IN HISTORY | ANGLO-SAXONS
| WARS OF THE ROSES
THE MANOR OF KNOTTINGLEY
In the late sixth century after the
Saxons had succeeded in gaining control of York, a small group of settlers
established themselves along the banks of the river Aire, and so began the story
of the Manor of Knottingley.
In the Domesday survey of 1086
commissioned by William the Conquerer, the description of Knottingley goes as follows: "In
Notingeleia Baret had four caracutes of land to be taxed......Ranulph now has it
of Ilbert". This is described as meaning that Knottingley was an
Anglo-Saxon manor, and that it contained about 480 acres of land under plough,
together with various woodlands and pastures. After the Norman conquest it
was given to Ilbert de Lacy who rented it to Ranulph.
With the death of Henry de Lacy in
1310, the manor of Pontefract, of which Knottingley was a part, passed out of
the hands of the de Lacy's and onto Thomas, Earl of Lancaster who married Henry de Lacy's
daughter, and heir, Alice in 1311. Thus the de Lacy Estates were
transferred to the House of Lancaster.
In 1539, the dissolution of the
monasteries saw a great deal of land redistribution and the lands of Pontefract
were granted to William Clifford and Michael Wildbore.
In 1607 the manor of Knottingley
passed into the ownership of the Grimsditch family from London. Grimsditch
married the daughter of Richard Wildbore and became Lord of the Manor of
Knottingley. They had a son who returned to London and encountered
financial difficulties which resulted in the manor becoming partitioned. In
1636, John Grimsditch held only one quarter of the manor.
Knottingley Old Hall, the first Manor House
situated close to St. Botolph's Church
In 1636, Sir Arthur Ingram of
Temple Newsham purchased the manor of Knottingley and a year later he purchased
Knottingley Mills. The Ingram family retained the manor of Knottingley for
150 years until 1787 when the death of Grace Ingram meant that the manor was
partitioned and put up for sale.
The Gaggs family purchased one
quarter of the manorial rights and the Manor farm. They were one of the
major land owners and limestone merchants and played a leading role in the town
for over 50 years. The death of Edward Gaggs and his wife in 1843 resulted
in their manorial rights and land being put up for public auction.
KNOTTINGLEY MANOR HOUSE
land owner of a district was normally established in a large
dwelling from which the tenancies could be administrated. The first
Knottingley Manor House, later to be known as Knottingley Old Hall, was
situated just a few yards south-west of St. Botolph's church.
Ingram, during his term as Lord of the Manor, built a new Manor House at
Hill Top during the seventeenth century. This was a substantial
building with east and west wings and a central section with a distinctive
bay window. It was known as Sculpture House. Upon the death of the
last of the Ingram's, the house was divided up into apartments and the
west wing was demolished. The east wing was occupied as the Swan Inn
for over 150 years before the house was eventually demolished.
One of the
major architectural features of the house was a huge fireplace, twelve
feet wide and ten feet tall. It was situated in what was once the
great hall of the house. The origins of the fireplace is unclear but
it may well have been older than the house itself and brought to
Knottingley by the Ingrams from one of their other great houses. The
whole edifice was demolished sometime in the 1950's and it is not known
what became of the sculptured fireplace.