Ancestral Family Topic 28192

 28192   Henry Batte (c.1505-1572)
Pedigree Chart 07

Henry Batte, in his own words
If he could speak to us today, Henry Batte might describe his life as follows.

I was born about 1505 and lived during the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary, and until the 17th year of the reign of Queen Elizabeth, as we used to put it. Alice Wilkinson was the mother of our 5 children before her death.
In 1565 I bought “Oakwell Hall” a fine Elizabethan home in a snooty Yorkshire County neighborhood. A 1611 inventory of what my grandson kept in each room makes for very interesting reading.
I agreed to a “marriage settlement” with Ann (Wentworth) Popeley 18 July 1570. My second bride was a daughter of Thomas Wentworth and widow of Robert Popeley. I died in 1572 and “Mrs. Batt of the Ridinges” was buried at Birstall Parish 10 November 1600.
Frankly, I had a bad reputation, mainly related to my trusteeship of church property. An investigation 30 years after my death concluded that I sold the Bristall church bell and evicted the vicar from his vicarage. Another Birstall vicar entrusted me with Ł100 for a school that I never built. The commission ordered my son John to make restitution, build the school, and pay a Ł100 fine. They called me “a clever, designing knave” and “a thoroughly unprincipled man, grasping and avaricious.” Seriously, I may have been a lawyer.
By the way, Charlotte Bronte visited “Oakwell Hall” in the 19th Century. When she wrote Shirley, she described my home as, “neither a grand, nor a comfortable house; within as without it was antique, rambling and incommodious.” If you would like to see “Oakwell Hall,” some very pleasant docents would be pleased to show you around the place today. You can even join the “Friends of Oakwell Hall.”

Both Henry and Alice were from Halifax Parish where Henry acquired land. Before 1542 he moved to the Oakwell district and for several years his family lived at the Birstall rectory house and leased rectory lands. Batte was associated with the Saville family of Thornhill, which was about 5 miles from Oakwell Hall. He was an “agent,” probably a lawyer. Sir Henry Saville left Batte a 40-shilling annuity in his will in return for continuing to manage his estates.
In 1565 Henry purchased Oakwell Hall and several other properties in Yorkshire from Thomas Hussey. The Hussey family was more a prominent family and Henry’s purchase was intended to elevate himself to the gentry. Batte moved to Oakwell Hall in 1566 although he died 6 years later at another home he owned, Haigh Hall, a few miles east of Oakwell Hall. Batte descendants would remain at Oakwell Hall into the 18th Century.
On 26 July 1571, soon before his death, Henry conveyed to his son and heir-apparent, John Batte, and Edward Birtbie, trustee, all of his manors. After the death of John Batte, they would descend to his eldest son Henry.

Early Batte ancestors
The Batte ancestors perhaps originated in France where the name may have been “Battet,” and pronounced as the French “Batté.” It is possible that some Batte ancestors came to England with William the Conqueror in 1066. Historians have traced the Batte family back to 6 sureties of the Magna Carta: Saiher de Quincey, Richard de Clare, Gilbert de Clare, Robert de Vere, John FitzRobert, and Robert FitzRobert.
The name “Batte” is mentioned as early as 1240 when a Batte was Lord Mayor of London. The next mention is of John Batte who was prior of a monastery in Yorkshire and taught at Oxford. A prior was a monk who ran a priory and ranked below an abbot whose domain was an abbey. The John Batte buried at York in 1429 was probably an ancestor because he lived in Yorkshire where the ancestors of Henry Batte lived.

Who was Henry’s father?
Henry’s father is likely the man of the same name who appeared in Halifax Parish. The elder Henry Batte is thought to have married 1st Sybil Waterhouse, the daughter of John Waterhouse of Newhouse in Skyrcotte. Historians have traced the Waterhouse ancestry back centuries. Sybil’s pedigree is depicted on Pedigree Chart 19.
Henry Batte, the father, died in the second year of the reign of Queen Mary—between 6 March 1554/5 and 5 July 1555.

The will of Henry Batte
The following is the will of Henry Batte that he wrote on 2 Jan. 1571/2 at “Haigh Hall” and that was proved at York 8 Dec. 1572.

Will of Henry Batte
2 January 1571/2
In the name of God, amen, the Seconde daye of Januarii, in the yeare of our Lord God 1571. I, Henrye Batte of Haghe, in the Countie of Yorke, gent., Of holle [whole] and pfete [perfect] mynd and good rememberance, maketh my last will and Testament in manner and forme followinge:
Fyrst I gyve and bequethe my soull to god almyghtie, and my bodye to be buried Xtian Buriell where it shall please god. Also, where I have longe afore this tyme gyven unto John Batte, my sonne, all the goods and cattells [chattels] which I have at Birstell and Ricrotte, now by this my last will and Testament I gyve and bequethe unto the said John Batte, my sonne, all my goods and cattells which I have at Haghe [his then residence], or in any other place within the realme of England, and I will that the said John Batte shall of his costes and charges bringe upp and educate suche childe as my wyfe is now withall, when God shall send her deliverance, and further I will that the said John shall gyve and paye unto the said child, hether it be a sonne or doughter, a hundredth marks of lawful money, when it shall come to the aige of xxj [53] yeares, yf God sende the said childe to be then lyvinge, and I give unto the said John Batte, my sonne, and to his heires forev, all my land, tenements, and hereditaments, which I haue not before to hym gyven, and I make and ordayne the said John Batte my sole and lawful Executor of this my last will and Testament, he to dispose and do in all things withe my said lands and goods as I haue heretofore declared to hym, by his good descrecon, as my special trust is in hym.
Witness hereof written with my own hand.

Oakwell Hall
The Batte family estate, “Oakwell Hall,” is today a tourist attraction, Oakwell Hall and Country Park, about 8 miles from Leeds. Many consider the house one of the most original Elizabethan homes in Yorkshire County.
Visit the web site for Friends of Oakwell Hall 
The Oakwell that Henry Batte bought from Thomas Hussey included the manors of Gomersal and Heckmondwike that they then considered part of Oakwell. The manor Heaton, 7 miles away, was also a part of the purchase. Hussey got the property when he married but was forced to sell it for cash to settle a gambling debt.
Henry’s son, John Batte, sold “Haigh Hall” in 1573 and presumably moved to Oakwell if he was not already living there. The Oakwell Hall that his father bought was a timber structure that John converted to stone in 1583. Still above the door are his initials he inscribed there.
After John Batte’s two eldest sons died childless, “Oakwell Hall” descended to his third son Rev. Robert Batte. Not expecting to inherit much, Robert had entered the ministry and was the rector of Newton Tony in Wiltshire when his father died. He continued to live in Wiltshire and rented Oakwell Hall to various members of the Waterhouse family.
Records from the Waterhouse occupancy still exist. Among them is a 1609-11 account book, a series of letters written to the household steward, and a 1611 list of items in the house that belonged to Robert Batte. The following is the inventory.

Inventory of Oakwell Hall
IN THE HALL. Imprimus, 1 squar Table, 1 long Table, 1 sydborde, 1 Range, two longe seates, 2 formes, 2 Chairs, 2 tailends, flax & tuch box [for holding match and priming powder for a matchlock musket], hande staffe [staff carried as a weapon].
IN THE GREAT PARLORE. Item, 1 longe Table, 8 buffett stooles, 1 letle Table, liverie table [for holding liveries or rations, also a side table]. Mappes: viz. Of ye world, palestine, ffrance, Spaine, low countries, Greece, Italie, Africa, Asia, England, Tables [board or flat surface on which a picture was painted, i.e. the picture itself] of both universities. 1 Range.
IN THE LITTLE PARLORE. Item, 2 stand bedsteads with cordes [for streatching the sacking of a bed] and teastors [canopies either supported from posts or suspended from the ceiling], 1 cupbord, 1 Range, 1 Counter [table or desk for counting money, or bureau].
IN THE MAYDES PARLORE. Item, 1 stand bedstead with teastor and cord, 1 other stand half head bedstead with Cord, 1 forme for a bed.
IN THE BUTTRIE. Item, 1 cupbord, 1 sidbord, 1 Counter, Certain shelves, 1 safe, 1 lesse sid bord.
IN THE INNER BUTTRIE. Item, 1 Arke [large wooden bin or hutch for storing meal, etc.], some shelves.
IN THE MYLK HOUSE. Item, 1 Trustle [a portable bed supported on trestles] for certain shelves.
IN THE TAVOURNE. Item, 1 frame for hogheade to stand on, 1 salting fatt, 1 old Cheese presse, and a partition mad of Mr. Da[vid] Wa[terhouse] Cha[rges].
IN THE KITCHEN. Item, 1 range, 1 old Cubbord, 1 kitchine bord, 1 stone trough, 1 great Chaire, 1 forme broken, 1 pare of brigges [wooden frame above a tub to support a strainer used in brewing].
IN THE GREAT CHAMBER. Item, 1 paire of bed stocks [bedstead] with Cord, 1 trucle bed [trundle bed, a low bed on casters that rolls beneath another] with cord, 1 letle Table, one Range.
IN THE LETLE PARLORE CHAMBER Item, 1 stand-bedstead with teastor and Cord, 1 Cubbord, 1 Rang[e], the hainginges of dornicke [partly woolen fabric originally made in Dornich in Flanders] with borders.
IN THE MYLK HOUSE CHAMBOR. Item, 1 stand bedstead with teastor and cord, 1 great Cheest.
IN THE BUTTRIE CHAMBER. Item, 1 Levorie Cubbord, 1 Chaire, 1 great Chest of Mrs. Wilkinsons.
IN THE HALL CHAMBOR. Item, 2 stand bed steades with teasters and Cordes, 1 other stand bedstead with Cord, 1 truckel bed and cord Mr. Waterhouses, 1 long Chest, 1 Counter.
IN THE ENTRYE CHAMBOR. Item 1 stand bedstead with teastor and Cord, 1 presse came from heagg hall [Haige Hall], 1 forme broken.
IN THE KITCHEN CHAMBOR. Item, 5 Arkes, 1 great hamper, 1 Counter, the flowor [floor] laid and shelvd about of Mr. Da[vid] Wa[terhouse] Cha[rges].
IN THE PORCH CHAMBOR. Item, 1 great Cheest, 1 great stand bedstead that came from hagg hall, 3 paire of servant bed stocks.
IN THE NEW PAROLR. 1 longe table cam from hagg hall, 1 box of boxes for garden seeds.
IN THE NEW PARLORE CHAMBOR. Item, certaine old armer with 3 or 4 old head peeces and the chambor flowor [floor] laid of Mr. Da[vid] Wa[terhouse] his Cha[rges], 2 mayds tresle.
IN THE STUDDYE OVER THE TAVERNE. Item, 1 square Table, all Mr. Robert Batt his books to the number of 62 with certaine shelves, 1 Cheste was Alice birkbies [Alice Birkby’s] but Clough toke such of Mr. Batts away instead thereof, 1 letle half headid bed stead with Cord, 1 Chaire, 6 Pewder dishes great and small and 1 yett wanting, 1 duble Candlestick wanting, 1 brass mortre at northaw [?], 2 pewder Candlesticks, 3 Candlestick socketts, 2 bassins and 2 Eures, 1 hand bassine, 1 letle pewder seastre or Eure, 1 old brasse salt, 1 old chaffing dish, 1 chaffingdish bottome, 1 box of caste trenchers, 1 brasse pestle broken, 7 purslan [porcelain] dyshes where of Mr. Phil’ toke 1, 1 great hammere, 1 Cooles picke, ane ole brasse pott, 1 old brasse bassin.
IN THE BREWHOUSE AND OUTHOUSES. Item, 1 lead [large open vessels used for brewing], 1 pott of brasse in the wall, 1 old cubbord, 2 stone troughes, 2 ladders, 1 maskfatt [mashing vat for brewing], 1 glycare [?], 1 pair of gantrees [gantry: four-footed wooden stand for barrels].
IN THE STABLE. Item, 1 great Cheist.
IN THE STUDDYE OVER THE HALL STARES. Item, 1 fast letle table with some shelves

From Robert, Oakwell Hall descended next to John Batte and then to his son, William Batte. The property passed from the Batte’s hands in 1747. Various tenants occupied the home and by 1830 it was a girls’ boarding school.

Charlotte Bronte and Oakwell
Charlotte Bronte immortalized Oakwell when she wrote Shirley in 1849. The fictional heroine, Shirley Keeldar, lived at “Fieldhead” that Bronte patterned after Oakwell. Bronte had friends near Oakwell Hall and undoubtedly had visited the school. She wrote, “If Fieldhead had few other merits as a building, it might at least be termed picturesque: its irregular architecture and the grey and mossy colouring communicated by time, gave it a just claim to this epithet.” With more lack of affection Bronte said “It was neither a grand, nor a comfortable house; within as without it was antique, rambling and incommodious.”

Descendants of Henry Batte
Information about the children of Henry Batte, their descendants, and allied families previously found at is now available as Southside Virginia Genealogies. Learn more 
Names found in this topic include the following.
 John Batte (c.1530-1607),  
 Elizabeth (Batte) Horsfall,  
Jeffrey Horsfall,  
 Isabella Batte (-1542),  
 daughter (Batte) West,  
 Margaret (Batte) Constantyne,  
Henry Constantyne,  

Selected sources
Brayton, John Anderson. “The Ancestry of Rev. Robert Batte.” The Virginia Genealogist. 44:163-171, 301-308 (2000). • Covers the family of Henry Batte.

This topic, which represents .11% of all the family history material at, includes 0 citations and the names of 29 individuals.
Virginians - The Family History of John W. Pritchett
Copyright © 2001-2006, John W. Pritchett. All rights reserved.
Civil War Soldiers from Brunswick County, Virginia 
  • 1,140 family histories
  • 744 pages
  • 35,000-name index
  • Attractively bound
  • Military histories
  • Index of church cemeteries
  • Confederate veterans photo
  • More...