History of Cawthorne/Derivation and Early History
It is Hunter's remark, at the beginning of his notice of Cawthorne, that " various attempts have been made, but with little success, to "explain the Origin of this name." It is given as "Caltorne" in the most ancient record in which the name is found, the Domesday Book. Taking the last syllable of the word as it is spelt in later times, an understanding the word thorne to generally mean "marshy land," Hunter can see no connection, he says, between such a meaning and "the side of a dry eminence fronting the north," which is " the "situation of the vill of Cawthorne." He mentions that "some one has said that thorne is an ancient "word answering to the Latin castellum," but he evidently looks upon this explanation unsupported by any evidence with great suspicion. He adds, "The same writer who makes thorne have "the meaning of castellum regards the Cal of its ancient form as a "contraction of the Anglo-Saxon cald."
It has been suggested to me by one of the greatest Anglo-Saxon authorities of the present day, that we may "conceivably" find the derivation of Cawthorne, through its earlier form of Caltorne, in Calt, representing the Anglo-Saxon cald (-cold), and -orne, a later spelling of ern (-house, or building).The name of Caldern, Caltorne, Cawthorne, the vowel a having the same pronunciation in each word, would then be analagous to "Coldharbour," a later way of expressing the same idea of "a housewherein no man dwelt." Compounds of -ern," says the authority, " were liable to get spelt ii) time with orn or horn A palmary example is Whitehorn, in Galloway, of which name we have the best information. Beda tells us that it meant " Candida Casa," i.e., "White House," " being made of Hwit-white, and ern-house." It is not to be expected that any mention should be found of Cawthorne earlier than that of the Conqueror's great National Survey, which was commenced in 1085, and completed about 1086.
The country around Cawthorne at the time of the Norman Conquest would be for the most part covered with woods and thickets on the higher ground, and with marshes on the lower, while the hand of man was gradually extending the clearings round the site of our present neighbouring villages and hamlets, which are all of them mentioned in the Survey.
In making that Survey, the King's commissioners were directed to impannel a jury in each Hundred or Wapentake, who were to declare on oath the extent and nature of every estate within its boundary; the name of its owner; the nature of its tenure; the quantity of pasture, arable, and wood land; its value before the Conquest, in the time of Edward the Confessor; its value at that present time; and also what payments were due from it to the Crown.
The account of the Manor of Cawthorne would be given by the jury impannelled in the Wapentake of Staincross. The old Deira, the Latinized British "Dour," of the Kingdom of Northumbria, had by this time become the County of Yorkshire, with its three greater divisions of "Trithings," since corrupted into " Ridings," and with all its lesser divisions of "Wapentakes," so called most probably from the old custom of touching (tac-touch) arms or weapons, when the hundreder or high constable of the district entered upon his office. The Stone Cross of the accustomed meeting-place the moot-of this division, in or near the present village of Stain-cross, gave origin to its name, no doubt, as the "Wapentake of Staincross," as some Cross of St Oswald (642 A.D.) gave its name to the neighbouring "Wapentake of Osgodcross." Hunter remarks, "By thus assembling at the Foot of the Cross, there was a tincture of religion diffused through the conduct of the civil affairs of the time."
The following is a full translation of the report on the Manor of Cawthorne, as given in the "Dom Boc," commonly called the Domesday Book, which is now preserved, since 1696, in the Chapter House, Westminster, having been formerly deposited in Winchester Cathedral.
- "Staincross Wapentac.
- Manor. In Caltorne Ailric had three carucates of land to be "taxed, and there may he two ploughs there ("poss. ibi esse").
- "The same has it now of Ilbert : himself two ploughs there and four "villanes with two ploughs. There is a Priest and a Church "(" Ibi presbyter Cet ecclesia"). Wood pasture two miles long and "two broad. The whole Manor three miles long and two broad. "Value in King Edward's time, forty shillings ; now, twenty shillings.
- "To this Manor belongs Silchestone (Silkstone), one carucate "and a half; Holant (High Hoyland), six oxgangs ; Clactone "(Clayton West), six oxgangs. That is, three carucates of land to
be taxed, and there may be two ploughs there."
The "carucate" of land here mentioned was probably no fixed number of acres, but variously estimated according to the quality of the land at from sixty to one hundred and twenty acres; the "oxgang" or "bovate," being as much land as could be worked by one ox, was the eighth part of a "carucate;" the "villanes," or villeins (from vill- village). were an order of tenants holding under the lord, born upon and transferred with their lord's estate, and bound by their tenure to perform what were called villain services, ignoble in their nature and indeterminate in their degree.
The mile of Domesday Book was about one and a half of our present miles: the shilling, it need hardly be said, many times the value of the shilling of the present day. A "manor" was so called a manendo, as being the usual residence of the owner. William the Conqueror divided such parts of England as did not belong to the Church and were not reserved for himself into seven hundred baronies or great fiefs, which he bestowed upon his particular friends, and on those who had most assisted him in his work of conquest. These baronies were subdivided into upwards of sixty thousand knight's fees, which usually consisted of about two carucates of land [120-240acres], and which were held from the King's immediate tenants on specified conditions of homage, fealty, &c.
In the first year after the Conquest, the Manor of Cawthorne passed from the hands of the Saxon Ailric into those of the Norman Ilbert de Laci, who held a hundred and sixty-four manors in Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, and Nottinghamshire, and whose lands in Yorkshire alone fill no less than seven pages of the Domesday Book. His estates formed what was known in later times as the "Honour of Pontefract," and included about one hundred and fifty-six townships. There is what Hunter calls "a beautiful history" of this de Laci family in Dr. Whittaker's "History of Whalley:" and, in that marvellous monument of human industry, the Dodsworth manuscripts, in the Bodleian Library at Oxford, there is a history of this family's Religious Foundations, which Dodsworth, who died in 1654, has marked as having been given to him by a John Stanhope, Esq. "Historia Fund ationum diversorum Monasteriorum et "ecclesiarum per nobilissimam Laceiorum Familiam: Ex dono "Johis Stanhope, Armi." These six pages (Dodsw. MSS.157) are somewhat mutilated, and are continued in 'another handwriting, to show the connection of the de Laci family in later times with Henry VI. (See Dodsw. MSS., vol. II., p. 52 also Rawlinson MSS. (Bodleian) Libr. C., "4, 5," or 57, 8).
The Saxon resident at Cawthorne, with all his surrounding dependents, was not otherwise interferred with at the Norman Conquest of 1066 than by a change of tenure, which substituted for the freedom of an independence, which only acknowledged the sovereignty of the King, the new obligations of a feudal lord's tenant, which would not press upon him with any great severity. As the tenant of Ilbert de Laci, Ailric would still be, to use the expression of much recent times, the great resident squire of the neighbourhood, exercising his power and influence over it according to the manners and customs of his day.
With some knowledge of Anglo-Saxon life in the middle of the eleventh century, and of what this part of the country must have been with its woods and thickets and marshes, and its scattered villages with their surrounding clearings, it would not be difficult to re-people this neighbourhood in imagination with its Saxon lord and his family, still in virtually independent possession of his vast estates extending from Ingbirchworth in the West, to Brierley in the East, surrounded by numerous dependents holding land of him in the various hamlets round, himself a man of many noble qualities and much manly energy, neither free from the vices common to his times, nor yet altogether careless of his duties and responsibilities as a Christian and a landlord. It is to these Anglo-Saxon forefathers that we owe some of our national better qualities, and nearly all those great religious, civil, and political institutions, which are still influencing in their altered form our common national life.