Rotherham Family History Society

Preserving and caring for the heritage of Rotherham

You are here:

The Feoffees and Greaves of the Common Lands of Rotherham

About the Feoffees

(Description by Rotherham Archives and Local Studies Service)

The Feoffees of the Common Lands of Rotherham were established as a board of trustees (‘feoffees’ is simply another name for ‘trustees’), headed by a ‘Greave’, responsible for using the Common Lands of Rotherham for the benefit of the inhabitants of the town. They were first granted common land in 1584 by Elizabeth I, and were given official recognition through a Royal Charter of 1589, however, the organisation had been in operation for a considerable period before this date.

Originally, the Feoffees performed a role similar to that of a town council; maintaining and repairing roads, gates, and wells, paying the ‘bylawmen’, clerk of the market, clothing the waits & beadles (town musicians), providing education, and to some extent improving the town’s public health by protection from nuisances. It was not until the establishment of local authorities that this role began to gradually diminish, and the Feoffees started to become known more as a charity.

The Feofees of the Common Lands of Rotherham

The following information was taken from ‘The Feoffees of the Common Lands of Rotherham’ by Frank Sellars, Printed in Rotherham by Henry Garnett & Co Ltd 1978.

The considerable grants of land to the town of Rotherham by the Crown under Letters Patent 26 Elizabeth 26 (1584) restored much of what had been previously been confiscated in the reigns of Hery VIII, and then, five years later, the Royal Charter of the Common Lands (1589), styled “Copiae charte facte duodecim feoffatis”, the first Feoffees of the Common Lands of Rotherham were named.

The First Feoffees of the Common Lands of Rotherham:


Robert Brunnage   Jeffrey Woolen   William Taylor
Nicholas Mountenoy   Robert Oakes   Thos. Woodhouse
Edward Holland   Richard Rawson   Christofer Taylor
Thomas Barbar   Nicholas Carr   Nicholas Tymme


The conyeyance of the land had been made via two London barristers, Lawrence Woodnett and Anthony Collyns to four trustees:

William West of Rotherham,

William Blythe of Barnby-upon-Dunne,

Richard Burrowes

Henry Browne of Rotherham

Although the above-named twelve ‘good men and true’ were the first to be officially designated “Feoffees of the Common Lands of Rotherham“, there had been many others acting in these positions as the town’s trustees prior to the 1584 Crown Letters and subsequent 1589 Royal Charter.

Some of these are listed below:

1515 Robert West, William Swift, Richard Oakes, William Oakes, Roger Hardyand Robert Brownhill
1549 Robert Swyft and William Whitmore
1574 Richard Whytmore

Some of the early documents were signed by Feoffees without the word ‘Greave’, but one can assume that most of them took it in turns to preside at meetings, sign documents, and to be in fact, Greaves. Starting therefore with the forenamed twelve who were listed in the Charter, the following represent a fairly full record of their successors:

1597 Francis Dickinson
1599 Nicholas Carr and Edward Holland
1608 Phillip Fletcher, Lewis West and William Shawe
1608 Leonard Rigg and Edward Hutchanson
1610 Francis West
1625 Thomas Oke
1627 Wm. Parkin
1631 Richard Mountenay
1631 Wm. Dickinson
1650 Henry Revill and Wm. Stanyforth
1659 Christopher Tindall and Luke Clayton
1660 Chas. Tooker and Hy. Wilkinson
1662 Jonathon Stanyforth and Thos. Hollis
1664 Lionel Copley and James Hugall
1667 John Malin, Ralph Woollen and Richd. Tinker
1670 Luke Clayton, Chas. Darwent and Wm. Smyth
1680 James Malin, Jos. Sorsbie, John West, Wm Stevenson and John Towers
1696 John Henfrey and John Mandeville
1703 John Winter, Robert Darwent, Wm. Aslabie and Chas. More
1705 Wm Laughton, George Lord, Phillipp Parke, Nathaniel Beverley, John Clarke and George Pashley
1706 John Towers, Robt. Swallow and Wm. Brooke
1728 Saml. Busk, Robt. Aslabie, Edward Bourne, John Peirson, Jos. Sorsbie Jnr., Richd. Oddy, George Smith, George Hebden, Richd. Wharam, H. Wilkinson,Thomas Jarvis and Joshua Browne
1755 Ralph Tunnicliffe, Richd. Moore, John Cutforthey, John Wilkinson, Thomas Wheatley, Wm. Flavell, John Kay, Josiah Johnson, George Dyson, Robt. Wilson and Thos. Scamadine.
1778 The Marquis of Rockingham, The Hon. Richard Howard and The Earl of Effingham
1780 Saml. Tooker, Saml. Hallowe Hamer, John Foljambe, John Bower, John Clarke and Jacob Boomer
1782 Thomas, 3rd Earl of Effingham
1795 Rt. Hon. Wm. Wentworth, Rev. John Carver, Richard, 4th Earl of Effingham, John Oxley, John Coupland, James Wilkinson, Joseph Johnson Jnr., William Jubb, Joseph Flint and Joshua Walker
1811 Charles William, Viscount Milton, Samuel Walker, Rev. Thois. Bayliffe, Joseph Turner, Robt. Clarke, Thos. Carnelly, Thos. Downes, William Pullin, George Harvey, John Lambert and Thos. Hattersley.
1817 Kenneth, Lord Howard of Effingham, John Adams, Thos. Bagshaw, Charles Nightingale, Francis Squire, John Fullerton, Re. John Lowe and Charles Saville
1828 John Fisher, William Earnshaw, Edward Padjin, John Roodhouse, Robert Bentley and John Nightingale
1851 Henry, 6th Earl of Effingham, Henry Walker, Thomas Badger, Wm. Glossop, Thos. Didsbury and John Aldred
  All the following were named as Greaves
1851 Joseph Badger
1852 Thomas Wheatley
1853 Robt. J. Bentley
1854 Chas. Nightingale
1855 Thomas Badger
1856 Henry Woodhead
1857 Chas. L. Coward
1858 Benjamin Robinson
1859 Joseph Awburn
1860 Edward Robinson
1861 John Law
1862 George Haywood
1863 William Owen
1864 Joseph Badger
1865 John Guest FSA
1866 Daniel C. Wheatley
1867 Robt. J. Bentley
1868 Chas. L. Coward
1869 Henry Woodward
1870 Edward Robinson
1871 John Law
1872 George Haywood
1873 Wm. Owen
1874 Wm. Owen
1875 John Guest FSA
1876 Thomas W. Badger
1877 Henry Wigfield
1878 George Eskholme
1879 Edward Robinson
1880 John Guest FSA
1881 Thos. W. Badger
1882 Henry Wigfield
1883 George Eskholme
1884 Robert Marsh
1885 Joseph Wells
1886 James Crowther
1887 George Neill
1888 George Neill
1889 George Neill
1890 Robert Marsh
1891 Joseph Wells
1892 Chas. J. Stoddart
1893 Charles Kenyon
1894 John Mason
1895 George Eskholme
1896 Robert Marsh
1897 Joseph Wells
1898 George Neill
1899 Chas. J. Stoddart
1900 James Jenkin
1901 John Cox
1902 W. L. B. Hirst
1903 Henry Crank
1904 George Gummer Snr.
1905 Charles H. Moss
1906 Richard Corker
1907 Chas. J. Stoddart
1908 John Mason
1909 Henry Crank
1910 George Gummer Snr.
1911 Charles H. Moss
1912 George Clarke
1913 George Henry Lodge
1914 Henry Crank
1915 Henry Crank
1916 George Gummer Snr.
1917 Charles H. Moss
1918 George Clarke
1919 George Henry Lodge
1920 Peter Bancroft Coward
1921 Daniel Mullin
1922 Willima Dyson
1923 William Hastings
1924 H. E. Knight
1925 Robert J. Fawcett
1926 George Gummer Snr.
1927 George Henry Lodge
1928 Robert J. Fawcett
1929 Peter Bancroft Coward
1930 Daniel Mullin
1931 William Hastings
1932 Robt. J. Fawcett
1933 George Gummer Snr.
1934 George Henry Lodge
1935 William Dyson
1936 William Hastings
1937 Robt. J. Fawcett
1938 Wilfred Brooke
1939 F. C. Collinson
1940 John Dickinson
1941 Hbt. Noel Clark
1942 George Gummer Jnr.
1943 William Dyson
1944 Robt. J. Fawcett
1945 Wilfred Brooke
1946 John Dickinson
1947 F. C. Collinson
1948 George Gummer Jnr.
1949 Robt. J. Fawcett
1950 F. C. Collinson
1951 John Dickinson
1952 George Gummer Jnr.
1953 Arthur Badger
1954 Eric A. Coldrey
1955 James Coles
1956 John Hutton Dickinson
1957 John S. Mitchell
1958 Eric Purshouse
1959 Leslie J. Tarbit
1960 George Gummer Jnr.
1961 Arthur Badger
1962 John Hutton Dickinson
1963 John S. Mitchell
1964 Eric Purshouse
1965 George Gummer Jnr.
1966 John Hutton Dickinson
1967 John S. Mitchell
1968 Eric Purshouse
1969 John Hutton Dickinson
1970 Eric Purshouse
1971 Francis Ogley
1972 Derek R. Branson
1973 Henry J. Parkin
1974 Frank Sellars
1975 A. Phillip Badger
1976 James W. Muntus
   The following information has been supplied by Tony Grice
 1977  Keith Wainwright
 1978  Christopher P Badger
 1979  Francis Ogley
Derek R Branson
 1981  Henry J Parkin
 1982  A Phillip Badger
 1983  Lt Col James W Muntus
 1984  Keith Wainwright
 1985  Christopher P Badger
 1986  Lewis D Purshouse
 1987  Anthony Hastings Pickles
 1988  John F Dickinson
 1989  Lt Col James W Muntus
 1990  Keith Wainwright
 1991  Christopher P Badger
 1992  Lewis D Purshouse
 1993  Anthony Hastings Pickles
 1994  John F Dickinson
 1995  Lt Col James W Muntus
 1996  Keith Wainwright
 1997  Christopher P Badger
 1998  R J Giles Bloomer
 1999  John F Beatson Clark
 2000  Anthony Hastings Pickles
 2001  Keith Wainwright
 2002  Christopher P Badger
 2003  Peter C Watson
 2004  John F Bingham
 2005  John F Beatson Clark
 2006  R J Giles Bloomer
 2007  Anthony E Grice
 2008  Christopher P Badger
 2009  Nigel D Elmhirst
 2010  John F Bingham