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THE SLEIGHS

of Pilsbury & Broadmeadow

What follows here is the latest installment of research into the families of the area provided by Kay Gregory, one of the TFIG volunteers.

There are several family/ ancestry type websites which give early dates for the Sleigh family of Pilsbury but as I have been unable to substantiate these dates (so far|) I’ve not included them in this account.  However, it is clear that the Sleigh’s were living in the Pilsbury area before the 16th century.  I will include at the end some notes taken from Arthur Sleigh’s book “ the Sleighs of Derbyshire and beyond” but he uses two 19th century references which I haven’t seen so I can’t comment on their accuracy.

  • The Will of Thomas Harrison (1634)
    1. In the name of God Amen The Fourteenth daie 2. Of Januarie in the Tenth yeare of the reigne of our Sovereigne Lord Charles by 3. the grace of God King of England Scotland France and Ireland defender of the 4. faith etc Anno d[omin]i one thousand six hundred thirtie foure I Thomas Harrison 5. of Glutton in the parish of Hartington in the Countie of Derby yeoman sicke in 6. bodie but sound and perfect in memorie Thanks bee given unto God for the same 7. knowing that death is a thing most certayne and the tyme thereof most uncertayne 8. doe therefore declare and make this my last Will and Testament in manner and forme 9. following First and principally I bequeth and com[m]end my soule into the hands of 10. Almighty God my Creator Jesus Christ my Redeemer and the Holy Ghost my 11. Comforter And my bodie to the Earth to bee buried there to remayne until the generall 12. daie of Gods Last Judgement And I stedfastly beleeve through the meritts of Christs 13. passion to be raysed up againe with my bodie and soule to life everlasting And for and 14. concerning the disposing and distributing of my worldlie goods chattells ______and such 15. other things as Almighty God hath endowed me withall my will and mynde so _____ I give 16. and bequeth unto my grandchild Thomas Harrison sonne of Robert Harrison lately 17. deceased the some of Twentie poundes of lawfull money of England which is oweing _____ 18. by Thomas Cooke of Onecote Item I give and bequeth unto the rest of my Grandchildren 19. everie one of them tenne shillings Item I give devise and bequeth unto Thomas Harrison 20, my sonne All my messuages and lands lying and being within the Barony of Longnor 21. in the Countie of Stafford for and dureing the terme of his naturall life And after his 22. decease unto William Harrison my Grandchild second sonne of him the said Thomas his 23. heires and assignes for ever Item I give devise and bequeth unto the said Thomas Harrison 24. my sonne All my houseing and lands situate lyeing and being in Buxton in the said 25. Countie of Derby to have and to hold to him his heires and Assignes forever Item after the 26. end and expiration of one whole year next comeing after the death and decease of me the said 27. Thomas Harrison and Elizabeth my wife I give devise and bequeth unto the 28. said Thomas Harrison my sonne All my messuage and lands thereunto belonging called 29. Glutton wherein I now live for and dureing all such terme and tyme as shall be therein then 30. to come and unexpired Item after that my debts Legacies and funerall expenses been discharged 31. and paid and I honestlie brought here As the rest of my goods chattells and debts that can or 32. may be proved I give and bequeth unto Elizabeth my said wife John Harrison my sonne and 33. Jane Harrison my daughter to bee equallie devyded amongst them Item I appoint and nomynate 34. the said Elizabeth my wife the sole Executrix of this my last will and Testament to see the same 35. performed as my trust in God and her And I hereby revoke renounce repeale and forsake 36. all former wills testaments legacies bequethes and executors whatsoever by me heretofore 37. at any tyme made willed nomynated devised or appointed in testimony whereof I have 38. and hereunto putt my hand and seale the daie and year first above written Signum et Sigillum 39. dict? Testator These being Wittnesses Thomas Braddock Richard Dale George Goodwynson
  • The Will of Ralph Sleigh of Broadmeadow (1688)
    (Transcribed from Find My Past) In the Name of God Amen The eighteenth daie of April in the third Yeare of the Raigne of our Sov[er]aigne Lord James the Second by the grace of God of England Scotland France And Ireland kinge Defend[er] of the Faith etc. Anno D[om]in[i] 1687 I Ralph Sleigh of Broadmeadow in the parishe Of Sheene and countie of Stafford gentleman somethinge diseased in bodie but of sound mind and perfect memory praised Bee almighty god therefore knowing and considering the uncertaintie of this mortall life and that all flesh must yield unto death when it shall please god to call Doe make ordaine and declare this my last will and Testament In manner and form following First and principally I commit my soule into the hands of almighty god my creator And to Jesus Christ my Redeemer in and through whose merritts I trust to have eternall life and my bodie to bee Buried in the chancell of the parishe church of Sheene aforesaid as near as conveniently may be to the place where My First wife was laid And as concerninge my worldly estate both reall and personall I doe order give and Dispose of as followeth. It is my will and mind that all such debts as I owe to anie p[er]son or p[er]sons be well & Truly satisfied and paied and for paiem[en]t thereof my will and mind is and I give and demise unto Elizabeth my Lovinge wife and my very loving nephew Thomas Endon their heires & assignes for ever all these Two Severall messuages or tenem[en]ts hereafter mentioned that is to say one messuage or tenem[en]t scytuate standinge and beinge At Wterhouses in the said countie of Stafford and houses edifices buildings closes landes tenem[en]ts comons and Appurten[an]ces thereunto belonginge and all that messuage or tenem[en]t stytuate standinge and beinge at Ov[er] Whytle In the said countie of Stafford late the inheritance of Ralph Sterndale, and all houses edifices buildings closes Lands tenem[en]ts comons proffitts and apputten[an]ces thereunto belonginge and my very will is that the said messuages( difficult to see but I think it must be plural ) Landes and tenem[en]ts before menc[i]oned shall by the said Elizabeth my wife and the said Thomas Endon be sould soe Soon as conveniently may be after my Decease for paim[en]t of my debts and towards discharging the legacies Hereafter in this my will bequethed (the previous phrase is on the fold of the doc and difficult to read but this makes sense) Item I Give and demise unto the said Elizabeth my wife and the said Thomas Endon so much of my goodes and debts in the countie of Yorke as will amount unto the sume of Three Hundred Poundes towards the further discharge of my debts legacies and funerall expenses Item I give and demise unto My lovinge wife and the said Thomas Endon all the rest and Residue of my p[er]sonall whatsoever for full and absolute Satisfactionof my debts and legacies Item I give and bequeth unto Elizabeth my Daughter the sume of Two Hundred poundes to be paied to her within twelve months next after my decease Item I Give & bequeth unto Samuel my son the sume of Fiftie poundes to bee paied to him within twelve months next after my decease Item I give and bequeth unto my daughter Jane the sume of two hundred poundes to bee paied to her When she shall attain the age of Four and twentie yeares Item I give and bequeth unto my son Ralph The sume of one hundred and fiftie poundes to bee paied to himwhen he shall attain the age of Foure & twentie yeares Item I give and bequeth unto my son Edward the sume of one hundred and fiftie poundes to bee paied to him when he Shall attain the age of Foure and twentie yeares Item I give and bequeth unto my son Hugh the sume of One hundred and fiftie poundes to bee paied to him when he shall attain the age of Foure and twentie yeares And further my will and mind is that if it happen that any of my said sixe children depart this naturall life before their said Porc[i]on bee paied or shall beeRespectively due that then such the porc[i]on legacie of the deceased chyld or children Shall bee paied unto such of my said sonnes as shall bee then livinge equally amongst them at what tyme the same sume Of money should or ought to have been paied if such the then Dec[eas]ed child or children had beem livinge Item I give and demise to Gervase Sleigh my eldest sonne his heires and assignes for ever all those severall messuages Landes tenem[en]ts and houses (this word is barely legible ) hereafter particularly menc[i]oned (The dower of the said Elizabeth my wife excepted) That is To say all that messuage (damaged word so guessed from the part I could see) at Broadmeadow wherein I now dwell And all houses edifices buildings barnes Stables closes landes tenem[en]ts comons and hereditam[en]ts thereunto belonginge and all those landes and groundes lyinge Beyond Mort-Hey in the saide parishe of Sheene called the Demesne lande with all their Rights member & App[ur]ten[an]ce And Alsoe all that messuage or tenem[en]t called Nether Whytle scytuate and beinge in the said parishe of Sheene and County of Stafford and now in the tenure of me the testat[or] and John Hinchcliffe and all Closes landes tenem[en]ts and Hereditam[en]ts thereunto belonginge And all that close or p[ar]cell of inclosed land lyinge and beinge in the parishe of Hartington In the countie of Derbie called the _______ ( this name is almost completely blacked out) provided and it is my will that if default bee made of paim[en]t of the said sume Of Three Hubdred poundes in this will before menc[i]oned beinge goodes and debts within the countie of Yorke That then the said Elizabeth my wife and the said Thomas Endon their Exec[utors] or _________ shall have hould and Enjoy and take all and ev[er]ie the profitts of the said land and groundes called the Demesne landes and the said Close or p[ar]cell of inclosed land called the Oxclose within one yeare next after my Decease until they have Had and received out of the profitts thereof the full sume of three Hundred poundes anything before in this I’ve looked at this angain nd I think this is the right transcription) My will to the contrary not withstandinge Iem it is my will and mind that after my debts legacies and funerall Expenses bee paied and discharged that the overplus of the money to bee raised out of the said messuages landes And tenem[en]ts at Waterhouses and O[er] Whytle together with my personall estate shall bee distributed by my said wife At her own Discretion among my Children and lastly I ordaine and Appoint and make the said Elizabeth my Deare wife and the said Thomas Endon my nephew executo[r]s of this my present last will and testament Hopeinge they will p[er]forme the same according to the trust I have and doe in them Repose In Witness whereof I the said Ralph Sleigh to this my last will contained in Two sheets have to the First Putt my hand and to this latter sheet put my hand and seale the daie and yeare first above written Sealed and signed and published Ralph Sleigh (signature plus seal) In the presence of Raphe White Ra Sleigh John \froggat ________ 29 March 1688
  • Pilsbury
    1531 – The first date which I can verify is 1531 when 3 indentures are listed in the Talbot papers held in Lambeth Palace Library, relating to Pilsbury and dated 23 Henry VIII (i.e. the 23rd year of Henry’s reign, 1531) between the Slee family of Pilsbury and the Abbott of Merivale Abbey. The first is an undated fragment which may have been quite early between James Slee and Merivale Abbey, therefore James must be a Slee of Pilsbury since Merivale owned the land at Pilsbury. The second between Hugh Slee, husbandman, and Abbott William Arnold of Merivale Abbey is for the lease of land in Pilsbury and the third between Nicholas Slee of Pilsbury and William Abbott of Merivale is also for lease of land in Pilsbury. I haven’t been able to confirm the relationship between Hugh and Nicholas, they may be brothers. This definitely places the Sleighs (Slees) in the Upper Dove valley in the earth 16th century and almost certainly in the late 15th. The Slees had the lease on these monastic lands at the time of the Dissolution but there is no evidence yet of what happened after 1538. I think that they will have continued as before with the Earls of Shrewsbury as overlords of the manor though as Peter Featherstone comments “ the Sleighs continued to farm at Pilsbury but instead of a lax monastic landlord they had the rather more formidable Bess of Hardwick to contend with”. (Bess’s fourth husband was the 6th Earl of Shrewsbury so she would almost certainly have had an interest in the Pilsbury lands.) 1533 – Nicholas Sleigh is cited as co-defendant in a complaint put before the Court of Chancery by Roger Horobin (known informally as ‘dodgy Roger’ by the group!) claiming that Nicholas and William Horobin had “wrongfully entered the premises” and taken papers from Whitle and “ expulsed and put him out”. 1553 – a Nicholas Sleigh is named as overseer of the Will and Inventory of William Horobyn of Sheen. I feel inclined to believe that these are the same two cited in the earlier court case and this would seem to indicate a close connection between the two families, maybe as two of the more influential families in the area.
  • Broadmeadow
    The Victoria County History states that Broadmeadow Hall, Sheen, came to the Sleighs via their connection with the Rileys. Hugh Sleigh married Ellen (Helen) Riley thus acquiring Broadmeadow while Thomas Sleigh had married Margaret Riley but, again, I haven’t been able to establish the relationship between Hugh and Thomas or Ellen and Margaret. There are mentions of Thomas inheriting Brund through Margaret but as I haven’t found a concrete reference to this (I’m sure there is but I need to keep looking) it’s not possible to be sure. We know that the Rileys owned Brund as well as Broadmeadow so perhaps Ellen inherited Broadmeadow and Margaret Brund. However, by 1573 Hugh Sleigh was definitely in possession of Broadmeadow as at the Court Baron of George Earl of Shrewsbury (the Shrewsbury’s were overlords of Sheen Manor) Hugh and Helen Sleigh surrendered ‘le Broadmeadowe’ into the hands of the queen and it was regranted to the use of them during their lives and then to the use of Richard Sleigh, their son. At this point things become a little complicated: 1578 – a charge was laid against Hugh Sleigh at the Manor Court of Hartington and he is referred to as “of Broadmeadow” so he was definitely in possession of the property at this point 1581 – Hugh granted tenure of le Mear Dole for 21 years, sublet from William Mottram – Hugh is expanding his holdings. (TNA DL 30/51/631 – see final report). 1581/3 – Roger Perivall (Percival?) requests possession of “ all the messuage, lands, tenements and hereditaments with all and singular its appurtenances” called “le Broadmeadowe” of which his father, Roger, had died seised. After 3 proclamations without challenge possession was delivered to Roger. ((TNA DL 30/51/631) As Simon points out in his report this must mean that Hugh had sublet Broadmeadow, or part of it, to the Percivals but it’s hard to fathom why he would do so at the time when he seems to be expanding his property holdings by taking a lease on Le Mear Dole. May, 1600 – Roger Percival at the Great court of the Queen, Sheen, surrendered into the hands of the queen “one messuage or tenement called le Broadmeadowe” and all the houses, buildings, gardens, lands tenements etc pertaining to it “now or late in the tenure of the aforesaid Roger Percival to the use of Richard Sleigh his heirs and assigns forever”. However, it appears that part of the property had been sublet further since Roger Wulley and his wife “came to the court and claimed a third part of the moiety of the said messuage” for their lives and it was granted to them (TNA DL 30/52/648). Nov 1600 – le Broadmeadowe, described as being “now and lately in the several occupations of the aforesaid Roger, Richard Sleigh, Lawrence Wulley and Helen his wife” was surrendered yet again by Roger and Margaret Percival to the use of Richard Sleigh and his heirs forever, and surrendered also “all right, title, interest, estate, claim and demand of Roger and Margaret of and in the premises”. This could be a usual quitclaim clause but it’s interesting that Roger and Margaret are named specifically and that Margaret was questioned in secret – was there some reluctance on her part or was this again a custom of the manor? It could be, as in 1573 when Hugh and Helen Sleigh surrendered Broadmeadow they were “individually examined according to the custom of the manner”. Still, the pointed mention of Roger and Margaret surrendering their claim to the property does suggest some degree of unwillingness on their part. 1603 – Seisin granted to Richard Sleigh (TNA DL 30/53/652) This seems to be the end of the compicated sublettings of Broadmeadow though there are still a few surrenders and regranting of the property. 1609 – Hugh Sleigh died so Richard as his heir finally inherits Broadmeadow. 1615 – Great Court Baron of the king, Sheene manor, – Richard surrendered Broadmeadow with all appurtenances and lands to the king to the use of himself and after his death to his nephew, Gervase, son of Ralph Sleigh. Seisein delivered to Gervase. (TNA DL30/53/659) The Will of Richard Sleigh, 1620 (final report pages 84/5 for transcript) Richard’s will provided an invaluable starting point from which to construct a family tree for he lists his siblings and several of their children. (updated family tree at end of document). He has “noe yssue of my bodie lawfully begotten” for which reason his nephew Gervase is to inherit Broadmeadow along with the Oxe Close (purchased from Sir Robert Nedham) so that it “shall remaine and continue in the lyne and blood of the Sleighs”. This desire to hold on to land and property is somewhat in contrast to the letting and subletting of Broadmeadow earlier. His brothers Ralph, John and Gervase all receive bequests as do all his nephews and neices. The bequests are not huge but do indicate a fairly well off family and one which is acquiring property beyond the Sheen area. Of his brothers we know that Raphe already had Nether Waterhouses from his marriage to Elizabeth Manifold and it may be that Gervase moved to the Derby area (see later section).
  • The Will of Richard Sleigh of Broadmeadow (1620)
    Last will and testament of Richard Sleigh of Broadmeadow, yeoman. 17 August 1620. (The National Archives PROB 11/136/348. This copy taken from Final Report Peeling Back the Layers by Dr Simon Harris ) [Marginated] Testamentum: Richardi Sleigh In the name of God Amen the seaventeenth daye of August in the yeare of our Lord god one thowsand six hundered and twentye I Richard Sleigh of the Broademeadowe in the parishe of Sheene in the Countye of Stafford yeoman som what weake in bodie but of sound and perfect memorye (the Lord be praysed) knowinge the certainetye of deathe and the tyme therof most uncertaine and therfore not minded to dye intestate doe publishe ordaine and make this my last will and testament in manner and forme followinge First and principallye I comend my soule into the handes of almightie god my maker and Creatour and to Jesus Christe my saviour and most mercifull Redeemer by whose onelye I trust and stedfastlye beleeve to have remission and pardon of all my sinnes And my bodye I comitt to the earth from whence it came Item whereas I have purchased to me and my heires for ever of Sir Robert Nedham of Shavington in the countye of Salop knight one Close or pasture called the Oxe close containinge five acres of lande be yt more or lesse together with threeskore sheepe gates in through and uppon the mores and Comons belonginge to the same lyinge and beinge at Nedham Graunge in the parishe of Hartington in the Countye of Derbye Soe havinge noe yssue of my bodie lawfullye begotten and being minded that the said Close or pasture and sheepe gates shall remaine and continue in the lyne and blood of the Sleighes I therefore give graunt and confirme unto Gervase Sleigh my nephewe and eldest sonne of Raphe Sleighe my brother the said close or pasture called the Oxe close the said threeskore sheepe gates and all houses commodities and hereditamentes whatsoever to the same belonginge or in any wise appertaininge with thappurtenances And all deedes writinges and evidences touchinge and concerninge the same To have and to hould the said close or pasture the said threeskore sheepe gates and all other the premisses with thappurtenances to the said Gervase his heires and assignes to the sole and proper use of the said Gervase his heires and assignes for ever Item I give to Gervase Sleighe my brother twentie poundes Item I give unto John Sleighe my brother five poundes over and besides all such somes of money as he oweth unto me Item I give unto Richard Sleighe sonne of the said John five poundes Item I give unto Joane Sleighe daughter of the said John fortie poundes Item I give unto my cosin John Mosselye alias Slighe fouer poundes Item I give unto everie one that I am unckle unto Twentye shillinges a peece Item I give unto Richard Sleighe my nephewe nowe dwellinge With me One fether bedd the best One Matterisse beinge also the best foure best blanckettes, three paire of sheetes foure Coverlettes One boulster and twoe pillowes Item I give unto Elizabeth Sleighe wife of Gervase Sleighe my nephewe fortie foure shillinges Item I give unto Marie Sleighe youngest daughter of Ralphe Sleighe my brother and for Hellen Sleighe daughter of the said Gervase twoe of my best brasse pannes to be devided betweene them Item I give to the said Richard Sleighe last named my best Cheste or Cofer Item I give unto the said Gervase Sleighe my nephew all my weanes yokes ploughes harrowes all my iron and woodden wares and husbandrie wares and ymplementes of husbandrie and all my house hould goodes togeather withall my white meate Flesge at the rooffe and weale and my malte all my woll Item I give unto the said Gervase Fortie poundes which Richard Harris hathe received from me at the handes of the said Gervase uppon a certaine mortgage of a house and a lease within the Lordshippe of Ashford in the Countye of Derbye Item I give unto Bridgett Hall my servaunte twentye shillinges if she be dwellinge with me at my decease Item my debtes legacyes and funerall expences beinge paid and discharged I give unto Raphe Sleighe my brother all and singular the rest of my goodes Cattells and Chattells of whatsoever nature propertie or kinde the same are Item I constitute ordeine and make the said Raphe Sleighe my brother the sole Executor of this my last will and testament to execute the same accordinge to the true meaninge herof Item I appointe and hartelye desire Gervase Sleighe my said brother John Froggatt my nephewe Gervase Sleighe my said Nephewe and John Mossaley alias Sleighe my nephew to be Overseers of this my will. In Wittnes wheare of I have hereunto putt my hand and sealle in the presence of John Frogatt, John Chicklowe and Humfre Godwyn signum dicti testatores. Probatum fuit testamentum supra scriptum apud London coram Domino Johanne Benett milite legum doctore Curie Prerogative Cantuariensis magistro Custode sive Comissario legitime constituto vicesimo sexto die mensis Octobris Anno Domini Millesimo sexcentesimo vicesimo Juramento Radulphi Sleighe fratris naturalis et legitimi dicti defuncti et executoris in eodem testamento nominati Cui Comiss’ fuit administracio bonorum iurium et creditorum dicti defuncti de bene et fideliter administrand’ et cetera vigore Commissionis alias in ea parte emanat’ Jurat’ examinatur
  • The Will of Elizabeth Sleigh (1632)
    Elizabeth was the daughter of Arthur Manifold of Nether Waterhouses. She married Ralph Sleigh, who was the brother of Richard Sleigh of Broadmeadow Hall. Ralph and Elizabeth lived at Nether Waterhouses all their life, with their eldest son Gervais taking over Broadmeadow. Gervais’ son Ralph would inherit Broadmeadow in turn. Elizabeth seems to have been quite a shrewd business woman independently buying and leasing farms after her husband’s death. Names only spelt as they are in the document. Elizabeth Sleigh ( Manifold) 20/06/1632 In the name of God Amen. The twentieth day of June Anno Dom one thousand six hundred and thirty two and in the eighth year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord Charles by grace of God King of England, Scotland, France and Ireland defender of the faith. I Elizabeth Sleigh of Neather Waterhouses, in the parish of Alstonfield, in the county of Stafford, widow, somewhat sick and diseased in body but of good an perfect remembrance, thanks be given unto God, knowing the certainty of death and the time thereof most uncertain not willing to die untestated do ordain and make my last will and testament in manner and form following. Imprimis I commit and bequeath my soul to Almighty God my creator, and Jesus Christ, my redeemer through whose merits I steadfastly believe to have immortality and life everlasting. Item My will and mind is that my body (is/be?) buried in the chancel of Alstonfield. Item I give and bequeath all my housing and lands, situte, lying and being at Ridgend, in the parish of Shene. in the county aforesaid, which I lately purchased off one Richard Milward , unto Thomas Sleigh my son, his heirs and assigns forever. To the only use and behalf of Thomas Sleigh, his heirs and assigns. Item I give, bequeath and assign all my houses and lands situate, lying and being at Poole, within the said parish of Sheene, which I hold under the demise and grant of one Thomas Milward , unto the same Thomas Sleigh, my son, his executors and assigns for and during all such time and term of years as I have to come in the same. Item I give and bequeath unto my daughter in law Elizabeth, wife of the said Thomas, an even twenty shillings piece of gold. Item Whereas my son Gervas Sleigh lately owed my one hundred and twenty pounds, whereof he hath paid me forty pounds, I give an bequeath unto the same Gervas the sum of forty pounds being the half part of the sum of four score pounds remaining unpaid by the said bill. Item I give and bequeath unto the same Gervas five silver spoons. Item I give and bequeath unto my daughter in law Elizabeth, wife if the said Gervas, an even twenty shillings piece in gold. Item I give and bequeath unto my grandchild Raph Sleigh son of the said Gervas, twenty shillings. I give and bequeath unto five more of my grandchildren being the children of the said Gervas, my son, every one of them ten shillings to be paid immediately after my decease. Item Whereas my son in law John Woodhouse lately owed me the sum of one hundred pounds by bond, whereas he hath paid fifty pounds I give and bequeath unto the said Joh Woodhouse the sum of twenty and five pounds being the half part of the fifty pounds remaining unpaid of the same Bond. Item I give unto Dorothie, my daughter, wife of the said John Woodhouse, two even twenty shilling pieces of gold. Item I give unto the same Dorothie five silver spoons and my best stuff petticoat. Item I give and bequeath unto my grandchild John Woodhouse, son of the said John Woodhouse, the sum of twenty shillings. I give and bequeath unto four more of my grandchildren, being the children of the said John Woodhouse, every one of them ten shillings to be paid unto them immediately after my decease. Item I give and bequeath unto my grandchild Dorothie Machin, daughter of John Machin, the sum of thirteen pounds six shillings and eight pence of lawful money of England to be employed by my executors when she comes to the age of sixteen years until she shall accomplish the full age of twenty and one years. Item I give and bequeath unto five more of my grandchildren, being the children of the said John Machin, every one of them ten shillings to be paid unto them immediately after my decease. Item I give and bequeath unto John Manifould, my brother, and Katerine Willson, wife of Robert Willson, my sister, either of them ten shillings if they chance to survive and overlive me. Item I give and bequeath unto Marie Sleigh, my daughter, the sum of one hundred pounds of lawful money of England. Item I give and bequeath unto the same Mary, my daughter, two of my best feather beds, my best mattress, my best bedhilling (bed covers/quilt), six coverlets , six blankets, ten pairs of sheets, two new bolsters, two pillows, four pillow beres (pillow cases), twelve (trench??? I don’t think it is french) napkins, one tablecloth, four new sacks, the one half of all my pewter and brass, five silver spoons, my best dress, two of my best gowns, my best red petticoat, the one half of all my woollen and linen cloth which is uncut, six (soft? sett for seat??) cushions, one pair of curtains with a fringe to hang about a bed, the one half of all my small linen and napery ware as kerchiefs, aprons, ruff bands? and the like. Item I give unto John Johnson twenty shillings, which he oweth me. Item I give and bequeath unto Humfrey Chambers three shillings, which he oweth me. Item I give and bequeath unto every servant dwelling with me at my decease twelve pence. Item after that my debts and legacies been paid and my funeral expenses hereby discharged all the test of my goods, cattles, chattels and debts whatsoever which can or may be proved by Bill, bond or otherwise I give and bequeath unto Thomas Sleigh my son. Item I nominate and appoint the same Thomas, my son, my sole executor to see this my last will and testament performed as mu trust is in god and him revoking and disannulling all former wills whatsoever. In testimony whereof I have hereto put my hand and seal the day and year above written. ( latin: Signum et sigillum … test.. ?) These being witnesses Geo Goowyn Senior, Raphe Stearndall, Thomas Yate, George Goodwyn junior. The seventh day of January Anno Dom one thousand six hundred and thirty two Memorandum that the same day the said decdent desired her executor to let her son Gervas Sleigh and her son on law John Woodhouse have the debt, which they owed unto her mentioned in her will, wholly given unto them if sobe? they would make no claim unto any goods which were her sons Raphe Sleigh late deceased and there upon took.. will in her hands and delivered?? it to Raphe Stearndall and said this is my last will keep it. These being witness George Goodwyn Junior, Raph Staerndall, Rowland Bestwicke his mark John Billing.
  • The Will of Elizabeth Sleigh - 1632
    Her bequests were not huge but in addition to monetary bequests she disposed of various properties which she had purchased/ leased in her own right. The bulk of the properties are to go to Thomas her second son: “all my housing, lands situate and lying at Ridgend….. which I lately perchased from Robert Millward” and all houses and lands at Poole within the parish of Sheene which “I hold under the demise and grant of one Robert Millward”. So even though he is not to have Nether Waterhouses, Thomas now has considerable property and it seems that the Sleighs are becoming the major landowners in the area. It’s also clear that their holdings are not confined to Sheen but extend to the surrounding area. In a memorandum dated January 1662 (i.e. before her will was finalised) Elizabeth desired that her executors cancel the debts of Gervase, her son, and John Woodhouse (her son-in-law) on the condition that they made no claim on the goods of her son Raphe (late deceased). Elizabeth was definitely a woman who took control of her own life and made sure her wishes were carried out.
  • The Will of Ralphe Sleigh of Nether Waterhouses
    Ralph, Richard’s brother, had married Elizabeth Manifold daughter of Arthur Manifold of Nether Waterhouses in 1590 and through her acquired the property. It seems the Sleighs were adept at dynastic marriages. He died in 1623 leaving substantial bequests to his wife and children for example £200 each to his daughters and £100 to his youngest son Ralphe. Thomas, the second son, inherits properties in Longnor and Hartington. All the residue is to go to his wife Elizabeth who is to be the sole executrix of his will while his brother Gervase (of whom more later) and son Gervase are to be the supervisors. Clearly the Sleighs of Nether Waterhouses were a family of some wealth. The fact that in his will he requested he be buried in the chancel of the church at Alstonefield indicates a person of some standing in the community. Nothing is said directly about Nether Waterhouses itself in the will but as Ralphe names his son Gervase twice as “my eldest son and heir” it’s reasonable to assume that Gervase was to have Nether Waterhouses as well as Broadmeadow. At a time when one might expect the wife/ women in the family to be much in the background it seems that Elizabeth was a strong woman who was not to be ignored. The fact that she was “sole executrix” of her husband’s will and left a will of her own in which she required “my bodie to be buried in the chancel at Alstonefield” shows this clearly.
  • Ralph Sleigh of Broadmeadow
    Ralph inherited Broadmeadow after Gervase’s death and evidently continued the upward movement of the Sleigh family. He was High Constable of the North part of the Totmanlow Hundred 1675-77 (Staffordshire Record Office Q/SR/373/1) so not just a wealthy landowner but an important political figure. However, in a slightly less “worthy” aside in 1659 he was charged with assault at Sheene of Alice Cork, wife of James Cork. I haven’t been able to see this document or the reply to the charge yet so “no comment”! (I’m quite looking forward to following up on this). Ralph died in 1687 leaving considerable bequests in his will both monetary and in land holdings including Over Whytle and Nether Whytle. There were also holdings beyond Sheen parish at Waterhouses (still in the Broadmeadow branch of the family from Ralph’s will of 1623), Hartington and an enterprise in Yorkshire. There is a document dated 1657 in the West Yorkshire Archives containing references to transactions with Ralph Sleigh of Broadmeadow, merchant, concerning the sale of property. It’s interesting that in this document he is called “merchant” an indication that the Sleighs have moved beyond merely farming, which may explain how they accrued some of their wealth. Ralph had acquired, with Thomas Ward, the Chapel in Sheen along with its tithes from Elizabeth Armstrong. This was left to his wife, Elizabeth, in his will and in 1693 she and Thomas Ward were described as the “impropriators” (VCH vol 7). In the will he requests to be buried in the chancel of Sheen parish church, a position usually reserved for the important members of the parish. He stipulates “as near as conveniently may be to the place where my first wife was laid”. A strange request in view of his second marriage to Elizabeth. Gervase succeeded his father to Broadmeadow but by 1709 he had sold it along with the Manor of Sheen and his share of the chapel tithes to John Hayes of Ashbourne. Why did he give up Broadmeadow and the manor and what did he do next and where did he go? This is one of the many loose ends in the account of the family which I intend to pursue. Certainly from this point the Sleighs seem to have moved completely from the Sheen area many of them to Derby and beyond.
  • Gervase Sleigh (brother of Richard)
    Gervase is left £20 in Richard’s will and named as overseer. From this point he seems to disappear from Sheen records but in 1603 a Gervase Sleigh had purchased Ashe Hall near Derby and I feel this is probably Gervase of Sheen. This is partly supposition but based on a number of facts: in his will of 1623 he leaves 20 shillings “to the poore people of the parish of Sheene” a sure indication of his connection to the place and his son, Sir Samuel Sleigh of Etwall had holdings in Sheen which he disposed of in the 1650s. Thomas Ward in his will of 1659 mentions “closes, meadows and pastures called the Breeches which I purchased of Sir Samuel Sleigh” and a documentin Sheffield City Archives concerns the sale of lands in Sheen by Sir Samuel Sleigh (I hope to see this document one fine day!!). The Sleighs of Derby obviously had roots in Sheen and in his will (1679) Sir Samuel Sleigh leaves mourning rings worth £10 to his cousin Ralph and Ralph’s son Gervase. I feel fairly certain that this will be Ralph Sleigh of Broadmeadow, Sheen and Gervase his son.
  • Gervase Sleigh of Broadmeadow
    Gervase, son of Ralph Sleigh of Nether Waterhouses inherited Broadmeadow from his uncle Richard in 1620. He had married Elizabeth Brereton in 1618 and their son Ralph was to inherit Broadmeadow in his turn. Sheen parish registers list a large number of children of Gervase and Elizabeth (see the family tree). At the Great Court Baron of the king in 1620 when Gervase surrendered Broadmeadow (shortly after inheriting it) it was regranted to him for his life and after his death to the use of his wife Elizabeth, so even if Elizabeth died before him it’s another indication of the strength and relative importance of the Sleigh women. I have found it difficult to decide for sure the date of Gervase’s death as the entries in the parish registers give the minimum of information. However, there is a record for the burial of Gervase Sleigh in 1656 which I’m inclined to believe is Gervase of Broadmeadow. There is an item in Nottinghamshire Archives of 1641 (DD/P/46/7) concerning Thomas Froggatt of Beelie “yeoman to Gervase Sleigh of Broadmeadow” so Gervase was still at Broadmeadow at this point. There are mentions of the sale of property by Sir Samuel Sleigh of Ashe (more later) to Gervase Sleigh of Broadmeadow in 1650 but so far I haven’t seen the references to this sale so I can’t be completely sure of this.
  • Sheen Manor and Sheen Manor Court
    The Manor Court of Sheen was originally held in Hartington the since the De la Poles of Poole Hall, Hartington were lords of the manor. By 1506 it was administered as part of the Duchy of Lancaster (Duchy of Lancaster’s Estates in Derb. 1485-1540 (Derb. Arch Soc. rec. ser. iii), 75) but at some point the manor was bought by the Sleighs (since Gervase sold it in 1709 that much is certain) and at that point the court would have moved to Broadmeadow. In the section on Sheen Manor and other estates the VCH says that Pool Hall was still the manor house in the early 17th century (Annals of Dioc. of Lichfield (1859), 26; Nicoll, Sheen, 12, 14.) until moving to Broadmeadow when the Sleighs secured the manor. However, in the Local Government section on Sheen, the VCH says that in 1571 Sheen Manor was farmed by the Earl of Shrewsbury and the courts were transferred to Sheen and continued there when Henry Cavendish became the farmer in 1574. (PRO DL 30/52/643-51; DL 30/53/652-60, 662.) We know that Hugh Sleigh had Broadmeadow by 1573 so does this mean that the court was held there after 1571. If not Broadmeadow then where?
Longnor.jpg

THE SLEIGHS

of Pilsbury & Broadmeadow

What follows here is the latest installment of research into the families of the area provided by Kay Gregory, one of the TFIG volunteers.

There are several family/ ancestry type websites which give early dates for the Sleigh family of Pilsbury but as I have been unable to substantiate these dates (so far|) I’ve not included them in this account.  However, it is clear that the Sleigh’s were living in the Pilsbury area before the 16th century.  I will include at the end some notes taken from Arthur Sleigh’s book “ the Sleighs of Derbyshire and beyond” but he uses two 19th century references which I haven’t seen so I can’t comment on their accuracy.

  • The Will of Thomas Harrison (1634)
    1. In the name of God Amen The Fourteenth daie 2. Of Januarie in the Tenth yeare of the reigne of our Sovereigne Lord Charles by 3. the grace of God King of England Scotland France and Ireland defender of the 4. faith etc Anno d[omin]i one thousand six hundred thirtie foure I Thomas Harrison 5. of Glutton in the parish of Hartington in the Countie of Derby yeoman sicke in 6. bodie but sound and perfect in memorie Thanks bee given unto God for the same 7. knowing that death is a thing most certayne and the tyme thereof most uncertayne 8. doe therefore declare and make this my last Will and Testament in manner and forme 9. following First and principally I bequeth and com[m]end my soule into the hands of 10. Almighty God my Creator Jesus Christ my Redeemer and the Holy Ghost my 11. Comforter And my bodie to the Earth to bee buried there to remayne until the generall 12. daie of Gods Last Judgement And I stedfastly beleeve through the meritts of Christs 13. passion to be raysed up againe with my bodie and soule to life everlasting And for and 14. concerning the disposing and distributing of my worldlie goods chattells ______and such 15. other things as Almighty God hath endowed me withall my will and mynde so _____ I give 16. and bequeth unto my grandchild Thomas Harrison sonne of Robert Harrison lately 17. deceased the some of Twentie poundes of lawfull money of England which is oweing _____ 18. by Thomas Cooke of Onecote Item I give and bequeth unto the rest of my Grandchildren 19. everie one of them tenne shillings Item I give devise and bequeth unto Thomas Harrison 20, my sonne All my messuages and lands lying and being within the Barony of Longnor 21. in the Countie of Stafford for and dureing the terme of his naturall life And after his 22. decease unto William Harrison my Grandchild second sonne of him the said Thomas his 23. heires and assignes for ever Item I give devise and bequeth unto the said Thomas Harrison 24. my sonne All my houseing and lands situate lyeing and being in Buxton in the said 25. Countie of Derby to have and to hold to him his heires and Assignes forever Item after the 26. end and expiration of one whole year next comeing after the death and decease of me the said 27. Thomas Harrison and Elizabeth my wife I give devise and bequeth unto the 28. said Thomas Harrison my sonne All my messuage and lands thereunto belonging called 29. Glutton wherein I now live for and dureing all such terme and tyme as shall be therein then 30. to come and unexpired Item after that my debts Legacies and funerall expenses been discharged 31. and paid and I honestlie brought here As the rest of my goods chattells and debts that can or 32. may be proved I give and bequeth unto Elizabeth my said wife John Harrison my sonne and 33. Jane Harrison my daughter to bee equallie devyded amongst them Item I appoint and nomynate 34. the said Elizabeth my wife the sole Executrix of this my last will and Testament to see the same 35. performed as my trust in God and her And I hereby revoke renounce repeale and forsake 36. all former wills testaments legacies bequethes and executors whatsoever by me heretofore 37. at any tyme made willed nomynated devised or appointed in testimony whereof I have 38. and hereunto putt my hand and seale the daie and year first above written Signum et Sigillum 39. dict? Testator These being Wittnesses Thomas Braddock Richard Dale George Goodwynson
  • The Will of Ralph Sleigh of Broadmeadow (1688)
    (Transcribed from Find My Past) In the Name of God Amen The eighteenth daie of April in the third Yeare of the Raigne of our Sov[er]aigne Lord James the Second by the grace of God of England Scotland France And Ireland kinge Defend[er] of the Faith etc. Anno D[om]in[i] 1687 I Ralph Sleigh of Broadmeadow in the parishe Of Sheene and countie of Stafford gentleman somethinge diseased in bodie but of sound mind and perfect memory praised Bee almighty god therefore knowing and considering the uncertaintie of this mortall life and that all flesh must yield unto death when it shall please god to call Doe make ordaine and declare this my last will and Testament In manner and form following First and principally I commit my soule into the hands of almighty god my creator And to Jesus Christ my Redeemer in and through whose merritts I trust to have eternall life and my bodie to bee Buried in the chancell of the parishe church of Sheene aforesaid as near as conveniently may be to the place where My First wife was laid And as concerninge my worldly estate both reall and personall I doe order give and Dispose of as followeth. It is my will and mind that all such debts as I owe to anie p[er]son or p[er]sons be well & Truly satisfied and paied and for paiem[en]t thereof my will and mind is and I give and demise unto Elizabeth my Lovinge wife and my very loving nephew Thomas Endon their heires & assignes for ever all these Two Severall messuages or tenem[en]ts hereafter mentioned that is to say one messuage or tenem[en]t scytuate standinge and beinge At Wterhouses in the said countie of Stafford and houses edifices buildings closes landes tenem[en]ts comons and Appurten[an]ces thereunto belonginge and all that messuage or tenem[en]t stytuate standinge and beinge at Ov[er] Whytle In the said countie of Stafford late the inheritance of Ralph Sterndale, and all houses edifices buildings closes Lands tenem[en]ts comons proffitts and apputten[an]ces thereunto belonginge and my very will is that the said messuages( difficult to see but I think it must be plural ) Landes and tenem[en]ts before menc[i]oned shall by the said Elizabeth my wife and the said Thomas Endon be sould soe Soon as conveniently may be after my Decease for paim[en]t of my debts and towards discharging the legacies Hereafter in this my will bequethed (the previous phrase is on the fold of the doc and difficult to read but this makes sense) Item I Give and demise unto the said Elizabeth my wife and the said Thomas Endon so much of my goodes and debts in the countie of Yorke as will amount unto the sume of Three Hundred Poundes towards the further discharge of my debts legacies and funerall expenses Item I give and demise unto My lovinge wife and the said Thomas Endon all the rest and Residue of my p[er]sonall whatsoever for full and absolute Satisfactionof my debts and legacies Item I give and bequeth unto Elizabeth my Daughter the sume of Two Hundred poundes to be paied to her within twelve months next after my decease Item I Give & bequeth unto Samuel my son the sume of Fiftie poundes to bee paied to him within twelve months next after my decease Item I give and bequeth unto my daughter Jane the sume of two hundred poundes to bee paied to her When she shall attain the age of Four and twentie yeares Item I give and bequeth unto my son Ralph The sume of one hundred and fiftie poundes to bee paied to himwhen he shall attain the age of Foure & twentie yeares Item I give and bequeth unto my son Edward the sume of one hundred and fiftie poundes to bee paied to him when he Shall attain the age of Foure and twentie yeares Item I give and bequeth unto my son Hugh the sume of One hundred and fiftie poundes to bee paied to him when he shall attain the age of Foure and twentie yeares And further my will and mind is that if it happen that any of my said sixe children depart this naturall life before their said Porc[i]on bee paied or shall beeRespectively due that then such the porc[i]on legacie of the deceased chyld or children Shall bee paied unto such of my said sonnes as shall bee then livinge equally amongst them at what tyme the same sume Of money should or ought to have been paied if such the then Dec[eas]ed child or children had beem livinge Item I give and demise to Gervase Sleigh my eldest sonne his heires and assignes for ever all those severall messuages Landes tenem[en]ts and houses (this word is barely legible ) hereafter particularly menc[i]oned (The dower of the said Elizabeth my wife excepted) That is To say all that messuage (damaged word so guessed from the part I could see) at Broadmeadow wherein I now dwell And all houses edifices buildings barnes Stables closes landes tenem[en]ts comons and hereditam[en]ts thereunto belonginge and all those landes and groundes lyinge Beyond Mort-Hey in the saide parishe of Sheene called the Demesne lande with all their Rights member & App[ur]ten[an]ce And Alsoe all that messuage or tenem[en]t called Nether Whytle scytuate and beinge in the said parishe of Sheene and County of Stafford and now in the tenure of me the testat[or] and John Hinchcliffe and all Closes landes tenem[en]ts and Hereditam[en]ts thereunto belonginge And all that close or p[ar]cell of inclosed land lyinge and beinge in the parishe of Hartington In the countie of Derbie called the _______ ( this name is almost completely blacked out) provided and it is my will that if default bee made of paim[en]t of the said sume Of Three Hubdred poundes in this will before menc[i]oned beinge goodes and debts within the countie of Yorke That then the said Elizabeth my wife and the said Thomas Endon their Exec[utors] or _________ shall have hould and Enjoy and take all and ev[er]ie the profitts of the said land and groundes called the Demesne landes and the said Close or p[ar]cell of inclosed land called the Oxclose within one yeare next after my Decease until they have Had and received out of the profitts thereof the full sume of three Hundred poundes anything before in this I’ve looked at this angain nd I think this is the right transcription) My will to the contrary not withstandinge Iem it is my will and mind that after my debts legacies and funerall Expenses bee paied and discharged that the overplus of the money to bee raised out of the said messuages landes And tenem[en]ts at Waterhouses and O[er] Whytle together with my personall estate shall bee distributed by my said wife At her own Discretion among my Children and lastly I ordaine and Appoint and make the said Elizabeth my Deare wife and the said Thomas Endon my nephew executo[r]s of this my present last will and testament Hopeinge they will p[er]forme the same according to the trust I have and doe in them Repose In Witness whereof I the said Ralph Sleigh to this my last will contained in Two sheets have to the First Putt my hand and to this latter sheet put my hand and seale the daie and yeare first above written Sealed and signed and published Ralph Sleigh (signature plus seal) In the presence of Raphe White Ra Sleigh John \froggat ________ 29 March 1688
  • Pilsbury
    1531 – The first date which I can verify is 1531 when 3 indentures are listed in the Talbot papers held in Lambeth Palace Library, relating to Pilsbury and dated 23 Henry VIII (i.e. the 23rd year of Henry’s reign, 1531) between the Slee family of Pilsbury and the Abbott of Merivale Abbey. The first is an undated fragment which may have been quite early between James Slee and Merivale Abbey, therefore James must be a Slee of Pilsbury since Merivale owned the land at Pilsbury. The second between Hugh Slee, husbandman, and Abbott William Arnold of Merivale Abbey is for the lease of land in Pilsbury and the third between Nicholas Slee of Pilsbury and William Abbott of Merivale is also for lease of land in Pilsbury. I haven’t been able to confirm the relationship between Hugh and Nicholas, they may be brothers. This definitely places the Sleighs (Slees) in the Upper Dove valley in the earth 16th century and almost certainly in the late 15th. The Slees had the lease on these monastic lands at the time of the Dissolution but there is no evidence yet of what happened after 1538. I think that they will have continued as before with the Earls of Shrewsbury as overlords of the manor though as Peter Featherstone comments “ the Sleighs continued to farm at Pilsbury but instead of a lax monastic landlord they had the rather more formidable Bess of Hardwick to contend with”. (Bess’s fourth husband was the 6th Earl of Shrewsbury so she would almost certainly have had an interest in the Pilsbury lands.) 1533 – Nicholas Sleigh is cited as co-defendant in a complaint put before the Court of Chancery by Roger Horobin (known informally as ‘dodgy Roger’ by the group!) claiming that Nicholas and William Horobin had “wrongfully entered the premises” and taken papers from Whitle and “ expulsed and put him out”. 1553 – a Nicholas Sleigh is named as overseer of the Will and Inventory of William Horobyn of Sheen. I feel inclined to believe that these are the same two cited in the earlier court case and this would seem to indicate a close connection between the two families, maybe as two of the more influential families in the area.
  • Broadmeadow
    The Victoria County History states that Broadmeadow Hall, Sheen, came to the Sleighs via their connection with the Rileys. Hugh Sleigh married Ellen (Helen) Riley thus acquiring Broadmeadow while Thomas Sleigh had married Margaret Riley but, again, I haven’t been able to establish the relationship between Hugh and Thomas or Ellen and Margaret. There are mentions of Thomas inheriting Brund through Margaret but as I haven’t found a concrete reference to this (I’m sure there is but I need to keep looking) it’s not possible to be sure. We know that the Rileys owned Brund as well as Broadmeadow so perhaps Ellen inherited Broadmeadow and Margaret Brund. However, by 1573 Hugh Sleigh was definitely in possession of Broadmeadow as at the Court Baron of George Earl of Shrewsbury (the Shrewsbury’s were overlords of Sheen Manor) Hugh and Helen Sleigh surrendered ‘le Broadmeadowe’ into the hands of the queen and it was regranted to the use of them during their lives and then to the use of Richard Sleigh, their son. At this point things become a little complicated: 1578 – a charge was laid against Hugh Sleigh at the Manor Court of Hartington and he is referred to as “of Broadmeadow” so he was definitely in possession of the property at this point 1581 – Hugh granted tenure of le Mear Dole for 21 years, sublet from William Mottram – Hugh is expanding his holdings. (TNA DL 30/51/631 – see final report). 1581/3 – Roger Perivall (Percival?) requests possession of “ all the messuage, lands, tenements and hereditaments with all and singular its appurtenances” called “le Broadmeadowe” of which his father, Roger, had died seised. After 3 proclamations without challenge possession was delivered to Roger. ((TNA DL 30/51/631) As Simon points out in his report this must mean that Hugh had sublet Broadmeadow, or part of it, to the Percivals but it’s hard to fathom why he would do so at the time when he seems to be expanding his property holdings by taking a lease on Le Mear Dole. May, 1600 – Roger Percival at the Great court of the Queen, Sheen, surrendered into the hands of the queen “one messuage or tenement called le Broadmeadowe” and all the houses, buildings, gardens, lands tenements etc pertaining to it “now or late in the tenure of the aforesaid Roger Percival to the use of Richard Sleigh his heirs and assigns forever”. However, it appears that part of the property had been sublet further since Roger Wulley and his wife “came to the court and claimed a third part of the moiety of the said messuage” for their lives and it was granted to them (TNA DL 30/52/648). Nov 1600 – le Broadmeadowe, described as being “now and lately in the several occupations of the aforesaid Roger, Richard Sleigh, Lawrence Wulley and Helen his wife” was surrendered yet again by Roger and Margaret Percival to the use of Richard Sleigh and his heirs forever, and surrendered also “all right, title, interest, estate, claim and demand of Roger and Margaret of and in the premises”. This could be a usual quitclaim clause but it’s interesting that Roger and Margaret are named specifically and that Margaret was questioned in secret – was there some reluctance on her part or was this again a custom of the manor? It could be, as in 1573 when Hugh and Helen Sleigh surrendered Broadmeadow they were “individually examined according to the custom of the manner”. Still, the pointed mention of Roger and Margaret surrendering their claim to the property does suggest some degree of unwillingness on their part. 1603 – Seisin granted to Richard Sleigh (TNA DL 30/53/652) This seems to be the end of the compicated sublettings of Broadmeadow though there are still a few surrenders and regranting of the property. 1609 – Hugh Sleigh died so Richard as his heir finally inherits Broadmeadow. 1615 – Great Court Baron of the king, Sheene manor, – Richard surrendered Broadmeadow with all appurtenances and lands to the king to the use of himself and after his death to his nephew, Gervase, son of Ralph Sleigh. Seisein delivered to Gervase. (TNA DL30/53/659) The Will of Richard Sleigh, 1620 (final report pages 84/5 for transcript) Richard’s will provided an invaluable starting point from which to construct a family tree for he lists his siblings and several of their children. (updated family tree at end of document). He has “noe yssue of my bodie lawfully begotten” for which reason his nephew Gervase is to inherit Broadmeadow along with the Oxe Close (purchased from Sir Robert Nedham) so that it “shall remaine and continue in the lyne and blood of the Sleighs”. This desire to hold on to land and property is somewhat in contrast to the letting and subletting of Broadmeadow earlier. His brothers Ralph, John and Gervase all receive bequests as do all his nephews and neices. The bequests are not huge but do indicate a fairly well off family and one which is acquiring property beyond the Sheen area. Of his brothers we know that Raphe already had Nether Waterhouses from his marriage to Elizabeth Manifold and it may be that Gervase moved to the Derby area (see later section).
  • The Will of Richard Sleigh of Broadmeadow (1620)
    Last will and testament of Richard Sleigh of Broadmeadow, yeoman. 17 August 1620. (The National Archives PROB 11/136/348. This copy taken from Final Report Peeling Back the Layers by Dr Simon Harris ) [Marginated] Testamentum: Richardi Sleigh In the name of God Amen the seaventeenth daye of August in the yeare of our Lord god one thowsand six hundered and twentye I Richard Sleigh of the Broademeadowe in the parishe of Sheene in the Countye of Stafford yeoman som what weake in bodie but of sound and perfect memorye (the Lord be praysed) knowinge the certainetye of deathe and the tyme therof most uncertaine and therfore not minded to dye intestate doe publishe ordaine and make this my last will and testament in manner and forme followinge First and principallye I comend my soule into the handes of almightie god my maker and Creatour and to Jesus Christe my saviour and most mercifull Redeemer by whose onelye I trust and stedfastlye beleeve to have remission and pardon of all my sinnes And my bodye I comitt to the earth from whence it came Item whereas I have purchased to me and my heires for ever of Sir Robert Nedham of Shavington in the countye of Salop knight one Close or pasture called the Oxe close containinge five acres of lande be yt more or lesse together with threeskore sheepe gates in through and uppon the mores and Comons belonginge to the same lyinge and beinge at Nedham Graunge in the parishe of Hartington in the Countye of Derbye Soe havinge noe yssue of my bodie lawfullye begotten and being minded that the said Close or pasture and sheepe gates shall remaine and continue in the lyne and blood of the Sleighes I therefore give graunt and confirme unto Gervase Sleigh my nephewe and eldest sonne of Raphe Sleighe my brother the said close or pasture called the Oxe close the said threeskore sheepe gates and all houses commodities and hereditamentes whatsoever to the same belonginge or in any wise appertaininge with thappurtenances And all deedes writinges and evidences touchinge and concerninge the same To have and to hould the said close or pasture the said threeskore sheepe gates and all other the premisses with thappurtenances to the said Gervase his heires and assignes to the sole and proper use of the said Gervase his heires and assignes for ever Item I give to Gervase Sleighe my brother twentie poundes Item I give unto John Sleighe my brother five poundes over and besides all such somes of money as he oweth unto me Item I give unto Richard Sleighe sonne of the said John five poundes Item I give unto Joane Sleighe daughter of the said John fortie poundes Item I give unto my cosin John Mosselye alias Slighe fouer poundes Item I give unto everie one that I am unckle unto Twentye shillinges a peece Item I give unto Richard Sleighe my nephewe nowe dwellinge With me One fether bedd the best One Matterisse beinge also the best foure best blanckettes, three paire of sheetes foure Coverlettes One boulster and twoe pillowes Item I give unto Elizabeth Sleighe wife of Gervase Sleighe my nephewe fortie foure shillinges Item I give unto Marie Sleighe youngest daughter of Ralphe Sleighe my brother and for Hellen Sleighe daughter of the said Gervase twoe of my best brasse pannes to be devided betweene them Item I give to the said Richard Sleighe last named my best Cheste or Cofer Item I give unto the said Gervase Sleighe my nephew all my weanes yokes ploughes harrowes all my iron and woodden wares and husbandrie wares and ymplementes of husbandrie and all my house hould goodes togeather withall my white meate Flesge at the rooffe and weale and my malte all my woll Item I give unto the said Gervase Fortie poundes which Richard Harris hathe received from me at the handes of the said Gervase uppon a certaine mortgage of a house and a lease within the Lordshippe of Ashford in the Countye of Derbye Item I give unto Bridgett Hall my servaunte twentye shillinges if she be dwellinge with me at my decease Item my debtes legacyes and funerall expences beinge paid and discharged I give unto Raphe Sleighe my brother all and singular the rest of my goodes Cattells and Chattells of whatsoever nature propertie or kinde the same are Item I constitute ordeine and make the said Raphe Sleighe my brother the sole Executor of this my last will and testament to execute the same accordinge to the true meaninge herof Item I appointe and hartelye desire Gervase Sleighe my said brother John Froggatt my nephewe Gervase Sleighe my said Nephewe and John Mossaley alias Sleighe my nephew to be Overseers of this my will. In Wittnes wheare of I have hereunto putt my hand and sealle in the presence of John Frogatt, John Chicklowe and Humfre Godwyn signum dicti testatores. Probatum fuit testamentum supra scriptum apud London coram Domino Johanne Benett milite legum doctore Curie Prerogative Cantuariensis magistro Custode sive Comissario legitime constituto vicesimo sexto die mensis Octobris Anno Domini Millesimo sexcentesimo vicesimo Juramento Radulphi Sleighe fratris naturalis et legitimi dicti defuncti et executoris in eodem testamento nominati Cui Comiss’ fuit administracio bonorum iurium et creditorum dicti defuncti de bene et fideliter administrand’ et cetera vigore Commissionis alias in ea parte emanat’ Jurat’ examinatur
  • The Will of Elizabeth Sleigh (1632)
    Elizabeth was the daughter of Arthur Manifold of Nether Waterhouses. She married Ralph Sleigh, who was the brother of Richard Sleigh of Broadmeadow Hall. Ralph and Elizabeth lived at Nether Waterhouses all their life, with their eldest son Gervais taking over Broadmeadow. Gervais’ son Ralph would inherit Broadmeadow in turn. Elizabeth seems to have been quite a shrewd business woman independently buying and leasing farms after her husband’s death. Names only spelt as they are in the document. Elizabeth Sleigh ( Manifold) 20/06/1632 In the name of God Amen. The twentieth day of June Anno Dom one thousand six hundred and thirty two and in the eighth year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord Charles by grace of God King of England, Scotland, France and Ireland defender of the faith. I Elizabeth Sleigh of Neather Waterhouses, in the parish of Alstonfield, in the county of Stafford, widow, somewhat sick and diseased in body but of good an perfect remembrance, thanks be given unto God, knowing the certainty of death and the time thereof most uncertain not willing to die untestated do ordain and make my last will and testament in manner and form following. Imprimis I commit and bequeath my soul to Almighty God my creator, and Jesus Christ, my redeemer through whose merits I steadfastly believe to have immortality and life everlasting. Item My will and mind is that my body (is/be?) buried in the chancel of Alstonfield. Item I give and bequeath all my housing and lands, situte, lying and being at Ridgend, in the parish of Shene. in the county aforesaid, which I lately purchased off one Richard Milward , unto Thomas Sleigh my son, his heirs and assigns forever. To the only use and behalf of Thomas Sleigh, his heirs and assigns. Item I give, bequeath and assign all my houses and lands situate, lying and being at Poole, within the said parish of Sheene, which I hold under the demise and grant of one Thomas Milward , unto the same Thomas Sleigh, my son, his executors and assigns for and during all such time and term of years as I have to come in the same. Item I give and bequeath unto my daughter in law Elizabeth, wife of the said Thomas, an even twenty shillings piece of gold. Item Whereas my son Gervas Sleigh lately owed my one hundred and twenty pounds, whereof he hath paid me forty pounds, I give an bequeath unto the same Gervas the sum of forty pounds being the half part of the sum of four score pounds remaining unpaid by the said bill. Item I give and bequeath unto the same Gervas five silver spoons. Item I give and bequeath unto my daughter in law Elizabeth, wife if the said Gervas, an even twenty shillings piece in gold. Item I give and bequeath unto my grandchild Raph Sleigh son of the said Gervas, twenty shillings. I give and bequeath unto five more of my grandchildren being the children of the said Gervas, my son, every one of them ten shillings to be paid immediately after my decease. Item Whereas my son in law John Woodhouse lately owed me the sum of one hundred pounds by bond, whereas he hath paid fifty pounds I give and bequeath unto the said Joh Woodhouse the sum of twenty and five pounds being the half part of the fifty pounds remaining unpaid of the same Bond. Item I give unto Dorothie, my daughter, wife of the said John Woodhouse, two even twenty shilling pieces of gold. Item I give unto the same Dorothie five silver spoons and my best stuff petticoat. Item I give and bequeath unto my grandchild John Woodhouse, son of the said John Woodhouse, the sum of twenty shillings. I give and bequeath unto four more of my grandchildren, being the children of the said John Woodhouse, every one of them ten shillings to be paid unto them immediately after my decease. Item I give and bequeath unto my grandchild Dorothie Machin, daughter of John Machin, the sum of thirteen pounds six shillings and eight pence of lawful money of England to be employed by my executors when she comes to the age of sixteen years until she shall accomplish the full age of twenty and one years. Item I give and bequeath unto five more of my grandchildren, being the children of the said John Machin, every one of them ten shillings to be paid unto them immediately after my decease. Item I give and bequeath unto John Manifould, my brother, and Katerine Willson, wife of Robert Willson, my sister, either of them ten shillings if they chance to survive and overlive me. Item I give and bequeath unto Marie Sleigh, my daughter, the sum of one hundred pounds of lawful money of England. Item I give and bequeath unto the same Mary, my daughter, two of my best feather beds, my best mattress, my best bedhilling (bed covers/quilt), six coverlets , six blankets, ten pairs of sheets, two new bolsters, two pillows, four pillow beres (pillow cases), twelve (trench??? I don’t think it is french) napkins, one tablecloth, four new sacks, the one half of all my pewter and brass, five silver spoons, my best dress, two of my best gowns, my best red petticoat, the one half of all my woollen and linen cloth which is uncut, six (soft? sett for seat??) cushions, one pair of curtains with a fringe to hang about a bed, the one half of all my small linen and napery ware as kerchiefs, aprons, ruff bands? and the like. Item I give unto John Johnson twenty shillings, which he oweth me. Item I give and bequeath unto Humfrey Chambers three shillings, which he oweth me. Item I give and bequeath unto every servant dwelling with me at my decease twelve pence. Item after that my debts and legacies been paid and my funeral expenses hereby discharged all the test of my goods, cattles, chattels and debts whatsoever which can or may be proved by Bill, bond or otherwise I give and bequeath unto Thomas Sleigh my son. Item I nominate and appoint the same Thomas, my son, my sole executor to see this my last will and testament performed as mu trust is in god and him revoking and disannulling all former wills whatsoever. In testimony whereof I have hereto put my hand and seal the day and year above written. ( latin: Signum et sigillum … test.. ?) These being witnesses Geo Goowyn Senior, Raphe Stearndall, Thomas Yate, George Goodwyn junior. The seventh day of January Anno Dom one thousand six hundred and thirty two Memorandum that the same day the said decdent desired her executor to let her son Gervas Sleigh and her son on law John Woodhouse have the debt, which they owed unto her mentioned in her will, wholly given unto them if sobe? they would make no claim unto any goods which were her sons Raphe Sleigh late deceased and there upon took.. will in her hands and delivered?? it to Raphe Stearndall and said this is my last will keep it. These being witness George Goodwyn Junior, Raph Staerndall, Rowland Bestwicke his mark John Billing.
  • The Will of Elizabeth Sleigh - 1632
    Her bequests were not huge but in addition to monetary bequests she disposed of various properties which she had purchased/ leased in her own right. The bulk of the properties are to go to Thomas her second son: “all my housing, lands situate and lying at Ridgend….. which I lately perchased from Robert Millward” and all houses and lands at Poole within the parish of Sheene which “I hold under the demise and grant of one Robert Millward”. So even though he is not to have Nether Waterhouses, Thomas now has considerable property and it seems that the Sleighs are becoming the major landowners in the area. It’s also clear that their holdings are not confined to Sheen but extend to the surrounding area. In a memorandum dated January 1662 (i.e. before her will was finalised) Elizabeth desired that her executors cancel the debts of Gervase, her son, and John Woodhouse (her son-in-law) on the condition that they made no claim on the goods of her son Raphe (late deceased). Elizabeth was definitely a woman who took control of her own life and made sure her wishes were carried out.
  • The Will of Ralphe Sleigh of Nether Waterhouses
    Ralph, Richard’s brother, had married Elizabeth Manifold daughter of Arthur Manifold of Nether Waterhouses in 1590 and through her acquired the property. It seems the Sleighs were adept at dynastic marriages. He died in 1623 leaving substantial bequests to his wife and children for example £200 each to his daughters and £100 to his youngest son Ralphe. Thomas, the second son, inherits properties in Longnor and Hartington. All the residue is to go to his wife Elizabeth who is to be the sole executrix of his will while his brother Gervase (of whom more later) and son Gervase are to be the supervisors. Clearly the Sleighs of Nether Waterhouses were a family of some wealth. The fact that in his will he requested he be buried in the chancel of the church at Alstonefield indicates a person of some standing in the community. Nothing is said directly about Nether Waterhouses itself in the will but as Ralphe names his son Gervase twice as “my eldest son and heir” it’s reasonable to assume that Gervase was to have Nether Waterhouses as well as Broadmeadow. At a time when one might expect the wife/ women in the family to be much in the background it seems that Elizabeth was a strong woman who was not to be ignored. The fact that she was “sole executrix” of her husband’s will and left a will of her own in which she required “my bodie to be buried in the chancel at Alstonefield” shows this clearly.
  • Ralph Sleigh of Broadmeadow
    Ralph inherited Broadmeadow after Gervase’s death and evidently continued the upward movement of the Sleigh family. He was High Constable of the North part of the Totmanlow Hundred 1675-77 (Staffordshire Record Office Q/SR/373/1) so not just a wealthy landowner but an important political figure. However, in a slightly less “worthy” aside in 1659 he was charged with assault at Sheene of Alice Cork, wife of James Cork. I haven’t been able to see this document or the reply to the charge yet so “no comment”! (I’m quite looking forward to following up on this). Ralph died in 1687 leaving considerable bequests in his will both monetary and in land holdings including Over Whytle and Nether Whytle. There were also holdings beyond Sheen parish at Waterhouses (still in the Broadmeadow branch of the family from Ralph’s will of 1623), Hartington and an enterprise in Yorkshire. There is a document dated 1657 in the West Yorkshire Archives containing references to transactions with Ralph Sleigh of Broadmeadow, merchant, concerning the sale of property. It’s interesting that in this document he is called “merchant” an indication that the Sleighs have moved beyond merely farming, which may explain how they accrued some of their wealth. Ralph had acquired, with Thomas Ward, the Chapel in Sheen along with its tithes from Elizabeth Armstrong. This was left to his wife, Elizabeth, in his will and in 1693 she and Thomas Ward were described as the “impropriators” (VCH vol 7). In the will he requests to be buried in the chancel of Sheen parish church, a position usually reserved for the important members of the parish. He stipulates “as near as conveniently may be to the place where my first wife was laid”. A strange request in view of his second marriage to Elizabeth. Gervase succeeded his father to Broadmeadow but by 1709 he had sold it along with the Manor of Sheen and his share of the chapel tithes to John Hayes of Ashbourne. Why did he give up Broadmeadow and the manor and what did he do next and where did he go? This is one of the many loose ends in the account of the family which I intend to pursue. Certainly from this point the Sleighs seem to have moved completely from the Sheen area many of them to Derby and beyond.
  • Gervase Sleigh (brother of Richard)
    Gervase is left £20 in Richard’s will and named as overseer. From this point he seems to disappear from Sheen records but in 1603 a Gervase Sleigh had purchased Ashe Hall near Derby and I feel this is probably Gervase of Sheen. This is partly supposition but based on a number of facts: in his will of 1623 he leaves 20 shillings “to the poore people of the parish of Sheene” a sure indication of his connection to the place and his son, Sir Samuel Sleigh of Etwall had holdings in Sheen which he disposed of in the 1650s. Thomas Ward in his will of 1659 mentions “closes, meadows and pastures called the Breeches which I purchased of Sir Samuel Sleigh” and a documentin Sheffield City Archives concerns the sale of lands in Sheen by Sir Samuel Sleigh (I hope to see this document one fine day!!). The Sleighs of Derby obviously had roots in Sheen and in his will (1679) Sir Samuel Sleigh leaves mourning rings worth £10 to his cousin Ralph and Ralph’s son Gervase. I feel fairly certain that this will be Ralph Sleigh of Broadmeadow, Sheen and Gervase his son.
  • Gervase Sleigh of Broadmeadow
    Gervase, son of Ralph Sleigh of Nether Waterhouses inherited Broadmeadow from his uncle Richard in 1620. He had married Elizabeth Brereton in 1618 and their son Ralph was to inherit Broadmeadow in his turn. Sheen parish registers list a large number of children of Gervase and Elizabeth (see the family tree). At the Great Court Baron of the king in 1620 when Gervase surrendered Broadmeadow (shortly after inheriting it) it was regranted to him for his life and after his death to the use of his wife Elizabeth, so even if Elizabeth died before him it’s another indication of the strength and relative importance of the Sleigh women. I have found it difficult to decide for sure the date of Gervase’s death as the entries in the parish registers give the minimum of information. However, there is a record for the burial of Gervase Sleigh in 1656 which I’m inclined to believe is Gervase of Broadmeadow. There is an item in Nottinghamshire Archives of 1641 (DD/P/46/7) concerning Thomas Froggatt of Beelie “yeoman to Gervase Sleigh of Broadmeadow” so Gervase was still at Broadmeadow at this point. There are mentions of the sale of property by Sir Samuel Sleigh of Ashe (more later) to Gervase Sleigh of Broadmeadow in 1650 but so far I haven’t seen the references to this sale so I can’t be completely sure of this.
  • Sheen Manor and Sheen Manor Court
    The Manor Court of Sheen was originally held in Hartington the since the De la Poles of Poole Hall, Hartington were lords of the manor. By 1506 it was administered as part of the Duchy of Lancaster (Duchy of Lancaster’s Estates in Derb. 1485-1540 (Derb. Arch Soc. rec. ser. iii), 75) but at some point the manor was bought by the Sleighs (since Gervase sold it in 1709 that much is certain) and at that point the court would have moved to Broadmeadow. In the section on Sheen Manor and other estates the VCH says that Pool Hall was still the manor house in the early 17th century (Annals of Dioc. of Lichfield (1859), 26; Nicoll, Sheen, 12, 14.) until moving to Broadmeadow when the Sleighs secured the manor. However, in the Local Government section on Sheen, the VCH says that in 1571 Sheen Manor was farmed by the Earl of Shrewsbury and the courts were transferred to Sheen and continued there when Henry Cavendish became the farmer in 1574. (PRO DL 30/52/643-51; DL 30/53/652-60, 662.) We know that Hugh Sleigh had Broadmeadow by 1573 so does this mean that the court was held there after 1571. If not Broadmeadow then where?
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