CHAPTER 2

 

GEORGE TEAL –1754 - 1824

 

George Teal was only 17 when his father Thomas died in 1771 and he inherited the farm at White Crag, Timble.  Although his mother had a life interest in the farm and could, under the terms of his father’s last will, throw him off the land, it was effectively his.  He would however at this age have been experienced in what was required to manage the farm having been living and working there all his life.  The legal deeds transferring the farm to George now lists the name as ‘Lingber Farm’.  This most likely refers to the area being near or close to the moor as Ling means Heather or Heath.

 

In 1767 the Crown decided to enclose the Forest of Knareborough by Act of Parliament, a procedure which took over ten years to complete.  Enclosurer was the process of converting the common unfenced land of the Manor, which everyone had rights to use into separate fields and landholdings.  This process could generate major income for the Manor owner.  For the Teal family this was a potential disaster.  An element of farm was held as an encroachment into the common land and Thomas and then George had paid a yearly fine of a shilling at the Manor Court for this land since 1739, which as stated previously was thought of as rent.  They would have also improved this land, for example, by removing stones and clearing heather, all at their expense.  George, however, had no legal title to this extra land and therefore this could be sold as part of the process of Enclosurer.  At least he also had some valid copyhold land to fall back on, some tenants only had encroachments and therefore this could be their ruin.  Luckily the Crown was lenient and the Act allowed two options for them:

 

1.        Encroachments could be converted into 40-year leases at a rent of one third of the annual value of the land.

2.        An exchange of land could take place. Unimproved land would be bought by the Encroacher and given to the Crown in exchange for their encroachment, which would be converted to copyhold tenure.

 

George chose option two and with thirty-four other Encroachers petitioned the King on the 24th October 1776 to grant an exchange of land and allow a conversion to copyhold tenure.  George paid £ 1 to buy land to covert his 1 rood and 6 perches of land in Timble.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Petition to the King for Exchange of Encroachments in Forest of Knaresborough to Copyhold Land 24th October 1776 listing George Teal - Public Record Office, London DL41/1163. (Duchy of Lancaster copyright material in the Public Record Office is reproduced by permission of the Chancellor and Council of the Duchy of Lancaster)

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 


On the 20th December 1775 George married Elizabeth Forest of the nearby village of Norwood.  The Forest family named after the Forest of Knaresborough had been living there since at least the thirteenth century.  Elizabeth was the daughter of George Forest and Dorothy nee Chippendale (likely of the Otley branch of the family and related to the famous cabinetmaker Thomas Chippendale)

 

George and Elizabeth had ten children, Thomas in 1777, John born 13th January 1779, Mary born 3rd December 1780, Elizabeth born 1st November 1782, Hannah born 23rd February 1785, Joseph born 28th June 1786, Jane born 26th September 1788, Abraham born 18th November 1790, Stephen born 24th December 1794 and William born 25th September 1798.

 

George was a nonconformist and broke away from the established Church of England.  Eight of his children were baptised at Cragg Baptist Church in Rawdon near Leeds and he was a member of the Fewston Methodist Society for many years.  This was not uncommon, by 1851 nonconformists made up 50% of the population.  The family continued to frequent the Parish Church for marriages as legally they could only take place there and for burials, as most nonconformist chapels had no facilities at this time.

 

George did not take up his father’s profession of tailoring but instead supplemented his farming income by becoming a worsted weaver.  The West Riding of Yorkshire was famous for its weavers and cloth production with major selling centres in Leeds and Halifax.  Cloth produced was sent throughout Britain and the world.  The farm prospered and George took on additional land in the 1780s and 1790s.  It is known that he sold his farm produce at Otley Market.

 

We are fortunate that George’s second son John Teal left a brief description of his mother and father in a Memoir of his life published in 1853.  John was a highly respected Deacon of the Baptist Church in Shipley, Bradford and the Memoir was written against the background of producing an example and providing reassurance about the virtues of the Church.  These are extracted below:

 

Such are worthy of being remembered; as in the present instance filial piety has led the son, who loved and revered his parents, to write sketches of their characters, it may not be amiss to introduce here some short extracts from them.  He says,-

 

"On Friday, April 16th, 1824, died my dear father, George Teal, of White Crag, near Fewston, in the seventy-first year of his age.  Happily for him, he had not put off the great concerns of religion till his last affliction.  I do not know the particular time when he first embraced religion, but I have heard him say that it was under the preaching of Cornelius Caley, and the reading of his life, that the most powerful impressions took place in his heart.  He used to say that if ever he did experience a real change of heart it was at this time.  And I may say that during forty years, in which I have known him, he has given evidence of the heavenly origin of these impressions, by his constant and zealous attachment to religion.  It is true he had his imperfections like all the fallen race of Adam; but he was constantly sensible of it, and daily lamented it before God on his knees, and cried for pardoning mercy and purifying grace, a lively and sensible enjoyment of which he frequently possessed.  He was a member of the Methodist society at Fewston for many years, and he highly esteemed the social and public means of grace amongst them; and, as long as he was able to go, he attended with seriousness and diligence, and frequently was engaged to conduct the class meetings.  It has been my happiness to be there sometimes, and have been struck with the propriety and useful tendency of the questions he asked, and the remarks which he made, - the simplicity of his admonitions, and the suitability of his advice, given always with seriousness, and often with tears.  He was decidedly evangelical in his sentiments.  He knew his own heart too well, and the imperfection of all he did, to think of depending upon them as the foundation of his hope, or to consider them in any sense as the meritorious cause of his pardon and acceptance with God.  No; the mercy of God, through the mediation of Christ, was his constant plea. - the only ground of his consolation in this life, and his hope for eternal felicity.  Often have I heard him repeat and sing, as the language of his heart,-

'A guilty, weak, and helpless worn,

On thy kind arms I fall;

Be thou my strength and righteousness,

My Jesus and my all.' "

 

Mr. Teal's mother was is some respects very different from his father, but every way a help for him, and a blessing to her family.  She was one among a thousand for meekness and patience, and highly devout and exemplary in her spirit and conduct.  In his sketch of her life he says,-

 

"She was the mother of six sons and four daughters, eight of whom she lived to see grown up to a mature age, and the other two nearly so.  Five of them she carried to their long home. Before them all she set an example of industry and frugality, of meekness, gentleness, patience, and kindness, and of undeviating attention to the great principles and duties of religion, both public and private, highly worthy of the attention and imitation of those that survive.  She was the subject of religious impressions at an early period of her life, and was blessed with the liberty of the gospel.  When going on one occasion to milk the cows, she was so powerfully struck with a sense of her sins that she could not proceed any farther, but kneeled down against a gate-post in her way, and there, in earnest prayed, obtained the blessing; this was about the sixteenth year of her age.  Soon after, she joined the Methodist society, and continued a peaceable, consistent, humble, pious, and upright member to the end of life.  Notwithstanding her remarkable circumspection of conduct, she constantly had the most humbling view of herself, though their conduct would bear no comparison with hers.  Her constant plea at the footstool of the heart-searching God was, 'Mercy, mercy, through Jesus Christ!'  From my earliest recollection of hearkening to her prayers, to her latest moments, in the arms of death, this was her cry.  Through that mercy I have no doubt she is now rejoicing, freed from all her doubts and fears, all tears wiped from her eyes, her soul fully satisfied, having attained the likeness of her Saviour, whom she loved and served below."

Thus the subject of this memoir might have said, in the beautiful language of Cowper,-

"My boast is not that I derive my birth

From loins enthroned, and rulers of the earth;

But higher far my proud pretensions rise,-

The son of parents pass'd into the skies."

 

 

 

 

Timble (Great) Land Tax Assessment 21st April 1782 listing George Teal paying 9s 6d

Wakefield Archives – West Riding Quarter Session Records

 
 

 

 

 

 


The family continued to prosper until at the age of 70 George died.  He had 18 grandchildren of which 16 were still alive, the final tally including those born after his death is 30, with 15 been male through the male line and therefore able to forward the family name.

 

His will was proved in the Knaresborough Court on the 20th October 1824.  From this we discover that by the time of his death he owned three houses, the first containing the main ‘Lingber’ farm which was left to his eldest surviving son John, the second referred to as the ‘lowplace’ which was lower down the valley side close to the River Washburn.  This was left to his second youngest son, Stephen, who was already bringing up a family there.  The final house called Craggs House in Timble was left to his youngest son William.  Most of the property legacies were dependent on the payment of cash by the beneficiaries to George’s other children and grandchildren.  The most exciting survival amongst his probate records is as inventory or list of his goods excluding land at the time of his death.  It was common at this time for the Probate Court to order that such documents be prepared so any dispute over the will could be more easily settled.  It shows that he possessed a horse and saddle, two cows, two calves and dairy equipment in addition to household furniture, all valued at £46 15s

 

 

Inventory of George Teal’s goods complied on 21st April 1824 by his  son-in-law Thomas Peel and nephew John Yeadon

Leeds Archives – Knaresborough Wills AA118

 
 

 

 

 

 

 


George was buried on the 20th April 1824 in Fewston Churchyard and the spot was commemorated by a gravestone, which still survives marking the family plot.  Elizabeth survived for another 13 years and died on the 7th February 1837 aged 82

 

 

 

Inscription from George Teals Gravestone in Fewston Churchyard

 

IN MEMORY OF

THOMAS TEAL THE SON OF

GEORGE AND ELIZABETH TEAL

OF WHITE CRAGG WHO DIED

7TH SEPTEMBER 1786 AGED 9 YEARS

ALSO ABRAHAM TEAL THEIR SON

WHO DIED 1ST JUNE 1807 AGED

16 YEARS LIKEWISE HANNAH TEAL

THEIR DAUGHTER WHO DIED 11TH FEB

1811 AGED 25 YEARS

AND MARY PEEL DAUGHTER TO

THE ABOVE NAMED GEORGE AND

ELIZABETH TEAL AND WIFE OF

THOMAS PEEL. SHE DIED 25TH FEBRUARY

1811 AGED 30 YEARS

ALSO GEORGE TEAL FATHER TO

THE ABOVE NAMED SONS AND

DAUGHTERS WHO DIED 16TH APRIL

1824 AGED 70 YEARS.

BLESSED ARE THE DEAD WHICH

DIE IN THE LORD

ALSO OF ELIZABETH WIFE OF

THE ABOVE NAMED GEORGE TEAL

SHE DIED FEBRUARY 7TH 1837

AGED 81 YEARS

 

A PEACEFUL WOMAN FREE FROM STRIFE

A TENDER MOTHER AND A LOVING WIFE

 
 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reference:

 

Leeds Archives – Knaresborough Probate Records

Public Records Office: DL/30 Knaresborough Surrender Books & DL41

Fewston Parish Register, North Yorkshire Record Office, Northallerton

Rev. P. Scott –A Memoir of the Late John Teal Deacon of the Baptist Church, Shipley, Yorkshire 1853

Wakefield Archives – Land Tax Duplicates, West Riding Quarter Sessions Records