Bramley Grange

From the Domesday Book:
In Brameleia 2 curacates (about 120 acres) of land to the geld (tax). There is land for one plough.

Land to the geld is land on which tax was charged.

Soon after 1086 Bramley became the property of the Mowbray’s.

Bramley (Bramleia) was granted to the monks of Fountains Abbey by Swain de Tornet (?Thornet) who had been sold the property by Roger De Mowbray. The Chartulary (Abbey record of land transactions) does not record the date but this must have been before 1188 because Roger died in that year. Pavia daughter of Swain de Thornet quitclaimed any claim that she might have had to the property “And because she has done this of her own free will the Church of Fountains has given her 40 sheep”.

Roger confirmed this transfer of title in exchange for two marks per year. William de Mowbray his Grandson eventually released the monks of their duty to make this payment.

Note: Roger de Mowbray , Earl of Northumberland died in Palestine on his second visit during the third Crusade in 1188.

There were a number of disputes in the early years between the Mowbray’s and the Monks over the boundaries of Bramley and the rights they had retained to hunt in the forest around Bramley Grange. The settlement of these is described in the Fountains Chartulary which you will find quoted below.

Bramley Grange was an important grange farm of Fountains Abbey.
Follow this link to learn how a grange was organised. By the middle of the fourteenth century Fountains was moving increasingly into dairy farming and Bramley Grange was one of the more important dairy granges.

There is strong evidence that Bramley Grange has been in dairy farming for almost 700 years.

Bramley Grange

This is a picture of Bramley Grange taken in August 2006 from Grewelthorpe Moor, top of Wreaks Lane.

The Granges Started to be leased out

Fountains Abbey probably held All its granges in direct production in the late thirteenth century, but like many northern houses it suffered particular financial problems because of the damage to its estates sustained during the Scottish wars, and it was for this reason that the monks sought permission in 1336 to lease three of the abbey granges to lay persons. By 1363 fifteen out of twenty-three granges of Fountains were leased to tenants.

Monastic and Religious Orders in Britain, 1000-1300, Janet Burton pp256Latin licence to lease Bramlay Grange

In fact the original latin licence to the Abbot of Fountains, allowing the letting of the granges to lay people, roughly translated talks of very hostile attacks by the Scots which caused “great inconvenience, pestilence, death, and tempest upon the people of Bramlay” and seven other named granges and states that the buildings of the granges are in a state of collapse and that the land is infertile. A large army of Scots came through this area in 1319 plundering and destroying as they went.

We have found a reference to a lease in 1361 of Bramley Grange having been leased to Robert de Well and 3 others for £6 13s 4d per annum by Fountains Abbey. This is unusual as payment was more usually paid in livestock, cheese and butter.

The grange was later run by William Man and his family.

Sir Richard Gresham purchased a large part of the lands of Fountains from Henry VIII on 1 October 1540, it would appear that this included Bramley Grange as his son Sir Thomas Gresham had it in his estate in 1575.

Another branch of the family resided at Bramley Grange, in the parish, of Kirkby-Malzeard, which William Man kept for the Convent as early as the year 1481. In 1524, John Man held that office, and in the same year I find that an allowance of l4d. was made to him for as many loads—probably horse-loads—of coals which, were bought at Healey. In. 1540 Edward Man and Agnes his wife were the tenants there. It was the estate of Sir Thos. Gresham in 1575 but was purchased not long after, either by William Man—whose monumental effigy may be seen on a small brass in Kirkby church—or by his son, and their descendants continued to maintain a gentilitial position there until the reign of Queen Anne. Members, however, of a younger branch of the family resided at Grewelthorpe, in the same parish, in the present century.

Memorials of Fountains Abbey pp243

The Mann family were still farming in the area in 1841
A William Mann appears in the 1841 Census living in Gill Cottage Grewelthorpe, a farmer aged 50, living with Wife Elizabeth and seven children William 20, Roberta 15, George 13, Jane 11, Thomas 9, Hannah 7 and Bellwood 4.

Anthony Mann also is in the 1841 Census living in Grewelthorpe, a farmer aged 50. In his household were Frances Lofthouse aged 35(I think her occupation says FS perhaps Farm Servant), Joseph Ashby aged 15 Agricultural Labourer and Margaret Ashby aged 12 who was presumably his sister.

Other references:Williams, Cistercians in the Early Middle Ages, p. 284, Bond, Monastic Landscapes, p. 55.