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Craven Cross Mines
Foster Horner

The Kilburn Horners

       Foster Horner and the Redmire Horners may be related to a John Horner, of Kilburn, east of York, near Thirsk, who leased the Merryfield Lead mines, on Greenhow Hill, between Appletreewick and Pateley Bridge, in the manor of Bewerley [30] .

     A John Horner is recorded as a voter in 1741 in Kilburn. John Horner of Kilburn was born in 1755, the son of George Horner a Blacksmith in Kilburn in the eighteenth century [31] . This John Horner had Interests in Stocking House, Kilburn, but resided in Helmsley in 1792 [32] . He married Eleanor and they had two children baptised in Kilburn, William Solomon, and Fewster Robert Horner [33] . Their daughter Eleanor was buried at Bell House in Kilburn in 1812 aged eighteen, which indicates that John Horner may have resided elsewhere at her birth in 1794 [34] . It is possible that Fewster Robert Horner was the Foster Horner that later moved to Skipton [35] .

John Horner was the eldest son of George Horner, Blacksmith, of Kilburn. This George Horner married three times [36] . John Horner had two brothers and two sisters of whom only one brother George and one sister Anne survived to adulthood [37] .  George Horner, of Kilburn was the son of Robert and Ann Horner of Low Kilburn [38] . His only sister Dorothy died before reaching adulthood [39] . It is possible that George Horner also had a brother named William Horner who was a cordwainer. This William Horner married Beatrix Malthouse of Wakefield, but they do not seem to have borne any surviving children [40] . If John Horner of Kilburn is Foster Horners father, it would suggest that there is definitely a connection between these Horners of Kilburn and the Horners of Redmire.

Craven Cross Mines

    In 1792 a John Horner of Kilburn took out a lease on some lands. John Horner of Kilburn made an agreement with a John Wood of Craven Cross Mines in 1793, each acquiring shares in each other’s mines. John Wood’s father William Wood had leased Craven Cross Mines in 1790 for 21 years from John Yorke, and the renewal of the lease by John in 1793 indicates that mining interests often remained in families [42] . Miners often shared the risks inherent in the mining industry by acquiring shares in more than one mine. John Horner and his partner would have bargained with the bar master, appointed by the owner of the mine rights, Sir John Yorke, over the price of the lease and then employed local men to actually work the mines [43] .

In 1800, Horner, Wood and Thomas Pullen a timber merchant of Pateley Bridge, made a new partnership and took over all of the Stoney Grooves Mine, in Greenhow [44] . These mines were highly profitable and produced fair returns, but in 1829 there was a depression in the lead industry with the price of lead falling from about twenty-two pounds a ton to less than twelve pounds in 1832. In 1827 the partnership between John Horner of Kilburn, deceased, and William Hedden of Baldersby, deceased, under the name of Leadhills Mining Company was dissolved [45] . John Horner's executors were Thomas Horner of Darlington, Henry Hirst of Northallerton, John Horner, clerk, George Horner and Thomas Horner.

After a brief resumption of pre-1820s prices, in 1833 the price again fell to between nineteen and twenty pounds a ton by 1837. Wages for lead miners had been reduced from fourteen shillings to seven shillings a week to compensate for the lack of profits. By 1837, both the Stoney Grooves and Merryfield mines had collapsed in many parts and in April 1843 the lessors, White and Sir John Yorke, took back all the ground in Merryfield and put in their own manager to work the mines.

Foster Horner

Foster Horner and his family had therefore been wise to take advantage of the boom in the early nineteenth century to move to Skipton where there were other occupations if the bottom fell through the lead market. It is interesting that Foster Horner relinquished the leases for the Grassington mines in the late 1830s and early 1840s when the Lead industry was reaching rock bottom. He obviously took a decision to diversify. Christopher Horner moved into Skipton at around the same time, perhaps having worked in the lead mining industry in Pateley Bridge or even at Greenhow or Grassington on his way from Redmire to Skipton.

        Christopher Horner may have been related to John Horner of Kilburn who may have been his great-uncle, but. this is unproven [46] . However there may be a family connection as the mines on Grassington Moor and Appletreewick Moor were close to Greenhow Hill. Many lead miners from the Redmire and Pateley Bridge areas also had interests in mines in Appletreewick and above Grassington and it may have been these family connections that enabled Foster Horner to move to Skipton and set up business.

The Grassington miners moved their lead to the canal wharves in Skipton and Gargrave on the opening of the Leeds Liverpool Canal. Mastiles Lane, the ancient route used by the wool trade from Fountains Abbey ran from Grassington to Pateley Bridge across Greenhow Moor [47] . The lead mines of Kettlewell and Appletreewick were worked by Grassington miners, and many miners in Appletreewick would have worked on the mines at Greenhow Moor. Both these areas were adjacent and Sir John Yorke of Gouthwaite in Nidderdale owned the manor of Appletreewick as well as the mining rights on Greenhow Moor [48] .

It is highly probable that there was some family connection between the Horners of Redmire and the Craven area that brought Foster Horner to Skipton. He may have moved from Redmire to Grassington and then to Skipton. Christopher Horner probably followed later after the collapse of the lead mining industry in Redmire.


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[30] See Lead Mining in the Mid Pennies, by Arthur Raistrick, pp.34-40.

[31] John Horner was christened on 12 June 1755, son of George Horner of Low Kilburn. Kilburn Parish Registers.

[32]    North Riding  Kilburn DDCL/1362/1-1380  

[33] William Solomon Horner was christened on 4 June 1800. Fewster Robert Horner was christened on 17 April 1803. Kilburn Parish Registers.

[34] Eleanor Horner was buried on 5 October 1812 aged eighteen and ten months at Bell House, Kilburn. See Kilburn Parish Registers. She was therefore born in January 1794.

[35] However, if so, he would have been aged 12 when christened. See below.

[36] On 19 January 1754 George Horner married Joanne Ridsdale. She was buried on 12 October 1769.  He then married Hannah Bowes on 11 February 1771. Hannah died on 18 March 1778. His third wife was Emma Colley daughter of William Dale of Bealam on 19 January 1801. (Widow Emma Dale was buried on 29 September 1812). See Kilburn Parish registers.

[37] His brother Robert Horner was christened on 8 March 1769 and buried on 22 March 1769. His sister Anne Horner was christened on 27 March 1764 and buried on 6 April 1764. His sister Elizabeth Horner was christened on 8 January 1767. His brother George Horner was christened on 1 September 1759. This George married Jane ? who was buried on 25 September 1783. Their daughter Jane Horner was christened on 6 October 1782 in Kilburn.

[38] Robert Horner of Low Kilburn was buried on 2 December 1761 in Kilburn. Ann Horner, his wife was buried on 3 March 1736/7. See Kilburn Parish registers.

[39] Dorothy Horner was christened on 21 February 1739 and buried on 31 July 1751. See Kilburn Parish registers.

[40] William Horner of Kilburn, cordwainer, was buried on 17 May 1783. His wife Beatrix Malthouse was buried on 5 April 1763. They married on 2 April 1722 in Kilburn. Their son John Horner was christened on 23 January 1722/3 and buried on 20m April 1728. William Horner is described as ‘de River’ in 1723. See Kilburn Parish registers.

[42] See The History of Nidderdale, edited Bernard Jennings, p. 273. This William Wood had married Mary Lopham on 28 May 1764 in Pateley Bridge. John Wood was christened on 8 March 1773 in Pateley Bridge. IGI.

[43] See Mines and t’miners by J C Dickinson, 1972, Sutton.

[44] Hannah Pullen, daughter of William Pullen of Baildon marries a Joseph Horner in 1764 in Baildon. It is possible that Hannah and Thomas Pullen are related. A Thomas Pullen was christened on 19 May 1766 in Bingley the son of William Pullen. IGI.In 1813 a William Hebden, tanner of Braisty Woods made his will on 15 June 1812. In his will he left to daughter Judith, wife of William Kaberry a messuage bought of John Wood and assigned of William Horner. The messuage was at Whitehouses in Pateley Bridge. He also gives lands and a messuage at Fellbeck bought of the Reverend John Rakes and use of  one William Kettle? Of pateley Bridge gent, and Thomas Pullan of Pateley Bridge timber merchant. Whitehouses is off the B6265 on way to North pasture House near Fellbeck.

[45] For the following see the London gazette, 1827.

[46] His uncle John could not be the same man as the John Horner who had invested in the Greenhow mines in 1793, as he was born in 1778 and would only have been aged about fifteen in 1793.

[47] See Hartley and Ingleby p.117.

[48] A Sir John Yorke bought the manor of Appletreewick in 1549 and Greenhow Mining Field for 2,000. In 1547, he also bought Stonebeck Up. See History of Nidderdale, ed. By Bernard Jennings, Huddersfield, 1967, pp. 119 and 104.


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