Hebden Township Historical Data

Thomas Dunham Whitaker: 1900

The Rev. Thomas Dunham Whitaker (1759–1821) was a renowned local historian from Whalley in Lancashire who wrote a definitive and much cited work on the Craven area - History and Antiquities of the Deanery of Craven, which was originally published in 1805. It gives the history of all the parishes, as well as many of the townships, in Craven, drawing on many medieval sources, and it is to him that we owe what do know of Hebden's manorial history. However, it does now feel all very remote and irrelevant. The extract below was taken from pages 429-430 of the second edition of the volume, published in 1812. It is actually included in a section on Burnsall, hence its opening words.

The volume is available on Google Books.

Photograph of Thomas Dunham Whitaker
Thomas Dunham Whitaker (1759–1821)

Township of Hebden

THE Reader must be apprized that this township is within the adjoining parish of Linton; but its ancient superiority over Burnsall, from the time of Domesday to queen Elizabeth, and the opportunity which this arrangement affords of connecting a very curious chain of evidence, induce me to consider it here.

Hebden is the High Valley; a name[1] accurately expressive of the nature of the place, which consists of a deep gully, running up from the bed of Wharf to the summit of the lofty ridge which separates Craven from Netherdale.

We have already seen that at the time of Domesday the superior Lord was Osbern de Arches; the mesne proprietor, Dringel; and that the manor or Berewic extended over part of Burnsal, Thorp, and Drebley.

The superiority of Osbern seems to have been purchased very early by the Mowbrays; in consequence of which this manor became a member of the Mowbray Fee, where xxvii car. constituted a Knight's Fee.

The next transaction, which may be dated from circumstances about the year 1120, is explained by the following charter:

"Rogerus de Mowbray, hominibus suis Francis et Anglis, &c. Sc. quod ego d. et c. &c. Uctredo filio Dolphin et her’ suis totum manerium de Hebbedene cum pert. per divisas seq.: scil. ab Eskedenesike, usque ad Loutandstan et Stanwath, et Brokeshougill, et inde usque ad Braddenford in Gatehopbec prope Holmekeld, et inde prout divise extendhunt inter Apletrewic et Hebbedene, inde usque ad Samleseng, et Gathophou, et prout Swargil se extendit in Grisdale, inde usque ad Stanrayse prope Magare, et ultra Traneber Mire et Ilissendene, quæ extendit usque in Werf - hab. et ten. cum omn...... ad manerium meum de ..... (Kirkby Malessart?) concessum mihi per Dominum Regem."

It appears from another charter that this grantee was son of a Gospatric de Rigton, in Knaresborough Forest, and father of Simon de Hebden, father of William.

In the year 1271, this estate was in the hands of William of York, Chantor of that cathedral, Provost of Beverley, and one of the King's Justices Itinerant. He was son of a Sir Nicholas de York, who must, I think, have been a younger son of Hebden. This William purchased the manor of Eske, in Holderness, which he seems to have devised to his collateral relatives; for, in the 9th of Edward III. a charter of free warren in the manors of Hebden, Coniston, Brynsall, and Esk, was granted to another William de Hebden. John Hebden, Domicellus[2], presents to a mediety of the living of Burnsal in 1431. The last of this ancient name was Sir Nicholas Hebden, probably son or brother of John. He married the heiress of the ancient family of Rie, and left two daughters and coheirs; one whose name is not recorded, who married to Sir Peirs Tempest of Bracewell, and died 31 Hen. VI.; and Elizabeth, who married Sir Thomas Dymoke of Scrivelby in Lincolnshire. These coheiresses divided the estates. The moiety of the Dymokes seems to have descended to the Augevyns; for by Inq. it appears, that William Augevyn, Gent. died Dec. 10, 1499, seised of a moiety of the manor of Hebden, and lands in Thorp, Coniston, and Burnsall. Charles Augevyn, son and heir, aged 16 years. The arms of Hebden, though they principally held under Mowbray, were arms of Affection for the Percies, viz. Ermine, five Fusils in Fess Gules[3].

In the Tempest family their moiety remained till the beginning of queen Elizabeth's reign, when it appears to have been parcelled out, either by Sir John Tempest of Bracewell, or Richard Tempest, Esq. his nephew and successors in the estate.

The freeholders now account themselves joint lords.

The old manor house is totally destroyed; but it is said, by tradition, to have stood near the lowest house in the village on the Western side of the town, and nearly opposite to Thruskell. This, besides being one of the most copious springs in Craven, is remarkable for having retained its original dedication through many centuries, from the days of Saxon Paganism; for Thruskell is the Fountain of Thor.

The worship of fountains was forbidden in the constitution of Canute, "de Gentilium superstitionibus abolendis," as a relick of Paganism:[4] ... Within little more than a century, the same practice was forbidden by archbishop Anselm, as a Christian superstition. This shews how inveterate that principle is in the human heart; and that, when deprived of one channel, it will seek another. Remnants of well-worship subsisted in Craven within half a century of the present time. St. Helen's Well at Eshton and Routand Well ( i.e. ..., or the Brawling well) betwixt Rilston and Hetton were frequented by the young people on Sunday evenings, in Summer, and their waters drank mingled with sugar. At the latter the inhabitants of each township punctiliously kept on their own side of the fountain. These harmless and pleasing observances are now lost, and nothing better, I fear, has been introduced in their place. It is, perhaps, as innocent at such hours of relaxation to drink water, even from a consecrated spring, as to swallow the poison of British distilleries at a public-house.

Notes (titles by the transcriber)

[1] Name: It is sometimes called Upeden; of which family, I suppose, was John Upeden, Sherif of York 16th and 22nd of Richard II.

[2] Domicellus: This word, or properly Domnicellus, is a diminutive from Dom'nus; as Baroncellus, from Baro, in the Latinity of the middle ages. In Saxon times it was synonymous with Atheling, or the Heir of the kingdom. But the Normans applied it, in a far inferior sense, to denote the Heir apparent of any person who had the style Domicellus. And as knights were thus entitled, there is no doubt that the last of the Hebdens was styled Domicellus. See Spelman and Ducange in voce.

[3] Coat of arms: MSS J.C.Brooke, Arm. in Coll. Arm.

[4] Well worship: A similar prohibition is generally understood, by historians, to be contained in the laws of Edgar where, however, no such thing is found.