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Knottingley and Ferrybridge Local History

PERIODS 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

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

The major 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.

Sir Arthur 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.

Knottingley Manor House Sculptured Fireplace

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.


 

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