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Edward Harrison, Butcher
Edward Harrison, Spinner
The Harrison Farm
Thomas Harrison, of Manchester
The Harrisons of Thorlby
Edward Harrison's Youth
Thomas Harrison, Tailor of Skipton

Fourth Generation - Edward Harrison        

           In the search for the father of Thomas Harrison, I have found two Edward Harrisons of the right age, born in Skipton, and neither of them died in childhood.

Edward Harrison, Butcher

           The first Edward Harrison was born on 19 April 1787, in Skipton and baptized on 12 August of the same year [1] . He was the son of Matthew Harrison, a butcher of Skipton, and Elizabeth Harrison, nee Wood. As none of the later Harrisons entered the trade of Butcher, it seems highly unlikely that this Edward Harrison was our ancestor [2] .

          However, Edward Harrison’s father, Matthew, was the son of another Edward Harrison, ‘fruiterer’. As our Thomas Harrison was apprenticed as a Tailor, it seems highly improbable that this line is our Harrison line. Later Census returns would have definitively resolved the matter had either of the Edward Harrisons survived until 1841. Unfortunately, neither of them did [3] . I am fairly certain that this line of Harrisons is not our line, as I have found no links between this branch of Harrisons and ours in later Census returns. At present, I am still researching the ancestry and career of this Edward Harrison, son of Matthew, in order to definitively exclude him, or failing that, to show the family links with the current research below [4] .    

Edward Harrison, Spinner

          The real father of Thomas Harrison, Edward Harrison, was born on 21 June 1788 and baptized on 29 August of the same year [5] . Edward was the second son of Thomas Harrison and his second wife Mary Petyt. Edward was one of ten children by this marriage, and had three brothers and six sisters. Within a year of Edward’s birth, however, one of his older sisters, Margaret, was buried at the tender age of four in Skipton Parish Church [6] . Although Edward would have been too young to remember Margaret, her death would have affected his older siblings Mary, aged eight, and Anthony, aged five [7] . Their sister Susanna, aged two and a half, would have been too young to understand where her sister had gone, but would probably have grieved for a lost playmate [8] .  The death of their sister may have brought the Harrison children closer together.

          After a break of five years, during which time their mother, Mary Harrison, may have been coming to terms with her grief, the family started to grow again. Edward, and his three surviving siblings, were joined in the family home by Leah, in 1793, William, in 1794, Richard in 1795, Elizabeth in 1798, and Sarah in 1800 [9] .

       In addition to these nine surviving children, Mary Harrison, nee Petyt, would also have had three other charges, from her husbands first marriage, to care for. Thomas Harrison had married his first wife, Ann Moorhouse in Gargrave, on 28 January 1772 [10] .  Of the four children that Ann Harrison, nee Moorhouse, had carried to term, only three had survived. Two days before Christmas in 1777, five-year-old Thomas, three and a half year old Anne, and two and a half year old John, had watched their little unbaptised sister, Elizabeth, being buried [11] .  Barely three weeks later, on 10 January 1778, they would also have had to watch their mother being laid to rest [12] . It is highly likely that Ann Harrison probably died from complications resulting from childbirth. Her children would have been too little to understand exactly what had happened to their baby sister, and their mother but the impact of the grief may have united them as a family.

          These young children needed a mother to care for them, so it is not surprising that Thomas Harrison soon found another wife, after a respectable period of mourning. So, Thomas Harrison married, as his second wife, Mary Petyt, daughter of Anthony Petyt and Mary Heelis, on 18 May 1780 in Skipton Parish Church [13] . 

The Harrison Farm  

       With twelve children within the household, the family was of a considerable size. However, the five daughters would have been worth their weight in gold to Mary Harrison as she struggled to keep on top of the daily household chores. This would also have included curing meat, and butter and cream making as well as baking bread and other general household chores. As soon as the boys were old enough, they too would have taken their part in the chores of the household, and even perhaps have begun to take on some of the heavier tasks around the farm. Edward Harrison would have been expected to play his part equally with the rest.

       Thomas Harrison was a small holder, farming land at Stirton and Thorlby as a Grazier, and would have probably welcomed the extra labour that a family with seven sons would have given him [14] . The cost of employing day labourers on a farm would have been fairly expensive, about two shillings to two shillings and six pence a day in 1793, and about half the price in 1780 [15] . The advances in cotton manufacturing and the increases in wages there had necessitated the increase in agricultural wages. If the Harrisons had employed servants, a man servant would have cost about ten guineas a year in 1793, and a female servant five guineas. The advantage of a large family for a farmer meant that labour costs could be kept to a minimum and profits to a maximum. However, these would have been long working days for the young Edward, from six am to six pm in the summer, and eight am till dark in the winter. The farm was certainly profitable enough to enable Thomas to keep his large family well fed. This was no mean feat. Loosing only two out of fourteen children in early childhood was well above the normal mortality rates of the late eighteenth century [16] . 

          It is not certain whether Thomas Harrison held the land at Stirton and Thorlby in freehold, or whether he was a tenant farmer [17] . Harrisons had certainly farmed the area since the early 1600’s, but it is not certain whether our Thomas Harrison could claim family ties with the other families of Harrisons recorded in the Stirton and Thorlby area in the 1700s.

Thomas Harrison of Manchester

       According to the brief entries in Skipton Parish Registers, our Thomas Harrison was born about 1748, the son of John Harrison of Manchester, Tallow Chandler [18] . It is difficult to understand why our Thomas Harrison moved from Manchester, where there would have been plenty of opportunities for work in the late eighteenth century, unless there were some family connection with the area [19] . In addition, taking on the task of managing a smallholding would necessitate some practical knowledge, and the necessary funds to do so [20] .

       Thomas Harrison’s second father-in-law, Anthony Petyt, was a yeoman farmer and farmed at Crookrise, near to Stirton and Thorlby [21] . This would indicate that Thomas Harrison was, either of the same social standing, or had married to increase his status. Certainly, Thomas’s son by his first marriage, John Harrison, later farmed at Crookrise, and married Arabella Clark, daughter of John Clark, another farmer at Crookrise [22] . It would therefore appear that Thomas Harrison mixed with other smallholders and yeomen farmers and, at the very least, married into the local yeomanry.

         I have recently discovered some additional information which may be indicative of Thomas Harrison’s status in Skipton. In 1795 Thomas Harrison, grazier, George Smith, shoemaker, and William Alcock appear to have been executors of the will of a Jane Wharton [23] . This included a cottage in Newmarket Street occupied by a Peter Moor, a cottage occupied by a widow Tillotson, and a garth in Back Lane occupied by Jn.Spencer. Also a messuage and a shop opposite the Market Cross in Skipton, probably on the High Street, where Jane Wharton had lived which was occupied by Gill a Haberdasher. It would appear that these properties were inherited by Thomas Harrison et al. In the 1841 Census Thomas Harrisons grandson, another Thomas Harrison, was living in a cottage in Newmarket Street, and his granddaughters were Milliners in the High Street [24] . It is highly probable that these properties were the very same ones that their grandfather had inherited from Jane Wharton.

The Harrisons of Thorlby

  In 1778 a Thomas Harrison, the elder, of Thorlby gentleman, with Thomas Chippendale of Eastby, gentleman, were the executors of John Gott, of Otley, and Samuel Swire, of Ashton, gentleman [25] . In this transaction a capital messuage in Sheep Street Skipton, a cottage and Millfields were transferred. It is not certain who these properties were inherited by, but Thomas Harrison may have gained from this transaction. This Thomas Harrison, the elder of Thorlby, is not the selfsame as our Thomas Harrison, but I would contend that he was related to him. Thomas Harrison the elder married an Anne Holmes, and I have not found any of their children in Skipton [26] .

       This Thomas Harrison was born about 1714, the eldest son of another Thomas Harrison, farmer of Stirton and Thorlby and Margaret Oldfield [27] . One of Thomas Harrison’s brothers was called John Harrison and was christened on 30 May 1723 [28] . I think it is highly probable that this John Harrison was the ‘Tallow Chandler’ of Manchester who moved from Thorlby to Manchester in the mid eighteenth century. If this were so it would explain how his son Thomas Harrison farmed at Thorlby and mixed with the local yeomanry.

       Our Thomas Harrison’s father, John Harrison, was one of eight children born to Thomas Harrison and Margaret Oldfield [29] . There were three older brothers, Thomas, William and Christopher and it would have been logical to expect that either William or Christopher would have inherited the farm after the demise of the childless Thomas Harrison. However, as there were two sons named Christopher, it would appear that only William survived to adulthood [30] . As the third eldest surviving son, it is no wonder that John Harrison wandered to Manchester to make his own career. At present the details are unknown, but it would appear that by the 1772 our Thomas Harrison, son of John Harrison, had returned to Thorlby to work with his uncle Thomas and had begun to farm by himself. It is highly probable that our Thomas inherited the farm from his uncle Thomas, on his death in 1794 [31] .

       John Harrison’s father Thomas Harrison was christened on 28 September 1683, son of Thomas Harrison of Stirton and Susan Crofte [32] . Thomas was a farmer of Stirton. His wife Susan was of the Crofte family which had been in Skipton for generations [33] . There may be a connection between these Harrisons and the Harrisons of Flasby. A John Harrison, of Flasby, gentleman had a daughter Ann Harrison, his sole heir, who had married a Ferrand of Flasby Hall [34] . Ann Ferrand, nee Harrison, had a son Brian Ferrand and three daughters, the youngest of which, Blanche, married Hugh Currer of Kildwick hall [35] .

Edward Harrisons Youth

              Edward Harrison would have grown up on this smallholding and would have helped in the daily chores that involved. One of these chores would probably have been spinning and weaving the wool from sheep that his father no doubt herded.

              At the turn of the century, when Edward was twelve, he may have been a domestic piece worker, producing cloth in the family home for sale to travelling wool merchants. Edward may also have attended the Skipton Parish Sunday Church Sunday School, which first opened in Skipton on 1 June 1776 In Court House or Tolbooth in Middle Row [36] . However, by 1812 Edward was a cotton spinner. In the year, that Edward turned eighteen; he lost both his mother and his oldest sister Mary.

              In March 1806, Edward would have seen his twenty-four year old sister Mary die from Consumption [37] . Barely four months later, his mother Mary Harrison was buried in July, aged forty-five [38] . She may have died from the same disease. Consumption or Tuberculosis was a deadly disease that spread through contaminated water. If Edward’s mother and sister had died from Consumption, Edward may also have been infected.

              Less than two years later, Edward also lost his father, Thomas Harrison, who died at sixty years of age on 3 February 1808 [39] . Thomas Harrison was buried inside Skipton Parish Church, ‘east of the porch in the aisle’ [40] . At the turn of the century and in the early nineteenth century, being buried inside the Parish Church was extremely fashionable [41] . However, after gas was fitted in Skipton Parish church in 1843, at certain times of the year the stench of the bodies buried under the church became unbearable [42] . The bodies were therefore removed when the church was re-flagged, and reburied elsewhere, probably in the churchyard. Thomas Harrison’s body would therefore no longer lie under the church, but a memorial stone, which may have lain over him, may still be extant [43] . In his will Thomas left his estate to his eldest son Thomas Harrison [44] His will was proved on 14th May 1808 and his estate valued at £200 [45] Thomas was described as a gentleman of Thorlby, in the parish of Skipton.        

       Edward Harrison was therefore orphaned by the age of twenty and would have had to make his own way in the world. He may have stayed for a while with his older stepbrother John Harrison, a Grazier at Gawflatts, or simply moved into Skipton to make his own way. It seems that Edward decided to move into Skipton and worked as a cotton spinner, probably in one of the early cotton factories in Skipton [46] . One of the earliest Cotton Mills in Skipton was High Mills, founded near the castle woods in 1785 by Messrs. Garforth, Blackburn and Sidgewick [47] . The High Mill ‘was engaged in spinning cotton yarn on the old wooden frames’ [48] . This was powered initially by water [49] . In 1785, a day shift and a night shift were employed at the mill, but this did not last long as the water supply was not adequate. A later part of the mill, turned by steam was built in 1825. It is possible that Edward worked here, or in one of the other Cotton Mills that were in Skipton in 1812, perhaps even in Isaac Dewhurst’s cotton Mill on Newmarket Street [50] . Further investigations of early nineteenth century trade directories may be reveal more information. 

       At the age of twenty-four, Edward Harrison married Elizabeth Barker on 4 June 1812 in Skipton Parish Church [51] .  His eldest daughter Ann Harrison was born in 1813 [52] . She later married Stephen Heelis of Manchester [53] .   Joseph Harrison was the eldest son born in 1815 [54] . Another son John died in infancy, but the youngest daughter Mary married Jesse Brayshaw [55] . His son Thomas Harrison was born on 19 March 1817 [56] .Edward was a cotton spinner and was buried on 12 December 1836 aged 48 [57] . His wife Elizabeth was buried on 2 July 1832 aged 44 in Skipton [58] . 

       Edward’s sisters married well. Susannah married John Robinson, gentleman in 1817, and Leah married Edward Robinson, grocer in 1826 [59] . Leah was also a witness at the marriage of James Dewhurst, cotton manufacturer and Elizabeth Shiers on 2 September 1816 [60] . His sister Ann Harrison married William Cowman on 24 May 1813 [61] ,. His sister Elizabeth married John Reader, tailor, in 1834 [62] .



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[1] Skipton Parish Registers Vol.3.

[2] However, to prove that

[3] Census returns for Skipton, Carleton, Embsay, etc. have been trawled in vain.

[4] This will involve a trawl of IGI looking for a marriage of an Edward Harrison other than ours in Skipton, and looking at Business directories for an Edward Harrison butcher or Tailor, and perhaps Monumental Inscriptions.

[5] Skipton Parish Registers.

[6] This Margaret Harrison was born on 31 August and christened on 17 October, 1784; she was buried on 22 February 1789 in Skipton Parish Church. Skipton Parish Registers.

[7] Mary Harrison was christened in Skipton on 27 November 1781. Anthony Harrison was baptized on 8 May 1783 in Skipton.

[8] Susanna was baptized on 5 September 1786 in Skipton.

[9] Leah Harrison was baptized in Skipton, North Yorkshire, 6/05/1793. William Harrison was baptized in Skipton, North Yorkshire, 23/09/1794. (He married Sarah Myers in Skipton, North Yorkshire, 29/10/1826.- see page??? For details of this family connection with the Horners.)  Richard Harrison was baptized in Skipton, North Yorkshire, 31/12/1795.  Elizabeth Harrison was baptized in Skipton, North Yorkshire, 6/01/1798. Sarah Harrison was baptized in Skipton, North Yorkshire, 14/08/1800. Skipton Parish Records. William Harrison was buried 1 February 1829 aged 33. This would mean he was born about 1796. 

[10] Gargrave Parish Registers.

[11] Thomas Harrison was baptized in Skipton, 30/12/1772. (Thomas Harrison was buried on 24 March 1838 of Thorlby aged  65. Thomas Harrison widower, farmer of Moor side,  married Sarah Shiers spinster of Hazlewood, on 23 November 1836 witnesses Thomas Petyt and Grace Harrison. ) Ann Harrison was baptized in Skipton, 2/02/1774. John Harrison was baptized in Skipton, 21/09/1775. (He married Arabella Clark in Skipton, 5/10/1803, and became the father of Ann Harrison in 1804,  Mary Harrison, 1806,  Thomas Clark Harrison, 1807,  and John Harrison, 1809. John Harrison of Nungobyes was buried in Skipton on 22 January 1814 aged 38. ) Elizabeth Harrison was buried on 23/12/1777 in Skipton. Holy Trinity Parish Registers.

[12] Ann Harrison, wife of Thomas Harrison, farmer, Stirton was buried on 10 January 1778 in Skipton. Skipton Parish Registers.

[13] Although the date of the burial of Ann Harrison, nee Moorhouse has not been established, Thomas is recorded as a widower in the details of his marriage at Skipton Parish Church.

[14] He is alternately described as a Grazier and farmer in the baptism entries of his children.

[15] For the Following information on wages in 1793 see Dawsons, History pp. 272-3.

[16] I don’t know how I know this….find a relevant source to back it up!!

[17] I have yet to check the relevant records, including the Bolton Abbey Rent Map of 1730 held at Bolton Abbey Estate Office. (Well it was there in the 1870s!)

[18] This is the way in which Thomas Harrison is described in the entries of his children’s baptisms in Skipton Parish Registers in the 1780s and 1790s. They are remarkably consistent. His date of birth has been extrapolated from the age given in the entry of his funeral in Skipton Parish Registers in 1808.

[19] I have yet to prove any family connection with the local Harrison’s in Stirton and Thorlby, but I think it is highly probable that Thomas Harrison’s father, John Harrison came originally from the Stirton/Thorlby area.

[20] At present I am uncertain as to how large the smallholding was, or what amounts of capital would have been necessary to rent the land.

[21] Anthony Pettyt is described as a yeoman farmer in the baptism entries of his children and grandchildren in the Parish Registers of Skipton, Addingham, and Bolton Abbey.

[22] See baptism entries of John Harrison’s children in the Skipton Parish Registers.

[23] See Rowley Archive, West Yorkshire Deeds, dated 23 April 1795.

[24] See above

[25] see Rowley Archive, Yorkshire Dees, dates 7/8 Decemeber 1778.

[26] Thomas Hrrison married Ann Holmes of Kildwick parish on 31 July 1743. Skipton Parish Registers.

[27] Thomas Harrison was christened on 5 January 1714, he died in 1794. Skipton Parish registers.

[28] Skipton Parish Registers.

[29] After Thomas, was born Susssana who was christened on 12 July 1713, William christened on 29 December 1718, Christopher christened on 4 August 1720, Mary, christened on 16 January 1721 and buried on 3 September 1723, John, christened 30 May 1723, and Christopher christened 1 June 1725. Skipton Parish Registers.

[30] I have yet to check this.

[31] I have yet to check the details of any wills that may have been left.

[32] Skipton Parish registers. Thomas Harrison married Susan Crofte on 12 June 1682. Susan was buried on 15 January 1704, and Thomas was buried on 21 February 1719.

[33] See below

[34] See The Ecclesiastical Patish of gargrave Vol. 1, by Harry M. Gill, p. 23.

[35] Gill says, somewhat confusingly that Ann Harrison married Henry Currer of Kildwick Hall(1587-1653). I have yet to check this.

[36] See Rowley, The Book of Skipton, p. 55.

[37] Mary Harrison died on 7 March 1806 and was buried on 10 March 1806 in Skipton Parish Church.

[38] Mary Harrison, nee Pettyt, wife of Thomas Harrison, died on 27 July 1806, and was buried in Skipton Parish Church on 29 July 1806.

[39] Thomas Harrison died on 3 February 1808, and was buried on 5 February 1808 in Skipton Parish Church.

[40] See burial entry for Thomas Harrison in Skipton Parish Registers.

[41] The following information is paraphrased from the Guide Book to Skipton Parish Church.

[42] See Dawson, History p.157.

[43] I have yet to find the stone, either in the church, or amongst the gravestones.

[44] Thomas’s executors were John Harrison of Thorlby, farmer (son), James Moorhouse of  Gargrave, farmer, Charles Tindall of Skipton, gentleman,  and John Standing of Gargrave, Innholder. Probate records from PRO record 295.

[45] Thomas left £50 to his son Thomas. His real estate was left to his executors to sell. The lease on his farm and the chance of renewal were also to be sold. as were his livestock. His household goods were also to be sold. After settling his debts the £50 legacy was to go to his son Thomas Harrison. The residue was to be held in trust for those of his children Ann, John, Mary, Anthony, Susan, Edward, Leah, William, Richard, Elizabeth and Sarah survived him, until they were 21. Probate records from PRO record 295,.

[46] Edward is recorded as a cotton spinner in the details of his marriage in 1812, in Skipton Parish Registers.

[47] See Dawson, History, p. 280.

[48] Dawson, History, p.280.kipt

[49] See Rowley, The Book of Skipton, p. 75 for the following information on High Mill.

[50] See page ?? for discussion of possible links between Edward barker and Isaac Dewhurst.

[51] Skipton Parish Registers.

[52] Ann Harrison was born on 10 April 1813 and baptized on 4 July 1813. Holy Trinity Parish registers, Skipton.

[53] They married in Skipton on 3 August 1831. Thomas Harrison was a witness

[54] Joseph was born 10 February 1815 and christened on 16 April 1815. Holy Trinity, Skipton Parish registers.

[55] John Harrison was born on 22 April 1825,christened on 12 June 1825 and was buried on 25 December 1827 aged 2 years and 6 months. His sister Mary was christened on 25 August 1822 and married Jesse Brayshaw,power loom weaver on 18 July 1843. Holy trinity Skipon, Parish registers.

[56] Holy Trinity SkiptonParish Registers.

[57] Holy Trinity Skipton Parish Registers..

[58] Holy Trinity Skipton  Parish Registers.

[59] John Robinson and Susannah married 21October 1817. Edward Robinson and Leah married 16 January 1826. Holy Trinity Skipton Parish Registers. In 1841 John and Susannah are living at Market Place in Skipton. John is 45 and a draper, and Susannah is 50 with no occupation. They live with Mary Robinson, 20, Helen Robinson, 20, John Robinson, 15, an apprentice, Stephen Robinson, 12, an apprentice, and John Tipperley, 20 and Peter Buck, 15, also apprentices. An Anne Walsh, 25, and Ellen Pollard 35 are their female servants and a Mrs. Brown is the Cook. 1841 census Skipton.

[60] Holy Trinity Skipton Parish registers. Their brother Thomas Harrison had married as his second wife Sarah Shiers in 1836.

[61] Skipton Parish registers. In 1841 Skipton census William and Anne Cowman live in Chancery Lane Skipton.  William is a tailor aged 45, and Ann is also aged 45 and of independent means. A Henry Cowman, aged 11 lives with them. Henry may be their son. This means that the Anne Harrison who married William Cowman would be about 18-20 when she married. Therefore this Anne Harrison is not the sister of Edward Harrison. Ann was born about 1775. there is an Ann Harrison aged 40 buried on 19 January 1815 of union square skipton. This may be Ann.

[62] They married in Skipton on 15 May 1834. Parish Registers. Holy Trinity SkiptonParish Registers. John Reader and his wife Elizabeth are recorded in the 1841 Cenus in Embsay. John is 33, a taeilor and Elizabeth is aged 30. They live with their daughter Ann, aged 5. An Anne Harrison, 55 a domestic servant also lives with them. 1841 Census. If this Elizabeth was the sister of Edward she would be about 43 years old in 1841. therefore this Elizabeth harison cannot be the sister of Edward,.

[63] See Skipton Census 1841. In 1881 Beamsley Census Elizabeth Harrison, nee unknown, later lived with her married daughter Sarah Gill in New hall Beamsley. Her son in law was a farmer of 5 acres

[64] . Margaret Eddison was christened on 12 November 1830 in Skipton. IGI


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