The family which was based at Braisty Woods could have been descended from Thomas Schayf de Ingerthorpe (six miles from Braisty) who according to a deed made in 1293, gave two pence per year to the porter at the gates of Fountains Abbey for the relief of the poor.
In the 15th century, Scaifes at Brimham (just north of Braisty) were described as "Keepers of the Abbot's sheep", so Fountains Abbey was of key significance to the history of the family. At the Dissolution, the Skaifes secured substantial future gains by converting their tenancy at Braisty Woods to freehold. This supported the family (which was headed by a succession of Thomas's) for the next three-hundred years. A branch moved to Manchester in the mid-19th Century and the Braisty property finally passed out of the Scaife family in 1869.
The Sc/kaifes in Hampsthwaite Parish were numerous. DNA reseach has established that they are a separate branch to the Braisty Woods family.