THOMAS TEAL –1705 - 1771


My story begins around 1705 when Thomas Teal was born.  His origins are unclear, however it is likely he came from the Teal line of Middleton in Ilkley, Yorkshire whose history can be traced to the early sixteenth century.  The most likely hypothesis is that he was a son of an Emmanuel Teal of Middleton and baptised at Ilkley Church on the 29th March 1705.  The evidence1 for this is uncertain and therefore my story will start with Thomas.


Thomas first appears in Askwith in the Parish of Weston near Otley, Yorkshire.  On the 17th October 1733 he is listed on the jury of Weston Manorial Court.


From the time of the Norman Conquest in 1066 until well into the eighteenth century, the Manor provided a framework for the lives of much of the rural population of England.  It provided the administration of the land and the law mainly through the Manor Courts that were held periodically throughout the year.  After the eighteenth century most of the criminal functions of this Court were removed to the County Courts but they continued to function for the transfer of Manorial land until in 1925 they were abolished.


A Manor comprised an area of land, usually a village or Parish although it could be larger and contain several villages or Parishes.  Each Manor had an owner known as the Lord of the Manor.  The Manor was governed by rules called the ‘Customs of the Manor’ and these differed from place to place.  An example of some Manorial Customs of the Forest of Knaresborough, recorded in 1563 are listed below:


-          After the death of every customary tenant, dying seized of any messuage, parcel of the said lordship or Manor, whether there by any lands lying to it or not, that the officer there for the time being shall seize, to the use of the Queen’s majesty, her heirs and successors, his best beast (that is to say, horse, ox or cow)

-          If any customary tenant die seized of any customary lands there, if the next heir, by himself or by his friends, come not at the next Manor court, or before the year and day expired, after the death of his or their ancestor, to make his relief (fine), then the said lands shall be seized into the hands of the Lord of the said Manor, and the next heir not to have them until he pay three years rent, for and in the name of a fine, unto the Lord of the same Manor, over and besides his relief.

-          If any tenant, seized of any customary land whereupon any great trees of age of twenty-four years or above, be, or shall be growing, shall cut then down and sell them, or any of them, he shall grievously be amerced; but yet nevertheless, it shall be lawful to and for the said customary tenants to take fire-wood meet for fuel, growing upon his or their customary lands, to burn in their houses, upon the same lands and holds, and to take trees growing upon the same, meet for repair, or to build his or their messuages or ancient buildings there.


From the sixteenth century residents in the Manor could hold land in various forms of tenure:


Freehold Tenants


The tenants owned their land and were free to sell it without reference to the Lord.


Customary Tenants


Most tenants owned their land in this fashion.  The land was known as ‘Copyhold’ and refers to the practice of giving the tenant a copy of the Manor Court Roll, which detailed their holding and served as proof of title.  All land transactions had to go through the Manor Court and fines were payable on the death of a tenant and on the transfer of ownership.




Leasehold land was let to the tenant for a set period e.g. annually or twenty-one years.  An annual rent would be payable as would a fine for renewing.

What Thomas’s status was on the Manor of Weston is unknown, he is listed as appearing at other Courts held in the 1730s, but the records are very incomplete.  His trade was as a tailor so he likely made clothes for the small villages of Askwith and Weston.  He married Ann but she died and was buried at Weston Parish Church on the 17th April 1742


On the 11th May 1739 the Teals long association with White Crag in Timble in the Parish of Fewston began.  Timble is a small village on the southern slope of the valley of the Washburn river some six miles north-west of Otley, since 1974 in the county of North Yorkshire but previous to that in the West Riding of Yorkshire.  Thomas bought an ancient building and two closes of copyhold land called stoney close and low close containing one customary acre (said to be equivalent to four modern acres) in Timble in the Manorial court of the Forest of Knaresborough.  The Crown through their Duchy of Lancaster holdings owned this large Manor covering four Parishes.  The deed for this transaction is preserved in the Public Record Office, London.





























Public Record Office Reference DL 30 / 617 Pages 257 & 264 Duchy of Lancaster - Forest of Knaresborough Surrenders Book 3


(Page 257) Knaresbrough - To wit

The Torne or Grand Court Leet with the Court Baron of our Sovereign Lord George the second by the grace of God of Great Britain and so forth King (of Record) held for his Forrest and Liberty of Knaresbrough aforesaid within his Castle there on Thursday the Seventeenth day of May in the twelfth year of his Reign and in the year of our Lord 1739 before the Right Honourable Richard Earl of Burlington High Steward by Thomas Flesher Gentleman Understeward of the Courts there

(Page 264) Forrest

I Henry Taylor out of Court the Eleventh day of May 1739 Surrenders into the hands of our Sovereign Lord the King by the hands of Thomas Flesher Gentleman Understeward or Clerk of the Courts there one ancient building and Barn and two closes of Land called Stoney Close and low Close and two Garths containing by estimation one acre be the same more or less called (blank space) with all hezedifaments and appurtenances to the same belonging situate lying and being in Timble in the forrest aforesaid now in the Tenure and occupation of Richard Knowles or his assignes To the use and behoofe of Thomas Teal of Askwith his heirs and assignes for ever according to the custom of the forrest aforesaid and upon this at this court cometh the said Thomas Teal and prays to be admitted to his fine for the Premises aforesaid Proclamation being made and none forbidding it the premises aforesaid with the appurtenances are granted by the understeward aforesaid to have and to hold to the said Thomas Teal his heirs and assignes for ever according to the Custom of the forrest aforesaid and he is admitted tenant.

Fine 9 d

(Duchy of Lancaster copyright material in the Public Record Office is reproduced by permission of the Chancellor and Council of the Duchy of Lancaster)


























To increase this holding of land he quickly encroached on some of the common land in Timble and at the Manor Court held on the 25th October 1739 was fined 1 shilling for doing so.


Encroachments were fines levied by the Lord of the Manor for using land for which you were not entitled.  By the eighteenth century they had become another name for an annual rent for the land but without the same rights as standard copyhold Manorial tenure.  The Lord of the Manor could not throw you off copyhold land without good reason, he could from any encroachments.


With his copyhold land and the encroachments he could supplement his tailoring income with that from a small farm.  Whilst he could not be classed as rich he was certainly a few rungs up the ladder of wealth.


Following the death of his wife in April 1742, Thomas was left a widower with no children or heirs.  He moved quickly and on the 29th July he married Jane Wright of Thornthwaite in the Parish of Hampsthwaite at that Parish Church.  Jane was the daughter of the late George Wright of Thornthwaite and had become entitled to a £ 30 legacy in the June under the terms of his last will.  She was therefore something of a catch for Thomas.


The marriage was by licence, which meant that, Thomas and a friend or relation swore an oath that confirmed there were no legal obstacles to the marriage under a penalty of £ 200.  The marriage could then take place quickly without the normal public calling of banns over three weeks.  Thomas went to Otley on the 27th July 1742 and with William Linley, a tailor of Otley got his licence from the Vicar, the Rev. Henry Humphrey.  Whilst the licence which would have been handed over in Hampsthwaite church does not appear to have survived, the bond and allegation is preserved at the Borthwick Institute in York.  This is the first document we have that Thomas signed or marked, as he could not write.

Thomas Teal’s Marriage Allegation 27th July 1742Borthwick Institute, York


THE Twenty Seventh Day of July in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and forty two which Day appeared personally Thomas Teal of ye parish of fuyston in the County of York aged above Thirty seven Years and a Widower and alledged that he intendeth to marry with Jane Wright of ye parish of Hampsthwaite in the County aforesaid aged above Twenty six Years and a Spinster


Whereone of the      ]

Parties is a               ]

Minor; add                               ]

with Consent            ]

of Parent or             ]

Guardian, in              ]

this Blank                                ]

Space.                      ]


not knowing, or believing any impediment, by Reason of any Preconract, Confanguinity, Affinity, or any other lawful Means whatsoever, to hinder the said intended Marriage: Of the Truth of which he made Oath, and prayed Licence for them to be married in the parish Church of fuyston or Hampshwaite aforesaid


Sworn before me

Hen : Humfrey Surrogate


his mark

Thomas    T      Teal



Text Box: Thomas Teal’s Marriage Bond 27th July 1742 – Borthwick Institute, York

Know all Men by these Presents, That we Thomas Teal of fuyston in ye County of York farmer & William Linley of Otley in ye County aforesaid Taylor are Bound, and firmly Obliged to the Right Worshipful John Audley, Doctor of Laws, Vicar General, and Official Principal of the most Reverend Father in GOD lanceld by Divine Providence, Lord Arch-Bishop of York, Primate of England, and Metropolitan, Lawfully Authorised, in the Sum of Two Hundred Pounds of good and lawful Money of Great Britain, to be paid to 
him the said John Audley his Executors, Administrators, Successors and Assigns; for the Payment whereof well and truly to be made, we oblige our selves, and each of us by our selves, for the Whole, and the Full, our Heirs, Executors and Administrators, firmly by there Presents, sealed with our Seals.  Given the Twenty seventh Day of the Month of July in the Year of our LORD GOD, one Thousand Seven Hundred and forty two

THE Condition of this Obligation is such : That of the above-bounded Thomas Teal & Jane Wright now Licenced to be Married together beneither of Confanguinity or Affinity the one to the other, within the Degrees prohibited for Marriage: If also there be no precontract of Matrimony betwixt either of the said Parties and any other Person or Persons whatsoever, but that hey may be lawfully Married together, both by the Laws of God , and this Land: Moreover If the Parents of both the said Parties, if they be living or otherwise their Tutors and Governours if they have any be thereunto agreeing : And lastly if the said Marriage be done and Solemnized in such manner as in the License to them granted is Limited : Then this Obligation to be void or else to remain in full force and vertue.

Sealed and delivered in	    his mark
	the presence of 	Tho: T (Seal) Teal
Hen : Humfrey Surrogate	William(Seal) Linley






































Why did Thomas marry by licence, which was more costly than a standard banns marriage?  Perhaps his bride was undecided and other suitors were waiting in the wings?  Perhaps the short time between this marriage and the death of his first wife would cause gossip in the village and he wanted it to be a secret.  Perhaps he just wanted to get on with it as soon as possible, he was not getting any younger and had no children, he also had a farm, house and tailoring business to keep going on his own.


Whatever the reason, the couple prospered and had five children, four girls and a boy.  They were all baptised at the local Fewston church, Sarah on 22nd September 1744, Dorothy on 7th March 1745, Ellen on 22nd September 1748, Mary on 1st September 1751 and finally George on the 23rd October 1754.


The family were joined by Jane’s elderly widowed mother Ellen Wright who came to live with them from Hampsthwaite.  She was entitled, from her late husband George, to an encroachment in the Forest of Knaresborough at Menwith Hill of a house and a small parcel of land, which passed to Thomas when she died in March 1756.


Scandal rocked the family in 1764 when Sarah, Thomas’s unmarried eldest daughter became pregnant.  This was highly frowned upon not only not only by the population in general but by the state.  Illegitimate children could become a burden on the Parish ratepayers through the Poor Laws.  She gave birth to a son and he was christened at Fewston, the Parish register recording the event:


Joseph a bastard child of Sarah Teal baptised Dec. 26th 1764


The fathers’ identity is unknown but Thomas appears to have accepted his grandson and provided him with a £ 10 legacy in his Will.  Sarah and Joseph continued to live with Thomas until following Thomas’s death she married a widower William Parker a whitesmith from Darley in Hampsthwaite on the 8th November 1772


Thomas and his daughter Sarah were witnesses to the Will of Widow Mary Mason of Timble on the 23rd February 1767

Leeds Archives, Knaresborough Wills





Thomas’s health started to fail rapidly during March and April 1771.  On the 12th April 1771 being “in peril of death” his copyhold land was handed over in trust to other farmers of the township under the instructions of his last will, as was the custom of the Court of Knareborough Forest. 


Public Record Office Reference DL 30 / 620 Page 447 Duchy of Lancaster - Forest of Knaresborough Surrenders Book 6


April 12 Day 1771


Thomas Teal of Timble in the Parrish of Fewstone being in perill of Death surrendereth all his Copyhold or customary Lands and Tennements within the Forest aforesaid with all the Appertenances into the Hands of our Sovereign Lord the King by the Hands of Thomas Parkinson and Irish Bramley two customary Tennants of the said Forest To the use of his last Will but if the said Thomas Teal be living at the next Court Day then this Surrender is to be void but if he be then dead this surrender shall be presented into the Court Rolls according to Custom of the said Forest

(Duchy of Lancaster copyright material in the Public Record Office is reproduced by permission of the Chancellor and Council of the Duchy of Lancaster)


















Thomas died, and was buried in Fewston Churchyard on the 4th May 1771.  His will written on the 5th April 1771 shortly before his death was proved in the Knareborough Forest Court on the 24th July.  All his children are listed although the main farm went in the tradition of the day to his only son George, who was actually his youngest child.  Interestingly his daughter Dorothy who by this time was the wife of Thomas Forrest of the nearby hamlet of Norwood was left only one shilling! Is this a sign of a family rift or had she already had her share of the estate.  Nothing in the records shows, but she did not have long to contemplate this, for she too died shortly afterwards in January 1772












Thomas Teals Will -Preamble – Leeds Archives – Knaresborough Wills R5












Thomas Teals Will – Legacy to son George Teal – Leeds Archives – Knaresborough Wills R5










Thomas Teals Will – Legacy to daughter Dorothy Forest – Leeds Archives – Knaresborough Wills R5






Text Box: Typed Transcript of Thomas Teal Will – Knareborough Probate Records - No 5 – Leeds Archives

Thos Teal's Will
To be inrolled 24th July 1771	6a Probate made	Inrolled x copied

In the Name of God Amen I Thomas Teal of Timble in the parish of Fewston and County of York Yeoman being weak in Body but of sound and Dispofeing mind and Memory praised be god do hereby revoke all former wills by me here to fore maid and do now make and ordane this to be my last will and testement in manner and form following first I give unto my Daughter Sarah Teal one house and Tennement lying at Menwithill in the parish of Hampsthwaite now in the possession of Thomas Wilks to her and her heirs and assignes forever she paying out of the same to her son Joseph Teal Tenn pounds when he attanes the age of twenty one years Likewise I give unto my son George Teal the House where I now Dwell with all my copyhold Land and Tenements with all other Buildings there unto belonging to him and his heirs and assignes forever and I order my Loving wife Jane to be in trust for my son untill he attains the age of Twenty one years and after he attains that age pay unto my wife two pounds in the year During her Natural life Likewise I give unto my Daughter Ellen Teal her Executors and administrators the sum of fifty pounds thirty pounds to be paid Twelve months after my Deceased and the other Twenty pound to be paid Twelve months after my wife Decease Likewise I give unto my Daughter Mary the wife of Joshua Yeadon her Executors administrators the sum of Fifty pounds thirty pounds to be paid twelve months after my Decease and the other Twenty Twelve months after my wife Decease Likewise I give unto my Daughter Dorothy the wife of Thomas Forest of Norwood one shilling and I order my Executor here after Mentioned to pay the above said Legaceys out of my money and Effects at the times above Mentioned and if my sone George Neglect paying the above said two pounds in the year to my wife I order my wife to Enter upon my Copyhold Estate utill he pay the same and I do hereby Constitute and appoint my wife Executor of this my last will and Testament she paying all my just Debts and funeral Expences In witness where of I the said Thomas Teal the testate have to this my last will and Testament set my hand and seal the fifth day of april in the year of our Lord one Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy one

Signed sealed published and declared by the said Testator Thomas Teal as and for his last will and Testament in	 the presences of us who at his request in his presence and in the presence of each other have subscribed our Names as Witnesses thereto
his	Thomas    T   Teal	mark
William Ward	(signed)	Irish Bramley	(signed)	Thomas Parkinson	(signed)





































His wife Jane remained on the farm with George and she died in March 1778 aged 68 years.  She was buried in Fewston Churchyard on the 15th March 1778


Fewston Church and Vicarage, Pictured in the early 1880s

The tower dates from the fourteenth century, the chancel and nave were rebuilt in 1697 following a fire in the previous year.

This Church was witness to many Teal family events











1 – The current evidence for Thomas’s birth is as follows.  Thomas is listed as aged 37 on marriage bond dated 1742.  Thomas’s born around this time at Leeds and Spofforth have been discounted on the grounds they died or produced separate families.  Thomas is known to have lived in Askwith and the Weston Parish Register gives evidence of a Teal family group living there from the 1720s.  Tracing the baptism entries from this group indicate that all bar Thomas are christened at Ilkley Parish Church to father Emmanuel Teal.  However a Parish Register entry dated 29th March 1705 states ‘Eman son of Thomas Teal of Middleton baptised’, searching forward and back through the register shows no Thomas Teals producing children at this time, but does indicate the Emmanuel Teal has a gap in his family around 1705.  The Ilkley register is also confused around this time with duplicate entries.  Is it possible that the Parish Clerk confused the father name with the son’s?



Summerbridge Tutorial Group – Kith and Kin Nidderdale Families 1500 - 1750

William Grainge – History of Harrogate and the Forest of Knaresborough

Thomas Parkinson – Lays and Leaves of the Forest

Borthwick Institute, York - Yorkshire Marriage Bonds and Allegations

Leeds Archives – Knaresborough Probate Records

Leeds Archives - Weston Hall 291/2

Public Records Office: DL/30 Knaresborough Surrender Books

Weston Parish Registers, Printed by Yorkshire Parish Register Society

Fewston Parish Register, North Yorkshire Record Office, Northallerton

Ilkley Parish Register, Printed by the Yorkshire Parish Register Society