Medieval Families

Some quotes -

“The family of Strangwayes is of considerable antiquity. The earliest member of whom any record has been found was Henry Strangwish, of Strangwish Hall, near Manchester, the site of which is now occupied by Strangeways gaol, in that town.” from Bulmer's History and Directory of North Yorkshire of 1890

“The Strangeways family of Strangeways persisted through the medieval period and after, making occasional appearances in documents and deeds, until the elder line of the family died out and the estate was purchased by John Hartley, a successful merchant of Manchester, in 1624 .....” from the History of Strangeways, Lancashire.

“The Percys were the earliest owners of Ormesby, of whom we have any record. From this family the estate passed by marriage, about the year 1360, to Sir Robert Conyers, of Hornby; and an heiress of this line marrying a son of Sir James Strangwayes, of Whorlton Castle, Ormesby came into the possession of that family.”

“..when Philip Darcy died, leaving two daughters, co-heiresses, between whom the estates were divided. Elizabeth, the eldest, married Sir James Strangwayes, knight, of Harlsey Castle, and received the manor of Whorlton and other lands as her share...”


“The Castle, of which a few fragments still remain, is supposed to have been erected in the time of Richard II. Leland thus briefly notices it: "Whorlton, in Cliveland, was the principal house of the Lord Menell, which sence came to Master Strangwayes in particion."

Nobles and Others

So the earliest records establish the family links with some powerful families. But often only the sons that inherit the property get recorded - the sons without deeds, wills or important appointments have far fewer records. Many were limited to some basic church records, where maintained, and even these basic records have not survived back to the dates where the sons left the main families’ records.

So the challenge is to fill the gap between the “modern” records and the established pedigrees of the families that are the likely source of the family surnames - Strangeway, Strangeways, Strangway and Strangways.

Known Pedigrees

Here are some printed pedigrees that have medieval connections -

  • Strangwais Pedigree - Visitation of Yorkshire more..
  • Robinson and Strangways Pedigrees - Yorkshire connections from Familiae Minorum Gentium (Families of the Minor Gentry?) more..
  • Cheswick, Strangeways and Donaldson Pedigree - families of Cheswick, Nortumberland more..
  • Strangways Pedigree - summary of the Dorset family line more..
  • Bull and Strangways Pedigree - family line linked to Strangways of Dorset above more..
  • Strangways Pedigrees - Visitation of Dorset more..

Notable Efforts

I am not the first to attempt to bring together the Strangeways family story. There are plenty of others whose work I have relied upon to get this far; especially -

Paul Lister the publisher in 2002 of “Strangwayes - The story of a Yorkshire family, of Royalty, Norman Earls and Feudal Baron”. This being a family history study produced for Leslie Strangwayes Brown (1915-2001).and especially documenting the Swainston-Strangwayes family line.

Derek Stapley the publisher in 2006 of “A Stapley History - George Maitland Stapley and Lucy Jane nee Strangwayes their ancestors, brothers and sisters and descendants”. Update: Derek Stapley passed away on the 29th September 2009 at his home in Sheffield after a long battle with cancer.


As with all these family trees there are likely to be errors and gaps - since few (no?) family trees are ever complete or provide the fully detailed story of something as complex as a family’s history . And it is impossible to wait until all the details are confirmed before publishing what fragments are known about a family tree - since family trees will always have gaps. All the information listed here has been obtained from publicly available sources. Sources put online by both official outlets and through the efforts of amateur researchers. Also note that many of the BMD entries only refer to the Quarter and the Registration District where the event was registered - since these are a main source of the public records.

Please get in touch with any corrections so that we can be as complete and accurate as possible.


BrianTownsley Brotherton Sheeky Family



The above book - Wives and Daughters by Joanna Martin - provides much background information about the Fox-Strangways family, their lives and social connections.