The Origins of the Ripley Name

Prepare to travel back to Anglo-Saxon times - over 1000 years.

This page identifies the source family from Yorkshire, which began the process of adoption of the Ripley surname.

This family is identified here as "Ripley I."

The page also shows the role of Ripley Manor and Ripley Castle,

And indicates how the Ripley Castle was taken into the de Ingilby family.



This page has been revised, thanks to new research. NFFG is proud to correct previous errors and update where good information is presented or discovered. All previous versions of this page are rescinded and considered faulty. You will, unfortunately, find many copies of our earlier versions scattered around the web; these copies were not authorized, but were pirated from our research and from our previous postings here. If you are an NFFG Member and had copied previous pages, you should now delete those, and substitute this page. Hundreds of hours of new research, and the contributions of several researchers, have gone into this new page of analysis. Some lineages found for this First Family in the online NFFG Family Tree, have not been certified. The only was to certify any given line of ancestry, is to join NFFG and share/contribute records.

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This page is a research article, and is not intended for use in a specific family genealogy, because records from about 1425 to about 1510 are in the realm called ‘the dark ages’ of English genealogy. You can read about this dark period below. However males with the surname Ripley (ie. Carry the y-chromosome by direct bloodline lineage) may be able to obtain some degree of verification from DNA testing. DNA testing has NOT been verified for use in the time spans indicated in this research article. It is possible that some degree of professional forensic research, COULD generate a possible lineage for your family, which connects with this first Ripley family. Send an email to start an inquiry about this possibility.

 All images which you see on this page, and many more, are found on the home version of the NFFG Family Tree.



Almost all Ripleys who reached America and Canada are descended from Ripleys of Yorkshire, England, including those who resettled to Ireland etc. before emigrating. The same ancestry is not necessarily true of Ripleys whose families are descended from other lands such as Germany, such as those renamed from the Rupples and Hipples etc. Those descended & renamed from the Rapaljes and de Rapelles from France, also have different origins.


 Those who track family lineages of the Ripleys of America and Canada, back toYorkshire, will find that the first family who adopted this surname, did so because of their settlement near Ripley Manor in Yorkshire. First in this ancestry is that of the family of...



Thurstan, Archbishop of York (c. 1062-1140).



The image above, centre, is a copy of Thurstan's statue which is found today at York Cathedral. If you carry the genes of any Yorkshire Ripley, male or female, you carry the genes of this man. Note that he is clearly a man of advanced years in this image. Thurstan was not only an Archbishop, but was a great military organizer. He organized local leaders, land-owners, and chieftains, at Ripley Castle, to fight in the upcoming great battle against Scots invaders. He is widely credited with the success in the major conflict at The Battle of the Standard, sometimes called the Battle of Northallerton, in which English forces repelled a Scottish army led by King David of the Scots. This battle took place on 22 August 1138 on Cowton Moor near Northallerton in Yorkshire, when Thurstan was the age of 76. You will find the outline of this first Ripley family below, and you may trace the detailed proofs and records by tracking though the NFFG Online Family Tree.

















The Ripley Surname: How and when it first appeared.


It is only in comparatively recent times (since the early to mid 1400s) that people have been identified by last names (surnames). In the Bible and other early documents, people are recorded only by first names (which we now call 'given names'), plus sometimes an identifier word added to the first name. In these early documents, reference is often made, via the second identifier, to the parents or recent ancestors of a person, or to the home locations of a person, to help distinguish between contemporary persons of the same name. Consider the persons called Judas: one person of this name was the betrayer who turned in Jesus to the authorities. This Judas is identified as Judas Iscariot. Yet this infamous Judas is not to be confused with the hero named Judas Maccabias. The hero Judas is identified by the second designator, 'Maccabias', which specifies him by his father's name or local village name; he was the third son of the Jewish priest Mattathias. He led the Maccabean revolt against the Seleucid Empire (167 BCE-160 BCE) and is acclaimed as one of the greatest warriors in Jewish history alongside Joshua, Gideon and David.. Judas the betrayer, called 'Judas Iscariot', is distinguished by the home location found in 'Iscariot', meaning "man of Kerioth."

Note that no effort is made to track the first Ripleys as far back as Biblical times. The verifiable tracing here (in the NFFG Online Family Tree), starts at about 950 AD, in Anglo-Saxon England. This was a time when the early British ancestors had been converted to Christianity by Norse missionaries who settled in England in the seventh century, during the era of Leif the Lucky and Eric the Red. Earlier to conversions to Christianity had been carried out during the Roman occupation of Britain.

This early pattern of identification, without the use of surnames, makes the formulation of meaningful family trees from early times, a very difficult proposition. Today, we use surnames to develop our family trees - we search back from sons to fathers, generation by generation. We must also develop non-surname genealogies from the wives of our fathers, since our mothers, generation by generation, bring just as much DNA to us, as do our surname fathers.

As we go back through the generations, we are able to use records (such as wills, family Bibles, cemetery records, civil records, and church records) to prove our developing family trees. These records are cited many times in the NFFG online family tree. A barrier starts to appear when we reach the beginning of parish church records in the early 1500s. This was the time when local clergy were required to provide records which were clear. For example, when a child was baptised, the date and location, along with the father's name, and sometime the mother's name, would be recorded. When there was a marriage, the names of both the bride and groom would be recorded. Clergy were required to give a first name and a last name for all such events. Most parish church records adopted this method, by about 1530.

Our Ripley genealogy may now be reasonably accurate in many cases, back to about 1530. We find our surname ancestors at various locations in Yorkshire, England, in churches in areas with names like Ingleby-Greenhow, Bridlington, Leeds, Halifax, Ripon, and other locations. As you browse back through the Ripley genealogies in out online Family Tree, you will find these and other locations.

From 1530 back, we have to assemble genealogies from such documents and records as we can locate and interpret. These too, you will find in the notes for your Ripley ancestors in the NFFG Online family tree. What follows below is a summary. To view and evaluate the references and sources, you will have to browse the online Family Tree.


In the Domesday Book of 1086, 'Ripley' in the West Riding of Yorkshire is recorded as the "Manor of Ripeleia", which had the lord of the manor recorded as 'Mer-alles-wine', or 'Merlesweyne', who held the land at an earlier time (about 1062) during the reign of King Edward the Confessor - more about Merlesweyn below. According to West Yorkshire historical sources, the first element of the name is derived from "Hrype", a farming tribe of Celtic origins, which also gave their name to Ripon and Repton in Yorkshire; the second syllable is from 'leah', or riverbank: so, 'Hrype-leah' becomes 'Ripley'. This regional branch of the Hyrpe tribe were thus, presumably, most noted as farmers, at a time when farming success meant survival; many ancient tribes, relying on conquest alone, did not survive. There is no effort here, to connect the first users of 'Ripley' as a surname, with the early Hyrpe tribe. We are only able to trace the specific families which first adopted the geographical identifier of 'Ripley' from the West Yorkshire area, specifically, near the village of Ripon, the village of Goldsborough, the city of York, and the Manor of Ripley (Ripley Castle).


Here is a map which shows the locations in West Yorkshire, which are referenced in the account which follows. If you join NFFG and trace the family locations in the early records, you should copy this map and print it, and have the copy near you as you read the locational information. Early Roman and Saxon roads, and the Nidd, Ouse, and Aire Rivers, were the main avenues of travel. All locations may be visited today. Ripley Castle is intact, thanks to the efforts of the Ingleby family, who have held title to the Castle since about 1305 (details of the exact point at which the Ingelby family took over the Castle from the Ripley or De Rippeley family, are found in our online files. Fountains Abbey, founded by Thurstan on December 27, 1132, is in ruins, as it was closed by King Henry 8 during the time of the Closing of the Abbeys, on November 26 1539, as this King was establishing the Church of England; he seized assets held by the (Catholic) Church and sold them to raise money. The town of Ripon is vibrant and intact, with many very old sites which are of interest to our family researchers. Goldsborough Village contains several ancient sites. Normanby Village shows few traces of its ancient importance in our story. The city of York is a large centre, where one may view Thurstan's cathedral, and other historic sites. To see a contemporary map which shows highways, rivers, and some of these locations, try using Google Maps, using the location 'York', for example.



Contemporary political and religious factors are very important to this story. The last Saxon English King, King Harold (Godwinson) was defeated and killed by King William I (aka. William Duke of Normandy, William the Conqueror) in the Battle of Hastings in 1066. King Harold was a great uncle of Thurstan, Archbishop of York. Thus, family allegiance played havoc in this family, with loyalities divided between Harold and William. By and large, the family did accept William I as the true King.

Also, consider the factor of the marriage of clergy within the Catholic Church. Many of the important people in the family history are clergy, and yet they are also married. This was a matter of dispute at the time. Thurstan advised clergy not to marry, yet he himself was married. Catholic Clergy of Yorkshire generally were allowed to marry, until the matter was clearly defined by the Pope at the Council of Trent (December 13, 1545, and December 4, 1563), after the Protestant Reformation had become established.




The ancestry of Thurstan of Normanby, Archbishop of York...

Great Grandparents. Godwine, Earl of Kent, Suffex, and Surry (c. 978 in Essex, England, d. April 15, 1053), who had three wives. The first wife was Judith, Daughter of Baldwin (c. 978 - c. 999, married c. 990), no known children. The third wife was Thyra Sveinsdóttir (c. 999- c. 1023 in Essex, married 1022 in Essex), no known children. The first and third marriages appear to have been decreed or arranged for political reasons. The second wife was the mother of the descendants named in this family tree. This second wife was Editha Thorkelsdóttir (c. 980 - c. after 1023, married c. 1000 in Witchford). NFFG Members, please read much more detail with sources and notes, at our online NFFG Family Tree. Godwine is known to be a son of Aelfwine and Wulfgyth his wife.

Children of Godwine and Editha:

1. Harold Godwinson, later King Harold (c. 1003 in Bosham, Essex, England; d. October 14, 1066 at the Battle of Hastings, in battle with King William, Duke of Normandy; shot in the eye with an arrow.

2. Thurstan the Red, Abbot of Ely (c. 1004 in Essex; d. 1074 at the Isle of Ely);

3. Tostig, Earl of Northumbria (c. 1005 in Essex, d. 1066 at the Battle of Stanfordbridge);

4. Eadyth Godwinson (c. 1010 - unk); married King Edward the Confessor (1003-1066) in 1045.


Grandparents. Thurstan the Red, Abbot of Ely (c. 1004 in Essex; d. 1074 at the Isle of Ely); married Aethelgyth (c. 1005 - after 1057; married about 1020 at or near Wimbish, Essex, England.



Some historical sources say that Tostan (sic.- Thurstan, many variants, as with everyone else in this genealogy) was the fourth son of Godwin. If so, two of these previous sons are unknown at this time. . According to "The History of the Norman Invasion of England, Its Causes and Results", page 883, Thurstan was appointed Bishop of Ely by King Harold in 1066; analysis in this book states that Thurstan was Bishop of Ely from 1066 to 1073. The book cites the fact that Thurstan signs the Decrees of the Council of Windsor in 1072, and places his death in the next year. It is certain that the Will of Thurstan as cited in our online NFFG Family Tree, was written not as a final testament, but as a political document to please the King AFTER 1066 - in other words, to show King William the Conqueror, that although Thurstan's eldest son had been King Harold, and thus William's foe, yet he Thurstan was in fact loyal to King William. This was clearly accepted by King William in 1072. Thurstan's will says that he is 'son of Wine' - and this Wine is none other than Godwine. Thurstan's will was written in, and translated from, Anglo-Saxon or Old English. For those who are not familiar with Old English, we here show the first page of Beowulf, a great epic which was written in that language. NFFG genealogists have taken courses in Anglo-Saxon. How many words can you read in this document? Scyld Scefing was the king at the time of Beowulf. Can you find his name? Can you find the phrase 'god cyning' - which means 'good king'.



 Known children of Thurstan and Aethelgyth:

1. Ely of Essex (c. 1021 -d. unk.) known from his father's will to be married, but childless;

2. Merwin of Onger (Aungre), Canon of St. Paul's. (c. 1024 in Essex, d. 1069 at York); married to ?;

3. Leofaru, daughter, unmarried at time of her father's will.


Parents: Merwin of Onger (Aungre), Canon of St. Paul's (b. c. 1032 in Essex, d. aft. 1120 at Cantlers), m. Matilda de Surdival.

'Merwin' is also recorded in historical sources as 'Merlesweyne', 'Merlesuan', and 'Aungre': see below.

Thurstan the Red, Abbot of Ely, says in his will (view the will in the NFFG online family tree) that his father was 'Wine' (ie. Godwine). The will mentions only one son who has children. This son is Merwin. Upon analyzing this name, we see the fist syllable as the first name 'Mer', and the second syllable as 'win' or of the family of Wine (Godwin), same as his father. This man Merwin, living at Onger (Aungre) is the father of Thurstan of Normanby, Archbishop of York.

A note in Wikipedia says "Thurstan was the son of a canon of St Paul's in London named Anger or Auger who held the prebend of Cantlers". This is a locational name, referring to Onger in Essex, as cited in the will of Thurstan, which is mentioned above, and it refers to Merwin of Onger. 'Aunger' was the earlier spelling of 'Onger'. In land records from the time of the Domesday Book of 1086 (please look this up if you don't know anything about it), Merwin is referred to as 'Merlesweyn'. On analysis of this name, we see 'Mer' (first name descriptor) plus 'alles' (OE for 'entirely of') plus 'weyn' or 'Wine' - in other words, that same man called 'Merwin' in his father's will. Remember, the father described himself as 'Thurstan son of Wine'.

Merwin's allegiances were split, between his uncle King Harold Godwinson and King William I, to whom he was also connected, by marriage. Earlier, he supported his uncle; but later, especially after the publication of his father's will, he was accepted by King William. His estates can be definitely found at about 1062, during the reign of Edward the Confessor (this King became ill, and was replaced by King Harold in 1066, see reference above).]

Year 1066 - at the Battle of Hastings - Merwin is said to have accompanied William on his journey to Hastings in England, and fought beside him. If you have any familiarity with this event, you will know that the names of all who accompanied William were inscribed on a Roll at Battle Abbey later. Merwin is found on this roll, recorded as 'Angers' - similar to the name which Thurstan said was his father's name. The identification of 'Merwin' as the same as 'Merlesweyne' and 'Aunger' or 'Anger' is explained here. Please note that there is much uncertainty, and several interpretations of, the Battle Abbey Roll. Such commentators as John Bernard Burke (pub. 1848), have only attempted to develop the descendants of a very few of the names on the Roll. But, the name 'Angers' is on that Roll. The Battle Abbey Roll was chiefly interpreted in the Nineteenth Century, by Burke and others, for the benefit of wealthy persons holding titles, who wanted to prove a genealogy back to one of the names on the Roll. There is also a version of this Roll which dates from about 1130, which is called the 'Auchinleck Manuscript'. In this earlier version is found the name of Merwin who is called 'fitz Anger': 'fitz', filius, means 'son of', hence the son of the family of Anger (aka Aungre or Onger).

Year 1067 - According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, Merwin (Merlsweyne) left England for Scotland, due to unrest and military savagery, in 1067...

"This summer (1067) the child Edgar departed, with his mother Agatha, and his two sisters, Margaret and Christina, and Merle-Sweyne, and many good men with them; and came to Scotland under the protection of King Malcolm, who entertained them all."

Year 1069- The same source says that in 1069, Merlsweyne participated in the Gospatric Rebellion at York...

" Merle-Sweyne, and Earl Gospatric with the Northumbrians, and all the landsmen; riding and marching full merrily with an immense army: and so all unanimously advanced to York; where they stormed and demolished the castle, and won innumerable treasures therein; slew there many hundreds of Frenchmen..".

Year 1072-1074 -Now, while this created a great rift between Merwin and King William, yet in 1072, King Malcom of Scotland, along with his followers, made peace with King William, and by 1074, all are in Normandy, France, exchanging gifts...

"A .D. 1074. This year King William went over sea to Normandy; and child Edgar came from Flanders into Scotland on St. Grimbald's mass-day; where King Malcolm and his sister Margaret received him with much pomp. At the same time sent Philip, the King of France, a letter to him, bidding him to come to him, and he would give him the castle of Montreuil; that he might afterwards daily annoy his enemies. What then? King Malcolm and his sister Margaret gave him and his men great presents, and many treasures;..." (ASC, Op. Cit.)

Year 1086 -The favour (or lack of disfavour) of King William is seen at the time of the Domesday Book in 1086, at which time Merwin (Merlesweyne) held at least seven estates. He held estates at York, and was the holder of Ripley Manor, and also at Goldsborough (see map above), which is four miles distant from Ripley. Yet, he did not live at these estates, which were administered by Ralph de Paganel. Merwin and his family were engaged in religious duties at York, and were for a time in France.

At Goldsborough there is considerable mention of Merwin...

With his name spelled "Merseluan", also at the time of the Domesday Book, he holds lands at Goldsborough Village, near Knaresborough and Ripley. The Domesday book describes the village of Goldsborough as the 'fortification of Godswin', hence linked to the family of Thurstan and the family of 'Wine' or 'Godwin' - see notes for preceding generations in this family.

The Domesday Book says, "In Godelesburg, Merlesuan had eight carucates of land for geld. Land to four ploughs. Now, Hubert, Ralph's homager, has one plough there, and seven villanes with two ploughs, and half a fishery, rendering five shillings and fourpence. Wood, pasturable, twelve quarenteens in length and four in breadth. The whole manor, one leuga in length and one in breadth. T.R.E., it was worth four pounds; now forty shillings"

 Terms above:

quarenteen - approx. one eighth of a mile

leuga - one and a half miles

T.R.E. - in the time of King Edward (the Confessor)

and this note is added from "The Early History of Goldsborough"...

"Merlesuan ( Merle-Sweyne in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, i.e. Mer of the family of Wine) had extensive lands throughout England and raised forces for Harold against William. He seems to have remained in favour with William after the conquest (sic.- he regained this favour, see above), as seen by his land holdings described in the Domesday Book. It seems, however, that he retained his dislike of the rule of William, and he finally lost his life (sic - was not dead in 1086- see above) when he took part in the attack on York in 1069. His estates, including Goldsborough, were granted to Ralph Paganel (or Paynel Ref. 2) who became Sheriff of Yorkshire in 1086." (sic - he was out of the country, in Normandy; Ralph was simply administering these estates).

Note that these references clearly mention place names (see in our online notes, such locations as 'Godwynschalles', 'Godelsburg', etc., and other derivative locations) which derive from the family of Godwin. For many more references and citations, NFFG Members should browse through the notes found at the NFFG Online Family Tree.

From the book "Yorkshire Family Romance" by FREDERICK ROSS, F.R.H.S, published in London by WILLIAM ANDREWS & CO., THE HULL PRESS, 1891, pages 139-140....

"In the reign of Edward the Confessor the manor of Ripley was held by Merlesweyn, a powerful Danish lord (sic - here confused with King Sweyne II of Denmark as described in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles), and owner of many another manor and estate in the same district. He joined in the Gospatric insurrection against William the Conqueror, in favour of Edgar the Atheling, for which rebellion his lands were confiscated, and granted to Ralph de Paganel, a Norman noble who had fought at Hastings, and who besides became Lord of Leeds, Headingley, and extensive estates on the Ouse, the Aire, and the Nidd; holding the Merlesweyn estates in capite from the King ; Leeds, etc., by the service of a knight's fee and a half, under the Lacies of Pontefract ; whilst lands at Adel, Arthington, etc., devolved on him in right of his wife, Matilda, daughter of Richard de Surdeval. He was the founder of the Priory of the Holy Trinity, York, upon which, in 1080, he bestowed the churches of Leeds and Adel...." (sic- he regained favour with the King after 1074, as seen in notes here)

Note that there are some errors as this account continues, and it is apparent that the information was supplied in 1891, by the Ingelby family, which in 2007, purports that no one with the name of Ripley, was ever associated with Ripley Castle.

September 1068 - King William I is in Yorkshire with his wife Matilda; his son Henry, later King Henry I, is born at Selby, near Ripley. He would have met, possibly, with Merwin, or with Thurstan, Merwin's father, at this time, just prior to the Gospatric Rebellion of 1069.



Analysis of Merwin (Merlesweyn) and

Identification of the First Ripley Family...


Summary: Merwin led a complex life of high stature, always with religious and political focus. 1. Merwin, born or living near Onger (Aungre) in Essex as a young man, was Prebend of Cantlers and Canon of St. Paul's in London, possibly by about 1055, appointed by King Edward the Confessor. 2. In 1066, Merwin had supported King Harold against King William, and yet Merwin seems to have participated in the Gospatric rebellion of 1069 at York, and was out of favour until about 1074, following the general truce between King William I and King Malcolm of Scotland (see above). 3. Merwin held considerable land in several places, including the Ripley area of Yorkshire. 4. By 1080, he was at York, where he was the founder of the Priory of the Holy Trinity, York. His son Thurstan became Archbishop of York later. 5. At about this time, soon after 1080, he had again taken his family to Normandy, France, the home area of King William I, as his son Thurstan reports a brother named 'Audeon' (Godwin) had come to England from Normandy. With Merwin thus in France at the time of the Domesday Book of 1086, his family lands & estates, at and near Ripley, were still administered by Ralph de Paganel. Merwin is found in his religious capacity of Prebend of Cantlers until 1105, at about which year he died, and was succeeded in this Prebend by his son 'Audeon' (Godwin). Merwin, Merlesweyn of Aunger, is also recorded also as 'Ansger'. Merwin became Chaplain of King William II, the third son of King William I, soon after 27 January 1091. Note that his son Thurstan (this Thurstan is noted on this page as "Thurstan of Normanby, Archbishop of York", the first family to adopt 'Ripley' (de Rippeley) as a surname).


The family of Thurstan of Normanby, Archbishop of York, son of Merwin (Merlesweyn),

who designated themselves at times by the locational name of Godwin,

is the family from which all Ripleys who originated in Yorkshire, are descended.


This is the First Ripley Family. It will now be identified as 'Ripley I' in this analysis.



Known children of Merwin and Matilda de Surdival:

1. Godwin (Audoen of Evreux), born c. 1064, mar. Romilda, assumed Prebend of Cantlers c. 1106, had son named Hugh.

2. Thurstan of Normanby, Archbishop of York, born c. 1062, at Goldsborough - died Feb. 6 1140, at Pontefract, Yorkshire.



Facts concerning Thurstan of Normanby, Archbishop of York...

(c. 1062-1140)



1. 16 August 1114 - Thurstan is consecrated as Archbishop of York on this date, by King Henry I, in the 14th year of the King's Reign. By this event, he gains full restitution of his father's right. His father had played a part in creating this church in 1080. Yet this consecration was opposed by the Church at Canterbury, which opposed the rise in stature of York, and Thurstan refused to sign allegiance to Canterbury. So, Thurstan remained in papal locations in France, until soon after 1119..."Over the next three years, the new popes, Gelasius II and Calixtus II, championed Thurstan's case, and on 19 October 1119 he was consecrated by (Pope) Calixtus at Reims." (Wikipedia, as documented with footnotes)

2. 1120-1130 - a citation of a grant to St. Mary's in York, suggests that the name of Thurstan's wife may have been "Christiana".

3. 1120-1125 - Confirmation by Thurstan, archbishop of York, of the agreement made between the churches of Whitby and Bridlington, that the fishermen of Whitby shall give tithe when they ply to Filey, and those of Filey shall do the same when they ply to Whitby.

4. 1122- King Henry I travels through Yorkshire and builds many new castles, and fortifies existing sites. This was done to strengthen the northern part of the kingdom against the Scots. The Manor of Ripley as cited in the Domesday Book of 1086, may have been enhanced and enlarged at this time. Thereafter known as 'Ripley Castle', it was not a fortified castle, and was never intended for use in battle, or to withstand sieges. In its updated form, from Manor to Castle, it would have been a suitable location for Thurstan to use, in order to induce local knights and leaders to join the King against King David of the Scots.



5. Ripley Castle first appears by name in c. 1125 (earlier it was called the Manor of Ripley), and Thurstan's son William is named as 'capellanus' or chaplain of Ripley Castle. Also, present at this Castle event (found in NFFG online Family Tree Notes), was Robert, son of Ralph de Paganel, which indicates that the temporary control of Ripley Castle by Ralph de Paganel, had ended. It is noted in The History of Knaresborough (nearby in Yorkshire), that William de Ripley, held two parts of the Ripley manor, for a Knight's fee, in about the same year. From this point forward, the family is often, generally, identified as 'de Rippeley', and hence begins the use of our surname.

6. 1125-1131 - Grant by Thurstan, archbishop of York, to the church of St. Peter of Whitby of the liberty which the church of St. Wilfrid of Ripon and that of St. John of Beverley have, namely quittance of synodals, the holy chrism, judgment by ordeal of fire and water.

7. Prior to 1132 and the beginning of Fountains Abbey, Thurstan lived at Ripon - "Archbishop Turstin had a country seat at Ripon, to which he went to keep the Christmas of 1132, bringing the thirteen brethren with him. And on the morrow of the festival, taking them out three miles into the country, he established them upon a piece of his own land, in the narrow valley of the Skell" (which became the site of the Abbey) - from "Fountains Abbey : the story of a mediaeval monastery"

7. 1132 - Thurstan founds Fountains Abbey at Ripon (see map above and picture below)... A dispute and riot at St Mary's Abbey in York led to the founding of Fountains Abbey in 1132, by Thurstan. "After pleading unsuccessfully to return to the early 6th century Rule of St Benedict, 13 monks were exiled and taken into the protection of Thurstan, Archbishop of York.". To view more images and read a more detailed history of this World Heritage Site, please visit

"The essential purpose for which Fountains Abbey was founded was the pursuit of religion. The prevailing interpretation which was put upon religion made it to consist, in great measure, of the saying of services. Out of the confused noises of the common street, the monks had retired into the quiet of the monastery in the hope of meeting God. And they sought God in the church." - from "Fountains Abbey : the story of a mediaeval monastery"



8. 22 August 1138 - Thurstan is present at The Battle of the Standard, a great victory for England. Thurstan is credited as a great key to success, having previously organized local leaders and nobles in support of King Stephen, perhaps at Ripley Castle.

9. 1140 - Thurstan builds a hospital at Ripon.

10. Note that Thurstan believed that his main accomplishment in life, was the establishment of Fountains Abbey at Ripon. The letters and comments which he made, showed the seriousness with he took the notions of dedication, penitence, and service to God. It was believed by all, that concern for one's relationship with God, far overshadowed any concern with worldly possessions. As you trace through the early notes of this early group of Ripley families, you will see many occasions on which the Fountains Abbey received gifts and endowments. Located in Ripon, many of the family were known as 'de Ripon', while others used 'de Rippeley'. Some persons in the Online Family tree, are shown by both names. Ripley Castle was of a much smaller importance, than was Fountains Abbey. As location and parentage was used for the family name designation, 'Ripley' was not yet of any other significance. Hence, many other modern surnames spring from this same family. Examples of such other modern surnames include Godwin, Goodwin, Dallas, Waterton, and several others.

 11. Thurstan dies on February 6, 1140. "Shortly before his death in February 1140, Thurstan took the monastic habit at the Cluniac priory of Pontefract in Yorkshire, where he was buried in front of the High Altar. This was in fulfilment of a promise he had made at Cluny as a young man."

12. Thurstan had been residing at Normanby (see map above), as this grant by his son Richard in 1170, as found in Early Yorkshire Charters, page 739...

739. "Grant by Richard son of Thurstan de Normanby to the monks of Rievaulx of his tillage at Saltcote-flat in Normanby, the water of Tees in his fee of Normanby for making fisheries, and pasture for carriers' horses. 1170-1180." Thurstan's children and grandchildren were called 'de Rippeley', and hence begin the first strains of the surname, the patronymic, of 'Ripley', used as such by about 1115-1125 as shown in records here.

and again in 1191...From Early Yorkshire Charters...

125. "Grant by (Geoffrey?), archbishop of York, to the church of St. Wilfrid of Ripon, at the dedication thereof, of 1 carucate which Richard, son of Thurstan the canon, holds, so that he shall render 2s. yearly to the canons for the same land. 1191- 1207."

Special Notes...

1. The name of Thurstan's wife is possibly Christiana of Markyate, although there are few mentions of his wife. Christiana may have taken vows as a nun before 1130, thus following her husband's immersion into monastic life. Thurstan invited her to form a nunnery at Fountains Abbey, but she refused. While Thurstan told others that marriage was no impediment to accepting a position in the church regime, and that marriage was not to be broken, he speaks little of the subject of his own marriage. It was common for Bishops to marry, but monks and hermits would generally not marry. Some of his children may have taken vows, remained unmarried, and hence had no issue.

2. Thurstan had an estate at Ripon and had a home at Normanby village (see map above). Many of the great books read by the faithful at Fountains Abbey were kept at Ripley Castle, and may be seen there now..."At Ripley Castle, bound in an octavo volume, are several of the Fountains books : a Latin grammar, some sermons and some music, and a paraphrase of Ovid, in which that irresponsible writer is made to serve as a mediaeval moralist. There is also a fragment of a book on medecine, to which they might profitably have added, as at Meaux Abbey, a book on eating, De Edendo. No catalogue remains, but we can guess at the titles from the lists of other mediaeval libraries. There were writings of the fathers, ancient and modern, with a pretty full set of the works of St. Bernard; and several commentaries on the Bible; and a good deal of biography, mostly ecclesiastical ; and books on law and ritual." - - from "Fountains Abbey : the story of a mediaeval monastery", pp 77-78.

3. Only two children of Thurstan are known: (1) William de Rippeley, born about 1086, identified as 'Chaplain of Ripley'; he married Katherine, and had a son named Thurstan; (2) Richard de Rippeley, of Normanby, Knight, born about 1098. He is the main progenitor of this continuing family as identified in our records.



Generations and events of Ripley I, One Generation after Thurstan...

For more details and references, NFFG Members are encouraged to view the online notes in the NFFG Online Family Tree.


William de Rippeley (son of Thurstan) (born c. 1086, died aft. 1168) at Ripon, Chaplain and Canon of Ripley, married c. 1120 at Ripley, Katharine. Katharine his wife, may be Katherine de Paganel, daughter of Ralph.

William is named as capellanus (chaplain) at Ripley Castle in the Confirmation by Robert de Brus I of the gift of Morcar to the canons of Bridlington of 1 bovate in Bempton. est. date 1120-1135. Present at this occasion and signing as witnesses are Ralph de Paganel and his son Robert, showing that the temporary holding of Ripley Manor by Ralph has now ended. Next, in a quit claim and land warrant to William de Evesham dated 1165-1180, witnesses signing are as follows: Hiis testibus, Roberto decano, Willelmo cantore, magistro Roberto, Alano, Hamone, Stephano, Nicholao de Trailli, magistro Minardo, Geroldo, Willelmo Tostini (William son of Thurstan), leronimo, Hugonede Gaunt, Stephano, Thoma Paulini, Nicholao, canonicis; Willelmo de Evesham qui michi terram illam quietam clamavit tanquam hereditatem meam coram altari Sancti Petri, Amfrido de Canci, Willelmo filio Roberti, Willelmo Turcople, Roberto de Escherna, Willelmo de Crave clerico, Petro filio Willelmi, *** Bernardo de Ripon (Bernard is a son of Richard, below)***, Gilberto Harant, Thurstino filio Willelmi ***(Thurstan, son of William ***) Galfrido de Altres. This shows that William, son of Thurstan, had a son named Thurstan, although this junior Thurstan does not appear again in records. Note the appearance, as witnesses, of what would appear to be several of this family at Fountains Abbey in 1175, with William, who is now named 'Canon of Ripley'....141. Gift by Walter de Fauconberg to Fountains Abbey of the exchange of 6 bovates of land in the field of Kettlewell, namely four which they had held in the time of his father and two others which he had exchanged with them, acre for acre, adjoining the four; and grant of transit through his land for cattle and 460 sheep over specified routes; for which he received 10 marks. [c. 1175-90]

Hiis testibus, Nicholao, Alano, Henrico, Guillelmo canonicis Ripponie, Roberto capellano de Ketelwella, Amando pincerna ('cup-bearer', female, perhaps one of the family), petro de Friesmareis, petro de Wyhet[ona], Roberto pincerna, petro de Pinz, Waltero de Bouint[ona], Hugone de Fakinb[erg], Willelmo de Cornebur[g], Johanne de Beuerl[aco], Radulfo filio Radulfi, Radulfo de Aldef[eld], et comitatus Eboraci. pp. 165-166.

Richard de Rippeley (son of Thurstan) (born c. 1090 at Ripon, died bef. 1168 at Ripley), Clerk or Cleric of Ripley, married c. 1125 Anne (born c. 1190).

Richard is sometimes recorded as 'Richard the Norman' (i.e. of Normanby), and sometimes simply as 'Norman'. In a Feoffment WYL230/166 c1170-1200, we find "From Ralph son of Roger to Bernard and Richard sons of Norman (ie sons of Richard of Normanby) of 1/2 a knight's fee in Ripley, to hold as their ancestors held of his ancestors."(This shows that Ripley Manor was part of the family of the ancestors of Richard de Rippeley) In about 1150 Richard is called 'Clerk' of Ripley, or 'Cleric', possibly Canon: Grant MD335/4/1/27 [Mid 12th century] Richard clerk of Ripley to his son Richard, of two bovates of land in Ripley, which the grantor had bought from Thomas son of Roger de Ulecotes, paying annually two shillings to the Abbot of Fountains and having a mass with the bell being rung for the soul of the grantor and his wife Anne; also grant of two assarts in Birketwatt Witnesses: Sir William de Ireby the steward of Cnaresburgh (ie. Knaresborough; this person may be Sir William de Ingelby), Robert de Stoppam, William de Rippel', Henry Turpin, Alan de Brerton, Thomas of the same, John clerk of Ascham, Paul son of Gilbert de Heddingley, John son of Robert de Clint [Former ref: Box 67] . Note that Richard's brother, William de Rippeley also signs this document, and note that Richard de Rippeley has a son named 'Richard'. Richard is also cited as "Ricardo de Normanby" in 1170.


In 1191, we see the name of Richard's father ... From Early Yorkshire Charters...

125. "Grant by (Geoffrey?), archbishop of York, to the church of St. Wilfrid of Ripon, at the dedication thereof, of 1 carucate which Richard, son of Thurstan the canon, holds, so that he shall render 2s. yearly to the canons for the same land. 1191- 1207.





Known children of Richard de Rippeley...

(these are grandsons of Thurstan, of Ripley I)

(some sons appear to have been unmarried, and may have taken monk's vows; no names of daughters are found)

Bernard de Rippeley (born at Ripley or Ripon c. 1137, died after 1230; married, wife's name is Margaret born c. 1150), married at Ripley c. 1178). Bernard, also cited as 'Bernardo de Ripon', is referenced in many early records, as 'Clerk of Ripley', and by his son Robert as 'Prince de Rippelay'; and this same son Robert is later referred to as 'Fountains Abbey Robert'. The title 'Prince' implies head of Ripley Castle, rather than a church position, although 'Clerk' also implies the church. All of this family are closely connected with Fountains Abbey.

John de Ripon (born c. 1130, became Master, Isle of Man, married; wife's name unknown), as found in Manx Society Records, Charter of Reginald, 1188. John possibly had a son named John de Ripun who became a Master in the Duchy of Lancaster in a record dated 1209-1210. No further information on this John.

Nicholas de Ripon (born c. 1135, died after 1185, possibly buried at Fountains Abbey. Possibly a monk, possibly unmarried.) Cited as witness in Quit Claim 121. Quit-claim by Robert de Meaux to the monks of Fountains of his right in land enclosed within the ditch of Morker which he alleged to belong to Ingerthorpe. 1185-1199. Chartul of Fount. (witnesses...) Hiis testibus, Walters de Bovyngtona, Gaufrido, Haget, Rogero [de] Baue[n]t, Radulfo filio Radulfi, Benedicto de Sculecotes, Alano de Synderby, *** Nicholao de Ripun ***, et multis aliis. No further information on Nicholas.

Robert de Normanby (born Ripon c. 1140, died after 1208. Possibly a monk, possibly unmarried.) Date C. 1165... cited as son of Richard... Grant by William Pinchun to the hospital of the sick of Barnaby (in Guisbro'),of 5 acres of land in(Pinching)thorpe. 1155-^.1170. Guisbro' Chartul., Cleop. D, ii, old f. 194. Pd. in ChartuL of G., n. 369. witnesses... Hiis testibus, Cuthberto priore de Gyseburna, Radulfo fratre ejus, Ricardo Rufo, Willelmo de Eden, Hugone, canonicis ; Willelmo de Tametona, Roberto Bosse, Ranulfo de Thorp, Ricardo de Hyltona, *** Roberto filio Ricardi de Normanby ***, Willelmo clerico et multis aliis.

We also find Robert 1189-1199...from EARLY YORKSHIRE CHARTERS from 741. Confirmation by Robert son of Richard de Normanby to Walter, priest of Eston, of the agreements made between Ernald, abbot, and the convent of Rievaulx and the said Walter concerning land and pasture given by the grantor and his father to the monks of Rievaulx. 1189-1199.

We also find this comment: The gifts made to Rievaulx by Richard son of Thurstan, Robert his son and Richard Lost were confirmed by Henry II and Richard I. Robert son of Richard was probably living as late as the year 1208, when Thomas son of Thomas de Normanby quit-claimed to Robert de Normanby 1 bovate in Normanby, whereupon Robert gave Thomas another bovate there with a toft and a croft.

 Thomas de Normanby (born Ripon c. 1144, married, had a son named Thomas) - See immediately above this note..." gifts made to Rievaulx by Richard son of Thurstan, Robert his son and Richard Lost were confirmed by Henry II and Richard I. Robert son of Richard was probably living as late as the year 1208, when Thomas son of Thomas de Normanby quit-claimed to Robert de Normanby 1 bovate in Normanby, whereupon Robert gave Thomas another bovate there with a toft and a croft. No further information on Thomas or Robert at this time.

Richard de Rippeley, Lord of Aungre (born Normanby c. 1145, died bef. 1242; married c. 1178 at Onger, Essex, Maud de Lucie b. c. 1158). Note that Richard took up the Lordship of the area in Essex where his grandfather lived (ie. he was grandson of Merwin, Merleswyne, Aungre) in Essex. Date c. 1165... ' Grant by William Pinchun to the hospital of the sick of Barnaby (in Guisbro'),of 5 acres of land in (Pinching)thorpe. 1155-^.1170. Guisbro' Chartul., Cleop. D, ii, old f. 194. Pd. in ChartuL of G., n. 369. witnesses...Hiis testibus, Cuthberto priore de Gyseburna, Radulfo fratre ejus, Ricardo Rufo, Willelmo de Eden, Hugone, canonicis ; Willelmo de Tametona, Roberto Bosse, Ranulfo de Thorp, Ricardo de Hyltona, *** Roberto filio Ricardi de Normanby ***, Willelmo clerico et multis aliis.

See also - From "Baronia Anglica Concentrata", page 120... "Richard de Riparis (sic) married Maud, daughter of Richard de Lucie, and thereby acquired the manor of Aungre, in Essex. He was one of those great men who, in the time of King John (about 1202) swore to obey the Council of Twenty-Five, who were elected by the Barons for the adminstration of the realm; when he died does not appear, but the said Maud survived him and died about 27 Henry III (1242), leaving, according to Dugdale, Richard de Riparis, her youngest son surviving, and Richard her grandson then four years of age, whose wardship was committed to Philip Basset, in consideration of one thousand marks. NOTE that the Castle at Ongar was built by Richard de Lucy in 1153-1154.



Further Family Developments -

The Transition of Ripley Castle within and Beyond Ripley I...

Members who wish to track other members of this expanding family, are referred to the Online NFFG Family Tree. This page will now proceed through the Lords of Ripley Castle, to the final transition of the Ripley Castle within this Ripley family, into the family of de Ingilbys of Ingilby-Greenhow of Yorkshire.



Owners, Lords, Chaplains, and Princes of Ripley I, at Ripley Castle...


TRE, 1060 - 1066 (Ownership by Merwin aka. Merlesweyne, earliest date unknown).... Merlesweyne son of Thurstan, Bishop of Ely, grandson of Godwine, Earl of Kent, Suffolk, and Surry, holds Ripley Manor and other estates, including estates at York and Goldsborough; (as recorded in Domesday Book).

c. 1069 - (Administration by Ralph de Paganel begins) Merleswyne participates in Gospatric rebellion at York, against King William I, and flees to France with King Malcolm of Scotland. Ripley Manor and other Merlesweyn holdings are then administered by Ralph de Paganel. Children Thurstan and Audeon (Godwin) are also in France with their father.

1074 - (Administration by Ralph de Paganel continues) King Malcolm, with Merlesweyn and others, proclaims acceptance of King William I, and is allowed to return to England.

1080 - (Administration by Ralph de Paganel continues) Merlesweyne is back at York, where he is the founder of the Priory of the Holy Trinity. Ralph de Paganel still administers Ripley Manor, as is noted in Domesday in 1086. Merlesweyne, recorded as 'Aungre', becomes Prebend of Cantlers, by about 1087.

27 January 1091 - (Ownership by Merwin resumes) Merlesweyne becomes Chaplain to King William II, the third son of King William I. At about this time, estates at Goldsborough and Ripley are returned to Merlesweyne. There is also a family home at Ripon and or/Ripley.

1105 - (Ownership by Thurstan begins) Merlesweyne aka 'Aungre' dies, still holding the position of Prebend of Cantlers. Thurstan his son becomes Lord of Ripley.

16 August 1114 - (Ownership by Thurstan continues) confirmed by Pope Calixtus II on 19 October 1119, - Thurstan is consecrated as Archbishop of York. He is said to have had a manor at Ripon, which was likely Ripley Manor near Ripon.

1122 - (Castle Renovated and Enhanced under Thurstan's regime?) King Henry I travels through Yorkshire and builds many new castles, and fortifies existing sites. This was done to strengthen the northern part of the kingdom against incursions by the Scots. The Manor of Ripley as cited in the Domesday Book of 1086, may have been enhanced and enlarged at this time. Thereafter known as 'Ripley Castle', it was not a fortified castle, and was never intended for use in battle, or to withstand sieges. In its updated form, from Manor to Castle, it would have been a suitable location for Thurstan to use, in order to induce local knights and leaders to join the King against King David of the Scots. It is known to have been used by Thurstan to store some of the manuscripts of prayer and song books of Fountains Abbey.

c. 1125-1130 - (Ownership by Thurstan continues; his son William is named Chaplain of Ripley) the first mention of the Manor of Ripley as Ripley Castle. While Thurstan is Lord of Ripley, he is not mentioned in the record which NFFG has located. William de Rippeley his son, is named as Chaplain of Ripley. Thurstan keeps many of the song and prayer books from Fountains Abbey at Ripley Castle. Thurstan spends less time at the Castle as his devotional role at Fountains Abbey becomes of the highest importance to him.

c. 1140 - (Ownership by William de Rippeley {William de Riplay}, son of Thurstan begins) Thurstan dies and his son William, formerly described as 'Chaplain of Ripley', is now 'Knight of Ripley'...

c. 1150 - (Ownership by William continues) William de Riplay, son of Thurstan, grandson of Merlesweyne, holds land in nearby Knaresborough, referenced as follows- 'he held two parts of the Ripley Manor, for a Knight's Fee'. However, William appears to die without issue, and the title to the Castle falls to his brother Richard de Rippeley.

c. 1160 - 1170 - (William de Rippeley perhaps dies, with one known son; yet Castle ownership is given by the family to his brother Richard de Rippeley) Note that many records which we reference are not firmly dated, but have been approximately dated by the original sources. Richard is recorded as 'Richard le Norman' (ref. to Normanby), 'the Norman', 'Richard Clerk (cleric?) of Ripley', and 'Richard son of Thurstan'. Note the following records:

Feoffment WYL230/166 c1170-1200: Contents: From Ralph son of Roger to Bernard and Richard sons of Norman (ie sons of Richard of Normanby) of 1/2 a knight's fee in Ripley, to hold as their ancestors held of his ancestors.

Grant MD335/3/1/5/11 Mid 13th century: Contents: 1. Henry de Chiuet 2. Robert de St. James and Margery daughter of Henry de Chiuet Henry grants to Robert and Margery and the heirs of their bodies all his land in the vill and fields of Chiuet, and all his land in the field of Stubbes, with rents, homages, reliefs, wardships, escheats, pastures, commons, fisheries, woods, plains and all appurtenances; rendering yearly to the chief lords of the fee the service due; with the remainder. in default of issue, to Alice his daughter, her heirs and assigns. Robert and Margery gave five marks as a fine. Witnesses: Walter de Chiuet, Henry de Birri, Thomas de Dithon, Thomas Tirel, John de Birri, ** Richard le Norman **, Alexander de la More, Henry de la More. [Former ref: MD 335 Box 68 Clay vol VII No. 184: Series A No. 28: Dorse 385].

He is also cited as "Ricardo de Normanby" in 1170

from 84, Early Yorkshire Charters, page 739. Grant by Richard son of Thurstan de Normanby to the monks of Rievaulx of his tillage at Saltcote-flat in Normanby, the water of Tees in his fee of Normanby for making fisheries, and pasture for carriers' horses. 1170-1180.

Grant MD335/4/1/27 [Mid 12th century] Contents: Richard clerk of Ripley to his son Richard, of two bovates of land in Ripley, which the grantor had bought from Thomas son of Roger de Ulecotes, paying annually two shillings to the Abbot of Fountains and having a mass with the bell being rung for the soul of the grantor and his wife Anne; also grant of two assarts in Birketwatt Witnesses: Sir William de Ireby the steward of Cnaresburgh, Robert de Stoppam, William de Rippel', Henry Turpin, Alan de Brerton, Thomas of the same, John clerk of Ascham, Paul son of Gilbert de Heddingley, John son of Robert de Clint [Former ref: Box 67].

From Early Yorkshire Charters... 125. Grant by (Geoffrey?), archbishop of York, to the church of St. Wilfrid of Ripon, at the dedication thereof, of i carucate which Richard, son of Thurstan the canon, holds, so that he shall render 2s. yearly to the canons for the same land. bef. 1168 (?).

Meanwhile, in 1061, we find reference to Richard's son Bernard, who is next in succession, in this Guiseborough Document; Ricardo the Prior may be his father... Guisbro' Chartul., Cleop. D. ii, old f. 346. Pd. in Chartul. of Guisbro\ n. 1061. (witnesses).. Hiis testibus, R[icardo] priore et Nigello et Bernardo canonicis de Novo Burgo, Willelmo de Cottingham, magistro Rogero Arundel, Bernardo de Rippeley, Willelmo de Vescy, Rainerio senescallo, Willelmo de Scalis, Willelmo de Karl[eolo], Willelmo filio Hugonis, Rogero Cato, Willelmo filio Aldon'.

c.1170 - 1180 - (Owner is now Bernard de Rippeley, Prince of Ripley, son of Richard)... Bernard de Rippeley was the (approx.) fourth son of Richard, yet was chosen (perhaps signalled by his saintly given name) to succeed in the title role at Ripley Castle. Bernard is named after St. Bernard, the great saint of the Cistercians, much studied at Fountains Abbey, founded by his grandfather Thurstan. is found in the early Charter Rolls of Yorkshire, in 1175,

during the reign of King Henry 2 of England, 1154 - 1189. He is identified as Clerk of Ripley, and Prince of Ripley, in various documents...both Richard and Bernard are living at the time of this document... Feoffment WYL230/167 c1170-1200 Contents: From Bernard de Rippll' to Richard his brother of 41/2 carucates of land in Ripley held of Geoffrey Trussebut with advowson of the church, and the mill, rendering the forinsec service belonging to 41/2 carucates where 9 carucates make a knight's fee. (They share the knighthood of Ripley)

Witnesses: Gernegan de Thanefeud, Hugh his son, Wimer son of Warner, Roger son of Ralph, Helis de Bedale, Roger de Karletun, Alan de Sinderby, Roger Bret, Simon his son, Robert de Mercingtun, Swain de Thorntun, William de Scottun, Alan Childermaister, Henry de His'bec, Isaac de Timbel, John Forester, Girard de Asmunderby, Michael de Laiburn. Seal: missing.

In c. 1180, he is rendered as 'Bernardo de Ripon"... in BRUS FEE: SUNDERLANDWICK, NORTH CAVE 39, the dean to warrant the land, and quit-claim to the donor by William de Evesham. ^.1165-1180. (NFFG- closer to 1180) (witness list) Hiis testibus, Roberto decano, Willelmo cantore, magistro Roberto, Alano, Hamone, Stephano, Nicholao de Trailli, magistro Minardo, Geroldo, Willelmo Tostini, leronimo, Hugonede Gaunt, Stephano, Thoma Paulini, Nicholao, canonicis; Willelmo de Evesham qui michi terram illam quietam clamavit tanquam hereditatem meam coram altari Sancti Petri, Amfrido de Canci, Willelmo filio Roberti, Willelmo Turcople, Roberto de Escherna, Willelmo de Crave clerico, Petro filio Willelmi, *** Bernardo de Ripon ***, Gilberto Harant, Thurstino filio Willelmi ***(Thurstan, son of William ***)Galfrido de Altres.

In the following record, we see that Bernard has a son named Robert... Gift WYL639/146 n.d. (before 1234) Endorsement gall-stained. Contents:

By Robert son of Bernard de Ryppelay to Brian de Insula of land at Newton in the parish of Ryppelay for 50 marks paid at the land of Collyng for the purchase of that which Robert took in exchange from Richard of Tonge, brother of Isabella his wife, to hold without impediment to forinsec service for 1 carucate of land where 11 carucates make a knight's fee. Warranty clause. Witnesses: Alan de Kyrkeby, Robert de Rypers, Issak Maunsell, Hugh de Brerton, Patrick Fornos, Alan de Lutryngton, William de Westcotes, Peter Belman. (Copy in 14th Cent. hand.)

In the next record, we see that son Robert is 'of Fountains Abbey', and refers to his father Bernard, as 'Prince de Rippeley'.. Grant MD335/4/1/19 [13th century] Contents: 1. Robert son of Prince de Rippeley 2. Fountains Abbey Robert has granted to Fountains Abbey one selion of land to make a certain road -- viz., that selion which is next to the stream which is the bound between the grantor's land of Neuthona and the land of the said monks of Rippellay, which selion begins at the head of the field of Caythona, across the monks' fosse, and descends along the said stream as far as that egress which the same monks granted the grantor in the field of Rippellay. Warranty of the said road so long as the monks warrant the above-named egress to him and his heirs. Witnesses: Robert de Stainlay, Richard de Bosco, William the clerk of Stainlay, Thomas the forester, David de Stodlay and others. Seal [Former ref: Fountains Abbey MD335/Box 66/19].


c.1230 to 1302 - (Owner is now William de Rippeley (identify as BWI) (b. c. 1184 - d. c. 1276) , son of Bernard, and this again passes to his son William de Rippeley (identify as BWII) (b. c. 1230 - d. abt. 1329)... Bernard de Rippeley has died by about this date, and his son William, NOT his eldest son, is Lord of Ripley. Bernard has several sons in high positions. His eldest son is Richard de Rippeley b. about 1280, who becomes Clerk of Ripley; his second son is Roger de Rippeley, born about 1182, who becomes Esquire to Lord Percy by about 1201; his third son is William de Rippeley born about 1184, who becomes Abbot of Fountains before 1270; his third son is Robert de Rippeley born about 1185, who becomes Dean of Wallay. All of these sons leave major donations and bequeathments to Fountains Abbey.

 Ripley Castle is held by the third son of Bernard, William de Rippeley (BWI), who later becomes Abbot of Fountains and leaves behind the worldly interest in Ripley Castle.

In the next record, Robert son of Bernard, grants William (BWII) son of this William (BWI), all of the land which he held in Ripley... Grant MD335/4/1/26 [13th century] Contents: Robert de Rippel' son of Bernard de Rippel' to William son of William de Rippel', of all that land which William de Rippel' the father held in Ripley, to hold of Robert and his heirs just as the grantor's father Bernard had held the land from Galfridus Trussebut Witnesses: John Aleman', Serlo de Westvic, Mathew de Bramham, Nigel 'pincerna' [the butler], Daniel de ?Otterburn, Walter his brother, Roger Buzun, ?Thomas de Winneb', Walter de Note Aureo, Richard de Hotot, Hugh de Witur' Endorsed: 'No 84/1793' [Former ref: Box 67] (may include Ripley Castle). This may indicate that only William de Rippeley, son of this William, was free of priestly vows to Founatins Abbey, and able to receive worldly possessions.

Here is a related record, in which the payment of a portion of a Knight's fee, implies that William was a Knight, or Lord of Ripley... Feoffment WYL230/174 c1220-1250: Related information: Attached to WYL230/175 Contents: From Robert de Ripell son of Bernard de Ripley to William son of William de Ripell' of all the land William his father held in Ripley, to be held of him as Bernard his (Robert's) father held of Geoffrey Trussebuth doing service for 1/2 a knight's fee. Witnesses: John Aleman, Serlon de Westuit, Mathew de Bramham, Nigel Pincerna (the butler?), Daniel de Dicton, Walter his brother, Roger Bugun, Thomas de Winebis, Richard de Hotot, Walter de Monte Aureo, Hugh de Witon. Seal: gone.

While there are many records associated with the branches of this Ripley I set of families, many of them are not dated, or are painfully obscure, or have not yet been fully analyzed. The NFFG online family tree makes an effort to sort these out. MANY of the children and heirs in this Ripley I family line, bestow large grants and donations to Fountains Abbey and other abbeys and churches.

William (BWII above) is not the only child of William (BWI above), and yet the title Lord of Ripley comes to him.

One of the other children of William (BWI above) is John de Ripon (born c. 1238, died December 6, 1300), who became Rector of Whiston, and later known as John de Ripon. John recieves a grant from his brother William (BWII) as follows: Feoffment WYL230/188 29 Sep 1276 Contents: From William de Rippley to John de Ripley his brother of a toft and croft in Byrkethwaite (Birthwaite?) held by Reginald Bene, and 1/5 portion of his land and meadow in Ripley (numerous field names) and 4 cartloads of wood annually, rendering 1 silver penny annually to William and his heirs and one candle to the altar of All Saints at Ripley, with reversion to William and heirs if John should die without issue.Witnesses: Sir Marmaduke de Thweng, knight, Master Robert de Thweng, Richard de Brerton, Robert de Staynlay, Thomas Turpyn. Given at Ripley feast of St. Michael the archangel 1276. Seal: small piece only, dark green, Leg. - WILL----- (would be the seal of William de Rippeley BWII).


To about January 1329: The final member of the Ripley I family to be Lord of Ripley... William Lord of Ripley (BWII).


Following the tradition of Thurstan, this Ripley I family, over a span of 270 years or so, has almost entirely dedicated itself to the service of God. The main benefactor has been Fountains Abbey, but as you track through the many records cited here and in the NFFG Online Family Tree, you will see several other abbeys and churches named. This was partially for the benefit of one's soul, the soul of one's family, and for the souls of one's ancestors - as each soul had to spend time in purgatory, before ascending to heaven. Prayers, especially those said by clergy, would reduce the time in purgatory, and guarantee the right outcome. What higher cause could there be, in this set of beliefs?

Here, William (BWII) appears to give his entire estate, to Fountains Abbey... Quitclaim MD335/4/1/11 [?Late 13th century - c. 1290] Contents: 1. William son of William the serjeant of Godelesburgh 2. Fountains Abbey William has quitclaimed to Fountains Abbey all the land and whatsoever William his father gave them in the territory of Rippel[ay], namely in Godwynescales, by its full bounds, with all appurtenances, etc., as his charter witnesses. Warranty. And if the grantor and his heirs should be unable to warrant that land they will give the full value of so much land from their land of Godlesburg. This quitclaim and confirmation he made to the monks of his own free will, in the court of Cnaresburg, when his father delivered seisin of the land to them. Sealing clause. Witnesses: Dom Adam de Stauel[ey], canon of Suwell, then steward of Cnarsburg, Robert de Plumpton, Richard de Godelesburg, Master Walter de Staueley, Richard de Burton, Robert de Neuton, Baldwin son of Henry de Screuin, Thomas son of Roger de Rippel[ay], Jordan the receiver and many others. Seal [Former ref: Fountains Abbey MD335/Box 66/11]. Note the provision in this quitclaim, for the possibility that not all of the estate could be granted, as there was a living heir at home in Ripley Castle, and that in such case, equivalent land would be later granted.

Here, we see William, Lord of Ripley, identified as such, in October 1302... Quitclaim WYL230/189 6 Oct 1302 Contents: From William, son of Master Robert de Tweng, once rector of the church of Ripley, to Robert del Lede of Ripley, for a certain sum of money, of a toft and croft once held by Richard Res in Ripley Houlkotes (Ulcotes?), to hold of the Church of All Saints at Ripley, rendering 1 lb. incense annually. Witnesses: William, lord of Ripley, Nicholas de Dal, Ralph de Stophame, Henry Turpyn, Roger de Clutherum. Given at Ripley day before Nones Oct.130 Seal: missing.

This is where Thomas de Ingilby enters the story. He was to marry the daughter of William Lord of Ripley. Since that time, Ripley Castle has remained in the Ingilby family.

The Ripley I Family held Ripley Manor and Ripley Castle from about 1060 to about 1329 - a span of about 270 years.

William Lord of Ripley appears to have died before 25 Feb 1329, but the Ripley Castle had not yet become the property of Thomas Ingilby, and it is apparently held in trust by John de Grey, according to the following entry... Grant WYL230/195 25 Feb 1329 Contents: From William de Roos son and heir of Sir William de Roos of Ingmanthorp to William, son of William de Bordesden, that he may hold the manor of Ripley for one rose at the feast of St. John the Baptist; and quitclaim of the service of a moiety of a knight's fee and suit of court at the manorial court of Deighton every 3 weeks. Witnesses: Nicholas de Langeton, then mayor of York, Henry de Belton, William de Friston, Thomas de Eyuill, John his brother, Peter de Midelton, William de Haldefeld. Given at York Tuesday after feast of St. Mathias, 3 Ed.III Seal: red wax armorial seal, shield with 3 water - bougets. Legend S. WILLELMI -- OOS.



 Some notes on the Ingilby family.

1. Just as there was no general use of surnames at the time of the events described on this page, and there was no one with the simple surname 'Ripley, there was no one with the simple surname 'Ingilby'. The family we are describing was known as 'de Ingilby', because they lived in early regions of Yorkshire called 'Ingilby Greenhow' and 'Ingleby Arncliffe". Ingleby Greenhow is a village and civil parish in the Hambleton district of North Yorkshire, England. It is on the border of the North Yorkshire Moors and 3 miles south of Great Ayton.

2. Thomas de Ingilby was the grandson of Sir William Ingilby, as recorded here... 514. Grant by Robert the forester (of Knaresborough) to the canons of Bridlington of Blubberhouses, namely from Stainford Gill Beck down to Washburn between Redshaw Beck and Stainford Gill Beck up to the bounds of Beamsley, Middleton, and Denton, with common of pasture of Thrucross and Timble, for the service of a 24th part of a knight to the lord of Knaresborough 1203-1215. Chartul. of Bridlington, penes Sir Wiliam Ingilby, Bart., f. 181. Abstract in Chartul of B. 242. Hiis testibus, Willelmo de Percy et Roberto filio ejus, Radulfo forestario et Alano et Willelmo ejus, Benedicto de Esculecot, J[ohanne] de Melsa, Ricardo clerico de Danecastria, Adam de Bovingtona, Waltero de Bovingtona et W[illelmo] filio ejus, Willelmo de Eschales, Henrico de Biltona, W[illelmo] de Lekeburn.

3. Thomas de Ingilby received his baronetcy from the King on 20 Oct 1357.

4. Thomas de Ingilby had acquired Ripley Castle and its lands by 1356 after the temporary administration shown above, dated 1329, when Ripley Manor & Castle was not yet in possession of Thomas de Ingilby. William Lord of Ripley can be assumed to have died soon prior to 1329. A marriage record for Thomas de Ingilby and Katherine de Rippeley cannot be found, but they would have married at about 1305-1308.... Note the following in 1356: Letters patent WYL230/196 4 Dec 1356 Contents: Granting to Thomas de Ingelby free warren in his lands of Ripley, Flask, Aymunderby (Amotherby) and Hutton Wandesley, provided these lands are not within the bounds of the royal forest, £10 forfeiture to be paid to the King for unauthorised hunting in those lands. Witnesses: William, Bishop of Winchester, the Chancellor, John, Bishop of Rochester, the Treasurer, William de Bohun earl of Northampton, Richard earl of Arundel, Roger Mortimer earl of March, John de Grey of Rotherfield, steward of the household. Given at Westminster 4 Dec. 30 and 17 Edward II Seal: missing.

5. The transfer of property by right of succession was fully accepted by the Ripley I family, as shown in 1362... Feoffment WYL230/197 12 Jan 1362. Contents: From John Vavasour senior to Thomas de Ingilby and Katherine his wife of a piece of land called Persflat and a piece of meadow in Bradengs in Ripley, and a tenement in a close called Wyndhilhous in Thornton next to Ripley. Witnesses: William de Nesfeld, William Swale, Robert son of John de Rypplay and William his son. Given at Ripley Wednesday before feast of St. Hillary. 35 Edward III Seal: small round red wax armorialseal, 3 lozenges on shield, discoloured and slightly chipped. NOTE that John de Rypplay was the younger brother of William de Rippeley, the father of Katharine wife of Thomas de Ingilby.

6. In the following record from 1366, Thomas de Ingilby is first referred to as a knight, and appears to make reference to the provisions in the above-cited grant of William de Rippeley, previous Lord of Ripley, father of Katherine (Thomas's wife), pertaining to Fountains Abbey... Feoffment WYL230/199 29 Oct 1366 Contents: From William de Nesfeld to Thomas de Ingelby knight and Katherine his wife of 23 pence rent, reserving 1 penny and other services and lordship to William, from tenements in Ripley which the Abbey of Fountains holds of John Ward of Scotton by service of 2 shillings and other services, William having the estate of the said John in the said lordship. Given at Ripley Thursday before All Saints 40 Ed. III. Indenture form. In French Seal: round, red wax, armorial seal. Legend SIGILLUM WILL DE NESFELD.

7. In 1378, there is another reference to Sir Thomas de Ingilby and the Ripley I family... Gift WYL639/149/v 29 Apr 1378: Contents: By Robert Bonenfaunt, vicar of Otteley, to Sir Robert de Newton parson in the cathedral of St. Peter at York, Robert de Otteley perpetual vicar of Wyghton, and Nicholas de Feryby perpetual vicar of Burton Leonard, of the manor of Neuton. Witnesses: Sir Thomas de Ingelby, William de Nessefeld of Scotton, Robert de Nessefild of Knaresburgh, William son of Robert de Rippeley, Richard son of Robert de Scalwraye Roger Flecher of the same. William de Rippeley is cousin of Sir Thomas de Ingelby's wife Katherine.

8. As late as 1488 the Ingilby family is making payments to the Ripley family as part of the exchange of Ripley Castle and the Ripley estate. The transaction below appears to finally end this indebtedness..

Feoffment WYL230/227 1 Nov 1488. Contents: From Robert Ripley and William Ripley his son and heir apparent to Margery, Lady Welles, master George Strangways doctor of sacred theology, Richard Acclom esq., William Aykrode rector of the parish church of Marston, Thomas Orme rector of the parish church of Farnham and William Ingilby knight, of 3 acres of land in Ripley and 4 cartloads of wood owed annually to Robert and William in the woods of the lordship of Ripley (various field - names mentioned) in exchange for 3 acres of land given them by William Ingilby in Ripley. Witnesses: John Vavasour and Thomas Strangways esqs. John Maulleverer, Henry Canson, John Maxwell.

Given at Ripley 1st Nov. 4 Henry VII Seals: (1) with I, (2) B(?), on tags.



All descendants of Sir Thomas de Ingilby and his wife Katherine, carry the genes of Katherine de Rippeley his wife, and of the Ripley I family.

Ripley Manor and Castle pass from the Ripley I family, whose main focus in life was religious, to the de Ingilby family, which by its tradition, was much more oriented to trade and business matters. Thurstan set the tone of this Ripley I's family focus, when as his final act before death (as described above), he took holy-order vows and died on the steps of his church, renouncing Ripley Castle and all earthly concerns, and not with his family.



At the end of this valuable cluster of records which is available from British History Online and other sources, around the date of 1430, until the beginning of modern parish church records in about 1530, there is a period of obscure records with wildly variant spellings. There are few additional Ripley family records which can be found near the Manor and Castle of Ripley. However, family genealogy in this hundred-year obscurity, about three or four generations, including hundreds of individuals, becomes challenging.

Until the Dissolution of the Monasteries and Abbeys, including Fountains Abbey, by King Henry VIII between 1536 and 1541, many descendants of the Ripley I family identified themselves as 'de Ripon' (Ryponne, Ripun, etc., etc.), which was the location of Fountains Abbey. After this date, many began to identify themselves as 'de Ripley' (Riplay, Riply, Rippeley, etc., etc.) or just 'Ripley'. Many of the descendants of the Ripley I family can also be found in nearby locales such as York, Bridlington, Ingleby Greenhow, Leeds, etc., and other areas in Yorkshire, and in other areas throughout England. Many left the Catholic Church and adopted the new Church of England as it was established by King Henry 8, although some are found in Methodist churches, and others in Baptist churches. The Ingilby family has mainly retained its link with the Catholic Church.




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