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This is an edited archive of messages posted to the now defunct Blog, previous message forum or feedback forms. This archive is searched by the general site search, but messages on the current Message Forum can only be searched from within the forum itself.

Sarah Wilkinson
Dedrah Moss
Apr 2, 08 - 11:37 PM
I am trying to trace mt gtx3 grandma Sarah Wilkinson born 1806 in Bellbusk is there anyone who can give me any info on a family of that name that lived there then please,
Thank you
David Tippey said...
Apr 21, 08 - 7:56 AM
Bell Busk was in the parish of Gargrave at that time and their PRs show Sarah Wilkinson do James and Ann, born 14th March, bapt 19 june 1803 at Gargrave.
The birth year you have is probably approximate at that period, so this looks very likely and there is no other candidate to be seen.
Dedrah said...
Thank you so much David for your time and trouble in finding that info for me its certainly a big help and a breakthrough for me. I will follow it up as soon as I get chance. Thanks again.

Malham Mill
Gordon Hartley
Jan 14, 08 - 7:15 AM
Can any one tell me any information about Malham Mill & any thing about the four partners involed with it.
I also would like to know when was the mill demolished. does any one have any photos of this Mill ?.
Gordon Hartley.
The Webmaster said...
Jan 15, 08 - 2:30 AM
As our page on the mill says, it was derelict before 1850 and hence before the age of photography, so there are no photographs and no known paintings. It was reported to be a typical Arkright pattern so would be similar to other Arkright Mills. George Ingle might be able to shed more light on the partners.

Leny Smith - Eighteenth Century Industrialist from Malham
Luke Potter
Sep 10, 07 - 10:50 AM
I am researching Leny Smith who was baptised in Kirkby Malham in 1760. He was the son of Christopher Smith, a carpenter and shop keeper in Malham, and Margaret Wigglesworth.
Leny's early life and apprenticeship details are not known, but by 1787 he had somehow built up the business knowledge and backing to rent 31 acres and a snuff mill in Hackney Wick in London which he converted to manufacture crape (the black silk used for mourning). In 1795 he became a freeman of the city of London and in that year also is credited with establishing the silk industry around Taunton and Dulverton in Somerset.
It was the business in Hackney however which was the main concern and at its peak was the largest silk mill in Britain with over 30,000 spindles being worked by 600-700 employees.
The silk industry declined after the end of the Napoleonic Wars when cheaper French silk and crape could be imported and by 1828 the silk mills at Hackney were no longer in operation.
I am interested in any family connections or leads which may shed some light on Leny Smith's background and may have helped him in his rags to riches story.
He had a childless great uncle, Richard Moon, who died in London in 1772 and judging from his PCC will was fairly wealthy. This may have provided some capital for his education and apprenticeship.
Leny's sisters married into the Dodgson and Sedgwick families, and two of his aunts had married into the Preston family.
Any extra information of Leny, Christopher or any of the family, or other possible connections between Malham people and the silk industry would be appreciated.

Rev Oswald Whaley - Church of St Peter, Coniston Cold
Clive Bevan
Jul 9, 07 - 5:32 PM
Oswald was vicar of St Peter's between 1894-96. If anyone has any further information/photos on Oswald or his wife Mary then I would be delighted to hear from them.

May 19, 07 - 4:11 AM
I wonder if anyone can help me with any information about Ravenflatt Farm Bell Busk Any history about it, names of families that have lived there, & Any photos of the farm, also intrested in any History or Photos of Bell Busk.My Family lived at the Farm from 1822 to 1840. Two of the family Surnames that married into the family were Wellock & Preston.
I would also like to here from anyone who may have a copy of the Parish Records of Rylstone for sale?
Any Information welcome.
Gordon Hartley
The Webmaster replies...
May 19, 07 - 4:12 PM
I have been trying to get a copy of the Rylstone registers for several years, with searches logged on ABE Books and other websites, they are very rare. However a cheaper alternative to buying the books (if you could find them) is to access them on Both volumes are available and if you have broadband you could easily view and save all the pages to your computer on a free 14day trial!!

Free Yorkshire Books
The Webmaster
Apr 27, 07 - 10:00 AM
You can find one or two useful Yorkshire titles on GoogleBooks, but the best source I have found for free downloadable titles is at
If you run a search for Yorkshire - Texts you will find a fair number of Yorkshire Archaeological Society, Surtees Society, Thoresby Society and other useful books. These are top quality scans available to freely download in searchable PDF and a variety of other formats. You can soon collect a useful Yorkshire History bookshelf (as long as you have broadband).

Mike Gomersall
Apr 23, 07 - 2:07 PM

Major-General John Lambert by Dr. David Farr

Malham Village Hall was packed to hear Dr. David Farr’s talk on the remarkable career of John Lambert of Calton, a man who rose from the minor gentry in a remote corner of Yorkshire to become the second most powerful man in Britain in the mid seventeenth century. The family fortunes which had grown large following the dissolution of the monasteries, were in serious decline in the early 1600s. Dr. Farr eloquently described how John Lambert’s rise was attributable in large part to his close family links, and most significantly to his marriage to Frances Lister, daughter of Sir William Lister of Thornton. Through the Lister family he was related to Lord Ferdinando Fairfax of Denton Hall, who commanded the Northern Association Army at the start of the Civil War, and his son Sir Thomas Fairfax who later commanded the New Model Army. Lambert was prominent in many battles and sieges, and made a massive contribution to the parliamentary victories in the north, including the siege of Hull and the Battle of Marston Moor, ‘Bloody Preston’, the successful campaign against the Scots and the final royalist defeat at Worcester. The war propelled him into a position of power and wealth, until in the autumn of 1653 he retreated to his home in Calton where he wrote Britain’s first and only written constitution, ‘The Instrument of Government’, under which Cromwell governed as Lord Protector until 1657. Under this constitution, the position of Lord Protector was elected and not hereditary and his power was severely limited in that generally he had to act only with the advice of a Council or Parliament. He could not make laws, but only give assent to measures passed by Parliament. Parliament’s approval was needed for changes to taxation and in the event of war, Parliament had to be summoned immediately. The franchise was to be available to men with more than £200 per year and freedom of religion was to be allowed within certain limits. The Instrument of Government foreshadowed by more than a century the constitution of the United States of America, to whose shores generations of Puritans had fled persecution in this country, seeking political and religious freedom.
Lambert eventually broke with Cromwell and after the fall of Richard Cromwell failed to prevent the restoration of Charles II. He was exiled first to Guernsey and then to St. Nicholas’ (Drake’s) Island off Plymouth, where he died in 1684. Although he had been tried and sentenced to death after the restoration, he was reprieved not least because of his long maintained links with northern royalist families like the Belasyses and the fact that he was conveniently absent from London (laying siege to Pontefract Castle) during the trial and execution of Charles I.
It is quite possible that Lambert was a pupil at Kirkby Malham Free Grammar School, (‘The Lambert School’), founded by his uncle, before going up to Cambridge and later on, attending one of the Inns of Court. He was a cultivated man who loved the arts, painting and gardening, and was instrumental in founding Durham University in 1657, but despite all his great achievements his only permanent memorial is here in Kirkby Malham Church.
The History Group is grateful to Dr. Farr for travelling all the way from Norfolk, where he is Head of History at Norwich School, to give us such a lively, interesting and at the same time scholarly talk, of which this is just a poor account.
David Farr is author of:
John Lambert, Parliamentary Soldier and Cromwellian Major-General, 1619-1684. published by Boydell Press, 2003.
Henry Ireton and the English Revolution published by Boydell Press, 2006
And many other articles on the Civil War.
The Webmaster said...
Apr 23, 07 - 3:08 PM 
I think that it was one of the best talks we have had recently, pity it wasn't a little longer, as I was learning a lot about Lambert and the Civil Wars that I didn't know.
Mike Gomersall said...
Apr 25, 07 - 1:18 PM
I don't think I've ever been on the front page of anything before! Perhaps we need to take a dictaphone or some such along to future meetings, to make the reporting easier.
I was wondering whether there would be much interest out there in making a project out of 17th century Calton, and in the process look for associations with Lambert which might be of interest to David Farr.
If I remember correctly he was particularly interested in:
1. Family connections and associations during JLs formative years 1619-1640
2. Family connections and associations of JL around the restoration and afterwards.
3. JL Associations during the period Oct/Nov 1653 when he was writing the I of G in Calton.
4. JL's religious connections
He also mentions in his book that the vicar of KM from 1623 onwards was one Nicholas Walton, who was also the schoolmaster and might therefore have had a strong influence on Lambert.
According to DF, Walton was reported in 1632 for not wearing his surplice and not reading the liturgy on Wednesdays and Fridays or in the evenings! In addition he was absent from the parish between 1643 and 1646 ( perhaps with Lambert) and on the Restoration he was ejected from office.
I do still have a day job and don't have a huge amout of time, but I do work pretty close to the YAS.

Monday, May 09, 2005
I have just found out that my gggrandmother was born in Bell busk in
1806 her name was Sarah Wilkinson but by 1827 was living in Leyland Lancashire when she married Robert Baxendale. If anyone has any info on who Sarahs parents could be I would be very grateful.
Thanks in advance regards
Mrs Dedrah Moss
Email address:
DT said...
She doesn't appear to have been baptised at Kirkby Malham, but the cotton spinners moved on frequently. It's likely the family moved from Bell Busk mill to one in Lancashire. This is the most likely associated entry from the period 1796-1815:-
1. Hariot (sic) 3rd daughter of Edmund Wilkinson of Bell Busk, Cotton Spinner and Sarah Cockshot, was born 8 Dec 1799 Bapt. 23 Feb 1800

Church restoration pictures etc.etc.etc.
Sunday, May 01, 2005
I have added a picture of the Kirkby malham "medieval wall painting" to the front page and rehashed the news. I will try and put up a page of shots from the church soon, including some good close ups of the roof bosses and other details you can't normally get near.
Is there anybody out there?
Seems like I'm a one man band on this Blog, surely someone has something to say besides me??
Dont forget the "Malham at War" exhibition.
mjs said...
Medieval wall painting ?
This sounds good
DT said...
Well, evidence of medieval wall painting would be more correct. Besides the scrap of "floral flourish" I put on the website, there is a similar sized (3 inch diam.) scrap of black lettering and a single black line, so a full scale reconstruction is not on the cards. It was properly photographed before the new plaster started to go back on. There is a nice old carved cill to one of the clerestory windows, an odd chamfer in wall corner where the tower met the chancel and a single stone which showed the remains of chevron decoration, but that was it for readily identifieable bits of an older building. After that there were a few stones that "were probably" reused. It appears that any old decoration on reused stone was turned away from the face of the wall. We did spot a small fragment of decorated stone ( very worn) in the Baptistry, which has been on view all the time!

I am tracing my family history of the Hirst name. I live in Hampshire, but was born and brought up in Leeds. The family has been Leeds based for a number of generations, but found that the Leeds connection started in around 1865 when John Hirst married a Leeds girl. John was living in Bell Busk before going to Leeds. His father was Henry Hirst, a shoe maker who lived around Bell Busk/Gargrave between 1845 and 1870. Would be interested in any information you have about the Hirsts in Bell Busk/Gargrave.Henry Hirst (born 1811) came from Lancashire but moved to Yorkshire after marrying a local Coniston Cold woman. This was Elizabeth or Betsy Bradley (born 1818). Her family were farmers in Coniston Cold from 1840s to end of 1870s,I believe. The farm/house was Gillsyke. Would welcome any information on the Bradley family or Gillsyke.
I am looking foward to visiting Kirby Malhamdale in Spring 2006 to continue my research.
Regards and happy New Year
Steve Hirst
PS Congratulations on the web site; excellent.

New Church History
The new guide to the history of St Michael the Archangel, Kirkby -in-Malhamdale has now arrived and is on sale at £4 in aid of the restoration appeal. It is a well produced fully illustrated 36 pages and I'm told it is a "good read", although I read it so many times whilst compiling and editing it that I was pretty fed up with it in the end. There is a prize for the first person who spots the 2 mistakes (not factual ones) ;-)
Mike Gomersall said...
On the North wall of Kirkby Malham Church is a memorial to Thomas Clapham of Stackhouse who died in 1846 age 54. In his will he left £10,000 to Leeds General Infirmary, £10,000 to the Yorkshire School for the Blind in York, £5,000 to the Bath Hospital in Harrogate, £5,000 to the Society for the relief of Widows and Orphans of distressed Clergy within the Archdeaconries of York and Craven. He also left the greater part of his estates to a Thomas Clapham of Potternewton Hall, Leeds, who according to Brayshaw was not a known relative but shared a similar coat of arms (see page 108 of History of Giggleswick Parish).
I believe his father was Rev. John Clapham Vicar of Giggleswick (1782-1839). I have a copy of his will if anyone is interested. Any further information about this branch of the Clapham family would be much appreciated

Fires at Malham Tarn Estate
Thursday, February 24, 2005
The Times of 25 April 1873. (page 11, col. e ) carries a short item : 'Fires at Morrison's Malham estate', but no further information is given.
Does anyone know anything about this?
posted by mjs
DT said...
"The Annals of Yorkshire" John Mayall, pub. 1874 have this entry:
23rd. April 1873
The country seat of Mr. Walter Morrison, M.P., Malham Tarn, was burnt down this afternoon. The books and pictures were rescued from the flames. The roof of the new part of the hall was so damaged that it would have to be replaced. The bed-rooms, bath-rooms, grand entrance hall, and classic staircase in the new part of the house were greatly injured, and the graceful Italian tower was completely gutted. The external shell of the house only remained.
"The Annals of Yorkshire" John Mayall, pub. 1874 have this entry:
23rd. April 1873
The country seat of Mr. Walter Morrison, M.P., Malham Tarn, was burnt down this afternoon. The books and pictures were rescued from the flames. The roof of the new part of the hall was so damaged that it would have to be replaced. The bed-rooms, bath-rooms, grand entrance hall, and classic staircase in the new part of the house were greatly injured, and the graceful Italian tower was completely gutted. The external shell of the house only remained.

West Derham Abbey records
Sunday, February 20, 2005
I have just received this information from the librarian at the British Library, it doesn't look as though there will be much if any, Malhamdale material.

The Manuscripts Online Catalogue describes Add. 46353 as follows:


co. Norf.; 1315 (f. 8), with a few later additions. Latin. Contains transcripts of the Abbey's royal and other charters (but not papal privileges, although these are referred to in the title, f. 8) arranged and numbered in topographical sections, and usually omitting the names of witnesses. The places concerned are in cos. Norf., Suff., Linc., and Camb. The first section, for 'Derham', is prefaced by an incomplete table of contents or inventory of the muniments, with pressmarks (ff. 5-7). At least one gathering is lacking at the end after f.343.

'The earliest charters transcribed are the foundation charter of 1188 (printed in Monasticon Anglicanum, vi, 1830, pp. 899-890), with related deeds, ff. 8b-9;the latest (f. 74) is dated 20 Jan. 8 Edw. II (1315). Additions on fly-leaves, etc., at the beginning and end comprise:-
(a) Rental of Holkham, co. Norf.; late 14th cent. ff. 2b-3;-
(b) Transcripts, late 15th cent., of two documents relating to an agreement between parishioners of West Dereham and the Abbey concerning tithes; 1323, 1324. ff. 4-4b;-
(c) Rentals of 'Barsale' or 'Barshale', Blackborough (in Middleton), 'Wydewere', and 'Polewere' (?in Hilgay), co. Norf.; late 14th cent. ff. 344b - 346.

A transcript made from this MS. in 1622 of 277 deeds, mainly relating to Wiggenhall St. Mary, co. Norf.,is Stowe MS. 929. G. R. C. Davis, Medieval Cartularies of Great Britain, 1958, no. 307.
Vellum; ff. iii+346. 340 x 215 mm. A.D. 1315, with additions as above.
Gatherings of 12 leaves with catchwords; lacks at least one gathering after
xxix (last). Ff. 1-6, 344 - 346 are fly- or preliminary leaves. 18th-cent. ink

1-337. Written in bookhand, with the titles of the charters and (down to f.
172) the page-heads and numbering of the entries in red, and with spaces left
blank for initials. From f. 172b, the numbering of the entries is continued in an 18th- cent. hand, also in red. Belonged, 18th cent., to the Stuart family, Barts.,of Hartley Mauditt, co. Southt., presumably by descent from Elizabeth, wife of Sir Simeon Stuart, 2nd Bart., daughter and heiress of Sir Richard Dereham, 3rd Bart., d. 1739, of West Dereham (see Tanner, Notitia Monastica, 1744, p. 357, and the name, written as owner, 'Sir Simeon Stuart Bart', f. 8).
Subsequently belonged to John Towneley (armorial bookplate, f. i; pressmark 'T.2'in pencil, f. iii; nos. 243 - 244 in the MS. catalogue of his library, where the pressmark is given as T. 4 (Add. MS. 18064, f. 59); R. H. Evans's sale-cat. 22 May 1817, lot 1163); to Richard Heber (R. H. Evans's sale-cat. 10 Feb. 1836,lot 493); and to Sir Thomas Phillipps, Bart. (MS. 8134; Sotheby's sale-cat. 11 Nov. 1946, lot 131).
Presented by the Trustees of the Gilson Fund.
posted by DT
Anonymous said...
Looks like the 'related deeds' to the Foundation Charter is where we should start (mjs)

Bell Busk mill's fortunes
Sunday, February 13, 2005
It appears that not only was there a crisis in the early 1860s ( see mill's page at but there had been one twenty years earlier. George Ingle has sent me a piece from Leeds Mercury 13th March 1841, showing them selling all the cotton spinning machinery.
posted by DT

John Lambert of Calton
Whilst browsing recently I came across the following: John Lambert, Parliamentary Soldier and Cromwellian Major General 1619-1684 - D. Farr pub 2003, 288pp. "John Lambert made Cromwell Lord Protector in 1653 and stopped him from becoming King in 1657; Cromwell's Protectorate was based on Britain's first written constitution, the Instrument of Government, produced by Lambert. Lambert rose to prominence as a dashing cavalry commander in the civil wars of 1642-51. He played a leading role in the politicization of the New Army that culminated in the trial and of Charles I in 1649 and thereafter was the most prominent upholder of the power of that army, most notably in his construction of the Major Generals who ruled England in 1655. While Lambert's refusal to countenance Cromwell as king in 1657 saw his temporary fall from power, he reemerged after the Protector's as his possible successor. The apparent threat he posed, even to those of 'his own side' saw him imprisoned in 1660 but, escaping from the Tower, Lambert staged a desperate last republican stand against the return of Charles II. That despite being convicted of treason, Charles II did not have Lambert executed was due to the character, private actions and beliefs of a man who was much more than just a military revolutionary."
The only other book I have come across written exclusively about Lambert is "Cromwell's Understudy: The Life and Times of General John Lambert and the rise and fall of the protectorate." - by WH Dawson ( who wrote "History of Skipton") pub 1938.
David Farr has written articles about Lambert, including "The Education of Major-general John Lambert" published in the Journal of the Cromwell Association - 2000.
posted by Mike Gomersall

Hanlith Hall Extension
Saturday, February 12, 2005
I have just borrowed some interesting photos by Dudley H Illingworth, which show the extensions to Hanlith Hall and gardens in 1911/12 and alterations to Scalegill mill and dam in 1923, when the water level was raised to provide more water for the turbine installed to provide electricity for the hall.
posted by DT

Bell Busk Mill - burnt down?
Thursday, February 10, 2005
Nick Metcalfe tells me that contrary to popular belief, the mill was dismantled soon after it closed and the chimney taken down in the 1930s. It was Rickard's mill in Skipton that burn't down.
posted by DT

Tottie archive
I understand that all the family and estate papers were destroyed after Colonel Tottie died, possibly to preserve a family "skeleton" about his father's divorce. Only an estate book survived which I believe Mrs Bannister of Coniston Hall owns.
posted by DT

Procters of Bordley
Hello, I am interested In the Procters of Bordley and in particular; Geoffrey Procter of Malham Hall. I understand the hall wsa demolished and replaced by a farm house. I would like to know if anybody knows why Geoffrey Procter, a gentleman was hung at York in 1551 and where would I locate the records? Or Death and burial. Where would he have been buried? I am limited to what I can do from here in Pearcedale, Victoria, Australia but I would be grateful if any-one could reply, Thankyou,

Hanlith Hall bibliography
Monday, July 10, 2006 5:56 pm
I am curious to know (1) who wrote the article on Hanlith Hall and (2) where a book mentioned in the bibliography was found/is located. The book which interests me is:
"The Leedes of Wappingthorne and South Milford by Eleanor Lloyd, privately published 1935"
I am an amateur historian of the Thoroughbred horse, and the Leedes family of *North* Milford (later absorbed by South Milford?) was enormously influential in early breeding. Very little, however, is generally known about individual family members. Accordingly, this book sounds to me like a veritable treasure. I have looked for a copy for sale on the internet, but none was found, so I am prepared to beg on my hands and knees for a photocopy.
I suppose that a book published in 1935 is still covered by copyright. What is known about the author, Eleanor Lloyd? Could she possibly be still living? I would be happy to apply for permission to copy her book if the copyright holder could be located.
Thank you in advance for any further information you may be able to supply.
Sandra Snider
Kansas, USA

Paul Sarjantson
Monday, September 18, 2006 9:10 pm
Thank you, for such an interesting site, I have expanded my knowledge of my family surname (Sarjantson derived from the Serjeantson of Hanlith Hall. I have spent hours looking at the site.
Congratulations to the webmaster too.... really nice site.

Preston of Littondale
Barrie McKnight
Friday, April 28, 2006 11:55 am
My mother's family, Preston of Littondale, appears to have gone to Litton from Kirkby Malham in the 17th century.I have seen reference to Prestons in KM in the 1379 subsidy return and 1577 manorial court registers also in late censuses. Are there any Prestons nowadays in Kirkby Malaham. The Littondale Prestons have died out now.

Walker family
Jan Barker
Wednesday, August 3, 2005 5:21 am
My family tree begins with Richard Walker of Calton born about 1698 (now ends in NZ)and I am interested in finding any information relating to this family. I intend to visit this area perhaps next year and I would like information regarding this ancient parish and what to expect today.

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