Geoffrey de Whalley

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Geoffrey de Whalley

Latin: Galfridus .
Also Known As: "The Elder Dean", "Galfridus of Whalley", "Geoffrey Whalley"
Birthplace: Whalley, Lancashire, England (United Kingdom)
Death: circa 1223 (33-42)
Immediate Family:

Son of Robert Of Whalley
Husband of Alice "Maud" de Lacy
Father of Geoffrey Towneley, Whalley; Richard Towneley and Roger de Whalley

Occupation: Dean of Whalley
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Geoffrey de Whalley

Dean Galfidus and his wife Alice had three children: Geoffrey (Galfidus 2nd), Henry Gedling, and Robert of the church at Alvetham and later at Rochdale


From The history of the De Towneley Family of Towneley Hall in Lancashire.

Sources: History of Whalley, History of Burnley, Visitations, Pedigree, British Archives, and Manuscripts of Christopher Towneley.

Generation 1.

Galfridus of Whalley.

By the 13th century, the Honor of Clitheroe had been divided up into five manors. About this time, Galfridus married Alice de Lacy, daughter of the Norman Lord Roger de Lacy of Clitheroe and Pontefract, the Constable of Chester Lord de Lacy gave part of the vill of Burnley, in the Manor of Ightenhill of the Honour of Clitheroe, to Dean Galfridus, namely "two oxgangs of land in Tunleia (the field belonging to the town) with their appurtenances and permission to build his home there when he pleased and the right to pasture cattle on Burnley Commons." (V.C.H., VI, p. 457) The word "oxgang" and the right of common pasture shows there were villeins living in a hamlet which formed part of the vill of Burnley, so Galfridus had the right to demand services from tenants. Like the colonists in Pennsylvania and New England, these tenants scraped a living from vegetables in their gardens, crops grown in a town field, and cattle kept on common land. When they built their wood huts at the end of their lots in a group with the land they leased fanning out around them, the huts created a hamlet. Close by in the vill of Burnley were several other hamlets, named Westgate, Coal Clough, Fulledge, Burnley Wood and Healey.

Lord de Lacy's also gave Galfridus the right to hunt deer and wild boar "beyond his domains." He had the power to make this grant for he was responsible for the forests reserved for only the king and his supporters. Since Galfridus was dean of Whalley, he lived in the ancestral home at Whalley, but it is believed that he built a hunting lodge on Castle Hill, near the junction of Todmorden Road and the Bacup Road. Dr. Whitaker wrote in 1800 that there were obscure remains of trenches on the east side of the hill. (Whitaker II, p. 186) The hunting grounds de Lacy provided for Galfidus adjoining Hapton extended from the head of Thursden on the east to Bradley Brook [Hapton] on the west, and from Saxifield Dyke on the north to Crombrok [Redwater Clough, Cliviger] on the south. Dean Galfidus and his wife Alice had three children: Geoffrey (Galfidus 2nd), Henry Gedling, and Robert of the church at Alvetham and later at Rochdale. When Dean Galfridus died, his namesake Geoffrey inherited his father's position as dean and the settlement from his mother's father. In 1224, Geoffrey left his estate including Tunleia, Snodesworth and Coldcoats (Caldecotes), part way between Whalley and Clitheroe, to his son Roger, the next dean. But since Roger was not allowed to marry, he gave these lands to his brother Richard about 1236. Roger died without issue in 1249. The names in italics in the remainder of the history have been recorded by the Royal College of Arms.

  • Raines, Francis Robert. The Vicars of Rochdale. Vol. 1. 1883. Reprint. London: Forgotten Books, 2013. page 2-3
    • The Status de Blagborneshire tells us that the first Dean of Whalley named in the Lichfield registers, or whose name occurs in chronicles, or was preserved by tradition, was Spartling, who was succeeded by his son Liwlph Cutwolfe, to whom succeeded Cudwolf, and to him, his heir Henry senior, who was succeeded by his son Robert, and he by his son Henry junior, to whom succeeded William, to whom succeeded Galfridus or Geoffrey the elder (/A). It is not improbable that more than one of these early deans held the two churches of Whalley and Rochdale conjointly. The position of the married deans of Whalley has been discussed with great ingenuity by Dr. Whitaker, who very shrewdly compares them with the comarbs of the Irish monasteries, a comparison which has gained in interest recently, since other traces of Celtic influences upon the earliest church in Lancashire have been forthcoming. The Dean of Whalley was a semi-secular personage, and, as Dr. Whitaker says, was "compounded of patron, incumbent, ordinary, and lord of the manor, " an assemblage which may possibly have met in later times and in some places of exempt jurisdiction, but at that time probably an unique in the history of the English Church." {Op, ciL, i. 75.) The fashion was not quite unique. It was in vogue also at Blagborne, or Blackburn, for we read in " the Status," the rectors of Whalley and Blagborne were married men and the lords of the townships.
    • Geoffrey, Dean of Whalley, married the daughter of Roger de Lascy, constable of Chester, then Lord of Blagborneshire. This is mentioned not only in the Status already quoted, but in a marginal note to Harlcian MS,^ 1830, 16. (Whitaker's Whalley^ vol. i. p. 80, note 2.)
  • An History of the Original Parish of Whalley, and Honor of Clitheroe: In the Counties of Lancaster and York, to which is Subjoined, an Account of the Parish of Cartmell. By Thomas Dunham Whitaker. Nichols, Son, and Bentley, 1818 - Whalley (England) - 568 pages page 344-345
  • The Visitation of the County Palatine of Lancaster, Made in the Year 1664-5, by Sir William Dugdale , Francis Robert Raines page # 304-307 "Towneley of Towneley."
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Geoffrey de Whalley's Timeline

Lancashire, England
Lancashire, England
January 8, 1215
Burnley, Lancashire County, England
Age 38