A North Yorkshire

St Oswald’s Farnham

Parish Meeting Agenda

The Landowners

Following the Norman invasion in 1066 - the majority of the land of England passed into Norman hands - a new ruling class, a new culture and a new language.
The supporters of the King were rewarded with estates and land they, in turn, rewarded their supporters with land and so a slow distribution was begun. The exception, of course, was the vast estates kept by the King.
From 1781 Land Tax documents it can be seen that the land of Farnham parish was held by twenty persons at that date - some large holdings, some small.

The Main landowners with the largest holdings were as follows:

Sir John Coghill. His holding included Low Hall - formerly belonging to the Bickerdykes but in Coghill possession from 1743 - 1799. The Coghills were a wealthy Knaresborough family and their principal house was Coghill Hall, Knaresborough, built in 1555 - but it is not clear from where they originated.
Sir Thomas Slingsby In 1781 the Slingsbys were not in possession of a large amount of land in Farnham but from 1832 to after 1910 they owned Low Hall, acquired some 30 years after the departure of the Coghills.
The family are said to have settled in the district in the 11
th century and to be descended from 'Gamel, the Kings Fowler'. they played a major part in the history of the district for hundreds of years.
Elizabeth Bickerdyke The Bickerdyke holdings represented some 20 - 25% of the parish land - including the estate of Farnham Hall. As with all these landowners most of their land was leased to others to farm.

Henry Duncombe Esq. In the 17th century Sir Charles Duncombe, a banker in London, became wealthy by providing finance for the King and among his titles were, Sheriff of London in 1699 and Lord Mayor in 1709. In 1687 he bought estates at Helmsley. Henry Duncombe was a descendant of Sir Charles, through the union of a Thomas Duncombe and Sarah Slingsby - he acquired Copgrove Hall (Copgrove is a nearby village) and substantial holdings in Farnham.

From the records it is apparent that there was a great deal of trading in land - presumably the profit coming from the rents of tenant farmers. These major players were extremely wealthy.

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