The Farndale Family Website


The history and genealogy of the Farndale family

Farmers, pioneers and soldiers


Over two thousand years of British History told through the story of a single family


Home Page

The Farndale Directory


The Farndale Directory is a listing of all Farndales linked to their individual web pages

Farndale Themes


Various themes associated with the Farndale history and relevant social history

Farndale History


Historical narratives and chronologies

Particular branches of the family tree


A direct link to separate individual Farndale Lines within the wider family

Other Information

This page provides information about research methodology

General Sir Martin Farndale KCB

Biographical notes about the originator of this research


This page provides links to genealogies of other related families (including and Bakers, Halls)


Welcome to the website of the history of the Farndale family

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The Farndales of Tidkinhow 1910                                                                          Joseph Farndale 1842 to 1901, Chief Constable of Birmingham       The Coat of Arms of General Sir Martin Farndale KCB                                       The Coat of Arms of Joseph Farndale CBE KPM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1929 to 2000                                                                                                               1864 to 1954, Chief Constable of Bradford

(John, James, Alfred, William, George, Martin (inset))                                                                                                                                                                            Dictum meum pactum (“His word is his bond”)                                                   Vigilantibus (“Vigilant or “Watching”)


Introduction to this website


The purpose of this web site is to make available genealogical and historical information about the Farndale Family.


This website is the culmination of work started by Martin Farndale in 1956 and continued by his son Richard since 2000.


General Sir Martin Farndale KCB died in May 2000. During his lifetime, he carried out extensive research into the Farndale family history. This website has been compiled by his son, Richard Farndale and continues this research which is made available to anyone who may be interested. The site was first published on 6 November 2001, and after a few years off line, was re-published from March 2019.


After nearly 75 years of work over two generations, the genealogy is aspiring to be a uniquely thorough genealogy of a non aristocratic British family, tracing the family origins back to the Norman Conquest and beyond and comprising a historical record of a single wider family. Work continues but the site already provides significant depth and detail. What makes this record unique is the thorough research by Martin and collation of a wide breath of direct family records and recollections, which can now be enhanced by twenty first century search methods. The Farndales descend from the folk who made up the engine room of British history. For the bulk of such families, it is generally very difficult to go back in time much beyond about 1500. However the Farndales are privileged to have a locative name, which is rooted to a place. What is more that place is a relatively small, rural valley in North Yorkshire, which provides a uniqueness which helps research of early medieval records. The name therefore provides a unique beacon which makes navigating the medieval sources a possibility. This has made it possible to find significant records of individuals back to the fourteenth century.  We are extraordinarily privileged to be able to see back that far.





If your surname is Farndale, or if you are descended from Farndales, then this website will provide you with information about your ancestry. We are lucky because our surname is that of a family small enough, that we can all trace our family history together.




The best way to view this site


Whilst you can view this site on a mobile or tablet, it is primarily intended for use on a PC. This is because the site is intended for the provision of detailed information, more suited to the larger format of a PC. However, it does work quite well on a tablet, such as an ipad. On an iphone it may sometimes tend to be distorted with text not always aligning, though you can generally read text and it should work ok with an iphone too.


Your interest in the site


This site is relevant to those whose name is Farndale, or who know they are descended from Farndales. If this describes you, then you should be able to discover a lot of information about your ancestors. If you have information which you can share, please help me by getting in touch.


If you have an interest in Farndale family history and particularly the information provided here:


·         First please tell other Farndales (your cousins and other relatives) about the site.


·         Second, please contact me by email to This will encourage me to develop the research. 


It is hoped that anyone able to provide more information about the Farndale family history, will e-mail Richard Farndale at,  so that I can develop the available information and make corrections where you can point those out to me.



What you will find when you explore this website


This website assists those who are a part of the wider Farndale family, or otherwise linked to it, to gain a greater understanding of their history and ancestral origins. It provides vertical context to enable you to trace back your ancestry through time directly, and then beyond that to medieval records. It provides horizontal context by providing information about the wider family of which you are a part.


The website records the many achievements, struggles, lives and relationships within our family over the centuries. Each individual Farndale has his or her own webpage. Some have enjoyed full lives and collectively the descendants of the medieval and early Farndales such as Nicholas have a rich history of accomplishment. Others have struggled, such as those who moved from the country to settle in the town of Whitby, some depending on Poor Law support. Some died very young, or at birth. Each has his or her own page, so that each member of our family is recorded for their life and role in society. The intention is that every historic Farndale will have a place on this website.


Although in the Twenty First Century, the family has diverse and broad interests, we can perhaps summarise the historic Farndales, as farmers, pioneers and soldiers, with many also taking to the sea, working in ironstone mines in Cleveland and in many other occupations.



Personal Information 


I do not wish to record detailed information about living Farndales unless I know that you are happy for me to do so. This site is about historic Farndales who are no longer alive. As a rule I only record the most basic publicly available information about living Farndales, primarily their year of birth. This is so that anyone who wishes, can find themselves in the directory, and then use this site to explore their ancestry.


Where I am aware of public information about living Farndales, on their own websites, or public entries on the web which is available already, I have sometimes included that information on personal pages of living Farndales.


If you find your own entry on this website and would like me to include more information about you, please let me know. Please don’t provide me with any information you would not wish to be publicly available. 

I think it is very unlikely that I have recorded any information on the site which people would prefer to keep private, but if there is any information on this site which you would prefer not to appear, please email me at,  and I will remove it.


A History of the Baker Family


There is now a separate section of the website which records the history of the Baker Family of Highfields, Audlem, Cheshire.


The Home Page of the Baker Family History.


A History of the Chapman Family


There is also a separate history of the Chapman family who descend from Walter Chapman of Croydon.



A Simple Guide to using the website


The website comprises over 3,000 webpages of information.


It is suggested that you begin by reading an Introduction to the history of the Farndale Family, together with two timelines which cover the periods 1000 CE to 1600 and 1600 to date. The introduction and the two timelines will give you the best feel for the family’s history.


There are also some other routes into the family history including:


·         The Farndale Family Lines. A list of the 84 Family Lines into which the family has been sub-divided. You will find a link to the Family Lines in the menu bar on every page. Explore your own Family Line, or the line you are interested in. You can follow links to individual records and between different lines. Each Line is a bit like an underground map – you will sometimes be able to change to a different Family Line to explore your ancestry further. You will also find how the Family Lines relate to each other on the Interface Page, for orientation. The Family Lines now each contain a chronology and you may find these pages as helpful to understand more about each part of the wider Farndale family. These pages are a good way to learn more detail about the history and context of a particular section of the wider family.


·         The Farndale Directory. The Farndale Directory provides a hyperlinked directory to well over a thousand pages of individual Farndales, listed chronologically by their dates of birth, so that you will be able to find your own direct ancestry and the individual stories of each person you are interested in.


·         You can also explore themes associated with our family including those who were farmers, pioneers and soldiers, with many also taking to the sea, working in the ironstone mines of Cleveland. These pages all need a bit more work over time.


·         If you would like to get a quick perspective on some of the interesting stories of our ancestors, then you will find some headlines of the history of the Farndale family. This might be a good place to get a flavour of some of the most interesting tales in our history.


·         You can get a geographical context and follow links to locations associated with our family, to find more information about each location and our ancestors associated with each location.


·         Having explored the direct ancestry of the Farndale family, please also visit the web page which explains the earlier history and pre-history of the region. Click here for an account of Yorkshire on the eve of Farndale recorded history.




By these means you can navigate to each individual record in which you are interested. As a whole the individual records provide a record of the lives of each historic Farndale and an important purpose of the website is to record the achievements and lives of our ancestors, which would otherwise be lost.


The Farndales and the legend of Robin Hood


You may be interested to explore a page which relates to some significant links between the early medieval origins of the family name, and the legend of Robin Hood. 


The wider context of English History


The Farndale genealogy provides a unique insight into the social history of England and the British Isles for over a millennium. Separate pages are currently being developed which tell the parallel national and local history, which provide context for the genealogy. These pages are regularly crossed referred to in the genealogy and there is an index of the English and Social History Pages for direct reference.




I now have a family tree on Ancestry which links up all the Farndale family lines together. You will find it on Ancestry and it is called the Farndale Family Website Family Tree. 





Projected programme for this website


I have recently been reviewing newspaper articles which have provided considerable detail on the activity of individuals.


I am reformatting each individual webpage into a timeline format which is easier to use.


I am now working on the medieval period from 1000 to 1500.


I have developed a timeline of early Farndale history from 1000 CE to about 1600.This will develop into a major element of the history of our family up to 1600.


I am also working on some important ancestral relationships, focused on the Doncaster-Kirkleatham-Skelton Line, including some interesting links to the legend of Robin Hood.


I am also working on medieval genealogy research methodology.






History repeating itself


Social Distancing


Edmund the Hermit was the first recorded inhabitant of Farndale.




William Farndale suffered from the ‘Spanish Flu’ epidemic in Canada in 1918.


War in the Crimea


John George Farndale wrote letters home from the heights of Sebastopol in 1855.


The King’s Coronation in 1902


Chief Constable Farndale expressed himself highly pleased with the conduct of the people yesterday, and assures us that the police were given every assistance. To use his own words: “It was a good natured and thoroughly well behaved crowd.” The streets were certainly well kept yesterday by the force.




Inflation due to the First World War was 12% in 1915, 18% in 1916 and 25% in 1917. So in February 1916, presiding over the Rothbury Licensed Victuallers, William Leng Farndale agreed to an increase in the price of spirits.




Related Families


Many other families will be able to link to the Farndale Family Tree.


There are more detailed records of closely related families as follows:



The Baker Family of Fenton Culvert and Hasfield Court.


The Baker Family of Highfields.


The Bellyse family.


The Buckingham Line.


The Byron Line.


The Chapman Line.


The Dod Family of Highfields.


The Hall Line of Staffordshire.


The Lindsay Line.


The Taylor Line.














Other themes


Martin Farndale’s own records include material of military historical interest. Therefore the following material will also be find on this website:


·         Extensive records of the History of First Regiment Royal Horse Artillery between 1950 and 1971, with some material in the years following.


·         Some records from the first days of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.


·         You will also find records of a remarkable overland expedition in early 1962 from Malaysia to the UK via Myanmar (then Burma), India, Nepal, Pakistan, Iran, Turkey and Europe.


There are also video and audio recordings from original cine and tape reels, from the 1950s onwards recorded by or relating to Martin Farndale.

History of this website


Martin Farndale’s historical research began: 1956

Site First Published by Richard Farndale (at 6 November 2001

Site Second Published by Richard Farndale (at 6 December 2014

Site Third Published by Richard Farndale (at 16 March 2019

Site Last Updated: 29 May 2024  


Research Notes


To find a description of the source material I have used, including more detail about individual sources, including for the medieval period, see my research notes. This needs a bit more descriptive work and in time should be helpful to others conducting genealogical research, particularly for Yorkshire families.


Peering back into our deep history:


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Kirkdale cave, 5km south of Farndale


The village in fact was like a deep-running cave still linked to its antic past, a cave whose shadows were cluttered by spirits and by laws still vaguely ancestral. This cave that we inhabited looked backwards through chambers that led to our ghostly beginnings; and had not, as yet, been tidied up, or scrubbed clean by electric light, or suburbanized by a Victorian church, or papered by cinema screens. It was something we just had time to inherit, to inherit and dimly know – the blood and beliefs of generations who had been in this valley since the Stone Age. That continuous contact has at last been broken, the deeper caves sealed off for ever. But arriving, as I did, at the end of that age, I caught whiffs of something old as the glaciers. There were ghosts in the stones, in the trees, and the walls, and each field and hill had several. The elder people knew about these things and would refer to them in personal terms, and there were certain landmarks about the valley – tree-clumps, corners in woods – that bore separate, antique, half-muttered names that were certainly older than Christian. The women in their talk still used these names which are not used now any more. There was also a frank and unfearful attitude to death, and an acceptance of violence as a kind of ritual which no one accused or pardoned. In our grey stone village, especially in winter, such stories never seemed strange. When I sat at home among my talking sisters, or with an old woman sucking her jaws, and heard the long details of hapless suicides, of fighting men loose in the snow, of witch-doomed widows disembowelled by bulls, of childeating sows, and so on – I would look through the windows and see the wet walls streaming, the black trees bend in the wind, and I saw these things happening as natural convulsions of our landscape, and though dry-mouthed, I was never astonished.


Cider with Rosie, by Laurie Lee, 1959




And so a clue to who we are

And where we were, and why we will

Inheritors of knowledge now

And ancestors to those who still might

Dig for those whose stories lie

With buried paths and futures won

And dig for us as we have done

To lay the dead out in the sun

To lay us dead out in the sun

Coins for the Eyes, Johnny Flynn and Robert Macfarlane


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