Isabel Greenbank Dobson was the last of the family to own ancestral land and live in Caton. She was born here in 1806, died in Cassel, Germany, and was buried in Caton Churchyard. She lived at Mearsbeck, which she improved and added to (date stone), and her elder half-sister Margaret Dobson, another maiden lady, lived close by at Greenbank Farm. Isabel let her house and farm sometime after her grandfather’s death in 1844 (he had run the farm), and moved in as tenant at Patchetts House, Ball Lane, Caton, stayed there upto about 1863.
CHRISTMAS DAY 1853
I have long thought I might leave something behind me amusing, if not useful, by writing what I know of Caton, and what I have of it from others. I have perhaps more qualifications for doing such a thing than any other person in the place.
I have lived 47 years in it, I have heard many circumstances related from my maternal grandfather and his family, by my mother who had it from my father (fn1), by my sister Margaret, by the late Samuel Gregson Esq., and by several elderly people who have known the place all their lives. My place will be, chiefly, to record local anecdotes illustrative of changes in manners and customs, family traditions, stories of what occurred, humorous or pathetic, my motto : “Much extenuate, nothing set down in malice” If this book should contain a line to give pain to any human being, I have written it unwittingly and unwillingly.
My grandfather, William Lawkland, was born in the year 1752, the year the style was changed, and in the first week or two of that year. He died on the 9th. of January 1844, and consequently was just 92 years of age when he died. He was in full possession of his faculties to the last, his hearing, eyesight, and memory perfect, able to walk with activity without rheumatism or lameness of any kind. His memory was most correct as to events that had happened in his youth or manhood, and not bad as to recent ones. I have heard him tell his old stories again and again without the variation of a syllable. In person he was tall and spare, but very broad-shouldered and muscular. He was of most cheerful temper and temperate to abstinence which, doubtless, together carried him through many trials to a “frosty yet kindly” extreme old age.
He was found lying dead on back in the field next to Hill Barn, no expression of a pang or struggle was on his features, but they bore one that seemed to indicate he had a moment’s consciousness in which he had been able to lift up his heart in prayer. He had gone out in the morning to look after his cattle, as usual, and the servant boy had seen him alive and well a few minutes before he found him dead.
At the commencement of his life, the property in Caton was divided into small hereditary yeoman estates, occupied and cultivated by the owners. At the present time, I think, that of Mr. Faithwaite of Pott Yeats (fn2), which has been possessed by his family since the reign of Edward IV. (Mr. Johnson of Lancaster told me this, he has ascertained it from records in Lancaster Castle), and that of my sister and myself (some parts of which have descended to us from a Henry Dobson in the latter part of Elizabeth’s reign) are the only remains. The death of Mr. Robert Parkinson nearly two years ago, conveyed his estate of The Crag into the Faithwaite family on the death of his widow.
In my grandfather’s childhood and youth, the manners of this class were hospitable, primitive, hearty, certainly unpolished, perhaps rude, yet tempered and elevated by a feeling of dignity as possessors of the soil. They ate with and associated with their servants, who generally grew grey in their service. The family estate invariably went to the eldest son, often heavily burdened with the portions of the younger children. The younger sons were put to business or professions, or sort their fortunes in London or the West Indies. The daughters if many, and not enough employed in the house or dairy, spun wool and flax, or quilted petticoats and bed quilts. The diet was salted meat, principally beef, or mutton.
Not nearly so many pigs were kept as are now, especially by cottagers. Puddings were made out of meal, with suet and melted butter sweetened. Wheat was boiled and buttered hot on it. It was also burnt or roasted to be used as coffee. (Very little was grown however in Caton , even within my recollection). Oatmeal fried in fat ,frumenty, fig pies, pancakes, eggs, fig…, for Good Friday and Lent. The pot was boiled early on Sunday that broth might be ready for breakfast. Tea was unknown, skimmed milk thickened with oatmeal, balm, mint, or sage- tea were a substitute for it. Tea sage was the narrow- leafed kind.
When invited out to “tea”, or an afternoon visit, the fare offered was strong home-brewed beer, with riddle bread well buttered and toasted, broken into it. Apple dumplings had fruit, flour and suet all mixed together. Dumplings had the apple rolled in paste and thrown into the pan, without a cloth. Apple, geese, or meat pies were raised. Another dish as pudding was a huge pan of melted butter sweetened, and frying-pan beans or wheaten bread cut into small pieces and thrown into it; a sort of pudding soup.
Pudding was served first, it was thought ill-mannered not to do that and that you did not wish your guest to eat much of the best thing, which it was thought to be. Every day skimmed milk was brought to the table at dinner if there was no broth. Either a large jug of it cold, with everyone a basin for it, and toasted riddle bread to break into it, or boiled with the bread broken into it.
The old Ballad of Flodden Field speaks of “the lusty lads in Lonsdale bred” as “milk-fed”. A diet drink, or bitter beer, (probably as efficacious as Bass or Allsops) was made of strong malt wort fermented, in addition to a little hops and sugar, with bitter herbs – such as agrimony, bog-bean, mountain sage, betony, hoar hound. It was for renewing the blood in Spring.
It was also customary to be let blood at that season. Thyme-tea, turnip, sage, rosemary dock, balm-tea, were all medicinal. The latter excellent after a drinking bout. Possets, mulled beer with eggs, beer porridge (beer thickened with oatmeal), were useless for delicate digestions and weak stomachs. A mixture of honey, oatmeal, butter, rum and hot water cured, or was supposed to cure, many a cold. Strong hyssop-tea with sugar candy boiled in it, was given to children for the same purpose. Ague was not uncommon, and as much port wine as could be taken was administered in typhus fever. Such was the prescription of the late Dr. Campbell of Lancaster for my father` s family who had it more than a year in the house at Escowbeck. Goose and sheep droppings were given in jaundice, the medicine must be prepared by the patient to have proper effect.
For whooping cough, wood-lice bruised with sugar candy, or fried mice were given, or a bag with a hairy caterpillar in it was hung round the neck. Whatever was recommended by a man riding a on a piebald horse was supposed to cure it. My grandfather was riding through Hornby to Kirkby Lonsdale to buy a grindstone, accompanied by old John Jackson on a horse of that description, when a woman ran out from her house calling “What` s good for the Kings cough?” “A good sugar butter cake” was John` s reply, and doubtless it did the child no harm. In labour the midwife was called in. My grandfather remembered bringing behind him on a pillion the wife of the late Dr. William Barrow of Lancaster to attend the blacksmith` s wife in Littledale. She, Mrs. Barrow, was the mother of the late Miss Barrow, and Mrs. Rogers who lived and died at Moorplatt.
My first recollections, of course, cluster round Caton Green where I was born. Caton Green shows how population leaves the outlying places and gravitates to towns and large villages. When I first remember it there were 4 alms houses, called the Poor Houses. Two were on the ground floor, and two were up a flight of stone steps outside. They were given to poor people to live in, like parochial relief, to relieve the Poor Rates.
Then there were two thatched houses with a farm, attached to a small estate belonging to the Misses Jones, whose mother was a Miss Wise of Caton Green.
Then there was a small thatched house at the top of the garden of the estate called by Mr. Inglis, Ivy Cottage.
Then there was the farmhouse of that estate (Old Hall), the materials of which were taken to build the new farmhouse (fn4) by the New (Toll) Road side (1871) (Greenbank Fm.)
Then there was Frank Beck`s (fn5) cottage, a miserable thatched hovel with a little barn and shippon at one end , which stood on Croft` s estate between Green House and my house, which I have designated Mearsbeck.
Before my day there were two cottages stood in the field opposite my father`s house across the road. They and the field belonged to my father, and I have heard he pulled them down because his servants went there to gossip.
Then there was Wind House (fn6) (Winder) betwixt Caton Green and Moorside, it`s ruins are still there.
The Greenbank estate originally belonged to a family named Jackson. The last Mr. Jackson was thrown from his horse in the old Bulk Turnpike hill, (then very steep, the old Turnpike House is still standing at the bottom of the gully), was brought to Townend in some conveyance, could go no further and was taken into Brian Padgett`s house,(Wilkinsons), opposite the house where Mr. B.P.Gregson resides, (Willow House) and there died. I suppose he had got more to drink than was desirable, for good Templars and Teetotallers were then unknown, and as Mrs. Pigot used to say, “dying of drinking or something connected with it was quite a respectable death in Caton.” Mr. Jackson` s property, scattered about Caton, was sold after his death to Captain Richard Kendall, a retired Guinea Trader, and his family ceased to have any connection with the place. His daughter Mary, wife of Mr. James Hodgson of Borwick, was the only one that I ever knew.
Captain Kendall was a specimen of what the frightful trade in human creatures can make a man, but it left him the virtues of uprightness and truthfulness. Though I believe, had needs been, he would have cared little for taking the life of a man, he would not have said anything that was not true and not done anything that was dishonest. Sailing, as he had done many times, with a daredevil crew of desperate ruffians, with his pistols near his hand as he slept and the companion strewn with peas that he might hear if anyone approached to assassinate him, he must have been courageous in the extreme. When I knew him, he was a martyr to gout and took a great deal of laudanum to ease his pains. This he made himself. He had a black dog, Wag, and an old gardener and labourer Tom Procter, and a grey parrot, most wonderful of birds! It used to call Wag and Tom in it`s master’s voice and they would come when they were called. When Tom began to scold and swear at it, it used to shake with laughter. Capt. Kendall was a small wiry but handsome man, and when I first knew him must been 70 or near it. He was more than 80 when he died in 1826. I have often dined there , and after dinner he brewed an immense bowl of punch. What a ceremony it was! – now a little more lime, now sugar, now over-proof Jamaica rum, of the best, now a little more water, till the bowl was filled.
He was succeeded at Greenbank House (fn9) by his son-in-law Peter Inglis, the Master of a West Indiaman out of Liverpool, but never in the Slave Trade, a Scotchman of much milder and kindlier character.
That the Slave Trade did not always harden the character was proved by Mr. Tom Hodgson, father of Isaac and Adam Hodgson (Moorside). He had been engaged in it in his youth and early manhood, and it had laid the foundations of his rise in life, but it had never brutalised or injured a heart of great natural tenderness and refinement. I remember, when about 8 or 9 years of age, receiving from him my first impressions that there was such a thing as beauty in scenery. It was at the gate at the top, or nearly the top, of Kirk Beck Brow — he stopped his pony, after walking up the hill, and remarked on the beauty of the picturesque windings of the river.
In 1811 I remember my great-uncle John Hudson coming from Holme Lacy in Herefordshire to convey to Mr. Inglis the Ivy Cottage Estate. The price was £2,200. Before it had belonged to my great-grandfather, Robert Hudson, it had belonged to the Sills — the family of my great-grandfather Lawkland`s mother Susan Sills.
One story of Capt. Kendal is that he threw his son John overboard when rounding the Rock, leaving the port of Liverpool, bound for an African and West Indian voyage. The youth had angered him in some way, and the father never knew that he had reached land till he came back from his voyage.
In one of the Alms Houses at Caton Green lived Aggie Hodgson, her daughter Dolly and son Joby. Aggie declared that she was going to die. The neighbours came to pray with her, and she must have Parish Relief. She did not die . The Relief, considerable at that time, was stopped, and she rose from her sick-bed and began gathering dung again. A great deal was made by gathering dung there for they took it not only from the highroad but from the Moor, which was unenclosed.
Ann Semple also lived at Caton Green. She was a carrier and had a very good memory. “Gi ye nin o` yer writin” she used to say when anyone wanted to give her a memorandum. “I coudn`t read it if every letter was as big as me eby”. She used to wear a linsey petticoat, bed-gown, and blue brat (or apron), with a man’s hat and coat over all.
Miss Wise, or Mrs. Jones, lived in one of the thatched cottages to the west of the Alms Houses. She married in the first instance an old Scotch gentleman, a Mr. Coigny, descendant of a Sieur de Coigny, who came from France to Scotland with Mary Stuart. “ If I had never been Mrs. Coigny, I should never have been Mrs. Jones”, she used to say. Her daughters, Mary and Constantia, were living in St.Omer when I was there in 1838. Mary was a nun, and Constantia married to a Count de Sandelia, of old Spanish race. They were Catholics.
Bill Fox used to live in the house when I remembered it. He was Sexton and had only his wife Bella with him, whom he used to call “Ourfolk” A rough old fellow he was. Telling the story of his sister Betty’s death — who could not die, he said, because she had something on her mind, she lay moaning and fratching, and the women about her would not lift her up for fear she would pass away. But Bill was left with her for a few minutes and, “I lifted her up” he said “an gave her a good shake, and she died away directly”! He had long grey hair which had once been flaxen. This he used to curl up with bits of lead, which he took out only at Easter and Xmas. “ Lets lig oor heads together” he said to someone at the Parish Meeting, to which the naturally objected!
Frank and Mary Beck exemplified the saying that marriage is a warfare. Mary was a tiny tidy woman in linsey- woolsey, a bed-gown and blue brat, with thick black stockings with clogs. She was very clean, but the faded blue of Frank’s coat and colourless hue of other garments showed how often his attire passed through the wash-tub. “Thou`s allus weshin an menden an getting agate” Frank used to say. He was one of those folks who tell the things they imagine as truth till they become unable to discern twixt truth and falsehood.. He too used to tell of meeting a small drove of rats in the Broad Acre, but I don’t rely on the story as I do on Peggy Hind’s.
John and Alice Leeming lived at Ivy Cottage. That was a clean woman! She made the dog wipe it`s feet, and old John change his shoes in the porch.
Gabriel Croft (fn10), who lives in Claughton Churchyard with a Latin inscription on his tombstone, lived at Caton Green. He left his property to his illegitimate descendants — a son James, and I think Ann Semple was his daughter.
THE OLD MAIDS OF CATON
First of all, my Aunt Katy — Katherine Hudson sister of my great-grandfather Robert Hudson of Bath. Then Jenny Hodgson of what is now called Hodgson`s Farm, Moorside, close to Ravenscar. Then Miss Peggy Hinde, the truest and properest of the sisterhood, her niece Ann Cumberland, as unlike her as possible, and the Misses Turner – Peggy, Dolly, Mary and Nanny. Others may come into my head bye and bye.
My Aunt Katy tormented the latter days of her quiet brother`s life living with him. In her youth she collected a feather bed by picking up feathers on Lancaster Moor, near which she resided. It was recorded of her that when someone, an admirer I suppose, attempted to take a kiss, she stopped him with “ Be quiet wi ye du, I dudn`t meddle o` ye, dud I?” Her advice to a married sister who had an obstreperous husband was “I`d set him wrong wi` ill humour”.
Jenny Hodgson, who was of similar position, the daughter of a decent yeoman, lived in that back lane of Brookhouse called Ratten Row, where I knew her. I have often gone as a child and sat with her in the evening by the light of her fire with a single turf on it. Knitting, or pretending to knit as she did, the turf turned again and again, and a candle lighted only when a stitch was dropped,and carefully snuffed out again when it was taken up. Jenny had a lover, a certain Richard Hodson of Quernmore, who died a bachelor, not long before she did I believe. The courtship was carried on with the fold gate at Moorside betwixt them, and the marriage broken off because Jenny would have a feather bed and Richard thought a chaff one good enough. Jenny had the trick of hissing through her teeth when excited, as was often the case. If consonants could express it , it might be written thus “Syth Syth”. When she thought her brother John was going to marry Mrs. Wildman, she said “What can ta do wi` her, Johnny, but set her at the fire an` to break plates on her head!” When her nephew Titterington, the self-taught dentist, showed her his gold chain and seals, she said “An prithee, where did ta git gowd to make `em on ?” “Oh, I made them of sovereigns, Aunt” “Syth Syth !!! Lord bless me, Lord bless me! To think of makin` gud sovereigns inta things like them!”.
Jenny used to wear a callamanca quilted petticoat, many yards roundabout, and which stood off in a way that must have completely prevented its being of service to her in the way of warmth. Then at Church or on great occasions she used to wear a cloak of scarlet broadcloth, made in a tippet kind of shape and the corners drawn over her arms, a little black velvet bonnet pulled over her eyes, and the crown of her mob-cap bulging out behind completed her costume. In the house she wore a long bed -gown with the corners drawn down and tied together, and a blue linen or chequered apron tied under. A buff handkerchief was mostly worn under the bed-gown. And let me word my regret that the bed-gown has disappeared. So much more easy to do hard work in, so much more tidy and becoming than the trolloping gown, it`s substitute. Out at the elbows, torn at the arms, dirty and ragged in general.
In the afternoons a servant girl wore a black skirt, a light buff or pink bed-gown with frilled collars, and a checked or white apron. To do her work, a linsey-woolsey petticoat and a darker bed-gown. Jenny Hodgson had for best a most ample apron of fine white Irish linen with a broad hem round it. The operation of washing Jenny’s face was generally performed with the dish-clout. It began it`s circuit on the right cheek and over the right eye, well up to the roots of the hair, then descending to the left eye and cheek , left the temple on that side untouched and a tidemark diagonally across the forehead.
In her latter days, Jenny became irritable and fanciful to an excess. Children ran past her house, and indeed grown-up people did so too. Her eyes, hair, eye-brows and skin were all of one grey tinge; the latter was peculiarly harsh and horn-like. In the days of James II she would have passed for a witch. She was a great bee fancier and often sent for to hive bees. On one occasion the swarm got under the ample orb of her petticoat , and loud and earnest was she in her prayers to the bystanders, male and female, to use no ceremony with her in dislodging them!
Peggy Hinde, a most genuine of old maids! Her niece Ann Cumberland, used to say of her that she was a very disagreeable woman indeed, you may be sure she was, for she could wear a white dress a fortnight and you wouldn’t think she had worn it a day ! She was always wrong side out and spoke snappishly, but a kind, truthful good soul. “It may be right, but I never do it” was a favourite phrase with her. She never sat in an easy chair, “ It may be right, but I never do it” she would say. The same of running the seams of linen shifts, which people began to do in her day. Once when I was opening a handsome silk umbrella, quite new, as I left the door in a shower, — “what are ye about, ye`ll spoil it, let me .end you an old cotton one”, said she. Then she would stand before the looking glass rubbing her face. Beginning with her nose and extending the circle until the whole face had had a touch. “I was a beauty, but what is I now?” she would say. I believe her beauty had been destroyed or injured by small pox. She was a thin, middle-sized woman, and had when young been a lady’s maid to Lady Howe, wife of the great naval commander. In crossing some Downs in the south of England, she used to tell the story of a meeting with an immense drove of rats. She was in the carriage with Lady H. and the coachman said he dared not drive through them, so they turned aside.
She was one of the daughters of Robert Hinde, the last of the family, who lived in Caton. He was engaged to marry a lady who had some money and, as his own estate was settled or entailed, his mother persuaded him to insist as a condition of his marriage with the lady that she would agree to give up some of her fortune, or all of it, to his sisters. She refused and he broke it off. She then wrote out the 109th. psalm (fn11) and sent it to him, and when his circumstances became bad, probably through weakness and mismanagement, he often thought of it. No descendant of his 7 daughters and one son now survives. He married in the end a Richardson of Hutton.
One of the Richardsons took the name de Whelpdale and represented that that ancient Cumberland family. He died childless and left his property to some connection of his wife. There was some flaw in the Will and Ann Cumberland, as heir-at-law, signed away her rights for £200. She might not be the heir, for they never knew her brother William Sprat Cumberland, who went to Jamaica in youth , was dead or not. He was living long after he had ceased to correspond with his family.
I remember the 4 Misses Turner. Peggy died when I was about 4 or 5, but I remember her giving me a little locket of enamel when I was sent to spend the day at their house during the sales after my grandfather’s death (fn12). What a treat to go to their house, for they had almost every animal as a pet that could be made into a pet, or kept in confinement. Little terrier dogs of a peculiar breed which I have never seen since, very small with pug noses, of a light fawn or bright buff colour, with a white rigg round the neck, and some with white feet. One named “Mart” was a great beauty, and very cross. Then they had beautiful greyhounds with which they used to course over hill and dale, and when found trespassing, or met with a gamekeeper and pulled up, they used to “ there’s no law against ladies!”. They had a room fitted up at the top of the house where they used to spin for hire, as all yeomen’s daughters at that time did. The Misses Turner were thought “proud” because they made a secret of earning money thus.
This pride began, I suspect, when their brothers William, Lawrence and John went to the West Indies in the employ of the Rawlinson family, and they became acquainted with and sometimes visited, them and other Lancaster Magnates, before the prosperity of the town was put down with the Slave Trade.
Alice Turner, the eldest, was a great beauty, but not living when I first remember the family. Dolly was the plainest. She had been at London, a great distinction in those days. When there, she had been thrown from her horse and fractured her skull. She never recovered the injury to her head, but was quiet and harmless. She was kept in the house and saw no one. She was very fond of flowers, and of my mother with whom she sometimes took a walk.
Mary Turner was the most amusing. When she had taken a little too much , which was sometimes the case with all of them (except poor Dolly), she used to enlarge on what her attractions had been, and still were. “And I will say so, I am the handsomest woman that comes into Caton Church, Mr. John Edmundson says I am, and I will say so, Mr. J.E. says so ,etc. etc.” over and over again. Mary was a dark beauty, Nanny a blonde and must have been quite as handsome, in another style. Two crayon heads of them, in hats, testify to this — I suppose their great nephews and nieces at Tunstall (fn13); will have them yet.
Nanny was fond of reading, as far as a novel went, and she joined my mother in a subscription to Batty or Lemming’s Circulating Library, but she read slowly and we changed books much oftener for ourselves than we did for her. She liked a novel with a “Masquerade and Marchioness” in it, and did not care for Waverley, Caleb Williams Marriage, or others which were the best of their day. In youth she had an offer of marriage from Thomas Berry of Elm Grove, who was then a flourishing silk mercer in Liverpool, but she refused him because he was a “shop-keeper”.
Another admirer of hers was a Mr. Saunderson ,or Saunders, of Borwick, the grand father of Mr. R.S. Bateson, a surgeon in the Indian Army, whose first wife, poor Kate Townson, died at Umballa 6 months after her marriage. Mr. Saunderson ordered that his funeral should stop at the Black Bull at Caton on it`s way to Tatham, I suppose that the eyes of his old love might rest upon the cortege. But Nanny’s sister Mary heard of it and persuaded her to walk of into the fields that her feelings might not have this trial.
How amused I, a pert girl, was at the idea of Nancy Turner betwixt 60 and 70, a great clumsy old woman, being associated with tender passion. Nancy was clever and sarcastic, and particularly irate at married women proud of having achieved their “being’s end and aim”…… Mrs. Taylor “parading her children” came in for it now and then.
The Riddells of Glen Riddle in Northumberland, had once owned Grassyard Hall. “Distant relatives of ours” Mary T. used to say “ and I will say so, they are distant relatives of ours”. So when the horse “Dr. Syntax” used to be brought through Caton to be run for the Cup at Lancaster, it always called on Mary Turner and had a cake of riddle bread from her hand, whilst it`s groom had a stiff glass of grog. Then would she enlarge upon the relationship, but whether it was the horse or it`s owner who was a “distant cousin” did not come out very clearly. I ought to have said that Dr. Syntax was the property of Dr. Riddle.
It is said that when George III was shown two men who had reached a great age, he asked them what their habits had been as regards temperance. He found one had lived very freely and the very abstemiously. The only thing in which they agreed was that they had both habitually been very early risers. The Turners, with the exception of Dolly, were all intemperate, but all very early risers, roaming about the fields at 6 in the morning, and they all lived to be over 70.
Another old maid was Miss Hawthornthwaite of Tongue Moor. She was a quiet, perhaps lady-like person, whose gentle rebukes hardly kept her rough maidservant, Betty Fox, in due subordination. In another place I have told of Betty’s death and the tender mercies of her brother Bill. The thing that poor Betty was supposed to have on her conscience was the setting of her poor mistress` s clothes on fire in order to secure the legacy which she knew had been left to her. Miss H. was burnt to death and Tongue Moor went to her cousin Mr. Hawthornthwaite of The Lea in Wyresdale, who sold it to Mr. Dodson.
The first possessor of Grassyard Hall was the son of Henry Rawlinson, Abram Rawlinson — I mean the first person recollected as it`s owner by those whose recollections I write. I believe Abram Rawlinson was the father of Sir H.C. Rawlinson, the discoverer of Nineveh. He had a twin brother Henry Lindow Rawlinson, who afterwards took the name of Lindow alone and succeeded to the fortune of a rich West Indies merchant of that name. The brothers were under the guardianship of their mother, Mrs. Harry Rawlinson, whose woman’s hand could less easily curb and guide them than it could the two prancing carriage-horses or capering ponies that she often drove wearing a riding habit and a “hurry-up” or man’s hat, with her Danish dog Caesar bounding ahead. She must have been a strong minded, superior woman, whose husband had given her much cause for sorrow. She told my grandmother, Mary Lawkland, that she had known every human sorrow but actual want of bread.
The twin brothers used to quarrel and fight till it might have been supposed they would have done each other some mortal injury. They were often separated by their grandfather, who for 18 years farmed Grassyard Hall, the Rawlinsons also residing there. They stole his cocks to fight their own, cockfighting being then far from an ungentlemanly occupation. They roamed all over the smaller estates, shooting where they pleased, and taking the law into their own hands. This, under the leadership of my father, was put a stop to. The smaller proprietors united in discharging them. I have heard my mother (Margaret Lawkland) say she never felt more angry with anyone than she did with my father when she saw him walk up to Grassyard Hall to deliver the discharge. She did not then think she would ever be his wife!
A distressing event that took place at Grassyard was, most probably, the cause of the Manor of Caton being sold to Mr. Edmundson. Henry Liebzettern Creswick was an intimate friend of the young Rawlinsons. He does not appear to have resembled them in character or taste, for he would shed tears over their quarrels and strove to pacify them. He would have sat for half a day in the woods, or on a low wall near the front door, deep in thought, gazing on vacancy. He was handsome, dark and melancholy looking, elegant in form and manner, fond of reading, sensitive and refined. The Belle of Lancaster was then Mrs. Hunter, afterwards Mrs. Strethill Morrison and originally Miss Henrietta Saul of Lancaster — which contained rich Sauls and poor Sauls, to the latter name she belonged. A very beautiful woman, even in old age she retained many attractions. She must have been one of those harmonious combinations of fascinations of different kinds that are irresistible. Tall enough to be dignified, yet not to be remarkable, with a beautiful complexion, splendid bust, perfect hands and arms, soft oval contour of the face, small curved mouth, delicate Roman nose, the art of dressing to perfection. This she showed in age by avoiding over-dressing, or too juvenile a style, often difficult for one who may have figured as a beauty. I should suppose that she had intelligence and talent as well.
When poor Mr. Creswick entered the room where he first met her, she exclaimed “What angel of a man is that?” He became immediately a devoted admirer, and doubtless she was not insensible to his passion. I believe she had consented to marry him, but was dissuaded by her friends the Welches, who probably thought it would be an imprudent connection for a mother of two children, he being younger than she was and not well endowed with the good things of life it is said. And most likely this was true, for he and his 2 sisters occupied Grassyard Hall when the Rawlinsons were not there, and were supposed to be glad of the shelter of it`s roof. I may add that they were orphans and of foreign extraction it was said. The name Liebzettern con firms this. It was whilst they were there that Mrs.Hunter finally put an end to all hopes that poor Mr. Creswick had entertained. He was in despair.. But he resolved to make another attempt to soften her, and sent a letter by the gardener instructing the man (Mariner or Martindale) to bring a certain quantity of laudanum if there was no reply. The stupid man did as he was ordered and the poison swallowed. I do not know how it was discovered, but means were taken by his terrified sisters to restore him. A medical man was got and the worst seemed to be over, he was sensible and much better. Turning to one of his sisters he said “We will live now for one another, and I will try to forget this bad woman”, and died almost instantaneously. Mr. Abram Rawlinson was sent for and hastened to the poor girls. .Broken-hearted and desolate as they were, he seemed their only stay and consolation and on his entering the room where they were, one of them rushed to him and threw herself into his arms. Upto that moment, he afterwards said, he never thought of her with more tender feelings than those of friendship. From that moment he resolved to be more to her,— and she became his wife before long.
Poor Mr. Creswick was buried in the vault in Lancaster Churchyard, and Abram Rawlinson was the bearer of a letter to Mrs. Hunter which was left to be delivered after his death. Mr. R. went with the intention of cutting her to the quick, with reproaching her with having caused the death of his friend by coquetry. He found her reclining on a sofa in deep mourning drowned in tears and overwhelmed with grief. He threw the letter on the table, “ There, Madam, read that if you can bear to do so.” But the sight of so much beauty and so much sorrow was too much for his angry resolutions, he soon became mollified and left without breaking the fair widow’s heart with the biting words he had prepared for that purpose. She soon came out of her retirement, and was brilliant as before in society. Mr. Strethill Morrison, it was said, terrified her into marrying him by threatening to commit suicide if she refused. He certainly seemed a miserable little man, and as he was not rich or otherwise distinguished in any way, it seemed strange that he should succeed in his suit. On leaving them together, your feeling was “that woman can never belong to this man.” She seemed to annihilate him.
The Rawlinson brothers once shooting in Littledale, or on the fell, and becoming very hungry, called at a farmhouse and asked for something to eat. Of course the best in the house was brought to them, which consisted of riddle bread, home-brewed beer, and whangby cheese (so called I suppose, from it`s quality of resembling a leather whang, or narrow thong to tie shoes with.) Now it requires an educated pair of jaws, set of teeth, and digestion, to masticate and assimilate this article of food, as it is made of skim or blue milk, both tough and bitter. It is said to have struck fire like a flint as it rolled down a steep hill when the cart-back came off the cart in which it was being carried. For this I do not vouch, but the young gentlemen found it so excellent that they bought it and sent it to Grassyard. It is needless to say it never got there.
Another experiment in gastronomy was made by Mr. Robert Hesketh, who married Miss Maria Rawlinson. A brock or badger was killed and cooked. It smelt so that no dinner could be eaten at the Hall that day. Mr. Hesketh was the father of SirP. Hesketh Fleetwood , and a most kindly and amiable man. He had been intended for the Church but got into a scrape about a duel in which, I believe, he was only a second.. This prevented him going into Orders. During the life of his brother, Bold Hesketh, their means were very limited. They lived a year or two at Grassyard, then at Warrington Hall, and Heysham. On the death of his brother he inherited that fortune which his son has dissipated. They had many children. A little Maria died from swallowing cherry stones at dessert. A little Edward, my grandfather used to say, was the finest lad ever born. Many died of consumption when just growing up. Of 12 or 13 children, only 3 were living when their parents died.
Mrs. Rawlinson, when her daughter was going to marry, made her be present at my grandmother’s confinement with my Uncle Robert Ainsley Hudson. At each of my grandmother`s pains Miss Maria Rawlinson called out “Oh, I will never marry Bob Hesketh”. “ I wonder” she said to her husband once “ how you could ever dare to think of me” “Because I saw you wanted me” was his reply. This could only be affectionate nonsense, for they were a most loving couple. He fell in love with her standing on the steps of that house at the top of Market Street, which is now the Mechanics Institute. She was dressed in mourning so deep “ that she even wore black stockings.
NOTES ON THE MANUSCRIPT * BY EMMALINE GARNETT
- Isabel’s father, Thomas Dobson(1764 – 1810), died before she could really remember him. His second wife, her mother Margaret Lawkland (c. 1781 – 1826) died when she was 16. Clearly the Grandfather took over the farming of Isabel’s land. Whether he also took over the land belonging to the elder half-sister, Margaret, I do not know.
- The last of the Faithwaites died in 1943 aged 93 and is buried in Brookhouse Churchyard. The family moved from Pott Yeats sometime in the mid 1800`s, but continued to own the land. John Rigg Faithwaite (c. 1850 – 1943) had an only Son, Thomas Winder Faithwaite, who died in 1922 as a result of wounds from the First World War. The family bought Pott Yeats in 1597.
- This date shows that Miss Dobson started her manuscript in 1853 and that she must have added to it over the years
- The new farmhouse is Greenbank Farm, built from the stones of the Old Caton Hall.
- Beck family in Claughton in 1788.
- Winder House on Tithe Map
- Over Lune Barn.
- George Wright did very well out of being Steward to Mr. Marsden, who was to say the least of it what we should call educationally subnormal. Although after Marsden`s death, Wright lost the great law-suit for the Hornby Castle Estate (Wright v. Tathem). He managed the giant stride to gentrification in one generation, which was unusual.
- Greenbank House, totally rebuilt in 1875 and the name changed. It is now High Croft Nursing Home.
- In his Will Gabriel Croft mentioned only two illegitimate children. The son was James and the daughter Jane.
- Psalm 109…the cursing psalm, “In the generation following let their name be blotted out”
- Must be a slip for “my father’s death”. Her paternal grandfather, Richard Dobson, died in 1777, long before her birth, and she has already said that her maternal grandfather survived until 1844. Her father died in 1810.
- Turner of Tunstall House.