Carrs in Langcliffe

Michael J. Slater

 North Craven 
 Heritage Trust 

The Craven district is notable for the existence of records concerning a few families living here in the early 1500s and probably much earlier. One of these was the Carr family who may have originated in Northumberland. This article concentrates on the Carr families in Langcliffe in the period approximately 1560 to 1760.

The Parish Registers of Giggleswick, 1558-1769, show innumerable Carrs and it is not easy to differentiate them into the different families. The Giggleswick School Register records 23 Carrs going to Christ's College Cambridge between 1500 and 1858: Peile's Register and Venn's listing of names for Christ's College provide useful details. With additional help from wills several family trees up to about 1770 have recently been prepared ( but further information is required to remove some of the uncertainties. A family tree for Carrs of Stackhouse has been published by Whitaker; wills for the Carrs of Grainhouse reveal errors in the Stackhouse tree and a modified version is available on the website.

It has been necessary to investigate all the Carr families in the area, simultaneously using the Giggleswick Parish Registers and wills in order to establish the Langcliffe relationships with more certainty. For Closehouse and Grainhouse a clear and interesting picture emerges based on a set of wills. Relationships between Carrs in Rathmell, Cocklcy Bank, Ragged Hall and Settle are less-well defined.

The Carr families of Langcliffe

Relationships for Carrs of Langcliffe are presented here but some errors are probable due to potential confusion with Carrs from elsewhere.

James Carr of Stackhouse (died 1654), was one of nine men acting as feoffees for 24 Langcliffe villagers who purchased the "whole manor" of Langcliffe in 1591. The 24 villagers named include William Carre. The agreement excepts messuages in the tenure of seven persons including Thomas Carre. The Carr families of Stackhouse and Langcliffe therefore possessed land in Langcliffe by 1591 (as distinct from supposed earlier leasing of land and property) and this led to a branch of the family living and working in Langcliffe from at least that time on.

The will of Thomas Carr of Langcliffe (bd 1596) mentions his brother William(l). Was William(l) the same Willym godson of Thomas of Stackhouse? Thomas of Stackhouse died in 1549 and William was married in 1569. It is not known when he was born or died but he could have been born around 1540, or a few years later, before Thomas of Stackhouse died.

The important but unanswered questions for the Langcliffe connection with the Stackhouse tree concern Roger, said by Whitaker to be of Langcliffe, floreat 1593, a direct descendant of James founder of Giggleswick School. This is perhaps mistaken since the will of James, vicar of Alnwick, 1593, does not justify the specifying of Langcliffe or the floreat date - this Roger is in the Stackhouse tree but was of Grainhouse and Giggleswick, died 1586/7, with spinster cousin Elizabeth of Langcliffe (died 1586/7). Elizabeth was sister to Robert (ex Stackhouse), bd 1612, who lived in Langcliffe and had strong links with the Lawsons of Langcliffe and Fosters of Winskill. There is also a later Roger of Langcliffe (bp 1635). The only other link to families of Carrs living in Langcliffe is possibly Willym Carr, godson of Thomas Carr (will of 1549). It is suggested that the Langcliffe Carrs seem to derive from the two brothers William and Thomas of Langcliffe yet there are no members of the Stackhouse family with the Christian name of William before 1678. There are Thomases in the Stackhouse tree but none with a brother William. It is therefore speculated that the Langcliffe family separated from the Stackhouse side in the 15th century when records are unavailable to prove the matter. Before 1591, when the manor of Langcliffe was bought by the tenants, all of the Carrs in Langcliffe were presumably working land and living in property rented from the Darcy family, or Sawley Abbey before 1536.

We find that the Carrs of Langcliffe are associated with the Newcastle upon Tyne Merchant Adventurers. Leonard Carr, who was the son of William Carr(l), and nephew and godson of Thomas Carr, was indentured as an apprentice in 1597. He was a Master by 1615 and later Governor of the Society in Newcastle. Another William Carr(3?) son of a Thomas Carr of Langcliffe was apprenticed to Leonard in 1622 as was a William Carr son of Henry Carr "late of Langcliffe, yeoman (deceased)" in 1630. William Carr(4) of Langcliffe 16??-1673/4 is stated to be a Merchant Adventurer (of Newcastle) in a deed (re Langcliffe Moor with Wm Foster) of 1650/1. In 1670, another Leonard Carr, son of "Wm. Carr, Merchant Adventurer" was enrolled by patrimony. It is likely that this Wm. Carr was William(4) mentioned in the 1650/1 deed, who was father of the Leonard who was the builder of the Manor Farm house in Langcliffe (1678). Early connection with the North-east of the Carrs of Grainhouse is seen in the will of James Carr, vicar of Alnwick, died 1593, bequeathing property to Ralph Carr of Ford Castle in Northumberland, so this involvement with the Newcastle Merchant Adventurers rather than those in York is not so surprising. Newcastle was the third largest English city at that time. It is clear that the Carrs of Langcliffe were involved in the cloth trade since Thomas Carr eldest son of William (3) was a clothier in Huddersfield in 1639/40.

William(4) known by his will of 1673/4 as a Merchant Adventurer and owner of a mill was fathered by William (3), a yeoman. Of William's(4) sons Leonard and Thomas, the elder son Leonard inherited the estate in Langcliffe. No direct descendants are mentioned by Leonard and his remaining estate and chattels were left to his nephew William Carr(5), son of Thomas, in 1696. Leonard's brother Thomas died in 1698/9 so was not considered to inherit on account of advanced age perhaps. A probate inventory of Leonard's goods and chattels was made and gives a good idea of the rooms in Manor Farm house and other buildings and their contents (Slater, 2002).

William(5) was a minor at the time of Leonard's death in 1696, having been baptised in 1682. The law required William to have two 'tutors, curators or governors' until his majority at 21 years of age (in 1703). In due course, in 1705, William married Grace Claphamson. There were nine children including William(6), bp 1715. William Carr(5) started to sell off his land holdings and his mill over a period of years from about 1712 and seems to have been in financial trouble. Providing for six daughters may not have helped.

A further deed of 1744 links the names of William and Grace Carr, Charles Nowell, John Cookson and others with that of 'William Carr of Slaidburn, Clerk, only son and heir of the said William Carr'. This William(6), the son, was probably the William Carr who attended Giggleswick School and was admitted to Christ's College, Cambridge, at the age of 19 in 1735, matriculating the next year and obtaining his BA in 1739/40. The Slaidburn Parish Register shows a Mr. William Carr, clerk, marrying Ann Blezard in 1748 (followed by the baptism of yet another William(7) in 1749, 5 months after marriage).

There is no record in the Giggleswick Parish Register of William's(5) burial. However, in Mitton the church register records the burial of a William Carr, Gentleman, in 1766 (at the age of 84). His son William(6) was the curate noted in the Register in 1754 and in 1760 he became vicar of Mitton. The Vicar was buried there in 1771, and his tombstone may be seen in All Hallows' churchyard inscribed 'His Abilities Integrity & Attention to the Duties of the Function entitle his Memory to the just Tribute of grateful Respect'.

It is known that a Rev. William Carr was Head schoolmaster at Slaidburn Grammar School 1740 to 1765- A William Carr born in Leeds in 1718, son of John, also took his BA at Christ's in 1739/40 and MA in 1743. Venn questions if this William was Master at Slaidburn school in 1740 and states that he was vicar at Mitton 1761-71 but this latter comment is probably incorrect. It seems that there were two William Carrs in Slaidburn at the same time!

Family tree

Sources of information

Anon, 1879. Carre of Sleaford and Carr of Stackhouse.

Genealogist, vol.3, pp 380-6

Anon, 1958. Is your name Carr? Yorkshire Life, June, p.9

Borthwick Institute, York

Wills of Thomas Carr of Stackhouse 1549, Adam Carr of Grainhouse 1586, Roger Carr of Grainhouse/ Giggleswick 1586/7, Elizabeth Carr of Langcliffe 1586/7, William Carr of Grainhouse 1587, James Carr of Grainhouse, Vicar of Alnwick 1593, Richard Carr of Grainhouse 1593, Thomas Carr 1596, Anne Carr of Grainhouse 1597, Roger Carr of Grainhouse 1597, Thomas Paley 1597, Robert Carr 1612, James Carr of Stackhouse 1654, William Carr 1661, William Carr 1673/4, Will and inventory of Leonard Carr 1696. Tuition William Carr 1696.

Brayshaw, T. and Robinson, R.M., 1932. A history of the

ancient parish of Giggleswick. Publ. Halton and Co., London

Carr, R.E. and C.E., 1893-9. The history of the family of

Carr of Dunston Hill, Co. Durham and the collateral lines in

England. Publ. Mitchell and Hughes, London (British Library)

Giggleswick Parish Registers

Graduati Cantabrigiensis 1659-1823. Publ. Baldwin,

Cradock, Joy, London


Indenture of sale of the manor of Langcliffe, 1591.

Northallerton PC/LAC 13 microfilm 1874, PRO C54/1419 CP 3572

Mullins, H.L., 1913. Giggleswick School Register, First edit.

Publ. R. Jackson, Leeds.

Paver's Marriage Licences, YAS Record Series

Peel, A., 1922. A short history ofSlaidburn (Skipton


Peile,J., 1910. Biographical Register of Christ's College 1505-

1905 and of the earlier foundation, God's House. Publ. CUP

Mitton Burials Register (Preston Archives)

Slaidburn Parish Registers

Slater, Mary, 2002. More glimpses of Langcliffe, p. 52. Publ.

Hudson History of Settle.

Stainforth stepping stones through history, 2001. Publ.

Stainforth History Group, Stainforth

Venn, J. andJ.A., 1913. Book of matriculations and degrees

1544-1659. Publ. CUP

Venn, J., 1922. Alumni Cantabrigiensis. Publ. CUP

Welford, R., 1895. Men of mark 'twixt Tyne and Tweed.

Publ. W. Scott, London

Whitaker, T.D., 1878. The history and antiquities of the

Deanery of Craven, in the county of York. Third edit. Publ.

J. Dodgson, Leeds

Manor House Farm, Langcliffe:
Carr Leonard and Isabel 1678

Manor House Farm, Langcliffe:
Carr Leonard and Isabel 1678