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30 July 2008 to 9 March 2009


30 July 2008 A connection between the Peak District and Plumley?


I found a reference yesterday, on the website of the Cheshire and Chester Archives and Local Studies, that in 1271 John de Leycester held rights to lands in the ‘Townships’ of Fernylegh and Plumley.  The old Leycester estate at Tabley hall is near Rostherne and Plumley. Plumley being about five miles south of Rostherne with Tabley situated between them. 



"Note also no.2 (1271) is transcribed in full in Sir Peter Leicester’s Book Y.f.1. Hules, Newall and Allostocke Knutsford Northwich DLT/B12 f.14 See DLT/B12 Indenture by which Raufe de Modburlegh enfeoffed Hamo parson of Brereton John Spendelowe and William Ieffeson chaplains with the Manor of Modburley, and the advowson of the church and lands in the Townships of Somerford, Holley, Northshaghe, Plumlegh, Ffernylegh and Odde Rode, to hold to the use of John de Leycester and his heirs with remainder to John son of John Dumvyle and Cecily his wife and their heirs male Manor of Mobberley Townships of Somerford, Holley, Northshaghe, Plumlegh, Ffernylegh Odde Rode f138-168 Dutton of Dutton Detailed analysis"



Leicester-Warren family of Tabley, records

Family and Personal Papers

Peter Leicester [1614-1678]

Peter Leicester's Books



Cheshire Record Office






Antiquities Buckloiniane by Peter Leycester. viz. Collections touching Bucklowe Hundred


17th century





John de Leycester is also mentioned in an Encyclopaedia source below:


“When Sir Nicholas Leycester married Margaret de Dutton in 1276 he acquired the township of Tabley near Knutsford in Cheshire. They had two sons; Roger and John”.



Extract from: Manchester & the Northwest Region of England. Manchester UK. Papillon Graphics' Virtual Encyclopaedia of Greater Manchester. (An online source.)




I have assumed that the ‘Township’ of Ffernylegh is the place now named Fernilee in the Goyt valley in the Peak district. The owning of land in both ‘Townships’ of Plumley and Fernilee by John de Leycester could possibly be a reason why Fearnleys might have travelled from the Peak to Plumley or vice versa, perhaps moving from one place to another of the same land owner. Previous findings already reported showed Roger de Feneeley was in Rostherne prior to 1271. To suggest an explanation of Roger’s possible movement, if any, it needs to be found if these same lands were owned before that by the same owner, perhaps by John de Leycester’s father, Sir Nicholas.



There is mention in 1320 of a field of Ffernileg, however, which appears to be in Over Tabley rather than in Derbyshire. It is not implied that this Ffernileg is a ‘Township’ so it could be an area name of a relatively unpopulated location. Ffernileg’mor manor could be a new building as it may be associated with an assart, a new clearing of land.


Title Grant of all rights in the field of Ffernileg’ and an assart called Spendclowerudyng, and manor called Ffernileg'mor, and the boundaries are formed by a hedge and ditch

Date 19 Feb 1320

Description 1 John, son of Richard Starky, senior, and Amisia, his wife 2 Geoffrey, son of Robert, clerk of Tabley, and his heirs



Repository Cheshire Record Office

FindingNo DLT/A6/46

Leicester-Warren family of Tabley, records

Title deeds

Cheshire estates: title deeds

Tabley: title deeds

Over Tabley

Seal: green wax on a tag; Latin [Book of Evidences I F 42]






The following extract notes that Ffernile moor abuts land at Buddelegh Broke in Over Tabley.


Title Grant of a piece of land in Ffernilegh and a piece of land in Ffernile moor, abutting on Buddelegh Broke and the land of Richard de Overhalle, and 5½ acres’ in Bradelegh in Over Tabley, which William Coly and John, son of Nicholas de Sladehurst held a piece of land in Over Tabley, near the assart of Henry del Mere and le Greuelondes of Nether Tabley, which John de Plumley once held, containing an acre, and 1 acre, half a rood in Bradeleshaw, near the assart of William, son of Gilbert in Over Tabley

Date [c1320]

Description 1 John le Grey 2 Robert de Podington, clerk Witnesses: John de Arderne, and John de Orreby, knights, Philip de Eggerton, then sheriff, Michael de Saint Alban’s, James de Pulle, Richard de Ffugleshurst, Roger de Sporstowe, Richard de Overhalle, Hugh de Lodington, clerk and others Seal: green wax on a tag; Latin [Book of Evidences I F 41]




Leicester-Warren family of Tabley, records

Title deeds

Cheshire estates: title deeds

Tabley: title deeds

Over Tabley

Repository Cheshire Record Office

FindingNo DLT/A6/43





It is not conclusive that the Ffernylegh lands noted in 1271 held by John de Leycester were in Derbyshire, but the use of the word ‘Township’ may persuade that they are in Derbyshire rather than in Over Tabley. One of the other Townships mentioned is Odd Rode which is near Stoke on Trent, a long way from Tabley, so there is no need to assume that the township of Ffernilegh must be in the vicinity of Tabley.




Austin Fearnley

30 July 2008


31 July 2008 A connection between the Peak District and Plumley?


A further extract, see below, found yesterday on the website of the Cheshire and Chester Archives and Local Studies, shows that the most of the lands noted above in the hands of John de Leycester in 1271 passed out of the hands of a John de Leycester about a hundred years later, in 1382. I.e. lands in the Townships of Mobberley, Plumley, Somerford, Odd Rode & elsewhere in Cheshire. Presumably, John in 1382 is a descendent of the John de Leycester mentioned in 1271. The township of Ffernylegh, however, is not mentioned by name but the words “& elsewhere in Co. Chester” are used. This could mean that Ffernylegh was in Cheshire but was too trivial to mention by name in 1372. Or, perhaps Ffernylegh was not included in the list of transferred rights to lands in Cheshire as it was situated just inside Derbyshire.



Title Plea in the court of Chester, Tues after St Margaret the virgin, 5 Richard II, July 22, John son of Nicholas de Laycestre quitclaimed to John Domuill & Cecilia, his wife, of Mobberlegh all rights in lands rents services & the mill which they held in the Townships of Moberlegh Tatton Plumley Somerford near Swetenham Oddrodde & elsewhere in Co Chester & his rights in the Advowson of the Church of Mobberley. Announcement of seal. Witnessed by John de la Pole, justice of Chester, John de Wodehous chamberlain, Thomas de Dutton, Geoffrey de Warburton knights Hugh de Wenables de Kinderton John de Holford William del Mere. Given at Chester.

Date 29 Apr 1382

Description Deeds of John Leycester' emrolled 5 Ric II Tues after St Mark the Evangelist Townships of Mobberley, Tatton, Plumley, Somerford, Church of Mobberley I Ric II 2 April 27 1378 He also enrolled the charter by which he granted to Matilda, of William de Moburlegh all claim in lands etc which she held as dower, by the gift of the said William her late husband in the Townships of Modberlegh, Tatton, Plumlegh, Somerford near Setenham, Odderode & elsewhere in Co Chester & all rights in the Advowson of the Church of Modburlegh. Anouncement of seal. Witnessed by John de la Pole, Justice of Chester, John de Woodhous, chamberlain, Thomas de Dutton, Geoffrey de Werberton knights, Hugh de Venables de Kynderton, John de Holford & William del Mere. Given at Chester, Tuesday after St Mark, 1 Ric II. Townships of Mobberley, Tatton, Plumley, Somerford near Swettenham, Oldrode Church of Mobberley 3 April 27 1370 He also enrolled a grant to Thomas Ffyton of Gouseworth Robert le Grosvenor John de Brunsbach, parson of the church of Modburlegh & John de Brereton chaplain all clims in lands etc in the Townships of Modburlegh & Tatton of the gift of John Domvill of Modberlegh & Cecilia his wife, by fine in the county court. Announcement of seal. Witnessed by John de Wodehous chamberlain, Thomas de Dutton, Geoffrey de Warberton knights Hugh de Venables de Kynderton John de Holford & William del Mere. Given at Chester, Tuesday after St Mark the Evange;list, 1 Ric II April 27 1378. Extracted by Thomas Acton & Richard Action & collated with the original record. Copy on 5 sheets of paper Latin Book of Evidences I F.137 Townships of Mobberley & Tatton



Repository Cheshire Record Office

FindingNo DLT/A11/89

Leicester-Warren family of Tabley, records

Title deeds

Cheshire estates: title deeds

Tabley: title deeds

Nether Tabley





Austin Fearnley

31 July 2008


1 August 2008 A deed of property in Over Whitley, 1621.


I went yesterday to the John Rylands library on Deansgate, Manchester, and found the following summary of the contents of a 1621 deed. The summary mentions Lawrence Fearnley as a witness to the seisin and describes Robert Fearnley as an attorney. Note that Lawrence Fearnley could be the brother of 9Gg Anthony Fearnley. Robert Fearnley lived in Crowley and left a Will in 1623 and a Codicil in 1629.


A deed in the same form as 1 Mar 1615 to R.Goulden (1615-1699) now part Sandylands but "the 4" grant & only Hugh Crosby receives the £40 from Ralphe Jackson of Crowley for a Messuage & tenament in Over Whitley & appurtenances and one mosseroome on the Parkmosse now in the tenure of "Hught Crosbie & one Robt Richardson or of one of them" of the yearly value of 21/6.  As deed above, it is to be held of "The Honour of Halton in fee farm by fealty or suit of Court, twice in the year onlie & in free & common socage & not in capite or knight service".  Rent 21/6.  Subject to a lease for lives of Robt R, Alice his wife & Ralphe their son.  Same rights as 1615 deed to unenclosed commons & rateably part when allotted in future. 
Peter Okell & Robt Fearnley of Crowley. yeomen. attornies

Witness to seisin Robt Honyard, Wm Lowe, Lawrence Fearnley, Richd Lownes (drew deed?) Robt Richardson atturned  

Witness to sign. Wm Eaton, Tho Bennett, Wm Booth, Tho Pole, John Eaton, Robt Gleave

23  Jan 1621



Bound, hand-written catalogue of the Warburton Muniments. 

Summary of an archive in  Box 49

Deeds of Over Whitley.

R. Richardson 1621-99 now part Sandylands: now Crowley.





Why were separate witnesses given for the seisin and for the signing of the deed? An explanation of the ceremony of seisin in the Middle ages is given on the website Answerbag.



Livery of seisin was the dominant method of transferring land in England until 1536, and it continued to be legal until 1925. The term livery of seisin means simply "transfer of possession": livery means "delivery" and is from the Old French livrer, and seisin means "possession" and is from the Old French saisir or seisir. The concept behind livery of seisin, therefore, was the symbolic transfer of the possession of land. The entire ceremony of transfer was called feoffment with livery of seisin, with feoffment meaning "a gift," specifically a gift of a freehold interest in a parcel of land. The transferor was the feoffor, the transferee was the feoffee, and the land interest was the fief.

In the Middle Ages ...... When performing the ceremony, the feoffor, the feoffee, and their witnesses generally stood on the land itself, though it was permissible to stand within view of the land if the feoffee made an actual entry to the land while the feoffor was still alive. During the ceremony the feoffor spoke appropriate words declaring the gift, and then handed the feoffee an object representing that gift, such as dirt, turf, or a twig, or even a ring, a cross, or a knife. If a house was being transferred, the ring of the door might be exchanged. ...

Answerbag website.




The separation of witnesses on the deed may possibly imply that some kind of ceremony took place, as in the Middle Ages or that a remnant of that ceremony lived on in the manner in which such a deed had to be written?



Austin Fearnley

1 August 2008



2 August 2008 Online data from the Public Record Office, Kew


The records below for Fearnleys were found today on the PRO online summaries of archives.


The first record is of a yeoman, George Fearnley of Over Whitley, concerning rights to land and property in Knutsford in 1598. He is presumably the same George Fernley who has already been reported in the ‘Budworth Wills…’ section to have had some involvement in a later deed of conveyance for property in Knutsford in 13 Sep 1609.


Record Summary:

Scope and content Release by Ranulf Maynwaringe of Over Peever, esquire, William Bate, and Ranulph Leiche of the same, yeomen, and George Fearnley of Over Whitley, yeoman, to Robert Bent of Netherknottesford, yeoman, of all their right in all the messuages and lands &c. in Netherknottesford, Overknottesford and Crossetowne of Knottesford, or elsewhere in the county named, in which the said Robert has or had any estate. Chesh. Endorsed: Names of witnesses
Covering dates 20 October, 40 Elizabeth, A.D.1598.

Availability Open Document, Open Description, Normal Closure before FOI Act: 30 years 
Note signed



Records of the Exchequer, and its related bodies, with those of the Office of First Fruits and Tenths, and the Court of Augmentations
Division within E  Records of the Treasury of the Receipt
E 40  Exchequer: Treasury of Receipt: Ancient Deeds, Series A 
Held by The National Archives, Kew 





I had previously found the following record of attorney John Ferneley, 1511, but had not reported it as I was unsure of its relevance. However, the finding yesterday that Robert Fearnley of Crowley was an attorney in 1621 has made me wonder if this John Fearnley, who was an attorney in 1511 might also have lived in or near Over Whitley. Comberbach, one of the three places named in the Grant is very close to Great Budworth. The other place name that I know of, Helsby, is about ten miles to the west of Comberbach. (Where is Coksell?)


[no title]  DCH/F*/10  1511, 5. June

GRANT in tail male, by Richard Wirall de Legh to Randle Wirall his son and heirs male, of all his messuages, lands and tenements, rents and services with appurtenances in COMBERBACH, COKSELL and HELLESBY, remainder to Laurence Wirall his son and his heirs male, remainder to Thomas Wirall his son and his heirs male, remainder to Hugh Wirall his son and his heirs male, remainder to Randle Wirall son of the said Hugh and his heirs male, remainder to John Wirall son of Thomas Wirall and his heirs male, remainder to the right heirs of the said Richard. Warranty. Appoints William Norcotte, chaplain, and John Ferneley, attorneys

.Witnesses: Laurence Dutton of Dutton, Esq., Richard Buld, gentleman, Thomas Borowes, Reynold Poyvall, John Pykeryn, John Heyton, Roger Heyton.



Endorsed: "concerninge Knowles tenemt. in Hellesby" (16th Cent, hand).

These documents are held at Cheshire and Chester Archives and Local Studies Service
Language:  Latin





The following PRO records contain more information than the A2A records that I included in the ‘Fearnleys in Yorkshire ...’ sections of the report. The A2A records gave the witnesses whereas the PRO records below give more information about the buyers and sellers and the lands and properties.


Grant  WYL639/230  n.d. (after 1275)

These documents are held at West Yorkshire Archive Service, Leeds


Indented by William, son of the late Sir Robert de Stopham, to William his son and Isabella daughter of the late Sir John de Bella Aqua, his wife, of a rent of 5 marks p.a. from Wadyngton, payable as 6s. from Nicholas Sewale, 8s.8½d from Little James, 8s.8½d from Walter Clerk, 8s.8½d from Mabill Lumbard, 8s.8½d. from Thomas Page, 12s.6d. from the windmill, the whole to revert to the grantor and his heirs should William and Isabella have no heirs; the rent may also be charged on other lands.


Witnesses: Sir William le Vavasur, Sir Simon Vard, Sir Mawger Vavasur, kts., Sir (Dominus) Adam de Middelton, Robert de Middelton, Walter de Middelton of Burelay, William son of Henry de Farnelay, Falcassius de Lindelay.



Quitclaim  WYL639/9  n.d. (c.1280)

These documents are held at West Yorkshire Archive Service, Leeds

By Roger Clerk of Weston, son of Robert de Lelay, to Sir William de E. Stopham, kt, of a toft and croft and bovate of land at Weston which Roger bought of Ambrose de Veston.

Witnesses: Sir Robert de Plumpton, Sir Malger le Vausur, knights; William de Marton, John le Vausur, Adam de Westeuike, William son of Henry de Farnelay, William Faukus de Neuhal, William son of Master de Ottelay clerk.



Quitclaim indented  WYL639/17  3 May 1300

These documents are held at West Yorkshire Archive Service, Leeds


By Thomas son of Robert le Fraunk to Adam de Westwyk and Agnes his wife of 2 messuages and 4 bovates at Askwik in Wervesdale which Fraunk de Askewid
Ermeneye, Thomas' grandfather once gave to William son of Serle de Westwyk. Sir William de Stopham who has enfeoffed the aforesaid Adam and Agnes to join the warranty.

Witnesses: Sir Symon Ward, Sir William de Stopham, Sir Robert de Plumpton, Sir Mauger le Vavasour, knights; Adam de Midilton, William Frank Fauk, William son of Henry de Farnelay.
At York, Tuesday after the feast of the Apostles Philip and James, 28 Edward I.
Both parts, with variants as shown.




Quitclaim  WYL639/21  n.d. (c.1305)

These documents are held at West Yorkshire Archive Service, Leeds


By William de Snawdon to Isabella de Marton and Patrick her son in respect of lands and tenements in Snawedon next Askewith as of those held by the said Isabella and Patrick by gift of the said William or others.


Witnesses: William son of Ellis de Castelaye, William son of Hugh of the same, William de Marton, John de Midheppe, William de Farnelay, Henry le Vavassour, Thomas de Scalewra.


Gift  WYL639/20  n.d. (c.1305)

These documents are held at West Yorkshire Archive Service, Leeds


By William de Snawdon to Isabella de Marton and Patrick her son of all his property at Snawdoun next Askewyth to hold of the chief lord.


Witnesses: William de Castelay the elder, William de Farnelay, Henry le Vavassour, William de Castelay the younger, Robert de Fosse, Thomas de Askewyth, Thomas de Scalewra.


Quitclaim  WYL639/24  29 Apr 1313

These documents are held at West Yorkshire Archive Service, Leeds


By Robert son of Simon de Snawdon to William son of Simon de Haukesworth of a capital messuage and lands at Snawdon which they both had by feoffment from William of Snawdon.

Witnesses: Walter de Burghelay, William de Farnelay, William Faukes, William de Castelay the younger, Patrick de Marton.

At Snawdon, Sunday before the Discovery of the Cross, 6 Edw. II.



Indenture of lease for life  WYL639/147  n.d. (c.1315)

These documents are held at West Yorkshire Archive Service, Leeds


By Robert son of Ralph de Stopham to Sir William de Stopham, kt., of the manor of Neuton near Riplay, with a covenant that William will support his nephew Robert as one of his squires so long as he holds the said manor which will revert to Robert on his death, and another to render £10 for 5 dolias of wine due from the manor whenever demanded, whoever the tenant may be.

Witnesses: Walter de Midelton, William de Castelay the younger, William de Farnelay, Lawrence de ?Markington.








I found the following two PRO Farnelay records today. The second record is not dated.


Record Summary

Scope and content Robert son of Richard de Farnelay to Roger son of William de Lyndelay and Catherine his wife: Quitclaim of the lands, etc., they had from the said William in Farnley: Yorks, W.R.
Covering dates 1344

E  Records of the Exchequer, and its related bodies, with those of the Office of First Fruits and Tenths, and the Court of Augmentations
Division within E  Records of the King's Remembrancer

E 210  Exchequer: King's Remembrancer: Ancient Deeds, Series D 

Availability Open Document, Open Description, Normal Closure before FOI Act: 30 years 
Held by The National Archives, Kew 



Record Summary

Scope and content Grant by William de Berdesyay and Agnes his wife, and Elena her sister, of Lelelay, to John son of John Blending, in consideration of their love towards his wife and of her kinship to them, of a toft and croft in Vestcroftes in Lelay, with land in Lelay,part in Stodfald, part in Ormerode between the conduit of Stayneburne and the common 'dike' and part in Ketelscaye, at a yearly rent of 5s. to the lord of Lelay. Witnesses :- William de Stayneburne, Henry de Stockeld, William son of Beatrice de Farnelay, William son of Paul de Neuhale, and others (named) : [ York. ]

E  Records of the Exchequer, and its related bodies, with those of the Office of First Fruits and Tenths, and the Court of Augmentations
Division within E  Records of the King's Remembrancer

E 210  Exchequer: King's Remembrancer: Ancient Deeds, Series D 

Availability Open Document, Open Description, Normal Closure before FOI Act: 30 years 
Held by The National Archives, Kew





  Austin Fearnley

2 August 2008




5 August 2008 Online data in Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Cheshire


The following extract from PRO gives more information about a deed in the Weston estate, Yorkshire, c.1240, where the previous data from A2A only showed the witnesses. This deed refers to a corn mill at Weston.



By Hugh son of Hugh de Lelay to Roger son of Robert his brother, of 5 acres in the west part of Weston and an assart made by Arnald at Galghay, yielding 2s p.a. with a covenant that Roger shall grind up to 20 measures (vasculum) of corn from these lands at Weston mill.


Witnesses: Malger Vavasor, Patrick de Westwic, Germain Mansel, Ellis the clerk, Hugh de Dent, Gillinto of the same, Alan de Munketon, William ad Portam, Thomas de Farnlay.


Lease for life WYL639/2 n.d (c.1240)

These documents are held at West Yorkshire Archive Service, Leeds






The following two records are not really part of the other Yorkshire> Derbyshire> Cheshire connections which have previously been found. They presumably refer to the village now named Ible, and Ible is on the extreme south east edge of the Derbyshire Peak District which is nearer to Nottingham than to Manchester. But this is the closest fifteenth century Fearnley record to Cheshire that I have seen. One other fifteenth century record being the baptism, c1468, of Anne Fernley of Beccles in Norfolk listed in the IGI database. Also, between 1377 and 1399 freedom to the city of York was given to Johannes de Farnlay, taillour by Richard II and between 1399 and 1413 to Thomas Farnelay by Henry IV.


Grant by John de Dale of Ibull to Robert Farnelay, chaplain, John del Ford, chaplain, and Thomas Walker, chaplain, of all his lands etc at Ibull which he had of the gift of Henry de Balyden of Kersyngton Witnesses; Thomas Hayward of Ibull, Thomas de Longesdon Date: 1423.


PRO Information relating to document ref. no. D258/27/2/8



Grant by Thomas Walker, chaplain, to Ralph Gell of Ibull, of all his lands etc at Ibull, which he, together with Robert Farnelay and John del Ford, chaplains, now decd, had of the grant of John Dale of Ibull. Appoints Richard Hayward his attorney for livery Date: 1467.


PRO Information relating to document ref. no. D258/27/2/15




The following PRO information shows that Farnley was mentioned in the Domesday Book in 1086 but was then described as Fernelai and Fernelie.



Place name: Farnley, Otley, Yorkshire

Folio: 303v Great Domesday Book

Domesday place name: Fernelai/Fernelie

People mentioned: Canons of Church of St Peter of York; Church of Otley; Ealdraed, Archbishop of York; Godric; Ilbert; Priest of Church of Otley; Reginald; Seaxfrith; Thorkil; William de Verly; Church of St Peter of York; Church of St Wilfrid, Ripon

Date 1086



Catalogue reference E 31/2/2

Dept Records of the Exchequer, and its related bodies, with those of the Office of First Fruits and Tenths, and the Court of Augmentations

Series Exchequer: Treasury of the Receipt: Domesday Book etc

Piece Great Domesday: Huntingdonshire, Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire, Leicestershire, Warwickshire, Staffordshire, Shropshire, Cheshire, [Lancashire], Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Rutland, Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Clamores (Yorkshire and Lincolnshire)





Continuing in the search to try to find if John de Leycester’s land in the township of Ffernylegh was in Cheshire or Derbyshire, the record below shows that even in 1809 what is now called Fernilee in Derbyshire was then apparently sometimes called Fernylegh.





The following extract, not dated, from British History Online, points to it being more likely that that John de Leycester’s land of 1271 was near Alsager rather than in Derbyshire. Robert de Hassale is mentioned in this extract as having held a place of land called ‘Fernileg.’ Hassall is about four miles west of Odd Rode, which is one of the townships where John de Leycester owned land. An exact description, though possibly unhelpful for location now, was given of the whereabouts of Fernileg, which is also described as outside, or ‘without’, Alesacher (presumably Alsager). The lands at Fernileg near Alsager do not seem like the description of John de Leycester’s supposed township as it is described as a ‘place of land’ rather than a township. Perhaps the place was a township before the Black Death plague but then became de-populated.


Grant by John son of Nicholas son of Adam of Allesacher to William son of Ranulph son of Adam of all his land and tenement [within] the [town] of Alesacher and without, to wit a place of land called 'Fernileg,' [land] which Robert de Hassale held of him between 'Schitraweforde' and 'Salinchecroft' [extending from] the mill-lade to the highway to 'le Witemere,' and a place of land called 'Hethcroft,' abutting on 'Salingecroft' and 'Cherluslowe,' between 'Bromdon,' and 'Schithraweford'; to hold in fee and heredity; rent ½d. at the feast of the Nativity of St. Mary for all service. For this William gave him . . . marks beforehand.

Witnesses:—Ranulph lord of Alesager, Grala[m] de Morton and others (named).

[Chester.]C. 4929.


From: 'Deeds: C.4901 - C.5000', A Descriptive Catalogue of Ancient Deeds: Volume 6 (1915), pp. 146-159. URL: Date accessed: 04 August 2008.

If Fernileg in 1271 was a township near Alsager, with a connection to a Plumley/Tabley landowner, the township could have supplied Fearnley folk to the Rostherne and Plumley areas from 1271 onwards. More information is needed on connections prior to 1271.


Austin Fearnley

5 August 2008


7 August 2008 Macclesfield Eyre Rolls, 1286 and 1287, Cheshire


The following references to Fearnleys in 1286 and 1287 in the Macclesfield Eyre Rolls were obtained yesterday online from TheOriginalRecord company.  They are the records for the Macclesfield Forest which are equivalent of the Peak Forest data that are already included in the Peak section of this website.



The following free tenants in the hundred of Makelisfeld have made no appearance and are amerced

... Emma de Fernilegh ...


Macclesfield Eyre Rolls, 1286





Hulcoc de Fernileg assarted at Fernilegh half a rood of brush wood without license (Amerced 12d).  Arrented at 1d a year.


Macclesfield Eyre Rolls, 1286





Pleas before Reginald de Grey


Of Vert: Escapes in the Forest of Macclesfield.{The following were amerced various sums, from 6d up to 1/2 mark}


For Vert.-  ......  William de Fernyle ......


Macclesfield Eyre Rolls, 1286





For escapes.-  ....... Geoffrey de Fernil',  ......., W. son of Emme de Fernil',  Emma de Fernil' ....


Macclesfield Eyre Rolls, 1287




These Fernileghs are most likely to have originated in the township of Fernilee in the Goyt Valley. The river Goyt is the boundary between Cheshire to the West and Derbyshire to the East. Fernilee is in Derbyshire but is close to the border and so offences in Macclesfield Forest, Cheshire, could still be very close to their home township. Amerced means punished and I was probably wrong to think, as suggested in the Peak section, that Richard might have been treated leniently c1280. Did “in mercy” simply mean “punished”, being an alternative wording to ‘amerced’? Geoffrey, Emma and her son ‘W.’ were guilty of ‘escapes’ in 1287 by letting their livestock onto the Macclesfield forest land. Does “W.” indicate that Emme’s son was named William, and perhaps it was the same William who appeared before Reginald de Grey?

Although these Fernileghs are most likely to have originated in Derbyshire, there is a smaller possibility that they originated in the Fernylegh, near Hassall in Cheshire. In 1271 Fernylegh (near Hassall, near Alsager) might have been the township where the Leycesters of Tabley owned land. That is, if they had rights to Fernylegh land in Cheshire rather than Derbyshire. On a modern map, Hassall is about ten miles to the west of the Peak District but, in 1286, the forest area could have been larger than it now is, and closer to Hassall and therefore closer to Fernylegh? The internet source: A Vision of Britain Through Time gives approximate boundaries for the Macclesfield hundred. The hundred included Rode Heath which is very close to Alsager, which would also have been close to the Cheshire lands called Fernylegh.

Emma was described as a free tenant in the Macclesfield hundred, which would have been within Cheshire, and so is she unlikely to have lived in 1286 in Fernilee, Derbyshire? It indicates perhaps that she lived in Cheshire but she or her ancestors had once lived in Fernilee. The approximate boundaries of the Macclesfield hundred stretched to Knutsford, which is very close to Rostherne where there are known to be Fearnleys in 1250 to 1290, so perhaps Emma, and some of the other Fearnleys listed here, also lived near Rostherne?


Austin Fearnley

7 August 2008



15 August 2008 Thomas not my 10 great grandfather


My speculation that Thomas was my 10Gg has proved too speculative. I now recognise that the wording on his inventory probably does not imply that he had three sons Anton, Lorrenz and Thomas, and other Wills data and parish records show only that his sons were Lawrence and Thomas. We are next going to search in Wills of yeomen in Latchford and Great Budworth for clues there of an alternative father of 9Gg Anthony. The Wills and Inventories of yeomen that I have so far seen sometimes include long lists of debtors and it appears that yeomen acted as bankers for, at least, their relative and friends. So it is hoped that Anthony and his father may be mentioned in an as yet unknown Will of a yeoman in Latchford.


Austin Fearnley

15 August 2008



31 August 2008 William de Fernil’


WIlliam de Fernil’ was one of those giving evidence in 1283 to the bailiff of ‘Macclesfeld’ concerning forcible payments of pannage fees. He may have been the same William who later appeared before Reginald de Grey in 1286 and who is possibly the son of Emma de Fernil’.



Apud Macclesfeld'.

Writ of Mandamus addressed to Thomas de Macclesfeld, bailiff of Macclesfeld for Alianore Queen of England by Edward King of England, lord of Ireland, Duke of Aquitaine her consort, forbidding extortion of pannage dues from Hervious de Sutton in respect of his holdings in Sutton, who is shown by Inquisition made by order of the King by consent and in the presence of the Queen to be exempt from pannage at all times save the season of mast under charters still valid granted by Hugh and Ranulph and John sometime earls of Cestr', and by King Henry the king's father, notwithstanding which he has been forced to pay pannage prests both in mast and out by the coertion of the bailiffs of the King and Queen. Teste me ipso.


15 November 1283 (11 Edw.I) die lune in vigil.


xi (presenti regis E.)

Inquisition made by royal order concerning prestation of pannage which Hervicus de Sutton has unjustly paid, as he says, for his land in Sutton, contrary to the terms of the charter which he holds of Ranulph sometime earl of Cestr'; before Jurdan de Distisl', John de Sutton', Robert de Dounes, Richard de Wrth, Henry Byran, Jurdan de Tyderintons, William de Fernil', Adam del Schydeyord', Richard de Cloys, Mark de Olrinleg', William del Wallecor, Roger de Rauenok', who say that Richard de Daueneport the first feoffee by that charter was quit for all his time of prestation of pannage except at time of Mast; and that was in the time of Ranulph and John sometime earls of Cestr', and of King Henry father of the present king E., and that the heirs of the afsd. Richard were likewise quit in the time of the afsd. King Henry, and that Hervicus now tenant of the sd. land first gave pannage some years back both in and out of the season of mast, by coercion of the then bailiffs, and that was in the time of the present King E.

Mark. G; b; 2. de pannag'




Letters Close, with Inquisition attached DDS/17 31 December 1283. (12 Edw.I)

These documents are held at Cheshire and Chester Archives and Local Studies Service

Archival history: Location: 7/3

Language: Latin





‘Pannage' is an English legal term for the practice of turning out domestic pigs in a wood or forest, in order that they may feed on such things as fallen acorns or beechmast.... Pigs can eat acorns and beechmast without a problem, whereas to ponies these foods are poisonous ....




Austin Fearnley

31 August 2008



9 September 2008 Elinor Fearnley of Crowley


Richard Hale of Crowley made his last Will and testament in 1639 and died in 1640. A photocopy of the original Will was obtained from the Cheshire and Chester Archives and Local Studies office. A full transcript of the Will is stored on my MSN Skydrive website, see

Richard Hale married Elinor Fearnley, the sister of Robert Fearnley of Crowley on 25 July 1614 at Great Budworth church. Richard’s wife Elinor is named as Robert Fernley’s sister in Robert’s will written in 1623. Richard Hale’s mother was named in Richard’s Will as Margery Haslehurst and a John Haslehurst was executor and a main beneficiary, together with his three sons. John Haslehurst was presumably Richard’s stepfather.

Richard also left legacies to Ane Clearke, of Poulton in Lancashire, and Margrett Mather, of Dallam in Lancashire.

... “bee payd in maner & forme unto Ane Clearke now wiffe of Richard Clearke of Poulton in the County of Lancs yeoman” ... “... the other moyty of the sayd yearly some of eight pounds ... unto Margrett Mather the now wiffe of Eliie Mather of Dallam in the sayd County of Lancs yeoman”...



Among the further legacies left were those to William Jackson of Warrington, then in Lancashire, and to the Swinton and Mosse families of Crowley; to Peter Jackson of Over Whitley the “Cleark & Curate att Buddworth” which cancelled a debt of five shillings owed by the previous curator, Mr John Leigh; also five shillings went to Richard Woodworth[?] the younger of over Whitley; and Richard also left “too the poore people inhabitants within Crowley aforesayd, the some of twenty shillings”.

Richard Hale acknowledgedElinor ffernley of Crowley as his kinswoman and took steps to try to ensure that she married sensibly by leaving her ten pounds on condition that she married in accordance with the approval of Elije Mather of Dallam and Richard Clearke of Poulton. The inter-relationships of peoples in Crowley and Dallam are interesting as Dallam adjoins Orford on the northern edge of Warrington, and is close to the Winwick parish. Orford and Winwick both feature in the family tree less than thirty years later.

“Item I doo give unto Elinor ffernley of Crowley aforesayd spinster my kinswoman for & towards hir perfferment in marriage, the some of ten pounds, yett newtheles[=nevertheless?] uppon condition that shee the sayd Elinor before hir intermarriage with any p’son whatsoever doo p’cure the consent of Eliie Mather & Richard Clearke aforesayd or the signatures of them, under their handwryteinge, And if in case the sayd Elinor soo marry, without the consent of the sayd Eliie Mather & Richard Clearke the survivor of them as aforesayd my will is that then the sayd William Jackson & John Haslehurst shall have the sayd ten pounds equally to be devided betwixt them.”



Elinor was described to be “of Crowley” and was in need of supervision so that her parents were probably dead. If she had been living with Richard & Elinor Hale (nee ffernley) in Crowley, why could not Elinor Hale have approved a potential marriage after Richard’s death? Was a female not normally assigned such a role? Or does it indicate that Elinor had not been living with Richard & Elinor Hale? And why were the nearest capable and partial people in Lancashire and not nearer to Elinor in Crowley near Great Budworth? Were Elije Mather & Richard Clearke the true godparents of Elinor? Or had most Fearnleys around Great Budworth died out or dispersed by 1640? The probable plague twenty years earlier may have thinned out the Fearnley families around Great Budworth.

An Ellenor Fearnely was baptised on 1 September 1622 at Great Budworth the daughter of John Fearnely de xxxxxx. The record is too indistinct to say where John lived. (A John Ferneley married Maud Hollinfield on 10 December 1621 at Great Budworth. On 10 Mar 1627 (now 1628) a Johannes ffearnley of Stretton was buried at Great Budworth.) it is possible that this John was the father of the Elinor of Crowley treated in the Will of Richard Hale. But also an Elllenor, the wife of George Fearnley of Antrobus, died on 29 June 1631. It is also possible that this George had a daughter prior to 1630 who was named after his wife Eleanor, though the baptism was not seen in the parish records.


Austin Fearnley

9 September 2008



10 September 2008 Debts owed by Margaret fferneley, 1602, and by George ffearnley, 1638


The Will of John Hall of Crowley, 1602, mentions that he was owed 9s 6d by Margaret fferneley.


The Will of Richard Newall of Antrobus, 1638, shows that he had paid £22-11s to Raffe Jacson on behalf of George ffearnley. And thereafter George owed Richard Newall the sum of £22-11s. The IGI shows a baptism record on 20 February 1622 at Great Budworth of a Radulphus Jacson the son of a Radulphi Jacson. ‘Radulphi’ might be the latinised name used in the parish records of the Raffe Jacson who was paid by Richard on behalf of George ffearnley. Richard Newall had been one of the two executors of the Will in 1634 of Katherin Fearnley of Over Whitley, the widow of Peter Fearnley.


See for transcripts of these Wills.

There may be a small possibility that 9GgAnthony's father was a George, as Anthony called his own first son George. And the George who owed money to Richard Newall is a candidate for the father of Anthony, as this George was still alive in 1638. Anthony’s children were born between 1647 and 1655 and so Anthony may most likely have been born between 1615 and 1625. There are a number of whole and part pages of parish records for Great Budworth in the early seventeenth century which may or may not once have shown the baptism of an Anthony Fearnley, or the baptism of his sister Mary, but which are now unreadable, unfortunately, at least on the public library microfilm.


19 October 2008 More transcriptions of seventeenth century Wills


Since the previous entry to this ‘work in progress page’ I have been transcribing yet more Wills searching for references to Fearnleys. I have put transcriptions of these Wills of Fearnleys, their in-laws and possible neighbours on the following website:

There are now over thirty Wills on the above website. My brother Eddie has also begun to put his transcriptions of Wills there.



Anne Fearnley/Bulling of Warrington in the seventeenth century


Yesterday, I found on-line books, Volumes 53 and 57, of Cheshire Marriage licences. I had previously seen printed volumes at Cheshire and Chester Archives and Local Studies office in Chester and obtained marriage licence details for Robert Fearnley (married 26 May 1608), George Fearnley (married 24 June 1608) and Gwenllian Fearnley (married 24 Sep 1608). The year 1608 was quite eventful for the Fearnleys in Great Budworth parish as there was a fourth wedding, too, that of Peter Fearnley. But the on-line volumes also contain details of the licence for Anne Fearnley, which I had earlier missed, as follows.



25 Philip Fearnley and Anne Bulling, Parish of Warrington, Lane., Widow. Bondsman, Peter Jackson. At Grappenhall, Chesh., and Great Budworth, Chesh.

My website history previously speculated that Charles Bulling was Anne's brother, whereas the licence shows that Anne was a widow when she married Philip Fearnley. So it is not correct that her maiden name was Bulling. I should have trusted the IGI details more in this particular case as the IGI specifies that Philip Fearnley married a Mrs Anne Bulling in 1630. The IGI record was presumably based on the marriage licence record.

The IGI also shows that an Anne Domvil married a John Bullinge in Lymm on 14 Dec 1617.  Also, IGI lists that a John Bulling had a son John Bulling in Warrington on 10 Apr 1618.  That event would fit in well as the son of John Bullinge & Anne (nee Domville). An Anne Domville was baptized on 4 Jan 1596 in Lymm (IGI), the daughter of William Domville and Mary Mere Domville. Lymm is two miles east of Grappenhall, one of the two sites named for the intended marriage ceremony. The other marriage site named in the licence is Great Budworth. A Philip Fearnley the younger was named in the 1623 will of Robert Fearnley of Crowley in Great Budworth parish, which perhaps explains why Great Budworth is mentioned in the licence.

There was also a Robert Bullinge in Warrington who had sons: John (13 Apr 1617), and another John (13 Jan 1622). And there was a Thomas Bullin(g)e who had a son John (30 May 1624 in Lymm).

So, perhaps Anne Domvil married John Bullinge in 1617; then married Philip Feanley in 1630. She is probably not the Ann Fearnley who married John Loaton on 4 Sep1637 in Warrington (found in the parish records) as Anne left a Will as Anne Fearnley in 1663, not as Ann Loaton.

Two John Bullings feature on the recently transcribed Wills. A John Bulling was a witness to the 1617 will of Robert Pearson of Latchford and a John Bulling owed £3 in the 1631 Will of Humphrey Smith of Latchford. This latter John Bulling cannot be the husband of Anne who must have died before 1630 to leave Anne a widow at the time of her re-marriage in 1630.

A  useful explanation of marriage licences is available as follows:


People obtained a marriage license for many reasons, most commonly to avoid the wait through the reading of the banns, to avoid the publicity of the announcement, and to reflect social superiority. For the better off, the gentry and nobility, marriage by license was usual; to them it was inappropriate to call for objections from all and sundry, especially the laboring classes.

... hardly any licenses survive because the license was given to the groom to present to the officiating minister. The allegation was a statement made on oath that both parties to the union were over the age of twenty-one (or they supplied the proper permission) and that there was no known impediment. The bond, required until 1823, was a sum of money to be forfeit if any part of the allegation were false...

The bondsman ... is likely a relation or friend of the groom; and the witness could be anyone.

... Admittedly it is a record only of the intent to marry...


  Austin Fearnley

19 October 2008




23 December 2008 The 1651 Will of Margery Mather of Dallam, Warrington


Between 1649 and 1660, in the Interregnum, Wills were proven in London. Photographic copies of the surviving Wills of this period are available to be downloaded from the Public Records Office website as .pdf files, currently at £3.50 per Will. Margery Mather appears to be the same person as Margrett Mather the then wife of Elije Mather who was one of the persons entrusted, in the 1640 Will of Richard Hale of Crowley [see the entry of 9 September 2008 above], to oversee the marriage prospects of Elinor. A legatee of the Will of Margery was Elline Bullinge and also a Thomas Bullinge. Is this Elline Bulling the same Elinor? More data need to be uncovered, or appropriate links made, to clarify the family links between the Mathers & Bullings & Fearnleys. The wedding of Phillip Fearnley to Anne Bulling (nee Domville) in 1630 is already known, while the oversight by the Mathers of the marriage prospects of Elinor were requested in 1640. A transcripted version of the Will can be seen at the following website.

There were Bullings in or near the same place a hundred years earlier. Some details of Winwick parish rectors in the sixteenth century are extracted from the website: History of Newton-le-Willows and Earlestown.

“1524.—William Bulloyne on the 24th December, 1524 (or 1529), was presented by the King by reason of the Earl of Derby's minority ... On 20th of January, 1522, a William Boleyn, clerk, was collated by Cardinal Wolsey, then Bishop of Winchester, to the archdeaconry of that city ... A William Boleyn, possibly the rector, appeared amongst the canonists and jurisconsults summoned to give their "opinions on the lawfulness of the King's marriage ... It seems probable that Bulloyne was some connection of Queen Anne Boleyne, and it is somewhere stated that it was intended to make him a Bishop. In or about 1533 Leland, the royal antiquary, visited Winwick, where he was probably Bulloyne's guest, and gaye this account of the place : " Winwike personage hath a parke and is ij or iij mile from Werington."

Dallam and Orford are within one mile of the Winwick parish church, and they are about two miles to the north of the centre of Warrington.

Austin Fearnley

23 December 2008

Revised 8 January 2009


8 January 2009 11 Gg George > 10 Gg John > 9 Gg Anthony > 8 Gg John


Good news! Last weekend, we have recognised better how some of the Warrington and Great Budworth records of the family tree fit together.  My brother, Eddie, and I now believe that our ancestors are:


11 Gg George Fearnley [born in Great Budworth, before church parish records started c1560] had children:

George  [baptised when?   George died before 1623 because that was declared in Robert’s will. Robert’s Will also specifies that his brother George had a son named George.]   

Robert [baptised Great Budworth 6 August 1582.  He married Ellen Caldwell in 1608. Robert, an attorney, died in 1623 leaving a Will.

Elinor [married Richard Hale at Great Budworth on 25 Jul 1614. Elinor is mentioned in Robert’s Will as Robert’s sister.]

Elizabeth [married William Jackson on 25 May 1605. She was named as Robert’s sister in Robert’s Will.]

10 Gg John [baptised Great Budworth 21 Dec 1587 as the son of George] married Mode Hollinfield on 10 Dec 1621 at Great Budworth. A ‘John’ was named as Robert’s brother in Robert’s Will. A John Fearnley, butcher, was buried on 6 Sep 1637 in Warrington.] John had children:

Ellenor [baptised 1 Sep 1622 at Great Budworth. Probably the same Ellinor whose marriage prospects were catered for in the 1640 Will of Richard Hale.]

9 Gg Anthony [baptised c 1623. We can't find the parish record of baptism, but many pages are obscured in this period. Anthony is mentioned in the 1680 Will of his sister Mary as the father of Mary’s nephew George.]

William [baptised 9 Oct 1625 at Great Budworth. Probably the same William of Hulme who left a Will in 1666 naming his wife as Jaquett.] 

Marie [baptised 8 May 1634 at Warrington. She is assumed to be the Mary who died in Great Budworth in 1680 leaving a Will naming Anthony as the father of her nephew George.]

Margaret [baptised 20 Sep 1636 at Warrington.  She is probably the Margaret Kerfoot who witnessed the Will of her brother William in 1666.]


We were lucky to be able to link John (baptised 1587) to his father George as prior to c1582 the Great Budworth parish records did not specify the names of fathers. As John was born in 1587, his father, George, is named. George could easily have been older than 27 years when he fathered his son and that would mean that George was born before 1560 which was when the first parish records were started. Or, if there were any earlier records, they are not now preserved. So we are unsure when George was born. The parish records are excellently written and preserved between 1560 and 1570 so we are unlikely to have missed a relevant baptism record there.


Anthony's father, John, was the brother of Robert who left the Will in 1623. John appears to have moved to Warrington c1626-31 and was probably the butcher, John Fearnley, who died in Warrington in 1637.  Anthony named his first three children: George (after Anthony’s grandfather, who might have raised Anthony after 1637); our 8Gg John (named after Anthony’s father); and Ellen (after Anthony’s sister). John possibly has more siblings implied in Robert’s Will.

John Fearnley’s daughter Ellinor was born in Great Budworth in 1622 and would have been 18 years old when her marriage prospects were catered for in the Will of Richard Hale in 1640. Richard Hale’s wife was also named Ellinor, and she was the sister of both Robert and John Fearnley. But Robert had died in 1623 and John had died in 1637. Their brother George had died even earlier. So Ellinor Fearnley’s aunt, Ellinor Hale, was trying to look after her niece’s marriage interests in 1640.

Although we are still working on some loose ends of the family tree in the early 1600s, it is now time to start to write a full revision of this website.


Austin Fearnley

8 January 2009



15 January 2009 9 Gg Anthony’s burial record


On Monday of this week, I found the burial record of 9Gg Anthony Fearnley:  29 Jan 1663 (now 1664) Anthony ffearnley of Latchford, in the microfilms of the original writings of the Grappenhall parish registers at Manchester Central Library. There was no sign, in Grappenhall, of an earlier burial of his wife, or of a later death of his widow. I could not find a re-marriage of his widow. I looked for Anthony's baptism, again, in Great Budworth, Lymm and Warburton parish records without success.  I strongly suspect that Anthony’s baptism may yet lie in the obscured pages in the 1620s records of Great Budworth.


At Anthony's death, in 1663 in Latchford,  his eldest son, George,  was 17 years old, and 10 Gg John was 13, Ellen was 11 and Jane was 8. Anthony’s brother, William Fearnley of Hulme, died two years later in 1666, apparently without issue.  The only other known family of Anthony were his spinster sisters, Mary and Ellinor Fearnley, and his probable married sister Margaret Kerfoot. Another Fearnley: Anne, widow of Phillip Fearnley, died in Warrington in 1663 but we do not know the closeness of these two branches of the Fearnleys. Certainly Philip was an executor of Anthony’s brother Robert’s Will in 1623, so a strong link looks possible. But, anyway, Phillip had died before 1646, with no known children, and his widow died in 1663. I wonder if there was an epidemic or plague again in the area around 1663-1666?  (There was, of course the Great Plague of London in 1665.)


There had been plague in Chester in 1661 and maybe that had lingered on in Hulme, Latchford and Warrington in 1663-6?


“However Chester's troubles were not over. In 1647 there was a severe outbreak of plague. It returned in 1650 and 1661.”


3.6% of the population died in the 1640s Civil War.  That would, presumably, make 7.2% of all males, and a much bigger percentage of eligible males for a young girl to marry?  That is a bigger percentage than the 2.6% who died in World War 1 in 1914-1918.  A dearth of eligible young men could be one reason why Mary and Elinor did not marry, though it did not appear to hinder the marriage of their sister Margaret.


In the 1666 oral Will or Memorandum of William Fearnley of Hulme, it was noted that the wording seemed somewhat humorous. This might simply be the lesser formality in an oral Will compared with that of a written Will. But it could touch on the plight of William’s relatives at the time of his death. William had a widowed sister-in-law and her four children in need. Although the eldest child George would have been old enough to work, could he have supported his mother and siblings? William also had two unmarried sisters, presumably also in need. However, William left everything, down to his ‘last pennyworth’, to his wife Jaquett, seemingly determined that his friends and relatives should not benefit. William’s debts were to: “bee paid out of his lands in Cheshire”, but we do not know if Anthony had similar assets. We do know that Mary left assets to George in 1680, so things may not have been very dire for Anthony’s widow in 1663. But, on the other hand, if things had been economically dire for Anthony’s widow in 1663 or 1666, then there was the 1662 Act of Settlement to deal with them. This was the same law that had been used to remove Mary Fearnley and her four sons, under ten years, old from Warrington to Golborne a century later in 1783. Some details of the Act are given below from a website source.


  “In 1601 the Poor Law Act (43 Eliz) was passed, putting the administration of the poor rates into the hands of each individual parish. Some parishes were more generous than others: this led to some people exploiting the legislation by moving into these more generous parishes. The ratepayers objected to this abuse and in 1662 the Settlement Laws were passed in order to prevent it. Unfortunately, the laws also reduced the mobility of labour and discouraged the unemployed from leaving the parish of their birth in order to find work.

The legislation stated:

... it shall and may be lawful upon complaint made by the Church wardens or Overseers of the Poor of any Parish to any Justice of the Peace within Forty days after any such Person or Persons coming so to settle as aforesaid in any Tenement under the yearly value of Ten pounds for any two Justices of the Peace whereof one to be of the Quorum of the Division where any person or persons that are likely to be chargeable to the Parish shall come to inhabit by their warrant to remove and convey such person or persons to such Parish where he or they were last legally settled either as a native Householder Sojourner Apprentice or Servant for the space of forty days at the least unless he or they give sufficient security for the discharge of the said Parish to bee allowed by the said Justices.

... Provided also that (this Act notwithstanding) it shall and may be lawful for any person or persons to go into any County Parish or place to work in time of Harvest or at any time to work at any other work so that he or they carry with him or them a Certificate from the Minister of the Parish and one of the Churchwardens and one of the Overseers of the Poor for the said year that he or they have a dwelling house or place in which he or they inhabit and hath left Wife and Children or some of them there(or otherwise as the condition of the person shall require) and is declared an Inhabitant or Inhabitants there. And in such case if the person or persons shall not return to the place aforesaid when his or their work is finished or shall fall sick or impotent whilst he or they are in the said work it shall not bee accounted a Settlement in the cases above said but that it shall and may be lawful for two Justices of the Peace to convey the said person or persons to the place of his or their Habitation as aforesaid under the pains and penalties in this Act prescribed.

adapted from 14 Charles II, c.12

In order to have a legal settlement, a person had to fulfil one or more of the following conditions:

  • be born into a parish where the parents had a settlement
  • up to 1662, live in a parish for more than three years; after 1662 a person could be removed within 40 days of arrival and after 1691, a person had to give 40 days' notice before moving into a parish
  • be hired continually by a settled resident for more than a year and a day (this led to short contracts so people did not get a settlement)
  • hold parish office
  • rent property worth more than £10 p.a. OR pay taxes on a property worth more than £10 p.a.
  • have married into the parish
  • previously have received poor relief in that parish
  • have served a full seven-year apprenticeship to a settled resident

After 1662, if a man left his settled parish to move elsewhere, he had to take with him a Settlement Certificate which guaranteed that his home parish would pay for his 'removal' costs from another parish back to his home parish if he became a claimant on the poor rates. Naturally enough, parishes were unwilling to issue such certificates so people tended to stay where they lived — and where they knew that if the occasion arose, they could claim on the poor rates without any additional difficulty.

The Settlement Laws were a great economic advantage to the owners of large estates where they controlled the housing. It was not unknown for landowners to demolish empty houses in order to reduce the population on their lands and also to prevent the return of those who had left. At the same time, they would employ labourers from neighbouring parishes: these people could be laid off without warning but would not increase the rates in the parish where they worked.

Although magistrates could order parishes to grant relief to the poor, this did not often happen since the landowners were also the magistrates and were unlikely to make relief orders that would increase the poor rates.”

We do not know the name of Anthony's wife, nor from where she originated.  But it is possible that she could have been sent back to the parish of her birth, wherever that was.  Unless her 17 year old son, George, could support them?  Her parish of birth could easily have been Grappenhall or Warrington, but if it had been Winwick, that might explain why her son, our 8Gg John, moved to Winwick where he married in 1675.


George stayed in Warrington marrying in 1676 and living in Orford, within Warrington, by 1680. 


One of 8Gg John’s sisters (either Ellen b1652 or Jane b1655) married Richard Hall between c1670 and 1707 (the date of George's will where the marriage is specified).  They lived in Croft, in 1707, which is in Winwick but also is only three miles from Orford.




Mary Fearnley’s burial of 1680


It may be that Ellena Fearnley of Antrobus, who was buried in Great Budworth on 15 Dec 1675, was the sister of Mary Fearnley of Antrobus who was buried in Great Budworth on 14 Sep 1680. This would be the same Ellinor whose marriage prospects were overseen in the 1640 Will of Richard Hale, when Ellinor was 18 years old. The wording of the burial records does not mention her being a wife or widow or daughter, therefore she looks to have died a spinster. Mary made her Will twelve months after the death of Ellinor, perhaps spurred on to do so by her sister’s death.


Also George Fearnley, Anthony’s eldest son and the nephew of Mary, named a daughter Mary on 4 Feb 1682 (now 1683) at Great Budworth, probably named after George’s aunt Mary.




Frodsham 1580s



Family tree researcher Peter Booth yesterday suggested that 11Gg George Fearnley possibly married in 1583 and died in 1586 at Runcorn after fathering two children there.

marriage 6 Apr 1583 Georg Fernley and Ales Smith

baptism 25 May 1583 George fferneley

baptism 30 June 1586 Jane ffernesley

burial 7 Aug 1586  Georg ffernseley


(All Fearnley parish events up to 1816 in the Frodsham parish records may be seen at:


A connection with Frodsham does indeed look to be the case and links up well with the Great Budworth records. It would give us the birth of George in 1583, the brother of both Robert and 10 Gg John, who is missing from the Great Budworth records.


There is a Jane buried at Great Budworth on 23 October 1604 who could have been the Jane born in Frodsham in 1586.  She would have been 18 years old at her death and perhaps too old to have required the information in the parish record that she was the daughter of George?


George married Ales Smith in Frodsham in 1583 and there is a Great Budworth parish record of the burial on 27 Oct 1617 of “Ales ffernley of antrobuse widow” which could be the same person. There is also an Inventory for Alice Fearnley of Over Whitley in 1617 which unfortunately is brief and poorly preserved.


Robert was an attorney and it is possible that his father 11 Gg George was more mobile than normal?  There was a John in 1511 who was also an attorney dealing with a deed in both Comberbach (near Great Budworth) and in Helsby (not too far from Frodsham).  (See the entry on this page on 2 August 2008 for more details.)


11 Gg George’s daughter Ellinor and Elizabeth were probably born much earlier. There is a Great Budworth record of an Ellin baptised on 4 July 1570 who would have been 44 years old when she married Richard Hale in 1614. This is possible as Richard Hale did not name any children in his 1640 Will.


It could be that John of 1511 was an attorney whose knowledge and/or inclination to the legal profession passed down one hundred years later to Robert in 1600s through the same family line.  The 1511 reference to deeds for Hellesby (now called Helsby) two miles from Frodsham and also for Comberbach (at Great Budworth) is intriguing, especially given the later possible family links in the 1580s between Frodsham and Great Budworth.


The following suggestion is very speculative ... John in 1511 was an attorney.  11 Gg George’s son, Robert, in the 1610s was an attorney.  What if George himself was an attorney?  Might he not have lived at or near Halton Castle which was used for court cases in this period.  If he lived near to the Castle, might he not have married at Frodsham?  That might explain his move to Halton. Promotion and a new job?  And if he had been promoted to work at Halton Castle, would he have wanted to marry and have legitimate children for his new position.  This might suggest that Robert, born apparently illegitimately in 1582 in Great Budworth, was also Ales's child, but that there was no incentive to marry until he moved to the important new post at Halton Castle?


Further, it may possibly be the case that George took a new job to persecute catholics?  Halton Castle in 1579 started, in principle at least, to be used to imprison Catholics. This is immediately prior to George moving to Frodsham, which was two miles from the castle. He might have lived in or near Halton Castle and Frodsham being the nearest parish (though Daresbury is close, too).


“It is also possible that the castle had battlements and loopholes at this time.  In 1391 the castle was used as a hunting lodge by John of Gaunt,  and in 1399 after Henry Bollingbroke became King Henry 1V the Barony became Crown property.  


Between 1450 and 1457 a new gate tower was built where court sittings were held and this was the only entrance to the castle.  The gatehouse cost £347-11s-8d.  A survey in 1476 states that the castle was in a good state of repair and makes reference to a great chamber, a withdrawing room, a chapel, hall, auditor’s chamber, kitchen, larder and storehouse.  The kitchen tower was rebuilt in 1532 and in 1579 the castle was used as a prison for Catholics who refused to conform to the Anglican faith.”


There is another, remoter, possibility perhaps, that George could have been sent to Halton Castle as a catholic prisoner?  But would George have been allowed to marry and have children while being a prisoner?  Being a prisoner could explain, though, why he died in 1586. As the following reference shows, there were quite a few executions all over the country in 1586!


‘Parliament met (1585) at a time when the discovery of the plot against Elizabeth and the news of the assassination of William of Orange had created great excitement through the country. An association that had been formed to defend the life of the queen or to revenge her death was granted statutory powers by Parliament. The queen was authorised to create a special commission with authority to deal with all plotters and to exclude from succession to the throne everyone in whose interest she herself might be assassinated. An Act was passed by which all Jesuits and seminary priests were commanded to leave England within forty days under penalty of treason; all persons not in holy orders studying in any foreign seminary or college were ordered to return within six months and to take the oath of supremacy within two days of their arrival if they did not wish to be punished as traitors; all persons harbouring or assisting a priest were to be adjudged guilty of felony; all who sent their children abroad except by special permission were to be fined 100 for each offence, and all who had knowledge of the presence of a priest in England, and who did not report it to a magistrate within twelve days were liable to be fined and imprisoned at the queen's pleasure.[36] This Act was designed to secure the banishment or death of all the seminary priests, and if any of them survived it was due neither to the want of vigilance nor to the mildness of the government. Spies were let loose into every part of England to report the doings of the clergy and laity. Wholesale arrests were effected, and great numbers of the clergy put to death merely because they were priests, and of the laymen merely because they harboured priests. Three were executed in 1585, thirteen in 1586, and seven in 1587. To secure the conviction of the prisoners, though the law had made the conviction sufficiently certain, but more especially to create popular prejudice against them in the minds of loyal Englishmen, a series of questions were administered to them known as the "bloody" or "cut-throat" questions, as for example, "whose part would you take if the Pope or any other by his authority should make war on the queen."[37]’

If George had been a staunch catholic, perhaps he would not marry earlier or baptise Ellinor or Elizabeth?  But, in 1579, the heat was starting to be applied by the government and Halton Castle was made ready to receive catholic prisoners.  So George may have had the equivalent of a death bed conversion.  He baptised Robert in Great Budworth in 1582.  But he was still taken to Halton Castle where he married in the Protestant Church and had more children (but not easy while in prison?), but it was too late and he was executed or just died in the poor conditions of prison?


George Fearnley witnessed a document on 8 May 1615 changing copyhold tenure to freehold tenure


This extract, from the Public Records Office website, gives much more details than the previous version of this document on this website. I am not sure where this George Fearnley fits into the family tree. He could be Robert’s brother, though there may be other possibllities.

“Feoffment  DDX463  8 May 1615

These documents are held at Cheshire and Chester Archives and Local Studies Service

1 Thomas Marburie of Marbury, esq., John Grymesdich of Grimsditch in Lower Whitley, Thomas Gregge of Bradley in Higher Whitley, Hugh Crosbye of Over Whitley, all gent., 2 John Eaton jun. of Sevenoaks, yeo.

I Mess and appurtenances, profits etc. in Over Whitley with a mossroom on the Parke mosse in Crowley, late in occ. of 2.

II. 130 rods ¾c.a. 10 c.rods of common on lower reede in Antrobus, being the third rank towards Barbors lane as is now marked by 'certen hoales or other knowen markes meyres or bondaries', between the portion allotted to Ellin Bennett, wid. and her son on one side and that allotted to Hugh Keye on the other, with liberty to enclose same, and with common of pasture on unenclosed commons as long as they remain unenclosed and common of turbary of the mosses and mossrooms.

Crown rent: 13s. for prem.I, 2d. for prem.II.

Recites that c.1612 the king appointed commissioners to compound with crown copyholders 'in the Northe partes' for changing their copyhold tenure to freehold tenure; that it was agreed by the copyholders of the manors of Over Whitley and Cogshall that for convenience one grant should be made of all their lands to trustees who would then make separate conveyances to individuals; that accordingly a grant was made to 1 by letters patent, 17 Dec.1612, of all the copyhold prem. in the manors of Over Whitley and Cogshall in the Barony of Halton and Duchy of Lancaster, and the commons called Hades mosse, the higher reede, the lower reede, the wall heath, Anne heath, Thilley heath, Seavenockes greene and Coggeshull heath, and all other moors, wastes etc. in Over Whitley, Cogshall, Middlewalk, Antrobus, Whitley, Sevenoaks and Crowley highways and 'other thinges' excepted, the rent for the commons etc. being 20s.
1 covenant that as and when the residue of the unenclosed commons, wastes etc. are enclosed they will convey a just and 'rateable' portion to 2 in accordance with the quantity and quality of his holdings at the time.

Attornies for livery of seisin: William Eaton of Pole in Antrobus, and Thomas Eaton of Shawbrick in Over Whitley, both yeo.


Wit: George Fearnley, Raphe Mather, William Eaton de Powell, Thomas Eaton de Shawbrooke, Peter Dawkyn, Richard Lowndes.

Endorsed: memorandum of livery of seisin, 11 Feb. 1617/8, wit: Hugh Pickern, Thomas Heighfeeld, Thomas Eaton de Shawbroke, Hugh Borowes, Lawrance Borowes”

























Austin Fearnley

15 January 2009



21 February 2009 A bond of Thomas Fearnley, 1641


I have found the following records this week, on the Liverpool University website, which may possibly be relevant to Thomas Fearnley of Nantwich.


Aston. Articles of agreement made between John Aston and Richard Allen with the consent of Thomas Aston on the one part, and Thomas Harper, Thomas Willatt, John Lewis, Thomas Fearnley, Lawrence Wright and Thomas Pickering on the other. (15 October 1641)

Reference Number: SPEC AD/I/344/1

1 deed

Scope and Content

Lease of the Crossfield, Heathfield and Great Bancroft for 6 years, for an annual rent of £96. Harper et al. bound to perform duties in bond of £200.








Bond in £200 of Thomas Harper, Thomas Willatt, John Lewis, Thomas Fearnly, Lawrence Wright and Thomas Pickering to John Aston and Richard Allen (see also AD/I/344/1). (15 October 1641)

Reference Number: SPEC AD/III/32

1 bond






Sir Thomas Aston (1600-1645, married Magdalene Poultney of Leicestershire and Anne Willoughby of Derbyshire) was created 1st Baronet Aston in 1628. He was High Sheriff of Cheshire 1635-1636 ... and held the office of M.P. for Cheshire from April 1640 to May 1640. He was a colonel for the Royalist cause during the Civil War, and was defeated by the Parliamentary General, Sir William Brereton, in the Battle of Nantwich on 28 January 1642. He was captured in later fighting in Staffordshire , and died attempting to escape from a prison at Stafford .





These records show that a Thomas Fearnley leased land in Aston for six years, where Aston was the home estate of Sir Thomas Aston, near Sutton, near Frodsham. Further, Thomas Fearnley was bound to perform duties. These duties could have been to provide services on the Aston estate, but the 1641 date and the fact that Sir Thomas was a royalist Colonel suggests that these might have been special duties connected with the Civil War?


The Fearnley history on my website suggests that Thomas Fearnley (Nantwich), Lawrence Fearnley (Backford, Chester) and Anthony Fearnley (Great Budworth) may have be three Fearnley brothers dispersed during the Civil War of 1642-1649. We now know that Anthony was not a brother of Thomas and Lawrence, but the suggestion may still be true of the two brothers. Thomas ferneley was born at Great Budworth before 1616 while Lawrence fearnley was baptised on 2 Mar 1599 (now 1600), both sons of Thomas ferneley.


We have found that the Great Budworth Fearnleys did at times have Halton/Norton connections, so it is a possibility that the two brothers may have travelled as far as Aston.  Perhaps brothers Lawrence and Thomas both were caught up in the Civil War battles with Thomas fighting in Nantwich (1643) with Sir Thomas Aston and perhaps being captured there, and settling there, while Lawrence might have evaded capture at Nantwich and gone on to the royalist stronghold at Chester which was defeated three years later?  Then perhaps he stayed on in Chester. 


NANTWICH: "Forces from Nantwich sallied forth to attack the Royalists from behind. The country was unsuitable for cavalry because of the small enclosed fields and Byron made his way back to Chester. About 200 Royalists were killed and 1,500 infantry surrendered. They were made prisoners in the church at Nantwich. Most of the Royalist artillery was captured. There were few casualties on the Parliamentary side."  (This was at Nantwich in 1643.)




CHESTER: "From 1644 the city was besieged by the Roundheads - led by Sir William Brereton - and was blockaded and bombarded for 15 months before finally agreeing terms of surrender in early 1646. Deaths and casualties resulted from the firing of flaming mortars into the city, fighting between soldiers and militiamen on both sides, often on or near the city walls, and finally, hunger, which killed civilians and, in greater numbers, the Welsh soldiers who were billeted in the city. After the war, many of the citizens were left homeless and impoverished, many had sold all their possessions and spent all of their savings on food, and many were killed by the plague which then swept through the city."






There was also a Thomas Fearnley de Aston who fathered a son John in Daresbury, on 20 November 1628.


Austin Fearnley

21 February 2009



9 March 2009 George Fearnley of Millington, or High Legh or Partington, 1657


I have found the following record this week, on the A2A website:



Millington  Thor 1/1/13  [n.d.]


Found as a bundle in box 1.


Agreement to lead to a common recovery.  Thor 1/1/13/1  1st April 1648

Signed and sealed John Millington (illegible seal).


Parties: John Millington of Millington co. Chester gent., Thomas Croxton of Ravenscroft esq. and John Page of Eardshaw gent.

Property: The manor of Millington.

Condition: Thomas Croxton and John Page to stand seised to the use of John Millington.

Deed to declare the uses of a fine.  Thor 1/1/13/2  1st July 1654

Signed and sealed John and William Millington, the mark of Anne Seals conventional devices.


Parties: John Millington of Millington co. Chester gent. Anne Millington his wife and William Millington son and heir to Nathaniel Booth of Mottram St. Andrew esq. and John Page the younger of Eardshaw gent.

Property: All their manor of Millington and lands and appurtenances etc. in Millington, High Leigh and Partington.

Conditions: N. Booth and J. Page to stand seised as follows: In the rooms of the capital messuage or hall of Millington known as the pantry, kitchen, larder, little dayhouse and the chambers and rooms over than, the chamber over the brew house and the old stable, the furthermost bay of buildings in the oxhouse, 2 bays at the east end of the barn, ½ of the swine house, the room loft or chamber over the same, and the kiln except for 4 months of the year;

Of the closes etc. of land of the demesne of the manor of Millington namely the little garden, the high orchard, the croft adjoining to Wm. Cooke's house, the great adcroft, the little adcroft, the great haukenhey, the little haukenhey, the rishey pitt field, the great rye field, the wheat hey, the little wheat hey, the sower butts, the windy mill field, the doe town field, the broomfield, the great new field, the little new field and every of them in Millington and Partington near or late in the tenure of William Leigh, rent 20 s., John Mills the elder 20 s., John Mills the younger 12s 6 d, John Coe rent 20 s., Richard Owen 21 s., Anne Warburton 21 s., John Leach 6s 8d, John Chadderton 3 s., all to the use of John and Anne Millington for life in name of jointure and lieu of dower.
All the rest of the property not previously limited to the above uses to such uses as John and William Millington shall appoint by deed and in default to the use of John Millington and his heirs.

Bargain, sale, release and confirmation.  Thor 1/1/13/3  7th August 1657

Signature and mark: Anne and William Millington.


Parties: Anne Millington widow and William Millington gent. her son and John Bradshawe of Congleton esq.

Property: the manor of Millington and lands there and in High Leigh and Partington in the occupation of William Millington gent., Edward Bowden, John Coe, Hugh Ingham, Anthony Venables, Ellen Moares, Hugh Leigh, Sibill Owen, William Owen, Richard Ward, John Millnes of Booth Bank, John Millnes of Millington, Thomas Harbie, William Moore, Richard Bower, Henry Warburton, Richard Blonmeley, William Moares of Harthill, Elizabeth Millington, Ellen Blease, widow, George Fearneley, Hugh Gandy, William Barrett, Margery Barrett, William Jackson, William Hewett, Ralph Peake, William Hardman.
Consideration: £1300

Endorsement of enrollment in Chancery 20th October 1657.

Final concord.  Thor 1/1/13/4  5th October 1657


Parties: John Bradshawe esq. plaintiff and Anne Millington widow and William Millington gent. deforciants.

Property: the manor of Millington and 35 messuages, 4 tofts, 1 mill, 35 gardens, 35 orchards, 200 a. of land, 100 a. of meadow, 200 a. of pasture, 10 a. of wood, 14 a. of moor and 20 a. of heath in Millington, High Leigh and Partington
Consideration: a thousand pounds of silver.

This document was pinned to Thor/1/1/13/5.












































George Fearnley in 1657 was one of quite a few people named above who lived at either Millington or High Legh or Partington.  Millington is near Rostherne and is close to Great Budworth. This George Fearnley was possibly born in Great Budworth or thereabouts.

There are at least three Fearnley records in the Rostherne parish registers that I have found in the microfilm of the original records.

Rostherne parish records:

13 Nov 1607 Willm ( or Ellin?) daughter of Gorge ffearnley [a baptism]

29 June 165X [John &?] margerio ferneley [a burial]

16 March 1634 Johannes filius Johannes fferneley bapt ixiant


If the George having a child in Rostherne is the same George Fearnley later living in Millington in 1657, then he would have been 70 or more years old in 1657.

Fearnley v Millington, 1603 to 1625


There is, in the National Archives, a record of Chester court case in the time of James I, i.e. between 1603 and 1625, of Millington v Fearneley.



Court of Star Chamber: Proceedings, James I
Public Record(s) (PRO)  
Covering dates 04/03/1603-27/03/1625

Held by The National Archives, Kew 
Scope and content Millington v. Fearneley: Chester






More details of the case are not yet known but it may be that there was a longstanding lease of property by some Fearnleys from the Millingtons in the first half of the seventeenth century.


Austin Fearnley

9 March 2009








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