My introductory post sets out what we know about the earliest Dracups in England. This companion piece provides some further detail about the places in which they lived.

George Dracoppe was married in Ripley, North Yorkshire and at least four of his children were born there. It seems that part of the family remained in Ripley, while others relocated to the West Riding. There are relevant records in the parish registers for Otley, Guiseley and Calverley (including the separate village of Idle).

As the map shows, these four places form a triangle with its apex at the southernmost tip of the Yorkshire Dales and its base a few miles north of Bradford. This area is some 15-20 miles south-west of Ripley.


Dracoppe locations map Capture


Ripley is a small village with a population of 260 lying three miles or so north-east of Harrogate. It was originally built on the banks of the River Nidd, but was relocated half a mile to the north, possibly when the original hamlet was abandoned in the wake of the Black Death.

It was almost entirely rebuilt in 1825 by Sir William Amcotts Ingilby (a ‘notable and colourful eccentric’). Some older buildings survive however.

Ripley Castle has been the seat of the Ingilby family since they acquired it as part of the dowry of one Edeline Thwenge who married a Sir Thomas Ingilby over 700 years ago. The gatehouse dates from the 15th Century and in 1557 Sir William Ingilby built a three storey fortified tower.

The castle enjoys extensive grounds including a lake and a deer park and is open to the public (though only six rooms can be visited).


Ripley Castle


This potted history of the Ingilby family mentions Sir William and his immediate descendants, all of whom were contemporaries of George Dracoppe.

  • The next Sir William Ingilby (1546-1618) was implicated in a plot to kill James I but miraculously survived.
  • Francis Ingilby (1550-1586), was ordained a Catholic priest, plotted against the government and was executed in 1587, shortly after George’s marriage.

If George was indeed a Protestant emigrant escaping religious persecution in the Low Countries, he and his family might have chosen a safer place in which to reside! Perhaps that helps to explain the partial family exodus to the West Riding.

All Saints Church, located on the market square, was built in 1395. Extensive alterations were made a few years before George and Barbara’s wedding by the industrious Sir William senior:

‘The church was substantially altered in the middle of the 16th century under the influence of Sir William Ingilby, 1518-578 [sic], a devout man of considerabe [sic] power and influence. In this period, the roof of the nave was raised to accommodate clerestory windows and the tower was almost doubled in height. An external tower staircase was added inside a huge buttress. The latter event is commemorated by the date, AD 1567, in lead letters on the south wall of the tower.’

In 1635 a survey of the manor ‘Ye Booke of Survey of the Lordship of Ripley’ reported that there were only about 30 homes. A subsequent survey by William Chippendale in 1752 showed no significant expansion.



Otley is a market town granted its first charter in 1222 by Henry III. During the Anglo-Saxon period it was part of an estate belonging to the Archbishopric of York. Researchers have calculated that, by the mid-16th Century the town’s population was between 400 and 600.

Otley was not immune to pro-Catholic feeling:

‘In 1538 Richard Langfellay or Ricardi Langfelaw, a mercer and the principal taxpayer in Otley in 1523, died and in his will left 40 shillings for the repair of Otley bridge. There was also a bequest of 1 mark for the erection of “a substanceal cross to be sett thereupon with a itle ymage of oure Ladie”.’

Families associated with the area at this time include the Fawkes family, located at Old Farnley Hall, built in the late Sixteenth Century. They were distantly related to Guido (who was born in York).

More significantly, the Fairfaxes resided at Denton Hall. They were loyal to the crown and subsequently fought on the Parliamentarian side in the Civil War. The most prominent of the family was Thomas Lord Fairfax (1612-1671) Captain-General of the New Model Army prior to Cromwell.



The parish of Guiseley was created in the 12th Century. Like Otley it had also formed part of the estate belonging to the Archbishopric of York but, during William the Conqueror’s reign, the manor of Guiseley and Esholt was granted to the De Warde family of Givendale. The De Warde family line ended in 1522 however.

St Oswald’s Church was built around 1150, the tower being added in the 14th or 15th Century (different sources give different dates).

A school was established in 1592 and a rectory was built in 1601 by the Reverend Robert More on the site of the manor house. The inscription above the entrance reads:

‘Anno Domini 1601 The house of the faithful Pastor, not the blind leader, not of the robber, the house of Robert More, Rector of the Church, founder of the house. Woe to the sacrilegious man- woe to the enemies of Levi. Robert More’

Part of the moat of the old manor house survives as a fish pond in the rectory gardens. The building appears to have been sold in 2012 for £1.1m.


Rectory Hall Guiseley
Rectory Hall Guiseley

A corn mill, first mentioned in 1290 when it was given by the De Wardes to Esholt nunnery, is referenced again in 1572. This might have been on the same site as Guiseley Mills, a cloth mill shown on a 1720 map as located by the stream forming the boundary between Guiseley and Yeadon.

In the late 18th Century there was significant expansion of the cottage weaving industry, though mills began to be opened in the early 19th Century. By 1851 the population was 2,571 of which 37% were employed in the wool trade.



Wikipedia describes Calverley as ‘a rural village with a medieval manor house’.  Parts of Calverley Old Hall have been traced back to the 14th century, though the stone building and chapel date from 1485.

Several sources mention the history of Walter Calverley, lord of the manor of Calverley and Pudsey – and a contemporary of George Dracoppe – who was executed following the murder of two of his children.

The burial of William (aged four) and Walter (aged 18 months) on 24 April 1605 is recorded in the same parish registers that contain details of the Dracoppe family.

Walter Calverley’s story is the basis of A Yorkshire Tragedy, an early Jacobean play printed in 1608. This was originally attributed to Shakespeare although Thomas Middleton is now thought to be the principal author.

This picture is taken from the first illustrated edition of the play, published in 1709.




St Wilfrid’s Church was gifted to the Archbishop of York in 1150, though much of the building is 14th and 15th Century. The Victorian genealogist Samuel Margerison outlines its history from the mid-17th Century onwards in his record of the church registers (full text)

A 2009 Conservation Area Appraisal and Management Plan says:

‘Calverley was associated with the woollen trade for many centuries. Records indicate it was a local centre for the fulling of woollen cloth in the 13th century, and in the 19th century increased mechanisation of the clothmaking process led to the development of steam-powered mills.

Sizeable mills for scribbling and fulling built by companies of investors were known as company mills. Small-scale weavers would take wool to the company mills for scribbling and spinning, weave the wool into cloth at their own premises and return to the company mills to full the finished cloth. Although power loom weaving was introduced in Holly Park Mill in the 1860s, hand-loom weaving persisted until the 1960s for specialist production of high-quality woollen cloth know [sic] as the “Calverley Trade.’

Calverley Old Hall is now a Landmark Trust property sleeping five.


Calverley Hall
Calverley Hall



This name is thought to derive from the Old English ‘idel’ meaning an empty or uncultivated area.

A survey of the Manor of Idle was conducted by the Earl of Cumberland in 1583-84 describes it thus, but also mentions the existence of several stone and slate quarries.

A water mill for milling corn was situated on the bank of the River Aire on the northern boundary of the manor. There were also iron smithies powered by another water mill on Bradford Beck, southwest of Windhill. A manor house, Idle Hall, was in a dilapidated state.

Another conservation area assessment conducted in 2002 says of the survey:

‘Idle was the heart of the manor and clearly a relatively important settlement within its immediate vicinity…

… at the time of the 1583-84 survey the inhabitants of Idle comprised twenty-one tenants and fourteen cottages. The majority of tenants lived in smallholdings or farmsteads consisting of a house, barn and outbuildings, with a croft or parcel of land to the rear.’


Map of Idle 1584
Map of Idle 1584


A ‘chapel of ease’, built in 1630, replaced an earlier building mentioned in the 1584 survey and survives to this day.


Idle chapel of ease Capture
Idle Chapel of Ease


The conservation area assessment describes Idle as unusual in containing several buildings with 17th century origins:

‘The majority of the buildings from this era pertain, in one way or another, to agricultural activities. They consequently stand as evidence of the farming nature of the settlement at the time and the traditional building pattern in Idle. Most of these structures underwent massive alteration, tantamount to rebuild at the end of the eighteenth / beginning of the nineteenth century. The face of Idle began to change during this era, largely as a result of the establishment of the Leeds to Liverpool Canal and the Bradford Canal in the 1770s, which flowed within the Township boundaries. These provided a means of transporting the products that were produced in Idle to much wider markets and consequently the textile and quarrying industries of the settlement thrived and the population increased.’

A map dating from 1838 shows a sizeable village with a long main street which became known as ‘Top of Town’, and a second area ‘The Green’. This has its own conservation areas assessment which says:

‘The Green itself, after which the area has taken its name, originated as a large open field between the village of Idle and the hamlet of Thorpe and Ley Fleaks Road, and was formerly known as the Tithe Laith Green. Farming was the earliest activity of the village although very little of this era of Idle’s history survives in the built structure of the southern core…’

Dunk Hill House CaptureOne family tree on Ancestry has a picture of Dunk Hill House in Idle attached to the record of John Dracupp (grandson of George).

The picture also appears in a ‘Shared Heritage Trail of Immanuel College, Idle, Thackley, Blakehill and Thorpe Primary Schools’ (undated):

‘After a short while, to the right, and at the end of a short snicket, nestles an ancient-looking house which peeps through the trees. It is a rather strange house; in fact it does not look authentic, being a hodgepodge of designs – rather more what one might expect to see in a Disney film. Nevertheless, the house has a name: Dunk Hill Cottage, and we wonder if this is actually the original Dunkhill House – once home of the Dracup family.

This house (if it is indeed the same) was also known as Dunkhill Hall, and was said at one time to be the only house between Ley Fleaks Road and Five Lane Ends. Referring to local maps, one can see that this house does lay halfway between the above.’

Initially I could find no further information linking Dunkhill House with the Dracup family, but my attention has been drawn to an as yet unidentified text:

‘The earliest mention of the house I have seen was in a list of tax-payers, in which “John Dracup’s tenement” is associated with Dunkhill Syke. This John Dracup [born 1688] was the fourth generation of John Dracups who lived here though the first of them [b 1596] lived in Thorp…’



August 2015


Picture Credits

  1. Ripley Castle by Dposte46 (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
  2. Rectory Hall Guiseley from British Listed Buildings (British Listed Buildings) / CC BY-SA 2.0
  3. Calverley Hall by Betty Longbottom [CC BY-SA 2.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons
  4. Idle Chapel of Ease, from ‘Idle Conservation Area Assessment’ (November 2002)
  5. Dunk Hill House, from ‘Shared Heritage Trail of Immanuel College, Idle, Thackley, Blakehill and Thorpe Primary Schools’ (undated)