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Walker Connection To The Land Family

Sarah Walker born circa 1829, the daughter of Robert Walker (c. 1805-1857) and Elizabeth Siddle (c. 1807-[after 1881]), married George Sykes.

    Sarah Walker and George Sykes were the parents of Elizabeth Sykes who married Law Land.

Robert Walker, Slubber, a Brief Biographical Sketch

According to the 1851 census Robert Walker was born circa 1805 in Morley, Batley Parish.

He married, Elizabeth Siddle in Batley Parish in 1828.

Their daughter, Sarah, was born c. 1829 in either Bluntcliffe or Gildersome.

They lived in Gildersome, Batley Parish and Adwalton, Bristall Parish.

Robert Walker died Adwalton, Birstall Parish in 1857.

Birth of Robert Walker

I could not find the baptismal record of Robert Walker. The 1851 census indicate that he was born in Morley in Batley parish circa 1805. This was the only census where a place of birth was given in which Robert Walker was listed. However, it should be noted that his daughter, Sarah, gave her places of birth in the censuses as Bruntcliffe, Morley and Gildersome (See below) so there is a possibility that he was not born in Morley.

His parents are not known.

The Batley parish records do not show any Walkers having children in Morley around the birth of Robert.

See below for a discussion of the possible birth of Robert Walker.


Robert Walker was listed on several records as:

  • Slubber
  • Clothier
  • Wool carder
  • Later records indicate that he was an overseer or "overlooker" in a woolen factory.

Slubber and Overseer

Slubbing, a step between carding and spinning, was one of the earliest mechanized processes in the woolen trade.

After the wool is carded it is brought into a continuous strand of loosely assembled fibers with a slight twist. This process is called slubbing. Around 1786 a machine called the slubbing billy was introduced into the woolen industry. The billy was a hand powered machine until the mid 1800s.

"At one end of the "Billy" was a sloping board or inclined plane, on which the rolls or "cardings" of wool were laid side by side, by young boys or girls called "pieceners." By the action of the machine, these cardings were caught up, drawn in by means of a series of rollers, and elongated by a kind of spinning process so as to be reduced in thickness to a cord about a twelfth of an inch in diameter. Each cord, about a yard long, became lengthened to several yards. The pieceners, as the cards were drawn in, had to place new cardings on the sloping board, and to rub the ends sufficiently to enable them to cohere. This work was very arduous; the child had to watch each carding attentively, and twist another to the end of it; and woe betide him if he permitted a carding to slip through the rollers, for the "slubbers" of even thirty years ago used their "pieceners" with great severity.

At the right hand side of the machine was a wheeled carriage or frame, having a row of spindles upon it. By the turning of a handle and moving the carriage to and fro, the cardings were stretched into slubbings and wound upon spindles. Fifty years ago, the " pieceners" employed on these machines were children of seven, or even six years of age, and their hours of labour were from six a.m., or earlier, to eight or nine p.m., or later, at wages varying from 2s. to 3s. per week."

The history and antiquities of Morley By William Smith (F.S.A.S.), 1876

"Slubbing at a frame called the billey, generally containing sixty spindles, where the cardings are joined to make a continuous yarn, drawn out, slightly twisted, and wound on bobbins. By a new machine, called the condenser, attached to the carding machine, the wool is brought off in continuous silver, wound on cylinders and ready to be conveyed to the mule, so as to dispense with the billey."

Baines's Account of the Woolen Manufacture of England 1858

The Slubbing Billy The history and antiquities of Morley By William Smith (F.S.A.S.), 1876

The Slubbing Billy Great Industries of Great Britain", Volume I, published by Cassell Petter and Galpin, (London, Paris, New York, c1880)

As Baines indicated, by the 1850s the slubbing billy was being super-ceded by other machines such as the "piecing" billy and the "condenser". Condensers drew off the wool from the carding engine in continuous rolls and wound them straight on to "cops" or large bobbins ready for spinning. The introduction of the condenser made the slubber obsolete.

Power driven spinning machines, called mules, which could spin hundreds of threads at one time were also introduced during the 1850s. The mules basically worked themselves and were tended by an overseer.

Slubbers could earn twice as much as hand loom weavers. They were considered a proud lot who looked down on the hand loom weavers. In addition to operating the machinery slubbers had a squad of piecers (boys and girls who took carded slivers, joined them by hand and fed them into the slubbing billy ) working under them. Slubbers had a bad reputation for mistreating their piecers by beating them, overworking them, and paying them low wages. The piecers worked for 15 or 16 hours a day for a few pennies. Slubbers also had a reputation for drunkenness. Their wages were high enough, however, that a young woman would consider herself lucky if she was being courted by a slubber. Their good wages enabled them to live well and as a group they were strong and healthy. Information from Baines's Account of the Woolen Manufacture of England 1858

Slubber were apparently strict task masters because they had to keep up with the output of the machine. Several books mention the fact that the slubbers and "overlookers" used a strap to beat the children if they were not working fast enough. Slubblers hired their own piecers who were peputed to frequently be thier own children.

Slubbers also had a reputation as drinkers.

In the early days of the slubbing billy the slubber turned the wheel by hand.

Slubbers' Wages

In 1834 a slubber could earn 9s or 10s a day.

In 1839 in Leeds slubbers were paid 24s 6d for a twelve month period. In 1840 slubbers earned from 20 to 32s per week. Some slubbers were paid by the weight of the wool he slubbed. In 1842 it was stated that a slubber earned 4s 6d per day.

In 1858 they were one of the highest paid factory jobs in Batley. According to Samuel Jubb, a member of the manufacturing class who wrote about the shoddy trade in the mid 1800s in Batley, there were 220 slubbers in Batley and their salary was 30 shillings per week. Overlookers were paid 35 shillings per week.

Jubb mentions that slubbers had not had any increase in wages in 20 years. However, he seems to think that this was a good not a bad thing. He claims that the manufacturer had to suffer the fluctuations of the market place. About the slubbers he says,

"this class of workmen has enjoyed the steadiest and most uniform wages of any class in the business"
In 1860 a slubber made 27 s per year in Leeds. Overlookers of slubber got 35s and above.

In general it was one of the higher paying factory jobs.

A factory day was from six in the morning to seven at night.


Extract from Volume II of "The Civil, Ecclesiastical, Literary, Commercial and Miscellaneous History of Leeds, Bradford, Wakefield, Dewsbury, Otley and the District within Ten Miles of Leeds" by Edward Parsons (1834) which examines the effect of industrial working conditions on public health.

"Slubbers of cloth,- men who form the carded wool into tough loose threads, - and Spinners, - men who make these threads finer and stronger, - have a very active employment. Enabled, moreover, by the wages they earn to live well, these men are remarkably strong, robust, and healthy. Their countenances, when cleaned from the impurities of oil and dye, are often even florid.

The children employed as pieceners have moderate labour, and, notwithstanding their blue and greasy skins, are found to be generally free from disease. Indeed they appear stronger and plumper than any other children in towns.


More on Slubbers

The wool is then placed on the scribbler, a machine by which it is oiled and carded; thence it passes to the carding machine, which is so contrived that the wool is finally doffed in disconnected layers. These layers pass under a fluted roller, which rolls each up into a cylindrical form, in which state they are called cardings.

The cardings, as they fall from the machine, are collected by children called pieceners, whose business it is to piece or join the cardings together, for the purpose of being drawn into a continuous thread. The frame at which this is done is called a slubbering billy, and the man who performs it a slubber. There is nothing similar to the process of slubbing in the worsted and cotton manufactories, and it is necessary to bear this in mind, for it will presently appear that in this process, children are more liable to be overworked and cruelly treated than in any other species of factory employment.

The billy is not worked by machinery; the speed and continuance of its labour are entirely at the option of the slubber. There are generally sixty spindles, one slubber and four pieceners belonging to each billy. The little pieceners take the cardings, and place them on a low, sloping board, called the billy-board, joining the ends together by rolling them with the palms of their hands, tach child bringing fifteen cardings at a time. The billy has an oscillating motion through a space called the billy-gate; it is set going by a fly-wheel, which the slubber turns with his right hand while he governs the frame with his left. If the work goes on regularly, the children have ample time to piece their fifteen ends; but if this be done incompletely, defects called flies are produced on the slubbing; and if any end be left unjoined, the ends are said to be let up, which, of course, causes delay. The slubber is provided with a strap to punish the pieceners in case of neglect, but he not unfrequently uses the billy-roller, which is easily detached, and inflicts a very severe blow. If the slubber be disposed to leave his work, as many do for an hour together, the cardings accumulate with great rapidity, and are piled by the children in stacks. When the slubber returns, he sets to work more violently than common, in order to overtake the card; the children have to continue piling the cardings, constantly thrown off by the machine, and, at the same time, to piecei; their ends with double rapidity. On these occasions, the labour of the children becomes very severe, and their unavoidable faults incur cruel punishment.

From the slubber, the yarn goes to the spinner, who works at a frame called a Jenny, by which the yarn is spun finer. The spinners are usually men. The Mirror of literature, amusement, and instruction Volume 26 edited by Thomas Byerley, John Timbs. 1835

Marriage of Robert Walker and Elizabeth Siddle

According to Batley parish marriage certificate #65 for the years 1828,

"Robert Walker of this Parish and Elizabeth Siddle of this Parish were married in this Church by Banns this sixth day of April in the Year one thousand eight hundred and twenty eight by me A. G. Kinsman, minister. This Marriage was solemnized between us Robert "X" Walker, his mark and Elizabeth "X" Siddle, her mark. In the presence of Jo. Chadwick and Francis Debb."
  • Joseph Chadwick was the parish clerk and not related.
  • No listings in the IGI for Francis Debb (Dibb).

(LDS film #0990861)

The children of Robert Walker and Elizabeth Siddle

Robert Walker and Elizabeth Siddle had:

  1. Sarah Walker (c. 1829) and George Sykes


    Sarah was born circa 1829 in either Bruntcliffe/Morley or Gildersome. I did not find her baptismal record. Her birth occurred too early for the civil records. The censuses indicate a birth in either Bruntcliffe/Morley (Batley Parish) or Gildersome (Batley Parish). Bruntcliffe Thorn was a group of scattered houses in the township of Morley, parish of Batley. There is now a highway that separates Bruntcliffe from Gildersome.


    • There is a slight discrepancy with the birth of Sarah Walker. Sarah was listed on her marriage record as the daughter of Robert Walker. All of the censuses in which she was listed and her death record indicate that she was born circa 1829, the year after the marriage of Robert Walker and Elizabeth Siddle. However, on the marriage certificate of Sarah Walker in 1847, Sarah was listed as "full age" (over the age of 21). If she was really over 21, it would mean that she was born circa 1826. If she was born in 1826, she was not the daughter of Elizabeth Siddle.

    Marriage #1?: The marriages after 1837 are not available through LDS for Birstall Parish. Furthermore, I do not even know if she was married in Birstall parish. Usually at a remarriage the bride's surname was that of the previous husband with her father's name revealing her maiden name. In Sarah's case her name was listed as Sarah Walker giving no clue to a first husband if there was one, unless his name was Walker too.

    Free BMD does not indicate any Walker/Walker combinations between 1844 and 1847. There are too many potential marriages of Sarah Walkers listed by Free BMD.


    Civil record: Sarah Walker, full age, widow, of Wortley, daughter of Robert Walker, slubber, married George Sykes, minor, bachelor, shoemaker, of Wortley, the son of John Sykes, shoemaker, on January 16, 1847 in the parish church in Leeds. (Leeds, 23, 322, Mar 1847 Free BMD)


    • Despite the common names (Walker and Sykes), the combinations of the father's names and occupations leave little doubt that this is the correct record.
    • The notations "full age" and "widow" are problematic. However, the censuses and her death record consistently indicate that Sarah was born circa 1828/1829. I have not yet found an indication of a prior marriage. These notations may have been a clerical error.
    • This is the only record that connects either Sarah or George to Wortley. Wortley is a suburb of Leeds that lies North east of Gildersome. Wortley was also listed as the "sub-district" on the civil birth record of Oliver Walker born in Gildersome in 1844. Gildersome is listed as a subdistrict of Wortley according to the censuses.

    Church Record: 1847, Parish of Leeds, January, 16, George Sykes minor, bachelor, shoemaker residence Wortley, son of JOhn Sykes, shoemaker to Sarah Walker, full age, widow, residence Wortley, father Robert Walker, slubber married in the parish church after banns, George Sykes and Sarah Walker her mark

    See George Sykes

    Eleven year break. There were most likely other children born to Robert and Elizabeth.


    • I did not find the birth record of any other children of Robert Walker and Elizabeth Siddle in Batley Parish, Birstall Parish, or any Independent Congregations between the birth of Elizabeth and the birth of Oliver in 1839. Given the high birth rate in England at the time most likely there were other children born to Robert and Elizabeth. The censuses do not indicate any other children born during this period. If they had other children they must have died young.
    • No death records in Batley for children of Robert or for Walker children in Morley

  2. Oliver (October 6, 1839-September 5, 1844)


    Civil Record: Oliver the son of Robert Walker, slubber, and Betty Siddle, was born October 6, 1839 in Gildersome. Robert Walker reported the birth and signed with his mark. (Civil registration). On this record, the Registration District was Leeds, and the sub-district was Wortley.

    Church Record, Birstall Parish: Oliver, son of Robert, clothier of Gildersome, and Betty Walker was baptized on October 6, 1840 in Birstall Parish (LDS microfilm #0990529).


    • Gildersome was a village in Batley Parish.
    • It is possible that clothier is a clerical error. This is the only record of Robert Walker as a clothier. He was listed on the civil record as a "slubber".


    Church Record: Oliver Walker was buried on September 5, 1844 in Adwalton age 4 years 11 months, Birstall Parish Records. (LDS film # 0990530)

    Civil Record: Oliver Walker, age 4 years and 10 months, the son of Robert Walker, "overlooker", died on September 3, 1844 of inflammation of the lungs. The death was reported by Robert Walker "occupier", Adwalton, who signed with his mark. Registration district Bradford, sub district Drighlington.

    Notes: Why was he called Oliver? Was Oliver a last name used as a first name? Oliver was not common either as a given name or a surname. There are several examples in the area of children given the surname Oliver as a middle name.
  3. Jem (Jim/James)


    Church Record: Jem, son of Robert, slubber of Adwalton, and Betty Walker was baptized on July 6, 1841, Birstall parish records (LDS microfilm #0990529).

    Civil Record: Jim, boy, father, Robert Walker, mother, Betty Walker, formerly Siddle, occupation of father, slubber, signed with the mark of Robert Walker, father, July 6, 1841, Adwalton, Bradford District, Sub-district of Drighlington, County of York


    Church Record: Jim Walker Adwalton, age 2 years 4 months, buried November 7, 1843.

    Civil Record: Jim Walker 5th November 1843 Adwalton age 2 years and 4 months son of Robert Walker overlooker debility, the mark of Robert X Walker occupioer Adwalton, 7th November 1843 (Bradford Y 23 page 106 December 1843 Deaths)


    • He was not listed in the 1841 census because his birth took place after the census was taken.

  4. Joseph Walker (1843-?) and Marie Blackburn


    Church Record: I did not find the baptismal record of Joseph Walker.

    Civil Record: Joseph Walker, boy, son of Robert Walker, overlooker, and Betty Walker, formerly Siddle, 15th July 1843, Adwalton, the mark of Betty Walker mother, Sub-District of Drighlington, Bradford District, County of York

    Marriage: Marie, date and place unknown.


    1. William B. Walker, born in Alverthorpe, Yorkshire circa 1867
      Marriage: ALKER William Blackburn HOLLAND Mary Louisa Hyndburn Register Office or Registrar Attended Preston RM/94/8 1896
      1. Joseph W. A. Walker, circa 1901
      1891 Census: Accrington south East Lancashire: Wellinton St, Maria Walker, head, widow, age 49, born Batley Yorkshire, William B Walker, son age 24, engraver calico prints, born Alverthorpe, Yorkshire, Sarah A daughter age 19, cotton weaver, Mary daughter age 14, cotton wever, Lydia daughter age 14, cotton weaver, Albert son age aa scholar, Florence Walker, daughter, age 9, scholar, all the rest born Bradford.
      1901 Census: Accrington, can't read street William B Walker head age 34, provision merchant clerk born Alverthorpe Yorkshire, Mary L , wife, age 32, born Lanchashire, Joseph W. A. son 11 mos.


    2. Fanny E. Walker, born in Beeston, Yorkshire circa 1870
      Birth Record Yorkshire BMD: WALKER, Fanny E, Wortley, Leeds, WORT/54/467, 1869
      Marriage: WALKER Fanny Elizabeth WHITTAKER Joseph Hyndburn Register Office or Registrar Attended Preston RM/80/25 1891 Lacashire BMD
    3. Sarah A. Walker, born in Bradford, Yorkshire circa 1872
    4. Mary Walker, born in Bradford, Yorkshire circa 1874
    5. Lydia E. Walker, born in Bradford, Yorkshire circa 1877
      Births Mar 1877 WALKER, Lydia Emma, Bradford, Y. 9b, 150 (FreeBMD)
    6. Albert Walker, Bradford, Yorkshire circa 1880
    7. Florence Walker, Bradford, circa 1882
      Marriage: WALKER Florence YATES Henry Accrington, Wesley Chapel, Abbey Street Preston WCAA/AP10/39 1908, Lancashire Marriages

    Note: The information on the wife and children of Joseph Walker was taken from the 1881 census.

    1851 Census: Joseph Walker was listed in the 1851 census with his parents.

    1861 Census: Joseph Walker was listed in the 1861 census with his mother.

    1871 Census: Joseph Walker was listed in the 1871 census at 7 Copley Street Horton, Branford, Leeds as follows:

    • Joseph Walker, head, married, age 27, policeman, born Gildersome
    • Maria, wife, age 28 born Batley
    • William son age 4, born Wakefield
    • Fanny, daughter, age 2 born Beeston

    1881 Census: Joseph Walker was listed with his mother the 1881 census: Joseph Walker 37, Maria Walker 39, William B. Walker 14, Fanny E. Walker 11, Sarah A. Walker 9, Mary Walker 7, Lydia E. Walker 4, Albert Walker 1, Elizabeth Walker 74, Bradford County/Island: Yorkshire Country: England Street Address: 21 Westfield Terrace Registration district: Bradford Sub-registration district: Bradford, East End ED, institution, or vessel: 48

    Death of Joseph Walker 1883: WALKER Joseph 40 Accrington Preston ACC/37/8, Lancashire BMD

    1891 Census: Mary (Marie) were listed in Accrington Lancashire. See William above.

    1901 Census: Accrington, Lancashire, Napier Street: Maria Walker, head, widow, age 59, Lydia Emma, age 24, daughter, cotton weaver, Albert son age 21, Machine fitter, Iron, Florence, daughter age 19 cotton weaver.

    In October 2009 Anne Walker wrote:

    "My great granddad was Joseph Walker who was Robert's son. Joseph came to Accrington Lancs in October 1881 to set up and be the first chief constable of the new Accrington Police force. He spent 3 days and night down the Moorfield colliery after a major explosion in Dec 1883, as a result of which he became ill and died."
    Later the same month Anne wrote:
    "My dad's father was Josephs eldest son, William Blackburn Walker. Unfortunately my grandad died in 1941 and I was born in 1944. He did, however, talk about Josephs move from Yorkshire to Accrington, and the tragedy of his death following the Moorfield pit disaster. There is a monument recently erected to those who died as a result. Unfortunately, Joseph isn't on it - at the moment. However, I am in the process of gathering evidence of his untimely death i.e. death cert, news reports and family testimony, so he can go on the memorial. I feel a sense of family doing my family tree. Great granddad, Joseph, was, so my dad was told, a very strict man when it came to controlling the "ladies of the night" in Accrington, where I live. He lived just up the lane from me.
    The Moorfield Pit Disaster occurred the 7th of November, 1883. See

    Moorfield Pit Disaster There is quite a bit about it on the Internet.


The civil birth registrations of the children of Robert and Elizabeth show that they signed with their "mark".


The 1851 census indicates that Robert Walker was born in Morley in Batley Parish.

There is no consistancy in the birth place of his daughter, Sarah.

  • The 1851 census indicates that she was born in Morley in Batley Parish.
  • The 1861 census indicates Bruntcliffe (which is part of Morley).
  • The 1881 census indicates Gildersome
  • The 1891 census indicates Bruntcliffe

It would appear that Robert and his family moved from Gildersome (Batley parish) to Adwalton (Birstall parish) sometime between Oliver's birth in October 1839 and before the birth of Jem in 1841. Although they are in separate parishes Gildersome and Adwalton are only a mile or two apart.

There were Walkers in Adwalton as early as 1749. I have not checked all the records prior to that. One of the Walkers from Adwalton, William, married Nancy Oliver in 1781.

Death of Robert Walker

Church Record

Robert Walker of Adwalton, age 52, was buried September 22, 1857, Chapelry of Drighlington, parish of Birstall (Parish record).

Civil Record

Robert Walker, age 52, Adwalton, Drighlington, an overlooker in a woolen factory, died on September 18, 1857, of phthisis pulmonalis 9 months certified (pulmonary tuberculosis). The death was reported by George Stell Sykes of Adwalton Drighlington, who was "present at the death" (Civil Record)

Note: George Stell Sykes was Robert Walkers's son-in-law.

Remarriage of Elizabeth Siddle Walker

John Sykes, age 66, widower, shoemaker, residence Morley, son of Benjamin Sykes, clothier married Elizabeth Walker age 58, widow, residence Morley, daughter of Joseph Siddle, clothier, in the parish church of Batley on June 15, 1864. John signed. Elizabeth made her mark. Witnesses: Benjamin Ellis Brayshaw (?) and Ellen W. Sykes, both signed.

Note: John Sykes (c 1797) was the father of George Stell Sykes (1826). Elizabeth Siddle Walker (born Elizabeth Siddle c 1806) was mother of Sarah Walker (c. 1829). George Stell Sykes (1826) married Sarah Walker (c. 1829) in 1847.

Elizabeth Siddle Walker Sykes in the 1871 Census

Elizabeth Siddle Walker Sykes was listed in the 1871 census on Dewsbury Road at the Tool Bar House in Churwell as follows:

  • John Sykes, age 74, toll collector, born Adwalton
  • Elizabeth Sykes, wife, age 65, born Gildersome
  • Ann Sykes, grandaughter, age 16 visitor born Adwalton

Note: Ann was the daughter of George Stell Sykes and Sarah Walker and the granddaughter of both John Sykes and Elizabeth Siddle Walker Sykes.

Death of John Sykes

1874 See John Sykes

Elizabeth Siddle Walker Sykes in the 1881 Census

Elisabeth Siddle Walker Sykes was living with her son, Joseph, in Bradford and was listed under Elizabeth Walker. See Walkers in the censuses below.

Death of Elizabeth Siddle Walker

Possible death for Elizabeth: Free BMD, Deaths Jun 1888, SYKES, Elizabeth, 82, Dewsbury, 9b, 370

I have not sent for this as of July 2006 because I am not sure enough that this is the right record.

The Origin of the Name Walker

I have found the origin of the name listed by two sources:

  1. George Redmonds, a noted Yorkshire genealogist who has written two books on Yorkshire surnames, lists the name, Walker, in both Yorkshire Surname Series I and II.

    In Part I he says,

    "The regional term for a cloth fuller, i.e. the man in charge of the 'walk miln'. It has multiple origins and was already prolific in 1545."
    He lists the following early records for the name:
    1. 1342 William Walker 'in charge of the fulling-mill' (Branford) The Branford Antiquary.
    2. 1379 Thomas Walker, fuller (Branford) Poll Tax Returns for the West Riding, 1379.
    3. 1446 John Walker (Bierley) The Branford Antiquary.
    4. 1545 John Walker (Branford) Subsidy Rolls

    In Part II he says,

    " Occupation for the man who operated the walk mill or fulling mill. It has multiple origins and was already prolific by 1545. The best documented local families lived in Thorstonland and Quarmby."
    Redmonds listed 9 early sources for Walker in Burton, Thustonland, Wooldale, and Quarmby.


    • The italics above are mine.

  2. According to C. M. Matthews in "English Surnames", Walker is a name that goes back to the very beginnings of the woolen industry in England. He says the name Walker was used chiefly in the North and Midlands, while in the South-East the name was generally Fuller and in the South-West, Tucker.

Fulling is a process of shrinking and thickening cloth by applying moisture, heat, friction, and pressure.

For many centuries the wool industry in England was second only to agriculture as a national occupation. Both the raw wool and woven cloth were exported to the rest of Europe. In the 1370's there was an increased demand for English cloth. In 1376 Parliament passed an Act that prohibited the exportation of cloth from England until it had been properly fulled. According to Thomas Thompson, a local Yorkshire historian, fulling was being carried out in the Spen valley (which is in Birstall parish) from the time of the reign of Edward III (1327-1377). Thompson in the "History of The Spen Valley" says,

"There was scarcely a manor in West Riding of Yorkshire, which stood on a watercourse, that did not posses its own mill which was generally leased out, at a fixed annual rental to one, and sometimes two of the manorial tenants."
John and Thomas Walker were listed on the 1379 Poll Tax Lists in Birstall parish rented the walk mill on the Spen stream at Liversedge Hall.

Fulling mills were know as walk mills.

Fulling was done in a trench with a "flagged" bottom and walled sides to keep the water from running out. The first step in the fulling process was to treat the cloth with a mixture of pig manure, human urine ("weeting") and water. When the cloth was thoroughly saturated with this mixture, men walked and stamped on it with their bare feet until the warp and weft became thoroughly interlocked. The cloth was then washed and treated with soap, water and fuller's earth and was again walked on by the "walkers" until all surplus grease and impurities were removed an the cloth was nicely felted.

While no continuous connection can be make from Sarah Walker to these early Walkers in the area, clearly some ancestor of Sarah's operated a walk mill.

Walker was one of the most common names in the area.

Because the name Walker is so common, it is very hard to track. In addition, like almost everyone else in the West Riding in the late 1700s and through the 1800s, the Walkers moved around quite a bit.

The Walker is the Censuses


The family of Robert Walker was listed in the 1841 census in the village of Adwalton, Township of Drighlington, in Enumeration District #1, which was described as

"All that part of the township of Drighlington on the North and South of the Turnpike Road from Adwalton to Gildersome Street"
  1. Robert Walker, age 35, "slubbler of wool"
  2. Betty, age, 35
  3. Sarah, age 13, "piecer woollen"
  4. Oliver, age 2.


  • They were living very near Sarah's future husband George Sykes. See George Sykes
  • At the residence listed just before them was Joshua Brown, another woolen slubber, aged 40, and his wife and children which included a son, Joseph, age 15, who was also listed as a woollen slubber and a son Benjamin, age 10, who was listed as a woolen peicer.
  • On the other side was John Shaw, woolen spinner and his family


The family of Robert Walker was listed in the 1851 census in Adwalton, Enumeration District, 1 D, number 33 as follows:

  1. Robert, age 46, wool carder, born in Morley.
  2. Betty, age 44, born in Gildersome.
  3. Joseph, son, age 7, scholar, born in Adwalton.


  • Sarah Walker was listed with her husband, George Stell Sykes, and son in the 1851 census in Adwalton. See George Sykes
  • Registrar's District: Bradford
  • The district was described as
    "All that part of the Hamlet of Adwalton (being part of the Township of Drighlington) from the Unicorn Inn to Owlet Hall"
  • Totals for the district list: 107 dwellings, 592 people (312 males and 280 females)
  • The immediate neighbors were not the same and none of them were slubbers or wool carders.


The 1861 census was taken between March 31 and April 8th.

The 1861 census lists the family of Elizabeth Walker of Wakefield Turnpike Road, Adwalton as follows:

  1. Elizabeth Walker, head, widow, age 55, born in Gildersome.
  2. Joseph, son, age 17, woolen mill hand, born in Gildersome.


Elizabeth Siddle Walker married John Sykes in 1864 and was listed in the 1871 Census on Dewsbury Road, Churwell as follows. John Sykes head age 74 toll collector, born Adwalton, Elizabeth wife, age 65, born Gildersome, Ann, grand daughter, age 16 visitor, born Adwalton.


Elisabeth Siddle Walker Sykes was living with her son, Joseph, in Bradford and was listed under Elizabeth Walker.

The 1881 census in At Augustinse's district no 48, Bradford, East Ward, Borough of Bradford, York, England, at 21 Westfield Terrace lists the family of Joseph Walker as follows:

  1. Joseph Walker, age 37, inspector of police, born in Adwalton, Yorkshire
  2. Marie Walker, age 39, born in Mirfield, Yorkshire
  3. William B. Walker, age 14, telegraph messenger, born in Alverthorpe, Yorkshire
  4. Fanny E. Walker, age 11, scholar, born in Beeston, Yorkshire
  5. Sarah A. Walker, age 9, scholar, born in Bradford, Yorkshire
  6. Mary Walker, age 7, scholar, born in Bradford, Yorkshire
  7. Lydia E. Walker, age 4, scholar, born in Bradford, Yorkshire
  8. Albert Walker, age 1, born in Bradford, Yorkshire
  9. Elizabeth Walker, widowed, age 74, born in Gildersome, Yorkshire


  • Total pages list: 149 houses, 729 inhabitants (332 males and 397 females)
  • Census taken 22 April, 1881The district was described as:
    Commencing in Otley Road at No 210 (word ?) above the church, and taking all up that side to No 234, the Old College- Undercliffe Lane all on left going up- Airedale College Terrace-Guy's Cliffe-Cemetery Lodge's-Pollard Lane on the left going up- Westfield Terrace- Westfield Crescent- Undercliffe Old Road both sides to Otley Road to Borough boundary- Winter Row- Mint Street- Club Street- Club Houses and all on Undercliffe Moor Side-then across the Moor to Dudley Hill road and take No 54 to 59 Bradford House an any other.

Baptisms of Robert Walkers circa 1805 in Batley and Birstall Parishes

In the 1851 census "the" Robert Walker was listed as born in Morley (which is in Batley parish) circa 1805.

This is the only indication of his place of birth. In looking at other censuses relating to this family his daughter listed her place of birth as both Bluntcliffe (which is a part of Morley in Batley Parish) and Gildersome (which is in Birstall Parish). Was the census information for Robert Walker correct as listed in 1851?

There is no record of the baptism of Robert Walker circa 1805 in Morley in the parish records or any of the available alternative congregations.

There is, of course, the possibility that the birth of Robert Walker was not recorded or was recorded in a congregation for which the records are not available.

The following is an attempt to take a look at the Robert Walkers born in the right time frame who show up in subsequent records in both parishes. Thereby showing which were NOT the records for "the" Robert Walker and entertaining the possibility of who was "the" Robert Walker.

  1. Robert son of John Walker, Gomersal, clothier

    Baptism of John Walker: ??

    Marriage of John Walker: John Walker of Gomersall married Prissey Seller of Scholes in Birstall Parish on December 25, 1795.

    Note: There is a three year break from the marriage to the baptism of the first known child. this is a little long for the time.


    1. James Walker (1798) and Nancy Hodgson
      Birth: James, son of John and Priscilla Walker of Great Gomersall, clothier, baptized October 14, 1798 (BT).
      Marriage: James Walker married Nancy Hodgson 31 May 1818
      1. Mary 11 October 1818
      2. George 1 October 1820
        Death: Another George in 1837 according to the census
      3. Martha of James Walker and Nancy Cleckheaton clothier 9 Feb 1823
      4. Robert 3 Apr 1825. He doesn't show up in the censuses.
      5. Sally 26 Dec 1830
        Death: Died another baptized in 1833
      6. Sally 10 November 1833
      7. George c. 1837 from the 1851 census
      1851 Census: Back Lane Cleckheaton, James, head age 52, farmer, and carrier 35 acres, born Gomersal, Nancy, wife, age 51, born Cleckheaton, George, son age 14, cart driver at home, born Cleckheaton, John Whitehouse servant, age 39.
      • There were several James Walkers baptized circa 1799 the others were not from Gomersal.
      • James and George do not turn up in later censuses
      1861 Census: Nancy Walker at Walker Buildings near Back Lane Cleckheaton, age 62 widow, no occupation listed, with grandson, Syrus Farnley age 10 born Cleckheaton.

      Five year break

    2. Betty, daughter of John and Priscilla Walker of G. Gomersall, clothier, baptized August 14, 1803 (BT).

    3. Robert, son of John and Priscilla Walker, clothier of G. Gomersall, was baptized May 4, 1806 (BT)

    Question: Who was the parents of John Walker born no later than 1775?

    Based on an age of at least 20 years at the time of his marriage, John Walker was born no later than 1775. There were 10 John Walkers baptized in Birstall Parish between 1770 and 1776, as follows:

    1. John, the son of William Walker of Great Gomersal, September 11, 1768 (Birstall parish records).
    2. John of Joseph Walker March 19, 1770, Birstall (BPR).
    3. John, the son of John Walker of Birstall, April 12, 1770 (Birstall parish records)
    4. John, the son of John Walker of Birstall, April 15, 1770 (Birstall parish records)
    5. John, the son of Isaac Walker, March 22, 1772, no place listed (Birstall parish records).
    6. John, the son of Abraham Walker, October 25, 1772, Spen (Birstall parish records)
    7. John, the son of John Walker, December 4, 1772, Drighlington. Illegitimate son of Hannah Steward and John Walker of Drighlington (Birstall parish records)
    8. John, the son of Thomas Walker, Birstall, June 5, 1774 (Birstall parish records)
    9. John, the son of Joseph Walker, Brooke House in Gomersal, June 5, 1774 (Birstall parish records)
    10. John, the son of John Walker, Closes in Gomersal, June 30, 1776 (Birstall parish records). Note: This birth was probably too late.
    Since there are no other identifying notations on the baptismal record such as occupation or the name of the mother, there is probably no way I can determine which, if any, of these John Walkers was the father of Robert Walker.

  2. Robert Walker (1807), son of Robert Walker, Hunsworth clothier, NOT "THE" ROBERT WALKER

    Birth: Robert Walker the son of Robert Walker, Hunsworth, clothier, and Sarah Walker, June 28, 1807, Birstall Parish.

    Note: This is the only record in the Bishops transcripts for Robert and Sarah Walker of Hunsworth

    Marriage: Mary Ann


    1. Richard of Robert Walker and Mary Ann 27 Sept 1835. Only baptism listed for them.

    1851 census: Cleckheaton, on King Street head age 44 slubber woolen, born Hunsworth, Mary Ann, wife, 40, born Birstall, Richard son, age 16 iron founders app. born Cleckheaton.

    1861 Census: Cleckheaton Old Popplewell Robert Walker lodger age 45, married, spinner born Hunsworth

    1881 Census: Robert Walker, age 74, at the Peacock Inn in Gomersall, widow, age 74 woollen spinner, born Hunsworth.

    Interesting that he was also a slubber.

  3. Robert Walker (1808), Great Gomersall, clothier NOT "THE" ROBERT WALKER

    Baptism: Robert the son of James Walker of Mazebrook in Gomersall was baptized in Birstall parish April 28, 1762
    Marriage: Robert Walker married Sarah Wooler in Birstall parish on March 5, 1787 (indexes).

    1. Lydia, of Robert and Sarah Walker of Gomersal, was baptized on January 31, 1788 in the Independent Chapel Cleckheaton.
    2. James, of Robert and Sarah Walker of Gomersal, baptized March 3, 1789 (ICC) .
    3. Richard, of Robert and Sarah Walker of Gomersal, baptized November 18, 1790 (ICC)
    4. John, of Robert and Sarah Walker of Gomersall, baptized July 5, 1792 (ICC)
    5. Sarah, of Robert and Sarah Walker of Gomersal, was baptized on October 10, 1793 (ICC). Sarah, daughter of Robert Walker, age 16, was buried in new ground in 1809 (ICC).
    6. Jane of Robert Walker December 25, 1795, Gomersall clothier (BirstalBT)
    7. Mary, 25 March 1798 of Robert and Sally Walker Gomersall clothier (BirstalBT)
    8. Leetitia of Robert and Sarah Great Gomerasall clothier, 25 January 1801 (BirstalBT)
    9. Hannah of Robert and Sarah Walker "Drubhill" clothier, 11 September 1803 (BirstalBT)
    10. Benjamin of Robert and Sarah Walker Great Gomersall clothier, 25 December 1805 (BirstalBT)
    11. Robert Walker of Robert and Sarah clothier Great Gomersall 17 July 1808 (BirstalBT)
      1841 Census: Drubb Gomersal, Robert Walker age 30, cloth m, Mary age Sarah, Mary, Josiah, Hannah age 70 ind, Richard age 20 cloth weaver.
      1851 Census; Drubb Lane Gomersal, Robert Walker head age 42 cloth manufacturer, born Drubb, Mary wife age 40, Maryann age 19, Josiah age 13, Emma age 9, sophia age 7, Martha Ann age 5, Agnes age 3 Walter age 1
      More: Also listed in 1861

    Robert and Sarah had a child buried in the Independent Chapel graveyard in 1809.

    Death: Robert Walker of Gomersall, age 79 was buried November 24, 1842 (ICC) (born circa 1763)

    Note: The only other records in the Independent Chaple in Cleckheaton were the children of John and Mary (or Mary Anne) Walker of Liversedge who had, Robert, August 16, 1834, Martha March 3, 1837, Hannah, July 10, 1838, Rebecca, September 26, 1839, Mary, January 23, 1841, Sarah of John and Mary of Closes in Liversedge, September 30, 1843, Neddy of John and Mary Ann of Primrose Hill, Liversedge, John Farrow, August 18, 1844, Elizabeth of John and Mary Ann of Hightown, December 7, 184?

  4. Robert Walker born Hanging Heaton circa 1805 NOT "THE" ROBERT WALKER

    Another Robert Walker born circa 1805 in Hanging Heaton was listed in the 1861 census in Morpert Bullers Green, Northumberland, England as a marine store dealer. He was listed again in 1871.

    Note: I am not sure in which parish the records for Hanging Heaton were recorded prior to 1825, but I believe that it was Dewsbury.

While many births were not recorded in the parish records, I believe that the bulk of deaths were. There were no deaths records for Robert Walker in Batley from 1799 to 1835 and no deaths for Robert Walker in Birstall from 1805 to 1820.

Of the four births for Robert Walker recorded in the area circa 1806-1808:

  1. Robert son of John Walker and Priscilla Sellers. UNCERTAIN.
  2. Robert born in Hunsworth was NOT the husband of Elizabeth Siddle and the father of Sarah Walker who married George Sykes
  3. Robert born in Hanging Heaton circa 1805 was NOT the husband of Elizabeth Siddle and the father of Sarah Walker who married George Sykes.
  4. Robert born in 1808 in Great Gomersall the son of Robert and Sarah was NOT the husband of Elizabeth Siddle and the father of Sarah Walker who married George Sykes.

If any of these Robert Walkers was the father of Sarah this is the best bet.

Other Records for Robert Walker, Batley Parish

Robert was not a particularly common name in the parish records. As these things often go, it was more common in the Walker family than in other families in the area.

Robert Walker marred Judith Farrer 24 July 1622

Robert Walker married Elizabeth Walker 8 May 1654

Robert Walker buried 10 October 1670

Robert Walker buried 10 June 1683

Robert Walker buried 27 February 1689

A child of Robert Walker baptized 20 Sept 1705 no place no occupation

Robert Walker buried 2 January 1728

Robert Walker, Morley Batley Parish

Robert Walker married Elizabeth Ward in Morley in Batley parish on 14 November 1736. According to the parish index they did NOT have children baptized in the parish.

Benjamin Walker

Birth: 1705 or before

Marriage: Benjamin Walker married Anne Hobkin 16 May 1725 Batley parish


  1. Martha of Benjamin Walker clothier Batley 8 Oct 1727
  2. Thomas of Benjamin Walker clothier Batley 6 Nov 1729
    No marriage in Batley.
    No children in Batley
  3. William of Benjamin Walker labourer Batley Jan 1731/32
    No marriage in Batley.
  4. Ann of William Batley clothier 12 Apr 1762
  5. Elizabeth of William Batley clothier 28 Oct 1764

    7 year break

  6. Hannah of William Batley clothier 14 Aug 1771
  7. Sarah of William Batley clothier 9 May 1773
  8. Robert son of Benjamin Walker 24 February 1733
  9. Hannah of Benjamin Walker clothier Batley 25 July 1736
Robert Walker, Batley labourer


Marriage: Robert Walker of the parish married Sarah Blackburn 27 August 1755 Batley Parish

Children: Born to Robert Walker, labourer Batley

  1. Susannah born 27 June 1756 baptized 26 Sept 1756 of Robert Walker Batley no occupation
  2. Nancy born 9 June 1758 bapt 6 Aug 1758 Labourer Batley
  3. Mary born 8 June 1760 bapt 6 Aug 1760 Robert Walker labourer Batley
  4. Hannah 1 Nov 1762 baptized 9 Jan 1763 Robert Walker labourer Batley
    Death: Another Hannah born in 1773
  5. Rachel 17 Feb 1765 Robert Walker labourer Batley
  6. Benjamin of Robert Walker Batley laborer, 15 Mar 1767 April 19, 1767
  7. Sarah 2 Dec 1769 4 Feb 1770 of Robert Walker labourer Batley
  8. Thomas Walker and Margaret Walker
    Birth: Thomas Mar 1 1772 of Robert Walker labourer of Batley
    Marriage: Thomas Walker married Margaret Walker daughter of James Walker of Birstall 26 Dec 1793
    Birth of Margaret d of James: Not listed in either Birstall parish or Batley parish. No listing on the IGI.
    Occupation: Cordwainer
    1. Hannah d of Thomas Walker, son of Robert Walker, and Margaret, d of James Walker, Batley cordwainer, 26 Aug 1794 bapt 21 Sept 1794
    2. James s of Thomas Walker, son of Robert Walker, and Margaret, d of James Walker, Batley cordwainer 8 Mar 1798 29 Mar 1798
    3. Sarah of Thomas Walker, son of Robert Walker, and Margaret, d of James Walker, Batley cordwainer 10 Dec 1799 27 Apr 1800
    4. Benjamin son of Thomas Walker of Batley buried 29 July 1804
    5. Samuel and
    6. Hannah twins of Robert Walker labourer of Batley 8 March 1773 4 April 1773

Robert Walker, Batley clothier stuffweaver


Marriage: Robert Walker of the parish married Mary Richardson of Bristall parish 2 May 1766

Children: Born to Robert Walker clothier stuffweaver Batley

  1. Sarah 27 Feb 1767 bapt 19 Apr 1767 Robert Walker Batley clothier
  2. Joseph 20 Jan 1769 26 Feb 1769 Robert Walker Batley stuffweaver
  3. Benjamin 4 Nov 1770 9 Dec 1770 of Robert Walker stuff weaver Batley

Walkers in Morley

Robert Walker indicated in the 1851 census that he was born in Morley circa 1805. I have not been able to find a record of his birth in Morley. For a survey of the Walkers in Morley go to Walkers in Morley

Walkers in Adwalton

Robert Walker lived in Adwalton by 1841 until at least 1861. For a survey of other Walkers in Adwalton go to Walkers in Adwalton

Other Walkers in Batley Parish

Robert Walker said he was born in Batley Parish, for information of other Walkers in Batley Parish go to Walkers in Batley

Land Introduction
The Family of Jim Walker
George Sykes - Connection To All Sykes Related Pages - Oliver - Slubbing, Weaving and Woolcombing - John Sykes

The Siddles

Elisabeth Siddle was born in Gildersome in Batley Parish. For more information on the Siddles, click on the photo of the Batley Parish Church


Elizabeth Siddle Walker was living with her son, Joseph, in Bradford in 1881. To see photos of Bradford click on the town hall in Bradford

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©Maggie Land Blanck - page created 2004 - Latest update, October 2011