By June Tingley
This was one of the oldest and probably one of the largest families in Littondale. More than 30 men from the dale were listed on the Flodden Muster Roll in 1513, 7 of these were from the Knolls family. At the Dissolution in 1536 the land at Foxup belonging to Fountains Abbey was held by 7 tenants, all with the surnames Knowles, 2 Johns, Alice, George, Roger and 2 Matthews. One wonders which if any went to Flodden and was Alice the widow of one of them?
A document YAS DD 121/1/2 m.56j dated 29th May 1571 – Eliz 1 records: Lancelott Knolles haith felled drye spyere for building of a little house. The first reference to the family in the parish register of Arncliffe was in 1597 when Mary of Haltongill married George Ellison. On 26 January 1612 Lyonall signed a document passing land to his sons Lancelott and Henry. It included Ingramels at Angram. Angram then occupied by Lyonell, document no.562 in the Raistrick collection at Skipton Library. A second document no.567 records a Lancelott purchasing land in 1679 probably the same person who was renting land jointly with John Ellison from Lord Clifford in 1682.
In 1672 Henry of Foxup married Ellen and they had a daughter Grace baptised in 1673. It was probably this same Henry who died shortly after as Grace and her mother were living at Darnbrook when Grace died in 1693, followed by her mother a ‘pensioness’ 2 years later.
In her book ‘Off to the Dales’ J. Lofthouse described how a farmer at Foxup showed her a double fireplace in an old barn which has obviously been an old dwelling but now in a poor state of repair. Over the door was the inscription M.M.K. 1686, obviously a Knowles home. Although this has now been removed from the barn it has been carefully positioned over the entrance to the garden.
The end of C17th and the beginning of C18th seems to have been a bad time for the family. Many deaths were recorded, not only at Haltongill and Foxup but at Penyghent, Litton, Arncliffe Cote and Hawkswick. One of the better recorded families at this time was that of Joseph a yeoman of Foxup who married Alice Tennant in 1751. They had 5 baptisms recorded and subsequently 3 of the children were married at Arncliffe. The youngest son Benjamin had a son Joseph who married in 1779 Ruth Whiteley, a family from Halifax and had at least 3 children baptised at Arncliffe.
A document 577ji in the Raistrick collection records the release of a messuage in Haltongill to Henry a yeoman who was living at Middlehouse, Malham Moor. Another document no.582 relates to Heberside being passed to Joseph Drake of Over Heseldon from George Knowles and Thomas Ellison.
One of the Hawkswick families that of Henry who died in 1707 remained there until at least 1824. Henry’s grandson Henry married Jane Wilson in 1781. They had a son Dickey Wilson and in 1824 the baptism of Wilson Knowles was recorded. Presumably Dickey also became known as Wilson, as in 1803 Wilson Knowles was recorded as a farmer on the Muster Roll.
By the time of the 1841 census there were only 3 Knowles families in the parish. Most of the Knowles seem to have been relatively wealthy with the exception however of Margaret a parish apprentice who died in 1700 and Leonard who died in 1705 a pauper.
The first of the Lambert family known to be in the area was Josiah who was vicar of Arncliffe from 1661 – 1681. He was the son of Anthony of Skipton. It has not been possible to ascertain whether or not he was the ancestor of the rest of the Lamberts in Littondale.
In the document collection of A. Raistrick there is one no.570 which relates to the Feoffment of a piece of land with barn at Haltongill from Michael Buck to Christopher Lambert yeoman of Kilnsey dated 1682/3.
The first record of the family in the Parish Register was in 1692 when Elizabeth daughter of Thomas of Haltongill was baptised followed by Martin in 1696, Thomas in 1698, William in 1702 and Dorothy in 1705. In 1704 Isabel Lambert married George Atkinson and in 1763 a Francis was witness to the wedding of Thomas Tennant.
Although Henry Loge was a tenant of Fountains Abbey at Haltongill in 1536 and the family was still in the area in C19th there are very few entries of them in the old Parish Register. The earliest record is of the marriage of Elizabeth of Hubberholme to John Tennant in 1616. In 1632 Francis a yeoman of Hubberholme married Elizabeth Sedgewick of Horton-in-Ribblesdale. The following year Isabel of Arncliffe married John Battle of Coniston.
In 1670 we have the rather strange record of the baptism of Jeffrey Tennant alias Lodge, son of Jeffrey Lodge. Unfortunately the child died the same year. Ottiwell Lodge was recorded as a church warden at Hubberholme at this time. In 1749 Jeffrey a yeoman married Mary Branton and in 1750 the death of James a pauper of Arncliffe Cote was recorded.
The 1803 Muster Roll includes William a farmer of Foxup class 1 ie. Unmarried and under 30. The 1841 census shows that William was still farming at Foxup. The 1861 census gives John a 55 year old farmer at Stonelands, Littonb with a large family. By 1871 John had died and his wife Hannah was living with 3 of the children. In 1881 Joseph Frankland Lodge , possibly son of John and his wife Jane of Stonelands had a daughter Elenor baptised.
Ijn the 1891 census the only family recorded was that of Richard aged 43 farming at Penyghent with his wife and 4 children all born there. Richard however was born at Redmire so may have come from an entirely different family.
Over a period of more than 350 years the family seems to have kept a link with Littondale but were better established in Buckden – Kettlewell area.
The Manor Court Roll of 1503 shows land which belonged to Thomas, James, Roger and Elizabeth Metcalfe in Hawkswick and Kirkby Malham. The document from the Raistrick collection no.277 is unfortunately no longer at Skipton library.
The earliest recordings of the family in the Parish Register appear towards the end of C17th. The earliest is the record of the burial of Elizabeth, wife of Richard of Cosh in 1671. In the 1690s a Thomas senior and Thomas junior both of Cosh were having children baptised. The last record of any family at Cosh was in 1705 when James a pauper had a son John baptised.
Several Metcalfes seem to have lived in Haltongill for a short period if the Parish Register is correct and it wasn’t until 1713 that anyone seems to have settled there for any length of time. Christopher had 2 children baptised and was still there when he died in 1734. Between 1772 and 1796 there were 12 children baptised from Haltongill. Clearly there were at least 2 Christophers. The first record is of the marriage of Christopher to Ann in 1772 followed by the baptism of a daughter Ann the same year. After that there is no mention of Ann. The next record is of the baptism of Christopher and Margaret’s son Christopher in 1777. To add more confusion a Christopher and Sarah had the first of their 2 sons baptised in 1779.
Scattered between these families were 5c other baptisms all children of Christopher but with no mother’s name given. It is quite likely that either Margaret or Sarah was the second wife of Ann’s husband.
Another family at Haltongill was that of William who married Frances Bouskill in 1783. In 1779 Joseph a Quaker convert was baptised. The following year he married Dorothy Atkinson. Was this perhaps the reason for his conversion?
A succession of families lived at Foxup but there is not enough information to link them together. The first on recorded was the marriage of Alexander to Elizabeth in 1678. George of Foxup had a son John baptised in 1693. Another George married Susanne Foster in 1742. They had 4 children baptised between 1743 and 1753.
In 1751 Robert a yeoman married Issabel Simpson. They had 5 children between 1756 and 1774. A Jonathan appeared at Foxup in 1789 when his son Robert was baptised followed by Ann in 1790. Several other families were in existence lower down the valley during the C18th but there are very few records of them. Other families were also recorded but there is no information about where they were living. The best recorded family of all is that of Thomas who married Rose Preston in 1793. By 1809 they had 9 children baptised but not one record gives the place they were living.
The 1803 Muster Roll gives 2 Christophers at Haltongill both single under 30 plus Robert single under 30 a servant and Thomas a cordwainer at Litton.