Christopher Foster (1841-1907)

Christopher Foster was born on 18th August 1841 in the hamlet of Newby Cote, Clapham, Yorkshire. He was the son of Robert Foster and Betty Foster (nee Foster).

Newby Cote is a tiny hamlet consisting of about six houses/farm houses. It sits about half a mile above the village of Newby. Here is a modern day photograph of Newby Cote:

Here is a link to Genuki which describes Clapham and Newby in the 1820's.

And here is a link to a painting of Newby Cote by Harold Hopps.

Here is a compilation of photographs taken of Newby early in 2012

Here is a compilation of photographs taken of Clapham early in 2012

Ten years later, in the 1851 census, Christopher is nine years old and still living in Newby Cote with his parents but now he has a sister, Isabella, aged 7.

By 1861, at 19 years of age, Christopher had left home and was working as a general servant at Clapdale, Clapham, which is just under two miles away from Newby Cote. The owner of Clapdale was Edmund Moore, unmarried, and listed as a farmer of 485 acres, who lived there with his brother John, also unmarried, Ellen and John Burn, Edmund's sister (housekeeper) and brother-in- law (gamekeeper) and Edmund's nephew, Richard Moore who was a farm servant. Elizabeth Sutton, aged 16 years, was a general servant.

Clapdale farmhouse is 9 miles north west of Settle and is a listed building; here is a description from the attached walk around Clapham and Clapdale:

"...we returned to the hydram and climbed the short steep path to Clapdale Farm. Here we paused to appreciate the massy stone structure with its 5 foot thick stone walls and adjacent dovecote. There are at least three suggested dates and builders for this, Clapham's original fortified manor house. An early 13th century date seems the most likely at present. It was built as part of the buffer zone defences between English and Scots or possibly between Normans and Scots."

and here is a modern day photograph of the farmhouse:

Here is an extract from Lawkland Hall, A History by Emmeline Garnett:

"After his [John Ingleby] marriage to Anne, the daughter of William Clapham of Beamsley, he also bought from his father-in-law the manor of Clapham, with its manor house at Clapdale sometimes called Clapdale Castle. In the seventeenth century the antiquary described this rather pompously as 'A great old castle, joyning on Clapham, the ancient demesne of the family of Clapham, who have lived here in good reputation till our fathers' days.' But it was in fact only a small fortified manor-house, with immensley thick walls..."

On 12th November, 1861, Christopher married Elizabeth Sutton at the Parochial Chapel in the Chapelry of Ingleton. Christopher was 20 and Elizabeth 17. The marriage certificate lists Christopher as a husbandman, that he was living in Clapham whilst Elizabeth was living in Ingleton. Both of their fathers are called Robert, and both are farmers. The witnesses were Jonathan Knight and Hannah Sutton (Elizabeth's sister).

It is likely the chapel (dating from 1743) was replaced with St Mary's Parish Church which was built around 1886. The only part of the original building still standing is the tower and this dates from around the 15th century.

Their first child was a girl named Jane who was born in 1863 in Kirby Lonsdale; Robert was their second child, born in 1865 in Cray, Kettlewell; Margaret was born in 1867 in Buckton, Kettlewell and Betsy was born in 1869 in Litton, Kettlewell.

By 1871 they had moved again, to Moorend, a farmhouse at Starbottom, Kettlewell and Christopher was a 'dowers' - live in servant. Moorend is still standing and is currently used as an Outward Bound centre.

Their fifth child was also called Christopher and he was born in 1871 at Moorend; then came Richard (1872) who was also born in Kettlewell.

By 1876 the family had made their most signifcant move, from Yorkshire to Edgworth in Lancashire, some considerable distance (52 miles) compared to their previous moves which were all in the same part of the Yorkshire Dales. From this time on, the Fosters are living in Lancashire! I do have to wonder why they moved so far, given that Christopher was still farming?

Their seventh child, Annie was born at Edgworth in 1876 followed by Emma in 1881. In the census of 1881, Christopher and his two sons, Christopher and Richard, are listed as living at Wheatsheaf Hill, Edgworth. Elizabeth the other children are living at Hazlehurst, Ramsbottom, also living there is Elizabeth's sister-in-law, Ann Sutton who is 23 and was born in Kirby Lonsdale. It took me ages to find this record as the surname is spelt wrongly (Forster)!

In 1886 their youngest child, Beatrice was born in Ramsbottom and in the 1891 census they are listed as living at 209 Bolton Road, Rambsbottom, but by 1901 they had moved back to another farm, Higher Barn Farm, Holcombe. Here is a modern photograph - it is now a des res property with gated entrance.

Christopher died in 1907 aged 66 years.

To find out what happened to their children see Elizabeth Sutton