The following article has been published by the Earby and District Local History Society.
The Procter family at Lower Burnt Hill
In the 19th century three generations of the Procter (or Proctor) family lived at Lower Burnt Hill Farm for most of the 19th Century. Lower Burnt Hill was a small hill farm with about 26 acres situated right at the top of Harden Clough above Kelbrook in the furthest corner of Thornton-in- Craven parish, near to the old road between Skipton & Colne. The highest point of the land met the old Lancashire boundary on top of Burnt Hill close to the turnpike at Hainslack which was known as Howshaw Bar.
Samuel Procter took the tenancy of the farm sometime between 1826 and 1828, coming with his family from a farm called Saltersyke which is down the road towards Colne. (Colne Library have (or had at one time) a sale notice for Saltersyke Farm dated 1826. Jonas, a member on the old site, gave me this information believing that Samuel had sold that farm and bought Lower Burnt Hill, but in fact it was a Colne family called Shaw who owned it at the time.) Samuel was born in Cowling in 1780, the son of John Procter & Elizabeth (nee Carrington). He was baptised on 7th January 1781 at Kildwick Parish Church. Samuel married Ann Whitaker on 4th July 1800 at Kildwick Parish Church, three of their children were baptised together at Ickornshaw on 21st September 1809.
John Proctor son of Samuel & Ann born 29/11/1802
James Proctor son of Samuel & Ann born 17/08/1804
Samuel Proctor son of Samuel & Ann born 20/02/1806
Ann died aged 25 on 7/9/1808 and is buried at Kildwick, so her children were baptised as Wesleyan Methodists after her death. Very little is known about these children, but it is possible that this is the John who later lived at Proctor Heights in Lothersdale and then Salt Pie, founding the Lothersdale branch of Procters. Samuel was married again in 1822 at St Bartholomew’s in Colne to a widow called Mary Smith the daughter of James & Mary Hartley of Lidgett nr. Colne. They had the following children:-
Thomas Procter son of Samuel & Mary of Saltersyke baptised St Bart’s 17/8/1823 (buried 11/5/1824 Winewall Inghamite Chapel.
George Procter son of Samuel & Mary of Saltersyke baptised 10/7/1824 Earby Baptist Chapel
Benjamin Procter son of Samuel & Mary of Saltersyke baptised 12/2/1826 Earby Baptist Chapel
Joseph Procter son of Samuel & Mary of Lower Burnt Hill baptised 29/10/1828 Earby Baptist Chapel
Peter Procter son of Samuel & Mary of Lower Burnt Hill baptised 31/10/1830 Earby Baptist Chapel.
Samuel has been described as a blacksmith like his father & grandfather in Cowling, and as a butcher when Thomas was baptised in Colne.
Samuel Procter died in 1838 aged 57. He was buried on 30/9/1838 at St Andrews, the parish church in Kildwick.
The 1841 census finds Mary Procktor aged 55 still at the farm, described as a farmer, with her sons George 15, and Peter 10. (George would actually have been 16 or 17.) There is another family living at the farm, Thomas Whiteoak, 27 Ag Lab, his wife Margaret & 4 young children. I haven’t been able to track Benjamin down beyond his baptism, but I have found Joseph. He is living at Midge Hole, Salterforth with the family of Hiram Ellis, a wool carder. Joseph, age 12 is also described as a wool carder. There is a 15 year old girl called Mary Smith a cotton weaver, also living with this family.
Mary Procter died in 1842, aged 57 and was buried at Winewall Inghamite Chapel. The informant on her death certificate was a Mary Smith of Midge Hole. There is a baptism at St. Bart’s, Colne on 21/5/1826 for a Mary Smith, daughter of Betty Smith of Saltersyke. Betty may have been a daughter of Mary’s from her first marriage to John Smith and Mary Smith her granddaughter.
On the census return Midge Hole appears between the Inn at Lane Head and White House in Salterforth. Samuel & Mary’s son George, aged 17 must have taken over the farm when Mary died. The following year on 9th January 1843 he married Ann Hopkinson of Colne, who was just 16, at Thornton-in-Craven Parish Church. Ann (pictured below) was the daughter of John & Ann Hopkinson and in the 1841 census they are living at Piked Edge Farm, between Jerusalem Farm and the pub at Black Lane Ends. George & Ann produced a family of 15 children at the farm, nearly all of whom survived. Amazing in this day and age to imagine how tough it must have been to bring up a family of that size in what can only been a one up -one down house, perhaps partitioned with wood upstairs. The birth dates are unconfirmed, I have found baptisms for the first 2 children at St Barts, but it would be a lifetime’s work to track them all down. Samuel 1844, John 1845, William 1847, Benjamin 1849, Mary 1851, Sarah 1853, Henry 1854, James 1856, Elizabeth Ann 1858, George 1860, Joseph 1861, Hartley 1863, Peter 1865, Margaret 1867, Ellen 1869.
The 1851 census for Lower Burnt Hill shows George Procktor 25 Farmer of 26 acres, Ann 24 farmer’s wife, Samuel 6, John 5, William 3 and Benjamin 1. The 1861 census shows George Procter 36 Farmer of 26 acres and drainer, Ann 34 Farmer’s wife (giving Trawden as a birthplace) Samuel 16 drainer, John 15 drainer, Benjamin 11 carter, Sarah 8 scholar, James 4 scholar, Henry 6 scholar, Elizabeth A. 2, George 1. Mary hadn’t survived beyond her first year. William 13 is listed as a farm boy at the Wilson’s Arms Inn, at Old Stone Trough between Foulridge & Kelbrook. Henry seems to change his name to Thomas at some point before the 1871 census. It is impossible to tell exactly how & when George & Ann left Lower Burnt Hill and took the tenancy of Pasture Farm, Black Lane Ends, which was across the border into Lancashire, but it was sometime between 1861 and 1866. I don’t know if they kept the tenancy of LBH farm as well, but by the 1871 census George & Ann’s son Samuel is farming here.
According to the 1871 census return George & Ann’s children, up to and including Peter in 1865, were born in Thornton in Craven, only Margaret & Ellen were born in Lancashire. However their eldest son Samuel’s abode when he married Ann Bentham at St Bart’s on 26th October 1863 is given as Pasture and he is described as a farmer. Samuel & Ann’s first child John W. is born in Keighley in c1864, Hargreaves the second child in Lancashire in c1866 and their third child Mary is born in Thornton in Craven in c1869 so they are probably at Lower Burnt Hill by then. The 1871 census is confusing because the enumerator has put the Procter family into a second farm at Higher Burnt Hill and a family called Rushton at Lower Burnt Hill missing out Brown Hill Farm completely. This is the third of a close group of three properties and where the Rushtons are in 1861 & 1881. It appears to be a mistake by the enumerator. Samuel Procter 26 farmer , Ann 27 wife born Arncliffe, John W, 7 born Keighley, Hargreaves 5 born Colne, Mary 2 born Thornton in Craven, David 2 mths born Thornton in Craven. Ann was the daughter of Miles Bentham of Arncliffe, but when Samuel & Ann married in Colne her abode is given as Barnside Hall, Foulridge. In the 1861 census she is a servant in a house in Starbotton, so I am guessing that she was also a servant at Barnside, which is just over the hill from Pasture above Laneshawbridge. (This area was a part of Foulridge Parish known as Foulridge Detached) Samuel is noted as the occupier of Lower Burnt Hill in 1877 when it is sold to the Wainman Estate, and he is still there in the 1881 census with four more children, Sarah, Smith, Ann & Tom. By the 1891 census Samuel and Ann have moved to Hainslack Farm, back into Lancashire again but in reality just up the road. I think Hainslack’s land would meet with that belonging to Pasture at Warley Wise Lane. They have had a couple more children, Ernest who is 7 and Elise 2. Ernest born in Yorkshire and Elise in Lancashire which tells us that they left Lower Burnt Hill sometime between 1884 and 1889.
The farmhouse was improved and extended at some point around then and given two extra bedrooms, a bigger kitchen & a sitting room.
The Procter Family had been here for around 60 years
Though they no longer farmed at Lower Burnt Hill, the Procter family continued to tenant other farms in the area. Hargreaves Procter 34, with his wife Susan 32 and children Thomas H. 12 and Florrie 5 is farming at Higher Burnt Hill in the 1901 census. There is a David Procter 29 and wife Alice 26 at Scald Bank Farm. Samuel died on May 18th 1898 aged 54, he is buried in Colne Cemetery, but his wife Ann is head of household at Hainslack in the 1901 census with her sons Smith, Tom and Ernest.
Samuel’s brother James is farming Pasture following the death of George in 1890. George’s wife Ann is still living there aged 74. She died in 1903 and together they are buried at Winewall Inghamite Chapel. By 1911 Tom Procter is farming at Hainslack, James is still at Pasture and Hargreaves at Higher Burnt Hill. It is tempting for descendants of the Procter’s to believe that their ancestors owned the farms where they lived for so many years, but they were tenants, not owners, of the farms in this area.
Lower Burnt Hill was passed down through generations of the Shaw family till it was sold to the Wainman Estate in 1877, finally being sold to an owner/occupier in 1947. Pasture was sold to a Mr Tunstill of Reedyford in 1906, James Procter was the occupier at the time. In the Tythe Survey of Colne 1842 “Ayne Slack” was owned by a John Foulds. In 1926 Oswald Folds mortgaged Hainslack for £220 when Thomas Procter was the occupier. Higher Burnt Hill & Scald Bank both belonged to the Wainman Estate. For any one researching this Procter Family tree there is a comprehensive pedigree on the shelf in Colne Library.
Further photos of George’s family in New Zealand can be found on the following link.