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The Birtwhistles of Craven and Galloway

 

 

 

 

 

who benefitted financially from these deaths were the three drover sons William, Alexander and Robert, whose droving business was now unencumbered, and son-in-law Rev John Vardill, rector of Fishtoft in Lincolnshire, whose activities as a senior government agent we shall discuss later. Until he died in 1789, Thomas Birtwhistle had been rector of Skirbeck in Lincolnshire, adjacent to the parish where Rev John Vardill, was the rector. Charles Birtwhistle then replaced both his brother and brother- in- law as rector of both Skirbeck and Fishtoft but, on his death in 1791, Rev Vardill became rector of both parishes ( and would have been entitled to the tithe income from both).

After this spate of family deaths, the surviving brothers rationalised the two businesses, William and Robert taking over the management of the cattle business, with Alexander, who was to be resident in Scotland for the rest of his life, running the Gatehouse textile business. Because of the nature of their business activities, the brothers eventually owned many properties which they were constantly moving between; it is not always easy to say from the surviving documents whether a property was owned by a particular brother or held as a tenant-in-common.

In addition to Balmae, William Birtwhistle owned two properties in Skipton, the freehold property purchased by his father in 1762, and a property at the top of the High Street which he had taken on a 40 year lease from the Skipton Castle estate in 1792, on the understanding that he would spend 200 rebuilding it. It was this property in which he was to die in 1819.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 9 William Birtwhistle and the property he rebuilt in Skipton High Street

 

 

 

Both Alexander and his son, John, described themselves as of Dundeuch and, although some of the joint droving business was conducted there, Dundeuch seems to have been owned by Alexander and then John. When Alexander purchased a property in the Gatehouse High Street in 1786 he was described as of Netherlaw, and the court case which will be discussed later shows him living at both Balmae and Netherlaw in the early years of the 19th century. At an unknown date he also purchased Barharrow Farm, near Gatehouse, and an article in the

 

 

 

 

 

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