By June Tingley
The Preston Family
The earliest records found of the family in Littondale were in the Mormon Index. There appears to have been a large number of Prestons in Malhamdale throughout the C17th and no doubt they spread over into Littondale. Here there were 4 families, those of John, William and Joseph of Litton and Christopher who married Agnes Brukes. These families are not recorded in the Arncliffe parish register and all lived at the lower end of the valley.
The first of the family mentioned at Halton Gill was that of William who married Agnes Ayrton and had a son James born in 1720. The first record of the family in the parish register was the baptism of William and Alice’s son James baptised in 1725. It is possible that the first James died as some note would otherwise have been about his age.
Also recorded in the register in 1725 was the marriage of Robert of Penighent to Susan Atkinson and the baptism of their children. Three of the children died in infancy. Those who survived were William baptised 1726, Susannah 1739, Jonathan 1742 and Christopher 1745.
William a yeoman married Mary Birtwhistle in 1748 and in 1750 William a carpenter married Grace Webster. To find out which William belonged to which family would need more research. One William had a son William baptised in 1752 but the child died the following year when his father was recorded as living at Penyghent, probably Robert’s son. They later had a daughter Elizabeth baptised 1756, Jonathan 1758 and Peggy in 1760. The other William lived at Litton and had 4 children, Elizabeth baptised in 1757, Martin born 1759, Robert 1761 and James in 1765. The latter 3 were only recorded in the Mormon index. Strangely both Williams died in 1795. Robert’s daughter was at Dent when she died in 1778. She was buried at Arncliffe and said to have been from Penighent. The marriages of Jonathan are difficult to understand without a great deal more research.
A Mary wife of Jonathan of Blissmire died in 1770. We then have the record of Jonathan marrying Mary Coates in 1775. A child Robert of Halton Gill was baptised in 1776. We then have Ellin baptised in 1778 and William in 1779. Mary died in 1781 and in 1782 we have another marriage between Jonathan and Mary Metcalfe. Another child John was baptised in 1784. It appears that each marriage was the same Jonathan, son of Robert.
There were several other families lower down the dale at this time, 3 Johns, one a tailor, a Matthew and a William of Hawkswick, to mention but a few. In 1770 Robert son of Christopher of Penyghent was baptised followed by Susannah, Nanny, Betty and Peggy.
The 1803c Muster Roll gives Robert of Haltongill, farmer, class 1 ie single and under 30. By the time of the 1841 census no Prestons were recorded at Haltongill and many of the family had gone from lower down Littondale.
In 1891 John son of John was living at Lower Garth/Sawsgarth with his wife Elizabeth and 3 children John, Annie and Edith. He was said to be living on his own means but the parish register describes him as a farmer.
The Procter Family
The Procter family were tenants of Fountains at the end of C18th. The Fountains Abbey lease book contains an agreement between abbot Marmaduke and Geoffrey Procter dated 1519 concerning land and property in Canton in Craven, Scothrop, Malham Hall, Malham and Litton. They were all separately held from the Abbot and convent by knight service for a rent of 9/6d. Geoffrey was apparently in arrears ‘To the great peril of his soul but paid 40/- into the Abbot’s hand’ at the time of the agreement. He also had the lease of Rough Close on Malham Moor which he acquired in 1496 and had permission to sublet.
In 1524 Geoffrey willed to his son Richard ‘The fermying of the Benefice of Arncliffe’ which was to pass to his grandsons Henry and Eustace. In 1668 a Thomas Procter was living at Cosh. His children and grandchildren were baptised at Hubberholme Church between then and 1710.
In the late C17th there were 2 families living at Nether Heseldon, those of Roger and John, both with children. In 1707 Stephen and his family were recorded in the parish register as living at Penighent. He had twins baptised but unfortunately neither of them survived. In 1724 a Stephen with family was living at Litton possibly Stephen from Penighent. If Stephen moved from Penighent his place was probably filled by James, possibly from Cosh, who was there when his daughter was baptised in 1718.
In 1722 William a yeoman married Mary Clarke, local family. Another William was a shoemaker and lived at Foxup as did James in the 1720s. In 1738 John a yeoman, possibly son of James of Penighent married Ellin Preston and was father to another pair of twins, John and Ellinor. When his wife died in 1757 John was recorded as a webster. There was also a Roger and family at Litton during the second half of the century.
Another John lived at Arncliffe Cote, probably a tailor and married to Agnes. It is likely that their oldest son William born1758 became a blacksmith at Arncliffe. In 1792 Richard was recorded in the parish register as living at Blissmire. Meanwhile in Haltongill Adam (baptism not found) had a son James baptised in 1786 and then moved to Foxup where at least 6 more children were born.
In 1793 Marmaduke possibly son of John of Litton a miner married Elizabeth Tempest. The Procter family had probably had mining interests since purchasing Bordley Moor from Earl Clifford soon after the Dissolution. At least 9 veins of lead cross from Hawkswick Clouder to Procter High Mark at the edge of the Bordley parish. Marmaduke was working an area known as Merrybottom, above Cote Gill between 1791 – 98.
The only member of the family to appear on the Muster Roll of 1803 was John, class 3 17 – 29 years with no more than 2 children under 10. The likelihood is that he was a farmer at Haltongill, married to Ellen. In 1803 they would have a 2 year old son Anthony and a baby daughter Jane. They had another son John who was recorded in the 1841 census when he was working the farm with his mother and younger sisters Ann and Ellen.
Anthony, John’s oldest son was recorded as a farmer at Foxup in 1841. He was living with his wife Jane and 6 daughters between the ages of 3 and 14. In the 1851 census John is not recorded. Ellen, head of the family at Haltongill, now 73, was farming 290 acres. Her daughter Ann was a house servant and granddaughter Ellen who was born at Horton was still living there, a schoolgirl of 13. Anthony was still at Foxup with his wife and youngest daughter still at school. His 5th daughter Ann was recorded as a servant working for J. Hornby and William Brook, who is also recorded as being employed by his mother.
By 1871 Ellen, now 93 was still reputed to be farming 250 acres. However Anthony was now living there and farming 230 acres and his sister Ann was housekeeping. Also living there was Ann Todd, granddaughter working as a domestic servant with John Hartley aged 14 and Allen Thomas man servant.
One other family was recorded in Artncliffe in 1851, John aged 57 and unmarried worked as a cotton breaker. His sister Mary lived with him as housekeeper and a niece Jane aged 13 worked as a cotton piecer. Looking at the 1851 census it is easy to see why there were no Procters left by 1891 as there were no males to carry on the name.
They seem to have been a relatively wealthy family, though some were working as farm labourers. It is interesting to see they were not all relying on farming. At least 3 were tradesmen, shoemaker, tailor and blacksmith. A few were involved with textiles and one with mining.
The Redmayne Family
In 1513 Arthur Redyman of Hawkswick with bowe and horses harnished equipped for battle was included on the Flodden Muster Roll. The family were tenants of Fountains Abbey. They are reputed to have come from Levens Hall, Kendal and according to one of their descendants, one of the family married into the Lindley family of Harewood Castle.
The earliest entry in the parish register is the marriage of Richard to Mary Atkinson in 1688. Ten years later the baptism of James, son of Leonard of Cosh later of Foxup was recorded followed by Christopher in 1700, Richard in 1702, Agnes in 1704 and Margaret in 1707. In 1711 Leonard junior had a daughter Ann baptised. Between then and 1727 several more children were baptised but it has not been possible to tell to Leonard they belonged.
There was also a John at Cosh whose son James died in 1699. Another family was living at Litton, that of Richard in 1699. In 1739 Christopher yeoman probably son of Leonard of Cosh married Ellin Dinsdale. In 1739 another John was living at Haltongill when his daughter Margaret was baptised.
Various marriages took place in the middle of C18th but with no children recorded until 1799 when Anthony of Litton had a son Thomas baptised, followed by Mary in 1803 and John bin 1805.
A document no.226 in the Raistrick collection in Skipton library shows an agreement dated Feb 1818 between the Foster family and John Redmayne late of Sannet Hall but now of Haltongill, yeoman, for the lease of a farm with outbuildings and land for 3 years at a rent of £140 pa. The land was in Haltongill and also Litton.
Anthony of Litton appeared on the 1803 Muster Roll but none of the family was recorded in the 1841 census. In the 1861 census a Thomas born at Guiseley was working as a shepherd. He later married Isabella …… and they settled at Arncliffe Cote. Were they descendants of the original family?