Robert Foster (1793-1873)

Robert Foster was born in 1793 in Newby, Clapham, Yorkshire. Here is a compilation of photographs I took a few years back:

Robert was the third of five children born to Christopher Foster and his wife, Isabel Batty. He was baptised at St. James church, Clapham on 14th December 1794.

On 22nd June 1841, Robert married Betty Foster. The marriage certificate tells us that Robert was a widower of full age and a labourer from Newby. His father's name was Christopher and he was a farmer. Betty Foster was a spinster, also of full age, from Newby Cote; her father was John Foster, a labourer. Robert Foster signed the register whilst Betty made her mark. The witnesses were Leonard Howson and Cornelius Sedgewick. They were married by C. Overton in Clapham Parish Church, St James.

St. James was founded in Norman times but the original church was burnt down, along with the rest of the village, in the early 14th century during a Scottish raid after the Battle of Bannockburn. The church tower was probably built after this incident whilst the rest of the church is 19th century.

On 18th August 1841 their son, Christopher is born. At this point in time Robert is down on the birth certificate as a labourer. Isabella, their second child, is born in 1844, also at Newby Cote.

In the 1851 census Robert is aged 58 and living with his wife, Betty, aged 52 (she is actually 46), in Newby Cote. He is a farmer of three acres. Also living with Robert and Betty are their children, Christopher, aged nine; and Isabella aged seven. The census says that both children were born in Clapham but the parish records tell us they were born at Newby Cote. There are also three lodgers, Edward Foster aged 51, an agricultural labourer; William Cole, aged 42, a railway labourer; and Sarah Robinson, aged 60 years who is identified as a 'pauper.'

Ten years later, in the 1861 census, Robert and his family are still living in Newby Cote. Robert is aged 68 years and is now a butcher; his wife is now identified as Elizabeth (instead of Betty) and she is 57 years old. The census records that both Robert and Elizabeth were born in Newby. Christopher, their son, is no longer living with them (he is a general servant at Clapdale, Clapham), Isabella, aged 17 years, is still at home and there is also Elizabeth, their grand-daughter, who is four months old and Isabella's illegitimate daughter.

There are still three lodgers: Sarah Robinson who is now aged 80 and a widow, the census says she was born in Bolton, Lancashire; William Cole, he is aged 54 years and Edmund (not Edward - although given Edward is still lodging with them in 1871 it seems likely this is also Edward) Foster, aged 64 years and born in Newby. Both William and Edward are agricultural labourers.

In the 1871 census, Robert is aged 78 and a farmer of two acres; his wife Elizabeth is 65 years old and they no longer have any children living with them and they have moved to Newby.

They still have lodgers: Sarah L. Robinson who is 100 years old, a widow and is now said to have been born in Blackburn; she is identified as 'a lunatic' (it seems people with dementia were labelled lunatics); William Cole is now aged 64 and is said to have been born in Chester, and we are back to Edward Foster, who is now 73 with an occupation of stone breaker.

Robert dies on 21st March 1873 as the proving of his will shows, he left effects under £300: