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A House of Some Distinction -

No. 4 The Boyle

Barwicker N0.109

Number 4 The Boyle, Barwick in Elmet, is a house of some distinction. A small stone mid terrace cottage of some age it sits in a prime position in the heart of the village overlooking the Maypole and the Cross. Its main claim to fame however is that it is one of only a handful in the village where a previous owner or occupier has decided to mark their name on the building by carving or painting it, usually on the front door lintel. No. 4 proudly proclaims above its front door:


Who was J.B? What is significant about the date? Why was it carved? Whilst it would be easy to jump straight into the village records from the 1830s there is little to go on. For example the 1841 census of the Parish has many JB's including John Braithwaite, John Blakey and Jane Brodgen to name a few, and that is assuming JB actually lived in the property or the village. To answer the questions we must peel back the history of the house from the present day to the past.

Searching the current deeds to the property, publicly available from the H.M. Land Registry. do not help, however the information the registry have concerning the neighbouring property no 2 The Boyle unlock the history and immediately takes us back 60 years. They make a brief reference to a deed of sale on the 20th March 1953 between Frances Threlfall (the Seller) and Margery Ingham (the Purchaser). Then utilising the West Riding Registry of Deeds in Wakefield (which holds copies of most deeds of sale of freehold property in the historic West Riding of Yorkshire between 1704 and 1970) further details of the 1953 sale are obtained.

In this deed the property is described as "All that plot of land with the dwelling house erected thereon (being part of a larger plot of land with six messuages or dwelling houses and a shop erected thereon)....the said dwelling house now numbered 2 The Boyle". It also states that Frances Threlfall purchased the property on the 22nd February 1930 from Charles Herbert Crowcroft Batty, who was her uncle, a bankers clerk living in Otley. Frances and her husband John are described as from Green Moor House, Pennington, Ulverston, County of Lancaster.

The Deeds Registry also has a copy of the sale documents from 1930 including this time a plan which shows at the same time Frances Threlfall purchased No. 2 she also purchased Nos. 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 16, 18 and 20 The Boyle, a shop and a large plot of land behind. It is thought that Frances Threlfall ran the shop with a cafe during the 1930s. J & F Threlfall are listed as shopkeepers in the Barwick entry of the 1936 edition of Kelly's local directory. She may have lived in one of the properties and let the rest out. Her uncle Charles H. C. Batty certainly did and the 1930 deed gives the names of all the tenants, no 4 was occupied at the time by T. H. Robshaw. Other properties were occupied as follows: No.2 Mrs. Ryder, No.6 H. Burgoyne, No.8 Poulter, No. 10 Poulter, No. 12 Curtis, No. 16 West, No. 18 A. Lovett, N.20 Bullen. Charles Herbert Crowcroft Batty was born in Nottingham on the 20th May 1882 the son of James Batty and his wife Frances (nee Crowcroft). He had inherited the properties through his father's line, obtaining Nos. 16, 18 and 20 The Boyle in 1915 and the others at a currently unknown date.

Charles's father James Batty was born at Pottemewton, Leeds on the 23rd May 1849 the son of John and Ann Batty, both of whom were Barwick born. James moved around the country, in 1851 and 61 he was living in Barwick but by 1871 he was in Aberford aged 21 a servant to Mr J .E. Ellerton, a surgeon. He married Frances Crowcroft in Doncaster in 1880 and by 1881 had become a surgeon's assistant. By 1891 he was living in Doncaster aged 42 and I think had inherited the Boyle properties and was cashing in on their rental value as he was no longer working and was "living on his own means" (which usually means an investment or pension) a situation mirrored in 1901. He died in Doncaster in April 1915.

James's father John Batty was born in Barwick in 1816, baptised at All Saints Church on the 27th September. He was the illegitimate son of Ann Batty and worked as a labourer and groom. John married Barwick born Ann Dickinson at Leeds Parish Church on the 19th January 1846, lying about his illegitimate status and saying his father was William Batty. John and Ann had at least two children. Sarah Ann Batty born in Barwick in 1846 and the James mentioned above whilst living at Potternewton in 1849.

The move to Pottenewton appears to have been short lived because he was back in Barwick in 1851 and died there in 1856 aged just 39. John's part in the ownership of the Boyle property is rather complicated due to a Batty family Will which took decades to resolve and required much legal work.

To explain this into the frame steps another Batty, James Batty, the James Batty of "J B Anno Domini 1831" fame! He was born in Barwick on the 15th February 1793 son of William and Mary Batty. A well educated man for many years he worked as a servant and clerk to the Revd. Robert Markham of Bolton Percy. On the 25th March 1831 he was appointed by the Archdeacon of York as Apparitor of the Archdeacon's Courts. This position was confirmed by the Archbishop of York and the Dean and Chapter of York Minister on the same day.

An Apparitor is an officer of the ecclesiastical courts who carries out citations which summon the parties and witnesses to court, and generally executes the orders and decrees of the court. The York ecclesiastical courts were of very high status and this was a position of considerable responsibility and prestige. Until the 1850s and 60s when most of their functions were taken over by civil courts they had responsibility for all probate, matrimonial, defamation and certain contract cases.

During the 1820s and early 1830s James acquired quite a large property holding in the village, including the Boyle properties. I suspect it was during rebuilding or refurbishment of No. 4 The Boyle he decided to mark this house with his initials, it is perhaps no coincidence the year matches his elevation to the position of York Apparitor.

A new Apparitor General for York was appointed in 1848 and James must have retired and returned to Barwick living on his investments. In the 1851 census he is listed in the village as a "proprietor of houses". He appears never to have married or had any children.

His health failed and on the Ist April 1852 he made his last Will and Testament having to use a mark instead of a signature, "due to infirmity". He died at Barwick on the 14th September 1852 aged 59 years and is buried in All Saints Churchyard.

His Will is a complicated document which caused considerable difficulty to the Batty family, a summary of the bequests is listed below:

1st April 1852

Three cottages in Barwick occupied by William Pickersgill, John Robshaw and one empty but recently occupied by Miss Falkin given to his sister Alice Foster the wife of Charles Foster for her life. When she dies to his nephew John Batty the son of his sister Ann Batty.

Three cottages in Barwick occupied by John Batty, Henry Adamson and one empty but recently occupied by Mary Foster to his nephew John Batty the son of his sister Ann Batty.

One dwelling house in Barwick where he lived with a garden at the front and a back orchard, two hen houses, pigeon cote and land to Hannah Comfrey late of Pottery Field in Leeds but now of Barwick for her life. When she dies to his nephew John Batty the son of his sister Ann Batty.

Two dwelling houses with gardens, barns, stables, cow-houses and outbuildings in Barwick occupied by himself, Timothy Smith and one recently occupied by the late John Milner to his nephew John Batty the son of his sister Ann Batty.

To each of his 10 nephews and nieces, children of his sisters Alice and Ann £5, to Thomas Batty of Lotherton £5, to Jane Shillito wife of William Shillito of Appleton Roebuck £5, to Hannah Foster widow of John Foster £5, To each executor £5 and to Hannah Comfrey 19guineas. Residue of estate to his nephew John Batty the son of his sister Ann Batty.

Executors to be John Appleyard, Boot and Shoe maker, of Bolton Percy and William Holgate, Gentleman, of Leeds.
The Will was duly proved as valid and correct at the Church of England Prerogative Probate Court of York on the 16th October 1852 and, quite surprisingly, the Prerogative Probate Court of Canterbury on the 23rd October 1852.

Canterbury was at the time highest Probate Court in the land and Wills were usually only proved there if the testator had land in the South of England, which lames did not appear to have. I wonder if colleagues from his time in the church courts as Apparitor decided that he was a man of sufficient standing to warrant this extra Probate authority.

It took over thirty-five years for the Estate to be fully wound up! The executors John Appleyard and William Holgate were chastised in a Court document dated the 18th May 1878 which said "John Appleyard the elder and William Holgate, who for some time intermeddled in the personal Estate of the deceased and are both since dead leaving {part of the estate} un-administered”. New executors were then appointed by the Court, William Batty Foster of Thomer, a schoolmaster and Benjamin Dickinson of Barwick, a wheelwright, but still the case dragged on. The two ladies with life interests in some of the property eventually died, Alice Foster in 1877 and Hannah Comfrey in 1887.

His nephew John Batty, the main beneficiary of the Will died in 1856 and so his heirs were now entitled to the property and they passed to his son James Batty (1849 - 1915) mentioned above.

So next time you pass No 4 The Boyle take a moment to look at the inscription and think about Barwicker James Batty, the York Apparitor, calling the church courts in York to order some 180 years ago.


The neighbouring property Number 6 The Boyle also has an impressive door lintel inscription "GMH ANNO DOMINI 1679", research is currently ongoing to identify its meaning.

West Riding Registry of Deeds
Barwick All Saints' Parish Registers
Barwick MI's (Lumb)
Civil Registration Births/Marriages/Deaths
Death duty Registers, National Archives
Civil Probate Court London and Wakefield
HM Courts and Tribunal Services, Leeds
Prerogative Probate Courts of Canterbury and York
Local Directories
Leeds Parish Church Registers
York Minster Archives
Local Directories
H M Land Registry

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