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  Where you are: Local History - PhotoTopics - House, Mansions, Villas - Friary
  Tickhill Friary
 

 

Pre-1538

Tickhill Friary lies approximately one mile west of the Castle on the south side of Rotherham Road. Founded c1256 by John Clarel, warden of Queen Eleanor’s Chapel in Tickhill Castle, it was the house of the Austin (Augustinian) Friars, who worked and preached within the local community, farmed the land and ran a school. The number of friars at any one time varied between six and 24. 

The order was dependent on donations and charity for its upkeep and maintenance, and the Clarel family, of the nearby Clarel Hall on Westgate, continued to have close links.  In 1332 Robert Clarel gave two acres of land in Tickhill, and in the 15th century, local landowner, Sir Richard Fitzwilliam inherited the patronage of the Friary on his marriage to Elizabeth, heiress of the Clarels of Aldwarke.

To extend their land, the friars were granted a licence in 1283/4 to enclose a lane to the west of the Friary on payment of half a mark. In 1332/3 a licence granted by Edward lll permitted them to enclose a lane, 192 ft in length and 15ft wide, near their house, to annex the ground to their estate 

Throughout its 282 year existence, the Friary had some influential and illustrious benefactors - none more so than the monarch.  

In 1279, Edward 1 gave the friars four oak trees for their Church, and on the death of his mother, the Dowager Queen Eleanor in 1291, the order received 40 shillings from the executors of her will. His son, Edward ll and grandson, Edward lll were equally generous: the former giving six shillings for one day’s food for the 18 friars in 1300 and £10 to the Prior and chapter, nine years later, in 1335 the latter gave four pence to each of the 24 friars.  

Other benefactors included Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, who gave two oak trees from his woods for building purposes, and in 1366 Robert de Bangwell, rector of Darfield left 20 shillings to the Friary and six pence to each of the brothers. In 1482, Sir Hugh Hastings left a ’serge of wax’  - a candle  - to be burnt daily in honour of St Ninian, he also bequeathed an annual quarter of wheat for three years and ten shillings to the friars. Within ten years of the Friary’s closure in 1538, Christopher Norris gave an acre of arable land at ‘lime kiln in the South Field’, and Richard Wilson of Wortley left 20 shillings for a ‘shrine to pray for my soule and for my two wiffes souls, Isobel and Margaret’.  

Post-1538

The onset of the English reformation and Henry VIII’s break with Rome led to the dissolution of the monasteries; on November 19, 1538, the Prior, Richard Robinson and seven friars surrendered Tickhill Friary and its estate to Sir George Lawson, the King’s Commissioner.  60 acres of land, which included a close called The Orchard, pasture land known as Baily Close and Malpas Meadow, and arable land in Lindrick Croft, Oxhouse Flat, Dove Busk and Gody Croft, were let to John Robinson at a rent of 53 shillings and 4 pence; the estate also included a cottage on Westgate and arable land at ‘lime kiln in the South Field’. 

Occupants

In the 1560s, Tickhill Friary and its estate were leased to Thurston Rawsthorne of Tickhill for 21 years; following its purchase from the Crown, his son William sold the house with the closes, pastures and meadow in 1589 to Nicholas Booth of Ashford, Derbyshire, servant to George, Earl of Shrewsbury for the sum of £400.  Booth in turn sold the house and estate to John Slyman of Derbyshire, whose family resided there for more than a century. In the late 17th century, the property passed to James Hawkesworth, who died without issue, and was inherited by his niece Anne, who lived there for a short time in the early 19th century with her husband the Rev. William Battell. 

The Friary had numerous owners or tenants in the 19th century including the farmers: Robert Booker, William Shaw, Edward Brookfield, and William Curtis, Captain George Egerton, John Egremont, JP a landowner from Womersley, and Sheffield born, John Clifford Watson, whom the1891 census describes as ‘living on own means’. 

In the 1870s, it was the home to one Frederick John Leather, however his residence there appears to have been short, as there is no further reference to the family until the beginning of the 20th century, when the 1901 census shows the occupant to be Mrs Gertrude Leather and her daughters Millicent and Rosamund, who were to reside there until the end of the First World War. Kelly’s Directory for 1917 shows Gertrude Leather to be one of the first telephone subscribers in Tickhill, the number - 9.  Occupants during the inter-war years included Messrs. Barlow Massicks, Edwin Fenwick and B Pickering. 

The House

The Friary, a Grade ll* listed building, stands well back from the road and is approached by a gravelled drive, which curves to the front of the house. The original house is medieval and comprised of two wings, 2 storeys high with attics, joined at their south-east and north-west corners. The original fabric suggests the west wing is 13th century and east wing 14th century; both have 20th century alterations, when they were converted into two houses. In front of the east wing, is a 19th century wing, which forms the front elevation. 

The west wing is more ornate in architectural style, was originally longer and may have been the refectory; the 14th century east wing is thought to have been used for domestic purposes and incorporates a fireplace and possibly a garderobe. Ecclesiastical arches, stepped buttresses, a leper squint, armorial shields of the Clarel and Fitzwilliam families in the fabric of the building overlooking the flower garden, and the probability that the house’s original entrance hall was part of original chapel are all reminders of its religious past. The Friary is thought to have been adapted for domestic use in the 17th century. Gothic windows, Tudor mullions, blocked doorways and windows are all clues to its architectural changes over the last five centuries. 

Garden

By the 20th century, the Friary was a house, with a stone flagged terrace on the south side, surrounded by lawns, ornamental trees, flowering shrubs and herbaceous plants; the mill stream, which ran through the meadow and garden, and a 13th century stone arch leading to a walled kitchen garden, added to its attraction as a very desirable residence.


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