1400 ~ 1539


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 Repealed in 1548.

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


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


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.
The Inquisition Post Mortem on Thomas ‘Faucomberge’ shows estate passed to his widow Joan included
“a waste burgage”, “4 waste messuages”, and cottages either ruinous or waste or “paying nothing.”
It is possible 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.
Among the long list of possessions, which also includes the Manor of ‘Mersk’ and Upleatham and many areas of land with now unrecognisable names is:-
In the town and territory of Skelton in Cleveland:
1 built messuage with garden;
1 croft and 6 bovates held by William Shupherde;
1 built messuage with garden;
2 crofts and 1 bovate held by John Proctour;
1 waste messuage and 1 bovate by John Walkere;
2 bovates by John Harpour;
3 waste messuages and 1 bovate by William Mason senior; 1 burnt messuage, a close called ‘Cadycroft’ and a parcel of land called ‘le Wanles’ by the same;
a third part of a messuage and of a bovate by Roger Homet;
with all the services of these tenants;
4 a. of foreshore at ‘Thilekelde’, ‘Roskeldesyke’ and ‘Grenwalde’ held by John Proctour;
1 close of herbage in ‘Burghgate’ and 1 called ‘Copyncroft’ by John Donaldeson;
1 built cottage by Thomas de Newsom, and 1 by John Byrde;
1 with garden and croft by William Whytekyrke;
1 garden and croft with 9 a. by William Syng;
1 built cottage with 2 crofts by Robert Hogeson, the lord’s villein;
1 ruinous cottage by Sibota Westland;
1 croft of herbage called ‘Bruyscroft’ by William Westland;
1 built burgage and 1 croft by John Pottere;
1 close of herbage called ‘Kyrkebyclos’ and 1 plot used for making pots (pro ollis inde faciendis) by the same;
2 waste cottages in ‘Marketgate’ next William Lambard’s tenement on the south, let for a rent of 12d.;
1 cottage now in the lord’s hands, formerly held by William Westland for 20d., now paying nothing;
In a place called Stanghow 1 built cottage, 2 waste cottages, 1 bovate and a tenement called ‘Blackhall’ held by Thomas Carlele;
and 1 built messuage, 2 waste messuages and 4 bovates by John West.
Also a third part of 3 watermills in Skelton with its members, called ‘Holbekmyll’, ‘Saltbornmyll’ and Skinningrove mill;
a third part of a fulling mill, and of the profits of the oven, toll, market and fair there, of the assize of bread and ale, of the court of Skelton, of agistments in pasture and feedings not in severalty, of waste, of casualties arising in wood or plain, as in hawks, sparrowhawks, falcons, and other birds of prey or game, of warren and free chase, waifs and strays, etc. and of the mining of lead, iron, marl and coal and of quarrying of slate and other mines in the lordship of Skelton and its members


DEATH OF HENRY IV and accession of Henry V.

Henry V


DEATH OF HENRY V and accession of Henry VI.


CASTLE – There is a reference to alterations being made to Skelton Castle.


LORD FAUCONBERG – William Nevill of Skelton was summoned to Parliament as Lord Fauconberg.


CIVIL WAR – Beginning of the War of the Roses.1461
HENRY VI DEPOSED – and accession of Edward IV.

FAUCONBERG MADE EARL OF KENT – William Nevill of Skelton, Lord Fauconberg, became the Earl of Kent.


FAUCONBERG DEATH – William Nevill de Fauconberg of Skelton died.


EDWARD IV DEPOSED and return of Henry VI.


DEATH OF HENRY VI and return of Edward IV.


DEATH OF EDWARD IV, murder of Edward V and accession of Richard III.

Richard III, Groat


DEATH OF RICHARD III at Bosworth and accession of Henry VII.

Henry VII


MAD JOAN DE FAUCONBERG DIED died and the Skelton Castle Estate was inherited by her grandson, William Conyers.
The castle was described in this year as ‘ruinous’.


“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.


DEATH OF HENRY VII and accession of Henry VIII.

Henry VIII, Groat.


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.


PURGATORY – 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.
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. 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”


BEGGING LICENCE – 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 –
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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