The Definitive History of the Surname STABLES in Yorkshire

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

Page 61 of the stones for which he himself carted down from Alms Cliff, and I have in
my possession an account of his expenses in the erection, dated 1786, amount
to 31 pounds. He continued to have his home at his father's at Sandygate, but
very likely spending a considerable part of his time at his Weeton Fields, and I
think he kept these fields in his own hands, some years after, when by his
father's death he had come to occupy the farm at Sandygate, for I find in his
accounts, Angst, 24, 1791, sole WM. Myers a hay stack out of Lower Widgetts
for 3/12/0.
My grandfather seems never to have had the happy art of managing his
lads well. As they grew up to men he kept them at a great distance, treated
them too much like children still, and when they did not please him, would
rate and scold them and it is now to be wondered at, that situated as he and his
son was, that my father should sometimes be so grieved and offended, that he
kept out of his way, and spent most of his time at Weston. This would no doubt
often irritate his father, who used to scold him "for looking after nought", ma
that they did not by any means get on comfortably together. And whether it
must have been from some peculiarity in his temperament, or from what he had
alone been used to, I am grieved to say that as my father grew old, and as his
sons grew up to man's estate, he treated them much in the same way.' In
reference to me, I was somewhat differently situated to the rest, being placed at
Kirkby, - as I got up we were more left. Father was not much with us, and being
more separated, he made more free with me. But my brothers at Linnington had
a very unpleasant berth, and my brother John, being of rather a warm spirit,
took it so ill, that my mother said he had resolved to go to service
somewhere. But just then his health began to fail, and he sank to the grave by
a wasting consumption Nov. 14th, 1817, aged 19 years. My brother Samuel was
of a better temper, and could better put up with his father's scolding, but it was
very discouraging to him, and he was never put to act the master, but took a
pair of horses and went to plow, and plow day by day, was for many years his
usual employment, until by old age and affliction my father was under the
necessity of allowing him to act, and at my father's decease Samuel was near
40 years of age.
In extenuation of my father's harsh treatment of his sons, it is to be
urged -- the very limited range of his ideas, views, knowledge. When he was
young it was not a reading age, books were comparitively dear, and
periodicals were very rare; and though in his old age my father would read
an interesting book, yet I do not think that in
early life, he had any peculiar relish for a book. His forte was rather action
than study, and even his elder brother, who I believe was a man of much more
thought than my father, was extremely limited in his reading. For he had not,
that I know of, access to any circulating library, and at his decease, when near
fifty years of age, he had
scarce a book belonging to him except a copy or two of the Holy Scriptures.
But what contributed most to the contraction of my father's mind,
I am quite satisfied, was that ever after I knew him he was very dull of hearing,
so as to be shut out from the ordinary conversations of those around him.
I have some idea that he was not so from his birth, but that he
became so when but a youth, but by what means or in what way I never
learned. I remember to have heard of some of my
Page 62 mother's friends joking her as to how she managed to make him hear, when he
came to visit her for the purpose of discussing matrimonial subjects. But as he
became aged his infirmity grew on him and his quickness of apprehension
naturally became less. And there were very few preachers that he could hear
at all, so that for many years before his death, he would only go to chapel
when it was one who spoke pretty loud, and for some years at the last never
vent at all.
But there was another great evil that arose out of his infirmity. If he
could not enter into and enjoy ordinary conversations, yet he could see and
perceive when other people were conversing, and when the family became a
divided one, that is, when his sons were growing up to manhood, and he
behaved so cruelly to them, they were naturally sympa- thised with by my
mother and sisters, and when he could see them in familiar conversation and
especially, if he saw them smile and look pleasant, then a feeling of envy or
jealousy was aroused, and from what he sometimes said in his cross moods to
my mother, he *thought them all in a band," that she, too, aided and abetted
them in their conduct. And this was such a common apprehension that it
caused them almost entirely to abstain from social intercourse when he was
present, and so caused a solitude in the family, which otherwise there need
not have been. In his case, too, it was evident that as is by no means
uncommon, a defect in one sense or organ is partially made up by an exquisite
and peculiar strength of some other organ; so he was remarkably quick and
strong sighted. He could up to about 80 years of age read ordinary printed or
written books, without having recourse to spectacles. His sight continued good
until about the last two years of life, when it began seriously to fail, and
before his decease he was nearly blind.
By the death of his father he was left in full and legal possession of
the farm at Sandygate. It was only 67 acres., 1 r., 31 P. but it was good land,
and immediately rented. But when a new valuation of the estate took place, by
John Claridge, Esqr., the rent was raised to 75 pounds per annum, and I have in
my possession the agreement then made, signed by Mr. Claridge and dated Aug.
23rd, 1796.
I am not aware that his father had much personal property, but by
diligence and frugality in the management of his farm, and the increase from his
estates at Weeton and Huby, he was in very comfortable circumstances, and in
the way of accumulating property. Soon after, however, he obtained an
extension of his inheritance of about 30 acres by the inclosure of the Huby
Common. This inclosure, however, cost him in Commissioners' charges 73
pounds, 5 shillings, 8 pence, the receipts for which, bearing date 1791-2, are
imply possession.
His property beginning to accumulate, he was at length emboldened to
make a considerable purchase of land. Perhaps to this he was rather pushed,
thinking it prudent to be looking out for another home, believing that he was
not very secure in his holding of that he had, But that which was the
strongest reason for his coming to that eon-elusion was that, about 1796, a
great improvement was made in the turnpike roads about Harewood. An
Page 63 entire new road was made from the Harewood Bar, up into the village of
Harewood, and from the Bar westwards towards Otley. The road to Otley
went right across the outskirts of his farm, leaving him a mere strip of land
on the other side of the new road, and for the damages they did him in
leading stones, etc. across his farm, he ultimately recovered 10 pounds, 10
shillings, through Mr. Popplewell. It is entered in his accounts as for damages
done two years since, and is under the date of 1E00.
But that which principally aroused his attention to the danger of his
holding was that his landlord had built a very excellent wall about 9 feet high
around his park, where it adjoined the turnpike road, and now that the new road
was made, they continued it down from Harewood to the Bar, and they still
went on his farm. Thus his farm was entirely enclosed (with the exception of a
mere strip, in that which could only be looked on as a park wall, which fully
convinced him that his having to move somewhere else was a mere question of
time. Much he would have enjoyed the thought of settling down quietly in his
nest, all his associations, ideas, connections and habits had become formed, and
to have to break away from all these would require the exertion of no little
energy of soul. And had he sit still, had he been quiet, there is no doubt that
they would have let him alone, until they could have provided him another
suitable farm, for such men of activity, respectability and capital as he was, a
rather desirable tenant. But having the opportunity, he thought it best to
provide a home for himself, and after having made the purchase of Linnington
farm, after two years he took it into his own possession, and began to move
there, a part of his family, first one thing, then another. This kept going on for
the space of more than two years, with which, no doubt, his landlord and
steward would be well acquainted, so that at length the long expected document
in the form of a discharge of his farm arrived. This I have in my possession. It is
signed by Sam'l Popplewell, and is dated July 2, 180i.
When he became master of the establishment, he was left with his
eldest sister, Elizabeth, as housekeeper. She had grown up in the situation,
her mother having died when she was but a child, so that she had
considerable influence and used to speak with authority, and being then
more than 30 years of age, her habits of ruling the house, and having a
considerable hand in the general management of affairs, had become pretty-
much of a fixture; and I have heard my Aunt Burdsall say that my father and
his sister Elizabeth never agreed well together. They were too much of a
temper and disposition, and from her being several years older than my
father, from her long standing in office, and during that time having been
accustomed to look on my father as a subordinate, it is not to be wondered
at that when at length my father had succeeded to the master's place, that
she sometimes assumed more authority than my father liked.
Accordingly, after some time, my father, somehow got an idea that he
could choose a companion for himself, with whom he could be more
comfortable. I have been told that it was my Uncle Richard Burdsall that
directed my father to a wife; whether
Page 64 he had known my mother when she had been at York to attend school, and
the recommendation was grounded on personal suitability. I know not, but
at any rate he would know her stepmother, and the connections of the
family, so that there was a great propriety in the recommendation. The
consequence was that he introduced my father to her and the family, then
residing at Barlby Hall, near Selby. After some considerable time and
several visits, the connection began to assume a definite and
serious shape. Indeed, I have always considered that there was something in
my mother's circumstances that vent very powerfully to second my father's
application, She had a step-mother, and they were then having a young family,
so that she had plenty of nursing. My father, too, was in circumstances
superior to hers, and had a good home to take her to. The upshot of the
business was that they were married at Hemingbrough Church, Barlby being in
that parish. Augst. 30, 17890 he being in the 33rd and she in the 23rd year of
their age.
The circumstance of my father looking out for a wife, however. gave
great offense to my sister. She was his housekeeper, and she felt herself
slighted. It was like turning her out of her place, and when he asked her to
go to the wedding, she positively refused, and after he had left home for
the purpose, she gathered her things together, and in the pet, left the house.
I believe it was in 1797*****that my father set off, with his Uncle William
Bentley, of Pannal Hall, to look at an estate that was on sale at Linnington,
near Pickering, in the North Riding of Yorkshire. Nearly all that
neighbourhood had belonged to the Marquis of Salisbury, but he had been
under the necessity of selling it. It was bought by three gentlemen as a
speculation, and they had sold it out in farms and small lots, giving every
farmer the first chance of buying his own farm. Many of them did so, and
borrowed a good deal of the money to pay for them, and within the last thirty
years (1855) the great majority of them and their descendants have been
broken up, and their farms have passed into other hands. This was principally
brought about by the change in times, and the very much reduced value of
agricultural produce, and ultimately, so the land. But there was a Flat,
containing about 320 acres, laying on the north and east sides of the
village, to it belonging the Hall at the top of the village and several
small old houses at the south end. Whether they went on the day on which it
was to be offered by auction, or it was a mere private sale, I cannot say,
but they we, looked over most of the land, then in the evening met the
parties at
the Inn, and ultimately bargained for the whole. Then. next morning,
they thought they would go and see that part of the estate they could
not get to the previous night, and they found, it a regular bed of whins. (Spiny
Having made the purchase, he had now to find out the means of paying for it.
He had, I believe, saved some considerable
*****(Note to above) Since writing the above, I have met with a paper which
says that the original release was made to Mr. Bentley, and JNO Stables and
was dated April 9, 1796. My father's conveyance was from his uncle, Wm.
Bentley and John Stables, and is dated May 13, 1797,
the purchase money being 5655 pounds, 1 shilling, 7 pence (about 1100
pounds of which was for wood), 162 acres at 28 pounds per acre. See note
A, page 77.
Page 65 sums, but not near what would pay for it, and what he had was principally let
out on interest and very likely some of it on mortgages, so that the most of
what he had could not be realized immediately, so that to find the needful
became a question of some difficulty to him. Among other steps that they
took, my father and his Uncle agreed to meet at
his brother's at Kirkby, that my father might inform him what he had done,
and solicit his help in raising the money. My mother accompanied him on the
occasion, but his brother did nothing but find fault with the whole business,
nothing was right about it, and in the end he plainly told him, that he had no
money but what was in good hands, and that he should not think of
disturbing it, so I believe he never helped him at all.
My father was naturally enough, discouraged by such treatment from
his only brother, but as they rode up the field in going away, his uncle said
to him, "Don't be down on it, William, if you can't raise the money, I
can, so we'll not be fast." And throughout the whole business he behaved
like a father to him.
After they had secured their purchase, they set to, to divide it, into two
equal parts. When they had agreed on the division, his uncle asked my father
whether he would give 20 pounds, or he would take it, for the choice of the
farm, My father chose to give it, and accordingly made his choice, but it was
reported that afterwards his uncle said that he still got the farm he preferred.
Mr. Bentley entered on the occupation of his farm, but my father let
his to the old tenant, Francis Dobson, who then, I believe, resided in
the Hall. I believe my father's purchase was about 4500 pounds, and he
also paid 1100 pounds for wood which was on it, which had to be taken at a
valuation. As my father had chosen the southern farm, he had no buildings
on it but old ones, principally old cottages, not one of which was likely
for a farmer to live in, and the most northernly he sold off, with two
garths along with it, an act which he had after-wards much cause to repent
of, as it very much cramped and rendered much less commodious than it
needed to have been, hisfuture farm buildings. His next step was ?spare
for building a new house, the model for which was that occupied by our
son-in-law, Joseph Cordukes, I have always understood that the erection
was let ter estimate, in one job, to a builder at Multon, the sum being
250 pounds.
My father, however, was unfortunate in his tenant. He had been one of
the farmers but they had been accustomed to have the land almost for
nothing, and were very generally a race of drunkards. it now that the
estate had been bought for so much money, interest for it was wanted, and
this required a very difficult rent from what they had been used to, and I
believe he had no capital at all likely' to work such a farm. He entered to
it, I believe, on their completeing the purchase in the spring of 1796, and
in the autumn of 1798, I learn from my father's account book (paid for a
wagon at Francis Dobson's sale 7/15/0, Oct.19th, 1798) that he had to sell
his crops in distraint for rent, and I have heard my father say that he
sold the crops off, thus taking the tillage off the farm, while he left
untouched his furniture and some other things in which no tillage was.
Page 66 The upshot of the business was that my father took it into his own hands in the
spring of 1799, my mother's grandmother Mrs. Elisabeth Barnett going as
housekeeper, and my father going backwards and forwards between Sandygate
and Linnington as circumstances required. He kept removing goods and stock,
according to the wants and circumstances of each farm, for the space of three
years, until in May 1802, he finally quitted the home of his father at
Sandygate, and the farm has ever sinee been in the hands of the proprietor,
now the Rt. Hon'ble, the Earl of Harewood.
During the process of removal he built a new stable and cow house,
which both have an end to the town street. But when he got settled on his
new house he set to enlarge his homestead in good earnest. He was his on
architect, unhappily, with my father's contracted ideas, he had no general
plan for a farmstead. He could see where this building could be put in there,
and the other yonder, but starting without any general plan at first, he
sometimes built, then pulled down, then built up again. In 1804 he built the
barn and kitchen and kept building for several years until he had a large mass
of farm buildings; bit they yet lamentably exhibit the want of having been at
first laid out on any general plan,
But before he got his homestead completed, a new scene opened out
before him. In 1805 his elder brother, John Stables ofKirkby-Overblow, fell
into a poor state of health, and after lingering on a considerable time, departed
this life Septr. 1803, leaving my father and Miss Penelope Bears of Follifoot,
my father's cousin, his executors and guardians of his daughter, then about six
years of age. My father had occupied his own farm at Kirkby-Overblow, and his
farm and corn mill at Fulwith, so that my father was suddenly plunged into a
world of business. To meet these circumstances, his family was immediately
divided. My sister Mary, then about fourteen years of age, came as housekeeper
and myself was taken from grandfather Dunn's at Swinefleet, where Thad been
in order to attend school at Fleeciness, in order to look after things," being
about eleven and a half years of age *****(Note On the 6th Novr. 1810, he
attended the cattle fair at Hemsley Blackmoor. I have a placard before me
which says he lost his pocketbook 'with bills and notes in it 111 pounds, 14
shillings, 6 pence. He believed it was stolen when he had it at the paying for
some stock. If stolen, he offered 30 guineas reward; but he never heard any
more of it. After some time he got about 70 pounds of it, the balance of two of
the debts, but he had a vast of traveling and trouble over it.*****
My father was backwards and forwards from Linnington to Kirkby, but
at first spent a considerable part of his time with us, as we were so young
and inexperienced, and as we had a much better school at Kirkby than at
Linnington, we had generally several, of my brothers and sisters with us, so
that for several years we were commonly the larger half of the family. Then
in Feby. 1806 my father let the Fulwith
Farm and mill to Wm. Harland, but that caused several alterations to have to
made in the house and buildings which required necessarily considerable
attention and labour from my father. The farm, too at Kirkby, was carried on
until Feby. 1806, on behalf of the executors; 'when, as my uncle") had wished my
father to keep the farm in his own bands in order that things might be kept in
good repair, ,the then entered to it as tent, at a rent which had been put down by
my uncle, and he took all the stock, goods, and chattels at a valuation. As years
rolled on and we grew older, he gradually began to withdraw from us, and
Page 67 spent more time at Linnington, where my mother generally resided, until
Feby. 1818, when he finally gave up the farm to me as tenant, and I had
to make a valuation of the stock, furniture, &e. to myself.
Before this time, however. an event had transpired which con-
siderably altered my father's circumstances. In 1815 my Cousin Hannah
departed this life. being under age and without issue. On her demise, the
whole of the property and estates of his brother fell to and vested in him,
subject, however, to legacies to his nephews and nieces of 500 pounds each,
and to the descendants of Aunt Burdsall at her decease, of 1200 pounds. It
is true that these nephews and nieces, were all, with the exception of
Mrs. Lyth, his own children. so that when they had all come of age, and
my Aunt Burdsall had departed this life, he had to pay 5200 pounds out of
the estate.
On Dear. 11th, 1831, my father's cousin, Miss Penelope Bears of
Follifoot died. By her will she bequeathed to him 1500 pounds; but 300 of this
was charged on one of her estates and after her decease a marriage settlement
was found, made between Miss Penelope Bentley and Mr. Edward Bears,
previous to their marriage. She was to be a second wife; and it provided that
if there was no issue from the marriage, that then such and such estates
should vest in the children of Edward Bears, by a former wife. But as Miss
Bears was the only issue, and as neither her mother nor she had sold the
property, and as she was now dead, so there was in reality now no issue, and
as a consequence, the marriage settlement took effect and my father lost his
300 pounds***** Note.--About the year 1814 or 1815 my father lost 600
pounds by the executors of William Barrow's, and a few years after he lost
300 pounds by the failure of William Perkin, who had married John Craven's
daughter. Both sums were lent on interest, the only security being a
promissory note.*****
The event, however, proved that these accumulations of property did
not make an addition to his comfort and peace. and especially to his
domestic happiness. Before this he had to borrow considerable sums of money
on interest, but now he appeared to have got the idea that he might live to
pay all off, and die out of debt. And this hope appeared to make him
additionally anxious to get all he could. and to save all he got, so that
he was far more niggardly with his wife and family than he used to be when
he possessed far less, and I have heard my mother say that for a number of
the first years of their union, no woman could have a kinder and better
husband, or be a better provider for his family; but that as he increased
in wealth, he grew more and more anxious, and near in his treatment of them.
It was also evident that a feeling of jealousy towards his own children had
taken possession of him, supposing that now that they had 500 pounds cash
to call their own, and therefore not being absolutely dependant on him,
that therefore they would not treat him with that respect and deference
which as their parent was his due. In this idea I believe he was confirmed
by the marriage of my sister Mary. She had some years before, had two
separate offers of marriage, both of which had been given up, on being
forbidden by her parents, and he thought that now if she had not had the
legacy to fall back on, that she would not have married contrary to his
wishes in the end.
In March 1827 my mother was taken from him by a stroke of apoplexy,
surviving it only a few days. He seemed to gat over it at the time without
any extraordinary laceration(?) of feeling, but
Page 68 in his letters afterwards he much lamented his loss, saying he had now no
one to whom he "would open his mind" as he could to her. Bat as my sister
Elizabeth was of mature age, had nearly all her life been at home with him,
had latterly been accustomed to manage the house considerably, and as my
father seemed to take more to her than he did to any of his other daughters,
so in the family the loss of my mother seemed to make very little
difference, sister Elizabeth so naturally falling into her place in the general
management of the affairs.
And when in the order of Providence my sister Elizabeth was also taken
from us about a year and a half after my mother, we all thought that my father
felt more acutely at losing her than he did when he lost my mother.
About the time when my father was in his worst state of mind, - it was in
Jany. 1827 that he suffered much mortification and chagrin through what we
considered his own stupidity, the occasion was this: There were four fields
laid by the roadside at the top of Weelton Cliff, containing 24 acres, that had
been sold off by itself, when the estate was divided into parcels, and had now
come into the hands of Ralph King's executors, who had it to sell. These fields
adjoined my father on two sides, and formed what was wanted at corner of his
farm to make it a perfect square. Everybody could see that my father ought to
buy them, and nobody expected but that he would, and no one seemed
disposed to oppose his doing so, so that when they were put up at auction no
one bid at them, Afterwards he bid them 1000 pounds for them. This they
refused to take, but in the end offered to take 1020 pounds. But he would go
no further, and though they afterwards twice sent for him, he would not go. In
the end, seeing that they could make nothing of him, they offered it to
Cornelius Read, and he gave them the additional 20 pounds. But though my
father professed to care nothing about it, "that he had plenty of land", and
many more things in that strain, yet it was evident that he was not a little
vexed and mortified, and blamed his neighbour very greatly for giving them
the additional 20 pounds; though most thought the land was well worth the
whole; yet he believed that had it not been for Cornelius, they would have been
compelled to take his bid. In the order of Providence, and by the death of
Cornelius, it came to pass that in Jany. 1840, the land was again on sale, and
came fairly into the market; but my father was then in a declining state,
myself and brother had got to act more and we thought we could manage the
business better. Accordingly, we attended the auction at Kirby Moorside, and
were the last bidders at something over 1100 pounds. According to custom we
were to have the first refusal of it by private, and we arranged to meet the
parties at the Inn at Linn-
ington on the following day, when we bought the property for 1200
pounds. We considered that Cornelius had rather improved the land,
and times were a little better than they had been thirteen years before. But
after all we had to give 100 pounds more for it than it need to have cost, Had
it not been for my father's bad management, and we have never yet had cause
to repent our bargain. The conveyance was made to my father, so that at my
father's decease, intestate, between two and three years afterwards, it, with
the other estates vested in me. But as I
Page 69 had made my calculations of the value of my father's properties before this
purchase was made, it was not included in them; so that after that event
took place, the amount was charged on my brother, so that though I legally
gave him that also, virtually and really I did not do so.
On the west side of the village resided a Mr. John Craven. He had a
small farm of between 90 and 100 acres which he had bought when the
estate was parcelled off, and was now all paid for, and he was in very easy
circumstances. His wife was dead before we went to Linnington, but he had
one only daughter, just about the age of my sister Ann, who was a frequent
visitor there, and Miss Craven was also at our house, and once came and
spent some weeks with us at Kirkby, so that there was a considerable
intimacy took place between the families. Mr. Craven getting an old man,
and not able to look after his farm, in some way or other about 1815 they
made an offer of it to my father to rent, that is, the farm and the farm
buildings, and my father accepted the offer, and continued to occupy it, I
think, about ten years.***** *****Note- I see from my father's letter of Feby. 8,
1830, that he left Craven's farm that spring, so he must have had longer than
I thought. (June 1856) Brother believes father entered on Craven's farm
April, 1817, so that he must have occupied it 13 years. The rent was
originally 150 pounds. Colonel Mitchelson and William Cola were the
trustees after John Craven's death.*****
But the circumstance of my father occupying the farm and the build-ings
just by the house, frequently took him there. Kr. Craven had a housekeeper
that had been with him many years. She was about ten years younger than my
father. She had maintained a decent Character through life, and in her
earlier career had been considerably respected. She had long been a professor
of religion, but in age was regarded as a selfish, designing woman. She had
been married when aged, but her husband soon died, and part of the time my
father occupied the farm she was a widow. My father had long known her, and
she was indeed the principal manager of affairs at Mr. Craven's. But when my
father used to be so often about, and in the yard, she would often invite him
in and would shout and talk to him, and my father having such little
enjoyment in his own family, she gradually began to acquire an influence over
him, and after my mother's death she came to use her influence about family
matters, and in the presence of my sisters in away that was very harmful
evidently saying by her manner and spirit and conduct, that she could
influence him, and especially at my sister Elizabeth's funeral (Oct. 31, 1828)
she seemed like one in authority, and treated us more like a mother, than a
mere neighbour. So that for some years my brother and sisters were in
considerable bondage to her, quite expecting that my father would make her
his wife. When I was there we often talked and wept over the subject, but as
we all agreed that we could do nothing directly in it, for my father would
have no advice from his children, so we agreed that our only hope was in
"telling God about it", and as we all professed to fear him, so we resolved to
leave the matter there, begging of him to mark out our way. Sometime after
my sister Elizabeth's death, when we had most expected that the thing would
come to a
Page 70 crisis, something arose between them over which they disagreed, and dn.-
the end got to open quarreling, and the danger to the family was quite
blown over.
In 1831, too, my father became involved in another very unpleasant
affair - nothing less than a dispute with the Township of Linnington,
concerning the amount at which his farm out to be rated. It had been
agreed by the assembled ratepayers to have a new valuation. Mr. Bentley,
Mr. Dowker, and a Mr. Parke of Barough, a respectable old farmer, and
accustomed to do such things, were appointed to make it out. But when it
was brought out my father was considerably raised. That he had improved
his farm was admitted, but not more than the other which were to compare
with it? My father and brother being both dissatisfied, they sent for me,
and I went over, and with my brother looked over some of the principal
farms. We were all fully convinced that he was over-charged, but when we
applied to them for particulars, and quantities to see if we could find
out any mistake into which they might have fallen. But not anything
would they give us but the round sum, and if we wanted anything more we
might find it out as we could. My father also offered to refer the case
to a neighbouring valuer, but no, not an iota would be conceded. No doubt
such respectable men felt insulted, that my father, a man of limited
knowledge of such things, and so crusty, and we, two youths, comparitive
striplings, should dare to call their doings in question. Feeling that
we were right, and no alternative but that and sitting down with the
charge remaining, we took the business to the general Quarter Sessions,
at North Allerton. My brother and I attended, Oct. 22, 1831, and when we
got them into the witness box, so as that they had to answer questions, it was
plainly shown, that we were charged with 24 acres of land that we had
not, and this being taken off our valuation was actually higher than
theirs. The cause was at once decided in our favour, and then our counsel
applied for costs, which was also granted. But the contention raised bad
feeling among the parties, which took many years to wear it away.
In 1837 my father had a very serious accident, under date of April
3rd, 1837. My brother writes, "I have taken up the pen at the
suggestion of my poor father, to inform you that he is at present in
circumstances of affliction, occasioned by an accident which occurred on
the 24th March. As he was sitting by the fire, some potatoes were on the
fire steaming, which fell onto the hearth and scalded his ankle-and foot,
The scald extends about three inches above the ankle up the side of the
leg, down to the heel, and a little across the top of the foot. Sister
Penelope applied some Burn Salve immediately, wrapt it up, and put on his
stocking. He put on his strong shoe next day, and went out as usual, and
would not have his scalded foot looked at again of more than twenty four
hours. On the 26th, which was Sunday, it was easier, as he sat most of the
day. On the 27th we were thrashing most of the forenoon, when, as usual,
he must be at his post taking away the corn. In the afternoon he felt it
worse, and was obliged to rest it. In the evening he must serve his swine.
Sister wanted him to let one of the men serve them, which was at the back
door. But he
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