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Fifth Generation - The Elizabeth Barkers and the Barker Connections        


       In my search for the wife of Edward Harrison, I have found two likely candidates.  These two Elizabeth Barkers are cousins and trace their descent from common grandparents, with only two years between them. One was born in 1785, and the other in 1787 which would make both these Elizabeth Barkers ideal candidates.

                   The first Elizabeth Barker was born on 27 October and christened on 25 November 1787 in Skipton Parish Church [1] . She was the eldest daughter of Thomas Barker, Blacksmith, and Ann Sagar (daughter of Warwick Sagar of Askrigg, a Parish Clerk). This Elizabeth is the closest in age to Edward Harrison, being only a year older, and would therefore appear to be the best candidate for his wife. However, at the age of nineteen, this Elizabeth gave birth to a daughter, Susanna Barker [2] . If Elizabeth were able to marry the father of her child, she would probably have done so within a year or two of the child’s birth. Therefore, if Edward Harrison were the father of her child, one would expect a marriage before 1812. As there was no such marriage, it indicates that Edward was not the father of Susanna [3] . This does not necessarily preclude this Elizabeth Barker from being the bride of Edward Harrison in 1812, but it might have meant that her six-year-old fatherless daughter joined them in the family home.  It would therefore seem unlikely that this Elizabeth Barker was the wife of Edward Harrison. It is possible that this Elizabeth never married. In 1841 this Elizabeth Barker lives on Mount Pleasant on the High Street, in the Household of her daughter Susannah, her son-in-law William Stirk and their daughters Ellen and Mary [4] .

  The woman I think is the most likely candidate to be the wife of Edward Harrison is the second Elizabeth Barker born k in Skipton on 25 January and christened on 20 March 1785 [5] . This Elizabeth was the daughter of John Barker and Mary Dewhurst.  Even though Elizabeth was three years older than Edward Harrison, there may be a possible family connection, which may prove that this Elizabeth married our Edward Harrison. Elizabeth’s mother Mary Dewhurst was the daughter of Abraham Dewhurst, weaver, of Morton banks near Bingley. Another Dewhurst, Isaac had set up a Cotton Mill in Skipton on Newmarket Street by 1822. It may be possible that there is a family link between these two Dewhursts. If so, the fact that Edward Harrison was a Cotton spinner has added relevance. It may mean that it was through the Cotton Mills that Edward met Elizabeth, or that Edward was employed in the cotton Mill because of his relationship with Elizabeth. As yet the connection remains unproven, but this may help to explain why Edward’s son Thomas was already earning enough as a Tailor to support a family in 1841.

Elizabeth Barker was the first of four children, two sons and two daughters, born to John Barker and Mary Dewhurst: only the two daughters, Mary and Elizabeth, survived to adulthood [6] . When Elizabeth was only fifteen months old, her five-week-old brother, Thomas, died from ‘convulsions’ [7] . This may have been ‘cot death’, but there is no way of knowing for certain what the disease was.  Four years later, on 29 December 1789, Elizabeth’s mother Mary died ‘in childbirth’, aged thirty-eight [8] . As Mary’s new son John, was baptized on 3 December, Mary probably died from complications resulting from childbirth, four weeks previously. Her four-year-old daughter Elizabeth may have seen her mother bedridden after the birth, and may have been present at her death. This must have been difficult for the little Elizabeth, to loose her mother only four days after Christmas. To add to the bereavement, Elizabeth’s new baby brother John died ‘of convulsions’ nine weeks later [9] . By the time Elizabeth was five, she had lost two brothers and her mother. Such tragedy in the family before Elizabeth had reached her fifth birthday would have surely left its mark.


Motherless, Elizabeth and her little sister Mary may have then been cared for by their Dewhurst or Barker relatives whilst their father earned his living as a Blacksmith. There is also a possibility that they may even have been cared for by elder half-brothers and sisters. Their mother, Mary Dewhurst, had been a widow when she married Elizabeth’s father John Barker. She had firstly married Thomas Bolton in 1774 [10] . Mary Bolton, nee Dewhurst, had borne three children to Thomas Bolton, Ostler, of whom a daughter Isabel and a son John alone survived [11] . The youngest daughter Mary Bolton had been buried, twenty-four weeks old, on 11 January 1784, only six months after the death from smallpox of her father Thomas Bolton [12] . Isabel Bolton, aged six, and John Bolton, aged three, would have remained with their mother Mary Dewhurst on her subsequent marriage to John Barker. Isabel would have been eleven and her brother eight years old on the death of their mother and probably too young too help look after their half-sisters. John Barker may have enlisted the help of sisters and grandparents to care for these four surviving children.

       Elizabeth was eight years old, and her sister Mary six, when their father John Barker married for the second time in August 1793 [13] . Franceis Jackson was the daughter of a farmer near west Bolton, (Bolton by Bowland), and the two may have met through John Barker’s Smithy Business. Her father Ralph Jackson may have had occasion to bring cattle or sheep to Skipton Market, and may have had his horses shoed whilst there. The Smithy may also have attended to farmer’s other metalwork needs. It certainly indicates that John Barker was of a similar status as a farmer or smallholder.  Within two years of John’s marriage to Francis, babies John and Dorothy had joined the family [14] . However, baby Dorothy died of smallpox at the age of eighteen months, and once again, the eleven year old Elizabeth would have had to watch a small coffin being carried out of her home [15] . Dorothy died on Christmas Eve, which must have reminded Elizabeth of the loss of her own mother Mary, who had died four days after Christmas. The event must have left an impact on Elizabeth’s sister Mary,  as she later named her first-born daughter Dorothy after the tiny infant half-sister she had once had [16] . However, Elizabeth’s father John Barker now at least had a son, John, to carry on the trade of Blacksmith.


          The Barkers had been working in Skipton as Blacksmith’s since the early eighteenth century and it seems to have been a family business. Elizabeth’s father John Barker and his two brothers, Christopher and Thomas, all worked as Blacksmith’s and may even have been in business together [GPW3]   [17] . These brothers followed in the family tradition. Their father Thomas Baker had worked as a blacksmith and his father the boy’s grandfather, John Barker, had also practiced as a Blacksmith in Skipton [18] . This John Barker, [GPW4]  Elizabeth’s great-grandfather, had married Susanna Heelis, daughter of Thomas Heelis of Thorlby, on 2 August 1733 in Skipton [19] .

             The Barkers had probably been living in Skipton since the fourteenth century. In the Poll Tax returns of 1379 there is an Isabella Barker who paid four pence tax in Skipton [20] . It is possible that the Barkers even held land in the fourteenth century. A Roger de Barker held one carucate of land in Cold Coniston from a Ranulf de Neville in 1302-3 [21] . In the muster rolls for Addingham of 1510-11 a Thomas Barker is recorded as an archer [22] . Alternatively, the Barkers may have had lands in Halton. In 1538 a William Barke and his heirs paid 3 pence for lands held there which are not specified [23] . In these rolls the lands of the Conyers including Kettlewell are not included. There were also Barkers in Kettlewell in 1522. In the Loan Book of 1522 a William Barker in Kettlewell is recorded as having goods or chattels worth six shillings and eight pence a year [24] . After this date no William Barkers are recorded, or even Barkers in Kettlewell. In the Lay subsidies of 1524 and 1525 George Barker of Halton is recorded as owning lands or goods worth over five pounds a years. In 1524 he is valued at ten pounds a year and paid a tax of five shillings, and in 1525 he pays three shillings on a valuation of three pounds. In 1543 the widow of a Henry barker is recorded as having goods or chattels worth seven pounds a year and pays a tax of three shillings in Skipton.

 The Barkers had been involved in Smithying since the early seventeenth century. In 1609 a William Barker was an officer of Earl Francis Clifford, earl of Cumberland and he supervised searches for Coal at Holden [25] . In 1612 William Barker, Earnley and Peter Jennings, gentleman of Silsden paid the Earl weekly to work on the mines at Holden. In 1613 the Barkers were granted a monopoly of coalmining in the parish of Kildwick and the commons of Morton and Riddlesden. In 1615 the Holden pit was granted to Roger Barker of Skipton and Thomas Barker of Connonley for 3 years from 2 February 1615 ‘with libertie to sink, dig, get, carry away and disperse the coals therein’. For this privilege the Barkers paid Earl Francis ninety pounds rent and three hundred loads of coal a year which they delivered to the castle at their own expense. The Barkers were allowed the use of the colliers houses already built at Holden, and wood but had to pay for building a smithy there. The Holden Mine worked well for the Barkers and the Earl bought 400 loads for 4 pounds over and above the three hundred delivered as part of the lease. He also paid nine shillings to fill in the old pits. However, in 1617 the Barkers made a loss and in 1618 they were reimbursed sixteen pounds by the Earl. The Holden Mines were rented in 1619 at fifty eight pounds eleven shillings and nine pence. The Thomas Barker of Connonley who worked on the mines took possession of a tenement in Connonley in 1603 for the rent of seventeen shillings a year, held of George Clifford, earl of Cumberland [26] . Later on 9 January 1615/6 Thomas bought the property for seventy eight pounds. This property is today found where Gordon Terrace is in Connonley.

Another Thomas Barker of Connonley was recorded in the 1672 Hearth Tax returns as having four hearths in his house [27] .  This was quite a substantial house, and probably the same property bought in 1615/6. This property remained in the hands of the Barker family until 1785 when on the 6 December another Thomas Barker, son of Jonathan Barker of Connonley, Tanner, died. His son, another Jonathan Barker sold the land behind the House called the Croft to a Stephen Hargreaves.

In 1650 Phillip Swale, manager of the Wharton Swaledale estates, was associated with the group of Seekers in Swaledale who became some of the first converts to the teaching of George Fox and Quakerism [28] . This group included Philip Swales uncle Francis Smithson, Richard Robinson of Countersett, John Gunter, Robert and Adam Barker and many others, some of whom became partners in the Wharton and other mines in Swaledale. Philip Swales partner in the Wharton Mills, Adam Barker, continued Swales reports from 1687 until 1721 when Lord Wharton forfeited his estates [29] . In 1663 a Robert Barker, lead miner, smelter and merchant had a partnership with Francis Smithson, merchant of Richmond in the Kettlewell mines [30] . He moved to Kettlewell and took over the management of the mines. In 1669 the lease was surrendered and changed so that Phillip Swale could be a partner. The lease was of all the mines or veins of lead ore on the moors of Kettlewell. In 1669 a Robert Barker from Derbyshire was taken into partnership with Francis Smithson of Richmond and Philip Swale to work the mines in Kettlewell [31] . Barker had a complete half of the mines, paid half of the costs of wages, tools, materials etc. and paid the others twenty shillings per fother of lead of twenty two cwts. So long as Barker lived at Kettlewell and managed the mines he was to have twenty pounds a year as a salary. The mines opened and produced lead quite steadily until Barkers death in March 1680. Adam Barker of Richmond took over Robert Barkers work in Swaledale in 1680 when his brother Robert died. These Barkers originated from Wirksworth, Derbyshire. James Smithson then managed the Kettlewell mines. In 1675 Sir Thomas Wharton bought the manor of Ravensworth and made a partnership with Phillip Swale and Robert Barker in the mines of both lead and coal in the liberties of Feldon, Washton, Applegarth, Thorpe and Thorpe Edge in equal shares [32] . Waitwith Mill was conveniently placed for these mines.  In the eighteenth century these Barkers went into partnership with the Wilkinson family and had a share in seven mines and 4-5 red lead mills and marketed their own pig lead to manufacturers [33] . It would appear that Adam Barker left property to his son William Barker in 1701 when he died. This William Barker was a steward to the Duke of Devonshire and his sons Alexander, George and John carried on the business into the 1750s when they owned 4 smelting mills and shared a fifth with the Wilkinsons. In 1759 the Barkers went into partnership with the Wilkinsons and George Barker was a shareholder in mines on Grassington Moor. However, the problems of exhaustion of ore shoots and the problems of drainage led to the closure of five mills between 1806 and 1810 and the business was eventually sold to Benjamin Wyatt in 1829 for one thousand and thee hundred pounds. The lead from Grassington would have been sent via Skipton to Hull, but in 1774 when the canal reached Gargrave it was sent via Gargrave and canal to Hull. It would seem highly likely that this branch of Barkers was connected to our line of Barkers.

Although these Barkers came from Connonley there were also Barkers in Skipton in the early seventeenth century. A Mr. Barker of Skipton fought for the royalists in the Civil Wars and was a scoutmaster in Captain William Prideaux's dragoons in 1643 [34] . This Barker may be connected with our line of Barkers. In 1652, an Anne Barker held a shop for ten shillings and a backshop for five shillings rent from Lady Anne Clifford. In 1652, a Thomas Barker held a house in Skipton on a twenty-one year lease for one pound and eighteen shillings [35] . A William Barker of Addingham was ordered in 1638 to care for the children of his brother Thomas Barker, including his niece Margaret Barker, as he had taken his brothers goods [36] .


Susanna Heelis, Elizabeth Barker’s great grandmother was christened on 26 April 1696 in Skipton, the eldest of three children born to Thomas Heelis and Elizabeth Crofte. [37]   Susanna Heelis was four years older than her sister Mary, and seven years older than her brother Thomas. This Thomas Heelis may have been the youngest of the family, but as a son, he would have inherited any smallholdings the family owned [38] . Susanna would have been at least thirty-seven years old at her marriage, which may indicate that she may have been married before [39] .

        Susanna Heelis’s father Thomas Heelis was christened on 28 April 1667 in Gargrave, North Yorkshire [40] . He was the third child of Maria Snell and John Heelis of Gargrave, but the first child of that union to be born in Gargrave. His elder brother Robert and sister Agnes had been born in Cracoe and christened in Rylstone Parish [41] .  The family had moved from Cracoe to Gargrave between February 1666, when Thomas’s older sister had been buried in Rhylstone, and April 1667 when Thomas was born in Gargrave [42] .  With only four years between Thomas and his older brother Robert, they must have been fairly close. The two boys were joined in Gargrave by their younger sister Margaret in 1670, but by the time Thomas was eight years old the family appear to have moved to Thorlby in Skipton Parish [43] .  By 1682 when Thomas was fifteen years old, the family had moved to Skibeden and was farming the land there. Thomas’s younger sisters Isabel and Sarah joined the family at Thorlby, and another brother Thomas joined the family in 1682 [44] . Although this last brother had the same name as our Thomas, it was possible to have two brothers or sisters in the same family with the same name. It does not necessarily mean that our Thomas Heelis died. I have also checked that both these Thomas’s are from the same family. Thomas Heelis would probably have worked on his father’s farm and learnt the skill of smallholding from him. By the time of his marriage to Elizabeth Crofte, Thomas would have been farming his own smallholding at Thorlby and later at Stirton [45] .

                   The Heelis family of Thorlby and Skibeden were yeoman farmers and smallholders. As Thomas Heelis was described as a farmer of Thorlby and Stirton in the parish registers, I thought that it was highly probable that he was related to the Heelis family of Thorlby through his father John Heelis. Indeed a John Heelis, eldest son of another John Heelis, ‘of Addingham’, was christened in Skipton on 6 April 1633 [46] . He appeared to be a likely candidate for the father of our Thomas Heelis. This John Heelis ‘of Addingham’ had moved into the Skipton area, and settled at Skibeden, in the 1630s and descendants of his family continued to farm the area of Skibeden during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries [47] . However, a double check of the parish registers soon revealed that the John Heelis, son of John Heelis ‘from Addingham’, died at the age of seventeen in Skipton, before he would have been able to produce a family [48] . This John Heelis’s death meant that our line could not possibly be closely related to this Heelis line of Skibeden. It may also imply that our Heelis line were tenant farmers at Thorlby in the seventeenth century, and would help to explain their movements around the Craven area from Cracoe to Gargrave, from Gargrave to Thorlby, and from Thorlby to Skibeden [49] .

        There are also Heelis’s recorded in the villages of Stirton and Thorlby in the sixteenth century. In 1543, a John Heles was valued at Ten pounds in goods or lands and paid a subsidy to the King of six shillings and eight pence. In 1547, his lands or goods were valued at six pounds, and he paid a tax of four shillings. This does not necessarily mean that his lands had been devalued, but that the commissioners were aware of the dangers of collecting taxes and had altered the values accordingly. Still it gives us a good idea of the standing of this John Heelis. There are also Heelis’s recorded in Skibeden and Skipton in the sixteenth century. These Heelis’s of Stirton and Thorlby and Skibeden may be ultimately related to each other [50] .

          John Heelis, the father of our Thomas Heelis, came from Cracoe, in the parish of Burnsall [51] .  He was the son of Robert Heelis and was christened on 4 March 1629 in the Parish of Rhylstone [52] . His older sister Anne was two years old when he arrived [53] . Margaret, Joseph and Mary later joined them [54] . Mary however died in infancy [55] . John Heles worked for the Lord of Skipton Castle, Earl Frances Clifford, Earl of Cumberland as a barmaster on the Grassington lead mines in 1651 [56] . This shows that he was part of the Earls circle of retainers in Craven. It appears that the Heelis family had lived in Cracoe since the late sixteenth century. John’s father Robert Heelis was christened on 18 March 1587, son of Anthony Heelis [57] . He was the youngest son of a family of eight children. His oldest brother Lawrence would have been about twenty-four years old when he arrived [58] . Two of his siblings, John and Joseph, had died in infancy, but George, Susan, William and Sampson all lived to adulthood [59] . In 1612 George Heles gentleman of Hartlington was a clerk of the courts of Clifford, and this George may have been the brother of our Anthony Heelis [60] .

 Little is further known about the Heelis family of Cracoe. They may have been tenant farmers, smallholders, or freeholders and their landholdings may not have been extensive [61] ..They may even have profited from the dissolution of Bolton Priory, which held lands in Burnsall, but this has yet to be proved. A John Heeles, son of John Heles, of ‘Skyrom in the parish of Appletreewick’ was granted a lease for forty one years in 4 May 1538 for a tenement in the lordship of Appletreewick [62] . This land was described as the farm of the house called ‘Skerome’ with appurtenances, for which John Heleyes paid a rental of twenty three shillings and four pence a year [63] . For this land this John Heles paid twenty three shillings and four pence a year. In the village of Hartlington in the parish of Kettlewell in 1543 a Robert Heles paid a subsidy of six pence on lands or goods worth three pounds a year, and in Appletreewick a John Helys paid four pence on goods or chattels worth forty shillings [64] . There may even be connections with the John and William Heles of Long Preston who were valued at forty shillings a year and paid a tax of four pence in 1543. It is highly probable that these Heles’s are related to the line I have traced, but as yet this is unproven. Even if the Heelis’s did gain lands at this time, our Robert Heelis was the youngest son and it is unlikely that he would have inherited any lands. He may have gained lands through his marriage to Isabel Coates, daughter of James Coates, but these may not have been extensive [65] . A Thomas Coates of Kettlewell, with seven others, bought the manor of Kettlewell in 1656 from three London citizens [66] . On the death of five of the other buyers, Thomas Coates and John Ibbottson set up the trust Lords of Kettlewell, elected by the freeholders of Kettlewell to act as the Lord of the Manor. Although not directly related to Isabella Coats, Thomas Coats was a man of substance in Kettlewell and shows the standing of the Coats family. It is possible that there are connections with the Coates family of Connonley. They owned Royds House in Connonley and were ardent supporters of the Commonwealth during the Civil wars [67] . A Roger Coates was a magistrate and apparently committed suicide in 1660/1 as he did not wish to see  ‘his family dispossesses were he to be tried for treason by the administration of the newly restored Charles II. His father John Coates had married Elizabeth Swire of Connonley and resided at Kildwick Grange in the seventeenth century [68] .

       Robert’s son John Heelis, grandfather of Susanna Heelis, did not stay in Cracoe, which may indicate that there was not enough income to be gained from the lands his father held. John Heelis’s marriage to Maria Snell may have been of great significance to the family fortunes [69] . Maria Snell was the daughter of Thomas Snell of Gargrave, who may have been connected with the Snells of Eshton [70] . She may have brought land or money, as a dowry, to John Heelis on her marriage [71] .

                       Alternatively, John Heelis’s son Thomas Heelis, father of Susanna Heelis, may have gained land through his marriage to Elizabeth Crofte, on 17 June 1695 in Skipton [72] .  Elizabeth Crofte was christened on 2 October 1665 in Skipton, the only daughter of Robert Crofte and Susanna Smythson [73] . However, Elizabeth had three brothers, Richard, Robert, and Christopher who all survived to adulthood [74] . Elizabeth may have brought a dowry or Dower lands to her marriage, but the substance of the estate would have descended to her brothers [75] . The Smythsons were yeomen farmers of Flasby Moorside, the earliest recorded Smythson being a Christopher Smythson buried on 9 August 1552 in Gargrave [76] . The Smythson family intermarried with the Graindorges of Flasby and the Coulthursts of Banknewton which is indicative of the status of the Smythson.

                       Elizabeth’s Crofte’s father Robert Crofte had been born towards the end of the Civil wars in 1644 and it is possible that the family may have profited from the Wars [77] . I have yet to discover which side the Crofte’s fought on and whether they would have been in a position to profit from the Civil Wars [78] . Robert Crofte was the eldest of three sons to Henry Crofte and Mary Wilcocke [79] . This Henry Crofte was the youngest son of Henry Crofte and Jennett Gannett, christened on 4 June 1616 [80] . His elder brother Richard Crofte was christened on 20 January 1611 [81] . The Croftes appear to have farmed at Stirton and may have profited from the dissolution of Bolton Abbey, or rented lands from the Cliffords of Skipton Castle. In 1538 a William Croft of ‘Nursehouse’ was leased a farmhold in the lordship of Appletreewick by Bolton Abbey [82] . For this he paid an annual rent of twenty shillings and eight pence.  A Miles Crofte of Appletreewick paid ten shillings for a farm and one tenement and three acres in 1538 and may be related to William Crofte [83] . It may be that there was a connection with the Crofte family of Embsay and Eastby [84] . In 1624 an Anthony Croft, of ‘Skireholme’, a servant of Sir John Yorke of ‘Gowthwayte in Netherdale’, gave evidence at Bolton Bridge on the dispute of free chase and Warren in the lordship of Appltreewick against Francis, Earl of Cumberland [85] . This Anthony was aged sixty three in 1624 and was the Bailiff of Sir John Yorke at Appletreewick. If they did gain lands in this manner, these lands would have descended through the line of Richard Crofte, not our Henry Crofte.   

            However, the Heelis family acquired their lands, through marriage to the Croftes and Smythsons, through profiting from the dissolution of Bolton Abbey and perhaps Fountains Abbey, or from the lands redistributed at the end of the English Civil wars, by the early eighteenth century the Thorlby branch of the family were quite comfortable smallholders and farmers. Susanna Heelis’s marriage to John Barker shows that the Barker family was probably of the same social standing as the Heelis family, or was trying to climb the social ladder.

       John Barker and Susanna may have set up home near to the Smithy in Skipton, or even above the Blacksmith’s shop. This was situated in Caroline Square, Skipton until it was pulled down in 1821, along with the Bakehouse and Barbers shop, to widen the road. This position at a junction of major roads from Settle, Ilkley, and Grassington would have been ideal for a Blacksmith’s business. The road that ran through Skipton from Keighley to Kendal was a major highway and was used for the exchange of agricultural products and manufacture. Packhorses also used this route ladened with combed wool to be used in farmhouses and villages by pieceworkers [86] . Before the Keighley and Kendal Turnpike Act was passed in 1753, the roads to Skipton were very narrow, and decayed, ‘not only impassable for wheel carriages, but very dangerous for travellers’ [87] . The improvements to the turnpike road would have brought increased traffic to Skipton, and John Barker’s Smithy would have increased it’s business, and thereby profitability. The road between Keighley and Skipton was one of the first sections to be completed and maintained by the Turnpike Trust. John must have seen the Waller Bridge over Waller beck being dismantled and re-erected on the Turnpike road to be ‘commodious for travellers and passengers’, and resented paying the 6 shilling levy imposed on him for the ‘statute labour’ required to move the bridge [88] . Overall, though John Barker would have plied his trade and have been particularly grateful for the increasing trade in shoeing horses that the new Turnpike roads would have brought him. His services would probably have been in great demand by the local Inns as well, and the advent of the stagecoach and Tarmacadamed roads would have been beneficial. [GPW5]

                  John  Barker and Susanna Heelis had three children, two daughters and one son, of whom only a son and daughter survived [89] . Their only son Thomas Barker was baptized in Skipton, North Yorkshire, on 21 November 1736 [90] . He probably spent his childhood in Skipton, learning the trade of a Blacksmith [91] .  He married late in life at the age of thirty-one to Elizabeth Caton, daughter of Thomas Caton, on 22 December 1760 in Skipton [92] .  Within three months, their eldest daughter Susanna had arrived [93] . By the time Susanna had reached her tenth birthday, five brothers, John, Thomas, Christopher and two Georges, had joined her [94] . Neither of these two Georges survived to adulthood. Indeed the name George seems to have been particularly unlucky in the Barker family as the youngest son, a third George, also died in infancy in 1778 in Skipton [95] . The arrival of Elizabeth, ‘Betty,’ Barker in 1774 completed the family of Thomas Barker and Elizabeth Caton [96] . Of their eight children, five had survived, a fairly high infant survival rate in the late eighteenth century. Certainly bearing eight children was not a mortal experience for Elizabeth Barker, nee Caton, as she lived to a great old age of seventy-two [97] . Her husband survived her, and lived to a ripe old age. Thomas Barker died on 21 August 1820, aged eighty-four years, and was buried in the same grave as his wife [98] .

       The three surviving sons John, Thomas and Christopher Barker set up business as Blacksmiths in Skipton and may even have been in business together.

       Thomas Barker definitely practised as a Blacksmith [99] . He is recorded in 1822 as a Whitesmiths and Bell Hangers in Chancery lane [100] .After his death in 1832 his wife Anne carried on the family business at Caroline Square and in 1837 at Millbridge [101] . It is possible that Thomas and Anne’s son Thomas worked as a Whitesmith. In 1829, 1834 and 1837 a Thomas Barker is recorded as a Whitesmith and bele hanger in Chancery Lane [102] . Thomas Barker, son of Thomas and Anne, married Sarah and they had four sons and two daughters, but the two sons named Thomas died in infancy [103] .   Charles Barker, son of Thomas, Blacksmith, married Mary Hardaker and had three children by 1841 [104] . Charles was a son of Thomas Barker, Blacksmith [105] . In Commercial Street, a James Barker 40 Labourer lived with Jane, 40 [106] . He was a plasterer and the son of Thomas Barker Blacksmith and married Jane Myers d. John Myers 9 November 1838.

       Christopher Barker may also have practiced as a Blacksmith [107] .

       The eldest of these sons John Barker, was the father of our Elizabeth Barker who married Edward Harrison in Skipton, North Yorkshire, 4/06/1812 [GPW7]  .   His only surviving son John Barker Blacksmith married Mary Emmott 15 April 1816, Thomas Barker witness. Their daughter Dorothy was christened 24 January 1817, buried 7 February 1818 aged one, and after john’s death Mary widowed had another Dorothy born on 3 April 1821.Mary Barker widow married Robert Rycroft saddler, 23 January 1826.

       A Christopher Barker, Blacksmith, of Club Buildings, married a Margaret [108] . An Edmund Barker also lived at Club Buildings in 1841 [109] . Edmund was a witness at the marriage of Thomas Harrison and Margaret Scott in 1836. In Newmarket Street a Thomas Barker, 30, Grocer lived with his wife Jane, 30, and their children Mary Ann, 4 and a 9 month old. A John Barker, 40, also lived in Newmarket Street with his wife Ann, 40, a bread maker, George, 15, Mary, 15, Rachel, 13, Thomas, 11, John, 9 [110] . William Barker married Margaret Towers on 19 December 1830 [111] . A John Barker, 55, Grocer lived at Canal side with his wife Charlotte Barker 50.' In Thompson’s Yard a Frances Barker 70, Mangle woman lived with Sarah Hargreaves 15 Factory [112] . In Union Square a Joshua Barker 45 Gardener, lived with his wife Susannah, 45, James, 20, Hannah, 17, John, 15, Sam, 13, Joshua, 9 and Eli, 6 [113] . In Wilson’s Buildings a Mary Barker, 65, lived with Elizabeth Barker 25 [114] . In Mount Pleasant in High street a John Barker 25 Masons labourer lived with Ann, 25, Thomas, 3, John, 3 months.


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[1] Skipton Parish Registers.

[2] Susanna Barker, was christened on 14 December 1806. Skipton Parish Registers.

[3] There is no marriage of an Elizabeth Barker to Edward Harrison, or another between 1806-1812.

[4] A Susanna Barker marries William Stick on 29 January 1829, and Thomas Gill on 2 July 1827.  Holy trinity Skipton Parish Registers. One of these Susanna’s was the daughter of Elizabeth, the other Susanna a sister of Elizabeth (born in 1800).   In 1841 at Mount Pleasant on the High Street in Skipton a William Stirk, 35, stonemason, Susannah, 35, Ellen Stirk, 4, and Mary 6 months have an Elizabeth Barker aged 65 living with them. Skipton Census 1841. Ellen Stirk was christened 10 June 1837, Mary was christened 20 December 1840. William Stirk was buried 9 October 1843 aged 36 of Mount pleasant Skipton. Holy Trinity Parish Registers Skipton.

[5] Skipton Parish registers.

[6] Mary Barker was born on 21 March and christened on 3 June 1787. This Mary later married William Fletcher. Skipton Parish Registers.

[7] He died on 13 March and was buried on 17 March 1786. Skipton Parish registers

[8] Mary Barker nee Dewhurst died on 29 December and was buried on 31 December 1789, aged 38. Skipton Parish registers.

[9] John Barker was christened on 3 December 1789, died on 23 February 1790 and was buried on 27 February. Skipton Parish Registers.

[10] Mary Dewhurst married Thomas Bolton on 6 December 1774 in Skipton. Mary Bolton, widow, married John Barker, batchelor on 25 July 1784, Skipton. Skipton Parish Registers.

[11] Isabel Bolton, was christened on 5 July 1778. John Bolton was christened on 1 July 1781. Skipton Parish Registers

[12] Mary Bolton was christened on 12 August 1783, the very same day her father John Bolton was buried at Skipton Parish Church. The two ceremonies probably took place close together. Skipton Parish Registers.

[13] John Barker, widow,  married Francis Jackson, daughter of Ralph Jackson, a farmer of Hunger-hill near West Bolton, on 25 August 1793. Skipton Parish Registers. Francis Jackson was the daughter of Ralph Jackson and Catherine Pichaver and was christened on 27 August 1769 in Bolton by Bowland.

[14] John Barker was born on 29 March 1794 and christened 15 June 1794. Dorothy Barker was born on 8 October 1795, and christened on 8 November 1795. Skipton Parish registers.

[15] Dorothy Barker died on the 24 December 1796 and was buried on 26 December. Skipton Parish Registers.

[17] All these Barkers are described consistently as Blacksmiths in Skipton Parish registers.

[18] There are also Barkers in Skipton in the seventeenth century. See below.   ...

[19] Skipton Parish Registers.

[20] See Dawson, History p.277.

[21] See Early Yorkshire Charters,The Honour of Skipton,  p. 237.

[22] See Tudor Craven.

[23] See Bolton Abbey Rentals.

[24] See Tudor Craven pp. 26, 54, 60, 64, 115.

[25] See Mining and Smelting in Yorkshire by the Cliffords in YAJ Vol. 64, 1982, by R.T.Spence, p. 159-160.

[26] History of Connonley pp. 215-6.

[27] History of Connonley, p. 42.

[28] See Smelting Mines of Wensleydale and Swaledale, Vol. 2, 1975, by Arthur Raistrick, p. 24-5.

[29] Smelting Mines, Vol. 2, p. 25. Raistrick is very confusing over the mnames of Swales Barker parytners.

[30] See lead Mining in the mid pennies, Arthur Raistrick, p, 130.

[31] See Raistrick, Old Yorkshire Dales, p. 44.

[32] Smelting Mines, p. 32.

[33] See Raistrick History of Leadmining in the Penines, byA Raistrick and Bernard Jennings, 1965., p. 250.

[34] See Spence, Skipton Castle in the Civil Wars. p. 24.

[35] See Dawson, History p. 200-201.

[36] See Dawson, History,  p. 203.

[37]   Skipton Parish registers.

[38] Mary Heelis was christened on 31 March 1700, Skipton. Thomas Heelis was christened on 10 October 1703, Skipton. Skipton Parish Registers.

[40] Gargrave Parish Registers.

[41] Robert Heelis was christened in Rylstone Parish on 21 June 1663, Agnes Heelis was christened on 27 November 1664 in Rhystone. Rhylstone Parish Registers.

[42] Agnes Heelis was buried in Rhystone on 27 February 1666 in Rhylstone. Rhylstone Parish Registers.

[43] Margaret Heelis was christened in Gargrave on 5 April 1670. Gargrave Parish Registers.

[44] Isabel Heelis was christened on 21 November 1675, in Skipton.  Sarah Heelis was christened on 23 February 1678 in Skipton. Thomas Heelis was christened on 28 March 1682. Skipton parish Registers.

[45] He is described as a farmer of Thorlby in the details of his wife’s burial in 1739. Skipton parish registers.

[46] Skipton Parish Registers.

[47] See Family Tree on for details of this Heelis family.

[48] This John Heelis ‘The younger’ was buried in Skipton on 10 July 1650. Skipton Parish registers.

[49] See entries of births of children to substantiate moves.

[50] See below

[51] He is described as being from the parish of  Cracoe in the entry of his marriage to Maria Snell in Skipton Parish Registers on 29 April 1662. An entry in the Parish Registers of Rhylstone records the marriage of a Maria Snell and John Heelis on 29 April 1662. As the Rhysltone Registers were part of the Parish of Burnsall, this entry may be a record of the Skipton Marriage and a duplicate of the information in the Skipton Registers. It certainly was not possible for the dead John Heelis son of John Heelis of Addingham, to marry in 1662.

[52] Rhylstone Parish Registers.

[53] Anne Heelis was christened in Rhylstone on 27 September 1727. Rhylstone Parish Registers.

[54] Margaret Heelis was christened on 2 October 1631. Joseph was christened on 1 May 1634. Mary was christened on 5 May 1639. Burnsall Parish Registers.

[55] Mary was buried on 30 May 1639. Burnsall Parish Registers.

[56] See Mining and Smelting, YAJ Vol. 64 1982, p. 180.

[57] Burnsall Parish Registers.

[58] Lawrence was christened on 23 March 1563, Burnsall Parish Registers.

[59] John Heelis was christened on 28 June 1583 and buried on the same day. Joseph Heelis was christened on 22 March 1573 and buried on 10 June of the same year. George Heelis was christened on 2 February 1565. Susan Heelis was christened on 23 October 1576. William was christened on 5 January 1577. Sampson was christened on 22 August 1582. Burnsall Parish registers.

[60] Mining and Smelting, YAJ Vol. 64 1982, p. 159.

[61] I have yet to discover their exact landholdings.

[62] See Monastic leasholding before the Dissolution; the evidence of Bolton Priory and Fountains Abbey, by Richard Hoyle in YAJ Vol. 61 pp, 111-137, p. 124. These Helis’s may be related to a Sir Christopher hales who in 1539 bought Appleteewick manor and in the same year sold it to Thomas proctor of Cowper Cote who in turn sold it to Sir Arthur Darcy with all its mines and minerals. In 1549 it was sold ahgainb to Sir John Yorke of Nidderdale. See Lead mining in the Mid pennies, 1973,  by Arthur Raistrick, p. 72.

[63] See Bolton Abbey Rentals.

[64] See Tudor Craven.

[65] Isabel Coates married Robert Heelis on 6 June 1607 in Rhylstone Parish. As Isabel was aged thirty when she married Robert it is unlikely that she was the mother of his children in the 1620s. See Rhylstone Parish Registers.

[66] See Old Yorkshire Dales, by Arthur Raistrick, 1967, p. 41-2.

[67] See The History of Connonley, p. 41.

[68] History of Connonley, p. 56.

[69] John Heelis married Maria Snell in Skipton on  29 April 1662. Skipton Parish Registers.

[70] Maria Snell was christened on 12 May 1639, daughter of Thomas Snell. Gargrave Parish Registers.

[71] I have yet to prove the landholdings of the Snells of Gargrave.

[72] Elizabeth Crofte was christened on 2 October 1665 in Skipton. She was buried in Skipton on 12 September 1737. Skipton Parish Registers

[73] Skipton Parish Registers Robert Crofte had married Susanna Smythson on 31 December 1664 in Skipton. Skipton parish registers..

[74] Richard Crofte was christened on 29 May 1668. Robert Crofte was christened on 13 July 1673. Christopher Crofte was christened on 7 March 1676. Skipton Parish registers.

[75] I have yet to check their lands.

[76] See Gill p. 51-2.

[77] Robert Crofte, son of Henry Crofte and Mary Willcocke, was christened on 20 January 1644 Skipton, Skipton Parish Registers.

[78] A Robert Croft was billeted in Skipton in Widow Cockshotts house in 1643. He was a cavalryman and therefore probably from a yeoman farmer background. He was in Corporal Henry Furthwaites squadron. It is therefore highly probable that the Crofts fought on the Royalist side in the Civil wars. See Spence p. 28.

[79] Henry Crofte and Mary Wilcocke married in Skipton on 21 February 1640, and their other two sons, both named Henry were christened on 27 February 1653 and 9 May 1660, both in Skipton.

[80] Skipton Parish Registers

[81] Skipton Parish Registers.

[82] See Hoyle, YAJ Vol. 61 1989, p. 125.

[83] See Bolton Abbey Rentals.

[84] A ‘widow ‘Crofte held the farm of the manor of Embsey in 1538 with Thomas Bolton and Richard Bolton which included demesne lands, meadows and pastures and boon works. For these lands they paid a rental of sixty shillings. See Bolton Abbey Rentals.

[85] Dawson, History, pp.58-60.

[86] This old road passed from Skipton North past the church, crossing the stream at Mill Bridge and ascending the Raikes and descending by Sterton and Thaulby into the line of the present gargrave Road.

[87] The Kings Highway in Craven. By ????pp12- 15

[88] The Kings Highway in Craven. By ????p. 14

[89] Elizabeth Barker was christened 6 October 1734,  and was buried on 27 May 1758 in Skipton. Mary Barker was christened on 10 September 1738 in Skipton. Skipton parish registers.

[90] Skipton Parish Registers.

[91] There may be apprentice records for him.

[92] Skipton Parish Registers.

[93] Susanna Barker was baptized in Skipton, North Yorkshire, 26/03/1761.

[94] John Barker was christened on 24/07/1763. Thomas Barker was baptized in Skipton, North Yorkshire, 24/01/1765. Christopher Barker was baptized in Skipton, North Yorkshire 22/11/1767.(he married Sarah Bell ). George Barker number 1 was buried in Skipton, North Yorkshire, 11/12/1767.George Barker number 2 was christened on 10 February 1771 and buried on 6/07/1773 in Skipton, North Yorkshire.  Skipton Parish registers.

[95] George number 3 was buried on 6 July 1778 in Skipton. Parish Registers.

[96] Betty Barker was baptized in Skipton, North Yorkshire, 24/07/1774  .

[97] Elizabeth Barker died on 24 February 1803, and was buried two days later in Skipton Parish Church.

[98] Thomas Barker was buried on 21 August 1820, aged eighty-four. Holy Trinity Parish Church, Skipton, Monumental Inscriptions.

[99] Thomas Barker was buried on 29 May 1832, aged sixty-seven in Holy Trinity Church Skipton. His wife Ann was also buried in the same grave on 15 February 1838, aged seventy-three. Their son George was also buried in the same grave on 1 September 1836 aged 34. Monumental Inscriptions. This George Barker was a witness to the marriage of William Riley and Anne Harrison, daughter of Edward Harrison, tailor on 30 March 1834. Holy Trinity Skipton Parish Registers.

[100] Directory.

[101] In 1834 Ann is recorded in Caroline Square as a Blacksmith. White’s Directory.

[102] Whites Directory 1829.   On 9 July 1838 a James Barker, plasterer, son of Thomas Barker, Blacksmith marries  a Jane Myers daughter of John Myers of Thorlby. A William Riley is a witness….the husband of Edward Harrison’s daughter Ann Harrison, brother to Thomas Harrison. Holy Trinity Skipton Parish Registers. Thomas Barker married Sarah and they had at least two daughters, Anne ch.1816 and Elizabeth 1814. Holy trinity Parish Registers. Ann Barker daughter of  Thomas  Barker, Whitesmith, chancery lane 30 ,married Henry Watkinson worsted spinner 35 Halton east on 19 August 1846 Holy Trinity Skipton parish registers.

[103] Thomas Barker born 9 October 1821,buried on 3 Septmber 1828 aged 6, and Thomas Barker born 15 August 1820, buried 16 August 1820, John Barker born 21 May 1818, Elizabeth 4 June 1814, Anne, 5 April 1816. Ann married Henry Watkinson worsted spinner on 19 August 1846. Holy Trinity Parish Registers.

[104]   Charles Barker  narried Mary Hardaker on 7 October 1833. Mary Barker was buried on   3 February 1851 1ged 51. Holy Trinity Parish Registers. In 1841Mary hardaker was lioving in the Household of Thomas Hardaker in  Browns Yard. Thoams Hardaker 25 cabinetmaker,  Samuel , 25,   Wool Comber, Henry, 15,<   Mowner, Mary Barker  Ind,   40 , Thomas,  6, John,  4, William,  2. 1841 Skipton Census.Chaisters.ish Regrles Barker married a widow Betsy Pollard on 5 July 1852 aged 54. Holy Trinity Par

[105] Recorded as such on his second marriage.

[106] 1841 Census.

[107] Christopher Barker died on 27 March 1821 aged fifty-five. He was buried in the same grave as his parents Thomas and Elizabeth. Holy Trinity Church, Skipton. Monumental Inscriptions.

[108] Their son William was christened 1831.Holy Trinity Parish Registers. In 1841 Christoper  Barker lived at Club Buildings his wife Margaret, 36, and their son William 11.1841 Census.

[109] Edmund was a Blacksmith aged 31, with his wife Jane, 26. Edmund married Jane Proctor on 7 February 1837. Holy Trinity Parish Registers.

[110] George Barker was christened 28 Septmeber 1836, son of William and Margaret  Barker, Blacksmith. John christened 17 December 1833  son of William and Margaret Barker woolcomber. Thomas christened 23 October 1832 son of William and margret Barker. Christopher son of William and Margaret was cborn on 10 February 1831.He was buried 13 April 1831.  Holy Trinity Parish Registers.

[111] A  William Barker was buried on 17 May 1848 aged 40.

[112] Frances was buried 22 September 1841, aged 71. She was the step mother of our Elizabeth Barker.

[113] Joshua Barker, clogger married Sarah Chippendale 2 December 1813. Holy trinity Parish reghisters.

[114] Elizabth Barker was christned 4 April 1813 daughter of James and Mary Barker.


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