Warnford Cottage In The 19th Century

  • see also comments at the foot of the page


Built in 1807 by James Willis, 1759 – 1834, son of Christopher and Elizabeth Willis (nee Stewardson) of Thoralby.

He married Mary Charge of Aysgarth in 1793. She died in 1814.

His married his second wife Mary Boyd of Aysgarth in 1816.
They had a daughter, Mary Elizabeth, born 1817 and a son, James Richard born in 1822.

In 1834 James died aged 75. Mary died in 1838 aged 52 years.

In 1836 Mary Elizabeth had married William Purchas (a solicitor like her father), of Flanders Hall, West Burton. They had a son, William in 1838, but he died in 1840 soon after the birth of his sister, Mary.


  • William Purchas 25 (solicitor)
  • Mary 26, daughter Mary age 1
  • James Willis 15, (independent)
  • 2 female servants: Jane Sandham 30 and Margaret Bowe 15
  • 2 man servants: William Bushby 20 and John Pickard 15

In 1841 another son, William was born and then 6 more daughters: Margaret 1843, Elizabeth 1844, Jane 1846, Alice 1847, Esther 1849 who died two days later, and Catherine in 1850.


The Purchas daughters ‘Scholars at home’circa 1858

William and Mary were still there with their son, William, and six Daughters, all of them “scholars at home”.

  • The servants then were Francis Outhwaite, Widower 38 (agricultural labourer), born at Busk
  • Ann Fawcett, Unmarried 18 (dairymaid), born at Busk
  • Elizabeth Sproats, Unmarried 21 (housemaid), born at Ellington.

The Purchas family moved to Flanders Hall, West Burton, about 1860 after the death of William’s father, William, in 1858.


Ackroyd Costobadie 55 (a farmer), born Wensley; his wife, Margaret 45, and her sister, Elizabeth Chapman, unmarried 25, were both born in Thornton Rust.

By 1866 Leonard Jaques had moved in to Warnford, when his daughter Jane married John Cragg Thwaite of Street Head Inn, Newbiggin.

In 1869 his daughter Mary 24 married John Watson 24 (farmer) of Agglethorpe Hall, son of Edward Watson, (farmer).


  • Leonard Jaques Widower 54 (Landowner and farmer 11 acres), born at Grassington
  • Son, Leonard, Unmarried 21, born at Dent
  • daughter Eliza, Unmarried 18, born at Dent
  • Dauughter Margaret, Unmarried 14, born Buckden
  • Grandson, Simon Thwaite, 3, born at Thoralby
  • Edward Capstick, Unmarried 53, (farm servant), born at Garsdale

Kelly’s Directory 1876 Mr Leonard Jaques (Gentry)

In 1872 his daughter, Eleanor Elizabeth 28, married George Tanfield, 24, (Draper) of Darlington.

In 1878 a son, Leonard, was born to Leonard junior and his wife Elizabeth Ann.
In 1879 Eliza, the sister of Leonard Junior, married Thomas Alton, (farmer), of Ellington.

In 1880 Leonard and Elizabeth Ann had a daughter, Ann.


  • Leonard Jaques, 31, (farmer 16 acres), born Dent
  • Wife Elizabeth Ann, 30, born Durham, Southwick
  • Son, Leonard, 2; Daughter Ann, 7 months; both born at Thoralby
  • Wife’s sister, Isabella Mills, Unmarried 24
  • Niece J. G. Sharp, 7; both born Durham, Southwick
  • Edward Capstick, Unmarried 64, (farm servant, indoor), born Garsdale;
  • E. Dolphin, Unmarried 19, (general domestic servant), born Muker.

Leonard and Elizabeth Jaques had four more children – John Mills in 1882, Richard in 1884, Jane Mills in 1886, and Thomas Coulton in 1890.


  • Leonard Jaques, 41, (farmer), born Dent;
  • Wife Elizabeth Ann, 40, born Sunderland, Southwick;
  • Son, Leonard, 12, Daughter Ann, 10, Sons, John Mills, 8, Richard, 6, Daughter Jane Mills, 5, Son, Thomas Coulton, 1.
    All six children born at Thoralby.
  • Niece, Johanna Gertrude Sharp, Unmarried, 17, (dressmaker, employed), born Sunderland, Southwick
  • Servant, Edward Capstick, Unmarried, 74, (farm labourer), born Garsdale.

Kelly’s Directory 1893

Leonard Jaques, farmer and landowner.

In 1886 Isabella Mills, 30, sister of Elizabeth Ann Jaques and daughter of John (ship-builder) had married George Gould, 42, (draper) of Masham and they moved into Warnford probably about 1899, turning it into apartments for letting, while still running the small farm.

James Willis and his son-in-law William Purchas went into partnership, establishing a firm which became the modern solicitors’ practice of Malcolm Scott, in Leyburn.

Anita Binnerts, nee Willis, great-great niece of James, worked there for many years. William Purchas’s gown hung on the back of her office door and she thought that he must have been a very tall man. None of his children married.

With many thanks to the present owner of Warnford Court.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The Dales