William Prann

Rogue or what?   Certainly a character – from 1348 to 1375 William, or would he be Billy to his friends, figured about a dozen times in the Court Baron although not always as the villain. Before him, his parents Adam and Christina also faced the court on numerous occasions, mostly for brewing and selling ale against the assize, either too weak or in small measures.

William Prann was first recorded in the Manor Rolls in 1360 for wrongfully witholding a quantity of lead. (this would have been transported from the Yorkshire Dales probably by pack animals). Did he hijack it, or steal it and what was it used for, would it be arrowheads, roofing or drainage? Two years later he was chosen by the tenants for the office of Reeve (rent collector) for which he took an oath.

During those years he was often brought before the court for the non repair of ditches (others, including the Rectors faced the court re. drainage, I assume both surface water and foul drainage)
In 1368 he was assessed for holding a swarm of bees belonging to the Lord of the Manor. possibly one of the de Methley Lords. It would seem that he spent more time in front of the court than was expected of the Reeve that in 1369 he asked the Lord to excuse him from the Office – which was agreed.

In 1374 he was fined for taking 2 cartloads of wood from enclosed land on Methley myers (Mires) and in 1375 he was fined for not cleaning his ditches at Oldrodegappe (probably Royds at the western edge of the village)

Fortunately we can abstract some information from the rolls about William Prann, pity that there is no other source of information, I’m sure he would have been a larger than life character in this village in Dick’s days (literally).

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