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Site of the House of Murgatroyd

Murgatroyd lies in the wooded area, center-top, known nowdays as Hollins wood.

Two cinerary urns were found while digging foundations for a barn, also three silver Roman coins, a Vespasian and two Hadreans.

Moor-gate-royd is on the Southern slopes of Highroad Well Moor, with a good aspect to the midday sun.

Since the days of King Edward III, a building has existed on this spot, and for more than five hundred years was in the possession of the two families of Murgatroyd and Dearden. We find in 1371 a John de Moregatrode, and later in 1432 a John Murgatroyd of Murgatroyd, mentioned in ancient records, and this house appears to have remained in the possession of the family until 1677. From this there appears little doubt either about the origin of the name or the birthplace of the family. Although the earliest mention found of the name is in 1371, in the court rolls of the Manor of Wakefield, when John de Moregaterode was Constable of the township of Warley in the 45th year of Edward the III, there is reason to believe that the land of Moregatrode is of much earlier date than this, as it is known that its surroundings are of great antiquity.

The spelling of the name varies considerably as schollars in those times used French, Latin and English interchangeably. In the Poll Tax return of 1379 John de Murgetroyd [of Murgetroyd] contributed his 'groat'. In the West riding Poll-book for 1379 a half of the total male population was called John, Thomas or William. Surnames were uncommon and no doubt John earned his by reason of his importance. He adopted the name of his Mansion House.

Following this John the Constable, we find record of another, John Murgatroyd of Murgatroyd who in the 6th October l432 in the Manor Court of Wakefield surrendered two houses and 40 acres of land called 'Bothstede' and 'Murgatroyd' to the use of his son, also called John, with the remainder going to another son Richard. This is the first instance of the name Murgatroyd being used as the surname. The eldest son John, had a son William who in 1466 inherited both Boothstede and Murgatroyd on the death of his father. There is no more recorded about the other son, Richard. He probably also had descendents with the name of Murgatroyd.

William was under age and therefore had a guardian appointed by the court. On his death in 1508 he left a will which has fortunately been preserved. Some of the interesting features include his best beast to the vicar of St. John the Baptist, Halifax, 6s and 8d to the church for his burial and a heifer to the chapple at Luddenden.

Hepton Bridge in 1995
Perhaps the most historical bequest was 'to Heptenbridge 6s. and 8d.' In the same year [1508] a certain William Greenwood of Heptonstall gave a little more than this towards the Bridge. He left 'to the fabric of Hepton Bridge 13s and 4d - if those nearest it will build it of stone'. Obviously they did this and it still stands today almost 500 years later, in excellent condition. The low parapets were to permit pack horses to pass each other, their loads overhanging the bridge on either side.

This bridge would have taken the traffic from Lancashire through Heptonstall and on past Murgatroyd to Halifax, At this time the valley of the Calder consisted of a marsh afforested and undrained. The hillsides being extremely steep, were covered with trees so the pack horses had perforce to be led over the tops of the moors.

Possible family groups sample from 1539 - 1554 marriage recd.
 Births in Warley
 JOHES - 04Feb 1539
  d. 17/10/1542
 ALICIA - 16Oct 1541
  d. 21/9/1541
WI marriage recd.
 Births in Warley
 JOHES - 21Feb 1539
 MARGARET 13Apl 1540
 Recorded in Halifax
 JOHANA d. 21/9/ 1541 marriage recd.
 Births in Warley
 MARIONA- 20Mar 1541
 WILLMS - 9Mat 1542
  d. 1/6/1542
 JACOBUS - 21May 1543
 ALICIA - 21May 1543
  d. 1/6/1543
 ROGER - 08Jan 1547
5Oct 1555 Warley
 Births in Warley
 ALICIA- 15Oct 1557
 GRACE - 25Apl 1563
 MICHAEL - 18Nov 1565
  d. 17/2/1590
The earliest church records that I have found have come from the Halifax Bishop's transcripts that start at 1539. They record the births and deaths from the parish of Warley. For the next 40 years there is record of at least 66 Murgatroyds in the Halifax area so there was a reasonably sizeable population with the Murgatroyd name at that time.. Unfortunately there is not enough information given to tie them together except loosely into families. Further confusion arises from the differing spellings of names Jacobi/James/Jacobus or John/Johis/Johne/Johes for example. Apart from those recorded in the pedigree line there were other males named Robti, Wi(Wyllm), Rici, Willi(Willmi), Richardi, Jacobi, Henrici, Johis living before 1539.

Families can be spotted from 1539 onward, to Wi (3 children), Robti (2 children), Rici (4 children), Johis (8 children and 1 bastard), Edward and Robert (2 more bastards), Willmi (6 children), Rici (3 children), Willi (1 child), Jacobi (1 child), Richard (8 children), Henrici (5 children), John (4 children), John, Edmund, Roger, George et al....up to 1577.

The present Church at Luddenden was erected in the 16th century, replacing the chapel which had been burned down. Murgatroyds contributed to the erection of the new church.

At this distance in time legal records showing property and probates are essential to identify correctly the family relationships.

1997 R.D.Murgatroyd.
Updated-February, 2002