Yorkshire Charters and Deeds

Early Yorkshire Charters by Farrer

In the Bretton Family History we have already discussed the linking of the Bretton family to Adam fitz Swain and the confusion that Hunter caused with his two statements that contradicted each other. On the one hand he says that Adam fitz Swain had no sons and that the male line died out with him. On the other hand, in “South Yorkshire : The History and Topography of the Deanery of Doncaster, Volume II, 1831 – under the heading of “The Priory of Mary Magdalene de Lunda : Volgo Burton Abbey” that Adam fitz Swain’s sons and grandsons witnessed the deeds of Monk Bretton Priory, signed both at Bretton and Cumberland. He names them as Alexander and Richard and says that they must have been his sons-in-law even though he was aware that his sons-in-law’s names were Adam de Montbegan (Matilda’s  1st husband –  John Mahlerbe and Gerard de Glanville were her second and third). The only Alexander he could have meant was Alexander de Crevequer, Amabel’s first husband. However neither of them had sons before Adam fitz Swain died.  The sons are described as “Alexander et Ricardus fillii mei” and the three grandsons were named in the deed as “Alanus de Brettona et Adam et Ricardus fratres sui”

This was confirmed by Frances Anne Collins as mentioned earlier in the family history and yet another confirmation was noted in the Borthwick Institute of the University of York in the publication “Early Yorkshire Charters, Volumes I to III” by Farrer. The deed in question is in Volume III under the heading “Lascy Fee : Monk Bretton” on page 320 – charter no 1665. The charter as entered is attached below.

Notification by Adam son of Swane of his gift to Prior Adam and the monks of St Mary Magdalene of Lund in Bretton of the land of (Monk) Bretton, the mills of Dearne and his father’s lawn, land between Dearne and Staincliffe unto Meresbrook: also Newhill(Grange), Rainborough (Grange), Linthwaite and what he had in Brampton (Byerlow). 1154-1159 (Chart.of Monk Bretton at Woolley Hall, f9. Chart of Monk Bretton, Lonsd.MS 405ff)

“Omnibus sancte matris ecclesie fidelibus clericis et laicis Adam filius Suani salutem. Notum vobis facio me concessisse et dedisse pro salute anime mee et antecessorum et successorum meorum Deo et Sancte Marie Magdalene de Lund a et domino Ade quitunc temporis prior erat de Brettona et monachis qui ibedem Deo servient, in purum et perpetuam elemosinam Brettonam am omnibusad eam pertinentibus et molendinis de Derna et lundam patris mei et quicquid habetur inter Dirnam et Stainclyffusque Meresbrok, Newhala et Rainsbergam et Lintuait et quicquid habeam in Bramtona> Ista omnia sub presentis carte attestatione confirma et concedo ut quieta et libera teneant et possideant de me et heredibus meis sicut puram decet elemosinam in perpetuum. Hujus donationis testes sunt Alexander et Ricarus fillii mei, Efwardus de Almoneburi et Robertus frater ejus, Dolphin de Aluelai et Williamus et Henricus fillii ejus at Siwardus frater ujus, Herbeertus presbiter, Thomas de Derfona, Barnardus de Silkstona et Ricardus filius ejus, Alanus de Brettona et Adam et Ricardus fratres sui, Ricardus filius Herding et frater ejus, Matheus de Oxspring, Suanus de Holand, Aelsi Bacun


Yorkshire Inquisitions – Surtees Society Vol.31

XC IV Simon de Barnaby – Chaplain for the Prioress of Nun Appleton Inq. ad. q.d. (28 Edward I no. 120)
Writ dated at York 16th November, 27th year (1299)

Inquisition taken before the Sherriff on the morrow of St. Katherine, 28 Edward (26 Nov. 1299  by Henry de Rockelay, Thomas de Sayville, R………. de Ryale, Peter de Boseville, Robert, his brother, Matthew of Oxspringes, Richard Danyel, Roger, son of Richard of Bretton, Thomas Dulle, Richard de Berley, Roger Hechley and Hugh at the cross of Bernesley.

Inquisition taken at Threske (Thirsk) Philip Bretoun received 20s of old time as a share in 2 mills, an oven, with market tolls and pleas of the borough, which were worth £44 by the year.

Yorkshire Fines 1603-1614 (YAS vol.L111)
1610 Michaelmas Term 8 Jas 1

Thos Wentworth Esq., Matthew Wentworth esq. and Michael Wentworth esq., quer : Henry Britten, gent and Anne his wife, & Robt. Garnett gent & Ann his wife def.  8 messuages, lands and rent in Stratforth, over Stratforth, lands and rent in Stratforth, Over Stratforth and Nether Stratforth


Yorkshire Archaelogical Society – Yorkshire Deeds Volume IV
Relations between Adam fitz Swain’s daughters and their Bretton half brothers

Under the heading of “Cawthorne” on page 40 are given details of a grant from Olyva de la Mare, in her widowhood, to her son, Richard de Thornhill.. Olyva de la Mare was grand-daughter of Adam fitz Swain and would therefore be related to the Brettons, albeit they were illegitimate. It is interesting to see that all the  six witnesses were Knights and included Sir John Lunguilers (Longuilers)( who married another of Adam’s grand-daughters), Sir William Bretton, and another of  her sons, Sir Richard de  Tankersley (Tancreslay). The notes state that the date of the deed (many early deeds were undated) was clearly before 1254 (when Sir John Longuilers died)

he full details of the deed, as recorded, and, in particular the notes attached are as follows :-

Grant by Olyva de la Mare in her widowhood to Richard de Thornhil her son, for his homage, of all her land in the vill of Calthorn, which she had of Sir Geoffrey de Nevill and Mabel his wife in exchange for her land in the vill of Culgaith, of which there was a plea between them before the justices of Carlisle (Caridiolum) ; to have and to hold in accordance with a quitclaim and charter of confirmation which Richard had from William de Arci the grantor’s son and heir ; at the annual rent to the grantor and her heirs of a pound of cumin at Martinmas. Witnesses, Sir John de Lunguilers, Robert de Stapeltona, William de Brettona, Adam de Mirfeud, Adam de prestona, knts., Richard de Tancreslay.

The notes attached say :-

This deed gives rise to several points of difficulty. The date is clearly earlier than 1254 when Sir John de Longvillers died (Yorks Inq. I. 40). Mabel de Nevill, daughter of  William de la Mare and widow of Geoffrey de Nevill, made a grant to Monk Bretton 1249 – 53. (Farrer, Early Yorkshire Charters no. 1648). For her descent through her mother, Mabel Malherbe, from Adam son of Swain, who had Cawthorne see ibid p. 318. Culgaith had formed part of Swain’s lordship in Cumberland – ibid p. 317 and Mr W. Farrer has given me a reference to a Cumberland Fine of 1232 (file 2 – No. 13) in which Geoffrey de Nevill and Mabel his wife acknowledged, after a plea of warranty of charter, a moiety of the manor to be the right of William son of John. With regard to Olyva her interest in Culgaith would appear to have arisen either by reason of dower or by reason of inheritance from Adam son of Swain ; and the former is almost certainly ruled out by the fact that in this deed the rent reserved for the Cawthorne property was to her “and her heirs”. The latter suggestion that she was a descendant of Adam, being another daughter of William de la Mare and Mabel Malherbe, and using her maiden name in dealing with her own inherited property, would seem to invite acceptance. A William de Arcy, possibly her son mentioned in this deed held of Norman de Arcy 4 fees in Flixborough and elsewhere in County Lincolnshire 1242-3 (Book of Fees ii, 1077); and, with regard to the Thornhill connection Whitaker (Loidis and Elmete page 31) says that Olivia de la Mar married Sir John de Thornhill, who was living 21 Henry III and had issue Sir Richard de Thornhill but he does not guarantee his history of the Thornhill family, which was based on Hopkinson.

Page 42

147. This is a grant between  Robert de Wetelei and Adam de Holanda regarding land at Claitun (Clayton West). William de Brettun and Peter de Brettun were witnesses. The deed was before 1230 when one of the other witnesses Gilbert de Notton died. We had never heard of this Peter de Brettun.

149 Another deed between the same two people was witnessed by John de Brettun and  Alan de Brettun (no date given but presumably around the same time as the last)


Again on Page 42 another deed (148) between the same two people mentions “Eilrikebirge” which the editor of the book describes as Ailric’s Bridge” deriving it’s name from Airic the father of Swain and Grandfather of Adam. Witnesses to this deed include Alan de Bretton.


A Warranty between Robert de Schelflay and Adam de Holand include Sir William de Bretton and a Peter de Burton (Bretton?). It may give a rough date period as one of the other witnesses was Steward to Edmund de Lascy from 1246 to 1258 (page 43)


A grant and quitclaim between John de Byrweyt and  Robert son of Adam de  Holanda was witnessed by William de Bretton,, Swain de Bretton and Hugh, his son, and Peter de Bretton. (This must be the same (Sir) William de Bretton mentioned regularly) pages 43/44


The same Sir William de Bretton witnessed a deed by John, son of Roger the Chaplain and Adam de Holand. This must have been before 1240 when one of the other witnesses died.

He witnessed a grant by Adam, son of Robert de Claitun  Pagre 44

He witnessed a quitclaim by Hugh de Denton  Page 45