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

Page 51 I sometimes talked to her on religious subjects and experimental religion in
particular, but at first it was very evident that it was not agreeable to her,
and hence was a great cross to me; but as the complaint became more
alarming, she became more serious, would talk with me more freely, conversing
on her need of mercy, and on the plan of salvation by Jesus Christ, and before
leaving would ask me to pray with
her; but she did not appear to attain the comfortable assurance of
salvation, or the direct witness of the spirit testifying her adoption.
But for near a fortnight before her release, nature was in ruins
so much so that one could scarce get a recollected or collected reply to any
enquiry.
In her person Cousin Hannah was rather low and slender made. Her
features, too, were small but regular and well proportioned, except that
her nose was rather too small, and a little turned up. She was, on the
whole, a girl of pretty good sense; but was thought by some to be a
little proud and haughty in her ideas and manners. Perhaps this might be
a little accounted for by her age, her circumstances, and the foolish
flatteries of those who admired her person, accomplishments or fortune.
She died on Thursday, Oct. 18th, 1815, and on the morning of Monday
the 22nd, Father and I rode on to Follifoot, to meet the hearse, chaise,
and some relations, and from thence conveyed the corpse to our house at
Kirkby, where the funeral was to be regularly attended, and about thirty
relatives, tenants &c returned to the house after the funeral to dine. It
was a most tremendously wet day, and the roads were very dirty. Because of
these, at the proper time, the corpse was again put into the hearse and
taken by it to the churchyard gates. There it was received by eight young
ladies dressed white, with white silk scarbes over their shoulders, and
white kid gloves on their hands, and borne into the church, and thence
again to the grave, the being laid just at the feet of her father and
mother.
In 1808, my cousin Hannah had an attack of scarlet fever. She
was then attended by Mr. Richardson, an eminent surgeon &c of Harrogate.
In her last illness she was attended by the Messrs. Thos. and John Simpson
of Knaresbro, who did not practise at Knaresbro long after that time. For
Thomas, the Uncle, soon went to Eningbrough where he matriculated for a
M.D. and then returned to York to practise, and there he still continues
one of the most eminent of the profession in this part of the Kingdom. Mr.
John Simpson (the nephew of Thos.) some time after, having a large
property left him by another professional Uncle, relinquished his
practise, got married, and set up fora gentle-man, and is now an acting
magistrate, residing in the same house at Knaresbro, in which they used
to live when I used to go to fetch medicines for my Cousin Hannah. Their
bill for attendance and medicines in her last illness was 49 pounds, 17
shillings, and Miss Bears expended in sundry expenses (including I think
the consulting and operating surgeons fees) 73 pounds, 12 shillings, eight
pence.
 
Page 52  In the months of June and July 1817 an altar tombstone was erected by
Richard Allanson of Follifoot, over the place where she and her parents are
laid. It is a little within the churchyard gates, and is placed alongside
of two others, which had been formerly erected to mark the place of
sepulchre of other and former branches of the family, These other two were
taken down and rewrought and the inscriptions new cut, and the whole was
then inclosed in an iron pallisade, which together cost (including 5
pounds, 5 shillings to Dr. Marsham for permission to erect it) about 50
pounds,
The inscription on the new tombstone is:
"Here lies interred the body of Mary, the wife of John Stables of
Kirkby-Overblow, who departed this life Novr. 16th, 1799; also the body
of the aforesaid John Stables, who died Sept 25th, 1805, aged 50 years;
also the body of Hannah, only daughter of the aforesaid John and Mary
Stables, who departed this life Octr. 18th, 1815, aged 16 years."
The descendants of William and Mary Stables of Stanke were:
THIRD, WILLIAM. See page 57.
FOURTH, MARY, born March 2nd, 1759. When she was about six months
old, on the death of her mother, she was put out to nurse. On the day of
her mother's funeral, she was taken by her Uncle William Bentley,
of Pannal Hall (grandfather of the present Thos. 18555) to Pannal, where a
suitable place had been found for her. Her foster parents were a Mr, and Mrs.
Buck, who were small farmers, and lived not far from Mr. Bentley's. Mr. Bentley
took hero before him on horseback to Pannal after the funeral, and wept as
he went. He, his mother and sisters paid considerable attention to her, seeing
that she was well done to, providing suitable clothes for her as
circumstances required. Her nurse was very fond of her, and with them she
continued two or three years, until she could talk well and run about.
When her father took her home, her brothers looked very shy at her,
often were cross with her and huffed her, telling her she was not one of
them. To confute them, however, she used to refer to the mark of a mouse on
her side with which she was born, and after some years, when they used still
sometimes to vex and affront her, she used to take away to the church yard,
and sitting on her mother's tombstone, would weep at her great loss and cruel
usage.
On the very day she was eight years of age, she went to Leeds, in order to
attend school. She was boarded and lodged with a respectable family (I think
two maiden ladies) of the name of Hebdin, who I believe were in some way
distant relations of the family. She attended some day school of eminence,
continuing her stay with the Hibdens family, for
three or four years, until she had completed her education, having learned
everything which was thought necessary for her circumstances and sex, and
among other things was regularly taught to dance. I have been told that she was
rather a wild, giddy, thoughtless girl, of whom I know nothing further until
she was a little turned of eighteen years of age, which opened a new era in
her history.
About that time she by some means came to hear the Methodist preachers,
and was the first of the family, which became concerned and alarmed for
salvation. She, however, felt it to be the one thing needful, and to attain
it she endured all the persecution which came upon her, and which from some
of the members of her own family was not small.
In something less than a year after her conversion (1777) she removed to
Kirkby-Overblow, along with her two brothers, and as their housekeeper. It
has been said that they were turned out of their father's house for their
religion; perhaps, however, from a concurrence of circumstances, they
might have been sent to Kirkby if they had not
been Methodists, and if it be termed a "turning out", it was not a turning
out unprovided for. It was to send them onto a good farm of about 120 acres,
without encumbrance, and without paying any rent, and was in this respect,
such a turning out as many other farmers' children, when grown to maturity,
would be glad to experience.
Sometime after they had taken up their residence at Kirkby, she had a
dangerous fever: for sometime her life was despaired of. In the order of
Providence, however, and the good nursing of her brothers, she recovered.
After they had got settled at Kirkby, she and her brothers joined
themselves to Richard Burdsall's class of Methodists.
 
Page 53 It met at his own house at Chapel Hill Kearby. Richard Birdsall was a
widower, in rather humble circumstances, and with a family of(our children,
a saddler's buckle maker by trade. When things had gone on in this way for
two or three years, it began to be noticed that he was becoming rather
intimate with Miss Stables. It was even said that she
sometimes went to visit him on her pony, and would spend sometime in
regulating his household affairs. It has been said that she had some
other good offers, but who they were that made them, I never knew.
The connection, however, was very distasteful to her relations. There was such
a disparity between them. He was twenty four years older than her, his family
of children, and his humble sphere of motion, were things that they thought
objectionable. Whereas, she was young, active, sprightly, sensible,
handsome in her person and genteel in her manners, and with her father's
approbation of her conduct, had the prospect of a considerable fortune.
His perserverance and her resolution, however, ultimately overcame all
these difficulties, and they were married at Kirkby Church by the Revd.
John Metcalfe, the curate, Nov. 8th, 1781. John Steele and James Ridsdale,
witnesses (Parish Register). He being aged 46 and she 22 years.
Their marriage was accomplished on the forenoon of a Tuesday. My
Uncle John had gone off in the morning for the Leeds market. During the
forenoon Richard presented himself at the low Hall to request James and
Frances Ridsdale to go with them to get married. To this they
objected. My Uncle was their next neighbours and they knew he was
opposed to the match and to be married in this was was like taking
 
Page 54 advantage of his absence. And he would probably blame them for aiding and
abetting them. Richard, however, took their objecting rather warmly,
declared that he began to think that he had not a friend left &c.
Ultimately, after some reasoning about it, seeing that the thing was
inevitable, they consented to go with them, as being the least of a
choice of evils. They were accordingly married in legal fashion, and
during the day he took her away with him, so that in the evening when Uncle
returned to his home, he found his sister fled. -Ors Frances Ridsdale) About
five months after their marriage (April 1782) (Burdsall's Life, 3rd edition) they
removed to York, taking up their residence near Bootham Bar. There it was
she brought forth her first child, which was called Mary, being the present
(1855) Mrs. Lyth. The child, however, being born before the usual time after
marriage, there was something mysterious and painful connected therewith.
After her confinement she had a very serious illness, and my father went to
see
her. For since her marriage all intercourse with her relations had
been broken off, and his visit was by stealth. It was in this way. His father
allowed him to occupy some fields at Weeton, the labour required on which he
principally performed with his own hands. At that time he had some thrashing
in hand, and used to start off to it before daylight. One morning he bundled up
his Sunday clothes and then
threw them out of the chamber window, and going out as usual, he went
into an outbuilding and changed his clothes, and hiding his working dress,
he set cut for York on foot, stayed with his sister in her trouble a few hours, and
then walked back (it was about twenty miles each way), It being after dark
when he reached home, he again pat on his working dress, and made his
appearance in tune family, no one at the time knowing but that he had been
thrashing all day at Weston.
--(Aunt Burdsall)--My aunt used to say, that she should always respect her
brother, Willy, because he was the first of the family that would
acknowledge her, after she had offended them by her marriage.
Whether they opened a hardware shop near Bootham Bar, or he had only a
workshop where he wrought at his trade of buckle making, I do not know. Nor
do I know how long they continued to reside near Bootham Bar; but I do not
think it was very long, after which he rented a shop and house about the middle
of Goodramgate, and there he opened his good front shop as a hardware shop.
He had also in the yard a good backshop. where he set up his anvil, fixed his
vice, and other smiths apparatus; but whether he ever made buckles after he
began to keep shop is what I cannot say. At that place they resided a number of
years carrying on a small trade in hardware, until about 1807. About the;, their
son Richard attaining to manhood, and being brought up to the business in his
father's shop, they were desirous of getting into a larger way of trade. They
accordingly, with the advice of some friends, bought a shop' and house at the
top of Fossgate. They had a smaller house and back shop in the yard behind. It
was the front shop and house, on the north side of the passage, where the
grandson, David Hill, has his currying shops and establishment. I believe my
father found them either five hundred pounds or more towards paying the
purchase money, taking the writings as his security, and expedting the affair
would be settled either by him or his heirs after his sister's decease. To
that place they removed, it being a much more busy part of the city than
Goodramgate, and for a while it seemed to answer. Their son being an active
stirring young man, the business seemed to grow. and extend. But they had
not been there above a year or two, before their son began to droop, and
after lingering a while, descended to an early grave by a wasting
consumption, being I think, about twenty two years of age. (Jany 1808 -
Letter from Mrs. Lyth)
 
Page 55  After their son's decease, the business again began to decline. and
having no one to succeed them, they grew more indifferent about it, and
after carrying it on a year or two, so as to redeem the stock, they
finally gave up shopkeeping and sold off the remainder of their stock by
auction, at a great sacrifice from the cost price of the goods. They also
sold off their front shop and house, repaying my father his money, and
themselves retired into the back house. After living there a while, and
they both getting aged and infirm, their son-in-law fitted up a cottage
for them adjoining on his own, near Foss Bridge, it being near to them, so
as to be able to visit and help their aged parents in a variety of ways.
And there she remained until the decease of her husband, which took place
Feby. 25th, 1824, in the 89th year of his age. (See Burdsall's Life, 3rd
edition)
After the death of her husband, my impression is that she gave up
housekeeping, and went to live with Mr. Lyths, entirely. In June 1824, she
went on a visit to my father's at Linnington, and continued with them two
months. On Augst. 28th, 1824, my sister Jane writes, "My poor Aunt stayed
with us two months. She returned to 'York three weeks since. She is indeed
extremely nervous, more so than any person I ever saw. She complains of
constant pain in her head, and is seldom or never able to get any sleep,
without taking laudanum. On Sept, 11, 1826 Mrs. Lyth
 
Page 56  For months I have observed
her increasingly prayerful, often repeating texts of Scripture, and verses
of Hymns, but often doubtful of her own state. Generally, when asked her
state, she felt no condemnation. but wanted to feel more joy. On the day
she died, she had a severe struggle, but a peaceful calm succeeded, and
while at prayer around her bed, the presence of the Lord was felt by all,
and in a few minutes she fell asleep, with a countenance expressive of
great peace." Mrs. Hill, her granddaughter says, March 23rd, 1831, East
Field House, "It becomes my painful duty to inform you of the death of
my dear grandmother, which took place this noon, about one o'clock. Her
sufferings from two o'clock in the morning to the close of her life were
very severe. We purpose interring on Tuesday morning, to leave Haxby for
York at ten o'clock."
Although I was acquainted with my Aunt Burdsall for about thirty
years, yet I did not see much of her= for though I had frequently to carry
her her annuity, and sometimes called on passing through to Linnington,
very generally my visits were confined to two or three hours duration. For
in those days there was no traveling by rail, our journeyings were performed
on horseback, and seldom prolonged our stay to continuing all night. From
what I saw of her my general impressions of her temper and disposition was
that naturally she was of a very fretful and murmuring disposition, such
as if not checked and corrected by Divine Grace, was calculated to make
those about her very unhappy.
In due time after her decease, Mrs. Lyth, her daughter, received the
legacies under her grandfather William Stables' will, amounting to 1600
pounds, and as my Aunt had previously received 100, bequeathed by her
brother John, and Mrs. Lyth has received 500 pounds on the decease of my
cousin Hannah Stables, and also 50 pounds bequeathed to Aunt by Miss
Penelope Bears, and also 100 pounds bequeathed by my sister Penelope,
the whole which my Aunt or Cousin has received as fortune from our side
of the family is 2350 pounds.
 
Page 57 The descendants of William and Mary Stables of Stanke were:
THIRD, WILLIAM, born April 10th, 1757. The only anecdote that I have
of his early days is that after his mother's death, he was sent to his Cousin
Brian Procter's at Pannal, his aunt, Brian's mother, being then most probably
her son's housekeeper. With them he remained for about eighteen months.
I think it was from my father that I got the information, that when he was
a boy he used to attend school at Arthington: but somewhere or other he learned
to write a beautiful hand; but beyond this I should not suppose that my father
was either very quick at, or very much attached to his books. Notes X. Y, page
132.
Among other things in which he was instructed, he was regularly taught to
dance, and as he grew up to manhood used to attend such parties amongst his
neighbours and friends, and as he was a very efficient partner, so he was himself
very much attached to the exercise.
When he was approaching to 20 years of age, by some means his youngest
sister was induced to hear the Methodists, and became alarmed at her
condition as a guilty sinner. She then prevailed on her brothers to attend with
her, and the result was that both her brothers got saving religion. That my
father's conversion was clear and decided, I have not the least doubt; and that
he was very zealous in endeavouring to get
and do good, I firmly believe. That he was a very diligent and attentive hearer of
the word, I have evidence, for I have in my possession two books, in which he
wrote many outlines of the sermons which he heard. This practise he
continued for some years, until his time would be more occupied by the business
of this life. His common place of worship was Harewood, but in these outlines
we find him attending at Kirkby-Overblow, Pannal, Arthington, Otley, Leeds, and
Collingham churches, a few miles of travel in those days being compared with
the advantage of an opportunity of hearing a Gospel sermon. When he first joined
the society, I do not suppose there was any class in the immediate
neighbourhood except at Harewood, and I have heard him say, that when they first
came to Kirkby, that they used to go to Harewood to meet in class. But by some
means I have got the idea, that before he left the neighbourhood, so much by
his occupying of Linnington farm, that he had the charge of the class at Dun-
Keswick, which was given up when he began to be so much away. But he had also
the care of another class on the other side of his residence, meeting in a cottage
occupied by Peter Smithson and his wife, two very old people, on Weardley
Moorside, not far from Rawdon Hill; and to that class he attended as he could,
and to it he belonged until he finally left the neighbourhood in 1802.
On his becoming fully settled at Linnington, I believe he was put in the
leader and remained in the office until he took possession of the Kirkby farm
in 1805. When through his being so mach at Kirkby, Cornelious Read, was put
in the leader, and my father became a member at Kirkby-Overblow. Here he
remained a member for several years, when here usually attending the class
and at first very often met it. But his dullness of hearing was always a great
drawback on his efficiency as a class leader, and that infirmity growing upon
him, it became a painful task to speak to parties, while it was but few
 
Page 58 of them that he could hear speak at all, hence his great objection to the
work. But John Whincup, the leader, often urged him to it, until it
became very painful, and the result was that to avoid it, my father
stayed away from the meeting altogether, and in process of time, as he
then came so seldom to Kirkby, his name was left off the class paper,
and whether he ever after became a member at Linnington is more than I
can say. I am rather inclined to believe that he was looked on as an
exception to the general rule, so that for sometime he stood on the plan
as a local preacher, without actually being a member, though he usually
conducted the prayer meetings, and was unquestionably the leading and
most influential Methodist in the village.
At what time he became a preacher I cannot exactly say, but believe that
it came about in a very gradual way, between the death of his father and
his marriage. He was not at once put on the plan as a preacher, but was a
kind of assistant to Mr. Sam;l. Popplewell, steward to his land-lord, then
Edwin Lascelles, Esqr., who could not always attend his
appointments, and on such occasions used to send my father. But my
father found such circumstances very painful, for when a congregation came
together, expecting to hear Mr. Popplewell, behold it was only Willy
Stables, so they felt disappointed, and he ultimately requested to stand
on his own legs, and not in Mr. Popplewell's shoes, so that when he did
go he might be expected, and not have so many shy looks for going in the
place of one who was more desired, and he was in the end allowed to
appear on the plan made by Revd. James Wood in his own name and person,
and afterwards felt much more easy in his work. I have heard him say, that
some little time after he became a preacher, he was attending the local
preachers and quarterly meeting at Leeds, when a charge was preferred
against him for "conforming too much to the world", and when the proof of
this was called for, reference was made to his having his shoes tied with
strings, which was then becoming the fashion, and was replacing the old plan
of fastening them on with large buckles, which I suppose had been the
stereotyped practice for ages. The grave charge, however, only ended in a
laugh, and an acknowledgement of the principle, that a professor of religion
was not bound to reject an improvement in his dress, merely because his
neighbors were adopting it.
For some time after he became a preacher, I believe he was very fully
and efficiently employed in the work; but after he entered on the Linnington
farm he was so often away, and after he had been at Linnington three years,
then he became so often away at Kirkby, and then when he was put on the
Knaresbrough plan, he was sometimes away Linnington, and as years rolled
on he became more and more so, that there was never any certainty of his
being able to fulfil his appoint-ments, so that he did not do that amount of
pulpit work which many of his bretheren did. He, however, continued
occasionu1ly to officiate until about 1820, when he would be about 62 years
of age, when the painful feelings in his family, his own decline in religious
enjoyment, owing to his giving too much way to a worldly spirit, also some
kind of asthmatic affection
 
Page 59 conspired to bring about his entire cessation from the work, so that for
about 22 or 23 years at the close of life he never made any attempt
to preach.
I conceive he was trained to work in the ordinary Methodist style,
An ardent desire to benefit his fellowmen gave them an exhortation when a
preacher missed. Then (as was their regular plan at Kirkby) reading a
chapter in the Holy Scriptures and expounding it, so that by little and
little he became a public speaker. But I believe his productions were
nearly in the full sense extemporaneous ones; for whatever he might think
about a text before going to preach, I do not think he ever attempted to
commit his thoughts to paper, so that very generally when he wanted them
they would be fled. But notwithstanding his want of preparation, my
impression is, that, generally he was an acceptable preacher. His
position in society, his earnest manner of speaking, and his generally not
preaching long, all contributed to make his performances very passable.
His earnest wish to serve his fellow men, was evinced in his being
one of the principal persons in erecting the present commodious chapel
and vestry and cottage for a chapel keeper at Weeton. It was built on
what was his land, and to it I believe he gave 20 pounds. The deed bears
date April 7th, 1797, but I have some reasons for thinking that the
chapel was built before that time.
When he was about 50 years of age he began to be afflicted with a
scorbutic eruption on his chin, and the lower part of his face. This was
very offensive in appearance, and very painful when the operation of
shaving had to be performed, and by his attempts at it, he often made
very bloody work. Indeed, for some years when he was about 70, it was so
bad that. little could be done in this way. and my sisters had to spend
many tedious hours, in clipping of his beard with a pair of small scissors.
As he approached to old age. and his natural form (1) abated, his face
gradually got better, so that for some years at the last, he could shave
as usual. When the eruption first came on. he tried several remedies. He
went to Harrogate many times and bathed in the sulphur water. He also
frequently drank the water. generally keeping a stook by him at his own
house at Kirkby. For a long time he drank as a medicine a decoction, made
principally from dock roots,
but nothing in the way of medicine appeared to make the least impression
on it.
As to his diet, he was ever an abstemious man; he was always what is
termed a "little eater", and did not take much animal food, and regularly
having a basin of milk and piece of bread for his supper: and he was
comparitively never any drinker - all the stimulant he was accustomed to
take was a little malt liquor in the old silver pint that was regularly
set with his dinner, and when he went to market, would take a single
glass of wine and water or spiritous liquors. This was about the extent
of his drinking, until he was about 70 years of age, when he began to
take a little spirit in his tea, which he continued to the close of life,
and as he took a great deal of exercise, so his general health was good,
and he had very little bodily affliction in passing through life,
 
Page 60  The only illness of a serious nature that I ever remember to have heard of
or known was about 1808 or 9, when on one of his visits to Linnington he
had a dangerous intimation. For a short time, perhaps a few days, his
medical attendant thought him in considerable danger, and feeling it
needful to prepare fo r the worst, he sent for an attorney and made his will.
This will he kept by him for some years, until by the death of his niece, by
which his property was considerably enlarged, and his having a quarrel with
his cousin Thomas Bentley of Linnington Hall, whom in his will he had
left one of the trustees of his family and property, so that keeping it
until it became inapplicable, he at length committed it to the flames.
And I believe that was the only will he ever made.
(Note at bottom of page --1 see in a letter from him April 3,
1827, that he had twice made his will - w.S,)
For though when he was about 70 and up to 73 he sometimes talked to
me of doing it, and in an off hand way saying I might help him, yet in my
letter to him April 27th, 1827, and Octr. 26th, 1831, I see that I fully
stated the objections there was to my having any hand in it. As the almost
inevitable consequences would be unpleasantness with my brother and
sisters, seeing it was not very likely they would think as I thought, But
that is far as I could, in a certain way, - that is - that is - in
ascertaining the value of any part of his property &c. - I would do all I
could to help him, but not in the disposing of it. And for a number of the last
years of his life, he never, that I know of, alluded to the subject. And some
years before his death, when with my brother and sisters, we had a regular
debate on the subject. They expressed a hope that he would not then set
about and accomplish it, as they should prefer the estates to fall legally
into my hands, believing that I should make a more equitable distribution of
them than he would.
When he was about 20 years of age, as one of the undutiful children
turning Methodists, he was sent away with his elder brother and younger sister
to Kirkby. In some respects the change of circumstances would be a relief to
them, as being now more at liberty to serve God in their own way, but in other
things it was painful, especially in removing them from their early religious
connections.
But his brother and he did not agree very well at Kirkby. They came to it
as equal partners. Hut they were of very different dispositions. My Uncle was
much more of a thinking man, was never very much of a worker, but could
plan and contrive and order. My father was a
man who was more remarkable for energetic action, so that in process of time,
they became hardly like two brothers, and more like master and man, until
my father began to dislike his position, and on something or other turning
up, he left his brother and returned to his father at Sandygate, after a stay at
Kirkby of from one to two years.
After his return to Sandygate, by some changes my grandfather had three
or four small closes at Weeton, that came into his own possession. These he
allowed my father to occupy, to make what he could of, and in prosecuting that
object, my father not only looked after them, but did nearly all the manual
labour with his own hands. And as the moors were then all out, he used to run
some sheep on Huby common and sometimes had them far to seek, and as
though the occupation was to be something more than a temporary one, he set
to build on them a barn and a farm yard, most
 
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