BATESON OF WINDHILL HISTORY

 

Jump to Joseph, George, Charles & William

 

 

Although the Windhill Batesons are said to have lived in the area for at least 500 years, there is no hard evidence to link the early Tudor families with their Victorian counterparts. The following offering is a history of those early Batesons who may or may not have such a connection.

 

The earliest documentary record is an entry for Joseph Bateson and Mary Rawnsley in the Calverley marriage register in 1790. Joseph was probably born in the autumn of 1768 – his death certificate of March 21 1838 gives his age as 69½. No baptism record has been found, in Calverley or any nearby parish. See table below.

 

In fact, there are few relevant Bateson church records for the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries:
In the final quarter of the 16th century the Calverley parish registers recorded one, perhaps two, Bateson families in Windhill with another in nearby Wrose.
Between 1602 and 1695 there were only three records - all baptisms.
The next fifty years yielded no Bateson records at all.
From 1746 to the end of the century there were around two dozen Bateson references in the registers but the abodes were mostly in Idle - only six were from Windhill.

 

There are no obvious reasons for this dearth of information: a few records have been torn out of the baptisms register; in the marriage register the years 1608 to 1628 are missing; and the burials register is missing data from 1607 to 1624.
The registers are otherwise complete.

 

A search of Idle Manor's administrative records reveals a similar paucity of data - there were no early taxation or church (tithe) records and only a few references in the rental books and court rolls, these being chiefly from the late 16th and early 17th centuries. The Rent Book of 1653 shows that Samuel Bateson was probably the last member of the family to possess a lease on land in Windhill.

 

Since such lists were exclusively populated by yeomen and others who owned freehold or copyhold land, it is clear that by the mid-17th century the Batesons no longer held land, either because the family had fallen on hard times or because the male line had died out.
The absence of church records points to the latter conclusion.
Alternatively, the family had moved and were living elsewhere.

 

There remains the possibility that the female line survived in the area; unfortunately, there are only a few records. Here are three early ones:
An Alice Baytson married Robert Nussay in Calverley on 12 October 1596. Robert may have been a local man - in 1573 he was granted a rood of land by the lord, Walter Calverley. There are no other records for this couple.
Sybill Baytson, whose name appears nowhere else, but is presumed to be related to the Windhill Batesons, married Robert Craven in Calverley on 8 December 1596. The Cravens held land in Wrose and had pews at the church.
Isabell Baytson, born to Christopher in 1594, married Francis Gledston in 1611. They probably lived in Idle - a Francis Gleadston was a pew holder in the Old Chapel, Idle in 1634. And a man called Gleadston paid rent on part of Samuel Bateson's land in 1631.

 

 

Joseph Bateson was born in 1768/69, according to his age at death. The following table shows the baptism and marriage records from 1740 to 1775 for Joseph Batesons in Calverley and nearby parishes:

Bateson / Baitson / Beatson / Batson records 1740-1775  
Parish Record Year Details Notes
Calverley 5 baptisms (none named Joseph) all Calverley registers 1740-1775 are available
Leeds   Joseph bapt 1761 to James Bateson all Leeds registers 1740-1775 are available
Leeds   Joseph bapt 1763 to James Bateson
Leeds   17 other baptisms (none named Joseph)
Armley 3 baptisms (none named Joseph) all Armley registers 1740-1775 are available
Guiseley 16 baptisms & 5 marriages (none named Joseph) all Guiseley registers 1740-1775 are available
Otley 1 baptism & 1 marriage (none named Joseph) all Otley & Baildon registers 1740-1775 are available
Harewood  Joseph born 1764 to Edward & Margt Batson all Harewood registers 1740-1775 are available
Harewood  Joseph born 1770 to John & Eliz Batson
Harewood 4 other baptisms (none named Joseph)
Farnley 2 baptisms (none named Joseph) all Bishop's Transcripts 1740-1775 are available for Farnley
Bradford 1 marriage only (John Beatson/Mary Wood) all registers 1740-1775 are available for Bradford
Shipley no records no registers or Bishop's Transcripts before 1826 are available

 

16th – 17th centuries

The line of Windhill Batesons began with Peter around 1545 and ended with Samuel in 1653.

 

Abraham, Andrew, Christopher, Leonard and William, the sons of Peter Baytson, all appeared either in the Calverley register or in other documents during the last quarter of the 16th century. Their abodes were in Windhill and Wrose.

Abraham was baptised the son of Peter Baitson of Windell on 16 November 1578 at St Wilfred's Parish Church in Calverley.
Another son, Leonard, was baptised on 4 December 1575.
Peter himself may have been born in the 1540s and died in the late 1580s.
Andrew Baytson, with his brother Christopher, sold 15 acres of land in Windhill, including fields called Broad Ing, Meerflat, Meerflat Hole and Old Royd to a Thomas Scott in 1589 'in consideration of the sum of twenty pounds lawful money'.
[1]

It seems likely that this was one of a number of property transactions concluded from 1585 to 1589 between George Clifford, Earl of Cumberland (and other heirs of the Plumpton line) and the prosperous farmers, clothiers, tanners and millers who either lived on the Idle Manor or were outsiders who knew an investment opportunity when they saw one.

The 15 acres may have been part of a larger holding of around 53 acres, the lease of which was shared by their father Peter Baytson and a Hugh Yewdall and recorded by the 1583/4 Survey of the Lordship of Idle. The holding comprised allotments in Windell called Henbanks, Laverack Royd, the Lea, Birkroyd, Brear Close, Old Royd, Far Hirst, Woody Hirst, Broad Ing, Meerflat, Ing-hole and the Carr. [2]

Some of these allotments were located on the steep north-facing slopes of Wrose Brow. Others are thought to have been on the flatter ground between Windhill and the River Aire.  Many of the old names are preserved on today’s maps – Carr Lane, West Royd, Woodend and Laverack Hall, for example. Henbanks was the site of the old Windhill Station.


The Bateson lands recorded in the 1584 Survey do not appear to include a 5-acre area of woodland called Bateson’s Hagge. This was part of a densely forested area known as the East and West Woods or the Maynewoods that still stretch between Thackley and Windhill. 

In 1616, when Isabel Gledstone, Christopher Baitson’s daughter, sold the land to George Nelson, it was noted as formerly belonging to Christopher Bateson of Windhill.  Thereafter it became known as Nelson’s Hagge. [3]

In the 1591 tale of a feud between Robert Swaine and Edward Cage, Christopher Baitson was described as a yeoman. The court papers describe him as the owner 'of 3 parts of 2 parcels of wood ground, parcel of Idle Wood'. The story also states that he was from Windhill and that he and William were brothers and husbandmen. [4]

William’s name probably appears in a 1696 Rent Book that describes the land holding of a William and Joshua Denby as William Baitson’s ancient land.  [5]

 

William, or perhaps one of his brothers, must have had a son who continued the Bateson line well into the 17th century: 

On 7 Jan 1646, Samuel Bateson of Windhill, described as a Yeoman, was a party to a Bond for the payment of £200.  [6]

He was also a Juror in the Idle Baron Court of 2 Dec 1646. [5]

His name was also mentioned in many of the Rent Books compiled for the Lord of the Manor between 1630 and 1653 as the holder of land that was formerly Peter Bateson’s. There is therefore a possibility that Peter was his great-grandfather.
Samuel probably died in 1653 – the 1654 Rent Book noted that the land was being farmed by the Heirs of Sam Bateson.
[5]

The only known heir, Samuel’s son Samuel, was baptised on 27 October 1651. No further records associated with him have been found.

 

The only other Bateson records are as follows:


A Robert Baitson was baptised to George Baitson of Wrose on 14 November 1596. Nothing more is known.

 

A John Baitson of Calverley parish was listed in Paver's Marriage Index marrying Elizabeth Elliston, a widow from Bingley, in 1592. They probably had a son, Samuel, born in Bingley in 1594. It is possible he was the Samuel Bateson of Windhill, who appeared as a Juror in the Idle Baron Court in 1646. However, a Samuel Baitson, described as a Poore Man, was buried in Bingley in 1617 and this may have been John and Elizabeth's son.

 

Another John Bateson was baptised to William and Sarah Booth of Windhill in 1695. There is no record of William's baptism in Calverley, however. A William Baitson was baptised in Guiseley in 1667 to Henry Baitson; since migration between the two parishes was not uncommon, this could have been the man who married Sarah Booth. If so, then according to the Brackpool family tree, his great-great-grandfather was Edward Bateson, the "presumed son of Peter Bateson" (of Windhill). [8]


A John Baitson and others were parties to an action brought against a Samuel Feather concerning a dividing wall between Mill Lane, which was probably the track that led to Buck Mill on the River Aire at Thackley and a close called Rough Ing. The action was settled on 23 February 1725. [7]

This may have been the son baptised to William Bateson (and perhaps Sarah Booth) on 29 September 1695. William was born in Guiseley in 1667 to Henry Baitson (b 1618 - see below) while Sarah was born in Idle, Calverley in 1673.


These records provide only the faintest indication of a possible link between the 16th century Peter Bateson and the 19th century Joseph Bateson.

 

18th and early 19th centuries

A few Bateson families (other than our own) are known to have lived in Farsley, Idle, Otley, Menston, Guiseley, Yeadon, Rawdon and Horsforth:

 

Thomas Bateson probably lived in Calverley parish from mid-century onwards – he died in Windhill in 1792 aged 69. His likely children Elizabeth (b 1754), John (b 1757), William (b 1759), Mary (b 1761), Sarah (died 1758) and Hannah (died 1767) all lived in Priesthorpe (S of Calverley Parish Church) and Idle.
Little else is known of the children except for William, who married Mary Colthouse in 1787 and died in 1830.

Thomas's antecedents are not known for certain, though his father may have been a labourer from Otley called Abraham. Abraham had been baptised in 1687, the son of Henry Baitson. Henry's father, also called Henry, was baptised in 1618 to Edward Bateson.
Although these baptisms took place in Guiseley, Calverley parish was just across the River Aire and 'traffic' between the two was quite common.
Thomas's putative father, Abraham (b 1687), married Mary Airton in Guiseley in 1717. Their only recorded child is Mary, baptised in 1719, when her father was described as a labourer in Yeadon. Since first-born girls were often named after the mother, it would be reasonable to expect the first-born boy to be named after the father. Hence an Abraham Bateson or Baitson, born around 1725 in Guiseley, may be the son of Abraham (b 1687). The date comes from his age (73) at his death in Farsley in 1798. He may therefore have been Thomas's brother.
By mid-century Abraham (b 1725) was in Farsley (SE of Calverley Parish Church), where he married Jane Roundall in 1746. Their children John (b 1746), William (b 1760), George (b 1764), Benjamin (died 1769), Hannah (b 1771) and Isaac (b 1777) were probably all born in Farsley.

 

The Brackpool family tree and several other trees hosted by Ancestry give our Joseph Bateson as one of these children though no supporting evidence is provided. [8]

Not all the baptisms of this family's children were recorded, so Joseph may well have been one of them. However, he would also fit into other Bateson family trees, including those of Abraham's brothers Thomas and William.

 

George (b 1764) seems to have moved back to Guiseley parish - to Rawdon - where in 1786 he married Elizabeth Emmett, who bore him at least 6 children

 

Thomas had a brother Abraham whose birthplace is not known but by mid-century he was in Farsley (SE of Calverley Parish Church), where he married Jane Roundall in 1746. Their children John (b 1746), William (b 1760), George (b 1764), Benjamin, Hannah (b 1771) and Isaac (b 1777) were probably all born in Farsley.

 

When Isaac was baptised in 1777, he was "over 10 years old"; his abode was given as Farsley.  After marrying Hannah Grimshaw in 1790, a daughter Alice was born in 1793 in Thorpe, close to Idle village. A son Joseph, born in 1795, married Alice Thornton in 1814.   Hannah died in 1795; two years later Isaac remarried – to Betty Ross.  Their children – Mary (born and died in 1798), Isaac (born 1800), Betty (born 1802, married Joseph Riley of Horsforth in 1830), Hannah (born 1807) and Martha (born 1811, married David Lord in 1855) – were all baptised at Idle Holy Trinity Church.

Isaac (b 1800) married Ann of Guiseley; between 1819 and 1845 this couple had James, George (born 1822), John, Martha, Hannah, Isaac and Samuel.  Little is known of them, apart from George (born 1822), who married Rebecca Brook in 1850.  A Weaver, he was also a Primitive Methodist lay preacher in Idle. He died in 1891.

 

A Samuel Bateson makes a brief appearance from 1824 to 1830 as the Innkeeper at the Blue Bell in Leeds Road, Windhill and the Fleece Inn, Briggate in Shipley.  He was probably born to a John Bateson in 1771 in Rawdon, where he became a Butcher, an occupation continued by his son Richard and grandson Samuel.  He, or his grandson, was also the tenant of over 8 acres of pasture at Greenbottom near his public house by St Oswald’s Church in Guiseley.  In addition, he farmed a 4 acre arable allotment on the moor near West Chevin. [9]

These occupations were noted on Samuel’s bankruptcy Petition at the Wakefield Court House in 1837.

 

Another Bateson family that lived in Windhill in the early 1800s may be mentioned here, though little is known of its antecedents.  A James Bateson was buried in Grave G8 at the Wesleyan Cemetery in 1837. He was 73 years old, giving a birth date of around 1764. He may have been the grandfather of Betty Bateson, who was born in Windhill between 1813 and 1815.  Betty married John Coulter, a Clothier, at the end of 1831. The family lived in Shipley and at Horton in Bradford. James, William, George, Elizabeth, John, Hannah, Rachel and Alice are the known offspring.   Elizabeth and John died in infancy in 1849 and 1858 respectively and were buried in Grave G8 alongside James Bateson, who may have been their great-grandfather.

 

A Joseph Bateson, born in Idle in 1782 is listed on the Brackpool Tree as the son of Abraham (b 1687). In fact he was the son of an unidentified Joseph Bateson. He is of interest because of his army career.  He signed up in 1805 as a Private in the Royal Horse Guards (The Blues). He would have fought in the Peninsular War in Iberia.  Long after the final battle of Toulouse, he was one of 74 men awarded the Military General Service Medal with 2 clasps, for the Battles of Vittoria (1813) and Toulouse (1814).  As he was not discharged from the army until 1828, he may also have served at Waterloo in 1815, though there are no records.  Otherwise, he probably spent his time engaged on ceremonial duties at Windsor.

A year after his discharge he married Tabitha Jowett, née Illingworth at Bradford Cathedral in 1829.  He was a Clothier or Cloth Weaver. They had sons Thomas, born around 1831 and Joseph, born about 1835. The family were in Leeds in 1841 and at Skelton’s Yard, New Leeds in Bradford in 1851, where Joseph died in 1854.  Tabitha survived until 1870.

 

The Yeadon, Menston and Baildon Batesons

In the Easter Term of 1593, William, Andrew and Abraham Baytson were recorded in the Yorkshire Feet of Fines as having bought a messuage (a dwelling house with land and out-buildings) and 2 cottages with lands in Yeadon from William Burneley. [10]

These names all appear in the Guiseley parish registers, although only as parents. They were probably born between 1550 and 1575 and are presumed to be brothers. Cristofer (baptised in Guiseley in 1596) was William's son.

 

William's father or grandfather may have been Xpofer (Christopher) Baytson (there are no records); in 1525 he was assessed at a tax of 8d in Henry VIII’s Subsidy Roll for Villa de Yedon. [11]

 

On 26 March 1539, Christopher Baytson was listed in the muster roll of the township of Yedon (Yeadon) in Skyrack Wapentake as a billman with hafe harness (partly armoured). [11]

 

In the 1539-40 Esholt Court Rolls, Christopher Bateson was the tenant of several closes and farms in Guiseley & Menston, including Sym Croft in Nether Yeadon (10 acres+), owned by Richard Duke, and High Royd in Menston (9 acres). [12]

 

Christopher probably still occupied the land on 6 March 1545 when a messuage, barns and lands in Yedden, described as lately belonging to Esholt Priory in the tenure of Christopher Bateson, were transferred to Edward Hoppey of Halifax from Richard Duke of London. [12]

 

Among the 22 names in Charles I’s tax (known as the Sessment of Yeadon) recorded in Guiseley Parish register in 1627 are Andrew and Abraham Baitson, who were assessed at 4d each.

There was also a John Baitson, who was assessed at 2d. [11]

 

Andrew, Abraham and William Bateson are assumed to be brothers, with Cristofer (baptised in Guiseley in 1596) being the latter’s son.

A Christopher Bateson was noted in a Conveyance of various Rent Charges to Baildon Chapel dated October 24 1638 as the occupant of five closes of land in Baildon, namely Overcrofte, Narr Lather Banckes, ffar Lather Banckes [Near and Far Ladderbanks], Lower Broachfeild, and ffeild Close. These fields amounted to 'Six acres a half and one Roode' and were worth an annual rental of 13s 11d. Christopher was probably the tenant. [13]

He may have farmed the land rather than lived on it; since Otley parish in the 17th century included both Baildon and Menston, it is quite possible that this was Cristofer Bateson of Menston, son of William.

He may have been the Cristofer who married Elizabeth Seward then Jane Keighley and died in 1663 in Menston. He had at least 5 children, four of them girls.  A son, William, was born in 1639 – he married Mary Shaw in 1668 and had 2 children, both girls.  With William’s death in 1674, Cristofer Bateson’s line of male descendants appears to have ended.

 

There were two other Baitson males associated with Menston in the mid-17th century. John Baitson may have married a woman called Elizabeth Smithe in Guiseley in 1622 and buried her in 1657; and Samuel Baitson, who was buried in 1654, the same year as the likely death of Samuel Bateson of Windhill.

 

Discussion

With so few Calverley records, consideration was given to the possibility that the Batesons came to Windhill by way of neighbouring parishes. As described above, there were Bateson families in Guiseley and Otley parishes. One such family had property interests in Menston, Yeadon, Baildon and perhaps Esholt. Their names were Abraham, Andrew, Christopher and William, the same as those brothers from Windhill. At first, this was taken to be a remarkable coincidence: it was thought unlikely that William Baytson, for example, could have flitted between two different parishes and baptised his children in either. He would have had to baptise John in Windhill in 1586 followed by Margret in Guiseley in 1587 then Grace in Wrose in early 1590 followed by Antoni 10 months later in Guiseley - a most unlikely scenario, though not a completely impossible one.

 

Then a deed held by Hull University came to light. It listed William's surviving children. Dated in 1613, it stated that part of William's property was for the "use of J.B. [his son and heir John], who shall pay £10 each to Grace, Christopher and Isabel, other children of W.B." [14]

John and Grace were born to a William Bateson in Calverley in 1586 and 1590 respectively, while Cristofer and Essibel were born to a William Batson in Guiseley in 1596 and 1599. This looked like evidence that the William Batesons of Calverley and Guiseley could be one and the same.
Unfortunately, Margret, Antoni and Elizabeth, who do not appear in the deed, were also born to a William Batson, in Guiseley, between 1587 and 1590. Although Elizabeth died in 1587 and there was no further record of Antony, Margret survived until 1616/17.

 

There is one other coincidence that may add weight to the proposition that some of the Windhill Batesons moved to Guiseley. The christian name Leonard was not particularly common in the 16th and 17th centuries - only 14 are recorded for Guiseley and Calverley. So it is possible that a Lenard Bateson who was buried in Guiseley in 1595 was the same man who was born to Peter Baytson in Windhill in 1575.

 

Of the other three sons of Peter Baytson, there is no evidence that Christopher moved to Guiseley.

 

Andrew was a rare name in Guiseley (though popular in Calverley). The Andrew Batson who married Susan Lister in 1600 then, after her death in 1612, Jane Howmes in 1616 was possibly one of the brothers.

 

Abraham may also have moved to Guiseley. His children were Jeremie, John, Grace and Rebecca. John was born in or before 1606 and may have married Elizabeth Smithe in 1622. If correct (he would have been an unusually young groom), this is the man whose son Abraham (b 1630) was mentioned in a 1652 Settlement, recorded in the Hull Papers. [14]

 

So, although the evidence is scarcely conclusive, it is just possible that the sons of Peter Baytson could have owned property in Guiseley parish as well as in Windhill and even had children baptised in both.
One, or perhaps two, families bearing the Bateson name remained in Calverley parish in the 17th and early 18th centuries.
Unfortunately, none of the descendants of either the Guiseley or the Calverley families appear to have had a son called Joseph, who moved back to Windhill and married Mary Rawnsley in 1790.

 

As Cudworth wrote, 'We believe the link is missing connecting the present Batesons with the Peter Bateson of 1580, but the coincidence of the still existing name is strong presumptive evidence of a former connection' [1]

 

References and Notes

 

1    William Cudworth, Round About Bradford, Thomas Brear, 1876 pp 400-404. (Not all the deeds he mentions are available to view)

2    See image of copy of 1584 Survey re Peter Baitson

3    Document No WYL500/138 in the Stansfield Muniments provides a summary of the Deed, which is in poor condition: dated 20 March 1616, it names Francis Gledstone of Westmarton in Craven, yeoman, and Isobel his wife - (sister and heiress of Andrew Bateson of Wyndhill son of Christopher Bateson) to George Nelson of Idle, tanner, regarding Bateson's Hagge (5 acres, part of Idle woods). (‘Hagge’ may refer to an enclosure in woodland hedged with hawthorn). Isabel Baytson married Francis Gledstone of Skipton in 1611. He was recorded as a Seatholder at the Old Chapel in Idle in 1634, suggesting that the family still lived in the district

4    in ‘Historical Notices’ p 69 by J Horsfall Turner, Idle, 1901

5    See Rent Books in W Yorks Archives ref: WYL500/809 – 820, MMC/58-65, 21D88

      See also Idlethorp by Wright Watson, Bank House Media, 2009

      See Notes on the Rent Books below

6    from Jowett Family Estate records No JOW/2/59 in West Yorks Archives

7    In Stott-Stanhope Manuscripts in W Yorks Archives ref: StSt/2/254

8    from a family tree published by John Brackpool

9    See Guiseley tithe map at http://tithemaps.leeds.gov.uk/

10  from 'Yorkshire Fines: 1593', Feet of Fines of the Tudor period [Yorks]: part 3: 1583-94 (1889), pp 186-201

11  listed in Yeadon, Yorkshire by T Illingworth, 1980

12  from Esholt Priory Estate Accounts, 1539-40 in Bradford Antiquary New Series Vol 4

13  in 'Baildon and the Baildons' Vol 3 p178 by W Paley, Lund Humphries & Co, 1924

14  Yeadon deeds - 1613, 1651, 1652 (U DDCV2/77/43-45), Hull University Archives

 

Notes on the Rent Books [5]

Books detailing the rents paid to the Manor of Idle are available from 1614 to 1782.

In 1614, Peter Bateson’s Windhill property comprised:

1¾ oxgangs of land of the other moiety of a messuage called Windell. It was shared with Hugh Yewdall and amounted to 53 acres and 2 roods for which they each paid an annual rent of 16s 2d.

He was probably a copyholder, paying a nominal rent to the Lord. Copyholders of the Cliffords could, upon the execution of a 'fine', extend their leases and pass them down the generations.


The factors who collected the rents adhered to the naming conventions established by the 1584 Survey until well into the 18th century.
In 1614, for example, two of the landholders in Windhill were named as Hugh Yewdall and Peter Baitson, each of whom owed 16s 2d in rent. Peter probably died in the 1580s and Hugh certainly died in 1604, yet the old names, measurements and valuations were still being used.


In the 1630 Rent Book, Samuel Bateson owed 8s 1d in rent, indicating that he occupied half the original holding. Messrs Smith, Elliston, Dickinson and Craven paid a total of 8s 0d for land that elsewhere was described as Bateson’s Land, hinting that this was the other half of the holding.


In 1631 and 1635, the Rent Books make it clear that the land was formerly Peter Bateson’s.

After Samuel’s death around 1654 , the land was referred to as Peter Baitson’s Ancient Land, a reversion to its title in the early 1600s.


In 1687, in a reprise of the 1584 Survey, Peter Baitson’s extensive lands in Windhill were listed. The occupiers were William & Joshua Denby and Robert Arthington. The Henbanks and Idlewood Hagg of Peter Baitson’s anc (= ancient) land were also mentioned.


In 1696, the Rent Book of that year described William and Joshua Denby’s holding as William Baitson’s ancient land, William being one of Peter Baitson’s five known sons – proof, it seems, that the holding was passed from father to son. 


In Rent Books compiled in 1715 William, Robert & John Denby and Robert Arthington were described as the occupiers of Baitson’s Ancient Land. The Arthington family rented one fourth of the land until at least 1782.

 

 

 

Please use the links below to access the histories of the known Bateson ancestors.

 

Additional References

 

1  Printed in Windhill Wesleyan Mission by Arthur Costigan, published by Windhill Community Association, 1989

2  Round About Bradford by William Cudworth, serialised in Bradford Observer, Aug-Nov 1875

3  A Short Description of Crag Cottage by William Peel, 1857

 

Joseph's children

Joseph’s seven children – three girls and four boys – were born between 1791 and 1804.

 

Elizabeth, the eldest, was born in 1791 and married John Peel, one of two well-to-do Peel brothers from Keighley, around 1806. She may have had as many as 11 children. John was originally a cloth manufacturer, but when the trade began to die out in the 1830s, he took over the Foresters' Arms Public House on Briggate. He was recorded as a Trustee of the Wesleyan Mission in 1837. Elizabeth took over the running of the alehouse on his death in 1845. She died in 1865 and, like the rest of the family, was buried in the Wesleyan Cemetery.

 

Hannah was born in 1792. Little is known of her other than her marriage to a Corn Miller called John Smith in 1812. The couple had four children - Mary (1814), Henrietta (1821), Bateson Rawnsley (1828) and Charlotte Rebecca (1830). The family are scattered in the 1841 and 1851 censuses, probably because John almost certainly died in the 1830s.

Hannah and Henrietta appear together in Bradford in 1841. Hannah was a Glass Minder, whatever that may entail, while Henrietta was a mill worker. She married Joseph Robinson in 1844, at which point she disappears from view.

During both censuses, Charlotte was living with her cousin Sarah Peel's family in Windhill. She married John Bell in 1853 and went to live in Guiseley.

Bateson was with his Uncle James in Windhill in 1841. He married Ann McNamara in 1850 and moved to Bradford. He emigrated to Massachusetts around 1865 and died in New York in 1917.

Mary's fate is not known.

 

James was born in 1794 and married Isabella Wade in 1815. He ran a small cloth making business at Windhill Crag, the ownership possibly shared with his father. He had seven children, four of them boys. The first-born, Nancy, married John Dixon in 1844; their son Thomas did well enough to move into Highfield House, Baildon at the turn of the century. Sammy, probably died in infancy. Joseph (1819), William (1822) and James (1824) carried on the family wool business and became wealthy men and pillars of the community.

James’s grandson, William Jennings, married an Emily Tetley and had a daughter, Ruthetta. After Emily died in 1870, he emigrated to New South Wales, married Annie Goldsmith and had five sons.

One of James’s great-grandsons, James, also emigrated to New South Wales but died in 1890, apparently unmarried.

 

Rebecca was born in 1796 and married the other Peel brother, William, around 1820. He had a cloth manufacturing business so that, by 1841, he could describe himself as ‘a gentleman of independent means’. Unfortunately, Rebecca had died in 1831. Their only daughter, Henrietta Maria Peel, kept a Diary, part of which was later published by her devoted father after her untimely death in 1863, aged 43. As a memorial to his wife and daughter, he endowed a fine stained glass window and plaque in St Paul’s Parish Church in Shipley.

 

William Peel [5]

William is of interest because he used his wealth to fund a cultured lifestyle in a comfortable house and to indulge in an eccentric passion for things Druidic. Some time around 1838, he built a house, Crag Cottage, on the west side of Briggate on a steep slope dropping down to the Bradford Canal. It was a well-appointed building, extravagantly furnished. A room at the top of the house was equipped as an astronomical observatory, with state of the art telescopes.  Like many early Victorians, Peel believed that any oddly-shaped rocks must have been fashioned by supernatural beings such as Druids.  Talking about Windhill Crag, he wrote that “on these crags the ancient Druids ranged” [3].  And that the pre-Roman remains of Druidism were to be found nearby. On the east side of Briggate he collected and arranged rocks “as near the original as history describes; that is the Altar, Archdruid’s Chair, and Mistletoe Table.”  He also built a complex of religious buildings: an exotic-looking church in the Roman style stood next to a vicarage. Next to that was a tower decorated with Druidic symbols. It had a clock dedicated to Robert Peel, the Prime Minister in the 1830s and 1840s. The following couplet formed part of the inscription:

     When this clock doth strike the hour

     Think of the price of meal and flour.

A telescope mounted on the roof directed its gaze heaven-wards.

 

Peel’s nephew, Charles Bateson, would have seen, perhaps played with, the telescopes in his house and tower and may have developed his passion for astronomy that is related in stories passed down the generations.

 

George was baptised in Shipley on 16 November 1798.

 

Joseph had two further sons - Jonas was born in 1801 but died less than 2 years later.

Another boy, also called Jonas, was born in 1804. It is not known what became of him.