Stansfeld surname

The first mention in documents of the time of the surname of Stansfeld is in an undated deed in Dodsworth MS:

John Talvas gave to Thomas his son, the forth part of the town of Skircoat, and the demesne land of Copley.

Witnesses: Jordan son of Essolf de Thornhill, Hugh de Eland, John son of Robert de Cromwelbotham, militibus, John son of Fergus de Stansfeld, (sic) [Roger de Stansfeld] and Andreae de Langfeld


This must have been written before 1194, as Jordan son of Essolf was dead in 1194.

Hamelyn Plantagenet, Earl Warren, succeeded in 1163 to the Manor of Wakefield and confirmed to (granted) Jordan son of Essolf, his inheritance in Sowerbyshire; and Jordan granted a fourth part of it to his brother Helias, and his heirs, and 7 oxgangs of land in Stansfeld, and in Rottenstall, to hold of Jordan and his heirs, as of the first begotten, by right of foreign service.

Jordan son of Essolf, was constable of Wakefield and lord of Stansfeld.

An undated deed – the original is lost, but there is a copy in the Bodleian Library - reads

I John son of Essolf grant Roger son of Warin and Amabella his (sic) [my] daughter five bovates of land in Stansfeld with the mill at the same township with (what is) fixed to the mill which with appurtenances (amount to)  seven bovates of land held in the manner of free marriage with wastes wood etc. rendering 15d annually.

Test. Jordan son of Essolf, Thomas brother of Whitwood, Eustace my son.

[Dodsworth MS 117 Fol 156]

This deed was witnessed by John's brothers Jordan and Thomas, the monk.

John appears in the Pipe Rolls in 1169 and 1170, Jordan appears in the Pipe Rolls of 1166.

Jordan was dead in 1194, so we can date the above deed to the mid 12th century.

Another Dodsworth MS dated 3rd Edward I [1274-5] states:

John de Thornhill held [40] oxgangs of land in Stansfeld and Wadsworth and rendered by year xs

The family of Thornhill descended from Jordan son of Essolf through his son, Richard.

From evidence gathered from extensive research, it is concluded that, in copying these two deeds, Roger Dodsworth, or his assistant, made two errors:

Another example of a slip by Roger Dodsworth, or more probably one of his assistants, can be seen in the entry for Henry de Stansfeld where he has copied the date of a grant as

10 December 9th Henry VI (1430-31) 

instead of

10 December 9th Henry VII (1493) 

It is possible that this error occurred later, when Dodsworth's Yorkshire Notes were published in 1884, though J. Horsfall Turner, who copied the error, said that he used Dodsworth's MSS

© Malcolm Bull 2021
Revised 15:24 / 24th May 2021 / 6111

Page Ref: X299

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