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John de Stansfeld (c1380 - aft.1460)

Parents: Ralph de Stansfeld & Johanna

Born: c1380
Flourished: 1416-1460  
Died: after 1460

probably Joan (married John del Brygg)
probably William
possibly Laurence

Marriage: to Mary Fleming
(no specific record of marriage)

Thomas, son & heir (possibly married 1st Alice Savile of Copley - no evidence)
Ann or Isabel (married Thomas Savile, possibly of Hullenedge)
probably Johanne (appointed Prioress of Kirklees Priory in April 1491)
possibly James

Other facts
Of Stansfield Hall and Hartshead Hall. Held lands in Stansfield, Wadsworth, Hartshead and Liversedge. Deeds show that the family resided at both Stansfield and Hartshead. John's son Thomas lived in Stansfield, while his son Geoffrey lived in Hartshead.

- Lancashire Archives DDTO
- Yorkshire Deeds Volume 5
- Calderdale Archives, Lister Family & Estate  Records SH1/DH/1459
- Wakefield Court Rolls
- Close Rolls
- Hebden Bridge Local History Society, Gibson bundle 12-1
- Plea Rolls, CP40 #629 & #758
- Chetham Raines Collection
- Deeds relating to Clifton KM.117
- History of the Family of Stansfeld
- History of Brighouse, Rastrick & Hipperholme


John came to hold lands in Stansfield, Wadsworth, Hartshead and Liversedge and in particular held Stansfield Hall and Hartshead Hall, the latter possibly having been being held previously by the Fleming family. He appears in records from 1416 to 1460.
In or about 1410, he is said to have married Mary, daughter of John Fleming of Wath, but there is no direct record of a marriage settlement nor other documentation of the marriage. The supposed date, without source, is proposed by Whitaker and also appears in John Burke's A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry published 1838 and A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Commoners of Great Britain published in 1836, both widely cited by Stansfield family researchers.

As a young man John lived in Hipperholme until the 1440s, as is shown by many of the records in which he appears, only moving to Hartshead after the death of his father, Ralph. The latest record to describe him as being of Hipperholme can be found in the Wakefield Court Roll of 1443: John Stansfeld of Hiprom surrendered the Royd in Sourbyshire to Thomas Wylkynson vicar of the church of Halifax and Thomas Stronger, capellanus.

(His ggf John de Stansfeld was named in the Extents of 1309 as one of the three under-lords of Hipperholme and, while not proven, evidence suggests that later generations continued as under-lords there.)


The first group of records below establishes some of the main facts regarding John:


Dated 1446, It is presented before Thos Haryngton, esq. seneschal of the king of Blakeburneshire that John Stansfeld of Hertisheued, co. York, gent, on Friday before the Nativity of the Virgin 25 Hen. VI at Habryngeham in a place called Thom place of Legh which John Clerk held of the king according to the custom of the manor took 6 oxen, 10 cows, one bull, one heifer and three calves price 10 pounds of Hugh Kesketh against the peace of the king (Lancashire Archves  DDTO O 12/110).

1450 John Stansfeld of Hertished, gentleman, was named by Nicholas Turton in a plea of debt. John was a co-defendant alongside John Grene of Osset, yeoman, and Robert Grene of Thurgurland, smith.


Having previously urged readers to do their own research, this is a good place to illustrate what you may find yourself faced with when it comes to original medieval records. The following is a fine example of an original deed in good condition. Nevertheless, as you can see, medieval script isn't the easiest thing to decipher, especially when it's in Latin. Fortunately it is accompanied by a brief summary which is in English and far more legible. The deed is a grant by William Flemyng the elder of Wath (brother of Mary Fleming who married this John Stancefeld) to John Stancefeld of Hertishede and Geffrey Stancefeld his son of rent amounting to £1.6s.8d from a house in Clyfton, dated 12 May 1460.
(Hebden Bridge Local History Society, Gibson bundle 12-1)

Note: the sum of £1.6s.8d may seem strange to those who can't remember 12 pence to the shilling and 20 shillings to the pound. But 6s.8d actually crops up quite frequently in early records - especially Wills - and is, quite simply, one third of a pound. It is often found when an exact number of pounds is divided equally between three people.


The next group of records all include one John de Rishworth, someone John Stansfeld must have been very close to over a long period of time.

(Below) The first record of this group is from the History of the Family of Stansfeld p114.


20 Jun 1456 Grant
1. Richard Pek, son of John Pek of Southowram

2. Nicholas Worteley, esquire, Thomas Wilkinson, Vicar of Halifax, John Sayvyl of Copley, John Ryshworth of Coldeley, and John Stansfeld

Property: all messuages and lands which he lately had of the grant of Nicholas Worteley, etc (Calderdale Archives SH:1/DH Lister Family of Shibden Hall Estate Records; Yorkshire Deeds vol 5 p138).

4 Jan 37 Henry VI (1458-9) Grant
Nicholas Wortley esquire, Thomas Wilkinson, Vicar of Halifax, John Sayvyl of Coplay, John Rysshworth of Coldley, and John Stansfeld to Thomas Neylson, citizen and merchant of York, of all messuages, lands, etc which he lately had of Richard Pek, in Southowram.
(Yorkshire Deeds, Volume 5 p138/9 #391; Calderdale Archives SH:1/DH Lister Family of Shibden Hall Estate Records)

Despite holding two manors and enjoying considerable status, John was no angel. The list of his misdemeanours is lengthy, varied, and extensively documented in the Wakefield Court Rolls. His appearances for trespass are as follows:

1418 John Stansfield son of Ralph gentleman, trespass and hunting (CP40 #629)
6 May 1434 Hipperholme, trespass WCR (YAS) vol 15 (1433-1436)
12 Oct 1434 Hipperholme, trespass WCR (YAS) vol 15 (1433-1436)
13 Nov 1434 Hipperholme, trespass WCR (YAS) vol 15 (1433-1436)
10 Dec 1434 Hipperholme, trespass WCR (YAS) vol 15 (1433-1436)
14 Jan 1435 Hipperholme, trespass WCR (YAS) vol 15 (1433-1436)
11 Feb 1435 probably Hipperholme WCR (YAS) vol 15 (1433-1436)
4 Mar 1435 Hipperholme, trespass WCR (YAS) vol 15 (1433-1436)
25 Mar 1435 Hipperholme, trespass WCR (YAS) vol 15 (1433-1436)
22 Apr 1435 Hipperholme, trespass WCR (YAS) vol 15 (1433-1436)
5 Jun 1435 Hipperholme, trespass WCR (YAS) vol 15 (1433-1436)
29 Aug 1439 Hipperholme. Suit between William Sharpp, plaintiff, and John Stancefeld, defendant. Plea of Trespass (History of the Family of Stansfeld p124)
And along the same lines:
19 Jun 1435 Hipperholme, sheep on common WCR (YAS) vol 15 (1433-1436)

John also appeared for assault on two occasions:
5 Oct 1416 Halifax Tourn. The panel present Ralph Stansfeld, John Stansfeld, John son of Ralph Stansfeld and R—(torn) Stansfeld, for making, at Halifax, on the 27th August, 4th Henry V [1416] an assault upon Richard Horrneclif and Thomas Horrneclif, shooting at them and drawing blood from the same Richard, and making a great affray. They are ordered to be attached.

The following can also be found, but this is probably John's uncle, also called John:
1424 Halifax Tourn. John Stansfeld of Sourbybrig (Sowerby Bridge) attached for an assault made on Sunday next after the Feast of the Ascension of our Lord, 2 Henry VI, on John Rigmayden and for a great affray against the peace.

John also sought wood and turf on other people's land:
1429 John Stansfeld amerced for cutting wood History of the Family of Stansfeld p124
12 Oct 1434 Northowram, cutting turf WCR (YAS) vol 15 (1433-1436)
19 Oct 1435 Northowram, cutting turf WCR (YAS) vol 15 (1433-1436)
19 Sept 1437 amerced for cutting underwood in Brynescoles, Hipperholme
24 April 1438 amerced for cutting underwood in Brynescoles, Hipperholme
22 April 1440 presented for cutting wood in Brynescoles, Hipperholme

Evidently, John felt able to defend himself on occasion as he is twice recorded as 'wagering his law' in court*:
1435 at Hipperholme, John Stansfield wagered his law WCR (YAS) vol 15 (1433-1436) p118
29 July 1435 John Stansfield wagered his law WCR (YAS) vol 15 (1433-1436) p121

*A defendant who elected to "wager his law" was permitted to make a statement, swear an oath that it was true, and present one or more individuals who swore that they believed he had told the truth under oath. This was the predominant form of defense in feudal courts,

Finally, at odds with his extensive record, he also served as a juror in one case:
13 Mar and 6 Jun 1431 at Wakefield, listed under Hipperholme, John Stansfeld was a juror in a suit between Richard Prestelay, plaintiff, and William Brodele, defendant.

My thanks to researcher Joanne Backhouse for her collaboration and guidance regarding the Stansfeld family and Calderdale.