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Home > Family History > Leeds Area > Harewood > The Notices > Pages 131 to 136

"The Notices of the Stables Family"
by William Stables (1794-1862)

Page 131 he vas called to follow four of his children, all in the prime of
life, to the silent grave. His two youngest, Jane and William, having
died with him at Artley, and the other two, Elizabeth and Richard,
being both married and settled in life, and leaving issue. In Jany.
1840, his son Richard being dangerously ill, he went to Compton, stayed
until his decease, and then remained with the widow and children for
about three months, while Richard's concern was in winding up, and the
concern being transferred to Brother Allan, and only left in the
beginning of Aprio, that he might not have the anguish of seeing the
many things he had been the means of gathering together, submitted to
the auctioneer's hammer, and scattered to the wide world.
It was about the last day of June, 1842, that his final affliction
commenced, Whether he had a fit of some sort, or he was struck by the
lightning, for he was on that day sat in his chair opposite the window,
when it came an awful crack of thunder, and the corresponding flash,
in some peculiar way, struck him. He reared back in his chair, and
cried out, "I'm shott." Be it as it may, from that time he looked up
no more, and I could never learn that he had any specific disease, but
occasional attacks of spasms, and sick fits, and in one of these he at
length departed this life, without any pain or groan or struggle, and
they were in doubt for some time whether he was really dead,
Soon after his first seizure as above, his housekeeper and Mr.
Morkill's, his neighbour being alarmed, a messenger was sent to Brother
Allan's at Compton. and brother Allan returned with him. On the 2nd
July sister Allan went, and on Monday 3rd, our son Matthew went (for
at that time my wife and I were at Linnington, on the occasion of the
death of my own father. He had been much distressed, and message after
message was sent for me, to remake him his will, but as I did not return,
and he came to know, that my coming was uncertain, our son was sent to
Oulton to fetch a Mr. Graveley, an attorney, to make him another will,
which having executed, he expressed himself as being much relieved in
mind, and spreading out his arms exclaimed, "How I die in peace with all men.",
and seemed in a very comfortable frame of mind. They had a neighbouring
medical man, but he gradually sunk down, until on the morning of June
7th, 1842, in the presence of our son, Mrs. Harkin and Mrs. Coates, the
housekeeper, he in a sick fit, ended the mortal story, aged 72.
His remains were interred in a walled grave, beside the other members of
his family, in the churchyard at Collingham, on Monday July 11th. We, and
most of the other relatives and friends, met at the Star Inn at ten
o'clock, and after the interment returned there to dine. During the
afternoon Brother Allan produced the will. By it he bequeathed his
property to his three surviving daughters, with their husbands as
joint executors. for his son Richard and his daughter Elizabeth,
both dead. but leaving issue. has each received their portion in his
lifetime. A few days after, we met at Artby and had a kind of private
auction of his furniture, amounting to 124 pounds. The part we took
being 53 pounds. The remainder being taken by brother Allan and
Midgley, We requested Brother Allen to be the acting trustee, in paying
the funeral expenses, housekeeper's wage, &c., and when we met sometime
after, when he could close his accounts, we had each 25 pounds in hand.
Ours I kept until, by the statute of limitations, we could not be sued
for any of his debts, when I paid 30 pounds to a person of whom Father
had borrowed 200 pounds. We met awhile after to investigate the affairs
of the partnership, and found things in such a state, that not any of us
would enter it, administering to Father's will.
 
Page 132 Soon after it came to a stand, and Brother Allan being a large creditor, lost very
considerably by it. (1856)

NOTE XY (See page ) When he went to school at Arthington, he used
to go and come. Afterwards, he was two years boarded at Leeds, for the purpose
of attending school. When he was at home at Christmas, they used to go to
visit their Grandmother Bentley and used to stay a week or two, and when
they left she usually gave each of them half a crown, or five shillings, and
when she died she left each of them five pounds. With his, he bought a
watch. (This watch I have had and worn for many years, I gave it to my son
Edwin, about 1845, and I hope he keeps it yet,-1856) When his brother and he
first came to Kirkby, they had no housekeeper. They were times when they lived
simply, used to come on Monday mornings, and bring with them bread and
cheese, and pies, to serve them for the week. For drink, they brought with
them a scotch cow, and she served them for the week, and on Saturday nights
they drove her back again to Sandygate. Uncle John, sometimes, especially
when he went to Leeds market, used to go and sleep at Sandygate, and Father
has slept many nights in this house alone. They went on in this way for perhaps
about twelve months, after which Aunt Burdsall came, and they began regularly
to keep house. The house and farm previously to their entering on it had
been occupied by old Hargreaves. (From my father, April 27th, 1829.) Father and
Uncle did not agree very well. Uncle rather masterful, father did not like to
submit so very much, so put his clothes in a sack, and carried them away on
his back. She cried as she went up the close with them. (Aunt Burdsall),
Uncle and father began to come to Kirkby 1776. James Ridsdale entered on
the Low Hall spring of 1777, was married June 1777, Aunt Burdsall did not come
until after James Ridsdale had come. Began to have meetings at Uncle's,
soon after James Ridsdale was married. (Mrs, Ridsdale - July 30th, 1829),

NOTE V. (See page 109) He was a remarkably quick, lively and bright
boy. He was early sent to the village school, where he continued generally to
attend until he was about twelve years of age. It was not however, a school
of very high rank. The then master had been a farmer's servant, and was so
ignorant of literature, that he was scarce able to count to twenty. But by his
application and perserverance he had got to write a pretty fair hand, and to have
a tolerable knowledge of arithmetic. It is probable that Matthew learned all that
the master was able to teach.
When he was about twelve years of age, a fall of wood was determined on
by the proprietor of the Lordship of Healaugh, and a Mr. John Dodsworth, a
respectable wood dealer and valuer of York, was engaged to look the wood
over, and to value that which was to fall. When he came to perform his task, he
was in want of a guide to point out the bounds of the Lordship, and lands
belonging to Stamp Brooksbank, Esqr. By some means he was directed to two
boys of the village, Matthew Skilbeck and Thos. Hartley, who having lived all
their lives at the place, he thought would know it sufficiently. Mr. Dodsworth
was a cheerful and shrewd man, and as they proceeded along would frequently
ask his boyish companions their opinion of a tree, how many feet of wood,
how much bark, etc., until by practise he found that Matthew was so quick
and correct in his as to be able to skill a tree about as we as
himself , and being a boy of very modest and amiable temper, he ingra-
tiated himself very much into the affection
 
Page 133 and esteem of Mr. Dodsworth.
Mr. Dodsworth had a relation at York of the same name as himself, and
ironmonger. in a very respectable line of business. His establishment was in
Low Ousegate, near to the North end of the bridge. To him he spoke of
Matthew, as being a very amiable quick and sensible boy,
and one very likely to make him an excellent apprentice. Mr. Dodsworth,
accordingly, sought out Matthew, and his parents consenting, and he not
objecting, he went to Mr. Dodsworth's very soon after the valuation of the
wood was completed. He was very much beloved of his relatives, friends and
neighbours, and many were the tears which were shed when the lovely boy was
separated from the family, and even the servant girl almost cired her eyes up
at parting, (vide Father-in-law Ms. Brother.)
For some reason which I cannot now learn, Matthew had never had any
indentures, and consequently never was a legal apprentice. With Er.
Dodsworth, however, he remained about seven years, and was very much beloved
and esteemed by them, when Father, thinking they were well repaid for the
instructions he had received, resolved to take him away. This Mr. Dodsworth
was very loath to submit to, but his father ultimately prevailed, and about
Christmas 1787 he again returned to his father's house.
He remained with his friends about a month, when being desirous of
another situation, he went to London. His father had a distant relation there, a
Mr. Robert Greaves, an eminent builder in the city, and a man of very
considerable property realized in the way of his business. To him,
therefore, Matthew enquired his way, designing to take up his abode with
him as a visitor, that from thence he might be on the look-out for a suitable
situation.
He had not been long in London before a situation offered, which was
deemed eligible, and which through the influence of Mr. Greaves, the young
man's pleasing appearance, manners, and address, and a bond of one
thousand pounds given by his father, as a security for his good
behaviour, was soon secured. It was to be a junior or out-door clerk
in the eminent banking house of Sir Herbert Mackworth, and Co., which at
that time employed six clerks, On entering on his new situation, he applied
himself in its duties with such assiduity, and conducted himself with such
moderation, steadiness, and propriety, as to win very much on the
affection of his employers and their customers. A proof of which was given
by his preferment. in the less than two years that he was in the house,
from the lowest understraper, out-door clerk, to be the second clerk in the
bank, At first his principal employment was to carry out bills, that were
and collect the cash, and he would sometimes have perhaps twenty thousand
pounds on his person at once. In this duty he had a great deal of walking,
and while this continued his health was very good, but as he obtained
promotion, he became more confined in the bank, until in the end, he was
kept there during the regular banking hours. Then his health began to
fail, and the result was as before described (109).
After his decease, one of the partners, addressing his father said,
"Mr. Skilbeck, you think your loss is great, but ours is much more. He
was a most valuable acquisition *o us," or words to that effect. The London
gentlemen and merchants were in the habit of making presents to the clerks
of the banking house with which they did business. In this house they had a
box to put their presents into. This was common to all the clerks. such put in what
received, and at a certain annual time. it was
opened, and a regular division made of its contents. In order to testify
 
Page 134 their respect for Matthew, although the regular time for opening it had
not come, one of the partners ordered that a distribution should take
place, and his father received about twenty pounds as Matthew's share.
When in health he was a remarkably fine looking young man, It was said
that he had paid some special attentions to one of Mr. Graves' daughters (he
had only two daughters) but it was believed that he had edged out from the
connection because he found her such a weak-minded person (Father-in-
law). As his person was amiable, so his temper and disposition were sweet.
He was the darling of his parents, and the favourite and pride of the
family.
From being a child he was remarkably fond of a book, and paid such
attention to his studies while at school, that he made very rapid proficiency
in learning. His attention to his Bible was also very remarkable. He read it
several times through, while but a mere boy, and was so well acquainted
with its contents as to be able to tell the place about where any
mentioned passage might be found, with its connection and general import.
It is a matter of doubt whether his father arrived before he departed
this life; if at all before death, it was but a very short time.
After his decease, his watch was given to my father-in-law. It was a
gilt case. and after he had worn it a number of years most of
the gilding wore off, and it looked shabby-genteel, He, therefore, sent it
to be fitted into a new silver case, new inside capped, and very probably
a new face also, so that it might be something more in the style of the
times. It is an excellent watch, of the old verge make, and is marked on
the inside, "Fran's Dorsel, AE. 1789." At the decease of my father-in-law
in 1842, it came into our hands, and I have since occasionally worn it,
and shall only part with it, when I leave this material world. (1856)

NOTE W, (See page 111). In his childhood he was remarkable for his
quickness and wit, and as is generally the case with such, for his
activity and mischievousness, for it was indeed hardly possible for him to
be still. All the school education he received was at the village school at
Healaugh. He was taken from it to work in the farm when he was about
twelve years of age, going again during the winter months, for one season
(as did most of his brothers), when he was about fifteen years of age. He
was a very expert farmer, and for his age could plow, stack, or do almost
anything in a very superior manner. But it was very well known in the family
that hard work did not agree with his constitution---in other words, he did not
like work, and had a great desire to be able to gain a livelihood by some easier
method than following the plow. An opportunity offering, when he was about
seventeen years of age, he engaged as a clerk to Messrs. Greens, of Leeds, who
at that time were the principal proprietors of the Leeds Pottery, and also of a
rather extensive brewing concern. It appears that his department was the
brewery. After he had been a while, and had gained their confidence, they
began to send him among the publicans, to receive orders and collect
accounts, by which he was exposed to many temptations, and being a very
agreeable and light hearted young man, he soon began to get acquaintances,
stay
 
Page 135 too long in company, and also to get too fond of liquor, of which his father
becoming acquainted, and fearing least he should become a con= firmed
drunkard. he resolved to have him away, and although it was very much
against the will of his employers to part with him, and his own also to leave
them, yet his father had sufficient influence over him
to cause him to return home, a little before he had completed his first year's
service. It is very natural to suppose, as was the fact, that he would not again
take very well to following the plow, and although he continued to labour with
his brothers at farmer's work for about eighteen months, yet it was in rather an
uneasy and dissatisfied frame of mind. It was about the expiration of that
period that he saw an advertisement in a newspaper for a clerk at Bradby Mills,
near Huddersfield, for this situation he applied, and his application was
successful, and he held the situation about two years.
After the stolen interview with his Miss had continued for some time, she
began to think that he was rather slackening in his attentions to her, and
began to fear that he was wanting to edge out and withdraw, or that he had no
serious intentions of marrying her, so she resolved to bring the matter to
some issue, So stepping out of the usual track of vulgar courtship, she put to
him the pointed question, "Will you be married?" The plan succeeded, roused
him to decision, so he wrote strongly to his father for help, and when his
father went over, and called on her parents, he found the damsel labouring
at the churn.
The property the old people held was built on the estate of Sir John
Ramsden, Bart., held on long building leases, subject to a ground rent,
Haelaugh Manor was occupied by John Knowles. They were on intimate
terms with the Skilbeck family. and knew one another very well. It was about
ten o'clock when they got to the house, all the family were gone to bed except
the Mrs. so that on her the blame of the refusal to admit him rested.
It was about two o'clock in the morning when the wagons passed
them - they were going for coals. When she could go no further, being about
a quarter of a mile from his journey's end, he turned into the field
occupied by his brother Robert, and sitting down on the cam (corn?) or ditch
side, took the boy between his knees. The boy was almost starved to death,
and thinking his father fast asleep, he tried to awake him, but could not, so
he concluded to set off back again to Huddersfield to tell his mother. He
took his father's pocket book out of his pocket, and took from it the only
note it contained, for a guinea, and putting it into his own pocket, he put
the book into his father's hand, or more into his sleeve than his hand.
Next morning, when he was found, no one that came recognised him,
so the body was taken to the Inn. There was no little stir in the village,
many went to look at the corpse. At length his father went, and at once
recognized him as :hie son John.
 
Page 136  NOTE B, (See page 113) Mr. Hopkinson dying when he was sixteen or
seventeen years of age, he was again out of a situation. He was then
apprenticed to a cropper, and served his time with very great credit
to himself, and became an excellent hand at his trade. But his appren-
ticeship must have closed before he was of age, for after he was loose,
he began business as a cropper in partnership with his brother John.
But the cropping machinery beginning to supersede hand labour, they
gave up the business in despair. He afterwards engaged himself as a
book-keeper, and was very much respected in his situation. But his
health failing, he retired to his mother's.
He was a very steady, thoughtful young man. He did not make any
particular profession of religion, but it is hoped that when drawing
near his later end, he obtained mercy of God, and died in peace.
His affliction was of considerable duration.

NOTE X. (See page 91). In her attendance at school at Epworth, she
was accustomed to go and come with some other little girls of about her
own age. Their route was on a foot path, and went across the church yard. On one
occasion a woman was interred, and as the grave was near the foot
path, the little girls felt some of that mysterious awe of the presence
of a corpse, not unusual to children, as they came to the grave. But
their unaccountable fear arose to terror and alarm, for when they came
near to the spot, they distinctly heard noises about the place and such
knocking and thumping, that they all ran away from the place as fast
as they could. The report of the little girls hearing noises at the
grave was soon circulated abroad, and coming to the knowledge of the
friends of the deceased woman, caused an intense sensation, and
ultimately them had the grave opened, and there, sure enough, they
found a corpse, and it was turned with the face downwards, having been
buried during some fit or trance, and the life and sensation had re-
turned in the grave, it was only to become extinct through want of air.
This I had from my brother Samual in June 1858, and he had it from the
lips of my mother.
 
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Last modified: December 12, 2006