Disputed boundaries plans of Ingleborough

Michael J.Slater
 North Craven 
 Heritage Trust 

The Public Record Office (PRO, now The National Archives) holds a printed catalogue which lists map no. 3436 Austwick prepared by Richard Newby in 1619. Knowing that Mr S. Lawrence possessed some Duchy of Lancaster documentation associated with this 1619 map further enquiries seemed worth making. A search of the PRO computer-based catalogue shows that there is a variety of material to be explored. The key-words Austwick, Horton and Ingleborough for 1500-1700 yield useful results for about 1616 onwards and the key-words Selside or Austwick, 1600-1605, DL, yield references concerning the Tenants of Selside v. Austwick in 1602 and a Plan of common lands in a dispute Selside v. Austwick in 1604. This Plan has proved to be the work of Saxton.

The National Archives say that, as far as they are aware, the existence of this Saxton map has not been recorded outside the Archives and say also that it was discovered in the late 1980s but not widely publicized outside the then PRO. The conservation work on the plan was described by Prof. Richard Hoyle (now Reading University) in a PRO Newsletter, together with discussion of Saxton's working methods. Since that time the plan was 'lost'.

The Christofer Saxton map of 1603

Just why the tenants of Selside and Austwick were so quarrelsome remains to be determined but evidently a plan was required to settle boundary transgressions. Increasing pressure on high land for grazing gradually resulted in wall boundaries instead of simple markers. The PRO box DL44/653 contains a rough plan (about 50cm square) of land south-east of Ingleborough annotated with details of tenants and Commissioners and noting that it was made by Christofer Saxton 7th October 1603. The second plan is a final version made by Christofer Saxton in 1603; this has a scale in furlongs and the orientation seems twisted about 6o to the west (magnetic declination was about 4o east in 1600). Together with these are a letter in the name of the King to Saxton and one from Saxton in response. The plans cover a triangle from The Lordes Seat (Simon Fell) SD 757 749, to Sulber Nab 793 732 to Cromack 772 715. The rough plan contains the legend

A plat of the pece of Common in Question betwixt the tenants of Selsyde and Awstwyke maide by and w[i]th the privitye and consent of the p[er]sons hereunder named, who were by consent apointed by the said tenants viz. Thomas p[ro]ctor John more Brian Benta[m] and Thomas Benta[m] of Selsyde Robart Rymington James Baynes Christofer Knipe and Thomas Lymyng of Awstwyke w[hi]ch plat was maid by Christofer Saxton vijme die octobris/1603/

King James writes to Christofer Saxton gent on 14th May 1604

That whereas there is remayninge in your handes a plott of certaine groundes..... That you doe certifie and retorne unto o[ur] said Courte of Duchie Chamber at o[ur] said pallace of westm[inster]....the saide plott subscribed by the Comission[er]s aforesaide and allso thother plott That was to bee p[er]fected accordinge to the saide plott soe subscribed Not faylinge hereof upon paine of ffortie poundes......

Saxton replies in a somewhat grovelling and confusing letter to John ffortescue knight one of the kings Ma[jesties] most honourable pryvie Counsell & Chancellor of his highnes Duchie of Lancaster on 18th June 1604

Maie it please yo[ur] hono[r] to be advertised that whereas I was heretofore required by James Anderton & Robt Constable esquires Comissioners to draw a plot of the Comon in question betwixt the ten[a]nts of Selside & the ten[a]nts of Astwick ...............and haveinge fower ten[a]nts of either parte to acquainte me w[i]th the bounders & mandes of the saide Comon I did view & mesure the same & drawe a rough plott thereof, accordinge to my best skill, and shewed the same to the saide Comissioners who did like well thereof & affirmed that it was trulie done, And thereupon the saide Commisioners subscribed there names to the same, & thereunto alsoe did set the names of the ten[a]nts that did guide and direct me as aforesaide And requested me by & accordinge to that rough draught, to make up a p[er]fect plott in Collors to be certified unto yo[ur] hono[ur] & the rest of this honorable Courte willinge me that soe sone as I shoulde have fynished the same, I shoulde deliver both plotts thereof unto one Cookeson of Setle sealed w[i]th mouth(?) glewe Soe it is if it maie please yo[ur] hono[ur] that I haveing delivered both the plotts to my sonne as well the plote set out in Collors as alsoe the rough plott subscribed under the handes of the saide Comissioners through whose neighgligence the rough parte of the saide plott was left out uncertefied unto the saide Comissioners w[hi]ch is not a little grefe unto me, trustinge this honorable Courte will not take this my excuse to be in anie wilfull or ill dealinge but in the neighgligence of my saide sone as aforesaide And thus I thought it my dutie not onlie to Certifie the rough plott into this honorable Courte but alsoe have made & sent herewithall a newe plott accordinge to the form[er] plott delivered to the saide Comissioners w[hi]ch they shoulde have certefied if the rough plott had bene delivered as aforesaide & alsoe I have hereinclosed & Certefied the pryvie Seale w[hi]ch was directed against me out of this honorable Courte.......
(signed Christ: Saxton)

Christofer Saxton (1542/1544-1610/1611) became famous for his 'Atlas of England and Wales' and later worked for a variety of employers including the Duchy of Lancaster making estate plans and surveys. His son Robert bn 1585 assisted his father after about 1600. The Duchy of Lancaster had a close concern with revenue from its estates and so recognized the value of surveys and surveyors. The plan concerning Selside has all the hallmarks of Christofer's work as discussed in 'Christopher Saxton- Elizabethan map-maker' by Evans and Lawrence (1979) but is not listed in the known works at that time. The attached letter signed (but not written) by Christofer is also supportive of the authenticity. Plans were not evidence put by one party but a record of what was on the ground to help resolve disputes. In Elizabethan times the idea of a plot or plan began to supplant the verbal description of boundaries, written terriers or bounders.

The Richard Newby map of 1619

The map of 1619 made by Newby (about 50cm square) has to be considered in the light of the earlier material; it has more decorative detail and more information on the boundaries. Biographical information on Newby has not been found. The map covers a wider area than the Saxton map of 1603 so is not just a copy. (The Lords Seate SD757 749, Soulbar Nabbe 793 732, Combe Nabbe (Swarthmoore) 805 693, Cromok 772 715). The scale appears to be in perches (16.5 ft usually although variable from 9 to 24 feet) and the orientation is twisted about 25o to the east of true north. It is clear that the underlying documentation on manorial boundaries in the Duchy of Lancaster and illegal encroachments needs to be studied. There are interrogations between the Attorney General and the tenants (DL4/68/42). A certificate concerning boundaries between Clapham, Austwick, Newby, Selside and Cromack (DL44/1030) dated 16th September 1618 gives written detail of the boundaries and is coupled with a long list of persons involved.

It appears that encroachments continued and had to be challenged. The Inquisition as to encroachments (DL44/1028 16th Jas. I) in 1619 notes for example

In primis - present an incroachment ymproved by the Tenants of the hamlett of Selsyde of one Close called Salberye contayninge by estimaton three score and twelve acres of the yearlie value of xviij shillings

The preface to a set of depositions (DL 4/68/42a) made 17th June 1619 says that King James instructs Robt Dalton, William Lowther, James Hill and Henrie Wiglesworth to inspect and survey the disputed unenclosed commons and wastes in Selside and Austwick together with other suitable persons. They are required to

viewe and Survey all the said Comons and waste grounds in Selside and Austwick aforesaid and the meares and bounds thereof and everie parte and parcell thereof And likewise to enquire of the quantitie content and number of Acres that the same and everie parte and parcell thereof doe respectivelie conteyne And thereuppon to cause a perfect plott to bemade of the said grounds and thereon to manifest and sett downe the convenyencie of the lyeinge thereof...................

This is followed by a letter of 25th October 1619 (transcript with S.Lawrence) to Sir Humfr(ey) Wray (?) knight chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster from Lowther and Wiglesworth reporting their response.

.....we did repaire unto the comons and waste grounds in Selsyde and Awstweeke uninclosed in the saide Commission specifyed the 9th daie of September laste where did wee to see Mr Robt Dalton Esquire one other of the saide Commissioners and James Hill gent whome we did take to be one other of the saide Commissioners But by reason he was named in that Commission James Hill both he and the said Mr Dalton refused to joyne in the executeinge of the saide Commission notwithstandinge bothe ourselves and the def[endants]ts were most willinge to allowe of the saide James Hill to have proceeded with us in the execucon of the foresaide Commission accordinge to one late order made before your ho[nors] and saide Counsell which was then shewed unto them for the warrant of the saide Commission And at that tyme we did further (by the consent of the said def[endan]ts) offer unto the saide Roberte & then present there Commissions to appointe another daie for executeinge of the saide Commission whereat the saide Roberts Commission might have joyned and to have brought an other mesurer for themselves As with the saide Robert & there Commissions refused to doe whereupon we.... did call unto us one Richard Nubie gent who was skilfull in mesureinge and draweinge of a plott who by our direcions hath drawn a plott of the saide comons and wastes and of the contents thereof........

The map contains a legend as follows.

A platte showing the p[ro]porcon of Certein Moores & Comons on Ingilborrow & Moughton p[ro]perly & severally belonging to the Inhabitantes of Awstwick Wharffe & Cromock w[hi]ch be not inclosed, & do lye and adioyne on the South & East syde of one speciall Bowndar (herein descrybed by a double lyne) ledde & claymed by the Inhabitantes of Selsyde to begin at Earthsdalegill, thence to Soulbar thence to Cromokheade, thence along Horton sty to the fowre Graynes, & w[hi]ch on thother sydes are incompassed wth a black lyne wth pricks on thinsyde therof & doe conteyne .1073. Acres (videlicet) on or towards Ingilborrow .388. & on Moughton .685. Herein also appeareth the p[ro]porcon of certein other Comons claymed by the Inhabitantes of Austwick Wharff & Cromock lying on the North syde of Selsydes said Boundar & be now in variance twixt the said Selsyde Inhab[itan]tes as p[laintiff]es & the Inhabitantes of Awstwick as def[endant]es., conteyning by est. .600. acres (wherof within Selsyde Inclosures be 270 ) & are herein described on the west & north syde by a small dashed lyne. Herein also are p[ro]porcond certeine other Comons on Moughton claymed & used by the Inhab[itan]tes of Wharffe Austwick & Cromok conteyning by est. 350 acres (w[hi]ch also the towneship of Horton doe clayme) lying twixt.Highull on Moughton & the High pyk ther as the same is described on the Eastside by a lyne of ? ? ? ? ? The highways also used by the said Towneshippes to & over the said Comons by the double pricked lynes & the situation of these townes with other ......... herein be apparant w[hi]ch Plattes & Survey was made & taken by thappointment of Wm Lowther esq & Henry Wiglesworth gent according to his Ma[je]sties Commission to them & others directed. 7 Junii 1619
Opere ac diligentia Richardi N[ewby]

These plans and associated papers offer scope for more detailed study with respect to the behaviour of the local inhabitants.


For help in checking current awareness of Saxton maps and plans: Miss G.L.Beech (National Archives), Dr R. Glasscock (St John's College, Cambridge), Dr S. Harrop (Austwick), Mr S. Lawrence (Austwick), Dr I Saunders (Lancaster University). For details of the original finding, conservation work and Saxton's techniques, and other comments, Prof. R.W.Hoyle (University of Reading).


'Christopher Saxton Elizabethan map-maker', I.M. Evans and H. Lawrence, 1979. Wakefield Historical Publications and the Holland Press Ltd..
'History on the Ground - six studies in maps and landscapes', M.W.Beresford, 1957. Lutterworth Press.
'Christopher Saxton and Tudor map-making', S. Tyacke and J. Huddy, 1980. The British Library.

in The National Archives

Maps and Plans in the PRO British Isles 1410-1860 HMSO 1967
DL5/24 Records of the Court of Duchy Chamber
DL44/44/52 Tenants of Selside v. Austwick 44 Eliz. (1602)
DL44/653 Plans and letters 2 Jas.I (1604)
DL44/1028 Inquisition as to encroachments 16 Jas. I
DL4/68/42 Depositions and Interrogations by Attorney-General
DL4/64/40, DL4/65/31 and DL4/68/30 cases for 13,14 and 16 Jas.I
DL44/1030 Certificate as to boundaries of the manors 16 Jas. I
MPC1/235 (formerly DL44/1038) Map of Austwick by R. Newby

(copies of the maps have been placed in the NCHT Archive)

Saxon map 1603 (with permission of The National Archives)




Newby Map 1619 (with permission of The National Archives)


Saxon map
1603 (with permission of The National Archives)


Map 1619 (with permission of The National Archives)