1400 ~ 1539

1401 - The Statute of Heresy was enacted which provided that all heretics (people whose beliefs were not those of the Church) were to be imprisoned and if they refused to give up their heresy to be burned alive. Repealed in 1548.

On the death of Isabel de Fauconberg the whole manor of Skelton was put in the charge of Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland.

1403 - The Skelton estate was taken into the custody of Henry IV, due to the insanity of Thomas Fauconberg.

1407 - Owing to the madness of Thomas Fauconberg, one third of the estate of Skelton was settled on his wife Joan until her death which occurred in 1409. The other two thirds on Walter de Fauconberg.
In this same year Walter de Fauconberg died and the estate passed to his daughter Joan. She had been "an idiot from birth", but had been married before she was sixteen to William Nevill, the son of the Earl of Westmoreland.

Henry V
An inventory of the estate mentions "a waste burgage", "4 waste messuages", and cottages either ruinous or waste or "paying nothing." It appears that the Black Death which appeared in 1348 and repeatedly during the previous century had decimated the population of Skelton, which was about 400 at the beginning of it.

1408 - There is a reference to a John Potter holding a burgage, a close of herbage and a plot of land for making pots.

1413 - Death of Henry IV and accession of Henry V.

1422 - Death of Henry V and accession of Henry VI.

Henry VI
1428 - Alterations were made to Skelton castle.

1429 - William Nevill of Skelton was summoned to Parliament as Lord Fauconberg.

1450 - Beginning of the War of the Roses.

1461 - Deposition of Henry VI and accession of Edward IV.
William Nevill of Skelton, Lord Fauconberg became Earl of Kent.

1462 - William Nevill de Fauconberg of Skelton died.

Richard III
1470 - Deposition of Edward IV and return of Henry VI.

1471 - Death of Henry VI and return of Edward IV.

1483 - Death of Edward IV, murder of Edward V and accession of Richard III.

1485 - Death of Richard III at Bosworth and accession of Henry VII.

1490 - Mad Joan de Fauconberg of Skelton Castle died and the estate was inherited by her grandson, William Conyers.
The castle was described in this year as 'ruinous'.

Henry VII
1494 - The Vagabonds and Beggars Act was enacted providing that - "Vagabonds, idle and suspected persons shall be set in the stocks for three days and three nights and have none other sustenance but bread and water and then shall be put out of Town. Every beggar suitable to work shall resort to the Hundred where he last dwelled, is best known, or was born and there remain upon the pain aforesaid". Beggars who were too infirm to work were to remain in their Wapentake and be permitted to beg.

1509 - Death of Henry VII and accession of Henry VIII

Thomas was the ancestor of the Emersons of Hollybush Farm, a family that figures largely in the History of Skelton, especially in Victorian times when Stephen Emerson became known as the "Miners' Friend.

This is the first mention of the name in the Skelton area that has been found to date.
The Will shows several bequests to the then Catholic Church and the extent to which that organisation had instilled in people's minds a genuine fear of "Purgatory", Hell Fire, after Death and the need for payment for prayers to minimise the suffering of the supposed Soul.
Thomas was born in 1447 and worked as a Forester. This suggests the area of Magreiff [Margrove Park], where he lived was probably much more wooded than it is today.
He leaves his "best animal" to the Church as a "mortuary" fee and an "anum pullum", a yearling horse, to his Curate.
In addition he leaves amounts for "tithes forgotten". A tithe was a tenth part, which was the portion of annual agricultural production that was supposed to be donated to the Church.
Thomas Emerson, Forester, of Magreiff, 1 January 1524.
To be buried in All Saints Church, Skelton, near the tomb of my wife, Agnes.
Best animal for my Mortuary.
Fabric of Skelton Church - 3s 4d.
For my burial in same - 3s 4d.
Lights of Blessed Mary, of Skelton - 2 ewes.
The Lord Prior of Gisburne [Guisborough] for tithes forgotten and for absolution of my Soul - 6s 8d.
High Altar of Skelton for small tithes forgotten - 6s 8d.
To each order of Friars - 3s 4d.
Dominus Rd, Whitby, my curate, a young beast [anum pullum] to pray for my soul.
Thomas Wilson, husband of Agnes W., my cousin - 6 ewes.
Margaret Kyplyng, a heifer worth 5 shillings.
To the children of John Laine of Gisburne, a cow or the value.
Residue to my children, viz, Xtofer Emerson, my son and heir, and George Emerson, my son, executors.
Witnesses - Robert Rotte, Thomas Wilson and Thomas Turpyn.
Proved 4 May 1525 by executors.

Click here to open Emmerson Family Tree. Use scroll bars to pan around.

1527 - People in the middle ages believed that, after death, the soul spent a certain length of time in Purgatory and that the prayers of the living hastened the soul's passage to Paradise. Rich people built almshouses where poor people were cared for. In return, those who relied on this charity had to attend daily Catholic masses - religious services where they said prayers especially for their benefactors.

Henry VIII
There were many people in medieval England who, while not having the wealth of the landed gentry to pay for such chantries, had become relatively rich through trade and they formed religious guilds to ensure a less painful progress to Heaven. Membership fees were paid to the guilds as well as bequests etc and these funds were used to pay a parish priest to ensure a proper funeral and to say masses for the souls of he departed. The amount paid to the Skelton priest is recorded for this year:-

"St Mary Gild - Robert Westland, husbandman of the parish of All Saints: 13s 4d"

1531 - Justices of the peace were ordered to issue a licence to beg to the infirm poor, thus making begging by the sturdy an offence.

5 September 1538 - Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII's Vicar General, ordered that all Priests must enter all Baptisms, Marriages and Burials that had taken place in their Parishes during the previous Month "in a book" in the presence of the Churchwardens.

The book was to be kept secure with 2 locks.
Failure to comply would incur a fine of one mark [3 shillings and fourpence or 17 new pence.]
Many Parishes did not comply, believing that it was the probable introduction of some new tax.
The Skelton Parish Registers for Baptisms start from 1571, Marriages from 1568 and Burials from 1567.

Death of William Conyers of Skelton Castle. He was succeeded by his son John Conyers, who inherited the title Baron Conyers.
John married Lady Maud Clifford, the daughter of the Earl of Cumberland and had 4 daughters, one of whom, Margaret pre-deceased him.

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