Catalogue Finding NumberRP
Office record is held atCalderdale, West Yorkshire Archive Service
TitleROBERT PARKER, HALIFAX, ATTORNEY, ACCUMULATIONS (INCLUDING RECORDS RELATING TO THE CRAGG VALE COINERS) (RP)
DescriptionDeeds, correspondence, legal papers, accounts, wills, bankruptcy papers, marriage settlements, rentals and surveys, poor law papers, canal and turnpike records, etc relating to clients in all areas of Calderdale, Yorkshire, etc. Includes material relating to the Coiners
Date16th-19th century
Extent1.64/82 boxes
LevelCollection
Access ConditionsOriginal available for consultation by appointment
AdminHistoryRobert Parker (1731-1796) Robert was born in Slaidburn in the Forest of Bowland and was christened at the Parish Church of Slaidburn on 15 Mar 1732. He was the 6th child and 3rd son of George Parker, a yeoman farmer, whose family owned the Gamblehole estate there, a farm in the township of Newton and Forest of Bolland. His father died in 1736 and in 1737, his mother, Elizabeth [died 1741], married John Dickinson, a schoolmaster. His parents left him a legacy of £200 and a half share of a small farm at Slaidburn Woodhouse. He was brought up, with his brother and sister, by his stepfather, John Dickinson, and in 1746 he was articled to his guardian, Edward Salisbury of Newton Hall, attorney, for six years. After the expiration of this term, he was articled to Nicholas and Mathew Coulthurst of Lincoln's Inn, for 4 and a half months. On 5 Jul 1753 Parker was admitted an attorney in the Court of the King's Bench by his fellow Yorkshireman, Judge Dennison, and eight weeks later, on 1 Sep, entered into partnership with John Baldwin, an attorney at Halifax. On 1 Sep 1761, the firm of Baldwin and Parker split up and though Baldwin continued to practice in Halifax until 1767, he was eventually obliged to convey his properties to his son, for the benefit of his creditors. Parker's practice, however, became both widespread and lucrative. From 1768, he took an interest in the local coiners and was responsible for the apprehension of many of the felons. He was on the Commission of the Peace for the West Riding from 1769 and in Nov 1769, he attended the enquiry conducted by local magistrates at the Talbot Inn which had been called by the Marquis of Rockingham to discuss the problem of the coiners and the murder of William Deighton. In 1770, following his arrest of the coiners, he was appointed County Solicitor to the Crown, and was Crown Prosecuting Solicitor at York Assizes. In 1770, Lord Mexborough, a member of the Savile family, appointed him Chief Steward of his estates. In Oct 1775, he was appointed Steward of the Honour of Pontefract. He was the Steward of the following manors, all in Yorkshire - Methley, Pollington, Pottenewton, Roundhay, Thomer and Ferribridge (belonging to Lord Mexborough), Midgley, Southowram, Rawtenstall with Stansfield, Shelf, Batley and Shipley. Family Fourteen months after settling in Halifax, on 19 Nov 1754, Parker married Miss Ann Prescot of Calico Hall, the sister of Baldwin's late wife. Ann was 18 years older than him. The family lived at the Lecturer's House, Causeway for six years, then for sixteen years in Caygill's Square, and for the remaining twenty years of his life at Calico Hall, a house which had belonged to his wife's family, but which he subsequently enlarged and beautified. Children: (1) John [who died at the age of 14 months; (2) Margaret 1758-1775; (3) Robert [1759-1825]. He was a weakling and an epileptic. After his father's 2nd marriage, he boarded for the last 35 years of his life, in the household of the Reverend Paul Belcher, Rector of Heather near Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire. He was one of the subscribers to the Leeds Infirmary [1792]. He died unmarried in May 1823, aged 64.. Ann Parker died in 1782 and in 1786, he married his housekeeper, Mary Burnett. There were no children by the second marriage. There is a memorial to Robert and his second wife, Mary, in Halifax Parish Church. Parker's staff were: Managing clerks 1 John Marshall {1762-1780) 2 Thomas Dawson (1780-1782) 3 James Wigglesworth (1782-1786) 4) William Swainson (1786-1796) Articled clerks 1 William Chippingdale, from Mitton, near Slaidburn (1761-1766) 2 James Smith, from York (1761-1766) 3 William Carr, from Mitton (1764-1770) 4 Thomas Dawson, from Giling near York (1766-1771) 5 Robert Green, from Whitcoat (1769-1774) 6 Robert Hyde, from Slaidburn (1770-1776) 7 Aaron Manby (1772-1778) 8 James Crompton, from Manchester (1773-1778) 9 John Dodsworth (1774-1779) 10 Richard Micklethwaite, from Darfield near Barnsley (1774-1779) 11 James Wigglesworth, from Slaidburn (1776-1781) 12 George Woodhead, from Halifax (1776-1779) 13 Thomas James, from Penrith, Cumberland (1777-1782) 14 Robert Parker, his own son (1778-1784) 15 Robert Alcock, from Bingley (1779-1784) 16 William Swainson, from Tadcaster (1780-1786) 17 Alexander North Parker, from Slaidburn (1781-1786) 18 John Lockhead, junior, from Halifax (1787-1792) Clerks, not articled, and scriveners 1 William Norris (about 1760-1777) 2 John Lockhead (1777-1796) 3 Ely Gleadhill (1776) 4 William Thomas (1769) 5 John Keighley (1787-1796) There are incidental references to most of these people in the letters. Parker used the firm of N and M Coulthurst of Lincoln's Inn and later of Chancery Lane as his London agents for the whole of his life, and the Coulthurst Brothers and their successors, the Farrers likewise used him as their North County agent, as the accounts of the firm still show. Parker's correspondence include many people of note, such as Fletcher Norton (later Lord Grantley) (Letter No 8), Dr Cyril Jackson of Stamford (15, 34, 70, 73, 88, 391) and his son, Cyril Jackson, Dean of Christ Church, Oxford (407-9), James Wallace, barrister, of Lincoln's Inn (86, 87). Henry Wickham of Cottingley, near Bradford (89, 279), Sir George Armytage of Kirklees (91), William Baldwin, barrister of the Middle Temple (later Under-Secretary of State) (96-105), Sir William Lowther of Swillington (190), Pemberton Milnes of Wakefield (199), Johnson Atkinson BusfieId, JP, of Myrtle Grove, near Bingley (240), William Bentink, 3rd Duke of Portland, Home Secretary (372), John Smeaton, inventor of the Eddystone Lighthouse (400-5). There are only occasional glimpses of Parker's private life in the letters. The tragic death of his only daughter, Margaret, at the age of 17, and the strange illness which affected his only son, are merely hinted at. The death of his first wife in February 1782 is not mentioned anywhere. References to his second wife, Mary Burnett, whom he married in 1786, are more numerous. Parker died on 23 May 1796, aged 64, leaving a large fortune to his second wife, who survived him less than a year and died childless in January 1797. Parker's practice passed out of the hands of his family as soon as he died. Even after the First World War, however, his fame as a lawyer was still remembered in Halifax. The business after his death later became Walker, Son and Dickie and later Finn Gledhill. Robert Parker [1798-1856] This Robert Parker was the only son of Alexander North Parker, attorney of Newton in Bowland, who was godson of, and a former articled clerk of, Robert Parker. The two Robert Parkers were not directly related. He came to Halifax and, from 1823 to 1856, he practised at Number 6, The Square. From 1823 to 1826, he was in partnership with James Wigglesworth as Wigglesworth and Parker. He lived at Number 6, The Square from 1823, then at Barum Top from 1839. In 1847, he took a lease of Clare Hall, and bought the property in 1853. In 1826, he was appointed steward of the estates of Anne Lister, who described him as coming from a very good family, and was a gentleman but not very clever and he held this position after her death in 1841 until the death of Ann Walker in 1854. He died in London where he had gone to seek medical advice and was unmarried. He was also attorney for the Calder and Hebble Navigation Company and for Lord Mexborough.
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