By June Tingley
The initial reason for trying to trace these families was to link them to the existing houses of the area. Such a small community should not cause much of a problem – so I thought. However, I was soon disillusioned. My intention was to rely on a printed copy of the Arncliffe/Halton Gill register. It did not take long to realise that the index is completely unreliable. The only way was to work systematically through every page – a long and tedious task. Very few addresses were recorded, and often not even village names were given. Several surnames have different spellings, so it is difficult to decide whether or not they are the same family. Often families used the same Christian names, in duplicate or triplicate in the same generation. Some families went to Hubberholme Church, so that also had to be checked.
There is a surprising amount of movement from village to village so that other villages have been mentioned. Sometimes a family has gone unrecorded for a generation, having moved to other parishes, and then returned. Another complication was the presence of a few Quaker families with no records. On occasions the IGI has been resorted to but it does contain mistakes. Very few occupations are recorded in the Parish Registers but the majority of people were working on the land, until the middle of the C19th when more workers were employed at Arncliffe mill. The Parish Register makes it clear that a lot of people were poor. Families who were in the area for only a short time have not been included, and no effort has been made to trace families after the 1891 census. It was interesting to find that 21 sets of twins were born between 1702 and 1803, 19 of them in Arncliffe or Litton.
The finding of an extract copied from a document YAS DD121/1/2m.46 thought to be dated around May 1571 gives further indication of the amount of woodland in the area at the time, and dates the building of a bridge across the river at Litton.
Parish Registers for Arncliffe/Haltongill & Hubberrholme
Fountains Abbey Lease Book
Raistrick Papers – Skipton Library
International Genealogical Index
Wharfedale – Ella Pontefract & Marie Hartley
Littondale Past and Present – Archdeacon Boyd
Haltongill in the Olden Times – Rev. W.A. Shuffrey
The Wharfedale Mines – M.C. Gill
Malham and Malham Moor – A. Raistrick
The Armistead Family
The earliest record of the family in Haltongill area was in the late C17th when the parish record gave the death of Agnes, wife of John of Foxup in 1677. The family probably originated in Hawkswick where Bartholomew died in 1669. Several other Armistead families were recorded there. The best recorded family is that of another Bartholomew who married Mary Tomson of Hawes in 1695. Twins George and Ann were baptised the same year followed by John 1698, Elizabeth 1703 and Robert 1707.
In 1711 another family, that of William, was recorded at Arncliffe. Between 1733 and 1735 an abrupt change in the spelling of the name Armistead – Armitstead took place. Whether this was due to the current vicar or not is open to speculation, but in all the later records there is only one when the old spelling is used this also applies to other documents.
In Skipton Library is a document no.581 in the Raistrick collection which refers to the release from E. & J. Todd and John Armitstead of Litton of a messuage at Haltongill, with gardens, closes and land, to John Clark gent of Heeldon, dated July 1735. John was living at Heseldon when his son John was baptised in 1730. In 1758 Christopher of Herd House had a daughter Alice baptised. He was a contemporary of another John probably son of John born at Heseldon of Haltongill whose son John was baptised in 1759 followed by 4 more children – Christopher 1760, Richard 1762, Margaret 1764 and James 1773. John’s first wife – Margaret Hammond died in 1764 possibly in childbirth, so he had presumably remarried before the birth of James. It was probably John baptised in 1759 who married Elizabeth Ayrton in 1785 and had another John baptised in 1787. In 1789 William son of Jonathan of Haltongill was baptised followed by Christopher the following year.
Several other families were recorded in Littondale at this time, namely those of Marmaduke and Mary at Litton with 5 children – John, Richard, Agnes, James and Elizabeth, born between 1754 and 1777, James of Litton with sons John Metcalfe, Richard and James, born between 1795 and 1798, and Bartholomew and Ellen of Hawkswick who had 7 children baptised between the years of 1768 and 1780 including twins – Bartholomew and Stephen baptised in 1775. In July 1790 a letter now in Skipton library was sent by Canon E. Wilson to his sister Jane Knowles describing how he had accompanied Mr Armitstead to Windsor and assisted in ordaining him. He had then advised him to return to Litton. There were plans to install him at the chapel at Whitehaven but if that wasn’t possible ‘The Bishop will take the first opportunity to provide for Mr Armitstead’. The Mr Armitstead concerned was Richard son of Marmaduke of Litton who graduated at Oxford and was vicar of St James, Whitehaven from 1790-1821.
In 1792 Christopher probably son of John of Haltongill was living at Litton when he lost his wife Catherine Ayrton and baby son. In 1820 Robert Armitstead a blacksmith of Litton married Nanny Hill of a local family. They had 3 children baptised, Thomas in 1821, Mary 1822 and Alice 1824. The Muster Roll of 1803 shows John of Haltongill, yeoman and William, infirm, a servant. There are no other records of William other than the son of Jonathan.
The 1841 census shows: John, farmer at Haltongill with his wife Jane and children Mary 7 years, Christopher 6 years, Margaret 3 years and Elizabeth 2 years old. By 1851 John was farming 150 acres at Haltongill where he was born. Mary was house-keeping, Christopher was a farm worker and Elizabeth at school. In 1861 Christopher was head of the household and described as a landed proprietor. In 1871 he was housing and employing Margaret Ingleby, wife of Thomas, who was not there at the time, who had 2 children. George Easterby, farm servant, was also there. By 1881 the farm had passed to Thomas Ingleby (see notes on the Ingleby family).
In the 1851 census James Armitstead is recorded as a 52 year old cattle drover born at Litton. He had a wife Jane and children Elizabeth 13, house servant, Richard 8, both born at Litton, Marmaduke 6 and Mary 2, both born at Haltongill. They were no longer there in 1861.
Extract from an obituary of John Armitstead of Ilkley who died March 1861 from congestion following flu ‘Deceased was manager of the Ilkley branch of the Craven Bank for 22 years. He was a native of Haltongill educated at Giggleswick then articled to the Law at Settle. He was a churchman and regarded not only as a banker but a faithful advisor and friend’. I found this in the Craven Household Almanac.
The Atkinson Family
The family was in Littondale in the early C16th when 2 were listed on the Flodden Muster Roll – Richard and John, both ‘with bowe’. The Parish Register suggests that there were several small families in the area. In 1676 James son of John of Arncliffe was baptised. Thomas of Darnborough probably Darnbrook had a son Henry baptised in 1681. It was probably Henry’s mother Mary, wife of Thomas of Darnbrook who died in 1691.
Another Thomas of Litton had a son John baptised in 1689. Ann, the daughter of Peter of Penyghent was baptised in 1696. She married Thomas Armitstead, yeoman in 1721. Various other events were recorded in the register mainly at Arncliffe, Litton and Penyghent during the first few years of the C18th. In 1721 William, a yeoman married Elizabeth and lived at Foxup. They had a son who died in childhood and 3 daughters. The youngest, Margaret, born in 1729 married Lodge Calvert in 1751. Between 1720 and 1760 there were no Atkinsons recorded in the Arncliffe Register. It may be significant that 2 families were recorded in the Hubberholme Register one living at Beckermonds, then Cray and the other at Oughtershaw. With the exception of Thomas of Foxup, who had twin daughters, baptised in 1770, the only other Atkinsons recorded were at Litton, Arncliffe and Arncliffe Cote. The last record was of the death of John of Arncliffe in 1802.