Cog Icon signifying link to Admin page

Stillington and District Community Archive

In the Heart of North Yorkshire

Stillington Inhabitants in 1295


The list is split between Bondsmen and Cottars, though some individuals were both.
One of the more unusual features of these lists is the prevalence of surnames. Before 1400 fixed surnames are thought to have been fairly uncommon, but in these lists the majority do have a surname and they are have a wide range of associations - of place, whether that be the landholding where the family lived in Stillington or the person's place of birth;  father's (or mother's given name);  nickname; job, trade or position. There are a few examples taken from the lists at the bottom of the page.
 Bondsmen owed service to the Lord of the Manor. They paid dues of Merchet on the marriage of their daughters; Layerwicht if their daughters bore a child out of wedlock and  Heriot to take up land on the death of a relative, with widows inheriting first and customarily sons and daughters being equally entitled to inherit after their mother’s death.
They were also obligated to do boon work on the Lord’s land. In Stillington they reaped his harvest and carried the sheaves to the Manor Grange. They spent a day threshing the grain in the Autumn. When called upon by the woodward they carted wood for building, and firewood.
Once they had reaped their own harvest they were required to take their tithes of sheaves to the Grange.
In Stillington most of the Bondsmen held one or two bovates for which they paid three shillings a bovate per annum. They also paid joint fees for pastures.

  • William Cook
  • John Hogg
  • Thomas  Rand
  • Hugh Rand
  • Walter Clerk
  • Henry Elmit
  • Richard Mald
  • Peter Smith
  • W. Cobbler
  • Adam Tunstan
  • Thomas Pulayn
  • Robert Pouer
  • William Miller
  • Robert Baker
  • Thomas Reeve
  • Robert Elys
  • John Walter
  • Robert Cobb
  • Henry of Huby
  • T Sleth
  • Marriott Bleuet
  • Wayen
  • Wymark
  • Dadyl
  • John, son of Richard
  • Elias Son of Hugh
  • Evota Pynwyn
  • Megge Paytefin
  • Lece Titewyth
  • Widow Capputt
  • Emma Kystill
  • Widow Crayk
  • Emma Sleth
  • Beatrix White
  • Widow Lecca
  • Widow Ters
  • Widow Fox
  • ? Reyson

Cottars rented a cottage and usually the land around it from the Lord of the Manor. This was known as croft and toft. In Stillington the cottars paid an accumulative charge of three shillings and ten pence to the Lord for ‘forland’ which could be the land in front of their cottages. Some cottars rented extra land from the Manor or paid to be allowed to pasture animals.  All Cottars were also obliged to do boon work, especially during the harvest. However some cottars were required to do more and it seems, on the evidence available, to depend on what they paid for their croft and toft which varied from sixpence to four shillings. Those who paid the least appear to have more onerous duties, such as spending time mowing, tedding and ricking hay from the Manor meadows named ‘Ulf’s Clearing’ and  ‘Paulinus’ Meadow’, which were both forest clearings. They also had to help cart wood.
When on duty for the Manor everyone was given food and drink. Usually their service lasted only a day.

  • John Bene
  • Peter Cobbler
  • John Perot
  • Thomas Randolf
  • Robert Baker
  • Walter Catte
  • John Pedder
  • Thomas Palfrid
  • Walter Thatcher
  • Thomas Rose
  • Will Carter
  • Henry Brune
  • Robert Yege
  • Adam  Sleth
  • Ranulf Carter
  • William Miller
  • Matthew Cowman
  • Richard Gyllemine
  • John Humpote
  • Thomas Croh
  • William Pyrewyn
  • John le Belle
  • Dande Butcher
  • Walter Flure
  • Walter Crayk
  • Robert Loyen
  • Roger Hakelyn
  • William of Conigthorpe
  • Thomas Luvell
  • Robert of Queneby
  • Robert of Esingwold
  • Henry of Huby
  • Henry Thomalin
  • William Titewyth
  • Thomas Leviot
  • William Wayiban
  • Collan
  • Idonea Burthayn
  • Agnes de Cymiterio
  • Margaret Paytefin
  • Alice Spynk
  • Agnes Nelle
  • Matilda Puleyn
  • Alice Godeals
  • Agnes Tunne
  • Matilda Wymark
  • Olivia Flur
  • Agnes Peer
  • Annabel
  • Emma, wife of Gelle
  • Ydonea Pouer

It is to be noted that a lots of surnames during this period were not necessarily fixed and a man, or woman, may have one surname in one record but have changed it by the next. It is thought that they were mainly used to identify individuals for taxation purposes.
In the North of England, which had been under Danish and Norse influence, the use of surnames seemed to be far more advanced as in Scandinavia the use of surnames to identify individuals was a well established custom. Possibly Stillington reflects this.
Here are a few examples of surnames from the lists with their origins explained.

Place Names
  •  Puleyn or Pulayn is associated with a family who lived close to Paulinus' meadow. Sometimes it was also spelt Pullein or Pullyn.
  • The Crayk family have just travelled down the road from Crayke to settle in Stillington. 
  • Robert of Queneby was once an inhabitant of Whenby. 
  • Agnes de Cymiterio may well have lived next door to the churchyard as the Latin for cemetery is cimiterium - cimiterio means 'by the cemetery'.
  • Elmit is a name of British origin. Usually spelt Elmet, it was an independent  kingdom that formed at the end of the Roman period mostly what is now West Yorkshire, but extending into Derbyshire and Lancashire. The name survives in Sherburn in Elmet, a place with associations to the See of York, as did Stillington, going back to at least the 10th Century.

Forenames of ancestors
  • Wymark is a variation of Wymar, which is Breton in origin. There is man with that forename and a Matilda Wymark who could possibly be his wife or daughter.
  • Gyllemine is a variant of Guillaume, the Norman French version of William.
  • Hakelyn from Ascelin -a French name, meaning noble or worthy. It can be both a male or female name.
  • Elys is an alternative for Alys (Alice).
  • Thomalin is a diminutive of Thomas.
  • Luvell comes again from Old French and means young wolf. 
  • Humpote is a version of Humphrey.
  • Rand and Randulph have a similar meaning - shield or shield bearer. However Rand is of Anglo Saxon origin whereas Randulph came with the Normans.
  • Perot is an extremely rare name. It is a diminutive version of Peter.
  • Nelle come from the Old Norse for champion 'njel' and many names are derived from this: Niall or Neil being the most common spellings. 

The most obvious example of this is John le Belle which means John the Handsome!
  • Sleth comes from the Old Norse for slim or slightly built.
Surnames that are colours are often thought to be have begun life as a nickname  -
  • White and Brune (Brown) being found in the lists. As is Bleuett - a diminutive of blue and Old French in origin.
  • Caputt as in Widow Caputt, means big headed.
  • Cobbe (often spelt Cobb) refers to a large impressive man.
Having the attributes of animals often started as nicknames and became surnames.
  • Palfrid comes from Palfrey, a small horse that could carry heavy loads and this name became associated with strong, hardworking people.
  •  Catte was the name given to people who were light footed or had facial features resembling a cat - maybe long whiskers!
  • Fox was applied to those who were sly or had red hair.
  • Croh is the phonetic spelling of Crow. Black haired men were sometimes called this, as were those who enjoyed chatting.
  • Spynk (Spink) is derived from the Anglo Saxon for chaffinch (finca).
There are also:
  • Rose and Flur/Flure. These could be nicknames however there are alternative meanings. Flur is old French for flower but there is some indication though that this may well be a corruption of the Old English 'flar '- meaning an arrow or arrow maker. Rose also may simply mean the flower of that name, but could also have come from an Old English word for a clearing. Rose seems to be a Yorkshire version of this.

Occupation or position
There are many obvious trades listed among the inhabitants of Stillington - in fact just about everything a village needed!
However there are a few which are less evident.
  • John Hogg -  was he the man who kept the villagers pigs and ensured they fed well on acorns in the Galtres Forest?
  • Adam Tunstan was the man to visit if you needed a barrel.
  • John Pedder would have supplied the villagers with goods that they couldn't otherwise grow, make, or have made. His name is a version of peddler.
  • Walter Clerk was the village scribe and may have been in minor holy orders.
  • Thomas Reeve was the steward or bailiff who ensured that Stillington Manor was run smoothly.
  • John Bene is the most interesting of this group. His name is also linked to the running of Stillington Manor. Bene is another name for boonwork: his unenviable job was go around the village knocking on the doors of those who owed this service and ensuring it was done correctly. This was a job to which he would have been elected by his fellow villagers.
  • Robert Loyen could well have been the man who applied the oath to members of the tithings in Stillington. Loyen means bond or pledge. In an age without a police force the tithing was the way in which Medieval society dealt with the detection of crime. Each male over twelve years of age had to belong to the tithing, which was notionally ten men but in fact could be as many as fifty. Each year they swore an oath or pledge of loyalty to uphold the law and report any crime. Failure to keep this pledge was deemed to make the man as equally guilty of the crime committed as the actual perpetrator! Considering that capital punishment, after a lengthy period in prison, was the sentence for most crimes this was a serious matter.
The whole system was adopted mostly by the Normans from the Anglo-Saxon scheme of governance and was known as Frankpledge.

Site Search