The Bubonic Plague
DEATH OF JOHN DE FAUCONBERG of Skelton Castle.
He was succeeded by his son, Walter, who was married to Maud, the daughter of John, Lord of Pateshull.
John de Fauconberg may well have been a victim of the Black Death, as the bubonic plague spread across Britain about this time.
EFFECTS OF THE BLACK DEATH.
The Inquisitiones Post Mortem 23 Edward III, which is a survey of the assets of the Fauconbergs on the death of John, states:-
"In demesne, 24 bovates of weak and Moorish land, each worth 4 shillings...before the mortality of men in these parts this year.
30 acres of meadow each worth 1 shilling per annum before the Death.
3 water mills of which one is weak and ruinous....worth £4 before the Death."
The castle is described in this year as being difficult to maintain.
Marble tombstone in Skelton OldChurch
reputedly from the days of the Fauconbergs.
There is mention of a:-
"..park of oaks with game, called 'le Wespark' and 'Maugrey Park with deer."
The area to the west of Skelton Castle, to Skelton Ellars and over Airey Hill to Margrove Park was part of the private woodland hunting reserve of Skelton Castle.
In this and the following years the bubonic plague killed a half to two thirds of the population of England.
It would seem from the above that most of the population of Skelton died.
"SPEECH ......especially in Yorkshire is so harsh and rude that we southern men can hardly understand it." states a book of this year.
So nowt new there then, but an indication that English was developing into a National language and Chaucer was soon to be writing the Canterbury Tales.
WINTER - Dec to March 54. A long severe winter in Britain.
WAR - Edward III had been at War with France with since 1337 to maintain his right to Aquitaine, which land he had inherited and to pursue his claim to the French throne.
In this year Walter de Fauconberg went to fight in France and therefore could have been present at the Battle of Poitiers in the following year.
PARLIAMENT IN ENGLISH -
Edward III from his effigy
in Westminster Abbey.
The "opening" of Parliament was conducted in English instead of French.
Walter de Fauconberg was called to its meetings.
STATUE OF PLEADING ordered that all matters in the Courts of Justice should be conducted in English.
DEATH OF WALTER DE FAUCONBERG of Skelton Castle.
He was succeeded by his son, Thomas de Fauconberg who came into two thirds of the estate and the other third was settled on his mother Isabel.
Thomas was insane and his two thirds were put in the charge of Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland.
RIGHTS OF MINES and quarries in Skelton are mentioned in document Edward III 40.
DEATH OF EDWARD III and accession of Richard II.
FIRST POLL TAX - was imposed on all persons over the age of 14 and set at one Groat [4 old pence, 1.6 new pence] per person.
STONE COFFINS have been unearthed in the cemetery which surrounds Old All Saints Church, near Skelton Castle and two of these are now kept within the Old Church itself.
"The History and Antiquities of Cleveland", by John Walker Ord.
In Skelton churchyard stone coffins were found [as I am informed by the Rev Mr Close] not many feet below the surface.
They were taken up on the Eastern part, close to the ancient castle of De Brus and are no doubt the sepulchres of some of the members of that distinguished family, the Lords of Skelton.
PEASANTS REVOLT -
Third Poll Tax imposed on all persons aged 15 years or more, at one shilling per person.
Peasants Revolt began and Watt Tyler marched on London in protest.
STATUTE OF CAMBRIDGE -
A 'Poor Law' which forbade Servants from leaving their own area, termed 'their hundred' and made each area responsible for their own poor.
No real provision was made for the sick and poor who for the next 200 years depended on charity alone.
Charter records a grant of 'a burgage with croft next to 'Potteraw', which has been assumed by some to be a street in Skelton inhabited by potters.
Some archaeologists have suggested that Skelton at this time distributed its pottery over a wide area.
MURDER OF RICHARD II and accession of Henry IV.