Memorials around the Church
Anthony Wood and family
Anthony’s slab memorial on the floor close to the South Door is easy to miss, but lies close to that of his cousin, John Rider Wood’s, wall memorial.
Anthony was the son of Thomas Wood, and grandson of Jeoffrey Wood and Margaret Beazon. He was baptised here in St Oswald’s and as an adult became a spirit merchant. He lived in Askrigg. His eldest sister Margaret (1763-1793) married John Lodge (see their memorial elsewhere in the church); His elder brother, Jeffrey, named, after his grandfather, was a hosier in Askrigg and was the executor of Antony’s will, along with his brother-in-law Clement Scarr of Bainbridge. His other sister, Elizabeth (1763-) had married Richard Thistlethwaite of Bear Park near Aysgarth.
Anthony married Anne Scarr in Askrigg on 3 July 1796. Anne was the daughter of John Scarr and Sarah (Lambert) of Bainbridge. The marriage was very happy, and the couple had two daughters in quick succession – Margaret in 1797 and Sarah in 1798.
Anthony died aged just 35 in 1805 leaving his money and property in the care of his executors to support ‘his dear wife’ and daughters. Sadly, both Anne and the children died within two years of one another. Margaret died on 22nd July 1822, and wife Ann died on 19th April 1824 (not 1822 as it says on the memorial slab) with Sarah dying 7 weeks later. All three are buried in the churchyard.
Bernard Grime Lodge
Bernard Grime Lodge was the only child of solicitor John James Grime Lodge and his wife Sarah Ann Preston. John was born in Hardraw, the eldest son of Thomas Lodge, who was at the time of John’s birth, the Vicar of St Margaret’s in Hawes. Sarah was the youngest child of John Preston and Elizabeth (Graham), who farmed in and around Askrigg. The couple married in Blackburn on 23 April 1893 and Bernard was born the following year on 23 March 1894.
Bernard was just 3 when his mother died, and he and his father went to live with Anne and William Balderstone at Yorebridge. Anne was John’s older sister, and she was married to schoolmaster William Balderstone. He attended the Yorebridge Grammar School and then Giggleswick School before beginning a career in banking with Barclays Bank. He was also related to the Reverend Christopher Whaley (vicar at Askrigg), who was married to his aunt Agnes. In 1914 he enlisted in the 19th Universities and Public Schools Battalion, The Royal Fusiliers aged 20. He embarked for France with the British Expeditionary Force and returned to England later to join an Officers Cadet Force. He obtained a commission in August 1916.
He returned to France, attached to the 10th Battalion of the Durham Light Infantry and he was the Battalion Bombing and Intelligence Officer. Bernard died at Inverness Copse on 24 October 2017, during the battle of Ypres.
His commanding officer wrote to Bernard’s father:
‘It is with the deepest sympathy that I write to tell you of the death in action of your charming boy, who was my intelligence officer. A braver, cooler and more reliable officer could not be found. He had done wonderfully gallant work on patrol on numerous occasions and whatever the job he had to do, I could absolutely rely on his doing it thoroughly. I know no other officer in the Battalion I could have spared less than he. He was brave as a lion. We were counter-attacked at 4.30am on 24th and I turned out all the men at HQ. He, without any orders, dashed off with the leading men right up to the front where danger threatened. I don’t know how I shall replace him as not only was he valuable as an officer, but I was very fond of him, as were we all.’
He was mentioned by Sir Douglas Haig in dispatches for his gallant and distinguished service. Second Lieutenant Bernard Grime Lodge is commemorated both here, and at the Tynecot Memorial in Flanders (panel 28).
Bernard’s cousins John and James Preston, sons of Sarah’s brother James, were also both involved in WW1. Whilst John survived and returned to his wife Lizzie (who was also a cousin of Bernard and John through Sarah and James’ sister Margaret!) his younger brother, James, died just over a week after Bernard following wounds sustained in battle aged just 20
Christopher Whaley (1844-1905) was the only surviving child of Oswald Routh Whaley and Mary Burra. Oswald was the third son of John Whaley, a clerk in Holy Orders, and sometime curate at Hawes. Oswald followed more earthly pursuits and was a banker. He married Mary, the daughter of landowner Thomas Burra from Shap. Although born in Clapham, Oswald came to Hawes as a child and stayed. He ran the bank in Hawes and lived above the premises in the market Place. He was also a Justice of the Peace. Christopher had at least two brothers, John (1836-1836) and John William (1848-1849) but was the only child to survive to adulthood.
After school, Christopher went to Christ’s College, Cambridge, achieving first a BA and then an MA. He was appointed curate of Askrigg and an Honorary Canon of Ripon Cathedral. He was vicar at Askrigg from 1869 until his death in summer of 1905.
Christopher married Mary Constantia Georgina Matthews, the daughter of Rev William Matthews, vicar of Hawes, in 1866. Mary gave birth to two sons, Oswald (1868-1943) and Christopher (1870-1888), but she died shortly after giving birth in April 1870. Christopher was living in Bainbridge and his widowed mother-in-law, Constantia Matthews, lived with him and the two young boys to help. Eight years’ later, Christopher married Agnes Elizabeth Lodge, another Vicar’s daughter and the couple had a daughter, Ruth Agnes in 1880.
Whilst vicar at Askrigg, Christopher wrote ‘The History of the Parish of Askrigg, including Low Abbotside and Bainbridge’ in 1891, which remains an important source of information on the village and its inhabitants. At that time, he was living in the Manor House, next to the King’s Arms, as there was, as yet no vicarage.
Eldest son, Oswald William, was born on 13th March whilst Christopher and Mary were living in Cambridge and was baptised there. He attended the Yorebridge Grammar School and from there was admitted to Cambridge University. He worked afterwards as an assistant Master at Aysgarth School and then as a lecturer in Classics at Durham University. He married Frances in 1907, but the couple had no children.
Second son, Christopher Matthews, was born in Askrigg and baptised here on 15 May, which will have been a sombre occasion following the death of his mother. He died aged 17 years and 11 months on 12th March 1888.
Ruth Agnes, the daughter of Christopher and Agnes Lodge, was born in 1880 in Askrigg. She was the cousin of Bernard Grime Lodge, whose memorial plaque adorns the church wall near the tower and who was killed during World War I. After the death of her parents in the early years of the 20th century, Ruth’s story is lost – it is likely that she married and moved away.
The current church organ was installed in the church as a memorial to Revd Whaley by his parishioners and friends following his death ‘to mark their high appreciation of his long and faithful service’. Christopher was not the only vicar in his family – at least 6 of his paternal cousins were vicars too.
George Calvert was born in Askrigg in 1702 and his father was probably called George too. We don’t know much about George, other than he amassed great wealth during his lifetime, whether inherited or earned we don’t know.
It would appear that he never married or had children of his own, as in his will all his wealth is passed on to various nephews and contacts. Much of his wealth went to his sister Mary’s children, but only on the proviso that they take the surname Calvert!
George’s elder sister, Mary, born in 1701 and baptised in St Oswald’s on 19th October that same year. In 1721 she married Reverend Anthony Clapham, who was at Winskill, near Settle and had been baptised in Giggleswick in 1697. Anthony’s uncle Thomas had been the vicar of Bradford and left money for Anthony’s education in his will. Anthony went to Christ’s college, Cambridge in 1716 and received his BA 3 years later. He was headmaster of Yorebridge Grammar School from 1720 until just before his death in 1752 and also a vicar at Stalling Busk.
Margaret and Anthony lived at Yorescott and had at least 10 children:
- Richard (b 1722) had five children
- Thomas (b 1724) and died as an infant
- Jane (b 1725)
- Anne (b 1726-1740)
- Francis (b 1729-1779) – we know from George’s will that Francis inherited some of George’s estate and was an executor. Apart from that little is known about him other than he lived in Sunderland. It is possible that following George’s instructions he changed his surname to Calvert, but if he did there is no evidence as he is buried as a Clapham.
- Calvert Clapham (1730-1809) – became chancellor to the Bishop of London. He was unmarried but had inherited the Thwaitebridge estate and other lands near Hawes. He had amassed his own fortune by the time of his death in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1809. In his will he left money to his (late) brother Richard’s children, but the bulk to his younger brother, Anthony.
- Anthony (1732-1732) and Thomas (1739-1753)
- Dorothy (1734) married Rev John Ewbank at the relatively late age of 50.
- Anthony (1744-1811). Anthony became a Quaker and married Elizabeth Holme. Under his influence, his brother, Francis, also became a quaker. Anthony was a manufacturing chemist and wealthy one too. His descendants were numerous and nearly all in the chemical industry, but with vicars, doctors and accountants too.
George had another sister, Mary, whom he also provides for under his will. Mary had been married to John Ogden and the family lived in Darlington. They had at least one son, called John.
We also know that George had a brother, but that he and his son, James, had died before George made his will. However, James had left a young daughter, Elizabeth, for whom George made provision.
George made other bequests; to Martha Cullingworth, widow of William and to his former apprentice, William Calvert, a Coal Merchant of St Brides in London. It is impossible to say whether William is a relation, but he appears not to be – is it a co-incidence that William bears George’s surname or is this another of George’s requests for someone to bear his name? We cannot be sure whether this is the William Calvert who is named on George’s memorial, who lists himself as a nephew. Certainly, no nephew called William is mentioned in George’s will.
John Leonard Wilson
John Leonard Wilson (known as Leonard) was born on 23 September 1897 in Gateshead, Co Durham. His father, John Wilson was a church of England vicar and had married Mary Adelaide Halliday in 1894. The couple had six children, four of whom survived to adulthood. Leonard was the oldest son and was educated at the Royal Grammar School in Newcastle. He completed his education with a degree in theology from Balliol College and Wycliffe Hall, Oxford. Both his surviving brothers, Bernard and Leslie also became vicars, and his sister, Edith Adelaide married Rev Frank Mitchell.
Leonard worked as a vicar near Gateshead and married Doris Phillips (known as Mary) in Oxford in 1930. Their eldest child, Christopher was born in June 1931, but sadly died in 1934. Susan was born in 1934, after which the family moved to Hong Kong, where Leonard had been appointed Dean. Whilst in Hong Kong, the couple had two further sons, Timothy, and Martin. They later moved to Singapore when Leonard was appointed Bishop. When the Japanese invaded in 1942, Mary and the children escaped by boat to Australia, where their youngest son, James, was born.
Leonard remained behind in Singapore and along with two fellow ministers was able to continue to work for nearly a year, thanks to a Christian Japanese officer. However eventually the Japanese became concerned about the popularity of the cathedral and considered it a threat. In addition, they believed that the bishop may have been implicated in an attack on Japanese ships in Singapore harbour, by passing information on to the Allies. All three were arrested, tortured, and eventually sent to the notorious Changi jail.
The arrest took place in October 1943, and initially he was taken to Outram Road jail, where he was systematic tortured, as the Japanese tried to get him to admit to being a spy. He was beaten so much that he fainted; only to be revived and then beaten again. He was often returned to his cell in a semi-conscious state and on occasions feared he would not survive. Conditions in jail were terrible. No bedding was provided, and the lights were left on all night. No soap, toiletries or towels were allowed, and they had to manage with only the clothes that they arrived in. Food consisted mainly of rice, occasionally with vegetables and weak tea (without milk or sugar) and Leonard lost 4 stone in weight during his stay.
After the war, Leonard remained as Bishop of Singapore until 1949, when he returned to the United Kingdom as Dean of Manchester, serving there until he was appointed Bishop of Birmingham in 1953. When he resigned in 1969, he retired to Yorkshire and joined the congregation here in Askrigg. Sadly, his retirement was short. On his way home from participating in a service at St Paul’s Cathedral, he suffered a minor stroke on the train. A second major stroke at home not long after proved to be fatal on 18th August 1970. A funeral service took place here 3 days later and Leonard’s ashes were interred at church close to where he was born.
Leonard’s eldest daughter, Susan (1934-2001) became a doctor but in the 1980s she enrolled in a Theological Seminary in the USA in the Episcopal Church as they accepted women. Her father was a very strong advocate for women priests, and she was one of the first women priests in the UK.
John Rider Wood & Ann Wood
John was the oldest son of Askrigg resident, Richard Wood and his wife, Elizabeth. Richard had married Elizabeth Rider, the daughter of Ottiwell Rider, who lived in Bolton Castle and following their marriage, the young couple also lived in Bolton Castle. John and his brothers Jeffrey and Ottiwell were baptised at Bolton Castle by the vicar of Wensley and they grew up in the castle. As Bolton Castle has not left the ownership of the Powlett family for many generations, it has to be assumed that the family rented the Castle, or at least part of it. Ottiwell, John’s younger brother, died aged 20 in 1781 and was buried in Wensley Church, as were his parents
Richard Wood was a very wealthy man. His family had lived in Askrigg for many generations including his father Jeoffrey (1694-1779) and his grandfather Richard (died 1721). In his will Richard left many properties in Askrigg, Thornton Rust, Nappa Scar, Newbiggin and Thoralby to his remaining two sons.
John married Ann Cautley, whose father was vicar at Ouseburn, in 1782, when the couple were in their mid-20s. The Cautleys were an old and respectable family and as well as her father, two of her brothers and her grandfather were vicars. John and Ann remained living at Bolton Castle for some time, before John bought a row of cottages on land just outside Nappa Scar and built Wood Hall, which remained in the family long after John’s death.
John and Ann had two sons, Ottiwell, born in 1758, who qualified as a solicitor and married Jane Hodgson of Grinton in 1810. The couple had 6 children, John (1811-1851) also a solicitor who lived with his wife Jane in one of the family properties in Thornton Rust; Ottiwell (1812-1827) who joined the Royal Navy and was lost as sea as a 15 year old Midshipman when HMS Redwing went missing, presumed sunk; Thomas (1814-1871) who also joined the Navy; Ann (1815-) who married surgeon Robert Cartwright and emigrated to Australia shortly after their marriage. There were two further children, Jane (1817-) and Richard (1818-1830) who died young.
Richard and Ann’s second son was James Suttell (1786-1856) and he trained for the ministry and was curate at Askrigg for a while. He is better known as ‘JS Wood’. In the 1841 census, he was living at Wood Hall with his family, but in the late 1840s he moved to France to work in a church near Caen in Normandy. He died there in 1856. James married Mary Darvell in 1805 and the couple had 5 children: George (1806-1864) became a doctor; Catherine (1808-1882) married barrister Charles Waterfield; James (1812-1889) followed his father and became a vicar, working mainly in Somerset; Eliza (1823-1905) married Marmaduke Dixon and youngest daughter Emelie (1824-1867) married physician John Harrison and died in Simla, India.
The descendants of Ottiwell and James are numerous and successful. Many went into the Indian Civil Service, part of the foreign office and more than one was knighted for his work. There are many that served their country in war and peace and some who died doing so. There were of course those whose lives were not lauded – John’s grandson, named John Rider after him, died aged just 40 of ‘general debility and softening of the brain’ – this term is usually an indication that he had syphillis. He left a wife and two young children.
John’s remaining brother, Jeoffrey (1759-1822) studied at Magdalen College Cambridge and was the curate at Aysgarth & West Witton. He married Elizabeth Burton here at Askrigg Church on 29 December 1792 and we know that they had at least 9 children. Unlike the success of John’s children, Jeoffrey’s had more mixed and modest results. James (1796-1846) became a maltster and Brewer in Askrigg; his son John (1797-) became a slate merchant in Lancashire; Richard (1799-1868) became a vicar and sent all four of his boys to Marlborough School – 2 became vicars, 1 a barrister and the youngest, another Ottiwell, became a soldier in the 14th regiment of foot, but died in Ireland aged just 20 in 1858. Jeoffrey’s youngest son, Anthony joined the Royal Navy, but died aged 38 when he had an epileptic fit.
Mary & John Kilburn Storey
John Kilburn was born in Askrigg and went on to become a teacher and then Headmaster. His grandparents were John Kilburn, a cattle dealer and Ann Dinsdale, who married in St Andrew’s Church in Aysgarth in 1853. The couple had 5 daughters – Faith, Joanna, Elizabeth Ann, Mary Alice and another Joanna.
Their first three daughters were baptised together on 30th August 1857 at St Oswalds’. Faith (1853-1927) married church sexton John Sarginson in 1876, when she was 23 and John, a farmer’s son from Carperby, was 40. They moved out of the Dale to Croft on Tees. The couple had 7 children: Elizabeth (b1877) who married prison warder William Dibb; John (1879-1949) who was in the Royal Navy, signing up for 12 years in 1902, but was dismissed in 1907. Back on land he married Jessie Laidlaw and became a chauffeur. Alice (1880-1884), James (1882-1892) and Edith (1887-1888) died young. Thomas (1885-1934) was a groom and married Rose Ward. Youngest son George (1884-1918) also became a groom and at the outbreak of war married his sweetheart Mary Turnball. He enlisted in the army, joining the 7th Battalion, Prince of Wales Own (West Yorkshire) Regiment and was killed in action on 31st March 1918 in Flanders. The couple had a daughter, named Faith, who was born and died in the autumn of 1919.
Joanna (1855-1865) died at the age of 10 and was buried in St Oswald’s Churchyard on 3rd April. Elizabeth (1856-) married William Preston, a smallholder and cattle dealer in St Oswald’s in March 1879. Through this marriage, the family were related to the Grime Lodge family and the Prestons, all who appear on other memorials within the church. The couple moved their family to Manningham, an industrial area of Bradford. They had five children: Tom (1886-1930) a mason who emigrated to the USA in 1911 and fought in WW1 with the Canadians; Jane (1879-1953) who also emigrated to America with her husband, Isaac Bancroft in 1910, having been a silk weaver in Bradford. John (1888-1975) was also a weaver and worked in the textile industry his entire working life. William (1890-) worked as a silk packer and then as a labourer in the building industry. Youngest son, Fred (1893-1973) was also a weaver and in 1920 married mill worker Edith. The couple emigrated to the USA to join elder brother Tom and both worked in a woollen mill.
Mary Alice (1863-1944) was Ann and John’s fourth daughter and John’s mother. On 6th March 1886, Mary gave birth to a son named John after his grandfather. Mary continued to live with her mother, now in Main Street in Askrigg, with Ann working as a monthly nurse and Mary as a dressmaker. The Kilburn’s lived a few doors down from Alexander Thwaite Storey, the registrar of births and deaths, who lived with his mother, Christiana. On 4th October 1905, Mary and Alexander were married at St Oswald’s church aged 42 and 44 respectively. Alexander became the clerk to the District Council and the Union Workshouse. John had trained as a teacher and by 1911 was working in Durham at an elementary school. In 1914, he married farmer’s daughter Mary Elizabeth Bell, who lived at Nappa Scar. The marriage took place in St Oswald’s on 26th September. It is not certain when John changed his name to John Kilburn Storey, certainly in 1914 he was just Kilburn but by the 1939 census both he and his wife had added Storey. It is certainly a tribute to his stepfather.
John continued to work in education and became a headmaster of an elementary school in the Durham area. He and Mary had no children, and he was devastated when she died in 1946. John himself died in Coniscliffe Nursing Home in Darlington on 20 April 1949.
Ann and John’s youngest child, Joanna, John Kilburn Storey’s aunt, was born in 1871 and married tailor Ambler Leach in on 9th July 1893 at St Oswald’s. The couple made their home in Hawes and had 8 children – the eldest of whom – Albert, died in France whilst serving with the Royal Fusiliers on 12th July 1916 aged 22 and who’s life is commemorated on the Hawes war memorial. Another child, Harold, was the executor of John Kilburn Storey’s will.
The graves of John and Mary, together with his mother, Mary Alice and her husband, Alexander are in the graveyard. Their memorial still stands.
On one of the central pillars is the memorial to Eliza Lamb. It is a small plaque, but the back story is an interesting one. Eliza was the daughter of Walter & Elizabeth Buchanan who lived in Penrith. She married Edward Lamb in London in 1789.
Edward was one of the younger sons of John Lamb and his wife, Ann (nee Harker). John is recorded as living in Kirkby Stephen, with addresses such as Smardale Hall, and Hartley Castle, and also Clifton Hall near Penrith. Undoubted the family was a wealthy one, but from trade, rather than from nobility and is it likely that the Lambs were tenants not owners. John & his wife Ann had 6 sons and 3 daughters; the children were all baptised in Kirkby Stephen, but the marriages take place primarily in Edenhall and Clifton, suggesting that the family had moved to Clifton by the 1770s. One of Edward’s sisters, Jane, married James Burton of Askrigg and one of his brothers, James, attended Oxford University and became a vicar.
Edward joined the Royal Navy and gradually rose through the ranks but left to join the Merchant Navy, working mainly for the East India Company. He was the first mate on the Britannia, a merchant ship, on the Jamaica to London route in 1787, when William Bligh was captain and Fletcher Christian was acting second mate. When Bligh returned to the Navy and took command of the Bounty, taking Christian with him, Edward assumed command of the Britannia. This coincided with his marriage to Eliza and the couple lived sometimes in Cumberland and sometimes in London, depending on Edward’s voyages. After the Britannia, Edward became commander of The Adventurer, and it was from there that he wrote to William Bligh in support of his treatment of Christian.
ST GEORGE’S PLACE, ST GEORGE’S IN THE EAST, OCT.28, 1794
Upon my arrival from Jamaica, I saw a pamphlet, published by Mr Edward Christian, who, in order to lessen the guilt of his brother, Mr Fletcher Christian, wishes to make the public believe that the Mutiny on board His Majesty’s ship the Bounty, proceeded from his treatment of his brother, and the other mutineers. I was much surprised at what Mr Edward Christian has introduced in page 78 in the Appendix, as he insinuated that your bad behaviour to Mr Fletcher Christian commenced during his last voyage with you to Jamaica, in the ship Britannia, when I was chief mate, and eye witness to everything that passed. Mr Edward Christian must have been misinformed, and known very little either of his brother’s situation, abilities or the manner in which he conducted himself during that voyage, he mentions his being second mate with you, when, in fact, he was no officer. I recollect your putting him upon the articles as gunner, telling me, at the same time, you wished him to be thought an officer, and desired I would endeavour to make the people look upon him as such.
When we got to sea and I saw your partiality for the young man, I gave him every advice and information in my power, though he went about every point of duty with a degree of indifference that to me was truly unpleasant, but you were blind to his faults, and had him to dine and sup every day in the cabin, and treated him like a brother, giving him every information. In the Appendix it is said that Mr Fletcher Christian had no attachment to the women at Otaheite; if that was the case, he must have been much altered since he was with you in the Britannia; he was then one of the most foolish young men I ever knew in regard to the sex. You will excuse the liberty I have taken in addressing you on so unpleasant a subject; but I could not pass over so many assertions in the Appendix, without feeling for a man, whose kind and uniform behaviour to me, through the whole voyage to Jamaica, was such as to lay me under an everlasting obligation; and I shall still think myself fortunate in having engaged with such an attentive officer, and able navigator as yourself.
I have no pique at Mr Fletcher Christian; but finding Captain Bligh’s character suffering in the opinion of the public, I think it my duty to offer my services in the vindication of it, so far as comes within my knowledge; therefore, can I render him any service, he may command me.
I remain, Sir,
The couple had five sons, all of whom went to sea. Eliza and Edward lived at Yorescott, near Breconbar. After Eliza’s death in 1812, Edward married Sarah Harrison in 1815 and had a daughter, Sarah before his death 3 years later. Edward was buried in the churchyard at Askrigg, although his gravestone has been lost.
Eliza and Edward’s eldest son was John (1791-1862) who entered the Royal Navy aged 10 as a ‘first class volunteer’ on the sloop, Port Mahon. The same year he was made a midshipman on the 74-gun Northumberland (see picture). Gradually he made his way up the Naval command.
He had seen action in the Napoleonic wars including the boarding of the French ship Le Thetis. Other ships on which he served include the Leviathon, the Fantome and the Hibernia. In 1823 he married Emma Trant Robinson in London. Their first child was born in India but in 1829, John left active naval service and travelled with his family to start a new life in Australia, maintaining contact with the navy as part of the naval reserve. The couple had 14 children, most of whom survived into adulthood and the family did well in the New World, being involved in shipping, ranching and brokering.
Second son, Edward (1793-1817) joined the merchant navy and made progress through the ranks. He was captain of the Hadlow, a convict ship travelling from London Docks to Australia via India. He died at sea, just south of Calcutta on the Hadlow’s return journey to England on 31st December 1817. He was not married.
James Thomas (1794-1857) entered the Royal Navy in 1808 as a 13-year-old on board the Amethyst and was almost immediately involved in the capture of a French frigate after a battle in which the Amethyst lost a number of crewmen. It will have been a baptism of fire literally! He became a midshipman on the Hannibal and then a lieutenant on the Grecian and then the Fairy in 1815. Once the war with France was over, James worked on Merchant Ships and for the Coast Guard Service, leaving the reserve list in the 1830s. He married Jessie Morrison and the couple had two children, Agnes and Edward. The family emigrated to Australia.
William Buchanan (1796-1827) entered the Royal Navy, but after the end of hostilities with the French left active service as a Lieutenant to join the Merchant Navy. He commanded the convict ship the Batavia from 1817 and then a cargo ship/convict ship, the Prince Regent in the early 1820s. After one voyage on the Batavia, William married Charlotte Gore, the daughter of William Gore, the Provost Marshal of New South Wales. He died at sea on 13th September 1827.
George (1799-?1828) was the youngest of the seafaring brothers and less is known about him. He is said to have died in a shipwreck in 1828.
Sarah Ann, Edward’s daughter with his second wife, was born in Askrigg and baptised at St Oswald’s on 5th March 1816. By 1841, she and her widowed mother were living in Kirkby Lonsdale, where she died, unmarried in 1845.
Edward’s will gives an interesting insight into his life. He disposes of his goods amongst his wife and living children as expected, but the final paragraph says:
‘..and to son John Lamb £100 to be applied to bring up the child I had by Betty Thompson but only on condition that Betty Thompson will deliver up the child into his custody..’
It is likely that this child was a boy, John, born to Betty in 1814 and baptised at St Oswald’s on 31st October of that year.
John & Jane Pratt
John was the son of Simon Pratt and his wife, Elizabeth Smith.
Simon and his brother had left Askrigg as young men to seek their fortunes in the turn of 17th/18th century London. Good judges of horseflesh, the pair purchased a horse and hackney coach and with a mix of hard work, and a pinch of luck, the business expanded to provide a good living. They returned to Askrigg as wealthy men, albeit approaching middle age. Simon married Elizabeth Smith in Askrigg in 1727 and their only child, John was born the following year.
John attended Yorebridge Grammar School and from there went up to Cambridge. Like his father, John was interested in horses and developed a passion for horse racing at nearby Newmarket. Already wealthy from money inherited from his father, his marriage in 1765 to Jane Hammond of Naburn near York, brought him considerably more. John was the nephew of Thomas Pratt, who had married Mary Smith of Cams Houses, and as such he had also inherited some of the Smith estates.
Shortly after the marriage, the couple began the construction of a new house, of which the Kings Arms and the next door Manor House are remaining parts. John kept a large stable close to the house, and the Holiday Property Bond’s Lodge Yard contains some of the buildings. John kept his hunters and a pack of hounds at the Yard; John himself was the Master of the local hunt. The couple shared their time between Askrigg and the racecourses of Newmarket, York and Doncaster. His racehorses were kept at a yard in Middleham. His most well-known filly was Imperatrix, with whom he won the St Leger in 1782. The Crown Public House at the top of the village was once called ‘the Mare Phoenix’ after another of John’s horses.
Jane died in 1777, and John died in Newmarket in 1785; they had no children. John’s later years had had ups and downs. When his estate was sold, including his stud and leases on various lead mines, it was discovered many were mortgaged. His heir, nephew Thomas Pratt instead of inheriting a tidy sum, found himself in debt having borrowed on the strength of his expectations. He died in York Castle, then a debtors’ prison.
The Alderson Family
The Alderson family have two memorials on the wall in the North Aisle, close to the door, although this is likely not their original position.
Not a great deal is known about Christopher Alderson, other than he was baptised in St Oswald’s Church on 14th December 1728, the son of John Alderson. From his will it is unlikely that he married or if he did, they had no children. The Almshouses at Dale Grange between Askrigg and Breconbar were built and endowed in 1807 by Christopher, whose family lived in Askrigg for a number of years, but he had moved to London to further his business interests.
The almshouses were originally six one roomed cottages and were intended for ‘the use of six poor women, spinsters or widows, of whom two were to be natives of, or residents of three years’ standing in, Low Abbotside and four were to be similarly qualified from Askrigg.’ Christopher appointed a board of trustees to oversee the almhouses, the income from the endowments and those living in the almshouses. In the 1880 the cottages were remodelled, reducing the number to four, with each cottage having two rooms. They have been subsequently altered to now consist just two dwellings.
Most of what we know about Christopher comes from his will – a lengthy document of 19 pages, including two codicils, due to his extensive business and land holdings. When Christopher died in December 1810, he was buried in the churchyard at St John’s Church in Hackney. St John’s had been built in 1792 and was a church popular with the well to do classes that abounded in that area in the early 19th century. Christopher had three sisters, Margaret, Sarah and Mary.
Sarah was born in 1724 and in 1748 married Edward Nelson at the church in Garsdale. Sarah and Edward had three children – Anne (b 1751), Jane (b 1753) and John (b1769). Jane married David Harker in 1783, also at the little church in Garsdale. Their eldest child was named Christopher Alderson Harker at his baptism in Garsdale on 19th March 1786, at which point he was 4 months old. This is the Christopher who appears on both memorials, the first as the one who arranged the memorial to his great-uncle, and the second is his own.
Christopher changed his surname from Harker to Alderson in order to inherit from his great uncle and with the proceeds he bought Woodhall Park from the Beazon family, who had fallen on hard times. It was Christopher who is thought to have added the large lake on the property. Not that he lived there for long, as the property was tenanted by Rev Richard Wood for many years.
Shortly after inheriting, Christopher married Mary Metcalfe, the daughter of Henry Metcalfe of Nappa Hall. The couple had at least 6 children.
- The eldest, also called Christopher (1813-1874) is listed on the censuses as being ‘deaf and dumb’. Buried in St Oswald’s Churchyard
- Jane Metcalfe Alderson (1814-) married William Humble and had one daughter, Mary Jane in 1851.
- Mary (1820-1895) is listed on the censuses as being an ‘imbecile from birth’. She was made a ‘ward of chancery’ following her father’s death when she was 17 and she lived the rest of her long life with the three unmarried Whaley sisters – Elizabeth, Anne and Mary, who for near 30 years ran a school at Cotescue Park in Coversham. In retirement, the household lived in Leyburn and Middleham.
- Sarah (1821- ) married John Robert Johnson in London on 11 January 1849
- Henry (1823)
- John (1824)
Christopher’s wife Mary died in 1825 and was buried with her Metcalfe relatives in St Oswald’s Churchyard. In 1830, he married again, marrying Jane, the widow of Ottiwell Wood in 1830 at St Andrew’s Church in Aysgarth. The marriage seems to have been a happy one as he refers to Jane as ‘my dear wife’ on a number of occasions in his will.
The family had holdings not only in Yorkshire but in London and Middlesex too and in 1831, Christopher appeared at the Old Bailey when he accused his farm bailiff of his estate in Hendon of embezzlement. Much to Christopher’s displeasure, John Brown was found not guilty, but he was dismissed by Christopher from his post.
Christopher died at his estate at Highwood Hill in 1837, which was and remains a very expensive and exclusive neighbourhood at the northern edge of Mill Hill in London. It was home to many well-known people including slavery abolitionist Sir William Wilberforce.
He, like his uncle, left an extensive will, ensuring the children, most of whom had not reached their majority by then and his wife were well provided. Jane lived in Askrigg until her death in 1859 and was buried in St Oswald’s Churchyard.
Christopher was not the only member of the extended family to change his name to meet the conditions of his great uncle’s will.
Margaret Alderson (1721-), one of Christopher senior’s other sisters, married Thomas Lever and had one daughter, Kitty Alderson Lever (1765-1824). Kitty married William Lloyd and their children all had Alderson as a middle name. However, after her great uncle’s will was proved, they took the Alderson name too. The main player in this line of the family was also confusingly Christopher Alderson Alderson (1790-1845), although they lived in London and the south of England. The cousins were well aware of one another, and even went to court over the settlement of the will, when Sarah Alderson (sister of the Askrigg Christopher) married William Barnard without asking permission and her cousins sought (successfully) to have her cut out of the money as a result!
The Forster family of Shaw Cote
Shaw Cote is a farmstead in Low Abbotside, between Askrigg and Sedbusk. In historical documents, its name is spelt variously Shaw Coat, Shawcote and Shaw Cote. Cote is an old word used for cottage or barn used for sheep.
Jeffery Forster was the son of Thomas Forster and was born in 1729. He was baptised in St Oswald’s on 9th May 1732 and married Sarah Harrison here in 1754. The couple had a number of children – Christopher (1755-1816), Jane (1757-1759) Jane (1759-1859), Dorothy (1762-), Thomas (1729-); Bellate (1766-), John (1769-) and George (1774-1780).
We do not know much about these children, other than Dorothy, who married Thomas Gibson in 1794, and Jane, who married Henry Metcalfe of Nappa Hall at St Oswald’s on 22 February 1786. Jane and Henry had six children we know about before Henry’s premature death in 1799:
Sarah (1787-1853) who is the granddaughter mentioned on the tablet, did not marry but lived in Glasgow with her sister Dorothy (1794-1847), who was also unmarried. Both are buried in Sighthill Cemetery in Glasgow.
Mary (1789-1825) married Christopher Alderson Alderson of Woodhall Park in 1811 – see his memorial for information on their family.
Elizabeth (b&d 1797) died as an infant
William (1791) was of independent means and lived with his mother until her death in 1859 at the grand age of 99. In the 1861 census, he was living in Stobar Hall in Kirkby Stephen, lived in at other times by Askrigg residents. Bella (1799-1873) never married. She lived with her mother and brother in Askrigg initially and continued to live in the house on her own after their deaths.
There is a memorial to Henry and Jane Metcalfe and some of their children in the churchyard.
The Pratt Brothers
Thomas Pratt was born around 1740 in Askrigg and married Rose Lambert here at St Oswald’s church on 7th August 1769. The couple had at least three children that we know about and the memorial tablets for the family are dedicated their sons.
The main memorial is dedicated to their son Thomas, who was born in late 1772 and baptised in St Oswald’s in January 1773. Thomas left the dales and became a master mariner. It is unlikely that he served in the Royal Navy as his family are likely to have added ‘RN’ after his name, and if the Hibernia had been a navy ship it is likely to have been prefixed with an ‘HMS’.
In 1804 Thomas married Margaret Jump whilst on leave in Liverpool. The couple had one daughter, Margaret Rose, born on 11th May 1809 and baptised on 7th June that year. No doubt she was given Rose as a middle name for her grandmother.
Thomas sailed on the Hibernia, a 204 ton wooden sailing ship in 1803, before taking command of the Courier, a smaller ship but which had 12 guns in 1805. Later that year he sailed on the Cruizer and in 1807 he sailed on the Duke of Kent which was newly returned from being leased to the Royal Navy. Later he returned to Captain the Hibernia again. On some of his ships he carried letters of Marque which meant the Government had given permission to attack foreign shipping where appropriate as hostilities existed with the French, Spanish and Dutch and he had already seen action having been part of the capture of the French ship Angelique in 1805.
He returned to his home in Duncan Street, Toxteth, a short walk from the Liverpool docks in the early spring of 1811 but suffered a stroke and died in hospital on 22nd March and was buried in St James’ churchyard 3 days later. His wife Margaret died just two years later, leaving their daughter an orphan at just 4 years of age. Thomas had left his family well provided for in his will and Margaret Rose saw a lot of her Pratt relations, as is evidence in some of the census returns. She married twice and outlived both her husbands, dying at the age of 87.
Middle son, John was born in late 1777 or early 1778 and baptised on 29th January 1778. John’s memorial is below that of his brother Thomas’ and records that John died on his journey home from his first sea voyage to Jamaica. It is likely that he was on the slave ship Will, which sailed from Liverpool on 6th November 1800 and called at the Bight of Bonny, modern day Nigeria, to collect 294 slaves bound for Jamaica. The Will docked in Kingston, Jamaica on 20th April 1801 and disembarked their cargo and 293 slaves. Once the crew had taken on their cargo for the return journey, the Will left Kingston on 20th June. Records note that two crew members died on the return journey and if John was on the Will, he would have been one of them just 5 days into the voyage home. The Will docked in Liverpool on 19th July. John was buried at sea.
James Pratt ‘their youngest brother’ has a memorial beneath the main one. He was baptised in St Oswald’s on 19th November 1784 and was buried in the churchyard in June 1806.
These three brothers were not Thomas and Rose’s only children as their eldest son’s will makes clear. He left money to his 4 brothers and sisters if anything happened to his wife and daughter, meaning there must have been at least four children alive in 1811, but it is difficult to determine which Pratt children born in Askrigg belong to this family. It does seem likely that twins William and Charles, born in 1775 are from this family.
It is interesting to look at the chronology of these memorials. First to die is John, whose memorial is tacked to the bottom of his elder brother, who died last. Youngest brother who died between them has his own small memorial – which refers to the other memorial. It seems odd, if the largest memorial was created first, that all the commemorations are not on one memorial.
Rose died in 1818 and Thomas in 1822 and both were buried in the churchyard. No headstone survives.
The Smith, Thornton, Lightfoot & Lindsey families
The Smith family, headed by patriarch Bernard Smith and his wife, Grace Thwaites, was one of several new families who moved to the Dale in the 17th century and whose children married into the Dales families of similar rank. The family was based at Camshouse, which at the time was a collection of farms around 2 miles out of Askrigg towards Sedbusk and Simonstone and had been a grange for Jervaulx Abbey. Their descendants include some of the most prominent inhabitants of the Upper Dale.
Bernard had bought the property from Sir Robert Bindloss in 1652 for the sum of £1,125. For this, he got two houses and 333 acres of land. Bernard and Grace had two sons and three daughters: Thomas and Alexander; Margaret, Isabel and Elizabeth. A third son John was the youngest, but it is unclear whether he was Grace’s child, or born of Bernard’s second marriage to Elizabeth, which was unhappy and from which he extricated himself using the courts. He also fathered an illegitimate daughter for which he was called in front of the churchwardens in Askrigg for failure to pay maintenance. He was for some time the Chief Constable of Hang West, an area which included Askrigg and such an incident must have caused some embarrassment. Bernard died in 1872, but before his death he oversaw the completion of a new house on the estate.
Elder son Thomas (1633-1691) married Elizabeth Thornton and had 10 children, including a son called Bernard in 1672, the year his own father died. Thomas and his growing family moved into the new house.
Middle son Alexander (1653-1725) married Sarah Haward in 1677 and the following year used some of his inheritance to buy John Coleby’s share of the Manor of Wensleydale and took his wife and growing family to live in Coleby Hall. They remained there for 7 years, until John Coleby’s son challenged the purchase of the hall. The Smiths lost the case and Alexander moved his family to Bainbridge, where he had purchased two properties, Bainbridge Hall and Gill Edge Farm where they remained until the early 1690s. After that, they moved back to Low Camshouse, one of the two original houses purchased by Bernard Smith.
Alexander’s eldest child, Grace (1675-1746) was baptised in St Oswald’s on 12th July 1678. She married William Thornton of Old Hall, Askrigg.
The Thorntons were an old Askrigg family and William senior and his wife Bridget had raised their family of two sons and a daughter in the Hall. Their daughter, Ellinor had married local curate Cuthbert Allen, and their other son, Simon had died as a teenager. Grace and William continued to live at the Hall and after inheriting it in 1698 set about modernising it. They added a balcony facing the Main Street, so they watch the bull baiting that took place in the Market Square outside. Grace died on 26th November 1746, leaving just a daughter Sarah, born in 1695. For nearly four centuries the Thorntons had been the leading family in Askrigg and now the main branch of the Thornton family had died out.
Sarah married John Maynard at St Oswald’s in 1719 and after his death married widower Robert Killinghall of Middleton St George in 1740. Grace had no children of her own, as can be seen on her memorial. Her father also has a memorial in the church which is easy to overlook as it is on one of the central pillars in the North aisle.
Alexander’s second child was daughter Annie, born in 1678. She married her cousin, Bernard Smith. Third daughter, Hannah, born in 1682, married John Whaley of Burtersett. From this family descend a number of clergy who were active in Wensleydale, including Hannah’s son, John and grandson John, the child of her eldest son Alexander.
Fourth daughter Sarah (1683-1729) married Edward Waterson, a gentleman from Middleham in November 1704 at St Oswald’s Church, but he died just a few years later in 1711, leaving Sarah with a young daughter, also called Sarah. Her second husband was James Lindsey, also from Middleham, and she married him in Middleham in January 1713. James died in 1725 and this time Sarah was left a widow again, albeit a wealthy one, with 5 surviving children.
Sarah had had at least four children who had pre-deceased her – Mary (1715-1723), Charles (1717-1717), Alexander (1718-1718) and James (1724-1726). Her daughter from her first marriage died unmarried aged 25 in 1736. Of her surviving children we know little about Ann, other than her birth in 1720. Prudence (1714-1779) married dealer, hosier and chapman Peter Brougham in 1743. The couple had three children and survived the financial ups and downs of Peter’s business dealings. He was declared bankrupt in 1755 but was assisted by his and his wife’s family to get back on his feet. Their son James (b 1749) became a surgeon and married his cousin, Mary Lindsey. This couple lived in Askrigg where James plied his trade. They had two sons, James an apothecary in London, and Samuel who became a curate. After Mary’s death, Dr James moved to Stobar Hall in Kirby Stephen, where he continued to work as a surgeon. He was joined by various children and grandchildren from time to time – his granddaughter Grace and her husband Captain Martin Irving, the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Westmoreland, continued to live there after his death. Stobar Hall still stands today, but it now a care home.
Sarah and James Lindsey’s other surviving child, Samuel (1719-1782) became an attorney and remained in Askrigg, living in Camshouse. He was well thought of by the Smith family and was left all the Camshouse properties by his aunts. He married Sarah Lightfoot, a Smith cousin. The couple had 8 children, Mary (1750-1801) who married her cousin James Brougham; Anne (1749-1837) who married George Jackson of Richmond; and lived to 88 before being buried in St Oswald’s churchyard; James (1752-1811), Bernard (1754-1820), Sarah (1757-1827) who married Rev William Richardson when she was 40; Margaret 1756, who never married and Samuel (1763-) about whom we know little.
Fifth daughter Elizabeth (1685- ) married George Lightfoot of Redmire in 1714. The couple had two children, Bernard, who moved to Liverpool to make his fortune and a daughter Sarah, who died in 1750.
Sixth daughter, Mary (1691- ) married Thomas Pratt in 1729 and the couple lived at Camshouses. Seventh daughter, Isabel (1693-1746) never married is buried in St Oswald’s churchyard.
Eighth daughter, Margaret (1694-1771) married James Lightfoot of Redmire in St Oswald’s Church on 1st August 1718. It is likely James was related to her sister Elizabeth’s husband George Lightfoot, probably cousins rather than brothers. The couple initially lived in Yarm, where their eldest child, James, was born before moving back to Askrigg where daughter Sarah was born. We have previously seen that Sarah (1721-1818) married her cousin Samuel Lindsey, the attorney. James (1719-1807) never married but became a popular apothecary in Askrigg.
At the time he was working, it was a profession that was approaching the scope of a general practitioner. He had a shop in the house he built in 1756 in Main Street, which was no doubt filled with colourful bottles and jars. He visited his patients by horse and carriage accompanied by his servant. He was an honourable and well liked man, who was a trustee for many of his relatives and promoted the union of parishes to build a workhouse for the poor. He was known as Dr James Lightfoot and a prayer exists, written by James which he wrote at the start of his business endeavours which is reproduced below. When he died, he left his estate to all of Sarah’s surviving children. Both siblings lived to a good age – James was 87 and Sarah 97 when they died and both have memorial tablets in the church.
Most gracious God who alone has the power to give success to my undertakings, I thy most unworthy servant, whom Thou has appointed to administer Physick, to be a help and comfort to all those who are afflicted with sickness, and in extremity of pain; do with all humility prostrate myself before thee, beseeching Thee to grant me Thy divine assistance in these my performances, have mercy upon and bless me, guide me and govern me in all my actions, prosper all my undertakings; and grant that I may be as careful of the poor, as of the rich, that I may do good and not harm, save life and not destroy it: Help my infirmities and imperfections O Lord! And grant that I may be neither too rash nor too timorous in the performances of my duty, but grant me Art and Judgement in the happy finishing of all my operations, work in me a tender heart and whatever else is necessary for me to Thy glory and my own credit and whensoever my duty calls me either by night or by day I may be always prepared. Preserve and defend me from the infection of all contagious diseases and grant me a prosperous success, that whatsoever I do or undertake may add to Thy glory and comfort and help all those committed to my charge, and my own credit, through Jesus Christ my blessed Saviour and Redeemer. Amen Prayer, James Lightfoot – 18th C
Alexander and Sarah Smith had two further children – William (1696-1697) and Jane (1696-1726). Both died young and both are buried in the churchyard of St Oswald’s.
John & Margaret Thompson
This memorial has a beautiful simplicity. The memorial to John Thompson and his wife Margaret is in the South Wall of the church, but sadly we do not know much about the couple.
John was born in Askrigg in 1761 and baptised at St Oswald’s. Thompson was a common name in the area, with the largest family being joiners in the area. It is difficult to be certain whether John was born into the family of Stephen Thompson, or Matthew Thompson. The latter were a family of carpenters and joiners.
He married Margaret in 1804, when both he and Margaret were in their early 40s, so it is unlikely that they had any children. John was one of the ‘Four men of Askrigg’ from 1821 until 1839.
The ‘Four Men’ were appointed every October ‘according to the custom’. The holders of the office declared themselves willing to stand or nominate their successor. For carrying out their duties they received 2 shillings a year and their responsibilities included the annual letting of the tolls by public auction, advertising and crying of fairs, organising the sports, maintaining the toll booth, stalls, streets, cross and the three village pumps. They settled the ’King’s Rent’ that had originated from the original market charter which were due on Lady Day and at Michaelmas, discharged the land tax quarterly and paid the church, constable, poor and highway rates. The system of the ‘Four Men’ continued through the 18th and 19th centuries until the formation of the Parish Council.
Both John and Margaret are buried in the churchyard.
James & Phyllis Metcalfe had three sons, John (1750-1812), James (1753-1825) and Thomas (1759-1786) all born at The Ashes in Hawes.
John attended Sedbergh School and then went up to Christ’s College, Cambridge. He entered the priesthood and was a deacon in Carlisle, then Rector at Fen Drayton in Cambridgeshire (1786-90) and then Clipston in Northamptonshire (1791-1812). He never married and died at The Ashes in July 1812.
Thomas died relatively young at the age of 27.
James also attended Sedbergh and went on to become a surgeon and lived with his family in Askrigg. He married Alice Wood in 1782 and the couple had 4 sons, including Wood, named after his mother. James died a wealthy man and left a large amount of property in his will.
James Wood (1783-1860) was James’ eldest son. He attended Appleby School and then St John’s College, Cambridge in 1801. Following his ordination, he worked as a deacon in Exeter and the curate at Boxworth in Cambridgeshire from 1811. After inheriting land and property from both his grandfather, and uncle (John), he returned to live at The Ashes in Hawes. He inherited a large number of properties in Askrigg, as well as Blue Bridge Farm in Hawes. He never married.
Second son, John (1784-1873) followed his elder brother into the priesthood, although he never had a parish of his own. In 1831 he married Eleanor Garth at Grinton Church and the couple lived in Ings House in Hawes. John was nearly 50 and Eleanor was 21. He had inherited a lot of property in High Abbotside and also Fossdale, Grisedale, Worton and Bainbridge from his father. John and Eleanor had a large family – their first child, Hannah, was born in 1833 and died just 10 days later. Son John (1834-1885) became a surgeon like his grandfather. He was also a Justice of the Peace and the Captain of the local militia. In 1881, he married Emily Chaytor, who lived at Spennithorne Hall, who was 20 years younger than he was. They had two children before John’s death in 1885. Their son, John, was a major in the 13th Cheshire Regiment and died in WW1 in France. Their daughter, Millicent never married. The family lived at West Huntington Hall near York. John & Eleanor also had two daughters, Sarah Garth (1837-1884) and Filia Tertia (1841-1930) who both married vicars. Sarah married John Hey and Filia married Irishman James Dunne Parker; but whilst Sarah and John remained in Yorkshire, Filia and James moved south to Hertfordshire. John and Eleanor’s two youngest children were boys. The eldest, Thomas Theophilus was born in 1844, but died in 1848. In 1850 their youngest child was born and was called Thomas Theophilus Secondus. His occupation is listed as a landowner and magistrate, and he lived in Wiltshire.
Third son, Thomas (1787-1828) did not marry and lived at home with his parents. He is not given any property under his father’s will, but given an income of £100 per year, which was to increase if he married. This amount equates to around £10,000 a year now (2021). This suggests that he may not have been in good health.
Wood was their youngest son. Under the terms of his father’s will, Wood received property and land at Kidstones in Bishopdale. He never married, but lived most of his life in Askrigg, his income deriving from his properties.
The Metcalfe family have a large memorial in the churchyard in Hawes, which notes most of the extended family.
The Lodge Family
John Lodge was an attorney and gentleman who live in Askrigg. He was born around 1764 and on 2 July 1791, he married Margaret Wood here at St Oswald’s. Margaret was the daughter of Thomas Wood, who in turn was the brother of Richard Wood, father of John Rider Wood, whose memorial is on the wall by the main church door.
The couple lived in Askrigg and had two children before Margaret’s untimely death in May 1793, just two years after her marriage. Their eldest child is Agnes, who died shortly after her birth in 1792. Their second child, a boy named John after his father was born the following year and it is possible that Margaret died following childbirth.
John remarried after Margaret’s death. His wife was called Sarah, but as yet we do not have any evidence of Sarah’s surname or the date of the marriage. John died intestate, meaning he had not made a will. His son, John, petitioned the courts to be made the beneficiary of the £8000 in his father’s estate. Sarah renounced any interest in the estate and it is possible that the marriage had not been a long one.
After his schooling, John junior went up to Cambridge and studied for a BA at Trinity College, graduating in 1814 and then took an MA in 1817. From there, he was appointed a deacon at Norwich in 1818 and a priest in 1819. He became a fellow at Magdalen College in Cambridge in 1819 and the College librarian (1822-1845) and was a senior proctor from 1833. Proctors were there to maintain law and order within the college and look after student welfare. John was appointed as rector at Anderby in Lincolnshire and was there from 1835 to 1850. His portrait was painted by artist Frederick Walmisley, RA in 1839 and it hung in Cambridge University. It is now held in the National Portrait Gallery in London.
Shortly after his appointment as librarian at Magdalene College, John bought an estate in Hawkshead in Lancashire called Keen Ground for which he paid £4250. It was here that he died on 27th August 1850 and three days later he was buried in the churchyard at St Oswald’s in Askrigg.
John has a very fine memorial with some lovely words.
The inscription says:
In memory of John Metcalfe of Leeds, a native of this parish who died Sept 20th 1848 aged 53 years and was buried at Burmantofts cemetery, where it was recorded: He was a kind husband, an indulgent parent, a warm hearted friend. He faithfully discharged the duties of many important offices to the great benefit of his fellow townsmen. In the midst of life of public usefulness he was called to his eternal reward. This memorial was placed here by his son George in 1914.
As the memorial says, it was erected in the church in 1914 by John’s son, George and it has taken us some time to find out John’s (and indeed George’s) history. We have been greatly assisted in this detective work by the members of the Wensleydale Past & Present Facebook Group, who have pointed us in the right direction.
As the memorial says that John was a ‘native of this parish’, we have to assume that he was born and lived here as a child, but there are no records that confirm this. We know that John’s father was James Metcalfe, a farmer, because this is listed on his wedding certificate to Charlotte Wells on 17th July 1839 at St Marylebone Church in London. At the time John was a widower, aged around 45 and Charlotte, the daughter of John and Mary Wells, was 21. John was working as a Maltster and was living in Trafalgar Street in Leeds. Charlotte was a licenced victualler’s daughter, which is perhaps how they met. At the current time, we know nothing about John’s first marriage.
The couple had 5 children, in the 9 years of marriage before John’s death. Charlotte, his widow, moved back to London and there married solicitor John Henry Austin on 13 August 1859, and she had another daughter, Edith, with William.
John had wide ranging interests outside of being a maltster, as the tribute to him on his memorial alludes to and as the newspaper article, reproduced here, spells out. There cannot be many people in public life, then or now, who could be described as ‘truly well beloved.
John & Charlotte’s Children
Eldest child, Charlotte Mary Ann was born in 1840 and died aged 4. Margaret Sarah was born at the end of 1842 and moved to London with her mother. Through her step-father, she met solicitor William Henry Roberts and the couple married in St Marylebone in the early 1870s. The couple had no children and moved in the 1880s to the Isle of Wight. Charlotte then had two sons – John Wells, born on 5th October 1844 and Thomas, born on 10th August 1846. Both these youngsters died of scarlet fever in the first week of February 1849 and were buried together in Beckett Street Cemetery (Burmantofts), on 11th February, where both their father and sister were buried.
- Youngest child, George, born on 15th February 1848, however, thrived and was sent away to school. In 1873, he entered the London Stock Exchange as a stockbroker with Henry Pawle & Co, based in the City of London. On 2nd January 1882, he married Army Captain’s daughter, Amy Adelaide Marion Grant at St Mark’s Church, St John’s Wood in London. The couple lived in Munster Lodge Teddington, where Amy died in 1926 and George in 1931. They had no children. In 1914, George had the memorial to his father erected in our church. After WWI, he received a KCB from the King, and became Sir George Metcalfe, for services to the Stock Market and for his service on the American Dollar Securities Committee.
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