Wakefield Family History Sharing


Extracts from

Walkers History of Wakefield

2nd edition 1939 (privately printed)


St Helen's Church, Sandal Magna


This Church stands on the verge of the field of the battle of Wakefield, where Lancastrian forces defeated the army of Richard, Duke of York and slew the leader in the fields north of Sandal Castle, December 30th 1460.

The manor of Wakefield was given by William Rufus to William the sedond Earl Warrene about 1090, and the history of the advowsons of the churches of Wakefield and Sandal is one, both being granted between 1091 and 1097 to the Priory of Lewes by William, second Earl Warrene.

In 1291 the church of Sandal was stated to be of the annual value of £26 13s 4d and the pension to the prior of Lewes was £2.

On Oxctober 31st 1558 Queen Mary conceded the vicarage of Sandal Magna, along with Wakefield and other rectories and vicarages, to Nicholas Heath, Archbishop of York.  The Queen died on November 17th and in the following year (1559) Queen Elizabeth, by Acto of Parliament (IEliz. cap 4) resumed advowsons of all rectories and vicarages which belonged to Queen Mary at and before August 8 1855.  Thus the patronage of Sandal Magna came back to the Crown, and the presentation remained with the Lord Chancellor until 1890, when the advowson was purchased from the Crown and placed in the hancs of the Peache trustees.

In 1728 the clear yearly value of benefice was stated as being £48 17s 43/4d.

The Rectory of Sandal Magna came to the Crown when Elizabeth I resumed advowsons in 1559 and on May 24 1568 was leased to Thomas Waterton of Walton, esquire, at a yearly rent of £34.  December 11th 1579 saw the lease renewed for twenty years.

During the 1850's and 60's the west end of the church underwent considerable repairs and new windows were inserted at the went end of the nave.  The plaster was scraped off the walls and the arcades of the nave were barbarously treated and removed much of the original detail.  It was left to the restoration of 1872 to irredeemably damage the building from the historical and antiquarian point of view.

The church was lengthened two bays to the west (the whole of the went end being new); the old south porch was taken down amd a new one built further westward.  The north door was taken away and its place taken by a three-light window.  A new organ chamber was made by taking down a portion of the north wall of the chancel, including a fourtheenth century window, the old window being inserted in the south chancel aise, which was filled with oak benches for the children.

The level of the sanctuary was raised, so that the communion rails were approached by three steps./  This was quite inconvenient for the communicants and the earlier level of one rise was later restored.

Within the sanctuary are two carved oak seventeenth century arm chairs, one of which was given to the church by Captain William Hardcastle, who arrested Nevison, the highwayman, whom he found sitting in this chair at the Sandal Three Houses Inn on March 6th 1684.  He then conveyed him to York where he was executed on May 4th following.

The church plate of Sandal Magna consists of ::  Silver - Two Cups, two-Patens, and a Flagon; also a glass Flagon or Cruet with silver mounts.  Pewter - Alms-dish.  Brass - Alms-dish.  Of these vessels one cup alone is old.  This is plain, with a curved bell-shaped bowl, a baluster stem and a plain spreading circular foot.  On the bowl are inscribed the letters CA RD, with the date 1670, being the initials of Cyril Arthington and Robert Dickinson, churchwardens.  Hall-marks : two letters, the former of which is W ; London 1655.

The other peices are all modern and took the place of some very interesting vessels in 1877, according to Walker, 'the loss of which is much to be lamented'.  The box containing the vessels bears a brass plate, which records as follows, that the old plate was 'converted into one chalice, two pattens, and one flaggon by the piety of Frances widow of John Forge of Woodthorpe A.D. 1877'

Rectors and Vicars of St. Helen's, Sandal Magna

Robert De Sandale, presented as Rector by the prior of Lewes, instituted 1154, died 1160

Rainald, Parson of Sandal, was the first witnes to a grant by Robert son of William to the monks of Rievaulx 1170-1184

James De Arrea

Walter De Senemure, Canon of Wells; between 1190-1212

Robert, Parson of Sandal

William De Ebor, Provost of Beverley, instituted 1239 and again in 1242

James De Langgetoft, 1290. In 1291 he was commisioned to enquire into a disturbance with effusion of blook that took place in the church of Leeds.

Thomas De Evereux, 1299, resigned 1307

John De Dyneton or Dynyngtonn, instituted 1309.  His name occurs in the Wakefield Manor Court Rolls in 1325.  He died at Sandal.

John De Mandeville, instituted 1330. In 1339 at a Manor Court of Wakefield, John De Mandevyl, Rector of Sandal paid 6s 8d for the profits of Walton Church.

John De Malton instituted 1314.  He died at Sandal and his will was proved in March 1345, directed that his body should be buried in the churchyard.

William De Wakefield, Keeper of the Changes in the Tower of London, was presented by Earl Warrene and instituted in 1346.  He died at Sandal in 1348. An order was given to Walter de Harewell, the King's sergeant at arms, to deliver the goods of William de Wakefield, parson of the church at Sandal and keeper of the Changes in the Tower of London, which had been seized by him into the King's hands, and to sell the same to the King's greatest advantage, July 31 1348.

Richard De Norwich, instituted 1348

Stephen De Maloleone, instiituted 1349

William Bull of Wakefield. The first Vicar presented by the Dean and College of St Stephen, Westminster.  Instituted 1357.

John De Birton, instituted 1362

John De Howell, instituted 1379, he resigned after being presented to the vicarage of Stoke.

John Bozon, instituted 1393. He resigned.

John Dughty, instituted 1406.  He died at Sandal.  His goods were administered in November 1436

John Syham, instituted 1436.  He died intestate at Sandal and administration of his goods was taken in 1456

John Cooke, instituted 1454

Robert Henryson, instituted 1491

Thomas Cance, instituted 1509, he resigned and was followed by one of the most distinguished vicars of Sandal.

Robert Frost, instituted 1511. He was the son of Thomas Frost of Ackton and Joan daughter of John Amyas, one of the most important families in Sandal and Netherton. His grandfather was Thomas Frost of Beverley, who married Katherine, daughter of John Woodrove of  Woolley and thus he had many local connections. He was presented to the rectory of Tankersley by Sir John Savile October 14 1486 and in the south window of that church caused his arms to be placed - Argent, a chevron between three escallop[s azure, with the inscription : Orate pro anima Donini Roberti Frost quondam Rectoris istuis ecclesie, qui istam fenestram fieri fecit. He became Chancellor to Arthur, Prince of wales, who death occured in 1501.  He was Bachelor of Cannon Law and supplicated for the degree of Doctor of Canon Law at Oxford January 1506-7, disputed March 14 of the same year.  He does not appear to have taken the degree.  He had a busy career and retired to the vicarage of Sandal and ended his days there, being buried under a marble stone in the chancel.  At Sandal he placed his arms in a window on the north side of the chancel.  It was during Frost's term at Sandal that the south chancel aisle or Waterton chapel was built.

John Normavel, resigned in 1557

Bryan Jackson, instituted 1557 and died at Sandal.

Philip Leigh, instituted 1585

Joseph Stocks, instituted 1625.  He was a Royalist and when the Puritans came into power was turned out of his living and "hurried away Prisoner, whilst he was burying a corpse.  His wife and family likewise were turned out of doors.  He was a man Eminent for his learning, of an Exemplary Life, and beloved of everyone" (Walker's Suffering of the Clergy)

Timothy Wood, who had been usher of Wakefield Grammer School 1639-1645. Timothy was approved by the Commissioners appointed by an Ordinance of His Highness the Lord Protector, with the advice of his Council, for the approbation of Publique Preachers, to be a person qualified to preach theFospel, as in and by the said Ordinance is required, at Whitehall 1654.  In 'A Register of all the Church Livings in the Co. York' 1654, he is described as 'a painfull preacher'. By misinformation he was imprisoned in York Castle.  He lived in Sandal after being silenced. He died at Belgrave, nr Leicester in 1680 aged 63

David Allerdice, instituted 1662.  He married Elizabeth Barrow at Tankersley in 1663 and died at Sandal December 1667

Caleb Stockport, instituted 1667-8, buried at Sandal May 29th 1679

Joseph Wood, instituted 1679, died March 31st 1718 and was buried at Sandal.

Charles Zouch, instituted 1718-9, son of Charles Zouch, goldsmith of Reading. Assistant master at Wakefield Grammer School 1717.  Justice of the Peace, W.R. Yorkshire.  Died JUly 1754 aged 63

Henry Zouch, son of the preceding vicar, born at Sandal January 4th 1724-5, educated at Wakefield Grammer School.  He died June 17th 1795 and his will directed that his body should be buried in the Garden of Sandal Hall on the south-west side of the church-yard, which he had always contended was a portion of the burial ground.  The owner of the Hall refused to allow this, but his executors, determined to carry out his wishes, made a grave within the church-yard byt close to the boundary wall, and then made a drift beneath the wall into the garden along which they pushed the vicar's coffin, so gratifying his desire.

Thomas Hall, instituted 1789, died at Sandal October 1790

Thomas William Shore, instituted 1792, resigned in 1793 on being appointed vicar of Cornwood, Devon.  He died in 1822

William Brown, instituted 1793. He was usher of Wakerield Grammer School from 1771-1795, temporary Headmaster, January to July 1795 and a Governor of the School from 1809-1818.  He held his living at Sandal until 1818 and died at Hooton Pagnell in 1823

Thomas Westmorland, instituted 1818.  He died at Sandal, March 1845 aged 71 years

Thomas Westmorland, son of the previous vicar, was instituted 1844.  He exchanged the post at Sandal for one in Leominster in 1853, and again exchanged livings in 1857 for one in Brantingham-cum-Elleker, E.R. Yorks, and died their in 1892

Charles Sweet Escott, instituted 1853.  He resigned the vicarage of Sandal in 1855 and died in Tillingham in 1879

Isaac Clarkson, instituted 1855.  Before coming to Sandal he had been Vicar of Wednesbury, which he had exchanged with Mr Escott.  He died at Sandal in 1860 aged 65 and was buried there.

William Butler, instituted 1860.  He resigned in 1868 and died in 1889

Herman Douglas, instituted 1868.  He was educated in America.  He exchanged living with Mr Butler.  He died in 1898

Richard Norman Hurt, instituted 1879, son of Francis Hurt of Alderwasley Hall, Derby and Cecilia Emely, daughter of Richard Norman of Melton Mowbray and his wife Lady Elizabeth Isabella, daughter of Charles, 4th Duke of Rutland; born at Boulogne July 22nd 1847; held a commission as Ensign in the 61st Foot.  Ordained December 1875; curate of Ossett 1875-7; of Wakefield 1877-9.  He died 1918

Arthur Audley Parry, instituted 1909, resigned 1934

Archie Walls, instituted 1934


Sandal Magna Parish Records are available at the West Yorkshire Archive Service under the Ref WDP 20, baptisms 11651-1983, marriages 1651-1991 and burials 1651-1961

To read fully the events read 'Wakefield its History and People' by J W Walker OBE FSA