Horbury Parish

On the main Horbury Page I have included some information of Kenneth BARTLETT. After he died his work was published on CD’s for Dr Phil JUDKINS by the Museum Digitisation Service. With permission from Dr Judkins I have included some of Ken’s very interesting and informative material.

Introduction written by Ken Bartlett 

 This collection of parish accounts was published initially in 1975 by Mrs. Marian MARSHALL and myself, but the binding was only by spring clip binder and not very good. Copies were sold to Universities and libraries in the West Riding and have probably disintegrated by now. So I have decided to re-publish them in a better format as a memorial to the late Mrs. MARSHALL who died in April 2000.

In 1973 the parish accounts were located in Horbury town hall by Mrs. Marshall and we decided to copy them and publish them before the abolishment of Horbury Urban District Council and the formation of Wakefield Metropolitan District Council in 1974. The reason for this was that we were apprehensive as to what would happen to them. In the event the accounts were handed over to the West Yorkshire Archive Service, Newstead road, Wakefield. By publishing them we hoped to make them more available to the public.

Marian, who has always had defective eyesight used a magnifying ruler to read and copy the accounts in longhand, taking her transcripts home she spent hours at the typewriter typing them out. 

The office of Churchwarden originates at some unknown date in connection with the maintenance of the church fabric. In 1538 they were appointed as registrars of births, deaths, marriages and burials, an office which they retain to this day. The churchwarden was responsible for keeping these accounts, paying the bell ringers, making sure the surplices were kept clean, making sure the bell ropes were in order and paying local tradesmen for work done in the church, etc. They also had the job of paying for the destruction of vermin and other predators about the township, such as the pole cat ( ‘foomard’) There was also the killing of sparrows who because of the method of sowing seeds at that time, by the farmer walking up and down the fields scattering seed from a bag as he walked, an ideal opportunity for the sparrows before the harrows were dragged over the soil to cover the seeds. There are quite a few examples of persons being paid money for so many dozen sparrows. I cannot imagine someone turning up with a sack of dead sparrows, what a gruesome thought! There was also the matter of hedgehogs, I have always believed that hedgehogs were good for gardens and would also be good for the fields? Joshua Whitehead was the caretaker and also the dog whipper. He seemed to be on a good thing getting paid regularly and having his shoes and clothes provided There is also reference to William FITTON the school master copying the register. The vicar was paid £20 a year by the Common Lands Trust but the school master only received £2. So he would supplement his salary in any way he could. As far as I know most of the churchwardens were able to read and write, so the school master was probably just doing a tidying up job. The various receipts would be collected on a spike until it was the time for them to be entered up in the accounts. Some of the officers paid money out of their own pockets but were later reimbursed when the accounts were presented

Although the accounts are very repetitive there are some interesting entries i.e. To a journey to Clifton Horse? to enquire after the wife of Thomas ROBERTS. Also To our attendance at Wakefield quarter sessions when a woman and three children calling herself the wife of Thos. ROBERTS was removed as vagrants to Ireland. In the late 1780’s and early 1790’s Mr. John SCHOLEFIELD, a solicitor and Roger THORNS were churchwardens, probably to deal with details regarding the building of the new church., neither Mr. SCHOLEFIELD or Mr. THORNS normally carried out any of the duties of the parish officers, either before or after. There are references to the digging of the foundations of the church and removing corpses which would be in the way, also ale for the labourers who were doing it. It would not be a job I would have fancied!

One of the tasks of the churchwarden was to check where people came from. A person might have lived in Horbury for years and might be accepted as a Horbury person, but, if he fell on hard times, lost his job and could not afford to pay his debts and ended up in the poor house, unless he became old, ill and destitute with no one to look after him. In cases like these the Overseer of the poor would want confirmation that these persons were born in Horbury. If he was not sure he would enquire of the churchwarden who would have to look at the parish registers to confirm their place of birth.

Anyone not found to be born in the township were returned to their place of birth, where known, hence the various entries recorded, i.e. “to going to Heath and Sandal with Sa. BECKETT” also “to a journey to Sandal with Wm SCOTT” In this way the town officers kept the inhabitants of the poor house down to a minimum. Someone coming originally from Wakefield would prefer to stay in Horbury as the poor would be treated better in a small poorhouse, than in a large establishment like Wakefield, where discipline would be more strict. When any of the officers needed money to carry out their work an assessment had to be made on owners of property within the township, i.e. 1d in the £. The poor house was a constant drain on funds, although items produced by the poor house were offered for sale ( excess milk from a cow owned by them) and inmates were hired out to work in certain trades to earn money which was used to defray expenses.


George Cliff Luke Holt 1765
Robert Carr John Mitchel 1766
William Craven John Dickinson 1767
Joshua Walker John Pollard 1768
Thomas Holt John Moore 1769
William Pollard Joseph Spurr 1770
David Coope James Rayner 1771
David Coope James Rayner 1772
Roger Thornes Joseph Barker 1773
William Rayncr 1774
Samuel Pollard Joshua Rayner 1775
George Armitage 1776
John Mitchel Gervase Walker 1777
John Dickinson Thomas Barraclough 1778 -9
William Craven Gervase Carr 1779
WUfam Craven Joseph Armitage 1780
Jeremiah Coope Arthur Kay 1782 sic.
John Fostard Jeremiah Coope 1783
John Fostard Samnel Coope 1783 -4
Samuel Coope George Armitage 1784 -5
George Armitage jun. William Pollard 1785 pL86
Willam Pollard Stephan Langley 1786
John Scholefield Roger Thorns 1788
John Scholefield Roger Thoms 1789
John Scholefield Reger Thorns 1790
John Scholefield Reger Thorns 1794
John Scholefleid Roger Thorns 1792
John Scholefield Roger Thorns 1793
John SchoJeflehl Roger Thorns 1794
Samuel Gill Joshua Foster 1795 -6
Samuel Gill James Eastwood 1797
David Coope William Craven 1797 -8
John Coope 1798 -99
Timothy Knowles Richard Amiitage 1799 -1800
Joshua Dickinson JohnGoodall 1800
Joshoa Dickinson John Goodall 1801
John Rayner George Race 1802
James Hirst Edward Sunderland 1803
Joseph Atkinson Joseph Rayner 1804
Jeremiah Martin William Rhodes 1805
WiUam Armitage Thomas Beatson 1806
William Goodaii John Knowles 1807
John Race George Walfeer 1808
Moses Berry William BRown 1809
Gervase Walker Edward Bennet 1810
JohaGoodall WfflHam Craven 1811
John Good all William Craven 1812
Joseph Tolson David Coope 1813
Thomas Holt Thomas Foster 1814
Richard Wray Jeremiah (sic) 1815
Richard Wray John Ruddock 1816
Samuel Baines Abraham Roberts 1817
Joseph Nother Matthew Brown 1818
George Walker Joseph Lilley 1819
Joshua Foster James Rayner 1820
James Rhodes Abraham Roberts 1821
Benjamin Stringer W.&Thomton 1822
Josiah Foster Thomas Race 1825
Josiah Foster Joseph Senior 1824
Josiah Foster Joseph Senior 1825


The Surveyor of the Highways is a parish officer appointed in accordance with the 1555 Highways Act. To take charge of road repairs and had to be the owner of estate of £10 within the parish, or an occupier to the yearly value of £30. So it was not a job that anyone was allowed to do. The surveyor had on occasion to apply to the rest of the parish officers for funds to be raised by an assessment so that men could be paid for repairing the roads. This meant that certain land and house owners had to contribute so much in the pound (usually about 1d or 2d) on the worth of their properties. So that is why he had to be a man of a certain amount of property. He would not be likely to cause an assessment to be made without there being a proper need.

Drainage was a big problem in those days, being mostly attained by digging ditches which had to be kept clear. That is why there are many mentions in the Constables accounts about fines on people not keeping the ditches round their property clear, as a blockage could easily cause floods during a heavy rain. We tend to forget about this in modem times with all our street and household drains which carry away surplus rain water. I would think that there were many times when the occupants of Horbury gazed out of their windows or doors wondering whether they were about to be inundated.

In those days there would only be Northfield lane, Daw Lane, Dudfleet Lane ( Wheelpit Lane) or Millfield Road, then Green Lane, Cluntergate and High Street. From High Street there was Hodge Lane (Queen Street), Northgate and Hallcliff Road to Spring End and Ossett. At the top of High Street the road would branch towards Huddersfield and Horbury Bridge. The other road continued along what is now Westfield Road or Denton Lane as it was then called towards Ossett, around Sowood Farm and bearing left up Horbury Road to South Ossett and the Green. There was no Station Road into Ossett at that time. Peel Street was Back Lane. All in all I would think that the main concern of the surveyor would be the Wakefield Austerlands Turnpike road (1760 to about 1888) this would be Northfield Lane, Cluntergate, High Street, Quarry Hill and Horbury Bridge. The New Road and Benton Hill were only constructed 1820 to 30. The surveyor would also have to look after the two roads to Ossett, and of course there was Storrs Hill Road.

I am not sure but I think there was a toll of some sort to pay at Horbury Bridge as there were frequent references to going to Wakefield with the bridge money in the Constables accounts. There was also a Wakefield Austerlands Turnpike toll house at the bottom of Netherton lane covering both Netherton lane and the main road, what they did about people intending to go along Hostingley lane I do not know. The original bridge of 1634 was only 12 feet wide from parapet to parapet which would be alright for horses and carts etc. but not very good for motor vehicles.

The above roads where not made up like today but would consist of patches of hard core with some soft patches depending of the efficiency of the drainage from the surface of the road into the ditches. After prolonged wet weather the roads would be very bad for horses pulling carts or coaches. After a heavy shower roads on slopes would be criss crossed by gullies worn by the rushing water and these would have to be filled with rubble as soon as possible. Pedestrians fared a lot better because most roads or lanes had a line of causey stones down one side for people to walk on hence the frequent references to these stones.


George Hunt John Pollard 1760
John Goodall William Pollard 1767
George Cliff Joseph Spurr 1768
John Binns John Mitchell 1770
Matthew Ash William Bean 1771
John Rayner Jervis Walker 1773
William Pollard David Coope 1774
James Rayner Joseph Armitage 1775
Joseph Barker Jarvis Carr 1776
James Rayner Joseph Armitage 1775
Joseph Barker Jarvis Carr 1776
Thomas Holt Samuel Freckleton 1778
Jeremiah Coope Stephen Iiongley 1779
Rev.John Taylor William Walker 1780
Samuel Pollard George Azmitage 1781
John Burdekin David Coope 1782
Francis Heaton William Coope 1783
Thomas Barraclough John Tootal 1784
Thomas Barraclough John Tootal 1785
William Brown Richard Armitage 1786
John Foster John Coope 1787
Richard Race James Roberts 1788
George Armitage John Moorhouse 1789
George Armitage William Pollard 1790
William Pollard Samuel Gill 1791
Thomas Tootal Samuel Gill 1791 92
Thomas Tootal Richard Armitage 1793
Richard Armitage Timothy Knowles 1794
Timothy Knowles Richard Walker 1795
Richard Walker John Coope 1796
Joseph Atkinson John Coope 1797


The Constable of the parish held an office which was manorial in origin. Constables are known to have existed since the 13th Century and are first mentioned in statutes of 1285. He was wholly responsible for the maintenance of law and order in the parishes for centuries. It is not known when the first Constable was appointed in Horbury but it was probably about 1500 after the breakdown of medieval society, which led to the greater participation of the common man in local affairs. Before the Constable it was the Grave who was responsible for keeping law and order in the community.

The Constable plus the Churchwarden, the Overseer of the Poor and the Surveyor of the highways were elected annually at a meeting in the vestry of the church They had to be responsible people in the community who held property valued at so much per annum This was because during their tenure of office they may be required to spend certain sums of money for the benefit of the people of Horbury, i.e., the upkeep of the Poor House or repairing the roads. This money was acquired by levying an assessment on property owned by the better off people of the town, who were assessed for example at a penny in the pound of what their property was worth. This was usually enough to get sufficient funds to cover the extra money required. If as it sometimes occurred that all the officers wanted funds or if something special happened like a law suit which required persons to attend court at Leeds, i.e. about the building of the cuts for the navigation In this case the Horbury Common Lands Trust would assist by making a special grant towards the costs incurred. Thereby alleviating some of the expense of the townspeople.

The Constable was responsible for certain activities taking place within the township, some which occurred annually or some which took place two or three times a year, some of these I can explain and some I cannot.

To Pinders Oath. This would be the swearing in of the Pindar for the year as he was responsible for collecting any stray animals which might be found wondering about in the township and putting them in the pinfold. They were redeemable for a fine.

To Pains Laying and Reading. The pains laying and reading referred to acts which were prohibited and if people insisted on doing them they were fined, i.e., Item we lay in payne that the inhabitants of Horbuiy John Armitage and Robert Bargh shall not make any usual way over a shutt of ground called wheatley where of right there is no way in payne of every default seen or taken .

To driving fields and taking account of the sheep This is where the animals are driven into a comer of the field so that they can be inspected and any animals found to be diseased can be isolated and treated. There could also be animals in the field which had no right to be there.

To reviewing ye highways & water courses. The highways and watercourses were very important as there were no drains as such in those days and heavy rains could soon cause flooding. It was important for all ditches to be kept clear of rubbish to allow water to get away.

To Drawing up the Presentments. These were similar to the pains laying and reading To juryman and a presentment bilL The juryman could be present at a manor court when the presentments were drawn up and the ones regarding Horbury were brought on the presentment bill

To former Constable accounts spent This would be when the town officers met to approve the former Constables accounts. The 1 shilling was probably spent on ale whilst perusing the accounts and accepting them

To a Coroners Inquest at Wakefield. The Constable was required to attend various inquests in the Wakefield area. This would be because the body on which the inquest is about could possibly have come from this township, or the Constable may have information which might have a bearing on the case, or they may be advised to look out for certain persons who might be wanted for questioning. At least when someone died in suspicious circumstances all the local Constables would be together and could decide what to do.

To a soldier or sailor with a pass. This was when a soldiers regiment was disbanded or a soldier had been wounded and was going home to recover. His commanding officer would give him a pass to say where he commenced his journey and where his home town or village was. At the various townships that were passed through the soldier or sailor went to the Constable, who, when showing the Constable their pass would give them two or three pence which would help them on their way, i.e. providing them with food or lodgings overnight. Sometimes it was a woman with a pass, or a woman and children, or a man. In this case the person may have become destitute and on application to the Overseer of the poor of the village they had lived in, it was found that they had been born somewhere else. In this case they should be returned to the village of their birth so that the village where the application had been made was not burdened with the responsibility of their upkeep. An application was then made to a justice of the peace and a warrant issued for their return to that village. The warrant then entitled them to a few pence from each township to help them on their way as they walked from one place to another.

To Answering the Assize Articles. The Assizes were held at York. These would be details of cases due to be brought to trial which might refer to persons from Horbury.

To making up the land tax. This would be a meeting with the assessors of the land

To treating the window surveyors. The window tax first commenced in 1696 and continued until 1851. This is the reason why many older houses have windows that have been bricked up.

To going to Wakefield with the Bridge money. Money was collected from each township twice a year and this money was used to repair the main bridges in the West Riding. The amount varied depending how much work had to be done. The money was also used towards the upkeep of “The House of Correction” and the salaries of the various officers in the county.

To Sheriff Town pains laying and reading. This should read as To Sheriff Toum, when someone had to attend the court or toum at Wakefield to check whether items were presented regarding Horbury.

To all about the Land Tax and assessing. Making up the land tax, possibly if it had

been disputed.

To attending the Brewster Sessions. This was to do with the renewal of licenses for licensed premises, which were granted by a magistrate.

To signing the Freehold Bill and Carrying it This was the list of Freeholders of property, as different from Copy of Court Roll. From this list a register of electors and people liable for jury service was produced.

To inspecting the town and making the militia lists. Every male between the ages of 16 and sixty was eligible for the Militia. This was first instituted in Tudor times, each township would be advised how many men had to be provided and it was decided by the drawing of a straw or by ballot who would have to go. The only way men could get out of it was by paying a substitute to take their place. I suppose it was like joining the local sea or army cadets for a year.

The lists were sent to the Deputy Lieutenant of the County or the clerk to the militia

To trying weights and measures. Weights and measures were checked twice a year, these were the normal weighing scales with weights and measures for liquids, i.e. pint or quart, etc. There was also measures for dry weights, these were shaped like bowls, i.e. a peck = 8 quarts and a bushel = 4 pecks. There would also be the ordinary Avoirdupois Weight, i.e. ounce, pound, stone, quarter, hundredweight and ton.


In the accounts of the Overseer of the Poor for 1775 there are the following entries, – To 3 pecks of Malt 4/-, 3 pecks of wheat 4/9, To a peck of potatoes 4d and at the bottom of the next page, a Bushell of wheat 6/8.

A pair of Brass Scales.                          A Brass drye measure pint

A Brass pound                                     A Pewther wine quart

A Sett of Brass weights of £4.               A Brass Yearde

A Pewther wine Jade

Money of course was in pounds, shillings and pence, 20 shillings to the pound and 12 pence to the shilling or 240 pence to the pound, also the farthing, halfpenny, penny, threepenny bit, sixpence, shilling two shilling piece, half a crown and of course the golden guinea worth twenty one shillings. Distance was measured 8 furlongs to the mile and forty perches to the furlong, the actual measurement in yards is, 1760 yards to the mile, 220 yards to the furlong and five and a half yards to the perch and of course 12 indies to the foot and 3 feet to the yard

In this modern world we complain about income tax, vat, council tax and water rates and various taxes on other purchases. Looking at these entries in the accounts we can see that the local freeholders all had their share to contribute to the local economy via the various taxes, windows, land, assessments towards the upkeep of the poor house, the highways, bridges, etc. and no doubt all the other inhabitants contributed in some degree with rents etc. which would be passed on from the free holders of property.

In this introduction I have tried to explain some of the entries which appear in these accounts, others not mentioned are not known to the writer. I am grateful to Mr John Goodchild for his help in explaining some of the entries that I was unsure about.

Ken. Bartlett, Sept 2001.

CONSTABLES 1740 – 1800

Robert Carr Constable 1740 – 1741.        Robert Carr for Town Lands 1741.

Samuel Pollard Constable 1741 – 1742. John Pollard for Town Lands 1742.

Thomas Bedford Constable 1742 – 1743. Thomas Bedford for Town Lands 1743.

Samuel Dawson Constable 1743 – 1744. Samuel Dawson for Town Lands 1744.

John Thorns Constable 1745.                  John Thorns for Town Lands 1745.

Samuel Pollard Constable 1745 – 1746. Samuel Pollard for Town Lands 1746.

Joseph Knowles Constable 1746 – 1747. Joseph Knowles for Town Lands 1747.

William Pollard Constable 1747 – 1748. William Pollard for Town Lands 1748.

Joseph Walker Constable 1748 – 1749. Joseph Walker for Town Lands 1749.

John Ellis Constable 1749 – 1750.         John Ellis for Town Lands 1750.

George Armitage Constable 1750 -1751. George Armitages for Town Lands 1751.

Joshua Rayner Constable 1751 – 1752.         Joshua Rayner for Town Lands 1752.

John Cass Constable 1752 – 1753.        John Cass for Town Lands 1753.

David Coope Constable 1753 – 1754.    David Coope for Town Lands 1754.

Benjamin Coope Constable 1754- 1755. Benjamin Coope for Town Lands 1755.

Jonathen Crosley Constable 1755 – 1756.        Jonathen Crosley for Town Lands 1756.

John Goodall Constable 1756 – 1757.    John Goodall for Town Lands 1757.

William Pollard Constable 1757 – 1758. William Pollard for Town Lands 1758.

Nathaniel Walker Constable 1758 -1759. Nathaniel Walker for Town Lands 1759.

James Raynor Constable 1759 – 1760.  James Raynor for Town Lands 1760.

Robert Carr Constable 1760 – 1761.        Robert Carr for Town Lands 1761.

Robert Carr Constable 1761 – 1762.        Robert Carr for Town Lands 1762.

Thomas Hoult Constable 1762 – 1763.  Thomas Hoult for Town Lands 1763

Edward Sunderland Constable 1763 – 1764. Edward Sunderland for Town Lands 1764.

Joshua Walker Constable 1764 – 1765. Joshua Walker for Town Lands 1765.

Henry Bean Constable 1765 – 1766.      Henry Bean for Town Lands 1766.

John Barraclough Constable 1766 -1767. John Banaclough for Town Lands 1767.

Samuel Dawson Constable 1767 – 1768. Samuel Dawson for Town Lands 1768.

Luke Holt Constable 1768 – 1769.          Luke Holt for Town Lands 1769.

George Cliffe Constable 1769 – 1770.      George Cliffe for Town Lands 1770.

John Pollard Constable 1770 – 1771.    John Pollard for Town Lands 1771.

William Pollard Constable 1771 – 1772. William Pollard for Town Lands 1772.

Joseph Spurr Constable 1772 – 1773.    Joseph Spurr for Town Lands 1773.

William Craven Constable 1773 – 1774. William Craven for Town Lands 1774.

George Armitage Constable 1774 -1775.     George Armitage for Town Lands 1775.

William Rayner Constable 1775 – 1776.           William Rayner for Town Lands 1776.


Horbuty Workhouse

 (Photo courtesy of C. Cudworth)

Workhouse 1

                                                                                                              (photo JPS 2011 )



Volume 1

1747- 1789


Edited by Marian Marshall & Ken. Bartlett

We are grateful to Mr. Robert Walker and Mr. Ron. Marsland of the then Horbury Urban District Council who granted us permission to copy the Horbury Parish Accounts in long hand, type them out and publish them.


The accounts of the Overseer of the Poor were Marian’s favourite accounts as they contain a vast amount of detail about the ordinary people of Horbury and their trials and tribulations. Some of this information I have tried to illustrate in the following introduction. Marian was completely responsible for the copying and typing of the Workhouse accounts, and did a marvellous job considering that she was gradually going blind. I am sure the readers will forgive the typing errors which only go to show how hard it must have been for her working with magnifying equipment so see the original documents and her longhand, hoping her fingers would hit the right keys on the typewriter.

Usually the accounts start with a list of persons residing in the ‘work­house’ who received monthly bye pay and possibly some who did not reside there but received the monthly payment. Unfortunately these accounts do not start this way and we are left not knowing who and how many there were receiving bye pay at the beginning of 1747.

At first glance these accounts may seem boring and repetitive. After reading them through a couple of times one or two interesting items begin to appear. The Workhouse was supported by the township ie. Every person holding property or renting property above a certain amount were assessed at so much in the pound. Even the Workhouse itself had to pay the poor assessment. Besides this it had to pay land tax and window money, and Highway assessment.

The Overseer of the Poor was elected to serve for a year by the parish officers at an annual meeting in the vestry. The Overseer had to be a substantial householder before he could be elected.

The firstsection of the a/c is of money disbursed for food, clothing and equipment, also 4/- monthly wages for the Dame and 3d to the schoolmaster William Fitton for teaching the children from the workhouse. He was also paid for writing out these accounts and all the other accounts of the parish officers, a useful supplement to his salary of £2 paid by the Common Lands Trust. This section is headed D.I.S. in the margin for disbursements.

The second section is Receipts P.E.C? Money received for work done by the occupants of the Workhouse for certain townspeople, some were paid in money and some in kind. As can be seen many things were sold by the workhouse, Pigeons, butter, berries, apples, bran, grains, etc. The workhouse also owned a cow, some of the milk being used to make butter, the rest used in the workhouse. The money received was used to offset some of the disbursements. I have marked the accounts D.I.S. and P.E.C. to help the reader make some sort of order from them.

The accounts don’t seem to be in any kind of order. The first being disbursements and receipts from April to June, June to August, January to March, March to May, October to November, September to October and November to January.

Amongst the 3d for potatoes and 251b of beef there are a few interesting items.

June 1st. To: removing Cana Batley’s goods to workhouse.

June 15th.To: scouring Cana Batley’s bed clothes at Mill.

To: two hats for Cana Batley’s boys.

To: a warrant for David Batley his wife and mother.

There are further references to the Batley lads and David Batley later on in the year. After consulting the parish registers I came up with the following information Elkannah Batley (Cana) was the second son of John Batley (clothier). He married Hannah Hemingway on the 5th. December 1736. Between 1736 and 1747 they had six children, four of which survived. Elkannah the father died on May 3rd. and the mother 27 days later. The children aged 10, 8, 7 and 1 were taken into the workhouse at the beginning of June (hence the first 3 lines) a little further down come two more lines.

To: their indentures for lads 8/-.

To:cash to giveto their masters £1. 6s 8d

The Overseer didn’t let grass grow under his feet before apprenticing the eldest two Batley children. About this time the workhouse gave the School­master 3d? a month to teach these children at his school. There are also further entries of ‘caps for Batleys boys’ and apron for Batleys child.

On November? 2nd. there is the entry ‘To Robert Carr with Ann Batley 13/4 (on page 10) also two shifts for Ann Batley and on page 11 to Robert Carr for Ann Batley fifteen weeks £1-15-0d. It looks as if Ann had been fostered out with the Carr family. Unfortunately I couldn’t find any reference to the youngest child who would be one.

The fourth line, to a warrant for David Batley his wife and mother, I couldn’t find any reason for this, although there is reference in the Constables A/C dated 21st April. To: a warrant for the Overseer of the poor 2/8. There is a further reference of Coat making for David Batley 5/6 on Aug.Ist.

The following are references to the other inhabitants of the workhouse.

Elisabeth Moorhouse.(E M. for the year)

To 2 and a half yds of cloth for E. M @12pp? 2/6 on Apl. 19th

Shoes mending 4d 25th.May

Cloth for 2 shifts making 2/6 28th.May

Apron for E M 1/-.

6 yds of shalloon @ 15pp for E.M. 1yds of cloth @12pp, thread 11 and a half d May 2nd. To Gown making for E.M.1/-.

To Coffin for E.M’s child 4/-.

There is no mention of the burying of a child in the Parish Registers.

Robert Cliff. (R.C.)

There are frequent mentions of shaving of R.C. also Benjamin Senior and William Moorhouse. Shoes mendings; 3d Feb. 22nd.and Mch.28th. there are also mentions of Gin for RC.

Beniamin Senior.(B)

Wip lash 2d June 15th. Sickle for B 10d. Aug.1st. Handkerchief for B. I0d.

To: Robert Oxley new shoes & mending for B 6/3 May. 3and a half yd of cloth for B petticoat

3 yds of cloth for B a wastecoat & Dame petticoat 11/1

To: To B shirts 5/3.To: Robert Oxley mending B shoes 6d, Jan 18th. altogether B earned £5-19s in outwork for workhouse.

William Moorhouse. (WM.)

Robert and Benjamin being shaved.

Coffin for W.M. 5/-, Church dues 2/-, Drink 1/- July 6th.

William Moorhouse – as buried on the 29th.of June.

John Hinchcliff (J.H)

24r yds of cloth 2/7, wastecoat making apron for J.H. Dec.3rd. John Hinchcliff earned £2-19s in outwork.

Thos. Roberts. (Troth)

2 yds of cloth 3 l? p 2/7 Oct.5th. Apron for Troth Roberts 3d.

To: Jno.Pollard for a hat for Troth 1/-, To Troth washing 1d.

Mary Cliffe apron l/2d Jan.8th.

John Roberts wife. earned 4/9 in outwork.

Elizabeth Smith. Handkerchief for E.S. 6th.Dec.

Altogether ten people are mentioned as inhabiting the workhouse.

On page 36 there is mentioned, ’A coffin for George Haigh’s wife Rosamond who was buried on the 30th of May. Her husband was buried on the 9th of July (page 37)

On page 40 there is mentioned.- under 9th.December 1751.

To: taking Elizabeth Kay before Mr.Burton 1/4

To: examination 1/-, Mr.Thorne for advice 5/-.

To: going to Thurstonland for a copy of her father’s certificate and expences 5/-.

To: attending Mr. Burton to get an order and signing 4/9.

To: going to Leeds to get the order signed 1/-.

To: going with her to Hausterly. (possibly Austerlands between Huddersfield and Oldham). 9/3.

In the Wakefield Quarter Sessions Order Book, 10/2 (?) ,page 70 there is the following item.-

Upon the application of the Church Wardens and Overseers of the Poor of Huddersfield in the said Riding against an order under the hand and seal of Timothy Lee Clerk and Francis Wood ? esquire.

His Majesties Justice of the Peace in the said Riding, bearing date the 19th. of January last case made for the removal of Elizabeth Kay single woman from the township of Horbury in the said Riding to Huddersfield aforesaid. It is ordered that the said order of removal be discharged and that the Churchwardens and Overseers of the Poor of Horbury aforesaid do on notice of this order pay or cause to be paid to the Churchwardens and Overseers of the poor of Huddersfield the sum of £2-6-6d for damages sustained in maintaining the party removed, pending the said order of removal.

On page 44,               1752 are the following items.-

To going to Heath with Jno.Oxley to get him examined before Mr. Smith and expenses in carrying him there, 25th May.

June 1st.To: removing Jno.Oxley & wife to Crigglestone 11/6.

To: expenses of going to Standbridge -with John Oxley 1/6.

To attending Mr.Smith with Eliz.Clegg & Eliz.Kay.1 /-.

To attending Sir George Dalston with the above women, re examination & warrants 6/-.

Page 45.

July 25th.To going to Sandal to search the register about Jno.Oxley, also going to Painthorpe and Crigglestone £1-1-4d.

To expenses in getting Oxley’s goods 1/-.

To: Mary Beckquet ? washing Oxley bedding 3d.

To: Josh. Kay fetching Oxley clothes 6d.

For Pewter and Delf of Jno.Oxleys £1-1 -2d.

In the Wakefield Quarter Sessions Order Book l.S.10/21 page 97 is the following item.

Upon the application of the Churchwardens & Overseer of the Poor of the township of Horbury in the said Riding, against an order under the hands and seal? of Jno.Burton and Francis Yool esq. J.P.s for the said Riding bearing date the 1st.of June last made for the removal of John Oxley and Mice? his wife from the township of Horbury in the said Riding to Crigglestone aforesaid. It is ordered that the said order of removal be discharged and that the Church­wardens and Overseers of the Poor of Horbury aforesaid do on notice of this order pay or cause to be paid 20/- damages sustained in maintaining that. party removed pending the order of removal.

The last two items relating to Elizabeth Kay and John Oxley illustrate the procedures of removal of persons becoming a burden to the town. Persons living in the town who lost their employment and were not born in Horbury became liable to removal to their place of birth when it became necessary to ask the Overseer of the Poor for food and shelter.

Nowadays we take paper for granted when we see it blowingabout as rubbish in the streets, mostly old newspapers, fish and chip and other forms of wrapping paper. In the days when these accounts were written paper would be in short supply. There wouldn’t be many households who had paper in them, most of the inhabitants of Horbury couldn’t read or write, so there wouldn’t be much paper blowing about in Horbury then. At the end of the Constables, Churchwardens and Surveyor of the Highways accounts is the entry. To pen, ink and paper 1/-.

On page 93 in the year 1775 is the entry. To Mr.Child curing Mary Carter €1-1-0d. Mary Carter was one of the local ladies of easy virtue who also dwelt in the Workhouse. There follows on page 94. To calling a meeting about Mary Carter. Page 94. To Thomas Child as per note curing of a venerial disorder £1-5-4d. Do. as per note sundries 2/3 (the sundries were Mercury) There is an entry to this effect somewhere amongst these pages. There is a further entry on page 104, 1777. To Doctor Child as per note £2-8-4d. Later in 1777 Mary Carter gave birth to a daughter called Sarah, a natural child and in 1781 she gave birth to a son called Isaac also a natural child.

Mercury was used in an ointment form against Syphilis and was applied in large quantities to the effected parts, where it was hoped some of it would find its way into the bloodstream via broken skin. It was only partially successful some it would cure and others not. In 1905 Dr.Ehrlich discovered Salvarsan. an injection of an arsenic compound into the vein of the arm. After Mercury, but before Salvarsan a bismuth compound was injected intra-muscularly.

On page 89 1775 is the entry. To Elizabeth Berry filiation order and going to Wakefield 1/8. and on page 90, Rec’d of John Hodgson by payment of Jeremy Coone in full discharge for the payment of a bastard child born of the body of Elizabeth Berry. £10. In the Parish Registers is the entry April 17th. 1775. William base born son of Elizabeth Berry baptised. There is no record of the birth of Elizabeth Berry in the Parish Register. Jeremiah Coope was born the 7th. September 1747 with his twin sister Mary, children of David Coope a prominent local family of which various members served as parish officers.

The following are items of food and implements and the number of times purchased in the year 1747. I have not included clothing as the simpler items were made by the inhabitants, the more complex apparel bought from the local tradesmen


Tobacco 55 Malt 19 Starch 7 Apples 2
Yeast 47 Hoops 13 Pepper 7 Cinamon 2
Soap 43 Besom 11 Hay 5 Parsnips 2
Beef 4? Shillin 11 Currants 4 Ointment 2
Sugar 41 Pins 9 Suet 4 Salt petre
Potatoes 37 Wheat 9 Nails 4 Carrots
Salt 19 Turnip a Beans 4 Milk
Thread 19 Candles 7 Wine 3 Lemmon
Vutton 17 Ink 7 Pease 3 Brandy
Cabbage 17 Treacle 7 Brimstone 3 Gin Screed Needles Dish

Popular writers of the 19th century have led us to believe that workhouses were horrible places, that kindness and understanding were none existent. But, looking at these accounts, kindness and compassion were very evident here. Maybe because this was a small town and everybody knew everyone, people were aware of how the money they contributed was used and on whom and could see with their own eyes and sometimes in their own homes how these people were being looked after. Probably in larger places like Wakefield with a workhouse which contained over a hundred people or more instead of about fifteen in Horbury the charitable personal touch was missing.

To say that Tobacco was only brought from America in the late 16th. century, it didn’t take long for it to become an established habit amongst the males of this country. Some farmers are said to have been growing it as an alternative crop in the early 17th.century. By the 1640′s the pottery village of Wrenthorpe (1 mile north of Wakefield) already had potters who specialised in the making of clay pipes. The Gill family were especially prominent at this and stamped their initials on the bases of their pipe bowls.

I find it quite amazing that tobacco should be the most often purchased commodity of Horbury workhouse in 1747. (see above list), followed by yeast for baking and brewing, soap, beef, sugar and potatoes. It also astonishes me that beef should he mentioned twice as much as Mutton. I would have thought that mutton would have been the cheaper joint, but was the sheep prized more than the cow with its daily supply of milk, a question of milk versus wool ?

A further survey of items shown purchased for the last year of this volume, 1739, show a marked difference from the first year. Although a similar variety of items are mentioned they are not mentioned as often. Tobacco which was mentioned fifty five times in the 1747 account is only mentioned twice in 1789 and these only with regard to certain persons.

                  KEN BARTLETT


The first known Chaplain of Horbury is John De WRO who’s will was made on the 20th of January 1404. The next one we know about is John CLAYTON Chaplain a witness to the will of Ralph AMYAS in December 1491. Ralph AMYAS was deputy steward of the Manor of Wakefield and it is thought he was responsible for the building of HORBURY HALL in the 1470’s.

The third one is S’r Christofr WOD first mentioned in the will of Peter ROWS 1512/3. This is followed by S’r Christofr WOD’s own will in 1524, in which he presents his wish that he be buried within the Church of “Alhalowse in Wakefelc. Practically all burials were at Wakefield up to 1580, the only burials at Horbury were within the church and were those of great benefactors of the church, i.e. the SAVILES of Lupset and the GARGRAVES of Snapethorpe. The next priest mentioned is John FOX who witnessed wills in 1531 and 1536 and John SHEPARDE curate in 1545. Oliver BEDFORDE and William SPROXTON are mentioned as priests in the administration of William COOLES 1546.

Lawrence WILSON became minister in 1585 and he witnessed many wills during his lifetime, he must have been a very popular man and he is recorded as a knight in 1593. He died on the 20th of March 1623 and was succeeded by Mr Roger RADCLIFFE as priest on the 22 March 1623.. He also witnessed wills in 1627 and 1640. There is an entry in the parish registers “Grace wife of Roger RADCLIFFE clerk buriyed ye 3rd. November 1636. (The said Roger RADCLIFFE had been minister of Horbury for 13 years, (this was a footnote added by The Rev. Ja. HAIGH much later)

After this for the duration of the civil war there was much uncertainty and change and during this time there were a Mr. JACKSON, Mr. MARSHALL, Mr.CRITCHLEY mentioned in the Horbury Parish Registers. These were followed by a Mr.THOMAS who is also recorded in the parish registers, The Rev. Henry THOMAS’ son Edward THOMAS baptized 28th June 1658. He was followed by a Mr. BRIGGS, Mr. STAPLETON and a Mr. KAY of whom there is no mention in the parish registers other than page 95. The next minister mentioned is a Mr Richard BOYES who had two children baptized on the 27th July 1670 and the 25th. January 1671. He is followed by “John son of Daniell LEECH, Clerk and our present minister baptized the 14* April 1673 ”

After this the list of ministers settle down with the Rev. Christopher DONNER 1674 until 1684. The Rev. James HAIGH 14th of May 1684 until his death on the 3rd. of April 1727. The Rev. James HAIGH married Barbara LEEK daughter of Mr.Gervase LEEK the eldest son of Mr. Robert LEEK. The LEEK family originate from Little Leek or West Leek which is only five miles south of Clifton in Nottinghamshire the home of Sir Gervase CLIFTON. Robert LEEK came to Horbury in the early 1630’s or 40’s and is said to have come from Hallam near Southwell in north Nottinghamshire.

The next minister is the Rev. John SCOTT A.M who was admitted after the death of James HAIGH, he is mentioned in the 1727 Common Lands Accounts. He died on the 17th. June 1766 and is said to have been minister of Horbury for 38 years and was followed by James SCOTT B.D. in 1766, he was minister for 8 years until the ministry became vacant by cessation in 1774. The Rev. John TAYLOR A.M. of St. John’s College Cambridge followed and he was minister for 42 years 10 months, 9 days. He was followed in 1818 by William SNOWDEN.

The Rev. John SHARPE B A. of Magdalene Collage, Cambridge became minister on November the 16th. 1834 until he resigned on the 6th. July 1899. The Rev. SHARPE was the only minister who was allowed to become a trustee of Horbury Common Lands Trust which was created in 1653 by Sir Gervase CLIFTON the then Lord of the Manor of Wakefield. I believe that the reason that ministers were not allowed to become trustees was that they were paid by the Common Lands Trust, as the accounts illustrate. It is possible that the Church of England became responsible for paying ministers stipends in the early 19th. century and this made it possible for them to become trustees. He became a trustee in 1842 and was a trustee until after the election of 1895.


We must remember that Horbury church was a Catholic church up to 1531 when Henry VIII assumed the mantle of head of the Church of England and pronounced a protestant state. Of course it took quite a few years for the people to get used to the change. Before 1531 the headings of wills were very Catholic in content i.e. –

“Saturday after the feast of St. Andrew [3 Dec] 1491 I Ralph AMYAS of Horbury, gentilman, of sound mind and healthy memory, make my will in this manner. First: I leave my soul to Almighty God, the Blessed Virgin Mary and all the saints and my body to be buried in the parish church of Wakefield on the north side of the chancel. Item: I leave to the vicar of the same church my best beast by way of my mortuary. Item: for wax to burn around my body on the day of my burial 2s. Item: I leave for the candles (torche) of the church lighted round my body 6s 8d. Item: I leave to 4 poor men at the time of my funeral procession and masses bearing light around my body 12d. Item: I leave to each chaplain who takes part in my funeral procession and mass 6d Item: to the parish clerk 4d Item: to each minor clerk having a surplice Id Item: 1 leave to the high alter of the church of Wakefield 20d. Item: I leave to the vicar there for forgotten tithes 3s 4d (He also leaves – to the fabric of the church at High Melton for the soul of Elizabeth his mother 6s 8d) : I leave for an obit annually in the church of Wakefield for my soul and the souls of my parents and all my beneficiaries 2s in each year for a term of ten years.”

It took until neatly 1580 for the introductions to wills to change to a more protestant phraseology. Here is one dated practically two hundred years later which is a real Christian will.

“In the name of God Amen this eight day of November in the three and twentieth year of the Raigne of our Sovereigne Lord Charles the second over England France and Ireland King Defender of the faith ye 1671. I Robert LEEK of Horbury in the County of York, Gent being at this present in good health and memory (praised be God therefore) Yet considering the frailty and uncertainty of life, and that I may with more freedome of mind lay hold on heaven and heavenly things, And when I dye as touching this vaine world have nothing to do but dye, and that I may prepaire my selfe the better for that life which never shall have end, doe make this my last Will and testament in manner and forme following, first I bequeath my Soule to the Lord God almighty Creator of all men, father of all Spirite, Lord of Glory, in a stedfast hope that by the meritte and mediation of my Blessed Saviour Jesus Christ whoe dyed for my Sinnes and rose againe for my Justification, of the Salvation of my Soule, and at the great day of account, of a joyfull and happie reunion with my vile body to life everlasting, Which body of mine I bequeath and committ unto the earth from whence it came, and from theire I hope at the generall resurrection it shall be made a glorious body by the power of him whoe is able to Subdue all things to himselfe;”

The early wills are a variation of the first up to the mid 1500’s and then they become more like the second one, whether most of them are a mere formality or whether they truly reflect the beliefs of the person making the will is a matter of conjecture. When we consider that most of the population were illiterate, that they only knew about the Christian message from the local church minister. That is if he was a Christian ?. The introduction to the following will of the Rev. James HAIGH Minister of Horbury 1685 to 1727 is an example-

“In ye name of God Amen ye 20*th. day of May 1726 I James HAIGH of Horbury in ye County of York Clerk being infirm in Body but of perfect mind & memory (praised be God for ye same) Do make & appoint this my last will & testam’t in manner & form following. First I give & bequeath my soul to God & my Body to ye dust to be buried in Christian manner And as for my worldly Estate wherewith it hath pleased God to bless me I dispose of as followeth.”

There is no protestation of Christian faith.! Whether the Rev’d James HAIGH took it for granted that everyone knew, or would think he was a Christian because of his calling we do not know. Many of the wills were I sincerely believe written by practicing Christians. That is people who by an act of faith backed by the word of God, the bible, trusted solely for their eternal salvation in the death (blood) of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins. They believed in the bodily resurrection and his second coming. They did not trust in their own good deeds for a place in heaven The introduction to their respective wills shows this.

The thing that binds the first two wills together is that both men lived in the same house, Horbury Hall, the first one was the possible builder in the early 1470’s and was Deputy Steward of the Manor of Wakefield. His Arms are carved on the tie beam supporting the canopy in the main room of the house. The second man Robert LEEK was a friend of Sir Gervase CLIFTON, Lord of the Manor of Wakefield between 1629 amd his death in 1666.

In the 1590’s the river Calder which forms the boundary between Netherton and Horbury, changed its course during a flood by cutting across an old meander therefore depriving Horbury of over 7 acres of land The resulting controversy between the two townships went on for nearly sixty years. It was ultimately resolved by Sir Gervase CLIFTON, the Lord of the Manor, who gave a number of Horbury fields to the township, the resulting rents to be used for the benefit of the town. This resulted in the formation of Horbury Common Lands Trust in 1653 to administrate the letting of the fields of which Robert LEEK played a big part. In 1629 Robert LEEK along with William SWANSCOE was made a trustee of the Manor of Wakefield on behalf of Sir Gervase CLIFTON. It is possible that Robert LEEK came to live in Horbury shortly after. He is first mentioned in the parish registers in 1645 at the birth of his daughter Barbara.

William AMYAS son of Ralph AMYAS who also lived at Horbury Hall, whose will was proved in 1510 bequeathed to his wife “I bequeth unto my seid wif ij gobblets of silver oon chales and a masse boke” which is somewhat different from the next item

When the west wing of Horbury Hall was demolished in the 1930’s, where the Cherry Tree car park is now, a “Pomander of Prayer” was found dating from the 1560’s. The book was written by Thomas BECON who was bom in 1512, he took his B.A. degree in 1530 at St. Johns College, Cambridge and ultimately graduated D.D. Besides being a priest he took to producing religious books and pamphlets under the pseudonym of Theodore BASIL. He had pronounced opinions and sentiments in favour of the reformation and published some seventy devotional and controversial works before his death in 1567. He suffered greatly for his faith, being deprived of his living many times and was once imprisoned in the Tower of London.He said that his main aim in life was “To teach the people to know themselves and their salvation in the blood of Christ through faith, and to walk worthy of the kindness of God, leading a life agreeable to the same, hath only been the stop and work whereunto I have directed all my studies and travails both in preaching and writing.” The book although probably published in 1565 could have been placed where it was found anytime in the following fifty years or more. It would be interesting to know who the last owner was. The AMYAS family died out in the male line in 1539 when Alice AMYAS daughter of William AMYAS conveyed the hall to her husband Brian BRADFORD of Bradford Hall, Stanley, (now Clarice Hall). The Hall belonged to the Manor of Wakefield and at each change of tenant it had to be ratified by the Wakefield Manor Court. The BRADFORD’S retained Horbury Hall for about 20 years until George SAVILE became the tenant and he died in the 1590’s. Which family could be the possible owner of the book or did Robert LEEK have something to do with it 50 years later ?.

Being a Christian did not just mean accepting Christ as your saviour one had to live one’s life according to the precepts of the bible, obeying the ten commandments. In medieval times many parishes, no doubt, were faithfully served by a poor parish priest, far too often the church belonged to a monastery or to a wealthy absentee pluralist and was served by a “masse priest” who scarcely understood the Latin words he mumbled any better than his audience. The poor man, as he stood or knelt on the floor of the church each Sunday, could not follow the Latin words, but good thoughts probably found a way to his heart as he heard the familiar yet mysterious sounds. The fear of hell was a most potent force, pitilessly exploited by all preachers and confessors, both to enrich the church and to call sinners to repentance. This is why many men of substance who had lived a life that left much to be desired, left large bequests to the church hoping for absolution of their sins, but there is nothing in the bible to say that this is possible, it is just a tradition of the Roman Catholic church.

The poor knew some of the sayings of Christ and incidents from his life and from those of the saints, besides many bible stories such as Adam and Eve, Noah’s flood, etc. The crucifix was often before his eyes and the story of the Crucifixion in his mind. Confession was a compulsory duty, normally made to the parish priest but sometimes to a passing friar who gave absolution more easily, often for money, a good meal or other favours and so it continued until the 1530’s when the church became the church of England


February 2001.

(The copyright of all Ken’s material is owned by Dr Phil Judkins, who has very kindly allowed me to use it).