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SOWERBY:
The Sowerby Constables - Extracts from the accounts 1675-1708.

The following lecture was presented to the Halifax Antiquarian Society

THE SOWERBY CONSTABLES


Extracts from the accounts (1685 - 1708)

Lecture by Mr H P Kendall Wednesday, February 7th 1906.

Mr Kendall said that he resumed his extracts from 1683-4 in which year George Mallinson served the office of Constable, as deputy for Henry Sutcliffe. His successor was Thomas Ibbotson, who, however, did not appear to have entered his transactions in the Constables' Book during his year of office - the first year of the reign of King James II. Next came John Dickson, who opens his account in October 1685 with the usual entries concerning travellers with passes, whom he had to direct and further on their journeys to their several destinations. He mentions, amongst other items, two lame solders, who were undertaking the long journey from Berwick-on-Tweed to Gloucester. In December, he mentions a meeting of the principal townsmen respecting the obnoxious "Chimney" or "Hearth Tax" to which the lecturer had referred on a previous occasion.

"March 19 (1686) - Gave Capten Hood, instead (of) five teams of horse and five carts, and six hagney horses to Leeds 01 00 00

March 22 - Spent in going to Halifax with 4 carts to carry Mager Innis Company to Leeds, one cart was taken, 3 was refused 01 01 00 Spent of one hagney and four men and 4 horses with cart 00 07 08

These extracts serve to show that some movement of a military nature was going on in the district, in all probability owing to the very unsettled state of the country following the Monmouth Rebellion, which had come to a head a few months previous to this date.

Spent in building up the Pinfold, for getting and leading stones for walling, for locks ad hinges and all materials belonging to itt 02 01 04

John Dickson paid a good deal of attention to keeping the roads under his charge in a fair state of repair, and the following items are examples of his diligence and are interesting on account of the "place names" recorded:-

July 26. - Spent upon two men 18 days mending the highways betwixt Mittam Royd Bridg and 4 Lane Ends 01 16 00

Spent upon two men 15 days getting stones to mend severall places in Sowerby Towne and payd for those places mending 01 12 06

One man 6 days, setting that place down by Jer. Norkclif's 00 06 06

Two days two men with a horse and carte betwixt Sourby-towne-end and Sourby-bridg 00 06 08

Two men betwixt Toothill-end and Rooley, one day and a halph 00 03 02

One man 2 days betwixt Bolder-clough and Hadershelfe 00 02 00

One day two men in Cattonstones 00 02 02

2 men 4 days mending betwixt Sourby Street and Quarrell Hill, and betwixt Quarrell Hill and Harg- end (Haugh End) and betwixt bottom of delph upon Sourby-Green and the causey upon the same green 00 08 08

In September the following items occur: -
Sep 2. Spent in going to provide horses to carry the King's soldiers to Otley, to witt, 3 teams and 3 carts by an order under the greate seale of England, whearof I gott but one 00 01 00
Sep 21. Payd to the muster master for want of two carts 00 02 00
Sept 21. spent upon 12 men and 12 horses bearing his soldiers to Otley .......(the amount of this last entry is decayed away.

A series of items follow which are of unusual interest as they refer to that time honoured instrument of torture and punishment known as the "Ducking Stool".

Sep 20. Gave for one pole to be a couking (ducking) stoole 00 01 06
It. For leading itt from Bank Top Wood 00 01 06
It. Payd for other wood to be a chare and piles to fasten itt into the earth 00 00 11
It. Payd for making itt 00 02 06
Payd for iron work 00 03 00

This is the first mention of a Ducking Stool that the lecturer had discovered in the Constables' Accounts, and, possibly, it may have been only introduced at this date. Many references had already been noted to the Butts, Stocks, Pinfold, and Whipping Post, which in those days no well- regulated parish could afford to be lacking in. We may imagine that this instrument would be a valuable acquisition to the other public institutions, and the good folk would, no doubt, feel satisfied that no other detail was wanting in their local equipment for dealing with the offenders against law and order. The instrument in question consisted of a long pole or beam of timber, supported about the middle of its length by posts driven into the ground, one on each side. A pin of iron was fixed through the three in such a manner that the beam would work freely as a lever with the pin as a fulcrum. To one end of this lever, which projected over a pond or river, a chair, or seat arrangement was fixed, in which the victim or culprit was bound. The motive power was supplied by a few generally willing helpers, at the other end of the beam, and the spectacle of the huge lever, with its helpless human load, rising and falling into the water, may be better imagined than described - to say nothing of the peculiar sensations experienced by the person operated upon. It was a favourite method of argument with bad ale brewers, dealers in "short weight," scolding and "nagging" wives, and offences, generally, against the peace and comfort of the community at large.

The total disbursements this year amounted to 27 3s 9d., and the following gentlemen appended their signatures: -
Joshua Dearden Jonas Stansfeld
Isaack Farrer Robert Priestly
John Dickson, senr, George Holgate
Nathan Kershaw William Bramley

John Gaukroger was elected Constable for 1686-7, but in his accounts no items of interest occur until January, 1687, when he mentions a coroner's inquest on one John dean, who appears to have met his death at Soyland Mill. The widow and her children were removed by the Constable, and there was a further inquiry, held at Halifax, into the matter, but the result is not set forth. Feb 18 - Charges in going to search for gones (guns) and a bill to deliver in to the Debetye Lieutenants and going to Wakefield 00 04 00

These accounts are principally made up of travellers' lodgings and relief, privy searches, and hue and crys. He mentions a seaman "laying" at Deerplay, and the sum of one silling which he paid to a Captain Wilkinson and 6 men. He disbursed in all 17 7s 2. and closes his trust with the remark:- "So there rested in my hand 1s, which was spent att my accounts giving up."

The gentry who thus "had it in," to use a local expression, and made a straight edge were:- Joshua Dearden, Isaack Farrer, Josias Stansfeld, Robert Priestly, John Dickson, sen, and Henry Wilson.

In 1687-8 James Farrar held the office, but he did not enter up his accounts by items, but merely gave a summary of his expenses. Out of a total disbursement of 22 2s 7d. the sum of 6 19s 10d. was paid for road repairs, For county bridges and the salary of the Governor of the House of Correction at Wakefield, 5 7s 10d.
Item. Spent when Henery Shuttleworth was arrested 2 severall times, and John Crosley yt was in bondage 4 or 5 days by James Hill. 01 03 03

Item. Spences for all the Warrans executinge for the whole year and lead out unto and for all the pasingers' lodging and helping them on in Releve and for carringe some of them of horse backe to the next Constable 06 12 00

In 1688, which was the year of the deposition of King James II in favour of William, Prince of Orange, John Stansfeld became Constable of Sowerby, In his first month of office (October) he relieved 14 seamen at different times, making their way to Chester and Cornwall.

Oct 27 - Pd unto the Chief Constable our proportion for providing aminicon (ammunition) troophers, and other neccessaryes 02 09 001/2

This would be to the orders of King James' officers, for he was not deposed until the December of 1688, and, at this period, the Revolutionary movement would be active in the north, for William of Orange was known to be ready for his descent on the shores of England. On the 15th November the Constable received an order from the High Constable by a special messenger calling out the soldiers, and we gather that the old military spirit of Sowerby was quite equal to the occasion. The entry:- Dec 20 Pd for ale for the Guard at Sowerby 00 02 00 has a decided martial ring about it. We also find that the approach to the town from the direction of Halifax and the east was secured and guarded, as appears by the entries 1689
Jan 16. Pd unto John Shephard for the 2 pieces of wood and putting downe at Sowerby bridge end 00 03 06
Lt. Pd. Saml. Wood for a lock 8d, and for a chaine lengthening 1s 4d. 00 02 00

The movement of the military would seem to have been on a somewhat extensive scale at this period, for, in February, we find that the Constable went to Halifax to endeavour to prevent Sowerby being charged with the provision of horses for the soldiers' wagons or "carriages", as he terms them. Of frequent occurrence are entries of soldiers' wives and children passing through on their way to Chester, also searches for men who had run away from their regiments.

April 11. Pd. To a man I hired to goe with a warrant from Halifax to the Constable of Barkisland which required horses for the souldiers' carriges 00 00 06
12th, Spent in going about to charge horses to take away the souldiers' carriages, and in going to Halifax next morning 00 02 00
17th. For a horse and a man to carrye a disbanded souldier that was fallen blinde to the next Constable 00 00 06
It. For victuals for his refreshmt 00 00 02

With the accession to the Throne of William III., we find a new assessment in progress, and, under date of May 10th, the following entry:- For my journey to Wakefield to deliver in a duplicate of the assessment of the money for a present aid t their Majesties, and taking out a warrant for the collectors 00 05 00

Items of more than general interest are:-

June 27. Spent in going to Halifax by virtue of a warrant to me directed to receive orders of the Lieutenant Collonell about Quartering of Souldiers 00 00 06
29. Spent in going to Halifax to waite of the Tropers coming in 00 00 06

July 2. Pd. Unto 6 men being a guard to the Baitings to 2 prisoner souldiers rune from their cullers 00 03 00 It. For horses to carrye them 00 01 00
It. Gave to the Sergt. That was sent to take them for going with me to the Constable of Barkisland to cause him to meett them with his guard at Baiteings 00 01 00

4th. Spent in going to Halifax to waite upon the troopers into our Towne and deliver the billets to them 00 00 06

Evidently the main body of these troops was at Halifax, and a portion was quartered in Sowerby as shown by the last entry.

July 15. For my journey to Wakefield to answer to a warrant requiring the names of all papists within our Constabulary to be give in and them summoned there to appear 00 04 00

This order was under the Conventicle act, which prohibited the meetings of the Catholics, and, also, debarred them from the immunities from penalties granted to other dissentients from the Church of England. The Catholics, under this order to the Constable, would have to appear before the Justices and find suitable sureties for their good behaviour in default they could be committed to York Castle.

Aug 9. Charges of assisting a Sergeant by virtue of a warrant in apprehending Jonas Bloomer, being rune from his cullers, and guarding him all night, and to Halifax next day 00 04 00

Aug 20. Pd. Unto the Constables of Halifax our proportion of the charges of the Officers belonging to the Duke of Boulton's Regmt, in going unto Bradford, Bouling, Manningham and other places to charge horses for their assistance to Ratchdale 00 06 01.1/2

It would seem that a muster of troops was going on about Bradford at this time, and one can only form the conclusion that the objective was Ireland, where the deposed King James and his Catholic supporters had raised an army, formed an Irish Parliament, and largely gained the sympathy of the Irish people.

Our friend the Constable was cautious in dealing with the strangers with whom he met, and an item of 1s 6d. appears for keeping a suspicious character in custody one night, at the house of Jer. Crosley, in Soyland. John Stansfield, George Holgate, John Greenwood, John Holroide, and Nathan Kershaw.

In the accounts of Robert Swaine for 1689-90 we again find our Constable engaged in military affairs:-
Nov 22. For givinge Souldgers notice to come to their Captaines and being charged myselfe and giving now Billetts and charges att Halifax 00 03 00

24. Ffor placinge the souldgers and giving new Billetts to goe to their quarters 00 00 06

The supposition that the "souldgers" were preparing for crossing over to Ireland is further strengthened by an item which tells us that, in February, 1690, the Constable charged one shilling for his expenses, "For viewinge the way over the Edge and goinge into Barkisland for gettinge the way made for the Souldgers carriages".

On April 7th, an entry appears for twelve horses, with pack saddles, cloth, and cords, which were sent to Halifax; also six horses from Sowerby bridge to Rochdale, whilst another is for 13 horses and two carts sent to the same place, all items referring to the march of troops. The names of the men who went with the horses are also set down and we find entries of sundry repairs the Constable had to make to carts, broken or damaged, in crossing Blackstone edge, which in those days of rough roads was no light undertaking. It seems evident that we are interesting ourselves with a portion of the army which King William mustered for the crushing of James' designs on his crown, for, at this period, history tells us that this army was undoubtedly on its way to commence the campaign which ended in the decisive Battle of the Boyne.

I select one more item to close this Constable's work:-
June. For hue and cry for James Holden and Lawrence Holden (breakinge out of the Goale at Lancaster) 2 highwaymen, searching the towne thorough 00 02 00
Total disbursement, 39 3s 9.3/4d. Allowed by Isaac Farrar, George Houlgate, Christopher Thomas, John Holroide

The Constable for 1690-1 was Joshua Stainton, and his accounts, whilst very fully detailed, are not so interesting as the former holders of the office, and refer principally to his "guests" horse thieves, and the like. In November, he mentions one Richard Dixon, who had been a slave in Turkey, also a wounded soldier who had come from Flanders, and in January, 1691, a man, his wife, and two children going into Monmouthshire, who had lost their all by fire.

Feb 18. Pd for meat, drink, and login Tho. North, his wife, and 3 children, with a pass from Hull to Liverpool, and for ye caryadge to ye next Constable in Lanchashire in ye storme 00 04 06. He that went stayed all night.

Mar 2. Pd. For logings and victuals of Tho. Baylie, a lame soldier, his wife and child, from Saturday night to Sunday afternoon in ye storme, with a pass from ye Hospitall in Dubline 00 01 06

May 18. Pd to Jam. Brown and Rich. Greives, yr (for their) wives and families, 15 in number, with a pass from Halless, in Cheshire, Pontefract of and on, who had lost all their estate with the sea breaking out upon them and for helping them part of ye way over Blaxtanedge 00 01 10

These extract will suffice to show what a deep interest was displayed by the constable in the various travellers who came under his notice. He mentions the purchase of a pair of manacles which cost one shilling.

Frequent entries occur of wounded men coming from Ireland with passes from Dublin.

June 22. Pd for meat, drink, and lodging of Jane Jackson, widd, with 4 children, whose husband was slain at Cork, and for helping her part of ye way over Blackstonedge 00 01 00

Sept 10. Paid for meat, drink, and lodging of Dinah Dent, with 5 children, with a pass under ye hands and common seale of Halifax to Liverpoole, Jo. Hogson, Mr of ye Corperation, and Joseph Wilkinson, Vicar of Halifax, one of ye Governours of he Corporation 00 01 10 and for carriadge of ym to ye next Constable in Lanchashire.

The "Corporation" referred to was the old Halifax Workhouse, founded by Mr. Nathaniel Waterhouse in 1635 by letters patent under the great Seal of Charles I., which created a corporate body of 13 persons styled "The Master and Governors of the Workhouse." It was founded to charitably provide a place in which the poor might be set to work, at a time when, according to the original documents, the town and parish of Halifax was much impoverished and like to be ruined by reason of the great numbers of poor people daily increasing. Joseph Wilkinson was presented to the Vicarage of Halifax by William III., in 1691, so that he must have been quite new to his position when this order was signed, for he was according to Mr Watson, not inducted until October 26th and the date of this entry is three days after his institution as Vicar.

The items before given relating to the Ducking Stool did not give us any clue as to its situation in the township, but this information in now supplied by the following:-

Oct 2. For removing ye Cookstoole from Stirk Bridg 00 00 06
To Jno. Cooke for iron worke 00 01 06
For wood to be ye cheare 00 00 02
For a workeman one day and mine own 00 01 06.

Surely we are not to understand that the old one was worn out by much usage by this time - yet, so it would seem.

The total expenses this year amounted to 29. 3s. 8d. and were signed by Joshua Dearden, Isaack Farrer, Josias Stansfield, Nathan Kirshaw, John Holroyde, John Greenwood, George Houlgate, Jno. Gawkroger.

The next Constable was Thomas Swaine, whose accounts consist simply of a summary, showing payments amounting to 27 8s. 1d., of which 12 11s 10d., was paid for highway repairs.

In this part of the old book two pages are missing, consequently we have no record of the doings of Richard Thomas, Constable in 1692-3.

John Walker was in office in 1693-4 and his third entry records:- Spente aboute John Banister for breaking of Brearley Milne being taken with a warrant and caryed before a Justice 00 03 02

In April 1694, he mentions having paid 6d. for binding the "Book of Accounts," which I take to mean the volume under consideration. The man who bound this book was not at all particular as to the way he did the job, for he managed to mix up some of the accounts, to say nothing of binding others up in their wrong order.

In addition to the usual items for repair of bridges, etc, we have the sum of 3s 10.3/4d paid "for the releife of the poore prisoners in the common jayle at Yorke."

Julye. Payd to Robert Sage, a lieutenant, and a sargant with him, seeking of 6 soulgers that hath out-run their coulders, and carrying them to the Constable (at) Rachdale with horses 00 02 06

Item. Spent for executing 4 severall hue and cry warrants aboute soulgers that hath out-run ther coulers and robbing their landlords 00 01 00

From this Constable's entries we gather that horse stealing was quite a favourite occupation, judging from the number of hue and cries.

The accounts of three Constables are now missing, George Clegg, 1695; Thomas Sunderland, 1695-6 and Joseph Houlroyde 1696-7. These have either been lost in the re-binding or not entered up.

John Normanton was deputy constable for Josiah Normanton in 1697-8, and he duly entered his expenses in the form of a summary, showing an expenditure of 24 6s 11.3/4d. A note, at the foot, is the only item of interest, which reads as follows:

Memorandum that there was payd at ye giving up of the accounts abovesaid to ye inhabitants of Soyland ye sum of eleven shillings nine pence out of ye 3 quarters assessments to make up their foure part which is their proportion and to pay them in full satisfaction of all accounts, reckonings, and demands what so ever betwixt Sowerby and Soyland from ye beginning of ye world to ye day of he date above expressed, and this was agreed upon by those persons whose names are here under written. John Holdroyd
Jeremiah Crossley
John Gaukroger
Richard Holdroyd

In explanation, I may say that the assessments of the township of Sowerby were collected in four quarters, consisting of Sowerby, Soyland, Westfield, and Blackwood.

The following Constables did not enter up their account in detail, being content with a mere statement or summary:-

James Riles, 1698-9, Michael Siddall, 1699-1700, Michael Barrett 1700-1, Michael Barrett 1701-2 (deputy for Jonathan Greenroid), James Hill, 1702-3, Josiah Stansfeld 1704-5, Elkanah Hoyle, 1706- 7 (by deputy)

In 1708-9 Joseph Priestley was Constable and he took the trouble to enter his transactions, and although not of any great interest a few items may be noted:

Nov. ye 10th. Pd. For a warrant for ye window moneys 00 00 06. The window tax was first enacted in 1695, in order to defray the cost of and deficiency in the recoining of the silver currency.

Dec. ye 13th. Pd Tho. Cooke for a staple for ye Cookstoole 00 00 01 1709
June ye 2d. Pd for stones leading to ye pinfold and Butts 00 00 06
Item. Payd Jonas Wilde for repaireing ym 3s 3d. spent 6d. is 00 03 09
June ye 27th. For a Watch stick and spent when I sett ye watch agate 00 00 06
July ye 1st. For going to Crowstone with Rob. Prichett pass 00 00 06
Oct ye 3d. For repairing ye Buts a second time 00 0- --

John Grinroide, 1709-10, and Jonathan Hanson 1710-1, have no accounts to show, and it seems to be about this time that the old book was discontinued in favour of a new one. The last Constable mentioned in this book, Jeremiah Riley, 1711-2 had, as deputy, John Priestly, and he must have intended entering up his accounts, for he commenced:-

"The Perticulars of his Disbursments as follows by John Priestley, his Deputy," but no "particulars" are forthcoming, and we turn over the last leaf on which the ld writing appears, and find two lines of doggerel, which somehow seem rather appropriate when we think of the men who have held the constable's Staff, and the vast changes which have taken place during the period covered by this old volume, the hands which it has gone through, and the living history which it records, history which tells us more of our parish than any other contemporary record, and seems to bring us into close contact with the sturdy old Constable s of Sowerby, whose lot was cast in sterner times than those we know today. Surely the man who wrote these two short lines must have been thinking sadly when he put down:-

Feber 12 Remember man that die thou must, And, after death, return to dust.

In concluding the First Volume of the Accounts of the Sowerby Constables, it is to be added that, although 1629 is the date of the first accounts preserved to us, the list of Constables who have successively officiated extends, in the list in the book, back to the 20th year of King Henry VIII, 1529, when Robert Royde was elected. The full list, as entered in the book, was obtained, in 1641, by Constable John Furness, as he records by the item:-

Paid to Mr Midgley and his man for a search of the Courte Roules and a coopye of the names of the Constables out of the same and also for examinininge the said coopye by the Roules before witensse and entering it in the Constable's Booke 00 10 00

The following is the list in the book:

A catalogue of the names of the constables of Sowerby since the XX year of Kinge Henry the Eighth (1529).
20, Robert Royde, 21 Edward Bairstow, 22 William Priestley, 23 Gilbert Hyleley, 24 William Gawckroger, 25 John Woods, 26 William Riley, 27 George Ramsden, 28 Thomas Greenwood, 29 Thomas Houlgate, 30 Uxor Christopher Bothomley and John Bothomley his sonne, 31 John Lister, 32 William Wadsworth, 33 Gilbert Houldsworth, 34 John Hoyle, 35 Robert Wade, 36 Thomas Crossley, 37 Richard Culpann, 38 Richard Whitley

Edwardi Sexti primo

1 Richard Hopkinson, 2 John Gawckrodger, 3 Thomas Stansfeild, 4 George Ffirth, 5 John Whytley, 6 James Dobsonn.

Philipe and Mary primo

1 John Crabtree, 2 George Smith, 3 John Royde, 4 Richard Draper, 5 John Kendall, 6 Edward Lume

Elizabeth Primo

1 Richard Carter, 2 John Dobsonn, 4 John Gleidhill, 5 Henry Farrar, 6 John Battes, 7 Henry Farrar, 8 William Carter, 9 James Foxcroft, 10 James Robinson, 11 John Hopkinson, 12 Thomas Fournes, 13 Richard Hoile, 14 George Ramsdenn, 15 John Hopkinson, 16 Lawrence Stansfeild, 17 Robert Waidd, 18 Robert Gleidhill, 19 Richard Wood, 20 George Fairebanke, 21 Michaell Hileley, 22 Robert Priestley, 23 Thomas Bates, 24 Robert Waide, 25 Thomas Ryley, 26 Henry Bainster (Bannister) 27 John Hoile (Blackshaw Clough), 28 John Woode, 29 Edward Hileley, 30 John Ryley, 31 Edward Bynes, 32 John firth de Lighthasles, 33 John Crossley, 34 Henery Smith, 35 Samuell Bates, 36 Michael Banister, 37 Richard Hoile, 38 Thomas Fournes, 39 Edward Tattersall, 40 Anthony Hopkinson, 41 John Dobsonn, 42 John Tilsonn, 43 Richard Greenwood, 44 John Hoile.

King James

1 Richard Murgetroyde, 2 George Houlgate, 3 George Hoyle, 4 John Foxcroft, 5 Edward Hopkinson, 6 Richard Deardenn, 7 George Fourness, 8 Martin Fielden, 9 John Smith, 10 Thomas Sunderland, 11 john Culpann, 12 Michael Foxcroft, 12 John Dicksonn, 14 John Ramsdenn, 15 Richard Mitchell, 16 John Ryley, 17 John Lum, 18 Thomas Dobsonn, 19 Abraham Fletcher, 20 John Turner, 21 Abraham Smith, 22 Andrew Normanton

Caroli Regis

1 James Robinsonn, 2 Abraham Dysonn, 3 Richard Brigge, 4 Isaack Ffarrar, 5 Jonas Tillsonn, 6 John Farrar, 7 John Greenwood de Red Brink, 8 Edward Banister, 9 Michael Wadsworth, 10 John Hoile, 11 John Maude, 12 Henry Suttcliffe, 13 James Stansfeilde (Anno 1638) 14 Henry Willsonn (Anno 1639), 15 Richard Bentley (Anno 1640), 16 John Fournes (Anno 1641) 17 Isacke Milchell (John Riley deputy), 18 John Mitchell (Henry Illingworth deputy), 19 Richard Houlgate and John Hopkinson (1644), 20 Robt. Priestley, 21 Ed. Firth, 22 Paull Greenwood (1649) 23 John Dearden, 24 James Dobsonn, 25 John Dickson, 26 Michaell Earnshaw, 27 Timothy Tattersall, 28 John Crossley de Smalees (deputy Nathan Carter) 29 John Rilley, 30 Thomis Sunderland de Torleholes, 31 Isaacke Farrar, 32 Francis Priestley, 33 John Kirshaw, 34 William Thomas, 35 John Greenwood (dep. Simeon Dyson) 36 Joseph Maude, 37 John Sutcliffe (Withings) 38 Hen. Fielden, 30 John Suttcliffe (Withings), 40 Geo. Houlgate, 41 Joshua Smith, Jeremy Hopkinson, Josias Stansfeld (Anno Dom. 1672) James Crossley (Anno Dom. 1673) William Bramley (Anno Dom 1674), John Ryley by Isaack Nicholl deputy, Henery Bentley (Anno Dom. 1676) Timothy Bentley, Henry Hilley, Jo. Hoyle, Will Normonton (1680), John Ratclif (1681), Michael Barit (1682), Jo firth, Royd (1683) Henry Sutlif (1684)

King James ye Second

Thomas Ibottson (1685), John Dickson (1686), John Gaukroger (1687) James Farrer (1688) John Stansfeld (1689)

Anno Willi and Maria nunc Regis. Angle 1st and 2nd.

Robert Swayne (1689-90), Joshua Stainton (1691), Thomas Swaine (1692), Richard Thomas (1693), John Walker (1694), George Clegge (1695), Thomas Sunderland, Joseph Houlroyde, Joseph Normanton (1698), James Riley (1699), Michaell Siddall (1700), Michael Barrett (1700 - 1), Jonathan Grenroid (1701-2), Michael Barrett dept), James Hill (1702-3), John Normanton (1703-4), Josiah Stansfeld (1704-5), Elk, Hoyle ( 1706-7 by deputy), Joseph Priestley (1708-9), John Grinroide (1709-10), Jonathan Hanson (1710-1), Jeremiah Riley (1711-2 John Priestley dep.)

In concluding with this list I do so with the object of putting on record a valuable register of names of men who all occupied positions in life considerably above the average. After the 17th year of Charles 1. the official list from the Court Roll ends, so that all names, from that year onwards, have been added year by year, by the Constables themselves or their deputies. Joseph Normanton was the last to add his name, and I have completed the list from the Accounts.

It is particularly noticeable that the old Sowerby families have all been associated with the Constableship. The Stansfelds are met with at an early date, and, from the men who can be identified we find the office always held by one who was an individual of some importance in his day and generation. To select a few at random, we have Richard Dearden, of Wood Lane Hall; Michael Foxcroft, of Kebroyd, a large property owner; Thomas Dobson of Stones, whose daughter was the wife of Robert Tillotson, and mother of the Archbishop; George Houlgate, Thomas Furness, Richard Hoyle, James Dobson, and John Riley, who along with Michael Foxcroft, before mentioned were fined for refusing knighthood at the coronation of Charles 1., all landed proprietors worth at least 40 per year. The Dickson family, of Bentley Roy, are also represented; Richard Hoyle, of Lightazles; Edward Banister, owner of Hathershelf, Hollingbarrow, and New House; Richard Murgatroyd of Bowerslack and land in Clough Banks, Toythill, and Crowhill-shaws; John Firth of Royde; these, and many more, may be identified from the Greave List for Sowerby and Warley for 1624.

I believe there is another volume of the Sowerby Constables' Accounts in existence, but I have not been able to trace its whereabouts. Our late lamented editor, Mr Ogden, told me he had made extracts from it some twenty years ago, but he had no idea in whose possession it was now. I should be extremely obliged if anyone could give me information that would lead to its discovery to enable me to give further details of this important township in days gone by. The old book, whose last page we have now turned, in undoubtedly one of the oldest documents of its class existing. Many years ago extracts from it were given by the late Mr Walker in his "Local Portfolio" and Mr Ogden also has largely quoted from it, but it has never been so extensively utilised as on the present occasion. The most noteworthy and interesting features are now, it is hoped, presented in a convenient form for reference.


Transcribed from
A paper by Mr H.P. Kendall.
Transcribed by
Sue Johnson 2001


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