Beeston Hirst and Thrum Hall in Soyland
The Royde Family

By Hugh P. Kenalll
Halifax Antiquarian Society June 5th 1915

It does not usually fall to the lot of a delver into the past history of our old homesteads to be able, with any degree of certainty, to trace the history of a family from a fourteenth century ancestor. The history of Beestonhirst Hall is very largely the history of the family of Royde, a name which originated in a simple place name, a "clearing," and became a surname as applied to identify a family by the custom of years of use, indeed the great antiquity of the name does not admit of any question.

If we refer back to the Court Rolls of the Manor of Wakefield we shall find the first mention of an individual of the name under the heading of Sowerby Graveship in the year 1274, when one Alan del Rodes was charged with the heinous offence of taking a stag in the forest of Sowerbyshire, at a Court held at Wakefield, on November 22nd, and he gave half a mark to have respite until the Steward of Earl Warren should visit Sowerbyshire. At a later Court, held at Rastrick, the good men and true who comprised the jury or inquisition, found that the said Alan and another, Philip le Waleys, charged with taking a stag and a kid, were not guilty, but were considered in all things good and true men towards the Earl, "therefore they go quit."

This entry on the Rolls is the first on record relating to Sowerby, and I quote it not for genealogical reasons, but because it is evidence presumptive of the family being in existence at that period, and also because it is a good example of a local name at that early date which has stood the test of time with but little interruption, for however it may be spelt there is little difference in prenunciation.

We find that the Court Rolls contain the names of other "del Rodes" not confined to the Graveship of Sowerby, for Hipperholme claims the preponderating number. As the word "royd" is still retained in so many of our place-names it is to be assumed that the origin is due to some particular clearing designated simply by that name and to which no other qualifying addition has been made, as in Akroyd or Mytholmroyd. If we accept that we may, I think, hazard the suggestion that the Royd in Soyland was the spot from which the name of the Soyland family of Royde took its patronymic, for there is still a house of the name, and on a site that has always born that title. At the same time it must be noted that there was alsoa Royd in Hyperholme, but there is no evidence to suggest that the Soyland family had migrated from there, indeed we would rather uphold the Soyland claim as bing the most likely one.

The first member of the Family to be mentioned, as definitely holding the Beestonhirst estate, is in the year 1490, but we have to go back further into the past to find the associations of this particular family with Soyland.

JOHN del RODE was dead in 1334, and he has a messuage and 24 acres of land called "le Brigge," in Soyland, and also another messuage and 7 acre. Only 20 years before this date, a "Domesday Book" of the Manor records that all the rents arising from 17 tenants in Soyland amounted to 69s. 11d., and those paid to the Lord for foreign service 2s., thus it would appear that the tenants of Earl Warren were anything but numerous in those early days.

John del Rode had a son and heir, JOHN del RODE, who on the death of his father, paid heriot on a messuage and 24 acres in Soyland (le Brigge) in 1334, and, in 1339, the same property was granted to this John, and Cicilie, his wife, and the ther heirs of their bodies, and, in default, to the right heirs of the said John. (Wakefield Manor Rolls).

In 1336 he leased a messuage and 20 acres in Soyland to one Roger Cap, for a period of seven years. John del Rode died in 1393, and, in the same year, his brother Richard del Rodes was admitted to one messuage, one bovate, etc., on the death of his brother John.

The only son of John del Rode was ADAM del RODE, who was a man of some importance, being holder of the office of Grave of Sowerby in 1431 and 1443. In 1444 he surrendered a messuage and 20 acres called "le Brigg," in Soyland (1) to use of son Elias and his heirs, (2) to use of son William and his heirs, (3) to use of son John and his heirs, by which we see he had three sons.

In the day and generation of the Rev. John Watson there was an original document preserved at Okes, in Rishworth, which that gentleman had access to, and has left a copy of, but which does not appear in his published works. It was the actual receipt given by John Vincent, "Receiver of the Illustrious Prince Richard, Duke of York and Lord of Sowerby," to Adam Roides, Grave there, for the sum of 9 19s. 4d., being part payment of what was due to the Lord at the previous Pentecost. It was "given at Halifax, 9th July, in the 22nd year of the reign of Henry VI." (1444).

This document has a more human and personal interest that appeals to us than the recital of a mere Court Roll entry, because it seems to bring us into touch with the Receiver or Steward of that particular Lord of Sowerbyshire, whose decapitated head was destined to be spiked on the top of Micklegate Bar after the battle of Wakefield, "that York might overlook York," an act of barbarity for which his son executed a terrible revenge.

As Grave of Sowerby, Adam del Rode, may be considered as the local official responsible for the collection of the rents and services of the tenants in his districts, and the payment to the Steward above recorded, appears to have marked the termination of his holding of the office, for he appears to have died not long after.

Of the three sons of Adam del Rode, Elias and William died previous to the year 1456, for, in that year, the remaining son, John, succeeded, under the entail of 1444, to "le Brigge" and 20 acres of land in Soyland.

This JOHN del RODE is mentioned in the following Grant concerning Ripponden Chapel, which is recorded on the Patent Rolls, and quoted by Mr. E. W. Crossley in "Old Free Chapels."

For John Townende and others

The King to whom, etc., greeting. Know ye that whereas we have understood that our deceased dearest lord and father (Richard Duke of York) in his lifetime, considering that his tenants in Sowebyshire were distant from the church, of his good disposition granted them , licence being therefor previouly obtained, power to build s certain chapel, and gave them timber and stone for the building, and promised a competent yearly salary for a chaplain who should celebrate divine service in the chapel, WE, considering the good disposition of our father aforesaid, have given and granted to John Townende, William Gledhill, William Priestley, and John Rode, senior, in the name of the whole number of our tenants there, 8 marks for the salary of such chaplain whom it may please them to accept to celebrate divine service in the chapel aforesaid, to be received annually out of the revenues of our Lordship of Wakefield

Witness the King at Woodstock, 26th day of August (1464).

By the above we see that John Rode senior was one of the four principal tenants to whom the salary of the priest of Ripponden was guaranteed by the King. John Rode was dead in 1468 and had, by his wife Isabella, three sons: William of "le Brigge," the eldest son and heir, from whom descended the Roydes of Brownhill in Soyland; Adam, Constable in 1472, who died without issue; and John Royde the first of his line to reside at Beestonhirst and the founder of the family there.

John Royde paid Heriot for one messuage and 20 acres in Soyland, and Isabella his mother paid to have his tuition, so that it is evident he was under age at the time of his father's death and also in 1472 when the tuition was granted.

In 1490 his name appears in the the Wakefield Court Rolls re a complaint against him on a plea of trespass, and he is described as of "Bychestonhirst," so that he was residing there in that year. In 1499 he was also elected Grave of Sowerby, and his name also appears in later Rolls. In 1506-7 he takes 8 acres form one Richard Pek and in 1507-8 surrenders 4 acres taken from the waste.

John Royde appears in some of the wills made by the old Sowerby and Soyland yeomen, for there can be little doubt that he was the individual in question, and he would be a neighbour to them when houses were scarcer in those townships than they are today. Not to mention the less important wills, we find him associated with some of those whose piety or interest had caused them to remember the Chapels-of-Ease which had arisen around them, or the bridges which ensured safer carriage of their goods in flood time on journeys far afield. Thus in the will of William Townend in 1520 we find a sum of money bequeathed to the chapel of Ripponden; to Elland church; and to the stone bridge of Sowerby; a witness being John Royde. He is found acting in a similar capacity in the will of Richard Whitely in the same year, another benefactor to Ripponden Chapel, and also in two other wills, that of Richard Priestley (1536), who left money to Elland Church and Ripponden Chapel; and Gilbert Ryley, of Sowerby, who gave money to Sowerby Chapel (1536) and bequeathed the sum of 33s. 4d. to John Royde.

The will of John Royde is dated August 3rd 1542, and I take it as printed in "Halifax Wills."

John Roide of the parish of Elande. To be buried in the church yarde of our Ladie in Elande. Also I give and bequeathe to Isabell, my wif, the profett of my holl landes the terme of vj yeras immediatelie after my decease. Also I will that Isabell, my wif, have thirde parte of all my goodes. To John my sone, a grate arke. Item after the terme of the foresaide vj yeres I will that John, my sone, have plough, carte, horowe, share, culter, with all other instrumentes thereto belonginge. Also I will that my yonger childer, William, Brien, Robert, Isabel, and Margaret, have the residue of all my goodes devyded equally amongst theme, and to this intent I make Isabell, my wif, and William, my sone, myne executors. Thes witnes: John Brooke, prest, John Gawkroger, and Edwarde Smyth. Proved Oct. 4th, 1542, by the exors.

This will is remarkable for the detailed implements of an agricultural nature, there being no mention of the instruments of the woollen industry, which, apparently, was not carried on by John Royde.

One of the brothers of John Royde, of Beestonhirst, was Robert Royd, of Redishaw, of Soyland, and this place remained to his descendants until 1650. But with him we have another interesting connection because his son Robert was the father of John Royds, of Stonyroyd, of Southowram, who married, in 1589, Agnes, the daughter and heiress of Hugh Ireland, whose affairs have been written of in so interesting a manner by Mr John Lister, M.A., in his history of Stonyroyd.

It would appear that John Royde obtained possession of Beestonhirst as a young man, and certainly previous to 1490. His brother, William Royde, figures in some property transactions about that period which I wish to revert to because they were apparently portion of the hereditary possessions of the family, and, further, because the original documents are most likely lost for ever. Mr Watson saw them and made extracts, but he made no use of them probably because he was unaware of the connecting links with this old family.

The first deed is of the year 1480, by which William Royde conveys to William Rayner junior, the fhird part of a close called "Wytlagholme," which may be put into modern English as "White-lee-holme," otherwise Whiteleyholm, lying under Rawnslawcliff, between the River Ryburn on the north and the lands of Ralph Cliff on the south, which had descended to the said William Royde on the death of his father John Royde. Witnesses: William Priestley, Thomas Firth, John Hole, Robert Priestley, etc. Dated at Barsland, January 8th. 19th Edward IV.

Our next deed is dated 1481, and record the cnveyance by William Royde to William Rayner junior, and William Firth, of the land mentioned in the former transaction and also a Fulling Mill lately erected on the eastpart of the close, with two days' profits reserved. Datred at Barsland, 11th October, 21st Edward IV.

A later deed dated 1493 tells us that William Rayner menetioned above was of Sparkhouse in Norland, and at the date (19th September) Thomas Firth of Stake and John Hole (Hoyle) od Scammonden appear to have had a moiety of the land and mill which they grant to William Rayner, they having the whole by grant from William Royde and William Firth.

I have quoted these deeds because I believe them to belong to the branch of the family we are following and the fact that the deeds being dated from "Barsland" implies thatWilliam Royde was residing there at the time. William of "le Brigge" certainly leased a Fulling Mill of the Lord of the Manor in 1479, and this fact leads me to the conslusion that the Fulling Mill mentioned in the deed is the same mill there described as "larely erected" in 1481.

In the compilation of this history I have had the assistance of the elaborate "Pedigree of the Royds Family," complied by Sir Clement Molyneux Royde (sic), C.B. and published privately in 1910. This I need scarcely say, is very complete indeed, and the chain of evidence seems nowhere to be broken as to the various branches. But there were other individuals of the name in Soyland who were doubtless members of the same stock but who cannot be identified with certainty, in fact the associations, if not the relationship, is very evident. As the intention of this memoir is to deal with the family as fully as possible in a limited space, perhaps I may claim forgiveness for quoting matters related to the family not directly connected with Beestonhirst.

One of these is an apprentieship indenture of James Rode, son of William Rode, of Soyland, of which the following is an extract:

1499. James Rode, son of William Rode, of Soland, parish of Elland, by his own will has placed himself as apprentice to dwell with William Murgatrode, of Warley, from the Feast of St. Martin in Winter, A.D. 1499, for the term of six years next coming. He will keep his secrets; he will not play at talens not any other illicit or dishonest game; he will not frequent taverns; he will not commit fornication either within or without the houses of his said master; he will not marry any woman during the said term; he will not retire or withdraw from the service by day or night; and the aforesaid William Murgatrode will teach or cause to be taught to the aforesaid James, his apprentice, all the art and Mystery of the Shereman's craft, and will give to the said apprentice competent food, drik and bed; and for the first five years, five shillings sterling each year, and in the fifth year six shillings and sixpence for his clothing and in the name of salary.

Bound in five marks.

Witnesses: Lawrence Shay, John Oldfield, William Furness, clerk, and others. (From Latin Original, Watson M.S.S.).

As this is one of our oldest apprenticeship deeds I make no apology for placing it on record, especially as it has a bearing on the Royde family.

We must now revert to the Beestonhirst branch of the family proper after this digression. We have already seen that when John Royde died, in 1542, he left a son and Heir, JOHN ROYDE, who succeeded to his father's estate, and is entered on the Court Rolls in 1542-3 as paying for heriot of one messuage and 20 acres of land in Soyland. He was Constable of Sowerby in 1556, during the troublous times of Philip and Mary, and, in 1562, he was a supervisor of the will of Richard Greenwood, of Over Baitings, in which mention is made of several "Royds." The testator bequeathed 6s. 8d. to the "reparation of the chapel of Ribonden" and to Thomas Royde 40 sheep or a cow; to Edmond Royde, 10 sheep; also a Thomas Royde is mentioned. In this will be have the association of names previously referred to, and not the only instance.

John Royde, of Beestonhirst, married Agnes Bridge (Briggs) at Halifax, 30th January, 1552-3, and by her had two sons, Richard and Thomas, the latter being of Baitings Gate, and a clothier by trade. He took Over Baitings from Robert Priestley in 1598. Mention of the Priestley family reminds us that when Henry Priestley, of Soyland, made his will in 1566, he left his property to John Royde, of Beestonhirst and William Dobson "to make courting thereof" that is to see that all legal formalities were gone through in thr Manor Court for the uses of his will.

In 1577, John Royde was party to an Indenture with John Hopkinson, of Higgin Chamber, in Sowerby, by which the former conveyed to John Hoile, of Blackshaw Clough, Michael Foxcroft, of Kebroyde, and Thomas Royde, of Over Baitings, all lands, tenements, etc., lying on the south side of the highway between Ripponden and Baitings, then in the occupation of the said John Royde, George Ryley and Robert Fielden. The intent of this was to provide for the marriage of Richard Royde and Margaret Hopkinson, and, in addition, John Royde, the same year surrendered the reversion of 12 acres to Margaret, and also to Richard and Margaret, a moiety of Beestonhirst. The marriage duly took place at Halifax, November 10th 1578, as appears by the Register there.

In the above year John Royde also surrendered to his two sons a messuage and six acres, and also conveyed to Richard Royde ther reversion of the other moiety of Beestonhirst and 9 acres, after his decease.

In 1606 John Royde presents to the Manor Court that Richard Royds is his son and heir to 8 acres of land, and this act must have been made just previous to his death, which occurred in that year, the entry in the Burial Registry of Elland Church, being under the date of February 21st, 1606, where he is described as "senex," and old man. His will was made July 9th, 1595, and is a very interesting document, abounding in quaint bequests and spellings.

In the name of God Amen. I John Royde of Beistonhirste within the parishe of Ealand in the dyocs of Yorke, sicke in body, but of p'fect memory doe ordeyne and make this my last will and testament in manner are forme followeinge. ffirst I give unto John Royde sonne of Richard Royde, one greate Arke and Counter, one stand bed, one greate brasse pott, one iron maule, and a mattocke. Itm. I give unto Michaell Royde, Joseph Royde, Zacharie Royde, Susan Royde, and Sara Royde, fower arkes and a great chest, fower paire of bedsocks with the bothymes (bottoms), one pair of loomes, one booard and a selkinge (soaking) vat to be devyded equally amoungste them. Itm. to evey of them twoe pewther dublers (dishes) a greater and a lesse. Itm. I give to the said Michaell Royde, Josephe Royde, Zacharie Royde, Susan Royde and Sarah Royde, children of the said Richard Royde, my sonne, forty pounds to be divyded emongst them when they come to lawfull age and yf it befall out that the sayde Richard Royde doe dye before they come to lawful age, my Will and mynde is that then they shall have present profit of it. Itm. I give to the poore of Soylande Quarter XXs. Itm. I give to the wife of Henry Houlroyde XIId, to Jenett Jackson XIId, to Christabell Dyson XIId, to William Lome Xiid, and to his daughter XIId. Itm. to the sonne of James Royde XIId, Itm. to Richard Royde the sonne of John Royde of Hardknowle XIId, Itm. to Michaell Royde, sonne of Xpofer Royde XIId, Itm. I give to the wife of Henry Holdeworth XIId, Itm. I give to Grace Tattersall Xs. And I make the siad Richard Royde, my somme my executor. Witness hereof Thomas Royde, Michael Holdworth, etc. Proved at York 15 July. 1607.

We see by this will that John Royde was a clothier because we have the looms and other implements specified, and he also mentions the children of his son Richard by name. To this next owner of Beestonhirst we now turn.

RICHARD ROYDE was twice married, first to Margaret Hopkinson, as we have already noticed, and secondly at Elland Church, July 6th, 1594, to Grace, daughter of Gilbert Houlroyde, of Cawcrofte, in Rishworth. In 1593 Richard Royde, by way of marriage settlement, surrendered to his intended wife, three closes of land, and, form that marriage there appear to have been seven children, four of whom are mentioned in the will of John Royde, their grandfather. Michael Royde was the eldest son surviving by the first wife, and he was baptised at Elland, October 13th, 1583.

Richard Royde appears to have been a clothier, like his father, but there is little of importance to record of him. On the 14th October, 1609, a Court Roll informs us that thet Richard Royde, of Beestonhirst, and Grace, his wife, had conveyed Beestonhirst to his son and heir Michael Royde, and the latter also assured to Grace Royds, wife of said Richard, an annuity of 5 issuing therefrom. She was not the mother of Michael, but his stepmother.

...to be continued

Last Update: 1 March 2000
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