“Old Farndale of Kilton”


Farmer, Alum House merchant, Yeoman and Cooper


John Farndale
28 February 1724 to 24 January 1807

The Kilton 1 Line











 “when you are gone there will never be such another Johnny Farndale”


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General Sir Martin Farndale KCB





John Farndale, son of John Farndale (FAR00116) baptised Brotton.


(Became known as ‘Old Farndale’ of Kilton).


John Farndale, married Grace Simpson at Brotton on 16 Apr 1750. Grace was born in 1733. Therefore he was 25 and she was 17 when they married (See gravestone detail below).


John Farndale, son of John and Grace Farndale, baptised Brotton 24 Mar 1749/50 (FAR00167).

George Farndale, son of John and Grace Farndale, baptised Brotton 13 May 1753 (FAR00170).

Hannah Farndale, daughter of John and Grace Farndale, baptised Brotton 17 Sep 1755 (FAR00174).

Elizabeth Farndale, daughter of John and Grace Farndale, baptised Brotton 17 Sep 1755 (FAR00175).

Sarah Farndale, daughter of John and Grace Farndale, baptised Brotton 21 Jan 1758 (FAR00178).

William Farndale, son of John and Grace Farndale, baptised Brotton 20 Mar 1760 (FAR00183).

Mary Farndale, daughter of John and Grace Farndale, baptised Brotton 26 Apr 1761 (FAR00185).

Grace Farndale, daughter of John and Grace Farndale, baptised Brotton 2 Dec 1764. (FAR00189).

(Brotton PR)




Tithe Records:

John Farndale shown as tenant of Cragg Farm on the Wharton Estate of 31 acres in 1773 for which he paid rent of £26 (17s an acre). He seems to have moved to How Hill Farm also on the Wharton Estate at Kilton on 1791. This was just over 83 acres for which he paid £66 9s 8d in 1791.

(Tithe Returns)


He later farmed at Kilton.

Brotton Church Rates:

John Farndale, paid Church Rates at Kilton at the rate of 2d in the £ and 4d per house;

        In 1775………………….£1 2s 0d

        In 1776………………….£1 2s 0d

        In 1778………………….£3 3s 0d

        In 1779………………….£1 11s 0d*

        In 1780………………………2s 2d

        In 1781………………….£4 5s 0d

        In 1784………………….£6 9s 1d

        In 1785…………………… 4s 10d

        In 1786…….two payments..10s 8d

        In 1787……………………..10s 3d

        [In 1787 he was paid 15s for going

        to Hutton Buschell].

        In 1788………………………6s 11d

        In 1789………………………3s 9d

        In 1790……………………..18s 5d

        In 1791…………………..£5 8s 2d

        In 1792…………………..£3 5s 2d

        In 1793………………………3s 3d

        In 1794…………………..£3 3s 1d

        In 1795…………………..£3 3s 1d

        In 1796………………………3s 4d

        In 1797………………………6s 1d

        In 1798………………………3s 4d

        In 1799………………………3s 4d

        In 1800………………………3s 3d

        In 1801………………………? ?

        In 1802………………………6s 7d

        In 1803………………………5s 9d

        In 1804 with Will’m Farndale 6s 3d

        In 1805 with Will’m Farndale 9s 5d

               [This was his last payment].

[Note: John Farndale ran this account and presented it in 1779. In 1784, 1789, 1791, 1792, 1795, 1796, 1797 & 1802 he was one of those approving the account].

(Brotton PR)

Disbursements for the Poor:

John Farndale, signed the Kilton Accounts for the Disbursement of money to the poor in 1795. He donated £3 7s 0d in 1798; £6 2s 11d in 1800; £11 14s 6d in 1801; £3 3s 4d in 1803; £3 3s 0d in 1804.

(Brotton PR)

Kilton Overseers Accounts:

John Farndale, signed the Kilton Overseers Accounts in 1796, 1797, 1798, 1800 and 1802. (He was paid 2s 6d in 1802;)

Muster Rolls:

Under the terms of the Defence Act of 1801 Parish Constables were required to put in returns showing what could be contributed to help in the defence of the Realm in the event of a French attack. Schedule 1 listed men between 15 and 60 who could fight; Schedule 2 listed equipment and schedule 3 listed those who could help in some other way. John Farndale Senior (see this Note 143) of Kilton is listed as being able to provide; 2 oxen; 11 cows; 11 young cattle and colts; 32 sheep and goats; 9 pigs; 1 riding horse; 4 draft horses; 2 wagons; 2 carts; 26 qtrs of wheat; 48 qtrs of oats; 2 qtrs of barley; 10 qtrs of beans and peas; 19 loads of hay; 25 loads of straw; 20 sacks of potatoes.

(Brotton PR, Muster Rolls Cleveland)

His Grandson’s Booklets:

In his booklet ‘A Guide to Saltburn By The Sea’ John Farndale, his Grandson writes, ‘My Grandfather, who was a Kiltonian, employed many men at his alum house, and many a merry tale have I heard him tell of smugglers and their daring adventures and hair breadth escapes


In his booklet , The History of Kilton’ John Farndale his Grandson writes, ‘I see in the book recorded and registered in olden time, the names of farmers who once occupied this great farm [at Kilton] – R and W Jolly, M Young, R Mitchell; W Wood, J Harland, T Toas, J Readman, J Farndale [Note – perhaps this is John Farndale, Old Farndale of Kilton, This FAR00143), S Farndale [could this be Samuel Farndale, FAR00149?], J and W Farndale [Perhaps the brothers John Farndale FAR00167, and William Farndale, FAR00183], all these tenants once occupied this great farm; now blended into one.  I remember what a muster at the Kilton rent days, twice a year, when dinner was provided for a quarter of a hundred tenants, Brotton, Moorsholm, Stanghoe, those paid their rents at Kilton; and were indeed belonging to the Kilton Court, kept here also, and the old matron proudly provided a rich plum pudding and roast beef; and the steward also a jolly punch bowl, for it was a pleasure to him to take the rents at Kilton, the day before Skelton rent day. The steward always called old J Farndale to the vice-chair, he being old, and the oldest tenant. Farndale’s was the most numerous family, and had lived on the estate for many ages. Kilton had many mechanics, and here we had a public house, a meeting house, two lodging houses, and a school house, to learn our ABCs, from which sprang two eminent school masters, who became extremely popular; we had a butcher’s shop, we had a London tailor and is apprentice, and eight other apprentices more; we had a rag merchant and a shop which sold song books, pins, needles, tape and thread; we had five sailors, two soldiers, two missionaries, besides a number of old people, aged 80, 90 and 100 years. But last, not least, Wm Tulley Esq., who took so much interest in the old castle – planted its orchard, bowling green, and made fish ponds, which were fed by a reservoir near the Park House, Kiltonthorpe, Kilton Lodge, together with all these improvements around the castle, which are now no more.

Then passing down Cattersty Creak, where many a cargo of smuggled goods have been delivered here, is a very choice place. The last I remember in this place is that Tom Webster strangled himself by carrying gin tubs round is neck. Once more I stand on Skinningrove duffy sands, where I have seen it crowded with wood and corf rods for the North by the said Wm  and John Farndale. But what crowds of horses, men, and waggons, when the gin ship appeared in view. Our friends had no dealings with those Samaritan gin runners, yet they had great dealings at Skinningrove seaport, both in export and import, as well as supplying the hall of F Easterby Esq., with corn, wheat, oats, beans, butter, cheese, hams, potatoes &c, &c, and once, a year  at Christmas – they balanced accounts, over a bottle of Hollands gin, and after eulogising each other, the squire would rise and say, “Johnny, when you are gone, there will never be such another Johnny Farndale”. Here lived the King’s officer, in the high season of gin running, but I knew of few captures; he wished to live and die in peace, and the revenue received little from his services. Near Skinnngrove are the Lofthouse iron mines, Messrs Pearse, lessees. Above is the grand iron bridge standing on twelve massive pillars, 178 feet high, which spans the cavern from the Kilton Estate to Liverton Estate, the first and grandest in all England. Lofthouse, and their long famed alum works, which has been the support of Lofthouse for ages gone, but now discontinued. How well I remember my school days when we faced all weather through Kilton Woods, and how I respected my masters – the Rev Wm Barrick, Mr Wm King, the great navigator, and Captain Napper, steward to the works. The popular Midsummer Lofthouse fair was the only fair we children were allowed to attend.

Land Tax Returns:

In the Land tax Assessments for Kilton the owner of the Wharton Estate is Miss Waugh and it shows John Farndil paying £3 4s 0d in 1782, 83 and 84 and £5 3s 4d in 1785.

(Land Tax Returns)
































[Grace Farndale, wife of John Farndale of Kilton, cooper, buried, Brotton 5 May 1789. She was aged 56.]


There is also a record of Grace, wife of John Farndale of Kilton, buried 5 May 1783. I think this must be the right Grace, but the date must be wrong – see gravestone.



John Farndale, of Kilton Thorpe was buried in Brotton Old Churchyard 27 Jan 1807. He was aged 83; he had lived for 18 years after the death of his wife and outlived four of his eight children.

His Memorial Stands in Old Brotton Churchyard;

“Erected to the Memory of John Farndale who died 24th January 1807 aged 83 years. Also Grace his wife who died 3rd May 1789 aged 56 years.”

The Will of John Farndale;

       “In the Name of God Amen. I John Farndale, of Kilton in the County of York, yeoman, being weak in body but of sound disposition, memory and understanding, do this day, the twenty second day of January in the year of Our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Seven, make, publish and ordain this my Last Will and Testament in the manner following. First, I give and bequeath unto my son John Farndale the sum of Thirteen pounds: also I give and bequeath unto my daughter Grace Francis, the wife of William Francis, the sum of Thirteen pounds: also I give and bequeath unto my said daughter Mary Franklin the sum of Thirteen pounds: and all the above said legacies shall be paid at the end of twelve months next after my decease. All the rest, residue and remainder of my money, goods, chattels and personal estate whatsoever as I may die possessed of after my just debts and funeral expenses are discharged, I give and bequeath unto my son William Farndale whom I likewise make and appoint my said son William Farndale sole executor of this my Last Will and Testament. In witness whereof I have to this Last Will and Testament set my hand and seal the day and year first above written.

                               Signed by John Farndale


William King

Ralph Newbigin

(Brotton PR, Memorial Records, Yorkshire Wills)






































































































In the history of France, the First Republic was founded on 22 September 1792 during the French Revolution. The First Republic lasted until the declaration of the First Empire in 1804 under Napoleon, although the form of the government changed several times. This period was characterized by the fall of the monarchy, the establishment of the National Convention and the Reign of Terror, the Thermidorian Reaction and the founding of the Directory, and, finally, the creation of the Consulate and Napoleon's rise to power.






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In the 16th-century alum was essential in the textile industry as a fixative for dyes. Initially imported from Italy where there was a Papal monopoly on the industry, the supply to Great Britain was cut off during the Reformation. In response to this need Thomas Challoner set up Britains first Alum works in Guisborough. He recognised that the fossils found around the Yorkshire coast were similar to those found in the Alum quarries in Europe. As the industry grew, sites along the coast were favoured as access to the shales and subsequent transportation was much easier. 


Image result for alum yorkshire  Image result for alum miners


Alum mine, Cleveland



Alum was extracted from quarried shales through a large scale and complicated process which took months to complete. The process involved extracting then burning huge piles of shale for 9 months, before transferring it to leaching pits to extract an aluminium sulphate liquor. This was sent along channels to the alum works where human urine was added.


At the peak of alum production the industry required 200 tonnes of urine every year, equivalent to the produce of 1,000 people. The demand was such that it was imported from London and Newcastle, buckets were left on street corners for collection and reportedly public toilets were built in Hull in order to supply the alum works. This unsavoury liquor was left until the alum crystals settled out, ready to be removed. An intriguing method was employed to judge when the optimum amount of alum had been extracted from the liquor when it was ready an egg could be floated in the solution. 


The last Alum works on the Yorkshire Coast closed in 1871. This was due to the invention of manufacturing synthetic alum in 1855, then subsequently the creation of aniline dyes which contained their own fixative.


There are many sites along the Yorkshire Coast which bear evidence of the alum industry. These include Loftus Alum Quarries where the cliff profile is drastically changed by extraction and huge shale tips remain. Further South are the Ravenscar Alum Works, which are well preserved and enable visitors to visualise the processes which took place.






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A cooper is a person trained to make wooden casks, barrels, vats, buckets, tubs, troughs and other staved containers from timber that was usually heated or steamed to make it pliable. Journeymen coopers also traditionally made wooden implements, such as rakes and wooden-bladed shovels. In addition to wood, other materials, such as iron, were used in the manufacturing process.






John Farndale’s gravestone in Brotton (photographs taken 2016)