erl makes pledge of prosecution as Serle de Thorneton proves a certain foal to be his; he is to provide it or its value, 12d within a year and a day [SOURBY]


13 Edward I [13th January 1285]

Robert le Erl and Thomas de Thorneton make pledge of prosecution as Juliana de Thorneton complains of Richard Drake for stealing a mare. Afterwards Thomas de Hyllingworth comes and warrants the said mare to the said Richard who is therefore quit thereof [HYPERUM]


13 Edward I [25th November 1285]

Robert le Erl, German le Mercer and John Mous stand accused of taking two horses belonging to Simon de Chamberleyn and taking them to John's house, and afterwards to the house of German Swerd where they were put under cover and lock and kept from the first hour on the Sunday after Michaelmas till the following Monday at the hour of Vespers. Simon claims 100s damages. The defendants say that the seizure was in consequence of a judgement [per consideracionem] of the whole Court of the Borough of Wakefield because Simon, and Agnes his wife had been summoned to that Court to answer German Swerd for debt. Simon replied that he was never summoned. Therefore he must wage his war; pledge William Russell. And because he could not find another pledge (two pledges were required for the wage of law), it is considered that [German?] do have the horses [averia] restored to him. [SANDALE]


13 Edward I [22nd July 1286]

Robert the Erel on the twelve-man jury at the Wakefield Court


Ancient Yorkshire Deeds


Before AD1293 - Ref A.6260

Grant - by John le Mors of Thorne[spineto] to Robert le Erl of Wakefield, of a meadow called 'Hodcrimbels' in Thorne. Witnesses - Alexander Lucas steward of the earl of Warren, Henry de Swyulington, and others named [Wakefield]


Before AD1293 - Ref A.12069

Feoffment - by John, son of John le Mors, of Thorne to Robert le Erl, of Wakefield, for his homage and service, 6a. [six acres] 3p. [three perches] of land in the territory of Thorne, viz. 3a. together in 'le Longefeld' between land late of Ralph le Thorne and the water of Kelder[3]; 1½a. between land late of William de Castelforthe and 'le Merow'; 3p. between land of Roger son of Philip and his own; 3p. called 'le Heved land' between land of the men of Thorne, and his own; and 3p. called 'le Loneendeland' between the mete [metam] of the men of Thorne and land of the said Robert le Erl, consideration 5li. 4s. beforehand, with all easements, particularly the whole wood by the Kelder [river Calder]; rent 6d. at the three terms appointed [statutis] in the land of the earl of Warren. Witnesses - Alexander Lucas - then steward of the earl of Warren, Sir John de Heton, Thomas de Thorneton, Richard Clerk [clerico] - then bailiff and others named [Wakefield]


Sunday before St Mary Magdalene, AD1293 - Ref A.8489

Release by Arrabilia late the wife of John le Mors of Thorne [spineto] to Robert le Erl of Wakefeud of her right in the third of the land or meadow which came to her of the frank tenement of the said John. Witnesses - Peter, then steward of the earl of Warren and others named [Wakefeud]


About 1293

Robert le Erl, pindar[4] of Wakefield, witness in a grant by Sybil and Mersoria, daughters of Richard de Otteley to Mariota, wife of German le mercer of Wakefield, and her heirs and assigns, of all their tenement in the vill of Wakefield in le Westgate, with the garden and croft and other appurtenances


Court Rolls for the Manor of Wakefield


24 Edward I [28th October 1296]

Henry le Erl complains of John Pollard for seizing cattle; pledge, William de Locwode


24 Edward I [11th November 1296]

Henry le Erl and his father Robert Erl are two of the twelve-man Jury at the Tourn[5] at Wakefield


24 Edward I [16th November 1296]

Henry le Erl against John Pollard, says it was agreed he should put his cattle in the Earl's meadow on the Earl's herbage for 8d, whereupon John wrongfully impounded them. The defendant claims the plaintiff offered him only 6d. for the herbage, which was insufficient, and therefore he impounded the cattle. Henry replies that he asked him for 8d after the cattle were impounded. The defendant must wage his law; pledge Robert the Goldsmith [WAKEFEUD]


25 Edward I [6th December 1296]

Henry son of Robert le Erl essoigns against John Pollard for trespass. A day is given. Pledge, William de Castelford


25 Edward I [1st January 1297]

Henry le Erl, the second time, against John Pollard in a plea of trespass by William the Goldsmith. Pledge, Henry, son of German


25 Edward I [25th January 1297]

Henry le Erl has license of concord with John Pollard in his plea of trespass. The fine is forgiven as John was on the Lord's service [WAKEFEUD]


25 Edward I [Sunday before Ascension Day 1297]

Robert le Erl one of the twelve-man Jury at the Tourn at Wakefield


25 Edward I [Friday before Whitsuntide 1297]

Henry son of Robert le Erl makes pledge of prosecution as Thomas de Thorneton is essoigned for the second time, by John de Thorneton Edmund le Normaund essoigns the first time as to suit, by Henry son of Robert le Erl: pledge Adam Hode


Henry le Erl makes pledge of prosecution as William the Goldsmith essoigns the first time against John de Mora in a plea of seizing cattle, by Robert his brother


25 Edward I [5th October 1297]

Henry Eril one of the twelve man jury at the Tourn at Wakefield


York Lay Subsidy


25 Edward I [1297]

Robert Erle xx bidertes xs precium [ten ? of precious] cujuslibet [to whom it pleases] vjd. vj quart. avene vs. Summa bonorum [total sum given] xvs. ix, xxd. [Criggleston]


Ancient Yorkshire Deeds


Thursday before Palm Sunday, AD1303 - Ref A.8143

Feoffment by Thomas son of Robert Alan of Wakefield to Henry, son of Robert Erl of the same of two selions of arable between the streams of Thorne [inter rivulos de spineto] Witnesses - John de Dancastre then Steward of the earl of Warren, German Filcock - bailiff of the Liberty, Robert le Roller - farmer of the town of Wakefield and others named [Wakefield]


Calverley Charters


AD 1303

Henrico Erl witness to a Grant by Thomas, son of Richard the Clerk of Wakefield to John de Calverley of a messuage with its appurtenances in Westgate, Wakefield


Notes on Early Pedigree of Copley Family


1303 – Michaelmas Term

Henry, son of Robert Erle sued Thomas de Coppelay to hold an agreement made with Robert, the plaintiff’s father (whose heir he is), as to the rent of 13s. 4d. in Skircotes. Thomas demised it to Robert for 15 years, by an indenture (produced) dated at Pentecost, 18 Edw. I (1290); Robert had it for 8 years, and after his death Henry had it for half a year, when Thomas ejected him; he claimed £20 damages. Thomas admitted the deed, but denied the alleged ejectment. Jury (De Banco, Mich. 31 Edw. I, m. 101)


Court Rolls for the Manor of Wakefield


35 Edward I [25th November 1306]

Henry Erl makes pledge as German Kay essoigns against William Tyrsy for trespass, by Henry son of Jerman [sic] Robert Pegere fails in waging his law against Henry le Erl; fined 6d [WAKEFEUD]


35 Edward I [13th December 1306]

Henry Erl makes pledge as John de Willeys is essoigned from suit of court, by Thomas de Wytteley


35 Edward I [22nd February 1307]

Henry Erl and two others make pledge of prosecution as Robert de Stodely is elected Bailiff of the Liberty in the Soke of Wakefield, in the place of William de Tayllur


35 Edward I [May 1307]

Robert de Wodesom to be distrained[6] to answer Henry Eril for debt [WAKEFELD]


35 Edward I [24th June 1307]

Henry Erle, plt essoigns against Robert de Wodesom, by John Cay in a plea of debt. Pledge, John Hoskill [ALVERTHORPE]


1 Edward II [13th July 1307]

Henry Erle and Robert de Wodesom have a love-day[7] [ALVERTHORPE]


1 Edward II [5th August 1307]

Henry Erle and Robert de Wodesom agreed by license; Robert is fined 12d. [ALVERTHORPE]


1 Edward II [23rd November 1307]

Henry Erle one of the twelve-man Jury at the Tourn at Wakefield


2 Edward II [3rd July 1308]

Henry Erel makes pledge of prosecution as Thomas del Hollegate [deft.] v. Henry, son of Ralph de Crigeleston for debt, by John Patrik


2 Edward II [1st August 1308]

Henry Eril and John Patrik both fined 6d for not having Thomas del Hollegate, for whose essoign they were pledge at the last Court. Thomas to be distrained to answer Henry, son of Ralph de Crigeleston, for debt


Wakefield: Its History and People


About the year 1308 (page 83)

Robert Walker together with his partners William Erl and Robert Severd removed the common bridge between Thornes and Wakefield mill from the free land where it used anciently to be, and placed it on the lord's bond-land to the nuisance of the bond-tenants. This bridge must have been a light foot-bridge, easily removable, for the offenders were ordered to put it back in its former place


William Erl seems to have been a bit of a rogue removing bridges and later suing his recently widowed mother, Margery over the ownership of a mare. Fortunately the courts didn't agree with him and he was fined for making a false claim against his mother


About the year 1313 (page 126)

John Erl was arrested for carrying off the nets set up for fishing by the earl's parker in Sandal brook in Sandal Park

Yorkshire Deeds


30th August 1313

John le Eril witness in the Grant by Robert le Hunt of Wakefield to William Pickhak, his heirs and assigns, of all that tenement with buildings upon it lying in le Kergate [Wakefield]


Court Rolls for the Manor of Wakefield


6 Edward II [6th October 1313]

Henry Erl [6d] and William the Goldsmith agree by license


Essoins - Richard de Birstall, by William Eril. Surety - William Wyldebore


6 Edward II [12th October 1313]

William the Goldsmith raised the hue on Henry Erl, who is amerced 6d; and another 6d for raising the hue[8] without cause on the said William, when he rescued the corn Henry was carrying off


6 Edward II [28th October 1313]

Essoigns - Elyas de Byrton, by William Erl. Surety William del Okys


Henry Erl sues Thomas son of Ralph, and William son of Robert de Crygleston, for trespass; Surety John Patrykes [BAILIFF]


6 Edward II [8th December 1313]

Henry Erl provides security in an action brought by Richard, son of Robert de Radeclyf, junior, defendant, against John the Clerk, of Hertesheved, by John de Wakefeud [BAILIFF]


Henry Erl sues William, son of Robert de Crigelston on an agreement under which William bought three pieces [placeas] of underwood in different places in Crigelston with the understanding he could cut what would he liked between Easter and Whitsuntide [3 Edward II], but should then leave what was standing to grow to the following Michaelmas; for which he paid 40s. He broke the condition by cutting the wood before the term specified; damages 100s. William cannot deny; is fined 6d and ordered to pay damages. [BAILIFF]


Henry Erl sues Thomas, son of Ralph de Crigelston for damaging and destroying his growing underwood in three places in Crigelston; damages 100s. Defendant cannot deny. To pay damages which are to be taxed, and 12d fine. [BAILIFF]


6 Edward II [21st December 1313]

Henry Erl provides security in an action between Edmund the Normaunt and John Patrikes


6 Edward II [13th January 1314]

Henry Erl charged 3d for escapes[9] [Wakefield]


6 Edward II [4th April 1314]

Relief - William son of Henry Erl de Wakefield, and his heir, comes into the full Court and offers the Lord the services he owes for two roods [assartis] in Crigleston, and 7s. 6d. rent which he holds by charter, and 30s. 3d. rent by another charter, which tenements and rents he holds of the lord in chief by service of 3s. 10½d. and half a pound of pepper yearly; and he does fealty. An ox to the Steward. [BAILIFF]


6 Edward II [Friday in Whitsun-week 1314]

William Erl sues Margery, formerly wife of Henry Erl, for seizing a mare. Surety - William the Goldsmith [BAILIFF]


6 Edward II [29th June 1314]

William Erl sues Margery, formerly wife of Henry Erl, for driving his mare from a place called the Holmes in the town of Crigleston, to the town of Wakefield, where she kept it in Hugh Cay's fold till it was delivered by William the Goldsmith, the sworn bailiff; damages 40d. Defendant wages her law. Security - German Filkoces [BAILIFF]


Thomas son of Roger de Crigleston sues Margery, formerly the wife of Henry Erl, for seizing cattle. Surety - John Erl. Margery is attached by Hugh Kai [BAILIFF]


7 Edward II [13th July 1314]

Margery, formerly wife of Henry Erl, makes the law she waged against William Erl; he is amerced 6d for false claim [BAILIFF]


Thomas son of Roger de Crigleston sues the said Margery in a similar suit. Margery says the seizure of cattle was not made in Thomas' house in Crigleston, but in a place called the Holmes, which forms part of a bovate of land held of the said Margery by John, son of Gilbert, for homage, fealty and free service of 14s yearly, which is a year in arrears; she seized the cattle by way of distraint. The parties have a love-day at their own request [BAILIFF]


7 Edward II [Friday the Feast of St Laurence 1314]

Thomas son of Roger de Crigleston [6d], and Margery, formerly wife of Henry Erl agree [BAILIFF]


7 Edward II [21st September 1314]

John Erl provides Surety in the court in a case of trespass between William Tyrsi and William de Castelford [BAILIFF]


8 Edward II [Friday after the Octave of Easter 1315]

Thomas Erle made taster of ale in Westbrettone, and sworn [WESTBRETTONE]


9 Edward II [Friday the Morrow of St Edmund the King 1315]

William Erl, plaintiff and Robert Peger have leave to make a concord in a plea of trespass. The said Robert puts himself. Pledge - Thomas of Wyttelay 4d [Thornes]


John Erl complains of William of Collay in a plea of debt. Pledge of prosecution, Thomas of the Holgate [Sandale]


9 Edward II [6th December 1315]

John Erl appeared against William of Collay and complains that the said William has detained from him unjustly 1 quarter of oats, price 18d. because Joan, wife of the same John Erl, on Wednesday next after the Feast of St Barnabas the Apostle, in the 8th year [Edw II] bought from the said William 3 quarters of oats to be paid for at the Feast of St Michael next coming, on which day, the said William gave him 2 quarters of oats and 1 he detained, and still detains in peace, &c and said that he sold indeed 2 quarters of oats and no more and this he offers to prove against him and his suit. Therefore they wage their law. Pledge of the law - John son of Nalkes [BAILIFF]


9 Edward II [Friday the morrow of the Circumcision of the Lord 1315]

John Erl, plaintiff comes into the full Court and withdrew his suit [retraxit se] against William of Collay in a plea of the detention of 1 quarter of oats, in regard of which William opposes the law to him. It is decided that the said William have no day granted to him and that the aforesaid John be amerced for making a false charge, 6d. [BAILIFF]


9 Edward II [Friday next after the Feast of St Nicholas 1316]

John Erle amerced 12d for taking salmon from the Lord's waters [WAKEFIELD]


William Erle provides Surety as Gilbert Gayrokes complains of Roger Bele and Mariota his wife in a plea of debt [BAILIFF]


9 Edward II [1316]

John Erl sues John Rate on a plea of debt. Pledge of prosecution - Thomas Alayn [ALVERTHORP]


John Erl appeared against John Rate on a plea of debt and because the aforesaid John came into Court and then contemptuously retired, he is amerced 3d. and it is ordered that he be distrained to answer at the next court [Alverthorp]


John Erl, plaintiff, appeared against John Rate on a plea of debt and because the aforesaid John does not come, it is ordered that he be distrained [Alverthorp]


John Erl, plaintiff, because he has not prosecuted his suit against John Rate in a plea of debt is amerced. Afterwards he comes and demands against the said John [Rate] 4s. 6d. for 1 oak sold to him on the Friday next after the Feast of St Barnabas the Apostle in the year &c. The said John rate comes and confesses the said debt. therefore it is decided that he make satisfaction to him and be amerced
for unjust detention, 4d. Pledge - Ivo Smith [Alverthorp]


Quitclaim of Right - Lincolnshire Archive - Hotchkin 1 / 1 / 2


9th April 1319

John Broun of Wakefield to John Erl and Johanna his wife. All his right and title to a plot of land with buildings, 32 feet long and 16 feet wide in Kergate, Wakefield, adjoining the tenement of the said John Erl on the North. Witnesses - Mr. John Turners, then steward to the Earl of Lancaster, German Filkok bailiff of the liberty, William Erl, Robert Walker, Thomas Roller, Robert Carpenter and others


Deed of Gift - Lincolnshire Archive - Hotchkin 1 / 1 / 3


3rd April 1320

Robert Typsi of Wakefield to John Erl of Wakefield, and Johanna his wife. Half an acre of arable land in the field of Wakefield, between land of Robert of Carleton and land of Typsi, abutting on the old park and the Rouncysik. Witnesses - William of Sleen steward to the Earl of Lancaster, John of Gayrgrave, William Erl, Robert Goldsmith (Aurifabro"), Robert Walker, John Harihill, Thomas Clerk and others


Deed of Gift - Lincolnshire Archive - Hotchkin 1 / 1 / 4


12th July 1322

Robert son of Hugh Dipsy of Wakefield to John Erl and Johanna his wife. Half an acre of arable land in the field of Wakefield near the old park, with land of the said John on one side and of William Erl on the other, abutting on the palings of the old park and on Roncysik. Witnesses - Thomas Weyvill, steward of the King in the soke of Wakefield, Thomas Alein, Forinsee bailiff in the same, John of Gergrave, William Erl, Robert Goldsmith (Aurifabro), Robert Walker, William Wyles - clerk and others


Yorkshire Deeds


4th August 1322

William Erl and John Erl both named as witnesses in the Grant of Thomas Orefeor, of Wakefield to John
Harthill of Wakefield, junior, of a burgage
[10] in Kergate in the vil of Wakefield


Court Rolls for the Manor of Wakefield


17 Edward II [14th September 1323]

John Erl sues Robert Hode of Neuton for debt. Surety - Henry de Wakefield [Alverthorp]


17 Edward II [22nd June 1324]

William Erl provides security as Adam de la Lee essoins against Thomas de Totehill, by John de Geirgrave [Rastrik]


William Erl appointed attorney to Thomas le Roller after Thomas is sued for land by John, son of Hugh de Chapman [Alvinthorp]


18 Edward II [13th July 1324]

William Erl provides Surety as Hugh, son of Robert, son of Geoffrey de Stannerley is essoigned by Robert de Mora


18 Edward II [24th August 1324]

William Erl gives his oath in an inquisition involving the Crown at Agbrigg [Sandale]


18 Edward II [21st December 1324]

John Erl sues Adam Sprigonel for debt. Surety - John Pollard [Stanley]


John Erl sued for debt by Henry Launel. Surety - Hugh de Nodder [Bailiff]


18 Edward II [12th March 1325]

John Erl and Adam Sprigonel, 4d. agree


18 Edward II [5th July 1325]

William Erl makes his law against James del Okes, who is fined 4d for false claim [Bailiff]


19 Edward II [7th September 1325]

William Erl sued by James del Okes for breaking an agreement made between them at Wakefield in 17 Edward II, by which William was to acquit James and keep him unharmed from the Kings Bailiffs and servants; and afterwards, Henry Russell, the Kings sub-escheator in these parts, entered James's land and carried off the vesture thereof, value 30s. Defendant wages his law. Surety - German Kay [Bailiff]


The imparlence between John Erl and Henry Launel for debt is removed into the Burgesses' Court of the town of Wakefield, at the suit of the Burgesses of the said town, because the said John is a Burgess[11]. And as the said John, summoned for a second time to the Court Baron of Wakefield, does not come, an order is given for him to be distrained for the first time in the Burgesses' Court there [Bailiff]


20 Edward II [December 1326]

John Erle amerced 6d. for wood, wedges of thorn, etc [Wakefield]


1 Edward III [6th May 1327]

John Erle sues John Bulheved for debt; Hugh is summoned but does not come. Robert and Richard Short are ordered to bring him to the next court [Stannerley]


John Erle amerced 6d. for breaking palings and for vert. [Wakefield – Attachments in the Old Park]


1 Edward III [7th July 1327]

John Erle amerced 3d. for not prosecuting his suit against John Bulheved [Bailiff]


1 Edward III [Saturday 16th August 1327]

William Erle and Johanna his wife, plaintiffs, and Thomas de Holgate (12d.) agree [Sandal]


The serving-man of William Erle amerced 12d. for breaking a closed gate [Wakefield]


2 Edward III [1328]

John Erl’s widow [Johanna] amerced 6d. for brewing and selling at 1d. contrary to assize


3 Edward III [Friday in Easter Week 1329]

Johanna, formerly the wife of John Erl, amerced 3d. for selling ale contrary to assize [Wakefield]


23rd April 1333

Robert Erle amerced 3d. for vert. [Alverthorpe]


23rd July 1339

Thomas Erl pledges prosecution as Henry de Stanley offers himself against Henry de Galway alleging he unjustly detains 3s. 6d. from him for 2 ells[12] of woollen cloth which he bought from John servant of Henry de Stanley, and has not yet paid, damage 2s. [Stanley]


14th January 1340

William Pynder de Hodresfeld offers himself by Thomas Erl, his attourney against Richard Swaynson in a plea of debt [Ossett]


2nd February 1340

John Erl gives the lord 13s. 4d. for leave to ply a boat for hire (conductionis) from the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Mary last [2nd February 1340] until Easter next [16th April 1340]


18th February 1340

Thomas Erl pledges prosecution as William de Criggleston, plaintiff against Thomas del Brighous who offers himself in a plea unto law, essoins for the second time [Bailiff]


An inquiry is to come to the next court to determine whether or not John Erl and three others named falsely presented that John Hode enclosed a certain plot where the township of Wakefield was supposed to have its common while the plot was an individual toft as John says [Bailiff]


10th March 1340

The jury between John Hode plaintiff and John Erl and three others named in a plea of false presentation as in the preceding court in respite due to a lack of jurors. An inquiry is to come [Bailiff]


24th March 1340

An inquiry of 12 jurors find that John Erl and 3 others named made a true presentment to the great inquiry at the tourne concerning a fishpond in Kergate made by John Hode. He is amerced 3d. for false claim


21st April 1340

Thomas Erl and William Wyles offer themselves to the Court in a plea of trespass and the order is given to distrain Richard Erskyn [Bailiff]


12th May 1340

Thomas Erl and William Wyles plaintiffs offer themselves against Richard Erskyn in a plea of trespass. Richard is distrained by a hammer, tongs and pincers and does not come. That distraint is to be held and more taken [Bailiff]


30th June 1340

Richard Erkyn to answer Thomas Erl and William Wyles [Bailiff]


14th July 1340

Thomas Erl and William Wyles, plaintiffs and Richard Erkyn agree in a plea of trespass. Richard is amerced 3d. [Bailiff]


28th July 1340

By virtue of these instructions, an inquiry is taken by twelve persons, who say on their oath that Henry Erl, the grandfather of Thomas Erl, was seised of a messuage and 60 acres in Wodesom and Walton. Indeed Henry gave this holding by his charter to Robert de Wodesom to hold to himself and the heirs of Henry's body and their heirs, rendering from thence 20s. And Henry was seised of this rent by the hand of the said Robert. And afterwards Robert gave the holdings by his charter to Sir Thomas de Burgh, among the tenants in chief of the lord, to hold to himself and his heirs, giving the said rent, by whose hand William, son and heir of Henry, was sesied of the said 20s. After the death of Thomas, the holding came to the hand of John de Burgh, his son, who paid rent to William. Because John took up the religious life, Sir Thomas de Burgh, as brother of John, entered into the holdings, by whose hand Thomas, son and heir of William Erl, who now is pleading, was sesied for a great time, until Sir Thomas de Burgh subtracted 6s. 8d. from the above rent because [blank] formerly wife of Robert de Wodesom sought her dower from the said holdings. Sir Thomas satisfied the same [blank] of her dower, and she has been dead a long time as was said etc.


Yorkshire Deeds


Sunday after St Peter and St Paul [4th July 1344]

Grant by John, son of John de Amyas, of Shitlington, to John Yrle of Shitlington, and Alice, his wife, and the heirs of their bodies, of a third part of all the lands and tenements with buildings and appurtenances which Maud Porter, Alice’s mother, held of him while she was living, within the bounds of Shitlington, rendering yearly 10d. at Whitsuntide and Martinmas in equal portions. Witness – John de Methelay of Thornhill, William de Flokton, Adam the Shepherd of Shitlington, William Grace and Richard le White, both of the same [Shitlington]


Ancient Yorkshire Deeds


21 Edward III [9th January 1347] - Ref A.8777

Feoffment by Thomas son of German Filock of Wakefield to Thomas, son of William Erel, of the same, of land in Thorne [spineto] between the land of the said Thomas Orel [Erl] on either side [Wakefield]


Court Rolls for the Manor of Wakefield


30th September 1348

Thomas Erl mentioned numerous times in the Wakefield Court Rolls over the following few years not as a plaintiff or defendant, but more in an official role in the court proceedings


3rd March 1349

Robert Erl plaintiff and Robert Cokespur are reconciled in a plea of debt. Robert Cokespur puts himself in mercy, 2d. [Stanley]


19th April 1349

Thomas Erle and John Erle witnesses to a grant by Adam son of William Filch’ clerk of Wakefield to Dom Thomas de Drayton, chaplain, of an acre of land containing 5 strips which lie in breadth in the field of Wakefield in the place called Windothill


The Black Death (transcribed from Wakefield: Its History and People)


April to August 1349


The Black Death, so-called because the rapid putrefaction of the dead turned the body black, entered England at Weymouth in Dorsetshire in August 1348. In the second half of the year there were incessant rains until Christmas, and the plague spread rapidly throughout the country reaching Yorkshire about April 1349 and lasting until August. This sweeping pestilence reached its maximum intensity in Wakefield in June and July, and carried off the first vicar, Thomas de Drayton on June 21st 1349 within a month of his institution. The disease caused haemorrhage from the lungs, carbuncles and boils on the arms and thighs, with delirium. Some lived only a few hours after the spots had shown themselves, others lingered for three or four days. To most death came with a celerity merciful to the victims but terrifying to the beholders. It was mostly the young and strong who were cut off, the aged and weakly being often spared. Such was the fear and horror of it that none dared come near the sick, and it was hard to get burial for the dead. The mortality caused by the plague was enormous; the clergy suffered very severely. In the West Riding of Yorkshire there were ninety-six death vacancies in 1349, leaving only forty-five parishes in which the incumbant had survived

Court Rolls for the Manor of Wakefield


Monday 22nd February 1350

Robert Erle granted tenure of an acre of land in Sandal next to the gate of the castle after John Grenehod surrenders the same in court. Robert pays 3d. entry fine [Sandal]


11th June 1350

Robert Erle granted tenure of an acre of land in Stanley after Alice, widow and daughter of William Pollard surrenders the same in court. Robert pays 4d. entry fine [Bailiff]


Robert Erle granted tenure of half an acre of land in Stanley after John Couper surrenders the same in court. Robert pays 4d. entry fine [Bailiff]


Friday 17th September 1350

Robert Walker, plaintiff essoins for the first time by Robert Erle against Matilda Vyron who offers herself in a like plea [Bailiff]


Yorkshire Deeds


32 Edward III [30th September 1358]

Robert Erle named as a witness in a grant by Hugh del Hill of West Bretton to Lawrence del Dronfeld [Westbretton]


Wakefield, Its History & People


1361 (pages 334-5)

Robert Erle 'walker' took on the fulling mill on the Steyner, the strip of land below the bridge on the north side of the river, at a rental of 26s. 8d. At the time he and his wife, Emma were the most important cloth manufacturers in town employing two apprentices engaged in their trade


Antiquarian Notices of Clay House, Halifax Parish


Deed of John del Clay of Elland dated 1365

John Herle, chaplain and six others named granted lands in Elland and Greteland


Wakefield, Its History & People


1368 (pages 334-5)

Robert Erle 'walker' took on the lease of the fulling mill noted above and the mill on the river bank for a period of two years. At the end of the expiration of this lease he entered into a fresh agreement with the lord to take them at an annual rent of 53s. 4d.


Deed of Gift - Lincolnshire Archive - Hotchkin 1 / 2 / 1


21st May 1369

William Filche of Wakefield, clerk, to Juliana late wife of Thomas de Brystaf. Property I acre and 3 pieces of land in Wakefield in a place called "les milnerodes", land of Thomas de Holeden to the N., land of Peter... to the S., and abutting on the old park of Wakefield. Witnesses - Robert Erle, Thomas del Abbey, Richard son of John, William Willeson, John of Lopton and many others. At Wakefield.


Deed of Gift - Lincolnshire Archive - Hotchkin 1 / 1 / 7


23rd November 1369

Robert Erle a witness to Robert Tyde, chaplain of Wakefield to Henry Filche, chaplain and John his brother who are parties in the transfer of property in Wakefield comprising 1½ acres of land in the field of Stanley, abutting on the Estmore


Ancient Yorkshire Deeds


50 Edward III [1st July 1377] - Ref A.9036

Letter of Attorney by John son of Richard Seele, of Fourneys to Robert Erl of Wakefield, the younger, and Hugh Baille to receive of seisin of lands &c in Wakefield, Sandale and Crigeleston which he claimed as his right of inheritance against [divers] the earl of Cambridge, his lord, after the death of Thomas Seele, his cousin according to the form of the letters of the said earl directed to Robert le Morton the earl's steward [Wakefield]


Subsidy Roll (Poll Tax) 1379


Wakefield (Agbrigg)

Robert Erle & his wife (Cecilia) - assessed for 4d.

Robert Erle "Walkar[13]" & his wife (Emma) - assessed for 6d.


York Consistory Court - 1381


The newly widowed Emma Erle of Wakefield was clearly seen as a good catch by potential suitors no doubt due in part to her high economic standing in the town given the state of her accounts noted below. Matters seem to have become somewhat heated leading to a court action after John Topcliff (Squire to the Archbishop of York) was described by John Greenhode (of Ripon, York Diocese) as “a false man” and “spending without any measure” and "wasting and consuming of goods" Topcliff’s lawyer claimed this was an economic insult intended to damage Topcliff’s reputation as a responsible man and potential head of household to Emma Erl in the eyes of her male relatives hindering his chances of marriage with Emma, whom John Greenhode himself sought to marry.


As mentioned in the introduction to this parish section there must have been a strong connection between Wakefield and Ripon in the fourteenth century as both towns were the pre-eminent cloth makers of the time. It would not be unsurprising to find that the Earle family of Roecliffe near to Ripon are descended from the Erles of Wakefield


Cause Papers in the Diocesan Courts of the Archbishopric of York


Borthwick Institute: CP.E.124 – Matrimonial

John de Topclyfe, plaintiff against Emmota Erle, defendant in a case of validity of marriage. Nicholas de Esyngwald - Prosecution Proctor, Henry de Axiholm – Defence Proctor. Witnesses from Wakefield – Cecelia, wife of Robert Erle (aged 30), Robert Leche (aged 42), Alice, wife of Robert Leche (aged 30), Henry Nelott (aged 44), William del Castelford (aged 50, litteratus), Robert de Burley (aged 31, bottler), Matilda de Denton (aged 48), William Woderuff (aged 30, vicar of Wakefield)


Wakefield, Its History & People


In 1382, Mistress Emma Erle took two partners, Robert Welos, who is described in the 1379 Poll Tax returns as a walker, and Thomas Porter, therein described as a tailor. Two years later Thomas Porter retired or was excluded from the business which was then carried on at the two mills by Mistress Erle and Robert Welos, who then assumed the designation of his trade for a surname, calling himself Robert Walker


In 1391 the rent of the mills was increased to 75s. 4d., possibly due to some enlargement, for in the Ulnagers Accounts for Yorkshire set out below, Emma Erle was the largest contributor of ulnage (the duty paid on cloth at so much per ell)


Ulnagers Rolls for Yorkshire 1395/6


Emma Erle (widow) of Wakefield responsible for the manufacture of 48 whole cloths of assize in 54 weeks out of a total of 173½ cloths produced for sale in the Wakefield area. She was the largest
contributor of ulnage
[14] her payment being a subsidy of 16s. and an ulnage of 2s.


If each cloth really meant two 'dozens' Emma was producing one and three-quarter dozens per week in her weaving sheds. the average for the whole of Wakefield was less than one dozen per week per manufacturer


Wakefield, Its History & People


In 1396, Emma Erle relinquished the tenancy of the Fulling Mill, when it was taken by another woman, Christina, the widow of William de Sargy at £4 a year


Deed of Gift - Lincolnshire Archive - Hotchkin 1 / 1 / 8


4th August 1396

Alice daughter of Robert le Furbour, Roger Shether and Katherine, his wife and the sister of Alice to Robert Erle of Wakefield. All the lands and tenements which descended to Alice and Katherine on the death of their father in a hamlet called Ouchethorp in Stanley. Witnesses William Wodl, William Bate, Henry Grenehode, John de Kent sen., Richard Altham and others


Deed of Gift - Lincolnshire Archive - Hotchkin 1 / 1 / 10


3rd April 1402

Robert Erle of Wakefield to Robert Broun, Henry Crenhode and John Achome chaplain. All his lands and
tenements in Wakefield, Stanley and Sandall. Witnesses - Robert Fryston, William Bate, Thomas Bate, John Kent jun. and others


Quitclaim - Lincolnshire Archive - Hotchkin 1 / 1 / 9


26th October 1404

Katherine daughter of Robert Furbur of Ouchethorp to Robert Erle of Wakefield. Property as in HOTCHKIN 1/1/8 Witnesses - William de Wakefield of Pontefract, William Kay of Selby, Robert Broun of Wakefield, Richard Bunny, John Frankys of Stanley and others


Quitclaim - Lincolnshire Archive - Hotchkin 1 / 2 / 2


5th April 1407

Robert Erle of Wakefield to Thomas Langley, Bishop of Durham, Ric. Altham, John Holme, chaplain, and Oliver Couper, chaplain. All lands etc. in Wakefield, Sandall and Stanley which, with his consent, they have of the gift of Robt. Broun, Henry Grenhode and John Achome, chaplains


Antiquarian Notices of Clay House, Halifax Parish



John Erle becomes rector of the ancient parish of Tankersley in the Staincross Wapentake


Deed of Gift - Lincolnshire Archive - Hotchkin 1 / 1 / 12


27th April 1427 [Cuchthorp]

John Holme and Oliver Couper of Wakefield, chaplains to John Banastre of Wakefield. Messuages and all their lands and tenements in Ouchethorp which Thomas Hancok now holds of them and which they and Thomas, Bishop of Durham, were given by Robert Erle of Wakefield. Witnesses - John Cairegrave, William Gairegrave, John Wowan, William Mason, Robert Abbay, Oliver Raynald then bailiff of the vill of


Yorkshire Deeds


18 Henry VI 1440

Grant by William Erle, of Schetlyngton to John Erle of Walton, his son, and heirs of his body, a messuage built in Schetlyngton and seven roods of arable land, with an acre of meadow lying in the fields of Schetlyngton


28 Henry VI [20th April 1450]

William Erle of West Bretton noted as having lands and tenements in West Bretton in a demise for life by William Fitzwilliam and Nicholas Fitzwilliam, esqs,. To Cecily, late the wife of Richard Wentworth [West Bretton]


Yorkshire Deeds


9 Edward IV 1469

Richard Erle rented one messuage in West Bretton and paid 12s. a year


John Erle, junior, rented one cottage in West Bretton and paid 3s. yearly


John Erle (elder) rented one cottage in West Bretton and paid 2s. yearly


William Erle rented one messuage in West Bretton and paid 12s. a year


Yorkshire Deeds


1 Henry VI [3rd February 1510]

John Erle alias John Lokesmyth, the elder, and John Erle alias John Mason noted as being in tenure of lands & tenements in West Bretton in a demise by Thomas Mattersley to Edward Crisacrez


York Probate Registry


Robert Erle benefactor in will of Ralph Medley of Ardeslawe[15] - proved 27th June 1527


Court Rolls for the Manor of Wakefield


13th October 1537]

Robert Erl and three others absent from the tourne, amerced 12d. [Alverthorpe]


Testamenta Leodiensia


30th August 1557

Margaret Earle and Jennet Earle benefactors (20s. each) in the will of Isabell Cockell of Wakefield, widow – proved 27th April 1558


Court Rolls for the Manor of Wakefield


14th May 1585]

Robert Erl by Henry Issot, lords tenant and sworn, surrendered into the lords hands a reversion after the death of the said Robert of one rood of land with the buildings thereon: to the use of Edward Walker and the heirs of his body lawfully procreated and Joan lately his wife, daughter of the said Robert Erl. Agreed. Entry fine 4d. [Horbury]


All Saints Church, Wakefield


Marriage - 13th September 1677

William Earle & Alice Southill


Baptism - 4th July 1678

Elizabeth daughter of Joseph Earle


Baptism - 13th February 1680

William son of William Earle


Burial - 7th February 1681

Alice Earle


Baptism - 17th September 1682

John son of William Earle


Baptism - 26th September 1684

Ann daughter of William Earle


Baptism - 26th December 1686

Robert son of William Earle


Burial - 13th June 1687

Robert son of William Earle


Affidavit - 20th June 1687

Robert Earle buried in woollen on 13th June

Baptism - 2nd June 1688

Robert son of William Earle


Baptism - 8th November 1690

Mary daughter of William Earle


Baptism - 18th February 1693

Thomas son of William Earle


Baptism - 13th April 1695

Alice daughter of William Earle


Burial - 10th June 1700

Ellin daughter of William Earle of Kirkgate


Baptism - 12th June 1700

Sarah daughter of William Earle


Burial - 17th December 1700

Sarah daughter of William Earle


Burial - 14th January 1701

Alice wife of William Earle of Kirkgate


Baptism - 7th March 1707

William son of William Earle


Burial - 4th July 1716

William Earle, a boy

Baptism - 18th December 1716

Mary daughter of Thomas Earle


[1] A tenant farmer tied to the lord of the manor

[2] Where a tenant who owed suit at court tendered an 'apology for absence' and was excused from appearing

[3] River Calder

[4] Pinder – a manor or parish officer in charge of the pound or pinfold (enclosure for stray animals)

[5] The three-weekly circuit made by the Sheriff to courts in medieval England - in this case to Wakefield

[6] Where goods to a value set by the court are taken from the defendant

[7] A meeting outside of court where the plaintiff and defendant try to resolve their differences

[8] Sounding the alarm upon discovering a crime

[9] Allowing his cattle to stray onto others land causing damage to crops, etc

[10] Medieval land term used to describe a town rental property owned by the lord usually comprising  house on a long and narrow strip of land fronting onto "Kergate", or Kirkgate in this instance

[11] A freeman of a borough

[12] An old unit of measurement associated with the tailoring industry - one ell is the length of a man's arm from the elbow to the tip of his fingers, approximately 45 inches

[13] Cloth manufacturer

[14] The duty paid on cloth at so much an ell

[15] East Ardsley


Please feel free to contact me with your requests or questions, or if anything you find conflicts with your own research. I would also welcome your help if you think you can add to my collection with any of your own findings.


Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to contact me in the two years since this website was created and for all the interesting and wonderful information you have provided. I regulary receive messages from all corners of the world showing just how far the family have spread over the years and I really look forward being able to assist with your queries where I can.


Do you have any old photographs of Earle and Welford ancestors tucked away in your albums? If so I would really love to hear from you. Perhaps you would allow them to be added to this website as its so much better when you have a face to go with a name.


Remember new material is constantly being added to the website so do come back soon and see what's new!