[From "The Manor and Church of Woolley", by J. W. Walker, O.B.E., F.S.A.
Yorkshire Archaeological Journal, vol. 27, pp. 249-318 (1924)
Electronic text and additional notes kindly provided by David Hepworth
HTML version by Chris Phillips]

[This abstract is copied directly, with some explanatory notes by David Hepworth, who comments that Walker was not always the most accurate in his reading or interpretation of fact.]

The Dictons (Dichton, Dychton, Dighton, as the name is variously spelled) were tenants of land in Woolley early in the thirteenth century, and bore as their arms - Argent, a lion passant, between three crosses pattée fitchée gules.

About 1210 John Tyrel of Burchesclive (Bushcliff) let lands in Woolley lying next the Wolfpit to Thomas de Dicton, son of Geoffrey Butler (Pincerna) of Dicton (near Huddersfield) (W. 4, 5, 6, 7). [This relates to the indexing of the deeds at Woolley Hall at the time of writing.] This Thomas and his brother Henry bought much land in Woolley from the Tyrels, the Crigglestones, the Brettons of West Bretton, and the Mores (W. 10-25). Henry de Dicton, as has been previously stated, married Eva, widow of Henry de Wolvelay, who was lord of the manor of Woolley, and she brought as her dower the lordship of Woolley, lands in Woolley, and two parts of the mill of Woolley, which came to her from her late husband (W. 13A). As there was no issue of this marriage Henry de Dicton granted to his brother Thomas the homage and service of all his lands in Wolvelay whether in demesne or socage; and bequeathed a moiety of the mill of Woolley with his body to St. Oswald of Nostell; to be buried at Nostell Priory; 1188-1190.1

1 Chartul. of Nostell, [British Library] Vesp. E. xix, f. 36.


Thomas de Dicton's only child, Margaret, married John de Stainton, who adopted a coat of arms very similar to that of the Dictons, namely, Gules, on a fess or, between three crosses pattée argent, a lion passant of the field. John de Stainton was of full age in 1277; he appeared as a witness to a deed of Henry de Biri, son of Roger, c. 1284 (W. 31); and was dead in 1290, when Adam son of Roger de Preston quitclaimed to Margaret, widow of John de Stainton, full rights of wardship and marriage of her son John. The deed bears a circular seal, with the legend S. ADE. DE. PRESTONA.1 Margaret had five sons, John, Thomas, Robert, William and Godfrey. The latter, who married Isabel, widow of Adam of Castleford, in 1318, received from his mother a capital messuage and 116 acres of land with the lordship of Woolley, also the advowson of the Hermitage St. James of Wulvelay, and the right to grind his corn free at Woolley mill (W. 44). In 1319 Godfrey de Stainton and Isabella his wife gave one messuage, 63 acres of land, 7 acres of meadow, 30 acres of wood in Ackworth to the church of St. Mary Magdalene of Bretton, for the souls of the said Godfrey and Isabella, and for the soul of her former husband, Adam de Castleford. The prior gave to Godfrey and Isabella 100 marks of silver.2

In 1329 Godfrey de Stainton was placed on the Commission of the Peace for the West Riding.3 He was murdered at Ackworth in 1330,4 and left a son John and a daughter Elizabeth.

Margaret de Stainton held Courts Leet at Woolley in the early years of the fourteenth century, wherein divers freeholders did their homage and fealty; others were presented for digging up coals; and there are estreats of the same period. She died in 1316 (inq. p.m. 31 Dec., 10 Ed. II), and was succeeded at Woolley by her eldest son John, who died leaving four daughters, Isabel, Elizabeth, Joan, and Alice. His widow Joan married Hugh de Tuttehill, son of Thomas Tuttehill of Tothill, near Brighouse, who caused two of his sons to marry Isabel and Joan, and placed Elizabeth and Alice as nuns at Kirklees Priory. Their guardian, William de Notton, insisted upon proper provision being made for these nuns, and in the presence of their uncle, William de Stainton, prior of Monk Bretton, an agreement was entered into by Hugh de Tuttehill, whereby he undertook to pay 50s. annually during the lifetime of Elizabeth, and in case she ceased to be a nun she was to claim one-fourth of the lands descended to her from her father. This deed was executed at Monk Bretton Priory, 20 Dec. 1347. Hugh de Tuttehill attempted to unjustly disseise his niece Margaret, daughter of his brother William,

1 W. 43A; [British Library] Add. MS. 24,467.
2 Pat. Rot., 19 Ed. II.
3 Pat. Rot., 3 Ed. III.
4 Pat. Rot., 4 Ed. III.


of all her father's lands in Fixley, Rastrick and elsewhere.1 Elizabeth de Stainton ultimately became prioress of Kirklees; her tombstone was discovered in 1706 [and still remains], bearing the inscription Douce Jhu de Nazareth fites mercy a Elizabeth de Staynton jadis priores de cest maison.2 It is supposed by Hunter that she was the prioress of Kirklees who compassed the death of Robin Hood.3

Now Robin is to fair Kirkley gone,
As fast as he can win;
But before he came there, as we do hear,
He was taken very ill.

And when that he came to fair Kirkley-hall,
He knock'd all at the ring,
But none was so ready as his cousin herself
For to let bold Robin in.

Will you please to sit down, cousin Robin, she said,
And drink some beer with me?
"No, I will neither eat nor drink,
Till I am blooded by thee."

Well, I have a room, cousin Robin, she said,
Which you did never see,
And if you please to walk therein,
You blooded by me shall be.

She took him by the lilly-white hand,
And led him to a private room,
And there she blooded bold Robin Hood,
Whilst one drop of blood would run.

She blooded him in the vein of the arm,
And lock'd him up in the room;
There did he bleed all the live-long day,
Until the next day at noon.4

[The text (taken from http://d.lib.rochester.edu/teams/text/gest-of-robyn-hode, lines 1797-1824) in the much earlier Gest of c. 1490-1500 reads:

"Robyn dwelled in grene wode,
Twenty yere and two;
For all drede of Edwarde our kynge,
Agayne wolde he not goo.

Yet he was begyled, iwys,
Through a wycked woman,
The pryoresse of Kyrkely,
That nye was of hys kynne,

For the love of a knyght,
Syr Roger of Donkesly,
That was her owne speciall;
Full evyll mote they the!

They toke togyder theyr counsell
Robyn Hode for to sle,
And how they myght best do that dede,
His banis for to be.

Than bespake good Robyn,
In place where as he stode,
"To morow I muste to Kyrkely,
Craftely to be leten blode."

Syr Roger of Donkestere,
By the pryoresse he lay,
And there they betrayed good Robyn Hode,
Through theyr false playe.
Cryst have mercy on his soule,
That dyded on the Rode!
For he was a good outlawe,
And dyde pore men moch god."]

John de Stainton was succeeded by his brother Thomas, who bought much land at Woolley between 1310 and 1340, from Adam Fullo, the Normans of Chevet, and the Brettons of West Bretton. He held courts at Woolley, and in 1348 gave land to Byland Abbey (W. 74A). By his wife Juliana he had seven sons, Robert, who succeeded; John, married Joan daughter of Thomas de Wolley, and was nominated by the Prior of Monk Bretton as his attorney in 13685; Adam; Laurence, witness to a charter of Sir William Scot,

1 Yorks. Deeds, iii, 105, Record Ser.,lxiii.
2 Yorks. Arch. Jl., xvi, 330.
3 "The Ballad Hero, Robin Hood," Joseph Hunter.
4 "Robin Hood," Ritson,1832 ed., p. 336.
5 Pat. Rot., 42 Ed. III.


knt., at Kexbro [Kexborough] in 1350;1 William, Rector of Penistone in 1375 (W. 94); Henry, witness to a deed at Monk Bretton Priory in 1347; Thomas, from whom sprang the line that carried Woolley-moor-house to the Popeleys.

The eldest son Robert gave land in Woolley to Byland Abbey in 1350, was knighted in 1365, and died in 1369, leaving an only daughter Christiana, who was married to Sir William Rilston and became a widow in 1407. She carried Woolley Hall and the manor of Woolley with 10½ bovates of land in Woolley, 16 bovates of land in Meltham, and 6 bovates of land in Grimesthorp, the property of her father to the family of Rilston, who held it until 1490, when Robert son and heir of Edmund, the grandson of Christiana, sold the greater portion of it to Richard Woodrove of Woolley (W. 135). Many members of this family entered the Church; in addition to the two nuns mentioned above, there were Thomas Stainton, rector of Bolton-upon-Dearne in 1320; William, twelfth prior of Monk Bretton, who died in 1349; William, rector of Penistone 1375; and Thomas, rector of High Hoyland in 1460.

Thomas, a younger brother of Sir Robert Stainton, carried on the family at Woolley-moor-house. He is mentioned in the Poll Tax for 1378 as a "frankleyn," and also in the Treasury Fines; on 6 July, 1395, he received pardon for the death of Robert Horne of Woolley, who was killed 5 December, 1394. By his wife Elizabeth, who was a widow in 1403, he had Robert, John, William and Henry. In 1393 Thomas and Elizabeth joined in a grant of a house on Wollay-more-house to their second son John (W. 106), whose son and heir Laurence was a witness in 1454 to a charter of William Boswell.2 This Laurence was the last male descendant of the Staintons at Woolley-moor-house, his only daughter Elizabeth marrying, in 1489, Thomas Popeley, son of John Popeley of Birstall, who purchased certain lands in Woolley from Robert Rilston in 1485 (W. 127).

The Popeleys had before this marriage resided upon lands in Birstall, acquired by the great-grandfather of Thomas, by marriage with one the coheirs of Thomas de Birstal.3 They intermarried with the Neviles of Liversedge, Wentworths of Bretton, and Baildons of Baildon, finally ending with an heiress, the daughter of Francis Popeley and Elizabeth his wife, daughter of John Gomersal of Gomersal. This Grace Popeley married first Sir Thomas Wentworth of Bretton, who died 5 Dec., 1675, and after his death, Alexander, Lord Eglintoun, but she left no children by either husband.

1 Dodsworth MS., viii, f. 242.
2 Chartul. of Monk Bretton.
3 "South Yorkshire," [J. Hunter] ii, 385.