The following notes on the Ferrands were sent to us by Brenda Graham, who has ancestoral links with the Ferrands via the Richardson family. - Ed.

It is recorded that the Ferrands came with William de Fortibus, Earl of Albemarle (or Aumal) and Lord of Skipton Castle from Normandy in the late12th century. The King of England was the Duke of Normandy at that time - Aumal is situated on the Eastern border of Normandy.

Hereditary custody of the Gate of Skipton Castle was granted to William Ferrand in about 1190 by William de Fortibus. The grandson of William de Fortibus had one surviving child, Aveline, who married Edmund Plantagenet, Earl of Lancaster, second son of Henry Ill, this marriage produced no issue and it was then that the Castle was escheated to the crown in c1296. The Bailiffs of Queen Dowager Eleanour contested the hereditary grant of the custody of the Gate of Skipton Castle and from this it is known that the first three custodians of the Gate were Hugo, Henry and then Hugo Ferrand. This latter Hugo Ferrand was reinstated in 1307.

The barony of Skipton was then granted to Robert Clifford; the Ferrands served four generations of de Fortibus and eleven generations of Cliffords a total of more than four hundred years, which is quite remarkable. Sir Francis Clifford, later the 4th Earl of Cumberland, petitioned the Earl Marshall for a grant of Arms for William Ferrand of Carleton Hall 'by reason of the fidelity and good service of himself and his ancestors to our house ever since our possession of Skipton Castle, these four hundred years continuing.' The arms were granted on 20th March 1586. Their Motto Justus Propositi Tenax, roughly translated, Firm and Fair of Purpose, was indicative of their loyalty, commitment and bravery during centuries of difficult and tumultuous times.

The Ferrands lived at Carleton, 2 miles south of Skipton. John Ferrand lived there in 1739. The sole heiress of the Dawtry (or de Altaripa) family married Roger Ferrand in 1475, whose name is the earliest of the Grant of Arms. His grandson built Carleton Hall in 1584. When the hall was pulled down in the 1920s William Ferrand was given the date stone and Dawtry Coat of Arms, which he placed in the courtyard of St Ives, Bingley.

On a visit to Skipton Castle recently, when all the visitors had gone, I was allowed to close the huge wooden gates just as our ancestors would have done. The present gates date back to the 1500s; they are beautifully crafted and so cleverly hung that I could close these impressive gates, at a touch, with the palm of my hand. I felt very honoured indeed.

This is a short account of the history of the early Ferrands, some gleaned from the National Archives and also members of the Ferrand family, past and present, who have dedicated many years of research to produce accurate and detailed records of the family.

Brenda Graham 2008