Early Healds: Hield Manor and Mobberley

The Healds at Mobberley in Cheshire are of particular interest internationally, as it is thought that they are the ancestors of many of the present-day Healds of North America, by way of the early settlers John Heald (sailed c. 1640), and Samuel Heald (sailed 1703).

The second edition of Ormerod's History of Cheshire (1882) notes the idea that the family name may have originated with the occupants of Hield manor, a few miles to the west at Aston-by-Budworth. However, the connection may only be an inference inspired by someone reading about Heild in Ormerod's first edition (1819).

Hield Manor, C13 and C14

Hield House (previously Hield Manor) probably takes its name from the local landscape: it is located at map reference SJ673776 (1882 OS map) on a sudden sharp slope near Aston-by-Budworth. It is first mentioned in about 1200 as "Helda in Hestona" in a deed surviving in the Leicester-Warren collection at Tabley House; see Heald Placenames: Cheshire for a full list of name variants and references to it, from vol 2 of "Place Names of Cheshire" by J. McN. Dodgson.

The history of the manor was described by Sir Peter Leycester, seventeenth century ancestor of the present family.

Barred from public life in the 1650s as a committed Royalist, Sir Peter turned his attention to researching with legal exactness the story of his own family and the neighbouring large landowners, to many of which he was related, making either complete copies or extensive abstracts of all their historic documents and property deeds; many of the copies still survive. He eventually published two volumes of "Historical Antiquities", based on this research,. The second, "Some Antiquities touching Cheshire, faithfully collected out of authentique Histories, old Deeds, Records, and Evidences, by Sir Peter Leycester, Baronet, a Member of the same County" (London, 1672), includes a thorough parish by parish history of the Bucklow Hundred in which the Leycester family estates were situated. It can be found reprinted in full in Ormerod's History of Cheshire (1819, 2nd revised ed 1882), which was recently reissued scanned onto a CD by the Family History Society of Cheshire. Leycester's reliability was held in high regard: "It is observable that he rarely admits facts which do not appear to be supported by original documents within his immediate knowledge" (Ormerod vol 1, p.624).

Heild Manor belonged to owners calling themselves 'del Hield' from some time in the reign of Henry II (1154-1189) until some time before 1248 in the reign of Henry III (1216-1272); and again in 1355 to William del Helde (probably no relation to the earlier owners):

(Leycester, in Ormerod vol 1, p. 612):
"John, constable of Cheshire, and baron of Halton, gave the mannor of Hield in this Aston, unto Methroso Punterlinge in the reign of Henry the Second, rendring yearly a Welsh lance on the feast-day of St. Bartholomew. M. num 1. Afterwards Geffrey, son of Adam de Dutton (ancestor to Warburton of Arley) buyeth the same from one Hugh the Welsh deacon, son of Hugh del Hield, for twenty-four marks of silver, in the reign of Henry the Third, and gave it to Agnes de Dutton his daughter. M. num 2, and num. 5,6.

"But after, towards the latter end of Henry the Third, Robert de Denbigh, and Margaret his wife, purchase it again from Geffrey, son of Geffrey, son of Adam de Dutton, for three silver marks of silver, and a wich house in Northwich. I. num. 91, which Margaret was the daughter of the said Geffrey, son of Geffrey; but Robert Denbigh dying without issue, the said Margaret his widow married Nicholas de Leycester, about 1276, afterwards sir Nicholas Leicester, knight, unto whose issue it remained, till John Leycester of Tabley sold it again unto William del Heild and Goditha his wife, and to the heirs of the body of the said William reserving the yearly rent of forty shillings, anno Domini 1355, 29 E. III: M. num. 14, and num. 13.

"And afterwards it came to be divided by the two daughters and coheirs of William del Helde, Margaret and Emme; M. num. 16, and so this land of Heild continued to their heirs, until one moiety thereof was purchased again by Thomas Leycester of Tabley, esq. anno Domini 1500, M. num. 19, and the other moiety was purchased by Dorothy Leycester widow, from Francis Sutton, anno Domini 1601, 43 Elizabethae. M. num. 60. So that the whole is now reverted again to Leycester."

(p.619) "This John Leycester also sold away his mannor of Hield, in Aston, to William del Hield and Goditha his wife, in fee-farm, 1355, 29 Edw. III. which manor [descended to the two daughters and coheirs of Will. del Hield and Godith, viz. Margaret, the wife of John Bird, whose daughter and heiress Margaret, the wife of John Carryer, had a son William, who left Robert, Richard, Elen, and Alice, his sons and daughters; the other co-heiress of William del Held was a daughter married to Thomas Holt, whose daughter Elen by Richard Torfote her husband, had Arthur Torfote. The manor after being held in coparency], reverted back to Leycester of Tabley; to wit, one moiety purchased 1500, and the other moiety purchased again 1601, as shall be observed in their due places. M. num. 13, 14."

"Place-names of Cheshire" also cites documents in 1328 and 1348 where the place-name is used as a personal identifier. (Heald Placenames)

According to the Rootsweb rwheald database (I2138):

'The earliest mention of the name Heald appeared in a history of Cheshire, England. It briefly mentioned a "Heild Manor" in Appleton , Cheshire, which was purchased by the "Heild Family" in 1355. The building was still standing in 1810, but it's title had been reduced from "Heild Manor" to "a farmhouse." (reference: David Elliott Heald notes 1979)'

There is no mention in Ormerod (1819,1882) of the then state of the property, so this reference may be to the Cheshire volume of the Lysons brothers' Magna Britannia, which was published in 1810. The placing of Heild Manor at Appleton (in the same parish) appears to be a simple mistake: Appleton is treated three pages after Aston in Sir Peter Leycester's book, immediately before the material is recapped in the Leycester family tree.


In 1340 William del Helde, as clerk, was a witness when

"Ric.us filius Rog.i le Ward de Modburleigh releases to Nich.o de Leycestr', and Marie ux.i ejus all his claim to their lands, &c., Test. Galfr.o de Werburton, Joh.e de Lgh militibz, Rog.o de Toft, Thom. de Toft, Henr' de Holford, Thom. Gleyve de Modburlegh, & Will.mo del Helde cl.ro, Dat' apud Knotesford die Sab.ti in festo Sc.i Oswaldi &c." -- Plea Rolls, 32 Edw III, m. 7
(Quoted by Helsby, editor, Ormerod's History 2nd rev'd ed. (1882), p.412; I have replaced overbars with full stops to denote abbreviations)

If this is the same William who later bought Heild from the Leycesters, perhaps he was previously their estate clerk or record keeper ?


c. 1530

Circa 1530, William Held is named as assisting Raffe Lecetre [Leycester] of Tofte in an assault, in the lordship of Mobberley. [details].

Broad Oak

Sir Peter de Leycester lists the freeholders of Mobberley in 1672 (Ormerod 2e, p.418):

"The other moiety of Mobberley, lately belonging to the Radcliffs of Ordsall in Lancashire, nigh Manchester, was sold away by sir John Radcliff, about the beginning of king James's reign over England, to his tenants there. ...[a list, including]...Thomas Hield of the Broad-Oak in Mobberley... "
Helsby (editor, 1882) adds the note:
"He was a gentleman of considerable estate, and is believed to be descended from the Healds of Heald, a hamlet in Aston by Budworth. A pedigree in the College of Arms gives Jane, daughter of Thomas Legh ("a younger brother of the Leghs of Booth") as his wife, by whom he had George Heald of Macclesfield, gent. (ob.1733, and buried at Mobberley), who married in 1687 Anne (ob. June 17, 1720), daughter of George Lowe of Chelford, gent., by whom he had George and several others, including Rebecca (born 8, and bap. 18 Oct., 1694), who became the wife (link) of John Acton, of the Beach, near Macclesfield, gent. (born 1700), and whose daughter and co-heir, Rebecca Acton (ob. 21 May 1816, and buried at Darton near Peniston) married 12 Nov. 1765 Thomas Cotton (son of Will. Westby Cotton), of the Haigh in Peniston, gent., who died s. p. 3 Oct 1802. George Heald, eldest son of George, married Elenor (link), the sister of W. Westby Cotton, and left issue. -- From papers obligingly forwarded by William Chandler Heald, esq., of Elmstone Court, Kent."
A William Chandler Heald was christened at All Souls, St Marylebone, London on 3 April 1847 (link). In the 1881 census he is living with his mother, his wife and his brother at 90 Albert Road, Camberwell, South London, and his occupation is given as 'agent and scrivener'.

According to Leycester, in 1672 a Peter Legh of Booth, esq., had Mobberley mill, Graisly's cottage and six tenements in Mobberley.

Several web sites and contributed IGI entries place Thomas Heald (b. Abt 1545 ?; d. 15 Nov 1589) at Broad Oak. It may be possible to trace a sequence of inheritance from him to the Thomas Heald of 1672.

According to the LDS Ancestral File Thomas's son William Heald (AFN:HKRJ-7G) married Alice Strettell in May 1597 (link) and had four children: Elizabeth (chr. Jan 1599), Thomas (chr. 6 Dec 1601), Katherine (chr. May 1604) and June (b. abt 1606; d. Sep 1608). This William is then supposed to have died on 14 Apr 1609. Cheshire records office has an admon for William Heald, gentleman, of Mobberley, as listed on the Cheshire Wills page. The old 'secretary hand' handwriting is not easy to decipher, but it appears to be in favour of "Alice Held, wyddow". His son Thomas Heald (AFN:CGJV-JB) is said to have married Elizabeth Robson [but see below] and had the children Thomas (b. Apr 1622), George (b. Mar 1627), Robert (b. 4 Mar 1632), Anna (b. 7 Dec 1634) and Margaret (b. abt 1636), before dying at Broad Oak (buried 15 June 1645). His son would be the Thomas in possession in 1672, who may have lived until 23/11/1699 -- either 23rd November 1699 or 23rd January 1700 (others say 23rd January 1703).

However this may be incorrect: it is usually Thomas Heald of Chorley, near Wilmslow, that Elizabeth Robson (or, more likely, Hobson) is taken to have married, circa 1640; and according to the parish registers in the IGI, it was George, not Thomas, who was christened in Dec 1601; married Margaret Birtles in Sep/Oct 1621; and christened the children Thomas (Oct 1623), George (Mar 1626), Edward (9 Aug 1629), Robert (4 Mar 1631), Anna (7 Dec 1634) and Margaret (abt 1636). The rwheald database at rootsweb has George Heald dying on 12 Jun 1645; Cheshire Wills have a will for George Heald, yeoman, of Mobberley, died (or proved?) 1646, who may or may not be the same person. Margaret lived until 13 Jun 1667, according to rwheald; Cheshire wills list a will for Margaret Heald, widow, d. 1667.

There is also some confusion as to which William Heald died in 1609; there are also records of a William Heald marrying Alice Burges in Mobberley in Dec 1601, one marrying Elizabeth Shaw in Mobberley on 29 May 1615; and a William Heald of Wilmslow who christened Helene on 2 Feb 1620 and Mary on 13 Mar 1626.

At present it seems very difficult to be sure how, or even whether, the Healds of Broad Oak were related to any of the early Heald colonists of New England.


From Broad Oak (SJ772804;1882 OS map) it is a short walk along a path across the fields to Healdmill (SJ781809; 1882 OS map), now known as Wee Bridge Farm. There does not seem to be any particularly steep slope nearby, so it seems likely that this was named after the family.

According to WorldConnect rwheald, (I2137):

"William Heald lived at Healdmill Farm in 1609. Healdmill Farm has sites of a mill and mill pond, and a Quaker buriel ground."

Further information is not given: this might or might not be the same William Heald who perhaps inherited Broad Oak, as discussed above.

The comment is made on a page for James Heald (b. son of John Heald, abt 1565; d. 1627) who is described as "Householder of the Milne".

By 1672 Leycester names "Roger Worthington of Hield mill in Mobberley, and also for Hill house," as one of the freeholders in the two-thirds of the moiety of Mobberley which "lately belonged to the Talbots of Grafton in Worcestershire, whose posterity afterwards came to be earls of Shrewsbury; and were lately sold away by Talbot to his tenants here in Mobberley in the reign of king James".

(Aside -- According to IGI, an earlier Rodger Worthington had married an Elizabeth Heald in 1595 link)


According to WorldConnect: rwheald (I2138)

"In 1660 'Jame Heald', owned a part of Lindow Common."

Lindow Moss was a large bog (formerly much larger than today, stretching from SJ815785 to SJ830817) which formed a natural boundary between the parishes of Mobberley and Wilmslow. Lindow Common is marked to the west of the moss, at SJ820808 on the 1882 OS map.

Nearby Parishes

Healds are also reported in the IGI in the adjacent hamlets and parishes of Wilmslow; Pownall Fee and Morley (NW of Wilmslow); Chorley (SW of Wilmslow); and Alderley (S of Wilmslow); as well as further afield.

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