Research on Ailric, Svein and Adam de Bretton

Research on Ailric, Svein andAdam de Bretton

The following is a list of the holdings of, and the references to, the family of Ailric :-

Unless otherwise stated these extracts are taken from “West Yorkshire an Archaeological Survey to 1500” Volume 2 published by the West Yorkshire Metropolitan County Council.

Hunter’s “South Yorkshire” Vol II. 1831alm

The Parish of Silkston

Discusses the fact that there was only one church in the Wapentake of Staincross, which he presumes could have been at Cawthorne from a paragraph in the Domesday Book which is reproduced below. He acknowledges though that it could be that the church was in the part of Silkstone that was attached to Cawthorne.

The translation reads :-

In Cawthorne Ailric had three carucates of land to be taxed, and there may be two ploughs there. The same now has it of Ilbert : himself two ploughs there and four villanes with two ploughs. There is a priest and a church. Wood pasture two miles long and two broad. The whole manor three miles long and two broad. Value in King Edward’s time, forty shillings : now, twenty shillings. To this manor belongs Silkstone, High Hoyland, Clayton. That is three carucates of land to be taxed and there may be two ploughs there. (note. The figures over the names of the villages mean 1 ½ carucates, 6 bovates, 6 bovates). {A “mile” in the Domesday book was equivalent to about one and a half of our present miles}

Note of no particular interest to this history but  quite fascinating in itself is the description given by B. Boothroyd in 1807 in the History of Pontefract. He explains     (if it can be called an explanation) the way in which land was measured as follows :- “ As hides of land, oxgangs and knight’s fees will frequently occur it may be necessary to give, once and for all, a general explanation for these terms.

A carucate of land, a plough land, or a hide of land is not of any certain context, but as much as a plough can, by course of husbandry, plough in a year, and may contain a messuage, wood, meadow and pasture. The oxgang was invariably one-eighth of a carucate, whatever might be the number of acres contained therein.

In Domesday inquisition, the arable land is estimated in carucates, the pasture in hides, and the meadow in acres – Skene makes the carucate the same as the hide of land. In the manuscript law book written by Ambrose Cooper esq., a student in one of the Inns of Court in the year 1579, it is laid down as a rule that a hide of land consisted of 160 acres and was made up of the following parts :- ten acres make a ferundel or farding deal, four ferundels a yard land, and four yard lands a hide, so four hides or 640 acres made a knights fee. When a knights fee was taxed at 40s. a yard land paid 2/6 and so on in proportion so that 640 acres of land made one great knight’s fee, which paid for a relief 100s. Is that perfectly clear ?….

Swein inherited the above possessions from Ailric and made a donation to the monks of St. John the Evangelist of Pontefract of the church of Silkstone, together with the chapel (capella) of Cawthorne. The original grant of this church is set out below in a shorter version from the chartulary of Pontefract :-

“Omnibus etc. Swanus filius Ailrichi : volo vos omnes scire qui nunc estis presentes et futuri, quod ego, in remissione omnium peccatorum meorum, et pro salute animae meae, et omnium parentum meorum qui de hoc seculo transierunt, et pro animabus omnium heredum meorum, dedi et concessi Deo etc. ecclesiam de Silkstun et VI bovatas, cum omnibus pert. et capellum de Caltorna cum II bovatis et cum II partibus omnium decimarium dominii mei, videlicit de garbis. Testem voco Deum. Et isti homines testes sunt, Godwynus presbyter et persona de Derfeld, Ulf presbyter et persona de Adwick, Dolphin de Ulfaly, Saxi de Horbury, et multi alii.”

When Adam the son of Swein was in possession, the monks obtained from him an explanatory and confirmatory charter.

Sciant etc. Adam filius Swani filii Ailrichi, pro amore Dei, etc dedi, etc., ecclesiam de Silkston cum VI bovatis terrae et…

{Author’s note. Hunter constantly puzzles us. His scolarship is superb but he constantly misses important issues or contradicts himself. In the same section he says that there were no male issue from Adam fitz Swein -whom he never calls “de Bretton” – and says the male line dies with him. This is contradicted by Hunter himself when he states, In “South Yorkshire : The History and Topography of the Deanery of Doncaster Volume II, 1831 – under the heading ‘ The Priory of Mary Magdalene de Lunda : Volgo Burton Abbey’ that Adam’s sons and grandsons witness the deeds of Monk Bretton Priory, signed both at Bretton and in Cumberland. He names them as Alexander and Richard (who he says must be his sons-in law – although the names of his sons in law were Adam and William – and Alan de Bretton, and his brothers Adam and Richard, who were in fact Adam Fitz Swein de Bretton’s grandsons.) He also confuses Bretton with Monk Bretton although Monk Bretton was clearly known in the 12th Century as “Britton”.

In the same volume of Hunter is a section headed West Bretton from which the following is a brief extract :-

The Dearne rises in Shelley, a township of the parish of Kirkburton, and after a course of about five miles it enters the demesne of Bretton. Its waters there contribute to form an extensive lake, one of the chief ornaments of the grounds which encircle the splendid mansion called Bretton Hall, which was for several centuries the seat of a younger branch of the great house of Wentworth.

It goes on to discuss in which Wapentake Bretton lay but fails to discuss the     relationship between the adjoining hamlets of Bretton (which he does not mention) and West Bretton. It does, however, state that Silkstone was the church in which the Lords of Bretton were interred. He also mentions the relationship between Bretton and Byland Abbey. (Byland was near Rievaulx not far from Thirsk) and that the lord of Emley gave Byland iron ore and as much fuel as would supply one furnace. The iron workings are still clearly to be seen at the bottom of Bentley Springs on the Wakefield/Denby Dale road at the junction with the road to Emley.

Page 245 “After the early twelfth century, the most frequent cause for the partitioning of estates was through inheritance by heiresses. In 1159, for example, Adam, son of Sveinn, son of Alric died, leaving as his heirs his two daughters, Amabel and Maude, whose respective husbands, William de Neville and Adam de Montbegan, inherited the eight knights’ fees he had held in the honour of Pontefract as well as the knights’ fee he held in the honour of Skipton     and probably another fee in the manor of Wakefield”       ??


The question of his two daughters inheriting the estates has puzzled us for many years. Why had Alexander and Richard been disinherited?, or at the best only shared one Knight’s fee out of the 10 that Adam Fitz Swein de Bretton left. It has been suggested that they may both have been illegitimate and that is probably as logical a reason as any. Certainly the two sisters who married Normans gave one of the Bretton descendants (William de Beaumont) some land later. These same Normans may have pressured Adam for this partitioning. Did     the Richard de Bretton alive in 1158 in fact inherit the knights’ fee (or part of it) mentioned above in the manor of Wakefield. ?

Page 253 “ The prominence of families of native origin in the twelfth century, whether they held fees of the old or the new feoffment can be explained in two ways. Either there was an upward social movement of Englishmen in the century after the conquest, or the native aristocracy survived to a greater extent than is first apparent, their survival being concealed by the incompleteness of Domesday Book’s recording of subinfeudation in 1086 as demonstrated above. The second of these alternatives seems far the more probable, the apparent resurgence of knightly families of native origin in the twelfth century being due to their having been there all the time.

It is possible that the more prominent Englishmen of the 12th century, who held land in a number of honours, did so because in the period before post-conquest tenancies-in-chief were formed, their ancestors had held land in the areas which came to comprise those honours………….. It may well have occurred in other cases: for example, Adam son of Sveinn son of Alric (d 1159) who is known to be a member of a thegnly family, apparently held 10 knights’ fees, which lay in the honours of Pontefract and Skipton as well as in the manor of Wakefield”


We know that Alric and Sveinn (Swain) had very large holdings of land before the Norman Conquest but after the conquest this land was taken from them and they only held it as tenants. The fact that two Normans of very good families married Adam’s two daughters would suggest that there was more than an English aristocratic background and that the two brides brought with them at least the future expectation of a very large dowry on the death of their father. Which then suggests that Alric, Swain and Adam somehow held on to their pre-conquest lands, or much more likely, that even     the tenancy of such lands gave considerable wealth.

Pages 254 and 255 “The process of Subinfeudation”

“ With the exception of the great estates of the King, of the Archbishop and of Earl Edwin, in 1066 most land in West Yorkshire was held by thegns. Except for the territory of the former royal manor of Wakefield most of this land came to be held by knight service, the conversion of tenure from thegnage to knight service can seldom be documented except in cases where it occurred after the middle of the twelfth century……….”

“Mesne tenancies”

It is demonstrated above that Domesday Book provides an inadequate record of mesne tenancies in existence in 1086 but it is not certain whether the erratic recording of these was related to whether such tenancies were held in thegnage or by knight service or whether the inconsistency with which they were recorded may have been due to local variations in the manner in which the survey was compiled. Some of the mesne tenancies recorded in Domesday Book in 1086 can be shown not to have been held by knight service. In that year Alric, a thegn who survived the conquest, held mesne tenancies in the vills of Denby, South Hiendley and Whitley. In 1166 eight fees in the honour of Pontefract were returned as held by William de Neville, the husband of Amabel, daughter of Adam son of Sveinn son of Alric. These eight fees were of the new feoffment and therefore created after 1135 since 80 years previously Alric had held land which came to form part of these eight fees, it would appear that Alric and his son Sveinn (d.1129) continued to hold their land in thegnage but that, before his death in 1159, Adam, son of Sveinn must have had the mode of his tenure converted to knight service.

“Of fees of the new feoffment the eight knights’ fees which had belonged to Adam son of Sveinn, which in 1166 were in the tenure of William de Neville, his son-in-law, appear to have been assessed at the rate of 12 carucates making a knights fee, an equation specified in three charters of late 12th and early 13th century date.” Note: A carucate was in theory the area that a single eight ox plough-team could plough in a single year. It has been suggested that a Bovate in Yorkshire was probably between 8 and 15 acres but could be as low as 4 or as many as 28.

Page 341 (Chevet)1100’s.

“It is possible that in the 12th century part of the township had lain in the fee of Adam son of Sveinn as the account for the Aid of 1401/2 records that the two fees held by Robert de Neville, earlier by Roger de Montbegon, included land at Chevet. In 1166 these two fees were held by Adam de Montbegan, the husband of Adam son of Sveinn’s youngest daughter, but in Henry de Lacy’s return of knights fees in 1166 they were included with those of William de Neville, the husband of his eldest daughter

Page 344 (Clayton West) 1086 and 1156

Clayton West was soke of the manor of Cawthorne held in 1086 by Alric father of Sveinn. Hunter has suggested that the descent of Clayton West followed that of High Hoyland and Denby. In 1166 Denby was held by Adam de Montbegan, husband of Maud, Sveinn’s grand-daughter……

Page 352 (Crofton) early 12th century

The township was held in the early 12th century by Sveinn son of Alric whose gift of a carucate of land in Crofton to Nostell Priory was confirmed by Henry I, probably in 1121 and again in 1122 The grant was confirmed between 1143 and 1154 by Adam, Sveinn’s son, and by Adam’s brother Henry between 1159 and 1172. During the latter period Henry son of Sveinn also granted the Priory an assart in Crofton which William the Priest of Crofton held for him.

Page 353 (Cumberworth) 1066 and 1086

In 1066 Cumberworth was held by Alric and Leofwine: Domesday Book does not name a mesne lord of Cumberworth in 1086 although Alric may have continued to hold Skelmanthorpe as he certainly did the neighbouring township of Denby.

Page 354 (Skelmanthorpe) 1066 and 1086. In 1066 Ingbirchworth, Skelmanthorpe and Thurlstone were held by Alfric and Halfdan: Domesday Book does not name a mesne holding land there in 1086 but it is not unlikely that Alfric continued to hold an interest there since in 1401/2 it was recorded as forming part of two knights fees which had been held by Roger de Montbegan one of Alric’s successors.

356 Dalton 1404 to 1453

……..suggested that Thomas and Margaret’s holdings were descended from William de Neville and Adam de Montbegan the immediate heirs by marriage of Adam son of Sveinn…….. The descent of the mesne of Dalton can be traced back to the pre conquest period as in 1086 it was held by Sveinn, Adam’s father and in 1066 by Alric, Sveinn’s father.

Page 358 (Denby) 1166

Denby is one of the townships whose descent can be demonstrated     from the 11th century. In 1086 it was held by Alric………..

Page 361 East Ardsley 1166

In 1166 East Ardsley was held by Adam de Montbegan, but will have to be included in the 8 knights fees which his brother in law William de Neville is listed as holding………

Page 417 (Keighley in the honour of Skipton) 1166 and 1285

Keighley township was recorded in 1285 as containing 11 carucates, of which 9 lay in the honour of Skipton. In 1166 at least 6 of these carucates had been subinfeudated, 4 carucates in Keighley and Utley forming part of the Eshton fee and one and a half carucates in Oakworth and half a carucate in Newsholme forming part of the fee of Adam son of Sveinn….. the Mohaut family held the principal undertenancy in the fee of Adam son of Sveinn……………….


In 1166 the heirs of Adam son of Sveinn held one knights fee in the honour of Skipton this land then probably being in the hands of Adam de Montbegan…………. The fee of Adam son of Sveinn included one and a half carucates in Oakworth…………..and half a carucate in Newsholme

Page 429 (Lepton) 1166

In 1166 the township formed part of the eight knights fees which William de Neville held from Gilbert de Lacy.

Page 437 (Lockwood)1300/01

The portion of the Shelley fee which lay in Clayton West was held as an undertenancy from the fee of Adam son of Sveinn.

Page 442 (Briestwhistle) 1425

A feodary compiled some 25 years later records Briestwhistle (part of Briestfield) as forming one and a half fees less a tenth part of a fee held by Adam de Mirfield and John Heaton and part of one fee less a fifth held by Thomas Heaton. This descent indicates that the mesne tenancy of Briestwhistle formed part of the fee of Adam son of Sveinn……….

Page 451 (West Melton) 1155 and 1158

Between 1155 and 1158 Henry II confirmed to the Monks of Pontefract 3 bovates of land in Medelton: the grantor is not named but was probably Sveinn son of Alric, whose son Adam confirmed his father’s gift of two parts of the tithes of his demesne there. Adam son of Sveinn founded Monkbretton Priory by 1153/4 and this gift was was transferred from Pontefract Priory to the new foundation.

In 1198 to 1202 Geoffrey, Bishop of Coventry confirmed two parts of the tithes of thraves of corn from the demesne of Alric in the vill ofMidelton to the monks of Monkbretton

Page 455 and 456 (Mirfield)

The township’s later tenurial history suggests that at some time after 1086 Alfric who held Hopton in 1066 and 1086 or Sveinn, his son, acquired Mirfield also……. In 1166 two of the three puparties were probably held by William de Neville through his marriage to Amabel daughter and co-heiress of Adam son of Sveinn son of Alric. The tenure of the third puparty by the Everingham family could be more easily explained if in 1166 it had been held by Adam de Birkin:     Farrar has suggested that Maude, his first wife, may have been the sister of Adam son of Sveinn in which case a third of Mirfield may have been part of her marriage portion.

Page 466 (Wrangbrook) 1166

In 1166 the majority of Wrangbrook probably lay in the fee of Adam son of Sveinn, his holding probably consisting of a single carucate.

Henry son of Sveinn granted rent from half a carucate to Monkbretton Priory between 1158 and 1172

Roger de Montbegan granted the monks of Monkbretton all his land in Wrangbrook amounting to 4 bovates for the soul of Adam son of Sveinn

Page 490 (Ryhill) 1086

Domesday Book does not name a mesne lord of Ryhill in 1086 but states that it was a berewick of Shafton : The manor of Shafton and Carlton ( in Staincross wapentake) was then held by Alric and….as mesne tenants of Ilbert de Lacy……..Ryhill may have been the tenure of one rather than both of them. Its subsequent tenurial history suggests that it was probably held by Alric and in 1166 by William de Neville……….

Either Adam son of Sveinn son of Alric or Adam de Montbegan… enfeoffed Herbert de Arches with an undertenancy in Craven but it seems to have included land in Ryhill as in the first half of the thirteenth century     Alexander de Neville confirmed to the canons of Nostell rent from Midle Hirst in Ryhill……..

Page 501 (Shepley) 1200’s

In the thirteenth century the mesne tenancy of Shepley was held by the Burgh family. If the township was subinfeudated before 1166 it would then have been held by William de Neville husband of Amabel daughter of Adam son of Sveinn………

514 (South Hiendley) 1086

In 1086 Ilbert de Lacy’s undertenant for South Hiendley was Alric whose son Sveinn granted Holroyd Church and 1 carucate of land to the canons of Nostell before 1122 a gift which his son Adam son of Sveinn confirmed in 1153/4. Sveinn’s gift was later confirmed by Roger de Montbegan…………..

527 (Swillington) 1170

“This priory (Pontefract) acquired further, smaller, parcels of land in the township later in the century. Richard, son of Sveinn granted a meadow there called Wixtalker to William, son of Hervey de Flockton between 1170 and 1180. This was granted to the priory shortly afterwards as between 1175 and 1185 Richard released to the monks the reserved rent of 6d. for Wixtalker, which they used to pay him.

Page 541 (Thurstonland)

….this was a subtenancy of the Burgh fee by the appearance in the 1196 Pipe Roll of rent from Roger de Montbegans land at Thurstonland

Page 544 (Upper Whitley)

The tenurial history of Upper Whitley cannot be distinguished from that of Lower Whitley…. In 1086 Alric was one of Ilbert de Lacy’s undertenants

Page 549 (Walton) 1252

In 1252 Thomas de Burgh claimed that in the reign of Henry II it had been held by Sveinn son of Alric. Since Sveinn died before 1130 this would have been impossible but it would, in 1166 have been held by William de Neville…… with whom he granted 9 and a half bovates in Walton…..

Page 556 (West Bretton) 1100’s and 1200’s

West Bretton township comprises the hamlets of West Bretton which lies in the manor of Wakefield, and Bretton which lies in the honour of Pontefract. Although the majority of West Bretton hamlet lies in Sandal Magna parish, Agbrigg Wapentake, it also contains detached portions of the parish of Silkstone which lies in Staincross Wapentake. Bretton Hamlet lies in Silkstone parish and Staincross Wapentake

Domesday Book states that West Bretton, listed in the text as containing one carucate and in the summary as containing one and a half carucates, lay in the manor of Wakefield. It is possible that the vill was already split tenurially and that     Domesday Book ignores the moiety of the Vill held by Ilbert de Lacy as has been suggested in the case of the entry in the text for Shitlington. Map 19 nevertheless shows the whole township as lying in the manor of Wakefield.

Page 558 Bretton 1166

Bretton hamlet was held by Adam de Montbegan in 1166 as it is amongst the escheated lands from Roger de Montbegan’s fee…..

Comments on page 559 as to mistaken references between Bretton and Monkbretton do not add up as grants of land at Bretton (not Monkbretton), along with the other     places mentioned, were made to Pontefract Priory

Page 566 (Wintersett)1122

The manor of Wintersett was given to Nostell Priory by Sveinn son of Alric before 1122 when it was confirmed by Henry I, a gift confirmed by Henry, Sveinn’s son between 1155 and 1172 Sveinn also granted the Priory 2 carucates there which Adam, his eldest son confirmed between 1155 and 1172

The amazing things about Alric, Sveinn (plus Henry) and Adam, are firstly the fact that their lands were so widely dispersed that they owned land at Keighley and Oakenshaw but even further away in Lancashire (Oldham) and in Cumberland. Henry is stated elsewhere as being a vassal of King David of Scotland (for his Cumberland estates ?). We had always believed that in the 10th century – and even later than that – communications would have made such dispersed holdings difficult except for noblemen able to appoint stewards to look after their interests. The difficulty is that we know so little about the Britons and Anglo-Saxons prior to the Norman Conquest (not that the information is not available but we haven’t bothered to seek it. Now that we know they were our ancestors we will do so and it will be interesting to see whether we can take Ricardus Askenaldus (Richard Aske) even further back into the 900’s, probably through land records. It is impossible to know how much land the family gave away to various monasteries and priories but when it all had been given away, Adam managed to leave to his daughters’ Norman husbands 10 knights fees, and each knights fee amounted to 12 carucates of land. We are told that a carucate was the area that a single 8-ox plough team could plough in a year. That means that he left land which would have taken 120 years to plough with an 8-ox team. This must also be borne in mind. All the above figures relate to what Adam fitz Sveinn left to his two daughters and their husbands. But only two paragraphs before this are given details of the land given by Sveinn to Nostell Priory and confirmed by Henry fitz Sveinn between 1155 and 1172. We are told that Sveinn filz Alric died around 1129 and Henry (Adam’s brother) was still alive when Sveinn fitz Alric died. (He confirmed the gift to Nostell Priory around or after the time that Adam died). The Saxon custom was to split land between all the sons and if this was adhered to then consider :- Adam left 120 carucates to his heirs, after giving away enormous amounts during his lifetime. When Sveinn left this amount to Adam he probably left the same area of land to Henry and that is really quite startling. We have no way of knowing how big the villages were in those days but the records appear to show that     Ailric originally owned the whole of most of the villages listed as his possessions before the conquest. That would be an enormous amount of land and makes the 24,000 acres later owned by Colonel Wentworth Blackett Beaumont, one of Adam’s descendants, look quite small . In the “History of Kirkburton” it states that the amount of land that Adam gave to found Monkbretton Priory alone, lay in 60 different places and was “a royal offering indeed”

Other mentions of the family relate to the founding of Monkbretton Priory and are as follows :-

Page 171.(History of Barnsley)

talks about the Monks of Pontefract and their gift of Barnsley. They had been given a church at Silkstone long before this by Sveinn, the son of Alric .     The translation of the charter reads :-

” To our perpetual father, Thurstan, the archbishop, and to all the sons of the Holy Church, Sveinn, son of Alric sends greeting :

I will that all men know, now and hereafter, that I, in remission of all my sins and for the salvation of my soul, and of all my ancestors who have passed from this world, and for the souls of my heirs, have given, by this my charter and seal, to the church of St John of Pontefract, and the monks who serve God there, the church of Silkstone and six bovates of land in the same vill, and with all things which belong to the same ; and the chapel of Cawthorne, with two bovates of land in the same vill, with two parts of all the tithes of my lordship, viz., of sheaves, in pure and perpetual alms, so that in the aforesaid church and chapel I have retained nothing to myself or any of my heirs ; and of any who hold of me any alms in fee, wish to have the same made free, I grant it. To these gifts I call God to witness and these men are witnesses – Godwin priest and parson of Darfield ; Ulf, Priest and parson of Adwick ; Dolfin de Ulflay ; Saxi de Horbiri, and many others”

Page 172 (H. of B.)

Adam, son of Sveinn, who founded the priory of Monk Bretton, confirmed this gift, in a deed in the Chartulery of Pontefract :-

“Know all men present and to come, that I, Adam, son of Swein, son of Ailric, for the love of God and the salvation of my soul and of my father and of my mother , and of all my ancestors and heirs, have given, granted, and by this my present charter have confirmed, to the church of Saint John the Evangelist at Pontefract, and the monks serving God there, in pure and perpetual alms, without any reservation to me or my heirs, the church of Silkstone, with six bovates of land, with the appurtenances in the same vill, adjacent to the same church, which my father gave to them, in pure and perpetual alms, with the chapels, and lands and tithes and with everything thereto belonging : and likewise the chapel of my father at Cawthorne, which my said father had heretofore given to them, with two bovates of land, and the appurtenances, in the same vill, and with two parts of all the tithes of the dominions of my father, which are expressed by the certain names Cawthorne, Kexbrough, Gunthwaite, Peniston, Worsbrough, Carlton, Newhill, Brierley, Walton, Mensthorp, Wrangbrook, Middleton, viz., of sheaves and with everything thereto appertaining . Moreover, I, Adam the son of Swein, devote, and from the feast of Hilary have granted, given, set over, and by this my present charter have confirmed and have procured to be confirmed by our Lord King Henry, to the aforesaid church of Saint John of Pontefract, and to the monks serving God there, that house of the Blessed Mary Magdalene of Lunda, which I have founded on my patrimony for the purpose of religion, with all my lands to the aforesaid house belonging viz., Bretton, Newhall, Raynebergh, Lyntwayt (Linthwaite ?) and whatsoever in Brainton, and whatsoever I have in Dirnam and Staynclyf (Staincliffe?) as far as Meresbrick and the mill of Dyrne and Lunda in Cumberlanda and the chapel of the Blessed Apostle Andrew near to Culcait, with all their appurtenances, to the use of the holy monks of Pontefract, who in the aforesaid house shall regularly serve God for ever for the souls of my father and my mother, and for the salvation of my soul, and of all my ancestors and heirs, as a holy monastical institution of the orders of Cluny and of their mother church of Pontefract. Adam, now prior of Pontefract, when he shall then have departed from thence into the house of Lunda, shall continue custos and Prior during all the time of his life     with the monks of Pontefract sent there. On every vacancy the Prior and monks of Pontefract shall substitute others who are fit in his place to regularly celebrate divine service ;     nevertheless the house of Lunda shall render to its mother church of Pontefract every year, and for ever, one mark of silver for an acknowledgement. I have also granted, given, and by this my present charter confirmed, to the aforesaid church of St John of Pontefract, and to the monks serving God there, sixty acres of my land at Calthorn (Cawthorne?) , in pure and perpetual alms etc. These being witnesses etc”

The church of Silkstone was appropriated to the priory of Pontefract in 1284 :- (pages 174,175 and 176 of “History of Barnsley” refer)

In “Early Yorkshire Charters, Vol III edited by William Farrer Hon. D. Litt, 1916” he discusses the notification in 1120 – 1130 of Swain, son of Ailric to Thurston, Archbishop of York of a gift to the monks of Pontefract contained in the Chartulary of Pontefract n. 378. He mentions other lands held by Alric or Elric and Swane as being “an extensive district in East Lancashire, known formerly as Kaskenmore, now comprising the townships of Oldham and Crompton”. He also states that “Swane obtained from Henry I, during the period 1121 – 29 an extensive lordship in Cumberland comprising Blencarn, Skirwith (mentioned before), Culgaith, Ainstable and Melmerby.. Henry, son of Swane (Adam’s younger brother) obtained from Henry I Edenhall and Langwathby. He was a vassal of David, King of Scots, whose charters he frequently attested ; but dying without issue in 1172 his Cumberland estate reverted to Henry II who gave Edenhall to Peter de Brus”

He also states in the same volume that in 1158 Adam son of Swane was an accountant to the Crown of the farm of Doncaster …… In the reign of Stephen, if not earlier, Peter son of Asolf, or Adam de Birkin, his son (mentioned in our earlier arguments about name changes) had been enfeoffed, possibly by Adam son of Swane, of a knight’s fee in Havercroft, Stainborough, Lepton, Mirfield, Shitlington and Flockton………

Also that Adam son of Swane to William, Archbishop of York of his confirmation to the canons of Nostell of the gift made to them by his father, Swen, son of Ailric, by the hand of Archbishop Thurston of the church of Hodroyd, (i.e. Felkirk) with 1 carucate a mediety of the church of Mexborough, the church of Adwick (-on Dearne) Wintersett with 2 carucates and in Crofton 8 bovates : gift also of 4 bovates in Brampton (-Byerlaw) for the soul of Matilda, his wife – 1143 – 1154

Also, still in Farrer, “Grant by Adam son of Swane to the monks of Lund (in Bretton) of tithe of colts grazing on his demesne wherever he has flocks of mares : and confirmation of the rents……………… “ Chartulary of Monk Bretton, Lansd. MS.415,f.3d; ib. at Woolley Hall, f.154d.

Farrer (in 1667 – not date 1667) mentions the gift of the church     of La Charite and monks of Pontefract ……. ( of the church of Silkstone) and …

(Section 1668) Grant by Adam son of Swane to the monks of Lund of Carlton of the church of Royston. A witness is Henry his brother (Henrico fratre meo). In an explanatory note to the above Farrer explains that the presence of Henry could also explain the presence of Rainald, Prior of Wetherall and Gospatricc, the ancestor of the Curwens (both of Cumberland). He also says that Adam’s principal charter to Monk Bretton was attested by his sons, Alexander and Richard who, he says, probably pre-deceased their father, or they may have been illegitimate.

In “the history of the Township of Meltham, near Huddersfield” by Rev. Joseph Hughes, published by J Crossley & Co in 1866 he states that Swayn held 4 carucates of land in Meltham and Haneleia (Honley) but these were taken from him by Ilbert de Laci who planned to build a castle on “the round hill above Almondbury”. Not many years after Pontefract Castle was strengthened by Ilbert de laci, Almondbury Castle was erected by King Stephen who took possession of the Throne in 1135.

Castle Hill ("the round hill above Almondbury")
Castle Hill (“the round hill above Almondbury”)


He also states that Ailric held the castle of Kirkby, or Pontefract before the conquest and that Ailric was the son of Richard Aschenald and that Suuen the original name for Swayne or Swain or whatever spelling was used, was an old Danish name, originally signifying a herdsman or pastoral servant.
Ancestry of Richard Aschenald
The earliest ancestor of Ailric, Swein and Adam that we have been able to find in records is Richard Aschenald described as “a noble Saxon Thane” with a Danish attribution to the origins of the name, and what amounted to an enormous amount of land in Yorkshire and the north prior to the Norman invasion. Once source of information is:
Patronimica Brittanica – a dictionary of the family names of the United Kingdom – page 335 by Mark Antony Lower – 1860 which reads:
I SWAIN, the A-Sax ttran, a pastoral servant, and the Scand, Streya, a proper name of the same import, have impressed themselves upon many localities, which in their turn have given designations to families. Amongst those which do not appear in gazeteers are Swainston , Swainsland (now Sways-lans) Swanston and others (author’s note – one such local place name which is obviously derived from this is Hoyland Swaine, Nr. Barnsley).
SWAINE, SWAYNE, J. A Scandinavian personal name of great antiquity, introduced here under the Danish rule. Domesday shows us several persons (tenants in chief and others) called Swain, Suain, Suanus, Suuen, Swen or Sueno, some of whom are specifically stated to have held lands under Edward the Confessor, Suain of Essex, supposed by Morant to have been of Danish origin, was ancestor of the famous Henry de Essex, temp. HenryII. The A-Sax, Swan: see previous article. The forms in the Rutuli Hundredorum are Le Sweyn, Le Swein, and Sweyn. SWAINSON see under Swaine. The name of Swcynson has existed for ages in Denmark. In the XI and XII centuries we find it here in the forms of Filius Suani and Fitz-Swain. In Domesday the wife of Edw. Filius Suani was a chief tenant in Essex. The well known ascendancy of the Danes in Yorkshire from the time of Ethelred A.D. 808 downwards, accounts for that district being the principal habitat of the name. The Swaynsons were located at Briggeholme, in the parish of Giggleswick early in the XII century and they remained in that district until the middle of the XVIII. Early in the XII century, Adam Fitz-Swain or Swainson was Lord of Hornby Castle. “You have the advantage (says the Rev Jos. Hunter, addressing one of the family) of having a line of ancestors living in a good position in the county, where Sweyn, the son of Ailric, and Adam, the son of Sweyn had such large possessions” Beatson’s Poli. Index 1.4. Inf. Eev (Rev?) Edw. C. Swayneon H.A. The existing representative of the family.
The Pipe Rolls, or Sheriff’s Annual Accounts of the Revenues of the Crown page 1xx
By John Hodgson-Hinde, William Dickson – 1947

Culgarth was granted to Adam Fitz-Sueine, and is classed by the historians as a Barony. His possessions were of considerable extent, comprehending the two parishes of Mel-merby and Kirkland in the former of which Culgarth was situated and Ainstable, separated by a wide tract of country from the others. The whole are locally situated in the Forest of Cumberland and may be more properly considered as a number of detached manors belonging to one proprietor, than as a barony. Adam Fitz-Suene was living in the 5th of Henry II……..