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Simon Bell - Calton
The Bells were a family of blacksmiths who had moved to Malhamdale by 1851, where William Bell, born in the Salterforth area, lived in Scosthrop with his wife Sarah and young family. His
eldest son Simon Bell was born in Skipton before the family had moved to Malhamdale, and he followed
in his father's footsteps, also becoming a blacksmith and working in the Dale.
Barber and they lived in Myrtle House (now Calton Lodge), Calton.
By the time of the 1901 census his son Edmund was working as a blacksmith
and Simon is now described as an electrical engineer and by 1911 he had become a gardener. Simon later went on to become gamekeeper
to John William Morkill of Newfield Hall, a loyal retainer who was
rewarded with an annuity by his employer on his retirement. As he continued to live to a good
age, Mr Morkill is reported to have said that "it was the best
investment I ever made."
Simon Bell and his family (click on photo to see larger version)
Simon Bell died at 16 Gargrave Road, Skipton in 1943,
aged 96, and was buried at Kirkby Malham on May 19th. The Rev Bernard
Chick wrote the following obituary in the June Parish Magazine:
All past and present residents of the dale will long remember Simon
Bell. Old residents from away would often ask "Is Simon Bell
still there? To the end of his long life his character retained
its power of winning the affection of those who met him, and his
sense of humour made him the pleasantest of companions. He was laid
to rest on his 96th birthday near the church he had loved and served.
William Bell's second son, also called William, followed his father and elder brother into the same business and became the blacksmith at Hebden. His lasting monument is the Hebden Suspension Bridge that he built over the river Wharfe, after a local man had drowned trying to cross the river by the stepping stones.
William's youngest son David, also followed the family occupation of blacksmith and was still working in Airton until at least 1932.
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