Malhamdale Local History Group    


  • Introduction
  • Local & National Events
  • Craven Quakers
  • Wm & Alice Ellis
  • Charities




Clicking on most pictures will show a larger version

Airton Quaker Meeting House

The Meeting House today

Ellis House

Map showing extent of the Quaker Meeting House and Burial Ground (blue) and the House and garden (red)

A survey of the Wm Ellis charity lands by Wm Hird c.1740


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The Quakers in Malhamdale

The William and Alice Ellis Charities

William and Alice Ellis together endowed three charitable trusts:

• The Meeting House and Burial Ground
• The William Ellis Apprenticeship Fund
• The Alice Ellis Charity

The Meeting House and Burial Ground

The Meeting House and Burial Ground land was sold to William Ellis by John Lambert of Calton Hall, the son of Major General John Lambert around 1700, for the sum of £31. William then placed the meeting house and land into the hands of Trustees in 1706, as the deed states:

“the House as now built to be for a meeting house for the people of God called Quakers to meet together in who inhabit about Ayrton or any other town there abouts…”

“..the croft containing by estimation half an acre …and also all that one house barn or stable situate standing or being on that part of the said parcel of ground..”

“ it is now set out to be for a burying place for the dead..”

“..and the stable for them to put their horses..”

“..the croft…to be for the getting of hay on for their horses… and to eat the grass…”

The William Ellis Apprentice Fund

William Ellis died in 1709 and by his will and deed he set up a charity, based upon his house and land, for the purpose expressed in the deed of:

“the putting forth of poor friends Apprentices to some honest and plain trades”

In addition, William’s will also required the occupants of his house after his and his wife’s death, to provide lodgings free of charge to travelling Quaker ministers.

“shall willingly entertain such teachers as may be called of God”

“the farmer or other inhabitant of the said premises shall take no reward or satisfaction for such lodgings or entertainment”

Because there was considered to be a question mark over the validity of Williams Will, Alice Ellis, his wife, also produced a deed expressing the same terms as her husband. (However, in fact, the details were not quite the same). Subsequently the trustees in April 1710 issued a memorandum clarifying things in rather simpler terms.

The land was surveyed by William Hird in 1740 and comprised the following fields:

Backside House
Lund Croft
Kell Butts
Syke Lands

The William Ellis land was sold for £545 8s 1d in 1904 and the money invested. the charity was finally wound up in 1997.

Early Funded Apprentices (From York Quarterly Meeting Minutes)

1711 Josiah Box of Harlington apprenticed to Simon Wilkinson of Otterburn, Linen weaver
1715 John Snowdon of Kirkby Moorside apprentice to J. Halliday, Bridlington, Linen weaver
1718 Emmanuel Foggit apprenticed to Thomas Bowland of Thirsk
1724 Aaron Shepherd of Thirsk apprenticed to John Pawson of Airton, Woollen weaver
1727 Christopher Hall of Ayrton apprentice to a weaver

Alfred Smith’s Apprentice Indenture (1832 – 1835)

An example of the sort of terms which were imposed on both master and apprentice is illustrated in the indenture of Alfred Smith, a grocer's apprentice, as follows:

On his part:
“..her secrets shall keep…”
“…her lawful commands shall do…”
“…hurt or injury to his said mistress he shall not do nor suffer to be done by others, when he can prevent the same…”
“…his mistresses goods he shall not waste or embezzle, nor give or lend the same without leave…”
“…matrimony he shall not contract…”
“…day or night he shall not absent himself from his said mistress’s service without permission…”
“…Taverns or Alehouses he shall not frequent, except about his mistress’s business…”
“…nor do any other act, matter or thing to the prejudice or injury of his said mistress…”

On his Mistress’s part
“….will inform and instruct the said Alfred Smith or cause and procure him to be taught informed and instructed by the best ways and means in her power in the act and mystery of a grocer and in all things thereto appertaining…”
“…will find provide and allow for and to the said Alfred Smith sufficient meat drink lodging and wearing apparel and the washing and wearing thereof and all other necessaries during the term of his said apprenticeship…”
“…eight pounds to be paid ……on the first day of the tenth month 1834…”
“…six pounds eight shillings and six pence on the twenty first day of the seventh month 1835…”

The Alice Ellis Charity (By her will & deed 1719/20)

Alice Ellis lived for several more years after William's death and in her will left land, the rents from which were to be used to assist poor friends, and to accommodate and assist travelling fiends.

“…yearly rent…shall be employed and be disposed of at the discretion of my said trustees their successors by and with the advice and allowance of the monthly meeting of Settle to such of the poorer sort of friends especially Widows within the compas of the said Monthly Meeting as are not constantly supply’d by friends…”
“… do pay the said sum of four pounds to the Quarterly Meeting at York every third year successively…”

“…it is my mind That Six Mens Coats & Six Womens Hoods which I leave, & have heretofore imployed for that use shall be also kept and imployed to & for the use of such Travelling Friends…”

“… the house which I have converted to a dwelling house to and for the use of such friend or friends as may inhabit there in order the better to accommodate them for the entertaining of travelling friends...”

Common Bottom (Commondale)
The Ing (Weldale / Munkmires)
Airton Moor

The Alice Ellis land was sold in 1904 for £1004 14s and the money invested. The charity was finally wound up in 1997.

References from the Brotherton Library, Leeds – Special Collections.

1. John Lambert to William Ellis – dated 30th March 1700
2. William Ellis Deed Poll – dated 27th May 1709
3. William Ellis Will – dated 28th May 1709
4. Alice Ellis Deed poll – dated 21st September 1709
5. Trustees Memorandum – dated 6th April 1710
6. Alice Ellis Will – dated 14th October 1719



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