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Knottingley and Ferrybridge Genealogy


by CAROL PEAK (nee Bolton)

The research I have done on my Bolton ancestry has led me to Knottingley. Before my ancestors immigrated to America in 1832, they lived in the hamlet of Marygate, just outside the city walls of York. Before that, they lived in the nearby parish of Newton-on-Ouse, which sits alongside the River Ouse.

There is no recording of this family in the parish of Newton-on-Ouse before 1769 and it is likely that the Boltons migrated to Newton from some other area. So where were the Boltons living before they moved to Newton? This was my genealogical brick wall and it took years before I was finally able to break through it.

It turns out that the clue I needed was waiting for me in the archives of University College, Oxford, where original records are held which pertain to the village of Linton-on-Ouse. This village is less than one mile from, and in the same parish as, Newton. These records showed that a Joseph Bolton had sold lime to the village in the years 1769, 1775, 1776, 1777 and 1778.

Parish records for Newton-on-Ouse indicate that Joseph Bolton’s children were:

Robert Bolton, christened 5 Jan 1769
Mary Bolton, buried 21 Oct. 1771
Joseph Bolton, born 23 Aug 1772 (my ancestor who later moved to York)
Elizabeth Bolton

Joseph Bolton, who I refer to as "the lime merchant," was buried at Newton-on-Ouse 12 June 1778, only two months after the last receipt for lime in his name. The following year, his widow, Catherine (born about 1747), married Joseph Berkinshaw, a Catholic, and they had the following children in Newton-on-Ouse:

Thomas Berkinshaw, 1781
Ann Berkinshaw, 1783
Catherine Berkinshaw, 1785
Sarah Berkinshaw, 1787
Mary Berkinshaw, 1790

In order to look for a birth record for Joseph Bolton "the lime merchant," I set out first to learn where lime deposits were located in Yorkshire. I discovered that great amounts of lime were quarried during the 1700s in a village called Knottingley. Next I turned to the parish records of that area. Assuming that Joseph was the same approximate age as his wife Catherine, I estimated his date of birth as approximately 1747. Hoping that Joseph and Catherine Bolton were following traditional naming patterns when they named their first son "Robert" and their second son "Joseph," I felt it was likely that the name of the father of Joseph "the lime merchant" would be Robert.

Lo and behold, I did find a christening record for a Joseph Bolton in the parish of Pontefract. The christening date for this Joseph Bolton was 29 June 1746 and the father was Robert Bolton. When I looked at the map and saw the proximity of that area to the River Aire, and noted that the Aire connects to the River Ouse, I felt that I might be on to something!

And then I found this wonderful web site ( and the remarkable work of Dr. Terry Spencer, "Knottingley Public Houses & Breweries circa. 1750-1998." In Chapter One, Dr. Spencer mentions that a Robert Bolton was a publican in Knottingley during the mid to late 1700s. This Robert Bolton appears to have had a close association with Robert Askham, another publican, and Robert Askham was also "a vessel owner with business interests in limestone quarrying."

Could this Robert Bolton be the father of my Joseph Bolton "the lime merchant" who lived in Newton-on-Ouse?

I have studied the Land Tax Assessment records for Knottingley covering the dates 1783 to 1793. Robert Bolton is listed in these records, which also show a connection with Robert Askham/Askam, as he (Askham) eventually occupies Robert Bolton’s property. Robert Bolton’s property appears to be in the general vicinity of land owned by "Proprietors of Aire & Calder, Frear’s Ing" as well as "Proprietors of Mills." Could this indicate that the Duke of York was the pub which Robert Bolton operated? (The Duke of York once stood near the junction of Holes Lane and Forge Hill Lane, near the Mill Bridge, which is very near to the properties listed above.)

I will mention now that there is further evidence that my Joseph Bolton who is buried in Newton-on-Ouse was originally from Knottingley. Another man who was selling lime to the village of Linton-on-Ouse in the late 1700s was a John Roulston. Records indicate that he too, might have come from Knottingley (or possibly nearby Kellington) and then settled in the parish of Newton-on-Ouse, where he and his wife Mary raised their family. (The Roulston family eventually moved further north to Helperby.)

Now curious about whether there were any records of the Bolton family living in Knottingley in still earlier years, I looked at the Tithes of Knottingley, 1719-1723. Of particular interest were the following entries:

Bolton, Jos. 3 June 1719
Bolton, Jos. 26 Sep 1720
Bolton, Jos. 24 June 1721
Askam, John 1 Sep 1721, "klning"
Rolstone, John 17 June 1719
Roston, John 27 Sep 1720 and 31 Aug 1721

The Joseph Bolton listed in the Tithes of Knottingley was married to Charity ________. She was buried at Knottingley in 1719. Joseph and Charity Bolton had at least one son, Thomas Bolton, whose family is listed below:

Thomas Bolton, of Knottingley, married first Jane Carter, 7 June 1720.
Children were: Charity, 1722

Thomas Bolton, of Knottingley, married second Anne __________
Children were: Joseph, 1723/24, Anne, 1729, William, 1731

Could this Thomas Bolton be a brother or cousin of Robert the publican?

Of note is that there was also a Thomas Bolton in Knottingley in the late 1600s as evidenced by this entry in the parish records of Pontefract:

Anna filia Thomas Boulton of Knottingley, christened March 1674.

The above information suggests exciting possibilities for establishing my ancestry in Knottingley as far back as the 17th century. However, Bolton was not a terribly uncommon name in this area of England and extant records do not include enough details to prove that Joseph "the lime merchant" was the son of Robert Bolton the publican, or that Robert Bolton was the son of Joseph and Charity Bolton, or that he (Joseph) was the son of Thomas Bolton who lived in Knottingley in the 1600s. Therefore I must be cautious with my conclusions. But the possibilities are intriguing!

If you have read all of this, I thank you for your interest. I welcome emails from anyone who may care to contact me regarding my Knottingley history. More information on this family can be found at:

Carol Peak
Salinas, California, USA
January 2007


  • Knottingley, St. Botolph, baptisms, marriages, burials, 1724-1804 - LDS Family History Library BRITISH Film [ 1658086 Item 30 ]
  • Parish registers, Church of England. Chapelry of Knottingley - FHL BRITISH Film [ 1542239 Items 2-7 ]
  • Parish registers, Church of England. Chapelry of Knottingley - FHL BRITISH Film [ 1542239 Items 2-7 ]
  • Parish registers, Church of England. Chapelry of Knottingley - FHL BRITISH Film [ 1542240 Items 1-7 ]
  • Tithes, 1719-1723 - Church of England. Chapelry of Knottingley - FHL BRITISH Film [1657859 Item 22 ]
  • Land tax assessments for Knottingley township, 1781-1832 - FHL BRITISH Film [ 1657984 Items 17-18 ]
  • Parish registers of Newton-upon-Ouse, 1653-1978 - FHL BRITISH Film [ 2103944 Items 6 - 12 ]
  • Knottingley and Ferrybridge Online
  • KNOTTINGLEY PUBLIC HOUSES & BREWERIES, circa. 1750 – 1998, TERRY SPENCER B.A. (Hons), Ph D. (1998)

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